Chapter 4 - 2016 Top Ten Gay Romance


Max approached Owen cautiously.He was standing at the bar as the barman fixed their latest round of drinks.

“Ah,you want a hand?”Max asked.

Owen glanced around and smiled at him.“I’ve got a tray,but thanks anyway.”

That was probably a good thing.Max had had a couple of drinks too many.Anything he carried,he’d spill.He didn’t leave,though.He moved closer,leaned on the bar.The drinks had made him bold.He was gonna do it.He was going to ask him.

“Want some crisps?”Owen asked.

“What?Oh,yeah,sure,crisps.Yes.Get some for Noah,too.He loves crisps.Kettle crisps most of all.Give that man a bag of those,and he’s happy for hours.He…”

Stop babbling.God,shut up!

The barman appeared with the last drink,and Owen ordered some packets of crisps.

“I was thinking,ah,wondering,Owen,if you’d maybe,with me,sometime,fancy seeing dinner and eating a movie.”

Owen looked puzzled.Max’s ears caught up with his mouth.

“I mean the other way around.Move a dinner…No,hang on.I got confused.Can I start over?Or…I’ll shut up.Sorry.”And then maybe he can find a way up to the roof and throw himself off it.

The barman dropped the bags of crisps on the tray,and Owen paid the bill and picked up the tray.“Let’s go and sit down,eh?”

Max trailed him miserably back to the table.The best he could hope was that Owen hadn’t heard him over the music playing in the pub.He was profoundly grateful to find a couple of people Owen and the others apparently knew had joined them at the table,and he didn’t get another chance to talk to Owen alone.All he had to deal with was an occasional glance his way.Sometimes one of those bone-melting smiles,other times a puzzled expression,as if he was trying to figure out which planet Max had come from.



ah asked in t

ow,wondering if Owen was going home to a lonely bed or if someone waited for him.Or if he’d gone on some place after the party s

ut,”he said.“I made a


eague.I shouldn’t have.What

”Noah frowned.“I’m more incline

,I’m too young fo

te someone he works with,I’m afraid.Especially one h

t the chance t

have to talk to him

ould go to Iceland,find a v

ramatic.He’ll be f

e being unr

n was out a lot of the day in court,it wasn’t too hard to avoid him.By Tuesday

king week.Next step,a fortnight.After that,the nearly unchartered territory of a month.But coul

his office,“we want coffee for two

e kettle on.In most of Max’s other jobs,making the coffee had involved a


ld plainly by Mrs Barstow were for solicitors and clients only,not the likes of him.He added a jug of fresh cream and the bowl of sugar—making sure none of the sugar was clumped t

ked up the tray,and headed for the conference room.The door was slightly ajar when he approached.He heard the voices of Mr Bell an

of them on,”Mr Pringle said.“Th

,doesn’t he?”Mr Bell replied.“Do

d one new