Excerpt: As Spring Rain

I will kill him. Put him through a slow painful death, and I will enjoy his screams, I thought to myself as I took those first two steps toward the apartment. Only a wide walkway separated the beach from the housing area and our home-slash-G’s bar were right at the edge of it. I could see who came and went from my lifeguard’s ramp on the beach, not that I usually paid it much attention. It was the shouting that made me look this time and there was plenty to see.

“Watch the beach, Jeff!” I yelled to my friend and coworker as I ran toward the condo and the bar G had opened on the floor below.

Justin, G’s newest boyfriend, was barely a step away from his car to the left of the house, holding his midsection and I knew I wouldn’t be able to catch him, but I still pushed on. I needed to check on G, then I had every intention of following Justin and beating the shit out of him.

This was the last fucking time he touched him. The last fucking time!

The car was already driving away from the small parking lot as I raced inside. “Where is he?” I asked Logan, who was tending the bar. Justin always knew the best moment to fuck with G, when he could take him to the side, discreetly provoke a fight, and then pretend he was the innocent party. He knew exactly when he could strike without anyone noticing or cause a scene without consequences. The fucker was a master at it.

“He went upstairs.” Logan looked somewhat shell-shocked, only just holding on to a glass. He was in his early twenties but as innocent as a barman could ever be.

I barely waited for the answer as I took two steps at a time, needing to see G for the knot in my chest to loosen.

We both lived above the bar, separate bedrooms but roommates forever. It was inconceivable for me to be away from G, to not see him at least once a day or huddle in front of the TV with him when both of us were feeling out of sorts. It was also intolerable for me to see him hurt, over and over again, as men came and went and G looked a little bit more broken each time.

“G? Gabriel, where are you?” I called as I opened the door and walked inside, stopping to hear him. The water was on in the bathroom and I rushed over there, disregarding privacy and his need to hide as I pushed the door open and took in his huddled figure over the bathroom sink, drops of blood marring the white surface.

He looked up, his blue eyes wide and frightened. “M?” he said, sounding lost and hurt.

I didn’t think about it, I just closed the distance between us, pulled him in my arms and hugged him tightly. “It’s going to be all right, G. He’s never touching you again. I swear,” I said firmly, wanting G to understand Justin was as good as dead the next time he came near my brother.

“It wasn’t his fault…” G tried, his voice weak enough that he didn’t even follow up with more defensive lines, telling me tales of how Justin was just lost but loved him.

I took his cheeks gently between my palms, and looked at his red face and the traces of blood on his upper lip. It was his nose that was bleeding but only in droplets now and his lost expression seemed like something I would never be able to erase.

“Are you hurt anywhere else?” I asked, touching his short hair, and tracing the jaw that matched mine.

“Just my side. It’s not like that, M. I fought back.” He pulled away from me, his gaze firmly on the floor.

“Who threw the first punch?” I asked coldly, my trust flimsy when it came to G and his men.

“I’m not some damsel in distress or an abuse victim. I can look after myself!” he yelled at me, this time feeling enough of that righteous anger to look into my eyes.

“I’m perfectly aware of your gender. I also know this has nothing to do with it, and you are dangerously close to becoming an abuse victim,” I told him, watching as he faced the floor again, as he clenched his jaw.

“I’m not weak, damn it!” G then yelled again, forming fists as his eyes narrowed at me.

Buy the book!