Authors: Cassandra P. Lewis
Tags: #Contemporary, #Romance, #Gay
By Cassandra P Lewis
Text copyright © 2013 Cassandra P Lewis
All Rights Reserved
Love is…’ is the story of Rafe and his boyfriend Matthew.
Their love for each other is beautiful and they're completely perfect for each other. Their relationship is real. It's love in its most perfect form…honest and all consuming.
My hope is that people will read their story and see how magnificent true love is, regardless of sexuality.
We will never fully get equality if people continue to shy away from or even be repulsed by homosexuality. So I'm making a stand, it may be a small stand, but it's mine.
Thank you for reading
My thanks for this book are extensive, because the support that I have received up to and whilst writing it has been mind-blowing!
Firstly … My street and beta team girls!
Claire, Donna, Bethany, Tiffany, Lindsey, Stacey, Abby, Joanne, Tyeesha, Meg, Natasha. Kathryn, Tina, Vicki, Wendy, Kara, Lois, Jodie, Louise, Tara, Mary, Simone, Suzanne and the two lovely Jennifer’s!
Without your constant self-esteem boosts and incessant pimping of me and my work, I may well have given up long before now … because of you I am determined and going strong!
Personal heartfelt thanks have to go to Lydia
(HEA Bookshelf Blog)
(HJ Bellus - Author)
Nicola & Laura
(Orchard book club)
and Kristy & Kristine
(Book Addict Mumma)
… you guys have TOTALLY blown me away with the support, kindness and friendship that you have shown me, I feel really blessed to consider you all friends.
Thank you so much all of you from the bottom of my heart, for going out of your way to help me, someone that most of you have never met in person.
You all amaze me. Thank you ALL, so so much!!
“Rafael! No, no more. You should have ended this as soon as I told you what I saw yesterday. Enough is enough!”
Little sisters are supposed to do as their big brothers tell them, but not Rosie. She’s convinced that she’s the boss of this relationship.
“Rosetta, I am a grown man and I can look after myself. Stop worrying! I know what I’m doing.” I sip my coffee as Rosie shakes her head and stares out of the window of Rafael’s, clearly frustrated. “Rosie, look at me.” she does but I can see she isn’t happy. “You have to trust that I know what I’m doing here. He loves me Rosie; it’s going to be ok!”
My name is Rafe Alvez and I’m twenty six. I’ve been running my own café in London for just over a year now thanks to money left to me by a grandmother that I never actually met, and I love her for it. Having my own business has changed my life.
Rosie, my little sister is one of my best friends. We see each other almost every day, even if it’s just for a quick coffee while I’m on a break. I trust her opinion one hundred percent.
The problem is that I don’t always act on her advice. We have stubborn Spanish blood running through our veins from our Dad’s side and our Mam is Irish. Needless to say, neither of us like hearing when we’re in the wrong or being told what to do, and that’s the problem today.
Rosie wants me to end my relationship because she doesn’t like my boyfriend Mark, and truth be told, she’s probably right. She found out things about him that should have made me run for the hills, but I just can’t.
When I met Mark I should have known he was too good to be true. Good looking, athletic, great in bed, and loaded! Everything I wanted in a man and in the first relationship that I had attempted in years.
The best thing about him was that he’d always been so considerate. He’d constantly text or call me to make sure that I was ok when he was away on business and he would send little gifts to comfort me when he couldn’t. It’s safe to say I fell fast! I wanted to see him day in, day out but his work, or so he said, kept him too busy for that, too busy for me.
As the time passed and our relationship grew, I started to push for more, for weekends away and lunch dates. I couldn’t understand why but Mark wouldn’t commit to anything. He seemed to be just as into me as I was him until I tried to move us forward, then he’d pull back. He’d met Rosie a couple of times but not my parents and had spent time hanging out with some of my friends, so I couldn’t understand it. And then I found out.
“Did you have a good day?”
