Curious Beginnings Chapter 1

Chapter 1

What should have been a quick thirty-minute errand had taken a fuckin’ hour and a half. Traffic, the guy at the grocery store who couldn’t function in the checkout lane, and even the normally intensely focused clerk at his best client’s business had conspired against him. She always had everything ready to go so he had no idea why it had taken twenty minutes to find the paperwork.

Thirty minutes would have been plenty of time. An hour would have been close but doable. An hour and a fuckin’ half? Nope.

Putting his bags on the counter in the simple, compact kitchen, Mark grabbed the manila envelope. Normally he would pick up a box filled with receipts but today it was a large envelope. Making his way towards the master bedroom at the back of the apartment, he jumped when his phone buzzed in his pocket. Hiking up his sweater, Mark dug the phone out of his jeans, and frowned at it as he saw the name on the screen.

He didn’t have a choice. If he didn’t answer she’d call back in five minutes worried that something was wrong or super excited that he was on a date. Either conversation would be weird.
“Hello, Mom.” He loved his mother, but did most sons speak with their mothers at least four or five times a week?

“Hi, sweetie. How are you doing? Is this a good time to call? I’m sure you’re busy but I just wanted to check on you and see how you were doing. Have you done anything exciting this weekend? How about that cute barista you were telling me about? Did you ask her out? She sounded so nice.”

“No, I didn’t ask her out. You don’t ask out your barista—everyone knows that. When you finally find someone who makes your coffee perfect and is great eye candy you don’t do anything to rock the boat.”

Besides, the barista he’d described to his mother last week didn’t exist.

She had to know that, though. Just like the guy he’d “met” at the park or the woman he’d “met” at the bar a couple of months ago. He probably should have told her it was a couple he’d met at the bar. Maybe she would have stopped asking questions, but knowing his mother probably not. She was just that kind of special.

He’d thought that when he first started talking about going out with a guy she might back off at least a little because he’d always picked women to lie about before but no—that might have made things worse. She’d thought it was wonderful that he was “finding” himself and had to go out and look for ways to “help” him. He wasn’t looking to find anything and all she seemed to have found was a new type of dirty books to read.

They both knew he hadn’t met anyone. However, she seemed to think that it was her responsibility as his mother to continue to pester him about his love life and forcefully encourage him to go out and get one if he hadn’t made the effort lately.

So they compromised. Or rather, he lied to her and she lovingly pretended to believe him. It’s what made their dysfunctionally close relationship manageable. Still insane, but functional for them.

“But it’s just coffee and if she—”

“There is no such thing as just coffee.”

“Okay, well maybe you should try online dating again. This time, I’ll help you with the profile. I’ve been reading articles lately that say how important the profile picture is and how to make a good first impression no matter which gender you prefer. Wait, what about that great picture from Christmas. You—“

“Mom, enough. We are not discussing online dating again.”

That disastrous adventure had been doomed from the start. And not because his profile picture was bad.

Even he had to admit that he wasn’t unattractive. With short blond hair that was getting a little long on top, brown eyes, and even features, he was technically good-looking. If he’d been taller he might have even agreed that he would be considered very attractive.

But at 5’4” with a small slender frame, he could not consider himself conventionally attractive. Passing the mirror in the hall he had to admit that if anything he would probably be considered pretty. Not the word most men wanted to be described as, unfortunately.

The real problem had been that he hadn’t wanted to attract anyone, men or women. There was just no way to explain that to his mother, though. No matter what she wanted, a relationship just wasn’t going to be in the cards for him.

“I just want to make sure you’re getting out and meeting people. I worry, sweetie.”

His mother was a world-class worrier. If there were an Olympic medal for obsessively worrying she would win the gold. He tried to be understanding because heaven knows she’d had reasons to worry over the years. But he was 25 years old, for crying out loud and no longer a sick kid or a bullied teenager.

“Mom, you don’t need to worry. I was with friends last night. We had dinner and hung out. Don’t worry.”

Okay, maybe had dinner and hung out was a little bit of an exaggeration. It was Chinese take-out. And maybe he hadn’t so much as hung out with friends as played a couple of online games with some people he’d chatted with before. Still it was socializing, kinda.

When you compared it to his usual Saturday night, it was incredibly eventful. He just didn’t say that they were here or that he’d ever met them in real life or that he even knew their names. Just that they had hung out. So, reasonably true.

“I’m glad. You work too much.”

“Mom, I own my own business. I work hard but my clients count on me and I enjoy what I do.”

He’d started working as a virtual assistant when he was going to college and now five years later he was doing very well for himself. He had a variety of clients from all over the U.S. and some local ones as well.

His business had done so well that by the time he’d graduated college he’d built up an extensive portfolio of clients. It worked out wonderfully because he’d always been a bit of a homebody and, even with his business degree, he knew he would never be able to work in corporate America. Something else that just wasn’t in the cards.

“And I’m very proud of you but every time I call you’re working. I want you to have fun and get out more. I want you to be happy. You know not everyone will care—”

“Mom, enough. I’ll get out more but that’s all I’m going to promise. Now tell me what you’ve been up to.”

Time to change the subject.

