Sexy Six Anniversary Short – After Hours by Andrea Speed

May 30, 2013

Roan arrived at Panic just ahead of closing time, but still had to weave his way through the sloshed leaving men. He was so glad he wasn’t single anymore.

Once inside the nightclub, he was almost stunned by the quiet. Usually the dance music played at a volume that not only threatened to deafen him, but the bass often felt like it was attempting to puree his organs. Dylan was shirtless and wiping down the bar, which you’d expect of a bartender. Luis, the other one on duty, was gathering discarded glasses and bottles from the tables. He saw him first. “Ooh, look Dyl, your husband’s here,” Luis said, in a cheerful singsong voice.

Dylan looked at Roan and smiled, but Roan could still see the surprise in his eyes. “Hey. I didn’t know you were dropping by.”

“Didn’t want to ruin the surprise,” Roan replied, taking a seat at the bar.
“Surprise?” Dylan asked, tossing his clean up towel beneath the bar. “Is it a good surprise or a bad one?”

Poor Dylan. He’d put him through so much over the years he couldn’t trust that any surprise Roan had was a good one. “Good, I hope. I guess that’s ultimately up to you.”

He was just being honest, but that earned Roan a suspicious raised eyebrow. “Why don’t I find that comforting?”

“’Cause you’re a suspicious person?”

“I’m not. You just love being cryptic.”

“I do not.” He paused dramatically. “Or do I?”

Dylan shook his head and chuckled faintly at his stupid joke. “I just walked into that one, didn’t I?”

“Little bit. But thanks for setting up such a softball for me. I love knocking those down.”

“Don’t I know it. Luis, you got this?”

Luis sighed like the world’s saddest martyr. “Oh, I suppose. It’s not like I have anyone to go home to.”

“Says the man who hates dating.,” Dylan noted, heading into the back.

“Just ‘cause I hate dating doesn’t mean I don’t get envious of you sickening couples sometimes,” Luis called after him. He then looked at Roan, and said, “No offense.”

“None taken?” Roan replied, making it a question mainly because he wasn’t sure there was anything offensive in that statement. Was he worried because he called them sickening? Frankly, Roan had been called worse within the last hour. Sickening was kind of a step up for him. Maybe not for Dyl, though.

Dylan came out of the back with his shirt and coat on, which was only fair, but still a tiny disappointment. He just looked so good shirtless. “So do you want me to follow you in my car, or should I lead the way?”

“Actually, I thought we might walk somewhere first.”

Dylan cocked his head curiously, but it was Luis who said, “Walk? Are you crazy? It’s after 2 AM. You know how dangerous that is?”

Roan glanced at Luis. “How am I not the most dangerous thing out there?”

Luis thought about that for a moment. “Good point. Well, have fun kids. If you kill a gaybasher, I’d appreciate you not mentioning me in the police report.”

“Me, talk to you?” Roan responded. “Never.”

Luis waved goodbye, and Dylan gave him one in return. Roan didn’t bother, mainly because he was keeping his part of the agreement about ignoring him, in case anything happened tonight. Not that anything would, or at least it better not. Roan was hoping he’d made the news enough that even the ridiculously stupid would think twice before messing with him.

The evening was surprisingly muggy, suggesting a storm was imminent, although the occasional breeze off the Puget Sound was vividly cold. As they walked together down darkened and surprisingly empty sidewalks – although, this being Seattle, there was still traffic on the road – Dylan asked, “Where exactly are we going, and why?”

“You’ll see,” Roan said, continuing to be cryptic.

Despite Luis’s fear, they managed the two blocks without being bothered by anyone, and when they crested that second block, Dylan saw which street they were on, and gave Roan a curious look. “So we’re going to Gracie’s? You couldn’t just tell me you were buying me dinner?”

“Well, there’s a little more to it than that.”

“Oh really? Like what?”

“Now where’s the fun in that? You need to guess more.” Roan smiled at Dylan’s frown. Yes, he was being something of a jackass and they both knew it, but Dylan was too used to this behavior by now to be truly annoyed. Not that he ever liked it, but he was learning to tolerate it. Maybe if they were together for a hundred years or so, Dylan would learn to ignore it completely.

