Better than Perfect

By: Lynn Hagen

Chapter One



"I will not cry." Leslie looked at his reflection in the mirror. "God, you look awful." His eyes were puffy and his nose was red from the rough tissue he'd used to wipe at it. "Don't you dare shed one more tear over Ian. He's scum. Remember that."

As brave as Leslie tried to be, his bottom lip quivered as tears rolled down his cheeks. He hurried from the bathroom, wiping at his nose as he fell onto the couch and bawled his eyes out. He'd thought his relationship with Ian had been fine, but catching his now-ex-boyfriend in bed with another man said otherwise.

At least Leslie had had the willpower to throw Ian out on his ass instead of listening to him try to smooth-talk his way out of it. And Leslie had almost fallen for the begging and lame-ass excuses Ian tried to throw at him.

But as much as he wanted to believe that rotten bastard, Leslie's self-esteem wasn't that damn low. Now he just had to get through the heartache of breaking up with a man he'd stupidly fallen for and he could get on with his life.

Leslie needed ice cream, tissue, and a good movie to cry through. He also needed his best friend. With those weapons in his arsenal, he was sure to get over Ian.

Pulling himself up from the couch, Leslie grabbed his cell phone, and called Jimmy. As soon as he answered, Leslie fell apart again.

"He cheated on me!" he sobbed, falling to his back on the cushions.

Jimmy clucked his tongue. "I knew this was coming. I told you he was a no-good prick. I'll stop at the store, then be over. Don't contemplate revenge until I get there."

"Hurry." Leslie tossed his phone aside and curled into a ball. Why did betrayal have to hurt so much? Why couldn't his emotions be a faucet so he could turn them off and on at will?

He lay there drowning in misery until his doorbell rang. Leslie didn't have the energy to get up. "Come in," he shouted, uncaring who it was. If it was a burglar, hopefully the guy would rob Leslie of his heartache.

"You're a complete mess," Jimmy harrumphed. He took the bags into the kitchen, then returned with two bowls of ice cream and a box of Kleenex. After setting the bowls and box down, Jimmy dropped onto the couch. "Sit up so we can watch a movie and you can cry all over my shoulder. Though I would prefer you didn't. This is a Gucci jersey and I don't want snot all over it."

"You're such a name-brand whore." Leslie sat up and wiped at his nose.

"It took me a month to save up for it!" He slapped Leslie's thigh. "If you ruin it, I'll…" Jimmy frowned. "Threatening a man who has puffy eyes and a watery nose just isn't right. I'll simply be pissed at you."

"But I loved him," Leslie wailed.

"No, you loved his dick," Jimmy corrected, "because the rest of him was a complete asshole."

Maybe he should have left Jimmy out of his arsenal. Leslie didn't like hearing the truth. He wanted his best friend to candy-coat it all and tell him some bullshit lies.

"Eat your ice cream," Jimmy said. "It's butter pecan, your favorite." He winked. "Never say I don't love you. I even splurged for the good tissues that won't leave your nose all dry and red."

Leslie set his bowl on the coffee table. He didn't feel like eating ice cream or watching a movie. He wanted to be left alone to wallow in misery. He also wanted to hunt down Ian and torture the bastard. After all Leslie had done for him, Ian hadn't appreciated a damn thing. Too bad crushing someone's heart wasn't illegal because Leslie would have Ian locked up.

Jimmy patted his leg. "Let's go out. That'll cheer you up. The men at Grizzly's are hot, and taking a random guy home would do you some good. You need to fuck Ian right out of your system."

Leslie stared at him in disbelief. "I found Ian in bed with another man three hours ago and you want to take me out for a hookup?"

That reminded Leslie. He needed to burn the sheets.

Possibly the bed.

Too bad Ian wasn't still in it.

"I'm not taking no for an answer." Jimmy hopped from the couch and grabbed Leslie's hand. "If anything, you can cry over a mug of beer while I get something to eat."

Leslie didn't want to go to Grizzly's. He'd fooled around with the bartender, and showing up might make him look like he was stalking Darius. But where else could they go? It wasn't as though Mercury had nightclubs. He'd met Ian at the freaking laundromat when Leslie's washer had broken down.