Truth & Tenderness

By: Tere Michaels


Jim made a sound of agreement. Or he was being attacked by a bat.

Griffin snuck a look. No bats.

“We have a ton of stuff to do, so I hope your schedule is clear. Wedding plans, of course, and let’s just get that bathroom done,” he rambled. “Maybe spend a weekend at my dad’s house?”

“He’s in Atlantic City next weekend with Dotty. Then he has that reunion     thing with his friends from high school in Maine,” Jim said, changing lanes as they sped toward the city.

“Oh.”

Jim knew his father’s schedule better than he did. Also…. “Who’s Dotty?”





JIM HAD the pleasure of explaining to Griffin that his long-widowed father was now dating a woman named Dotty, who owned a yarn store in the next town over—and he had actually been dating her for almost two years. Dating her with carnal relations being had, that was for damn sure. The sisters didn’t know yet, and Jim demurred from taking on that responsibility.

Eight women, one father’s girlfriend—he didn’t have riot gear anymore.

“Oh.”

It was the only thing Griffin said for the next twenty minutes.





JIM PARKED in the underground garage of the Midtown building where Bennett Ames’s new offices were housed. The view of Bryant Park—gorgeous. The proximity to great restaurants and all the city had to offer—obvious and generous.

The need to move offices yet again, including a full renovation?

Well, Jim had no clue.

While the money filled the coffers of his and Matt’s business, he didn’t see the point. There was some story about being close to the theater where Bennett’s latest production had found a home, but frankly Jim thought that was bullshit.

Whatever. Not his money.

Griffin finally finished his business on the phone and the thing disappeared into his pocket—something Jim was grateful for. Throwing it out the window while they went over the Tappan Zee Bridge seemed like the best idea he’d ever had at the time.

“So I’m going to have this meeting with Bennett; then we’re all going to lunch,” Griffin said for the eleventh time. The Dotty story had clearly left him flustered as he fussed with his hair in the side mirror.

“I know. I brought a book to read to fill my lonely hours,” Jim said lightly, but Griffin straightened up and gave him an awkward look over the hood of the car. “So you can take as long as you need,” he added.

Griffin nodded and then walked toward the garage elevator.

Okay, then.

Jim caught up with him in two quick strides and slid his hand into Griffin’s, linking their fingers together.

They didn’t talk, but Jim couldn’t help noticing Griffin holding on for dear life.





JIM HAD indeed brought a book: the new Dan Brown in paperback, a grocery receipt for a bookmark somewhere in the middle. Griffin’s heart fluttered as he leaned over to drop a kiss on Jim’s mouth.

“I love you,” Griffin said, taking the smile Jim rewarded him with all the way back to Bennett’s office.

Of course everything was gorgeously decorated, masculine and bold, with a view of the park that looked straight out of a movie. Bennett greeted him from behind a parson’s table, looking like a supermodel in tight blue jeans and a lightweight V-neck sweater.

“Welcome home,” Bennett said as he gave Griffin a hug. “How are you doing?”

“It’s weird—I kinda feel like an astronaut that just returned to earth. How was that my life once upon a time?” Griffin sat down in one of the two wing chairs in front of Bennett’s desk.

Bennett dropped into the chair next to him.

“Well, your life is here on the East Coast now, and unless that changes….”

Griffin was already shaking his head. “No. I want to be here.”

“Wonderful.”

They chatted for a bit about Daisy (considering another play) and Sadie (walking and talking and eating like a champ) and then dove into the postmortem on the movie’s production. All of Griffin’s fears about his first producing job, his carefully and lovingly crafted script, began to melt away as Bennett went on a spree of praise and congratulations.

Test audiences were being booked, music and effects were almost finished, the media campaign was revving up. It was finally going to happen.

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