Authors: Kat Watson
So many people brought this book to life, and held my hand when I was sure this was nothing but a collection of words that would never go anywhere.
Lisa, thank you (again) for never losing faith in me.
To my friends that have read this book, and re-read it, thank you.
I owe a special thanks to MJ for her reassurances and friendship, as well as critical feedback.
Thank you to the fandom that reminded me the voices in my head have a purpose.
S, I forgive you for loving chocolate-covered raisins, old lady, and I look forward to sharing my popcorn and Cherry Coke with you for a very long time. Thank you for reading boy parts for me.
I love you and I like you.
Copyright © 2015 by Kat Watson
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
Everyone had gathered in the employee break room where the cake was. Somehow, cake always brought even the most antisocial coworker into the mix.
When I spotted him, I smiled and waved casually.
Jonathan had been my rock during the bumpiest of times at work, and now he was my biggest supporter in leaving the firm. We enjoyed an easy, comfortable friendship, with safe flirtations. We couldn’t date since it was against company policy, and the small fact that he was gay wasn’t working in my favor, either. His partner, Noah, had baked the cake everyone was feasting on.
“Hey, Jay, thank you so much for the great cake! Tell Noah I said it's the best I've ever had,” I said.
He blushed, looking down at his shiny shoes. “Will do.”
Around others, he always seemed to clam up. It was almost funny to me, the difference in our interaction one-on-one versus in a group. After a quick hug, I grabbed another piece of cake and leaned against a table, surveying the people who had become my friends over the years. I was sad we'd be disconnected by my choice to move on but reminded myself it was a necessary change. Besides, that's what the internet was for, right?
Everyone finished their cake and wished me goodbye and good luck on their way out. When I was left with just Jonathan, we smiled at each other as we picked up the leftover trash.
“Plans tonight?” he asked, his voice even.
I snorted. “Nope. Unless you count my robe, some wine, and a Hoarders marathon.”
“Why don't you come have drinks with me? A few of us are going, actually. I think it'll be fun.”
“Mister Antisocial is going out with colleagues for drinks? Who are you, and what have you done with my Jay?” I asked, putting the back of my hand to his forehead.
An adorable blush crept across his cheeks, making him look even younger than he usually did—bastard. Even though he was in his early thirties like me, he hardly looked a day over twenty-one.
“Is Noah meeting you there?” I asked.
“Nope,” he sighed. “He has to be at the bakery early in the morning.”
“Aw, I miss him.” I thought about it for a moment, holding his gaze. “Okay, tell me when and where and I'm there. Drinks with friends has to win over sloth, right?”
The reality was, I just wanted a night to decompress and cry. Even though my decision was the right choice, it hadn't been easy. After I'd gotten the other offer, I’d spent weeks thinking about it and weighing the options.
Oh well, I could be lazy over the weekend, right?
He gave me the details, and after I had my car packed up, I drove slowly to the bar where they were. I was thankful it was a low-key place and none of us would have to deal with loud, obnoxious patrons. Hopefully.
Everyone was already there, seated in a banquette. I took the spot on the end, next to Jay, and ordered a glass of wine.
“Come on, you need something stronger than that after the last five years,” he teased, poking a finger into my ribs. “A round of tequila shots, please,” he said to the waitress.
I groaned but smiled. He was right, a few shots would probably do the trick. I’d need to call a cab and deal with getting my car later, but it would get worked out. When the shots were on the table along with the customary lime wedges and salt, we each picked one up, lifting them in a toast.
“To Olivia,” Jonathan said. “May you find much success at your new job and far better people to work with.”
All the junior partners and assistants I’d spent the last few years working with whooped and cheered, drawing attention to our table in the small restaurant. Our glasses clinked together, and the liquid burned my throat as it slid down into my belly.
When the next round of shots appeared, I looked up at Jonathan and smiled, lifting an eyebrow.
“Not me,” he said, holding his hands up in surrender.
“I know you’re just trying to get me drunk; you don’t fool me.”
Jay turned pink and quickly looked away, which made me laugh. I rested my hand on his arm and squeezed lightly, silently encouraging him to look at me again. “I’m just kidding. You know you don’t have to get me drunk to have your wicked way with me.”
An obnoxious guy from accounting was claiming ownership of the shots, and I groaned. He was exactly the kind of man who would get me drunk and take advantage of me in all the wrong ways. I knew Jay would never leave me alone with him if I drank too much, though. He’d been my protector, my best friend, my…huge, unattainable work crush.
Everyone lifted their glasses again, and the tequila went down fast and furious, chased by the tart, pulpy lime juice from the wedge nestled between my teeth. Shivering, I looked over at Jay again, still trying to gauge his reaction to my flirty banter. He was wearing the lazy smile I recognized from nights out in the past, just the two of us after work, drinking and flirting, when I somehow managed to forget he was gay. And married to Noah.
Despite that fact, I’d spent so many nights getting to know him and falling slowly. Sure, he looked good—took care of his body and always smelled amazing—but it was so much more than that. I watched him at the office as he took control of the cases he chaired, and I knew he took on pro bono cases on the side. He was the kind of guy I wanted. Hell, he was the kind of guy every woman—and gay man—wanted.
