How about celebrating the new year by hopping along over to Silver Publishing to pick up my latest free read.
The story is called Breaking Free and those who have read my recent holiday release Someone Like You will probably recognise the main character in the story.
* * * *
The mobile phone rang persistently. It was the second time this hour and the fifth time this morning. Billy Wright ignored it as he continued tinkering with the engine of one of his customer’s cars. The call would go to the answering service, just like the others. Greg would no doubt leave a message, again, and Billy would…
Billy didn’t know what the hell he was going to do about it.
Every New Year’s Eve was the same. Greg would phone and Billy would go running to his side. It made no difference that ten years had passed since they were together. Greg’s call was like a siren song and Billy was helpless to resist. At least until now.
The phone finally stopped ringing.
Billy sighed and ran oily hands through his hair. He had thought working today would put it out of his mind. It hadn’t. He had to end it. He’d never get on with his life if he kept answering Greg’s call. He had to draw the line somewhere.
The mobile began to ring again.
“Damn it,” Billy swore as he picked up the phone and hit ‘answer’.
* * * *
Billy hadn’t seen Greg since last New Year’s Eve. His former lover hadn’t changed much since last year. Maybe a little softer round the middle, brown hair starting to recede, but with eyes still slightly glazed from his annual overindulgence over the holidays.
It was the same every year. Greg drank far too much over the holidays, and in a fit of nostalgia called Billy to invite him over ‘for old time’s sake’. Billy had long thought himself a fool for even answering the phone.
“Hey, Billy,” Greg greeted him with a sheepish smile. “I thought perhaps you were ignoring me this year. I must have called a half dozen times this morning.”
Billy shrugged as Greg stepped aside to let him into the house.
“This is the last time,” Billy warned as he unwound his scarf and took off his gloves.
Greg wrapped his arms round Billy’s waist and pulled him flush against him. “I seem to have heard those words before.”
“I mean it this year.”
Greg chuckled. “I’ve heard those words before too.”
Billy hadn’t come here to argue. He wasn’t sure exactly why he had come here, but it wasn’t for a fight.
“Where are your parents?” Billy asked. Two years ago he’d arrived to find Greg’s parents hadn’t gone to one of their usual New Year’s Eve charity balls. To say things had been awkward had been an understatement. After all, how did you explain your presence to your ex-boyfriend’s parents when they were convinced their son was straight and you had been nothing more than a bit of experimentation?
“Out partying until dawn,” Greg replied as he shut the front door and pushed Billy up against it. “Got the place all to ourselves.”
The moment Greg ground up against him Billy feared he knew exactly how the night would go. When he was with Greg he seemed to lose all self control. Ever since their first kiss Greg had known exactly which buttons to push to keep Billy exactly where he wanted him.
“Been so long,” Greg whispered into his ear.
“A year exactly,” Billy replied. “It doesn’t have to be this way. You know it doesn’t.”
Greg growled deep and low. “Don’t go there Billy. Not tonight. Just let me have you.”
Billy didn’t want to argue. They both knew the score. To everyone around him Greg was straight. It was a choice he had made long ago to live the lie he had. Billy had stood aside when asked, watched his lover marry a woman he didn’t love, helped him pick up the pieces after the inevitable divorce, and came running back every time Greg crooked his finger. All while Greg continued with his charade of being straight.
Each New Year saw them back together for a single night, their anniversary, such as it was.
Billy had tried many times to talk to Greg about his life, trying to make him see how happy they could be together, if only Greg would come out of the damn closet. But Greg was firmly entrenched in his life and would probably still be living a lie the day he died.
Not tonight though. Tonight was New Year’s Eve and Greg wanted him—Billy—not the lie.
Greg pulled away just far enough to reach the buttons of Billy’s thick winter coat. “Let’s get you out of these clothes,” he said.
“Don’t you want to catch up a bit first?” Billy asked. “It’s been a year.”
“Later,” Greg replied as he helped Billy out of his coat and tossed it towards the coat hooks, missing them by a foot. “You’re wearing too many clothes.”
Billy knew Greg in this mood very well indeed. It had been far too long for both of them. The last year had probably been as hard for Greg as it had been for him. Maybe harder. At least Billy was open and honest with the people in his life.
They stumbled their way up the stairs, items of clothing being discarded at every step. Billy knew the way from last year, and the year before, and all the years before that.
By the time they reached the bedroom Billy no longer made any effort to pretend he didn’t want what Greg was offering. He kicked off his shoes and unzipped his jeans.
“Wait here,” Greg said as he dashed out the bedroom, leaving Billy slightly perplexed. When Greg returned a couple of minutes later he held in his arms Billy’s coat and scarf as well as both of their shirts. “Don’t want my parents tripping on them when they get back.”
