I stay behind as everyone says their goodbyes to him. I’m not ready to leave.
He hugs Martha and Sarah last. They wave to me, and then walk out.
When Adam shuts the door, I ask him, “How about another beer? There’s three left.”
“Actually, I’m hungry. Are you?”
He walks into the kitchen and holds up a grocery bag. “You like ramen noodles? I’m not much of a cook and I figured it might be too late to go out by the time I finished. I was right, even with all the help of our wonderful neighbors and you.”
This will be our first meal together. “Noodles and beer? Sounds perfect.”
Adam laughs. “I even got cupcakes for dessert. Now all we need to do is find a pot in one of these boxes so we can boil the noodles.”
A few minutes later, our dinner is ready to eat.
He looks in several boxes. “I found forks but no plates or bowls. Oh, well. I guess we’ll have to eat out of the pot. And since my dining room table is loaded with boxes and my new sofa won’t be delivered until tomorrow, we’ll have to sit on the floor.” He walks into the living room, carrying a couple of forks and our pot of noodles.
I plop down in the same place I sat in before everyone else arrived. “It’ll be like an indoor picnic.”
He laughs, sits down next to me and then scoots even closer. So close my heart skips a beat.
Adam holds the pot out for me. “You take the first bite.”
Heat rushes through me as I twirl my fork in the pot. I wonder if he realizes how intimate this feels. Was my first instinct about him right? Is he gay? I’m confused. I’m not about to bring up that subject now, especially remembering how he acted when I mentioned the gay strip club. Right now I must be patient with him. I like Adam. If he isn’t gay, I hope we can at least be friends. But if he is…well, that is a different story.
As I taste the noodles, his eyes are fixed on me. “How did I do, Oliver?”
“Delicious.” I haven’t eaten ramen noodles in a very long time. Malcolm was an excellent cook and taught me everything he knew about the kitchen. We always ate like kings. “It has a flavor I can’t quite figure out.”
Laughing, Adam places his arm around me. “It’s beer. I’m no chef and I don’t have any spices except salt and pepper, but I thought if I poured some of my beer in the pot it might make our noodles taste better.”
“It does taste great. Good idea.”
“Really? You’re not just saying that, are you?”
“Yes. Really.” I smile at his enthusiasm. I’ve witnessed a sliver of his dark side when he adamantly stated he wasn’t gay. But now, he seems completely relaxed and open. This seems to be another side to his personality. How many sides does he have? Adam is still a mystery to me.
We polish off the entire pot of noodles quickly.
“I guess we were hungry.” He finishes his beer and remains next to me. “Ready for dessert?”
I would much rather taste his lips, but for now, I will settle for a cupcake. “I would love dessert.”
He jumps to his feet, collecting our two forks and the empty pot, and returns to the kitchen.
Again, I notice his slight limp. I really wish I knew what happened to him. But if I say something it might end the evening, and I don’t want it to end. We’ve only had a little time alone together. I want more, but feel if I stay much longer, I will screw things up.
He brings the cupcakes on a napkin. “There’s a chocolate and a vanilla. Which one do you want?”
I look into his dark eyes, wondering what it would be like to hold him close. “Chocolate, please.”
“That’s my favorite, too.” He sits down even closer to me than before, the sides of our legs touching with only the fabric of our jeans keeping our skin apart.
My heart begins to race. “How about we cut the cupcakes in two, Adam, and split them? That way we both get a taste of our favorite.”
He laughs in such a way I can’t help but smile. It’s hearty and warm. “Oliver, you’re a genius.”
He takes a bite of his chocolate slice and closes his eyes. “Mmm.”
I can’t help but stare at the drop of icing that is on his thick lips. When his tongue appears and sweeps it into his mouth, I think I’m going to pass out. He is the hottest guy I’ve ever met. I need to get control of myself or my excitement will get the better of me.
Adam’s eyes pop open. “What are you waiting for? It’s delicious.”
I take a bite of mine. In the sexiest voice I can muster, I say, “It is so delicious—sweet, moist, and creamy.”
“You should be the bakery’s spokesperson. Have you ever thought about doing commercials?”
So much for trying to sound sexy, but I’m not ready to give up. Not yet. “No, I never have.”
“You should consider it. You’ve got a great voice.”
“Thanks. This has been a blast, Adam.”
“A blast?” He grins again. “I’m glad but I feel like I’ve taken advantage of you. This has been a lot of work.”
Please take advantage of me. “Next time I want to cook dinner for you.”
“That would be great. I’ll bring a six-pack or a bottle of wine. But don’t think you have to top my meal.” He grins, holding up his remaining cupcake half. “This is five-star dining at its best.”
“Yes, it is. And the company can’t be beat.” Despite how much I want to stay, I wrap up the remainder of my dessert in the napkin. “It’s late. I better go.”
A flash of disappointment appears on his face and then quickly vanishes. He gets up on his feet. “Thanks, buddy. Without your help and all the other neighbors pitching in, I wouldn’t have been able to get the truck unloaded.” He holds out his hand in the universal gesture of friendship.
Is this all we are ever going to be? Just friends?
I can’t resist testing the water, just a little. “Come on, buddy. We’ve shared noodles. We’re friends who deserve a hug.” I pull him in and he doesn’t resist.
It still doesn’t confirm my suspicions about him, but it does give me a reason to hope.