Stacks Image 3

From the forthcoming NineStar Press re-release of
Angels of Mercy – Volume One: Elliot – Chapter One - For the Love Of the Q

    My day at the Q went pretty much like any other day. I prepped the machines to churn out the requisite soft ice-cream that Dairy Queen was known for – a pale mixture not too unlike frozen liquid paper (that probably contained quite a few of the same ingredients, come to think of it) – a heart-stopping coagulation of fats and chemicals. That broad assertion of its core ingredients was made by my mother, Kayla Donahey. As a bona-fide health nut if ever there was one, she had the irony of owning the local DQ franchise that she inherited when her father dropped dead – in the store, in front of customers no less – only two short summers ago. Coincidentally, and much to my chagrin, the very same year that I was able to legally work. You can just imagine my euphoric bliss. This was how one, Elliot Donahey, entered the workforce: a by-product of a family franchise transfer. Sometimes I marveled at how my grandfather had timed things so precisely to check out of life so everything could change hands with nary a wrinkle in the process.
   That fateful hot summer day, Taylor Campbell, a wiry 6’ 3” tall man, was the sole employee manning the store. As with most people, he had no way of knowing that day would be his last. At the time, he was 63 years, 4 months, 22 hours and 13 minutes old (I did the math later – hey, I was bored), and was busy running the local shop he’d had for the past thirty years – working on probably his two millionth Oreo Cookie Blizzard – never realizing that it was his number that was up.
   At exactly 4:57 pm he dropped dead on the job. The only reason anyone knew the exact time of death was because, as the aneurysm burst in his head and his body took its death plunge to the floor, his right arm caught the electrical cord of the store clock, yanking it out of the wall and thereby fixing the time of death for all to see. By six that evening a distraught and frantic Kayla, with a disheveled and confused me in tow, had the store operating while she tried to coordinate calls to the family advising them of the change in ownership and what time the funeral services were going to be held. Meanwhile, she left me alone to do battle with the obtuse workings of the fryer.
   I would’ve thought that she’d’ve closed the store due to a death in the family. But you’d have to know my mother, practical to a fault. And she was worried about money – so the store stayed open. She said she’d grieve later, in private, alone in her room. I tried to comfort her. She told me she was going to be all right but needed some time alone to process it. It was a very lonely night for us both.
   Other than the steady decline of customers due to the recent downturn in the economy, not much had changed in the two years since my familial indentured employment began. I was now on the cusp of turning eighteen on the second day of August – a little over two weeks away. You know, that momentous occasion in a boy’s life where I was supposed to blossom into manhood. Where I, I dunno, like sprout hair on my chest, grow a huge cock and want to bang a gaggle of women – or something like that. Sadly, since it was only Tuesday, July seventeenth, I still had a couple of weeks before I could claim the status of being a pseudo-adult American male. I still couldn’t legally drink, not that I had a hankering to do so, but like all red-blooded American males, I was working on that.
   This particular Tuesday though, seemed like any other. In fact, since we’d taken over the Q, all of my days stretched out before me like the blank white walls of the shop. It was just one boring set of non-events that meandered into another. I had no way of knowing how this particular day’s events would drastically change my life forever.

   For today was the day I would fall in love.

   I’d like to say, looking back on it later, that the air smelled different, that the sun was a bit brighter, that I was greeted by deer and birds on my walk to work, but no – no change. Same ol’ boring Mercy day. I’d always imagined what it’d be like to have a special someone in my life. There’d no doubt be challenges ahead for us: the thrill of the chase, the incredible emotional highs and hopefully, very few lows. But for now, I just refilled condiment containers, had buns queued up and stocked the requisite food supplies for another thrilling adventure-filled day at the Q …

   … then proceeded to wait four hours for my first customer.

   Sometimes, I wondered why my mother even bothered sending me to the shop. There was a Baskin-Robbins only a few doors down the same strip mall that was practically stealing all the ice-cream business. And, honestly, who really wanted a grilled cheese from the Q anymore?
