In last week's No Way Out, if you'll recall, Shy met Wyatt clandestinely at the grocery store. So, what now? Find out in episode #10, and then don't forget to visit the other Briefers, whose links follow my tale. Enjoy!
No Way Out #10
They didn’t speak. Wyatt pushed the cart while Shy located the items on his list, carefully marking each one off once he placed it in the cart.
“Checking it twice?” Wyatt quipped.
Shy gave him a quizzical look.
“You know. Like Santa Claus?” Wyatt felt his joke fall flat, but forged ahead anyway. “He’s making a list, checking it twice.” That produced a small smile and Wyatt felt emboldened. “Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice.”
The smile faded.
Damn, he felt stupid. Had he struck a nerve?
The next moment the mask was back in place, and Wyatt felt like the scum of the earth. Be more careful, he cautioned himself. You’re treading a fine line here...
“Um, do you cook?” He quickly changed the subject. They stood in the meat department. Shy critically examined two packages of beef, comparing them. He selected one, set the other back. “Yes, I do all the cooking.” He began to riffle through the chicken parts, eyeing the thighs and the drumsticks in particular.
“I love to eat but I’m not much of a cook,” Wyatt confessed. “I practically live on ramen most of the time.”
“That’s not good for you. Too much sodium.”
“Yeah, well, it’s cheap.” Wyatt laughed. “Since I’ve been housesitting, I’m eating better, I have to admit. Mr. Masterson isn’t stingy at all with the food budget.”
Did Shy wince, or did Wyatt imagine that? Damn, he seemed to be hitting every one of Shy’s nerves today, clumsy oaf that he was. But it was difficult to know what might or might not set him off. And Shy wasn’t exactly being forthcoming either.
Wyatt was determined to get through to him, no matter how long it took. He was a patient man. He had to be—art wasn’t created in a day.
He held his tongue until he noticed that every item on the list had been marked off, then turned the cart in the direction of the snack area, which was empty at the moment. “What kind of soda do you drink?”
“I can’t drink soda. Just water.”
Wyatt tamped down on the desire to raise an eyebrow. “Oh, okay. Water it is. Want some chips with that? Popcorn?” he hastily amended. He was finally catching on. Healthy only. For whatever reason. “No butter, no salt.”
Wyatt breathed a sigh of relief when Shy nodded. That was a start. They took the farthest table in the back, and set the cart out of the way. Wyatt watched Shy slide into the bench seat. Once he was fairly sure the blond wasn’t about to bolt, he went to the counter, bought their snacks and drinks, and carried the tray back, setting the contents on the table. He took the seat across from Shy, resisting the urge to sit beside him. That would not be a good idea, he realized.
Besides, he could watch Shy’s expressions better this way. Wyatt had a feeling he really needed to pay attention to those. He was feeling his way through unfamiliar territory, and he needed to see Shy’s reactions to know when he was keeping to the right path and when he was making a misstep.
He instinctively unscrewed the cap on the water bottle and handed it to Shy. “Thanks.” Shy took it and drank, peering at Wyatt over the bottle. Such beautiful blue eyes. Wyatt ached to get them on canvas.
Where to begin? Wyatt wanted to know everything, but what subjects were safe? The last thing he wanted was to make Shy uncomfortable. Or, worst case scenario, cause him to run.
“Have you lived in the neighborhood long?”
The response surprised Wyatt. And unsettled him. He began to do the mental math. Assuming Shy to be maybe twenty or twenty-one, that meant... he’d been just a little boy? What the hell. He swallowed his next words, rather than blurt out something harsh about Randy. He needed facts, not conjecture.
“Oh.” He kept his voice deliberately noncommittal. “Long time. “
Shy nodded. He reached for the bag of popcorn, popped a swollen kernel between his lips with careful deliberation. Wyatt watched, fascinated by the grace in his motion. His cock gave a twitch.
“Where did you and Randy live before that?” Wyatt ripped open his bag of barbecue chips, releasing a spicy fragrance he could fairly taste. Shy’s eyes flickered briefly to the chips and away.
“Nowhere.” The reply was sharp and succinct. “That’s when we moved in with him. Fifteen years ago.”
Tread lightly... lightly...
“Hey, I’ll trade you some of my chips for some of your popcorn?” Not waiting for an answer, he placed a few of the crisp red treats in his hand and held it out to Shy, counting on instinct and desire to override whatever held him in check. “Go ahead,” he encouraged him. You know you want to...
A moment passed that felt like a lifetime before Shy’s hand shot out and claimed the chips and practically inhaled them. After he chewed and swallowed, Shy tentatively licked his lips—whether to savor the flavor or remove a telltale trace of spice, Wyatt couldn’t be sure.
Shy stiffened and his cheeks flamed as he cast his eyes down on the table. Wyatt got the feeling he was waiting for something... but what? And then it hit him. Shy expected to be punished for what he’d done. Was Randy that strict about his diet?
Or was there more to the story than met the eye? Surely this wasn’t just because of a few grams of polyunsaturated fat?
Shy’s lower lip trembled. Wyatt had to resist the urge to brush his thumb over it, to reassure him that everything was all right. How could he when he didn’t know what was wrong.
He could barely hear the words that forced themselves out. He had to lean in, in spite of himself.
“Please... don’t tell... Randy...”
The agony in Shy’s eyes tugged at his heart.
to be continued
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Until next time, take care!