This story, although it can be read as a standalone, is best appreciated as an epilogue to Merge Ahead – Will and Adam’s story.
Will glanced at the email, then quickly looked away. He’d known it was coming. His agent had gone through the terms with him by phone yesterday and had told him the actual contract was on its way, but he still couldn’t look at it directly. It was too bright, too wonderful, too impossible. If he opened the attachment, it wouldn’t really be a publishing contract. Would it?
“What do you think?” he asked the cat curled up in his lap. Cricket patted Will’s cheek with her paw.
“Yes, yes, I know. Pet you.” He scratched behind her ears, pretending to be put out by how needy she was but secretly appreciating the fact that Cricket liked him best. Cricket’s older sister Marnie never sat in his lap. Marnie was as head-over-heels in love with his husband Adam as Will was himself, but Cricket … Cricket liked him.
Fortified by cat-snuggles, he found the courage to open the attachment and there it was–just what his agent had told him it would be–a contract to publish Fields of Starshine plus two sequels. Only one of the two sequels had actually been written, which made him nervous as hell, but yeah. He could do this. He’d written enough books (even if Fields of Starshine would be the first one actually published) to know that he could. And apparently someone else believed he could, because there was the contract right in front of him.
He shouldn’t bother Adam at work–Adam’s days rarely had even a moment of downtime in them–but he wanted to share this moment, so he compromised by calling Adam’s Admin. He’d leave a message and maybe Adam could find a moment to return it.
“Oh hey, Will,” Gregory greeted him cheerfully. “One second, I’ll put you through.”
But Gregory was already gone and a moment later there was Adam’s voice, pitched low enough that Will knew he wasn’t alone.
“I didn’t mean to interrupt. I was just going to leave a message.”
“I told Gregory to put you through when you called. This is big news. It’s big news, right?”
“Yeah.” Will blew out his breath. “It’s all here, just like Allison said it would be. Three books, the advance schedule for each book, first payment on signing.”
Payments. Money. He’d made a few hundred dollars here and there by winning contests or selling a short story, but this was multiple digits. Five digits. OK, only barely five digits, but still.
“Well, don’t sign anything yet,” Adam reminded him. “I need to run it past my lawyer.”
“You’re such a CFO.”
“The contract won’t go anywhere if you don’t sign it today.”
Will wasn’t so sure. He was still a little afraid that the next time he looked at his laptop, the email would’ve disappeared. He wondered if he’d ever feel like the whole thing was more than a dream. Maybe when he was holding one of his books in his own hands. Maybe not even then.
“I gotta get back to this,” Adam said. “I’ll try to be home early tonight so we can celebrate, but Will? If I’m not, it’s not because …”
“I know,” Will assured him. “I’ll be here when you get here.”
“Love you,” Adam said, a little mumbly and very quiet, but he said it, right in front of … well, whatever was going on in his office. Probably something to do with quarter-end and why certain economies of scale anticipated as a result of the Allegiant/Palladium merger hadn’t been realized yet. After three years of living with Adam, Will could probably run one of those meetings himself.
Most of the dust from the merger that had turned Allegiant Securities into Palladium Enterprises, and consequently brought Adam into Will’s life, had settled, and Adam’s work/life balance was a lot better these days, which Will credited himself for because he was the one who’d given Adam a life outside of work, but Adam still worked long hours and probably always would.
It was thanks to those long hours that Will had the luxury to pursue writing full time. His severance had run out a year ago and he hadn’t bothered to file for unemployment since he didn’t need it. He didn’t need anything, courtesy of Adam’s CFO-sized paycheck, and some days that bothered him, but he’d mostly gotten used to it.
But this, today … his writing money. Well, it wasn’t his money. It was theirs–that was what they’d agreed when they’d gotten married: what was his was Adam’s and what was Adam’s was his–but today Will could believe that the equation might not always be unbalanced.
Not that it hadn’t been his own hard work that had gotten him to this point. He was lucky to have a financial safety net, sure, but other than not worrying about what brand of Scotch he bought for Adam or how much the bill would be when his car needed work, his life wasn’t much different now. He still had dinner with his family every Thursday and got together with his school friends about once a month. His father still made the occasional jab about writers or gay men and Will still didn’t give two fucks about baseball, even if he did enjoy watching Adam play on the company team.
He had two cats instead of one (if Marnie was or ever had been his cat) and when he spent too many hours staring at a computer screen, he was working on editing his last novel or writing his next one, not answering emails from complaining customers, but he hadn’t become somebody different because he’d married a rich guy, and he hadn’t gotten a publishing contract because of that either.
He’d gotten a publishing contract because he’d written a damned good story and because he’d worked his butt off querying agents. Because he’d never given up on his dream of becoming an author.
And speaking of being an author …
Will forwarded the email with the contract to Adam so his lawyer could review it and then made himself close the window. Time to get back to work.
His first clue that Adam was home was Marnie jumping down from her cat condo and rocketing out through the office door. Will moved Cricket off his lap and went downstairs at a more leisurely pace to find Adam with Marnie in one arm trying to take his coat off with the other. Will helped him wrangle his coat off, then leaned up for a kiss.
