Blurb: Rhett had a huge crush on Darren McKissick back in elementary school and on Valentine’s Day, he gave him a special valentine. Despite their obvious attraction, Darren rejected it, making everyone in the class laugh at Rhett and cause a rift between the two friends.
Now as adults the two of them have found one another again through an internet dating site. Rhett only wants a one-nighter but Darren is looking for something long lasting.
Will this new meeting mean love for two men who haven’t seen one another in over a decade?
“I still can’t believe you found him. Damn, Rhett Vorhees?” Darren McKissick’s best friend and former lover, Terrell Witherby, sounded very surprised by Darren’s admittance.
Darren’s grin stretched the length of his face as he added three sugar cubes to his coffee. “Yep, I cannot believe it either.” He changed the phone from one shoulder to the other. “Like I said before, when I saw his moniker on SGM.com, RV1990 and then the face, I noticed the face; the high cheekbones, the bushy eyebrows, and the freckles. He really hasn’t changed much since grammar school. He’s deep in the closet though.”
“Well, that’s too bad. Man, you sure you wanna deal with that? And hey, at least you know he’s still alive, so you can stop babbling about him. You done carrying around that valentine card and picture too now, bro? I’m sure both are starting to look worse for wear, right?”
Darren eyed both items he’d saved for a while sitting in a drawer to his left. The red valentine was more of a burgundy than the bright red it used to be when “Rhetta” gave it to him. The white lace surrounding it crumpled from being moved and was yellowed on the edges due to too little sunlight and lots of handling. And the picture, though in better shape, had been folded more times than Darren could remember. All through high school and college, he carried the picture with him of the kid who was a child genius. Despite both articles looking more like artifacts that should be in a scrapbook, he wouldn’t leave the house without them. “Nope, not gonna get rid of either. I’m going to keep them with me, so when we finally get together permanently, I’ll be reminded of how lucky I am. Damnit, Terrell, it means we were destined to be together, right?”
Silence then a deep sigh came through the receiver. “Damn, you sure are a freaking sap, Darren. I used to love that about you back in the day though. You sure you weren’t a woman in your former life, man?”
Darren laughed and sat up straight at his desk, eyeing the folders he’d been staring at for the last couple of hours. He’d come in early to try getting some work done but instead, he could do nothing but think about Rhett and how much he wanted to be with him forever and always. “Maybe. What I do know is I want Rhett to understand that I mean business. I sent some flowers over to his job; anonymously of course, since he’s still in the closet, and I got a bouquet ready for him when he gets back home.”
Terrell chuckled, “Heh, ah Darren, you’re pouring on, aren’t you? You’re not gonna let him get away that easily, hmm? Just don’t suffocate him, okay? I mean, he’d be a fool to turn you down after you’ve been thinking about him for years on end. Still, be careful, all right? Don’t invest all your time and energy into this man when he isn’t ready. Don’t fall in love quickly, Darren, please? I’d hate to see you fall and not able to pick yourself back up.”
Darren picked up a sharpened pencil sitting on his desk and twirled it with his fingers. He swallowed hard and looked back at the picture of Rhett wearing his cap and gown on graduation day. Just looking at the man made his heart skip a beat, same as it had when he chose to wear a kilt instead of a suit during the ceremony. His parents always did encourage him to stand out and be himself no matter what anyone else said. “I’m afraid I already have, T−I’m in love with this man, and I have been for years.” Darren leaned back in the chair and tossed the pencil across the room. “And I’m gonna do everything I can to convince him that we’re meant to be.”
“Shit, Darren, I swear. I wish I had somebody that loved me as much as you claim to love that boy. Oh wait, I did,” he laughed. “Or did you really care for me, Darren? Was that just lip service?”
Darren sucked in a breath and stared at the door ahead of him. Any minute one of his bosses might come into his office looking for the Edgars account he was supposed to finish by eight o’clock sharp. “I− yeah, Terrell, I did care, but it wasn’t love. We both knew that when we got together. This man is my soul mate, always has been. I found him again which means I was meant to be his lover. Listen, I gotta get going. I got some work that needs to be finished right now, all right? I’ll make sure to give you a call after I talk with Rhett.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Later, man.”
Darren pulled the headset away from his ear and exhaled, knowing he’d pissed his best friend and former lover off. “I’ll make it up to you soon, Terrell. Maybe after I tie the knot with Rhett?” Darren sat upright in his chair and pulled the Edgars file off the top of the small stack. He flipped it open and straightened the papers out to finish them. He’d done most of the work on Friday but after anticipating the weekend with Rhett, he couldn’t keep his mind on anything else. Darren had never been one of those people who lost focus so easily, but having Rhett Vorhees within reach changed everything in his life. Working wasn’t a priority with the prospect of a committed relationship with Rhett in his midst.
Darren had to make that longtime dream of being with his first true valentine a reality.