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I swallowed the last of the whiskey with a chaser of coffee. When the shot glass shattered to bits beneath my chair I didn’t even notice. Nor did I wince hours later when I realized the majority of the shards had managed to lodge themselves in my ankles. Well, this is what stinking drunk at eight in the a.m. gets you. Good fucking morning, Paris. And ain’t it a swell one?
I’ve been in this city, this depressing, miserable, beautiful city for almost three months now, after I’d arranged to have all my belongings at home sold and the money wired to me here. There was no way in hell I would willingly return to my shambles of a life back in Washington. Though I wasn’t happy here, it was much better than living up a life of lies back home. Nope, don’t think that. This is your home now.
This trip was initially intended to be shared by two. Two newlyweds, a pair of lovers so entranced with the sickly stench of promises of forever that they’d spent all they had on the perfect honeymoon. Three weeks in Paris, the most romantic city on earth. No matter that neither spoke a drop of French. They would learn, love, and return to build a life together.
After all, they’d gotten every blessing possible. Everyone was sure they would marry and then morph seamlessly into the perfect couple. Too bad “everyone” was usually wrong, too bad this time was no exception.
But more pressing matters waited. How could I numb myself back into an alcohol induced sleep if I had just sank the last of it like it might sprout legs and sprint off if I didn’t? That begged another thought: how many more times could I coax the kid next door into buying my groceries? His mother had taken his bike last week after I’d ordered yet another bottle of cheap wine. That was before I realized wine was weaker than whiskey.
My recent reliance on alcohol was initiated when I discovered the first time why I was dragging my feet in Paris. I didn’t want to go home. There was nothing for me there. At least in Paris I could be left alone.
Did I want to be completely alone? In a city full of romance and splendor? I convinced myself daily that, yes, I wanted to be the only person on Earth. So broken was my heart.
No matter, I told myself. Now that I was pleasantly inebriated, I felt like a walk.
I limped my way into the bathroom and cleaned poker oyna my wounds, brushed my teeth, and attempted to smooth down my unruly hair. When I glanced into the mirror I gasped a little. My cheeks were hollow, my eyes sunken and dull, and my skin pale and ghostly. Now I truly looked as dark as I felt. I stripped down to nothing and stepped under the shower head, letting the warm water wash away my intoxication. My dick was so lifeless I felt like an eighty year old. I was twenty five, in perfect shape. I should be sleeping my way into a filthy nickname through all kinds of Parisians. I guess that didn’t matter now. My sex life was nonexistent.
I flipped off the water and tied a towel around my waist. I never was much for looking like a slob in public. It was breezy outside, so I pulled on a thin sweater, then a skimpy pair of briefs and clean jeans. Finishing with my trusty loafers, I swept a hand through my hair and hurried out the door.
The air was full of far away traffic sounds and the sweet smell of rain. I loved this city. The buildings were ancient, rustic almost, with no real purpose but to please the masses, it seemed. I found myself twelve blocks away at the local library. The stone steps loomed impressively above me, and I mentally whistled at the thought of just how many people busily climbed their way upwards each day.
Not so for me. I eased my way up the steps, careful to mind the bustle. Students with book laden arms, mothers with impatient children, and old couples with contentment stamped across their faces greeted every direction I turned. Petals from a nearby tree fluttered in the wind, and my skin shivered as I crossed the threshold into the musty air conditioned silence. The only noise to be heard was the faint rustle of worn pages and the hushing of librarians.
I stood idly inside the doorway, drumming my fingers on a desk, and came to a conclusion. I would apply for a job here.
“Excuse me, sir, are you drunk?”
Well, maybe I’d apply tomorrow.
I turned abruptly towards the unusual English, and held my breath in shock. Instead of the nosy old librarian I had expected to scold me, I faced a man slightly shorter than me, a man with an expression only worthy of Adonis himself.
“Umm, no,” I sputtered, “I am most definitely not wasted. Or did you say drunk? Because that I may be.”
“Sir, we have a zero tolerance policy. If you so much as volunteer a peep canlı poker oyna the head librarian will shove you down the stairs herself. But otherwise, go ahead. This place could use some excitement.”
