Hello all! Here’s my chapter for this week’s Different Tracks story.
Here are the links to the current chapters and more info on the Round Robin story.
Peter was a man on a mission. Ever since his lunch conversation with Xander on Saturday—if it could be called a conversation—the pieces had started to fall into place. The more he thought about Xander, the more he began to understand what was really going on, and it had nothing to do with the guy’s aversion to relationships.
“You don’t want someone like me, I get it. It was a mistake. Okay?”
Xander’s words had caught Peter off guard, and it wasn’t until long after Xander had gone that they finally sank in. There were times when Xander seemed confident. Like when he was out on the construction site working. He’d quickly familiarized himself with all the tools and handled them skillfully, as if he’d been using them all his life. At least until Peter showed up. Then the guy turned into one of those infomercials where picking up a hammer resulted in flailing chaos with the added bonus of a bandage or two.
Xander didn’t seem to have a problem holding a conversation with Mr. J, Mike, or even Jo. The moment Peter appeared, Xander acted like he didn’t know what to do with himself. He had no idea how sweet he looked, the way his cheeks flushed, or how he mumbled to himself when he thought Peter couldn’t hear him. Those weren’t the actions of a guy who saw Peter as nothing more than a one night stand. For some reason, Xander didn’t think he was good enough for Peter, so it was up to Peter to prove him wrong.
While he dressed, he tried his best to ignore the little voice in his head telling him Xander might bail on him. It had taken a good deal of persuasion for Xander to finally agree. Peter was itching to send another text or call, but he didn’t want to be pushy. The last thing he wanted was to scare Xander off. Tonight was about showing Xander the possibility of something more between them. To show it didn’t matter to Peter the car he drove, what his apartment was like, or what he did for a living.
Peter finished buttoning up his charcoal gray dress shirt, leaving the top two buttons undone. His hair had a small amount of gel in it, his cologne was subtle, and his dark blue jeans gave him a more casual look. He wanted to look good for Xander, but not too dressy. Choosing his outfit had been almost as tough as choosing where to go for dinner. He wanted Xander to feel comfortable tonight, though he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t nervous.
The doorbell rang and he took a deep breath. “Relax. You can do this.”
Turning off the bedroom lights, he made his way to the front door, opening it with a smile when he got there. The moment his eyes landed on Xander, his brain vacated the premises. Holy shit.
“Hey.” Xander smiled bashfully, his hands shoved into the pockets of his black jeans. He was clean shaven and wearing a navy blue dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows, revealing his muscular arms. “I hope this is okay. I didn’t know where we were going and—”
Peter kissed Xander, cutting him off mid-sentence. He tasted minty fresh, and his aftershave sent the most delicious shiver up Peter’s spine. Xander leaned into the kiss, his hands going to Peter’s waist and his lips parting to invite Peter in. Peter was very tempted to skip dinner and go right to dessert. Instead, he pulled back with a soft laugh.
“Sorry. I just needed to do that. You look great.” Xander’s smile warmed Peter all over. He motioned behind him. “I’m just gonna grab my keys and jacket.”
Peter swiped up what he needed before locking up then headed down to the truck with Xander quiet at Peter’s side. He remained that way until they were on the road.
“So, um, where are we going?” Xander asked, his gaze focused outside his window.
Peter noticed the way Xander was trying his hardest not to fidget. His knee had bounced a few times before he caught himself.
“Relax,” Peter said, taking hold of Xander’s hand and giving it a squeeze. He smiled warmly, loving the slight flush on Xander’s face. He loved that Xander didn’t pull his hand out of his even more. “There’s this great little steakhouse not far from here. It’s cozy, but grills a mean porterhouse.” He pulled his hand away and placed it on the steering wheel. Slow and steady. He’d need to keep remind himself.
Xander blinked at him. “A steakhouse?”
“Yeah, why?” Peter’s smile faded. Had he made the wrong choice? “Is that okay? We could go somewhere else. Maybe I should have asked you where you wanted to go.”
“No, steak is good. That’s perfect, actually. Really.” Xander’s smile was genuine, reaching his big brown eyes. He visibly relaxed a little and even turned on the radio.
“Great,” Peter replied cheerfully. They chatted as they drove down to the steakhouse with Peter asking Xander what cut of steak he recommended. Peter did his best to help Xander feel at ease. As Xander talked about prime cuts, Peter couldn’t help but wonder what could have caused Xander to have such a low opinion of himself. Why would he think Peter wouldn’t want more from him than the occasional screw?
A few minutes later, Peter had pulled into the steakhouse’s parking lot. Actually it was more a wide patch of gravel than a lot. He turned off the engine and got out, locking up as soon as Xander closed his door. They headed inside and Peter was aware of Xander taking in everything around him.
The place had a rustic look to it, all old fashioned wood and gold accents. The lighting was low, giving it a cozy warm feel. The flat screens above the bar were playing music video and the place was filled with lively chatter. It wasn’t packed like it tended to get on the weekends, but it was still pretty busy.
A large bald man in a checked shirt gave him a nod and smiled from behind the bar. “Hey, Peter. Take a seat. Sheryl will be right with you.”
“Thanks, Kyle.” Peter gave him a smile before headed for a booth at the end and around the corner. Somewhere they could talk without Xander worrying.
“You know him?” Xander asked quietly, following Peter toward their table. Peter slid into the booth and Xander sat across from him.
“Kyle used to help my dad out on the farm when he was younger. Before he opened this place up. Really nice guy.”
Xander shifted his knife and fork to one side. “Does he, uh, know about you. Being gay, I mean?”
