Chapter 5, Dangerous Roommate (Cult of Eros #2, Ongoing Update)

Dangerous Roommate Novel by M. Gaspary Featured Image - Free Chapters
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Here’s chapter 5 of the new book, “Dangerous Roommate.” Enjoy reading. Let me know your thoughts about this chapter in the comment section below.

Today was the saddest point of his life. Frank thought as he watched his beloved’s long face. Though it had only been half an hour ago, he felt it was over an hour. Perhaps two. “I guess this is it. We’re over,” he uttered in a cold, deep tone in front of his wife sitting across the black leather sofa.

If there was dismay on her face, it was lost amid the fatigue. Eunice gulped and threaded her fingers, slightly swaying them as if nothing was going on. She nodded. “Yes. It’s over,” she said so quietly that he didn’t feel any satisfaction he’d hoped for.

When he felt the decision was against his will, he rose from his seat and shot her a piercing stare. It was a loving stare, but he was too angry to contain his emotions from spilling all over the place. “How do you feel?”

She stood, ignoring his concern, as she headed to the master bedroom, once filled with exploding romance five years ago.

The words she said did strange things to him. Something stirred inside him. The sad thing was he didn’t know what it was. While waiting for her to come down, he started unfolding the big boxes he bought from the local store and placed his favorite stuff inside them. What came next wasn’t expected. Somehow. His lips went dry as he licked it, waiting for her next move.

Her steps turned heavy as if she lifted something heavy, heading downstairs where he was. He looked at her and was stunned. She got a piece of big luggage and opened them as soon as she arrived downstairs. Then, she took his clothes and other stuff inside the master bedroom in a rush, placing them inside the luggage, slowly piling up.

“What are you doing?” He screamed, almost stuttering, saying those words in a high, commanding tone.

She turned at him and cocked an eyebrow. “We’re done. So, you should leave. This is my house, and I guess I don’t need to explain most of the terms we agreed on at our prenuptial, right?” She took a brown envelope locked with an elastic cord and grabbed the inserted white bond paper before throwing it to him. “Remember rule number five? Once we agree to separate, you must move out immediately.”

“But, you know, I need more time to search for a new place to stay?”

“Frank, rule number five.” She held the paper up, almost reaching his face, and shaking it to make it look sarcastic.

“But this is my house, too!”

“Rule number five.”

“How could you find it easy to let me go?” Frank asked in his soft-spoken way, though deep inside, he wanted to lash out and scream how much he still loved her. He waited and waited, hoping he could hear something nice from her.

Eunice, once his sweet wife, turned into a monster in a rush to end a five-long marriage. She seemed to like the situation for whatever reason she had, leaving him to wonder why she wanted us to separate ways.

Does she have a new boyfriend? Maybe. If so, why would he still care? Everything between them had long been over.

Without a choice, Frank packed his things in a rush as she watched him from behind. The sound of her slippers tapping on the tiled floor made him think she wanted him out as soon as possible. Who would have guessed that thirty minutes was enough to pack up a five-year life into a few boxes and luggage?

After securing everything, he turned to her with the luggage in hand. “So, does this make you really happy, Eunice?” She didn’t say a word for almost a minute and simply stared at him with a blank look on her face. It was the most painful image of her he’d seen all those years they’d been together.

For once, they had been childhood sweethearts. They grew up together, fell in love, and got married. His life revolved around Eunice since she owned his first kiss. Now, it was a funny yet surreal experience to stand in front of her, trying to accept the harsh reality as soon as he stepped out of the house. At that moment, he somehow missed the look in her eyes when there was love.

Not knowing it, their relationship turned cold all of a sudden. Without knowing where it came from. It just turned that way. Since then, he hadn’t seen the pure, innocent smile for years. He wanted to cry like a baby in front of her, but he tried not to. He wanted to tell her how much he hated this, how much he still loved her, how much she still owned his heart. Instead, he nodded and flashed a quick, dry smile.

“If this suits you,” he said so calmly, though deep inside, he barely could keep his composure intact. When he couldn’t bear the awkward silence between them, he imagined her telling the same word as lovingly as she did before. He watched her stare at him. He stared back until she finally closed the door.