Billy tried to stifle a sigh of annoyance. They’d had this argument before as well. It wasn’t that Greg didn’t want his parents falling over clothing; he didn’t want them seeing he’d had Billy over at all.
His erection wilted as anger welled up inside him. Billy grabbed the clothing from Greg and tossed it across the room.
“Can you at least be honest with me?” he yelled. “Just once!”
“I’ve invited you over here,” Greg said. “You know I want you. What more do you want from me?”
Billy picked up his shirt and tugged it back on.
“What are you doing?” Greg asked. “You can’t leave yet. You’ve only just got here.”
“I’m going home,” Billy replied as he re-buttoned his shirt. “I shouldn’t have come here tonight.”
“Of course you should have. It’s New Year’s Eve. Should old acquaintance be forgot and all that shit.”
“Why don’t you ever call and invite me over any other day of the year?” Billy asked. “What about Christmas Day?”
“You know I spend Christmas with my parents.”
“What about your birthday then?”
“My mother likes to hold a family party for me.”
“My birthday then! I doubt your parents would be throwing me a party since they couldn’t even remember my name the last time I met them.”
Greg sat down on the bed and glared at him. “Of course they remembered you. They were trying to be discreet.”
“Is that what you call it?” Billy shook his head as he gave up on the buttons on his shirt and searched instead for his discarded shoes. “I can’t do this any more.”
“Do what?” Greg looked genuinely confused.
“Be the guy you call round on New Year’s Eve while pretending to be straight the rest of the year.”
“I am straight.”
Billy rolled his eyes and fought the urge to throw his shoe at Greg’s head. “Straight men don’t beg gay men to fuck them. You’re no more straight than I am. Hell, at this stage even admitting you’re bi would be an improvement.”
“I’m not bi. I’m straight.”
Billy ignored Greg’s protests and finished dressing.
“Is there someone else?” Greg asked.
“You think I’d come here and have sex with you tonight if there was?”
“It’s not like we’re having sex right now,” Greg pointed out with a fair degree of petulance. “Is it because you have someone else back home?”
Billy sat down on one of the nearby chairs. If he was going to call Greg on his honesty then at least he had to be upfront himself.
“Is there?” Greg prompted.
“No, but there nearly was,” Billy admitted. “I was seeing someone for about six months this last year.”
Billy shot him a withering glance. “Yes, a man.”
“It didn’t work out.”
Billy didn’t want to talk about it. Why had Greg suddenly decided that catching up was a good idea? Greg waited patiently while Billy remembered his promise to himself to be honest.
“It didn’t work out because I’ve never really let you go,” Billy finally admitted.
“But we’re not together any more.”
“Thanks for pointing out the obvious. It doesn’t make any difference though, not when I come running here every year, regular as fucking clockwork. As long as I keep doing that I’ll never find a man to share my life with.”
Billy didn’t wait for Greg to say anything else. He pulled on his coat and dug in his pocket for his gloves. Inside he also found his mobile phone. He’d upgraded to a new phone a few months ago and cleared all of his personal numbers off this one. This phone was such an antique he couldn’t even transfer the number to his new one. Everyone except Greg had his new number. Billy had only kept this phone at all because he knew it was the one Greg would be calling on.
“It’s over,” Billy said as he looked at the battered old phone in his hand.
“You don’t mean it.”
“Yes, I do.”
“You’re just pissed off because I’m not prepared to give up my life to be with you.”
“No, I’m pissed off with myself for coming here whenever you call.” Billy tossed his phone into the nearby waste bin and grabbed his scarf from the floor. “Goodbye, Greg.”
He was halfway down the stairs when Greg ran after him.
“You can’t just leave.”
Billy ignored him and quickened his pace. If he stayed now he’d never break free. If he didn’t walk away tonight he probably never would.
The chilly winter air nearly made him run back inside to Greg’s warmth, but he kept his resolve and got into his car.
He was still on the road when midnight arrived and the radio began to play the New Year classic Auld Lang Syne. He pulled over to the side of the road as his vision blurred. In ten years he had never been away from Greg’s side at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Should old acquaintance be forgot?
Billy buried his head in his arms as he shook with barely controlled sobs.
Yes, perhaps some times they should, because only then would he be able to truly move on.
Author note: Those of you who have read my Christmas story Someone Like You will no doubt have recognised Billy as a secondary character. For clarity, One Last Kiss takes place some years before the events in Someone Like You. I may, at some time in the future, give Billy the chance to tell his own complete story, but in the meantime, I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse into his life.
Download Breaking Free (as well as the rest of the free reads for the month) here.