“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Trevor warned, yanking out the cork from the bottle of Lagavulin. He poured another generous amount into the crystal tumbler, jammed the cork back in and returned the bottle to the counter with a hard clank. “You’re not my favourite person at the moment.” He felt the weight of hands on his shoulders, then started to squirm as the wet tongue traced the curve of his ear.
“You love me,” that gravelly voice said. “Don’t fight it.”
That voice … it was what had hooked him, had his manhood stirring with the simple, “Hello,” that Oliver greeted him with on their first date. Now wasn’t the time to be nostalgic.
Trevor twisted out of Oliver’s grasp and shot off the stool. He looked in Oliver’s direction but not right at him. This was his time to be strong, to stand his ground. He wouldn’t cower to Oliver’s dreamy, sapphire blue eyes. Not this time. “She can’t stay here.”
“I can’t throw her out tonight,” Oliver said, taking a step forward.
Trevor took a matching step backwards. “I can.”
“Trevor…” Oliver rushed Trevor, who didn’t have time to react, and held him close. “She’s my mother … what do you expect me to do?”
Trevor tried to break free, twisting and turning, but Oliver held on.
“Stop fighting and just listen,” Oliver said, almost shouting.
Trevor struggled for another twenty seconds, then stood there absolutely still. When he felt Oliver’s grip relax, he pushed away violently. “I’m your partner. That should count for something.”
Oliver, after making an unsuccessful play for Trevor’s hand, folded his arms. “You’re not making this easy.”
“I’m not making this easy?” Trevor massaged his temple. “You do understand why your mother and I can’t be under the same roof, don’t you?”
“No, no,” Trevor said, waving his hand in disagreement. “She doesn’t get a free pass for what happened last week. Maybe you need a reminding…”
Trevor felt his chest tightening as he recounted the events of last Sunday. It was their turn to host the monthly family dinner that had long been a tradition in Oliver’s family. More of a cook than Oliver, Trevor spent the day before preparing for the meal and the mob set invade their home. And just before their first guest arrived Oliver, sporting that goofy smile that always made Trevor swoon, told him everything was perfect.
While Oliver showed off his new R1 motorcycle to his brothers, Trevor was alone in the kitchen cleaning up. He didn’t want any help. He wanted to be on his own, have a little peace. When he was almost done, he went to return the oversized turkey platter to the sideboard in the dining room. He heard the hushed voices and stopped outside the sliding doors, which he’d left slightly ajar. He immediately recognized that nasal voice. Phyllis! He discreetly looked into the room to see his ‘mother-in-law’ who, standing by the patio doors and with her back to him, had Oliver’s younger sister Andrea cornered.
“I’ve always thought Oliver could do better,” Phyllis said. “He seems happy—”
“Oliver is happy,” Andrea said firmly. “God, don’t you see the way he and Trevor look at each other? It’s like they’re the only ones in the room. Theo and I stopped looking at each other that way after two years.”
“I don’t understand…” Phyllis cut herself off, her exasperation gaining dominion. “I raised him better than that. If only the South had won that war things would definitely be different. Especially here in Halifax.”
Trevor pushed one of the sliding doors open so hard that when it bounced in the frame the entire house fell silent.
Phyllis spun around, her face twisting in shock. “Oh, Trevor, I was just telling Andrea —”
“‘If only the South had won that war,’” he said slowly, a way to tamp down the anger flowing through his veins.
Phyllis let out a forced laugh. “Oh, it’s just a manner of speaking.”
“‘A manner of speaking,’” Trevor repeated caustically.
Phyllis, unsure what to do with her hands, clasped them behind her back. “Well, back then … it was just the natural order of things. It made things simpler.”
“Mom, I think we should go,” Andrea said, panicked. She tried to nudge her mother out of the room.
Oliver appeared and, when he saw the disbelief raging in Trevor’s face, slumped against the door. “Mom, what did you do now?”
The phone rang, and Trevor rolled his eyes as Oliver sprinted to answer it. God, some days he’s such a momma’s boy. He crossed to the island counter, picked up his scotch and drained it. Oliver was back and before he could say anything, Trevor threw him a warning look. “Who was that?”
“Dad,” Oliver said, tapping his foot. “He said he … had the locks changed.”
“That’s it!” Trevor started for the door. “This isn’t a one-night thing. And I’m not going to be miserable in my own home. She can go to a hotel.”
Oliver grabbed Trevor by the arm. “Trevor —”
“I’ll make it simple…” Trevor jerked his arm away. “It’s either her or me.”