A Story by J. W. Coffey

A piece in need of a "name--and I'm open to suggestions. I saw this picture of Jackson Rathbone from the forthcoming movie, Twilight, and it spoke to me. No, sorry; no vampires in my piece. Well, you'll see....



by J. W. Coffey
(c) 2008
I watched him get ready, dressing in the charcoal sweater and jeans. That had always been my favorite look for him. The denim hugged the curve of his buttocks, the sweater smooth against his chest. His body was the stuff of fairy tales, the well-muscled physique was enough to make any maiden drool and sigh. When I’d first met him, I’d certainly done my share. My husband of twenty years had just passed away and I was alone for the first time in my life—burdened with the wealth and position that he’d left behind in two international companies and plenty of real estate and stocks.
Portia was still my best friend at that point. “Get back in the saddle,” she’d advised. “Don’t stay home alone; don’t cry yourself to sleep. It will give you bags and wrinkles.” She’d sipped her martini from a Baccarat crystal glass in her wizened hand and told me, “You need a young lover; someone you won’t get too emotionally attached to. Someone you can drop when the mood strikes. My dear, no self-respecting widow stays attached; not when there’s a veritable smorgasbord of men out there.”
He caught me staring as he turned around to find his shoes. The curly, blond hair was tousled in a fetching way, complimenting his beautiful cheekbones. He smiled at me but there was something in his eyes.
“I don’t have to do this, you know,” he said, hopefully.
I’m better off, I told myself. No involvements, no tying myself down. It has to be this way. I’m doing him a favorI put down the coffee cup and crossed the room to stand in front of him. I reached up to straighten the knot of his tie. “Yes, you do. We agreed.”
“Oh,” he answered, looking just a bit crestfallen. “I was hoping. . . .”
“That I’d changed my mind?”
“I won’t. You have to go now, Logan.”
“I still don’t understand why.”
It was the right thing. It had to be. “I know. But you will in time. I’ve kept you here too long as it is.”
“You’re wrong about that.”
I looked up into hazel eyes, still earnest and almost innocent. “About what?”
“That you kept me here. You’re wrong about that.”
“I am?”
He nodded.
I ran my fingers through the curls; the mousse had stiffened them somewhat but they were still pliable to the touch. After three years together, I’d never tired of the feel or the look of his hair.
“Well, I’ve been wrong before. . .but not about this.” I changed the subject before it could go into dangerous territory. I had to get him back on track. “You all packed?”
He smiled at me and nodded. “I’m going to miss you, Alex.”
“You’ll be fine, sweety. You’ll go find the life I took away from you. You’ll find some nice young girl who will give you a family and you’ll join your father’s law firm like you planned. You’ll be just fine.”
He took my hand, sweetly kissing the palm. “Maybe. But it won’t be the same.”
“Come on,” I told him, gently nudging him into the chair to put on his shoes. “I have a board meeting and a great many things to get done today.”
“Yes, Logan?”
“Will you miss me? At all? I mean. . .a little, maybe?”
I kissed his forehead. “A little.”
But after he left, I knew it would be more than just a little. The board meeting was a total fiasco; I couldn’t concentrate on the business at hand. My aide had to keep the notes for me so that I could guess where I was at any one point. I gave up trying to understand the report and presentation on whatever innovation IT was pushing today and just called an end to the meeting. Telling the IT guru to write it up and have it to me within the hour, I dismissed them all and just sat for a while.
It was the right decision, right? After all, he wasn’t there because he really cared about me. I paid his bills, paid his way through grad school so he could get his degree. We’d agreed that when he passed his bar exam, he’d go. He’d go out on his own and find his own way. We’d agreed. So, I’d made the right decision. Right? Letting him go like that was the right thing to do. Right?
Of course, right! So why did I feel this way?
I tried to attend to paperwork, sign memos, assign projects, and answer invitations; .it did no good. I turned on my CD player only to hear his favorite song. I closed my eyes only to see his beautiful face before me. I pulled a handkerchief from my drawer only to see his monogram in the corner, smell his cologne in the fabric. That was it; I burst into tears.
Leave it to a gay man to have that sixth sense that they all seem to when it comes to a good friend; the phone rang, jarring my insides and bringing me out of the emotional descent.
