Starring Adam and Buzz from Catching A Buzz.
This book is no longer available due to the closing of Samhain Publishing. However, all the related free stories will remain up on my website. Hope y’all enjoy!
© Copyright 2009 Ally Blue
Pressing the brake, Adam Holderman swung his Viper around the curve onto the narrow, shady road to the apartment building Buzz Stiles had moved into when he moved out of his brother’s house. Adam switched off the Frank Sinatra CD—”two kinds of primitive,” according to his gadget-and-Goth loving boyfriend—and stopped the car in front the sprawling three-story building.
For a few minutes Adam sat there, leaning on the steering wheel and staring at the door of Buzz’s ground floor apartment. Adam was nervous, and not just because he still had no idea where Buzz planned to take him tonight. He’d never celebrated Valentine’s Day before. Sure, he and Buzz had been together a few months now, but still. Valentine’s Day? Wasn’t that kind of serious? What did it mean that Buzz had insisted on taking him out for a romantic dinner at a thus-far undisclosed location? What did it mean that his palms were slick with sweat and his heart raced so fast it made him dizzy? Did it mean anything?
You know what it means, child. Can’t run from it forever.
“Shut up, you.” He did not want to deal with Scarlett right now, dammit.
Wiping his hands on his snug black slacks, Adam pocketed his keys, slid out of the car and shut the door behind him. He straightened his black blazer and blue silk shirt as he walked up the cracked sidewalk to Buzz’s door. Buzz had told him to dress nice, but not formal. He hoped what he’d picked was okay.
Before he could knock, the door swung open. Buzz grinned at him. “About time you got out of the car, dude.”
“I. Um.” Adam swallowed hard. “God, Buzz, you look…”
“Hot?” Buzz suggested. “Sexy? Fuckable?”
Oh, my. In Adam’s head, Scarlett let out a sigh. Now that’s a sight for sore eyes.
Adam had to agree with her. He drank in the unprecedented sight of Buzz in a dark gray suit and crimson button-up shirt. His usual black eyeliner had been replaced by a soft, understated gray which made his eyes look bluer than usual. Ratty black Converse sneakers and the conspicuous lack of a tie sort of threw the otherwise suave style off kilter, but Adam didn’t care. He’d never seen Buzz in a suit, and he looked…
“Beautiful,” Adam breathed. “You look absolutely beautiful.”
Buzz’s face lit up. He pressed close and wound his arms around Adam’s waist. “So do you. Kiss me.”
Adam happily obeyed, both hands slipping beneath Buzz’s suit jacket to grope his taut little ass. In response, Buzz’s tongue curled around Adam’s in the indescribable way that always made Adam’s knees wobble. He whimpered.
A door squeaked and slammed next door. Adam broke the kiss with a groan. “Shit.”
“Dude, watch your language. There’s a lady present.” Buzz waved at the elderly woman who’d emerged onto the tiny concrete landing of the apartment to the right of his. “Hi, Mrs. Winston.”
“Hmph.” She sniffed, adjusted her glasses on her nose and rolled her walker right up to the railing at the edge of the stoop. “It’s disgraceful, the way you two carry on.”
“Sorry, ma’am.” Grinning like a demon, Buzz snaked a hand down the back of Adam’s pants. “Oh no! Disgraceful!”
Next door, Mrs. Winston gasped. Adam hid his flaming face in the curve of Buzz’s neck. “Would you stop it?” he muttered. “You’re going to give her a heart attack and we’ll both go to jail.”
Buzz laughed. “Dude, she’s healthier than I am. Besides, she loves it.” He gave Adam’s butt a squeeze. “It’s the closest thing to action she gets anymore.”
Adam risked a peek at Buzz’s neighbor. If she’d budged an inch, it was only to lean closer. Her expression was fixed in a scowl, but the rheumy old eyes magnified behind the Coke bottle lenses of her glasses glittered with unmistakable interest.
It was funny and creepy at the same time. Old pervert. Why can’t she just surf porn on the net like everyone else instead of spying on the neighbors?
