Storming Love ~ Volvano
Simon & Bryce
There were only two things Simon wants in his life. To fulfill a lifelong dream of visiting Pompeii, and to finally step out of the closet with his longtime boyfriend, Bryce. It seems both are going to happen and Simon is thrilled. However, two months before they're set to go, his hopes are dashed and he finds himself going alone. Determined to have a good time and to put the past behind him, Simon is ready to tackle whatever his uncertain future holds, with or without the love of his life.
Bryce is living the American Dream. He's country music's golden boy and doesn't see that changing. He's paid his dues to get where he is, though he's had to live a lie. Being openly gay was never something he could do and he thought his boyfriend, Simon, understood this. Then Simon plans a trip to Pompeii, the one place he has always wanted to visit. Bryce knows there is no way to keep his secret if he goes. So he does the unthinkable and backs out, even though he knows how devastated his lover and best friend is going to be.
They finally find their way together but a volcanic eruption changes their plans and they'll have to discover which is stronger; Mother Nature or true love.
Deep breath in...deep breath out...
"I can do this, all I have to do is close my suitcases, sit them by the door and walk out of my room, all without shedding a tear." Riiight. "No seriously, not one more flipping tear. I made the decision to do this alone, and damn it, that's what I'm going to do! So you can stop looking at me like that, because I'm through with my pity party."
Deep breath in...deep breath out...
"Okay." My voice was deceptively calm, my hands loose at my sides. "If you'll just let me rant for a few more minutes I swear I will never bring it up again. Cross my heart." Crossing my fingers over my heart for effect, I took a deep, fortifying breath before I went on. I really did feel that if I didn't get all this pent up anger out right now, I would never be able to get on that plane in the morning and take the trip I had planned nearly all my life.
Standing in front of my dresser, I lightly touched the framed picture of me at my college graduation. My two best friends—one of which was the love of my life—flanked me on either side as we cheesed it up for the camera. Life was so much easier then. Letting go of the frame, I turned back to my sounding board who was trying, valiantly I'm sure, to keep up with me.
"I don't understand how he could just let me go. I mean I realize I'm the one who told him I was done waiting, but he could have fought me, fought for us. Ugh, could I be a bigger diva? No...don't answer that." Stopping at the foot of my bed, a sudden chill spread all over my body. "Oh God this is not going to work, I can't go by myself. What will I do? Wander around Europe alone?" Slumping down on to my bed, I knew the answer. I'm not a chicken shit, and even though it was a scary proposition, I had thought of nothing else for two months, and I knew Jack was sick to death of listening to me whine. Looking at him now, I could practically see his eyes rolling in his furry face. Seriously, what did I expect a seventy-five pound mass of doggy delight to do? If he were human, he probably would have run me over with my own car by now.
"Thanks dude, for making me feel so much better about all this." He yapped in answer then jumped up, laid his massive paws on my shoulders and gave me a wet, sloppy dog kiss across the face. I just laughed. "Nice comeback." He shook his head then proceeded to lie back down. Truthfully, I think he was ready for me to be gone already.
A year ago, when I finally planned this trip and made all the arrangements, I truly thought my boyfriend was as excited as I was. It was going to be a chance for us to spend time together, just the two of us. I should have known his lack of said excitement and growing physical distance were an indicator of things to come. Sure didn't make it suck less though.
Bryce and I first met when we were roommates our freshman year at the University of Texas. The minute he smiled at me, I knew I was in trouble. It also confirmed what I had long suspected. I was, without a doubt, gay. It took the entire year for us to give into our feelings, and even then, we kept it hidden from everyone we knew. Back then, my path was all about getting my degree and eventually my doctorate. His was about becoming famous one day. Long story short, we both got what we wanted. The relationship was mutually beneficial for both of us, until one day, it simply wasn't. I became a walking cliché, because sadly, I fell in love with my best friend and eventually wanted the world to know, he on the other hand was perfectly happy with our relationship as it was. With both of us in the closet and me playing the side kick bestie-slash-secret lover. I'm not gonna lie, I went along with it for years because I loved him with all my heart. Hell, I still do.
Yet through it all, the secrets and lies, we managed to make things work for a pretty long time. But this last year, things had become so strained, with us spending less and less time together. That's why this trip was so important to me. It was a way for us to reconnect. Maybe get us back to where we were, once. Then two months ago Bryce did the unthinkable, and I had had enough. Ergo the reason I'm going on this trip by myself. Damn it, why does it hurt so much? Why can't I just stop loving him?
