Romero and Julian [As We Like It]
Click on image to enlarge.
by Brynn Paulin
Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Gay Fiction
Description: "Stay away from them!" Wesley Romero and Micah Julian have heard the admonitions their entire lives, but when lightning-fast attraction strikes them one night, they can't deny the connection that binds them. Their families may be engaged in a long-standing feud, but Wes and Micah want to solve their differences in a more civilized manner--in bed and in each other's embrace, where arm-to-arm combat has never been so good.
eBook Publisher: Resplendence Publishing, LLC, 2011 November
eBookwise Release Date: March 2012
5 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [109 KB]
Reading time: 64-90 min.
All Other formats: Printing DISABLED, Read-aloud DISABLED
One punch and Wesley Romero was going down hard. The back of his head smacked the lawn, but he rolled, avoiding Tai Julian's kick. Damn it, it looked like he was wearing steel-toed boots, too. Leaping to his feet, Wesley scrambled up and ducked a blow just as a Verona police car screamed around the corner and his friend, Ben Marcus ran across the street and grabbed Tai before the man could punch Wesley again.
Favoring his ribs, Wesley hunched over trying to breathe while two cops hurried from their cruiser.
"What's going on here?" one of the cops demanded.
"He's trespassing," Tai spat.
"I came over here to ask you to turn down the music so my parents can sleep." Wes looked at the cop. "He attacked me."
Fuck, he didn't even live here anymore, and he was still getting dragged into this crap. He'd just come to dinner at his parents' home, and they'd asked him to talk to the Julians before he left. Tai had gone on the offensive as soon as he'd seen Wesley. Thankfully, Ben, who'd been his close friend since childhood had joined them for the meal. If not, Tai would still be beating on Wesley while Wesley tried to dodge him. Not that he couldn't hold his own, but he didn't want to fight. He'd seen way too much of that the past few years.
"I can't believe we're back over here again," the second cop muttered in disgust. "The two of you. For the love of God, Romero just got back in town."
Wesley recognized him as Deputy Escalus. He'd broken up way too many squabbles between the Romeros and Julians over the years. Edward Julian, Tai's father, and Robert Romero, Wesley's father had fostered a long-standing feud of sorts since they'd been in college. It was a stupid thing really, especially now some thirty years later. Something about Wesley's mom dating Robert after she'd broken things off with Edward. As an extension, Maisie Julian disliked Wesley's mom for that very reason. Everything had just gotten more bitter with more "wrongs" piled upon one another during the following decades.
Both the Romeros and the Julians lived in Victorian-style homes that had been in their families since they'd been built eons ago, and neither group was willing to move.
"Trust me," Wes grated, "I'd rather be back in Iraq than walking into this enemy camp."
The two families moved in different circles, and though he was the same age as the oldest Julian son, both Julian boys had gone to private school while Wesley had gone to public.
"I heard you were a SEAL," Deputy Escalus said while the other officer spoke with Tai.
"I wasn't a SEAL, just a combat engineer doing his job."
"Just an engineer?" Ben laughed. "Fuck, man, you're a Marine. You did stuff that would have had me pissing myself."
"You don't say. A Marine? Ooh Rah," the cop said, admiration shining in his eyes.
Wesley grinned and nodded. He was proud to be a Marine, even if he was a reservist who'd never expected to be called up to fight overseas. He glanced at his friend. "Thanks, Ben."
"Hell, yeah. Marine or no, I'm glad you're out now, too. Three tours was too much."
"Just doing my job." He was glad to be back to his civilian career, now, though. "So, Deputy, do you think we can ask them to turn down the music?"
The officer nodded, and the three of them headed for the backyard. The area was lit with Chinese lanterns, and tall, propane patio heaters warmed the area that otherwise would have been chilly. A large banner at one end of the yard proclaimed Congratulations Micah and Paris! in large block letters. Great. They were breaking up an engagement party.
He spotted Edward right away as he rounded the final corner, but it was the youngest Julian who held his gaze. Micah. Five years younger than Wesley's twenty-eight, he was sleek where Wesley was thickly muscled, and golden-haired where Wesley's was nearly coal-black. He wore a silk button-down that only served to emphasize his startling, pale beauty. A statuesque platinum blonde had her arms wrapped around one of his. Paris, no doubt.
"Wow, she's hot," Ben murmured. "Lucky bastard."
The blonde woman wasn't the one Wes found hot. His mouth went dry as Micah looked up, and his light brown eyes met Wesley's stare. A startling bolt of electricity jolted through Wesley's chest before Micah's father stepped into his line of vision.
"What do you want?" he demanded. "Why are you here, Romero, and bringing the cops too? This is a private party to celebrate my son's engagement." He smirked and glanced at Ben. "To a woman."
