Markey’s Last Chance Pt 2
Undines of the Pacific 1
* * * *
Markey was shaking as he parked his Honda civic behind the restaurant. He was thankful Freja stored it for him while he’d returned to the ocean. Honestly, it would’ve been a pain to have to buy a new car every time he came onto land.
His car wasn’t the reason Markey was nervous. No, it was the man presently standing at the backdoor checking over what looked like a delivery manifest.
Josh was a man that gave off the air of someone more at home on a fishing boat then in a restaurant. He had thick muscled arms, like one would expect from someone hauling nets all day long. His legs were as equally sturdy, as if he spent a lot of time fighting the sway of the sea and bracing himself as he lifted heavy equipment. His flat stomach was the only out of place about Josh. Markey knew one too many sailors with a small, or large, belly from drinking. Markey would be Josh’s was just as toned as the rest of him.
Add in his sandy blonde, wise brown eyes, and a smile that just oozed confidence and Josh was a man Markey could easily find himself falling for. Now, if only he could convince himself to get out of his car and approach his boss… and match.
He found himself looking at the string leading from his pinky. It pierced the windshield and wrapped around Josh in an almost tender way. The other end hadn’t connected with Josh, and it wouldn’t until certain conditions were met.
One of those conditions being mutual feelings.
The other was sex.
No, it wasn’t enough for the them to care for each other in the same way. For destiny to take hold and their souls to bind together they needed to join their bodies. A perverse and archaic form of marriage, but one that persisted in the undine way.
Taking a deep, centering breath, Markey forced himself to open his car door and exit the vehicle. Standing on his own two legs Markey realized it wasn’t just his hands that were trembling, his knees felt like they would buckle under his weight at any moment. Falling down in the parking lot because of weak knees didn’t exactly sound like a great first impression to have on Josh, especially on his first day one the job.
With effort, he managed to control himself and walk with what he hopes was confidence toward the building. Josh barely spared him a glance as he greeted him and entered the backdoor.
“You must be Markey,” the same waitress from yesterday said, walking right up to him and invading his personal space. If Markey recalled right, Oscar had called her Bethany.
“I am, and you’re Bethany?”
She smiled, her red lips spreading across straight smoke-stained teeth. Maybe a few decades ago, and a hundred packs of cigarettes ago, Bethany might have had a beautiful smile. Like her smile everything about Bethany said “I’m trying, but I really don’t care anymore” from her halfhearted ponytail, to her heavy makeup. Considering she couldn’t be any older than forty-five, Markey thought it a shame she’d seemed to have given up on herself.
“That I am. Now, Josh as put me in charge of training you. I do hope you’re fast on your feet, cause today’s pay day down at the docks.”
“So, we’ll be busy,” Markey finished with a grin.
“Right,” Bethany said. “Let’s get you familiar with the menu. We’ve got a POS system, so you only need your ticket book for your own use, still it helps to know what’s available. Most of our customers are regulars,” she explained as she led Markey to the front, “So they know the menu better than even I do. If you have any questions, just ask. Also, here’s the drink order. That’ll be a popular item today.”
As Bethany talked Markey read through both the menu and the drink menu. He also checked out the deserts. Thanks to the last four years of working in restaurants he’d gotten a knack for memorizing menus. Most were pretty similar in layout, and even contents. The main difference here was that most of the items were seafood, with only a food other options, whereas other places were the opposite. Due to the seafood based menu it wasn’t that long either, making memorizing it a simple task.
“Here’s your apron,” Bethany handed him a black half apron with two pockets for a checkbook, ticket book, and pens. “When you get a tip, put it here.” She indicated a pair of baskets lined up beneath the front counter. “I’m guessing you know about tips, right?”
“Okay, next I guess I should explain the table order.” With that Markey followed Bethany out to the floor and spent the next five minutes discussing table numbers, and sections. She assigned Markey to the front counter and a few booths to start with.
“Ten minutes!” Josh shouted, startling Markey.
Pivoting on his foot, Markey caught his employer’s gaze and froze. Time slowed to a crawl and Markey found his lungs were no longer up to the task of processing air. His heart pounded painfully against his chest as sweat beaded down his neck.
Time crashed back into reality as Josh broke eye contact and headed into the kitchen to help the cooks.
“So, ready for your first day?” Bethany asked.
