“Share the Good Fortune”
By Maggie Walsh
“Sorry, boys, but there’s no room tonight. With the storm coming, we had a rush about an hour ago. If you hurry, there may be room at the Central Center,” Millie, the nice lady who ran the Homeless Shelter said sympathetically.
“Thanks, Miss Millie,” Zach replied and turned.
His boyfriend Mekhi took his hand and they booth headed down the street. The wind was now whipping, and a light drizzle began to fall. Where the heck were they going to stay tonight? Usually they were fine under the pier, but there was no way they could go there. With the storm, the water levels would rise and there wasn’t anything around to block them from the wind and rain.
“So, should we try Central?” Mekhi asked.
Zach pull his hood over his head and drew up the zipper to his neck. The faded black hoodie he wore wouldn’t be enough in the storm, but it was all he had. “No. You know they’re the first place to fill up every day. Ocean Beach was our last hope,” he replied, defeated.
“We could always head over to Palm Willow. Maybe they could find some room for us? Even if they don’t have a bed, maybe they’ll let us just find a corner to sit in to ride out the storm?” Mekhi suggested as they stood at the corner waiting for the traffic to pass.
“It will take us over an hour to walk there and it’s already starting to rain. We would have to grab the bus and you know we can’t afford that,” Zach whispered.
The light turned red and the two stepped off the curb, then ran for the other side. Once they stepped onto the sidewalk, Mekhi grabbed Zach’s arm, stopping him, then turned his boyfriend until their gazes met. He hated seeing Zach sad. He loved Zach more than he had ever loved anyone in his life. If it weren’t for Zach, Mekhi would either be dead or hustling his ass for cash by now. Mekhi lifted his hand and cupped Zach’s cold cheek as he stepped closer. “We’ll find somewhere to hunker down, babe. I know you hate storms and the last thing you want to do is be outside. I promise I’ll figure something out. Come on. I have a few bucks, so why don’t we go over to the coffee shop and get us a couple of hot chocolates to warm us up?” Mekhi gave Zach a smile trying to get him to smile too and ease some of his fears.
Zach really hated storms. More than Mekhi had ever seen anyone hate storms before. If it were just rain, Zach wasn’t happy, but he was okay. Now, if that storm included lightning and thunder, Zach started to shake like a leaf to the point he would break out in tears. It broke Mekhi’s heart whenever it happened. He would cuddle his man in his lap and hold him tight as he tried to keep Zach calm. Being indoors helped. In one of the shelters there were other people around, kids playing and making noise, usually a TV on in the background, and workers doing things. All the little noises combined with the walls and roof helped to muffle the sound of thunder, but if they were trapped outside, which it looked like they would be tonight, Mekhi knew they were in for a really bad night.
This storm was supposed to be a fierce one and drop a few inches of needed rain to the region. The last report they saw on the TV in the window of the electronics store said that it was expected to go on for two days. Mekhi hoped they were wrong.
Zach gave him a sad smile. “We don’t really have the funds for that.”
Mekhi smiled and moved closer, giving his man a small kiss. “Hey, what better way to spend it than to warm us and give us a little in our stomachs? Plus, if we can sit in that back corner and slowly sip our drink, the workers will ignore us for a few hours, especially if the place isn’t busy.”
“That’s true,” Zach said with a smile and Mekhi’s heart filled. He loved Zach’s smile.
Mekhi quickly gave him another kiss, then turned them and they headed toward the coffee shop a few blocks away. “While we sit, we can try to figure out where to go, okay?”
Zach sighed and squeezed his hand. “Okay.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
As they sat in the coffee shop going over all the places they could go, they could only think of two options. One would keep them out of the storm but if they were found could end them up in lock up, and the other was too much of a risk to their lives. Back to their usual spot under the pier was their best bet for not being found and it would keep most of the rain from getting them, but the wind would still blow through and the waves could become too dangerous, even being up at the back of the pier closest to land. So that left them with one choice.
They made their way the four miles to Live Oak Park and by the time they got there, they were both drenched. A park didn’t offer much protection from the storm, but they knew the dugout at one of the baseball fields was being worked on. It would be like staying in a lean-to with all sides covered except the front, but with the work being done, the workers had covered the opening with a large tarp. Once they arrived Zach and Mekhi were both relieved to see that the workers had put extra secures on the tarp, probably because of the storm.
