Authors: Tia Fielding
Tags: #Gay & Lesbian
382 NE 191st Street #88329
Miami, FL 33179-3899, USA
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
By Any Other Name
Copyright © 2011 by Tia Fielding
Cover Art by Catt Ford
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the Publisher, except where permitted by law. To request permission and all other inquiries, contact Dreamspinner Press, 382 NE 191st Street #88329, Miami, FL 33179-3899, USA
Printed in the United States of America
eBook edition available
eBook ISBN: 978-1-61372-141-4
To my great aunt Mari:
For being my “extra grandma” and for telling me that it’s okay to pursue my own happiness, no matter what other people may think.
I know you might not have liked the subject matter of this book, but I’m sure you would’ve been proud nonetheless.
I’ll always miss you.
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
Romeo and Juliet
you make me muffins today?” Thom asked, leaning over his lover’s shoulder.
Dru was sitting in his ergonomic desk chair and tapping away on his keyboard. The text in front of him seemed like some sort of code, one of those Thom had no understanding of but his lover of three years was fluent in.
“Yeah… if you go and take out all I’ll need and figure out what kind you like. Just… give me fifteen minutes…,” Dru said in the tone that told Thom that he was registering what was being said but was still very much wrapped in the code mentally.
Thom kissed Dru’s neck and patted his shoulder before jogging down the stairs from the loft that acted as Dru’s office. It was the easiest place to contain the mess of papers and books and computers and screens and…. Living with a total nerd came with clutter. Luckily, Thom happened to love said nerd more than anyone in the world, so he could put his own OCD tendencies aside and let Dru have his clutter.
Thom walked to their large open kitchen, once again considering the fact that they had top-notch equipment and all the space they could need but cooked very rarely. When they did, it was usually together. Dru baked sometimes, mostly when Thom asked nicely like he had just done, but they were both too busy to cook regularly. At least that was what they told themselves and each other if the question of ordering takeout again was brought up. They were busy professionals, but it seemed to be ingrained in Thom to feel a bit guilty for not cooking more often. The baking thing, though, it was something like an indulgence, Dru doing something for Thom despite the fact that Thom was capable of doing it himself.
It wasn’t that they didn’t want to. It was more about the fact that when Thom got home from work, it was usually after either a long day in court or an even longer one in the headquarters of Gibson, Royce, and Roberts. Sadly, none of those was Thom’s last name, but one day he hoped that it would be there along with the senior partners of the law firm he had worked in for the last five years. Thom was thirty-three and nearly a decade older than Dru. He would’ve been lying if he had claimed it never bothered him. After all, Thom was just a boring lawyer, and Dru was an intelligent, extremely talented younger man with the looks of a model. He could have had anyone, yet he still chose Thom. It was baffling sometimes.
Thom didn’t realize he was frowning as he gathered the ingredients for the muffins and searched the cabinets for chocolate and cocoa powder.
“We run out of chocolate again, or did something else make your mood turn sour?” Dru’s voice asked from the bottom of the stairs.
“No… just having… a moment again,” Thom confessed, feeling his cheeks heat up. Damn… it had been a while since he had last felt like this, but it always sneaked up on him. Much like Dru did, because there were suddenly strong arms around his waist, and he felt the warmth of the other man against his back. By now his “moments” were well known by his lover. At least they were rare these days.
“I’ve told you you’re being stupid, right? And that I love you? And that I like making muffins for you?” Dru murmured against the back of Thom’s neck, getting his lover to relax in his arms.
“Yeah, yeah, I know. Sorry about that,” he said as he turned around, leaning to kiss Dru’s lips gently. “This wasn’t even ten minutes; what happened to fifteen?”
“Thought I could use a break,” Dru said and then grinned at Thom’s expression, which bordered on shocked. “Oh, shut up. I take breaks.”
“Oh, I’m still looking for cocoa powder, so you’ll have to give me a moment,” Thom said, remembering, and turned around again before turning to look at Dru once more. “Not
kind of moment. Promise.” His tone was a bit sheepish. He knew better than to question Dru, but sometimes there was nothing rational about emotions. Hell, maybe that was true most of the time.
The doorbell rang in the silence of the large, modern house, and Dru jumped off the island he had just sat on. “That has to be Kara,” he said like it should explain something to Thom.
“Oh,” the dark-haired man said, turning to look towards the door in the other end of the large space that made most of the main level of the house.
Dru walked to the door barefoot, and once again Thom gave him the once-over he usually did when there were other people to be around. Dru had no real concept of modesty, and this time was no different; the jeans he had on were well worn and very low on his hips, and the white tank top wasn’t exactly hanging loosely on him either. Damn.
“Hey, Kara,” Dru said, and there was some chatter Thom blocked in favor of finding the damn cocoa powder. He finally did just as the others were coming to the kitchen.
“Hi, Thom!” their neighbor and undoubtedly their best female friend said. “Muffins?” she asked with a smirk, whipping her long red hair over her shoulder as she leaned in to see the ingredients.
“Yeah, he’s pampering me,” Thom said, kissing Kara’s cheek.
“He should do that more often, being high maintenance as he is. You know that, right?” Kara glanced at Dru, who stuck his tongue out at the woman.
“So, what brings you here this fine afternoon?” he asked Kara to cut that train of thought short.
“Dru didn’t tell you? I was going to ask if I could borrow the Third again?” Kara asked, glaring at Dru briefly before making her eyes huge and puppy-like and turning back to Thom.
“Sure, just make sure you—”
“—fill the tank and if you injure her you take her to the garage to be fixed on your own expense,” Kara and Dru chorused, making Thom blush.
“Yeah… that,” Thom said, ducking his head. Sometimes it wasn’t easy being older than the “kids” who had met each other in some evening classes Dru had taken a couple of years back. It had turned out Kara lived in the house nearest theirs, across a patch of forest.
“Thanks, Thom, really. I’ll make sure she’s okay and all that,” Kara promised, and she looked at the clock on the wall. “Shoot, I gotta run if I’m going to make it to my dentist’s appointment in time.”
Dru walked the woman to the door and handed her the keys to the “Third,” an old Ford Fiesta with sentimental value for Thom. The car was fire engine red, and even though Thom now had a nice BMW with value at least ten times that of the Fiesta’s, he still preferred to have the old car in the garage for emergencies. Like if someone needed to borrow one or if the BMW and Dru’s more practical SUV weren’t running… as if.