So, I wanted to give a little taste of Brody & Nick which is releasing June 23. If you’d like to get it preordered at the special 99¢ price, you can find it on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, and All Romance. Will be on Nook upon release.
I hope you’ll fall in love with Brody & Nick as much as I have!
Something About Him
Brody & Nick
Copyright © 2016
By A.D. Ellis
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
For a friend who had a crazy plan. In reality, I think it really sucked, but it made for an awesome story idea. So, yeah, thanks for that.
“So, I think I’m getting married,” I stated over cheeseburgers and fries with my best girl, Addie.
“Yeah, okay, be sure to tell me where you’re registered so I can buy you a set of towels.” Addie rolled her eyes and dipped another fry in ketchup.
“I’m serious, Ad. I’m pretty sure we’re going to do it.” I had expected some resistance from her, so I wasn’t surprised at her reaction.
“And just who may I ask are you marrying?” She still didn’t seem to believe me.
Addie sat for a few beats, obviously running a check through her head of all my previous boyfriends.
“Nick? The only Nick you know is Dylan’s roommate.” Her face wrinkled in confusion.
“Yeah, that Nick.” I knew my nonchalant attitude was pissing her off.
“Oh, yeah, that Nick is it? What the ever loving fuck are you talking about Brody King? You dated Nick’s roommate, flirted with Nick for maybe thirty seconds, and then left for deployment for a year. You’ve been back one whole month and you’re talking about fucking marrying the man?” She barely contained her volume as she jabbed fries in my direction punctuating each word.
“Sure, why not?” I added a wink sure to make her explode.
“WHY NOT!? Oh, let’s see, maybe because you’re twenty-five years old, maybe because you’re only a year from getting out of the Army, maybe because you’ve never even dated the man. Oh, how about this one, maybe because you don’t love him!?” Her cheeks had colored and she spoke with indignation as I’d known she would. “Do you even know his last name?!”
“It’s Ferguson, and I don’t have to love him. If I’m married I can move off-base and the Army will pay me a monthly housing allowance.” I felt my words explained things quite well.
Addie obviously didn’t agree.
She ran a hand through her wavy brown hair, taking a deep breath to steady herself before continuing. “Can you back the fuck up for me a second, Bro? Marrying a man you’ve never even dated so you can move off-base. I don’t get it.”
“They’ll pay me like twelve hundred dollars a month. If we live somewhere cheap I can pocket the extra. So, let’s say we get a place for a thousand a month, he pays his five hundred, I pay my five hundred. That leaves me with seven hundred dollars a month to spend and save. It’s a win-win.”
Addie stared at me in open-mouth disbelief for several moments.
“You are so not getting away with dropping this bomb and thinking I won’t have questions. Get ready for an Addie Inquisition, Brody King.”
I’d known Addie since I arrived in Texas five years ago. After a week of hell moving in and getting our job assignments, we’d been allowed to leave base and I’d run into Addie at the first gay bar I walked into. She was older than me by about three years, but we instantly hit it off when I ordered a Long Island and she wrinkled her nose at my choice. I was immediately drawn to her extreme sarcasm and wit, and she was obviously attracted to my charm and intelligence. The fact I wouldn’t become a one-night-stand cluttering up her past was probably a big part of our initial attraction as well. What started as just some snarky back and forth eventually blossomed into a true friendship.
Addie was a teacher, but the pay sucked so she worked at one of the local gay bars during the evenings and on weekends to make extra money. She was one of the only female servers there, and when I asked why she didn’t go to a bar where she’d get better tips from the straight guys she quipped, “Just because you’re out trolling for dick doesn’t mean I am. I like it here, it feels safer.”
Well, okay then.
I would eventually learn about Addie’s idyllic childhood and her disastrous dating history. Suffice it to say, she had reason to steer clear of the straight bar and make friends with the guys who had no romantic interest in her. Poor girl had a fairy tale family growing up, but the fantasy didn’t seem to apply to the douchebags she dated as she got older.
