I've finished and submitted my story for the Goodreads M/M Romance Group's Love is Always Write Event. It is called Office Politics. Here is a teaser:
Yesterday's protest knocked us for a loop. Me especially. Not that we didn't deal with protests on an almost weekly basis here at the U of A. But this one hit close to home. The students were protesting the lack of support for a Gay/Straight Alliance group at the University. One such group existed, but they were so often being hit with roadblocks or stalling tactics by the administration that it was a constant struggle to get any event going or properly advertised.
As part of the University Security Team, Mikhos and I were charged with protecting the campus and ensuring that the protest didn't get out of hand. So, even though I stood behind everything about which they were protesting, I had to represent the administration. My job was crucial to my well-being. I couldn't afford to switch sides and sacrifice a good salaried position with benefits.
Mikhos understood how conflicted I felt yesterday. We'd worked at this job together for almost a year now. He knew I was gay. Hell, everyone at work knew it. I wasn't exactly inconspicuous. I often acted loud and flamboyant. He seemed to like it when I huffed off in a queenly rage over an underdone bagel in the cafeteria. I liked to make him laugh. Sometimes I purposely overdid it just to hear that musical sound. You could say I had a bit of a crush. Sometimes I caught him looking at me in a way I didn't really understand, and some part of me reacted. But he was off limits - straight, had a girlfriend, in every way the All American Boy. I wasn't about to get my heart crushed going after a lost cause.
So I made the best of our friendship. I took what I could get, and I took it gladly. So many straight men acted standoffish or intimidated around obviously gay men. Not Mikhos. He liked me for who I was.
But, yesterday, something changed in our relationship. While we policed the protest, some kid accused University Security (us) of always targeting gay students. I bit my tongue to keep quiet, figuring silence to be the best response.
But Mikhos yelled back "Oh, do we really?”. Before I could even process that, he pulled me to him and kissed the stuffing out of me in front of the students, teachers, our coworkers... and his girlfriend, who happened to be bringing him lunch at the time. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. To say I’d become slightly aroused would be another one. To say I wouldn't be reliving that moment for the next ten years would be bullshit.
He totally ignored me for the remainder of the protest. I stood there, my mind a whirling mess, my hard-on obvious in my security uniform, and my hormones awash with confusion. We managed to get through it. Then Mikhos gave me a hasty “Later” and took off, his face red with shame, embarrassment or whatever.
Later that afternoon, as I approached our small office to collect my things for the journey home, I heard voices arguing: A man’s voice and a woman’s - Mikhos and his girlfriend, Claire. I stopped dead, listening.
"It's not like you gave him a peck on the lips, Mikhos. That was a full on kiss. I can't remember the last time you kissed me like that."
There was a long, silent pause.
"So, what's going on? Is there something you've been keeping from me?"
"Claire, it's complicated." He sounded stressed and annoyed.
"It's not that complicated. You either like women or you like men. Do you like men, Mikhos? 'Cause it sure looks like you do." She was furious, it seemed. Her voice sounded shrill and defensive.
"Why does it have to be one or the other?"
"Because the people who say they like both are just after all they can get, that's all. They're sex-crazed and indecisive."
Her comment made me angry and somewhat surprised. Were there still people who believed that, in this day and age?
"Is that really what you think?"
"Mikhos. Do you like men?"
"I like Tyson. And, yeah, he’s a man."
"Very loose definition, but okay. So, where does that leave us?"
"I don't know." He said, his voice tired and resigned.
"Well, I do. You can't have it both ways. If you want him, you can't have me."
More silence, while I tried not to hyperventilate too loudly in the hall.
"Mikhos?" She said, in a demanding tone.
And suddenly Mikhos came into the hallway. He glanced at me, hesitated for a brief moment, then pushed past me, striding furiously down the hallway.
After a few moments, Claire exited the office. When she saw me, she laughed. "There goes your man, Loverboy. Just watch out. He doesn't seem to know what he wants."
She walked haughtily by me. I stood there, stunned, trying to process everything I'd heard.
She was obviously jumping to conclusions. Yes, it had been a scorching, powerful kiss, but I still believed that Mikhos had done it as part of a plan to avert the protest. She cornered him, he confessed to liking me, and she took that as a threat to their relationship. Women were like that. They'd take the tiniest thing and blow it up out of all proportion. I knew he didn't like me in a sexual way. We'd been friends for too long for that to be the case.
This story will be available for free in the Goodreads M/M Romance Group, as part of its Love is Always Write event, later this month.