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Sorry this has taken so long and thank you all for your patience, encouragement, and critiques. They keep me going. I greatly appreciate you all.
Bracketed text  implies text messages.
Neville felt like a new man. He had a job he loved, great friends, and now, finally, his own wheels. Tyler had offered to co-sign for him once his license got reinstated but Neville believed the man had already done enough for him. Plus between what he had stashed away with Paris and what he saved in the four months since he’d been home he had more than enough to buy himself something nice. It wasn’t new or his usual taste but it was his and that was what mattered most to him. His first car had been a “gift” from his father. He used the quotations because his father only gave it to him to run his errands and to chauffeur Ms. Pru around so he didn’t have to anymore. Neville wasn’t even allowed to keep the keys until he left for college, where he totalled it being an idiot but that was his old life. The life that didn’t belong to him. Sure his screwing it up was his own doing but you have to burn a few pancakes before you get the perfect one.
That’s not to say that he would call his life perfect but it was getting there. He still lived with Tyler and Gianni but that was looking like it was going to be permanent. In the beginning he felt himself a burden but now they were becoming a family of sorts. He and Gianni had developed a brotherly bond, the sexual tension having dissolved at some point without their knowledge. And Tyler remained a reluctant patriarch of their created clan, often yelling at the younger guys to “keep it down” when their video game smack talk got out of hand. Even Brion had become a fixture at the house, spending most weekends snuggled up or rough housing with Neville before the two departed for Sunday dinner with Mac and Margie. They started inviting Gianni after he commented about Neville not bringing home enough leftovers to share and was welcomed warmly to the table. Margie didn’t have any children of her own and enjoyed the interest Gianni showed in her recipes for island delicacies. His playful flirting caused a bit of the silly young man to come out of Mac which only made Margie like him that much more.
Neville couldn’t have imagined his life would been so good when he first stepped out of that prison however many days ago it might have been. He didn’t even count anymore, never even looked at his calendar. Even knowing what day it was seemed an arbitrary notion these days. Now he measured his time in moments. How many more letters Neville and Gianni would add to the word HORSE when they played with Brion. How long it would take Tyler to ask Gianni what was for dinner when they got home from work.
He never remembered smiling so much, even Brion noticed Neville’s new fun loving demeanor. They had always played but he never remembered Neville being so playful. Being an only child, his interactions with kids his own age had always been awkward. Now he spent every Sunday morning with Brion helping him work out the little guys and ladies in his program. He didn’t have much basketball insight but that didn’t much matter to them when Neville hoisted them to his shoulders to slam dunk.
Even now, as he drove his used late model Charger to surprise Brion at his day job he couldn’t stop his grin. It was one of those high maintenance personalized gyms for the wealthy in a high rise overlooking the bustling downtown with windows so high up passersby couldn’t see you sweat. Brion loved it. He told Neville he never got paid so much to do so little and it allowed him lots of downtime to meet his best friend on all his breaks. Garrett Restoration was stationed downtown for the time being redoing a condo for a friend of Tyler’s about a block away from Brion’s gym so needless to say they had been seeing a lot of each other, but in a mostly platonic way.
Not today though. Neville had made reservation at a restaurant Gianni recommended for it’s intimate atmosphere and out of the way location. Brion wasn’t exactly out and Neville didn’t mind hiding but he wanted to go somewhere that didn’t require Brion to glance around the room before they could touch. Gianni assured him that wouldn’t be an issue and Neville took his word. Brion told him when they met up for lunch that his last session would be over about six. “I’m all yours after that,” he told him and wiggled his eyebrows to which Neville rolled his eyes. He laughed and said, “But you think we can chill at my place tonight. I really don’t feel like driving all the way out to the sticks.” It really didn’t matter to Neville, he made the reservations for nine to give them both time to get cleaned up. Packing an overnight bag only added 15 minutes to the time it took him to get ready. He even had enough time to go to the barber shop. Not in prison anymore, Neville figured he could grow his hair back before he didn’t have it anymore. Now he sported a low taper, or a Brooklyn in the world of Black barber speak, and a light beard. Even he had to admit it was Ankara escort more becoming than his clean shaven look. Gianni said it made him look like less of a convict, that alone made the new style a keeper.