Addie and I spent many evenings and weekends together, chatting, checking out hot guys, and reading books. Well, Addie would read books and hand them to me to read when there was a scene she loved or hated; she always wanted my input on what she was reading. The fact that she mainly read gay romance worked just fine for me.
But seated across from an angry Addie, I knew I had some convincing to do if she was going to support the whole marriage idea Nick and I had cooked up.
Addie accepted the refill of water our waitress offered and ordered the biggest milkshake on the menu with two straws.
“I’m going to need sustenance in the form of sugar to get through this conversation, but I can’t drink it all, so we’ll share,” Addie explained when I raised my brow at her order.
She stared at me. Like for several moments, just stared at me. What is it about teachers? I hadn’t done anything wrong, but she pegged me with that teacher stare and I instantly felt like I should go put my nose in the corner.
I watched her face, trying not to squirm under her scrutiny, looking for an idea of what she was thinking. It was obvious she was attempting to gather her thoughts, but I could also tell she was trying to psychoanalyze me. Addie knew me too well.
Finally, I got nervous enough that I had to look away, pushing my golden brown hair from my forehead out of habit. I was glad I’d worn my glasses that day instead of putting my contacts in. The specs felt like a shield from her gaze.
Addie knew I—now—had a great relationship with my mom, a pretty decent one with my dad and siblings—again, now,— and a fair amount of friends. She also knew a lot of that was pretty superficial, and I didn’t really open up to many people. She’d learned all of that information over the past five years. Addie was truly one of my closest friends, and we’d discussed just about anything and everything a person could think to discuss during the span of our friendship. I had missed her while on my second deployment, but I had not missed her meddling and constant barrage of questions.
But, we’d planned to spend the whole day together, so I was pretty much stuck at her mercy. Damn me and my big mouth for telling her about the marriage plan. I should have just played by the it’s easier to ask for forgiveness plan.
“Okay, so…I want to make sure I’ve got this right, so bear with me here,” she started as the milkshake was placed before her.
I nodded, knowing the conversation was going to get exhausting.
“You dated Nick’s roommate, Dylan.”
“He was a dick by the way.”
“Correct.” I’d often ended up with dickhead guys because I felt like it was the best I could get. If a douchebag paid me any attention in the past, I’d latch on to him in hopes that he was the one.
“You and Nick flirted once at a party if I recall the story.”
“You went on and on about the ‘weird sexual tension’ you felt between the two of you.”
“Then you went overseas for almost a year.”
“Mmhm.” I knew she could go for hours without stopping.
“While overseas you never once mentioned Nick to me.”
“Not a lot to say.” Oooh, that may have been the wrong answer if the deadly look in her eyes was any indication.
“Uh-huh. Let me file that tidbit away for the moment.” She took several sips of shake while watching me with squinted eyes.
I waited patiently.
“Did you talk to Nick while you were overseas?”
“Yet you didn’t feel the need to mention it to me.”
“I told you about a lot of it.”
“When? You told me mostly about the hot guys you were sexting…oh my god—was Nick one of the guys you spent your evenings sending dick shots?”
“You are fucking unbelievable.” She shook her head taking another sip of shake. “So exactly how did this marriage plan come to be?”
Sitting in my crappy apartment, listening to my dickhead roommate fuck his latest boy toy through the mattress, I scrolled back through the messages I couldn’t get out of my mind the last couple months.
Me: Awww, you’re smiling in that picture. Sexy. Is that rare smile just for me?
Brody: Maybe, if you’re lucky. Now, it’s your turn. Send me something sexy.
Me: Here’s one just for you. You like?
Brody: Nice jock strap, very sexy.
Me: Thanks, I found it on clearance on one of my favorite sites. Probably still cost too much, but I liked it so I splurged. Too bad the only person who will likely ever see it on me is in a foreign country right now.
Brody: If I could afford it, I’d take a few days leave and fly us both somewhere just so I could admire you in and out of your underwear.
Me: Too bad we’re both broke as shit.
Brody: I’m so fucking tired of not having money.
Me: I hear ya. I’d love to have the money to pay the bills AND do something fun.
Brody: I wish I could move off-base.
Me: How would that save you money? You live rent free now, right?
Brody: Yeah, but if I move off-base, I get a housing allowance. If I live somewhere cheap I
can pocket the rest of the money.
Me: So move off-base.
Brody: Only two people can live off base, married people and officers.
Me: So be an officer.
Brody: Would if I could, but it takes a college degree and I plan on being out of Army within a year of getting back to the states.
Me: So get married hahahaha.
Brody: Totally would if I could find someone willing.
Me: Awww, that’s so romantic.
Brody: I mean, we could get married and just live as roommates basically. Housing
allowance is about $1200…find a $1000 place, we each pay $500.
Me: I pay $650 to live with Dylan and I hate him…no offense.
Brody: None taken, he’s an ass…but a decent fuck…hahahaha.
Me: Dude, I’d marry you to get away from him and save $150 a month.
Brody: Would you? I mean, we’re already friends, right? It would save us both money, get
us both away from somewhere we don’t want to be. Win-win, right?
That conversation had taken place approximately two months earlier. We’d spent about a week discussing it, convincing ourselves of its benefits, and making plans. Then we’d gone back to sending each other political cartoons, shots of hot guys intermixed with our own body shots, music we liked, and factoids about our favorite games.
Now, Brody was back in the U.S. Back in Texas. Less than thirty minutes away from me. We hadn’t had much contact in the month since he’d gotten home, just a brief and awkward ‘Hey’ here and there. The lease I shared with Dylan would be up soon. I really needed to know if I was getting married and moving into off-base housing, or if I needed to suck it up and deal with the douchebag for another year while I finished school.
But how does one bring something like a marriage plan up to someone who is, in reality, no more than a friend? “Hey, man. So about that marriage? Still want to do it? Sort of need an answer because I’ve got a lease coming due.”
I’d always thought I’d get married to someone I loved. I mean, Brody was a great guy, definitely attractive, and I loved the conversations we had. It was almost like he ‘got me’ better than most. I’d definitely sleep with him, but there was nothing romantic between us. Would it be wrong to marry the guy to save some money? Part of me thought it would be the answer to all of my problems. But then part of me thought about how hard homosexuals had worked to gain the right to marry, and when I looked at it that way it felt like I was making a mockery of gay marriage just to save on rent. Heterosexuals do it all the time. Hell, movies are made with that exact plot all the time. It’s not like we’d be hurting anyone. Except one of us could get hurt. In the end, I mean.
I ran a hand through my already disheveled dark brown hair. I needed to leave so I wasn’t late to a meeting about keeping the local homeless shelter open. And I had a shift at the animal shelter later in the day. But I knew the thought of marrying Brody would loom in my mind, pushing out most other thoughts throughout the day.
“So you’re just going to walk into the courthouse, marry a guy you’ve never even kissed, and then just play house with him so you can pocket some extra cash?” I knew Addie was trying to convince me I was insane, but I still held tight to my opinion it was a good plan.
“And what happens when you get out of the Army? Divorce?”
“I’ll have a roommate, same as always.”
“So, you’ll just be married on paper, but be just friends in reality?”
“Will you both bring guys home?”
“I don’t know, I assume so.” Addie always wanted everything planned out perfectly, but Nick and I hadn’t really made specific plans. “We didn’t exactly draw up an outline and proposal for the idea, it was discussed, agreed it sounded like a benefit to us both, and then we let it go.”
“So you’ve not even talked about it again? You’ve been home for a month and you’ve not talked it over in person with the man you plan to marry?”
I shrugged, getting tired of the questioning. I didn’t like feeling like I was on the spot and being judged. I knew Addie didn’t mean to, but I felt the familiar anxiety and lack of confidence in myself building in my chest, ready to knock me to the ground.
