Here’s an excerpt from Lines on the Mirror – now available on Amazon – by Lynn Michaels
Chapter 6 – Reconnecting
When the phone rang, I almost dropped it, fumbling the damn cell in my fingers and finally tapping the screen. “Hello? Daltrey?” My voice sounded desperate and full of longing and hope. Could he hear that?
“Yeah. Martin? Marty?” Daltrey had been the only person ever to call me Marty and get away with it.
“Dal? You sound, uh, different.” Using our old nicknames felt surreal. Five years of longing collapsed into seconds. Images of our last moments together filled my head, bringing tears to my eyes again. My throat closed tight as I thought about how I stood in his driveway watching his mother’s car pull away. He looked back once and pushed his dark brown hair out of his eyes. I’d never seen such heartbreaking sadness on one face and I never wanted to see that desperation etched on there again.
His soft laughter brought me back to the present. “Well, you know, uh, it’s been, what, like five years?”
“Too long. I…” Could I tell him how much I’ve missed him? “You seem to be really doing great, Dal. I’m proud of you.” I swallowed down the emotion threatening to overtake me. Surely, this didn’t mean nearly as much to him as it did to me. He sounded confident, sure, and why shouldn’t he?
“Thanks,” he said, his voice soft, almost as high pitched as it used to be. Silence lingered for a moment, but before it could get awkward, he added, “So, um, like, what have you been up to? Five years? Wow!”
“I know. The usual. College. Programming degree.”
“Like your dad?” He was the only one who understood my relationship with my father, the only one that had a clue.
“Of course.” Without Daltrey there to help give me the strength I needed, I gave in easily to whatever Dad wanted. I didn’t have to tell him that. “It’s fine.” My voice was flat, anything but fine.
“Marty. I…” His words hung in the distorted air between us. When he spoke again, I was sure it wasn’t what he originally intended to say, and that hurt a little. We had always shared everything, but it had been too long and we didn’t even know each other anymore. “It was really good to hear from you. I, uh, never thought I would. You know?”
It was my turn to laugh, but my chuckle sounded forced. “Well, I met someone that knew of you through his mother.”
“Right, the Randall kid. I heard.” He laughed again and this time it sounded like cotton candy to a starving tongue. “This is, like, cool, right? I’m glad.”
“Me too. I’d like to—” I wanted to see him in person, to be able to touch his face, to hold him in my arms again, to push that stray hair out of his eyes, or just look at him. “I’d like to talk to you. More, I mean.”
“I’d like that too.”
Something eased in my chest. The panic I didn’t realize I’d been so close to backed off. Daltrey wasn’t going anywhere. We could talk and get to know each other again and play by our own rules for once. “I missed you, Dal.” The words slipped out before I’d realized what I said, but they were quiet and I wasn’t sure if he heard me.
“Ahh, Marty. I freakin’ missed you, too. I’m so-o-o glad you called.” He sounded glad, relieved even, but also hesitant. “Um, so, what was college like?”
After that we talked for hours. I told him about college and my parents and the black metal card my dad had slipped me after graduation and the crazy neighbors upstairs and my dick-boss at work. He’d heard of the company, Apex, and thought I’d made a good choice.
He told me about his art and how his mom took over the business side of things as soon as he started having success. She’d managed to get him with a great agent and he’d sold a lot of work overseas and now had a following in New York. He’d been in Boston over the weekend showing at a prominent gallery. He told me about his PA, Jenny, and how she’d squealed when he told her who I was. They were best friends.
Neither of us talked about relationships or who we might have been with. I didn’t bring it up because I didn’t want to know if he had a boyfriend or that he’d ever been with anyone but me, and I didn’t want him to know about my few anonymous bathroom sex guys I’d let fuck me over the years. I wanted us to be clean, to have a fresh start. Maybe he wanted that too, because he didn’t bring it up either.
Hours later, I knew I had to go. I really couldn’t afford to be late for work again. We said our goodbyes with promises to talk again later in the week.
I hung up reluctantly, then fell into bed and cried. I let out all the emotions that had been building as we spoke. I cried for the two boys that had been separated at the height of their love and what we could have been, and I cried for all that I wasn’t and probably would never live up to. I cried because Daltrey sounded lonely. I’d do anything to make him happy, keep him smiling like the golden memories I had of him. I cried because I probably couldn’t do that. I cried until I finally fell asleep.
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