Nothing To Lose

An Out To Sea Novel

Chapter Fourteen

 

© 2022 E.M. Lindsey

 

All rights reserved.

 

 

This serial novel is not meant for sale or distribution without the express permission of the author. These chapters are not authorize to appear on any other site except emlindseyauthor.com

 

 

Text is unedited and is subject to change before final publication. This book will be released on amazon after the completion of the serial novel.

 

Content Warning: This chapter contains micro-aggressions in the form of ableism and racism.  Please take care if these things are triggering for you.

***

Hudson was beyond surprised that the design team had come through so quickly.  He had a prototype on his desk by the end of the week, which looked like two particular toys they already had a line for, combined into one.  Just like every line they had, the toy’s handle was soft and had the option to increase the button sensitivity for people who had issues with their grip.  It also had a remote option, as well as app sync.

 

The toy itself was simple.  There was a sleeve for the penis, a ring for the testicles, then a rolling knob at the base which would move back and forth with button-controlled pressure to stimulate the prostate.  The person could manually thrust into the sleeve, or they could activate the option which would allow the sleeve to ripple back and forth at various speeds.

 

He tested out some of the mechanics, then went over the notes Eli had left him on the desk.

 

 

 

My initial product tester could only give feedback on the prostate stimulation as it turns out he had a penile amputation and phalloplasty, and with the nerve damage was unable to give a review on that function.  However, I was able to secure two additional test subjects and I’ve attached their feedback in separate documents.

 

 

 

Hudson read through everything, made a few notes, then packed two of the boxes in his bag.  He wasn’t sure he was going to bother playing with it much.  His sensation was decreased enough that it probably wouldn’t get him off at all.  However, he could at least test that it was easy to use because the damn thing looked like some sort of alien tech and that was only sexy to a small subset of their customers.

 

Not to mention that the more complicated something was, the quicker they gave up using it, and that was the opposite point he was trying to make with his company.  Sexual gratification for people who wanted it was not supposed to be that kind of struggle.

 

Saying a little prayer that nearly everyone was gone as he wheeled toward his office door, Hudson braced himself for more conversation, but the corridor was quiet.  He readjusted his bag on his lap, then made his way out the side exit and to his car.  He was exhausted so it took him a little longer than usual to get the wheels off his chair, but he managed it without being seen, and he drove off feeling a huge measure of relief.

 

The drive home was long thanks to the evening traffic, and by the time he pulled up to the entrance of his street, he almost wanted to cry.  Most of his neighbors were old, so they were safely tucked away for the night and he pulled into his driveway, easing his car into the garage.

 

He stared at his bag with the new prototypes, and while he knew that he should bring them in and at least give them a little test, he wasn’t in the mood.  Instead, he left them sitting on the seat as he reassembled his chair and eased into it.

 

He cursed softly to himself for not having his garage door entrance modified yet, then he spun his chair and headed for his front door when he saw headlights in the distance.  He picked up the pace, but as he approached his door, he heard the car slow, then come to a stop just a few feet away in Peyton’s driveway.

 

His hands gripped his wheels, coming to a complete stop as his heart twisted in his chest.  It wasn’t Peyton’s car—the garage never opened, which meant he was out with friends.

 

Or on a date.

 

“Just go in, you stupid fuck,” he whispered to himself, but he couldn’t seem to make his hands move.

 

A few feet away, Hudson heard one car door shut…then another.  Then two sets of feet.

 

“Oh, hey.”  That was Peyton, and he sounded…nervous?

 

Hudson’s heart hammered harder in his chest.

 

“You really don’t have to walk me in.”

 

And then Hudson’s world flipped because he recognized the second voice too—more than he ever wanted to.  “I don’t mind.  You did so well at dinner you at least earned a little kiss.”

 

“I…” Peyton said.

 

Hudson’s hearing went in an out against the drumbeat of his heart.  What the fuck?  He turned his chair without really thinking about it and began to wheel back down the ramp.

 

“Really, it’s…fine.  It’s fine.  I’d rather—oh.”

 

Hudson came around the corner in time to see Austin pinning Peyton to the side of the wall.  But instead of kissing him on the lips, he was kissing his forehead, holding him tightly by the face.  His body was blocking most of Hudson’s view, but he could see the way Peyton’s fingers were flexing.

 

“Seriously?” Hudson said without thinking.  “You don’t have any fucking manners at all?”

 

Austin spun, his eyes going wide, and any question Hudson had about whether or not Austin knew where he lived now was gone.  He took a startled step back away from Peyton, his gaze flickering back and forth between both men.

