Hi everyone, since announcing I'd be writing a book about Mike, I got lots of requests for more information on Mike. Heavy Issues had a subplot about him, but the publishers decided to delete it. Ever since, I've had Mike's story in my head and frankly, I'll go bonkers if I don't get it out on paper. I'm still writing Max's book (basically I'm writing both books at the same time), but I think I'll get Mike's published first. Here you have the first chapter. Keep in mind this is a rough, unedited version that is subject to change. I hope you'll enjoy it.
“This is a bad idea, grandma,” Mike said as he got out of the dressing room at the community center, wearing nothing but his boxers and an intimidating scowl that, unfortunately and as usual, had no effect whatsoever on the old lady.
“Nonsense. The girls are waiting. Let’s roll,” she said as she pushed him forward and down the corridor.
His grand mother was barely five feet tall and 100 pounds when drenched. How she got the strength to push his big frame while he was literally dragging his feet was beyond him.
“Besides, you promised you’d do it.”
He snorted. “No I didn’t. I promised I’d help you with your senior courses. Meaning I’d drive you around, do your shopping or some shit like that. I didn’t agree to pose for any male anatomy painting lessons. You know I’m too busy for this.” He’d stopped working as a foreman almost two years ago to run the family gym full time with his dad, but last month Cole had taken on the renovation of the town’s library pro bono, and Mike had volunteered to help. That plus the gym and the martial art classes in the afternoons had taken up all his time. Fuck it if now that the library was ready he was going to invest whatever was left of the summer in this. “Can’t you guys use, I don’t know, a statue? Or better yet, a picture. There are plenty of books and—”
“Live human anatomy painting, Mike,” she interrupted, emphasizing the word “live”. “And one is never too busy to help his grandmother.”
Well, it depended on how nutty the grandmother was, didn’t it?
“What about Mr. Honbacker or Mr. Stilt from Bingo nights?” he asked, trying to get out if it. “I’m sure they are free and willing.”
His grandmother clicked her tongue. “The idea behind these classes is for us senior citizens to enjoy ourselves. We do know we have a foot in the grave. We have enough of a reality check every time we look in the mirror, honey. Besides, Mr. Stilt’s prostate is acting up again. He couldn’t stay still 15 minutes to save his own life. And about Mr. Honbacker,” she added lowering her voice, “Rita had a ...fling with him. They are not on speaking terms. Some kinky thing he did with his false teeth I hear.”
Oh man. There was an image he wouldn’t be able to erase from his mind even if he lived to be hundred. That was what he got for being nice—permanent brain damage.
“You’re a flawless specimen. In the prime of your life,” she continued, reaching for his arm and squeezing his biceps appreciatively. “Handsome and fit. A perfect Michelangelo’s David.”
He turned his head to her. “You kidding me, right? Come on, do I look to you anything like Michelangelo’s David?”
She pondered his words as her gaze travelled over his bulk and tattoos, then settled on his face. “Well, your hair isn’t curly.”
He rolled his eyes. Trust her to focus on the most insignificant things.
The fact that he was heavily tattooed, weighted around 220 pounds and a life-time of practicing boxing and martial arts had granted him a body that had little to do with that of an effeminate boy hadn’t registered.
“You’re a bit rougher than Michelangelo’s David,” she finally conceded, “but you’ll make do nicely, I’m sure of it. The girls will be pleased.”
For the love of God.
“I’m your grandson, and you’re pimping me out. Don’t you see anything wrong with this picture?”
“Just humor us. We’re a bunch of women in our late seventies, early eighties. Half of us are blind; the other half won’t remember tomorrow what we did today. And you only have to pose. The girls voted for body oil to highlight your muscles, but they couldn’t agree who should help you rub it on, so I vetoed.”
“Fuck me,” he muttered as he dug his heels in.
That’s what happened for going along with his grandma’s wacky ideas. For not putting his foot down on time. Like when she decided her girls needed self-defense classes. They needed an extra edge, she'd said. Extra edge for what? What were those grandmas going to be doing? Strolling around Southie sporting colors? Considering their age, the best bet if anyone tried to rob them would be to hand out the purse. Better that than risk any injury. His grand mother hadn’t agreed, of course, and now, every Wednesday, there was a self-defense class for seniors down at the gym, where Mike was supposed to teach them how to knock down a guy without breaking any bones of their own.
“Come on, Mike, we’re harmless.”