His mother moved out west last year to live closer to her sister once she’d retired. They had been having fun and raising hell in the retirement community that they’d moved to. He was expecting to get a call from the management company any day now complaining about their antics.

He knew she wanted him to be happy, but right now, her version of happy meant he needed to be in a relationship. Man or woman, she didn’t care. She just wanted him to date and be “normal.” She probably didn’t mean it to come out that way.

Taking a deep breath, he pushed back his frustration. Knowing that she wouldn’t be done anytime soon he changed course and went into his second bedroom, which functioned as his office. Dumping the contents of the envelope out on the table he started sorting through the receipts as his mother went on and on about who was dating whom and the naughty things that they’d been caught doing.

When she’d first started talking about the dating life of her new neighbors he’d been a bit horrified. He didn’t think most people had this much “fun” in college, much less as mature adults who were both widows. He had learned to ignore it, though. But every once and a while there was no ignoring what came out of her mouth.

“MOM! I don’t need to know which neighbor came down with an STD. TMI, woman.”

She just laughed at his shocked outburst and kept going with her story. Some days he wondered how those two women picked this particular retirement community. Other days he knew he didn’t want to know.

Sorting through the receipts and work orders Mark got the feeling that some of the papers just didn’t belong to the packaging and shipping store. Normally the paperwork that he picked up simply needed to be sorted, organized, and documented for the accountant.

It was a straightforward, boring job that Mark handled on a monthly basis but this time, the receipts didn’t look right—there were work orders for construction and furniture. The shop hadn’t had renovations done in years but these receipts were from the last couple of months. What did they belong to?

“Hey Mom, I’m going to have to go. I’ve got some work stuff that’s come up.”

After a long drawn out goodbye, Mark started looking at the papers in more detail. Rebuilding a nursery? Baby furniture? He hadn’t met Mr. Phillips that many times but there was no way the guy needed a nursery. Especially one with items that seemed to be just a little bit odd. Something about the descriptions just looked weird.

It wasn’t until he found the receipt from S and M Novelties that he knew he had to call Mr. Phillips. Nothing on the list was anything that would be stocked in the mailbox store. In fact, when Mark got to the words adult size specialty diaper he stopped reading completely.

His stomach dropped to the floor as he looked at the papers. It couldn’t have been deliberate. Mr. Phillips was a well-respected businessman and even if he…Well, he wouldn’t go around teasing people who worked for him. It just wouldn’t be professional and Sebastian Phillips was the definition of professional.

With ownership in several local businesses, Sebastian was well respected and had an air of authority that drew people to him. Mark had first met him several years ago when his virtual assistant business had really started to take off. Sebastian was actually one of the first local clients Mark had.

He just couldn’t imagine Sebastian being cruel.

Setting the papers down, Mark decided that he would call Mr. Phillips later and let him know that he’d been given the wrong receipts. That would be the professional thing to do. He would not assume the worst. Sebastian just wasn’t like that.

Walking out of his office, Mark told himself that he would call Mr. Phillips later—as soon as he worked the nerve up to make the call. And could figure out what to say that wouldn’t sound unprofessional or weird. Making a good impression on Mr. Phillips was always important…because he was such a good client.

He would not assume the worst and there was no way Sebastian could know. He would not assume the worst. The words played over and over in his head on an endless loop. There was no way Sebastian could know. Mark was very careful and very discreet especially after the teasing he endured as a child. He kept his personal problems and issues to himself. There was no way Sebastian could know.

Walking into the master bathroom Mark looked at himself in the mirror, just staring. “He couldn’t know and he wouldn’t tease you. He is more professional than that.”

It was obvious that he had simply been given the wrong paperwork. Whatever the reason, and he was sure that Mr. Phillips would have a good reason, he would explain everything.

“He couldn’t know and he wouldn’t tease you. He is more professional than that.”

Ignoring the burning in his eyes, Mark wiped his hands over his face. He could deal with whatever happened. He always did.

Reaching under the counter, Mark sighed as he grabbed at the bane of his existence tucked away in the back hidden behind toilet paper and extra shampoo.

“Special kind of underwear, my ass.” He knew what they were and it wasn’t anything special. “Hour and a fuckin’ half.”

If he couldn’t even go out and do his errands without running into problems, how could he date or have a relationship? What kind of man or woman would want someone like that? Someone damaged like that? He couldn’t ask anyone to deal with his issue. He didn’t even like dealing with it.

He could imagine kissing someone, “I’m sorry, we’ve been doing this too long and I’ve peed on myself. Sorry about that.” Yeah, that wouldn’t ruin the mood. Or going out on a date, “Sorry I need to go home and change. The movie was just too long.” Yeah, that would work.

Staring into the mirror he shook his head. “Not in the cards for you.”

Curious Beginnings by MA Innes - Gay Romance EBook Cover
Synopsis:
What happens when you find love in the most unexpected place?

Mark has hidden from life for so long he wouldn’t even know how to begin to find love. But who could love someone like him? Someone broken. Someone defective.

Left a widower after the tragic death of his wife, Sebastian is finally ready to begin living again. But how do you find someone to love when what you want is taboo?

Story Contains: M/m sexual content, age play, diapers, and ABDL themes

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