The Way We Almost Were
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by Ryan Field
Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Romance
Description: Allan Nottingham has a huge secret and it has nothing to do with the fact that he's gay. Though he wants to become a respected political journalist, he actually makes an excellent living by performing idiotic stunts on a trashy but popular TV show called The Naughty Boiz. He'll do anything from skateboarding into a huge vat of mustard to being a human sling shot, wearing nothing but a skimpy leopard thong and a black ski mask to conceal his true identity. Allan's handsome, hunky boss, Mikey Phoenix, the outrageous producer of The Naughty Boiz and Allan's best friend, is always there to watch out for him. It's an unusual friendship between a gay man and a straight man, because Mikey is always full of surprises. But Mikey's wonderful friendship isn't enough for Allan, and when Allan accidentally runs into his first lover from college, Jacob Steinman, all of the old feelings of love he thought he'd laid to rest come rushing back. And Allan embarks on a full fledged campaign to win Jacob's love, going to lengths he'd never do for another man, in spite of all the differences that kept them apart in the first place. It doesn't take long for Allan to see that Jacob hasn't changed. Though Jacob is the most talented man Allan has ever known, Jacob is still only interested in having fun and ignoring all the political and social issues that are important to Allan. And even though Allan works hard to ignore Jacob's political apathy, not the mention the fact that Jacob is unwilling to announce to the world that he's openly gay because it might hurt his high profile career, all this eventually takes its toll on their relationship. Is the love and romance between Allan and Jacob will be enough to sustain them? As these exciting characters grow and begin to embrace their true passions, discovering the things in life that matter to them the most, what ultimately happens clearly defines the way they almost were.
eBook Publisher: Ravenous Romance/Ravenous Romance, 2010
eBookwise Release Date: March 2010
11 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [228 KB]
Reading time: 158-221 min.
When Acer first started out, he had dreams of becoming the next Walter Cronkite. He thought he'd be reporting important political events that helped shape the nation and mold the world. He'd daydreamed in journalism class about meeting presidents, attending White House dinners, and sitting with heads of state. And he wanted to do it all openly, as a gay man with nothing to hide.
He never imagined he'd wind up, eight years later, in the back seat of a twenty-year-old black Lincoln Continental limousine, stripping down to a leopard-print thong in the middle of Times Square.
Acer wasn't even his real name. It was one of those pop-culture stage names that stood alone, without a last name. His real name was Allan Nottingham. And he was determined to keep both names separate.
It was a warm Friday afternoon in June. The sidewalks of Times Square were jammed with pedestrians, the street was filled with traffic, and they were waiting for Allan to get out of the limo and finish the final scene of a new episode of The Naughty Boiz. The director was the star, the producer, and the creator of the show: Mikey Phoenix. The Naughty Boiz was a syndicated half-hour television show about idiotic young guys with too much testosterone doing stupid pranks and trying to pull off lame stunts in public.
Mikey Phoenix had hired Allan in the first season for small stunts, back when no one thought a show like this would ever become a hit series on cable TV. Allan had taken the job because he'd needed fast money. But as the show gained ratings beyond what anyone ever could have predicted, Allan's small stunts and pranks became so popular with viewers he'd practically become the star of the show. People couldn't wait to see the next stunt he'd do wearing nothing but a leopard thong.
Allan kicked off his shoes, removed his socks, and pulled down his pants. While he was pulling his white T-shirt off, there was a knock on the limousine window and Mikey Phoenix opened the back door. "Are you almost ready, buddy?" Mikey asked. "After this, we'll wrap up for the day."
Allan covered his private parts with the T-shirt. He lowered his eyebrows and said, "Close the door. I don't want anyone looking in." He wasn't completely nude. He was wearing the sheer leopard thong he always wore during his ridiculous stunts. "I'll be ready in a minute." Allan didn't care about Mikey seeing him. He and Mikey were also best friends, but Allan didn't want anyone on the street looking into the car.
Mikey rubbed his jaw and laughed. "Don't get all upset," he said. "No one can see inside except me. Besides, the entire world is going to be seeing you like this on television. What's the big deal? You've got a great ass." Though Mikey was straight, he was always talking about Allan's great ass.
"It's different," Allan said. Mikey was a typical straight guy; he never understood these things. "When I'm doing a scene, I'm working and no one can see my face. I'm in character. I'm not me anymore."
