This is a newer feature we’ll be doing a couple times through the year – highlighting characters sharing firsts. We can post something from an already published work, a work in progress or something completely new. This time, we’re talking first arguments.
I’ve chosen a bit from one of my Bound books – Nothing Serious.
It was meant to be nothing serious. And it was…until it wasn’t.
Aaron Stevens likes his life the way it is. As a surgical resident, he is perfectly content with the fact that the precious hours he has outside the hospital revolve around taking care of his mother and sister. He doesn’t have the time or inclination for a serious relationship. So the fact his lover lives halfway around the world and is fine with jetting off to exotic locales a couple times a year for a few weeks of hot sex is as close to perfect as he can get.
The last thing Jack Hayes ever expected when his best friend got involved with an American was to hook up with her son. And he sure as hell never imagined it would continue for as long as it has. For years, he has been at Aaron’s beck and call, satisfied with submitting to him whenever Aaron and his busy life allow. But, after a change in his family’s company that has him looking for a new job, and possibly moving, Jack has begun to examine what he really wants in life and isn’t sure stolen moments here and there are enough anymore.
When Jack arrives to attend Aaron’s sister’s wedding, keeping what he and Aaron have a secret begins to take its toll. Aaron is unwilling to come out to his family, afraid of hurting them and ruining what should be the happiest day of his sister’s life. As much as Jack has come to love Aaron, he can’t bring himself to be the dirty secret in Aaron’s closet. Aaron has a choice to make, because the tighter he holds on to keeping their “nothing serious” arrangement, the closer he comes to losing everything.
Jack took a deep breath and closed his eyes, and Aaron pulled him close, wishing he had more time, knowing coming out of a scene so abruptly wasn’t easy.
“I’m all right,” Jack murmured into Aaron’s neck. “Should put some clothes on before Em shows up, though.”
“Yeah, definitely should do that. I’ll get your stuff.”
“My stuff?” Jack frowned at him.
“We need to move your things in here.” Aaron stood and gathered the unused toys from the dresser. “Last thing I need is Emily getting nosy and suspicious. Be right back.”
He hurried into this room and replaced the items in the chest. Then, he grabbed Jack’s suitcases and rolled them into the guestroom, where Jack still sat on the bed, staring straight ahead.
“Still a few things in the bathroom, but I’ll get those after I clean up and get dressed.” Bending to kiss Jack’s mouth, he frowned when Jack leaned away. “Jack?”
“Does your sister normally go poking around in your room and bathroom when she’s here?” Jack asked flatly.
“But you can’t take the chance, no matter how small, ‘cause it’d be the last thing you need, yeah? I mean, what could be worse than someone finding out about us?”
Aaron gaped at him, the metallic taste of panic overwhelming him. Whether it was because of his sister’s imminent arrival or Jack’s reaction, he didn’t know. “Why are you so angry? Nothing’s changed. I don’t understand.”
“Not angry.” Jack shook his head. “Just tired. And frustrated.”
“I’m sorry,” Aaron murmured, not know what else to say.
“Yeah, I know. So, go get dressed, Aaron, so everything’s normal when your sister gets here.”
The weariness his voice was like a knife to Aaron’s gut, and his refusal to meet Aaron’s gaze another twist of the blade. He went back to his room and, getting clean clothes, ducked into the bathroom. Turning the shower on, he stepped in, wincing at coolness of the water. As he washed his hair and scrubbed, he heard Jack shuffle in. Peering around the curtain, Aaron watched the other man gather his toiletries. Their eyes met briefly in the mirror above the sink, and Jack’s mouth quirked up in sad smile before walking out.
This day, Aaron decided, shoving his head under the spray to rinse off, couldn’t get much worse. After toweling off and dressing, he strode into the living room and realized how wrong he was.
Jack stood near the door, holding the curtain back from the window and peering outside—his suitcases at his feet.
“What are you doing?” Aaron managed to croak.
Jack visibly stiffened but didn’t turn around. “I’m waiting for a cab.”
“What the hell for?”
“To take me to a hotel.”
“Why?” Aaron asked, shaking his head and leaning against the sofa as his legs quaked.
“I think it’d be easier all around, don’t you? No chance of anyone finding out this way.”
“You can’t leave like this.”
“Like what?” Jack snapped, finally facing Aaron. “How exactly am I leaving? On my terms? Is that the problem?”
“What? No! The problem is you leaving at all. Why would you want to stay at a hotel when you can—”
“Stay here and go back and forth between rooms at your convenience depending on who decides to drop by?”
Aaron shoved his hand through his wet hair and shook his head. Christ, he couldn’t deal with this, not now. A car horn sounded outside, and Jack turned to look out.
“It’s my cab.”
“Is…is this you ending things?” Aaron could hardly force the words out, a cold sweat breaking out over his body as he waited for the answer.