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    K.C.
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Pour Me Another - 8. Stranger in the park

Asher almost dropped the phone when he saw Michael’s name on his cell phone.  It was too early for a social call.  Worried that something was wrong, Asher slid the pad of his thumb across the touchscreen to answer the call before it stopped ringing.

“Hello?” Asher’s voice was tentative and gravely from the early morning hour.

There was such a long pause after Asher picked up, he thought Michael might have already hung up.  “Hey Asher…” Michael hesitated after he said Asher’s name.  The sound of his name spoken from such a sexy voice had Asher’s pulse racing.

Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, Asher tried to keep his mischievous body under control.  The last thing he needed was to pop a boner just from hearing Michael’s deep rich voice.  When it came to Michael Waters, Asher felt himself teetering on the edge of a very steep cliff.

“It’s early,” Asher muttered the obvious.

“I know it’s early, I’m sorry…” Silence again! Asher wanted to demand that Michael tell him why he was calling, but before he could say anything, Michael started to speak.  “Do you want to go biking with me?”

“Right now?” Asher chuckled as a huge smile lit up his face.

“Yes, right now.”

Asher glanced out at the lavender sky.  The first rays of light would be reaching the horizon any minute.  It was too far to ride all the way across town.  By the time Asher got to Michael’s apartment, he would be too exhausted to join him on a ride.  The bus or subway would be a better choice, but since it was Saturday both of them would be running on their weekend schedule.  Mentally calculating how long it would take him to get uptown, Michael interrupted his thoughts.  “The weather is absolutely perfect and if we go right now, we can get a couple of miles in before it gets too hot.”

It made sense.  Asher always took his morning run before the summer temperatures started to soar.  “Okay, give me an hour to make it uptown--” The sound of a car horn blared from the streets below.  It also echoed in the phone. Asher stopped.  Walking over to the open kitchen window, Asher stuck his head out and noticed Michael sitting on his bike on the sidewalk below.  The man was right outside of Asher’s building.

Michael looked up and smiled.  All of the air rushed out of Asher’s lungs when his heart skipped a beat.  The man had a knack for showing up at the most unexpected moments.

“There’s no need to go uptown.  Isn’t there a park a couple of blocks away from here?” Michael asked, his voice still echoing through the phone and from the sidewalk below.

Asher chuckled to himself.  Regaining his composure, he told Michael, “Yeah, Onyx Park is a few minutes away.”

