The cruise is winding down, and it's the last night on board the ship. Time to party hearty in this week's episode of Moving Forward. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they're up to. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!
Moving Forward #58 (14.2)
Denver and Dustin were waiting for them when they arrived in the dining salon.
“Good thing you sent us in first,” Denver commented as they took their seats around the table. “Look at this place. It’s packed.”
“Guess everyone had the same idea we did,” Lee said.
Wall-to-wall men. Testosterone filled the air in abundance.
“Last night to get laid,” Dustin quipped, and everyone laughed.
Every table was decorated with a centerpiece consisting of the same beautiful flowers Marshall remembered seeing on the islands, in brilliant shades of red and orange and purple, and each bouquet bore the familiar Gay Pride flag. A fitting end to his first gay cruise.
A server appeared, and they all ordered beer and appetizers, followed by more beer and thick steaks and crispy fries. Dessert was a coconut Panna Cotta with mango and sweet whipped cream. Everything was done to perfection.
Afterward, they walked up to the deck for a last look at the ocean by moonlight. Marshall found himself standing next to Dustin. Lee and Denver were engrossed in conversation farther down the rail. They stood together in a companionable silence. Marshall was trying to decide which he wanted to do more—find one of the night clubs and dance, or get Lee naked as soon as possible.
He was surprised Dustin wasn’t taking advantage of the night to find a partner. Men were being less than subtle in their propositions. The only way to avoid being asked to go to bed was to appear as if you were already taken. And sometimes that didn’t help, especially for those men whose philosophy was the more the merrier. Marshall knew he’d never be one of those guys. He was happy being one of two.
Laughter filled the air as men eagerly hooked up for this final night at sea.
“If you want to…” Marshall was trying to be delicate. He didn’t want Dustin to think he was trying to get rid of him, just wanted to let him know he’d understand if Dustin wanted to hook up with someone.
“If I want to what?” Dustin gave him a perplexed look.
So much for subtlety.
“Um, you know.” Marshall shrugged. “I thought maybe… for your last night…”He turned away, watching the moonbeams dance across the water, in case he’d embarrassed Dustin with his question.
Marshall held his breath, in anticipation of either an explosion or an argument… or worse. He was surprised to hear a low chuckle from Dustin. He glanced back at him.
“Yeah, I don’t blame you for thinking that, but honestly, I’m not interested in a one-night stand.”
Before Marshall could say anything, Dustin quickly added, “And I’m not going to hit on you again, honest.”
That was a comforting thought.
“No, I get it, I really do,” Dustin continued,”But that doesn’t mean I don’t want the same thing you and Lee have. And I’m not going to find it by hanging out in bars. I bet you didn’t meet Lee in a bar, did you?”
Marshall shook his head. “No, I sure didn’t.” Not that he was about to admit how they really did meet. That was and always would be none of Dustin’s business.
“Maybe moving to Tucker Falls will help. At least I hope so. Are you guys from Texas originally?”
“No, Georgia,” Marshall replied. “We just ended up in Texas.”
“Great place to live. I just need to find my own place in it, you know?”
Marshall nodded. “Yeah, I can understand that. Oh, don’t let me forget to give you my email address.”
“I won’t forget,” Dustin promised. “You know something?”
“What’s that?” Marshall asked.
“Lee’s a damn lucky man.”
“And Lee knows it.”
Marshall heard Lee’s voice at the same time he felt his arm around his waist, the brush of his lips across his head. He couldn’t help but tingle at Lee’s touch.
“You’re both lucky,” Dustin said.
“Amen to that,” Denver agreed. He stood beside Dustin, grinning at Marshall and Lee.
“Hey cuz, want to get a last drink or two?” Dustin suggested.
“Sounds good to me. You guys coming?” he asked Marshall and Lee.
Lee pressed more tightly against Marshall’s back, and Marshall knew damn well the decision was his to make, and that Lee wouldn’t squawk either way.
“I think we’ll catch up to you in the morning,” Marshall said.
“Sounds like a plan. Want to catch breakfast here or Galveston?”
“How about Galveston? We can meet you and get off the ship together.”
“Okay, just text me in the morning. G’night, guys. C’mon, Dust.”
“Night,” Dustin said, following his cousin.
“See you in the morning,” Lee said, as Marshall turned to face him. “I take it you don’t want to go to the bar?”
“Nope. Hot tub, cold drinks and you sounds like the perfect way to spend our last night,” Marshall said.
Lee grinned. “Then let’s do it.”
to be continued
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