Start From the Beginning
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by Chrissy Munder
Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Romance
Description: A heart attack leaves Miles wrangling with a slow recovery and a quiet retreat, just one cabin down from wounded warrior Drew. Although he's unhappy to have his solitude invaded, Drew finds himself fascinated with Miles, but he can't bring himself to push aside his skittish nerves. Both men fear rejection for different reasons, and it will take a real change of heart to seek the acceptance they crave.
eBook Publisher: Dreamspinner Press/Dreamspinner Press, 2010 2010
eBookwise Release Date: May 2010
22 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [92 KB]
Reading time: 56-78 min.
This is not a 'meet and quickly fall into bed' story rather it's a well written story of two men slowly developing feelings and finally, when they are both ready, acting on those feelings. by Lily @ Rainbow Reviews
"Christ, Kurt. When you said peace and quiet, you meant it." Miles Taylor looked around suspiciously. The one-room cabin, while small, was fully modernized with all the conveniences one could hope for. Except for one.
"Where's the bloody phone?"
Kurt Fulton set Miles's suitcase down at the foot of the queen-size bed that was covered in an attractive, geometric-patterned quilt.
"The whole concept of you getting peace and quiet entails keeping you away from telephones, fax machines, the Internet, and anything else that's going to keep you from the rest and recuperation you need."
Miles grimaced. "I'll rest when I'm dead."
"And that, my friend, is the reason why you're here." Kurt shook his head at Miles. "You have to take this seriously, Miles. You had a heart attack. You could have another one if you don't make some changes."
Miles watched Kurt as he paced over to the front window. He understood Kurt's concern, but he couldn't escape the feeling of unreality that threatened to overwhelm him every time he looked at his friend. How could he ever thank the man who had not only saved his life but had literally held his heart in his hands?
"Well, if things are so serious, dumping me off in the back of the beyond with no car and no phone to contact my doctor is asking for trouble now, isn't it?" Miles's green eyes sparked at his long-time friend, sometime lover, and currently full-time doctor.
Kurt ran his hand though his hair and frowned. "It's not like you're just post-op, Miles. Besides, I told you: an old colleague of mine lives in the cabin up the hill. I'm leaving him your file and asking him to look in on you. Brenda, one of the locals, will come by once a week with your groceries and to do any errands you need."
"I'm a fuckin' prisoner, then?" As always when Miles became upset his accent thickened, emphasizing his British roots that the last several years in the States had never managed to erase.
"You're not a prisoner," Kurt recited for what Miles felt sure had to be the tenth time. "You can go anywhere up here you want. There's a lot to see. There are the lighthouses and miles of beach to walk on. The sunsets are terrific, and the town has some great little art shops."
"You've got to be kidding me." Miles crossed his arms over his chest, feeling the scar under his shirt as he did so. He knew denial would only take him so far; that was the reason he'd agreed to Kurt's crazy idea in the first place.
"Come on, Miles."
Miles could hear Kurt's frustration in his voice. "It's the best I can think of. I tried to let you do it your way but you were headed right back into trouble. At least, just try it... for me?"
"Even though I can't believe you stole my cell, it's not like I could ever deny you anything," Miles grumped as he looked out the large picture window. Kurt was right about one thing. The view here was terrific. The cottage was situated atop a small series of sand dunes and looked down onto the big lake.
"Feel like I'm going to turn into a bleedin' turnip just sittin' around."
Kurt reached out and caught Miles close in a tight hug. "You'll be the blondest, tannest, and sexiest turnip I know."
Miles returned the firm grasp of Kurt's arms, knowing it was one of the few ways his friend could show his relief while still trying to maintain some professional focus.
"I did say thank you, didn't I?" He mumbled against Kurt's neck, his breath ruffling the sandy hair at the nape with gratitude he found difficult to express.
"For what?" Kurt joked. "My amazing ability to ignore you when you're being a foul bastard? Or for carting you up here to the 'back ass of beyond' as you so delicately put it?"