Frank wasn’t ashamed of feeling what he had at that moment, though, in hindsight, he was aware of how lost he was. He was at a loss for words. With the department now resting on his shoulders, he sure was pretty fucked.

“Something wrong?” a voice came in through his ears. Yet, Frank was too preoccupied, way too preoccupied to entertain such small talk. Though it sounded like a demand, he bolted forward, marching into the department’s storage area. After he rested his luggage, he straightened himself and glanced at Valon’s old desk, which stood in his direction. He sighed, knowing he’d been missing him.

Without a partner, he felt a bit lonely. Without a home, it only worsened the ravaging emotions drowning him. Despite his inhibitions, he was aware he had to take on the challenge. There was no way for him to reconsider or escape this.

“Excuse me, Sir Frank,” Len, his next-in-line, babbled on as he walked in. “For the upcoming Cult of Eros exhibition…” He couldn’t even finish a sentence, watching how Frank’s face had shifted. His face was tight, trying to keep calm while studying the department head’s reaction.

“I know. We don’t have a sponsor yet,” Frank said with a grim in his mellow voice while keeping his attention on the mess around him—pushing his luggage to the side, almost kicking it, one huge carton on one side, and a few more others on other corners. When he straightened, he noticed the colleague’s worry. He clucked. “Don’t worry. I’m fine.”

“Really?” Len flashed a dubious look on his face. “It looks like your wife kicked you out,” he said nonchalantly, thinking it was a nice joke.

But that wasn’t a joke for Frank. He was damned. And that same feeling had been swallowing him since he left the property. Knowing he couldn’t do anything, he sighed, lowered his face, and then crossed his arms. “You’re right. She did kick me out of the house.” He looked at him, boring him with the menacing stares he had kept in for so long.

Len gulped. His frown deepened at the slight change in his expression. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know,” he said, anticipating Frank to scold him or do any sort of punishment. But when he noticed he didn’t seem concerned, he expelled a sigh of relief. “What are you going to do now?”

Frank shrugged and nonchalantly shook his head. “Not sure.” He paused in his tracks, eyeing him. “I may have in a hotel until I get a new apartment.”

Len clucked. “What? You can’t live like that.”

“Where else should I go?” Frank screamed, annoyed and irritated.

“You can live in my cabin,” a man’s voice came through. It was calm but loud enough to earn people’s attention. “I have enough space to fit you in.”

Horrified by the idea, Len was about to express his rebuttal, but when he heard the voice from behind, he stopped dead. He turned his head, only to see a man standing right next to him. “What are you doing here?” He cursed, sucking the air off his lungs while muzzling his mouth with his hand.

Surprised, Frank spun and looked at him, raising an eyebrow. He noticed the man was a bit taller than him. At first glance, he resembled the typical Johnny Depp looks in the nineties with a gray turtle neck tucked in a pair of jeans and paired with leather boots. He appeared fit, and his skin was fair.

In his conscious mind, there was nothing special about him besides his sizable, round, prominent amber eyes, strong nose, and thin lips. He had thick eyebrows that matched the strength of his gaze. He even had a dimple on the right side of his face, a handful of hairs splattered along his mustache lines, and jawlines neatly shaved. On his right arm, he had a thick leather armband. With his sleeves rolled, it revealed hairs and crevices that scored his forearms.

When he managed to return to his senses, he noticed the man wasn’t quitting, so he stared back.

“I know what I said. Live with me.” The man glanced at everybody. “Why? Is there something wrong with what I said?”

“Are you serious?” Frank sputtered and slammed his luggage on the desk by way of punctuation, startling Len. “You know what, this isn’t funny.”

The man looked disinterested. He sighed and gestured as if he wanted to shove this concern away from him. He closed his eyes and pursed his lips. “Well, it’s not a bother for me to live with someone. Anyway, my place was already too big for one person. Besides, it would be great if you could help me pay half the monthly expenses.”

“Why—I mean—Who the hell are you?” Frank pressed his temple with his index finger conveying an insulting message. But at that moment, he noticed the man’s eyes meandering, tracing his physique. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

“Nothing,” the man said.

“And you think this is right?” Len interrupted and rolled his eyes when he saw his unremorseful stare. “Come on. You can’t be serious.”

“Fine, then find another apartment nearby. If you can get one,” the man warned.

