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    Mrsgnomie
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Dichotomy of Love - 13. Part Two. Chapter One.

Although this takes place in Oahu, my heart goes out to everyone affected by the fires in Maui. Absolutely devastating. It was almost three-years that a wildfire consumed my small town, displacing hundreds, including myself, though we were the lucky few who had a home to go back to.

Crystal blue pools, palm trees, cabanas, and a rocky coastline. From his top-floor suite, Perry watched paradise unfold below him.

He leaned his forearm on the railing and smiled as, in the distance, as Noah, Henry, and Ava splashed like maniacs at one side of the pool. Most of the guests kept their distance from the kids as so far, they were the only younger ones at the luxury resort. Their loss. His nieces and nephews were the best.

Then there was sweet and sassy Gracie in a swim cap, goggles, and arm floaties. He watched for the fifth time as she counted down from five. Kyan waited patiently standing in the shallow water with his arms outstretched and ready to catch her. Just like the previous times, as soon as she hit one, Gracie scurried away from the edge so her dad couldn’t pop out of the water and drag her in.

Kyan carefully talked her back to the edge, and they started over.

The man was a saint. So good with his kids. Kyan was gentle and encouraging, which made him all the more sexy and enticing. Watching him handle the kids with such care… It was no wonder Perry was obsessed with him, and had been since that fateful mid-August day all those years ago.

Perry and his former boyfriend, Jerrod, were at his parent’s house, sitting at the kitchen table with Jed, who helped Perry fill out paperwork to make Steele General Electric an official business. It was a big day, one he had been working towards for a while. An incredible feat for a twenty-three-year-old.

The house was a flurry of activity. Dayna had only just told them she was twelve weeks pregnant, and now her new boyfriend from Ohio was moving in. A stranger his parents had met just once over Facetime.

Perry largely ignored the commotion. Dayna didn’t need more attention. She was as third child as they came—a true baby of the family. Spoiled, but not rotten. Everyone loved her.

Dayna barged through the front door, pulling boyfriend and daddy-to-be, some guy with the odd name of Kyan, behind her. Perry did a double take, and then tried not to stare, but Kyan made it impossible. He was tall and lean and dressed so fucking cute in chinos, a royal blue polo, and a gray zip hoodie. His hair was freshly cut but not too short; the honey-brown color accentuated his gorgeous brown eyes, which were panic-stricken and terrified as Dayna dragged him along, completely unaware or uncaring of his anxiety. But then again, Dayna’s orbit circled only Dayna.

He got up and introduced himself, and then Jerrod. The two made small talk and helped bring in Kyan’s stuff, which fit in two large suitcases. Kyan was mostly quiet, only speaking when spoken to. Perry couldn’t blame him, given the circumstances.

He had trouble reining in the butterflies. Dayna’s boyfriend was cute and nervous, and sweet. No big deal. Right?

The next moment, Kyan laughed at something Jessica said, flashing the most genuine smile Perry had ever seen. Kyan’s entire face lit up, and Perry’s heart went a little crazy. Jerrod caught it and laughed.

“He’s cute, right?” Jerrod asked later that night, not knowing this was the beginning of the end for them.

And now Perry and Kyan were in Hawaii as more than friends, but less than what Perry wanted. Which was still more than he ever dreamed.

The knock he was waiting for finally came. He shut the balcony door and grabbed his hat and sunglasses. Jessica was waiting on the other side of the door in a swimsuit cover-up and floppy hat, carrying an oversized tote full of god knows what.

“Thanks for waiting,” she said as Perry hung the do not disturb sign on the door. “I didn’t mean to take so long.”

Perry shrugged. “Was enjoying the view.”

They walked the short distance to the elevator, which was next to a window that overlooked the resort and pools.

Jessica stepped closer and looked around. “It’s gorgeous, isn’t it? This place is paradise.”

Perry nodded and pressed the button to go down. The door opened almost immediately, and a group of men his age, dressed in bright resort wear, billowed out like a neon smoke cloud. They were attractive and fit and seemed like the life of any party.

A massively tall blond was laughing hysterically as he exited the elevator, pushing his luggage in front of him. The wheel caught on the toe of Jessica’s sandal, sending him tumbling over the luggage and to the floor with a thud.

