Today’s Friday Flash Fics image had me immediately thinking of a character I left at a moment of happiness, Chris, who’d had a run of odd luck and an encounter with a self-professed psychic, Lightning Todd (no, really), who said he could help people find their bliss ever since he’d been struck by lightning. Chris navigates the worst week of his life and ends up finally kissing the burly security guard, Liam, at the mall where he works. If you want to know how they began, their story is “Struck,” included in Foolish Hearts from Cleis Press (and also available in audio at Audible and, frankly, performed to perfection by the narrator, who does a brilliant Lightning Todd).
No Grand Gestures
“No grand gestures,” Liam said, once they’d scratched the ticket after that first dinner weeks ago. “No going beyond our means.”
Chris, who’d been surprised even though he’d known the ticket would be a winner, agreed. His mother went bankrupt after his father died, and he’d been helping keep her afloat ever since.
“Go back to school,” Liam said. “Finish your degree. I keep working.”
“But start looking for a job you’d like better,” Chris said. “That’s non-negotiable.”
“Okay,” Liam said. “You don’t have to share this with me.”
Chris had already crushed out on the big guy, but at the offer to turn down half a winning ticket that was going to pay out every week for the rest of their lives? He’d launched himself at Liam, and Liam had caught him. By the time they’d come up for air, Chris learned that Liam’s butt looked even better out of his uniform pants. Also they needed a shower, which they’d taken together, and then they’d needed another shower and…
“What are you smiling at?” Liam asked, carrying in a box. Their new place together was empty, but they still had their own places for two months. It was nicer than Chris’s old bachelor by a measure of ten, and at least twice as nice as Liam’s.
“Memories. Hey, we should paint before we move in.”
Liam shrugged. “All yours. Won’t make much difference to me.”
Right. Liam was colour-blind.
That was when Chris decided “No grand gestures” needed flexibility.
He started collecting paint colour cards and taping them up in the bedroom like they were decorations. By the time the package arrived, the wall was pretty much full.
The plan had been simple, but the execution went off track. Liam came out of the shower in just a towel. Chris couldn’t be expected to control himself in view of those shoulders, or Liam’s big chest, or the way his arms did that thing they did when he stretched.
So, naked now, Chris decided to wing it. He got his glasses, and slid off their impromptu bed.
“Going somewhere?” Liam snaked one arm around him.
“Be right back,” he said, slipping free.
At the door, he heard a click, and turned around in time to see Liam lowering his camera.
“Did you just take a shot of my ass?”
“I’ll take another when you come back in,” Liam said, wagging his eyebrows.
Chris shook his head, blushing, and ducked out of the room. The box was hidden in the kitchen. On the way back, he remembered Liam’s warning, and grabbed a book to strategically place in front of him.
Liam laughed when he saw. “Cheater.” Then he smiled. “Model for me. Give me your best sexy librarian.”
Chris put the box down, and held the book just-so, and even miming a “Shh!” The little clicks of Liam’s Nikon thrilled him.
When Liam lowered the camera, Chris scooped up the box. “For you.”
Liam frowned, reading the label. “Enchroma?” He opened it, then he looked at Chris. “Oh wow.”
“I’d really like you to help pick out the colours for the apartment,” Chris said. “Ready?”
Liam pulled out the lenses with a shaking hand.
“Close your eyes,” Chris said.
Liam did. Chris put them on him—he looked good—and then turned him around to face the wall of colour.
But Liam turned his head.
“No,” Chris said. “It’s that way.”
But Liam was already looking at him.
“Oh my God,” Liam said. “Your eyes.”
Chris bit his lip. His chest tightened. “Wait until you see the wall.”
“Give me a minute,” Liam said. “I’m not done looking at you.”
Oh yeah. This guy? This guy was it.