Sorry for the delay. With the kids out of school and me coming down with a cold I didn’t post this week. So here it is.
The longer they chatted the more things Lee liked about Trent. The big man was nothing like Antonio and Lee felt a twinge of guilt over even comparing the two men. When contrasting the love of his life to anyone the other man would always come up short.
“Hey.” Trent patted Lee’s leg “Don’t look so nervous. I didn’t come over here expecting anything more than a nice meal and some company. Okay.”
“Yeah, okay.” Lee blushed. It had been so long since his last date he didn’t even know the proper protocol anymore. “Sorry. I haven’t done this much.” He waved a hand to encompass the room.
His kitchen timer dinged. Lee jumped up. “That’s the lasagna.”
Rushing to the kitchen he grabbed his potholders and pulled the bubbling pasta dish from the oven. Barking by the back door drew his attention. “Hey Trent do you like dogs?”
“Would you let mine in? I don’t like to leave them outside at night it gets too cold.”
The warmth of the kitchen seeped into Lee’s skin. He hadn’t realized he’d been chilled before. The small house he’d bought didn’t have the best insulation.
A few vicious barks pulled Lee’s attention from his dish. He took a step toward the back hall, but the dogs went quiet.
“Is everything okay?” He called out. He pulled the bowl of salad from the fridge while he waited for a reply.
“Um, yeah, everything is fine.”
He continued to listen for the dogs but they were silent. Every once in a while he thought he caught the brief scrap of someone speaking. The soft voice almost sounded like Antonio. Lee shook his head. He needed to let go of the past. This was all about finding someone new. He didn’t know if Trent would be the one but he couldn’t live broken the rest of his life. He set the lasagna on the table on a trivet he’d placed there earlier, then went back for the salad.
“Do you want some wine or a beer?” He should’ve offered Trent something to drink when he first showed up. He was definitely failing hosting 101. His mother would be appalled.
“Beer please.” Trent appeared from the hall, the dogs trotting behind him.
“What did you do to my dogs? They’re never this well behaved.”
“Um, they’re nice dogs. Anything I can do to help?”
Lee could tell Trent was hiding something but he didn’t want to interrogate his date. They didn’t know each other well enough for that. If it had been Antonio…no he cut that thought off. He had to put Antonio behind him at least romantically. Never completely forgotten.
“Um, no nothing. Just go have a seat it’s a pretty simple meal. Just pasta and salad. I bought some tiramisu for dessert from that bakery in town.”
“Is it good, the bakery I mean. I assume the tiramisu must be or you wouldn’t have bought it.”
“Yeah. They make awesome cannoli too.” Antonio had made better. Lee blinked back the tears. “I’m sorry for being so weepy. You’re the first guy I’ve been interested in getting to know since Antonio died. I guess I have a long grief curve.”
“Hey,” Trent patted Lee’s hand. “There’s nothing wrong with that. But, from what you’ve told me about Antonio I can almost guarantee he’d want you to move on. Besides we don’t need to rush into anything. I’m starting a new job and you’re still getting your dating groove back. Like I said before I’m always looking for a new friend and you’d be the perfect man to show me around town.”
Lee nodded. “I’d like that.”
For the first time Lee relaxed. Trent wasn’t asking for any commitment or even sex he just needed someone to spend time with. Lee could do that. He smiled at Trent. “To friendship.”
He tapped his wineglass against Trent’s beer bottle, a light clink echoed their agreement.
“Well crap,” Antonio cursed.
“Now, now Antonio, bad language is not allowed here.”
Antonio glared over his shoulder at the ever-present archangel. “How are they going to get together if Lee puts Trent in the friend category.”
Michael gripped Antonio’s shoulder. “Trent is only my first attempt. Our sheriff has many possible futures.”
“But I kind of liked the guy for Lee.” Antonio didn’t really want any other guy for Lee but Trent at least seemed like a nice man who’d take good care of Antonio’s beloved.
“We’ll see, my fiery Antonio, we’ll see.”
Antonio eyed Michael’s feathers. What would be the penalty for plucking an angel bald?