Mekhi had pulled one section back so Zach could slip in, then Mekhi followed. After closing the tarp behind them, they moved to the farthest corner and hunkered down. About an hour after they arrived, Zach was jolted awake by the crash of thunder. He began to shake as tears burned his eyes. He hated storms. The night his parents threw him out at the age of sixteen because he was gay, was during one of the worst storms in San Diego history. Zach spent that night crying as he hid in the neighbors shed, shaking from his broken heart and from the fear of what would happen to him. He had never been alone in his life and had no idea what he was going to do or where he was going to go. That had been five years ago.
For the first six months Zach had slept on friends’ sofas for a few nights here and there, switching it up occasionally, but after a while he began to wear out his welcome. Some friends were afraid of getting in trouble and others just flat out turned their backs on him. After that he headed toward LA, hoping he could find a job at a restaurant or something. As he went, he did pick up a few odd jobs but once people found out he had no address or cell phone number to contact him, he lost those jobs.
It had been two weeks since he had turned eighteen when he walked out from his hiding spot under the Manhattan Beach Pier and saw the most beautiful man he had ever seen. Short cropped brown hair on top of a body the gods themselves must have carved and when the man turned, and Zach got his first look at his crystal blue eyes, he knew he had to meet the man. That was his Mekhi. Zach had been taken with him from the moment he saw those eyes and that perfectly sculpted body that looked like he worked out eight hours a day at the gym.
He had sat a few yards from Mekhi and just watched him as he limped to the shoreline and dove into the ocean. He watched Mekhi swim for about an hour, fantasizing what it would feel like to touch a man that sexy and wondering if the guy was gay. When Mekhi got out of the water, Zach had been shocked when he walked right to him with a bright smile full of perfectly straight white teeth and held out his hand. “Hi, I’m Mekhi. I noticed you watching me. Did you see something you liked?”
Hell, yes he had seen something he liked and he liked how forward Mekhi had been. They had been inseparable since that moment as a friendship grew between them, then after a few months, it turned to more. Mekhi was twenty-three and had recently been discharge from the Army on a medical discharge. He had served a tour in Afghanistan and had been injured. When Mekhi returned home to California after a few surgeries and rehab at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he had nowhere to go. His Dad died when he was twelve and his mom passed six months before he went into the Army. All he had was a sister, but she had recently gotten married and she and her new husband had no room for him.
Mekhi had gotten an apartment and a job and lived off his military money for a while, but each job he got, he was fired from when he had taken too much time off for illness. There were some days that Mekhi’s leg just did not want to work for him, the pain too great, and other days he struggled with his PTSD. Mekhi had tried for so long to obtain services for veterans but found a lot of red tape and not enough help. Most of the time it was due to long waiting lists as other veterans received care. At a certain point, Mekhi had run out of money and his sister didn’t have anything to spare, so Mekhi found himself like so many other wounded warriors, homeless. Which Zach thought was the biggest crime from the government.
These brave men and women volunteered to walk away from their lives, their families, to serve their country honorably, made many sacrifices, and many came home injured. In Zach’s eyes, they should be taken care of for the rest of their lives.
Mekhi had only been on the streets for seven months when they met, but he had told Zach that he was at the point where he was about to become desperate. He had seen some of the other young men on the streets who sold themselves for cash. Mekhi never wanted to do that and felt guilty for even thinking about it, especially after the life he had lived for the past few years. But when you're truly hungry and living on the streets, desperate times made even the strongest make desperate decisions. Zach understood perfectly seeing as he had fallen to that decision a few times himself. He wasn’t proud of it, but he was still alive.
When he and Mekhi decided to stick together in the beginning, they also made a promise to each other that they would look out for one another and neither of them would ever let the other get that desperate again.
Zach didn’t know what he would do without Mekhi. When they met, he had been struggling with the idea of joining up with a pimp, just so he would have somewhere to stay and money coming in daily, but with Mekhi’s friendship and then love, Zach turned away from those thoughts.
Another rumble of thunder crashed through the night and Zach jumped as tears sprang from his eyes and he started to shake. Gods he hated storms. When strong arms wrapped around him and held him tight, Zach found a little peace. He smiled as he cuddled closer to the man, he loved with all his heart, enjoying the feel of Mekhi surrounding him. He knew Mekhi would protect him from the storm, and not just the one raging around them.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
They had spent two nights in the dugout and on the second morning had awakened to birds chirping and the sun beating on the tarp, making it hot in their hideout. It was still early morning when they left the park, knowing their time there was up because the workers would be back now that the storm was over.
