This is the last Tickle for Nathan and Vince, which is both happy and sad. Sad, because I like teasing people, and these two are cute. Happy, because they’re going to be released into the wild in 3 DAYS!
Don’t forget to check out the Joyfully Jay post, where you can win one of 4 different ebooks. And today I’m at Book Reviews and More by Kathy, talking about squirrels and squirrelly things (like authors).
Nathan ducked around the end of the aisle, pretending to straighten the boxes of tea on the shelves so he could watch Vince scoop birdseed into the little plastic bags they provided at the Bulk Mart. He knew the man’s name was Vince because he’d scoped out the name on his debit card one day about two months ago. It was an awesome name, all high class and kind of ‘rebel with a trust fund’-ish, which was what Nathan thought Vince looked like, too—dark hair and a narrow face on a lanky, well-cared-for body. He watched Vince bend over to drop a sack of niger seed in one of the store’s carry-baskets and imagined what it would feel like to be shoved up against the wall while one of those thighs pushed his legs apart and rubbed against him. Nathan’s blush burned up from his chest, all the way to his hairline, where he could feel it shining through his hair like a beacon.
Settle down, Nathan. You’re going to set off the sprinklers.
Sighing, he made his way to the front of the store, breathing deeply to try to cool his flushed skin. Getting his mind on more appropriate things would be the smart thing to do, so he dug under the counter for extra stock to refill the bins of ‘impulse buy’ candy that covered the front of each register. He was halfway through topping off the bins of ‘Snapping Gummy Turtles’ when he heard the soft thump of filled baggies as they dropped onto the belt at his register.
“Hi, Nathan,” Vince said, grinning the crooked grin that had such a ridiculous effect on Nathan’s hormones.
“Hi,” Nathan croaked back. He skirted the table in front of his register and slipped into place, ever so grateful for the oversized aprons that were the required uniform at the Bulk Mart. That way, Vince couldn’t know that he got hard as a Macadamia nutshell whenever the man walked into the store. He dragged his eyes away from Vince’s wide mouth and reached for the first of the sacks, dragging it onto the scale. Automatically, he punched in the code, waited for the beep, then plucked it off the steel plate and slid it into a plastic bag. As he reached for the next bag, it occurred to him that this was the second time this week he’d seen Vince in buying seed. He stopped and counted the bags. “I thought you just bought a bunch of birdseed. Did you put in some new feeders?”
“No, I’ve got some damned squirrel that’s started raiding the two big feeders, and I can’t keep them full.”
“Oh.” Nathan’s stomach sank and a guilty flush spread across his cheeks. This wasn’t good at all. Because that squirrel that was raiding Vince’s feeders? That was him. “Maybe he’s just hungry?” he suggested hopefully.
Vince snorted and shook his head. “Not likely. He’s fat as a seal and getting fatter. I’ll bet he’s raiding feeders around the whole neighbourhood.”
Nathan’s cheeks heated even more. It wasn’t all the feeders in the neighbourhood—just the two that gave him a perfect view of Vince’s early morning showers and of his living room couch, where Vince liked to lounge in nothing more than his boxer shorts most evenings. And fat? Nathan discreetly sucked in his gut as he rang through the rest of the seed. He knew he’d developed some love handles recently, but he didn’t think it was that bad. He flexed his stomach muscles again, testing. Maybe he should lay off the sunflower seeds for a while. But they were so good. “Everyone’s gotta live,” he said and smiled weakly up at Vince as he swiped Vince’s debit card and punched in the total.