It was Friday night and I was doing bills at the tiny desk in a corner of the living room. The apartment was small, though the open floor design gave the illusion of it being bigger than it actually was, and there was no denying that my “desk” was little more than a glorified phone stand. Perched in a folding chair too small for my five-ten frame, I hunched over a square surface just big enough to hold my checkbook and the calculator. I pulled the bills out of a box on the floor beside me and dropped the finished ones onto a shelf over the table. The pile of trash at my feet was growing faster than the stack of completed bills. I never understood why the electric company thought it was necessary to inform me where I could get massage chairs at a reduced price or whatever other crap they had stuffed in the envelope with the bill. Like anyone had money left to buy something after they paid the electric bill.
I rubbed the back of my neck and glanced over to where Z, my mostly straight roommate, and Jake, my hot but seriously young boyfriend, were hunched over PlayStation controllers battling it out in Call of Duty. They looked much too serious for a couple guys drinking beer and playing video games. Still, it was a view worth looking at, Z all blond hair, blue eyes, and devilish grin with a build a lot like mine. He was maybe an inch taller than me and had a body that wasn’t ripped but didn’t disappoint when the clothes came off, either. On the other hand, Jake’s straight, dark brown hair was cut in a style that was meant to be off his ears and collar but usually hung over both. He was about five-eight and at nineteen still gangly as a colt. His looks weren’t the only coltish thing about him; he was full of energy and eager to live his life. Just looking at him was enough to stir my libido and have my dick threatening to distract me from my bill-paying endeavor.
“Bad!” A small voice from behind the couch squelched my wayward thoughts. Jake hadn’t come to visit alone. His almost-three-year-old nephew wandered from behind the couch, a single cookie held high over his head. It was just far enough off the floor to keep my dog, Nicky, from reaching it. Alec marched over to me, indignation written all over his small face. He knew who was in charge of the baby in our house. “Taywer.” That was Alec-speak for my name, Taylor. “Nicky ate my cookie,” he informed me, looking as if he expected the doom of all ages to fall upon the dog’s unfortunate head. It was a struggle to keep my grin off my face; he was adorable. He looked like his father, one of the hottest guys I’d ever met. Abel’s smoldering brown eyes and dark curly hair had translated into a two-year-old with the ability to melt the hardest heart.
“It was really my cookie,” I reminded him.
Z had stopped on his way home and picked up a few cookies for dessert—shortbread, my favorite—from a nearby bakery. Jake and Alec had arrived before I got there, and Z had given my cookies to the boy. I wasn’t happy about it, but neither was I surprised. It was a ritual between them. Alec’s father did not want him to eat junk food; Z believed man lived by junk food alone. He stuffed Alec with whatever we had in the house whenever he got the chance. Tonight it was my cookies. It was a shame I wasn’t man enough to take it with more grace. Alec glared at me, having judged my response to be totally unsatisfactory. He looked down at where my Lhasa-Poo bounced with irresistible cute around his feet, tell-tale cookie crumbs caught in the light fur of her muzzle. She looked up at me with her dark eyes, begging for the last cookie. I frowned at her. She wasn’t supposed to eat junk food either.
“Bad,” Alec told her again and, giving up on receiving justice from me, retreated to the couch. He crawled up between the competitors where he was safe from evil doggy habits. I leaned down and ruffled Nicky’s fur.
“It really was bad,” I whispered in her ear. She gave me a happy doggy grin and licked my face. Gah, dog spit. I wiped it off with the back of my hand and went back to work on the bills. I gave up a half hour or so later.