[B home in like 30…we still gettin up]
And again Neville was grinning. Brion hadn’t come out of the building yet so he waited in his parking spot a few doors down in front of one of those boutique sneaker shops. He texted back almost immediately.
[Not today why?]
He brought his Charger to life when Brion set foot to payment. His eyes on his phone, Brion paused as if waiting for Neville’s response. He took a moment to ogle him a little, clad in knee length gym shorts and a nylon windbreaker with his gym bag slung across his chest. They had made tandem massaging a bit of a habit and Neville loved the feel of Brion’s muscled legs the most. His calves were like granite and even now at a distance they made his cock jump.
[Just wondering…but you should go the other way]
Brion had started to walk in the direction of the bus stop but paused when he read the text. He looked up and down the block, looking for Tyler’s beat up pick up. Neville was certain so he sent another text.
[You’re cute when you’re confused Breeze…as much as I love looking at that ass I’m gonna need you to turn around]
[Wtf Nev you trippin]
Neville watched as Brion threw up his hands, looking like a crazy person to the people moving around him. But he did as asked, turning and head back the way he came, his face going quickly from perplexed to pissed until Neville tooted his horn and rolled his window down.
“Hey, I thought you might want a ride,” He called out the window as Brion almost walked past him. He glanced over, kept walking, but did a double take and back peddled
“Holy shit bruh this you,” he asked as he leaned into the window. Neville unlocked the door and Brion got in, immediately fiddled with the buttons on the dash. Neville shook his head but didn’t swat his hand away like he wanted to and pulled out onto the street. “You don’t got nothing to compensate for babyboy but this shit here is a nice look,” he said as he flipped through the satellite radio stations.
“Well seeing as its only been in my possession a week I’d rather you not bust the radio fooling around with it,” Neville scolded playfully as he hit the preset button on the steering wheel. Breeze looked at him with a smirk and raised his hands before he laced his fingers and put them in his lap. Without taking his eyes off the road, Neville reached over and patted his hands and smiled. “Good boy,” he said and Brion swatted him away, laughing. “Hey…umm… I don’t want this to be weird but I kinda wanted to do something different…”
“Don’t be mad but Gianni kinda ruined your surprise,” Brion said in a rush and Neville sucked his teeth.
“He was looking out for you,” Brion said with his hand on Neville’s thigh, slowly tracing circles with his fingertips. “He didn’t want me to be caught off guard by you wanting to go on a date…given how I’ve reacted to your surprises,” he added with a chuckle which released Neville’s clenched jaws. “I was gonna fuck with you a little but you all nervous and shit. I couldn’t pull the trigger. Got your shirt all hung up in the back. I’m a asshole but I couldn’t do that to you bruh.”
“So it’s not weird?”
“Hell no. It’s not like we never shared a meal together, Nev.”
“Yeah but it’s different now.”
“Why, ’cause we fucking,” Brion said with a chuckle, and took Neville’s hand from where it rest on the shifter, softening his crass comment as he laced their fingers together. “Just gives us more to talk about.”
“So you’ll go?”
“Not if that’s how you gonna ask,” he pouted and snatched his hand away.
Neville laughed and took Brion’s hand back, kissed his palm before he asked, “Brion Isaiah MacIntosh, would you do me the honors of allowing me to escort you out this evening?”
“Is it weird I just got butterflies a little bit,” he said and Neville furrowed his brow, thinking he was being a jerk again. But the slight blush on his high cheekbones told his truth.
“Yeah well you better be putting out then.” Neville couldn’t help it and Brion snatched his hand away again then punched him hard in the shoulder. “What like you never said it before?”
“What do you think I am? Sure I’ve thought it all the time but I never said it out loud.”
By then they were pulling up in front of Brion’s house. It was a newly remodeled two bedroom ranch not too far from his alma mater. He got it for cheap as no one really wanted to live in close proximity to frat boys but Brion didn’t mind since he wasn’t that far removed from that lifestyle himself. Not having a mortgage was a plus too but he wasn’t one to brag. His international endorsement deals from playing ball still paid him well, as did his investments. He didn’t really have to hold a job once he came back to the states, but he wasn’t the type Ankara escort bayan of guy not to work for a living. So he lived comfortably doing what he loved.