He felt as if he'd explained this a thousand times to Mikey. Other than the sheer leopard thong, Allan always wore a pair of heavy black boots and a black ski mask. The public never saw his face and they had no idea about his true identity. When he'd taken the job with Mikey Phoenix four years earlier, he'd thought it would only be temporary, just something to hold him over until he landed a real job as a journalist. He'd never dreamed he'd wind up becoming famous and making tons of money for doing stupid pranks on television in a thong. Allan and Mikey had become instant millionaires, thanks to The Naughty Boiz and the unique chemistry they shared on film.
"I'll wait for you outside," Mikey said. Before he closed the door, he looked inside and said, "Hey, if anyone even tried to get into this car while you were naked, I'd kick the shit out of them. You know I'm always watching out for you, buddy. I'm always here to make sure nothing bad ever happens to you."
Allan looked up and smiled. "Yes, I do know you're here for me," he said. "Thanks."
What else could he say? He knew Mikey meant well. Mikey was a strong, good-looking alpha male who looked as if he belonged to a rowdy fraternity, and he felt an obligation to watch out for his "gay buddy." Though Allan didn't need anyone to watch out for him, Allan didn't want to hurt his feelings or bruise his inflated ego. After all, Mikey's ego was part of his raw charm.
When Mikey shut the door, Allan reached down to put on his black boots. He was doing a skateboard scene that afternoon with another actor, where he would be skating through Times Square, down a steep wooden ramp and up another, over a pretzel vendor with a pet monkey. They were racing; the city had been notified, they had permits, and a section of the street had already been roped off. If they didn't make it over the pretzel vendor's cart, they would both wind up falling into a vat of yellow mustard. Mikey was also in this scene, acting as the announcer, to set the scene up for viewers. The pretzel vendor was a paid actor. (So was the monkey.) Allan had already planned on falling into the vat of mustard. He'd always been athletic and he was excellent on skateboards. He didn't skateboard often anymore, even though he knew how to ride a skateboard well enough to do the jump without falling into the mustard. But that wouldn't have been funny.
In the past four years, Allan had made an art out of looking like an absolute fool. He'd been paid well to do it. He'd wrestled alligators, teased sharks, and ridden elephant trunks. Even though Mikey was a straight guy, and the viewing audience was geared toward a straight audience, The Naughty Boiz produced strong homoerotic stunts that people seemed to love--and never mention. The episode where he'd wrestled in mud with another actor, wearing nothing but his leopard thong, had been one of the highest-rated shows they'd ever done. And once, Mikey fastened water balloons to Allan and another good-looking actor. Then he made them bump into each other until all the balloons had popped and their almost naked bodies were saturated with water. The entire public, gay and straight viewers alike, seemed to love watching good-looking guys play gay chicken, and they couldn't wait to see how far Mikey Phoenix would take them.
When the black boots were tied, Allan pulled the black ski mask over his head and stepped out of the limo. A few people walking down the street recognized Acer. They stared at his naked body; one young guy carrying a small poodle almost tripped on the sidewalk. Two middle-aged women murmured something to each other and leered at his legs. Allan's body was thin, with long, lean muscles and rugged ridges of bone. The lines where muscle connected to bone were well defined, because he didn't have an ounce of fat. He was naturally smooth, and he shaved off the small amount of body hair he had on his legs and crotch. He filled the leopard thong with a floppy penis, and, as Mikey always said, his solid round buttocks resembled two "smooth perfect melons." Many of the men and women who sent fan mail to the show didn't comment on the stunts--they commented on Allan's great ass.
Allan crossed to the front of the limo where the crew and the other actors were waiting for him. As long as the ski mask was over his face, he didn't feel self-conscious. He adjusted the sliver rings in his nipples fast. He'd had his nipples pierced a month earlier and they had become highly sensitive. If he didn't adjust them, he started to get an erection. Getting pierced hadn't been his idea. Mikey had wanted him to get a few tattoos because he thought it would make him look wild and kinky. But Allan had rejected the tattoo idea. He didn't want anything as permanent as a tattoo attached to his body. So when Mikey suggested he get his nipples pierced instead, he reluctantly agreed. If he got tired of having pierced nipples, he could always remove the silver rings and the holes would eventually close up.