Dragging his attention away from Josh and returning it to the task at hand, work, he smiled broadly and puffed out his scrawny chest. “Absolutely.”
“Confidence, I like it. Well, don’t like them eat you alive.” Bethany tapped him on the shoulder, grabbed the specials menu, and headed out to open the front doors.
It wasn’t even five minutes and the first wave of customers arrived and Markey’s waiting skills were put to the test. He might’ve only had a small section for the day, but he was kept more than busy. So much so, he didn’t even have time to think about Josh and what kind of impression he was making.
* * * *
Josh put up another plate, rang the bell, and tried not to smile as Markey zipped by to pick it and another order up. He watched as the new kid set the plates down in front of two customers at the counter, refilled their coffee, and then went to take the order of a booth that arrived a few minutes ago.
Since Markey first drove up Josh had found it hard to keep his off the younger man. There was an elegance to Markey that Josh didn’t see in others often. Everything about him, every step he took, breath he made, and even the slightest swish of his braided hair all seemed created to draw men’s eyes to him. He could easily see how Markey had drawn unwanted attention to himself in the past. As Oscar said, he didn’t appear to be inviting or encouraging any negative attention, but he certainly pulled at men’s desire.
The only thing Josh was finding difficult was the bit about men mistaking Markey for a woman. Sure, his movements held a certain beauty to them, but he wouldn’t call them feminine in any way. His actions were deliberate, yes, but not delicate. It was almost like watching a ballerina dance an unnamed part. Neither male nor female, but a tenuous balance of something in between.
“Stare any harder and the newbie is going to catch fire,” Zander taunted. “You think it’s wise? Showing such bare interest?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Josh scoffed and plated the next order his cook handed him.
“Right.” Zander didn’t look the least bit convinced. “Just keep a lid on it for a while. At least until Corey is out of town for good.”
With the reminder of his ex-lover, and ex business partner, Josh’s good mood fled like a twig dam being swept away by a spring torrent. To think, he’d almost thought he’d manage to go the day without hearing anything about that slut.
“No need to worry,” Josh informed Zander. “I have no intention of getting involved with anyone right now.”
“Says the guy checking out his best friend’s brother-in-law’s ass,” Zander replied sarcastically.
Josh ripped his eyes away from the tempting sight of Markey’s ass encased in black denim. Strange, the pants didn’t look that tight when he was standing up. As soon as he bent over though they wrapped around Markey’s rear like a glove forming to a person’s hand. The man certainly had a nice backside.
“Remember, you aren’t interested,” Zander mocked as he plated the next order himself and rang the bell. “Hey, Markey,” he smiled as the new waiter came over to the window. “What’re you doing later tonight?”
“Tonight?” Markey blinked and glanced at Josh before returning to looking at Zander. “Having dinner with Freja and Oscar, most likely. Why?”
“How about coming out with me and a few friends, you know, to welcome you into the town,” Zander suggested.
Josh’s hand flexed around a knife as he glared at his lead cook. “I wasn’t aware you were drinking tonight.”
“You could come along to, Josh.” Zander’s knowing grin spread to Cheshire cat levels of arrogant and amused. “I mean, unless you’re too busy?”
“Please come,” Markey suddenly said, his stormy eyes capturing Josh’s and refusing to release them.
“Sure,” he found himself saying before he could even think about his answer. The smile that lit up Markey’s face was bright enough to drive away even the most dismal of days. He gave a small whoop before grabbing his plates and walking with a extra skip to his step.
“Well, well, well,” Zander whistled. “Seems you won’t have to try too hard.”
“I’m not trying anything,” Josh denied.
“Uh, huh.” Zander gave him a sidelong glance. “And I’m going to sell my truck tomorrow.”
“You never know,” Josh replied before turning his attention away from Zander. Of course, Zander wasn’t going to be selling his truck, the guy loved that thing. That only meant Josh needed to admit that he was interested in Markey. Highly interested. There was something infectious about the energy the man exuded. He was a refreshing gust of wind in Josh’s grey and foggy world.
And he couldn’t believe how fucking sappy he was being over a guy he’d just met!
Shaking his head to clear it of all thoughts Markey, Josh excused himself from the kitchen and went to lock himself in his office. Maybe a few hours of tedious bookwork would make his mind forget the temptation just out on his floor.
His plan appeared to be working, as the more he delved into his paperwork the easier it was to concentrate on numbers and push aside thoughts of Markey. He was just starting to drown out the last remaining vestiges of the other man’s face when he heard a commotion.
