< Be sure to wear something comfortable and weather-appropriate.
I must have stared at the message on my phone every five minutes. You see, my closet was full of work clothes along with clothes that were considered to be business casual. My drawers had my gym clothes. But, I had nothing that I would consider to be ‘weather-appropriate.’ The temperature would be in the 70s during the majority of the day.
The previous night, I had texted Liam my address, as he requested. Once again, we ended up texting back and forth until it was too late to truly read any of my book series. Not once had he mentioned where we were going and what we were doing after lunch.
I covered my lower face with a hand as I took inventory of my clothes and shook my head. As difficult as it was to believe, I still came up with nothing. I couldn’t very well open the door naked, though it would have surely gotten quite the reaction from Lux. I shifted in place, my hands falling to my waist, when a thought occurred to me.
My youngest brother slept over in my guest room on the occasional weekend whenever he couldn’t stand the noise in the dorms of his college. He usually left a set of clothes and underwear for emergencies in the smaller drawer of the guest room. As a college student, he wore nothing but casual and comfortable clothing.
Ever since he grew my height when we were kids, we would borrow each other’s clothes now and then. I felt rather hopeful as I entered the guest room and opened the small drawer. I set aside his clean white briefs, as I wouldn’t need those. The knee-length khaki cargo shorts would have to do. I was then faced with three options when it came to the shirt. Three terrible options With a frown, I set aside the neon pink shirt with white polka dots. I was then left with two shirts with writing on them. I let out a long sigh and set aside the bright blue shirt with ‘orgasm donor’ printed in white with a health cross.
I lifted the final, chosen shirt, and briefly recalled when my brother gave me a similarly styled pair of boxers as a gift. I walked back to my room and rummaged around in my cabinet for those boxers before heading into the shower.
By the time I was done, I heard the doorbell. Immediately, I felt a mixture of apprehension and discomfort. Regardless of those feelings, I made my way to the door. I was confused at what I saw on my security monitor. Even after I opened the door, the confusion lingered. A simple bouquet of orange roses was shoved into my arms.
“Wh-why…?” I stumbled as I took a step back to allow Liam to walk in. I clutched the bouquet to my chest as my voice took on a suspicious tone. “Why?”
“Why orange? I heard they symbolized enthusiasm, desire and excitement,” Liam explained as he took a look around. “Thought it was fitting, as it’s what I’ve been feeling since you agreed to go out with me.”
The auburn-haired man’s smile was downright blinding. But, I refused to allow it to distract me. I let out a sound that sounded close to a grunt and walked over to the kitchen to find a small decorative vase that my mother had given me as a housewarming gift. Liam continued to look around as I placed the flowers in the vase with some water.
“Your place is really nice. I didn’t expect it to be this color scheme, though…” Liam mused out loud.
“What colors did you expect?” I asked in curiosity.
“Whites, greys, and blacks.” Liam admitted sheepishly. “Pale greens, creams, and browns are loads better, though!”
I shrugged. “I liked the furniture set, so I painted the walls accordingly.” When I stepped back out of the kitchen, the look on Liam’s face turned into one of shock.
“Are you really wearing that shirt?” He all but laughed.
I felt my cheeks heat up. “It’s quite literally the only thing I had that seemed appropriate for the weather.” I explained. “It’s really my younger brother’s. The shorts, too.” In spite of my embarrassment, I was relieved to see Liam wearing similar clothing. He had on a pair of dark grey cargo shorts and a well-fitting heather grey shirt.
Liam suddenly stood up straight with a puzzled look on his face. “Wait, are you…?” He began to ask. “Are you wearing ‘Kiss me, I’m Irish’ boxers, too?”
“What do you know? It’s time for lunch,” I responded dryly as I motioned towards the door. “Shouldn’t we be heading out now?”
I heard Liam gasp as I walked past him and opened the door.
“You so are!” He deduced.
I covered my red face with a hand. “Can we just go already?”
“Our date hasn’t even started yet, and it’s already one of the best days I’ve ever had.” He added as he finally stepped outside.
No, it was already one of the worst days, if you asked me. Liam was wise enough not to mention my brother’s green shirt and my underwear again as we entered his car. His was white Corolla. After buckling myself in, I saw Liam snickering out of the corner of my eye and turned to glare at him.
“What?” I questioned.
“It’s just that your brother sounds like a fun kid.” He stated before pulling out of my driveway. “And green looks good on you too. I’d like to thank him some day.”
“Tch,” I scoffed. “And the flowers were a bit much for a first date, don’t you think?”
“Not when it’s you, Seth.” He responded as he continued to look out ahead at the road.
His words caused a strange sensation in my gut. It was probably just indigestion.
Our drive to the bar/restaurant Longitudes was full of idle chatter. Liam wanted to know what kind of gift my receptionist Kathryn would like. He asked my brother’s name, which was Michael. And he asked what he was studying in college, which was Computer Programming.
When we arrived, we both walked inside and were quickly seated at one of the empty tables. I ordered the glorious grilled portabella burger. Liam ordered himself a chargrilled burger. For drinks, I ordered the pineapple juice and Liam had a Sprite.
“So how many are there in your family? You mentioned having siblings in the plural sense at work,” Liam pointed out.
“There are four of us, actually.” I admitted, a smile forming on my face as I thought of them. “I’m the oldest. After me there’s Antoine and Cara, fraternal twins…and finally Michael. My parents did rather well raising all four of us. We all have such different personalities, considering we grew up together. Antoine is very laid back, Cara is quick-witted, and Michael’s equal parts studious as he is ridiculous.”
“That explains the shirt.” Liam mused.