They went inside and Brion listened to the messages on his answering machine as he sorted through his mail. Neville eased into one of the leather recliners Brion had situated in front of his 55 inch TV. His place felt more a bachelor pad than Neville’s. The Garrett/Bellomo/Sinclair house had more of family style, lived in feel with big furniture that was both comfy and functional. Brion’s house was showy like him. All his electronics were top of line, his furniture was all black leather, and his kitchen was so clean that it looked like he didn’t cook. Brion even had art on his walls. When he first saw it Neville joked that given the decor people might assume Brion the homosexual of the two of them. Brion scoffed and said, “Why cause I got taste?”
Neville was too busy surfing through the 100 or so sports channels on Brion’s television to pay any attention until he heard the refrigerator door slam. The voice of the machine registered in his memory causing his fists to clench and he sat up in his chair. Brion came out of the kitchen to rewind the message to the beginning and listened intently.
“Hey stranger…it’s me. I know you’re wondering how I got this number but I shouldn’t have to tell you that I have my ways.” Brion sucked his teeth at the deceitful giggle that came through the speakers and for some reason that relaxed Neville. “I’m in town a couple weeks and I wanted to know if you wanted to get a drink or maybe some dinner. I’ll be at the Hilton…so umm…give me a call. Or I could come by that new house of yours. I bet it’s beautiful. You always had good taste. Anyway, call me.”
Neville didn’t say anything, just watched Brion smoulder. But when he grabbed the machine and hurled it against the wall, he couldn’t stay seated and followed his best friend as he stormed into his bedroom. Of course he had second thoughts as Brion grabbed the door intent to slam it but when he saw Neville his face softened from its scowl. Neville paused at the threshold and Brion waved him in as he flopped down on his bed, burying his face in the pillows. He let out a long sustained scream that Neville couldn’t help laugh at as he sat down on the foot of the bed.
“We not even together and she still ruining my day,” he mumbled with his face still in the pillows. Not sure of the protocol in this situation, Neville did what he felt was right and ran his hand up Brion’s leg. “I mean it’s been almost two years why the fuck would she want to talk to me now?”
“Is that a real question or am I just listening to you vent,” Neville asked and Brion chuckled. He rolled over and pulled Neville down beside him. He kicked off his boots and got comfortable before he said, “I mean, knowing Soliel, I could speculate but I’d rather not say something I might regret.”
“Come on bruh, ain’t nobody pining for her. You can be honest. Just cause I’m still hurt don’t mean I want her back,” he said and Neville took a deep breath, settled onto his back with both hands behind his head.
“Well the dick in me wants to believe that she might be single again and looking for a fresh meal ticket for herself. But part of me thinks she might just be trying to make amends. I’d like to think that we’ve all done some growing up since college, I mean look at us. Aside from the sex, I’ve known you literally all my life and I don’t think I’ve ever felt as close to you as I do now. If you could give me a chance, why not her?”
Brion kissed him then, it was chaste but loving, and settled his head on Neville’s chest. “Yeah but it’s different between me and you. We were both wrong as fuck, it’s easier to forgive that. And you never tried to break us up even though in hindsight I wish you had. You deserved my forgiveness, her I’m not so sure.”
“I can see that,” Neville said as he slid his arm around Brion to rub his back. “It might do you some good to talk to her again. Whatever her intentions, it might do you some good to hear her out. Get some closure. Knowing you I’m sure once you found out he wasn’t yours, it was just over.”
“Yeah, I pulled a Neville,” he said with a chuckle and Neville ssucked his teeth. “What, I’m saying, I packed up and left while she was out. I ain’t want to give myself a chance to do something more stupid than marrying her in the first place. Aight enough of this. If I stay laid up with you any longer date night will be over before it starts,” Brion said with one last kiss before he pushed himself off Neville. “How much to fix that dent in my wall?”
“Come on Breeze don’t insult me like that,” Neville said with a frown. “I’d never take your money.”
“Who said anything about money,” Brion said with that cocky grin as he dropped his shorts and tossed them at Neville. They landed perfectly on his face and Brion thought it was hilarious until he heard Neville’s long deep breath from beneath his shorts. “Really bruh, you couldn’t wait until I got in the bathroom Escort Ankara to do that. Be real with me Nev you don’t really want to go on this date do you?”
