Genre: Adult Upmarket Fiction
Title: The Well-Adjusted Household
Word Count: 87,000
Song: Bedroom Hymns by Florence + The Machine
Booze wasn’t the only illicit pleasure in Prohibition-era Pittsburgh. Homosexuality was a felony, but Ben and Iain’s sham marriages to Leni and Margaux were the perfect cover. Until a maid pulled back the sheets.
“On your right!”
The bicycle appeared from around the corner while Ben was lost in thoughts of covalent bonds and chemical reactions. There was no time to avoid impact. His beakers hit the pavement first, followed by his face.
“Jesus Christ, I’ve killed him. Hello? Can you hear me?”
As Ben regained consciousness, he assessed his injuries. Pain, but no broken bones. He rolled to his back. “Left. You were on my left.”
“Pardon?” The offending cyclist hovered over him, surveying the damage. “Goodness. You’re bleeding.”
Ben sat up slowly, his ears ringing and his vision blurry. He poked at his cheek where a shard of beaker glass had lodged. “Shit.”
“Here, let me help you,” the young man said. He grabbed Ben’s arm and pulled him to his feet. “I do apologize. I’ve never run over anyone before.”
Ben wobbled slightly. “I find that hard to believe.”
“My apartment is just there,” he offered, disregarding Ben’s comment and pointing to a building across the street. “Would you care to come up? Use the washroom? That gash is quite a sight.” The young man leaned in closer, inspecting the wound. He was beautiful and smelled like Eau de Quinine.
Ben exhaled sharply. “I, um, don’t think–”
“Please. It’s the least I can do.”
“I suppose…if you insist.” He was now hopelessly late anyway.
“I insist,” he said, grinning. “I’m Iain, by the way.”
“Iain. Pleased to meet you, but not your bike.”