Attempting to do something a little different, this week. A bit whimsical, if you will. I am working on several fictional short stories. Most of the WIP’s have a deadline sometime this month. Yes, I am insane, but that is completely beside the point.

I decided to share a bit of one of them. Fair warning: this is m/m romance. I stopped before I got the the really naughty bits b/c why would anyone need to read it when it’s done, otherwise. This is a work in progress, in this case, its currently being edited. I hope y’all enjoy. OH! and remember, I’m a complete feed-back slut, so please comment. ConCrit is always appreciated. If you love it, or if you hate it, let me know, as long as you’re willing to tell me why. 😉

A disclaimer: this is a work of original fiction. Any similarities to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

If he was looking for atmosphere, he’d certainly picked the wrong joint, but as luck would have it, Chris was looking for nothing more than a cold beer, and the neon signs in the window of Auggie’s pub proclaimed that they had several varieties. The general lack of cars in the parking lot almost guaranteed that he’d be able to drink, and think, pretty much all by his lonesome, and he was relieved. It had been a brutal day, what with the long drive from St. Louis, to Lyneville, MO, and then the funeral. It was beginning to wear on even his perpetual good humor. He walked through the door, and stopped, briefly, to let his eyes adjust to the light (or lack, thereof), noting that he appeared to be one of only two customers, this particular Saturday. Of course, it was still fairly early.

Not wanting to appear unfriendly, he sat next to the only other warm body on that side of the bar, and gave his order to the bartender, who was attempting to appear busy, polishing beer mugs. Taking a deep pull off his long-neck, he savored the bitter tang of hops and barley, and sighed with obvious pleasure, happy to just be, for a time.

Out of the corner of his eye, he studied his ad hoc companion, dressed to the nines in a black western-style shirt and Wrangler jeans, Stetson pulled down low over his eyes, as he nursed his own beer. Clearing his throat, Chris put the bottle to his lips again, and spoke, before taking another long swallow, “Nice night.”

The cowboy snorted derisively, not bothering to grace him with so much as a glance. His voice, when he spoke, was deep, rich, like chocolate, with a hint of a Texas drawl, “Yeah. Right.”  The stranger motioned the bartender for another beer, and continued to stare pointedly at a spot on the bar, apparently lost in thought.

He tried, once again, to make conversation, because Uncle Harry would have been rolling in his newly-occupied grave, if he hadn’t, “So….uh, I’m not really from around here. I was kind of wondering…”

The stranger turned to him, in irritation, and cut him off, cold, “Mister, my give-a-damn shattered a week ago. I don’t mean to be rude, but I ain’t lookin’ for conversation. I just wanna’ have a beer, or six, and forget today ever happened.”

Chris swallowed, nervously, and nodded in understanding, “Yeah…I, uh, I got it. Sorry.”

The cowboy sighed deeply, and pushed his hat back on his head, grinning ruefully, “Nah, man, I’m the one who should apologize. It’s been a bitch of a day, but that’s not your fault.  I’m Jesse, by the way.” He extended a hand, and Chris couldn’t help but notice, as he shook it, that it was well calloused–hands that were used to hard work.

“Chris. I…I was wondering what’s there to do for entertainment, ‘round here? I’m in town for a funeral, and looking for something to pass the time. ” The last time he’d spent a summer with his uncle, entertainment of the grown-up variety had been the farthest thing from his mind. Fishing, bike riding, the occasional horseback ride had been high on his list of priorities. Now, time and distance had dulled his memory to what the small town had to offer.

Jesse gave him a speculative look, studying him just a bit longer than necessary, which made Chris just the tiniest bit curious about this cowboy’s game. Finally, Jesse offered a small shrug, “This is about it, I’m afraid.” He motioned to Chris’s beer, “You want another?” Not waiting for an answer, he signaled the bartender, who busied himself filling the order.

Chris cleared a sudden lump in his throat, “I, um, my uncle was buried today. ‘S why I’m here, I had to stick around to talk to his lawyer, tomorrow, about some stuff.”

He held up his beer, “To your uncle. May he rest in peace.” The two men clinked the necks of their beer-bottles together, and took a deep swallow, as Jesse wondered absently whether or not he knew the kid’s uncle. He’d have to ask, later, if it didn’t come up.

Chris was amazed at how easily the conversation flowed between them, in the quiet dimness of the small bar. They made small-talk, about the weather, life, whatnot, which was fine, because he found himself drifting off into Jesse’s turquoise eyes, losing track of the conversation rather easily, whenever they’d glance his way. Somehow reasoning that applying more beer would do wonders for his focus, he ordered another round for them both. Such a bad idea, the voice of reason warned, just before he bound and gagged reason, and pitched it into the corner.

His imagination may have been playing tricks on him, with an occasional flirtatious look, but there was no mistaking the warm press of the cowboy’s thigh against his, and when that subtlety failed to get a response, a kick against the sole of his own boot. When he looked up, a question in his eyes, Jesse’s face held that a note of semi-amusement,  as he peered out from under the brim of his hat, his tone coy, “You tryin’ to get me drunk?”

Chris felt the corners of his mouth tug upward, in an answering grin, “That kinda’ depends–Is it working?”

“Well,” long, slender fingers played absently with the label on the bottle, “that kinda’ depends on what you had in mind.”

Chris searched the cowboy’s face for some indication that his words were intended to sound like a come-on, and wasn’t the least disappointed to find that same teasing smile. Chris shook himself, and returned Jesse’s grin, “You know, I was just thinking, you know, about my uncle. I hadn’t seen him in years. Life kind of got in the way. But I remember him being so exuberant, and happy, and just…over the top. I kind of think he’d approve of this, you know, sitting in a bar, drinking a beer, finding some way to celebrate life. You know what I mean?”

Jesse raised one eyebrow, a snort of laughter escaping, “Seriously? ‘Some way to celebrate life?’ That’s the line you’re going with? Why don’t you go freshen up, and see if you can think up something a little more original. Then we’ll see.” Chris excused himself, confused. Line? What line? He was trying to make simple conversation, attempting to cover up the fact that he’d love to do the tall drink of water seven ways from Sunday, and Jesse had somehow seen right through it? Was he really that transparent? Calling himself eleven different kinds of idiot, for even entertaining thoughts of taking the cowboy back to his motel room, he splashed cool water on his flushed cheeks. Reason had somhow slipped it’s bonds, and was screaming at him BAD IDEA! Really bad! This will NOT end well.

He was washing his hands, when he heard the door open, and shut, and the unmistakable snick of the lock being turned. He glanced up in the mirror, and saw Jesse, standing there, back pressed against the door, gazing at him. Chris shot him a questioning look, in the mirror. A lazy grin spread across Jesse’s handsome face, “I decided to give you the benefit of the doubt. You’re so hot, probably haven’t needed much practice at pick-up lines—which you really suck at, by the way.”

That’s it! It’s all you get. Let me know what you think.

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