Griffin stopped short and grinned as he stepped into the kitchen. Royce had scattered flower petals on the floor, although the man himself was nowhere in sight.
The opening strains of “Unchained Melody” drifted down the hallway, so Griffin’s arrival home hadn’t gone unnoticed. He placed the vase holding a dozen red roses on the table, then dropped his briefcase, cupped his hands around his mouth, and hollered, “Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart!”
A note lay on the counter written in Royce’s flamboyant style using a pink sharpie with a sprinkling of glitter over top. My Darling, please follow the clues, scilicet the trail of cherry blossoms, and join me for an evening of hedonistic pleasure beyond your wildest dreams.
“Scilicet”? Griffin chuckled as his skin warmed. Gems from that word-of-the-day calendar he’d put in Royce’s Christmas stocking surfaced in the most entertaining ways.
The path laid out by the blossoms didn’t lead to the bedroom, they led toward the living room. Griffin loosened his tie as he followed Royce’s instructions. Their wedding video played silently on the TV, as the trail brought him more through rather than to the living room.
He paused as the joyful couple on the screen made the first cut into their wedding cake. Griffin had been dubious when Royce had first indicated he wanted a rainbow-colored cake, but it had been beautiful and elegant. Not at all gaudy as he’d feared. The hues had been pastels, each layer a different color with violet at the bottom, through the rainbow, ending with pink at the top. Two smiling groom figures stood on the pale orange layer while a multicolored spray of hearts spewed forth from the top.
Griffin was about as telegenic as an aardvark snorting in the dirt, but Royce positively glowed with a smile as wide as the one Griffin currently wore as he relived the beautiful moment. There’d been no games, just love and trust as they’d fed each other a bite. He couldn’t remember what it had tasted like—it could have been sawdust coated gummy worms for all he’d noticed—his full focus had been on Royce. The love of his life, and at long last, his husband.
The lovely fragrance of oranges reached him, pulling him out of his trance and toward the bedroom. He lifted his chin and trembled as he drew in a deep breath. Down the hall, the lights were turned off and the draperies pulled closed, but light flickered from the candles producing the divine scent.
Royce lay atop the rust-colored duvet wearing nothing but a necklace, a pair of white shorts, and a smile. He reached out with one arm when Griffin entered the room, and murmured, “Darling.”
Griffin tossed his suit jacket and tie over a chair and knelt by the bed. “Sweetheart.” He reached for the shea butter lotion on the bedside table. “Massage?”
“Mm. Sounds lovely. Trade massages?”
Griffin answered with a kiss. Slow and lingering, as the dueling scents of the candles and Royce’s natural musk mingled and enthralled him, sending delicious shivers racing over his skin.
Royce pulled away and drew Griffin’s shirt out of his pants. “You’re wearing way too many clothes,” he whispered.