Here’s chapter 22 of the new book, “Dangerous Roommate.” Enjoy reading. Let me know your thoughts about this chapter in the comment section below.
“Excuse me, Kitty—” Stefan said and then regretted it. He flinched and shifted his weight on his seat, watching everyone’s shock. He glanced at Len, who sat a chair away from him, and Frank standing in front, presenting the meeting. “I, uh, sorry. My bad. I mean, Mr…” He paused and gazed into his eyes, smirking. “Zambrano.”
Frank suddenly felt lightheaded. He figured out it had something to do with the lack of sleep and overwork. Perhaps, it had something to do with getting physical with Stefan. As a compromise, he thought it had to do with a simple relief that he’d offered to help. Between that lightheaded feeling, the absolutely precious look on his face, and the intensity of his gaze, he wanted to laugh. But no.
“Just call me Frank, please.”
“Alright. Frank.” Stefan paused again, trying to remember his inquiry while he scratched a part of his head with a finger. His eyebrows furrowed, scoring lines on his forehead. Unable to fix his thoughts, he clucked and released a groan. “Nevermind. I forgot. Go on,” he said, gesturing for Frank to continue.
So, that was it?
Frank supposed he called his attention to many things, and he supposed it had been building for a while. He had felt it by the way Stefan had looked at him from early on. He remembered how sour his face was whenever he stood in front of everybody. But at the same time, he oddly thought it was sexy as hell.
Maybe it was an anomaly. He had only been overthinking something that wasn’t there.
Kitty? Len picked out the change in how they looked at each other while sitting a chair to Frank, eyeing Stefan. Though he had kept his mouth shut all this time, he couldn’t help but notice the differences in how Stefan called out Frank’s attention and how Frank looked at him. For a second, he thought there were more like best friends than business partners.
Was he just overanalyzing things? Maybe he was getting more and more paranoid the longer Frank stayed over at his brother’s house. The image of the quiet-natured art department head dealing with a notorious Stefan, known for his temper and brutally honest methods, had him concerned.
However, that story seemed to have developed into something more. Perhaps, he had misjudged his brother all along. Because, knowing Frank, he would never have chosen to stay that long if Stefan hadn’t changed his ways. Or maybe, they’d made a deal. If so, what was it? What kind of agreement was it that made the two look like love birds talking in cryptic eye messages?
Len studied Frank’s face as he stood there, still discussing the details of the upcoming exhibition. Look at that, he thought, when he saw him smiling and blushing when Stefan called out for his attention again. Look at the way he nodded, the angle of his chin, and his hand gestures.
This wasn’t the Frank he knew, he thought. Because all the years he had seen him, he had never seen his maestro glow like that. He may have seen him smile like that before, but this one was incomparable. It was as though he bloomed for whatever reason. And the last time he had seen him like this was like four years—no, five years ago. Damn. It was that long.
As he slid his gaze down to the floor, his mind wandered, reeling the conversation he had with Stefan in the ring.
Whether you like it or not, Frank is mine. So, fuck off!
How could he say something like that? The absurdity of it made Len scoff and cluck, flashing a smug on his face, without knowing he caught Frank’s attention.
When his voice came through his ears, Len flinched and widened his eyes as he caught him. He blinked and glanced at everybody in the room, watching him like a hawk. “I’m sorry.” The only two words he managed to say, thinking it was enough to ease.
“What’s with that reaction?” Frank paused, narrowing his eyes. He pressed his clenched fist on one side of his hip while the other hand pressed on the meeting table. His eyes were glued to the man, anticipating his reply.
But when a minute turned into five, he babbled on. “Are you okay? Something wrong?” He turned his head, facing the displayed presentation, skimming the details with his eyes squinted. When he had seen no errors or something that caught his eye. However, there was none. So, he moved his attention back to Len. “I think there’s nothing wrong with the plan.”
Len, still startled, looked him in the eye with his mouth eased open. He slowly straightened himself on the seat and expelled a soft sigh. “Yeah. I think so.” He stuttered. His face turned scarlet, and his breathing became heavy, seemingly labored. “Yeah. Just go on. I’m sorry to interrupt you,” he said, gesturing for him to continue and move on.
