Chapter 6 - 2016 Top Ten Gay Romance

Max shielded his eyes and took the coat.“Thanks.”

He hated the choked sound in his voice.He’d never see Owen again after today,he supposed.Easy come,easy go.To his surprise,Owen sat down on the bench beside him.Max stared ahead,holding his coat on his lap.Traffic and pedestrians passed for about a century before Owen spoke.

“I got the story out of Mrs Barstow.Though the best she could manage about a certain part was‘he added the word end’to Mr Bell’s name.’”

Max’s lips twitched.He gave in to it and smiled.Yeah.That had been a choice one.

“Penny was still laughing about it when I came out here.Noah wanted to come.In fact,Noah wanted to walk in to Mr Bellend’s office and resign on the spot.But I persuaded him and Penny to stay in my office and keep their heads down.”


“You know I won’t be able to think of him as anything but Mr Bellend from now on.”

“Oh,dear,what a pity.”

“What exactly did they say?Mrs Barstow didn’t hear that,only what you said to them.I gather a certain…racial slur was used.”

“I don’t want to repeat it.”

“Okay.Anything else?I’m not asking for laughs.If you want to take them to a tribunal,I will happily represent you.”

Max stared at him.He would.“Pro-boner?”He smirked.

“The word is bono,not boner,but you know that fine well.Max,what else did they say?”

Max repeated it back,not liking saying that shit.Owen jotted notes with a slim silver pen onto a notepad he took from his pocket.He nodded and put it away when they were done.

“I believe the phrase is bang to rights.Wide open to cases against them from you,Noah,and Penny.”He rubbed his hands together.“God,it’s cold.Are you,um,are you going home?”

Max shrugged.“I suppose.The bus will be here soon.”

“Forget the bus.I’ll give you a lift.”

Max’s mouth went dry,and it wasn’t the effects of the cold air.Owen wanted to take him home.To an empty house.Noah probably wouldn’t be back for hours.

e passenger seat of Owen’s Mercedes.The heated pa

o stay cool,even though he’

edgment,then manoeuvred

in.Max snapped back to attention from watching the show—that is,Owen driving.He’d n

ask you s

h,I meant,a

s hard to see you two as friends.Y

Owen thought that,he’d definitely never lay a hand on Max,a

know.That would be

s stra

s so serious and you’re

mean s

I do

”Max su



t Max,who died,yet somehow managed to

e’re standing side by side,him black,me white,but we’re brot


h were friends.I was friends with their other kids,too,but he was

own each other

e could say it without his voice roughening and cracking t

wen said,looking sho

out of the woodwork,looking for custody of me,because both my parents had hefty life insurance pay-outs,as well as thei

h.I’ve seen a few c

t even trying for custody,assumed a relative would get it.So me saying that threw the cat among the pigeons.But,in the end,it worked out.I got to stay with them.And from then on,me and Noah,we were brothers.He was there for me from the

nd he took it with a silent request for permission.Owen nodded,then looked ahead a

back on a straighter bit of road again,close to thei

n’t pretend I didn’t hear those bastards disresp

,and turned to Owen.He was calm,not flustered the way he had been in the bar or every other time he spoke t


.A little smile playing aroun

you.And I should have said

and turned of