Lightning Crashes Ch. 10byvelvetpie©
Tanner smiled at the sight of his lovely wife, Jenny, standing in the end of the ramp. She giggled as she dashed into his arms, hugging his as tightly as possible. "What are you doing here?"
"I came back to see you. I'm leaving again on a flight tomorrow."
He laughed. "It's only been four days, Jen." He pulled her close, giving her a kiss that sent the blood rushing to her cheeks. "I'm glad to see you anyway. How's Missy doing?"
"Fine. She's upset but she's doing much better. Her father got her a new place until he can find her a house." Jenny leaned in and gave him a soft kiss, searching his eyes. "All that marital distress made me want to come home to you."
Tanner hoped that she didn't detect his slight delay in answering. "Aw, honey. I'm flattered but you know there's no reason to worry."
"I know." Jenny slipped her hand into his, putting her head on his shoulder. "Made me want something else, too."
"Can't last a week without my dick, eh?"
"No." Jenny's laugh was melodious and he smiled at its happy sound. "I want to have a baby."
* * * * *
"All right, Col. What's the problem?" Collin looked up from a display of horsehair brushes and quickly glanced away from the piercing eyes of a fellow artist and proprietor of the store, Bruce Kliba. "You've been staring at those brushes for fifteen minutes. Expecting a miracle?"
"Then what's his name?"
"I've never seen that look on your face before so I know that it has to do with a man."
"Why would you think that it has to do with a man?"
"Collin, I've known you for nearly twelve years and I've seen every emotion on your face: excitement, frustration, anger ... " Kliba leaned heavily on his cane as he surveyed the younger man's body language. "But I've never seen despair."
"That's what you think you're seeing now? Despair?"
"Oh, yes." He caught Collin's chin and turned his eyes toward him. "That's despair, all right." He released Collin but continued his scrutiny. "You've fallen in love, haven't you?"
"Kliba ... "
"What's the problem? Is he already spoken for?" When Collin offered no response, he continued. "Positive?" No response. "Straight?" At the mention of that word, Collin ripped his eyes away, glaring at the brushes. "Oh, Collin! You know better than that!" Collin turned his back on the store owner, suddenly emotional. "You know you can't turn a straight."
"He loves me, too, Bruce."
Kliba knew that it was serious when Collin used his first name. "Then what's the problem? Is he as famous as you?"
"No." The artist's voice was soft. "He's married."
"Jesus Fucking Christ, Collin! Have you lost your mind?"
"No, just my heart." Collin picked up a few brushes and wrung them in his hands. "I don't know what to do, Bruce." He couldn't stop the sobs from emerging from his soul. "I just don't know what to do."
Kliba put his arm around the young man's shoulders and maneuvered him back into the small office, locking the front door and turning the CLOSED sign around. He sat Collin down, grabbed two chipped coffee mugs from the cabinet and brought them to the table with the bottle of Jack Daniels. Collin drank the first shot quickly, then fumbled with the tissue that Kliba handed him, wiping his eyes and nose. He refilled the mugs and sat back, waiting for Collin to speak.
"He's such a pure soul, Bruce." Collin closed his eyes for a moment, recalling the look on Tanner's face when they'd met for the first time. He told Kliba about their Internet conversations and their three days of passion and by the end, he was crying again. "He didn't want to leave. He just kept hugging me and telling me how much he wished he could stay."
"And you let him go?"
"I had to, Kliba. He has a job to get back to."
"Yes." Kliba murmured, emptying his mug and giving them both refills. "And a wife."
"And that is the problem."
Kliba sat quietly for a moment, digesting the information. "Are you sure about this?"
"Am I sure?"
"Are you sure you want get involved in the life of a married man? I mean, this could backfire and you could drive him firmly back into his wife's arms. And then you'd lose him forever."
"I'll take that risk, Bruce." Again, Kliba was struck by Collin's use of his name and the feeling was compounded by the look of absolute despair in his colleague's dark eyes. "I know what I felt and I know that he felt it, too." Collin swallowed the whiskey, gritting his teeth against the sting. "The problem is convincing him that it's worth leaving his wife for.
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