Home > Waiting on Life

Waiting on Life
Author: Parker Williams

Chapter One


I’d entered my apartment building, my ass dragging after my tenth consecutive sixteen-hour shift as the manager of a local bar called, appropriately, No Angels. I’d marked myself off on the calendar as I left for the night, desperately needing a day to unwind. Wednesdays were our slowest day, so the guys should be able to handle it without issue.

I already knew the greeting I was going to get when I walked in the door of my modest two-bedroom place, and if it took me a few extra minutes, that would be okay, because I didn’t relish the idea of the dressing down waiting for me.

There was a young woman, bent at the waist, retrieving mail that had apparently fallen from the tiny slot that passed as mailboxes in our complex. Attached to the slender, toned body was an absolutely lovely backside that made me smile. I groaned, because I was perving on some woman in my building, and that whole “don’t shit where you eat” thing extended to outside of work. Still, though… that ass was a siren calling me to crash on its firm shore. As I got closer, I caught a scent that tickled my nose. The spicy notes suited this woman perfectly. Instead of giving in to my baser instincts and cupping her ass—which, of course, I would never do uninvited—I cleared my throat and stepped around her so I could claim my own mail.

“Excuse me.”

She yelped and jerked upright, which caused her to bang her head on the still-open mailbox door. She dropped to her knees with a cry of shock or pain—I wasn’t sure which. I knelt next to her and ran my fingers through artfully styled short red hair that had been shaved on the sides. It was a bold statement, and I liked women who gave zero fucks about how others would feel about the choices they made. I winced when my fingers made contact with a definite lump. Fortunately there wasn’t any blood, so that was a bonus.

“You okay?” I still hadn’t stopped rubbing her head, enjoying the soft texture of her hair as I glided my hand over it. I’d never been one for fabrics, but I do recall my sister, Tammy, showing me her prom dress and saying it was silk. This woman’s hair was similar. “Did you hurt yourself?” I asked, keeping my voice soft so as not to scare her.

She murmured something, then snapped her gaze in my direction, and my jaw dropped. It wasn’t a woman! I’d been ogling a man’s ass and touching his hair. My stomach heaved. My own sister was a lesbian and married to an amazing young lady. I mean, I understood liking women, but guys? Hard pass.

Okay, this is probably a good time to point out that at No Angels, we had gay guys working for us. Scott, Donnie, and Cary were all gay. I’m going to admit something here—I didn’t want to hire a gay guy. I thought with the clientele we had in the bar, they’d get harassed or would be intimidated by them. Tammy pleaded with me to give Scott a chance, and until recently, I never regretted it. The guys—well, at least Scott and Cary—were great with the customers. Donnie? Ugh.

I pulled my attention away from the creeping thoughts of Donnie and turned it back to the guy in front of me.

He grumbled as he rubbed his head. “Gee, let’s see. Godzilla clomps over, scares the shit out of me, and I jump. Unless you’re deaf, you heard me when my head and that fucking piece of metal collided. Did it fucking sound like I was okay?”

He glanced up, and I was allowed my first good look at him. I couldn’t deny that the front view was nice—for a guy, I mean. On his pale skin, there was a smattering of freckles, especially ones that dotted the bridge of his upturned nose and high cheekbones. His ears, pink at the tips, came to a slight point. Pouty little lips, warm and soft, that seemed made for kissing. I wondered briefly what they would look like if they were passion-swollen. It actually gave me an ache in my chest to tear my gaze away from his mouth.

Then I noticed his eyes. I’d met more than a few redheaded women in my life, and I thought they were beautiful. But this guy’s eyes were so different from anything I’d ever seen. They were like warm chocolate with flecks of gold stirred in. If you looked, the gold seemed to swirl in his gaze. Anyone—man or woman—who looked into those depths would be ensnared and never want to get out. As much as I loathed having to admit it, the man was, without a doubt, simply stunning. The fact that he swore like a sailor in no way detracted from his twinky appearance. I figured he cussed to get people to take him seriously.

“Do you make it a habit of groping men?” he muttered, leaning back and taking his face out of my reach. He put a hand up and ran long, slender fingers over his hair. “Fuck,” he barked, then winced when he felt the knot.

“Oh, sorry,” I replied. I hadn’t even been aware I was still touching him. “Are you all right? Do you need first aid?”

“Fuck,” he grunted as he touched the bump once more. “I’m fine.” He held his mail in a tight fist, and I could see his knuckles turning white.

To this day, I don’t know why I did it. I was too mesmerized by this guy to simply walk away. I held out a hand. “I’m Toby Tomlinson.”

He glared at my hand, then up at my face. His brow twitched as he reached out. “Kyle Roga.”

“Nice to meet you. Have you lived here long?”

“No, we just moved in a few days ago.”

We? I breathed out. I found myself still unable to stop looking at Kyle, and I had no idea why. He was so pretty that I could almost imagine he was a girl. His skin was flawless, his face round and sweet, his expression open and sincere. I wasn’t wrong before. Falling under his spell would be simple for anyone.

“Me and my roommate, Pete. We went to school together and found out we could stand each other, so we decided to move in together after graduation. Well, not right after graduation. I lived by myself for about a year, but that didn’t work out. Pete and I, the two of us….” He blushed. “Sorry, sometimes I get verbal diarrhea.” He cocked his head. “What about you? Have you lived here long?”

“About three years. I’m saving up to buy a house, but I need something very specific.”

His delicate brow quirked. “Oh?”

“Yeah, it’s going to sound weird. I want a farmhouse with a big kitchen, maybe some chickens, and a couple of goats.” I really wanted a miniature goat. I’d seen videos of them on YouTube, and they made me laugh. I realized Kyle was staring at me, and I scratched the back of my neck. I’d never told anyone outside my family about my dream house. “The living room will have a fireplace, and the bedroom will have a small one too.” I’d always envisioned me and my wife moving there, making a home on the land, planting crops, raising food for us. I wanted out of the city in the worst way. I’d had too many problems with people, and the thought of getting away from it all and making a life free from their judgments was appealing to me.

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