The Grump (MM)
Brad can’t believe his luck when he finds the perfect place to live at the perfect price. It’s a pity his new landlord Douglas is such a miserable grump. It isn’t long before he wonders if it’s a good idea to be living in such close proximity to such a moody ogre.
Fortunately, his life at work is looking up with the arrival of a new employee named Enzo. Brad falls immediately in lust with the hot Italian. They start dating, though it soon becomes apparent there are going to be problems. Enzo starts exhibiting some unlikeable traits and, while Brad finds himself slowly falling in love with the man, he also realizes Enzo has problems not just with commitment, but also with his sexuality.
Brad has a dilemma. Does he persist with Enzo, tolerate his bad behavior, and pray for a miraculous, happy ending? Or will the love he seeks come from an entirely different direction?
An hour later, Enzo slid off Brad and rolled onto his back. Breathless and exhilarated, Brad stared up at the ceiling. His body pulsed with pleasure. Heat radiated from him and he wouldn’t have been surprised if he was glowing. Never before had he experienced sex as consuming and passionate. Enzo had proven himself to be a skilled and energetic lover, leaving Brad satisfied and wanting more.
“You enjoy that?” asked Enzo.
Brad hardly knew how to answer. Was there a word stronger than ‘enjoy’?
“Wow,” he said. “Just ... wow. That was amazing.”
He turned to face Enzo, who was running his hand back and forth over his pectoral muscles and grinning like the cat that got the cream.
“I suppose I should run you home now,” said Enzo.
Brad took hold of Enzo’s hand. “No, I don’t have to go yet. I want to spend a bit more time with you.”
Enzo’s smile dimmed. “You’ve just spent a couple of hours with me.”
He pulled his hand free of Brad’s.
“I want to get to know you,” said Brad. “Hang out with you.”
Enzo looked at him blankly and then got out of bed.
“Next time,” he said, pulling on a shirt he picked up off the floor. “It’s dinner time and I haven’t got enough for two. Put your clothes on and I’ll drop you home.”
Brad took a moment to process Enzo’s response. It was unexpected, but more than that, Brad thought it was incredibly rude. He wasn’t someone Enzo had picked up in a club or off the street. They were colleagues. They worked together and would be seeing each other tomorrow.
He got out of bed and walked into the living area to retrieve his clothes. Enzo was in the kitchen doing some dishes. He had his back to Brad. Brad dressed in silence. Thanks to Enzo’s eagerness to get rid of him, he felt uncomfortable, like an interloper. He pulled on his socks and shoes, and when he was fully dressed, he cleared his throat, attracting Enzo’s attention.
“Ah good.” said Enzo, throwing the tea towel onto the counter. “All ready?”
Brad could do no more than glance at Enzo. His tone was cold. He felt used and the sheer exultation he’d felt only ten minutes before had vanished, leaving an empty, dirty feeling in its place.
“Come on then,” said Enzo, grabbing his car keys. “You’re over on Cadney Street, aren’t you? Near the park?”
Brad tried his best not to sound upset. He followed Enzo to the car and got in. They spent the majority of the journey in silence, until they pulled up at a red light in the city centre.
“You’re quiet,” said Enzo.
Brad bristled at the comment. If Enzo didn’t know why he was quiet, then he was an idiot.
“Tired,” he replied. “It’s been a long day.”
He caught Enzo pulling a face. His whole body tensed with irritation.
“You need some multi-vitamins,” said Enzo. “That’s what you need. I take one every day because sometimes I don’t have time to eat very well. I try to, but you know ...”
“Maybe you’re right.” Brad gazed out the side window at the night sky. “It’s a good idea.”
Eventually they pulled into Cadney Street.
“What number?” asked Enzo.
“Anywhere along here will do thanks.”
Enzo brought the car to an immediate stop. “Here you go, then,” he said.
Brad removed his seatbelt. “Thank you. I guess we’ll see each other at work tomorrow.”
He got out of the car and closed the door. Without so much as a backwards glance, he started walking. Slowly, so by the time he reached the gate at number thirty-eight, Enzo would be long gone.
But Enzo didn’t leave. Brad could hear his car idling in the street.
Why isn’t he going?