As they made their way back to the pier to start begging for money that day, Zach stopped them outside the electronics store to watch some of the news on the TV. They saw that the storm had left the area and that it looked like nothing but blue skies for the next week or so, which made them happy because they could go back to their spot under the pier.
As they were about to turn away, something flashed across the screen that caught their attention. It was big news. The largest lottery payout in history was announced and the reporters on the screen were shown standing outside many places that sold lottery tickets talking about how the lines were long and people were spending hundreds of dollars on a chance to win.
Zach shook his head. “If only those people would give ten percent of what they were spending on those tickets to shelters or places to help veterans, maybe there would be less of us out here.”
Mekhi hugged him tight and kissed Zach’s temple. “From your lips to god's ears, baby. Come on, the first of the tourist should be showing up soon and I want to check on our spot first to see what damage the storm did.”
Zach smiled at him and nodded, and they turned and headed toward the pier. “Wouldn’t it be amazing to win even a small portion of that money? I mean, I would be happy with a million right now and they could give other people who needed it the rest.”
“Yeah, that would be great. What would you do with that kind of money, baby? I mean, 1.6 billion dollars. I don’t even know how to fathom that kind of cash,” Mekhi said.
“Right? That is a lot of money. I’m sure there will be a lot of winners with that one. I mean look at all the people buying tickets and that’s just here. I don’t know what I would do with all that money. I heard that most big lottery winners end up losing it all and having a miserable life after that because they just don’t know how to handle that kind of money. It’s really sad.”
“I agree but it’s nice to dream about it. I think I would give some to The Wounded Warrior Project to help my fellow soldiers who need it. Then maybe the shelters and things like that,” Mekhi replied.
Zach’s eyes opened wide as he smiled and turned to Mekhi. “Oh, I like that. That would be awesome, wouldn’t it? I mean, of course I would take some for myself to get a home, a savings account that I could live off of for the rest of my life, so I would never be homeless again, but after that, yeah, I would so do that.”
Mekhi kissed him quick as he smiled. “Well, we can all dream, baby,”
“What would even be the payout for that, after taxes I mean?” Zach asked as they began walking again.
“I don’t have a clue, but I’m sure it’s still a shit ton,” Mekhi replied with a chuckle.
The next day Zach and Mekhi decided to split up for the morning seeing as the day before was mostly a bust. Because of the storm and the town cleaning up, most of the tourists stayed away from the beach.
Zach walked down Manhattan Beach Blvd. making his way along the shops, asking people for money. Once he got to Valley Drive, he crossed the street to make his way back toward the beach as he worked the opposite side of the street. As he passed Mr. O’Brian’s convenience store, Zach saw the big flashing sign in the window advertising the lottery. He stopped and stared at it as he thought about what he and Mekhi had talked about. That was a nice dream they had, if only it was something they could actually do. He sighed as he thought about it, knowing he would never be able to make that dream a reality.
“Hey, Zach,” Mr. O'Brien said from next to him.
He turned and smiled at the older man. Not that Mr. O was old, but Zach figured he was in his mid-fifties. “Hi, Mr. O. How’s your day?”
“Good. I’m not six feet under so I can’t really complain.”
Zach chuckled. He liked Mr. O. He was a good man who didn’t complain when some of the homeless hung around his store or went in to buy something or even use his bathroom. He never treated them like they were less than or like they didn’t matter because they were homeless. Mr. O always treated everyone with the same friendship and respect.
“True. So how did you and your family fair during the storm? Everything okay?” Zach asked.
Mr. O gave him a bright smile. “Yup, we did pretty good. Only lost one tree at home and thank god it didn’t fall on the house. How about you and Mekhi? Were you able to get into one of the shelters?” Mr. O asked as his brow furrowed and Zach could hear the genuine concern in his voice.
“Yeah, we were able to find a place and made it through.”
Mr. O smiled. “Good. I’m glad to hear that. I worry about all you boys. So you coming in for something today? What can I get you?”
“No, but thanks. I was just looking at your sign for the lottery and wondering what that would be like to win all that money and be able to use it to help others.”
Mr. O placed a hand on his shoulder and gave it a small squeeze. “You’re a good man, Zach. So how about a ticket? You never know, all you need is a dollar and a dream is what they say.”
“I know, It just seems wrong to use the money on something frivolous.”
“When was the last time you did something like that?”
Zach sighed. “I can't even remember.”
