Don't forget to visit the other Briefers, whose links follow my tale. Enjoy! And don't worry, Marshall and Lee will be back next week!
A Crescent Bay Halloween, Part I
“Yeah, I can understand your dilemma. That’s a tough spot to be in.” Miller speared another French fry and dipped it into the ranch sauce he’d slathered on his plate. Alexx’s own food was barely touched. Despite the fact Miller had taken him out to lunch for his birthday, like he did every year, Alexx had little appetite.
“I just feel funny about the whole thing, you know?”
“Well, yeah, he’s your boyfriend’s ex-boyfriend. And he’s dead. A bit awkward you were born on the same day he died.”
“It’s not that. It’s not like I’m jealous of him or anything.” He couldn’t help but notice the dubious look Miller shot him. “Okay, I was at one time, I admit. But Raoul and I worked that out. That’s not it. Not anymore.”
“Then what is it?”
“I wish I knew.” Alexx shrugged.
“I’m sure Raoul has something special planned for you, don’t you think? For your birthday?”
Alexx gave up all pretense of eating and pushed his plate back. “It’s also Halloween.”
“Gosh yes, how could I forget that? Not like anyone in Crescent Bay is celebrating—No, wait, everyone in Crescent Bay is celebrating. It’s the biggest supernatural holiday there is. Only thing bigger here than Halloween is the Lupercalia Ball. Well, for the wolves, anyway. No idea what the vamps do for kicks.” Not like he knew any. He glanced at Alexx’s untouched food. “You’re going to get a doggy bag, right? Eat it later?”
Alexx shook his head. “No, you can have it. Sorry I’m such a wet blanket today. I don’t mean to be. I appreciate you taking me out to lunch. Honestly, I do.”
“I know that. What are friends for?” Miller reached across the table and took Alexx’s hand into his own. “Look, you know Raoul loves you, right?”
Alexx nodded, his gaze fastened on the table. There was no question in his mind about that. Raoul loved him as fiercely as he loved Raoul.
“Then just relax and go with the flow. Are you two going to Charisma tonight?”
“I guess. We go every night. I’m sure something special is going on there, what with the holiday. Are you coming?”
“Um… well… I dunno. I hadn’t thought about it.”
Alexx looked up in surprise. “But I’m sure it’ll be a big party night. Maybe you can hook up or something.”
Miller wrinkled his nose, as if he found the suggestion distasteful. “Meh. I’m not sure I want to do that.”
Alexx freed his hand from Miller’s grip, reached over the table and placed it against Miller’s forehead.
“What are you doing?”
“Checking to see if you’re running a fever. You don’t seem to be in Miller’s right mind.” He managed a faint smile.
“Yeah, I know.” Miller rolled his eyes. “I dunno. Just doesn’t hold the same appeal it used to, you know? Watching you and Raoul… well, makes me wish—” He broke off whatever he’d been about to say and turned his head, but too late. Alexx had seen a glimpse of tears in his friend’s eye.
“Hey, don’t ever doubt you’re gonna find someone. A really great someone. You’re too special a guy not to, Miller. You have to believe in yourself. I know I do.” He watched Miller chew at his lower lip for a moment, before he turned his head to meet Alexx’s gaze.
“Yeah, I keep telling myself that. I’m all about kissing those frogs to find that prince, you know?”
“Kiss a few toads, have you?” Alexx’s words produced a soft chuckle, followed by a smile. That was better. “Hey, why don’t you come by Charisma tonight, and we’ll all hang out together?”
“Are you sure? I mean, you and Raoul… you should do something together. Something special. This’ll be your first birthday with him.”
“And we’ll celebrate it at Charisma with our best friend.” Alexx’s voice was stronger, more confident.
“Well, I doubt Raoul feels that way.” Miller laughed.
“He doesn’t kiss just anyone like that,” Alexx teased, producing the expected blush.
“That was the wig, not me. And anyway, that was all for you and him, it didn’t mean a thing—”
“I know, I know,” Alexx said soothingly. “Just yanking your chain. Oh, you are coming tomorrow night, right? To the party at Le Petit Croissant?” His future in-laws had insisted on throwing a birthday party for Alexx at their upscale restaurant. How could he say no?
“Hell yeah. Not like I can afford to eat there. I’m just a poor working stiff.” Miller glanced at his watch. “Shit, speaking of working, I better get back to the Chronicle before I find out I’m not working, if you know what I mean.” He grabbed the bag with Alexx’s leftovers, which the waitress had been kind enough to package for him when he paid the bill, and they both rose.
“If you’re really sure…”
“Okay, see you tonight. I’ll try to find a costume. Not sure what.”
“It doesn’t matter. Come as you are. It’s not mandatory.”
Alexx watched Miller race for the door, turn, and give a final wave before bolting outside. Once Miller was out of sight, Alexx grew thoughtful once more.
Ordinarily, when he was troubled about something, he turned to Raoul. But not this time. He wouldn’t. He couldn’t. Anything that was potentially harmful to Raoul was anathema to Alexx. So he’d just have to suck it up, pull up his big boy pants and just get over himself.
Once he figured out what his problem was. Sighing, he pushed his hands in his pockets and left the restaurant, his thoughts flitting about his mind like rabid bats in a belfry.
Damn. Vampire analogy. Better not let Raoul hear that.
He had to make sure Raoul didn’t suspect anything, or subject him to his foul mood. He had to make tonight special for his lover, no matter what the price. He loved him that much.
to be continued
Now go see what the other Briefers are up to!