“Alex, my dear,” he bubbled, then stopped as he caught the last of my sniffles. “Sweety, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing, Mick. Why do you ask?”
“Al, give me a break. I may not know much but I know when you’ve been crying. You get all snotty and sultry; you sound like Kathleen Turner with a head cold.”
“Ha ha,” I answered, trying to add that touch of sarcasm. The trouble was, he was right about that. “What do you want, my love? I’m a bit busy right now.”
“Oh of course,” he answered. I could practically see him waving the hand and rolling the eyes. “Well, just so happens, a little birdie told me some news.”
“Oh yes, my dear. I hear you’re suddenly single again.”
My jaw dropped. “How. . .who. . .?”
“Now, I can’t tell you that, my dear. But I had to know. Truth to that little rumor?”
I reached for the carafe of ginseng tea and poured myself a cup. I added some honey as I spoke, “Yes, my love, it’s true. I’ve sent the dear boy packing.”
“Alex! That delicious piece of eye candy? How could you!”
“Mick. . . .”
“Have you eaten yet?”
“No, I’m not hungry.”
“Well, then, you must. If you won’t get lunch, you’ll have dinner with me. That new bistro is finally open and I have to review it. I’ll meet you there. 4:30? Beat the dinner crowd?”
“Mick. . . .”
“I won’t accept no for an answer, Alexandra! You either have dinner with me or I’m coming there right now. And you remember what happened the last time I did that.”
I remembered all too well. It was my forty-third birthday and he’d arrived with this incredibly gorgeous stud dressed in a gold lame thong, leading the poor guy on a dog leash, and walked said studly type through the lobby, up the glass elevator, and into my office. He then pronounced that this was my ‘present’ and he’d be back within two hours to collect his new pet. When the shock and embarrassment wore off, I managed to get the two of them out of the building without further ado. Nothing happened, mind you; but the stories went around the building like wildfire and I was three months cleaning up that mess.
I’m not totally stupid; Mick brought the lad back to my condo later that evening. Instead of two hours, I had the full glorious night. But then, that was the year before I met Logan.
To avoid another mess, I just met him at the bistro. He had the champagne ready for me when I arrived.
I ordered the caviar on toast, along with an endive salad to begin. “We ended it.”
I bit into the first piece of toast and brushed crumbs from the corner of my mouth. “All right, I ended it.”
“My goodness, dovey. Why? I thought you liked him.”
“I did. I do.”
How could I explain this to anyone? My intentions had been for Logan, for what was best for him. But if I started admitting that, I’d have to admit that I actually felt something for Logan. Did I? Was I ready to admit any such thing?
I shrugged my shoulders and sipped my champagne. “I was bored.”
“Bored? Oh my dear, you kept that dear lad for three years. Bored?”
“He served a purpose and the purpose was done.”
Mick made a noise in the back of his throat and tore into his pate and water crackers.
“Well, he did,” I went on. “Let’s face it, Mick; I don’t want marriage or long term commitments any more. I was married at 18 to the love of my life. When Jordan passed away, there was no way anyone could fill his shoes. . .and I don’t want to find anyone to try.”
“So, you fill that lovely queen size with toys of the two legged variety. . .for. . .why?”
“Companionship, I suppose.” I shrugged again. “I found this one, I’ll find another. Maybe a red head, next time. Redheads are such wild ones, you know”
“Red head. Of course.”
I held my glass out for a refill, which he poured obligingly. “You sound skeptical.”
“I am skeptical.”
He made a few scribbles on his notebook and waved the server over to the table. “We’ll have the entrée now,” he said to the young girl and then waited while she cleared the table.
“Come on, Mick. Why?”
“Alex, my dear diva. . .you really have to ask?” He shook his head and tented his fingers, resting his elbows on the table. “My dear, if you were bored, you’d have booted that handsome young boy long before now. Let’s face it, if all you wanted was sex, you could have had any vapid pretty boy coming down the pike. And trust me—” he pointed at me with an index finger and one eye closed “—I know the vapid pretty boy type!”
I couldn’t help but giggle at that.
“You feel something for this one. I know you.”
I sighed. “You think so, do you?”
“Alex, you’re pining.”
“I am not,” I retorted a bit too hotly.
“Really? Redone mascara and pancake tells me differently, my dear.”
Damn queen! I sighed again. “Doesn’t matter now. What’s done is done. I gave him the money for the plane fare home. . .to. . .wherever it was he was from. He’s long gone.”
“If you insist, my dear.”
“I do.”
“So. . .how’s Portia these days?”
