Wasted by Holley Trent (“What Happened in Vegas…” Blog Hop)

I’m delighted to welcome Holley Trent to my blog today to share her story “Wasted”. 🙂

Vegas-Hop-Graphic

The charity I’d like to spotlight is the LGBTQ Center of Durham (North Carolina). They provide support and arrange for a safe meeting place for LGBTQ people in the Triangle area. Learn more about them and their programs at http://www.lgbtqcenterofdurham.org/. You can add them as your preferred charity on Amazon Smile.

 

Wasted

by Holley Trent

Zane Miller had a flight to catch in three hours, so it was a good thing the man he was taking home with him finally opened his eyes.

“What the fuck?” Bobby asked on a raspy whisper. He hadn’t used his voice in at least ten hours—not since Zane had fetched him from a Las Vegas emergency room and carried him to Zane’s hotel room.

Zane grinned. “I was starting to wonder if I’d ever see those baby blues again.”

Bobby squinted, cleared his throat, and hiked the sheets up to cover his bare chest. He’d been limp as noodle when Zane had stripped him down. Bobby had thrown up from the potent combination of booze and hospital-administered painkillers—the nurses apparently didn’t realize Bobby couldn’t have passed a Breathalyzer test because he’d been talking too clearly—and Zane didn’t see where he’d had a choice but to strip him. He wasn’t going to let the guy spend their wedding night sleeping in soiled sequins and lamé. Or at least, Zane thought it was lamé.

“No offense, ’cause I’ve certainly woken up to regrets more times than I can count, but who the hell are you?” Bobby asked.

At that concession, Zane ground his back molars, and stretched an arm to grab the arm of Bobby’s eyeglasses. “Here you go. I took ’em off you so you didn’t roll over onto them and get them all bent up like you used to.”

What?” Bobby slipped them onto his nose, pulled his dark auburn hair out from beneath the arms, and fixed his bloodshot gaze on Zane.

“Zane Miller. Why are…” Bobby lifted the sheets, stared beneath them, looked then at his hand with the shiny new embellishment, and finally at Zane again. “No. We…wait. I don’t…” He lifted the sheet again and moved his bulky left foot beneath it. “And I broke something. My ankle. I broke my ankle?”

How could he possibly not remember?

Even though his pulse pounded in his ears and his face was hot as an ember, Zane smiled for him—tried to put him at ease. Zane couldn’t panic. He needed to be cool and collected, or at least put on a good show of it so Bobby didn’t freak out, because Zane certainly wanted to himself.

“Quit playing,” he said jokingly. “You know what happened.”

Bobby squeezed his eyes shut and rubbed the heels of his palms against them. “Fuck. Fuck. I…I remember going to work as usual on Friday night. Sold-out show. Some of the other dancers in the chorus wanted to go get drinks afterward, and I said yes.”

“What else?” Zane didn’t know anything about the show Bobby was in, but Bobby’s artistic streak was one of the many reasons he’d left Nebraska at seventeen, right after high school graduation. Up until last night, Zane hadn’t heard from him, but even after fifteen years of absence, he would have been able to spot the man anywhere. The eyes were the same. Zane would never forget those sad blue eyes.

“I remember the bar, and having a few drinks—no more than I usually do.”

“You sure?”

Bobby opened his mouth, and then closed it wordlessly. He stared at Zane for a long moment, brow furrowed and lips pursed in distaste.

Keep it together, Miller. Zane softened his smile and pulled his arms in tight to his body to make himself look smaller. Less intimidating. He didn’t want Bobby to think he didn’t have any control, when the truth was Bobby had all of it.

Bobby relaxed his expression, and the fine lines at the corners of his eyes smoothed. He looked like a boyish twenty, not a man of thirty-two. He’d hardly changed, at least outwardly. Still pretty, and still so sad-looking.