“I know money is tight and I understand your struggle, Zach, but sometimes if you can, you need to enjoy a little. I only wish I could do more for all of you.”
Zach gave the man a smile. “You do what you can, Mr. O. You’re one of the few business owners around here that doesn’t chase us away or call the cops on us. You never treat us any differently than anyone else, and you even let us use your facilities. You’re a good man, Mr. O and we all appreciate your kindness.”
Mr. O smiled uncomfortably, and he nodded. “It’s the least I could do. I know if I won that money, the shelters around here would be one of the first places I donated some of those winnings to.”
“Mr. O’Brien,” a woman's voice came from behind him and they both turned.
“Oh, Mrs. Thompson, how can I help you today?”
Mrs. Thompson gave Zach a look of disgust, then quickly turned to Mr. O. I’m having the ladies over for my book club today and it’s my turn to provide lunch. I was hoping you had some of that prosciutto I love so much.”
“Yes, I do. Come on in and I’ll get Pete to take care of you,” Mr. O replied as he motioned for the woman to proceed him into the store. As she did, Mr. O turned and gave him a smile. “Be careful out there and tell that man of yours I said hello.”
Zach returned Mr. O’s smile as the man turned and entered his shop. Zach looked back to the big sign for the lottery and Mr. O’s words came back to him. A dollar and a dream. Could he really risk it?
Zach dug into his pocket and pulled out all the money he had. Three dollars and seventy-two cents. It wasn’t quite enough for a meal for him and Mekhi. Maybe if they each got one hot dog from the vender and a bottle of water. They only each had a cup of hot chocolate two days ago and nothing since and Zach was hungry, but still...maybe?
He took a deep breath then released it and headed into the store. He was going to do it. He would just make sure Mekhi got the hot dog today. He could hold off one more day...maybe.
To be continued...
Betrayal- The Angel Pack book 1
Jesse Alexander was kicked out of his home when he told his family he was gay. When his best friend Taylor is also thrown out, the two friends take off and land in New York City, where they find jobs at an all male club. Jesse’s voice lands him a singing job at the club. When the owner discovers their secret, he offers to help them, but that kind gesture turns into the biggest mistake of their lives.
Micah Angel left his birth pack over three hundred years ago when they tried to force him to marry an Alpha female of their choosing. Micah refuses, and leaves the pack, he will settle for nothing but his true mate.
When Micah hears the angelic voice coming from the most beautiful man he has ever seen, his world turns upside down. Then he realizes that the angel is his mate. He has waited a long time to find him, but now that he’s found him, he may never get to claim him. Someone is trying to kill Jesse. At the same time, someone from Micah’s past comes back to claim Micah as their own. Is it coincidence or a set up? Even though Jesse has trust issues and Micah can’t claim him, he will do anything in his power to protect his mate.
When the person trying to kill Jesse accidentally gets Micah instead, Jesse needs to find a way to save the Alpha before it’s too late. Can Jesse and the pack find the culprit and the cure before Micah dies, or will Jesse lose the one man that he feels he can give his heart to. And if Micah survives, will he be able to move past the betrayal of one of his own and finally claim his mate?
“Protect me?” Jesse said with disdain in his voice and a cold look in his eyes. “Protect me?” he repeated. “That’s why you sat there and allowed your friend there to talk to me like that?”
“Thomas didn’t mean anything. He was just asking if there may be someone who is angry with you.”
“Yeah. Riiiight,” Taylor said with his hands fisted on his hips, glaring at Thomas. “He pretty much just called us whores and you’re sticking up for him? Nice, Micah, real nice,” Taylor finished coldly.
“We’re just trying to get to the bottom of this. To look at all the angles,” Micah said in frustration.
“Yeah well maybe Thomas did it! Maybe he has some sick reason. Maybe he’s just a total fucktard!” Jesse sneered at Thomas. A flash of something Jesse couldn’t make out crossed Thomas’s eyes, but he covered it up quickly and narrowed his eyes at Jesse.
“What reason would I have to do something like that to our own club?” Thomas asked calmly.
“How the hell should I know, we don’t know you. Just like you don’t know us. Maybe you’re just a psycho asshole.” Taylor smiled at that last part.
“Enough!” Micah yelled. “We’re not getting anywhere throwing names at each other. Let’s just sit down and calmly talk about this.”