 

Hudson ignored him in favor of taking in Peyton’s expression, and the guy looked mortified and almost afraid, though fear wasn’t quite right.

 

“I should uh…yeah.  I’ll call you later, okay?”  Austin didn’t want for Peyton to reply.  He just hurried off and got into his car.

 

It wasn’t until he pulled out of the driveway that either of them moved—almost like a switch had been flipped.  Hudson backed his chair up and Peyton took a step forward, clearing his throat.

 

“Sorry.  Sorry he was…that was uh…”  Peyton shrugged and bit his lip.  “I didn’t think he was going to do that.”

 

Hudson wanted to rage.  He’d worked his ass off to escape his ex and all the shit Austin put him through, only for this fucker to bring him back into his life?  But the thought only lasted a minute because he could see Peyton was either on the verge of screaming or crying.  Or maybe both.

 

“I have beer,” he eventually said.  “Shitty dates usually feel better after some beer.”

 

Peyton laughed.  “Yeah, not for me.  Um.  But I have brownies?”

 

Hudson groaned in spite of himself.  “Yeah?”

 

“Yeah.”  Peyton looked a little less like he was on the verge of collapse.  “You want to share?”

 

“I’ll leave my door open,” Hudson said, then he spun his chair and hurried inside so he could take a second to process what the fuck he’d just seen. 

 

Throwing his keys on the table, he wheeled into the back room to open the office door and check on Pancake who was sitting on the top of the cage preening.  The bird didn’t acknowledge his existence which was probably for the best. Although Pancake had no say in where he came from, Hudson still struggled to look at the thing some days, and tonight would be rough.

 

He took a deep breath, then headed for his room when he heard a hesitant knock on his door.  “I’m just changing,” he called out.  “Make yourself comfortable.”

 

He hoped Peyton understood that changing wasn’t a quick thing for him, though he did his best to rush it.  He slung sweats over his arm, then headed into the bathroom and grabbed a quick cath to take a piss.  He was more profoundly aware of the clock than ever as he wiped himself off, then braced himself on the end of the toilet so he could switch from his trousers to his sweats.

 

By the time he was dressed and back in his chair, he was a little calmer.  His head was still racing because seeing his ex after a hundred years would be too fucking soon, let alone a few months, but he had to remind himself it wasn’t Peyton’s fault.

 

Probably.

 

There was very little chance Peyton knew who he was.  And he liked to think Peyton was the sort of guy who wouldn’t have dated a man like Austin if he knew what Austin had put him through.

 

His hands felt a little sweaty as he pushed himself into the living room, and he found Peyton on the sofa, hunched over one of his little bento-like boxes, picking at the brownies.  His entire body was still tense, and Hudson fought back the irrational urge to put his arms around him.

 

“Do you want to talk about it?  Or do you want to eat and forget?”

 

Peyton looked up as Hudson set his brake and carefully slid from his chair to the cushion one space way from where Peyton was perched.  He licked his lips, then sighed.  “Have you dated since you became disabled?”

 

Hudson startled at the question, but he shook his head.  “To be fair, it’s not really about the disability.  My ex did a pretty big fucking number on me.”

 

Peyton nodded, his gaze going back to the brownies.  After a beat and a deep breath, he passed the box over.  Hudson told himself not to indulge—to be a good friend and listen—but they looked too good.  He broke off a corner and groaned at the taste.

 

“What the fuck is this?  They’re amazing.”

 

“Thin Mint,” Peyton said, “though I can’t call it that because, you know, trademark shit.  Mint wafer inspired, I guess?”  He huffed a soft laugh, but he looked like he was genuinely pleased with Hudson’s reaction.  “I haven’t gotten to the naming process yet.  They’re new.”

 

“How about heaven, because I think I’ve just been transported,” Hudson said, taking another bite, then he grimaced.  “God, was that corny as fuck or what?”

 

Peyton just laughed and shook his head, settling back.  His fingers were still twisting together, though, which told Hudson that more had happened.  “I went to this really brief like group therapy session after my surgery.  It was one afternoon and they served bad coffee and knock-off Oreos.  And it felt kind of pointless for me to be there because it was like some general—so your life has changed—session.  My therapist told me not to compare our situations, you know?  Like there were people who had spinal injuries, or who had just gone blind, or lost limbs.  And I was just sitting there with my colon shitting into a bag which in hindsight, was making me more able to live my life.”

