A New Way to Dance by Sean Michael
A New Way to Dance
by Sean Michael
Dancer Seth Avery has it all. He’s at the top of his game as a dancer and he’s n love with famous dance director Fayden DelMonaco, the man who is his sub. Seth’s whole world is turned upside down when Fayden dumps him in the nastiest and most public way possible. To compound matters, he’s in near fatal car crash shortly thereafter that leaves him severely injured.
Brook Turner is an ex-lawyer turned micro-brewer, baby-brother of Seth’s best friend Lizzie. The two met briefly before Seth’s accident, but it’s when they meet again six years later that they get a chance to act on the attraction they’d initially felt.
With Brook’s help, Seth begins to heal not only from his residual physical injuries, but also from the emotional ones inflicted by Fayden. Will it be enough to keep the two of them together?
Join Seth and Brooke as they find a new way to dance together.
A New Way to Dance
His cane tapped the floor, following the beat of the music that poured from the Bose. He liked the rhythm, like the way the syncopation worked. Seth grabbed his phone, made a note on the title of the song. His Intro to Music Theory class would enjoy that.
“Would you like another coffee, Dr. Avery?”
He chuckled, still getting used to his new title. “Yeah, a no-fat latte, please, thanks, Matt.”
“You want something to nibble on with it?”
“No. No, thank you.” Seth had to work hard to keep himself from getting soft. “Just the coffee.”
Little Matt was a darling, charming, sweet, eager to please. The man would make someone a wonderful sub.
A shadow fell across his table. “I’m sorry, do I know you?”
He looked up to find a handsome man with warm grey eyes and a half smile gazing at him.
“I don’t think so.” He did remember Lizzie’s baby brother, but Seth knew how different he looked, how different he was.
“No? Well do you mind if I sit with you anyway? You’ve got this whole table to yourself.” Brook waved his free hand around, and sure enough, it looked like the place was packed.
“Absolutely. Have a seat.” He shifted his cane out of the way, made sure his laptop wasn’t taking too much of the table. He couldn’t believe that Brook was here in Ottawa, standing here as if it were normal.
“Thanks.” Brook sat, still looking at him, and he saw it the moment Brook recognized him. “You’re Lizzie’s dancer friend. The one who had the accident.” Brook frowned. “I’m sorry. I heard it was pretty bad.”
“Yes. It was.” The wreck, the cameras, the news. Fayden. Everything had been brutal. “Seth Avery.” He held out his hand.
“Brook Turner.” Brook shook, hand firm. “When did you make the move up to Ottawa?”
“Five years ago. I needed a break.”
Brook nodded. “Yeah, it was… yeah. I can’t imagine.”
He offered Brook a smile, but what was he going to say, really? He had scars, there had been twenty-six surgeries over two years, his life had changed. “How is Lizzie doing?”
Brook grinned, clearly happy with the change of subject. “She’s Lizzie. A force of nature as usual. She’s teaching now, and she’s fierce at it.”
“Excellent. I should email her.” It wasn’t going to happen. Seth didn’t speak to anyone from the old days.
Matt came over with Seth’s drink. “Sorry for the wait. We’re slammed. Has someone taken your order, sir?”
“Not yet. Can you tell me what’s good?”
“We have an amazing turtle latte—caramel, pecan and chocolate with whipped cream.”
“Oh, that sounds great. And something sweet with caramel to go with it, please.”
“Yes, sir. It shouldn’t be too long.”
When Matt had gone, Brook turned back to Seth. “I have a bit of a thing for caramel. I’ve even started putting it in my beer.”
“You’re still brewing? That’s fabulous.” Seth sipped his latte, enjoying the heat. Autumn was cold this year and he felt it these days deep in his bones.
“I’m doing it full-time now. I moved up here and got a place outside the city where I do the microbrewing. Toronto was too big, too impersonal, just like the lawyering. I gave them both up at the same time.”
The last six years had been good to Brook. He looked happy, easy in his skin.
“Good for you. It’s always cool to hear that someone followed their dream.” Seth had gone with the practical. He had savings, insurance money, and now he had a job that was stable and useful.
