It’s out! At long last, another story and you can get it here, along with another excerpt:
It’s been a long time and you don’t want to know but I do apologize for not being around.
They waited while the waiter ecstatically described both dishes as he placed them on the table, poured more wine in their glasses and asked if they needed anything else.
When he was gone, Myles said, “You could say I’m doing all right.”
“I heard you got married,” Davion said.
Myles couldn’t read anything in the light tone. “Yeah. Divorced now.”
“It was a long time coming. Had time to get used to the idea.” Myles didn’t want to talk about that. “What about you? Any special person in your life?” He cringed at the clichéd sound of his question but he wanted to know. His father didn’t pay attention to things like that and his mother had never liked Davion, so she wouldn’t have told him even if she knew.
Davion gave him an odd look. “No one special right now.”
The silence that fell between them felt so awkward that Myles rushed to say something. “How long have you been painting? Or are you still working for the agency?”
“I do illustration for them on a freelance basis. The artist’s version of waiting tables,” Davion replied. “But I never stopped painting. Even when I worked there full-time and came home late dead-beat after a killer deadline, I’d still fool around a little. Advertising was just a source of income so I could go to school.”
“I bet you won some awards anyway.”
“I’ve got a few.” Davion smirked. “Stacked against the wall. I guess it was a good feeling at the time, but I paint because I have to, not for the recognition.”
“But it’s nice when it comes. I found a few articles about you.”
“Is that what brought you into the gallery?”
Myles laughed. “No, that was serendipity, as my assistant Tanisha would say. Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a financial analyst who postulated a theory called the Black Swan. It concerns rare events that have huge consequences and are difficult to predict. Some might say that the event is impossible, like the market crashing the way it did. His point is that one doesn’t attempt to predict Black Swan events; one has to prepare for disaster in such a way that one can exploit the negatives in a positive way.”
“So you made a fortune using the Black Swan theory and when you saw the gallery…” Davion trailed off and waited.
“It seemed too weird to be a coincidence,” Myles finished.
“Fate strikes again.” Davion smiled.
“How about you? Are you—all right with the way things are right now?”
“So tactfully put. I’m not planning to hit you up for a loan if that’s what you’re asking.”
“I didn’t—I wasn’t thinking that!” Myles sputtered.
“Nice to know I can still get you going after all these years,” Davion said with a grin. “What about the ex? Did she get half?”
“She remarried right away. No alimony. We divorced when the subprime market was still on the rise. ”
“I bet she’s kicking herself now,” Davion said. “Is that how you remember major events in your life? By what the market was doing at the time?”
“I guess so.” Myles sighed. “She’s got a baby now, born when the market took a dive.”
After a pause, Davion asked, “Do you regret that?”
“Not really. I never thought about kids except in the abstract. She was the one who wanted them.”
“She had an affair—” Myles stopped short, wondering why he was admitting to his failure as a husband especially to Davion, of all people.
“I’m sorry. That must have been painful.”
Myles wanted to explain everything, to tell Davion that he’d never really felt that connected to Marlene, that the whole marriage had been a farce, but he couldn’t. Or rather, he shouldn’t. “Has anyone ever cheated on you?” he blurted.
Davion raised his eyebrows, looking a bit taken aback. “Well, yeah. It’s a natural part of life, isn’t it? Especially when you’re young and don’t know any better. It happens to everyone at least once.”
The waiter reappeared to remove their plates and ask if they wanted dessert.
“None for me,” Davion said.
“Just the check, please. I’m getting this, I invited you,” Myles said when Davion reached for his wallet.
“Thanks. It was nice to catch up.”
Relieved that Davion wasn’t going to compete for the check, Myles got his card out and handed it to the waiter without checking over the bill as he usually did. It made it feel like he was doing something for Davion.
When the waiter returned, Myles added a generous tip and signed the receipt, while Davion stood up, pulling his coat on. Myles put his own coat on and followed Davion outside. The chilly air felt fresh on his face after the restaurant.
“Want to go somewhere for coffee?” Myles felt awkward, but he didn’t want to let Davion go so soon.
“I’m beat and I have an early morning. I’ve got to get going.”
“We could share a cab,” Myles suggested.
“I don’t put out on the first date.” Davion’s teeth flashed white in the darkness as he laughed at Myles’ confusion. “Gotcha. I was just kidding. Just two old friends catching up, right?”
“Yeah. Yeah, you’re right. It was good to see you again.” Myles stuck his hand out.
Davion looked down at it and then grabbed Myles by the arm, hurrying him past the restaurant and around the corner into the shadow of a doorway.
Suddenly, Myles felt the wooden door hard against his back. Davion’s lips were on his, kissing him hard enough to bruise, his hands holding Myles motionless, not that Myles wanted to go anywhere. Or could move even if he’d wanted to. He opened his lips to let Davion’s tongue spear into his mouth, exploring tentatively at first, and then more boldly when there was no negative reaction.
Myles melted into the kiss, raising his arms to circle them around Davion’s slim waist, holding him tightly as if he would never let go.
Davion pulled away and gave an odd chuckle, his eyes glittering in the dim light. And then he was gone.
Too shaken to chase after him immediately, Myles stood there wondering if it had really just happened or whether he had dreamt it. The throbbing of his cock and the way his pulse was racing told him that it was real. He pulled his coat shut to hide the bulge making his pants feel uncomfortably tight and leaned out of the doorway to glance around but Davion had disappeared and the street was deserted.