It’s been a while since I’ve written a new installment for Andy and Grant, but the prompt words I was given for my November newsletter‘s flash fiction/bonus scene led me in their direction. It’s not necessary, but if you’d like to catch up on Andy and Grant’s misadventures leading up to this episode, you’ll find them here: Misadventures with Andy and Grant
And if you’d like to get the advanced exclusive look at the Déjà Vu bonus scene I’ve written for my upcoming December newsletter (and get the chance to throw some prompt words at me for the January newsletter plus the chance to win your choice of my ebooks), you can sign up for that, here: Newsletter
Misadventures with Andy and Grant
Misha’s Halloween Party
Crisp autumn leaves crunched underfoot as Andy and Grant navigated the nighttime radiation fog that was the perfect backdrop for a Halloween party. A little less chill in the air, considering their sparse costumes, would’ve been welcome, though. Misha answered his door wearing a skintight glittery skeleton costume with spookily realistic full-face makeup.
“Fabulous!” Grant gushed. Misha’s makeup was indeed amazing. “You’ve posted to Insta?” Grant raised an expressive eyebrow.
“Of course!” Misha executed one of his classic eye rolls that looked downright creepy surrounded by his skull-face makeup. “And Arin made a video of the process for TikTok.”
Arin, a professional makeup artist, was Misha’s shiny new boyfriend. Rebound boyfriend, probably, considering Misha and “Dreamy Daniel” had only split a few weeks back.
Misha returned the once over, raking his gaze up and down Andy and Grant’s mostly bare bods.
“Nice.” He bobbed his head in approval. Their Mario and Luigi costumes consisted of boots, suspenders, and short shorts with matching hats, neck bandanas, and socks. Their chests and arms were bare. The look might have worked better on a pair of gym bunnies, but he and Grant pulled it off well enough with lean and toned.
Andy had wanted to substitute a woolen scarf (color coordinated, of course) for his bandana, but Grant had nixed the idea with a sardonic, “I’m pretty sure we can survive the walks between house and car without compromising our costumes.” Andy hadn’t bothered to point out that Mario and Luigi didn’t wear shorts and bandanas, they wore overalls and long sleeved shirts.
The blaze roaring in Misha’s fireplace beckoned, as did the tinkle of a spoon stirring a hot beverage in someone’s Irish coffee mug. Something that definitely was not coffee or tea and was no doubt spiked with—if not mostly—alcohol.
“Come on.” Andy hitched his head toward the fire.
Grant shivered and didn’t need additional prompting. He got their beverages as Andy warmed his hands over the flames.
“Mmm.” Grant gave Andy a hot-buttered-rum-flavored kiss, then shivered again when the front door opened to let in another couple. “Huh.” Grant cocked his head. “Trent didn’t mention he was bringing anyone.”
“Which one is Trent?” Both of the newcomers’ costumes included head coverings.
“Headless horseman.” Grant squinted at the visitor from outer space in a head-to-toe body-hugging green costume. “Why does that alien seem familiar?”
Andy took a sip of the hot buttered rum Grant shoved into his hands and studied the man’s form and stance. He stiffened when realization struck.
“Oh, hell no,” Andy muttered. “That took some nerve.” What was Trent thinking, bringing Daniel as his plus-one to Misha’s Halloween party?
Grant pursed his lips and gave a vigorous nod. Obviously he’d figured it out, too. “At least we can count on Karma to sort this out.”
Andy snickered. “True that.” Daniel probably couldn’t even define monogamous, let alone do it. Which was all well and good as long as everyone in the relationship was on the same page, but Trent wasn’t known for sharing.
Trent also clearly didn’t know Daniel or he’d have gone for sexy with his costume—not that his Legend of Sleepy Hollow costume wasn’t top notch, but it wouldn’t keep Daniel’s attention in a sea of gay men dressed to display their…assets.
Until the recent breakup, Misha and Daniel had been together since Memorial Day, and they’d had the monogamy conversation. Maybe Daniel had had good intentions. Maybe he’d just flat out lied.
Whichever it was, Daniel’s betrayal with some random guy he’d picked up, his confession that that hadn’t been the first time, and his and Misha’s subsequent breakup had been rough on Misha, resulting in his spending an evening of drinking with Grant and Andy as they’d taken turns coming up with assorted methods for Daniel’s messy (though imaginary) demise. If memory served, the method of choice had involved a trio of rabid kittens and a ravenous fox uncontrollably drawn to Daniel’s…ah…delicate bits as a thunderstorm drowned out his screams.
For fuck’s sake, Trent hadn’t even given Misha a full month to grieve the end of the relationship. Odd, because Trent was generally empathetic…and a better judge of character.
Something wasn’t adding up.
Sparks flew from the glare Misha shot at Daniel—or maybe that was the glitter in his makeup—and he turned theatrically on his heel and stalked into the adjoining kitchen.
A little too theatrically, even for Misha.
“Huh,” Grant said, obviously picking up the same vibes. “Something’s afoot.”
Even through the full-face mask, Andy was pretty sure he detected a smirk on Daniel’s face. Bastard.
Battle lines clearly had been drawn, but just as clearly, each side had its own idea of where the frontline was. Knowing Misha—which Daniel should, but probably didn’t—this whole drama might be a setup.
Trent had whatever you called the opposite of a poker face, so for the sake of whatever was going down, it was just as well his head was covered. In fact, assuming Trent was in on it, that was probably a deliberate tactic.
Grant scowled, but if Andy was reading it correctly, his ire had more to do with his not being included in the unfolding spectacle than for any feelings in support of Misha’s apparent mistreatment. To be fair to Misha’s decision, though, Grant had even less of a poker face than Trent.
“Just sit back and enjoy the show,” Andy murmured near Grant’s ear.
“Whatever. I’m still pissed,” Grant muttered as his Luigi-booted foot tapped a more muted beat than his usual ankle boots.
Andy rubbed his warmed hand up and down Grant’s back, and Grant’s stance relaxed into it.
Meanwhile Trent and Daniel mingled with the crowd, who weren’t giving them anything close to the cold shoulder they would have been getting if everyone present—unlike Daniel—hadn’t twigged to the understanding that Misha had a scheme in play.
Andy gave Grant a gentle pat. “What do you think he’s up to?”
“Wish I knew.” Grant harumphed. “I guess I get it, though.” Got why he’d been kept in the dark.
Andy straightened and looked around when the general buzz in the room dropped a couple notches. He snickered when he saw the Karma Grant had spoken of earlier swooping in for the “kill.”
Misha’s new boyfriend, Arin, was dressed as the Goddess of Karma—the recognition and implication of which was probably lost on Daniel—elegant, bejeweled, and heavily beaded, green and gold with lucious white feathers. And of course, his makeup was exquisite. Basically, precisely the kind of look Daniel would be attracted to.
Arin seemed like a nice guy, but Karma…she was a bitch. And a fairly good actor, judging by the moves Arin was putting on Dreamy Daniel, who was now completely ignoring Trent and putting his full focus on Arin, laughingly oblivious to the buzz of muffled giggle snorts erupting around the room.
“What I wouldn’t give to be able to hear what they’re saying.” Grant briefly went up on tippy toes as if that would give him hear better. He dropped back down, pursed his lips, and put his fists on his hips. “Fuck.”
“Look.” Andy gestured toward the kitchen door where Misha was peeking with a smirk stretching across his face.
Grant snorted. “Yeah, if we needed any confirmation, that’s it.”
“I almost feel sorry for him,” Andy said.
“Almost? Who, Daniel?”
“Yeah. Almost, but not quite.”
Almost, because Andy had briefly dated Daniel, and though he’d been a bit disheartened when Daniel had ditched him, he could acknowledge to himself that Daniel wasn’t irredeemably horrible. Besides, the end of that short-lived relationship had triggered the introspection that had led to Andy finally asking Grant to be more than just his best friend.
But not quite, because Daniel was so full of himself, and he really needed to work on his honesty.
Andy and Grant both jumped when a loud peal of laughter reminiscent of something Maleficent would emit reverberated around the room as Arin took a couple steps back from Daniel. “In your dreams, you cheating bastard!” Arin shrieked.
“God, I wish I could see his face,” Grant whispered.
“Fuck you, you teasing bitch,” Daniel yelled back.
“I’m Karma,” Arin hissed. Raised voices were no longer needed in the suddenly quiet room. “I’m supposed to be a bitch. Especially to fuckers who give a bad name to all the decent and honest polyamorous people and all the couples in consensual open relationships out there. Fuck you and your lies.”
The silent room erupted in cheers and whoops of “Hear, hear!” And mutterings of “True that,” and “It had to be said.”
Daniel stood stock still for a few seconds, then the material covering his face twitched a few times and he raised a pair of middle fingers and yelled “Fuck all y’all!” before turning on his heel and storming out, slamming the door behind him.
“Daniel is southern?” Grant raised a querulous brow.
Andy shrugged. “Dunno.” If so, he did a good job of hiding the accent and avoiding colloquialisms…until under duress.
“Good riddance,” Misha hollered as he emerged from the kitchen and shared a high five with Arin.
Grant sighed. Perhaps he shared Andy’s misgivings. The fact the confrontation had been a setup didn’t sit well with him, though in all honesty, if the scene had happened organically, he’d probably be cool with it.
“Well,” Grant said, giving Andy a light hug. “Maybe this’ll trigger a little self awareness, because Karma made a good point. None of that shit’s inherently bad. It’s only wrong if it’s not out in the open and mutually agreed to. Dude needs to find a partner who’s into it, not fucking lie to people who aren’t.”
“Yeah.” Andy nodded. Hopefully so, but regardless, Daniel would be fine. With or without that introspection, he would most likely be heading straight to another party.
Speaking of parties, Misha jumped onto the fireplace’s hearth and hollered, “Let’s get this party started!” He pointed at Arin, who pushed a button, and music filled the room. “Freeze dance!”
~ ~ ~
PROMPT WORDS received and used:
Kareni: betrayal – demise – battle – grieve – spoon
Pen Umbra: autumn – thunderstorm – visitor – kittens – scarf
Nell Iris: fireplace – tea – sleepy – fog – fox