Authors: James L. Craig
Tags: #Gay romance, contemporary
Steven is a run of the mill guy, living a simple life that tips over into boring. He sees no way out of his dreary existence until he meets James, who is beautiful, charming, and helps to bring vivid color to Steven's dull life. But everybody has secrets, and when James's secret comes out Steven wonders if he should have stuck with boring...
All I Desire is Steven
By James L. Craig
Published by Less Than Three Press LLC
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission of the publisher, except for the purpose of reviews.
Edited by Michael Jay & Tan-ni Fan
Cover designed by Aisha Akeju
This book is a work of fiction and all names, characters, places, and incidents are fictional or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual people, places, or events is coincidental.
First Edition November 2014
Copyright © 2014 by James L. Craig
Printed in the United States of America
Digital ISBN 9781620044551
It was another long day at the clinic. Steven worked at the front desk, so he was always one of the first to arrive and one of the last to leave. Whether it was making appointments, processing payments, or dealing with the sick patients, he found himself very busy. Although Steven liked his job to a certain degree, he couldn't help but feel like something was missing. He worked so hard each day that he was too tired to do anything but go home and go to sleep. No personal life, no children and no close friends. It was just work and sleep with some quick meals in between.
One Friday morning Steven was running late. He had overslept, and knew that if he got behind on his routine tasks he would have a hell of a time trying to catch up, not to mention the extra burden it would put on his coworkers who also worked at the front desk. Running a red light and breezing past a stop sign, he quickly swung into his space in the parking lot of the clinic.
Steven jumped out of his car and hurried to the door but just as he reached to grab hold of the glass door, he lost his footing and fell. He lay there for a moment and moaned in pain. While he tried to get up, a man who saw him fall from inside the clinic quickly rushed out.
"Are you okay?" the man asked while he reached out his hand to help Steven up.
"Nope, I've fallen and I can't get up," Steven said sarcastically as he remained on the ground for a moment. The man chuckled. Steven grabbed the man's hand and couldn’t help but gasp when he saw the face of his helper. He was taken aback by the man's sheer beauty. A tall black man with green eyes and a caramel complexion; he had strong facial features and a muscular frame that showed even through his clothes. Steven stared in awe for a moment before speaking again.
"Thank you," Steven said while he brushed the dirt off of his clothes. "I'm running a bit late, and I guess I lost my balance."
"Well, I'm just glad you are okay," the man said, flashing a perfect smile. Steven looked at the beauty that was the man's face and then looked away as he felt a feeling of nervousness come over him.
"I… I am," he said, smiling down at the ground. Steven tried to look at anything but his tall savior. However, the gorgeous stranger continued to smile at him as if waiting to make eye contact. After a few moments of awkward silence, Steven turned his attention toward the glass door and walked inside the clinic, followed in by the stranger. He sat behind the desk and signed on to the computer. He began to get himself together, but as he did he realized that the man was still standing by the door. Steven tried not to notice, but after a few moments Steven could no longer ignore the man.
"Can I help you?" Steven asked. Patients usually went to the waiting area and sat down after checking in, so he wondered why the man was still standing there.
The man shook his head. "Oh, no I am just waiting for Dr. Russell."
Steven nodded and began to get to work, however as he tried to focus on his work he became aware that the man was still looking at him with a huge smile on his face. Steven tried so hard to be oblivious but a smile couldn't help but escape from his face at the flattering sensation of having someone notice him. After a few more moments of trying to dodge eye contact with the sexy stranger, Steven just gave in and looked into the man's eyes, waiting to see what it would lead to.
They had a slight staring match that only ended when the man walked up to the desk.
"I'm James Russell," the man said as he held his hand out.
Steven smiled. "Steven," he said and shook it. James's grip was strong and masculine. Steven felt overpowered by a simple handshake. Even so, he couldn't help but get somewhat turned on as he turned his attention from James's hand to his beautiful eyes. James was still looking at him and flashing that gorgeous smile. Steven looked into his eyes losing himself; only to be brought back to the present by his coworker's grunt next to him.
"So, um… Russell, huh? Any relationship to Dr. Russell?" an embarrassed Steven asked, trying to change the atmosphere back to business appropriate.
"Yes. He's my brother," James said.
Soon after, Dr. Russell came out to meet his brother with a big hug before walking to the back together. Steven watched James while he walked to the back with his brother, admiring his strong legs. He stared until his focus was broken yet again by his coworker.
"Umm… the phone is ringing," Thomas said.
Steven laughed nervously. "Oh, yeah," he said and picked up the phone.
The rest of the day went by like any other, but as the time went on Steven couldn't help but notice that James hadn't come out yet. Steven secretly hoped that he would see his face again before he left, but after such a long period of time he figured that he may have went out the back way. Most people used the front entrance to arrive and leave, but James's brother was the doctor so it wouldn't be hard to understand that he used a different exit. Still, Steven felt somewhat sad when he thought he may not see the man again.
Steven then turned his attention back to his work, but while he tried to refocus on his tasks, he heard Dr. Russell's voice. When he looked over to him, he saw James and Dr. Russell share another hug before James walked towards the door. However, something was different than before. There was a slight sadness on James's face. Steven thought back to the first moment he met James and how there had been almost a permanent smile on his face. His eyes now had a slight tint of red and he looked drained of energy.