The other actor doing the stunt with Allan was a semi-regular on the show. He was an average-looking straight-guy type, with a blank expression and a hairy chest. He had a solid, stocky body and fuzzy legs. He looked like a weekend baseball player from the suburbs that'd had too many beers and pizzas since high school, and today he was wearing pale blue boxer shorts. Mikey knew what he was doing, and hiring this average-looking actor had not been an accident. Whenever Mikey put smooth, slim Allan in a stunt scene with a stocky, hairy guy, the audience sent tons of fan mail begging for more.
When Allan reached the crew, he saw a large machine with a long black hose next to the pretzel vendor's cart. He stared at it and said, "What's this?"
"It's just a prop," Mikey said. "Don't worry about it."
Then Mikey handed them both skateboards and said, "We should be able to get this in one take. You guys know what to do."
The stocky, beefy actor smiled and punched Allan in the arm. "You ready, dude?"
Allan nodded and said, "Here we go." He'd worked with this actor in the past. He looked straight, but he was really gay. Allan knew he could depend on him for support. When he was doing stunts like this, trusting the other actor was important.
Mikey grabbed the stocky actor's arm and said, "Just make sure you fall into the vat of mustard first, then let Acer fall on top of you. When he falls on you, make sure you grab his ass a few times. Do it on purpose, feel him up a little, but make it look like an accident. And make it look like you're a straight dude totally freaked out because you just grabbed another dude's bare ass."
The actor nodded yes and followed Allan to the end of the block.
It took a while to get everything set up just right. Allan stretched and prepared for the scene as if he were about to enter a boxing rink. A crowd had formed in the street by then. Allan concentrated only on the stunt he was about to perform. If they didn't get this perfect on the first take, they'd have to clean up and start all over again.
When Mikey stood on his mark and shouted, "Action," Allan became Acer. He bobbed up and down for a few minutes, joking around with the other actor, acting as if he'd just returned from a drunken frat house party. His goal was too look as stupid as possible, and to show he was willing to do any prank they dared him to do.
Mikey began to explain the scene with his deep announcer's voice. Acer and the actor mounted the skateboards, went to the top of one ramp, then raced downward toward the other wooden ramp in front of the pretzel vendor and the monkey. They remained at a controlled equal distance until the last minute, then Acer slowed down on purpose. When they reached the pretzel cart, the vendor jumped back and the poor monkey wrapped his arms around the vendor's neck and screamed. Acer ducked and spread his arms out to maintain his balance. The stocky guy gained a five-foot lead on Acer, made the leap first, and fell into the middle of the vat of mustard.
A second later, with a large group of people watching everything from the street, Acer was soaring over the pretzel cart and into the vat of mustard. The stocky actor was covered with yellow goop from head to toe. When Acer landed next to him, he wrapped his arms around the guy's shoulders and his legs around the guy's waist. The camera followed them; they got a good shot of the stocky guy placing his hand on Acer's ass. It looked accidental and innocent.
The actor shouted, "Dude, I just grabbed your butt. Get the fuck off me." Then he pushed Acer back into the mustard and laughed. The people on the street watching the scene laughed even harder. Then Acer and the actor pretended they couldn't get their balance in the vat of mustard and continued groping each other by accident. Allan fell and pressed his check against the actor's penis; the actor bucked his hips on purpose and laughed about it. Allan knew this would be one of the bawdier scenes they'd done.
When the scene was almost over, a couple of assistants ran to the mustard vat and helped Acer and the actor climb out. When they were on the sidewalk, covered in yellow mustard from head to toe, Mikey ran over and shouted, "Okay, guys, hose them down now."
Acer widened his eyes. He looked at the other actor and shrugged his shoulders. As far as he'd been told, the scene should have been over after they'd fallen into the vat of mustard. Acer looked back at Mikey and tipped his head to the side.
Acer shouted, "What's up?"
Mikey smiled and said, "Surprise," then shouted, "Hose them down now, dude."
The machine next to the pretzel vendor's cart was a power washer. The pretzel vendor grabbed the hose and switched it on. Then he pointed it at Acer and the actor and started spraying them. The monkey on his shoulder pointed and screamed. The people on the street held their stomachs and roared. The hose was far enough away from Acer and the actor to cause any damage to them, but it was still strong enough to push Acer into the arms of the other actor. Acer didn't have time to think. He reached down and covered his crotch with his hands while the other actor held him in place. If he hadn't held his crotch, the power washer would have knocked his dick out of the thong. It looked like he was bending over and the other actor was trying to mount him. The hose went up and down, washing all the mustard off their bodies. The black ski mask became so waterlogged Acer had trouble breathing.
