Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Wednesday Briefs: Moving Forward #38 (9.1)

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

In Moving Forward, Marshall and Lee have just learned some disturbing news. Is there more to come? Find out in this week's episode! Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they're up to! Their links follow my tale!  Enjoy!

Moving Forward #38 (9.1)

Kenny knocked at the cabin door about ten minutes later, and Roger admitted him. Marshall hadn’t gotten a good look at him before, just from a distance when he and Roger were dancing. He was at least Lee’s age, maybe even a little older. His close-cropped dark hair was liberally sprinkled with gray, as was the neatly trimmed goatee which framed a generous mouth. His eyes were a soft brown, and judging from his tan, here was a man who liked to spend time outdoors too. A nice looking man, Marshall thought, as Roger made the introductions and they made room for the newcomer in the hot tub.

“Kenny’s from New Orleans,” Roger informed them. “He’s a doctor.”

Kenny laughed, a deep rich sound. “Don’t make me sound so fancy,” he said. “I’m a chiropractor.”

“Still a doctor,” Roger insisted. He was sitting as close to Kenny as he could get, Marshall noticed. 
They must have really hit it off right away to be so cozy so fast. “I’m glad your plans fell through.”

“Me too,” Kenny said. “I felt bad canceling on the guy, but then he turned around and canceled on me, so I don’t feel that bad anymore.” He laughed again.

“So, did you find out anything about what’s going on?” Roger asked the question Marshall was wondering about too.

“Just that one of the passengers found this guy lying unconscious in one of the corridors, I’m not sure what deck he was on. They said someone did a real number on him. He was bruised pretty good, and he might have some fractures, if not broken bones.”

Lee shook his head. “What a terrible thing. I guess they haven’t been able to ask him who did that to him?”

“No, they’re still waiting for him to wake up. He’s down in the infirmary, I hear, and they have a security guard with him.”

“Are they afraid whoever did it will come back and kill him so he can’t talk?” Marshall was horrified.

“That would be my guess,” Kenny said.

The conversation had certainly taken a somber tone. They looked at one another. Marshall felt helpless, and he suspected the rest of them did too. He reached a hand toward Lee, who took it in his own and held on tightly.

“You know what the really scary thing is?” Roger broke the silence first. “You’d think we’d be safe on a ship full of gay men, you know? But it must have been one of us who did that to the poor guy. If you can’t be safe on a gay cruise, where can you be safe?” He frowned.

That was a good question, Marshall thought.

“I don’t know about you guys but I think I could use a drink,” Roger said.

“Let me,” Kenny insisted. “What sounds good to everyone?”

Kenny and Roger got into a spirited discussion of who’d pay for the drinks, each insisting it was his treat. Finally, Kenny gave in with a laugh and said he’d catch the next round. They decided to start with a couple of bottles of bourbon and see where they’d go from there.

After the bourbon, they did some shots, and Marshall couldn’t help but notice the heated glances that were shooting between Roger and Kenny.  And a whole lot of lingering touches.

Finally, Roger rose and made his way from the hot tub, Kenny hot on his heels. “I think we’re going to call it a night, guys,” Roger said. “Catch you tomorrow some time.” He waved over his shoulder, as they exited the cabin. Marshall could hear a door open and close as they undoubtedly entered Roger’s room across the hall.

“C’mere you,” Lee said, and Marshall didn’t hesitate. He wound his arms about Lee’s neck, their lips pressed together, and for a long moment nothing was said.

When they drew back, Lee asked, “You about ready to get out?”

“Yeah, I think I’m waterlogged enough for one day.” Marshall attempted a laugh, but it sounded a little flat, even to him.

“You all right?” Lee tilted Marshall’s face back to look into his eyes, concern written on his face.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Marshall insisted, “it’s just that… well, hearing about that poor guy. I feel so bad… you know?”

“I know.” Lee’s voice was soft and soothing. He stroked Marshall’s cheek gently. “I feel bad for him too. Hell of a thing. I wish I knew why people do the things they do. You’d think they’d get enough hate without bringing it to a place that should have been fun, and safe.”

“I think that’s what upsets me most too, like Roger said. It’s hard enough being gay, but you don’t expect other gay men to turn on you.”

They clung together for a few more minutes, while Lee rubbed circles on Marshall’s back. Finally, they got out of the hot tub and exchanged their wet swim trunks for dry shorts .

“How about a back rub?” Lee suggested. “I brought some of that oil you like. I can warm it up in the microwave…”

That sounded like a wonderful idea, and just what the doctor ordered.  But before Marshall could tell Lee so, there was a knock at the door.

“I wonder who that could be?” Marshall said.

“I don’t think it’s Roger. I’m sure he’s plenty occupied in his cabin. Hang on, I’ll see who it is and be right back.”

Marshall sat on the edge of the bed, waiting as Lee hurried across the room. He looked through the peephole first, then opened the door. To Marshall’s surprise, Denver tumbled in. He was breathless, and look more than a little upset.

“Lee, you okay? Marshall?” He gave Lee a quick once-over as Lee nodded,  than hurried to Marshall’s side.

“I’m fine, Denver,” Marshall said.

“Thank God. I just heard the news and I was worried about you guys.” Denver collapsed onto the bed beside Marshall with a sigh of relief.

to be continued

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