Scarlett tsk’ed at him. Now why on earth would she do that, when the real thing’s right here and ever so much better?
Ignoring the crazy woman in his brain, Adam forcibly removed Buzz’s hand from his pants and took a giant step backward. “Quit giving her stuff to look at and tell me where we’re going tonight.”
To his surprise, Buzz’s pale cheeks went bright pink. “Um. Un Petit Fièvre.”
Adam’s eyebrows shot up. “Are you serious?” The Creole restaurant overlooking Mobile Bay had only been open a few months, but its reputation for elegant atmosphere and innovative cuisine had already spread up and down the Gulf Coast. If anyone had asked Adam, he’d have said getting a table there on the number one date night of the year would be impossible. Never mind the fact that the place wasn’t exactly Buzz’s usual type of hangout. “How’d you manage that?”
“My cousin Eileen works there. They had a cancellation, and she knew I wanted to take you there, so she put us down and called me.” Ducking his head, Buzz peered up at Adam through a fall of black-and-red striped hair. “We always go to clubs and parties and shit, or hang out at one of our apartments. I just thought you deserved to go someplace nice for a change, you know?”
Adam’s throat tightened. He reached out, pulled Buzz into his arms and kissed him. Somewhere off to his left, he heard Mrs. Winston grumble about their shocking, absolutely shocking, behavior, but other than hoping she wasn’t actually getting off on it he couldn’t be bothered to care. Not with Buzz’s tongue in his mouth and Buzz’s hands spread across his back.
He managed to break the kiss before it could turn into a full-on makeout session. “What time’s the reservation?”
“Seven. We have plenty of time to get there.” Buzz reached into the pocket of his jacket and pulled out his keyring. “C’mon, we’ll take my Honda.”
“No way. We’re taking the Viper.”
“We always take the Viper. Don’t you want me to drive for a change?”
“Don’t ‘dude’ me, Buzz. I like driving.” Adam grinned. “Besides, you got us a table at the hottest place in town on the busiest night of the year. The least I can do is get us there.”
Shaking his head, Buzz turned and locked his door, then shoved his keys back in his pocket. “All right, you win.”
“Now you’re seeing reason.” Adam fished his own car keys out of his pocket and started toward his Viper, his free hand seeking Buzz’s. “Let’s get going. I’d rather be early than get stuck in traffic and lose our table.”
“Okay.” Buzz aimed a cheerful wave at his neighbor, who still stood on her front stoop glaring at them. “‘Bye, Mrs. Winston. Let me know if you use up all your batteries, I’ll bring you some more.”
Adam groaned as Mrs. Winston turned crimson and hurried back inside. “I really didn’t need that visual, thanks.”
“Hey, old people use toys too.” Buzz bumped Adam’s hip with his as they approached the Viper. “You’re such a prude sometimes.”
Adam thought back to the previous night’s spatula-and-stereo-wire adventure and decided that particular statement didn’t deserve an answer. He opened the car door for Buzz, using the wide expanse of gleaming blue metal as cover to adjust his still slightly tender balls. “Get in.”
Adam leaned in for a light kiss as Buzz slid into the passenger seat. “You love it.”
Buzz’s eyes went soft and shiny in a way Adam had never seen before. Or maybe he had, and just hadn’t really paid attention. In any case, it made his breath catch and his heart race. Buzz smiled, his hands coming up to frame Adam’s face. “I do.” He kissed the tip of Adam’s nose. “Get in the car, dude.”
Hanging on to the car to keep his rubbery legs from dumping him on the asphalt, Adam shut Buzz’s door and made his way to the driver’s side. He climbed in and started the car.
Fifteen minutes later, Adam eased the Viper into a narrow space at the very back of Un Petit Fièvre’s parking lot. He let out a low whistle as he got out of the car, pushed down the lock and shut the door. “Wow.”
