GENRE: Gay Romance
LENGTH: 5,633 words
The universe hates Mel Stokes. He quit his job, lost his boyfriend, and missed the last train, all in one night. And then, some guy tries to rob him after he walked miles to get home. In shoes that pinched his toes. Nope. Last straw. When a stranger witnesses his lowest life moment and gives him an offer he can't ignore, what does Mel have to lose?
Working with good Samaritan Lenny Mitchen is the best and worst thing Mel has ever done. Because Lenny is kind and honorable, and there's no way that Mel can ever erase the first impression of a desperate loser down on his luck, can he? So, he makes a decision, and hopes that maybe, he can turn things around, for a change.But will it be enough to get what he really wants?
Panting heavily a few minutes later, I watched my would-be assailant limp-run away from me, swearing loudly and calling me a crazy person. As if I had been the one with the gun. And body odor. But he may have had a point.
I hadn't realized there was so much anger inside me. All the frustration and desperation from a day gone shit-side up had come out in my fists, and the kicks to the guy's ribs ... I disgusted myself.
The apartment building was too close and too far away at the same time. I took a breath and walked slowly toward it, praying not to collapse before I reached the lobby.
"Hey man, you okay?" I heard a deep voice say. I stopped and turned toward the speaker. There was a guy leaning against a nondescript car parked at the curb in front of my destination, staring at me. I could barely make out his face in the street light across the way, but he was a big guy. And he had witnessed my loss of control. Crap.
"Oh man. You saw that?" I had probably appeared unhinged, and my clothes hadn't weathered the fight well. My tie was missing, too.
"Yeah." He laughed. "I was driving by and happened to look over when I heard a loud noise. I looked over and saw a trash can rolling on the ground, and the two of you duking I out. I parked the car and was about to go over there and help, but you had it handled."
The man came a little closer, probably trying not to alarm me. He was still mostly in shadow. "Seriously, you look like you're about to fall over. Can I help you home, or something?"
Kindness from a stranger. After the past twenty-four hours, his gesture almost made me weepy. "Thanks, but I live in this building." I pointed to it before covering my face with both hands, which were shaking, likely from leftover adrenaline. "Shit. Fuck my life."
"You sound like you've had a rough time, aside from almost being robbed, or worse."
"Dude." I sighed, and for some reason, the man made me want to spill all my secrets. The whole mess came tumbling out, like puke. "I have a fiver in my wallet, and my bank account has maybe fifty dollars in it. I quit my job tonight -- this morning -- because my boss is a prick who wouldn't recognize honor if it was shoved up his ass. My boyfriend broke up with me on social media. Having that guy try to rob me just now was the last straw."
"I bet," said the stranger, who sounded sympathetic, and I wished I wasn't so pitiful. "How about I help you get to your place? It's the least I could do. Show you there are still nice people out in the world."
God, his voice. Kind of gritty and low, and made me want things that were inappropriate for our very brief acquaintanceship. And he was nice. I had the worst luck, lately.