Public Display of Everything (9 page)

I wanna keep going for hours, but I'm damn exhausted, so I lie down next to him instead and pull him with me. He straddles my stomach, his hands flattened against my chest.

"Will you consider spending the night with me?" he asks shyly.

My mouth twists into a small smile. "You'd have to kick me out, Flynn."

He looks relieved.

 

Chapter 8

*

Cory,

I'm asking Jennifer for a divorce when she comes home from her spa retreat. Dylan and Jayden are my life, but I can't keep up with the charade any longer.

Hope you're well,

Luke

*

"Cory."

I groan sleepily and draw Flynn closer. "Ten more minutes." My hands roam down his back, lean and soft yet tightly muscled and all man. "I was having the best dream."

"Is that so?" There's a smile in his voice as he shifts closer, bringing our chests together. "What was it about?"

My eyes remain closed, and I hitch his leg over my hip. There's no way he can't feel my morning wood. Which…fuck, one might think it'd be soft for a week or two now, spent and sated.

After we fucked yesterday, we took a shower, ordered pizza, then went back to bed. He'd
insisted
on sucking me off, and who was I to turn him down? But evidently that hadn't been enough, 'cause he'd woken me up in the middle of the night, too.

We sixty-nine'd each other, then crashed again.

"Take a wild guess, Huckleberry." I give a slow thrust of my hips. Leaning forward, I go for his mouth, surprised to find him minty fresh. "You've been up?" I crack my eyes open.

"Yes." He holds something up—my phone. "This was ringing in the bathroom. I got it for you and brushed my teeth."

"Oh." I almost toss the phone on the floor, but then I figure I might as well check it. "Thanks." I rub the sleep out of my eyes and see that I have a text.

I'll be 10 minutes late. Sorry!

"Shit," I mutter. Checking the time, I see that it's ten forty-five already. "Shit, shit, shit."

"Is something wrong?" Flynn looks at me, appearing…guarded? Or maybe I'm too tired and don’t understand jack shit right now.

I frown. "I'm supposed to meet Tammy for brunch in fifteen minutes." In an attempt to clear my head of the remnants of sleep, I scrub a hand down my face and blink at the screen. Well, there's no way I can make it. We always meet up on the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral, and it's at least twenty minutes on the tube. And, frankly, I…I don’t want to. I can always swing by the pub next week.

My fingers fly over the cracked screen.

My turn to apologize. I overslept. Can we reschedule?

I have my first shift at my new job tomorrow, but since it's a lunch restaurant, I get off fairly early. Perhaps we can meet up then.

Just as I press send, he speaks up. "I suppose you should go, then."

"What?" I lift my gaze and smile, confused. "Hell, no. I'm not leaving—unless that’s what you want."

"But your friend…" A crease appears in his forehead.

"—can see me another time," I finish, then drop my phone somewhere behind me. "I'd rather take you out for breakfast." I brush a kiss to his lips.

He doesn’t kiss me back.

"Something wrong?" Unease chills my spine, but I don’t show it.

"You, ah…" Clearly uncomfortable, he rubs his neck. He also backs away and sits up, pulling the covers with him to cover his lower body. "You want to go out? In public?"

I stare at him, my jaw ticking with tension. I can't believe this. After the night we've shared…?

The story of my fucking life!

"You're a closet case?" I ask, my voice low. It wasn’t really my intention to sound harsh, but I'm fucking disappointed.
Hurt
. "Is that why you had straight listed on your profile at first?"

Hiding will slay me. I
can't
go through it again.

"No!" He looks stunned, if not horrified. "No, not at all. I—sorry, I'm just…" He tugs at his hair. "I'm shocked. Shocked, that…I don’t know, you
want
to go out in public? Or—" he glances at me apprehensively "—have I possibly jumped the gun? Perhaps you meant we go out as friends."

Now I gotta sit up too, and I narrow my eyes at him. "Moment of truth, all right? Last night was unbelievable. I like you. I want you—more than I can say. I don’t wanna hide with you. And I don’t want anything casual."

I'm not cruel. My feelings are strong enough that I would sacrifice a lot for Flynn, but I gotta be sure the hiding isn't gonna be permanent. One day, I wanna be open about my relationship. It's what I fucking ache for—
have
ached for. Since I started dating.