Gracie’s was an all night diner that was a true greasy spoon, which meant there was actually little food here that vegetarian Dyl could eat. Still, it was open, and it wasn’t a fast food place, so it would always have that in its favor. And even though the bars had closed, and that was a boom time for Gracie’s, there were only a couple guys tucked into back booths, either too tired or too wasted to look at all enthusiastic about the hamburgers and diesel grade coffee they were shoveling into their mouths.

As they took a booth by the window, Dylan asked, “Okay, I’m too tired to guess, so stop with the cryptic nonsense and tell me what this is about before I banish you to the sofa for the night.”

Ooh, he was pulling out the big guns. Dyl was slow to anger, but you still knew when he was pissed off. “Tell me, what day is it?”

He gave Roan a look that suggested he was pretty much at the end of his patience. “It’s the fourteenth. No, wait, it’s 2 AM, so it’s the fifteenth …” he trailed off, and his eyes widened slightly as he got it. “Oh hell, it’s our anniversary.”

Roan gave him a small, lazy smile. “Yep. And while this wasn’t the first place we met, it was the first place we really bonded, so what better place to have an anniversary dinner?” Roan reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a small vinyl pouch, which he put on the table between them.

Dylan gave him the curious eyebrow again, before reaching for the pouch. “What’s this? Did you buy me something frilly?”

“No, that’s waiting at home,” Roan teased.

Dylan opened the pouch, and gasped and smiled as he pulled out the leather corded bracelet with the weird iron charm on it, that looked like a spring warped, smashed flat, and left out on a sea wall for about a hundred years. Roan didn’t get it, but he didn’t get about eighty percent of the art world Dyl exposed him to. The fact that he liked about twenty percent of it was probably a surprise to the both of them. “No way. This is an Etem?”

“I noticed how much you loved his stuff. I can be slow on the uptake sometimes, but I’m not a complete idiot.” Etem Brankovic – and there was no way in hell that Etem was his real name – was an artist who worked in metal, and that included making masculine jewelry that had a bit of a macho junkyard feel to it. Dylan had dragged him to one of his shows a couple of months ago, and while Roan didn’t get it, he knew Dyl was thrilled by it. That was the give and take of a relationship. Dylan put up with Roan’s cartoon watching, and Roan put up with Dylan’s love of art that seemed inexplicable.

Dylan studied the bracelet, grinning the entire time, but when he looked at him again, he grimaced. “This was probably too much …”

“Not as much as you might think. He’s a fan of your work. And hey, you don’t ask the price. That’s just rude. It’s a gift, so accept it.”

Dylan slipped it on his wrist, then stood up, reached over the table, and gave him a big, passionate kiss. “You are the sweetest man. I tell my friends this, and they never believe me.”

“That’s because I’m a member of the fascist bourgeoisie to them.”

“Aww. But you’re my bourgeoisie,” Dyl said, giving him a kiss on the forehead. He then sat back and admired his new bracelet.

“So comforting,” Roan replied, unable to keep from smiling. He never meant to bring so much trouble into Dylan’s life, so he was glad when he could make him happy. It felt like atonement. “So where’s my gift?”

“At home,” Dylan replied, giving him a warm smile. “Might be more than one.”

“Show off.”

Dylan clasped Roan’s hands over the top of the table. “Happy anniversary, sweetheart.”

Roan held his hands tightly, and knew he was goddamn lucky. “Happy anniversary, hon.”

And while it might be weird to some that they were celebrating it in a greasy spoon at two in the morning, Roan thought this was one of the best anniversaries he had ever had.


Read more about Roan and Dylan’s friendship in the Infected series.

5 Responses to “Sexy Six Anniversary Short – After Hours by Andrea Speed”

  1. Emanuela (@manutwo) says:

    Roan is the best. I hope June 14th comes soon!

  2. Tinnean says:

    Am I not the most dangerous thing out there?

    Why, yes. Yes you are, Roan!

    Loved this little peek into their future. Thanks, Andy II.

  3. Juclecia says:

    That was so sweet. Thank you!

  4. Tame Adams says:

    LOVED LOVED LOVED this short story of my favourite male couple Roan & Dylan :) I hope that bodes well for the 14th June!!! I’ve already pre-ordered the PB book, and I cannot wait to read it!! Thanks for the story Ms. Speed :)


  5. A calm place in the storm that is Roan. Thanks so much for sharing – I do love your boys!

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