Bobby sighed and leaned his head back against the luxe, padded headboard. The casino had spared no expense when it came to decorating its hotel rooms. Zane hadn’t rented the room thinking it’d be used for a wedding night, but he was glad he’d gotten edged out of the cheaper rooms at the Motel 6. That was where his rodeo friends were staying, and he hadn’t been in the mood to double- or triple up with those bastards, even if the room cost was bleeding him dry. He hadn’t been on a bull in ten years and had only came along to lend support. He’d regretted even taking the trip until he saw Bobby.

“God,” Bobby said, “it was the last performance ever of that show, and we were looking down the barrel of unemployment.” He jerked himself upright and poked Zane’s bicep. “Whose room is this? These rooms go for a mint. I would know. I work—worked here.” He cringed.

A mint sounds about right.

Zane had been between drinks three and four in the casino’s lounge when he’d spotted Bobby on the dance floor letting some little shit grind against him. Zane had watched them quietly while sipping drink number four, but when the twit stuck his fucking tongue into Bobby’s ear, Zane couldn’t have vaulted off that barstool fast enough. Bobby was his boy. He…just didn’t know it yet.

“It’s my room,” Zane said. “At least for the next couple of hours. What else do you remember?” Bobby had been perfectly lucid, right up until Zane tucked him into bed.

“I…” Bobby zipped his lips and shook his head. “That’s it.”

“Damn. Well, let me sum it up for you. I rescued you from some groping lecher on the dance floor, and you tried to punch me in the nose.”

“I did?” Bobby’s eyes went round, but he quickly narrowed them. “Well, I’d understand why I would. You deserve it. Actually, since you’re here—”

Zane grabbed Bobby’s fist before it could connect with Zane’s face. “Easy there.” He wrapped both hands around Bobby’s shaking fist and set it gently on top of the other man’s lap. “Maybe I deserve it.” He knew he deserved it. “I hope you’d hear me out, though. I’ve changed a lot in fifteen years.”

Bobby made some sound that was half snort and half scoff and let his gaze rake down the exposed part of Zane’s body. “Yeah, you’ve put on a little weight.”

Ouch. “That’s not what I meant. And you look good, Bobby. Real good.”

“I go by Robert now.”

Zane couldn’t see it. Bobby didn’t look like a Robert. Roberts were buttoned-up and boring—things the lively auburn lush would never be. “Sorry. I always thought of you as…okay. Robert.” He turned his hands over in concession. He was married to Robert, and Robert wanted to punch him in the nose.

Robert was right that Zane deserved it. While Zane hadn’t been one of the boys who’d given Robert so much hell in high school, Zane may have been just as guilty because he didn’t try to put a stop to it. He’d stood idly by and let the others taunt and tease Robert for being who he was—unapologetically flamboyant, even at fifteen.

It’d taken Zane a lot of years to realize that Robert had far more courage than Zane ever did. Robert may not have fought back—not physically, anyway—but he put himself out there and presented his true self, pink wristwatch, bedazzled backpack, and all.

“Anyway, after you tried to punch me”—Zane moved Robert’s hand to Zane’s lap and held it until he was certain Robert wouldn’t draw it back—“you decided to tell me off via karaoke. I don’t even remember what the song was, but it was mean, and I got the point. You stormed out of that bar like your pants were on fire, and I followed you.”

“Skip to the good parts. How did I break my—”

“Ankle.”

“Again?” He rolled his eyes. “Whatever. How did we…” He pulled his hand free and pointed to the cheap wedding band. “You know.”

“You don’t remember cursing me out and telling me you hoped I lost my nuts in a farm accident?”

“Sounds like something I’d say, but no, I don’t remember it.”

“Naturally, I took offense.”

“I image anyone would.”

“I got a little pissed. We were standing in front of the hotel fountain, and you were screaming at me. All these folks were walking by and staring, and I needed you to be quiet so security didn’t throw me out.”

“How’d you shut me up?”

“I threatened to gag you, and you didn’t miss a beat. You told me you’d sooner bite my dick off than stop talking when you had so very much to say to me, and I informed you I never said what I would be gagging you with. You went quiet for a while after that.”