Frank rolled his eyes, sighing while raising his face to the ceiling. He briefly shut his eyes as if he was carefully choosing the right words to say before his impatience overrode his self-control. His eyebrows knitted together when he looked at the man again. “What do you mean, you think I couldn’t get one?”

The stranger clucked, seemingly unbothered. “You know there is no other apartment that could offer the same as mine. And in this side of the district, you won’t find vacancies elsewhere but here,” he said cockily. “Just for one month, Frank.”

“How do you even know my name?”

“Because I’m here to talk to you.”

Frank eyed Len, who seemed suspiciously silent. “Do you know this guy?” He pointed an index finger at the stranger. When he saw Len’s nod, he scoffed. “Who’s this?” His eyebrows furrowed, anticipating his reply.

“He’s my brother,” Len said with a cocktail mix of shame and disappointment. His face said it all as it turned sour faster than shit through the goose.

“He’s your brother,” Frank repeated with his usual mellow but sarcastic tone while eyeing both gentlemen. It was then he noticed their physical similarities. Both men were tall. Both had distinct jawlines and other facial features—their eyes, nose, cheekbones, and build.

Except for one thing. Len had puffed curls, and Stefan didn’t. In his mind, Len seemed more like Zeus, and Stefan was a Hades.

“But I don’t care. Who are you to tell me what to do? And why are you even here? I don’t think we organized some family day,” Frank said.

Defeated, Stefan shrugged and gave him an eye-to-eye gesture as though the threat was nothing to him. He sighed when Frank rolled his eyes and turned his back to him. “Stefan Arellano. That’s my name.” He paused and ran his eyes over the surroundings before moving his attention to him. “I have been the global managing director since February this year. TEFAF sent me here to oversee how things are going in San Carlos because I heard you have an upcoming event. And because you’re Frank Zambrano, I’m here to show you my support. I think you know what I mean.”

That revelation made Frank stop dead, while Len’s eyes popped when he heard it, too.

Because why would The European Fine Arts Fair send someone here?

Whatever Frank was doing as an alibi work, he stopped, cursing at himself. As he slowly straightened himself, planting both hands on his waist, his chest suddenly felt someone sitting on it. He licked his lip to ease, feeling like his throat closed up around a sound. When he mustered enough balls to answer the weight of the man’s stare, he swallowed to ease. But before he could even say a word, he stopped when Stefan continued.

“You’ll need someone who will help you fix this problem. If you don’t have any capacity to make it this year, you know what happens if I report this situation to the executives in Maastricht. In a worst-case scenario, you would lose your spot in New York,” Stefan said with determination in his voice. “I thought you might be interested.”

Frank sure was. He needed a sponsor to put this year’s exhibition. He needed him to succeed in this event—the first yet the biggest project on hand. Otherwise, San Carlos would be at risk of losing its glorious name. As much as he wanted to refuse it, he couldn’t. And even if he accepted it, he knew there would always be a big return. Suppose he would say yes. What would Stefan want from him in return?

Wait. Was he making something out of nothing? Was he the one marching to a different drummer? Was that his problem? Was he missing anything? Was he misinterpreting the rules of the game?

His voice was a hard-as-nails sound as he’d heard, interrupting his inner monologue. “But on one condition.” Stefan paused as he walked closer to the desk with his hands tucked in his pockets.

Indeed, Frank was right. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, he thought after suddenly remembering what he learned in high school Economics. Assuming the man’s intentions, this one wasn’t the type who would take no for an answer. That was what he saw from the weight of his stare. For a second, he reminded him of Valon. He had the same personality that gave people heart attacks in his innocent way.

But was Stefan innocent?

Frank doubted it.

“Live with me, and I’ll help you fix this problem. No questions asked.” Stefan cocked an eyebrow and gave him a long look. “Interested?”

Author’s Note:

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:

  1. Get a copy of “The Rival” Uncensored Gay Romance Novel.
  2. Read “Dr. Clay” (Cult of Eros #1)
  3. Check out my latest book, “Non-Native Speakers Only.”
  4. Find more writing tips on my website (i.e., content writing, freelance writing, copywriting, self-publishing, novel writing, and many more!)
  5. Subscribe to my Substack newsletter.

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