   Even though my taste in food often ran contrary to Mom’s overly-crazed health-conscious experiments with our home meals, I often found I dreamed of just settling down to a basic meal of steak/protein of some sort, potatoes (because I have a particular affinity for them) and a veggie or salad (because rabbit food is good food – or so they tell me). Hey, it wasn’t like I was demanding a gourmet feast straight from Tyler Florence’s recipe box, but I just didn’t fancy having to compete with the local rabbit or avian population either in foraging for my next meal. I just wanted real food, not the corporate-processed shit I was forced to serve up to our barely existent customers.
   On most days, there was nothing to pass the time other than a continuous round of stocking and cleaning. True enough, I could play my favorite XM radio station in the store – not like anyone else was around to protest my taste in music. Way I figured it, if I was working for nearly free (Mom did give me some money so it wasn’t legally slavery), then at least I could listen to whatever the hell I wanted. Musically, I was all over the map. Country (especially that new “sexy” gay country singer Steve Grand who recently went viral on the inter-web thing, as Mom calls it) to show tunes (I swear that this will become clearer to you in a moment) to classic rock or even disco (okay, that one might’ve been a dead giveaway). I did it all.
   I even liked to play coffee house fave Jay Brannan cranked up and did my own little fake video shoots in the store. I mean, who needs High School Musical or Glee when you could have me bouncing around from table to table in the seating area wailing at the top of my lungs to Jay Brannan’s song ‘La La La’? Haven’t heard it? Well, Google it, dammit – do I need to bring you up to date on everything?
   Go on, I’ll wait …
   See what I mean? Broadway’d only be so lucky! And you certainly ain’t lived until you’ve walked in the Q and watch me pour a mean Blizzard while hearing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 2 pouring away over the fairly adequate sound system. Right now, though, it was Donna Summer extolling the virtues of working hard for the money. My disco mood was running rampant.
   I looked around – knowing I’d spent the better part of the day revisiting the things I’d already done. There was some stocking that had to be put away from this morning’s delivery, but I wanted to save that for later, just to give me something to do this afternoon. The sad stark truth was the place was so well cared for you could eat all the fatty chemical-laden food right off the floor and not have to spare a thought of catching anything that could remotely kill you. There was still shit to do, but being the clever guy I am, I spaced out what there was. Otherwise, I’d be done in about an hour and a half and completely mental by the time the first customer would show up.
   Bored beyond tears, I leaned against the front counter in a huff – elbows firmly planted on its surface, smooshing my face into my hands and sighing to no one in particular – for there was no one in the store at the time.
   “I’d just like something spectacular to happen just once in my life,” I sighed as I spared a pointed glare at the ceiling trying to seek god’s (I’m using a little “g” until I find out if s/he really exists) assistance. I contemplated my options. Hell, I’d take the offer of entertainment from just about anywhere. Not hearing anything from the Big Kahuna upstairs, I looked at the floor and bellowed to his fallen comrade, “Just once, and then I swear I’ll never complain and accept my lackluster fate!”
   I know, be careful what you … yada, yada, yada … got the memo. Hey, as bored as I was, I was willing to roll the dice on a zombie apocalypse if that’s what it took to shake things up a bit. At least it’d be something to take the boredom out of the day. Besides, I had enough Q food on hand to distract the rowdy beasties if they did show up.
   I sighed again, resigning myself to the solitude of working at the Q. Deciding that I’d spent enough time staring at these particular walls, I heaved myself up and drolly walked – really it was more of a shuffling of zombie-like feet than the actual lifting of them. I even amused myself by making zombie sounds and moving my arms about stiffly as I did so. I ambled with all the glorified zombieness I could muster around the wall separating the cooking area from the front counter. You can imagine my surprise as I turned the corner I heard the door alarm go off in that slightly slurred manner that sounded like it was on one helluva bender – shocking me that I had my first real customer for the day.
   Or sadly, someone who was just lost again.
   It happened … a lot.
   As potential customers go, being lost these days was happening far more than the reverse of actually having someone who wanted something to eat. I had a sneaking suspicion that Mom should start charging for the free advice; it might actually help pay the bills in the joint. I knew she was worried about how slow business was lately. I was just glad she hadn’t resorted to putting me out on the highway in some goofy getup to drag would-be customers into the store to see what non-spectacular things we had on offer. Of course this extended to the pink goo that was frozen into disks that the marketers at the Q’s HQ bravely called hamburger patties. Once cooked up, they sort of resembled the real deal, but I still had my suspicions as to their quality or if they, in fact, contained any real meat, beef or otherwise.