Whatever funk I was starting to slip back into was gone. “Portia? How the hell would I know?”
He giggled and held up a finger for the server. “We’ll need another bottle, my dear. Make it the Tattingers. You do have it, yes?”
When she answered in the affirmative, he smiled his pleasure and she went on her way to fetch it. “I presumed that you keep tabs on her. She certainly keeps tabs on you, you know.”
No, I didn’t know. “And exactly how does she do this?”
“Ah, sweet Alex, she has spies everywhere. Especially when it comes to you. She’s very jealous of you, you know.”
“She hates the ground I walk on, Mick.”
“Oh my dear, it’s jealousy, trust me. What exactly was it that split up that friendship anyway?”
The corner of my mouth went up and the memory conjured up.
“Oh, I can see this is juicy. Spill it, Alex!”
“It was over Logan, actually.”
His eyes sparkled. “Oh?”
“Yeah. You remember the St. Joseph’s Hospital fundraiser?”
“Oh yes, the one you two set up. Raised several million for hear t research, as I recall.”
“That’s the one.”
“We were already on shaky ground before that night. Portia wanted things one way and I wanted them another.”
“Nothing you couldn’t work out.”
“No,” I agreed. “We could have gotten through that.”
“But she brought that delightful morsel to the party, didn’t she.”
“Fresh out of college; I think he was twenty three at the time. . .no, twenty four. Dressed in that tux, he was the most amazing thing I’d seen in a long time.”
“Oh, I’m sure,” Mick answered, a Cheshire grin on his face. He cut into his chateaubriand and motioned with his knife for me to continue.
“He walked in, Portia on his arm. But when she moved off to speak to someone, he came to me. Carried two glasses of champagne and said that the two most valuable things in that room was the Dom in his glass and the lovely lady he was talking to.”
“Oh my,” Mick gushed. “What did you do?”
“I blushed, if memory serves. And spent the night with that charming creature.” I slipped a shrimp into my mouth and chewed, remembering the feel of his body against mine as we danced for every slow dance; as we made love later in my bed.
“My dear, you’re blushing now.”
I raised a hand to my cheek. “Am I?”
He smiled; the first real smile that wasn’t filled with some kind of innuendo. As I said, leave it to a gay man to know. “I take it Portia was less than thrilled about your new. . .alliance?”
“It was fairly obvious when Logan and I disappeared at the same time. The next day, I received a dozen dead flowers with a note from Portia calling me more than a few names that one doesn’t repeat in polite society. Then, she promptly started her innuendo campaign. . .and you know the rest.”
“Friendship over and done,” Mick finished. He looked and sounded thoughtful as he spoke, as if he truly understood the ways of the older woman. “Cougars at odds and war.”
“Interesting that she’s been keeping tabs on you all this time.”
I shook my head. “I don’t see why. She hates me now.”
“I told you, jealousy.”
“If you insist.”
“She’s up on all the Alex gossip and news. She knew about your takeover of Marsden industries before it hit the papers. She knows when you’re at the fashion shows, when you’ve purchased that new Porsche.”
I snorted with a very unladylike noise. “I can’t imagine why she’d be that damned bored.”
“You know, Portia’s the one that told me you and Logan had split up.”
“What?” I certainly hadn’t expected that one. “How the hell did she know?”
I saw him look over my shoulder. “Why don’t you ask her?”
 “Ask her?”
I pulled my napkin from my lap and turned to look at the entry to the dining room. There, standing by the maitre d’s desk was my nemesis, Portia Wellington. And standing beside her, his hands in the pockets of his suit jacket was my Logan, his eyes sweeping the room.
I knew I had no right to anger, no right to any sort of humiliation. After all, I had told him to go. What, had she gone through her network of spies and snatched him up before his feet had hit the sidewalk? That had to be it. That snide, crass, bleached blond b***h had been spying on me all along and couldn’t wait to snatch him up. I could hear it now; that harpy crooning anti-Alex songs in his ear and making him feel oh so safe in her arms. That vile b***h, she’d croon to him, you should have stayed with me. I’d have taken care of you always. Like hell she would; she’d have eaten him alive.
I couldn’t let him throw his life away like this. He was going to be a lawyer, not some pretty boy ornament on her arm. I didn’t send him off in the world to come back to that harridan! He had too much potential. He had life ahead of him. I hadn’t just sacrificed something wonderful to throw it away in the gutter on that heartless guttersnipe.
I stood up, tossing my napkin to the table.
“Alex,” Mick tried to caution me. “We’re in a public place.”