“I didn’t cry, did I?”

“No.”

“Sometimes I cry for no reason when I’m drunk. Not that I remember it. I’ve been told that I’m weepy, though.”

Zane committed that to memory so he could make sure Robert never again had a drink stronger than Cherry Coke.

“What happened next?”

“Since you were quiet, I figured it was the perfect time to give you the hello kiss I’d been waiting to give you for so long. It was like this.” Zane leaned in and skimmed his lips across Robert’s.

Robert sucked in some air and straightened up, but he didn’t pull away. He was very still, very compliant as Zane nibbled at his bottom lip.

Zane had been dreaming about that damned lip ever since Robert had left and about how badly he wanted to pull it between his teeth. About how he wanted to feel both of Robert’s lips on the crook of his neck or at the tender backs of his knees. He’d be so turned on.

“Wasn’t much of a kiss,” Zane whispered, “’cause we were being watched and I didn’t want to scandalize you.”

“As if I’m a stranger to that.”

“Well, it’s new for me. You were sweet as honey after that, though.”

“I followed you to the chapel?”

Zane leaned back against the headboard again, hating that he had to put some distance between them, but he still needed to tread carefully and keep Robert calm. “Pretty much.”

“You didn’t think to question my easy compliance?”

“Oh, I questioned it plenty. Peppered you with all kinds of complicated questions and you had an answer to every single one. I would have sworn you were sober.”

“What’d you ask me?”

“Typical tourist stuff. I asked you what I should go see before we flew out in the morning.”

“What do you mean we? You’re skipping around too much, and that’s a really shitty thing to be doing before I’ve even had a cup of coffee.”

“I’ll get you some coffee, honey.”

Robert narrowed his eyes.

“Like baby better?”

“I don’t see where you have the right to call me either.”

“We’re married.”

“Illegally.”

“Perfectly legal in all states, actually. God bless the Supreme Court. And you weren’t coerced, unless you count by Satan. You obviously sipped his personal brew last night for you to remember nothing about the most important day of your life.”

Robert rolled his eyes. “Say this thing is legal. Why would you want to do it in the first place unless you were drunk off your ass yourself?”

“I remember everything. I’m not a blackout drunk. I’m an honest drunk. I told you every fucking secret I had last night, and I guess you can’t remember a single one of them. If you could remember, you’d know why I dragged your chipper ass down that chapel aisle and why I’d do it again this morning.”

“Why did you? Or maybe the better question is why would you?”

“Unbelievable.” Zane threw the sheets to climb out of the bed. He snatched Robert’s bottle of painkillers off the nightstand and tossed them at his bedmate. “I’ll get you some water and call down for breakfast. Shuttle is already scheduled.”

“The shuttle?”

“The airport shuttle. We’ve got one-way, non-returnable tickets home, and remember, I have a farmer’s salary. We can’t afford to miss that flight.”

Home?”

“You can’t hide here forever. Don’t you think it’s time go home?”

* * *

Robert spent the vast majority of the travel time into Lincoln, Nebraska staring at the side of his so-called husband’s face.

Maybe it was the medicine fogging his brain or the dull pain in his ankle he could still feel—even being as drugged up as he was—but he just couldn’t make sense of it all. Zane had said Robert had broken his ankle on the return from his apartment after their wedding. He gone to fetch a bag, supposedly, but somehow on the way back to the casino, managed to tangle himself up stepping off a curb. That’s what the witnesses had said, anyway.

Of course Robert didn’t remember shit. If he’d had four or five drinks at the club and then got shot up with happy juice at the hospital, it was a wonder he could even remember his own name.

But married? To Zane? Robert should have remembered that.

“You’re thinking too hard.” Zane chuckled and switched to a one-handed grip on his pickup truck’s steering wheel so he could squeeze Robert’s knee.

