Color Me In (Last Chance #2)(12)

By: Riley Hart

It was a few minutes before Ryan replied. “I guess I always hoped I could do that here too.”

“Is it working?” Caleb asked.

“I’m trying.”

“That’s all we can do.” Caleb cleared this throat. “Did you always want to be a mechanic?” he asked, figuring they needed a lighter topic.

“Yeah. My dad is one. Never really thought of doing anything else.”

They spent the next little while talking about random shit—the lake, cars Ryan was working on, the house Caleb bought, and the fucking weather.

He wasn’t surprised when Ryan said he should probably get going. It was close to three, and he had to be at the shop by eight.

They paid, walked out together, and Caleb was at his car when Ryan said, “Hey.”

Caleb stopped and looked at him.

“I love sugar, I have trouble sleeping sometimes, and I won’t be here tomorrow night around the same time.”

Two Truths and a Lie. Not being here the next night was obviously the lie. Caleb felt his grin in his chest. “It’s a date, Sweet Tooth.”

“See ya then, Salt Fiend.”


What the fuck had Ryan been thinking?

His brain was stuck on what happened the night before. He was pretty sure Caleb was gay. He didn’t know for certain but thought so. It didn’t matter to him either way, but he couldn’t stop wondering if maybe Caleb thought Ryan was gay…or bisexual. Had it sounded like he’d been flirting with his spontaneous two-truths-and-a-lie comment? Was Caleb’s “date” comment just a figure of speech, or had he thought Ryan was using that as a cute way to ask him out? He didn’t really flirt or ask anyone out, and if he did, it was a woman. He wouldn’t know how to be cute and funny while asking someone out if he tried—and most of his life, he’d never tried except when he was trying to prove something to himself or someone else. Ryan hadn’t had the interest.

So even if he’d wanted to ask Caleb out, he wouldn’t have done it—and definitely not that way. Also, he was straight and wouldn’t be asking a guy out anyway.

He didn’t think so. Right? He had to be straight. He’d know if he’d ever had interest in men. How could he not?

But you’ve never had real interest in women either…no one except Danielle. That truth was a soft spot for Ryan, and he decided not to think about it.

Also, his worry about Caleb thinking they were going on a date might make him an asshole. What, because the guy was gay, he’d automatically be attracted to Ryan? Want to date him? It wasn’t that he believed that—he didn’t, it was just…his thoughts were all twisted and confusing and—


His heart jerked in his chest when it shouldn’t have. “What the hell, man?” he asked as Shane burst into laughter behind him.

“Sorry. You’re spacing off, and I couldn’t help myself.” His friend and boss playfully nudged his arm. “You okay?”

Ryan stood straight, realizing he’d been bent over, staring under the hood of a Ford for God knew how long, going back and forth between wondering if Caleb thought he’d asked him on a date and realizing he was a prick for thinking it. “Yeah, just tired. Been having trouble sleeping lately.”

“You’ve been saying that a lot. Have you always had insomnia?”

“Off and on. Been worse lately.” It had started when they lost Josie, when the pain had been unbearable and Danielle had started to pull away. It was manageable now, and he couldn’t say why it was wreaking havoc on him again. “I think it’s because my boss is always riding me. Real hard-ass, that one,” he teased.

“Funny, Van’s always saying I ride him hard too. He likes it that way. He’s pretty fond of my ass. Not sure you should be talking about it, though.”

“You fucker.” Ryan shook his head but chuckled. It was good to see Shane truly happy. He hadn’t realized Shane wasn’t until Van came to town and they fell in love. “I don’t swing that way, remember?”

He saw a moment of panic in Shane’s eyes. “I’m giving you shit. That was inappropriate, and I shouldn’t have said it.”