‘I got a job!’
Nik gave me a what the hell look as he turned from the cooker. ‘A job? You don’t need a job.’
‘No, I don’t need it, but I wanted it.’ I walked over to see what he was cooking. Spaghetti and tomato sauce. Yum. ‘What’s the occasion?’
‘There’s no occasion. Apart from your new job, apparently.’ He turned back to stir the sauce. ‘Why exactly have you gone out and found yourself a job?’
‘It’s just part-time. You know, I spend so much time cooped up inside with the writing and all, and I need to get out a little. I don’t want to go back to how I was last year.’
Nik didn’t like to hear about that, I could tell from the way he pursed his lips. ‘I agree there. You’ve been a little down lately.’
‘Going to the gym twice a week isn’t enough.’ I took a seat at the kitchen table, turning the chair so I faced his back. ‘I need to get out and be around people once in a while. I don’t want the depression to come back full force. I’m doing okay now with the new meds and I want to stay there. So I got a job. A part-time job. A couple times a week, at the most, but that’s enough. I can still write, but get out and do something else once in a while too.’
He nodded, glancing at me from over his shoulder. ‘What job is it?’
‘Ah, uh, at a sex shop.’ I scratched my head.
His eyes widened. ‘A sex shop?’
I nodded quickly.
‘The kind that sells dildos and handcuffs and BDSM gear?’
‘Are there any other kind of sex shops?’ I asked, confused. ‘Because the kind where you sell actual sex isn’t allowed here.’
‘Oh, ha-ha.’ He carried the pan of spaghetti over to the sink to empty it of water. ‘Just wanted to make sure I heard you right. You, who writes erotic shorts and earns money from it, but are embarrassed about sex when it comes up in conversation or whatnot.’
‘I’m not embarrassed.’
‘You are.’ He put the pan on the counter and stirred the sauce again. Then he took down two deep dishes and started piling spaghetti into both. ‘You love having sex, but you don’t like talking about it.’
I drummed my fingers on the table as he added sauce to both plates. Sticking a fork in each, he carried them over, setting one down in front of me and taking a seat himself opposite me.
‘You know what I have been thinking of lately?’
‘That we should go to the doctor and get tested.’ I had been thinking of it a lot. ‘So maybe we could skip the condoms. It would save us a lot of money, too.’ A box of twelve condoms was really expensive and they didn’t last long.
He threw his head back as he laughed. ‘Always the pragmatic, huh? Save money on condoms.’
‘Well, it’s true.’ Did he think I was being completely daft? ‘Couples don’t really use condoms do they? We’re exclusive aren’t we? So… isn’t it about time we go, you know, bare?’
He stared at me for half a minute. ‘You’re serious.’
‘I am.’ I stared back.
He got up from his chair, came around to my side, then bent down and took my face in his hands. ‘I’ve never done it bare before.’
‘I have, just not with a guy.’ Condoms had never really been much of an issue with girls, but thinking back, that was some more stupid shit piled on top of all the other stupid shit. STDs were one thing, but HIV could also be passed from girl to guy or vice versa, not only between men having sex with men. Not to mention unwanted pregnancies.
He kissed me. One hard press of lips. ‘We’ve got to be absolutely certain we’re both clean first.’
I nodded. Of course we had to be certain. I didn’t want to endanger him in any way. ‘Is that a yes?’
‘This feels like a bloody marriage proposal.’ He rubbed his nose against mine.
I snorted. Marriage proposal? ‘Answer the damn question, Nik.’
Another kiss, this one softer. ‘Yes, Glenn, I’d love to try it bare with you.’
I pulled him into my lap so I could deepen the kiss.
A door slammed, then Emily yelled, ‘Get a room you two!’
Nik sat back in my lap and turned his head to look over his shoulder. ‘Look who’s talking! Who had sex on our sofa just last week, huh?’
That left her without a come-back for a second, but then she rolled her eyes. ‘Do I have to point out that you two did that as well last month?’
‘We didn’t have sex on the sofa.’ Nik laughed. ‘BJs, sure, but we didn’t shag on it.’
‘Who hasn’t had BJs on the sofa?’ Kevin came wandering up behind Emily and he slapped her on the back. ‘Remember that time three weeks ago—’
‘Shut up.’ Emily covered his mouth with her hand. ‘Don’t give him more ammunition to use against us.’
Kevin mumbled something behind her hand.
‘Oh, yeah, Maya you can dish on.’ Emily removed her hand again, grinning.
Kevin grinned too. ‘Last Saturday, Maya had a guy over and he was eating her out on the sofa.’
Nik scrunched his nose up. He was cute when he did that. ‘Has anyone ever cleaned that sofa?’ Now that was a valid question.
Kevin and Emily looked at each other, lips pursing. ‘I doubt it.’
Nik turned back to me. ‘Remember to never sit on that sofa again, okay?’
I chuckled. ‘All right.’ Then I pushed him off me. ‘Get off, would you? The food’s getting cold.’
Nik rolled his eyes, but plunked himself in his own seat to dig in to the dinner he’d made.
‘Do you have any leftovers?’ Kevin walked over to check. ‘Ah, fuck it. Babe, how about we go out for kebabs?’
‘Lets. I can’t be arsed cooking.’
Kevin threw his hand up in a wave. ‘Enjoy your domesticity!’
Nik smiled widely at that. ‘We are pretty domesticated, aren’t we?’
‘Yeah, I guess.’ I liked the way we were.
‘I like it too, Glenn.’
I raised my head to look at him. ‘I didn’t say anything.’
‘You didn’t have to. It was all written plainly on your face. For me, anyway, because I know you that well.’ His smile took on a bit of a smug look.
Butterflies fluttered in my stomach, because he was right and this was good. He did know me better than anyone, and being all domestic and shit… I never thought it would happen, but I loved it.
My phone, which lay screen down on the table, pinged.
Matt: Your novel is #1 in gay romance!
I almost dropped my phone, but managed to keep hold of it and unlock the screen. I went online, searched up my newest release, scrolled down… and yes. He was fucking right. It even had a couple reviews and the rating was good.
‘Hey, what’s wrong?’ Nik peered at me, worried.
‘You know that last book I released? The one that’s a romance and not erotica?’
‘Yeah?’ Now he chewed anxiously on his lower lip.
‘It’s a bestseller,’ I said dazedly. ‘It’s number one in the gay romance category.’
Nik blinked once, then let out a whoop. ‘That’s great!’
‘Yeah.’ I couldn’t quite believe it yet though. I’d gone through that damn book, fixed it up, and released it for sale all because both Matt and Nik had insisted. I’d been scared to death. I did so well with erotic shorts, but releasing a romantic novel? No, I didn’t think that would go well at all.
Except now it had. It was a fucking bestseller.
My phone pinged again.
Matt: Now it’s time to remove all the rest of your freebies, fix them up, and publish them. You can’t keep putting it off anymore now!
Well, fuck me, but he was right.
‘So, Glenn,’ Nik said lightly from opposite me, ‘tell me again how you want a job in a sex shop?’
I laughed out loud; surprise and shock and happiness all bubbling out of me at once. ‘Well, it’s obviously for the employee discount, isn’t it?’
‘We’re going to buy lots of sex toys now?’
‘Yes, Nik, that’s exactly what we’re doing.’ I still stared at my lock screen, at the lit up message from Matt. ‘We’re buying lots and lots of sex toys. Got to do research for future books, after all.’
That made him laugh and it was the most wonderful laugh that zinged through my blood. It was the laugh of him truly happy, and I was truly happy, and everything was great. We were great, our lives were great, we were getting somewhere. We’d fucking make it.
I knew we would.