In the back of the truck were their overnight bags, Robert’s crutches, and what looked like the decayed remnants of last year’s corn crop. He’d left the razzle-dazzle of Vegas for corn as far as the eye could see.

Why had he left Vegas? And with Zane, no less?

He closed his eyes to shut off some of the stimulation to his throbbing brain and put his hand over Zane’s. He’d meant to pick it up, but made himself stop because a niggling voice inside said, “You don’t want to.”

He’d been angry with everyone when he left Nebraska—not specifically Zane, but he was certainly swept up in the collective. Zane’s clique had made Robert’s life a living hell. He’d never forget the names they’d called him and the pranks they pulled. They treated him as if he weren’t a person, but he’d endured it because he was getting the exact opposite at home. His parents ignored him altogether after he came out. That is, after they tried to get him to change his mind about it. They’d finally shut up when he’d told them he’d stop being gay when they stopped believing in the almighty guy in the sky.

At least the folks at school saw him, even if they didn’t respect him.

Zane…Zane didn’t seem interested in hurting him now, though. Quite the opposite.

Why is that?

“Where are we going first?” His voice came out in such a whisper, he wasn’t sure Zane even heard it.

Zane gave Robert’s knee another gentle squeeze. “The farm. My mom’s expecting me back by dinnertime.”

“Mrs. Miller?” Robert croaked.

“Yep.”

She’d taught Robert in second grade. Even back then, little Bobby Alexander had been what people called “light in the loafers.” She’d certainly had to have noticed it—everyone did—but to the best of his memory, she hadn’t treated him any differently than any other kid in her class.

“Does she know…that…”

“That what?”

“That…you…” Robert tried to force down the frog in his dry throat and locked his gaze on the corn they flew past. Miles and miles of corn.

He’d never had such hard time saying the word “gay.” He was acting as if he said it, Zane would deny it, and that would leave Robert wondering what the hell was happening and what kind of bad dream the morphine had triggered.

“Are you gay, Zane?” He spit it out, forced out some spent air, and slapped his hand to his clammy forehead. Oh, God.

Zane shrugged.

“That’s not an answer!”

“I’m not being coy. It’s just hard to put a label on some things.”

“Because you don’t want to admit it?”

“No, I think everyone who matters in my life knows by now that I’m not straight.”

“You’re bi, then?”

He shrugged again. “That label doesn’t feel quite right either. Suffice it to say, I’m comfortable with being married to a man.”

Married.

Robert turned in his seat right as Zane hit the blinker switch to signal his turn onto the farm road. “Uh…what did you tell me to make me go along with it?”

“It was your idea, Robert. I was the one going along with it.”

“What?”

After one last squeeze of Robert’s knee, Zane put his hand back on the wheel and made a hard right turn onto the driveway of the old Miller place. “Like I said, I’m an honest drunk. I told you how sorry I was that you left and that you felt you had to leave in the first place. I told you I was sorry for my part in you thinking you had to go.”

He parked next to the oil tank and pulled up the brake.

“Bob—sorry, Robert, I told you how much I’d been thinking about you, worrying about you since you left. Hoping that you were okay and wondering if I’d ever get to see you if you came home.”

“Why?”

Robert started at the knock on the window behind him. Clutching his chest and the heart that felt like it was going to pound right through his sternum, he turned to find his mother-in-law—for the moment, anyway—grinning and waving.

He turned back to Zane. Through clenched teeth, Robert asked, “Does she know?”

“I told her. I don’t think she believed me, though. Does it feel real to you?”

Robert couldn’t lie. He shook his head and pulled on the door handle. “No.”

“Tell me what to do to change that.”

“You fooling with me, Zane Miller?”

“No. I mean it. I’d like for you to stay.”

“I can’t.” Too fucking hastily, he hopped down from the truck and landed hard on the foot attached to the bad ankle. “Goddammmm—”

Mrs. Miller grabbed him by the shoulders and draped the arm opposite of his broken ankle around her neck. “All right, you klutz. To think you supposedly dance for a living. Sheesh! Is that the same one you broke in second grade?”

