The rain was still falling, although not hard. The Cougar’s wipers dashed the water from the glass in a hypnotically rhythmic pattern. Even the mysterious eroticism of driving Brandon's car couldn’t distract Kasey from his nervous musing as he drove home. He knew Brandon’s name, but not his phone number or where he lived. It struck Kasey as ridiculous that he was so impatient to see a man he knew so little about.
He got a surprise as he turned into the parking space in front of his trailer. His Civic was already there, and Brandon sat on the doorstep, heedless of the rain. Bandit sat on the step below him, his head in Brandon’s lap.
The last thing he’d expected was for Brandon to come here, to his single-wide in a less-than-pristine mobile home park. He cleared his throat nervously, jangling his keys in his hand as he mounted the first step.
“You shouldn’t leave your door unlocked,” Brandon said, by way of greeting.
“You went inside?” Kasey asked, more alarmed than ever.
“No. But your dog was barking up a storm with me waiting out here, so I tried the knob. Guess I’m lucky he’s not much of an attack dog.”
“Guess so.” Kasey looked down at his feet. “How’d you find me?”
“Why? Were you hiding?”
“No, I just…”
Brandon stood, dislodging Bandit’s head from his lap. He took one step down toward Kasey, leaving them within inches of each other, although Kasey had to crane his neck upward to meet his eyes. Cold raindrops landed on his cheeks. Brandon’s hair was soaked. “How long have you been waiting?”
Brandon shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe fifteen minutes? I thought about going to the garage, but there was a chance I’d miss you there. Seemed simpler to come here.”
“How’d you know where I live?”
Brandon gestured toward Kasey’s car. “It was on the title in the glove compartment.”
“Oh.” Kasey felt stupid for not having thought of that.
Brandon smiled, wiping water from his eyes. “Are you going to invite me in, or shall I jump you here in the rain?”
Heat spread up the back of Kasey’s neck, rising to his cheeks. A pleasant glow bloomed in his chest. A smile broke unbidden across his face. “Inside would probably be better.”
“My thoughts exactly.”
Still, Kasey was self-conscious as he led Brandon inside. He glanced around, trying to see it through Brandon’s eyes. It was clean—Kasey wasn’t a slob—but the couch was worn and saggy, and his TV was ancient. The walls were covered with movie posters. His kitchen table had only one clear spot on it. The rest was littered with mail and books and car magazines.
“I like it,” Brandon said, looking around. “It suits you.”
Kasey stared at the floor, pulling awkwardly at the side seam of his jeans. His first thought was, Dumpy and cheap? “Suits me how?”
“It’s unassuming. What you see is what you get. Comfortable, without being pretentious.”
He sounded earnest, too, which made Kasey feel a bit better. He watched Brandon take off his coat and drape it over a kitchen chair. He wore jeans and a T-shirt, but he still managed to look clean and tailored, despite his wet hair.
“I was embarrassed for you to see it.”
“Don’t be. Please.”
Kasey nodded, unsure what to say. Outside, the rain was still falling, pattering merrily against his roof. Water ran from his wet hair down the back of his neck, causing him to shiver. He still had his work jacket on. Brandon seemed to fill the room, bright and warm and alluring, and Kasey had no idea how they were supposed to proceed from here.
“How was your trip?” he asked.
Brandon smiled at him, a flirty, sexy smile that made Kasey’s heart miss a beat.
“Lonely.” He took a step toward Kasey and then another, as if stalking him. “I thought about you every night. I would’ve called, but I’m an idiot and I forgot to get your number.” The room was small, and he backed Kasey up against the front door. “I tried looking you up, but—”
“Uh-huh.” Brandon nodded, reaching up to brush his fingers down Kasey’s wet cheek. “I really wish I’d left you my iPad again. Tell me you thought about me, too.”
Kasey’s heart pounded and his head spun with a mixture of nerves and eagerness. “I did.”
“Did you enjoy the car?”
He blushed again. “I did.”
Brandon made a low noise, almost a growl, and pushed closer to Kasey, pinning him, kissing him with a sudden ferocity that made Kasey’s knees weak. He pushed Kasey’s jacket off his shoulders and let it fall to the floor as he kissed his neck. “I couldn’t wait to see you. All I could think about doing after landing was finding you. And touching you. And making love to you.” He tipped Kasey’s head back to meet his gaze. “Tell me I can spend the night. Tell me I can finally take you to bed.”
The thought of it made Kasey flush. It raised pleasant goose bumps along his spine and sparked an erotic warmth in his groin. “Of course.”
“Good.” Brandon kissed him again and began unbuttoning his dirty work shirt.
“Wait,” Kasey said, pushing him gently away. “Let me shower first. I’ve been at the garage all day. I’m filthy—“
“I kind of like the idea of getting dirty.”
Normal Enough by Marie Sexton is now available at Amber Allure.
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