Just Life: Book One
Daron’s looking for a certain type: he loves tall, slim older men, and he’s sure one of them will be his one true love, even though he doesn’t truly believe he deserves it. His lack of confidence leads him to a series of meaningless encounters with strangers, convinced that eventually he’ll find a relationship to last a lifetime. His best friend and coworker, Rebel, offers Daron the only stable relationship he’s ever known. Rebel is younger than Daron and only slightly taller, so definitely not his type. Daron enjoys the time they spend together, but refuses to allow himself to think it could be anything more than friendship. He’s never bothered to consider what Rebel thinks….
A Bittersweet Dreams title: It's an unfortunate truth: love doesn't always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.
“DRINKS up.” Daron set the mug on the saucer Rebel had prepared.
“Can you do this one, Daron?” Rebel asked.
Daron glanced at the lunchtime line of customers waiting to place orders, then checked the order number before picking up the long white and smoked salmon on rye. It was his lucky day. Table Sixteen was tall, trim, and gorgeous with dark hair lightly peppered with silver.
Just his type.
He decided a frontal attack would be best. It’d give the man time to see him and put his best asset right at eye level, albeit covered by the bright red apron he wore. He put extra sway into his walk, knowing he was showing off.
“Here you are, sir,” he chirped happily as he slid the coffee onto the table before following with the sandwich. The man didn’t look up. “I’m Daron. If there’s anything else you need, just ask and I’ll bring it right out.”
A murmured baritone responded but still the man didn’t look up. Daron hovered, conscious of leaving the others to the rush but unwilling to give up just yet. “Is that an eReader?” Ah. A response. The man lifted his head, leaving Daron desperately sucking in air as the piercing blue eyes finally focused on him.
“Gorgeous,” he breathed. Dark, winged brows rose in response. Irrelevantly Daron noticed one coarse grey hair sticking up from the middle of the man’s right eyebrow and had to suppress the urge to smooth it down with his finger.
“Um,” he stuttered, curling his fingers into his palm. “The eReader, I mean.” He gestured. Jeez. Lame, Daron. He continued stumbling along, hoping he could pull his giant foot out of his mouth soon. Not that he had giant feet, more blocky with pudgy round toes.
A wide smile blossomed on the man’s face, showing just a glimpse of teeth.
“Shit. I said that out loud, didn’t I?”
The man nodded, continuing to smile but not as widely. He still said nothing.
“Um, all right, well, you let me know if you want anything else.” Daron nodded jerkily and returned to his post at the coffee machine. He dropped his head forward, allowing a lock of hair to slide across the side of his face, hoping it would hide the burning blush flooding his skin with heat.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Rebel whispered fiercely beside him.
“Not now, Rebel.”
“Why do you always pick the old ones?”
“Rebel,” he growled warningly, pushing his tongue against the backs of the two tiny diamond studs that pierced the base of his lower lip. He knew the piercings plumped his lip out farther, making it look like a permanent pout. Daron thought it went well with the rest of him. Big round eyes, round cheeks, and rounded chin and jaw. That was him. Small and round.
And obviously not Table Sixteen’s type.
He slammed the next coffee down, softening the movement at the last minute to avoid spilling it. “God, I need a smoke.”
“You don’t smoke.”
“It’s quiet down there.” He reached behind him to untie his apron and tossed it on the stool under the bench behind him. “I’ll be back in a few.”
Rebel said nothing. Nor did the girls still serving customers. And so they shouldn’t. He was the fucking boss; he could take a break whenever the hell he wanted. He stalked to the escalator and strode down it, only slowing enough to maneuver around a couple of kids and an old lady. Then he was through the food court and out the emergency exit, finally heading toward the loading dock.
He avoided the few smokers there and sidled around a stack of pallets at the back wall. There was enough room for him to pace and fume and mumble at himself and his stupidity without an audience. When would he learn that men like Table Sixteen weren’t for him? It didn’t matter how fucking perfect the man looked or how Daron’s stomach dropped or his balls ached. He never attracted them. Well, except for a casual fuck or two. Not that Daron had anything against casual fucking, but at nearly thirty he was looking for more. He paced, turned, charged back the way he’d come. Stopped. Flapped his hands. Gritted his teeth and verbally flagellated himself again. Spun and slammed into a firm white-clad chest, stumbled back, halted when two long-fingered hands gripped his shoulders.
“Wha…?” He swallowed and tried again. “Wha…?” Slammed his mouth shut.
Table Sixteen towered over him, the blue, blue eyes boring into him, the chiseled lips tipping up at the corners.
“You told me to let you know if I wanted anything else. I do.”
“What…” Daron cleared his throat. “What do you want?”
Shit, could he sound any needier?
One of Table Sixteen’s hands lifted, the tips of his fingers ghosting over Daron’s lower lip.
“This gorgeous mouth of yours on my cock.”
Daron closed his eyes against the sudden tightness in his chest and groin. His groin was responding to the image the man painted, but what was with his chest? He sighed and opened his eyes before nodding sharply.
Casual sex it was, then.
“I never let an opportunity pass me by,” he quipped as he sank gracefully to his knees, his hands grappling busily at Table Sixteen’s fly.
It was quick and silent. Afterward, Daron climbed to his feet, less gracefully than the lowering had been, and eyed the quickly drying splash on the brick wall beside them. At least the older man knew the rules and had warned Daron before he came. Daron pressed the heel of his hand against his aching dick, wondering if any part of this encounter included him getting off too.
“I need to get back to work,” said Table Sixteen as he righted his clothing.
Daron swallowed heavily as he nodded and turned away, quickly making his way to the gents’ and locking himself in a cubicle.
That was stupid. You’re not eighteen anymore. Leaning against the closed door, Daron unzipped and worked off his inconvenient erection. It was perfunctory, no more emotional than blotting his spattered come from the walls with toilet paper was. And no more rewarding.
He didn’t even get the man’s name.
What does that tell you, Daron?
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