But that wasn’t enough to convince Frank. His eyes remained on him. “I’ll talk to you later,” he said, arching both eyebrows while waiting for his answer.
Len nodded. “Alright. After the meeting.” Good. ‘Cause we’ve got to talk, Frank.
After the meeting, he stood before Frank, looking curious and worried at the same time. “I’ve got to tell you something,” he said after expelling a sigh. He flicked his head down and saw the mess on his desk.
Frank swallowed and pulled a part of his pants up before sitting on his swivel chair with his eyes shot skyward. With both arms on the table and his palms pressed together, he gave him a long look. “I know it’s been a lot for us lately. And I know you aren’t on good terms with your brother. But you know, it would be easier for us if we cooperate.”
“Cooperate?” Len asked in an edgy voice and then dropped when he realized what he had done. He arched both eyebrows and glowed his eyes, thinking it was enough to convince his denial. But deep inside, he was getting more and more worried about him. He knew if he kept his mouth and stayed on the sidelines, this situation could get worse.
And he didn’t want that to happen. Despite his inhibitions, he also knew he’d been patient long enough and was already at a point where he couldn’t contain his concerns any longer. “Be careful with Stefan. You don’t know who you’re dealing with.”
Frank’s eyes popped and narrowed, drawing his eyebrows in as he slowly rose from his seat. “What do you mean?”
He tucked both hands inside his front pockets, letting a sigh escape his mouth. For a second, he thought he needed to say it. Right now. “Be careful with my brother. He isn’t someone you want to mess with.”
That caught Frank’s attention, looking more curious. “Is he a dangerous man?”
Len nodded. “So, be careful with who you’re dealing with.” He thought he didn’t need to explain further, hoping what he’d said was enough to warn Frank about the man.
Frank sighed as he moved his attention to the clutter on his desk. He sat again and took the sheets of paper, placing them in their respective binders. “I know we need to be cautious because he’s from TEFAF. Whatever he would report there would affect not only us two but the entire school.”
Len scoffed and flashed a dry smile. “Yeah. You’re right.” He paused, looking more worried than he already was. He thought, could he actually say it? Should he intervene and meddle? Was it right for him to say something about Stefan?
While his mind kept on reeling with possibilities, his eyes caught Stefan standing behind the glass windows. The man stared at him, flashing a menace. To his surprise, that was enough for him to stay on guard and remind himself to know his place. But for the life of him, he didn’t want to back down. Instead, he gave him a ‘Yeah. Fine. If that’s what you want me to do, brother.’ look.
Discouraged, he looked at Frank. “Anyway, I’m sorry for disrupting you earlier. I didn’t mean to react like that.”
Frank nodded, but his eyes remained on the sheets he had on hand. “It’s alright.”
“Anything else?” he asked, anticipating his answer. When he saw him shaking his head, he flicked his head down and glanced back to where Stefan was. But this time, he was nowhere in sight. He was gone. “Alright. I’ll leave now,” he said, prompting Frank to quirk his lips, and then left his office.
Yet, as he swiveled his head in the same direction where Stefan was, something suddenly came into his mind out of nowhere. An idea he knew Stefan wouldn’t like.
Thank you so much for spending time reading this chapter. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did when I wrote this part months ago. This chapter, in particular, reminded me of those times when I sat before my desk, seemingly prepared to type in words, but I struggled to keep it up.
It took an external motivation to get it through, and, at that time, the NaNoWriMo event was upcoming. At that time, I thought, “This could be a great opportunity to try and give this a shot one more time. You’d done an excellent job with ‘The Rival,’ so you could do it, Mecyll.”
You know, it’s easier said than done because writing a chapter with a clear intent to finish it requires more than just a skill. Since I started writing fiction, I realized how much this work demands my ability to be naked and the guarantees to answer whether I was mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepared to face my fears, conscious or unconscious.
So, being able to write this down meant I managed despite the countless times dancing around with depression and enjoying the roller coaster rides my anxiety provided me.
This is why I don’t know how to thank you for your support, regardless of the scale or contribution size, from sharing my work with others or buying my books. It doesn’t matter because, for me, every small act you show is appreciated.
Again, thank you, and have a great day!
If you like to support my writing life, here’s what you can do:
- Get a copy of “The Rival” Uncensored Gay Romance Novel.
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