   But I suppose, for the sake of my family’s financial stability, I should make peace with the marketing demons and hoped they would cook up some spectacularly irresistible offer soon so we wouldn’t be out of business before my birthday rolled around. Hey, I had my priorities, too.
   I couldn’t blame the nonexistent crowd – I certainly never ate at the Q, not even when I’d forgotten to bring something from home. To put it into perspective, I’d rather brave my mother’s health-conscious foodie experiments than chow down on some grilled up Q goo. Just the thought had me imagining that I’d keel over on the job like Grandpa had. The mere thought of coagulated arteries pumped full of the soft-ice cream chemical fats was enough to make me wretch, even if I had to admit it did sort of taste good. Okay, I had some once. And it was good. I felt guilty. I don’t do it no more.
   Uh-uh, nothing doin’ … , I’d thought to myself as my eyes narrowed on that steely beast churning the white lie we passed off as soft ice-cream. It gurgled and slurried, unheeding my pointed gaze.
   As that echo from our drunken door bell faded, I shuffled back around to the front counter, not really expecting an actual sale. Instead, I found myself staring into the prettiest green eyes I’d ever seen. Adding to this salacious effect was that they were framed by dark dreamy lashes that could paint a door from at least a foot away. I knew these eyes, though I’d never had the opportunity to view them this close. The fact that they were attached to one hellacious rockin’ bod that never failed to hold my gaze spellbound at school whenever he was near – well that was just the cheese on the beefcake standing in front of me as far as I was concerned. I stood there wide-eyed, like a deer caught in headlights, watching that glorious face framed with the longish dark brown curls that made him look so romantic. Kit Harrington – Jon Snow from Game of Thrones romantic – a fucking wet dream of a face.
   Oh yeah, I should probably fess up here – not like you had to work hard at it, I’m sure: I’m gay. Get over it. I have. Not like it means much – cue the static loudspeaker announcement: Whoop! Whoop! Virgin alert on the sales floor ladies and gentlemen. I mean, it’s not like there’d been any takers. I once thought maybe my best friend, Stephen Lowry, who’d been my best buddy since my elementary days would entertain being my first boyfriend. But after 2.67 milliseconds of deep consideration by said pre-pubescent boy, probably due in part to any lasting loyalty Stevie had for me as a friend, he said no. We don’t talk much now, if ever. But the boy in front of me here at the Q, this boy, I always dreamed would be in front of me.
   Marco Sforza, the star quarterback of my high school varsity football team, the Mercy High Avenging Angels, was standing at the counter with a look of trepidation and awe as he gawked in enraptured glazed wonder at the backlit menu above me. I was silently thankful that my long straight raven bangs (homo-aesthetically bleached with white tips along the fringe, thank you very much), fell across half of my face, so I only had to concentrate on keeping one of my silver blue wolf-like eyes schooled, thereby keeping my faux teenage non-committal cool intact.
   Yeah, here’s the deal – I’m not very good at getting my body to do what my brain thinks is a good idea. So instead, I mumbled the first thing that popped into my head.
   “Wow … fucking sex-on-a-stick Marco.”
   My eyes widened to where I thought they’d pop from their sockets as I felt my face flush eight shades of red because I realized I didn’t just think that – my fucking mouth got ahead of me again and it just spilled out.
   Way to go fuck yourself, douche bag! Fuck, I was a dip-shit moron. Seriously, my own worst fucking enemy!
   This seemed to bring him out of his mesmerized stupor from the offerings glowing above. That husky baritone voice went straight to my dangly bits when, at last, the heavens parted, the glow from that perpetual halo that surrounded his head glowed brightly, and he spoke.
   “Hey, uh, Elliot, right? We go to the same school?”
