A Perfect Bloom 41 – Alex Ankarr

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A Perfect Bloom 41 – Alex Ankarr

Cory feels dizzy, like he’s missed something, been spun around and can’t re-acclimatize. “But he did,” he says, uncertainly. “He got my attention. He has it.”

But Sam shakes his head definitely, still not looking at him. “Not the right way,” he says with certainty. “Not if he saw you…” Oh, these pauses and hesitations are going to kill Cory, what with the suspense, the open-mouthed eagerness. He could shake Sam to get the full explanation out of him. Except that that is something that would be a lot more than frowned upon, by his own Human Resources department. And also, even if he would actually do something like that, Sam has about six inches and twenty pounds on him, so that it wouldn’t be the greatest idea in the world in any case.

“Saw me?” he repeats. It’s about the only gambit he has left.

“With somebody,” Sam says. And oh, the light and the life and the enthusiasm and shy amusement, it all drains out of his face. “In the rose-gardens, yesterday. A visitor, I saw him arrive. And then, then I saw him…”

Well. It seems as if there’s only one incident that Sam can mean. But it isn’t possible, is it?

“He kissed me,” Cory says slowly. Because that, and Adam, is surely what Sam is meaning, with his face all tight and the pleasure and direct warmth gone out of it. “But there was no-one around,” he says, protestingly. He doesn’t like to think of Sam seeing such a daft and meaningless little contretemps, doesn’t like to think of him disturbed by it. This disturbed, and he clearly is. “No-one could have seen us.”

“No?” Sam asks wryly, and he’s looking direct at Cory now for sure, examining his face carefully, like he doesn’t want to miss a thing, miss a trick, miss the exact facts and the truth. “I was up high, on a ladder against the south wall,” he says, explaining, mouth a line that suggests he’s no happier for doing it. “Trimming the Virginia creeper we have growing there. I didn’t mean to spy,” he says, and boy, that’s stiff, that’s uncomfortable.

At least Cory knows what the trouble is, now. He’s hesitant himself, when he moves a little closer, slow and cautious. “You didn’t see as much as you thought, maybe,” he says, awkward. “That was my old boyfriend. I have to admit it. But he’s also a consultant for us, on overseas trading difficulties. What you saw…” He pauses. “It wasn’t instigated by me. And it didn’t lead to anything more. And there’s nothing between me and him. Not now.”







© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2014

No unauthorised reproductions allowed. All rights reserved to the author. No inspirations for characters drawn from real-life individuals, no resemblance to real individuals intended.

Photo credit: Bonita Suraputra (https://www.flickr.com/photos/21185968@N00/3428731883/in/photolist-6dZ9wX-6e1HhW) via a Creative Commons licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode), book cover modifications made.


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