“Great, get your ass in gear and get down here,” Michael demanded before ending the call.

~~~~~

Pulling on a light t-shirt and a pair of gym shorts, Asher tried to keep his hands from trembling.  Not only was he excited to see Michael again, he was thrilled that the guy had continued to seek Asher out.  “Stop it, Ash,” He berated himself, “Don’t fall into that cliché of every gay guy falling in love with the straight, unavailable friend; it only leads to heartbreak. Michael’s just looking for a friend.”

With his gloves and helmet both in place, Asher lifted his bike off the rake that suspended it in the air, out of the way.  The minutes ticked by.  He moved as fast as he could since he didn’t want to keep Michael waiting.

The bike was too heavy to take the stairs two at a time.  It forced Asher to slow down and cautiously navigate each step, one at a time.  Balancing the top tube on his shoulder made it easier.  Asher silently said a prayer when he didn’t come across any of his neighbors in the narrow stairwell.  On a good day it was a tight squeeze; toss in a full sized bicycle and now passing anyone would be next to impossible.

“It took you long enough.  Did you have to apply your make-up first?” Michael playfully teased.

Asher relaxed once he realized that Michael was joking. “Me? Look at you.  Are you worried about messing up that pretty boy hair of yours since I can tell that you did not wear that helmet on your head for the ride over here?”

Michael looked at the gray dome dangling from the handlebars of his bike and frowned.  “Dude, you’re really going to make me wear this stupid thing?”

Training as a sport therapist, Asher had seen firsthand the severity of head injuries that can result from bicycle accidents.  The last thing he wanted was to see Michael get hurt.

“Come on big guy, put it on,” Asher insisted. “The city might have passed that ‘helmet optional law’ last year, but your brain is too important to risk for the sake of looking cool."

Reluctantly, Michael slicked his dark brown locks away from his forehead to keep them out of his eyes as he put his helmet on.  He adjusted the strap under his chin then stuck out his tongue at Asher. “Better?”

Asher smiled at his accomplishment. “Yes, much better.”

“C’mon, let’s get riding before you find something else wrong with me.”

Asher glanced at Michael as he stared straight ahead, waiting for the light at the crosswalk to change.  His shorts and shirt were similar to what Asher was wearing and were just as fresh and clean, too.  Asher wasn’t sure how Michael got downtown this morning, but the guy definitely didn’t ride all the way here.

At this time of morning, the park was fairly empty, but it wouldn’t be long before the basketball and tennis courts both filled up. As the sun rose, parents slowly ventured out with their newly awakened little ones to enjoy the crisp cooler air.  On their third lap around the park, Asher smiled at Mrs. Nguyen speed walking with a group of friends.  The elderly woman winked at him as she quickly swooshed by.

The park came to life.  It was one of Asher’s favorite spots in Onyx Hill.  There was always so much going on in this little park that it really had a true feeling of community.

 A gentle breeze blew through the mature trees that surrounded the bike trail that wove through the park.  The pavement was wide enough for two bikers to ride comfortably side by side and still leave room for an occasional pedestrian.

“How about one more lap and then we go over to Mack’s Diner for some lunch?” Asher suggested.

Michael nodded his head.  Asher noticed his dark brown hair looked almost black as the wet locks curled around the back of Michael’s helmet.  They both displayed a wide sweat mark down the center of their backs.  Nearing a long flat stretch, Michael’s pace slowed until Asher realized Michael wasn’t with him anymore.  Turning around and pedaling back, he found Michael had climbed off his bike and was kneeling down on the pavement, tying his shoe.

The tight muscles in Michael’s thighs flexed as he shifted his weight to the other leg to re-tie that shoestring, too. Asher was so lost in the sight of Michael’s body that he never saw the shirtless young man jogging up behind them.  The guy quickly sidestepped around Michael, but instead of continuing on his way along the path, he looped back around and ran a tight circle around Asher and Michael for a second look. A thick sheen of perspiration covered the man’s suntanned chest.

The new guy grinned as his eyes darted between Asher and the subject of his attentive gaze.  Michael looked up from the ground and frowned.

“What the fuck are you looking at?” Michael growled, loud enough to frighten an elderly couple strolling through the park, hand in hand.

“Mike, calm down!” Asher tried to quickly defuse the situation.

Deep red flushed across the guy’s face as Michael glared at him.  The man stumbled as he moved further away from Michael’s elevating shouts.

“No, I want to know what the hell HE thinks he’s looking at.” Michael demanded.