   I mean, could more golden and breathtakingly brilliant words ever be spoken? He was such a fucking genius. I nearly fainted – found I had to grip the counter a bit harder than I thought just to keep my legs from giving out underneath me. I know, I know – googley-eyed teenage girl, much?
   “Uh, yeah,” I swiped the bangs out of my face once more – only to have them immediately come cascading back down to obscure my left eye again. I hoped it looked cool, though I was ninety percent sure that it didn’t. I had only my sole unobscured eye to watch him. Wonder of all wonders, my single eye caught Marco’s – and HELD! We were having a moment … weren’t we? Then I really had to maintain focus because of what he did next – he smiled warmly. At me! Who’da fucking thought?
   Keep it cool, Donahey – you could still so fuck this up.
   “So, uh, you want to, uh, like, order something?” Yeah, that came out cool enough.
   Maybe …
   “Oh hell, yeah. Was just toking with some of the guys on the team out by the cliffs.”
   Trying not to drool, I watched as he absentmindedly ran his fingers along the ridges of his 8-pack abs – seriously, the dude had 8-packs, where as all I had was at best a pull tab – thin as a rail, I was. Hell, on a good day my abs could be mistaken for skin covering the underside of my spinal column. I couldn’t help but become riveted to each bump of his T-shirt fabric pulled tight against him as if it were a size too small. I stared dumbfounded as his fingers traced over his taut stomach.
   “Got an incredible craving for the munchies. There’s just so much to choose from. How do you do it?”
   Did he just ask me ,“How do we do it?” We were going to do it? Anyway you want to, baby. Oh, wait … dammit, fooled again. Cue the non-committal face.
   “Huh? Oh, the menu … Yeah, I usually don’t.”
   “Oh? So … why do you work here, then?”
   “Family owned and operated,” I tilted my head to the side in an off-kilter way and put on a fake practiced smile then let it drop and rolled my eyes – schooling my features again into passivity.
   I swear I nearly blanched when he giggled nervously at my small pantomime. What the fuck was that about? Marco I-am-fucking-sex-on-two-legs Sforza actually giggled? At something I said! I found I could ponder that for hours and never tire of it. The absurdity of the situation had my head turning slightly askew like a dog hearing a high pitched tone.
   “Oh yeah, that’s right. The original owner died on the job here, huh? Like a couple of years ago, wasn’t it?”
   God, he had such a brain on his shoulders, such a memory on this guy. Einstein should have been so lucky. Okay, I freely admit that was my hormones doing the talking here.
   “Yeah, that woulda been my grandpa.”
   We stared at each other – the only sound in the room was from the low hum of the air conditioner and the steely white lie churning beast while France Joli cooed the slow part to my new come-hither disco anthem for Marco, Come to Me … yeah, baby!
   “Oh, wow, uh, … awkward – eh, sorry,” he said softly.
   And for some reason that I couldn’t fathom, he looked it too. This was sooooo fucking surreal. Black and White TV Twilight Zone surreal. I didn’t know what to make of it. Was I being Punk’d? That was so Ashton Kutcher circa 2003. I didn’t know quite how to respond, so I just used the de facto teenage response when you don’t know what to do: I just shrugged off the apology.
   “Nah, it’s cool. I only saw him on occasion. We weren’t really that close. Not on that side of the family, anyway. Now my Aunt Tilly on my dad’s side, she’s an A-1 whack job. We’re close.”
   He just looked at me with an amused curve to his lips. I thought better of the over sharing. “Sorry, I know, WTMI.”
   He shrugged that he understood – it was cool. It was a brief male bonding moment over family oddities. We both lapsed into silence. His eyes searching mine with an intensity that went straight to my crotch. I can’t tell you how thankful I was that I had the counter to hide the sudden tightness in my jeans.
   Change topics, you goof-less fuck, right fucking quick!
   “So, uh, can I serve you something?”
   Yeah, like me, ass up, naked on a platter, perhaps? I couldn’t believe the bold thoughts that were just popping up in my head with Marco so close. My eyes darted to his large hands as he placed the palms of them onto the counter, leaning forward, his eyes became a bit softer. Did they dilate as he came forward?
   What the fuck?
