Excerpt from Surprise Groom
“So, why did you track me down?” Julien asked before taking another, larger swallow of coffee. “Must have been important to brave the gay nightlife of Miami.”
Again, he was straight to the point. Caleb couldn’t prevaricate in the face of his directness.
“I came to ask you to marry me.”
Julien spit his coffee across the chipped laminate tabletop. Caleb grabbed a napkin to blot at the puddle while Julien gaped at him, brown droplets slipping down his chin.
Finally, he swiped a hand over his mouth. “The fuck did you just say?”
“Just for two years,” Caleb said. “Sorry, I know this is sudden—”
Julien’s eyes were wide. “You think?”
“I have reasons. This isn’t some creepy stalker thing.”
“Well, that’s a relief,” Julien said. “I thought you came all the way to Miami because you were secretly in love with me.”
“No, I …” Caleb caught himself, realizing belatedly that Julien was being sarcastic. “Okay, funny. Obviously, that’s not the case. It’s a long story.”
“Probably a story you should have led with.”
Hard to argue with that. “Yeah, I guess your bluntness rubbed off on me.”
Julien muttered something under his breath.
“What was that?” Caleb asked.
Julien shifted, his eyes darting away to study the decor. There were several portraits of famous singers from the fifties and sixties hanging on the wall. Caleb recognized Elvis, Buddy Holly, and Patsy Cline. He assumed the diner was named for Holly’s song, Peggy Sue. There were also several autographed pictures of drag queens.
Sally returned with two plates of pie and slid them onto the table. They were perfectly triangular in shape, with a thick white foam overlaying the green layer. Caleb’s saliva glands activated just from looking at the picture-perfect dessert.
“Anything else?” she asked.
Julien shook his head. “Nope.”
“We’re good, thanks,” Caleb added.
Julien fixed him with another of those challenging looks once Sally had click-clacked her way back to the front counter. It made Caleb want to squirm in his seat.
“So you want me to marry you,” he said.
“Yes. For two years.”
“You are aware I have a dick, right?”
“It was hard to miss,” he said.
Julien’s skimpy briefs had barely contained his swaying dick while he danced at the club. But Caleb didn’t need that image in his head right now. Or ever, really.
“This got weird.”
Caleb raised an eyebrow. “Just now?”
Julien laughed, a warm tenor that curled around Caleb. It was a note or two deeper than his laugh had been when they went through their knock-knock joke phase at age ten. But Caleb recognized it.
“Okay, it’s been weird for a while,” Julien admitted. “But I’ll bite. Why would I marry you, and why would you want me to?”
Caleb sat back, rubbing a hand over his jaw. Now came the tough part of selling Julien on his idea. “It would be like a business deal. A job, kind of. I have a contract we would sign.”
“Okay, that’s … not any less weird,” Julien said.