First of all… Thank you to all who responded with an emphatic YES! to my earlier post gaging interest in a little Matt & Aaron story before Valentine’s Day. It is called Better Than Candy. If you haven’t already done so, please follow this blog for updates. My plan is to post the continuing story daily until the 14th. Some parts are definitely NSFW. I will warn you in the title of the blog (in case you take a peek at work :-). Remember, this is not an edited work, so please excuse any punctuation errors. I try but… you know things slip sometimes.
For anyone who is joining the thread late… this story features Matt & Aaron, the MCs from Better Than Good. Both Better Than Good and Better Than Chance are available for purchase at the following:
Better Than Candy by Lane Hayes
“What’s your favorite color candy heart?”
“You know, like the Valentine ones? Mine is pink… no cracks please, followed closely by purple.”
“Matty! You must have an opinion! Conversation hearts are a childhood staple. You may not love them but you grew up with them. Go on, pick a color!”
Aaron gave me an irritated look, cocking his head to the right for dramatic effect. His dark hair fell enticingly into his beautiful hazel eyes.
I set aside the textbook I’d been nose deep in and gave my boyfriend a “what the fuck are you talking about?” look. My bar exam was a couple short weeks away. My brain was tuned in to contractual aspects of trusts and future interests… not candy hearts. Plus it was July not February. The mental gearshift was enough to make me blink in an effort to focus. What was going in Aaron’s head?
“Before you ask, I found a miraculous surviving box of confectionary happiness in one of my kitchen drawers when I was making dinner earlier. Amazing, right?”
While his attempt at distracting me wasn’t exactly subtle, his intentions were good. I’d been putting in crazy long hours studying for the bar exam so I’d be prepared for the two-days of torturous testing coming my way at the end of the month. Professionally, financially and mentally, it was the key to starting my life as a contributing member of society. Not the key to my happiness, but it was an important goal to me nonetheless.
The key to my happiness was the guy sitting cross-legged facing me on the sofa chattering away about candy (which I’d never seen him eat) because he didn’t want me to overdo my time with the books. He worried I wasn’t getting enough sleep and time to relax. He made dinner almost every night at his place insisting it was because he was concerned I’d be eating pizzas and takeout if left to my own devices. The partial truth was Aaron was a great cook and loved to be in the kitchen. But it was also true that he liked looking after me… or nagging me as I often teased him.
I didn’t mind. For the first time in my life I was in love. Really, truly, head over heels… and nothing was as I expected. Like my family and everyone who knew me before I met Aaron, I assumed I’d marry a nice girl and eventually move to the suburbs to raise a family. I knew I was bisexual but I ignored the part of me that was attracted to men. It was just too complicated. I couldn’t ignore Aaron. Once he came along, I tossed aside all preconceived notions and decided to enjoy the journey.
So instead of a girlfriend, I had a boyfriend. A high maintenance Puerto Rican American boyfriend with had a fondness for lip gloss and sometimes eyeliner, who always kept me on my toes. I had never met anyone like him. He was passionate, silly and never predictable. We were complete and total opposites. I was tall at six foot one with the muscular build of the former athlete I was, while Aaron was easily five inches shorter with the lean toned physique of a runner. I was fair with light brown hair and blue eyes while Aaron was olive skinned with dark hair that constantly fell into his eyes. I loved sports, hanging out with my friends and playing my guitar. Aaron loved techno pop music, dancing and fashion. Go figure.
He was adventurous and lively with an innate kindness that seemed to draw people to him. And he was fucking gorgeous. Truly the most beautiful person I’d ever met. I really would never understand what he saw in me, but I certainly wasn’t going to argue.
I set my book on the coffee table in front of me and opened my arms in invitation. Aaron flashed me one of his full-watt beautiful smiles as he crawled in between my thighs, wiggled his perfect ass directly into my crotch and he settled his back against my chest. I forgot what it was we were talking about in the first place as I breathed him in.
“Here. This one is for you.”
I opened my mouth for him to pop a piece of candy in, but he pulled it away and turned in my arms to face me. “No silly. Read it.”
It said “Kiss Me”. I turned his chin gently with my thumb and softly brushed my lips against his. Aaron moaned and turned a little more, licking my lower lip as he deepened the kiss. Our tongues danced lazily. I could taste the sugary sweetness in his mouth. I decided I liked the pink ones too. I pulled back and declared it was my turn to find a heart for him. He rolled his eyes but handed over the half empty box.
I poured a couple in my hand and immediately found the one I wanted. In purple. I kissed the nape of his neck and then showed him my prize, cradling the tiny piece of candy in my palm like a precious gift. His body was faced forward, his back fully leaning into me. But I felt his muscles tense.
“I Love You”. I wouldn’t stop saying the words. I knew them to be true. I stifled a sigh and wrapped my lover tightly in my arms, squeezing him playfully before taking the candy and shoving it between his lips. He made a straight firm line with his mouth making it difficult work the piece in, so I resorted to tickling his sides before attempting again. This time when he turned in my arms and licked at my lips, he broke the heart in half with his teeth and fed me one side.
Interesting. I’m not great at reading in between the lines, but I had learned in a relatively short time Aaron communicated in many ways… and not always with words. Maybe in his own convoluted way he was telling me he loved me too. Or maybe he was half sure he did?
I spent the next day at Aaron’s apartment studying while he was at work. He was an assistant to the editor in chief of a fashion magazine and usually had somewhat normal office hours, which made his place ideally quiet during the daytime. When it was time to take a break, inspiration struck. I made a quick list and headed out to the grocery store, taking his spare key from the orange bowl on the kitchen table. My cell phone rang just as I neared my car on the street in front of his building. It was my mother.
“Hi sweetheart! How are you? I miss you. What are you doing?”
“I’m good. I’m actually heading to the market for ingredients for a pasta dish I’m going to attempt tonight.”
“Ha ha. Very funny.”
“Actually it’s not.” My mom was hysterical. “Please tell me you aren’t doing this to your new girlfriend?”
“First of all, I don’t have a girlfriend. And second…”
“Sorry, sorry. Your new special someone? Matt, that just isn’t nice.”
“What isn’t nice? My cooking?”
“Sorry honey, but… Yes! Tell me exactly what you have in mind. Maybe I can help you out.”
I wanted to be insulted but she spoke the truth. I was not known for much in the kitchen besides boiling water and pouring cereal. Still…
“I’m not trying anything gourmet. Don’t worry. I found a recipe online for pasta with vodka sauce. It looked easy enough.”
“You actually looked up a recipe? Wow! Who is this lucky girl? Erin, right? I cannot wait to meet someone who rates you going through the effort to look up a real recipe rather than opening a jar of store bought sauce.” While she chuckled at my ineptitude, I cringed at her assumption my “special someone” was a girl. I’d given them his name or maybe my roommate Curt had let it slip to my family during graduation, but I hadn’t set them straight (pun intended). They didn’t know who Aaron was or how crazy I was for him. Or that he was a man.
My family was the final frontier, the last and most important piece of my “coming out” process. I was planning on doing it in person but the timing had been off so far.
“Are you done making fun of me now? Any helpful hints besides buy the store bought for back up?” I kept my tone light and jocular as I threw some romaine lettuce in my basket.
My mom laughed heartily, then asked for the breakdown of ingredients.
She supplied advice about how much garlic to use (a decent amount, but not too much)… I was going to have to wing it with advice like that… how much olive oil (a lot!), and how to make my own salad dressing versus buying pre-made (wasn’t going to happen). I had a basket full of groceries and was getting ready to sign off when she dropped a bomb on me that nearly had me dropping my newly gathered ingredients all over the market floor.
“Sweetheart, good luck with your dinner tonight. Follow the instructions and I’m sure it will be wonderful. Call me if you have any questions.”
“Okay. Thanks Mom.”
“Oh wait! Your cooking experiment made me forget why I called in the first place. I’m coming to DC to visit you!”
I got that all over instant body sweat that occurs under situations of extreme duress. Fuck!
“O-kay… but Mom…you know I’m busy studying for the bar. It’s not really a good time.” I was stalling and probably coming across as a complete ass, but the sheen of sweat slaking over my skin had since given me a chill. I was feeling panicky.
“Oh please. Knowing you, you’ve been studying non-stop since graduation. It’s only one night. I’m actually going to meet your Aunt Jill in Virginia but I arranged to stop in DC first. I’ll take you to dinner. Feel free to invite Erin too. One night. Then I’ll be out of your hair. I promise.”
She rattled off the date, which was ten short days away. I gulped and took a deep breath.
“Sounds good.” What else could I say? I paid, bagged my own groceries and drove back to Aaron’s in a total daze.
(to be continued…)