By the time Mikey finally shouted, "Cut," and wrapped up the scene, Acer's sheer leopard thong was so drenched the outline of his dick was visible. He knew they'd block this out in editing with a fuzzy spot; the censors didn't like wet thongs on men with big bulges. But he kept his hands over his crotch until someone finally brought him a large dry towel.
Allan wrapped the large towel around his wet body and frowned at the monkey, who was still screaming and pointing. He'd just made thousands of dollars by falling into a large vat of mustard and being hosed down with a power washer in Times Square in broad daylight. But he wasn't happy about it. He knew it was all harmless and there was nothing politically incorrect about the show. They weren't making gay jokes and they weren't making any serious social statements. If anything, they were calling attention to the age-old taboo of men, in general, being openly affectionate with each other in public. But in the same respect, Allan he knew this wasn't going to get him any invitations to those White House dream dinners.
Allan left the other actor and walked over to Mikey and said, "You didn't mention the power washer, buddy."
Mikey shrugged his shoulders and said, "I wanted it to be spontaneous. I didn't want it to look rehearsed." Then he pointed to the crowd on the sidelines. They were still laughing about what they'd just seen. "And it worked. This was one of your best scenes ever. Look at them laugh."
Mikey had done this before. When they least expected it, he'd surprise the actors with something that hadn't been planned. Allan wanted to strangle him right there on the sidewalk, but when he saw how excited the people on the sidelines were, he shook his head and said, "I'll get you back for this one." Then he smiled and crossed back to the limousine. Mikey couldn't see his smile because he was still wearing the black ski mask.
Mikey followed him. "You're not mad, are you?" he asked. "You know I'd never do anything that wasn't right for you. Besides, you looked like you had fun. Did you get excited when the actor rubbed his dick in your face?"
"No," Allan said, "I didn't get excited." When he was working, sex was the last thing on his mind. Only Mikey thought Allan's every waking moment was spent thinking about dick.
"Are you mad?" Mikey asked.
He wasn't mad. Mikey had been right not to tell him about the power washer. If Allan and the other actor had known, it would have looked rehearsed. At least he wasn't covered in mustard anymore. He'd been worried about that all morning. But he wanted to make Mikey sweat for a while. So he opened the limousine door and said, "We'll talk about it later, buddy."
* * * *
* * * *
The minute Allan got home he jumped into the shower. It took three shampoos to get the sticky mustard residue out of his short ash-blond hair, and he had to use a small brush to scrape more mustard from beneath his fingernails. He was going out to dinner that night with Mikey as Allan, not Acer. Acer was never seen out in public unless he was doing a promotional event for the show. When Mikey and Allan went out together in public and people recognized Mikey from the TV show, Mikey always kept Allan's secret. He introduced him as Allan Nottingham, a good friend who worked in journalism. It wasn't a total lie. In his spare time, Allan had been writing a running series of political blog posts for over two years. He did it for free, and to get writing credits.
After the shower, Allan took a short nap. When he woke up, he took another fast shower--he still smelled yellow mustard everywhere--and got dressed for dinner. He put on a pair of stucco-colored chinos, a white V-neck pullover, and a black blazer. His shoes were black Prada quarter boots. It was warm outside; the blazer was lightweight material and the chinos were even lighter. When he wasn't working as Acer, Allan wanted to look conservative and professional at all times.
When he went downstairs to the lobby of his apartment building, the doorman smiled and nodded to the sidewalk. Mikey was already there in the back seat of the old black limo. Mikey could have afforded a new limo, but he liked the funky-looking old one better. And he was superstitious about it. The old limo had become a mascot for the TV show, and Mikey didn't want to break his chain of good luck.
The back door opened with a squeak, and Mikey shouted, "Where the hell have you been? It's almost nine and I had an eight thirty reservation." He motioned with his arm. "C'mon. Get in. You're always late for everything."
Allan raised his eyebrows. "Calm down. They'll get us a table." He cleared his throat and covered his lips with his palm to hide a smile. He knew Mikey hated being late, so he'd been deliberately late to get even with Mikey for not mentioning the power washer.