At this very moment, my best girlfriend Lindsey, whom I lovingly refer to as my sister from another mister and her adorable eleven-year-old twin daughters, Langston and Sloane, were out in my living room waiting for us to go eat. Lindsey was the other person in my graduation picture. She had been there our sophomore year, living in the same apartment complex we did. The three of us hit if off from the start. Even when we finally confided in her, she never once judged us for being together, nor did she ever give up our secret. She is closer to me than my own siblings. She and the girls arrived from Houston this morning and would be staying at my house for the next two weeks while I'm in Europe. She offered to take care of my house, my boy Jack, while giving them time in Austin and San Antonio for a mini vacation. I had dreamed of taking this trip since I was in tenth grade. It was in my world history class, when my teacher told us about Pompeii. I can still remember the passion in the man's voice when he regaled us with stories about all the people who were literally buried under the ash and rock from Mt. Vesuvius after it erupted. It changed me in some inexplicable way. I decided then and there, I would one day pay homage to them. It was also the reason why I became a Professor of Ancient Civilizations at my Alma Mater. And that was probably way more ‘scholarly’ information than anyone really cared about. I also think I have procrastinated long enough.
"Okay ladies, let's get this show on the road!" I yelled out into my living room as I finally zipped up my two suitcases that had been lying open on my bed while I was having my mini melt down, and placed them by the door. All I got in response was loud squeals followed by; "Oh my God!" and "He's so hot!" drifting in through my bedroom door. I can only imagine with two preteen girls who they were going on about. Heck, I could even hear Jack howling in there. No doubt it was that cute boy band that's so popular, on the T.V. To be honest, I'd be squealing too if I was out there. They are quite...shit what was I going to do again? Oh yeah living room.
Finally turning off the light, I left my room to join them, and as I came down the small hallway and entered my living room, I stopped dead in my tracks when I saw who they were going on about. My head fell forward, chin nearly touched my chest in absolute despondency. Well, maybe that's a bit melodramatic, but still. All I could think was: Why can't it be those boys? Why...why...why, the ever loving fuck did it have to be him? Bryce Lancaster. Country music's bad boy wet dream. Singing on my 54 inch plasma screen, the image was so clear he actually looked like he was performing in my house. From his signature backwards baseball cap, his multi-pierced ears, full sleeve tattoos on both arms to his tight blood-red T-shirt and snug jeans with cowboy boots, the man was six foot five inches of delectable eye candy.
And the reason for my current despair. I really didn't feel so good anymore. My palms were sweaty, and I thought I might puke. Luckily, no one seemed to notice my distress.
"Uncle Simon," the name they've called me since they could talk, was shouted from Langston as she barreled toward me. Her blonde pixie style hair and cornflower blue eyes made her look like she could be my own daughter. Something I used to joke with Lindsey's ex-husband about, much to his disgust. Her sister Sloane, however, took after their father with her ginger-colored, shoulder length hair and sea green eyes. The girls were fraternal so it had always been easy for me to tell them apart.
Langston grabbed on to my arm, dragging me across my teakwood floors further into the room, making my bare feet stumble a bit. Sloane joined her on my other side as they began their weird twin speak.
"O.M.G. Uncle Simon is it—"
"True you know Bryce Langston—" Uh yeah, and so does your mom.
"And he was your roommate at—"
"UT. And you actually helped him—"
"With his getting into the music business—" Okay, that's not entirely true.
"And that you're still really good friends, and you go to Nashville to see him all the time—" I am so gonna kill Lindsey. What the hell was she thinking?
"And you were with him when he got his tattoos?!" This particular question came from both of them at the same time as if they had actually rehearsed the words. What was it with tattoos and the younger generation? Good God they're only eleven.
"Girls, let Uncle Simon breathe," Lindsey finally said from her perch on one of my barstools where she looked like a queen about to hold court. She's wearing a whimsical type dress that floated around her body, and her blonde hair was braided down the side of her neck. She actually looked more like a fairy than a queen. Or maybe Queen of the Fairies, and there I went again, losing my train of thought. What was it again? Oh yeah the girls and Lindsey and fu—reaking Bryce. I was actually so pissed at Lindsey. We made an agreement a long time ago concerning Bryce and how we weren't going to tell the girls about knowing him because it would be too confusing, not to mention extremely hard for them to keep that a secret.
Not the part about me being gay, they've known that for a while now. Actually, how they found out was kind of a funny story. When they started second grade their dad got remarried, so the girls got it into their squishy little heads that their mom and I should get married too. Like to each other. Even though that was virtually impossible, what with us living so far away from each other and all, which was my explanation. They still thought we should. Lindsey chose a different explanation. She decided honesty was the best policy. She explained how I loved men, like, well, like she loved men. Yeah, you can imagine how that went over, the more she talked the more she ended up sounding like some kind of wanton woman. The girl's eyes were huge as she tried to dig herself out of the gigantic sexual revolutionary hole she had put herself in. I came to the rescue by saying how everyone on earth was allowed to love whoever they wanted. And that one day their mommy would find someone to make her happy just like their douche bag father had. Of course I left the douche bag part out. After recovering from her descent into the sex education from hell conversation, Lindsey and I both realized it was necessary to keep the girls in the dark about Bryce altogether. At the time, he was still struggling to make it in Nashville. Hell, even her ex-husband never knew the true story. He met Lindsey when her job at the time relocated her to Dallas from Austin, so he had never been around Bryce. Pulling myself out of the past, I looked down at my arms which were still being held by the girls.
"Ah, Mom, come on. We just want to ask him questions," moaned Langston. Then together they said, "Puhleeeease." It's beyond my comprehension how those two girls could make a one syllable word sound like it's twenty. The looks on their faces though, made me want to spill all. Almost. But payback's a bitch, and I think if this conversation continued for any longer, these super smart girls were going to be a bit upset with mommy dearest.
"Girls, I do know Bryce, and yes, we were roommates in college, but since he has become so famous, I haven't seen him in ages." Liar, liar pants on fire. The shit my mind came up with sometimes.
"So can we meet him, I mean..." Sloane paused a few seconds then she scrunched up her nose like she was putting some things together in her head, and I began to feel dizzy.
"Wait a minute. Why haven't we ever met him?" Sloane asked before the wheels of her brain began to spin out of control, and I braced myself for another onslaught of questions, which luckily were blasted at their mother this time. I had a sudden desire to stick my fingers in my ears and say nanny, nanny, boo, boo!
"Mom, if Uncle Simon knows him then you have to know him too. I mean y'all were friends in college, and Oh...My...God, you do know him!" Langston, finally catching on, shouted. "Right?" Her voice suddenly went very soft as if she's not sure she should have said anything. I can see her brain trying to put it all together. Then her wary gaze went back and forth between me and her mom.
And there it was. The elephant in the room. I shot a quick glare at Lindsey who actually looked remorseful and maybe a little petrified for basically starting this whole thing. The girls actually had met him years ago when they were maybe four years old. Lindsey had finally left her ass-hat husband and came to stay with me for a few weeks while I helped her nurse her broken heart. Bryce was still playing in local bars around the Austin area, as well as some bars throughout Texas. He was beginning to make a name for himself and was close to signing his first record deal. Which would come about six months later. At the time, we never gave a thought to the girls because they were so little and wouldn't understand anyway.
"Can we go see him in concert? I'm sure he'll come to Austin or Houston or even Dallas where Daddy lives." Like any other eleven year old, Langston could change gears faster than an Indy 500 driver. All her previous questions seemed to be forgotten, though I knew her more astute sister wasn't going to let this go so easy. She was currently staring daggers at her mom. Not that I could blame her.
I looked down at Langston who was staring at me with her big blue eyes, pleading for me to say yes. It was so hard for me to refuse both girls anything, but the very idea of taking them to see him made me physically ill. Just thinking about him made my heart ache. And damn it, the show was still on, and there he was strutting his stuff across the screen as if he had not a care in the world. He owned the freaking stage he was on, and I could hear the screams coming from the audience. The microphone was so close to his mouth, and gods, do I know what that mouth could do. Oh shit I could not be having these thoughts! Okay it was seriously time for a change of scenery, and subject and anything else I could think of. Thank God I was saved by Lindsey, the traitor. I really needed to have a come to Jesus meeting with her and myself. When I got back.
"Okay girls, enough about Bryce tonight, Simon doesn't need the extra stress right now." I swear I heard her mumble under her breath "nor do I." But I couldn't be sure because the girls were moaning and groaning, but doing what their mother asked of them.
"Let's go get some dinner. I'm starving, and we all have to get up super early in the morning to take Uncle Simon to the airport. So how about we get our shoes on and head out the door." She at least gave me a sympathetic look, but I had a feeling she was in for a shit storm later on. Served her right. Even though it meant the girls wouldn't get their answers tonight.
Embry Carlysle can't remember a time when she didn't want to be a writer, from her first story about an elephant and his tennis shoes to the her current WIP's it has been a dream of hers to let the characters that live inside her head out to play. Her first love is paranormal, her second men who love men. What could be better than that? Well writing a m/m paranormal story of course!
In her real life she lives in the south with her two teenage children and an assortment of furry friends.
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