Wesley ignored him. He'd come out in high school so his sexual preference wasn't much of a secret--in civilian life. He was accustomed to snarky comments from close-minded people. Still, it surprised him that Mr. Julian had bothered to take note of anything about him. Of course, the man probably viewed it as another strike against Wesley's parents.
"Sir, we were called out on a noise disturbance and arrived to find your son throwing punches."
Edward scowled. "I'm sure Romero started it. He might be light in the loafers, but he likes to pick fights with my boy. I'm sure he has a crush on him."
Light in the loafers? Wes would have laughed aloud if not for the distasteful implication that he wanted Tai. Good God, he'd rather never have sex again than have anything to do with that man.
"Let's take this in the front yard, shall we?" the deputy suggested.
"Yeah," Edward grunted. "I don't want my guests to see this one nancing about. They're all offended by his type."
Wes took a deep breath to fight the rage roiling in his chest. It was asses like Edward Julian who caused gay men and women around the world to get beaten or to think suicide was their only option.
"Sir, there's no need to be rude," the officer admonished.
"It's my home and he's an intruder. I'll be as rude as I damn well please," Edward blustered, and Wesley smelled beer on his huff. He averted his face as they rejoined Tai and the other officer. Edward went to stand beside his son, the pair essentially facing off against Wes and Ben.
"Why don't you get out of here?" Tai spat. "I'm sure you need your beauty rest before another grueling day doing hair."
He refused to rise to the bait. Were people really this stupid or was Tai throwing around stereotypes to rile Wesley? Ben growled, and Wes shot out his hand to stop him from stepping forward.
"We're going," he replied. "That's all right, officer?"
"Go," the deputy returned. "I know where you live if I need to find you."
"Yeah, you fags all know where to get some ass," Tai spat. Shaking his head, Wes turned away. Suddenly, he was shoved from behind as Tai apparently broke ranks. The officers hollered, but Wes was faster. He spun, grabbing instinctively at the arm. Tai's limb was twisted behind him before he could react. Wes leaned forward, forcing back revulsion at the man's unappealing natural scent mixed with stale cigarette smoke. "I'm pretty easygoing, asshole, but don't push me," he hissed. "I put down bigger guys than you in Iraq."
He thrust Tai into Deputy Escalus' possession then, at the man's nod, stalked across the street. Annoyed by the whole situation, he glanced back and saw Tai being shoved into a car while Mr. Julian yelled, his arms flailing with drunken emphasis, his finger occasionally jabbing toward the Romero house.
Wes gritted his teeth. What a bunch of crap. This stupid feud was insane.
"Do they really think you're a hairdresser?" Ben asked.
"Who the hell knows?" Wesley laughed. "They might think you are, too, I guess. It doesn't really matter in the scheme of things. They can think whatever the hell they want. If I don't see any of them again, it'll be a day too soon. I've put up with this bullshit since I was old enough to understand that we didn't get along with the people across the street. I've gotten blamed for more stuff I didn't do..."
At Ben's car, they paused. It was late, and Wesley knew his friend had to get rolling.
"Thanks for coming over for dinner," Wes said as they shared a stiff man-hug.
"Welcome back. Finally," Ben replied. Though, Wesley had been back in the States for a few weeks, he'd only just returned to Verona because of his residual duties before his official discharge. This was the first time they'd been able to get together.
"No sand, no missiles," Wesley quipped. "It's pretty damn good." He glanced toward the house. "I'll go inside and report to the parents before I go. See you Sunday for the game?"
"Can't wait to see it on that new big screen," his friend replied. Neither mentioned that the TV wasn't particularly new anymore. Wesley had purchased it just before he'd been notified to report for his last tour.
He watched Ben drive off, lifting his hand in a single wave before Ben turned from the street. Resigned to hearing another tirade about the Julians, he went into the house.
Predictably, his parents bitched about their neighbors, and it was an hour before Wesley finally left. The commotion across the street had ended, and a still silence filled the night.
Tai was nowhere to be seen. Wes wondered if he'd actually been arrested. Though truthfully, he didn't really care.
"Wesley?" a soft voice called, as he reached his car.
Startled, he looked up to find Micah stepping from the shadows. His hands were shoved into his pockets, and Paris was nowhere to be seen. His mouth lifted in a rueful half-smile.
Wesley froze, stunned by yet another wash of desire as the moon bathed Micah in its soft light. He couldn't want this man. Even if Wes thought the feud was stupid, their families were enemies. Hell, Micah's brother would just as soon run him over with a car as speak to him.
"I just wanted to tell you I'm sorry about what happened over there. I couldn't hear what was said, but it was obvious my dad was as pleasant as usual."
"Yeah," Wesley acknowledged. "Look, it's not your fault he was--" He stopped himself from say an asshole and filled in, "Rude. I was crashing the party--"
"Fucking party," Micah muttered under his breath, charming Wesley.
