Read Nobody's son Online

Authors: Shae Connor

Nobody's son (page 5)

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“Whatever you want,” he whispered. “Whenever you’re ready.”

He kissed Shaun one last time, just for a moment, and then he disappeared into the night.

 

 

SHAUN YAWNEDand blinked slowly as he scrolled through e-mail. He wasn’t always a big coffee drinker, but today he was extra grateful for the coffeepot Jimmy had added to the lobby. His only complaint this morning was that the Styrofoam cups were too small. He’d already finished one and was halfway through the second, and it was barely 9:00 a.m.

Not enough coffee in the world to prepare him for the inevitable moment when the door opened and Con walked in.

He looked good enough to eat: long, dark limbs extended forever from under his blue tank top and khaki shorts. He wore flip-flops again, probably the same ones from the night before, but today Shaun couldn’t tear his gaze away from Con’s mostly bare feet.

I wonder if the size of some other body parts matches up?

“You awake in there?”

Shaun snapped his head up to find Con smirking at him. He managed a smile. “Not really,” he admitted. “I think I need another vat or two of coffee first.”

Con came closer. “I wouldn’t know that feeling at all,” he snarked. He leaned on the counter across from Shaun. “So, this morning in the shower I had an idea.”

Shaun smirked, in part to cover the way the mental image of Con naked and wet affected him. “I can just imagine the kind of ideas you have in the shower.”

“Somehow I doubt that. But this one was perfectly tame.” Con winked. “Except for the part where I’d get to see you in that tiny little swimsuit again.”

And that just woke back up all the feelings Shaun had gotten tamped back down. He cleared his throat. “What did you have in mind?”

“Swimming lessons.” Con rested his forearms on the counter. “Before or after work, whatever days work best for you. There’s a pool right outside, and it’s mostly empty on weekdays, so we’d have privacy. And Jimmy’s sure not gonna do anything but encourage it.”

And probably not just for the swimming part, Shaun thought. But he didn’t have a good reason to decline, and the truth was, he did still want to learn. He hadn’t truly been in danger when Con had tugged him into the pool the night before, but he cringed inwardly at the idea of the embarrassment of having to be fished out if Con hadn’t taken care of him.

“That sounds like it could work.” He raised an eyebrow. “What would you expect in payment?”

Con licked his lips, never breaking eye contact. “No payment necessary,” he said in a low voice. “Like I said, I get to see you mostly naked. And wet. And oh yeah, did I mention the part where I’d need to touch too?”

A soft groan escaped from Shaun’s chest. “Am I actually going to learn anything about swimming? It sure sounds like that’s not what you’re planning to teach me.”

Eyes sparkling, Con lifted one hand in oath. “I solemnly swear that you will learn how to swim. Any other lessons that might be taught—or learned—by either of us, will be strictly coincidental.”

“I’d say you need to swear that on a Bible, but I’m pretty sure that would be completely inappropriate.”

“I’d be happy to swear it on your swimsuit,” Con replied. “Provided you’re wearing it at the time, of course.”

Shaun laughed and shook his head, conceding defeat. Not a chance he could keep pace with Con in a battle of innuendo. “You’re a bad influence,” he said. “And I need to get back to work.”

Con straightened up. “Then I’ll see you at the pool tomorrow after your shift?”

Shaun wasn’t quite convinced it was his best move ever, but…. “I’ll be there.”

“Great!” Con’s happy smile made Shaun’s heart beat a little faster. As he watched Con wave and head out the side door toward Jimmy’s, he remembered Con’s kisses from the night before—and his reaction to them.

Shaun knew he needed to come to terms with… his brain stumbled over the words, but he forced himself to think it:being gay. He knew it was true, though the way Con made him feel so thoroughly eclipsed any previous attraction—to men or women—that he wondered briefly if maybe instead of homosexual he was simply Con-sexual.

He laughed at himself and shook his head as he turned back to the computer.Work now, he told himself.Figure out what to do about your sexuality later.

 

 

AM Icrazy for even trying this?

It was four thirty on Monday afternoon, just after Shaun’s regular work shift, and Shaun and Con were in the pool, about to start Shaun’s first lesson.