“Yeah, his crazy shirts.” I agreed. “We shared a room and it drove me crazy not being allowed to clean his messy side of it. My OCD is apparently as bad as my grandmother’s.” I shook my head. “What about you, what’s your family like?”
“I’m an only child,” Liam replied. “But, I did have close cousins that would knock me down a few pegs.”
Our food arrived and our conversation slowed down in favor of eating. I was surprised at the lack of awkwardness between us. Since it was just lunch in a fairly public place during the daytime, I guess my guard was reasonably down. When we finished our food and drinks, I felt full and satisfied. Despite his attempt, I made sure to pay for my half when it came time to pay the bill.
Not a moment later, we were back in Liam’s car. “Are you going to tell me where we’re going now?” I asked him.
A secretive smile formed on his face, one that irritated me to no end. “You’ll see soon enough.” He answered as he connected his phone to the aux cable and played music.
We hadn’t been listening to music on our way to Longitudes, so I knew that it was going to be a good while before we reached our destination. About a half hour later, we pulled up to a parking lot. As I glanced at the people walking past us, I recognized where we were.
“The Renaissance Fair?” I said in an accusing tone.
“Yeah!” Liam replied with a grin. His face fell at the expression on my face. “Don’t tell me you don’t like Ren Fair?”
I grimaced as I remembered that it was his birthday. “No, it’s just…I haven’t gone to the Renaissance Fair since my early teens.”
“Then, you’ll enjoy the experience through new eyes!” Liam suggested as he got out of the car.
I took a deep breath before getting out of the car myself. I definitely didn’t expect something like this for a first date. In my personal opinion, the fair was meant for families with children and young teenagers, not two grown adults. But, I had already committed to it.
The two of us got in line for our tickets. I insisted on paying for my own admission once again. We then began to leisurely walk around to take in all the booths, shops, and events that would take place throughout the rest of the day. I was suddenly grateful for having already eaten, as it involved a lot of walking. Was this what Liam had planned from the beginning?
“Aren’t these the most curious little guys?” Liam pointed out as we came across a gryphon-themed shop. He was staring at wired gryphon figurines that could be posed in different ways. Some had different color feathers and eyes. “How much are they?” He asked the shopkeeper.
“Thirty-five for one. Fifty for two,” She stated. I saw Liam’s eyes light up when she held up decorative armor. “For a purchase of two, they also get this armor as a bonus.”
“Then, I’ll take two.” I spoke up as I paid the woman. I then turned to Liam. “Go on, choose one.”
The expression on Liam’s face was that of a child upon seeing gifts beneath a Christmas tree. “Are you serious right now?”
I found myself rolling my eyes. “Just pick one.” I insisted as I picked one, myself. The one I chose had gray feathers and blue eyes. To my surprise, Liam chose an identical one. We were handed the armor and occupied ourselves placing them on the gryphons before placing them in a bag. “Consider it your birthday gift.”
Seeing the different expressions on Liam’s face was worth it. The slightly taller man couldn’t seem to decide between surprise and sentiment.
“Thank you. How did you know that today was my birthday?” He wondered aloud.
“Staff contacts list update yesterday.” I explained, feeling all too pleased with myself. But, the amused smile on my face morphed into a frown when I saw someone familiar approaching. “Oh, no.” I groaned.
“What’s wrong?” Liam began to ask, but another voice called out my name at the same time.
The man was two inches taller than Liam, but part of the height surely came from the heeled boots he wore. He was in a gallant green archer’s costume that made his green eyes appear brighter. The fact that he was in costume meant that he was probably a guest actor at one of the events. His brown hair reached down to his shoulders and he had it pulled back in a low ponytail.
His mocha skin was as flawless as the last time I laid my eyes on it. The words ‘handsome devil’ took on a more literal meaning in my mind. He may be handsome, but he was still a devil.
“Liam, Kris Locklear. Kris, Liam Lux.” I grudgingly introduced as they shook hands.
“Nice to meet you,” Liam said, but he was promptly ignored by Kris as the green-eyed man stood in front of him to talk to me.
“You gonna see the Robin Hood show at 5? I’ll be in it.” Kris prompted.
“Whatever Liam decides.” I responded curtly. “He’s my date and my ride.”
“My apologies,” He grumbled in an insincere tone of voice. He turned to give a sharp nod of good bye to Liam. “Liam.”
What he did next caused me to take a sharp intake of breath, as I didn’t expect it. Kris curled one of his large hands around waist as he leaned down to press a kiss to my cheek. I could smell his cologne and the scent ushered forth memories that I had spent two years burying.
The expression on Liam’s face was one that I hadn’t seen before. It was a mixture of anger, shock, and jealousy.
“Please, try to come.” Kris purred in parting as he walked away in long strides.
I took a deep breath as pain began to constrict my heart. “Son of a bitch,” I hissed as my body lost equilibrium. I held my upper right arm with my left hand and leaned against the lower edge of the shop as I took deep breaths and tried to hold the tears at bay.
To my surprise, Liam stepped right up and wrapped me in a hug. “Want me to take you home?” He suggested in a soft tone of voice.
I didn’t. Going home meant admitting defeat. Not to mention that we already paid the entrance fee and had only been there for an hour or two at best. And, it was Liam’s birthday! Liam had probably had this planned for some time…
“Let’s go someplace else.” I found myself pleading. “Not home, but not here.”
“Come on,” Liam urged as he wrapped an arm over my shoulder and led me back towards the entrance of the fair. “If I remember correctly, there’s a movie theater a few blocks away.”
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Book / Gay and Lesbian
Book / Gay and Lesbian
Book / Gay and Lesbian