Matt has everything he has ever wanted. His career is blossoming and he was recently promoted to vice president of the bank in the small town where he has worked since graduating from college. His boss is the best and Matt has lived with his partner and lover, Kent, for the past few years. If there is one thing that Matt would love to change in his life, it is the anger which he seems to cause in his lover, yet he has no idea what he is doing to anger him. Matt does his best to be a good partner to Kent, but he is embarrassed about the black eyes and bruises which he finds very difficult to hide or find excuses for. He feels certain that his and Kent’s relationship is no different from any other, but when his boss asks him to take his place at a yearly conference, he meets a man who shows him a completely different life from the one that has now become perhaps a little too familiar to him.
Excerpt: Matt tried to dab some makeup on the bruise to cover it up, but this one was determined to be seen. “Maybe no one will notice,” he lied to himself. He had already used every excuse he could think of when he had come to work with a bruise. He had no idea how he was going to explain this one. Matt had known women who had been in abusive relationships, but this was much different. He was the one with the abusive man, though he was pretty certain that everyone at the bank had assumed that he was married to a woman and that she was the one putting the bruises on his face. It was difficult enough for a man to admit that he had an abusive wife, but if anyone were to discover that Matt’s bruises were from another man, a man who was his live-in lover, there was no telling what they would say or do. Being gay was tough enough in the larger cities, but in small town America where everyone knew everyone’s business, being gay was a different matter entirely. ****** Matt’s eyes were fixed on Dustin’s obviously all seeing and all knowing eyes. He almost hated to return to his former life of loneliness and very little sleep. He looked at Dustin’s hand holding his tightly. “I’d better get going,” he said.
“I know, Matt. I know.” Dustin gently pressed his lips to Matt’s cheek, the cheek where the bruise had been, and then he gently kissed Matt’s hand. Matt swallowed hard. They said goodbye in the parking lot, and Dustin watched as the huge airport swallowed the man he had known for only a little while. He waited for nearly thirty minutes before driving away, hoping that Matt would come running back to him but knowing that he would not.