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He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, standing there, eyes wide, lips parted. I waved my phone in the air as I walked into that office and kicked the door shut behind me, right in the face of several Railers lingering around trying not to look like they were spying.
“It’s true. Flamboyant figure skater is on speed dial. He has a glitter cannon and rainbow lip gloss. Rumor is that he’s not afraid to use either and that he’s out and dating a Railer. Shocks of all shocks!”
“Trent Hanson isn’t employed by this organization. Does he really have a glitter cannon?”
“No, he isn’t employed by the Railers, but Ten and Jared are, and so are Stan and Erik, and Adler and Layton.” Mike crinkled his nose. The motion lifted his glasses a bit and was so damn adorable I wanted to pinch his cheeks. Both sets. “As for the cannon, do you honestly think he wouldn’t own one?”
“Points made.” I tossed my phone to the desk, not caring where it landed. I wanted both hands free so that I could touch my man. Mike tipped his face up when I cradled his cheeks, his lips looked dry…in need of kissing. His cologne slithered around me, a subtle cloud of scent that went right to my balls. “But what about you? Trade talk…”
“It’s just talk. I’ve not heard a peep.”
“No. No more buts or excuses or stupid statistical prognostications. If everyone let stats dictate how successful a relationship was going to be, romance would die.” I put my mouth to his, cutting off his lists of why we would not work. “I love you. If that costs me my role on the team, then so be it. I’ll come live with you here and spend my summers searching the Susquehanna River for artifacts and my winters making love to you.”
Mike snickered, his now damp and recently kissed lips pulling up into a smile despite himself.
“I kind of doubt there are any treasures to be found in Harrisburg.”
“Ah, Mikey, that’s where you’re wrong. I found you.” He pulled at the back of my neck, tugging my mouth back to his. When the kiss broke, we were both stiff as logs and breathless. “I want to take you out, show the world we’re now a couple. Sit in a booth, kiss, touch, rub noses, and in general act like two men in love. You up for that?”
“Yes,” he sighed, his breath sweet with coffee. I wasted no time in getting him out of the arena and across town. Jared had suggested – and made me a reservation at – a small but hip Asian-American eatery smack dab in the middle of restaurant row. We were seated at a small booth. I wiggled in beside Mike on the bench, thanked the hostess, and then crawled all over my man, pressing his back to the tan wall, the red leather booth creaking softly as I dipped into his mouth for a taste of the most delicious thing to be found in any of the eateries on 2nd Street.
“Nick, God,” he panted when I flopped back down and smiled awkwardly at our server, a cute Asian woman with a glowing smile.
“That was just the appetizer,” I told Mike and gave the server a wink. She winked back. So this was why Jared had set us up here. Totally accepting staff. You’d be amazed how many LGBT folk still get chased out of restaurants for daring to hold hands. Finding one that was welcoming was a gift.
“God,” Mike chuckled nervously, his hand shaking a bit as he took the menu from our server. I was glued to him, hip to hip, thigh to thigh, and I planned to stay attached to this man for the rest of the night…and my life if he’d have me.
We smiled and flirted, touched and kissed, through a spicy tuna tartar appetizer as well as our entrees of coconut mango scallops for me and red peanut curry chicken for Mike. I fed him spoonful’s of green tea ice cream covered with blackberry sauce. He nibbled on a ginger snap as I sipped some coffee, his gaze hot and locked with mine.
“Let me taste that cookie on you.” I leaned in, covered his mouth with mine, and licked in deep. “I love you, Mike.” I held his chin in my fingers. “This is us now. Me coming here, or you coming to Carlisle. No more hiding. No more excuses. I’m in this a hundred percent. I need to hear the same from you.”
“Yes, I’m in it too. I’m still scared of this blowing up but…” He drew in a breath to calm the jitters. “But I’m not going to let the numbers dictate things, not this time, not with us.”
“Where is the server with that check?” I growled playfully. My phone rang then, the silent vibration in my front pocket startling me. I knew who it was before I even looked at the info coming in. “Sorry.” I looked at Mike cleaning his smudged glasses on his tie. “I told him not to call unless it was an emergency.”
Mike smiled as he buffed his lenses. He knew Goog.
“Googer, my man, unless there’s a massive meteorite hurtling downward at us from space and no one can find Bruce Willis…”
“Nick, I’m sorry but I just…” He coughed thickly. Was he crying? “I just got the Carlisle Ledger and – shit. Did you know there are still society pages? Like where people announce they’re getting engaged?”
“Uh, yeah, sort of?” I shrugged a shoulder at Mike’s curious look. “Goog, buddy, I’m kind of on a super important date with Mike and—”
“Sam’s getting married,” he whispered, the three words forced and rough.
“Who’s the lucky guy?”
“It’s a girl. He’s marrying a girl.” And then my buddy really did breakdown and cry.
“We have to go to Carlisle,” I whispered to Mike. “Something big is going down. I am so sorry. I wanted to take you home and—”
He pressed his mouth to mine. “I’m at your side, always.”
Yeah, I knew he would be. Mike and Taz. Always and forever.
We hope you’ve enjoyed Mike and Taz’s romance! But don’t fret, we’re not done with the Carlisle Rush yet. Next up is Goog and Sam’s story, Breakaway, kicking off August 12 because holy hell there’s a wedding in the works for Sam?! Say it ain’t so!
Love and hugs,
RJ and V.L.
*a new episode appears each Sunday, check the master list for updates.