I ignored him and made my way to the front of the dining room.
Logan’s eyes sparkled as he smiled at me. He started to pull his arm away from that b***h but she clutched tighter to his elbow and shot me a glare that would have sent me reeling if she could have.
“Oh. . .Alex,” she purred through her teeth. “I didn’t see you there.”
“I noticed.” I turned my attention back to Logan. “I thought you were going home.”
His face sobered, a glint of something in his eyes that I couldn’t quite read. For a moment, I flattered myself into thinking that it was pain behind those eyes. Pain over me. But that couldn’t be; we’d agreed this was best.
“I. . .I wasn’t ready.” He nodded toward Portia. “Portia said I could stay at her guest house for a bit. While I got things together. Decided if that’s what I really wanted to do.”
The muscles in my face tightened into a glare as I confronted my nemesis. “And of course, that was just out of the goodness of your heart, right?”
Her face tightened too. “Of course. Logan needed a place to stay.”
“Oh bullshit!”
Portia’s eyes widened. “Alexandra! How dare you! Such language.” She clucked her tongue at me. “And you call yourself a lady. You’re more a dockworker than a real lady.”
“And you’re a low life that just couldn’t wait to destroy me by using him.”
Portia shook her head. “You have no clue, do you. Just because you tossed him aside. . . .”
“Alex,” Logan interrupted, catching my attention again. “That’s not what happened, I swear. She’s just a friend. She just offered me a place to stay until I could get sorted out. I swear it.”
“Logan. . . .”
“Alex, I swear.” He was so earnest, so serious. For a moment, he didn’t look twenty-seven; he looked all of the young man I’d first met. “We’re just friends.” He managed to slip his hand free so that he could come closer to me. “Don’t you understand?”
“Logan.” I coughed quietly, clearing my throat from the sudden rush of emotion. “We agreed.”
“No, Alex; you agreed. I know you want what’s best for me. But don’t you see? You are what’s best for me.”
“Logan. . . .”
“I know I’m what’s best for you. I know I can be. If you let me.” He reached out to take my hand. “And I know you care for me. I know you wanted me to stay. Why can’t you just say it?”
That was a good question. Why couldn’t I say it?
“Alex, can’t I come home?”
This time, the pig’s grunt came from Portia as she rattled her jewelry when she fanned her face. “Oh really, Logan, my dear. Why are you groveling to that cow?”
The shock caught me in the chest. “Cow? Coming from you, that’s a compliment; you over processed bimbo!”
She tossed her purse at the maitre d’. “Why, you battle axe. You should know about being over processed. You’re a plastic surgeon’s wet dream!”
Logan stepped between us. “Ladies, stop it.” To Portia, he said, “Why don’t you stop playing the evil witch and just tell her that you’re sorry? You asked me how to do it and this is the answer. This stupid feud has to end sometime and you know that. Don’t blow this.”
He turned back to me. “Look, she just happened to be at the airport when I was getting my ticket. I talked to her; she listened. I told her how I feel about you. Yeah, she said I was nuts but. . . well, I can’t help it. I’m in love with you. So, we talked Mick into getting you here so that. . .so. . .I mean. . . .”
I couldn’t help but stare at him. “You. . .what?”
Portia heaved a sigh of what could only be described as exasperation. “Alex, I swear. You can be so childish sometimes.” She plucked her purse back and clutched it to her waist. “He’s telling you the truth. I was coming home from Paris when I saw him. He was upset because you made him go. All I did was bring him home and give him tea and sympathy. We talked, nothing more.”
I felt as if I were watching and hearing things through a veil of cellophane and packed in cotton. My brain was refusing to work. “Talked?”
“Talked! Good grief, Alex. Can you be any more blind?” She shook her platinum blond curls. “Yes, I hated you at first. But Logan took one look at you and he. . ..well, let’s just say, he had it bad. Even I could see that.”
“You. . .tried to. . .you lied about me.”
“Actually, that wasn’t me. That was Madame Discord. She was doing the same thing to me and telling everyone that you’d said those things.”
‘But. . .why?”
“Why does Louisa do anything she does?” Portia asked in her wry tone. “Because she has nothing better to do and it makes her look bigger than she is.”
That certainly made sense. Louisa was a bitter, divorced gossip who’d wed purely for money and only on the strength of her looks and breast implants. When she found something better, she divorced and moved on; collecting at least seven figures in alimony on an annual basis. And her only recreation was dragging everyone else down with her.
“Yes,” I answered.
“Truce then?”
I nodded to her. “Sure. Why not.”