“Sorry!” the man laughed from the ground where he was laid out. His friends were laughing, too, videoing him instead of helping. Perry offered his hand, pulling the guy up. He righted himself and then his luggage, tapping the rainbow luggage strap that kept the thing from accidentally opening up. “Thank goodness for this thing, huh?” he said. “Would hate to lose my stuff in front of everyone. Happened once coming off the airport carousel. Never again.”

Jessica’s eyes glistened mischievously and the corner of her mouth curled as she gazed at Perry with far too much excitement. “You have that same one!” She lied about the luggage strap. “What a small world.”

Perry shook his head and pulled his sister into the elevator before it left without them. When the doors shut, he leveled her with a hard look. “Don’t. I know what you’re doing.”

She smiled, completely unfazed. “There’s a whole world out there, Pear,” she reminded him. Jessica knew about Kyan. She even knew they had messed around. His sister was both supportive and apprehensive. She wanted Perry to have everything his heart desired, but also wanted to protect him from heartbreak.

Her back and forth often confused him, but he appreciated her honesty and transparency. He chalked it up to her seeing him as her little brother. She’d always have his back.

They walked across the pool area, to where Charlie had chairs saved near Kyan and the kids. While Jessica took her time, carefully spreading her towel on the lounge chair, Perry dumped his stuff carelessly in a heap, then snuck up behind Gracie, who was still counting down. When she got to one, he launched her straight up into the air and laughed as a blood-curdling scream left her little lungs.

“I’m not going to throw you in,” he said loud enough that the curious onlookers knew she wasn’t in danger as he caught her in his arms. She clung to him, breathing heavily from the scare. “But I thought we could jump in together? Would you jump with me, Gracie?”

She nodded and squeezed her legs around him like a boa constrictor.

Kyan smiled and mouthed ‘thank you’ as he scooted out of the splash zone.

Gracie pinched her nose with her fingers. “You pwug nose!”

So he did, then counted to three and jumped. Perry took them under an inch or two. When they broke the surface, she sucked in a giant breath as if they’d been under long enough to find the Titanic. Her wide eyes sparkled with pride and accomplishment.

She reached for Dad. “Dad! Me jwump-ed-d!”

Kyan spun her around, then caught Perry’s eye and smiled.

Perry felt his face heat up, which was annoying. It was just a smile, but Kyan had a knack for making innocent things seem suggestive. He didn’t do it on purpose. It was just Perry’s imagination working overtime now that a kiss had been offered up like an apple from the forbidden tree. Taking a bite was all he could think about.

Of course, the kiss was waylaid by the flu, taking each one of them out like a sharpshooter. Starting with Noah until finally, Kyan fell like a mighty sequoia. On his deathbed, a few days before they were scheduled to board the plane, Kyan made Perry promise to take the kids if he couldn’t go. But fate had been generous and kind, even if Kyan had spent the first full day in Hawaii recuperating.

Now he was in the pool, giving Perry suggestive looks, clearly not feeling the effects of the flu anymore.

Perry splashed Kyan’s face. Kyan retaliated by tossing Gracie at him. Around and around they went. When all four kids were good and tired, they got out of the water and tucked them under the umbrellas to keep from getting sunburned.

Kyan stretched out on the chaise lounge like a Dandy del Mar model in bright teal swim shorts—if Dandy del Mar models had a kid in each arm and two draped over their legs.

You wouldn’t know he spent every minute of the day with his kids, entertaining and caring for them despite spending the last seven days bedridden. There was a little tiredness behind his Maui Jim’s, understandably, but no irritation. He didn’t look like a dad who was ready to ditch his children and down a few beers at the bar. The kids were truly Kyan’s favorite thing. Perry loved that about the man.

With a sigh, Perry dropped his head back against his chair, then tipped his pool drenched ball cap forward to block the sun and closed his eyes. He needed to stop staring. It wasn’t helping anything. But even with his eyes closed, he heard Kyan complimenting the kids on what superb swimmers they were becoming.

Jessica and Charlie had gone a little crazy on holiday wear. The kids could wear a new suit every day and still have extras when it was time to head home, plus fun cover-ups and matching beach towels.