Frowning, he stood and went out to discover the cause, only the freeze at the sight of Corey attempting to come behind the counter.
“You can’t be back here anymore.” Bethany stood before him, her arms crossed below her ample chest. “You shouldn’t even be here, Mr. Cheater.”
“I should’ve fired you when I still could,” Corey snipped at Bethany.
“Too bad for you.” Bethany smirked. “Now leave, we’re busy and don’t have time for your drama.”
“I’m here to see Josh. I’ll leave once I’ve said my peace.”
“Don’t bother,” Josh said, opening the door to the back and glaring at his ex. “There’s nothing left to be said between us. Now, leave my restaurant, you’re making a scene and disturbing my customers.”
“Right, it’s all about the restaurant,” Corey spat. “You never have time for anything else. And you wonder why I found someone else!”
“Leave,” Josh repeated, his voice growing tense.
“No. I came to prove that even though, yes I cheated, I still love you!” Corey declared and a plate crashed to the ground.
Josh turned to see Markey on his knees quickly cleaning up the mess and not meeting anyone’s eyes. He did turn to look up at the customer and offer him an apology, and to pay for his meal in return for his mistake. As he watched Markey intentionally avoid him, something dark twisted in Josh’s gut. It was nameless, and formless, but it made his sick none the less.
“Get out Corey,” he ordered, his eyes still lingering on Markey.
“Josh,” Corey approached him.
“Now!” Josh shouted, smacking Corey’s outstretched hand away and almost knocking him over at the same time. “I never want to see you here again. Do I make myself clear?”
Rendezvous in the South PacificZANE McDOWELL is a hero to his small country hometown. He was quarterback of the football team, leading them to state three times in a row. He graduated second in his class, took a summer job at his dad’s auto repair shop, and right after high school he joined the Marines and served his nation. He has every right to be proud of himself, except there’s one part of him no one knows. One part he’s kept locked away. He’s a gay sub. Hoping to escape the suffocating praise of his hometown and to step out of the closet for a bit, Zane travels to the South Pacific where no one knows him.
KACEY MATHEWS loves his little island paradise. Having escaped the overbearing reality of his home back in the states, Kacey has made a life for himself under the sun and is open about who he is. Being valedictorian was his only claim to fame back home, and he was well off without it. Here he wasn’t the nerd people ignored. Out here, he was just Kacey, the owner of Kacey’s Surf Bar.
These two, from the same hometown, are not expecting to find each other on this isolated island. For Zane, it’s a nightmare! His past has found him and he just knows Kacey is going to bring all those horrible memories back up. For Kacey, it’s a dream come true. He’d always had a small crush on the town hero that plagued his dreams in high school. Now he could finally act on those feelings. If Zane would only let him.
“Here are your drinks,” Kacey winked at the pair of cute girls sitting at his bar as he slid their mimosas over to them. The two laughed before they sauntered off to watch the fire-dancer.
“You are a shameless flirt,” his friend Lagi, chastised him. “One of these days, these girls are going to try and pin you down.”
Kacey couldn’t help but grin at that. The idea of some frail college girl pinning him down made him want to laugh. The idea of anyone pinning him down was laughable.
“Why don’t you play with one of them?” Lagi suggested, his gaze traveling out to the young women.
“Because, my idea of play isn’t the same as theirs,” Kacey answered honestly, though Lagi already knew that. His eyes swept the crowd in front of his small bar. The dancer tonight was a regular at his bar, preforming every Friday night. He did two shows a week during the heavy tourism season, which would start next week.
It seemed the regular trouble makers weren’t around tonight, good. He could use the break. The last fight had cost him a bar stool and a night of profits. He’d damn near lost his temper too, instead of letting Lagi handle it, as was his job as security.
“Hey, can we get a Mai Tai and a banana nut bay,” two obvious twinks asked, their flirtatious smiles even more blatant than the girls’ previously.
Damn, was tonight just a night to be flirty? He picked the wrong night to get out of bed if that’s the case. Of course, flirting was part of the job, and he needed the tips to make up for lost profits.
“Anything, cutie,” Kacey winked and put on a bit of a show for the two as he mixed their drinks and handed them back with a blown kiss.
“You’re going to hell,” Lagi laughed.