Slurping the rest of her milkshake, Addie shook her head and gave me a look of utter disbelief. “I love you, Brody, and I will stand by your side forever. But, this? I want it stated and noted clearly, I do not think this is a good idea. I think someone is going to get hurt. It’s going to cause more harm than good. I hope I’m wrong. Maybe it will turn into one of those fateful stories we see in the movies. But, I think you’re making a mistake.” She reached across the table to take my hand, “And, also note this, if your momma ever finds out I knew about this before it happened and didn’t tell her, I will deny it with every breath left in me. And even then she’s going to kill me, right before she kills you.”
I sat on my bed. Waiting. Nick had said he’d come by after his shift at the animal shelter, but he should have shown up about two hours earlier. I tried not to feel let down, but I was. I mean, I wasn’t in love with him, but I liked the guy. And since we had this marriage plan, I figured it would be good if we spent some time together.
I felt the familiar depression creeping in. I probably should have called my therapist to see if he could fit me in the next day, but my mind and heart just felt too heavy. I had good friends, I was pretty happy with my life, but I always let myself get my hopes up for something and then crashed way too hard when it didn’t happen. And that’s when the self-doubt started sneaking in. Who was I to ask some guy to marry me? He’d probably got to thinking about the fact I had nothing to offer, other than cheap rent, and realized it wasn’t worth his time. I mean, I had no real plans for the future, no great college or job lined up. I really wasn’t much of a catch at all. Nick deserved better.
My phone buzzed. Nick?
Addie: Is your hubby there yet?
Me: He didn’t show.
Addie: WTF? I’m sorry. Want to come over later? I’m done at 9.
Me: Not tonight. Going to bed, tired. PT will come early.
Addie: Okay. Love you.
Me: Love you too.
I scrolled back through messages between Nick and me. Even if I skipped all the sexy pictures he’d sent me, I could still find plenty of images to look at of him. He was extremely attractive, at least I thought he was. Studious, nerdy, intelligent, dry sense of humor, I liked Nick as a person. He knew what he wanted to do with his life. He was getting a degree in liberal arts and planned to start up or work for a non-profit organization. He was a very busy activist, always encouraging voting, gay rights, equality, and ending cruelty to animals.
Once, he’d told me that his parents expected him to conform to their idea of a “normal boy” so they put him in sport after sport after sport. He played, but never excelled and didn’t enjoy it. Young Nick had always wanted to be at the library, making posters for or against something, discussing the unfairness of school rules, or gaming. But, he was too timid to stand up to his parents. Even now, Nick was awkward and avoided confrontation as much as possible, which made us a funny pairing since I too was awkward and despised confrontation. I guess I had hoped we could at least have an awkward friendship, living together and saving money. I really would have liked to have Nick around.
There was one thing Nick wasn’t awkward about though. Once he’d settled into college on his own, paying for every cent himself, he had told his parents two things. One, he told them he was gay. Two, he told them he didn’t want to go into medicine, and he was getting a degree in liberal arts. He had smiled as he recalled that conversation. “I told them I would never again let anyone box me in or force me to conform to their idea of who or what I should be. That’s why I’ve loved college so much, I get to be my own person, blaze my own trail. I won’t ever change for someone else, I like me too much now.”
I admired that about Nick. And luckily his parents had accepted his two announcements fairly well, nodding their head and saying they’d support him even if they thought he was making a mistake. I envied him in that aspect. My own father had practically disowned me when I came out to my parents. I had been in my first year of college, loving the freedom, loving what I was learning, loving being myself and making friends who understood me. And then, with two words, I’m gay, my world was ripped away from me. Dad refused to pay for college, and I had no money saved up. Mom was teary-eyed, but she went along with him.
I was angry, and I was hurt. I needed away from them, I needed money, and I needed a way to go to college. Enter the Army. There are days I regret that decision with every fiber of my being. But there are days when I realize the Army helped make me into the man I am today, and I’m pretty happy with that person on the whole.
But, right then? I was feeling pretty down that my pseudo date with my possible fiancé had crashed and burned before it had even gotten started.
I came awake slowly as my phone vibrated and buzzed in my hand. Glancing at the clock next to my bed, I realized it was past ten. Wiping sleep from my eyes, I saw Nick had texted me.
Nick: I’m really sorry about flaking on you tonight. Can you forgive me?
