If you remember when I decided to post Leap of Faith, I said this short story had problems? This is where it needs work. Part Four had the chapter break and the story skips forward almost a year, if I remember correctly. The Ben in the first couple of chapters grew a lot in that time and is not the same as the Ben in this chapter.
The story was written for an anthology call with a restriction of 10k. Since I did not think it appropriate for Ben to fall for anyone after that first chapter, I put in the time jump and summarized the changes Ben went through from Dawson's perspective. It's still a cute story but it needs a middle, which I never got around to writing.
Copyright Lexi Ander
Part Five: Leap of Faith
Chuckling, Dawson wrapped a towel around his waist and sauntered out of the bathroom. The smell of food was stronger out in the hall and his eyes damn near rolled up in the back of his head. Ben had made cinnamon rolls. The man was a god in the kitchen. Since Ben cooked most of the meals, Dawson had to put in extra time at the gym and Ben had taken to joining him.
Hurrying, Dawson tugged on a pair of jeans and threw on a shirt. He donned four large silver rings, his two inch wide leather wristbands, and his brown coconut shell necklace with the blue bone beads before he made a beeline to the kitchen. Ben stood at the stove with his back to Dawson. He nearly didn't catch the groan that tried to escape. Ben was shirtless. The tattoo of a rising phoenix rippled over his strong, muscular back. The last several months, Ben had bulked up and his once slender frame had become a work of art.
Dawson noticed all of the changes, not only the physical ones, Ben had made. The vulnerable, heartbroken man he'd met a year ago had been replaced by a confident, happy Ben. The combination made for one hell of a package. Not that Dawson hadn't found Ben attractive before, because Ben had been smoking hot in those ridiculous shoes and tiny pants. But Ben had needed a friend, so Dawson had shelved his lust and given a helping hand.
The last couple of months, Ben had been different and, lately, Dawson imagined licking the hollow between those shoulder blades. It was too easy to imagine Ben with his hands tied behind his back, ass rising up to meet the firm swat of Dawson's hand. Maybe one day Ben would be interested. Discreetly he readjusted himself before he walked into the kitchen.
"You made cinnamon rolls." He brushed against Ben as he reached around for a warm roll and shoved the whole thing in his mouth.
Ben smirked. His gaze followed the pastry, his hazel eyes expertly outlined with dark eyeliner. Dawson loved the touch of color because Ben had amazing eyes. When they were highlighted like that, Dawson wanted to drag the man into his bedroom and find wonderful ways to convince his friend that his bed was the best place—the only place Ben wanted to be. Ben's blond hair was cut short on the sides, the top long enough to brush the man's earlobes. His friend had become very good at manipulating the layered lengths. This close he could smell Ben's aftershave. Dawson had pierced both of Ben's ears, four hoops on each side and a bar through the top of the left ear.
"Today I had something a little extra to celebrate." Ben poured Dawson a cup of black coffee after he tore his gaze away from Dawson's mouth.
Dawson chewed slowly, aware that Ben was staring. He knew what today was and how important it was to Ben. "The sale goes through today?"
Ben nodded, blinked a couple of times as Dawson experimented with licking his lips. "Um, yeah." Ben glanced down and cleared his throat. He seemed a little flustered. "I'll sign the documents of sale for my share of the firm this afternoon. David said he'd bring everything by the shop so I wouldn't have to go downtown."
Dawson took a couple of long swallows from his cup of joe. The bitter mixed with the sweetness in his mouth and balanced out his taste buds. "Are you sure this is what you want to do? You could hire someone to see to your interest in the business. You built that company from the ground up." He grabbed another roll and tried to swallow it whole. Damn, he loved those things!
Ben shook his head. "I'm not that guy anymore. He was the guy who went with the flow, played everything safe. I'm not sure I was happy being him. I can't remember ever being actually content."
"And you're happy now?" Dawson asked around the food in his mouth.
Ben's lips quirked up, his eyes flicked up to Dawson's. "Yeah," he admitted almost shyly. "I wasn't sure I'd ever feel right again. My parents didn't help. They made me wonder if I'd been wrong refusing to work things out with Javier."
Dawson vividly remembered that visit from Ben's father. Two weeks after Ben had come to stay with him, a limo had stopped in front of the cabin, and an older man in a three thousand dollar suit stepped out. Ben had cussed softly under his breath before he went out to meet his parent. Dawson had leaned against the porch railing, giving the two some privacy, but not leaving Ben alone. In the brief time they had spent together, Dawson had not only started to like Ben, but had come to care for him as well. The scowl on Mr Hamilton's face was a warning of things to come.
"You know your dad's sorry about what he said when he came by that day." Dawson knew Ben had shared a good relationship with his father until the fiasco with his fiancé. Mr Hamilton had been harsh and demanding with Ben, lecturing his son about loyalty and responsibility.Ben gave a weak smile. "That's what I get for avoiding my parents because I didn't want to talk about what Javier had done. I had to get tested because I was afraid my partner had unsafe sex with multiple people. That's not something I wanted to discuss with my family. My parents loved Javier from the moment they met him and they didn't think to question him when he went to them the day before the wedding. When dad found out Annie had made the calls to cancel everything—that was a small fortune down the drain. He had every right to be angry, at least about that."
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