“I was all about .38 Special and Black Oak Arkansas.” Stephen lightly smiled. “You were into Skynyrd and the Atlanta Rhythm Section.”
Back Where You Belong. Hudson’s breathing quickened. The song was meant for him. He briefly squeezed his eyes shut. Winnipeg. Hooking up. He’d stay on topic and not go there. “Weird how we could dig glam and southern rock, hey?”
“I don’t think it’s weird. True music lovers have a diverse taste. We’re not limited to a specific genre.” Stephen glanced at Hudson and back to the endless sea of white. “Kind of like… uh, how opposites attract. Who’s to say two different people can’t… get along?”
Correct. Love worked the same way. Hudson rubbed his coffee mug. People dated various personality types, shapes, and races until they found their special someone. “Guess that’s why you never married.”
“What?” The knuckles of Stephen’s hand on the steering wheel whitened. His mouth fell open.
A roar filled Hudson’s ears. Holy hell, he’d spoken aloud. He’d been dumb enough to… Get me out of here! He slammed the mug into the cup holder. His gaze darted around the dashboard. He couldn’t bail from a moving vehicle. They still had two hours to go. Walking the rest of the way, to get his truck, he’d freeze to death.
“I-I was referring to what you said—when you compared dating to music genres.” Hudson’s teeth rattled. “We listened-listened to nu-metal and industrial first. Then we switched genres when Mr. Petersson introduced us to southern rock. We switched ‘cause neither of us… we weren’t really into that stuff but we didn’t have anything else to listen to until we discovered—”
Hudson swallowed. “Well, until the right genre came along.”
“You—You think I never found my right…” Stephen cleared his throat. “Genre?”
A zap of heat scorched Hudson’s earlobes. “I shouldn’t have said that. I didn’t mean to. I should be pointing the finger at myself.”
Okay, Hudson had managed to stumble through the conversation without resembling a guy stepping in dog shit while trying to impress a hottie. Now he’d go for broke and not only point the finger at himself, he’d poke his chest. Anything to stay away from what he’d said about Stephen.
“I burned through four relationships.” Hudson let out a breath. “It wasn’t their fault. It was mine. All mine. Live and learn.”
“I’m sure you had your reasons.” Stephen stared straight ahead. “It takes two, so it can’t be all your fault.”
“It was.” Hudson fiddled with the handle on the mug. “Leonard…”
“Leonard?” Stephen sounded like a frog was lodged in his throat.
“Yep… Leonard.” Hudson rubbed his cheek. “He wanted more, and I wasn’t ready. Hell, the same goes for the three other guys I shacked up with.”
“Maybe you were ready.” Stephen’s chest rose and sank. “Maybe—Maybe they were the wrong… genre.”
“You think so? I guess I should reword and say I tried other genres but I prefer glam.”
“You—You do?” Stephen glanced at him.
“Yeah. I…” Whoa, hold up. There was no way in hell Hudson would say he loved glam. That word was officially off limits. “I prefer glam over any other kind of music.”
“What about southern? Southern and glam.” Stephen turned back to the road. “They might be opposites, but we made both genres work together. I—I mean we liked both. Still do.”
“Yeah, we did, and do, don’t we?” They were stepping a tad too close to the fire. Hudson should change the subject, but did he really want to? Maybe if he kept their chattering casual, they’d finally speak about what happened between them fifteen years ago.
He drummed his fingers on his thighs. “You’re glam.”
Stephen tapped his chest. “Glam? Those guys wore makeup and glitter. They dressed outrageously.” He chuckled.
“It’s more than makeup and glitter. It’s about image, looks, and attitude. A guy couldn’t be a plain glam rocker. And he sure couldn’t be butt ugly. Southern is—”
“Honest? Relaxing? From the heart?” Stephen rubbed his knee.
Hudson had been about to say Southern rockers could get away with being average, even ugly, overweight, and boring, but Stephen had described Hudson in a way he’d never thought of himself. “Is that your reason for playing a shitload of southern rock on your radio show? I really enjoyed your run of Black Oak Arkansas the other night.”
“Perhaps.” The vehicle slowed. “And I’m glad you’ve been listening.”
“Why wouldn’t I? You play my fave music. You’re a great deejay.” Hudson set the mug in the holder. “I overheard a few kids at the nursing station saying they dig your show. Sort of like Mr. Petersson letting us in on other genres.”
“When it comes to the kids’ dances, I don’t stray from rap, techno, or hip-hop.” Stephen’s lips formed into an amused smile.
“Do you enjoy playing those tunes?”
“No.” Stephen shrugged. “But I have to play what they want to hear.”
Hudson snickered. “Are you going to give me the those kids can’t appreciate real music speech? Face it. We’re getting old.”
“C’mon. We’re thirty-two. Don’t put us in the senior citizens category yet.” Stephen grinned.
“You got it. You’re hardly a senior citizen.” Hudson licked his lips. The man was in his prime—tight, sexy muscles and a gorgeous face. Most people peaked in their mid-twenties. As for Stephen, he was fine wine. Hudson had to remember he’d never met Stephen’s paternal side of the family. Maybe all the Brandt men aged gracefully. Mr. Brandt sure had.
Stephen arched his black brow. “Neither are you. I told you before—you look great.”
Hudson’s heart pounded at Stephen, of all people, flirting. Should he come back with a sexy reply? What about their friendship he’d hoped to jumpstart?
Stephen’s cheeks reddened. “I mean… uh, I wasn’t trying to—”
Fuck it. “How great?” Hudson’s skin burned hot. The man beside him wasn’t the only one with a tomato-red face.