Slice Wednesday: Dying Wish
This comes from Dying Wish, it’s book one (if you will) of my Paradise mini-series. Well, if this little novelette does well it’ll becomes a series. Dying Wish releases this month from Rooster and Pig Publishing.
The forest melted away around Logan, his mind drifting. He stood awkwardly in a tux his best friend rented for him about a week ago. A glass of champagne hung in his hand. Dancing couples moved about, laughing and joking. The new married couple: his best friend Ethan and his wife, Monica, who Logan had only met a few times before, danced the night away.
Ethan was always good to him. He had made sure the wedding was within five miles of Logan’s home so Logan could attend. Monica wasn’t happy about it, but she conceded after they met for the first time. From what Logan had seen of her, she was a sweet, charming woman.
Her brother, Daniel, was the exact opposite. Logan only met him for the first time that morning and immediately disliked him. Daniel was too loud and overbearing for Logan’s taste.
The man in question glided across the dance floor. His dark jeans and lavender dress shirt, sleeves rolled to just below his elbows, spoke of his sense of style. A little girl was standing on his feet, laughing as they twirled. Daniel’s smile lit up the room.
He stood watching the two for a moment, Daniel’s smile reminded him of Ethan’s, and his thoughts turned to memories of him and Ethan as children. He’d had a crush on Ethan once upon a time, but one night when Ethan was staying over, Ethan allowed them to kiss. Ethan said he wasn’t gay, but he wanted his best friend’s first kiss to be with someone Logan really liked. After that, Logan knew he loved Ethan, but he wasn’t in love with Ethan.
“Care to dance, you grump?”
Startled from his memories, Logan stared at Daniel’s outstretched hand. Daniel wiggled his fingers in a silent invitation. “Come on,” Daniel urged, “you know you want to.” Daniel took his champagne glass and set it on a nearby table. “Let’s dance, you and I.”
Daniel dragged him to the dance floor. Logan’s anxiety shot through the roof, his palms sweated and his breathing increased. “Easy,” Daniel soothed. “I’ve got you.” Daniel’s whisper combined with his firm hold over Logan helped ease Logan’s discomfort.
“Thank you.” Daniel’s aftershave and cologne smelled all too good.
Daniel chuckled as he led them around the dance floor. It was surprisingly easy with Daniel, the gentle way he guided Logan, pressed them together and filled the silence with idle chatter. Normally, Logan found talking annoying, but Daniel’s was like pleasant background noise.
“Do you still hate me?”
Daniel’s question took Logan by surprise. “I never hated you.”
“But you didn’t like me.”
It wasn’t a question. “You’re loud.” Logan hid his face against Daniel’s neck, embarrassed. He truly wanted to leave and hide, but Daniel’s grip wouldn’t allow it.
“Well, if that doesn’t hurt a man’s ego.” A firm hand to the middle of Logan’s back massaged its way up and down again. “Care to make my ego all better with a lunch date?”
Logan wanted to go, but he couldn’t. “I—” His anxiety rose unchecked.
“A late dinner? Less people that way. We’d go to the place just around the corner. The little diner.” Daniel pressed a kiss to his temple. “It’s in your comfort zone.”
“You know about that?” He didn’t know if this made him feel better or not.
Daniel hummed. “Ethan told me. I hope that was okay.”
“You’re not what I thought.”
“I can be a bit deceiving. So about that date?”
Logan sighed and rested his head on Daniel’s shoulder. “Okay.” For once, Logan was going to take a chance instead of letting his anxiety rule his life.
Ethan and Monica’s wedding melted away. The image of Logan and Daniel dancing was the last thing to go, and it was the most painful.