GENRE: Gay Erotic Romance
LENGTH: 17,971 words
A few days before Christmas, David Weathers finds himself hopping a plane to his childhood home in Florida and doesn’t know why. His parents are gone, he has no siblings, yet something draws him on.
David can almost feel the magic in the air, but then he discovers Jared Acosta, the man who broke his heart twenty years earlier, has moved three doors away. Reluctantly David accepts Jared’s invitation to dinner, only to find that twenty years may not be enough for some wounds to heal.
Soon David seeks advice from his mother’s best friend Marisol, a vibrant, wise woman who believes in second chances. Can she convince David to take a chance on the man who is working so hard to be near him now? Will he be able to forgive a past that left both him and Jared unlucky in love?
Note: may contain sexually explicit scenes of a homoerotic nature.
“I came to take you home. I came to tell you that it would be okay now, that we could be together, and that nothing was going to get in our way.”
“So why didn’t you?”
“That whole walk, and it had to have been at least a half-hour, there was barely a time when you quit smiling,” Jared said.
“I was still hurting. You saw that on my face.”
“Yeah, and I knew that I had been the one who had made you feel that way.”
“But you could have been the one who stopped me from feeling that way,” David said.
“Or, I could have just hurt you over and over again. When I saw you with this other guy, and I saw the way he made you laugh, it made me a little happy for you,” Jared said.
“That was George. He was just a friend. He was British and had a really wicked sense of humor. He knew what I was going through. His girlfriend broke up with him when he took the job in Korea. He was the person they hired to take the position you didn’t fill. He was my roommate, but that was it.”
“It didn’t matter,” Jared said. “I saw that you still had the potential to laugh, to go on, to find happiness with some other guy, and that made me feel great. When I saw the two of you with those kids, I started to think about all the possibilities that you could have in your life.”
“Not many gay couples had kids back then,” David said. “Same-sex marriage was far from a reality in most places.”
“But we dreamed of kids,” Jared protested. “We dreamed of them. Lots of gay people dreamed of that possibility. I know you did. I saw the way you interacted with them, not just that day, but any time you were around them. I had seen it a million times. I knew that you’d make an excellent father. Some gay couples found a way to be parents even then.”
“Well, I never did,” David said. “I didn’t want to do it alone, and I never met anyone that I felt was ready for that kind of commitment, or that I was ready to make that kind of commitment to.”
“I ran off that day. I got the hell out of Pusan before I could change my mind. I wanted you to have everything.”
“Well, I didn’t get it,” David replied. “I didn’t find true love, and I didn’t have kids. I didn’t do a lot of things, Jared, and I’m not sure exactly what you want me to do with this information.”
“I just wanted you to know.”
“Know what? That it’s not your fault?” David asked. “That you tried? Or that you didn’t because you didn’t want to hurt me again? Well, I don’t know, Jared. Maybe some of my life’s screw-ups are your fault. Or maybe they’re mine because I trusted you, or I didn’t trust someone else, or I worked too much, or maybe this is just where we end up at the end of the day, and maybe that’s okay. Maybe all of these things matter, and maybe none of them do. I don’t fucking know all the maybes, Jared.”
They sat silent for a moment, staring at each other, Jared in the driver’s seat, David the passenger. Finally, the silence broke.
“I still love you,” Jared said. “I still love you, and there’s no maybe about that.”
David sighed, and then climbed out of the car. With the door still open, he stuck his head back in the passenger side of the car.
“I just really don’t know what you want me to do with this information. You moved three houses away from my parents’ house. My house. Whatever it is. You went to Pusan to come get me. But you didn’t. Then you got married. You tell me you still love me. Now. When I’m forty. What the fuck do you want me to do, Jared? What do you want me to say?”
“Whatever it is that you’re feeling,” Jared said. “That’s all I want to hear. Just tell me the truth.”
“I don’t even know what that is,” David said, standing up straight and slamming the passenger seat door.
He walked up to the house, an agitated gait defining his mood. When he reached the front door, he turned around and looked back. Jared was staring at him from the car. David shrugged his shoulders, shook his head, and mouthed, “I don’t know.”