I was calm as I poured us both a glass of wine. Mark had just arrived at my flat after the ‘day of meetings’ that he’d been moaning about all week.
“Not really, it was a nightmare! But I’m glad to be here now.” He stepped towards me and I moved away, knowing that if he kissed me I’d forget everything that I needed to say. “Hey, what’s wrong?”
“You are!” I glanced up to meet his eyes and gritted my teeth, “I believed you, that you wanted this, us.” I was trying desperately to control my temper knowing that if I lost it, I’d rip him apart.
“Rafe, I don’t understand what’s going on. I do want this, you know I do!” Mark put down his glass and moved across the kitchen towards me, “What’s brought this on?”
“Rosie saw you today, she didn’t mean to be rude by not saying hello but she didn’t want to interrupt your fucking date!”
The more I thought about what my sister had seen, and the more I looked into the lying eyes of Mark, the more I wanted to let go and just lose it with him. My blood was pumping so hot and fast that I could hear the pounding of my pulse in my ears.
“Rafe…Oh my god!” He spoke on an exhale, “Let me explain, please. It’s not what you think. I don’t know what Rosie saw but…oh god!”
Mark backed off and into the opposite counter and I could see the panic in his eyes. He was fully aware of what I’m capable of given that we had met when his company promoted one of my fights.
“Explain yourself, quickly…before I rip your fucking head off!” My knuckles were white as I gripped the counter top behind me in an effort to hold myself back. “I don’t like being made a fool of!”
“Rafe, I don’t…I’m sorry. She’s just…I can’t…”
He was stuttering now, unsure how to explain spending his lunch hour rolling around on the grass with someone else, and that someone being a woman. It hurt and it angered me. I deserved his honesty… and a bit of respect.
“Mark, spit it out. Who is she? Are you bi? You should have told me that. You should have told me that we weren’t exclusive.”
“I never said that we were exclusive Rafe, we didn’t have that conversation. And no, I’m not bi, I’m straight…or at least I thought I was. I don’t know now. You’re the only man I’ve ever been attracted to Rafe, the only man I’ve been with. I’m sorry.”
I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He had come on to me. He was so confident, so self-aware and he knew exactly what to do in the bedroom. It wasn’t possible, surely!
“Who is she?” My voice was low as I tried to process the titbits of information that I was receiving.
“Rafe, I don’t…”
“Who is she Mark? Rosie saw you. I can tell you play by play exactly what she saw if you really want me to!”
“Ok Rafe.” he took a deep breath, “Her name is Laura. She’s my wife.”
I hit him. Just once, but hard enough to put him on his arse, and then I left him there on my kitchen floor and headed out of the flat.
“I can’t believe that you’ve forgiven him Rafe, he’s a liar. What about his poor wife? Please Rafe, end this!”
Part of me knows that Rosie is right. I know I’m going to end up getting hurt and I do feel bad for his wife, but Mark and I spent all of last night arguing and then talking about where we go from here. He said he didn’t want to lose me and he promised me in the early hours of this morning that it’s me he wants, only me. I have to hope that he’s telling the truth.
“When are you going to tell her?”
We’re lying in bed after a rainy afternoon of fucking on or over every square inch of my flat. Mark is resting his head on my stomach and tracing my abs with his fingers while I stroke mine through his strawberry blonde hair.
It’s only been a few days since I found out that Mark is married and I’m already losing patience. Instead of me being blissfully ignorant about where he was when he wasn’t with me, I know now that he’s in bed with her. He swears every day that it’s really over between them but he just has to choose the right time to tell her.
“Rafe, baby just be patient please, you know I want you. I’ll show you just how much.”
He moves to kneel between my legs and I want to protest, but as he lowers down and licks his lips, I’m hard in an instant and I can’t remember what I’m protesting against.
“You are not going to keep distracting me with sex Mark, this is exhausting. I’ve known about Laura for a month and I can’t bear sharing you anymore. You have to let one of us go and soon.”