"It's certainly not the last part, I can tell you that!" Miles grinned. "And how many times do I have to tell you it's 'arse', not 'ass'?"
"Yeah, yeah. Tomato, to-mah-to. You go ahead and settle in. I'm going to take your file up to Drew and fill him in." Miles watched as Kurt shifted his feet uneasily.
"Uh... Miles, go easy on him, will you?"
"What do you mean?" Miles asked.
"Drew's a quiet kind of guy. He's had some... personal troubles, and I know you, remember? Just don't push, okay?"
"What aren't you telling me here, Kurt?" Miles's suspicions drifted back to the fore.
"Nothing," Kurt muttered as Miles picked up the remote control to the television. "I gotta go, Miles. I'll see you in a few weeks."
Miles watched Kurt rush out of the cabin and sniffed as he turned on the television. No telling with Kurt sometimes. There was a large assortment of DVDs in the lower half of the entertainment unit but Miles thought he'd check out some international news instead; maybe he could catch a market report.
There was only one small problem with that plan.
Even half way up the hill to Drew's cabin, Kurt could hear Miles's yell through the open window of his truck.
"No fuckin' cable either? Kurt, you wanker!"
* * * *
"Come on, will you just think about it?"
Drew Cole stood at the front door of the cabin with his arms folded across his chest and shook his head at his friend. He watched as Kurt turned to look down at the thick, manila envelope that had just flown over his head to land on the dry and dusty path behind him.
"You're always picking up strays, what's one more?" Ignoring Drew's strong, non-verbal statement, Kurt reached for the envelope and turned back to Drew with a wide smile as he brushed the dirt off. "Great toss, by the way."
Refusing to be swayed by Kurt's blatant attempt at flattery, Drew rolled his eyes and shook his head once again.
"This was the only thing I could think of that would work," Kurt said tiredly. "Miles is refusing to take care of himself properly. He needs rest and a lack of stress to complete his recovery."
Drew shrugged. The physician within him was curious to take a look at the file in Kurt's hand despite his misgivings, and he admitted, if only to himself, that Kurt's concerns were valid.
"You know with my schedule the cabin sits empty most of the time, and there's not another world-renowned ex-cardiologist I'd rather trust Miles's care to."
Instead of listening to his instincts and closing the door, Drew stepped back into the cabin's cool interior and headed for his studio. There really wasn't any point in shutting Kurt out of his own cabin.
They had bought the adjoining properties back when they worked together in Grand Rapids. When Drew had moved up here permanently, Kurt had transferred his belongings into the smaller, one-room cabin Miles would be staying at, opening this one up for Drew.
He had never met Miles Taylor, but Drew had heard plenty about him from Kurt. Even though Kurt constantly complained about what a pain in the ass he was, Drew knew Kurt cared for Miles, and he owed Kurt enough that he couldn't refuse his request.
Drew gave a wry smile at his mental acknowledgement that Miles would be staying. He knew Kurt would keep pressing until he gave in. The best he could do was postpone his ultimate defeat as long as possible.
"I can't believe how clean this place is." True to form Kurt couldn't keep quiet as he followed close on Drew's heels. "It sure didn't look this good when I lived here."
A quick glance at the cabin's spotless interior made Drew frown. He might live here full time, but it didn't look any more lived in than Kurt's cabin had before Miles arrived. Drew hoped Kurt thought the lack of clutter was a comment on his own rather careless housekeeping rather than a statement of how hard Drew worked at leaving little impact on the world around him.
"Can we talk about this?" Kurt quietly asked as Drew sat down at the potter's wheel in the back room. Drew's bare foot automatically found its way to the unit's floor pedal, and he began the rhythmic pumping that set the wheel in motion as he shook his head firmly.
Kurt stepped into the room, walking carefully over the various tarped clumps of clay that were strewn about the floor on his way over to the storage shelves beside the large kiln. Drew hadn't shipped his latest work down to the shop in town yet, and the shelves were still full. He watched as Kurt wandered around, the bright light streaming in the open windows highlighting the different colors on the completed pieces.
