Prologue: Bad Karma

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Heston sat on the tip of his bed—the bed that now felt far too big for one. The left side had always been so warm, so welcoming when it had been filled with a certain Irishman. He'd never appreciated that comfort before. Perhaps he'd taken it for granted. He'd always had someone, or someones, to fill that lonely void and he'd covered the gaping hole in his chest with role after role, man after man.

But now, the thoughts of living into his more senior years alone was a far more daunting, and impending, prospect. At some point, he should have reminded himself as to how his father had lived out his final years. That might have given him a firm nudge in the direction he should have taken. But how hard it had been to change the habit of a lifetime. His party lifestyle had been hard to shake. The gay scene in the seventies had been far freer than it seemed today. There was too much emphasis on fitting into a heteronormative lifestyle.

He sipped from his full glass of red, staring blankly at the open wardrobe. The dual sliding door was only open enough to show one side. The hanging clothes within were far more suited to a younger gentleman than him. It wasn't like he'd be able to use the fitted shirts, the slim T-shirts or the figure-hugging jeans and chinos. He'd look like he was returning to his midlife crisis if he dared. He'd thought about shoving them all into a bin liner and shipping them off to the nearest Oxfam, but something had stopped him. Something had kept him here, fuelling on expensive wine and lingering on the clothes once worn by a man he'd thought he could love.

Forever.

If only Fletcher hadn't had to be so deplorably virtuous.

Snorting at the thought, he glanced away to the window. This was utterly ridiculous. He was a man in his fifties for goodness sake, nursing a drink and pining over a twenty-something who'd barely been gone a day. He knew Fletcher wouldn't come back though. He wasn't a man to go back on his morals. The irony of that being one of the many reasons Heston had fallen for him. The other youngbloods from the bars that wanted a sugar daddy would have turned a blind eye to his indiscretions, they would have allowed his desires to manifest themselves once in a while, they'd have given Heston what he'd asked for. And they would have served a purpose for a while. But meeting Fletcher had given him a push to try for something different. A relationship. He'd meant it when he'd proposed too. On a whim after a few glasses of bubbly, the mood had taken him, and he had realised that he did want Fletcher. In his home, in his life, in his future.

Now all he had was the abandoned clothes in his wardrobe.

Knocking back the wine, he stood and dropped the empty glass onto the bedside table. He could go out and find a new Fletcher. He could call one up. He could have this bed filled to the brim with bodies by midnight. But something stopped him from doing any of it. Instead, he loosened the top few buttons on his shirt and ripped his phone from the charger. One more try. One more chance.

He called Fletcher.

Maybe he could learn to grovel?

Howaya, can't chat right now. If you want to leave a wee few words, go right ahead. Remember London Lights pay for your story.

Heston didn't leave any words.

He was about to admit defeat and go to bed alone when the insistent knock on his front door prevented his pitiful descent into the mattress. Maybe Fletcher had come to his senses? He was glad no one was there to witness his rapid retreat down the stairs and hopeful fling open of the front door.

"Ciao, Heston. Long time, no see." The Italian from the hotel, from Heaven, stood on his porch with a leering smile.

Heston searched his brain for the name but came up short when he set eyes on the man hovering behind. That man he recognised too. A little too much.

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