Public display of fucking everything.

"So…there you have it." I wait for him to look me in the eye.

When he does, all I see is wide-eyed innocence. This is new to him, I realize. Whatever experience he has, it's been nothing like this.

"I didn’t know," he whispers apologetically, lowering his gaze.

Feeling bad as hell, I move forward and palm his cheek. "Look at me, Flynn," I murmur. He does, cautiously. "I'm gonna ask you a question, and all I need is a yes or no. Do you wanna go out with me for a very late breakfast?"

"Yes," he croaks quickly. "I'm sorry I don’t know what I'm doing."

Relief floods me. "I don’t know what I'm doing all the time, either. Or even half the time." I crack a smile, needing to see his. "We'll take it one step at a time, okay?" He nods minutely and holds on to my hand when I let go of his face. "Can I ask one more question for now?"

"Ask."

I stare at his fingers playing with mine. "I'm gay, but what about you? Gay or bi?" I look up in time to see his cheeks heating up.

"Gay. Definitely gay. I've, um, been
discreet
, but I'm not in denial or anything, and I don’t want to hide."

That’s all I need to know—for the time being.

*

Descending the steps from Flynn's building, I slide my fake Ray-Bans up my nose and draw up my sweats to my calves. It's another hot day in London, so I'm glad I didn’t even think of taking my flannel shirt. The black T-shirt Flynn got me is plenty, though I might stop at a tacky tourist shop and pick up a pair of flip-flops. My feet are gonna be boiling in these ratty sneakers.

"Where are we going?" Flynn sticks his hands down into the pockets of his cargo shorts.

"This way." I jerk my chin to the right, and we start trekking toward Bayswater. Hyde Park is just across the street, and I'm looking forward to a few hours chilling in there. But supplies are needed. As in, food.

We walk in silence for a bit, and I sneak a few glances at Flynn, who's been kinda quiet since we left the bed. There's a small smile playing on his lips that he keeps to himself, which is enough to keep me calm, but I'm pretty sure I'll offer a penny for his thoughts sooner rather than later.

I want him to want this as much as I do.

"I always eat cereal for breakfast. At the kitchen table," he says out of the blue, looking over at the park across the street. "This will be a new experience. Are we going to a café?"

"No." I tilt my head at him, curious. I don’t believe Flynn is anywhere near uptight or stiff, but he does seem more used to structure and order. "I thought I'd treat you to a poor man's picnic. We gotta go to Tesco for that."

He squints due to the sun. "Poor man's picnic?"

"That’s right." I grin a little and scratch my chin. "You'll see. I mean, we could always go to a café—"

"No, no." He shakes his head quickly. "I would like to try. I'm very curious about your…habits. Your everyday life."

Glad to hear it. I want to show him the best parts before he sees the worst. In the same way, I hope he'll include me in his own routines. I wanna know everything there is to know about Flynn Thomas Wright.

As we walk down Queensway, I stop briefly at the bazaar to buy a pair of black plastic flip-flops. I haggle for the price while Flynn looks around in wonder at all the fashion brand knock-offs. In the end, I walk out with new footwear, and I'm only three quid lighter.

I throw my old sneakers in a trash can.

"Cory!"

I snicker at his face. "They were completely worn down. Nothing to mourn."

"Oh. Didn’t you mention Tesco?" He points at the Tesco Express on the other side of the street.

"Not that one." I check my phone, but still nothing from Tammy. "There's a larger one down the street. It's cheaper."

I type out a quick message to Tammy.

Did you get my text?

When we reach the bigger grocery store, I grab a basket and take the lead toward the bread. "So…how are we on PDA?"

"Are you inquiring about the abbreviation of Public Display of Affection?" he wonders, to which I nod and toss a fresh baguette in the basket. "I see. What do you want, if you don’t mind my asking?"

Leaning close, I get a whiff of his neck, and it would be so easy to pull him in for a kiss. "I want what every other couple wants."

"Oh," he mouths, looking up at me. The wonder is back. "I apologize. This is extremely new to me."

"I can tell." I give him a smile before I pick out a cream cheese. Next we wander over to the refrigerators with fruit cups. "Tell me to fuck off if I push too much, all right? I want you to be comfortable." I nod at the fruit. "Pick something with a clearance label. It's yesterday's fruit but just as good and half price."