"That new glaze you're experimenting with looks to be working well."
Drew shrugged again, and he fought back a smile. Kurt was so predictable. He was trying misdirection now. Drew tossed his head, sending his long, dark hair swirling off his neck before it settled back down in the middle of his back.
"Your hair is longer than it was last time," Kurt commented.
Drew nodded, his hands resting lightly on the wet mass of clay on the wheel before him. Kurt had always had a thing for his hair, and Drew knew it took everything his friend had not to reach out and feel the softness. Drew appreciated the restraint, remembering his reaction the last time Kurt had unexpectedly touched him.
"It won't take up any more of your time. It's not like Miles needs care; he's fully recovered from the surgery. He just needs to get away from the stress of his daily routine and make some decisions about his future."
Drew hated hearing the pleading note in Kurt's voice, and he hated being the cause of it, but he wasn't going to make this easy. They both knew what Kurt was asking of him.
"It would make me feel better about leaving him alone if I knew you were keeping an eye on him."
Drew let his foot rest atop on the pedal, and both men watched as the wheel began to slow, water and rich red clay sluicing off as it spun down.
"How about I pay the property taxes while he's up here?"
Drew took a deep breath and squared his broad shoulders under their blue denim covering. He needed to stop drawing this out and give Kurt an answer.
"Do it for me?"
With perfect timing, the wheel stopped moving at Kurt's last words and Drew stood up, shaking his head as he turned to face his friend and former colleague. Without a word, just a meaningful glance from his dark hazel eyes, he took the envelope from Kurt's hand before making shooing motions toward the other room.
"I know, I know." Kurt laughed. "You hate it when I'm in your studio." Drew walked him out to the living room, but when he gestured toward the coffeepot, Kurt shook his head.
"I wish I could, but I have to get back. It's a long drive, and I've too many appointments booked tomorrow to push it."
Drew smiled and ran a hand through his hair. He regretted the gesture as soon as he made it. Kurt tried not to stare at the crooked fingers exposed by the gesture but it was obvious he couldn't help himself, anymore than he could avoid looking at the scar visible just under the dark beard at Drew's neck.
Drew's smile faded. He shoved his hand down into his front pants pocket and dropped his chin toward his chest.
"Oh, Drew," Kurt said. "You don't have to hide, not from me."
As always when he saw Drew, emotion filled Kurt's eyes, emotion that Drew appreciated Kurt never fully expressed. Drew knew the situation had been difficult for his friends. They couldn't seem to forget the past, the time when they said being in Drew's presence was like being caught in the hot burning sun of a summer's day. A time before, when he had been able to laugh easily and had loved life with a fierce joy. They couldn't accept that those days would never return.
Kurt stood there with his hands moving restlessly at his side. Drew knew he wanted to reach out and hug Drew close the way he used to. Drew could remember the comfort of Kurt's lean body pressed against his, the way he smelled safe and familiar. Drew wished there was a way to reassure Kurt that he was more than this silent ghost he'd become, but he didn't know how. He just nodded at Kurt before walking them both out of the cabin.
"I'll see you later, then." Kurt kept his voice steady with what Drew could tell was an effort as he opened the door to his truck. "Thanks for looking in on Miles. I appreciate it."
Drew's voice was low and rough from both scar tissue and disuse, but it was strong enough to stop Kurt in his tracks. Drew couldn't remember the last time he had spoken around Kurt, much less said his name, and he was ashamed he hadn't made more of an attempt. The two men stood silently, each lost in their memories before Drew leaned forward and briefly let his lips touch the side of Kurt's cheek. The kiss was as soft as a butterfly wing, barely there, barely felt, but a small miracle nonetheless.
Kurt's arms came up instinctively--only to clutch empty air as Drew shuddered and stepped back away from the touch.
"Drive safe," Drew uttered gutturally. And then he retreated to the safety of his cabin, and Kurt was left standing there with nothing but the silly smile on his face.