Me: Whether or not you’re going to send me some sexy pics to make up for standing me up.
Nick: I think that can be arranged…for my fiancé…
Me: Yeah, about that…
Nick: Need to cancel our nuptials? No worries, I can sign the lease with Dylan again.
Me: No, not that…I was just wondering when you wanted to do it.
Nick: Couple weeks? Three?
Me: Sounds good…so, about those pics…
Nick: Coming right up.
Nick sent me several pictures of himself along with a few other images of men he knew I’d find sexy. Returning the favor, I snapped a few pics for him. In between images, we chatted about his day. He explained he’d gotten caught up at the animal shelter because a dog had been brought in terribly abused and Nick had wanted to stay to see the dog settle in.
Nick: Speaking of dogs, don’t forget I’ve got a dog, so wherever we live will have to allow
Me: No worries, I’m sort of looking forward to having a dog.
Nick: Gus is looking forward to living with someone other than Dylan Douchebag.
Me: Want to meet up soon?
Nick: Definitely. My house tomorrow after 4?
Me: Sounds good, see you then.
I had to go to bed by that point because it was several hours after midnight. I knew PT was going to be a total bitch and kick my ass in a couple hours. But, I had the thought of meeting up with Nick to help me survive the day.
Addie stopped by to bring me lunch, which was something I always appreciated. I think she knew food was needed as a peace offering if she was going to drill me with questions. Meeting her outside the gates, we enjoyed a peaceful silence for about thirty seconds.
“You look like you didn’t sleep at all.” Addie wrinkled her nose at me, looking me up and down.
“Got about three hours.” I had always had issues sleeping, and the overseas deployment didn’t help with my sucky sleep patterns. Of course, staying up until the wee hours of the morning when I knew I had to be awake at the ass-crack of dawn probably also didn’t help.
“What the hell, Brody! You need to take care of yourself and get better sleep. You know you get grumpy and depressed when you’re not sleeping well.”
“I’m grumpy and depressed even when I sleep.” It was true.
“You’re more so when you don’t get enough sleep. Don’t deny it.” She handed me a sandwich and chips. “What in the world could have kept you awake so late?”
“Nick.” Remembering the images of his body he’d sent made me smile.
“Oh my god, were you two sexting all night?” She smacked me on the arm.
“No, we started around ten and I went to bed around three.” Taking a bite of my sandwich, I couldn’t help but sigh from the delicious food, the satisfaction I’d gotten from sexting with Nick, and the extreme exhaustion I was feeling at the moment.
“Well, he must have one hell of a cock.” Addie shook her head and looked at me in annoyed amusement. “Ain’t no dick pic going to keep me up until three in the morning. I can guaran-damn-tee it.”
“It’s not so much about the dick pic. It’s more about the conversation and connection I have with Nick when we are talking like that.”
“Yeah, a connection that lacks actual face-to-face conversation or even kissing.” The roll of her eyes told me she was getting more and more annoyed.
“We’re working our way up to that, Ad. Baby steps.” I couldn’t help but chuckle when she all but growled and threw a potato chip at me.
“You kill me, Brody. Kill me.” But she smiled softly at me, and I knew she would stand by my side no matter her personal feelings on the situation.
“I’m going over there after four today.” I waggled my brows at her, “Oh, and he does.”
“He does what?” She asked in confusion.
“Have one hell of a cock.” I tried my best to keep a straight face, but we both busted up laughing.
Finishing our lunch in companionable silence, we cleaned up. Addie had to head back to work, she would be pushing it to get back in time to pick her class up. One nice thing about the school she worked in was she got a whole hour for lunch. I didn’t know much about teacher lunch times, but Addie insisted that an hour was pure luxury.
“Let me know how your date with Nick goes. I’m going to need details, especially details that involve kissing. Preferably with tongue and some bump and grind.” Addie all but licked her lips.
“Damn, down girl.” We laughed because we both knew I’d spill the details as soon as I was gone from Nick’s. If it went well. If it didn’t, well, Addie would know. She always knew.