“So what are you doing these days?” Brook asked.
“I teach music theory at the university here.”
“Yeah? You like it?” Matt brought Brook’s turtle latte and a slice of turtle cheesecake to go with it. “Thanks,” Brook murmured before turning his attention back to Seth. There was something about the man’s presence that tried to stir stuff inside him. Stuff that had no business stirring.
Seth didn’t do relationships. Hell, he wasn’t interested in getting naked in front of anyone. It was tough enough to do his twice-weekly physio in the pool.
“It’s a good job, good kids.”
“Excellent. I’m glad you found a place.” Brook sounded like he really meant it, too.
“Thanks.” Seth closed his laptop, packed it away. “I’ll leave you to your sweets. It looks like rain and I have a bit of a walk.” And he didn’t do so well when it was slick.
“I can give you a lift if you can wait for me to finish my cheesecake. I’m done with my business here.”
He thought about it and opened his mouth to turn Brook down when the skies opened up, the rain battering at the windows. “Well, if you don’t mind…”
“I don’t. Did you want anything to eat?”
“No, thank you. I never eat after noon.”
Brook blinked. “I beg your pardon?”
“I only eat in the mornings and then an early lunch. It’s a challenge to keep my weight steady.” Surely that wasn’t unheard of. He knew lots of dancers who did that. It was easier on the teeth than constant vomiting.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude. It just doesn’t sound very healthy.”
He shrugged. “I can’t expend the calories I used to. I had to adjust my situation. How’s your cheesecake?”
It was easier to deflect Brook than to deal with the commentary. His entire life was different now. Sometimes he thought about the man he’d been, happy and playful, dancing, in love, but that was an exercise in frustration.
“It’s delicious. Are you sure you don’t want at least a taste?” A forkful was offered over.
“Thank you, but no.” It smelled lovely.
“Okay.” Brook had a couple of mouthfuls before asking, “So asking you to dinner is clearly out. Do you like movies?”
“I do. Some of them. Do you?”
“Yeah. I usually try to see everything in the cinema, and then I buy my favorites when they come out on Blu-ray.”
“Wow. You really like them. I go to the movies a couple of times a year, I guess. I have a thing for Hugh Jackman,” Seth said.
“Oh yeah, love him. There’s something very sexy about a wolfman.” Brook finished his cheesecake. “Did you want to come back to my place and watch a few movies? As you can guess, I have a wide variety of them. Lots of choices.”
Seth thought about that. He didn’t have classes until Monday and he didn’t have any reason to say no. Not one that he felt like using. Something inside him wondered if he’d still be dancing, still be in Toronto if he’d taken Brook up on his offer that night so long ago. “Are you sure you don’t mind? I’d need a ride home after.”
“No worries, man. Hell, it’s the weekend. If we’re up too late, there’s a guest room.” Brook stood. “Let me just go pay our tab. I’ll be right back.”
Before Seth could tell Brook that he could pay for his own, the man was gone. He shook his head and planted his cane, getting himself upright and moving.
Brook came back and grabbed his messenger bag, throwing it over his shoulder, and settled his other hand on Seth’s lower back. “Do you need to hold on to my arm on the wet pavement?”
“If you don’t mind. I don’t fall gracefully.”
“I don’t mind at all.” Brook’s hand slid away from his back and Brook offered his arm to Seth.
He took it, heading out into the downpour, aiming a grateful smile at Brook as he opened an umbrella.
“I’m parked in the south lot, it’s only a few minutes away.”
“No problem.” Once he got moving, Seth did all right.
Even with the rain they were soon at Brook’s car, the blue Corolla nice and dry, and soon there was heat pouring from the vents.
His hips ached, but the heat helped. “Where do you live?”
Seth lived in a small apartment, but it worked for the time being. Eventually he’d find a perfect little house, something he could pay cash for, but he hadn’t found it yet.
“Just south of the city, near Manotick. Used to be a farm, now it’s my brewery.”
“I live close to Ottawa University. Within walking distance.”