“You said it.” Buzz met Adam in front of the car. They linked hands and started toward the low, rambling building. “Who’d’ve thought anyone would put a fancy restaurant inside a big ol’ swamp cabin?”
Adam laughed, but he knew exactly what Buzz meant. The place did in fact look a lot like a cabin one might find in the depths of a coastal swamp, with its weathered cypress siding and the torches which cast a flickering orange light across the screened-in porch. You had to look twice to realize the torches were electric, and the “screens” were actually specially made windows. In fact, from the outside the illusion of a country cabin was near-perfect, other than the parking lot full of cars and the sheer size of the place. It could easily fit three or four of the tiny, two-room hut Adam’s great-grandfather had called home.
They mounted the five shallow steps to a clever re-creation of a screen door. Adam opened it and ushered Buzz inside. Technically speaking, the rustic motif didn’t stop at the door. But somehow, the effect was one of understated elegance. The floor was made of the same wide cypress planks as the outside walls, glowing a rich golden brown by virtue of its protection from the elements. Simple white cloths covered the tables, each of which boasted a single white candle in a jelly jar. The only other illumination came from a few electric torches on the walls, similar to the ones outside.
“Holy shit,” Buzz whispered as a smiling hostess approached them, menus in hand. “Look at this fucking place.”
“I know what you mean.” Adam smiled at the hostess. “Hi.”
“Hello, gentlemen.” She picked up a pen which was tethered to the hostess’ stand by a black ribbon. “Do you have a reservation?”
“Yeah.” Buzz cleared his throat. He looked uncharacteristically nervous. “Uh, Stiles.”
“Stiles.” She scanned the book lying open on her podium, made a mark and set the pen down again. Holding the menus against her chest, she stepped away from the stand and gestured toward the far end of the room. “Follow me, please.”
They trailed in the young woman’s wake. Letting go of Buzz’s hand, Adam wound an arm around his shaking shoulders. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, fine.” Buzz gave him a pathetic version of his usual wicked smile.
Adam frowned. “You can’t be that scared of a fancy restaurant.”
“No, I’m not. It’s just—”
Whatever it was, Adam was destined not to learn it right then. The hostess stopped beside a small round table sandwiched between a fireplace and a large window—a real one—overlooking Mobile Bay. She beamed at them. “I hope this table is satisfactory?”
Adam swallowed. “It’s perfect, thank you.” Perfect for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner with the man I love.
Scarlett’s gentle laughter rang in his ears. Oh, honey. What a perfect time to finally figure yourself out.
Wasn’t it just? Adam gave Buzz’s arm a squeeze before taking his seat. He wished like hell he could’ve figured out he was in love—in love, for fuck’s sake—before. To have it hit him upside the head tonight, when Buzz had obviously gone to great lengths to give them a romantic evening together, made Adam feel far more vulnerable than he liked.
After the hostess left, he and Buzz sat there staring at their menus in uncomfortable silence. Adam suspected that was his fault. Buzz had always possessed an uncanny ability to read his emotions. Normally, he used his powers for evil. Now, however, he sat in subdued and unnerving quiet, and Adam hated it. If Buzz had somehow picked up on Adam’s sudden personal revelation and it changed things between them…
Adam didn’t want to look up. If he looked up, he’d have to see the awful caution he already heard in Buzz’s voice. He wasn’t used to seeing any such thing in Buzz’s eyes, and he hated the thought of his own stupid girly feelings putting it there.
“Adam. Please look at me.”
Reluctantly, Adam raised his head and stared at the candlelit curve of Buzz’s mouth because he couldn’t make himself meet Buzz’s gaze. “Yeah?”
Buzz’s teeth dug into his lower lip, and Adam winced. If Buzz didn’t stop chewing on his lips, he’d end up with permanent sores. His tongue snaked out, licking at the two faint dents from his teeth. “Never mind.”
An unfamiliar note of sadness in Buzz’s voice made Adam look up at last. Their gazes locked, and Adam had a long, torturous moment to memorize the dull defeat in Buzz’s eyes before he looked away.
