Released February 10, 2020 by MLR Press
The powers that be at MLR Press asked for it and I, weak as I am, agreed to do a sequel to About Something.
Turns out life as a drag queen isn’t what Shawn thought it would be. He loves the costumes and dressing up, but he’s found he’s better suited to performing from a script than vamping onstage. Too bad Shawn figured this out long after breaking up with Roscoe when his bossy director boyfriend told him he didn’t have what it would take.
Two years later, Shawn may not be wildly happy but he’s content. That is until Roscoe shows up to ask him to reprise his role as Beatrice in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Roscoe is as magnetic as he’s always been and the spark between them is still burning bright.
When Roscoe turns on the charm for a more personal reunion, can Shawn resist? Does he even want to?
© 2010 Jet Mykles, all rights reserved
Roscoe folded his forearms on the bar before him, one of his elbows brushing Shawn’s. “It’s a paying gig. Equity. You could get your card.”
“Aha.” Shawn took a sip of his drink, keeping his eyes on the bar. “I get it.”
“Why are you showing up, out of the blue, with an offer?”
Some of their audience had drifted away, but Shawn had no doubt those who remained would spread the word.
Didn’t seem like Roscoe cared who heard. “I told you. I need you. Play’s not the same without you.”
“Why that play?”
“I like that play.”
“You going to call Bonnie in California to come play Benedick?”
When there was no answer, he slanted his gaze at the other man.
Roscoe stared at the array of bottles on the mirrored wall behind the bar. He shook his head, not smiling now. “No.”
“What? You don’t think she did great?”
“I do, and you know it.”
“Right.” He took a healthy drink then carefully set his glass down. “But you weren’t sleeping with her.”
Ever aware of his performance, on and off stage, Roscoe gave it a beat, turned to face Shawn then sat back, putting some distance between them. “My offer is sincere, regardless of our past.”
“I’m sure the offer’s sincere. But it doesn’t make anything that happened between us right.”
He heard the disgusted snort even though he wasn’t looking Roscoe’s way. “Who said I was trying to make anything right? I’m trying to offer you a job.”
Shawn faced him. “A real job.”
Roscoe tilted his head.
“Go ahead, say it. You want to.”
“Don’t put words in my mouth.”
They had a silent, rapt audience now. The only sound was the Eighties music pumping through the speakers overhead.
Shawn was not adverse to giving them a show. These people would be on his side. “Why not? I know what you want to say. What the hell are you doing slumming here anyway? You hate places like this.”
The older man shook his head. “I never said that.”
“Oh, okay. Then you just hate me being in a place like this?”
Roscoe glanced at the people surrounding them. “You sure you want to do it like this?”
“Why not? They like it here.”
The calm facade dissolved and finally Roscoe showed some anger as he crossed his arms over his chest. “My God, still the drama queen, are we?”
“Fuck you.” Shawn slammed his hand on the bar and stepped back. “I don’t need your hand out, Mr. Big Shot Director. Why don’t you go somewhere else and find someone who’s willing to bend over and take it from you.”
In one sudden move, Roscoe rolled to his feet, leaning over and into Shawn. “You used to do it willingly,” he murmured, lips just inches away from Shawn’s.
Shawn barely managed to keep himself from jumping up and wrapping himself in Roscoe’s embrace. As it was, he caught himself leaning toward the hard strength he knew was inside that shirt. Nostrils flaring, he glared up into Roscoe’s face, determined not to back down. “Not. Any. More.”
Roscoe stayed where he was, staring Shawn down. The air around them vibrated, and no one within hearing spoke.
Finally, Roscoe licked his lips. “Fine.” He took one step back. “You think about it. The offer stands, but I can only hold the role open for a week or so.”
Roscoe’s jaw worked from side to side, a sign to Shawn that he was reviewing and discarding a number of parting lines. In the end, he just said. “By the way, I caught your act. You were great tonight.” He turned and walked out.
Flummoxed, Shawn could only stare. He’d seen Shawn’s act? After all he’d said about how Shawn couldn’t succeed as a drag queen? Trust Roscoe to find words that would bite.
* * * * *
Thoroughly annoyed, Shawn refused to answer any questions that were pelted at him after Roscoe’s exit stage right. He fled to the haven of the dressing room and changed into his jeans and tennis shoes. After cleaning off all his makeup, he shouldered his backpack, checked his wallet to make sure he did, indeed, have cab fare then left by the back entrance.
Hailing a cab from the corner was easy, but just as he was about to duck in the back, someone came up behind him to hold the door. You don’t live in the city long before you develop a healthy dose of suspicion, so Shawn immediately straightened and jumped away.
It was Roscoe. He tilted his head forward so those black eyes peeked at Shawn over the horn rims. A lock of silky black hair dipped down to shade his eyes from the harsh street light. “Mind if I join you?”
If Shawn’s heart hadn’t already been hammering from the mild scare, it jumped into triple time now. “If I say no?”
Two years as this man’s lover had taught him what that wicked glimmer in those eyes meant. “Don’t say no.”
All blood rushed south to fill his cock and Shawn suddenly had trouble remembering why, exactly, he wanted to keep his distance from the man. Why would he decline that offer? He shrugged and climbed into the backseat, aware of the man crawling in beside him. Okay, yes, Roscoe was probably just pushing his point about the play. Mr. Director rarely gave up after only one volley. Shawn didn’t intend to give in, but, since he very well knew the tools of persuasion Roscoe had in his arsenal, he didn’t see why he couldn’t have a little fun. Yeah, he told himself as he settled in his seat, no harm in making him work for it.
“Where to?” asked the cabbie, glancing back at them through the dirty safety shield.
Shawn opened his mouth but Roscoe answered first, giving the address of his building. Before Shawn could continue to give his own address, Roscoe grabbed his arm to stop him.
He leaned closer. “Come home with me.”
Shawn swallowed, watching those gorgeous lips caress the words. Home meant a lot more when Roscoe said it, since the home he meant had been Shawn’s once too. “Why should I?”
Roscoe’s lips parted, that tongue again swiping over his bottom lip. “I want you to.”
Shawn snorted, clutching at the backpack he held in his lap. “You can’t always get what you want.”
“But you can get what you need.”