Since it’s not yet available on the wizzy Amazon-viewer thing, I thought you might like a sneak preview of the first chapter of Taking Stock!
Chapter 1: Betrayal
“What?” Phil said. “You thought I wouldn’t mind?” He swallowed roughly. “We’ve been together for over a year, Richard. There’s some expectation of loyalty comes with that. I would have thought.” He looked at the younger man stood in the center of his cream living room carpet. “Or perhaps not.”
Richard didn’t even have the grace to look ashamed. “It wasn’t anything, Phil. You’re being stupid. I sucked him off, that was all.” He didn’t even blush. He looked irritated, if anything. “You’re being very unreasonable.”
“You’ve been living here for nearly twelve months. You didn’t think that the assumption would be of monogamy?”
Richard made a dismissive huffing noise and shrugged. “That’s not how it’s done, Phil my dear. Not these days. You’re delightfully old fashioned in some ways, but you’re being very stick in the mud about this.”
Phil shut his eyes for a moment. “It’s not the first time then?”
Richard waved his hand in a dramatic gesture, the tight sleeve of his orange and brown striped shirt flexing along with it. “Leave it, won’t you. It’s not important.”
“Not important to you? Or not important to me? Because I assure you I think it’s important. It’s very important. Richard.” He swallowed. “I… I’ve come to care for you.”
Richard raised an eyebrow. “My dear Phil. Is this a declaration? How thrilling! Do go on.”
Phil said nothing. Clearly he had been barking up the wrong tree. He shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his trousers and turned away to look out of the inverted arched window at the lake. There were some ducks shagging enthusiastically on the edge of his view. More than what’s going on in here, he thought, dismally. No more shagging for me.
Richard had joined the firm eighteen months ago as a junior in Phil’s department and had quickly made his interest in Phil clear. Oh, he was discreet at work…the rough and tumble of the trading floor wasn’t tolerant of anyone who didn’t follow the public-school rugger-bugger stereotype. He’d made it clear that he was interested in Phil though. Phil’s friend Peter had pointed it out to him first. Phil was usually a bit slow on the uptake.
“You want to watch that one,” he’d said one evening as they were sat, backs to the bar, watching the younger traders horse around at a table on the other side of the room. “He’s trouble. And he likes you.”
Phil looked at him. “He likes me? What do you mean?”
Peter glanced at him. “You know what I mean. He likes you. Didn’t you notice him flirting when he came up to get his round in? You could take him home tonight if you wanted to.” He took a swig of his beer. “Bet he sucks cock like a Hoover,” he said wistfully.
“You take him home if you feel like that about him,” Phil said, slightly acerbically. He could never tell when someone was coming on to him.
“Nah mate, I’ve got enough on my hands already.” He nodded toward one of the other young men at the same table. “Hips like a snake. And he knows how to use ‘em.”
Phil blushed. Peter was a lot more open about his partners than he was and always had been, even before the change in the law. Phil was never going to out himself to anyone other than his closest friends.
The next time Richard came up to the bar, Phil returned his smile. “Let me buy you a drink?” he asked.
“Sure,” the younger man replied.
And that was that. A few weeks later he had moved into Phil’s spacious flat in the middle of the city and he’d been here ever since. Apparently using it as a base to bring blokes to suck off on his days off while Phil was at work.
“I’d like you to leave,” Phil said, turning back toward him. “Pack a suitcase. You can come back for the rest of your things another day.”
“What?! Are you serious!” Richard’s voice rose in both pitch and volume. “Phil, darling, it really didn’t mean anything! It’s you I want to be with!”
“But I don’t want to be with you. You’ve been lying to me and you’ve been bringing people I don’t know here for sex behind my back. I can’t live like that.”
“I’ll stop! I promise!” Richard’s voice was tearful.
“Rich. Please. Don’t…make this any harder than it is.” Phil turned away again. The ducks were still shagging. It looked like the lady duck was drowning. “Please just go. And leave me your key. You can stay with Peter or someone tonight; you’ve got lots of friends. I just…can’t.” His heart hurt. Richard’s sobbing cut him to the quick.
“You bastard!” Richard spat out. “I didn’t have to move in here with you, you know! It was you who asked me!”
“And now I’m asking you to move out.” Phil folded his arms. He was having trouble holding on to his composure. “I’ll ring Peter now and ask him if you can stay there tonight. He’s got a spare room.”
He moved out to the hallway and picked up the telephone. “You can pack some clothes while I do it.”
And that was that. Just over a year of unwedded bliss destroyed by another man’s underpants left in the bathroom.