   He looked around and noticed how underwhelmed the business seemed to be today. Barren, was the word that sprang to my mind. Normal, was another one. Ghost town, could work too.
   That quirk at the corner of his lips – pulled all of my focus – never had just one tiny square inch of flesh been as appealing as the small dimpled curve of those lick-worthy lips. I just wanted to flick my tongue in that little curve to see what it tasted like. Probably sunshine and puppy breath, I allowed myself to imagine. His next words brought me out of my fixated stare at his mouth.
   “Well, there is something I’d like to have … but I don’t seem to find it on the menu.”
   My eyes narrowed a tiny bit. The hairs on the back of my neck prickled like a rabbit under a fox’s gaze. And he was such the fox. Okay, even I realize how lame that reference was – but I was flustered, dammit! That gaze made me nervous as hell; my survival instinct was trying desperately to kick in – and that gaze had warning written all over it. Gayboy Red Flag Number 2 on my warning list – I realized this could so be a setup to get pummeled by a jock.
   I nervously flicked my tongue along the small ring piercing at the left corner of my lower lip. I couldn’t help it. It was a nervous tick I’d acquired whenever I saw a boy I liked. And I liked him very much. For far longer than I was willing to admit just then, hence, the near involuntary rapid-fire flicking at the corner of my mouth. Truth be told, I’d had a hard-on for Marco for a couple of years now when I first spied him on campus and realized my predilection ran to the male of the species. But then again, who didn’t like Marco? If I had to guess, that line currently went around several blocks. I was just a nameless face in his book, one of his many adoring fans. He was extremely well-liked in Mercy, a real golden boy in town. Removed, untouchable, and heartbreakingly stunning.
   Unbelievably, the look in his eyes mirrored my own. Our gazes locked – neither of us flinched. A flirtatious game of chicken. Without breaking his gaze, he rested his elbows on the counter and beckoned me forward by curling a finger of his large right hand (he had big rough looking hands), suggesting I lean in too, as if he were going to share the most scintillating secret known to man. I paused for a second, then figured, what’s the worst that could happen? There were cameras in the store – not that anyone actually viewed the damned tapes, but hey, none of the customers knew that. So curiosity getting the better of me, I gave up and leaned forward.
   For fuck’s sake it was Marco Sforza – when was I ever going to get another opportunity at something like this?
   “Actually, smoking also gets me completely horned up too. I’d much rather take care of that then have a burger and fries. What I really came in for is, uh,” his eyes narrowed, desperately searching my own, “ … you.”
   Before I could even process that tantalizing bit of information, he leaned even closer and his lips brushed mine ever so softly that I froze on the spot. As the kiss caught, it was as if his tongue was laced with a muscle paralyzing neurotoxin. I suddenly found I couldn’t move. Fuck me, I couldn’t even breathe! As if connected to Marco’s brain, my lips just parted on some unspoken command and he softly chuckled with little puffs of his breath punctuating into my mouth. A swipe of his tongue along the crevice of my lips, and I nearly came from the sensation.
   Without missing a beat in the kiss, like a crocodile, his half-lidded eyes glanced to the left and right of us and then slipped his tongue further into the warmth of my mouth. That kiss probably lasted for a little over a minute – each time I thought it would end he would find a new way to paint my mouth with his formidable and talented tongue. If you asked me, I’d tell you I swear the kiss went on for hours. The taste of him was beyond anything I could have imagined.
   While sunshine and puppy breath weren’t on offer, there was the stale stench of pot on his breath – he hadn’t lied about that, but he had evidently chewed some gum in the interceding journey from the kids’ local partying spot along the cliffs to the Q. Hands-down, spearmint and marijuana was now my absolute favorite flavor combination. Though in hindsight, that may have more to do with the bone in my jeans that wasn’t getting softer anytime soon.
   He slowly withdrew, I yelped a little at the parting – leaning forward as if I could continue to kiss if I just followed him across the counter. I couldn’t help it. I think it might have been the lack of air pressure escaping when we parted. Yeah, I’d like to go with that.
