Release Date: Mar 21, 2009
ISBN (10): 1-60370-660-7
Publisher: Torquere Press
Publisher Link: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=1859
Blurb: Michael’s hating life since his lover Alex dumped him on what should have been a very important night for them. Even his best friend Jim is having trouble bringing Michael out of his slump. Until Jim does, with a temporary solution to Michael’s loneliness that’s as unexpected as it is welcome, at first. The last thing Jim expects when he tries to cheer Michael up is to fall in love with the guy. They’re just comforting each other; being very friends with benefits, right? So why is Jim so damned hurt when Mike takes off without as much as a goodbye? What is it about Michael that has Jim feeling lost without him? And is there any chance that Mike feels it too, or will Jim forever think of Michael as the one that got away?
Jim was trying desperately to keep himself from grinning like a loon as he hauled Michael up against him in the middle of the bouncing, swaying crowd. He could feel the guy struggling, trying to squirm out of his grasp, but he wasn´t about to let that happen. Not when Michael was finally showing some emotion, rather than moping and crying. And okay, so that emotion was anger, but it was something.
Christ, the way Michael had been acting for the last few weeks was almost enough to make Jim want to slit his own wrists, so anger? Downright fury? Definitely an improvement. The pissed off glare he got when he looked down and met Michael´s eyes only made him laugh.
"You might as well give up, man," he said loudly, leaning down to make sure Michael heard him. "We both know I could hold you here all night if I wanted to. And if you keep wriggling around like that, I just might." He waggled his brows, being comically suggestive, because damn, he needed to see Michael laugh. Even if it wasn´t a real, deep, true laugh. Besides, he really didn´t mind the way that taut, lean little body felt against his bulkier form. Still, a laugh would be good.
Instead, what he got was a sigh and sudden surrender, all the fight leaving that struggling form, just like that. "Fine, you bastard," and he could hear Michael just fine, even with the music and other voices pounding around them.
Jim wrapped his arms tighter around Michael´s lean waist, his feet shuffling to get them moving. "That´s better," he murmured, though he didn´t bother with trying to make Michael hear him. It was enough that he could feel Michael relaxing even more, the small bit of remaining stiffness leaving that lean body after a minute or two.
He wasn´t sure of how long they danced. Didn´t much care, either. It wasn´t like there was anyone waiting for him, after all. Not since he and Tony had broken up a good week or so before the whole Alex thing ended.
Oh, Jim knew there were guys who were interested, and even a few people at work, but sometimes a man had to think with the big head, and... Michael was his friend. Possibly his best friend. And Michael was hurting. That trumped getting off with a warm body, any day. Not that Jim would ever say so. He wasn´t quite that gay.
Songs changed, the music going faster, slower, louder, softer, and still he stood there, holding on to Michael and swaying. Eventually, one of them would have to take a piss break, Jim was sure, but right then, they were good. Even better when he felt Michael start to shake a little. Then there was dampness seeping into the front of his shirt, and Jim knew -- suddenly and without any clue of where his certainty came from -- that Michael was going to be all right.
Maybe not the next song, or even the next day or month. But eventually. And fuck if that wasn´t one hell of a load off of his mind. He would have hated to lose his friend, and Michael had been drowning in so much sheer misery that Jim had actually worried that he´d come home one day to find Michael´s things gone, along with the man himself.
They were still swaying when the lights came up a little while later, and Jim chuckled at the sheepish look on Michael´s face when the guy got a good look at the wet shoulder of Jim´s shirt in the fluorescents. "Don´t worry about it, man," he murmured, one hand rubbing slowly up and down Michael´s spine. "Glad I could help. I´m thinking pancakes at the diner on the way home. Or are you gonna fight me on that, too? I bet they´ll even make you a smiley face with berries and bananas, if we ask real nice...