Perry dozed off, lulled to sleep by the waves, the breeze, and the sound of his family.

At some point, he was pushed awake by a shove to his shoulder. He looked over to find Jessica grinning at him over her sunglasses, trying to get him to look across the pool.

Perry pushed himself up on his elbow and scanned the area.

Kyan and Gracie were zonked out a few chairs over. The other kids were playing with Grandpa Jed in the water. Trudy was sitting on the other side of Charlie, reading a new murder mystery book.

A couple of the guys from the elevator sat on the edge of the pool with their legs in the water, psyching the kids up.

“Mulan is my favorite movie, too!” said rainbow luggage strap guy. “Mushu is my favorite because I love scary dragons.”

“Mushu is not scary,” Ava argued, very unimpressed with the stranger’s opinion of ancient reptiles. “He basically a sawamander.”

The guys laughed.

“Get in the water,” Jessica hissed at Perry. “He is so cute and just your type.”

Perry’s gaze shot to Kyan with his messy brown hair and soft, boy-next-door features. Luggage strap guy was nothing like him. He was tall, built, and blonde, with a perfect smile, and a cocky look in his brown eyes. Perry couldn’t put his finger on it, but he wasn’t interested. He lay back down, pulled his hat back over his face, and closed his eyes.

Ouch!” He rubbed his arm where Jessica had pinched him. “What was that for?”

She tipped her head toward the pool with a serious glare, letting him know it was not a suggestion. He needed to get in the water. Now.

With his arm twisted, he slid into the pool then looked back at Jessica like, what am I supposed to do now? She shooed him off, leaving him to figure it out. The bossy behavior came as no surprise. Jessica was your typical big sister. His first memory was of her making him memorize a dance for a family talent show. She was the boss. Even in his thirties, she acted like his puppet master.

Saying no usually made things worse, so Perry pushed through the water.

Henry was his first unsuspecting target. The startled scream of terror faded to giggles and soon all the kids were chasing their uncle around the pool, begging for a turn to be tossed around. Perry was a strong swimmer compared to his fifty-pound counterparts, two of whom wore life jackets. He swam backward, taunting them by staying out of their reach. They laughed as they tried to catch him. He faked left, then went right, taking Noah as hostage. The twins doggy paddled their little hearts out, but Perry took no mercy.

After a few minutes, he let Noah go. Perry leaned against the edge of the pool and smiled as Noah swam away, splashing wildly.

“I escaped!” he shouted to his siblings. “Run for your lives before he gets us again!”

“Okay, they are the cutest.”

Perry turned around. He didn’t realize he was resting next to the elevator guys. He smiled politely, acknowledging his nieces and nephews were in fact the cutest, then turned back and made sure they knew he was watching them. Sneaky little sneaks. They made eye contact and erupted in giggles, then huddled together for protection, as if it would save them from the inevitable.

“They look just like you,” the luggage strap guy said, trying again to initiate conversation.

“They actually belong to that guy.” He pointed at Kyan, still passed out on the chair with a sleeping Gracie tucked into his side. His mouth was open and Perry could hear his soft snoring. The shade from the yard-brella was moving with the sun and Kyan’s feet were less than an inch from being exposed. He waved until Jessica looked his way, then pointed. She got up and scooted the umbrella, buying the sleeping man a little more time. With Kyan and Gracie safe, he turned back to the guys. “I’m just the uncle.”

“Just the uncle?” he scoffed. “That’s one of the most revered titles. Especially with kids as adorable as those.”

Perry smiled. “Thanks.”

“I’m Reid. These are my best friends, Tony and Liam. There are more of us over there.” He pointed to the other side of the pool, near the kids, who were not-so-sneakily inching their way towards Perry, though he pretended not to notice the enemy advancing.

“What’s the occasion?” Perry asked, making sure to keep his gaze off the kids. He needed them to think it was safe.

“Annual bro trip. We used to do it twice a year, but most of them are married now, and some have small kids, so it’s once a year now, if we’re lucky. And you?”

“Family vacation.”

Reid looked around, trying to piece together the family.

