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By Trina Solet
Copyright © 2015 by Trina Solet
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, locales or actual events is entirely coincidental.
All sexual activity takes place between persons eighteen years of age or older.
This novel contains material intended for mature readers.
Cover image is only for illustrative purposes. Any person depicted is a model.
Only the day before, Nathan had been at home where it was cold and dreary. The sky had been gray, always threatening to rain and make the bad weather even worse. He couldn't believe that now he was standing in warm sand on a sunny beach, barefoot, with his jeans rolled up as waves splashed his feet.
There was nothing drab or gray in front of him. The sun was inching toward the horizon, changing from gold to brass to copper as it went down. Standing on the shore, Nathan found himself staring at the ocean with its varied blues turning deeper as evening neared. His feet were sinking into soft, white sand, and Nathan couldn't help asking himself what he was doing there.
Supposedly he was going to watch a friend get married in this beautiful place. In reality Nathan was saying goodbye to a man he yearned for but couldn't have. At least watching Turner get married to someone else should cure him of this useless longing for a man who thought of him as a friend and nothing more.
Turner and Matt had rented an oceanfront villa for their wedding. It was more like a palace. The house was white stone with balconies high above and marble columns at its base. The third story was taken up by a huge terrace with a covered area at its center.
A gorgeously landscaped lawn started at the back steps of the villa and gently sloped down to the beach. From soft, green grass, Nathan had walked onto warm, white sand. There was also a curving, stone inlaid path that wound its way from the side of the house through the garden of small fruit trees and flowering plants to the beach. The blue of the ocean could be glimpsed through the branches before it came into full view on the edge of the lush garden.
The whole place was like that – exquisite beauty everywhere you looked. It was a place meant to be enjoyed and a breathtaking setting for a wedding. Nathan turned to look up at the terrace overlooking the ocean. That's where the wedding was to take place tomorrow. It was going to be spectacular, and for Nathan, heartbreaking.
Nathan turned his eyes from the building to the even more beautiful sight of the dark blue water and a perfectly clear sky rising from it in the far distance. The sun was already low, lengthening his shadow behind him. Waves crested before they crashed softly, foaming against the shore. At Nathan's feet, the waves retreated with a low hiss. He just wished he could enjoy the surroundings, the scent of the sea, and the sound of the waves. But he couldn't enjoy the lovely backdrop to an event that would put an end to all his hopes of being with Turner.
Turner had been Nathan's friend for a few years and his unrequited love since the moment he met him. Too bad that Nathan wasn't the kind of guy who made heads turn. He had wavy, light brown hair and blue eyes. His physique was OK, and he did his best to improve on what he had with exercise. On the other hand, Turner was tall and dark with stunning good looks that made jaws drop. Plus he had more money than was decent.
Nathan met Turner at a fundraiser for a gay youth organization. Nathan had done some advertising work for them free of charge, and Turner was one of their major benefactors. When Nathan first laid eyes on him, his gaze traveled up long, muscular legs in expensive trousers. Turner's broad chest shook as he laughed along with the others standing in a small group. Then his dark, piercing eyes fell on Nathan. Turner stopped laughing but he still smiled. His big smile only enhanced his good looks.
To his shock, Turner approached Nathan and asked him about his work. Someone had told him that Nathan had won a prize for an ad for a small, local music festival. Nathan blushed. He blushed even harder when Turner put an arm around him and took him along so he could introduce him to some friends. Nathan was almost dizzy as he felt the muscles of Turner's arm along his back. Then Turner's hand slid down to his waist and Nathan nearly fainted as blood rushed away from his brain.
Turner's friendliness led him to believe that something would happen between them, maybe that night, maybe in the future. When he went to bed alone, Nathan was buzzing with anticipation, tossing and turning all night long. He was happily wallowing in his new infatuation.
He was thrilled when Turner invited him to lunch the next week. They had a nice time. After that, Turner often invited Nathan to spend time with him, but nothing came of it. He never made any moves on Nathan, and he sidestepped all of Nathan's advances. Eventually he had to acknowledge that Turner only wanted him as a friend. A small hope still remained that if he declared himself, Turner might see him in a new light.
That hope was dashed when Nathan got up the courage to invite Turner on a real date. He was so nervous as he pinned all his hopes on that moment. He could hardly breathe.