The only response he could give through his clenched teeth and pinched lips was a high-pitched hum.

She helped him hop as far as the porch steps, at which point Zane picked Robert up and carried him to the door as if he weighed nothing.

Turning to face his mother, Zane said, “Can you please get the red bag out of the back? His painkillers are probably wearing off.”

“Yep. Go on into the kitchen. Food’s on the stove.”

“I’ll get the crutches out later. It’s not like he has anywhere he needs to be.”

“Hey!” Robert objected.

“Shush.” Zane squeezed sideways through the front door and carried Robert past the formal living room and into the kitchen. “I totally just carried you over the threshold.” He chuckled.

The screen door slammed in the front room, and light footsteps sounded up the staircase. Probably Mrs. Miller taking Robert’s bag upstairs.

Zane placed Robert at the head of the table and pulled out a second chair for Robert to prop his foot on. Then, he headed to the stove. “Looks like we’ve got a roasted chicken, some kind of rice casserole thing, creamed corn, and green beans almondine. Any allergies I should know of?”

Robert shook his head. He could have found something argue about if he tried hard enough, but he was hungry, tired, in pain, and oh-so curious. He felt like he’d taken a wrong turn to La-La Land and had no way out of it.

Zane slid a plate in front of him and grabbed the empty glass from Robert’s place setting. “Tea okay?”

“Uh. Yeah, sure. Tea’s okay.” Robert picked up his fork, nodded in thanks at Zane’s beverage delivery, and stared down at the hearty farm fare on his plate. Fresh rolls, too. Mrs. Miller had gone to a lot of trouble to make it. It was a lot of food for just her and Zane. And it had been just the two of them for at least ten years. The grapevine had been slow, but word had eventually reached Vegas. “I’m sorry about your dad, Zane.”

Zane had his back turned. Robert couldn’t see his face, but he saw how Zane’s head fell and shoulders slumped.

Dammit. Robert wasn’t usually so tactless. He blamed it on the painkillers. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have brought it up like that.”

“It’s okay. It just still feels so recent.”

“Things have been hard here? I heard your mom had to stop teaching.”

“She chose to. Otherwise it would have been just me here. Even now, we don’t get away much.” He picked up his full plate and his glass, carried them to the table, and sat at Robert’s right. He didn’t start eating immediately, though. He stared at his food until Mrs. Miller entered the room with Robert’s pill bottle.

“You packed mighty light, Bobby. When are you gonna get the rest of your stuff?”

“I…”

Zane pulled his tired, brown gaze up from his plate and locked it on Robert. So easy to read, but he always had been.

She doesn’t know.

She didn’t know the thing they did had been a drunken whim and that if they had it to do over, they might not have done it. She thought they were for real, and apparently, so did Zane.

Bobby flaked off a bit of chicken and forked it into his mouth. “I had to pack in hurry. He only gave me a couple of hours notice.”

She shook a pill onto the tabletop next to his plate and set the medicine bottle in plain view on top of the fridge. “I can probably find some of Zane’s old stuff you might be able to fit. I swear, you haven’t put on a single pound. Must be nice. I gain weight even if I think about food. Damn menopause.”

Zane groaned. “Mom.”

“What? Not like it’s a secret. Easy enough to figure out when I start fanning myself even when the air conditioning is cranked up as high as it can go.” She picked up the third plate from the table and shuffled to the counter.

Zane nudged Robert’s good leg beneath the table. “Better dig in. You can’t take that pill on an empty stomach.”

“It’s gonna knock me out.”

“What are you trying to stay up for?” Mrs. Miller chided. “Let Zane talk you to death tomorrow. Plenty of time for that.”

“He was never much of a talker, as far as I can recall.”

Zane bobbed his dark eyebrows and fixed his gaze on the roll he was buttering. “I didn’t have as much to say back then. Got plenty now.”

Oh.

Robert certainly wanted to hear it.

