Thursday afternoon, Alexander Mark Richfield tapped his finger on the steering wheel of his cherry red Ferrari. Paused at a traffic light on his way home from his last day at the studio, Alex’s nighttime cable TV drama The Action! Series, had begun its summer hiatus. He had asked his husband to take time off so they could spend a week together.
But, his forty-nine year old LAPD police lieutenant, wasn’t eager to plan. After a lousy few months on and off duty, Billy had just started working at the police academy. His lieutenant appeared hesitant to ask for anymore time off.
After a few weeks, Billy seemed happy to go to work. He was off the front lines and not stuck at a desk and computer. With Billy teaching defensive tactics, he was active, working out, and his mental state had shifted to one of calm acceptance.
Alex pulled into a strip mall’s parking lot. He had offered to pick up something for dinner on the way home. Alex parked in an available space and checked his phone. He had an appointment with his shrink tomorrow, and tentative plans to see Jeremy Runner, an actor and good friend, for lunch after.
Alex didn’t know what he was going to do for his time off. He had told his agent, Adam Lewis, not to look for another movie role for him, but…if Billy wasn’t going to take time off with him, what was he supposed to do all summer?
Alex removed his sunglasses and flipped down the visor, checking his face in the mirror. His green eyes were lined with long dark eyelashes, and he had wavy brown hair that went past his shoulders to nearly his mid-back.
Wearing tight faded jeans with holes in the thighs, and a black sleeveless T-shirt, Alex climbed out of his low-slung car and walked to the deli entrance. Hanging his sunglasses on his shirt neck, Alex inhaled the scent of cured meats and looked over the line.
He stood behind the crowd waiting to be served and inspected the ready meals. Two children were running around the place, laughing and playing tag.
Alex narrowed his eyes at them for a moment, thinking they needed to be corralled or disciplined. A younger man was trying to place his order and when he turned towards the two hyperactive kids to say, “Hey! Cut it out and come here,” Alex choked in shock. It was an ex-boyfriend, Oliver Loveday.
Billy Sharpe removed his dirty workout clothing from his locker. He stuffed the damp clothing into a duffle bag and then shut the door with a metallic clang.
This coming weekend he planned on going fishing with an old army buddy, Ken Brooks. He was looking forward to it.
He shouldered the bag and left the academy gymnasium, walking to his black Corvette in the parking lot. Preoccupied, Billy checked the time on his watch and knew Alex had offered to pick up something for dinner on his way home from the studio.
Alex. His twenty-nine year old superstar was off for the summer. Billy did consider taking a week off to go on a vacation with Alex, but…
Billy looked at his car. A young recruit was waiting near it.
A smile formed on the lieutenant’s lips.
Collin Young, a Penn State alumni who was attending the LAPD academy in hopes of being a peace officer, was there.
Billy opened his trunk and dropped the bag into it, then he leaned on his car door and crossed his arms.
“How are we working this?” Collin asked, since Billy had invited him to go fishing this weekend.
Billy glanced around the empty parking lot and hooked one of Collin’s belt loops, dragging him into his arms.
Collin, a twenty-two year old college wrestler, gave him a wicked smile. “You’re going to get us into trouble.”
“Maybe.” That’s where Billy liked to be. In trouble. He was getting better and better at it.
Collin nudged away, looking around the area. He had a lot more to lose than Billy did. Billy crossed his arms over his navy blue T-shirt and admired the young man. He was hot; light blue eyes, short brown hair, and built. A wrestler’s body.
“So…who’s all going to be there?” Collin appeared a little apprehensive to go away with his married, academy class, defensive tactics instructor.
“You’re not obligated to go. I won’t think less of you.”
Relief washed over Collin’s face. “Then, I think I’ll pass.”
Billy was happy about that. He had made the offer impulsively and hadn’t decided how he was going to explain to Ken why Collin was joining them.
“That’s fine.” Billy opened his car door. He felt a touch to his low back and glanced over his shoulder at Collin. Collin took another paranoid look around and stepped closer. It appeared Collin wanted a kiss.
Billy and this young recruit had oral sex a few times and anal sex once, but they had not kissed. Waiting, wondering if that was what Collin had in mind, Billy didn’t make a move. He hadn’t made any of the moves at all. Collin was the assertive one. The one who had come to his office and propositioned Billy, after- requesting an autograph from Alexander.
Collin rested his body against Billy and his gaze was on Billy’s mouth.
“You wanna kiss me, Recruit Young?” Billy asked with a slight smirk.
Billy grabbed the front of Collin’s academy T-shirt and drew him closer. Collin closed his eyes and pressed his lips against Billy’s mouth.
Billy kissed him. No tongues.
Collin parted from the kiss and stared at Billy.
“I have to go. Alex is waiting.”
Nodding, Collin backed away from him. “See ya Monday.”