   Embarrassingly, a small strand of saliva linked our mouths as he withdrew. He smiled, he swirled his tongue slowly, circling around his lips – severing the liquid link we shared. He smiled, before wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, watching carefully for any signs from me. What he was looking for was beyond me – he’d just given me something that would keep my hand and cock very happy for the next decade. Full-on jerk material, that kiss was.
   He whispered gently to my half-lidded bliss-filled face, “Fuck, Elliot, you’ve got me all kinds of hard up here, boy. I knew you’d know how to kiss. Those full sexy lips were just begging for me to do that.”
   I fought like mad to regain some sense of composure. I shook my head and that small trail of spittle dangled from my lower lip onto my chin. So not cool, Brewster. Yeah, I had devolved into paraphrasing Evil from Fright Night now. I needed to man up here.
   Marco’s head bent down slightly, looking at me with such desire from under his brow. He slowly reached out and with his thumb, gently wiped that trail of spit from my mouth, before bringing his thumb to his mouth to lick it off. He chuckled softly, the air from it puffing against my face, his eyes flashing brilliantly. I felt myself flush. I smiled so widely I knew I looked like some sort of dork in front of the sexiest guy at our school.
   “Ooh, and he looks adorable when he blushes. I think I just may have fallen in love, Donahey,” he purred softly, his voice dark and raspy.
   “What? Huh?” I mumbled in a dizzying daze.
   In some weird way I could hear what he was saying to me, but it seemed so far away – so from left field. I had to be dreaming. Yeah, that was it. I got so bored I fell asleep from lack of any customers and this was some sort of erotic hot dream. That would surely explain the absurdity of it.
   Like the twat I was, I just nodded slowly, whispering softly in a lazy mumble, “Yeah, has to be a dream, ‘cause there’s no way ‘Come-fuck-me-now Sforza’ would do that to someone like me.”
   His smile – so warm and inviting – pierced my soul. It felt so right that it hurt. It stole my breath. And I’d so let him do it to me again and again. He laughed softly, only this time he walked from around the front of the counter, trailing the middle finger of his right hand along the counter top. I didn’t move. I couldn’t. Suddenly, as if by magic – only because everything was such a fucking blur, he was right behind me. I felt him tug at my belt – pulling me around the wall to the prep counter – away from any would-be passersby. He turned me around slowly so that my back was pressed into the counter. Marco slipped his arms around me, coming up along my way-too-skinny body and hooking his hands up onto my shoulders. He ground his hips into my own, making sure that our hard cocks were rubbing against one another through our clothes. Both of us sighed heavily into the other. Marco shuddered physically from the pressure between our erections.
   “Fuuuuuck, does that feel like a dream to you now, Els?”
   Involuntarily, I convulsed like I was having some sort of seizure. I tried like hell to contain it into small spasms. But fuck me, with the feeling of what the hottest guy at our high school was doing to me I was so out of my element. This simply couldn’t be happening. I bit my lower lip at the sheer pleasure he was causing.
   I shook my head, managing to get out, “No, uh, it feels pretty real. Ah, fuck, Marco. Christ, please, I’m close.”
   A dark purring laugh bubbled from his lips. A long slow breath slipped from his nostrils, bathing my face. Without a thought I breathed him in. The best fucking scent on the planet.
   “Yeah, I thought you’d feel the same way.”
   Despite all of the physical sensations he was causing I noticed that he was keeping a watchful eye to the door as the seduction went on. Some small warning was raging in my head that this had to be a set up of some kind. His buddies were going to walk in and catch the fag trying to put the make on their star quarterback and then beat the fuck outta me. He was just watching the door for the signal to flip the sitch around on me. As if sensing a building reticence on my part, he stopped rubbing so intently. I felt a finger under my chin, gently lifting my face – my icy steel blue eyes to his verdant green.
   Riveted. Electric. Our gazes clashed – combined, held.
   “When I watch you, you don’t look away. Understand?” His eyes were dark, probing – tearing away any defenses I had like tissue paper. I nodded slowly. “It’s how we are. How we’ll always be. Can you do that for me? For us?” He said it so softly, with such conviction, that I knew, I just knew that this was right. It was how it was supposed to be. Everlasting.