* * *

When Robert’s eyelids started to droop at the kitchen table, Zane carried him upstairs and got him into the bed he’d left unmade before his trip. He turned off the light and started to slip out to see to a few chores, but Robert called out to him.

Zane paused in the doorway, convinced Robert was just stirring in his sleep.

“Come’ere.” Robert freed a hand from the covers and made a lazy gimmie gesture.

“You should sleep while you can. Pill will probably wear off before you get a full eight hours.”

“I’m used to five or six. Come’ere and talk to me.”

Zane pushed off of the doorframe and took measured steps toward the bed. He was still worried that if he made too much noise, he’d scare the smaller man away as if his size were the biggest strike he had against him at the moment. “What do you want to talk about?”

“Nothing in particular. Just talk to me so I’m not anxious.”

Anxious? Zane knelt at the bedside and looped his fingers gently around Robert’s left wrist. “You don’t feel safe here? Or did I upset you somehow?”

“No, I just…I don’t know what’s happening, and worse—I guess—is I don’t know what I want to happen.” His voice got softer toward the end, and it took a few seconds for Zane’s brain to digest the statement.

“I know how that feels, Robert. I felt that way all the damn time.”

“You seem perfectly cool right now. Like you got all your shit together.”

Zane shrugged and moved his hand down to cover Robert’s. “I’m good at pretending. If you pretend well enough, nobody asks you any questions. That’s why you got picked on in school and I didn’t. The pretending gets tiring, Bobby.” He sighed. “I’m sorry. You’ll always be Bobby to me.”

Bobby nodded slowly and his eyelids sank to half-mast. He let out a long, soft exhalation and turned his head toward Zane. “You were really thinking about me all that time I was gone?”

“Never stopped.”

“Why me?” Bobby’s words came out in a slow slur, spoken from that place halfway between sleep and not, and Zane suspected Bobby wouldn’t remember anything. Zane could speak shamelessly and hope that he was brave enough to tell Bobby again if he asked. Zane wasn’t brave like Bobby.

“You used to make me smile,” Zane said. “Your candor about things, I mean. I envied you for being able to say what you felt. I was always holding back my words.”

“Hmm.” Bobby’s eyelids closed the rest of the way.

“You were the first boy I looked at and felt that stir for, you know? That never went away. So when I saw you in Vegas, I had to act. I hope you don’t feel like I took advantage. I’ll understand if you want to go or if you feel like there’s nothing here for you. If it weren’t for Mom and this farm, I’d feel the same way, probably.”

He got slowly to his feet, being careful not to jostle the mattress as he stood, and just stared down at Bobby for a few minutes.

That stir.

Bobby was so close after so long, and Zane wanted to pull him into his arms and grind against him, show him what he did to his body simply by being there—show him how much he wanted him.

But Bobby was passed out, under the grips of powerful painkillers, and uncertain about so much. A kiss would have to do. Just one.

Zane tucked Bobby’s hair behind his ear and pressed his lips to Bobby’s temple, sliding them down to his cheek, to the scruff of his jaw.

Maybe it was cheating, but still, it was just one kiss.

* * *

Bullshit.

Everything Zane had said as Bobby nodded off had to be bullshit. The fact that someone had cared about him in all that time, and wanted him?

Bobby wanted to believe it. He wanted to believe that feeling of home and belonging was a real thing he got to keep forever. He wanted to believe that man who’d been so patiently taking care of him for the past couple of days that Bobby could hardly remember wanted to love him, because Bobby was sure halfway in love already, himself. It wouldn’t take much to send him falling over the edge.

He’d been around so many people in the past fifteen years. He was rarely alone, and yet he was always so lonely. He owed it to himself to see if it was real, because he’d regret it if he let something that could be so good slide through his fingers just because he was vengeful and stubborn.

He sat up at the edge of the bed, cringing as blood flow returned to his feet and woke up the aches in his ankle. Not as bad as it was the day before, but too uncomfortable to compartmentalize and ignore. He’d need to find his pills. But first, he needed a shower and to dress.