“So my mother told me when I left home,” Kacey replied with a flourishing bow. It was probably the kindest thing his parents had said to him when he left. Lagi shook his head before dashing off at the sight of two locals coming over. Seemed Kacey’s wish for a quiet night wasn’t to be.
“Hey, you aren’t welcome here,” Lagi said, stepping up to the men. Lagi was a small man, but he was fit and tough thanks to his day job as a fisherman. It didn’t hurt he’d spent a few hours a week in his dad’s dojo. “Get lost.”
“The beach is open to the public,” the taller of the two sneered.
“Not tonight it isn’t,” Lagi growled, bumping his chest against the aggressor.
Kacey reached for the baseball bat he kept under the bar just in case he might need it. Usually Lagi could handle the thugs, but they seemed to be getting more insistent recently.
The tall man pulled his fist back, ready to throw a punch, and before Lagi could react, the arm was caught by a tall, broad shouldered, muscular man with piercing teal eyes, and blonde hair cut into a tight crew cut. His black board shorts and white tank top showing off his Marine Corps tattoo only added to the tough man image. Kacey felt the air slam out of his lungs as he met the gaze of a man he’d thought to never see again.
“There a problem here?” Mr. All-American asked, his stance firm as he pulled the aggressor’s arm back.
“No,” the smaller man said, grabbing his friend’s arm, and pulling him away.
“Thanks, though I didn’t need the help,” Lagi said, holding his hand out for the man.
“Can’t turn a blind eye when someone needs help,” Mr. All-American said.
What the fuck was he doing here? Sure, it had been what, four years, since Kacey last saw him, but he would know that man anywhere. Zane McDowell, every girl’s dream man back home, and Kacey’s personal living tormentor.
“Come for the drinks, or the women?” Lagi asked, a mischievous tone to his voice.
A flash of something passed over Zane’s eyes, but it was gone almost instantly. “Just a drink.”
“Well, then let me buy you one.” Meaning it was on the house. Damn it! “Hey, Kacey!” Lagi called over to him and pulling Zane’s attention to Kacey. Recognition was instantaneous. “A drink for our hero.”
“Beer?” Kacey managed to say politely. “Or was it whiskey?”
“No,” Zane shook his head shallowly. Kacey resisted the urge to frown. What the fuck was up with that subdued reaction? “I’ll have sex on the beach, Sir.”
Oh, fuck, now that request sounded like a double-edged sword. And the Sir at the end, damn it, that was delicious. “Sure,” Kacey nodded.
As he mixed his drink, Kacey tried to keep his mind off the odd submissive behavior. He didn’t remember Zane ever being anything but confident and strong. Hell, just a minute ago he looked ready to pummel two dudes. What changed? Why the change?
“Here,” Kacey set the drink in front of Zane, “Sex on the beach, for the hero.”
“Thank you,” Zane’s voice held an edge, not particularly anger, but maybe annoyance?
What did he have to be annoyed about? It was Kacey’s life that had just been destroyed. Why did he have to show up here? Out of the dozens upon dozens of islands in the South Pacific, why did Zane have to show up on this one?
“I’m not a hero,” Zane whispered before he turned and walked toward the crashing waves.
“Nice,” Lagi glared at him. “A guy does something nice and you reward him with snark.”
“I did not,” Kacey defended.
“Yes, you did. What’s the deal? I’ve seen you drool over Marines in the past.”
“Nothing,” Kacey shrugged Lagi’s words aside and moved to serve his next customer. As he took their orders, mixed the drinks up, and handed them back, his eyes sought out Zane’s sculpted figure in the distance. The dying light of the sun sending his back into harsh relief against the burgundy horizon.
Barnes & Noble: https://goo.gl/z52xkU
About A.M. Halford
A.M. Halford lives in Southern Oregon and enjoys spending as much time outside as she possibly can. Her and her partner often find themselves hiking with their two dogs when the weather permits it. Fishing, camping, and photography are also activities she greatly enjoys. If the weather doesn’t permit going outside she can be found curled up with a sketch book, drawing whatever comes to mind.
A.M. got into writing as an outlet for personal therapy and has since expanded that into a hobby and profession that she enjoys. She often writes down anything that comes to mind, combing through the ideas and expanding on plots that sound the most interesting. She likes to write believable relations between people overcoming unfair hardships set before them. She always loves a happy ending and no matter the hell her characters go through they’ll always get their forever person.
A.M. Halford can be found here: