Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wednesday Briefs: Moving Forward #22 (5.4)

Good morning and Happy Wednesday! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for some flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our best flash fiction every week, from 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

This week, in Moving Forward, Marshall and Lee meet Denver and Dustin for lunch at the ship's buffet. How long will the peace between Marshall and Dustin last? Find out in this week's episode! Don't forget to see what the other Briefers are up to! Their links follow my tale!  Enjoy!

Moving Forward #22 (5.4)

They headed to the Lido Deck and found Denver and Dustin had already seated at a table for four not too far from one of the steam tables. The buffet had been filled, and people were already helping themselves to food.  A server came to their table and took their drink order, saying he’d be right back.

“That smells delicious.” Marshall sniffed appreciatively. He couldn’t wait to see what was on the menu.

“Looks like it’s divided up according to what’s being served,” Lee commented. “Want to start with the salads and vegetables?” He grinned.

Marshall snorted at the idea. “Do I look like Bugs Bunny? How about we find the beef?”

“I like the way you think,” Dustin spoke up. “I noticed someone slicing up some meat that way.” He pointed to a steam table farther from where they sat. “Want to go check it out?”

Marshall glanced at Lee. He returned the look with one of his one. Marshall knew what that meant… make up your own mind, you’re a grown man.

“Yeah, sure. You comin’, Lee?” No way Lee would choose lettuce over beef. He knew him too well.

“Yeah, going to check something out, then I’ll join you there. Go ahead.”

That would have to do. Dustin waited for Marshall, and walked alongside him to the line where a server was slicing a large slab of beef to order. At the same table, serving trays were filled with various cuts of meat  including sliced pork, ham, and chicken.

“I hope they have this kind of selection every day,” Marshall said, forgetting his animosity toward Dustin at the sight of so much meat.

“I do too. I could eat here every day,” Dustin agreed.

They filled their plates in a companionable silence. Lee and Denver joined them before they were done. Marshall glanced at Lee’s plate. “Baked potatoes? Where?”

“I’ll show you, let me get some meat.” Lee waited for the server to slice a portion of beef, then they walked to another steam table.

“You know potatoes are vegetables,” Lee teased.

“Maybe, but they’re the good kind.”  Just to show he really didn’t dislike vegetables, Marshall added some to his plate. Brussels sprouts with bacon, and broccoli with cheese.  “Guess that’s enough for now.”

Lee just laughed. “Guess we’ll have to exercise that off of you.” He winked. “I know just the exercise too.”

Marshall knew exactly what he meant, and he couldn’t wait. Not that he thought he was in any danger of getting fat, but working out with Lee would just be all kinds of fun.

Wrapped up in their banter, Marshall had forgotten Dustin was even with them, until they all returned to the table at the same time. Instead of being annoyed, he felt sorry for the guy. Here he was with his cousin, and he didn’t have anyone to be with, like Marshall had Lee. Maybe that was Dustin’s problem. He was wanting to have someone so badly, he latched on to the first guy he met, namely Marshall.

Marshall hoped like hell Dustin would find someone, because he intended to have a lot of alone time with Lee, and privacy was going to be the order of the day. He didn’t want to have to be rude about it, but damn, this was their first real vacation as a couple and he intended to enjoy it.

The food was delicious, and Marshall went back two more times, as did Dustin, while Lee and Denver only made one more trip each. Marshall and Dustin went to the dessert bar together and were waiting for the ice cream machine. A tall dark-haired man stood there ahead of them. Just as he finished dishing out what he wanted, he glanced up and smiled at them.  Or rather, at Dustin, who stood just next to  him.

“Can I give you a hand there, handsome?”  he offered.

“Thanks, I can manage,” Dustin said, stiffly. The stranger shrugged, and moved farther down the line.

 Marshall waited until he was out of earshot to ask, “What’s wrong? He was just being nice.”

“I don’t need any help,” Dustin replied.

“Didn’t you think he was good looking? He sure thought you were.” Marshall was perplexed.

“That’s his problem.” Dustin frowned. “What, do you think I came on this cruise just to get laid?” 
His cheeks burned, and he dropped his eyes to the floor, but Marshall had already seen his frustration.

“Frankly, I don’t know why you came on this cruise and I don’t care.” He turned abruptly and stalked back to the table, not waiting for a reply. He yanked his chair back and flopped into it, setting his bowl on the table. It clattered against a spoon. Lee looked up, a question on his face.

“Nothing,” he said, tersely. Lee didn’t look satisfied by his response, but he didn’t say anything. 

Dustin returned moments later, and he slammed into his seat in the same angry way.

“What the hell’s wrong with you?” Denver asked his cousin.

“Nothing,” he snapped.

“He’s just pissed off because a nice-looking guy was interested in him,” Marshall said. He didn’t care if Dustin got mad at him for telling the truth or not.

“If you think he’s so good-looking, why don’t you let him help you?” Dustin retorted.

“Because I’m not here looking for a pick-up, and you know it.”

“What makes you think I am?”

They glowered at one another.

“Well, I sure was under that impression,” Denver said, rubbing his jaw. He seemed perplexed by the sudden animosity between the two men. “We talked about it, you even said you thought you’d get lucky—”

“Shut the fuck up!” Dustin rose abruptly. His chair clattered to the floor. Diners around them turned their heads, gawking. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” He pivoted and stomped out of the dining area.

That bastard…

Marshall had a sudden bad feeling he understood what Dustin meant... and it wasn’t good.

to be continued

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