“Yeah, he kind of figured it out when he caught me sucking face with Liam, his busboy, behind the restaurant one day after school.”
Xander sat back with a laugh. “Shit. I didn’t know you were so adventurous.” There was mischief in his sparkling brown eyes. Xander leaned forward, his knee brushing up against Peter’s. With a wicked grin, Peter slipped his leg between Xander’s. He hoped tonight was the start of a new adventure for him, one that included Xander.
Hello all! I’ve joined some fab authors in writing a round robin story called Different Tracks. The authors are Sophie Bonaste, Brynn Stein, Grace Duncan, Suki Fleet, Elizabeth Noble, Kim Fielding, and Lane Hayes. A new chapter will be posted every Monday and Thursday, so make sure to check the sidebar for the schedule and links. As the story grows, I might move it to it’s own section.
Here are the links to the current chapters:
Peter woke up with a sappy smile on his face. Last night had been amazing, evident by the way his body ached as he stretched. His ass was especially sore. Memories of last night warmed him all over despite the air conditioning cooling his bare skin. A small moan escaped him when he thought of Xander’s hands all over him, the way Xander’s teeth had nipped at his skin, the feel of Xander’s soft lips against his, and the taste of his mouth. Peter couldn’t remember the last time he’d been fucked so good. With a grin on his face, Peter blinked open his eyes. His smile promptly faded.
Xander was gone.
Peter sat up and sighed. Xander’s absence wasn’t a surprise. However, the feeling of disappointment flooding through Peter was. What the hell had gotten into him? He’d never done anything so bold. Casual hookups weren’t his thing. Neither was coming onto a guy he barely knew. He’d tried his best to ignore Xander in the car as he sat there beside Peter, dripping wet, but then Xander had gone and taken off his shirt, and Peter had been mesmerized by Xander’s inked skin. His fingers had itched to touch, to run over every inch of smooth surface, over every curve and dip.
“I’m such an idiot.” He got out of bed and headed for the bathroom to brush his teeth and wash up. What was it about Xander that made him feel so reckless? Did he really want to find out? It was obvious Xander wasn’t interested in anything more than what they had last night, and as great as it was, Peter wasn’t looking to become any guy’s occasional lay. His head was telling him it was better this way. Why try to pursue someone who didn’t want to be pursued?
After finishing up in the bathroom, Peter got dressed and headed for the kitchen to make breakfast. As he did, he realized he didn’t even have Xander’s number. Speaking of phone, his cell rang and he checked the screen. It was Jo. He was tempted to ignore it, but he knew better. Jo had a way of getting information out of him one way or another.
“Hey.” He braced himself.
“So… where were you two last night? Mr. J said you guys didn’t make it because of the weather.”
“Yeah, it was getting pretty bad out there, so I told Xander it would be okay if we didn’t go.”
There was a pause then a sigh. “Are you really going to make me drag it out of you? Because you know I will.”
Peter worried his bottom lip. He knew he could trust Jo not to say a word, and considering how he had no idea what his next course of action should be, confiding in her might help. Jo always seemed so confident, like she knew exactly what she wanted all the time and how to get it. Maybe he was overthinking this. “We slept together.” There was a high-pitched squeal at the other end and Peter chuckled. “I’m glad you approve.”
“Was it amazing?”
“Better than.” Something in his voice must have given him away, because Jo’s tone when she next spoke reflected her concern.
“He didn’t stick around.”
“No,” Peter sighed. He carried his mug of coffee to his kitchen table and took a seat. “He was gone when I woke up. Guess that’s that then.”
“That’s that? You had amazing sex with a hot guy who you really like, and that’s that?”
Peter arched an eyebrow despite the fact Jo couldn’t see him. “I’m not exactly sure what it is you think I can and should do. The guy left before I woke up. He didn’t even want to see me. I don’t know what he was expecting. It’s not like I was going to propose or anything. Either way, I don’t want to make a big deal out of this. It was one night.”
“Uh-huh. And when you see him on Saturday?”
If I see him. Then again, Peter doubted Xander would go against a court order just to avoid some guy he’d had a one night stand with. “I’ll play it by ear, see how he reacts. I don’t want things to be awkward.”
“A little late for that.”
“Thanks,” Peter muttered.
Jo let out a soft laugh. “Look, just talk to the guy. It’ll be fine.”
“Thanks.” They exchanged a few more pleasantries before Peter hung up. He wished it could be that easy. What was he supposed to say? He let his head fall against the table with a groan. Six more days until he saw Xander again. The wait would either help him clear his head or drive him crazy. Knowing him, it would most likely be the latter.
Check in with Sophie on Monday for Part 9!
Hello all! I’ve joined some fabulous authors in a game of Round Robin for a free read. What’s a Round Robin story? It’s a type of collaborative storytelling in which each other writes a piece of the story, continuing where the last author left off. You can find the story schedule below of when the posts are going up. Since there are a good number of authors, there’s two posts going up a week, and I get to end the story. OMG, no pressure, right? The story is called Different Tracks and it’s a straight up contemporary, a first for me, so should be fun!
I’ve also added the schedule and links to the sidebar so readers can easily find them. Happy reading!
Part 1: Jan 5 – Sophie Bonaste
Part 2: Jan 8 – Brynn Stein
Part 3: Jan 12 – Grace Duncan
Part 4: Jan 15 – Suki Fleet
Part 5: Jan 19 – Elizabeth Noble
Part 6: Jan 22 – Kim Fielding
Part 7: Jan 26 – Lane Hayes
Part 8: Jan 29 – Charlie Cochet