   Clearly, I wanted to believe what was happening was the real deal but every fiber in my young gayboy body was telling me that it couldn’t be. It went against the laws of nature, or whatever it was that governed shit like this. What I did know was that football players and little artistic fagboys don’t mix – and they sure as hell don’t fuck. That much I knew – it was in that unpublished but oft known rule book all teenage kids simply had memorized. But then there was that look of lust in Marco’s eyes, not to mention the feel of his bone-hard cock rubbing against me was sending me nothing but mixed signals. Confusion laced with desire. But there was no mistaking – Marco was hard. Very hard. His gaze held mine and we simply regarded each other, panting slightly from the pointed exertion. He leaned in so that our foreheads nearly touched.
   “I know you think this is sudden, Els. But I’ve watched you for two years now. I know what people say; I’ve heard the rumors, too. But I can’t deny it anymore; you do it for me, Donahey. Always have; from the moment I saw you on my first day at Mercy High. I even adjusted my schedule last year so we’d have PE together so I could watch you naked in the shower. I know that sounds so fucked up. I know. But you have no idea how hard I had to flirt with ol’ Ms. Crabapple in the front office to get her to change my schedule. But you’re so worth it.”
   He kissed me softly again. Twice.
   “I don’t know why it’s you, but it is. I’ve been working up the courage to get closer to you all summer. I’m sorry it took me all of June to figure out what day was the absolute slowest in your week. You have no idea how many Tuesdays I’ve spent nearly my whole day watching the store, making sure that you’d be alone for me to ask you out.”
   We kissed again, stealing my breath when he pulled away. Sweet torture.
   “Please tell me you won’t disappoint me by saying no. I don’t think I could bear it.”
   “You want … to go out … uh, with me?”
   He nodded and chuckled – his eyes flashing brilliant green like freshly cut grass on a spring morning.
   “Yeah, now he’s getting it.”
   It had to be a trick of some kind. Just had to. Maybe on this “date” Marco was proposing, things would turn around. Yeah, I’d be alone with Marco and then his buddies would spring from the bushes or from outside the car and all be ganging up on me. But that look in Marco’s eyes. He couldn’t possibly fake that, could he? And the prodigious bone in his pants hadn’t been a mistake either. So maybe … ?
   As if to quell the unspoken wave of worry, he leaned in again and our mouths met in a clash of teeth, lips and tongues. Marco’s hands became frenzied, lustful. After a few harried moments where our hormones got the better of us, we settled down and eased into really enjoying each other. As we kissed, his hands slowly slipped down to pull me from the safety of the counter, cupping my ass in his big paws. I just held onto the belt loops of Marco’s cargo shorts with a white knuckled grip as Marco did magical things with our tongues. We parted after that long tortuous kiss.
   “Yeah,” Marco panted, leaning his forehead against mine – his breaths like a soft summer breeze – circuitous heaven – it was shredding me raw – and don’t think it’s lost on me how over the fucking top I’m taking it. But you have an outrageously unattainable hunk of man flesh that you’ve drooled over from afar suddenly professing their love for you and see how well you do. Yeah, I so didn’t think so either.
   But what he murmured next fucking nailed it for me. There was no doubt – I was his.
   “I think I love you, Els. I know it’s fast for you, but you’ll see. I’ve watched you for so long.” Another soft kiss, our lips barely touching – achingly pleasurable. But it seemed he wasn’t through with professing his feelings for me.
   “I’ve been such a coward. Those eyes, the way your hair moves across your face, not to mention that it fucking slays me every time your eyes search me out. I tremble when you look at me. I know it’s all new for you. But for me, it’s weighted; it has history. I’ve waited for so long to do this.”
   He kissed me softly again.
   “Just to taste you. Please say you’ll go out with me. We can go to Carmel or somewhere else – you name it. I got a car, I got money. We can get away. I just want to spend some time with you. Please say you’ll come. Please, Els? Please come.”
   I swallowed audibly. If Marco kept up what he’d been doing then I would definitely be coming, just not solely in the manner he was suggesting either.
   “Uh, well, I don’t have today off. But I can get away tomorrow. Mom watches the ss-st …”
   “ … store on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Yeah, I know. I’ve been watching, Els, remember? I know your schedule.”