Turner smiled sadly and said, "Where would we go? I love you as a friend, but you can't afford to date me. The kinds of places I like to go would deplete your bank account to nothing in a week or less. You know it would never work." Turner was kind and sorry that he had to hurt him, but Nathan didn't want his pity. He did value his friendship though. It wasn't Turner's fault that he had expensive tastes and that he didn't return his feelings. Nathan shouldn't have let Turner's interest in him go to his head. They just weren't meant to be.
Nathan realized that Turner was looking for someone like himself, someone who moved in higher social circles, knew influential people and had plenty of money. Nathan was a struggling commercial artist. His full time jobs never seemed to last. He survived mostly on freelance work. Everyone told him he was good, but he just wasn't making much money. Turner consoled him about that and reminded him that he was just starting out. He also recommended him for jobs whenever he could. He was a good friend to Nathan, but he would never be anything more. Now that he was getting married, there was no escaping the painful reality that Turner would never be his.
As he was taking in the magnificent view on that beach, Nathan tried to absorb that realization into himself fully. He wanted to let go of those stale, useless feelings and release them to the wind and the waves. Let the ocean and the sky take them and free him. While visualizing his old hopes flying far away, Nathan noticed someone coming from up the beach toward him. Maybe he had a secret hope that it was Turner, but it was Paul Mason.
Paul wasn't one of Nathan's favorite people. He was a friend of Turner's and had a lot in common with him, except for likeability. Paul always gave the impression that he looked down on everyone, especially Nathan. He was the complete opposite of Turner, who made everyone feel at ease no matter who they were. That was why Nathan liked Turner so much and disliked Paul, the snob.
It wasn't fair that Paul had those blond good looks to go with his arrogance. He didn't deserve to look that good when he had that shitty personality. He was tall, with sharp, blue eyes. From what Nathan could tell from looking at him in a loose fitting, white shirt and light linen pants, his body was deadly gorgeous. Too bad he was a jerk.
Nathan remembered when he first met him at another fundraiser. Turner introduced him, and Nathan hated to tear his eyes away from him to look at anyone else. As Turner said his name, Nathan turned and blinked. Paul had the kind of beauty that made Nathan hold his breath. When they shook hands, Paul's grip was almost crushing, and he stared at Nathan too long. Nathan felt like he was being examined. Once Paul looked away from him coldly, Nathan felt like he had been found inadequate and then discarded. What an asshole. Just as well he wasn't the one Nathan was after. Too bad the man Nathan was interested in didn't want him either.
Nathan sighed thinking back to all those fancy parties Turner had taken him to. Nathan always felt so out of place, and people like Paul made him feel even worse. Nathan was so ill at ease he imagined that if he stepped away from Turner's side, he would be thrown out on his ass.
Turner meant well when he took him along. He wanted Nathan to meet the people who could help him with his career, but Nathan only cared that Turner was there. If only Turner hadn't been so nice, Nathan wouldn't have fallen so hard for him. If he was someone like Paul, gorgeous but condescending, Nathan's heart would have been safe.
As Paul walked toward him, leaving footprints in the sand, Nathan nodded to him in greeting. He noticed that Paul was barefoot. That just made him look extra sexy so Nathan turned away quickly. He expected Paul to walk past him, but he came to stand next to him.
"You should at least get good and drunk if you're forcing yourself to watch all your hopes and dreams sinking into this beautiful, blue ocean," Paul said to pour salt on Nathan's wound. As he did it, he stared straight ahead as if Nathan wasn't even there.
Nathan turned his head to glare at him, or at least his profile. Did everyone know how he felt about Turner? They probably did. Nathan wasn't very good at hiding his feelings. Wearing a mask wasn't his style. That didn't mean he had to admit to anything.
"My hopes and dreams are just fine, but maybe you should go and get drunk," Nathan told him because right now his hopes and dreams were that Paul would just go away. There was no reason why Nathan should be forced to spend time with him. He never did before.
Paul was in Turner's social circle, but not a close friend. He was younger than Turner and Nathan too. As well as being rich, Paul was an engineering student. Instead of working for his family's many companies, he wanted to establish a career of his own. Nathan respected that about him but not the way he always looked at Nathan like he was a fly that landed in his caviar. He was the last person Nathan wanted to be talking to about his foolish love for Turner.
As Nathan tried to walk away, Paul came with him. To anyone looking at them from a distance, they might seem like a happy couple on vacation, taking a walk along the beach as sunset neared. In reality, Nathan wanted to take a solitary walk and hoped Paul would get bored and leave him to mope in peace. With Paul tagging along, Nathan trudged miserably in wet sand. Next to him, his and Paul's shadows overlapped.