The new guy rolled his eyes and muttered, “Whatever,” under his breath before turning and continuing in the direction he was heading before stopping to flirt.

“He was looking at me, okay?  That guy was checking me out,” Asher blurted out without considering the consequences.

“What does he--”

“Because I’m gay!” Asher cut Michael off.

The sounds that normally filled the park were suddenly gone.  The birds stopped chirping, no children laughing or murmurs of conversation…nothing…just silence.

Asher waited for Michael’s reaction.  He didn’t have to wait long as Michael’s dark eyes furrowed and became hooded and hard to read.

“Do you know that guy?” Michael demanded, hiking his thumb over his shoulder in the direction the man had run.

“No, but he saw me admiring your body and it’s not that hard to figure out--”

“Shit! That dude thinks I’m fucking gay, too?” The fear that flashed across Michael’s face was unmistakable.  “I’m not gay!”

Asher rolled his eyes and shook his head, “I wouldn’t be too worried about that.  You give off straight guy vibes that are very crystal clear.”

“Are you attracted to me? Is that the only reason you were nice to me?” Michael took a step back.  Their confrontation drew curious stares from several bystanders.

Rage had Asher’s blood boiling.  “Seriously dude, you’re the one who kept coming around me.  I’m not the kind of person to take advantage of someone, no matter who they are.   If that’s what you think of me, then you obviously don’t know the first god damn thing about me.”

Asher turned to leave, but Michael’s words stopped him.  “Then why?  Why did you go out of your way to help me?”

“I don’t know,” Asher growled, “But I can see now that it was a mistake.”

“Ash--”

“Go home, Michael.” Asher climbed on his bike and rode away without another word.

Wow, I bet you didn't see that one coming.....Should I hide now? :blink:  You guys aren't going to throw rocks at me are you? :no:  

I promise this is not the end of the story, there is still lots more to come.

Thanks for reading! KC :*)

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You continue to navigate your way through this relationship in subtle ways. Thanks for sharing.

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Wow, so didn't see the little explosion at the end coming, but it did show that both guys have a few issues to work out. It almost seems like mike doesn't know what to do with someone liking him for himself, I felt like that was the only reason he said what he did. Def looking forward to more.

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Things were going to smoothly you knew there was going to be a blow up somewhere. Might have been better in a less public place. I still think michael isn't as straight as he portrays you know that saying he doth protest too much lol. He didn't care that much that Asher was Gay but flipped when he thought he would be thought gay by association.. Nice to see he hasn't lost his stupid side of his personality lol.

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Powerful! No rocks will be thrown: otherwise we may damage your writing appendage(s) and all of us would lose out. Could be some votes for King of Cliffhangers thrown your way, however. :P Looking forward to seeing the next step in their relationship. At least I hope that isn't where their relationship stops!

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On 05/21/2013 06:23 AM, carringtonrj said:
You continue to navigate your way through this relationship in subtle ways. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks,Richard, things are going to get messy before the end and we are far from the end. LOL :)

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On 05/21/2013 06:28 AM, layla said:
Wow, so didn't see the little explosion at the end coming, but it did show that both guys have a few issues to work out. It almost seems like mike doesn't know what to do with someone liking him for himself, I felt like that was the only reason he said what he did. Def looking forward to more.
These boys both have issues, but there's plenty of time for them to explore this friendship to see where it goes. Michael reacted bad but he was also caught off guard. Thanks for reading! Kc :)

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On 05/21/2013 06:31 AM, Daithi said:
Things were going to smoothly you knew there was going to be a blow up somewhere. Might have been better in a less public place. I still think michael isn't as straight as he portrays you know that saying he doth protest too much lol. He didn't care that much that Asher was Gay but flipped when he thought he would be thought gay by association.. Nice to see he hasn't lost his stupid side of his personality lol.
Yep, Michael did protest a lot didn't he ;) If it hadn't been in public it might have went differently....stay tuned. :D KC

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On 05/21/2013 06:57 AM, charlieocho said:
Damn you, KC! It's gonna be a long week, waiting for more...... :boy: .