“That’s my sister and her daughter with my mom, Dad over there, and the sleeping guy is my brother-in-law and, obviously, his kids.”

“Wait—” Reid looked between Kyan and Jessica. “Her kids and his kids? Separately?”

Perry laughed. “He was married to my baby sister, but she died three-and-a-half years ago.”

“Oh shit. I’m sorry.”

“So am I.”

The seconds ticked by. He could feel Reid and his friends being weird about it, exchanging awkward looks and trying to decide what to do next.

He pushed off the wall and swam toward the kids. They tried to scramble away, but Perry was quick. He gathered all three in his arms. “What were you guys planning?” he demanded. “Tell me what you were going to do to me!”

“Nuffing!” Henry yelled. “We were not doing nuffing!”

He didn’t believe them, so he dragged them around the pool, barrel-rolling them like an alligator killing its prey, while they spluttered, laughed, and shrieked. When he finished, he brought them to the pool’s edge and released them, helping them up and out of the water, where their dad was standing, looking all sorts of sleepy and adorable, and too cute for his own good. Even shirtless, with too much sun on his shoulders, chest, and face, he was still the hottest thing Perry had ever seen.

Kyan grinned down at Perry. “It’s no wonder everyone in this resort hates us.”

“They’re just jealous.”

“Definitely jealous,” Reid said. “You have amazing kids.”

Kyan looked at the strangers, then raised a brow at Perry.

“This is Reid, Tony, and Liam,” he said. “They’re here on a ‘bro-cation’.”

With Gracie clinging to him, Kyan sat down at the edge of the pool. “Nice to meet you guys. I’m Kyan and this is Gracie.”

At the mention of her name, Gracie turned her head away and buried her face in her dad’s chest, making everyone laugh.

“I’m kind of jelly of your swimsuit,” Reid said. “The Little Mermaid is my favorite movie.”

The compliment didn’t work. She basically crawled inside Kyan’s body to get away from the attention.

Perry swam over, pulled himself half out of the water, and kissed her nose. She growled but was smiling, so he rubbed his nose to hers. “Want to swim with me?” he whispered.

For a long moment, she didn’t move. Perry was about to drop himself back in the water when she threw herself at him, tumbling from Kyan’s arms and into Perry’s. She was finicky when she just woke up. Like a ticking bomb. Gracie was Dayna in so many ways.

Perry swam slowly, careful not to detonate her. He looked back and found Kyan chatting with the guys, laughing at a story one of them was telling. Perry smiled and decided to give them a little more space. He had tried many times over the years to help Kyan socially. He brought him along on a trip when he could, and made him play baseball with some of Perry’s friends. It was hit or miss, with Dayna and the kids. But after years of isolation, Perry was happy to see him engaging socially with new people.

He seemed happy, almost energized.

When Perry looked again, the group was staring at him. They were leaning in close, whispering. When they realized Perry was watching them, they burst into laughter.

Perry didn’t like that. He swam over to the side and deposited Gracie safely under Jessica’s watchful eye before dunking under the cool water and pushing off the wall. He emerged in front of Kyan and tugged his legs and then pulled him into the pool. “Why are you talking about me?” he asked as he dragged him further away from listening ears.

Kyan grinned, his face brightening in the way that always made Perry’s stomach feel fluttery. “Because.”

“Because why?”

Kyan used his arms to stay above the water, and smiled in a cocky way that was endearing. Reid could learn a thing or two. “Because one of them wants you and…”

Perry slowed, and Kyan tightened his legs around Perry’s waist, then slid around so he was on Perry’s back and quickly put him in a chokehold. A slick and playful move to anyone watching.

Perry didn’t struggle. He liked having Kyan wrapped around him. “And?” he asked, tilting his head, making it easier for Kyan to fake choke him.

“I had to tell them.”

“Tell them what?”

Kyan shifted his hip against Perry’s lower back and whispered in his ear. “About us. That we’re—that I’m waiting for you to kiss me.”

Right now?” Perry’s heart raced as he looked around the pool at all the people.