I’m too old for this, Shaun thought as he gripped the edge of the pool and tried to keep his breathing slow and even. He wasn’t scared, exactly. Just… uneasy.

“All right. Here’s what we’re gonna do. I want you to take a breath, then lower your face into the water and blow it out. Not yet,” Con added when Shaun started to move, ready to get it over with. “Blow the air out slowly, then turn your head to the right, until your nose and mouth are out of the water, and take another breath. Turn your face into the water, blow the air out slowly, and then turn your head to the left and do the same thing. Just keep doing that, slow and steady. Stop if you need to, but if not, I’ll tap you on the shoulder when you’ve done enough. Okay?”

Shaun nodded. He took a breath, as Con had instructed… and then he took another. And another.

Third time’s the charm, he thought, and he lowered his head into the water.

He kept his eyes closed and slowly blew out air, feeling the bubbles grow and pop against his skin. When he’d finished he turned his head to the right, and when his nose and mouth were free of the water, he took a careful breath and then turned back into the water again.

It went easier each time, both putting his face into the water and doing the cycles of breathing in and out. He started counting eventually, and he made it to eight before he felt Con’s hand on his shoulder.

When he stood straight and wiped the water away from his face so he could see again, it was to find Con grinning at him. “You did that like a pro.”

Shaun laughed. “I did it like a kid.”

“Not a single pause. No snorting up water. You did better than I did my first time.”

He shouldn’t feel proud of that, but Shaun couldn’t help it. “So I passed lesson one,” he muttered. “What’s lesson two?”

Over the next couple of hours, Con taught Shaun how to do a basic crawl stroke, then how to pair that with the breathing he’d already practiced. Learning to kick had come next, and then they stood between the deep and shallow ends, where the slope of the pool floor meant the water reached to Con’s chest.

“So, final lesson for today,” he said. “We’re gonna put it all together. Do the crawl stroke the way we practiced. Don’t try to pull through the water.” He held out his hands on the surface of the water, palms up. “I’ll spot you, so you don’t have to worry about sinking.”

Shaun swallowed back his nerves. Even with the small steps he’d taken today, he’d been able to feel how the movements would keep his body afloat. He’d known how it worked, but watching others swim and doing it himself were far different things. Still, taking that first step….

“Whenever you’re ready,” Con said, ever patient.

Shaun took a breath and leaned forward, letting his feet come up off the pool floor and willing his body to float. Con moved his hands to support him, one in the middle of Shaun’s chest, one low on Shaun’s abdomen.

“Now swim.”

Shaun shot Con a glare at the laughter in his voice, but he followed orders. It took him a few strokes to get his arms and legs to move in sync the way he’d practiced individually, and once that felt okay, he drew in air and then lowered his face into the water.

He counted this time, lifting his head after every third stroke, alternating sides like Con had instructed. The pattern felt natural, like he’d known how to do it all along. In fact, it felt strange just hovering there in the middle of the pool instead of crossing it. He wanted to try it out for real. Yeah, he might sink like a stone, but he might not. He might glide through the water like he’d been doing it all his life.

It’s worth the risk for the chance to feel that freedom.

The thought made him stumble in his pattern. His arm slipped, his head dipped, and he ended up with a mouthful of water after all.

He flailed on instinct, but strong arms closed around him, and in a few moments, he was on his own two feet, standing in water almost up to his neck, gripping Con’s upper arms. He blinked away the water in his eyes and almost regretted it when he saw the grin on Con’s face.

“I think that’s enough for one lesson,” Con said. “You did great. Must have some natural talent.” He winked. “Or spent more time watching the swim team practice than you let on.”

Shaun’s face felt like lava, but he couldn’t keep in his laugh. “Only on TV,” he admitted. “Too hard to… well….”

Con’s laugh echoed around the pool area. “Couldn’t keep the anaconda in check around all that wet manflesh?”

Shaun couldn’t hold in his laughter. “I went to exactlyoneswim meet. Almost had to steal a towel to cover up my lap.” He shook his head. “Spent a long time in denial, I guess.”

Con leaned down to brush a soft kiss on Shaun’s lips. “Most of us do. Plenty of reasons for it. Don’t feel like you’re the only one there.”

