Author: Shea Balik
Genre: MMRomance, Gay
Release Date: July 20, 2016
He had to be hallucinating. Didn’t he? Nothing else made sense. At the door, with a dozen yellow daisies in his hand, was Axl, staring right at Eddie with an intensity that Eddie swore he could feel, like a caress.
Goosebumps broke out over his skin. Then again, that could be because he was bent over the freezer like an idiot with scoop in hand, partially buried in the strawberry ice cream. He’d been in that position since he’d looked up to find Axl standing there. By the slight amusement in Axl’s dark brown eyes, it had been a few minutes.
The cold he’d been feeling was replaced by the heat of embarrassment at being caught staring so blatantly. It took far more effort than it should have for Eddie to continue scooping out the ice cream for the banana split.
Had he realized his brain wouldn’t be able to work with Axl around, Eddie wouldn’t have wished so hard that the man show up. That wasn’t true. As weird as it sounds, he’d missed Axl the moment he’d left yesterday.
It had taken everything inside of him not to chase Axl down Main Street just to be near him again. Something Eddie couldn’t remember ever feeling for anyone in his life. Then again, he’d never actually dated, or even kissed.
Once when he’d been desperate to know what being with a man was like, he’d gone to a gay bar in Atlanta. A man had taken an interest, but they hadn’t even exchanged more than a dozen words before the guy had taken him into the bathroom.
Kissing hadn’t happened, or foreplay. Eddie had been shoved down to his knees and a cock had been shoved into his mouth. One of the dozen words had been used to tell him to “suck.” As soon as the guy had come, he’d zipped his pants up and left Eddie still kneeling on the ground.
Embarrassed and bitter that he hadn’t gotten off, Eddie went back home. Just like with the rest of his life, Eddie figured he was too big of a loser for anyone to want to have sex with him. So he never bothered to try again.
Once he had a scoop of strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate arranged around the banana, Eddie turned to go back to the back counter where the sauces were kept. It had only been two days, yet he’d still managed to once more forget he couldn’t spin on the anti-slip mats.
He felt himself falling. Wildly, he looked around for something to hold onto. He prayed he could stop his free-fall, but he’d turned just enough that he couldn’t grab the ice cream case, yet not far enough to have any hope of reaching the back counter to stop his fall.
Dismayed that Axl would witness his disgrace, Eddie wished for a hole to open up and swallow him whole. Life just sucked and Eddie was done trying to live it, not when he seemed hell bent on making a laughing stock of himself.
His momentum downward was suddenly stopped by strong hands on his shoulders. Grateful, Eddie looked up to thank whoever had stopped his ultimate journey of disgrace to the floor, only to find dark brown eyes staring back at him with concern in them.
“Are you okay, Eddie?” Axl asked.
It was too much. How was he supposed to live in a world that treated him like a joke? What did you expect? That voice so similar to his uncle said in his head. You are a joke.
“Hey,” Axl’s deep voice silenced that voice that knew just how to torment Eddie.
Surprised, Eddie stared up at Axl in wonder. He’d tried his entire life to get that voice to shut up, but nothing had ever worked. “How did you do that?” he asked.
Eddie hadn’t thought it possible. Yet the voice that would usually continue to berate him wasn’t there.
“Do what?” Axl asked.
Eddie opened his mouth to tell Axl, but then he realized he was about to admit to voices in his head talking to him. Quickly, he shut his mouth once more. It would only end with him in the mental institution, just where his uncle had threatened to send Eddie if he didn’t get his head out of his ass and act like a normal person. His uncle’s words, not Eddie’s.
“Nothing,” he said.
“Excuse me, are you planning to make my banana split?” the man Eddie had been waiting on asked.
Heat filled his face, a routine event for Eddie. “Yes. Give me just a minute and I’ll have it ready for you.”
As he headed to the back counter to get another container for the banana split that was now on the floor, Eddie could have sworn he heard the customer mumble, “Clumsy idiot.”
Mortified, tears sprang to Eddie’s eyes. Blindly, he reached out for the plastic boat they made the banana splits in when he heard what sounded like a growl. Except, that was impossible. Wasn’t it?
~ Stalk the Author – Shea Balik ~
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