Neville laughed and pulled the shorts away to look at his watch. There wasn’t enough time for what he wanted to do to him. He could wait, but he made it easier going out and getting his shirt from the car. It wasn’t anything special, just a light green button down but it looked good against his dark skin, He left the top two buttons open and rolled the sleeves up to his forearms like Gianni suggested. “And for the love of fuck don’t tuck it in,” he’d told him and Neville promised he wouldn’t.
Just as he was about to start rummaging through the cabinets for snacks, Brion emerged from his bedroom dressed in perfectly fitted jeans, a tweed vest, a checkered shirt, and blue tie. He was putting on a dark blue bowler hat as he came down the hall, paused at the mirror to sit it on his head just right. Watching him, Neville was starting to question his resolve, especially when Brion turned to smile at him. There was nothing cocky about it, if anything there was just a little bashfulness at the way his lips curled at the corners. Even the way he smoothed his goatee seemed a little shy.
“Damn yo quit staring at me like that,” Brion said as he pushed his wallet into his back pocket. “You know, I don’t think I’ve seen you dressed up since prom. This is a good look for you,” he said as he patted Neville’s beard and Neville gave him a little shove. “What I’m for real. I told you a couple weeks ago it looked good, now it’s a problem?”
“Shut up Breeze,” came with a hard slap to Brion’s hard ass and he jumped a little, stumbling out of his front door.
Brion was much faster getting ready than Neville thought he might be so there was enough time for him to take a more scenic route to the restaurant. It was on the lake so instead of taking the interstate, Neville stuck to old country roads that ran through the woods. It turned out the place wasn’t too far from He-Den. ‘Maybe some other time,’ he thought to himself as he made the last turn. He was a little confused since it seemed he’d driven into a neighborhood. Brion, who had fallen asleep before they pulled off his block, choose now to wake up and comment.
“Is it me or do you hear the banjos from Deliverance,” he said with a smirk but Neville ignored him, trusting the GPS.
And it wasn’t as if the signs didn’t match up. The street was long and narrowed as they drove further down. A couple hundred feet after what looked like the last house, the paved road turned to gravel and a few minutes after that the lake was visible through the trees. The road ended at a driveway and Neville continued on until the trees opened up to reveal a beautiful house with a wrap around deck. There were tables set up on the sides and through the large bay windows a bar was clearly visible. Neville pulled up to the front and a man came down, dressed in a red vest and bowtie. They both got out of the car and Neville passed the valet his keys. Brion chuckled quietly at Neville’s face, clearly reluctant to relinquish his new toy to a stranger. The valet smiled, having noticed the face as well.
“Don’t worry sir. I won’t do anything I wouldn’t want done to my own baby. Enjoy your meal,” he said as he climbed inside and Neville watched as he drove off into the darkness.
“I don’t like that I can’t see where he’s going,” he said as he met Brion at the bottom of the stairs, and the other man laughed.
“I guess I’ll just have to distract you then,” He said with a raised eyebrow and Neville shook his head. He opened the door for them and Neville went to tell the the hostess of their arrival. The table wasn’t ready just yet and she directed them to the bar to enjoy a complimentary beverage.
“If you like,” she said with a warm smile. “The bar around back is a little less crowded. Unfortunately the game being on has everybody congregating here. Blake would you take these gentleman to the back please,” she said to a busboy as he passed. He nodded and waved for Neville and Brion to follow him back outside and around the deck. They passed a few tables, all occupied by couples and small parties of four and five, enjoying their meals as well as conversation.
Around the back of the house, the porch opened up to a much larger deck that protruded out over the water. The tables there were more spread out and covered by cabanas. The deck itself was lit by soft white light from hundreds of tiny christmas lights that criss crossed above on a lattice. It was beautiful, and the hostess was right, much more intimate. The bar itself didn’t have any stools so the guys had to lean, but there was a television playing the same game that was on in the front of the house. Brion ordered a Tom Collins and Neville had a scotch and soda. They both laughed at their choices, having both grown out of the usual hood classics of Hennessey and Remy Martin. They enjoyed their drinks mostly in silence and were eventually joined by two other couples. One straight, one lesbian, and all about the same age, and very clearly on a date. The woman took up the space closest to Neville, giggling at something. Neville wasn’t really paying them any mind until Brion tapped his elbow and whispered.
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