Jesse grabbed Taylor’s hand and turned to leave. “Let’s go, Tay. We have better things to do than sit here with these assholes. There are at least twenty to thirty hot guys still down there that we haven’t fucked yet. If we start now we can get to all of them by sunrise.” Jesse and Taylor headed across the V.I.P. lounge toward the stairs.
Micah ran after them and grabbed Jesse’s arm and turned him around. He grabbed onto both of Jesse’s arms and held him tight. “You’re mine, Jesse! I better never find another man touching you! You belong to me!” Micah pulled Jesse into him and smashed their lips together hard. Jesse tried to pull away. He fought to get out of Micah’s hold, but he couldn’t. He kept his lips tightly closed. The passion and anger in Micah’s eyes and lips were playing with Jesse’s resolve.
Micah’s tongue came out and swiped across the seam of Jesse’s lips, demanding entry. Jesse lost the battle as his head started to swim. He opened his lips slightly, and it was just enough for Micah to take advantage and he slipped his tongue into Jesse’s mouth.
Their tongues battled for dominance. A growl escaped Micah as his arms wrapped around Jesse. The growl sent a thrill through Jesse and he melted against Micah, submitting to him, as he held onto Micah’s shirt. Micah’s wolf was overjoyed at Jesse’s submission. He wanted to claim their mate right now. Micah kept one arm wrapped around Jesse’s waist and moved the other to grab the back of his head, holding him tight. His heart and head were soaring with the knowledge that his mate was finally in his arms. Jesse tasted better than anything on this planet. He tasted of chocolate, cinnamon, and a hint of lavender. Jesse’s lips were so soft and his body fit Micah’s perfectly. A small moan escaped Jesse and Micah smiled against Jesse’s lips with a small chuckle.
That was enough to bring Jesse to his senses. His eyes popped open and he flattened both palms against Micah’s chest. Jesse pushed with all his strength as he pulled his head back. Breathing hard, Micah and Jesse just stared at each other. Micah’s hands were still on Jesse’s hips when he started to speak. “Jesse…” He was cut off when Jesse smacked him across the face as hard as he could. Then Jesse cursed from the pain as he pulled his hand into his chest, holding it with his other hand. Holy shit! What is this guy made of...concrete? Jesse thought to himself. Micah stepped back from Jesse, his face emotionless. He just stared blankly at Jesse.
“How dare you! Don’t you ever fucking touch me again! I don’t care who you say I am to you. I belong to no one! You can all go fuck yourselves!” Jesse yelled. He turned and ran down the stairs. Taylor stopped at the top of the stairs and turned toward Micah. He looked right into Micah’s eyes and sighed as his face softened. “Idiot.” He rolled his eyes. “You just blew it. I told you to go slow, to take it easy with him. You say you’re his mate, yet you didn’t even stand up for him just now with that asswipe, piece of slug trail.” Taylor pointed to Thomas, who was standing with Raith by the office door, watching everything. “I told you to never hurt him, and it’s the first thing you do. Don’t ask me to help you now. You don’t deserve him, and you don’t realise how big you just fucked up. Huge.” Taylor turned around and started heading down the stairs. “Maybe we’ll see you around sometime, bitches. Have a nice life.” Taylor disappeared down the stairs.
Micah was just standing there, frozen, mouth hanging open, tears started to burn the backs of his eyes. He couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t think, as Taylor’s words all sank in. “I just lost my mate. Before I even had a chance to have him, I lost him. What the hell just happened? What the fuck have I done?”
Micah started to hyperventilate as he started to get angry. The pain in his chest was crushing him. His stomach twisted and his wolf was howling, raging mad at him for letting their mate get away. He was fighting to get to the surface to go after their mate and claim him. Micah was fighting to control his wolf, but he couldn’t. His teeth ripped through his gums, and his eyes went feral. He couldn’t control it. His wolf was taking over.
Maggie has been married for twenty-one years and has four children. She is a Long Island girl who now lives in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Maggie has always loved anything that has to do with the arts. Music is one of her biggest passions. She was a photographer and artist in her earlier days and spends hours sketching anything that catches her eye. Maggie loves to write about big, strong, tough men who have a softer side. Most of the time you can find Maggie running around with her kids, sketching, or sitting with her laptop creating new characters, as music always plays in the background.
To find out more about Maggie, what she’s working on, and what’s coming next, please visit her Website at: www.maggiewalshauthor.weebly.com
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Maggiewalsh68
Siren author page: http://www.bookstrand.com/maggie-walsh
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Maggie-Walsh/e/B00NB8YAGS/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1426884194&sr=8-1