Uses the prompt word (hamburger) left in the comments of the previous week’s Flash Fiction Friday post, and 14 prompt words (bike – screw – conduct – degree – square – print – clever – existence – boot – famous – crack – hungry – hands – ignite – stiff) from a random word generator.
Told from Andy’s 3rd-person POV:
“Screw that,” Andy said. “I’m hungry. Let’s go get some hamburgers or something before we get on any more rides.
“The line’s not going to get any shorter, you know.” Grant stood stiffly with his hands on his hips, tapping one gleaming ankle boot on the asphalt, and one eyebrow hiked up so far its very existence was in question, since it was out of sight behind his—admittedly long—side-swept bangs. Grant was famous among their circle of friends for his over-the-top theatrical conduct. “And I can’t stay late, I’ve got to get up at the ass-crack of dawn for work tomorrow. Boss-man from hell doesn’t care that today’s St. Patrick’s Day.”
“But I’m so hungry, I could…” Andy’s gaze landed on a strikingly good-looking man with green-streaked blond hair who’d just gotten into the line in question, and his attitude took a sharp one-hundred-eighty degree turn. It wasn’t a guarantee, but there was a good chance the guy was gay, wearing a shirt with rainbow lettering printed on a black square, stating, “He who is born round won’t die square.” Which was a clever Sicilian proverb meaning people don’t change their fundamental nature. So, yeah, the rainbow lettering was a clue. “Actually, come on. Like you said, it’s not getting any shorter.”
Grant’s eyes about popped out of his head. “What the hell ignited a—oh.” He turned and started walking. “Just because you saw him first does not mean you have dibs.”
Uses the prompt word (disappointment) left in the comments of the previous week’s Flash Fiction Friday post, and a writing prompt (List 10 things you would find in your protagonist’s rubbish bin. Write about them in your antagonist’s viewpoint.), from “Writers Write.”
Told from Grant’s 3rd-person POV:
It had to be in here. Grant used a finger and thumb to gingerly pick up a rotting banana peel and toss it aside. He shuddered. Who put food remains in their bedroom trash can, anyway. No wonder the room reeked.
“Ew,” he muttered. The used condom could sift to the bottom. He wasn’t touching it despite the fact that Dreamy Daniel from the carnival had worn the thing. At least he assumed it had been Daniel and not Andy wearing the rubber. Either way, no doubt it was a contributor to the funky odor. The crumpled tissues and wet wipe were probably related, and also not anything Grant wanted to touch. He fetched a pair of tongs from the kitchen, because clearly this job needed either that or rubber gloves. This mission had better be worth it.
An empty chocolate syrup container, a candle stub, and an empty can of Reddi Whip came out next. Grant shook his head. Had they made banana splits in the bedroom, or drizzled this shit all over each other and licked it off? He could get behind the latter option, at least if he was one of the participants.
Good grief. An empty champagne bottle and about a dozen bitten off strawberry tops? On a first date? Andy’d pulled out all the stops for this guy. Even if Grant managed to finagle a date with the man, he’d be hard put to compete with this shit.
As he lifted off the last few strawberry greens, the paper he was after emerged. Grant’s shoulders slumped with disappointment when he saw it. Daniel’s name was readable, but the ink for the phone number underneath it had run and smeared into an illegible mess. Andy’s phone was the only hope of retrieving it, now. That or flirting with the man right in front of Andy. No, he felt low enough going through Andy’s trash. What plausible excuse could he have given even if he’d discovered the number, anyway? It was time to concede defeat. He sighed and returned the garbage to the plastic can.
Andy stood in the doorway with a hiked eyebrow when Grant turned to leave. “Find what you were looking for?”
Uses the prompt words (whiskey – laundry – electric guitar) left in the comments of the previous week’s Flash Fiction Friday post.
Further inspiration for this scene comes from this image found on Pixabay:
Told from Andy’s 3rd-person POV:
“What’s your deal?” Grant asked.
Andy jumped and shifted the bulky laundry basket he was carrying. “What do you mean?”
Grant held open the door to All Washed Up, and Andy stepped through. “I asked you a question three times. You ignoring me?”
“Sorry. Just zoning.” And stressing out, second and third guessing his earlier resolve to see if Grant wanted to—hell, he didn’t even know what. Simply add “benefits” to their friendship or explore a relationship? He shook his head and heaved a heavy sigh. Would a failed attempt ruin their easy rapport? Would simply suggesting it make things awkward between them?
“Duuuuuude.” Grant hitched his head toward the bank of dryers.
Andy’s eyes bugged at the sight of blue jean covered legs sticking out of one of the upper dryers, ass wiggling to the strum of an electric guitar as Chris Stapleton sang the chorus of Tennessee Whiskey over the laundromat’s speaker system.
“Dibs,” Grant said.
“What? Look closer. I think that’s a woman.”
Grant kept his gaze glued to that squirming behind as they strode farther into the room. “Shit.” Then he shrugged and opened a couple of washers. “You get all the luck.”
“Bullshit. I’m single, too.”
“Two words: ‘Dreamy Daniel.’”
Andy’s jaw tightened as he sorted the dirty clothes. “He ditched me after a month!”
Grant loosed one of his trademark theatrical groans. “Quit going into every relationship hoping for a happily ever after. Live for the moment and appreciate the memories.”
“Is that all you really want?”
A stiff jerk of one shoulder was all the reply Andy got as Grant tossed socks into one of the open machines.
“I know it’s not.” Andy gentled his tone. “You’ve been burned too many times, but underneath, you still want your Prince Charming.”
“Whatever.” Grant flung a pair of jeans into the other open washer with far more force than needed. “Prince Charming never wants me.”
“But, what if…” Andy stopped and bit his lip. What if, indeed. What if Grant got pissed at the mere suggestion?
Grant stopped taking his frustrations out on their mingled underwear long enough to stare back at Andy with his eyebrows reaching for the ceiling fan. At least it wasn’t a glower.
“What if…” Andy swallowed and dropped his gaze to the marred linoleum as if the words he searched for were hidden somewhere in its random pattern. “What if he’s not Prince Charming? What if he’s just Prince…Average but Amiable? Who maybe already likes you?”
The silence between them stretched through at least a third of Reba McEntire’s Promise Me Love. Finally, Andy raised his face.
Grant’s expression was thoughtful. They stared at each other through the chorus before Grant finally replied.
“Promise me this won’t fuck up what we already have.”
Uses the prompt words (suck – my – dick – because – if – you – don’t – you’re – gonna – be – dead) left in the comments of the previous week’s Flash Fiction Friday post.
Told from Andy’s 3rd-person POV:
Andy pursed his lips but nodded. “I promise I’m gonnatry not to fuck up what we already have.”
“You won’t be weird?” Grant raised one neat brow. “Becauseifyou turn into a dick and this friendship goes down the crapper…well…” Grant sighed. “That would suck. And not in a good way.”
“Why would I turn into a dick?” Andy rubbed the back of his neck and ignored the comment about things getting weird. “Weird” was probably an inevitable phase considering they’d been best friends since middle school. “Just…don’t set unrealistic expectations, or give up too early. Give us a chance.”
Grant lifted his chin, but Andy was one of the few people who understood that the reflexive tough-guy facade Grant displayed was cover for a fragile young man. “I need someone I can trust to pour my heart out to.” Grant’s voice quivered, and the troubled look in his eyes sent a shiver up Andy’s spine. “You’re that someone. I can’t lose that…you. Our friendship is the only thing that keeps me from being dead inside.”
Andy smoothed down his shirt. Maybe Grant was right. Maybe the risk was too great. But, he couldn’t help thinking that it might actually be the best idea he’d ever had. He took a deep breath and gazed steadily into Grant’s eyes. “We can take things really, really slow.”
“Okay.” Grant nodded and tapped the tip of his index finger on Andy’s chest. “Really slow.”
Uses the prompt words/phrases (inflatable flamingo – soda – orange – edamame – goldfish – lawyer – castle) that were left in the comments of the April 27 FFF post, plus the 5 words (retreat – rider – bite – goal – ankle) that I picked up from a random word generator.
Told from Andy’s 3rd-person POV:
Andy froze with the bag of edamame halfway in the freezer. The hair on the back of his neck bristled, and he turned. Grant stood leaning against the door jamb, silently tapping one ankle boot while sipping a can of orangesoda.
“When did you get home?” Andy asked. He’d left Grant at the laundromat to pick up a few things at the grocery store.
“Just now.” Grant grabbed a bag of goldfish crackers out of the pantry and tossed a bite into his mouth. Apparently, he wasn’t going to elaborate, although his carefully neutral face indicated he had something on his mind. No surprise there—not after their decision, barely over an hour ago, to bump their friendship up to a relationship.
“What’s bothering you?”
“Misha texted after you left. He’s already planning his Memorial Day pool party.”
“Oh?” They always had fun a Misha’s parties. “Don’t you want to go this year?”
Grant lifted his chin. “Of course I want to go!” His voice had a brittle undertone.
Full retreat would probably have been Andy’s safest course considering Grant had his back up about something, and Andy had no idea what it was. But experience told him Grant would let whatever it was fester until he erupted over something completely unrelated. So, Andy squared his shoulders and repeated his earlier words. “So, what’s bothering you?”
“Don’t think I’ve forgotten about the vicious side-eye you leveled at my inflatable flamingo float last year.”
“Vicious? Seriously? What are you even talking about?” Andy shook his head. That pink monstrosity? Sure it was over-the-top, but so was Grant. And so what? So, the fuck, what? He’d never had anything against that crazy float. Well, he wasn’t going to get in line to be a rider on the damned thing, but he had no problem with Grant and his buddies having fun with it.
Grant pursed his lips. “Fine,” he huffed. “Maybe that was a bit strong, but…”
“But, what’s your goal with this whole relationship thing you want to try on?”
Andy rubbed the back of his neck. What did relationship goals have to do with that floating eyesore? “I don’t know…the usual?” What does any couple hope for?
“Are you going to try to change me? Don’t try to deny you didn’t like my flamingo.” Grant stuck a finger in Andy’s chest. “You know I’m going to have this whole castle in the sky view on this relationship thing. I can’t help it. That’s me. That’s who I am. Just like the flamingo is who I am.”
Andy wrapped his hand around Grant’s wrist, stilling the poking finger. “And the flamingo isn’t me. But I’ve tried dating guys like me, and it doesn’t work. I’m attracted to you.”
“I know I already said this, but I can’t stop thinking about how hard I’m going to crash when this all goes to shit.” Grant’s eyes glittered. He wasn’t going to cry, was he? “Especially if it works for a while before falling to pieces. What’ll I do when you decide you can’t look at me and my glitter and flamingos and hello kitty anymore, and before I know it you’ve got a lawyer telling me to clear out?”
Andy’s jaw dropped. “Grant, stop it.” He dropped Grant’s wrist and placed one hand on the side of Grant’s face, and the other at the man’s waist. “In your heart, you know I’m not like that, right?”
Grant’s lips quivered, but he didn’t reply.
“I know you know that.” Andy’s thumb rubbed across Grant’s cheek, and the man’s eyes dilated. “And I know you can’t help picturing the worst-case-scenario. You’ve done that as long as I’ve known you, and I’m still here.” Andy raised his brow. “Right? You’ve always been a drama queen and I haven’t left yet.”
Some of the stiffness in the muscles under Andy’s hands relaxed. “But, I irritate you.”
“Now and then.” Andy’s mouth quirked into a smile. “And I get on your nerves sometimes, too. Welcome to the human race. You’re still my best friend, and I’m just as scared to death of losing you.”
Grant’s nod was barely perceptible. If Andy hadn’t felt the movement with his hand he might have missed it. Grant’s gaze dropped to Andy’s mouth.
Was it too soon? Andy leaned forward. Or was it the perfect, natural opening for their first kiss? Grant’s lips parted, and a soft sigh escaped them.
Andy whispered, “We both want this to work, so it’s gonna.” Then his lips grazed Grant’s. Warm breath with a hint of cheese and citrus wafted into Andy’s mouth, and a soft squeak reached his ears, sending a sweet quiver down his spine.
When Grant’s hand landed at Andy’s waist, Andy added pressure. No tongue—but an easy compression as their lips moved, delicately nibbling. He withdrew when Grant pushed a hand lightly against his chest.
“Okay,” Grant murmured. His eyes no longer glistened, but he’d added a curious slant to them. “This might work.”