Rev. Elijah Pace had a problem. His wife caught him with his best friend in bed. Angry and confused, he goes into denial. Denying his love and heart. If he could get her to understand he made a mistake, and get his heart to stop breaking when his lover leaves, maybe he can keep up with the changing tide of his life. More
“I came by to check on you.” Pocketing his key, Elijah walked into the bedroom and froze. Anthony, his best friend and employee, lay on the bed stroking his erection, moaning softly. Elijah wasn't positive, but it sounded like his name escaped through the full lips of the younger man.
Anthony's eyes opened slowly. They appeared unfocused as they gazed at him. “Elijah?” He whispered, his voice unsure.
“Yeah.” He coughed. What was the proper etiquette for something like this? He turned to leave as Anthony closed his eyes and rolled to the side of the bed. Unblemished skin the color of butterscotch covered a wide muscular back that tapered to a smaller waist and ended with full round globes. Elijah’s face heated as he stared a moment longer than appropriate at the high, smooth cheeks on display. Perfectly formed thighs and long full calves shielded the more intimate portion of Anthony’s body from him. Swallowing hard, he finally turned toward the doorway, thinking to give his friend some privacy.
“Secretary said you called in sick again.” Elijah paused, not wanting to stay but afraid to leave. They'd been best friends for a long time and had recently crossed a line. It was one of those things unspoken “What’s…? What's wrong?” Common decency demanded he ask since he’d come on the excuse to check on the man’s health, although his racing heart warned him the answer would be trouble.
A crude chuckle escaped Anthony's lips. Elijah's body responded to the sound, and he hated it. Hated the entire situation. “Talk to me, are you sick?” Fear slashed through him that Anthony was truly ill, and not just avoiding everyone, especially him.
“I have a bad cold. It seems to want to stick around.” The hoarseness of his voice surprised Elijah. “I've been a little nauseous lately, nothing major.” A bout of wheezing shook Anthony’s body, giving lie to the words he’d just spoken. His hand rose and waved away any comment Elijah would’ve made. “Just a cough, it comes and goes.” He tucked his hands between his thighs and curled into a ball, leaving Elijah with the impression he wanted to be left alone. Well, he’d grant him the unspoken request in a minute. Right now he needed to be sure his friend had everything he needed to recover.
“What're you taking for it?”
“I've got some cold meds.” This time the voice sounded bored, distant, and for some reason that hurt. “A couple of choir members brought some stuff yesterday. I'll be okay.” He curled tighter, appearing vulnerable.
“I know you'll be okay.” He hadn't meant to snap, but it seemed lately he got everything wrong. His wife wanted kids. His fear of being a worse parent than his father, Bishop Pace, kept him in a state of limbo. He wasn't ready. His father wanted him to take the church in a certain direction. They disagreed. The result was constant friction. This attraction for his best friend came at the worst possible time. Although, when was the right time to want another man, especially when you were his boss, his Pastor?
Eyes closed, he wished he could turn back the clock to before they'd acted on their feelings six weeks ago. It had started with a hug, a kiss, and then mind-blowing sex. How could anything that good, that intense, be wrong? Nonetheless, afterwards, they'd both felt bad and never discussed what happened that afternoon. Cheating on his wife weighed heavily on his conscience. They’d avoided being alone until today.
Elijah sat on the edge of the bed as he'd done so many times before. With their recent past between them, it seemed awkward. Years of easy-going camaraderie vanished as the reality of their actions burrowed into their minds.