“I’m not promising lunch any time soon,” Portia told me. “But civility is a beginning.”
“Good.” She patted Logan on the back. “Now, you chat with this handsome creature while I get a martini. I’m parched and starving.” She winked at him. “And you owe him big time!”
She sashayed on her way to the chair I’d just vacated. I gave her that much of my time before turning back to Logan.
“Logan. . . .”
Without another word, he had my arm and escorted me out of the restaurant. Before I knew what was happening, we were in my limo and driving out of town.
“Alex, look.” He turned in the seat to face me. “I understand why you did it. I even appreciate that you care enough about me to want me to be happy.”
“Logan, I do want you to be happy.”
“Then, why are you pushing me away?”
“God. . .,” I breathed. “It was just supposed to be a fling, don’t you get it?”
“Yeah, I got that. Your trophy boy toy. I know that. But I kept waiting for you to throw me out. You never did. So why now?”
Did I dare tell him the truth? Did I dare tell myself?
“Come on, Alex, you owe me that much.”
I decided that I did dare. “Because I love you, you silly boy.”
He grinned at me. “I think I owe Portia that bottle of wine now. That’s what she said.”
I rolled my eyes and looked out the window; we were driving through Avalon Park with all of the flowering gardens. My driver always took me through there when I was upset. “That’s what she said, did she?”
“Alex, we’ve been friends for a long time—Portia and me. We talk about you, about how. . .about us. She’s always been curious, always been upset about that stupid feud.”
“Hmm, so you were the spy.”
 “Guilty as charged.” I heard the grin in his voice. “She told me to fight for you. That if I really cared about you, really loved you, I would fight for you.”
I looked back into those amazing eyes. “I can’t give you what you deserve, Logan. I can’t do it.”
“How do you know what I deserve? Have you ever asked me?”
“But. . .you should be with someone your own age. Someone who can give you a family. I know you want one.”
“Alex, I want a family but I want you more. Why do I need some woman my age just for a womb? Why can’t we be together and adopt?”
“Oh, Logan. . . .” But I couldn’t finish. He had impeccable logic. Why couldn’t we? I was still young enough that in vitro was certainly an option.
“Besides, how do you know I even want children? Maybe I don’t.”
“Why me?”
He took my hand in his. “Because you’re funny. Because you make me laugh. Because you have that silly giggle that sounds like music. Because you make love like a wild woman, then sigh in my arms as if I’m the best lover you’ve ever had. Because you make me feel like a real man, like I’m complete and whole. You make me feel special and wanted and needed. You make me feel. . .like I can do anything. Want me to go on?”
 “I do all that?”
“Yeah, you do!” He cupped my chin, then caressed my cheek with long, lithe fingers. “You are what I want, Alex.”
“I didn’t want you to go,” I finally admitted. “I still don’t want you to go.”
“Am I really just a boy to you?”
I shook my head reluctantly but determined to continue the honesty. “No. You’re not a boy.”
“Look, I found a law firm right here in the city. Portia put in a good word for me and I’m going to be a paralegal until the space opens for an associate. They loved my college transcripts and my bar scores. Told me I was perfect. You’re not going to be keeping me in the style unto which I’m accustomed any more. I’m going to pull my own weight.”
“Oh , Logan,” I moaned. “That was never the issue.”
“It was with me,” he said bluntly.
I kissed the hand holding mine. “You are a wonder, all right.”
“Look, I want to be with you. Maybe marriage some day but right now, I just want to be with you.”
“I’m twenty years older than you,” I said, trying one more time to put some reason in that blonde head of his.
“So what! Your soul is young and that’s what’s important to me, ok? After that, I don’t care!”
After that, I had nothing left. I’d already told him everything. I waited.
“Please, Alex. Let me come home. Let me stay with you. Please?”
He watched me, hopefully and expectantly. What could I say; I called the driver.
“Larry, take us back to the suite. Then you can collect Mr. Logan’s things from Ms. Wellington’s mansion.”
I didn’t wait for the reply. I just hung up the phone and melted into his arms and kisses.

© 2008 J. W. Coffey

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Added on August 27, 2008


J. W. Coffey
J. W. Coffey


J. W. Coffey likes to think she was born with a book in her hand and a story in her head. She was, however, born into a family of serious readers, so it wasn't long before writing her own stories came.. more..

Chapter One Chapter One

A Chapter by J. W. Coffey

Chapter Two Chapter Two

A Chapter by J. W. Coffey