“Oh, that’s handy.”
“I don’t drive anymore. It’s too painful.” And he was frightened. Just the thought of it made him ache.
“Living downtown must make that easier,” Brook said.
“It does. I have an apartment that I’m renting right now.”
“It’s a nice city, isn’t it? Lots of green.” They were zipping along the highway, the roads surprisingly clear, if wet.
“It took me a little while to learn where things were, but I enjoy it, yeah.”
The car slowed, Brook concentrating as he turned down a little tree-lined side road.
He stayed quiet, letting Brook focus, drive.
“Wow, it’s really coming down,” Brook muttered, switching to high beams and back.
They’d slowed down even further, Brook pulling the car to a stop in front of a farmhouse. “Here we are. Home sweet home. I’ll come around and help you up the walk.”
The rain was freezing and it slammed into them as they headed in. “Sorry I’m slow.”
“Don’t worry about it. We can start a fire when we get in.” The pellets of frozen rain got harder. “Shit, I don’t remember this in the forecast.”
“Me either.” By the time they got in, Seth’s teeth were chattering.
“Lemme get some towels and a change of clothes for you. I have sweats you should be able to wear.”
It was warmer out of the rain, but his teeth were going ninety to nothing by the time Brook came back and wrapped a towel around him.
“I’m sorry. I got this.” He was shaking, hard.
“Come on into the living room and I’ll get that fire going. It’s too early to put the heating on.” Brook led him through to the living room. It wasn’t very big, but there were a couple of chairs and a big couch across from the fireplace.
“Thanks.” Seth sat, drying his hair with the towel.
Brook got the fire going and then brought him a pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt. He’d be swimming in them, but they’d be dry. The crackle of the fire was balanced by the sound of the rain on the roof. Seth changed as quickly as he could so Brook wouldn’t have to look at his scars.
“Hot cocoa would be nice, wouldn’t it?”
Oh, that was so many calories. So many, but he didn’t want to be rude… God, this was why he didn’t see people anymore. “It is chilly out there.”
“I’ve got a nice selection of teas, too. Or beer.” Brook gave him a wink.
“Oh, I’d love a cup of tea, thank you.”
“Sure. I’ve got some nice herbal stuff. Why don’t you sit by the fire and I’ll get it.”
“Thank you. I appreciate it.” Seth offered Brook a grateful smile and stayed. He’d just started to get warm when Brook returned with two steaming mugs. “Thanks.” He took the mug and sipped, the heat radiating through him. Oh, that hit the spot.
“You’re sure I can’t get you anything to eat?”
“I haven’t exercised enough to. You won’t offend me if you eat, though. Honestly.”
“I’m not hungry yet—I had that cheesecake.” Brook tilted his head. “So how many calories a day do you eat?”
“I try to keep it under twelve hundred.” Not that it was any of Brook’s business. He averaged a thousand on days he didn’t exercise.
Brook looked at him like he was crazy. “You must be skin and bones.”
He wasn’t huge, he guessed. He answered with a long, steady look that was meant to tell Brook to back the fuck off.
Brook shook his head like he’d just got it. “Okay. Movie. What are you in the mood for?”
“What’s your favorite?” He felt a little embarrassed, a little silly for being here. It had been obvious that Brook had been interested when they’d met previously, but now… Seth was awkward.
“Oh, I could never just pick one.” Brook laughed. “Maybe if you picked a genre…”
“How about something campy and fun?”
“We could do the grandfather of campy and fun—Rocky Horror?”
“It’s just a jump to the left?”
They sang the next few verses together, Seth surprising himself with his laughter.
Brook pointed to the couch and he moved there while Brook found the movie and put it in the player. Then the man joined him.
He sipped his drink, shifting as he tried to find a comfortable spot.
Brook offered him a couple of pillows and he managed to get them adjusted to where he was mostly comfortable. And sort of leaning against his host.
“Sorry, is this okay?”
“I’m great, are you comfortable?”
He nodded. He was, very.
So comfortable, in fact, that he dozed off before Janet and Brad got to Frankfurter’s house.
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