Before Adam could think of a thing to say, a willowy young woman with a long auburn braid approached, carrying a small round tray. “Good evening, gentlemen. How are you tonight?”
All the color drained from Buzz’s face. “Eileen—”
“Yes, Mr. Stiles, I have your special delivery right here.” With a wink at Buzz, Eileen—Buzz’s cousin, Adam realized—removed a single cupcake from her tray and set it in front of Adam. “Here you are. I’ll be back in a few minutes to take your order.”
She hurried off, apparently oblivious to the expression of horror frozen to Buzz’s face.
Adam gaped at her retreating back for a moment, then turned back to Buzz with a puzzled frown. “What the hell?”
Groaning, Buzz slumped forward, elbows on the table and face buried in his hands. “Shit.”
Worried, Adam reached a tentative hand out to touch Buzz’s wrist. “Buzz? What’s wrong?”
“You’re fucking kidding me, right?”
“No, I’m not.” Adam tried without success to uncover Buzz’s face. “Come on, would you please just talk to me? What’s going on here?”
A harsh laugh came from behind Buzz’s hand. “Read the fucking cupcake, genius.”
Inside Adam’s brain, the pieces began to click into place. He didn’t know for sure what he was about to see, but he had a pretty damn good idea, and if he was right, he was about to be a very happy man.
Pulse racing, he peeked at the confection sitting on the table in front of him. Atop the dark red icing sat a single white candy heart with red lettering. Adam plucked it from its crimson bed and held it up. “I fucking love you, bitch,” he read, grinning. “Aw, sweet.”
“Goddammit.” Buzz dropped his head onto the table with a thunk and wrapped both arms around the back of his skull, attracting alarmed glances from several of their fellow diners. “Just go away now, okay? I’ll call a cab. I just… This fucking sucks.”
“Why does it suck?”
That got Buzz’s head back up. He glared at Adam, eyes blazing and cheeks fiery red. “Dude, seriously? I just told you I… and you… come on!”
Smiling, Adam took Buzz’s hand. “I love you too, idiot. Even if you didn’t exactly say it.”
For a second, Buzz sat there looking stunned. Then relief flooded his face, and he laughed out loud. “Fine. I love you. Is that better?”
“It is.” Adam leaned forward and kissed Buzz’s lips. “So.”
“So.” Buzz rubbed his nose against Adam’s, then pulled back enough for comfortable conversation. To Adam’s relief, the evil grin was back in full force. “You want to know why the candy heart, right?”
“Why that particular candy heart, yeah.” Adam licked the icing off the back of the sweet in question and tucked it carefully into the inside pocket of his suit jacket. “You have to admit it’s not exactly, you know, normal.”
“Which is kind of the point. Nothing about us has ever been normal, or average, or any of those other boring words.” The smile dropped from Buzz’s face so fast it made Adam’s head spin, leaving behind a seriousness he rarely saw. “It was a stupid idea. I should’ve just said it. I’m always teasing, always being a smartass, but this was too important. I should’ve just told you.”
“I don’t think it was stupid.” The very recent memory of Buzz saying ‘never mind’ and trying to stop his cousin from setting that fateful cupcake on the table flashed through Adam’s head. “You almost didn’t tell me tonight. You wouldn’t have if your cousin had listened to you. Why?”
Buzz’s cheeks pinked. He hunched his shoulders. “You wouldn’t look at me. I just thought… well…”
He trailed off, but Adam got the picture. Letting got of Buzz’s hands, he cupped Buzz’s face in his palms. “Funny, but I was thinking pretty much the same thing right then.”
“Yep. I was sitting here thinking, oh shit, I’m in love with Buzz, he’s gonna see it and he doesn’t feel the same way and everything’s gonna go to hell.”
Buzz’s lips curved into a smile. “Remind me to do something nice for Eileen some day.”
Adam laughed. “Oh, absolutely.” Leaning forward, he captured Buzz’s mouth in a soft, sweet kiss.
For once, Scarlett didn’t say a word.