“No.” Kyan laughed, then dunked Perry under the water. Perry came up sputtering. He snatched his sunglasses and hat from the water before they sank to the bottom. Kyan wrapped his arm around Perry’s neck again, another headlock, and put his lips against Perry’s ear. “But it better be soon,” he whispered. “I’m all better and the kids are worn out from the pool and the sun. They’ll probably pass out early tonight.”

Jesus Christ.”

Kyan chuckled as he pushed off Perry’s back and floated towards his kids.

While Kyan splashed around with the children, Perry stood in the middle of the pool like an idiot, thinking about what might happen when the kids went to sleep and wondering why the kiss was suddenly on him. Kyan was the one holding the reins. Then he laughed because Kyan had no clue what he was doing, and yet he had delegated Perry the one task he wanted and dreaded more than anything.

To kiss Kyan.

He turned his back to his family and bit his lip. When he looked up, the elevator guys were smirking at him.

Perry shook his head and swam away.

****

“What exactly is happening tonight?” Perry asked as he dried Henry’s hair with a towel and then helped him into a cute ‘resort wear’ button-up that made him look like a yuppy teenager.

“Karaoke,” Jessica replied.

“Where?” It wasn’t like Turtle Bay did karaoke, and they hadn’t left the resort since they arrived two days earlier.

“Reid and his friends rented the lobby bar,” Jessica explained as she braided Ava’s damp hair. “I guess they brought a karaoke machine with them?”

Who in their right mind traveled with a karaoke machine? As adults? Reid and his friends, apparently. Jessica, ever the social butterfly, had invited the guys out to dinner and in return, they were invited to karaoke.

Kyan was helping Gracie and Noah in the main room. Once the kids looked like a mob of trust fund babies, they headed to dinner. Jessica reserved half of the small ocean-side restaurant.

Kyan got his kids situated, then sat down next to Perry and gave him a sweet little smile that was less sweet and a whole lot of innuendo.

As Perry understood it, Kyan had never been attracted to guys or messed around with one, and yet he appeared to be utterly unconcerned about this new development. Kyan was having the time of his life driving Perry mad with affection while Perry waited for the other shoe to drop. Because anything less than Kyan going back to his old ways was too good to be true.

“Stop looking at me like that.”

Kyan cocked his head and smiled even brighter. “Like what?”

Heat traveled up Perry’s neck. He leaned in and whispered, “Like you want to be naked with me.”

Kyan rubbed his foot against Perry’s under the table. “But I do.”

Before Perry could respond, Reid and his friends arrived and filled in the empty chairs. They ordered drinks and appetizers, and the entire group fell into a nice rhythm.

Kyan hooked his ankle around Perry’s, but when Perry looked at him, Kyan kept talking with Liam like he wasn’t the cause of Perry’s heart palpitations.

A few minutes later, Perry pushed Kyan’s foot away, just to see what would happen. Maybe Kyan would leave it alone. Instead, he pinched Perry’s thigh in retribution and then re-hooked his foot a little tighter.

Perry smiled to himself. The man was confusing as hell, but he was an absolute treasure. Perry needed to tamp down the hope that bubbled inside of him when Kyan did cute things like play footsies. It was hard not to get his hopes up when Kyan flirted.

And it seemed like each passing day only emboldened the man. Perry couldn’t help but wonder what the next two weeks might look like if Kyan kept it up. Surely, Perry couldn’t keep the distance. Not when Kyan acted like they were more than just friends.

Speaking of, Kyan squeezed Perry’s thigh under the table. When he looked over, Kyan was watching Perry like he couldn’t get enough. He grinned and bumped their legs together. “Are you ready? The sooner we karaoke, the sooner we—” and then Kyan’s hand slid up the inside of his thigh.

Perry grabbed his hand firmly and moved it safely to his knee. He laughed. “No more drinks for you.”

When he leaned in, Perry could barely contain the shiver that gripped him from head to toe as Kyan’s lips barely grazed the shell of his ear as he whispered, “It’s not the drinks.”

One of Reid's friends, who name Perry couldn't remember, stood with his drink in hand. "Are you guys ready to get this paaartyyyyy started?" he said, singing the last few words while holding an invisible microphone.

Kyan's hand wandered up his thigh again. Perry grabbed it and held it still. How was he going to survive karaoke?

Copyright © 2023 Mrsgnomie; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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