Waves of Smoke and Gold
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by Neil Plakcy
Category: Erotica/Gay Fiction
Description: Richie and Gabe meet by accident---when one of Richie's two adopted sons beans Gabe in the head with a soccer ball. There's an immediate attraction---but Gabe, who's still a boy at heart, though nearing thirty, is reluctant to take on a ready-made family. That is, until he runs into Richie again and their mutual attraction takes over...
eBook Publisher: MLR Press, LLC/MLR Press, LLC,
eBookwise Release Date: July 2012
8 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [44 KB]
Reading time: 23-32 min.
The late afternoon sun glinted on the small waves rolling in, whipped into an airy foam by the light breeze. I was debating going in for a quick swim when I felt a searing pain from the impact of something solid connecting with the back of my head. I stumbled to my knees on the hard-packed sand.
"Oh my God, are you all right?"
I looked up to see a handsome guy about my age leaning over me, a boy on either side of him.
He turned to the boy on his right, who was about ten. "Matthew, I told you not to kick your ball so hard on the beach. Look what you did!"
I squinted at him. The sun was in my eyes, but I didn't want to move for a minute. "I'm okay."
I recognized the guy and the boys with him. I often went down to the ocean in South Beach late in the afternoon when the summer heat had burned off. I liked to swim for a half hour or so then relax on the sand and let the day's disasters fade away.
This guy and his sons were often there at the same time. The dad was slim and blond, while the boys were dark-haired, dark-eyed, and on the chunky side. All three of them were gorgeous, the dad in a kind of Abercrombie and Fitch model way, though he had to be thirty, at least. The boys had some mixed-race thing going on, some combination of Maya or Aztec with Spanish conquistador thrown in. Their mom was probably drop-dead gorgeous, too.
"I'm so sorry," the dad said, peering at me. "Are you sure you don't need to go to the emergency room? Urgent care? There's a great minute clinic on Twenty-First Street--I take the boys there all the time."
I felt my head. No blood; that was good. Just a hell of a headache. "I'll be fine."
"You look like you got a concussion. You shouldn't be on your own for a while. Do you have someone to stay with you?"
The nurturing dad thing was starting to get to me. "Like I said, 'I'll be fine.'"
He took my hand and tugged, getting me to stand up. I did, swaying and stumbling. "At least let me get you something to drink," he said. "Come on, there's a cafe right across the street."
The older boy, the one called Matthew, took my other hand. "I'm sorry," he said without a trace of a Spanish accent.
"It's okay, little dude." He and his brother both looked so anxious I felt I had to agree, just to keep them from having some kind of traumatic memory of the incident. "Sure, I could go for a bottle of water."
I realized the dad was still holding my other hand and pulled it back. I go for the slim, blond look, thinking my own dark hair and Mediterranean complexion are nice complements. Or maybe it was some Jewish thing, like the way Philip Roth was always lusting after shiksa goddesses. Although in my case, I gave the term "forbidden fruit" a different meaning.
In any case, this dad really floated my boat, and I had been mooning over him ever since I first spotted him. I saw him every so often at the beach and a few times when he'd come into the Pack and Ship where I worked. Every time I thought about flirting, I reminded myself how useless it was to lust after straight guys. Especially straight guys with kids.
"I'm Richie," he said, giving me a half wave. "You've already met Matthew, and this is Luke."
"Where are Mark and John?" I asked.
He laughed. "I get that a lot. We stopped at two apostles. Otherwise you have to end up with Simon and Bartholomew and Judas, not to mention the two Jameses."
I shrugged. "I'm Jewish, what do I know from apostles? I just always hear those four as a set."
"I'm Jewish, too," he said, as we turned and began walking toward Ocean Drive, "but I've gotten that comment so often I did my research."
I realized I hadn't introduced myself. "I'm Gabriel, but my friends call me 'Gabe.'"
"Sorry we had to meet by accident," Richie said. "I've seen you around the beach before, though. I bring the boys down here after school sometimes."
We stepped onto the stone path that curled through the grassy space between the sand and the street, and Matthew let go of my hand and ran ahead to play with his brother. "Yeah, I've seen you guys, here, and where I work, at the Pack and Ship on Twelfth Street."
"Oh, I go there all the time," he said, "or at least I used to."
"Not something we did, I hope?"
He shook his head. "My ex used to send me there to ship packages. He was a real Amazon queen."
I looked at him. "I beg your pardon?"
"He'd get on his computer late at night and order all this stuff online, and then, by the time it got to us, he didn't want it any more. So he'd have me return it."
That was interesting. He had an ex, and that ex was male. Ergo he was gay and, I hoped, available. The cafe visit was looking better all the time.
As we neared the street, Richie called, "Wait for Daddy," and the boys stopped obediently a foot from the curb.
"How does that work, when there are two of you?" I asked. "Were you both 'Daddy'?"
"I'm 'Daddy,'" Richie said. "Alex was 'Papa,' but now that he's moved to San Francisco, I just call him 'asshole.'" He put his hand up to his mouth in a mocking gesture. "Did I say that out loud? For the boys' sake, I'm trying to be polite about the whole getting-dragged-away-from- Manhattan-then-dumped-in-Miami-with-two-rambunctious-boys thing."
"Bummer," I said, as we caught up to the boys. Without even thinking about it, I reached out for Matthew's hand again, and Richie took the younger boy's, and when there was a break in the flow of delivery trucks and tourist-driven convertibles cruising up Ocean Drive, we crossed.
We grabbed a four-top on the sidewalk at the News Cafe, and Richie said, "Still want that water or something stronger? I wouldn't mind a daiquiri. I'd say that the sun is already over the yardarm, but I don't know what a yardarm is."
I nodded, even though it made my head hurt.