I had such a good feeling about this year. It’s my last; I’m on track to graduate near the top of my class, I’m working towards a degree in a field I love, and I even managed to score one of the coveted singles in the nicest upperclassmen dorm. There’s only one problem. Him. The guy whose single is attached to the other side of the connecting bathroom. The mess I could maybe ignore, it’s the singing I can’t take. Every night while he takes a bubble bath― yes, a bubble bath! It’s only a few weeks into the year and I don’t think I can take it anymore. Actually, I know I can’t. I’m gonna go over there and say something before I lose my mind!
So, how’d we get from there to the picture above? And what happens after that?
Make me laugh, everything else is up to you.
Written for the Don’t Read in the Closet event “Love is an Open Road”,
hosted by the M/M Romance group.
“…inside Al’s head is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. I love his unique, quirky perspective. It was truly just a fabulous, fun read.” ~ Smitten with Reading
“I absolutely loved every word. It made me GIDDY. I’m talking full-on, fourteen year old school girl, giddy.” ~ Goodreads review
“Wrong Direction brims with lightness and humour.” ~Goodreads review
Nominations and Awards
He was killing One Republic. Again. Not the band, obviously. That scream from the bathroom wasn’t a desperate cry for help. More likely, Daniel Lundquist had his balls stuck in the drain, which did awful things to his rendition of “I Lived”. Sounded more like he’d died.
I’d thought having a single room my final year at UCSB would be sweet, and sharing a bathroom with one guy had to beat sharing with the entire floor, right? Yeah, not so much. My neighbor couldn’t find a key if it was stuck in a lock, and he left fruity-smelling bubbles all over the bathroom floor. Nightly. And stuff, acres of it, in loose formation across his half of the counter. The way his soldiers spilled into my territory was way undisciplined, man.
But the singing. Holy flapdoodle, the singing.
Clapping my hands over my ears— a futile gesture; unless you got a really good seal, hands did not make effective mufflers— I strode toward the door. This had to stop. Now. I wanted fond memories of this band. They were my youth and all such horse pucky.
Opening the door meant I had to use one of my hands. Duh. But I’d already accepted the fact my hands didn’t really cover my ears very well. Not because they were stupidly small— I had long fingers. If someone bothered to look past the fact I’m on the short and slender side, they’d note there were inches of index finger there. Know what I mean?
Daniel had reached the chorus. I wrenched the door open with one of my slender but long-fingered hands, and strode into the bathroom connecting his room to mine. The scent of fresh-cut, sun-warmed mango confused me until I figured out I hadn’t been magically transported to my grandmother’s orchard.
My left foot got lost. One second it was under me, the next it had kinda flown up into the air. The bathroom turned on end, and the ceiling took the place of the wall as the very hard floor smacked me in the back. I managed to stiffen my neck and keep the back of my skull from connecting with the tile, but it was a damn close thing. I think I heard the crack, anyway. Then a wave of warm water sloshed over my side. Smelled like popsicles.
“Oh my God!” Daniel was there, in all his tall, wet, and handsome glory, kneeling over me with a worried expression made only slightly ridiculous by the bubbles clinging to his cheek. “Are you okay?”
Actually, I was feeling pretty speechless. I’d figured he wouldn’t have any hair on his chest, but he did. Not a lot, not a mohair blanket. More a sparse clump of delicate curls dead center. He had bubbles clinging to that, too. To either side were shiny pectoral muscles, obviously sculpted by the gods and then dotted with a couple of moles, just to make him human. Soap ran down the line between his abs and my gaze followed because I’m gay, and when I’m led to cock, I tend to follow. Daniel helped by scooting forward, his long, muscular legs parting to expose his bubble-wrapped package. The mingled scent of male sweat and fruit was just plain weird, and I briefly wondered if I’d think of Daniel’s dangle every time I smelled mangoes. That would be awkward next time I visited home.
“Alvaro?” I liked the way he said my name. In the three weeks we’d been neighbors, I hadn’t bothered to ask him to shorten it to Al. “Can you hear me?” Big, soapy hands were smoothing across my cheeks.
I tore my gaze from the leviathan— it was the bubbles, right? And I might have hit my head— and looked into his handsome face. I had dreamed about this face, and if I had words right then, I might have told him so. He had a jaw that defined the term square, a nose like the sharp end of an arrow, and eyes the color of a Santa Barbara sky. His mouth was just sinful, and most of my fantasies ended up there when they tired of wondering what he was packing elsewhere.
“Ugh.” Eloquence is me.
I tried to sit up. Daniel helped by putting his cock in my face. I mean, it was right there, dripping white soap that looked a heck of a lot like something else onto my sodden T-shirt. He had his arms around my shoulders and was actually hauling me toward my seven seconds in heaven. I opened my mouth, wondering if it would fit. Wondering if it would taste like mangoes. His hand groped the back of my head. I did the only sensible thing and nestled my face against his thigh. More hair there, and it made a nice, wet prickle against my cheek.