Had he been crying
? Steven wondered when he saw James head for the door. Something was bothering James and although they didn't really know each other, Steven wanted to see if he needed anything.
"Are you okay?" Steven stood just when James was about to reach for the door handle.
James stopped for a moment and then turned slowly toward Steven putting the smile back on his face.
"I'm fine," he said visibly composing himself. "Thank you for asking." He winked at Steven.
The smile was still beautiful but there was something almost disingenuous about it. But still, just seeing him smile did something for Steven.
"I'm glad to hear it," Steven said while he sat back down, not losing eye contact with James. It was once again a staring match between them. They were getting lost in the other's eyes as they continued to gaze at each other when Thomas chimed in.
"Look, it's obvious you like each other, so sir, please ask Steven out so he can get back to work, because I can't do it all up here."
Steven gasped. "Thomas!"
"Okay then, I will." James said and walked up to the desk. Steven felt his heart skip a beat and his throat gulp.
"Steven," James said as he put his hands on the counter and leaned on it. "Would you like to go out with me tomorrow?"
Steven looked at James trying to contemplate his words. He was so nervous that he couldn't think of what to say. "I-I… well… I—"
"Yes. Tomorrow is Saturday and the clinic is closed on weekends so he would love to go out with you."
Steven gasped again. "Thomas."
James laughed at the situation. "Is eight o' clock a good time to pick him up?" James asked turning his attention to Thomas.
"Yes. Eight is fine." Thomas said as he grabbed a sticky note, wrote Steven's number down on it and then passed it to James. "Now, give me your number." Thomas grabbed another sticky note then handed it and his pen to a smiling James while an awkward Steven pretended not to notice. James wrote his number down then passed it to Thomas. "He will text you with his address after he gets off, and don't be late. Now please leave before someone complains about us," Thomas said and directed his attention back to his computer screen.
James just smiled and then he turned his attention back to the still-shocked Steven.
"I can't wait," he said then tapped on the counter and walked away.
Steven continued to stare down at the floor in disbelief, but as he thought about what had just happened, a smile slowly appeared across his face. He had a date with a gorgeous man. He wasn't mad at Thomas or even embarrassed anymore. He gave a slight giggle while he thought about his date, and then got back to work.
The next day flew by as Steven got ready for his date. He was so excited because he hardly ever met anyone outside the clinic and the ones that were there were usually sick. Steven knew that this was long overdue for him and that made this date all the more exciting. He was happy because he hardly ever got any male attention and although he hated to admit it, he often felt lonely.
When Steven got out of the shower and laid his clothes out to be ironed, he couldn't help but get a little nervous. Although he was happy he had found a sweet, sexy guy to spend some time with, he was feeling a little insecure. Steven hadn't been on a date or had a boyfriend in a long time and he didn't know how to act. He began to worry about how James would receive him on the date and if he was engaging and outgoing enough to keep his attention. He tried to shake the doubt and feelings of nervousness off but it stayed with him in the back of his head as the time for the date drew closer.
Steven had just finished getting ready when he heard a knock on the door. He looked down at his watch to see that it was seven fifty-nine. James was right on time. Steven took a deep breath and opened the door.
The door opened revealing a gorgeous James decked out in fine apparel. He felt a lump in his throat and his heart raced whilst he looked at the fine specimen standing in front of him.
"Hi," Steven said.
"Hi there." James smiled as he looked at Steven. "Are you ready to go?" he asked holding his hand out.
With a nod, Steven and James were off on their date, walking hand in hand.
While Steven rode in James's car he couldn't help but feel awkward, somewhat insecure and a little nervous around James. His thoughts from earlier started to kick back in and wear him down a bit. He spent most of the ride looking out the window at other cars and surroundings.
As they drove on the awkwardness seem to get worse and the silence was disturbing. "Is something wrong?" James asked as he alternated between glancing at Steven and the road.
Steven shook his head, however, that didn’t stop James from searching for Steven's hand as he tried to break the awkwardness in the car.
"You know, I'm a little nervous too," James said whilst looking over to Steven.
Steven turned his attention to James. "Really?" he asked, not believing someone like James would ever be nervous. "You are?"
James nodded. "Yeah, I mean it's always a little nerve-racking when you go out with someone for the first time. Especially if you haven't been on a date in a while. Not to mention when it's with someone as cute as you."
Steven smiled. Knowing that James was feeling the same way made him feel a lot better about the situation. He felt like they were on an even playing field now and that he could just be himself.
After a few more minutes of driving they came up to a restaurant called Scheherazade's. Steven felt overjoyed when he saw the restaurant. He thought it was great that he and James had something else in common.
"This is my favorite place," Steven said unbuckling his seat belt.
"Really?" James asked, a mix of happiness and shock in his voice. "It's mine too." He got out of his car and walked over to Steven and opened the door for him, then they walked into the restaurant, hand in hand.
Scheherazade's was one of the best restaurants in the city. The eatery was nothing but elegant with its red and white velvet décor highlighted by the chandeliers and fountain. Although it looked very expensive, it was quite affordable, at least compared to other restaurants in the area, not to mention the food was superb.