Today’s Sunday Snippet is from the MM Romance Sweet Temperaments by Tonwand North. It was self-published by the author on 29.09.19 and is currently only available as an eBook, Amazon ASIN: B07YF5ZR3N. Sweet Temperaments by Tonwand North is suitable only for readers aged 18+, especially as it does contain sex with two men. It’s romance, not erotica. No cursing, only swearing ie shit and damn.
Synopsis of Sweet Temperaments by Tonwand North
Lewis Fraser (25), openly gay, works in an office. He usually dates bodybuilder types and goes on blinds dates set up by his work colleague Brian. They never last. When his office buddy goes on maternity leave Christopher Wright takes her place. He’s eccentric and unsociable. Not Lewis’s type but one day he drops a file and when they both pick it up there is a connection. Well, there is on Lewis’s side. He can’t stop thinking about him and does everything he can to make Christopher like him. They eventually form a friendship and things seem to be warming between them when Christopher confesses to being HIV+. Lewis has to get over his fear. (This is my reason for writing this book is to raise awareness that new HIV medications make carriers undetectable meaning they can’t pass it on or infect anyone else and they live long healthy lives unlike years ago). Chris and Lewis get married, adopt a daughter and live happily ever after.
Name of chapter: Chapter 1
I wheel my office chair across to the open window and lean my elbows on the windowsill. The human anomaly I’m staring at started in my department a month ago. Carly had just gone off on maternity leave and the boss dumped him in my office to keep me company. I disliked his cold aloofness the second we shook hands, and by his disparaging expression, I assumed he took an instant aversion to me too. His name is Christopher Wright.
I shake my head as he takes three steps forward, two back then walks forward. Finally, he chooses a picnic bench to sit at. It’s the same one as yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that. He goes through the same conundrum every day before he finally sits down to eat his lunch. I watch him clean his glasses before he opens his lunchbox.
Christopher is the only one who brings a packed lunch to work. The rest of us flock to the canteen at our designated 12pm or 1pm lunch breaks. I thought at first, he had some special dietary requirement. I’ve since learned he has a social dietary dysfunction. For he prefers to reside in his solitary world of one. And, the contents of those lunchboxes? I shudder. They look like something a dog hacked up. The man really is the worst cook.
He’s not what you call, user-friendly. Humour is definitely a foreign language to Christopher and the rest of the department avoid him like the plague. I lean my head on both hands in thought. I do like his blond curls but physically he wouldn’t normally be my type. He’s tall and slim, I doubt he’s ever lifted a weight in his life. But he has some unique quality that I can’t take my eyes off.
This issue started when my distaste for his existence was challenged last week. Christopher clumsily knocked a folder off his desk and as we both bent to pick it up, he actually looked at me. Really looked at me. Okay I realise it wasn’t a ‘take me to bed’ look, and probably more a ‘don’t touch my stuff’ look but when those blue eyes looked directly at mine, I swear my heart actually stopped. I’ve never felt the inclination to faint over anyone in my life, but I almost did that day. I haven’t looked at another man since.
I shake my head with a frustrated chuckle. It means I’m doomed to be single for the rest of my life. For even though he barely talks to me I’m pretty sure he’s straight. In truth, I’ve never seen him with a woman, but I’ve never seen him with a man either. I scratch my ear. In my erotic fantasies, I imagine that I am his first man kiss. I smile defiantly, and first other things too. I give out a needy sigh as I look at him. It’s my mission to melt his ice and try to get to know him better. He glances across and sees me staring out the window. He drops his gaze. My heart skips when he glances at me again. He rises and gathers his things. I sigh in vexation. Damn, I wish he would fall in love with me too.
I know I should really be working instead of fantasising and dreaming about what will never happen. I’m still looking out the window staring at the trees when he returns. I hear the drawer open in his desk. He’ll be putting his lunchbox away. I hear his voice. “Why are you looking out the window?”
Wow, he’s actually talking to me today. I turn to look at him. “Why?”
“It’s off-putting having someone stare at you when you’re eating.”
