“Why do I keep staring at your lips?” It’s an impossible question to ask, and one I know neither of us has the answer to. But I’m only  a man, standing here, with nothing left but his vulnerability and honesty, hoping they’re enough to wade me through this clusterfuck.


“Am I supposed to answer you?” he quips.


Ignoring the taunt, I go on with my thoughts, letting the words tumble out of my mouth freely. “Does it bother you that I can’t seem to take my eyes off them?”


His gaze flicks up to mine, and I watch the tip of his tongue grace his wet, plump, bottom lip. “Does it bother you?” 


“Fuck you, Julian.” The words are empty, as I hang my head between us, force my eyes shut and whisper. “I’m going to fuck this up.”


“Blame the alcohol.”


I snap my head up. “What?”


“Do whatever it is you feel.” He places his hands on my chest, and I feel the heat transfer between us. “And instead of it being awkward after, we’ll blame it on the alcohol.”


“And everything will go back to normal?” I ask, almost hopeful. Why the fuck am I considering this?


“You mean you’ll go home and I’ll be here, and we’ll hate each other?” His gaze darts out of focus, as the last half of the sentence comes out croaky; almost like the words pain him. “Yeah sure.”


With a mind of its own my hand reaches for his chin, and brings his focus back to mine. “I’m an asshole, but that’s not what I meant.”


“Let me go home, Deacon,” he says with a sigh. He wraps his fingers around my wrist. “Sleep off whatever it is you’re feeling, because it’ll probably be gone tomorrow.”


Dropping my hand, his falls too. I take a step back, and shake my head at him, laughing humourlessly. “I can’t.” 


He straightens his stance against the glass window. “What do you mean you can’t?”


“I’ve felt like this all weekend,” I admit, rubbing my hand across the back of my neck. “And for someone who has never even glanced at another man, what I’m feeling has already lasted too long.”


Feeling inundated with nausea, the confession slides out of my mouth, like vomit; with no warning, and just one big mess to clean up.


 Surprising me, he steps forward with an air of confidence I didn’t expect. He tilts his head up slightly, raising his longing filled, chocolate eyes to mine. “So do it,” he says forcefully. The quick rise and fall of his chest is the only tell that I’m not alone in feeling this way. “Do. It.” he enunciates. 


I feel myself swaying, teetering on the thin line of indecision. Toward him? Or away from him? 


WITHOUT YOU arrives March 13th!