Excerpt From Travis (Book 6)
Travis cleaned his cup, made his bed, showered, and headed downstairs to the diner. The dining room was dark, the solo light from the kitchen spilling out into the area, casting a dim glow. He loved this time of day. Everything was fresh and new; anything was possible. Since the diner faced east, he’d soon be graced with a beautiful sunrise filled with reds and yellows. Someday, he would capture that sight on a canvas.
He turned from the window and headed for the kitchen. He’d get a tray of biscuits on before he started the coffee, knowing he’d have company soon enough. Since he’d decided to come back to his apartment from the hospital, Bo had been showing up every morning before the diner opened to have coffee with Travis. Then throughout the day into the evening, Bo would stop by until Travis was done with work.
If he were honest with himself, he looked forward to their time together. And that was all he could allow. Nothing closer and certainly nothing more. Aside from the hospital staff and physical therapists at the rehab facility, no one willingly had or would ever touch him.
Within twenty minutes, Travis had a tray of biscuits ready for the oven. He set the timer and went to turn on the coffee when he heard a knock on the front door. Bo.
“Just a minute,” Travis yelled as he poured the remaining water into the coffee makers and headed for the door.
He rounded the booths and saw Bo’s police cruiser in the parking lot, and the man’s large body filling the front door’s frame. Bo stood there smiling wide as if he had good reason. Travis felt his body heat up, and he knew he was blushing.
Life had made him tough; he was a loner, and he didn’t blush, dammit. But the sight of Bo turned Travis’s brain into tapioca pudding. Quickly, he unlocked the door and let in the man of his dreams. He could look but never touch.
“Good morning.” Bo’s deep voice resonated throughout Travis’s body like a caress.
He reminded himself to remain unaffected; he could never allow himself to slip. “Good morning, Bo. I just put the coffee on. It should be ready any minute.”
“Great. Will you be joining me this morning?” Bo’s brown eyes were so warm and inviting.
Travis had already put on the biscuits, so he had a few minutes to spare. But should he? Bo being a cop meant he could read people well.
“A couple minutes is all I’m asking for, promise.”
Oh, what the hell, why not? “Okay, I’ll get the coffee.”
Bo sat his large body on a stool at the counter. With only the light from the kitchen illuminating the area, this familiar scene felt almost intimate. Travis’s hands shook slightly with equal parts excitement and trepidation. Though there could be nothing physical between them, maybe they could be friends. That way he wouldn’t lose Bo completely once the man realized Travis was a lost cause and Bo moved onto someone who could be what he needed.
Carefully, Travis added sugar and cream to Bo’s coffee, and then walked to the opposite side of the counter across from Bo, making sure a physical barrier remained between them. Bo smiled when Travis returned with his black coffee, and if Bo noticed Travis was keeping his distance, the cop gave no indication.
“How was your night? More nightmares?” Bo cradled the coffee mug between his large hands.
Travis had tried to keep his nightmares to himself, but Bo had seen the effects they had on him in the hospital, so there was no use in pretending they didn’t exist.
“It wasn’t so bad. Only one last night.” Travis played off how shaken he’d been and attempted a smile.
Bo reached over and took Travis’s hand, holding it gently. Travis froze, unable to pull his hand away. The big man’s warmth moved up Travis’s arm, and excitement filled his body. Bo reached into his pocket and pulled something out before placing it into Travis’s open palm.
“I want you to have this.” Bo removed his hand, leaving a shiny, black cell phone behind. “Please accept it.”
Travis never had enough extra money to buy a cell phone—a roof over his head and food in his stomach took precedence over any creature comforts. He looked at the phone’s shiny screen and its sleek body and had no clue what to do with it.
Of course, he knew there was a button to turn it on, but that was as far as his knowledge base went.
“I…I’ve never…I can’t take this.”
“Yes, you can. I bought it for you.”
“But why?” Travis asked, truly confused. Travis could have sworn Bo’s cheeks pinked. Why would he be embarrassed? I’m the one who doesn’t know how to use the damn thing.
“You should have one for safety in case you need help, or if you just want to talk to someone. I programmed my number into it, but you can add as many people as you like. Here is your new phone number.”
Bo handed Travis a slip of paper then took the phone from his hand and said, “I’ll show you how it works,” saving him the embarrassment of admitting he was clueless.
He figured Bo must have noticed Travis didn’t have much by way of possessions, particularly a phone. Bo spent the next ten minutes explaining all the features. The only things that registered with Travis were how to text and make a call. He had no idea what he’d use the Bluetooth for. There was even a little picture of Bo on the screen Travis could push if he wanted to call him.
Bo smiled wide, handed the phone back to Travis then stood while placing his money for the coffee on the counter. “I’ll drop in later today for lunch.”
“But I didn’t say I’d take it,” Travis called out as Bo headed for the door.
“Try it out. See if you like it,” Bo replied. “Have a good day.”
The door swung shut, and he was gone. Travis stood at the counter for a few minutes, trying to figure out what to do with the phone.
In the end, he shoved it into his pocket before returning to the kitchen.