It’s been four weeks, four bloody long weeks of knowing that Mark wants to be with me but has a wife that he’s going home to.
“Rafe don’t! I know and I will tell her but you have to give me time. It’s going to tear her apart. Just let me get Christmas out of the way and then we’ll start fresh in the New Year, ok?”
I grit my teeth and prepare for three months of hell.
Christmas is fast approaching and I am seeing less and less of Mark. He wanted to get through the holidays with Laura before he left her because he didn’t want her to have a shitty time, alone at her parents’ house. He calls and texts of course but has to spend time visiting various family members to exchange gifts and Christmas wishes.
There’s just a few days left before Mark is going to tell Laura, and while I agreed to wait and tried to just carry on as normal, the truth is that I feel like two different people. One that is falling harder for Mark by the day...And one that actually hopes he chooses his wife.
It’s just too hard.
“Wake up…you need to go!” I’d call him by name if I could remember it, but I can’t so tapping his chest will have to do. “I’ve got to go to work, you need to leave.”
He groans and rolls over then opens his eyes.
“Can I have your number?” He asks sleepily, oh god!
“No, I don’t do that, sorry. Last night was great though.”
I get up and head to the shower, knowing he’ll be gone when I’m done. Bringing random men home after a few drinks is easy and scratches an itch, but the last thing I need is the reminder of just how fucking empty my life is trying to cuddle up to me in the morning. I’m not looking for a relationship, but that doesn’t make me proud of my fucking around.
He was a nice guy, and I feel like a twat for kicking him out like that but generally, the guys that go home with guys after a couple of drinks in a club know the drill. It’s not love, it’s just sex.
“Great workout Marie. Remember, when you hit the cheese board next week how hard it’ll be to work it off. Have fun, just don’t go crazy.”
“I know, I know. It’d be much easier if you just came over and helped me work it straight off.”
Marie bites her lip flirtatiously as her nasal, over exaggerated Essex accent raises my hackles. She just never seems to get that I’m gay; she continues to rub against me in the gym and thrust her ridiculously large breast implants in my face at every given opportunity.
I can’t say I blame her though, they may have cost her a couple of grand but they’ve made her that back and more. The recent trend for people gaining notoriety in the UK, purely for having big boobs and fake tan baffles me, but my bank balance isn’t arguing. Looking good is ‘in’ and I’m in the business of looking good.
“Sorry Marie no can do, I’ll be at my parents’ house in Cornwall, and besides I’m not sure how happy that husband of yours would be about sharing his turkey with your gay personal trainer!”
Yet again I make my point and Marie attempts what I think is a smile but through the collagen and Botox it’s hard to tell.
“Fine I get the point. I’m not your type!” This time she shows her ridiculously white veneers and I try not to show on my face that she wouldn’t be my type even if I was straight. “Have a lovely Christmas then babe and I’ll see you in the New Year, yeah?”
I smile and lean down to kiss Marie on the cheek before she climbs into her white Range Rover Sport, ignoring the flash of paparazzi cameras that follow her everywhere, and heads home.
My name is Matthew English, I’m twenty seven and I’m a personal trainer. Well I guess I’m more than that really, I own and run a personal training business. We offer boot camps, one to one training, martial arts training and nutritional advice. It’s doing better than I ever could have imagined with a lot of celebrities taking us on and recommending us to their friends. Of course this spreads me even thinner as most of them want to train with me rather than one of my other trainers but I love it, I wouldn’t be doing it otherwise.
It doesn’t leave a lot of time for relationships but hey, I’m young. I’m not looking to get tied down just yet, unless it’s for one night and to a hot bloke’s bed that is. Don’t get the wrong idea though, I’m not out there every night looking for a new hook-up, but if they come looking for me then I’m open to it, I’m only human.
