Daniel was sick and tired of Max’s boyfriends dogging him. He thought Max deserved better and wanted him to be his man so he could treat him better, but was afraid to jeopardize their friendship by making any unwanted moves. When Max broke up with his latest lover the day before Valentines Day, Daniel could take it no more. He put a plan of action in place to claim and protect the heart of his old friend.
Daniel went to the kitchen and took a few deep breaths, then returned with a small pot to refill Max’s cup.
“Umm, I may have a date for Valentine’s Day.”
Max’s brows shot up. “Say what?”
“Uh-huh, yeah. As a matter of fact, I wanted to ask you for some advice.”
“Yeah, I need some ideas on how to nab him. I want to make him my boyfriend instead of just a friend.”
Max’s expression went blank. The color drained from his face, leaving his usually perfectly pink lips a bland pale shade. He lowered his drink to the table with a thud.
“Uh, yeah. Sure. I guess I can do that for you.”
Daniel reached out to tap his friend’s hand. “Thanks, Max. You’re the best.”
“Uh-huh. So who is this guy? Do I know him?”
He gave Max an exaggerated shrug. “I don’t know. You might. You know lots of people, being a superstar and all.”
“Whatever, man.” Max leaned back, wrapping his arms around his chest. “Do I know this guy or not? I don’t want you hooking up with some fool just so you can have a date for Valentine’s Day.”
Max’s sharp tone and change in posture gave Daniel pause. During the course of their friendship, he had seen Max go through many emotions, except for the one he wanted to see the most.
As he eyed his friend over the small wooden dining room table, Daniel saw something he didn’t recognize. Max’s ebony eyes flashed wildly. He couldn’t help but wonder if those shiny black discs looked the same way when they danced with passion. Max’s nostrils flared as his breath filled, and he emptied his lungs quickly. He was angry, for sure, but if Daniel didn’t know better, he could have sworn there was jealousy underlining it. The thought almost put a smile on his face. He cleared his throat and averted his eyes.
“He’s not a bad guy, Max. We’ve been friends for a while.”
Max turned on him with a scoff. “What does ‘a while’ mean?” he asked with a raised brow. “We have been friends for almost ten years and—”
Max pressed his lips together into a tight line of defiance. “And— and I know all of your friends,” he said, turning away.
“Well, not all of them. I meet a few people now and then. You know, from the fashion shows. And the fittings. You’re not into all that, and—”
“Uh-huh. All right, I’ll give you that. So what’s his name?”
Daniel blinked as his mind went blank. “Reggie,” he blurted out.
“What?” Max screeched, palming the table. “Reggie? That jerk that works at the warehouse you get your fabric from?”
“No, no, not him. It’s a different Reggie,” Daniel retracted swiftly. “You don’t know this one.”
Max returned to his former position and rolled his eyes. “Uh-huh, and you want my help to snag him? This other Reggie guy?”
“Yeah. I just need a couple of ideas, maybe even a few position ideas that will take him over the edge when I do them. I want something more out of our friendship.”
Max’s neck turned slowly to land an icy glare that froze Daniel’s blood. His voice lowered to a sinister level.
“You’re fucking this guy already?”
“No!” Daniel said quickly, shaking his palms in the air. His heart thumped behind his chest at heart-attack rate. “No, nothing like that. Okay, forget the position thing. Just some advice is all I need.”
Max’s glare became less intense and Daniel released the breath he was holding. He felt dizzy with relief.
“What makes you think I can help?”
Daniel twisted his lips jumping back into character. “Hello! You always have a man. Clearly you know how to get one. I, on the other hand, haven’t been in a relationship in three years. I’m way out of practice.”
Max turned to face him. He slid his arms across the table and the harsh edge was gone from his voice. “Yeah, Danny, but those guys I dated weren’t—” He went silent, then turned back to his previous position. “Never mind,” he said tightly.
Daniel looked at him quizzically, but didn’t inquire. “So, will you help me get my man?”
Max glared at him for a moment. Then his features softened and he sighed, throwing his hands up in surrender.
“Sure. I’ll be your personal cupid. What the hell. That’s what friends are for, right?”
“Right!” said Daniel cheerfully.
Max rolled his eyes and stood. “Yeah. Look, we’ll talk about this later, okay? I’ll be by your job later to get fitted.”