Not Another Bad Boy(9)

By: Devyn Morgan

"Oh, that cute little place you used to go to back before you and Tom hooked up?" Mauricio asks. "I haven't heard you mention that place in a long time. I thought it closed down."

Fortunately, Tom doesn't hear the accusation of betrayal in Mauricio's words.

"That sounds nice. We should go down there tomorrow."

"Next weekend, baby," I say. "They're closed on Sundays."

Tom squeezes my shoulder in agreement and places his napkin on his lap. "Let's eat. I'm starving."

Frankie sits down, but Mauricio stays standing behind his chair.

"Parker, why don't you come with me and help pick out the wine?"

"Seriously? You know I don't know a thing about wine."

"Exactamente. I just want to make fun of you watching you try. Come along."

Frankie and Tom start talking about last night's concert while Mauricio and I walk to the wine fridge.

Mauricio opens the door and asks under his breath, "Are you fucking around on Tom? Tell me the truth. No bullshit. If you are, Frankie and I will help you sort this all out."

"What?" I say with a quick glance back at the table. "No. I really was at the coffee shop reading. We had a great night last night, but things fell apart when we got home. No biggie. I just didn't want to spend the day walking around the apartment with Tom today. I needed a day alone."

Mauricio stares at me with his deep brown eyes. I'm glad that I am telling the truth. I would have cracked under that stare.

"Bueno. I believe you, but something's going on with you guys. How can we help?"

I grab something red from their wine fridge without even reading the label.

"I think we're just in a funk," I say.

Mauricio shuts the door.


Tom is standing right behind where the door had been. His face has gone pale.

"A funk?" he asks with his voice cracking.

Chapter 10

I have no reply. I want to tell him I love him. I want to scream at him for not taking care of my needs. Instead, I'm stuck staring silently at my boyfriend who just wants any kind of answer.

"What are you trying to tell me?"

The near whimper in his voice and the hurt showing on his face tear at my heart. If he wasn't between me and the door, I would run away and never look back. It would be so much easier than dealing with talking about these emotions.

"Tom, let's go home and talk. I don't want to do this here."

"Why not? Maybe this will be what we need to get out of our funk. That's what you called it, right? A funk. Maybe we should air this funk out right here in front of Mo and Frankie."

I pinch the bridge of my nose, frustrated at my careless words with Mauricio. Why couldn't I have just stayed silent like I have been doing all along?

"And this after last night," Tom shouts while returning to his seat at the table. "Out of the blue, I make plans for us to jaunt off to San Fran to see a concert. I thought we had a great time, too."

"I did, Tom. It was really nice."

"But too dull. Too blah."

"No. The concert was great, but...."

My hesitation tells Tom all he needs to know. He pounds the table, making the dishes jump.

Frankie lets out a little scream before covering his mouth. Mauricio hurries to his side. All three of them glare at me, the bad one.

"But, what?" Tom screeches.

I consider telling him again that I don't want to talk about our relationship in front of our friends. Really though, what do I have to lose? That's not the right question. I have a ton to lose. A man who loves me is a rare gift even if he completely misses with everything that I crave in the bedroom.

Am I being petty? Most likely.

Will I regret this if it blows up in my face? Most definitely.

At this moment, though, it all feels as inescapable as gravity.

I look to Mauricio, hoping he will tells us to shut up and stop ruining his party, or just to get the fuck out of his place.

There is deep concern in his eyes, but he makes no move to kick us out or stop the discussion. With a flick of his fingers, he waves me back toward Tom to deal with our problem.

When I turn, a breadstick hits me in the chest.

"What's the matter, Parker? Tell me what's the matter."

"What the hell?"

I've never seen this side of Tom. He is almost always completely composed, especially when it comes to our difficulties. We've only had one real fight that both of us participated in and he never even raised his voice. I don't even know what that fight had been about. It only lasted a few seconds. His calmness and desire to listen to my complaints deflated all of my energy.

His wave of pent up anger appears to be ready to crash over me.

"Open that mouth of yours and just tell me what's wrong. What do you want from me? What have I done wrong to you?"

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