Morning all! Ready for a little more of “Chances”… Of course you are Well, today is part three as well as release day for the Hope and Love Anthology and the end of the first week since Temptations of Desire released! Yep, been a hectic week here. But… on to your reading…
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By the time Tucker was ready to leave for his date—God, what on earth am I doing ?—he’d already changed three times, not sure what to wear. The Laughing Seed was a casual, mostly vegetarian restaurant, so he didn’t think he needed to dress how he had been for work, but all he owned any more was business suits, business casual, and such.
He’d finally decided on a pair of black dress jeans he found in the back of his dresser and a dark green polo. Tucker feared it was still too preppy for Ry, but it was the way he dressed—well, when he wasn’t in trashed jeans and T’s while working on site. Taking one last look at himself in the mirror, he nodded, satisfied. “Besides, if he doesn’t like me for me, why bother,” he mumbled to himself as he collected his wallet and keys before locking up and walking back to his SUV.
He made it to the restaurant with five minutes to spare, thankful he’d left home when he had. Walking up to the front door, Tucker heard his name called and turned. There, striding up to him with a huge smile on his beatific face was Ry. “Tucker! You made it.”
“Of course.” He returned the smile, hoping his nerves didn’t show through too badly. Tucker motioned to the doors and asked, “Shall we?”
“Mmm… yes. I’m hungry and since you’re not on the menu, yet…”
Tucker chuckled. He kind of liked how playful and open Ry was, even if he wasn’t into pickups and tricks, usually. “Be good. I agreed to a possible ride, but not that kind. Not yet, at least.”
“I love the word yet,” Ry singsonged as they reached the front. Ry pulled the door open and gestured Tucker inside, stepping in behind him. A moment later, he felt Ry’s hand settle on his lower back as they waited to be seated.
Their teasing was interrupted when a perky young woman asked how many were in their party. “Just two, miss.”
When they were seated, their server, Katie, brought them water and took their drink orders. By that time, Tucker was starting to fidget as Ry hadn’t spoken directly to him since the first woman had spoken and was being oddly stoic. It was the first time since they’d met that Ry had not been in constant movement, even if it was a foot tap or hands moving as he spoke. “So, um… have you been here before?” he asked, hoping to get some kind of conversation going.
“I’m a regular here, actually.” Rhys said, shifting in his seat as he looked back at Tucker finally. “Love their food and I never have to worry what I’m eating. You want sushi, jalapeño onion fries, or hummus with pita chips?”
“Huh?” Non sequitur much?
“I thought we would start with an appetizer and those are my three favorites here. If you don’t like those choices, we can pick something else.”
“Oh, no! No, you just confused me a minute.” Tucker quickly looked over the menu. “How about the jalapeño onion fries. I love hot food.” And now that he wasn’t with Carl, there was no one to fuss about his ‘weird’ food habits.
“Me too,” Ry said and winked. “Like hot men even better though.”
Tucker chuckled, loving how playful Ry was, even as he wondered if Ry could be serious about anything. “Even if they’re preppy?”
“Oh, especially then. What about you? You like the biker boy or you more of the intellectual, stuffed shirt kind?”
“Intelligent? Yes. Stuffed shirt? No. And while you come off all bad boy player, there’s something more there, I think.” He hoped. Everything about Ry called to him, a fact he couldn’t make sense of. The deep voice was at odds with the lithe, young look, and the man’s body made him hungry for things other than the food they ordered.
“I’m a consummate flirt, that’s true. But as I said before, I don’t trick, so while I may tease, I meant it when I asked you out.” Ry flashed a wide, open smile again. “You never did tell me what you do.”
“Guess I didn’t. I’m an architect and occasionally teach a class or two for the university’s engineering department. What about you? You made it sound like you were the grumpy kid’s boss.”
“Zeke? Yeah, he’s a grouch, especially at closing time, but he’s not a bad kid. I’m the librarian, well, one of them. I also make the schedules and do most of the hiring, so I am his boss of a sort.”
“Never met a purple haired librarian before.”
Ry laughed, a rich, deep sound that wrapped around Tucker, making him want to hear the man make other, more carnal, sounds. “Neither have I. I’m a bit unusual, I know it, but I refuse to be anyone but myself, even at work. Considering I have my Masters in Information and Library Science and am working on my special certification for Museum Libraries, they put up with my hair and leather,” he explained and shrugged.
Tucker looked at Ry more carefully, but the kid, yes, he still looked barely legal, didn’t appear to be old enough for all that. “You have your Masters?”
“I look young, right? That’s what’s confusing you.”
Tucker nodded, curious as to how old Ry was.
“I’m twenty-nine, Tucker. That is what you’re wondering with those big, blue eyes of yours, right? Is that too old for you?”
Shaking his head, Tucker wondered if twenty-nine constituted robbing the cradle. “Not at all. I’m thirty-eight. Is that too old for you?”
“Nope! I don’t see age as being a valid determining factor, as long as both are legal and willing.” Ry’s eyes lit up suddenly. “Oh, food.”
Chuckling, Tucker watched as their appetizer was set down. Ry immediately said thanks to the waitress and snagged the plates, serving some for each of them. Tearing his eyes away, Tucker looked at the food, taking in it’s wonderful scent. “Smells wonderful,” he murmured as he picked up his fork.
When he looked up, he was instantly caught in Ry’s gaze as the man licked the spicy seasoning from his fingers after he nibbled a bit of fry and onion.
“It’s really good,” Ry said, scooping another fry up, holding it out for Tucker to try.
Tucker’s gaze darted around, but no one was paying them any attention. He bent forward and bit the fry close enough to Ry’s fingers his lips brushed them. He sat back, chewed, and swallowed, but Ry still held the last bit out. Without thinking about his actions, Tucker leaned forward again to take the last bit, but when he opened his lips, Ry pushed the fry inside, the tip if one finger slipping through as well.
Feeling daring, Tucker nipped, then licked the finger pad, before sitting back again, entranced with how Ry’s eyes dilated and how his lean body shivered slightly.
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Make sure to check out the rest of the stories from Free Fiction Friday!