He parked his old Chevy out on the maintenance road and watched the last rays of the sun go down. He pulled out the pack of smokes and tapped the end against his palm a few times before pulling off the plastic. He’d have one while he waited.
The humidity made everything lazy, even the mosquitos, and he couldn’t help but think that tomorrow he was going to be out here, just another redneck driving down gravel roads acting like that was something special, and Mike would be in his perfectly clean little Toyota with his boxes and his books, heading to the East Coast.
It wasn’t fucking fair.
Oh, not that Jenson wanted to go back East anywhere. What he wanted was Mike. The trip to the beach had given them some stolen kisses and a few quick gropes, but Jenson wanted more.
He wanted full-on naked. He wanted to fuck. He wanted to hear Mike beg for it. He knew Mike would.
The very thought made his dick hard in his jeans and made him curse when his cigarette burned his fingers.
He heard a husky chuckle. “You ever going to learn how to smoke, man?”
Jenson turned to see Mike wandering over, coming to sit next to him on the tailgate. On the wrong damned side.
“Scoot, man,” Mike said, and he did, because he was always willing to do for Mike.
“What’s up, Mike?”
“Been a long couple days. You?”
“Been trying to decide if I have to apply for jobs.” He sighed. “You all packed?”
“I am. Yeah. I wish you were coming. It looks like a kick-ass campus.” Mike took a smoke, lit it, and the flame shuddered in the wind.
“I ain’t smart like you.” What else could he say?
“I’m not all that. I just….” Mike shrugged. What was Mike going to say? That Mike had tried? Because that was the God’s honest truth. Mike fought for it, worked hard.
Jenson did too. It just didn’t matter. He wasn’t school material. He lit another cigarette, trying not to cough. Lord.
“You think you’ll stay at home?”
Like it mattered. Neither one of them could afford long-distance phone calls, and Jenson, well, shit, he wasn’t much of a letter writer. Maybe postcards, if he remembered to buy stamps.
Jenson nodded. “If they’ll let me. If not, I’ll try cowboying out with the C Bar.” Mr. Carlson ran a huge Beefmaster operation.
“Such a cowboy.” Not like Mike. He was gonna be something bigger than a shiftless drover.
“I don’t know what else to do. Be a drunk like my dad, I guess.” He laughed, trying not to sound so damned bitter.
Coming September 29 from Dreamspinner Press