“You will.” Billy sat behind the wheel and started the car. He noticed an older pickup truck nearby, and assumed it was Collins. Billy backed out of the parking spot, winked at the handsome young man, and drove to Bel Air.
“Oliver?” Alex tried not to gasp.
The optimistic musician who had stolen Alex’s heart at UCLA, had dragged two kids closer to himself and told them to stay. Then, he looked at Alex. Oliver’s eyes went wide as bull’s eyes. “Alex?”
Since Alexander was a celebrity in LA, the room erupted with hissing whispers and camera-phones were held up; as if those who weren’t sure it was Alex, had their suspicions confirmed.
“Are those yours?” Alex was stunned. Absolutely astonished.
“Yeah. Hang on.” Oliver paid for the food he had ordered and handed the bag to the older of the two, a young boy. “Take this.”
The kid, who Alex figured had to be six? seven? he wasn’t sure, took the bag and stared at Alex suspiciously.
Oliver approached Alex who was still in line, moving closer to the busy counter.
“What the hell?” Alex laughed nervously as he indicated the two kids.
“Ha. Well, it’s been a while, Alex.” Oliver’s cheeks blushed.
Alex couldn’t believe how much older Oliver looked. But, it had been over a decade since they’d dated. He met Oliver when he was eighteen.
Oliver drew the two kids closer to himself. “This is Gabe and Rachel.”
“Gabe.” Alex knew Oliver’s father’s name was Gabriel Loveday. Angel was his nickname. “After your dad.”
“Yes. Rachel is Dad’s mom’s name.” Oliver tapped his kids. “Say hello to Alex.”
They grumbled and mumbled ‘hi.’
“Can we go, Dad? I’m hungry.” Gabe held the bag to his chest.
Alex was trying to get over the shock. A gold wedding ring was on Oliver’s finger. Alex was called to the available deli clerk.
Oliver asked him, “You in a rush to get home?”
“No. Wait outside for me.” Alex stepped closer to the counter.
“Okay.” Oliver led his two kids outside the noisy space.
Alex watched for a minute, and then focused on dinner. “Uh…” he looked at the menu and the hot food in front of him. “How about the squash ravioli with creamy tomato sauce, and the garlic bread…oh, and a container of the Italian salad with the house dressing.”
Alex held his wallet as he stared outside at the parking area, trying to figure out how the two of them had gone in such drastically opposite directions.
With his and Billy’s dinner bagged and in his arms, Alex left the deli and found Oliver leaning on the fender of an older sedan while the kids were inside the car, playing on their phones.
Alex used his key fob to unlock his doors and set the food bag on the passenger’s floor of his sports car.
Oliver watched his every move.
Alex returned to him and leaned with Oliver on the fender of Oliver’s car.
“You look amazing.” Oliver’s dark eyes glistened.
“Thanks.” Alex brushed his long hair back from his eyes. “How’s Angel?”
Alex had stolen Billy from Angel Loveday while he was dating Oliver.
“Are you and Billy still married?” Oliver asked.
“Yeah.” Alex noticed the patrons exiting from the deli point him out and take his photo. Alex ignored it, since it happened constantly. “Wow. Two kids.”
Oliver peeked into the car, and then shrugged. “I got married, had kids…I suppose I thought I was expected to.”
Alex took another look at the kids. “Billy’s been asking about adoption. Ever since Dad had a surrogate give him a baby, Billy’s got the fatherhood bug.”
“It’s pretty cool.” Oliver smiled, but Alex noticed lines on his face and bags under his eyes. “Now that they’re both in school full time, it’s a lot easier.”
“Are you playing in a band?” Alex put his sunglasses on in the late afternoon glare.
“Nah.” Oliver lowered his head, looking shy. “I’m working with my wife’s dad at a hardware store.”
Stifling a choke of disappointment, Alex didn’t react visibly. The fork in the road between them had left one a rich movie star, the other a struggling father of two. It made Alex’s head spin.
“Dad!” Rachel shouted through the window, “We want to go home! Mom’s waiting!”
Oliver exhaled softly. “So. Nice seeing you.”
Alex moved away from Oliver’s car. “You too. Say hi to Angel for me.”
“Sure.” Oliver appeared to want a hug. They did a little awkward dance and embraced. “See ya.”
“See ya.” Alex waited as Oliver sat behind the wheel of his car and backed up, driving off into LA traffic.
“Holy fuck.” Alex thought of that life. That life of being obligated to take care of children, of being beat down by work, married to a hardware store owner, having your dreams shattered.
Alex snapped out his stupor.
“Can I have your autograph and a selfie?” a young woman asked.
“Sure.” Alex smiled as she took a photo of the two of them together, and he signed a magazine which ironically had his father and Zak on the cover.
“Thanks, Alex!” The woman beamed at him and danced away.
Alex sat in his car, the aroma of their dinner filling the interior, and drove home to Billy.
I don’t want kids. Hell no!