Bradley Parker has waited twenty years for Mr. Right, and on Valentine’s Day, he finally finds him. It’s love at first sight, and Brad even loses his virginity to the man of his dreams. But when he wakes up the next morning unable to remember anything—even what the man looked like—his best friend, Leslie, is convinced he imagined the whole thing. Brad knows he didn’t make up the best night of his life, but he has no idea of the danger he’s putting himself in as he struggles to recall the details of his perfect man. His search may lead him to parts of New York City he never dreamed existed and a war being waged in the shadows.
Second Edition – Previously published as Sid Love’s Holding on to Hope.
“Okay, remember how I said it is huge?” Brad finally spoke, and Leslie nodded her head to let him know she was all ears. “Well, it is. Last night, something happened, something unimaginable… beyond any of my wildest dreams. I never thought….”
“Brad.” Leslie yawned. “To the point, please. I don’t have all day.”
“Okay, all right! What happened is….” He paused, plastering a big grin on his face. She tried very hard not to roll her eyes, letting him tell her at his own pace. “Last night, my dear, I finally got laid!”
When he broke the news to her, Leslie’s subsequent yawn was cut short by the initial shock she went through. Her body jerked forward, now fully awakened. There wasn’t any amount of caffeine that would have made her feel as lively as she felt at that moment.
This was definitely huge, and not just for Brad. Over the years, Leslie had constantly tried and consequently failed in hooking him up with several guys. Bradley Joseph Parker had the arrogance of a drag queen, she thought. He was too picky when it came to dating and relationships; never wishing to settle for anything less. He dreamt of a guy whose mere presence would take his breath away, who would be so handsome that every girl and every gay guy in the world would yearn to have him in their lives. “Such a guy would only belong to me, holding my hand in a roomful of envious people,” he would say with a smirk. “I would look around and say to them ‘Suck it up, bitches! He is mine!’”
Brad had wasted years with these stupid fantasies, and he had remained a virgin. So Leslie never thought the day would come when Brad’s whining would ever end.
But it had. And Leslie thought she would faint, even with the adrenaline rushing through her veins.
“Wha—?” She became aware of the fact that she had left her mouth hanging open for too long and shut it immediately. A smile crept across her lips, getting bigger by the second, and it turned into a cheek-hurting grin. “Oh my God! Shut up. Seriously?” She quickly sat up, hopping on the bed to cross her legs.
“Very seriously, Les.” Brad’s cute face beamed with wonder and excitement. Leslie couldn’t blame him. She remembered the day she had had sex for the first time, and even though it was a while back, she couldn’t forget the bliss she’d felt after finally losing her virginity or the hunger she felt for getting some more. Leslie was ready to bet that Brad was experiencing similar whirls of emotions in him.
“Last night, on Valentine’s Day…?” she asked.
Brad gave a nod. “On Valentine’s Day.”
“That’s so funny.” Leslie laughed out loud. Even though Valentine’s Day never meant anything to her, something this huge happening to her best friend did force her to consider it a special day. “Okay, you have to tell me everything, dude! Don’t leave out a single detail. I don’t care if it’s too much information. I just have to know. How long has this been going on between you two?”
Brad laughed. “Not too long. I just met him yesterday.”
“And you slept with him already?” Leslie’s mind was drawing up the picture of the perfect guy in her imagination, a guy who had managed to entice someone like Brad in such a short time. She was sure he would be down-to-earth, with an impeccably charming personality. “Way to go! I won’t deny it; I like the spontaneous Brad. Who is this guy, by the way? Do I know him?”
“No, you don’t.” His smile wavered a bit.
“Well, what’s his name?”
Leslie watched him hesitate for a moment. “I… don’t know.”
It took her by surprise.
“I think my devilish side just had a mind-blowing orgasm. You not only have sex with a guy for the first time, but you are also telling me it was simply a one-night stand?” She put her hand over her heart and mockingly said, “Mama Les is so proud of her boy!”
“But Les,” he knitted his eyebrows together as he stood up and came over to sit by her side. He took hold of Leslie’s hand, and she felt his grip tightening when he said, “It wasn’t a one-night stand. Definitely not, uh-uh.” He shook his head, and she immediately wondered if he was trying to convince her or himself. “It was special to me, and I could tell it was special for him too. Why else would he go to extremes to make that night an unforgettable memory? He lit up hundreds of scented candles in the room for me, and there were rose petals all over the bed where we did it.” Leslie didn’t miss the blush forming on his face again as he spoke. “There was champagne, sweet music, and he was a perfect gentleman. He kept asking me if I was sure about this.”
“WOW! Sounds utterly cheesy to me….” Leslie said, although she was quite impressed by all of it and maybe a bit jealous too.
Brad let go of her hand and sighed. “It was damn romantic.”
Leslie moved her gaze around the dorm room, scrutinizing it. “I am guessing it wasn’t here you did it then?” She inquired, turning to face him and watched him slowly crossing his legs like she had.
“No, he took me to his place.” Brad had his mouth open to probably add something more, but he stopped abruptly, scrunched his nose up, and glanced at her with some doubt. “I think it was his place… I don’t know. Where else would he take me?”
Leslie noticed uncertainty, even when he shrugged. What Brad was saying didn’t make any sense to her. “The champagne! Did you have too much of it?”
He frowned. “God, no! Why would I want to give him the impression I’m an idiotic drunkard on our first meeting?”
Of course she didn’t believe him. “Right, says the one who’d put Britney Spears to shame with his underage drinking. Seriously, dude, I’ve had to pick you up in a drunken state from God knows how many parties by now. So don’t shit me by saying you didn’t have any amount of alcohol in you last night.”
Brad reddened and carefully said, “I may have had a little bit of alcohol.”
Typical. Leslie rolled her eyes. “Weren’t you at Ian’s party last night?” She tried to keep her face straight as she asked. The party he had gone to was for all the single men and ladies from their college. Leslie knew exactly how that turned out every year by the end of the night.
He gave a nod in reply.
“Well, maybe you did it at his place?”
“No, it can’t be because we were partying at a nightclub last night.”
“Since when do nightclubs allow in a bunch of twenty year-olds?” she asked, certain they must have been stopped at the door for IDs. She couldn’t say about the others, but Brad’s cute baby face did give away his age.
“They don’t, but Ian somehow knew a few guys working at this nightclub that we went to, so we were able to sneak in.” He grinned.
Leslie suddenly wished she could have joined them. “Lucky you!” Now she couldn’t wait for May to arrive; that was when she turned twenty-one. She had been planning it in her mind forever. “So you met this mysterious guy in that club?”
“Yes, I think so.” Brad chewed on his lower lip.
“Well, what did he say to you? What did he look like?”
Brad turned sorrowful. “If I only knew….” He hung his head down and began to pull on his hair. “Fuck, Les!” He yelled, then looked up, scowling at her. “I can’t seem to remember any of it. The only thing that has managed to stay stuck in my memory is the mind-blowing sex that I had with him. I even remember all the positions we did it in, and God, that guy has the stamina of a wild lion, I tell you.”