Yeah, harmless his ass. He’d rather face a firing squad or better yet, the Hulk in a no-holds-barred underground fight than deal with his grandma’s goonies and all their guilt tripping tricks.
Next time Mr. Bowen came for a visit, Mike was so bribing him into taking her to Eternal Sun Resort in Florida. For what he’d heard, the senior community was more than adequately equipped to keep his grandmother entertained and the rest of the world out of trouble.
In the mean time, he needed to exercise some damage control.
Probably sensing he was about to hightail it out of there, she pulled out the big guns. “You promised, Mike. You can’t break your promises to me. For all you know I could drop dead tomorrow and you’d have to carry the guilt of breaking my heart in your conscience for the rest of your life.”
God grant him patience.
“Oh please, you’d been using the same I-could-drop-dead-tomorrow line to get away with whatever you wanted for the last 20 years.”
She shrugged. “I’ve been just lucky, but clearly I’m running out of time. The probabilities of that happening become higher and higher with every passing day. You should not risk it.”
Right. She was in great shape, not only for her age but for someone 10 years younger than she was.
“A shameless blackmailer, that’s what you are,” he muttered as they approached the room, from where the animated chatter was coming out. “No oil. No rubbing. Hell, no touching at all. And the boxers are staying on, are we clear?” He wasn’t sure if Michelangelo’s David was a complete nude or if he had something covering his junk, but Mike had his suspicions and damn if he was going to risk it.
She patted him condescendingly. “Of course dear, it’s not our intention to make you uncomfortable in any way.”
Really? Thank fucking God, because he’d been nothing but damn uncomfortable since he’d set foot in the community center.
“For the record, Mike; none of us has had sex during this century, granted, but equipment wise, I doubt you have something we haven’t seen before.”
He choked on the breath he was taking. He wouldn’t bet on that.
The second he entered the room, a perfectly heart-shaped ass clad in an extremely short boy shorts that left the underside of both ass cheeks in plain view greeted him. Well, maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea after all. The girl was bent over, so he couldn’t see her face, but what he could see was damn promising.
“I thought you needed a model for the male anatomy painting class,” he whispered as he lifted his chin, greeting his grandmother’s blue-haired posse.
“No, I needed a male model for the anatomy painting class.”
She should have started with that. As an incentive if anything else. He was still pissed he’d be spending every the other Tuesday posing in his damn underwear—hopefully—, but at least he wouldn’t be alone in his misery and could entertain himself with eye candy.
He caught his grandmother’s gaze drifting away to the floor, a flash of unease on her face, and his joy took a nosedive.
Oh boy, why did he suddenly have a shitty feeling about this? Before he could ask anything, the owner of that glorious ass straightened, turned around and his fucking heart jumped to his throat. And stopped.
He froze. Literally.
There, standing in those sexy like hell shorts and a sports bra, showing off her toned and curvy and mouth-watering body, looking surprised as all fuck, and displeased as all fuck too, was Kyra.
No, not his Kyra anymore, he corrected himself.
He instinctively took a step back, the air suddenly too thick to breath.
She’d been back in Alden for several weeks now. This was the closest he’d been to her since her return.
Much closer than what he wanted to be ever again.
“A word?” he said to his grandmother while moving back to the corridor, dragging her along.
Hoping he was out of ear shot, he stopped and turned to her, his jaw clenched so tight he had trouble getting any words out. “You crazy?”
She thought for a second. “Is that a trick question? Because I warn you my admission won’t have any legal validity. In case you’re thinking about having me committed.”
He ignored her. “Kyra? Really?”
She lifted her shoulders. “I had nothing to do with that, I was in charge of bringing a male model. Rita is the one that got Kyra.”
Sure she had nothing to do with Kyra being in there.
“Not doing it. No fucking way.”
“What’s the problem? You told me you were over her.”
Sure he was over her.
Over and fucking done, but that didn’t mean he wanted to spend any time around her. Or breathing the same air. For one, because even now, seeing her or hearing her voice still send a surge of pain through his chest, which, considering how fucking badly she’d crushed him all those years ago, pissed him to no end. That, of course, he wasn’t going to explain to his grandmother. Not that she needed any explanations.
“I thought we could be mature about this,” he heard her say.
Fuck mature. He was running for the hills.