That was an odd thing to say. And in English. Very odd.
“Really, you’d better move before she sees you.”
He gestured lightly toward a sour looking woman in a dingy dress at the front desk.
I had an internal argument with my feet, who apparently did want to cause a scene, and stumbled my way to the biographical section.
I had been in this particular library four times now, and I knew that if you continued past the dusty biographies, through the rows of encyclopedias, and on to the very back of the building, you’d eventually come to an alcove with a small door next to it. This section wasn’t restricted, but not many knew it was there. It was an erotic literature section, and I was the only person currently browsing it.
Most people would be too ashamed to show their faces here, but I reveled in the homoerotic images and pornographic details. I was proud of my knowledge, and interested in the subject. I hadn’t had sex for weeks, and I hadn’t lifted a finger to masturbate since my fiancee left. I needed it, badly, and the written word was all that could do it.
I brushed my hands over the familiar spines and felt an unusual texture. A new book?
“Hello again, sir. Can I help you find anything? I know a little about this part of the library, if you’re interested.”
His familiar voice jostled my dull brain into thinking how attractive he was. This man, he was gorgeous.
“Oh, yes. Hello. Is this book new, do you know?”
“Yeah, I think it is. Not really new, it’s quite old actually. But a new addition to the section.”
Huh. When had this come in? I looked around for a bench and studied the spine closer. There was no picture, no dust cover. Only faded gold lettering in French on the side.
“That says ‘The Complete Chronicles of the Deviant Virgin.'”
“Oh. Thank you. I can’t read French. I speak very little. I still think I’ll check this out though.”
“If I may, sir, this is my favorite image.”
His slender hands grazed mine as they gently took the book from me. He flipped straight to page seventy-three, produced a bookmark and stuck it between the pages, then snapped the book shut.
“I can check that out for you, if you’d like. Just follow me.”
I wondered internet casino briefly how he knew I would only take a single book. Just an assumption, I supposed.
His nimble frame sashayed through the shelves quickly and quietly, leaving me to gaze at his perfect butt longingly. He motioned for me to wait behind his back then strutted away toward the desk. Wouldn’t he need my name? This is too weird. I could feel my drunkenness leaving me as I considered confronting this gorgeous guy. He knew my name, he knew where I would be, that I only took one book. That’s too much.
I made up my mind to leave just as he hurried over with my book in his hand. His black hair fell loosely around his face, his blue eyes bright and alert with mischief.
“Here you are. I’m James, by the way. I haven’t meant to bother you, it’s just that I rarely get a chance to practice my English. Anyways, I’m rambling. This is good to go. Bring it back when you wish. It was lovely to meet you. Goodbye.”
“Oh, um, I’m Greyson, but everyone calls me Grey. It was nice to meet you, too.”
And with a slight nod and brazen wink, he was gone.
I wound my way back through the city in a haze. Once I reached the walkway to my newly leased apartment, I bent to retrieve the key under the flowerpot on the table. I struggled inside and dropped the book on the nearest clean surface, then slammed the door in my own face.
I heard a distant flutter and spun around to see a small card floating to the floor. Registering that it was James’s bookmark, I picked it up and turned it over in my hands.
In English, the note said:
‘This is my favorite so far. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. I’ve been waiting for days to speak to you. You didn’t disappoint.’
What the hell did that mean?
On the opposite side there was a neatly written phone number with an endearing invitation to call. And in the bottom corner, a messy 73 with what appeared to be a nude man beside it. It was hurriedly sketched, but beautifully done.
I laid down the note with shaking hands and leafed to page seventy-three, then dropped the book in surprise.
Two men stood naked in amazing detail, their bodies chiseled in perfection. Each lovely penis stood at attention, leaking a white substance onto the floor. They were turned toward each other, arms splayed affectionately over neck and shoulders, nipples pebbled and dark. Their balls hung low, and their lips were taken in a kiss so passionate their mouths looked melded together. It was beautiful. And so very erotic. One man looked familiar. He had black hair and blue eyes framed by thick lashes…
Wait a minute. Who was this guy?
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