   “Wow, it just hit me. I have a boyfriend stalker! How fucking righteous is that?” I blushed at how forward that sounded, and maybe a little bit whacked. You can imagine my surprise that when he heard that his eyes brightened – a dazzling flash of intense green. I marveled openly that I got that reaction out of him
   In awe, as if I’d just given him Christmas in July he asked, “Di- di- did you say boyfriend?”
   Fuck me, scramble dude, scramble. He’s panicking, you fuck! You’re so going to lose him!
   “Too soon? It’s just, hey, I’m aware of where we live. I thought I was the only one, ya know? Small town, averages of there being more, well, uh, not so great, you see. But hey … we can just call it friends with bennies if that’s what you want … I don’t …”
   He cut off my ramble with a deep kiss, holding my face in his large rough hands. We slowly parted and he was smiling broadly, dazzling perfect white teeth showing brilliantly against his olive skin.
   “Nah, I was dreaming you’d say we’re boyfriends. Fuck, I know I did it all wrong, Els. I just couldn’t wait any longer. God, you must think I am really a whack job, huh? So not cool, Sforza. So not cool.” He slowly shook his head – as if he were ashamed of how he handled this – his glorious eyes cast down to the floor – so not where they belonged. Those eyes deserved to be seen.
   “Hey,” it was my turn to catch his chin so we could find each other’s eyes, “boyfriends it is. Life’s too short to sweat the long courtship thing, right?”
   “Yeah, okay,” he smiled and I knew right then and there that I’d do anything to keep that sexy smirk on his face.
   “So, uh, did you really want something or was it just the make-out and date thing that was on your mind?” I quirked a quizzical brow, already finding myself testing the waters of this new budding romance. Fuck, me and … romance. Two words I totally never thought I’d associate together about myself.
   “Well, I guess that I could eat something. I really was toking out in the car. Not with the guys on the team. Hell, I haven’t seen any of them since summer vacation began.”
   “Oh, so you don’t have to get back to them?”
   “Well, I could just go back to what I usually do on Tuesdays, but hey, it’s actually much more comfortable to be inside the store than in my car all day.”
   We laughed. I blushed at how Marco had been trailing me all along. I was way not paying as much attention as I thought. Then it truly hit me – I really did have my first boyfriend stalker! That had to rank on a gayboy’s list of things to do somewhere, right?
   “You’re welcome to hang, but I sorta got some things I gotta do to stay busy. Mom may be the boss, but she’s a little Nazi when it comes to the store being kept up.”
   “I don’t mind helping.”
   Okay, I couldn’t help it. I looked at him like he was from Mars.
   “What? Can’t I stay around my guy while he’s at work? Isn’t that what boyfriends are supposed to do?”
   “Fuck all if I know. You’re my first.”
   “And I better be your last, too, if I’ve got anything to say about it.”
   I flushed again. Between my dick and my face I didn’t think there was any more blood to circulate and keep the heart going. Wouldn’t that beat all to drop dead on the cusp of finding my first boyfriend?
   “Fuck Els, when you blush I just want to fuck the daylights out of you.”
   Okay that struck me so hard my eyes went really wide at that remark. I couldn’t help it. From the moment we’d agreed we were boyfriends, I knew what our positions were going to be in bed, primarily because I just couldn’t ever imagine Marco being a bottom sort of guy. And truth be told, I had bottom written all over me anyhow. So the proposed arrangement already was working for me. Thankfully, I was resilient enough that I wasn’t down and out for long.
   “Yeah, well, I’m sure we’ll get to that soon enough. For starters, let’s just concentrate on getting the stock that arrived onto the shelves in the stock room, okay?”
   We walked to the back of the store with little regard for any would-be customers mistakenly finding their way to the Q that day. I didn’t care if they ate the store out from top to bottom. I had my first muthafucking boyfriend! The world could just go fuck itself.
   “Ya know, I hear stockroom sex can be wicked hot,” Marco said as he reached for my hand as we worked our way back to the stockroom.
   “Yeah, well we’re so not using the hamburger spread as lube on my buns, big guy. So we’ll table that for now.”
   “Spoil sport.”