Everybody be safe and be happy, I'll see you in a few days!
A Vinnie and Ethan Thanksgiving: Part II
Two other detectives relieved us about eleven o’clock. They were picking their teeth and patting their bellies and talking about what great dinners they’d had when they told us we were free to go. We informed them nobody had entered the premises during our watch, and nobody had left. Nothing to report. So naturally, we had to file a lot of paperwork to that effect. According to Ethan—who’d talked to our supervisor, Anderson Riley—that could wait.
I could live with that.
I wasn’t sure about the rest of it, though. Now we had no excuse not to have that talk Ethan said we needed to have… and why was I nervous? Maybe because I’d been kissed for the first time by a guy I couldn’t stand.
Or was it because I could stand him more than I was willing to let on? And just maybe I was attracted to him, whether I wanted to admit it or not? And I had no idea what to do about it.
“How about we grab something to eat and go back to the motel?” Ethan suggested. He might as well have added “and talk” because those words were sure as hell hanging in the air between us.
I wasn’t sure I could eat, or even wanted to. My stomach was tied up in knots, and every time I thought about that kiss, butterflies were added to the mix. It was both exhilarating and terrifying.
“I could use some coffee,” I finally replied.
“Coffee it is. We can always get something for later, as long as it doesn’t require reheating.”
“Or refrigeration,” I added. The motel we were staying at wasn’t exactly the best, but I assumed it was cheap, and for what we needed it for, it worked. It had no refrigerator and no microwave. Not even a coffeemaker. But I’d noticed that the TV which was chained to one of the few pieces of furniture in the room did have a porn channel. Shows where their priorities. lay.
We stopped at a convenience store, got what we wanted, and drove in silence to the motel. It wasn’t until we’d gotten inside and securely locked the door, removed our guns, and settled down on our respective beds with our coffee that the conversation began.
Ethan stared over the top of his coffee cup at me, across the gulf which separated us. I could feel every beat of my heart as he looked into my eyes. Without a word, he rose and bridged the few steps to my bed, then took a seat, facing me. I didn’t exactly tell him to go away. At that moment, I had no idea what I wanted. Or how I felt.
This was the thorn in my side, remember? The pain in my ass named Ethan Thorne. But when I tried to think of the reasons why I disliked him so, I found I couldn’t think of a one. I couldn’t tell if I had my dick to blame for that… or my heart. To be honest, I’d never been in this situation before, nothing even remotely like it.
And I was scared.
We stared at one another for what felt like forever, but was probably just a minute or two. His eyes were so blue. I’d never seen eyes so beautiful before. He reached for my hand and gently held it in his.
“Vinnie, I know we got off to a rocky start somehow…”
“You could say that,” I cautiously admitted.
“If I’ve ever done or said anything to upset you, I apologize. I sure never meant to,” he continued. “Have I?”
“Have you what?” My brain wasn’t working very well at the moment, and I was all too aware of my racing heart. Surely he felt it? He held his fingertips just on my pulse.
“Said or done anything to upset you,” he repeated. One thing I had to admit, he never got mad, never grew impatient with me. He was never anything but nice. So why did he annoy me so?
I took a deep breath, trying to chase the butterflies away. “No, not that I can think of.” I hoped my voice didn’t sound as shaky to him as it did to me.
“I’m glad.” He leaned a little closer to me, dropping his voice. “I guess you figured out by now I’m gay, right?”
“Am I safe in assuming you are too?”
I nodded again.
“Have you ever had a boyfriend?”
“Never.” My voice sounded far away, more like a whisper. “Have you?”
“Once,” he admitted. “A couple of years ago.”
“What happened?” I asked in spite of myself. Why did the idea he’d been with another man bother me? It shouldn’t have. It was none of my business.
“I liked him. He was nice, a very sweet guy… but he wasn’t the one.” Ethan’s blue eyes bore into mine, and I didn’t know what to say to that.
“You know, Vinnie, I always wondered how I’d know when I did meet the right one. How would I be able to tell? Would there be some sort of sign, or what? I knew that guy was the wrong one, but I was also afraid I’d never meet Mr. Right.”
“And did you?” I asked, wanting to know and yet afraid to know. “Ever meet Mr. Right, I mean.”
“I did,” Ethan said solemnly. “The day I met you.”
I was stunned into silence for once in my life.
“When I saw you, and then when I found out you were going to be my partner, I just felt the truth. I knew you were the one I’d been waiting for. And I wanted to be with you, even if you didn’t seem to like me very much.”
My cheeks grew warm at his words. “I was an asshole,” I admitted. “A total jerk to you. Why didn’t you just tell me to fuck off?”
“I’d never do that, Vinnie.” He leaned even closer. One hand still held mine, the other caressed my cheek. “Do you really hate me?”
I shook my head, not trusting my voice.
“Because you scare me.” My admission surprised both of us.
“But why, baby?”
Oh God, I was drowning in his eyes, falling into them, and I realized with a start that I liked what I saw. Very much.
“Because… because I’ve never felt like this before.” I couldn’t believe I was saying this to him. I was Mr. Sarcastic. Mr. Never Let Anyone Close. The classic loner. When had I changed?
He kissed me then. Softly. Gently. Just a tiny kiss. But it was enough to fill my soul with a warmth I’d never experienced before.
“I’m glad,” he said.
“Do you think it means you’re the one for me too?” I asked
He cupped my cheek, and I melted into his touch.
“I hope so,” he said. “I’d like to find out, would you?”
“Good.” He smiled at me, and my heart beat faster. Maybe what I’d thought was hate was really love, and I just hadn’t recognized it. Not like I’d had any experience with it before.
“Let’s start over, shall we?” he suggested. “Wipe the slate clean, okay?
His eyes held a glint that might have been mischief, as he released my hand and held his own out to me. “Hi there. I’m Ethan Thorne. How do you do?”
“How do you do, Ethan Thorne. I’m Vincenzo Delarosa.”
“Vincenzo,” he repeated, and I liked the way my name rolled off his tongue.
“You can call me Vinnie,” I said.
We wrapped our arms about one another and kissed… nothing more… for a long long time. Eventually we curled up together in my bed and went to sleep.
And that is how Ethan and I began….