"I'm starved. I haven't eaten all day," Mikey said. "I could eat a fucking horse."
Mikey was wearing a short white jacket, a silky black shirt open to his navel, and worn, faded jeans with holes in the knees (he loved bragging about the fact that he'd paid over three hundred dollars for a pair of jeans with holes in the knees). There were three thick gold chains around his neck, and one had a large gold medallion. Mikey had dark wavy hair, a lean compact body, and strong square facial features. His hair was always slightly mussed and he had a patch of dark hair beneath his bottom lip. Before he'd created The Naughty Boiz, he'd been a low-end male model for a line of surfer shorts. Mikey didn't care about being conservative; he looked people in the eye, squared his shoulders, and told them who he was without making any apologies. He had tons of money and overnight success, and he wanted everyone to know it.
While they drove to the restaurant in Chelsea, they discussed work. Mikey talked about how well the stunt scene had gone earlier that day, and Allan said he was still mad about the power washer incident. But he didn't stay mad long. When Mikey promised he'd make it up to him and that he'd never do anything like that again, Allan sat back and smiled. Though Mikey was straight and Allan was gay, they had an even, comfortable friendship that rarely required a lot of work. When something stressful happened, Mikey clenched his fists and punched a wall. Allan was always there to calm him down and reassure him. And when Allan was worried about something, Mikey was always there to offer him strength and support. They were complete opposites, and the balance couldn't have been more perfect. There were even times when Mikey sighed and said to Allan, "I wish you were a woman. My life would be so much easier if you were."
Allan would laugh and reply, "It doesn't work that way. And thank God I'm not. You'd make my life living hell with the way you're always fooling around with bimbos. I'd be chasing your cheating ass down the street with a baseball bat." He thought Mikey's personal life was amusing. Mikey was twenty-nine years old and he'd never had a serious monogamous relationship with a woman. He had a constant erection in his pants and a different woman each night of the week. But none of them ever stuck around longer than a month.
When they reached the restaurant and got out of the limo, Mikey held the door for Allan and followed him inside. He also ordered Allan's drink and his dinner without giving it a second thought. Whenever they went out together as friends, it was like this. Allan just smiled and shrugged his shoulders, knowing that Mikey couldn't help himself. It wasn't that Allan was weak or submissive. If anything, he had a few control issues. But he would have been lying if he'd said he didn't like the way Mikey opened doors or carried heavy bags for him. He didn't need protection or help, but it was nice to know that Mikey was always willing to do these things. Even though there had never been any sex between them, having a strong, aggressive guy like Mikey around to treat him well made him smile. And in return, Allan often stroked Mikey's gigantic male ego and made him feel even stronger by pretending to be the weaker one.
After dinner, Mikey took care of the check and they stood up to get a few drinks in the bar section of the restaurant. It was one of those large converted warehouses, with brick walls and miles of concrete. It was dark enough for Mikey to remain anonymous and cruise for women. The crowd wasn't gay or straight; it was mixed. But when Mikey instinctively placed his palm on Allan's back and pushed him forward, Allan smiled and said, "There are two gay guys staring at us at that table near the bar. I think they recognize you. They are going to think we're gay for each other if you leave your hand on my back like that. You'd better remove it."
Mikey put his arm all the way around Allan and kissed him on the cheek. He said, "Fuck 'em. I don't give a damn what they think. We know who we are and we don't have to prove anything to anyone." Then he reached down and placed his hand on Allan's ass on purpose.
Allan smiled. "Let's reverse things for a change."
"Huh?" Mikey was a genius when it came to his TV show. But he wasn't the brightest bulb when it came to personal matters.
Allan laughed and said, "Let me put my hand on your ass and lead you through the restaurant like you always do with me. Let them all think you're my bitch for a change." He was only playing around, but he wanted to see Mikey's reaction. And he knew that macho Mikey would never agree to do anything like this in public or in private.
Mikey rubbed his jaw and frowned. "That wouldn't be believable," he said, with a serious expression. "They would laugh in our faces. And I know how much you like it when everyone thinks that you're my bitch."
Allan's body jerked; he stopped walking and said, "Ah well, that's because I'm so gay for you I can't stand it anymore. I can't sleep at night."
