Gay City: Vol 2
Edited by Vincent Kovar
Nominated for the 2010 Lambda Literary Award
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“I know you care,” Dan said softly reaching out and hugging Maria tightly to him. “I know all of you care and more important, he knows you care.” He felt her breathing become irregular and held her close. He rubbed his palm across her back until after a few sniffles she caught her breath and, patting his shoulder, signaled her release.
Maria pulled back without breaking contact. She studied Dan’s eyes and saw a spark of the friend she fell in love with so many years ago.
“Fredrick has a lot friends who are here for him.” She reached up to caress the back of his head resting her palm against his nape. “I want you to know that while I love Freddy, I’ll let them take care of him.” She gave Dan a quick peck and a brief hug before whispering in his ear: “I’m hear to take care of you.” She kissed his neck and broke free so she could turn and wipe her eyes. “I’ll tell you what,” she offered glancing at her watch. “It’s a little after 8:30 now, Richard won’t be here for an hour.” She took a deep breath giving her a final grounding. “Why don’t I run out and do a little shopping for you; get some real food and definitely a pound of good coffee.” She tried on a smile; it fit her well.
“Ok. Deal.” He put out a hand for shaking. She took it pumping it slowly and shaking her head in rhythm.
“Fredrick is a lucky guy to have you. The world could end outside of this apartment and you wouldn’t leave his side for anything. That’s something to be envious of.”
“My world is ending inside the apartment,” Dan said quietly. “The outside can catch up.”
“All right Sweetie but don’t forget,” Maria said hugging Dan’s neck and kissing his cheek. “My niece is coming into town on Friday, and you said you’d take her to the lookout on top of the towers. I’m holding you to it.” She smiled and blew him a kiss before walking towards the front door. Dan meandered behind her with an amused smile on his face. “I’m off shopping but when I get back,” she squinted her eyes with a scrutinizing look and the hint of a smile that summoned memories of playful days of the past. “You’re getting in the shower; you’re smelling ripe.”
Maria unlocked the door and pulled it open with fluidic motion. Half way out she paused to leave Dan with a comforting smile. Without a word, she waved her fingers in the air and continued letting the door close behind her.