Besides, I’ve tried the relationship thing and it didn’t really work for me. I just ended up getting hurt and being made a fool of, I’m not letting that happen again. I’m not the mug I once was. I might see a guy for a few weeks but I’m not up for getting seriously involved, I don’t have the time.
The drive to Cornwall always helps me to clear my head. I headed straight down after my session with Marie. I have a few things to take care of down here and being Christmas, time is of the essence as everything closes up early. Heading straight into Newquay I make my way into the estate agents.
“Matthew English, what the bloody hell are you doing here? I thought you were a big shot trainer in London these days!”
Louise laughs as she stands to greet me. She knew I was coming down for Christmas; she just enjoys busting my balls. We’ve been friends since we were three and my parents moved in next door to hers. There’s only a day between her and my twin brother and I so we have literally grown up together.
“Well I thought I’d come and remember the little people.” I lean down to hug her and kiss her on the cheek. I wasn’t joking when I said little people, while I seemed to continue growing until I hit twenty one, Louise stopped at about thirteen. “I’m actually here on business babe, I want to sell up.”
Louise takes a step back and looks up at me to see if I’m serious. I own a beautiful cottage in a village called Crantock that I only bought about eighteen months ago. Louise knows that it’s my pride and joy but I just don’t get the time to be there.
“Are you sure about that? I mean, you’ll make your money back on it easily but you love that place.” Louise heads back towards her desk and despite her reservations I can see that she’s considering the commission.
“Yeah, I’m sure. I’ll retire back here one day, babe but right now I need to be in London.”
We spent a good hour somewhere between catching up and setting the ball rolling on putting my house on the market. My parents don’t know that I’m in Cornwall early so Lou and I agree to spend the evening catching up with a trip to the pub and a sleepover at the cottage.
“Do you need me to have a word?”
I am serious as Louise tells me how her boyfriend Jack has been treating her. I’ve never been that keen on him anyway but she deserves better than being left alone constantly and having him text other girls.
“No babe honestly, I’m done with him. I just want my Christmas present first!”
I laugh as I finish my pint, “Come on you, let’s go and get some grub and head back.”
“Oh god, you need to get straight!” A slightly worse for wear Louise rolls her eyes as I take off my shirt and get ready for bed. “You get sexier by the day you bastard!”
“Shut your face!” I laugh “You know far too much about my sex life to ever go there!” She laughs and buries her face in the pillows as I consider the fact that she really does know too much.
I came out to Louise three years before I came out to anyone else. She knew that I was gay and fooling around with guys even while I was pretending to be in love with my girlfriend when I was sixteen, but she kept my secret because she knew I wasn’t ready.
Louise is petite and curvy, she loves her food more than she loves working out so she refers to herself as fuller figure but honestly, I think she looks great. She goes to the gym regularly and has danced since she was five so she never really puts too much weight on, but she says she only works out to earn her curry or ice cream. I love her.
When we were teenagers everyone thought that we were destined to end up together. She has the same bright blonde hair and blue eyes that I do. Truthfully we would have made a beautiful kid, who knows maybe we still will one day.
We spent our younger years at the beach, surfing and playing beach football and volleyball. We always attracted the young holiday makers on their breaks from university or their first holidays without the parents and we certainly both experimented.
I never slept with a guy because I was scared to take that step, but I fooled around with more than a few. Usually after beach barbecues when it was dark and we’d all drank a bit too much cheap cider and smoked one too many joints. Of course, none of us were out and just put it down to the atmosphere and alcohol, agreeing to keep quiet.
Louise was at the opposite end of the scale. She calls her teenage years her ‘slut chapter’ and she’s right. She was as easy as you like and pretty much up for anything including a threesome at seventeen and a one night stand with a woman a few weeks later. She was always careful and she certainly had fun but I am glad that she calmed down.
As I fall asleep with the sound of Lou’s drunken snoring rattling my eardrums I smile. The realisation that I really am selling my cottage is sinking in and a calm, happy feeling washes over me. Life is good.