Mikey squeezed his ass harder in front of everyone. "You know you are, bitch," he said, acknowledging Allan's sarcasm. Then he lifted his hand, placed it on the small of Allan's back, and pushed him forward again.
As they crossed to the bar, Allan just shook his head and laughed. There weren't many straight guys as secure as Mikey who would joke around this way. He also knew that Mikey liked to think Allan was madly in love with him. But he wasn't. Allan loved him, but he wasn't in love with him.
When they reached the bar, Mikey lifted his long arm over Allan's head and shouted his drink order to the bartender. His voice was deep and hollow; it sounded like he was either shouting football plays or screaming insults to the bartender. But the bartender, a straight guy, nodded as if Mikey's rude tone was perfectly normal. Allan put his hands in his pockets and sighed, because he'd never understand the way straight guys treated each other. If he'd been the bartender and Mikey had shouted at him that way, he would have thrown a glass at him.
Allan turned and smiled at a beautiful woman sitting on a bar stool next to where they were standing. She smiled back and looked up at Mikey. When Mikey looked down and saw the woman staring at him, he pushed Allan to the side and introduced himself to her.
Allan rolled his eyes and frowned. Mikey was horny and he was moving in for the kill. Allan stepped to the side so he wouldn't be in the way. This woman was Mikey's type. She was perfect; she wouldn't stay around long. She had brassy blond hair, too much makeup, and huge breasts. Mikey's left leg was already jerking back and forth; he probably already had an erection in his pants.
When the bartender placed the drinks in front of Mikey, Mikey handed him a hundred-dollar bill, face up so the woman would see it clearly, and said, "Keep the change, buddy." Then he turned his back to Allan and started talking to the woman as if she was the only person in the room.
Allan rolled his eyes again, but he wasn't mad. Mikey liked impressing women with his money and he knew how to make them think they were special. Allan and Mikey had an agreement that if either one of them met someone while they were together, the other one would back off and disappear.
So Allan reached between Mikey and the woman and said, "I don't want to interrupt. I just want to get my drink."
"Sure, buddy," Mikey said, lifting a martini glass from the bar. "Here you go." His voice was deeper than usual, with an overly masculine edge he only used when he met new women he wanted to sleep with.
Allan felt like gagging, but he forced a wide smile. Then he lifted his arm, dangled a limp wrist, and said, "Thanks, you're so lovely, buddy." His voice was soft and wispy.
Mikey raised an eyebrow and gave Allan a look. So Allan took his drink and turned his back on them.
But when he turned and lifted the martini to his lips, his entire body froze. He blinked a few times and stared straight ahead. His heart started to beat faster and his mouth felt like cotton. He took a large sip of martini and blinked again. At the end of the bar, sitting on a stool was Jacob Steinman.
Jacob was sitting on the stool with his eyes half-closed, unaware of anything or anyone around him. Evidently, he'd had too much to drink that night. He looked as if he were about to fall sleep sitting up on the barstool.
Allan hadn't seen him in years. They'd both been journalism majors in college and they'd shared some of the same goals and dreams. The only difference was that Jacob had always been more superficial and interested in making fast money, and Allan had always been more interested in fighting for causes he thought would make the world a better place. The last Allan had heard, Jacob was now writing a column for National News Magazine.
Allan took another sip, a deep breath, and finished the martini in one gulp. He put the glass down on the bar and slowly crossed to where Jacob was sitting. He stood there for a moment, staring at Jacob's soft brown hair and his perfect little nose. His smooth lips were still just right: not too thick and not too thin. He noticed Jacob's body had filled out in all the right places since college. His chest was broader, his arms were wider, and his legs looked stronger. But his face didn't look as if it had aged at all. He was wearing a dark gray jacket, a white dress shirt, and dark jeans. His legs were spread wide and his feet were on the footrest of the barstool. When Allan looked between Jacob's legs, he saw a large, puffy bulge. Allan took a quick breath and exhaled, then leaned forward and gently rested his palm on Jacob's bicep. He squeezed it a few times and smiled, firming his knees so his legs wouldn't wobble.
When Jacob opened his blue eyes and saw Allan standing there, he lifted his eyebrows, smiled, then closed his eyes again. It was the same wide smile, with two deep dimples on both cheeks, that had always made Allan's heard beat faster. Back in college, when Jacob had smiled at him for the first time, Allan hadn't been able to concentrate on anything but his own breathing.