This story releases tomorrow from MLR Press.
Myles leaned in, and before Dyer could react, their lips touched. He jerked back, startled, but smiled when he saw the pleased expression on Myles’s face.
He hadn’t minded the kiss a bit. It had just taken him by surprise.
“I’ve been wanting to do that for the past hour or so,” Myles said. “I hope it’s okay?”
“Yeah, definitely okay.” Dyer’s smile broadened, and he felt as if someone had blown up a balloon in his chest.
A pink balloon.
And just like that, his mood dimmed.
He fought the depression that accompanied the reminder of the morning’s incident. He refused to let it bring him down again. Not after he’d managed to not only put it aside but deal with the memories it had brought up. He’d had an incredible afternoon with Myles, and he was damned if he would let anything ruin it.
“Are you okay?” Myles wrinkled his forehead. Leaning closer, he lowered his voice. “You’ve had a really messed up day, and I just keep babbling at you.”
“I liked the babbling,” Dyer assured him. He took a deep breath and pasted a smile on his face. “Sometimes things get stuck, if that makes sense. I’m fine, and I’d like to decide where to go for something to eat. Most restaurants will probably be packed later, but it’s still early enough we might be able to find a place.”
“Yeah. That sounds good.” Myles squeezed his hand. “Let’s go.”
They ended up at a Chinese buffet a few blocks away. Over plates heaped with a little bit of everything from the buffet, Myles said, “You know, the first time I saw you in the shop, there was something about you. I know that sounds like the world’s biggest cliché, but I mean it. I wanted to talk to you more, but that’s kind of hard to do at rush hour in a coffee shop.”
“Yeah.” Dyer tilted his head and studied the man across from him. “I never had a clue.”
“I wasn’t sure you’d be interested anyway. Mr. Strait-laced.” Myles’s cute grin took the sting out of the comment. “All dress shirts and ties and stuff. What do you do for work?”
“Computer systems. Not a big thrill, but it pays the bills.” Dyer popped a sesame roll in his mouth.
Myles wasn’t the type he would have expected to be attracted to either, with the piercings and rainbow hair, but looks weren’t everything. He liked the guy too much to let a few pieces of metal and unnatural hair colors bother him.
He swallowed. “I live in Revere.”
“East Boston.” Myles chuckled. “We’re neighbors and never realized it. That’s awesome.”
“Yeah.” Dyer hesitated. “I live alone. If you ever want a place to hide out from your cousin and her guy, you’re welcome.”
Myles’s eyes widened again, then his face relaxed into a pleased grin. “I’ll definitely take you up on that. Maybe next time we go to the museum, we can order in at your place afterward?”
“Yeah, that would be awesome.” They were going to see each other again. The last thing Dyer had expected.
The biggest thing he wanted.