His chest tightened as the slighter man's demeanor touched him. He seemed both embarrassed by his family and interested in Wesley. Warmth spread through Wes even as he told himself that there was no way Micah Julian could be interested in him. Micah was engaged. To a woman. Of course, Wes knew of gay man who played hetero for society--hell, he'd been doing it for years in the Marines. Maybe Micah was gay or even bi-sexual...
"Well, anyway," Micah continued. He shuffled his feet.
Wes lifted an eyebrow. "You weren't thrilled about the party, I take it."
"Hell, no. I don't know what they were thinking. A party to celebrate my engagement to a woman I haven't proposed to? Thankfully, Paris has a sense of humor. She thinks it's funny as shit. Me? Not so much."
"You're not engaged?" Wesley leaned against his car, eyeing Micah speculatively. This was the closest he'd ever been to the man, and God help him, his cock was reacting to the proximity. Surprising need boiled in his balls as his sharp eyes took in the chiseled cut of Micah's jaw. It contrasted his youthful features, bright eyes and full mouth. Damn, but Wesley wanted to pull that bottom lip between his teeth.
He crossed his arms over his chest before he acted on his need. "Are they trying to push you into something?"
"You might say so." Micah glanced over at his house, as if someone there would hear him. "Paris is my best friend; she's not my girlfriend. After this, she owes me big time. It's all her fault. She told her mom we were engaged to get her mom off her back about dating. She knew I wouldn't care. I'm gone all the time and I...well, I don't date. Her mom told mine and... It all snowballed." He drove his fingers through his artfully shaggy hair. "I don't know why I'm telling you this--"
"Maybe because--" Wesley stopped and shook his head. He'd been slapped by insta-lust but that didn't mean Micah had. "I need to get going. I have an early morning tomorrow."
Micah's face fell. "Oh..." He tilted his head, his eyes narrowing slightly. "Maybe because what?"
Wesley coughed, clearing his throat. "Nothing."
The other man grasped Wesley's forearm. Goose bumps lifted on Wesley's skin and his cock went rock-hard, his body urging him to please, please pull Micah into his arms.
"Wesley," Micah pleaded. "Tell me. I...just, tell me."
Micah's eyes shown with sincerity and none of the malice Wesley got from the other Julians. Need burned there, need so similar to what gripped him that Wes felt dizzy. He struggled for control as desire filled his chest and grasped his balls. Blood thundered through his head as he stared at Micah's mouth.
Wes ran his tongue over his bottom lip. He wanted to see his cock disappearing into Micah's throat. His erection jerked at the thought. He had to fuck Micah. There was no question. He had to fuck him... And then, he'd hold him and learn everything that made up the soft-spoken man, everything that made him smile and made him hurt. Everything...
The world shrank down to the two of them, neither speaking, neither moving as their gazes communicated. Deep need so much like Wes' haunted Micah's eyes, too. Wesley knew he had to take a chance. A connection like this didn't happen every day.
He didn't just want Micah's body; he wanted his soul.
A dog barked nearby, breaking Wes from his dream-like state, and he shook his head slightly as cottony trance that had surrounded them lifted. Even the silence seemed loud as his awareness returned.
Micah still held Wesley's arm. Wesley reached out with his free hand and flattened it in the middle of Micah's chest. He stiffened, as if expecting to get shoved.
"Lightning," Wesley whispered, not caring that he probably sounded crazy and was giving a Julian fodder against him. "Right here. I took one look at you and...electricity bolted straight through me."
"Yes," Micah breathed, his fingers tightening on Wes' arm. Wes knew the grasp would be burned into him forever. He'd always feel it. Another slash of energy seared through him, engraving the connection onto his heart.
"What are you doing tomorrow?" he asked quietly, still afraid of being shot down. He didn't want to leave Micah, but he had to. If he didn't get in his car and drive away, he'd have Micah bent inside while he fucked him right in the driveway. They'd both scream so loud the whole neighborhood would know.
Now, wouldn't that be a story.
A wide smile stretched Micah's lips. "You tell me."
He grinned in return. "I have to work tomorrow, but why don't you meet me at my apartment for dinner--I don't think it would be a good idea for me to pick you up here."
"Uh, no. You're right that would be a bad idea." Micah glanced at the house again, and Wesley longed to turn him back and tell him not to worry about his family. He didn't have that right. Not yet. So why did it seem as if the two of them had been destined for each other since time began?
Because you need to fuck. It's been over two years, man. There's no such thing as love at first sight, dork, he told himself. It was the dose of reality he needed.
Micah sighed. "Do you think the feud is as stupid as I do?"
"Completely asinine," Wesley agreed.
"Good. So what time and where do you live?"