I was so close to his penis, I could say hi, so I did. “Hi.”
Daniel’s crotch retreated to a safe distance as he scooted backward. He still had a big hand tucked around my shoulder, and he used it to lean me against the side of the tub. I let myself be manhandled. I think I was a little bit dazed. Having a glorious cock thrust into your face could do that. Add in the brush with death and the scent of mangoes, and I was delirious.
“Did you hit your head?”
“Don’t think so,” I managed. “You know you’re naked, right?”
“I was having a bath.”
Daniel continued to crouch beside me, uninhibited and deliciously fleshy. Not paunchy fleshy, just with lots of skin, and every inch slicked with soap and moisture and looking so damned lickable. The guy might not be able to carry a tune, and he was the Wrecker of Bathrooms, and he lived in an absolute sty, but God, he was gorgeous.
I should stop staring and ask if he was gay. I could blame the head wound I didn’t think I had if he looked at me weird.
“We should take you to the clinic,” he said.
I waved him off. “Nah, ’m fine. Just a bit dazed.”
“I feel kinda responsible. You slipped on my bubbles.”
“Hey, could have happened yesterday, or the day before.”
His blond brows flipped upward. I mentioned he had blond hair, right? He was the whole Scandinavian package. “You fell yesterday too?”
“No, but I could have. You leave the floor like this every day.” I was starting to get my ire on and it was doing funny things to my head. I wondered again if I’d hit it, maybe so hard I didn’t remember doing so. “And your stuff is always on my side of the counter, you leave your shorts on the floor and I’m pretty sure there is something growing in your hamper. Do you have to leave it in here? Thing stinks, man— not like mangoes. What’s with the fruity stuff anyway?”
“You don’t like mangoes?”
That’s what he took from all that?
“My avó grows mangoes. I love them. Totally beside the point.”
“Grandmother.” I flipped a hand in the vague direction of the hills to the west of Santa Barbara. “Farm.” We were getting sidetracked. “Look, I really don’t want to switch up rooms. There aren’t any singles left, and I’m sick of sharing floor space with everyone else’s boxers. Can you just…”
He was looking at me like I was about to announce the fact I’d solved the theory of everything. He also sorta had a wounded puppy thing going on. If his eyes had been a little browner, or just brown instead of blue, all my own bubbles would have popped. I had a thing for brown eyes. But gazing into his fantastically blue and guileless pair, I wondered if I might not develop a thing for blue eyes. Would fit nicely with my thing for everything else Daniel Lundquist. And the bubbles on his skin had been drifting down to leave land mines on the floor, and I knew his cock would be fully exposed. Just thinking about it had saliva pooling around my tongue. Hadn’t I embarrassed myself enough for one day?
“Can you just put some clothes on, please?”
“Sure.” He hopped to his feet, dick swinging free.
I’d like to say I didn’t stare, but I did. Gay, remember? Also, very human. I stopped short of smacking my lips and making nomming noises. For his part, Daniel seemed fairly oblivious to my attention. He snapped a towel from his hook and tucked it around his hips— low enough that I could still appreciate his structure. His ass looked as good wrapped as it had bare. Firm, not really round, but enough for a firm grip. I’d never really been an ass man, anyway— comments upon which should be saved for another time, thank you very much.
His package made a considerable bulge in the front of the towel.
Daniel extended a hand toward me, and I looked at that instead. Gosh, he had long fingers.
“Can you stand up?”
“Yeah, hold on.” I grasped his hand and got to my feet. Then I indulged in a silly moment of just holding his big hand before I let go. “Thanks.”
“Hey, this is my fault. I should have put a towel on the floor. I’ll get a mop.”
“That’d be good.” Put some clothes on first, yeah? Or not…
“Sure you’re okay? Maybe you should lie down for a bit.” His forehead scrawled into pleasant wrinkles. “No, wait, if you hit your head you’re supposed to stay awake.” He thumped my shoulder. “Go sit down or something, but don’t close your eyes.” Another thump. “You’ll be okay.”
With one long stride, he left the bathroom. I drew in a steamy, mango-scented breath and blew it right back out with a sigh. My plan hadn’t exactly gone as planned and… my elbow hurt. I cradled it, fingers grazing the knobby part, and hissed as pain flared along my arm and dug into my shoulder. So that had been the cracking sound. I’d whacked my elbow on the way down.
I had a feeling I could have broken it and not have noticed or cared, which disconcerted me more than the sodden mess seeping across the bathroom floor. This was my last year at school. It was supposed to be my best year. I was going to make my grandmother proud. I didn’t have time to be distracted by tall, wet, and handsome.
But, seriously, I’d known going in there he’d be naked, right?