Another round of drinks appeared and were consumed just as quickly, and before I knew it, I was sprinting across the line from tipsy to drunk. The work crowd around us slowly dwindled, and I looked up from my musings about the wood grain in the table to find Jonathan and I were the only ones left.
“I need a taxi, Jay,” I groaned quietly, leaning against him in the suddenly narrow booth. “Before I get sick. God, that would suck.”
I’d worn my new Kate Spades and wasn’t ready to send them to the graveyard.
He slid from where he was sitting and held his hand out to help me up. “Me, too.”
We stood close, huddling outside in the cold of the night—or early morning, depending on how you looked at it—waiting for a taxi to roll by. Thankfully, we were downtown so it didn’t take long. Steam poured from the exhaust of the obnoxious yellow cab, and the driver listened intently as I slurred my address through the open door.
“Wait,” Jonathan said, sounding alarmed. He held my arm gently and pulled me from the cab I’d begun to climb into. “If I don’t do this, I’ll regret it forever.”
I turned to see what he was talking about, and he pressed his body into mine. It wasn’t aggressive or pushy; it was the soft warmth of him. He cupped my face, and I shivered at the cold metal against my back. When his lips touched mine, the full pink lips I’d thought about countless times, and then pulled back, I breathed out a soft moan. For once in my life, I didn’t have time to think or process or second-guess.
“Do that again,” I said.
He did, and the second kiss was even better. Our lips moved on their own, speaking the words I’d held back over the last few years.
“Come home with me,” he said. His forehead rested against mine, a cloud of wispy condensation swirling around us from our breath.
I managed to rub my two remaining sober brain cells together and absorb what he was suggesting. “Are you insane? What would Noah say?”
Suddenly, we both seemed far more lucid than we’d been just seconds ago.
“Noah would say ‘Thank God you finally found your balls and kissed her.’ Noah wants this, wants you. We both do.”
What the fuck?
I blinked, trying to focus. Had my gay work husband really just asked me to go home and be in a three-way with his real-life husband, after possibly the longest day of my life? I’d clearly had too much tequila because I was actually considering his offer.
“Lady, are you gettin’ in or what?” the cabbie shouted, breaking the moment.
I had no idea.
Jay’s fingers threaded through mine, squeezing. “I’ll explain on the ride. Please.”
“Okay,” I said, against my better judgment.
As I slid into the car, Jonathan was right behind me. He gave his address to the driver then turned to face me, cupping my face in his hands. His lips were so soft and careful against mine as they explored, pulling and asking. My hands rested in my lap, uncertain of where they could touch freely as my mind raced, still trying to process everything.
“Wait, Jay, you need to stop for a minute and explain.”
“I do?” His lips turned up in a teasing smile. The streetlights strobed across his face, highlighting his angled cheekbones and sparkling eyes. “Do you really want me to stop?”
I really, really didn’t, but I needed to know more before I went on. I didn’t want to be the kind of woman who participated in a spouse cheating.
“I don’t want you to stop, but maybe talk while you grope?” I suggested, laughing.
“From the first time I met you at the office, I’ve wanted to know what was underneath all this,” he whispered against the shell of my ear. “I’ve wanted to see what’s above these legs, beneath those maddening skirts you wear.” His hands smoothed over my boring work suit. “I can’t wait to see and feel your bare curves.”
It was a nice change to be wanted by someone I actually liked as a person, as opposed to the string of losers I’d somehow been attracting over the last few years.
“So you’re not gay?”
Jay laughed and pulled back to look me in the eye. “Too complicated right now. I want you. Do you want me?”
The vulnerability in his voice and expression startled me. I hadn’t even allowed myself to think about him in that way often, but I had to admit that when we flirted, I’d wondered about his sexuality. I may or may not have even let my thoughts wander once or twice while in bed alone. It had been safe to fall in love with him; I could never have him.
“What about Noah?”
He kissed me again then ran his nose along mine. “Liv, I know you like to overthink things, or, rather, everything, but he truly wants this, too.”
Maybe Jonathan was right. Maybe I
overthinking everything. Maybe it was time for me to just let go and enjoy. I could do that. Maybe.
Before my brain could shift into thinking about the logistics of it all—I started to explore his body, allowing my thoughts to be consumed by only him. I touched him, tasted his lips and mouth, and teased him when I could.
Thankfully, we arrived at his house soon enough, and neither of us had shed any of our clothing. It had been close, though; he’d managed to undo the top few buttons of my blouse. His thumb rested in the hollow of my throat, poised to travel lower when the cab driver cleared his throat. After Jay insisted on paying for the ride, he took my hand in his and practically ran to the door. Once it was open, we began to laugh at the silliness of the whole situation—at least, that’s why I was laughing. It was absurd, going home with Jay…for sex.
I put my fingers against his lips. “Shh. Stop, you’re going to wake Noah!”
“I’m sure he wouldn’t mind, but you’re right,” he said, kissing the pads of my fingers. “I don’t think you’ll be able to be quiet for very long, though…” The look in his eyes was pure, youthful mischief.