Shaun knew he wasn’t, but it felt good to hear it anyway.

“So as a reward for your effort,” Con said, smiling, “how about dinner? My treat. We can drive down to Commerce and see if there’s anything that looks good.”

Despite everything, all of Shaun’s reservations came flooding back. He felt himself take a step away from Con without conscious thought—and he knew Con saw it.

“Um, tonight’s not good,” he forced out. “Maybe some other time?”

Con studied him for a long moment before he nodded. “All right, then. You need to head back for home? Or you want to just hang out in the water a little longer?”

Shaun shook his head. “I should get going. I told Gran I’d be home before dark.” That still gave him a while, since sunset wouldn’t be until nearly eight, but it made for a decent enough excuse.

“I think I’ll hang out a while longer.” Con moved forward, and Shaun held still, waiting to see what he’d do. He kissed Shaun’s cheek this time, and Shaun felt Con’s fingers grip his under the water. “You did good today. Just a little more practice and you’ll have the hang of it.”

Shaun didn’t know if it was the kiss or the touch or the tender encouragement in Con’s voice, but in that moment, he wanted Con so much he could taste it. He bit back a moan and made his feet move, wading through the waist-high water toward the ladder nearest the office.

Behind him he heard splashing, and when he climbed out and turned, Con had started doing laps, his long body dark beneath the crystal blue water. Shaun watched as Con reached the far end and executed a precise turn, but when he realized Con was headed back his way, he spun on his heel, grabbed the towel he’d left on the table nearby, and hurried inside to change and head home.

Con was almost more temptation than Shaun could handle. And the more time they spent together, the less Shaun wanted to resist.

Chapter EIGHT

 

 

SHAUN STAREDat his phone, trying to get up the balls to call Erwin. He might have made the decision to go through with getting DNA testing, but actually making the arrangements was on a whole ’nother level.

What if Erwin was his father? Okay, so maybe he wasn’t the nicest guy, but setting all that aside, what would it mean to Shaun to find out he wasn’t black like he thought but instead mixed race? Biracial, he supposed was the correct term. Sure, the president of the country was half black and half white, and he’d done all right for himself. But he’d known his racial makeup all his life. Finding out after almost twenty-five years that a big part of your identity was different than you thought was kind of a big deal.

On the other hand…. What if Erwinwasn’this father? Shaun didn’t know if he’d be disappointed or not. Willis Erwin certainly wasn’t the man he would’ve picked to be his father—he had Darnell to fill that role in his life—but maybe things would be better that way. If Erwin wasn’t his father, then he’d still have that big question mark in his life. And now that the door had been opened, would he want to try to find his father if the tests were negative?

None of his ruminations were helping him make up his mind about calling. Before he could get lost in his thoughts again, he brought up Willis Erwin’s number and hit Send.

The three rings it took for Erwin to answer seemed to take forever, but finally, his reedy voice came through the line. “Hello?”

“Hi,” Shaun pushed out. “It’s Shaun Rogers.”

“Shaun! It’s great to hear from you.” Even as happy as he sounded, his voice still oozed sleaze. Or maybe that was just Shaun’s impression of him, not reality.

“I wanted to call and tell you that I’m willing to do the testing,” he said, rushing through the words so he wouldn’t chicken out. “I’m off on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so just set it up and tell me when and where.”

“Absolutely.” Shaun heard papers rattling. “I don’t know if I can get an appointment for tomorrow, but next Tuesday, for sure. I’ll call you when it’s done.”

“Text is better.” Shaun did not want to talk to him if he could help it. “Then I’ll have it in writing to be safe.”

“Sure, sure. I’ll do that. Look for that later today or maybe tomorrow.” He laughed, a nasal sound that grated in Shaun’s ears. “Lots going on over here. You know my car place?”

Shaun sighed softly. “Yeah. I looked you up after you contacted me.”

After a pause Erwin gave that nasally laugh again. “That’s smart, yeah. Google me. Well, we had a big Labor Day sale, so I got a lotta paperwork piled up on my desk. Good for business, bad for my writer’s cramp!”

Jesus, the man made Shaun’s skin crawl. No matter what it might mean for him, he sure hoped this guy wasn’t responsible for half of his DNA.

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