For some reason, that makes his eyes brighten. "To save money," he concludes. "It's like a game. I like it." I guess that’s one way of looking at it. I go for some pineapple and grapes while he decides carefully. "I would never tell you that, by the way." He speaks softly as he inspects a container of sliced apples. "To, you know…fuck off," he whispers. I file curses under things he says in bed and nowhere else. "This one." He smiles at his find and places the fruit cup in the basket.

Lastly, we get a big bottle of water and a box of yesterday's Krispy Kremes before heading to the registers.

"No way," I say when he goes for his wallet. "If you feel like spreading your wealth, you can always buy me rich man's coffee." At his puzzled expression, I smirk. "Starbucks."

"Is Starbucks expensive?" he asks curiously.

My brows furrow. "You grew up in Seattle and never visited a Starbucks?"

"No, no. I frequent their establishments often. I just didn’t know it was expensive."

I can only grin, digging this look into his mind. "Do you ever check price tags before you pay?"

"No."

Figured. "I have to," I admit, paying for the groceries. "You called it a game? It's everyday life to me." I shrug. "I'm cool with it, though."

Do I want more money? Of-fucking-course, but my complaints don’t go beyond regular bitching as long as I have a roof over my head and food. 

Flynn gets quiet for a while, and we leave Tesco and walk up toward Hyde Park again. I let him process whatever's going through his mind. The silence is only broken when we get to Starbucks and I ask for a black coffee.

Flynn goes with a mocha-poca-loca or whatever-the-fuck they're called. A double shot of something is mentioned. There's foam on it. It smells like coffee and syrup.

"Cory, do you think I'm spoiled?" He stares at the ground while we walk.

Screw that. "I think you're smart as fuck and innovative. You built something, and it's obviously paying off."

He chews on his bottom lip. "There's a trust fund, too."

"That still doesn’t make you spoiled. I don’t judge people by their wallets." I choose my words carefully, 'cause I don’t want this to be an issue between us. I was the one who brought up the money question, and I now I gotta get my point across. "I think…I think I just wanted to make it clear that there are a lot of things I can't afford. At the same time, I don’t want you to feel limited. I'm fine with our differences if you are."

He mulls it over as we cross the street, and then we enter the park through the closest gates.

"If—if I wanted to take you to a restaurant…?" He glances up shyly.

Unable to help myself, I shift my coffee cup to the hand I'm using to hold the Tesco bag and drape my free arm around his shoulders. "I would do my best not to look at the prices. Simple as that." I press a kiss to his temple. "We'll give each other what we can, and we won’t measure affection in money."

"Okay." He flashes me a smile, relief in his eyes. "I should tell you that I prefer movie marathons to nights out, though. And I love macaroni and cheese. That’s affordable, right?"

I bark out a laugh and let go of him. "Yes, Flynn. Mac and cheese is definitely affordable." And I'm partial to movie marathons myself, especially if they come with this guy.

Flynn grins and looks down, blocking my view of his face.

Surrounded by grass, trees, dog walkers, joggers, tourists, and people having an early lunch, I scan the area for a good place to sit. By now, the sun is all but brutal, so I wouldn’t mind some shade.

As we pass a couple cuddling on the grass, I feel Flynn's fingers lacing together with mine.

*

"Your breakfast beats mine." Flynn breaks off another piece of the bread and drags it through the cream cheese. "This is very delicious."

"I come here on weekends as long as the weather allows it." Brushing some crumbs off my shirt, I eye the little squirrel running past. Shifty fuckers.

When I first came to the UK, I thought they were cute. Hell of a lot cuter than ducks. But then I tried to feed a squirrel, and it fucking bit me. It was a rabies shot and a course of antibiotics for me after that.

I've also been chased by a swan over by the pond one time. That’s why I don’t go there anymore.

I'll stick to the grass and the shade the trees provide.

Flynn first suggested we sit closer to a tree and lean against it, but that’s a no-no. Too close. The squirrels live up there.

"You have—here." Flynn's hand comes up, and he brushes his thumb across my lip. "Cream cheese." He sticks the pad of his thumb to his mouth to lick it off.

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