If it hadn’t been for the fact that he’d promised Cole he’d help with the library’s renovation, he would have gotten the fuck out of Alden the very first day she came back. Then again, his father couldn’t manage the gym by himself, so he was stuck.
Since her return, and out of pure self-preservation, he’d become a master at avoiding her, which in a place the size of Alden was a damn feat. Posing with her for a couple of hours would blow to hell and back the frail status quo he’d managed to achieve, not to talk about how he would loose whatever little was left of his frigging peace of mind. He’d have nothing to do but stare at her. At those gorgeous dark grey eyes of hers he, once upon a time, used to wake up to. At that bee stung, luscious mouth he used to spend hours kissing. At that sexy little body he used to love fucking.
She sighed. “I understand. If you can’t take it, you can’t take it. I’ll walk right back in and say you can’t do it. You shouldn’t feel like any less of a man for it. It’s okay your feelings are still tender, my boy,” she said patting his chest. “Nobody will think less of you.”
He groaned in exasperation. Fantastic. Now he’d look like a fucking pussy if he backed down.
Whatever. Worse things to look like in life than a pussy, even for a born fighter like him. Not sure which ones were those, but he was sure there ought to be.
He turned around and began walking away.
“Michael, if you leave, we have to cancel the class. The whole course probably. If we cancel, she won’t get paid. She needs the cash. She’s in trouble, my boy. I heard in two days—”
“Don’t want to hear it,” he said through gritted teeth.
He didn’t want to hear a damn fucking word. Not a one. The sight of her and Sam was painful enough. He didn’t need a soundtrack to go with it, thank you very much.
He got in only a handful of steps more before he stopped and let out a low, pissed-off growl.
“Mike, please,” he heard his grandma say.
He slung his head forward.
Fuck. Shit. Crap.
He hated being played, but for the life of him he couldn’t walk away knowing he would be directly responsible for making Kyra’s situation more difficult. And why that mattered to him after all that had gone down, he couldn’t fathom. Well, he could; he was a moron in dear need of an express lobotomy. Pronto.
After a long pause, his back still facing his grandmother, he muttered, “I thought you said this was volunteer work.”
“For you it is. I’ve donated your pay to the Church.”
He shook his head. He was so going to regret this.
God protect the unsuspecting soul that would spar with him in the gym later on. He was going to have so much pent-up aggression he would annihilate the poor bastard.
He turned around. “Just this once,” he said as sternly as he could muster. “You better find a substitute for next time. I don’t care if you have to make do with Mr. Honbacker and his kinky teeth or Mr. Stilt and his prostate. You either get someone else next time, or your classes will be cancelled. You hear me?”
She beamed. “Yeah, yeah. I hear you.”
He drew in a deep breath, and walked back inside.
He could do mature.
The second his gaze landed on Kyra, he felt his cock stir. Jesus fucking Christ. Didn’t the little fucker have a smidgen of dignity?
He should not only be lobotomized, he should be castrated too.
They stared at each other for a long second.
Man, she was still the most beautiful woman in the world.
How the fuck was he going to pull this off?
“Mike,” Kyra greeted, her voice clipped.
She wasn’t happier than he was at this moment. She was standing stiff, throwing glances to the door as if she were to bolt at any second. But he knew she wouldn’t. Like him, she’d always had a soft spot for his grandmother. She might need the money, but he bet she would be running out the door if this little gig didn’t involve his grandmother. Or maybe not. Who the fuck knew her now. Certainly not him. He wondered if he ever did.
Shaking those thoughts away, he nodded in her general direction. His cock too.
Fuck, shit, crap. He had to get the fuck out of here.
He threw a dirty glance to his grand mother, who now was shamelessly smiling.
“Let’s get cracking,” the evil woman said, grabbing him by the arm and pushing him forward. “Come stand here in front of Kyra.”
He looked up, chanced another look at Kyra and his dick twitch again. Oh hell. These boxers were no barrier. At all. They were going to start tenting in three... two... one.
Well, if his cock burst straight through his pants and gave a collective hard attack to her friends, his grandmother would have no one to blame but herself. Then again, sending half the senior population in Alden to the ER would be a hell of a way to end his Friday. He would never live that one down.
He took in a slow breath, and reaching deep inside into the place where he kept it all locked away, he released every ounce of pain that came hand in hand with Kyra, allowing the memories to flood into his mind. And with that, he felt his dick retreating into himself.
Now, he could do this.
Copyright © Elle Aycart 2013