Except from Buyout - A Love Story (coming 2/8)

Here's the first scene in Buyout. I hope you enjoy it. 

Chapter ONE

I stood in the doorway and stared at the bodies writhing beneath stark white sheets. I’d forgotten a file at home and had come back unexpectedly. The two men didn’t hear me at first, and I had time to wonder how long this had been going on and what kind of fucking STDs and other germs Aiden had been bringing home. And how much it would cost to make him go away. We’d been together six months. In the beginning there had been candlelight and champagne and plenty of sex, and I’d thought I loved him. But now, as I watched him, I realized he’d already faded into the severance package category—beautiful young men with perfect bodies, who weren’t right and never could be.

I should have turned around and left right then, before they saw me. But I stood for a moment too long, and Aiden glanced over his shoulder. Color drained from his face. For two beats he stared at me with his mouth open.

Then came a stream of predictable words, apologies, excuses. It hurt almost as much to hear how stupid he thought I was as it did to see his skin tinged red with excitement from another man’s touch. I raised my hand to make him stop talking.

The room fell silent. The other guy, a slender, handsome man with dark glistening skin, edged himself out of bed. He picked up a pair of blue briefs. As he slid them over his perfectly defined thigh muscles, I wondered if he worked at the same modeling agency as Aiden.

It didn’t matter.

I turned back to the man who had gone from my lover to my ex in a fraction of a second. “I’m going to Amsterdam tonight. I’ll be back by the weekend. Will that give you enough time to find a new place?”

“Look, Sean, I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it. I’m weak. And look at him.” His eyes slid to the black man. He leaned toward me, and his voice dropped as he said, “We could share.”

Caught in the middle of our domestic ugliness, the poor guy was dressing quickly. His expression was shut down, like he’d rather be anywhere other than where he was right at that moment. I didn’t blame him. I felt the same. The last thing I wanted was to play out a big scene. The truth was that our affair had been over for weeks. I just hadn’t been paying enough attention to realize it.

I focused on my lover’s lover, the only relatively innocent person in the room. “Don’t be embarrassed. This isn’t your fault.”

“Fucking right it isn’t his fault,” Aiden snapped at me. “He’s not the one always taking off for Amsterdam or Hong Kong or some other fucking place, leaving me to entertain myself.”

“Which you seem very capable of doing.” I moved past him to the closet. I pulled out the suitcase I’d packed the night before. “I’ll get out of your way and let you get back to it.”

“Sean, wait.” He grabbed my arm. “Where will I go?”

I stared first at Aiden’s hand on my arm and then I met his gaze. I looked for it. I did. But the panic in his eyes had nothing to do with love. He stood there, naked. And to top it all off, I didn’t see any condoms around the bed or on his fucking cock.

I shook my head, disgusted. It really was time to offer the severance package. “Stay through the end of the month. I’ll find somewhere else to live in the meantime. And if you’re desperate, I’ll send over a check to cover first, last, and deposit on a new place.”

He relaxed, his hand dropping away from my arm. “Thanks Sean. You’re a real gentleman.”

I closed my eyes. I was thirty-six, relatively attractive, financially stable, healthy—with the exception of an occasional migraine—and alone. Again. It always hurt when my delusions got shattered. Until the next pretty man came along to make me want to believe. What would be next? An actor? A dancer? Whoever he was, he’d be delightful when I met him but not when he left.

I knew that paying their rent for a few months after they left was a defense mechanism. And an atonement. I was always making up for Martim, the man I’d abandoned years before. The one that got away. Except that he haunted my dreams, and his face always filled my mind when it was time to let the pretty boys go. Martim, who had been the best thing that ever happened to me, perfect until it all went wrong and I’d kicked him out on a cold night with no place to go. If I could take that back, I would. But all I could do was to pay off a stream of new, young, bad boys, even when they didn’t deserve it. None of them were Martim. And never would be.

It wasn’t until I was out in the hallway that I realized I’d left the damned file. Fuck it. It wasn’t worth going back in there. I’d just have to do without.