Status Update(4)

By: Annabeth Albert



Hell. Should he go for the park manager? Noah really didn’t want to get in the middle of a domestic dispute, but he also needed to work. He took off the headphones, pushing the useless things aside. He couldn’t make out actual words, but the fight seemed to be escalating with a lot more cursing. The boyfriend seemed to be doing most of the yelling. Hell. If things got physical, Noah would have no choice but to go get the manager. Adrian was a little taller and wider than Noah, but he was no match for his hulk of boyfriend. Noah put on his shoes. His lower back tightened, a deep cramp hitting him. He hated arguments. Hated even overhearing them. God, he hoped there wasn’t alcohol involved—that could get things ugly in a hurry.

“Get out!” The nasal voice of the boyfriend was unmistakable this time.

“Hey!” Adrian’s indignant yell echoed through Noah’s RV.

Noah rushed to the window again. Adrian was standing in front of the door to his rental RV, boyfriend lurking in the doorway.

“Never figured you for such a pussy,” the guy growled. “And take your stupid dog.” He all but tossed a wriggling Pixel at Adrian.

“Do you have to be such an asshole?” Adrian called as the door slammed in his face.

Seconds later, the sound of a revving engine cut through the evening. Oh fuck. Noah swung open his door as the boyfriend backed out of the space.

“What the hell are you doing?” Adrian yelled. Pixel tucked under one arm, he raced after the RV, but it was too late—the boyfriend was ignoring all the five-miles-per-hour signs and booking it out of the RV park, tires spitting up gravel, the smell of diesel heavy in the chilly evening air.

“Ow.” Adrian made a pained sound as he hobbled back toward his now-empty RV spot.

“Are you hurt?” Rage gathered in Noah’s insides as he rushed to Adrian, extending an arm to help him hobble to the site’s picnic table.

“No. Just stupid rocks making it hard to walk.” Adrian looked down, and Noah saw his bare feet. His feet were long and narrow—and rapidly turning pale in the cold.

“You better come inside,” Noah said before he could re-think the offer. “I’ll go get the manager for you.”

“No worries. I’m sure Trent will be back soon.” Adrian’s small smile didn’t reach his eyes. “He probably needs to drive around a few minutes, let off some steam. Don’t get the manager—I don’t want us kicked out.”

Getting kicked out was probably already in the works if Old Billy had gotten a look at Trent’s driving, but Noah merely nodded. Let the man have a little pride. “Can I bring you a jacket and some socks while you wait?”

“I’m good.” Expression tight, Adrian made a shooing motion in the direction of Noah’s RV. He tucked his feet under him and let the dog burrow into his fleece sweatshirt. He pulled his phone out of his pocket.

Effectively dismissed, Noah hesitated on the steps of his RV, hating to leave Adrian outside alone.

“You bastard,” Adrian said into his phone. “Letting me go to voice mail? Where the hell are you? You’ve got all my stuff! My wallet’s in there! If you’re going to abandon me, at least let me get my crap, you asswipe.”

Okay. On second thought, maybe letting Adrian cool down for a few minutes was the right idea.

* * *

Well, crap. Adrian disconnected the call and glanced up at Noah’s closed RV door. He heard Noah murmuring something to his dog. He was a nice guy, far too nice to have to deal with someone’s BS ruining his evening.

But then again, he himself was too nice a guy for this BS. The crisp bite of the early evening air stung his cheeks before nipping into his bones, underscoring just how trapped he was. He checked his phone—less than thirty percent power. No phone charger. No wallet. No backpack with his laptop. No freaking shoes.

Pixel shivered under his sweatshirt. The day had hovered around sixty degrees, but the night had a definite chill to it, and the dry wind was picking up.

“And nothing for you either. I know.” He stroked Pixel’s quivering back. “We’ll get your toys and bed back, I promise.”

His hand tightened on the small dog, Adrian’s insides clenching along with his fist. How had he misjudged Trent so completely? A month ago, the idea of driving across the country had seemed like such a good way for them to finally get to know each other in person. But the man had done nothing but complain for the past four days—ever since he got off the plane in LA. But still, Adrian never would have pegged him for a guy who’d abandon him in the middle of Utah.

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