He made it downstairs in a little over an hour, grabbed a leftover roll out of the breadbox, shoved half into his mouth, and with shaking hands, wrestled open his bottle of sleep-inducing narcotics. He’d always been such a fucking lightweight. If he’d been sober at the hospital, he would have told Zane he shouldn’t have those, but they were all he had at the moment and he needed them. He popped one into his mouth, returned the bottle to its perch, then hobbled outside using the walls to prop himself up.

In the distance, he saw a tractor moving slowly in a field, and with his foggy brain, he couldn’t quite remember the calendar math to work out what needed to be done that time of year. It’s not harvest time is it?

“She’s reseeding the pasture we lease out to the rancher next door,” came Zane’s deep voice from the other end of the porch.

Out of fright, Bobby nearly lost his grip on the rocking chair he’d leaned on for support, but Zane made it over to him before Bobby could crash nose-first onto the porch floor.

“Easy.”

“You scared the hell out of me.”

“Sorry.” Zane settled Bobby into the rocking chair and leaned back against the porch railing. He lifted his mesh hat and brushed back the dark, sweaty hair beneath it. “I was sitting on the porch waiting on someone who wanted to take a look at some equipment I need to sell.”

Need to?”

Zane turned his hands over in a gesture of concession. “Doing what I can to make a financial buffer. It’s been too tight here.”

“Hmm.” And he thinks I’m the candid one. Bobby appreciated the honesty and that Zane would let Bobby in on such a personal thing most folks would have thought was embarrassing. Apparently, he didn’t intend to keep any secrets.

Bobby was going to return the favor.

He stared at the gray-looking toes peeking out of his cast and blew out a sputtering breath. “I’m about as useful as a lawnmower with no blade right now, but if you find me something to do I’ll try not to botch it too bad. I don’t remember shit about farming. You’d think I didn’t have them all around me growing up.” He pulled his gaze up to Zane’s startled one.

The big oaf.

“What do you want me to do?”

“I…” Zane shook his head and scratched it. “I don’t know. You don’t have to do anything. I didn’t think—”

“You didn’t think I’d stay so you didn’t plan ahead.” Bobby clucked his tongue and used his good foot to start the chair rocking. “You gotta do better.”

“I’m trying to.”

“So find me something to do that won’t get messed up if I fall asleep doing it.”

“You don’t have to do anything. I didn’t bring you here for that.”

“I know that. Did you mean what you said to me last night?”

Zane furrowed his brow. “About…you mean what I said when you were nodding off?”

“Yeah. Did you mean it?”

Zane had the audacity to blush. “You heard all that?”

“Yup. You gonna take it back?”

“No. Not one word.”

“If you meant it, then you find something to do so I don’t feel like such a damn leech. It’s not like I can dance with a broken ankle, and doubt anyone in town here would much care for the kind of dancing I made my living doing, anyway. Too many sequins. Too many pelvic thrusts.” He shrugged.

One of Zane’s thick eyebrows twitched.

“It was Vegas. What do you expect?”

“You’re gonna have to show me what you mean after your ankle heals…if you’re still here, I mean.”

Bobby rolled his eyes on that last part. He had a hunch he wasn’t going anywhere any time soon, busted ankle or not, and that was fine with him. “Private performance, huh?”

Zane started backing away, wearing a grin that read capital-T Trouble.

“I think I’m gonna have a good time getting reacquainted with you, Mr. Miller.” For cryin’ out loud, I have a husband!

Zane winked and hauled a bushel of beans up to the porch. “Oh, yeah. Gotta make up for years of wasted time. Better rest up. Before you do, though, can you get the bits of vine off those? They need to go to the market.”

* * *

holleytrentHolley Trent is an award-winning author of more than forty contemporary, paranormal, and erotic romances. Visit her website at http://www.holleytrent.com to learn more about her work, or say hi on Twitter, where she dispenses snark as @holleytrent.

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