Dorsey still hadn’t gotten Rad’s number, and he wanted to kick himself for it. The last time he’d heard anything from Rad was Friday when they’d gone their separate ways after lunch. Now, on Sunday afternoon, Dorsey was faced with a day off and no one to spend it with.
It was no different from all the other days off he’d had, but at the same time, everything was different. He had a friend now. Or something more. Whatever he and Rad were to each other, the one thing Dorsey knew for certain was he hoped for more time with Rad.
And he hadn’t asked for Rad’s number, which meant he had no way to invite Rad to get together. The tattoo shop wasn’t open on Sundays, so if Rad went there to find Dorsey, he would be disappointed.
Then again, Dorsey was only assuming Rad wanted to see him again. They had parted on Friday with an agreement to continue seeing each other, whatever that meant. Unfortunately, with no way to contact each other aside from Rad going to the shop, chances didn’t look good.
By midmorning, Dorsey’s thoughts had spiraled into a dark mass of things he didn’t want to deal with. Part of him still felt as if he’d been disloyal to Chester by messing around with Rad. Part of him wanted to go further with Rad. He’d even gone to one of the department stores outside the city limits the day before to stock up on condoms and lube so next time Rad visited, they would be prepared.
If that ever happened.
He couldn’t stand any more time alone in his apartment, so he dressed in the same clothes he’d worn the day before—the only clothes he had that were clean enough to wear until he went to the Laundromat—and headed to the coffee shop.
As he walked, it occurred to him that Kelly knew exactly how to get in touch with Rad. After all, he’d put his contact information on the application. If Dorsey could figure out how to ask for it without sounding like a creep, he might be able to talk to Rad. That alone made the walk through a light, cold drizzle worth it.
At that time on a Sunday morning, the coffee shop wasn’t very busy, since most people were at church or sleeping in. Dorsey went straight to the counter, where Kelly was arranging a tray of muffins.
She smiled at him. “Long time no see.”
“Sure.” He hesitated. “The usual coffee, please.”
“Why do I have the feeling that isn’t what you were going to say?” She set two more muffins on the tray and slid it into the display case, then turned to get Dorsey’s coffee.
Dorsey looked out the window. Because of the weather, few people were out and about. April wasn’t being particularly springlike so far.
He wondered what Rad was doing. Going to church with his grandmother, possibly, though Rad didn’t strike Dorsey as the church-going type. More likely either job hunting or spending the day out of the rain.
“Here you go.” Kelly set a cup on the counter. “On the house this morning because you look like you need it.”
“Thanks.” Again Dorsey hesitated. “You have Rad’s number, right?”
“Yeah. I kind of have to if I’m going to hire him.” She looked confused. “You don’t have his number?”
“No. You’re going to hire him?” That would be great news for Rad. And for Dorsey, since he would be able to see Rad simply by going around the corner.
Wow, you really have gone too long without a friend. And without sex. Get over it.
“I am, but don’t tell him.” Kelly grinned. “I’d pretty much already decided to, even before I interviewed him. But half the town knows I used to date his brother, so I can’t let it seem like I’m playing favorites.”
“Yeah. I understand.” Dorsey wondered whether Kelly knew what her brother had done to Rad and decided it would be better not to ask. It wasn’t his place to talk about it.
He drank some of his coffee and glanced out the window again. Rad was walking down the sidewalk on the other side of the street, heading toward the lake.
Without thinking, Dorsey hurried out of the shop. Rad had already passed. Behind him, Kelly called a question, but he didn’t pay attention. He crossed the fortunately empty street. “Rad!”
Rad jumped and whirled around, then relaxed. “Hey.”
Dorsey closed the few yards between them. The drizzle was turning into full-on rain, but he didn’t care. If Rad could stand it, so could he. “Hey. How’s it going?”
Rad shrugged. “Been better, been worse. I was going down to the lighthouse, except I’m not sure walking out there is a good idea in the rain.”
“Maybe, maybe not.” The lighthouse stood at the end of a half-mile or so causeway accessible only by foot. In three years, Dorsey had never taken the walk. The lighthouse was nice to look at from the shore. He saw no reason to go all the way out to it.
“Probably not.” Rad sighed. “When I was a kid, I used to go out there all the time. Even in the summer, it was a quiet place. I could think. Not to mention get away from my brothers and everyone. Even though I wasn’t far away, I could pretend I was alone in the middle of the lake. I liked it.”
Dorsey’s heart went out to the guy. From everything Rad had told him, his childhood had been pretty damn lonely. No one should have to be alone, especially with family around, but it sounded as if Rad truly had been.
That was one of the things Dorsey wanted to make better. Both of them had been alone too long.