“I haven’t even started dinner,” he admitted.
“I’ll order a pizza.” Adam carried Marnie upstairs and came down again a few minutes later in jeans and a t-shirt–less formal but just as scrumptious. Adam’s shoulders filled out a t-shirt nicely and Will didn’t think he’d ever get tired of looking at Adam’s ass.
“Half an hour,” Adam said, tossing his phone onto the couch next to Will. “Time for a celebratory blowjob.”
“What are we going to do with the other twenty-five minutes?”
“Those are for you to give me a blowjob. You know I’m a selfish man.”
As Adam knelt between Will’s legs to work his zipper down, Will couldn’t help but be amused by the way Adam still thought Will gave so much more in the relationship. Adam was gorgeous with his dark hair and green eye. He had a powerful, prestigious job and all that money. There was no way Will deserved to be with someone like Adam, but Adam seemed to think the same thing–that he didn’t deserve Will–and maybe that was how a relationship ought to be. They both thought they were lucky. They both thought they were getting more than they gave.
Right now Adam was giving plenty. He had Will’s pants down around his ankles and was sucking him full-steam with his hands all wet and sloppy like Will liked it, looking up at Will with those pretty green eyes and making happy humming noises deep in his throat. Will stuck a hand in Adam’s thick, dark hair and tugged until Adam came off his cock and knelt up where Will could kiss him.
“I love you, lo mio.”
“Love you too, baby.” Adam looked down at Will’s cock like you want me to get on with this? And Will said, “oh yeah,” and pushed at his shoulders. He closed his eyes as Adam swallowed him down again, leaning his head back against the couch to savor every wet, suctioned movement of Adam’s mouth and hands.
It took him a little longer than five minutes to come, but not much, and as soon as he could breathe again, he tackled Adam, pushing him down to the ground and wrestling his clothes all the way off because the best part of going down on Adam was having Adam’s naked body laid out for him.
Adam’s hand came self-consciously to his stomach. He wasn’t as trim as he used to be, partly because Will made sure he ate regularly and partly because he wasn’t suffering from situational depression anymore. As if Will could ever care. He might have been attracted to Adam’s physique initially, but that was the least of what he saw in him now.
Still, the view didn’t suck.
Adam petted Will’s hair absent-mindedly as he verbally conveyed how much he was enjoying being blown–delicious sounds and garbled words of appreciation dropping from his mouth until he came down Will’s throat with a deep groan of satisfaction.
Will crawled up Adam’s body and collapsed on top of it. Adam wrapped an arm around him and hummed into his neck.
“Your cat is watching us again.”
Marnie always took off at the first sign of sex, but Cricket was kind of a voyeur. Adam scratched his fingers on the carpet and Cricket came over for pats.
“I think she’s one of those women who finds gay guys getting it on hot.”
“Don’t sexualize my baby,” Will objected.
“Hey, it’s not my fault your cat’s a pervert.”
Will knew Adam was just jealous because Cricket liked him better. He shifted a little and held out his hand and sure enough, Cricket abandoned Adam and came over to him. Will smirked. Payback was a bitch.
“Of course she wants to touch you,” Adam said. “You’re a celebrity now.”
Will was nowhere near celebrity status, but the reminder that he’d sold a book blossomed warm in his heart. He wanted to use this first payment to do something special for Adam. Take him on a trip maybe. He’d call Gregory and get him to free up Adam’s calendar for a week and whisk him away to a tropical paradise, somewhere as warm and gorgeous as Adam himself, where could spend the whole trip in his bathing suit, somewhere like–
With a snap, Will realized what he should really do with the money: donate it to hurricane relief. He and Adam had already made a donation, and Will had passed on a message to his extended family on the island that they were happy to host anyone who made their way to the mainland, but it didn’t feel like enough.
It killed Will to think of the natural beauty that had been destroyed, of the people who’d been so hospitable when he and Adam had honeymooned there being without clean drinking water or fresh food. Meanwhile, Will lived this perfect, lucky life in his own personal paradise.
“Would it be OK if we donated the money from my advance to a hurricane relief fund?” he asked Adam, sitting up so he could watch Adam’s response. It was their money, after all.
“What, all of it?”
Will hesitated. He did mean all of it.
“Yeah, of course.” Adam leveraged himself into a sitting position and reached for Will. “If that’s what you want.”
“We don’t need it.”
“I know, and I’m not surprised you want to be generous with it. It’s just–that was your prize.”
Will shook his head. “You’re my prize, lo mio.”
“Ah,” Adam said with a lecherous smile. “I see where this is going. I’m getting fucked later, aren’t I?”
That wasn’t at all what Will had meant, but yeah. OK. They should do that. It’d been a while. Tonight he’d claim his prize.
The doorbell rang.
“Shit, the pizza.” Adam jumped up and pulled on his pants.
As he walked towards the front door, tugging his t-shirt on over his head as he went, Will watched his ass until it disappeared from view. Life was good.
Please consider donating to Puerto Rico hurricane relief like Will and Adam. One of my Twitter friends, J.D. Estrada, has compiled a list of organizations with boots on the ground. If you need ideas for where to donate so that your money will do the most good, please see his post.