I'm sorry...oh wait...no I'm not! Hehe, I'm having so much fun with these guys. They are great characters. There's still a lot more to come ;)

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On 05/21/2013 08:51 AM, hillj69 said:
Powerful! No rocks will be thrown: otherwise we may damage your writing appendage(s) and all of us would lose out. Could be some votes for King of Cliffhangers thrown your way, however. :P Looking forward to seeing the next step in their relationship. At least I hope that isn't where their relationship stops!
Whew, the voice of reason. No harm to KC! :P Sorry abbout the looming cliff, but there is still so much more to come. Thanks for reading! :)

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Nope, certainly didn't see that whole blow-up coming! And in public no less! lol

 

It was interesting how Michael didn't seem to care that Asher was gay (although he seemed a bit perturbed that Asher was checking him out), but he was definitely afraid others would think he was b/c he was hanging out with Asher. Stupid, stupid reasoning. lol

 

I wonder if Michael will come groveling back to Asher's apartment hoping for forgiveness.

 

Great chapter KC. I only have one complaint: it was too short!!!! :(

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What a way to come out. Tehehehehe. Loved this chapter! Can't wait for more~

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freeze....stop....rewind and p.a.u.s.e... Dear ol dimpled Mikey didn't know Asher was gay? Hmmm, sounds a bit fishy to me, but ok.

 

Asher's reaction was a bit like a pre Madonna. I imagine there is some underlying facts from Asher's past that caused this reaction. I suppose now with this uproar brings the question of who will brave the rip tides and try to smooth the turbulent waters caused by the reaction and dramatically overstated objection to Michael's question of why Asher helped.

 

P.S.. I'll hold off on getting my dull, tarnished and rusted spoon out to come after you until I can read a few more chapters, lol :evil:

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Oh, you can't be serious! So I have to wait for a whole week for the next chapter?! I really didn't see that coming. Michael causing a scene... Tsh.

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Yes, Michael did protest too much. So much is unsaid. Even Asher's reaction is hiding something.

 

Nice chapter. Reminds me of the scream contests between me and my bf. Unless one of them calms down and shut up, things might escalate... Looking forward to the next chapter. :)

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Yes, didn't see that coming but sort of glad it did. The plot has not been predictable so far and i wouldn't want that to change. that said, the outburst is reasonable given the characters to date. It would be a pretty short and mundane story if Michael simply curbs his drinking, comes out and finds true love with Ash. That only happens on gay fictions sites :lol:

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Michael persues some kind of relationship but accuses Ash of only helping him becasue Ash was attracted to him? Someone needs to step back and look at the situation from another perspective. He was the on that showed up at Ash's apartment unannounced.

Ash did the right thing by being honest about being gay and checking Michael out. If you are going to be friends, lovers or whatever, honesty is the keyword. I think a little angst was needed between the two to spice things up a little.

Kudos to Ash for sending MIchael home. Let him stew for a little while. Great chapter, and sorry I am already out of "likes", but I will come back and catch you when I get more :great:

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On 05/21/2013 11:43 AM, Lisa said:
Nope, certainly didn't see that whole blow-up coming! And in public no less! lol

 

It was interesting how Michael didn't seem to care that Asher was gay (although he seemed a bit perturbed that Asher was checking him out), but he was definitely afraid others would think he was b/c he was hanging out with Asher. Stupid, stupid reasoning. lol

 

I wonder if Michael will come groveling back to Asher's apartment hoping for forgiveness.

 

Great chapter KC. I only have one complaint: it was too short!!!! :(

Everyone is making such good points. I wanted to add that anyone can also join the forum if they want to continue the discussion since the reviews ony give a 1 shop reply :)

 

http://www.gayauthors.org/forums/topic/36529-pour-me-another/page-2#entry416320

 

Well, I can't write in a stright line, LOL so I have to keep the readers guessing. Michael's reaction was more focused on "he doesn't want people thinking he's gay" and not really a rejection of Asher.

 

His questioning Asher about his motives is also...curious! :P

 

Thanks so much for reading, KC :)

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On 05/21/2013 11:46 AM, vinnyvin said:
What a way to come out. Tehehehehe. Loved this chapter! Can't wait for more~
Awww thanks Vinnyvin! I'm glad you like it :)

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On 05/21/2013 12:17 PM, CW Prince said:
freeze....stop....rewind and p.a.u.s.e... Dear ol dimpled Mikey didn't know Asher was gay? Hmmm, sounds a bit fishy to me, but ok.

 

Asher's reaction was a bit like a pre Madonna. I imagine there is some underlying facts from Asher's past that caused this reaction. I suppose now with this uproar brings the question of who will brave the rip tides and try to smooth the turbulent waters caused by the reaction and dramatically overstated objection to Michael's question of why Asher helped.

 

P.S.. I'll hold off on getting my dull, tarnished and rusted spoon out to come after you until I can read a few more chapters, lol :evil:

Hmmmmmm, Michael didn't say anything about if he knew if Asher was gay...he was more concerned with people thinking he was gay. He protest a little too much (reflection maybe? :P )

 

Spoons?? :o Yo come after me with spoons?? I better not screw up what's coming next! LOL Thanks for reading! Kc

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On 05/21/2013 03:19 PM, Adamantyne said:
Oh, you can't be serious! So I have to wait for a whole week for the next chapter?! I really didn't see that coming. Michael causing a scene... Tsh.
I hope that's sign of a good story if I can keep ya guessing. Sorry about the wait, I hope it's worth it! :) Kc

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On 05/21/2013 04:50 PM, Ieshwar said:
Yes, Michael did protest too much. So much is unsaid. Even Asher's reaction is hiding something.

 

Nice chapter. Reminds me of the scream contests between me and my bf. Unless one of them calms down and shut up, things might escalate... Looking forward to the next chapter. :)

Yes Michael DID protest too much ;)He also probed Asher about his feelings towards him. He went about it in the wrong way but it is Michael Waters and he always makes an ass out of himself, LOL thanks for reading! :D

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On 05/21/2013 09:30 PM, Rndmrunner said:
Yes, didn't see that coming but sort of glad it did. The plot has not been predictable so far and i wouldn't want that to change. that said, the outburst is reasonable given the characters to date. It would be a pretty short and mundane story if Michael simply curbs his drinking, comes out and finds true love with Ash. That only happens on gay fictions sites :lol:
Hehe, that would make for a short (predictable) story and I want to be anything but predictable, LOL. I have some twists up my sleeve still, hope to keep you guessing. ;)

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On 05/21/2013 11:41 PM, joann414 said:
Michael persues some kind of relationship but accuses Ash of only helping him becasue Ash was attracted to him? Someone needs to step back and look at the situation from another perspective. He was the on that showed up at Ash's apartment unannounced.

Ash did the right thing by being honest about being gay and checking Michael out. If you are going to be friends, lovers or whatever, honesty is the keyword. I think a little angst was needed between the two to spice things up a little.

Kudos to Ash for sending MIchael home. Let him stew for a little while. Great chapter, and sorry I am already out of "likes", but I will come back and catch you when I get more :great:

Well, Michael did protest a lot (too much maybe) :P

 

He didn't react to Asher announcing he was gay, Michael was more concerned with people thinking he was gay. Also side note, do you think Michael was trying to probe Asher to find out his feelings? Hmmmmmm maybe?? Things need to get shook up a bit...how did I do?

 

:P KC

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Oh man, I wrote a nice review and then it got lost before I posted it...grrrr :angry: Here we go again...

I didn't see M's reaction coming at all. Even as the scene played out, I totally thought that M was just being territorial when he reacted so violently to the guy checking Ash out. Clearly, M has to evaluate his actions and emotions where Ash is concerned b/c, as others said, he has been the one to initiate their contact.

How will Michael deal with it? Will he apologize b/c he wants to stay friends with Ash? Will he drown his feelings in alcohol again and avoid Ash? How will Ash react? Will he stay angry with M? He seems like someone who could hold a bit of a grudge or be disappointed enough to stay angry, esp given M's awful behavior. He prob. sees through M's reaction and he'd be angry that M would react like that, esp after he helped him like he did. Either way, I don't expect that you will make it 'predictable'. I trust you will make it a bumpy path ;) for them to get together, if they do.

Well, can't wait for more. I feel really badly for Ash and am disappointed in Michael. Can't wait to see how you deal with it.

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