I decide against confessing the truth. His eyes narrow at me. I sigh. “I was just getting some air.” My smile breaks into a grin as he shakes his head and walks away. His cheeks are a little flushed but I’m under no illusion it’s out of irritation rather than thrilling excitement at conversing with me. He appears back in the office moments later with a coffee.
I roll my chair back to my desk. Am I invisible? I chide him. “Maybe I wanted a coffee too?”
I get ignored. I watch as he fixes his gold-rimmed glasses and turns on his computer. His eyes look at me impatiently as I continue to stare at him. “I’m already seated Lewis, and you will be going past the coffee machine in a few minutes.”
I shake my head. Training him to be a friendly human isn’t going well. I rise and push my chair under the desk. On the way to the door, I glance at him. He is focussed on typing a report. I may as well not exist. My heart sinks.
At 5pm he closes everything down. I glance up as he takes his lunchbox out the drawer, lifts his jacket and leaves. Not even a goodbye or see you tomorrow. I tap my pen in frustration on the edge of the keyboard. Verbally asserting my need for attention gets ignored, or at best a blank look of ‘whatever.’ Still, I keep trying. I tug a piece of paper out the printer and write, ‘It’s polite to say goodbye! Or see you tomorrow before you leave!’ I sticky tape it in front of his monitor.
The next day he’s arrived before me. Christopher has a quirk at arriving and departing exactly on time. As I look at my watch, I realise I’m two minutes late. He speaks as I stroll across to my desk. “Good morning Lewis.”
I stumble and almost drop my jacket as my eyes flash at him in surprise. He never welcomes me in the morning. I certainly didn’t expect him to pay any attention to my message. My face breaks into a smile. “Good morning Chris.”
He glances at me with an audible exhale. “It’s Christopher. If you wish us to exchange civil pleasantries, fine, but at least address me correctly.”
I beam at him as I sit. “Thank you. I appreciate the empathetic gesture Mr Spock.” I give him a Vulcan salute. His eyes assess me for a moment. I wonder if he knows who Spock is? Unsurprisingly I don’t receive a Vulcan greeting in return as he fixes his glasses and his attention returns to his computer screen. He’s only five years older than me but it may as well be fifty.
At 10.30am I stretch my arms out wide with an audible yawn before I rise and disappear for coffee. When I’m standing at the coffee machine, I decided to try something new. Being nice is getting me nowhere. I take two coffees back and a handful of sugar sachets. I sit the sachets next to the coffee I place on his desk. He frowns at them before he looks at me questioningly. “I don’t take sugar in my coffee.”
I smirk. “I know Chris.” I look at them before I smile at him. “But you should. They might sweeten your temperament.” I sit at my desk and open a file. I glance across at him. “The accepted verbal response should be, thank you for the coffee, Lewis.” He’s still staring at the sachets with a puzzled look. I shake my head and roll my eyes. “I should have brought a bigger bundle.” I smile at the sarcasm in my humour as I turn and begin typing.
Today it is raining. I like the sound as it hits the open glass. I don’t know how Christopher feels about the window being open. I notice he’s anchored a few loose sheets under his Sellotape and hole-punch but there are no sighs or glaring looks. He’s a grown man he will tell me if he disapproves. When he leaves for lunch I wheel across and sit my elbows on the sill to stare at the empty picnic benches. It’s too wet for him to sit outside and I doubt he will converse with the others in the canteen. I bet he sits in his car, alone. I’m conscious he’s becoming my obsession, which I realise isn’t healthy.
I notice the blue reflection of his shirt flit across the glass. I jump to my feet and stick my head into the corridor. I admire his tall slim form as it makes its way down the hallway. I was right he’s heading in the direction of the carpark. He must sense someone watching for he pauses and turns. He looks at me. He’s probably wondering why I’m standing in the corridor staring at him. I’m a little curious why he didn’t just glare at me and walk away. We continue to look at one another. My smile breaks into a grin and I make a letter C with my hand. Now he turns and continues down the hallway.
I don’t know why I’m feeling hyped and excited. Nothing really happened. Wasn’t like we shared a moment. But my pulse is racing. He returns empty-handed. He still doesn’t bring me a coffee. I heave a sigh in disappointment, spurned again. He’s a tough cookie to break.
This post was submitted by the author Tonwand North
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