A chance at the Olympics has been everything Auden has always wanted, but now that it’s within his grasp, he finds himself slipping further away. Does he really want to be an Olympic gymnast when there’s so much more to life? To make things worse, he has both a major crush on his friends-with-benefits teammate, Trayce, and free-spirited musician named Shane. With Olympics trials looming on the horizon, Auden has to decide what he really wants and how much he’s willing to give up to get it. (M/M)
“So you just let me wait while you fuck your pseudo-boyfriend?” Anya tossed him a displeased look as they pulled away from the Center. The parking lot was meticulously landscaped with Joshua trees and a flowering Palo Verde in the center divider. The flowers had already begun to fall, the typical spring shower of yellow petals that covered the dark pavement.
Auden frowned out the window. “I didn’t mean to. It’s just, when we’re alone, it’s like he’s… Never mind.” It was stupid, but when it was just him and Trayce, he couldn’t help himself. He wanted to touch him, to kiss him, and Trayce wanted it too. Trayce may have said it was just getting off, a way to take the edge off, but Trayce had never turned him down.
Wishful thinking, that’s what that was, Auden told himself firmly.
The Center was fairly new to the valley, only about eight years old. Following the example of the World Olympics Gymnastic Academy in Texas, the directors had gone after former Olympians for coaches, including Dorian Stuart, one of the best coaches in the country. Auden knew he was lucky to be coached by Dorian, a former Olympic gold medalist. Gymnasts would kill for Dorian’s experience. As it was, though, Auden wasn’t sure it even mattered at this point.
The Center was set-up as much like any university Auden had ever seen, with buildings separated by winding cement paths, cacti sprouting up between tan-colored buildings. Though the sky was dark now, the lights of Phoenix blocking out any stars, during the day, it was perpetually blue with hardly a cloud to be seen.
Anya shook her head as she pulled out of the large parking lot and onto the street. The Center was a large area just outside of Ahwatukee in the shadow of the mountain, though Auden would have said it was more of a large hill. As far as he’d seen, there were no real mountains in Arizona. His dad had called it a pile of dirt when he’d come down to see the Center two years ago.
Most of the area around the Center was new construction: clean, painted cement to match the desert sand and carefully landscaped cacti and mesquite trees. Showers of tiny yellow flowers skittered across the windshield of the car as they drove.
“I know what you want to happen with Trayce,” Anya said as they merged onto the freeway, and she cut off a truck in the process. “But fucking around isn’t going to help.”
Auden pressed his forehead against the window. “I’m really not in the mood for this lecture.
“How about I lecture you on punctuality?”
Auden felt a twinge of guilt in his stomach. “I’m sorry I was late.”
“Was it at least worth it?”
“Well, the sex was good, if that’s what you mean.”
Anya rolled her eyes. “Better have been to stand me up. And Trayce is still refusing to admit you’re boyfriends?”
“Trayce and I are just friends,” Auden said simply. Boyfriends was a word that would probably make Trayce grimace.
“Friends, yes, I’ve heard that before,” she said, shooting him a look. “Friends with benefits. Have you never watched a movie or reality television? It never works out. Besides, Olympics trials are two months away.”
“So?” He was starting to get really tired of hearing about them.
She frowned at him and veered across two lanes of traffic for the exit to Tempe. “So the last thing you want now is a distraction.”