 

Hudson set the brownies down and turned to face him.  “Your life still changed, though.”

 

Peyton blew out a puff of air.  “Yeah.  At the time, I felt like all the stuff they said wouldn’t apply to me.  I mean, yeah I knew dating would be weird when I started seeing people who didn’t know me.  But I didn’t think—”  His voice cracked and he cleared his throat before looking up at Hudson with pained eyes.  “He kissed my forehead.  Like, he got out of the car and pinned me to the wall and kissed my forehead after telling me what a good job I did.”

 

Hudson swallowed thickly.  “What did you do?”

 

Peyton’s laugh was harsh and bitter.  “I don’t know.  I ate my fucking dinner?  I drank some water?  I made conversation like a normal goddamn human being?  We just went out to eat,” he said, throwing his hands up.  “Then I told him about my stoma and…”  He trailed off, and Hudson realized he wasn’t going to finish that thought. 

 

Bowing his head, he knew he had to come clean.  He dug into his pocket, pulling out his phone, and he opened up his photos.  He had exactly four photos of Austin saved, and he wasn’t really sure why, but they served a purpose now.

 

“Remember how I told you about my shit ex?”

 

Peyton scoffed.  “Yeah.  And fuck that guy.”

 

Hudson bit the inside of his cheek, then turned the phone to face Peyton.  “His name is Austin.  He lives on the north side of the city—we both used to.  He got the house in the divorce, but we sold it and split the cash and I think he bought a condo nearby.”

 

Peyton’s face was unreadable apart from his wide eyes which looked full of something.  Hurt, maybe?  Fear?  He glanced up at Hudson.  “He’s your…”

 

“Yeah.  He’s my ex.  We were married for two years before I collapsed in the shower.  He lasted three years with me in my recovery, but when the doctors told me that this was about the best I was going to get, he cheated.  Then he cried and told me he wasn’t sure he was strong enough to be with a man who couldn’t fuck him the way he wanted to be fucked.”  Hudson turned the phone back toward himself and stared down at the photo.  They were both younger then, though Hudson could see his unhappiness even back then, before he knew anything was wrong.  They were on a boat, and Austin was smiling like he had the world cupped in his hands, and Hudson looked…

 

Well, he just looked tired.

 

“I didn’t know,” Peyton whispered.

 

Hudson set the phone down on the table, then looked back over at his new friend.  “I know you didn’t.  And I don’t know if he’s changed, so I’m not going to be some posturing dickhead and tell you to stay way from him.”

 

Peyton shifted uncomfortably.  “When we started talking, he made me feel sexy.  I wasn’t sure I could, you know, feel that way again?  I mean, logically I knew I’d get used to the changes, but yeah.”  He pulled his hair tie out and let his hair flop over his shoulders—thick and curly from the bun—before twisting it back up again.  “Our first date sucked, but he promised me he’d make the second one better.”

 

“And then he kissed you on the forehead,” Hudson said.

 

Peyton laughed, rolling his eyes as he flopped backward.  That position left his shirt tight over his stomach, and Hudson could just make out the shape of his bag, but he didn’t let himself stare at it.  “I actually like forehead kisses.  I’m…I mean, call me whatever you want, but I like them.  I like cuddling and being sweet.  But I also like fucking.  I used to like getting fucked, and I wanted to find a way to feel like that again, you know?”

 

“Yes,” Hudson said, meeting Peyton’s gaze.  “I do.”

 

“Yeah.”  Peyton rubbed at his eyes.  “I’m sorry for coming over and just, like, getting my feelings all over your couch.”

 

Hudson couldn’t stop the smallest laugh.  “I invited you.  And you brought brownies.”

 

“The one thing I’m really good at, apparently.”

 

Hudson wanted to argue, but it felt unfair to Peyton’s obvious need to wallow.  Hudson knew what that was like too, and he understood that sometimes people needed a moment to just feel sorry for themselves.

 

“Well, if it helps, he’s an asshole.  Like a total and complete asshole, and…”  Hudson’s words cut off when his phone began go buzz, and he didn’t need to look down to know who it was.  Shit.  Fucking shit.

 

“That’s him, isn’t it?” Peyton asked quietly.

 

Hudson pursed his lips.  “Probably, yeah.  But he doesn’t want me back if that’s what you’re worried about?”

 

“Are you serious?” Peyton snapped, sounding genuinely angry.  “Even if the date had been amazing, you seriously think I’d go out with him again—you think I’d care who he wanted—after what he did to you?”

 

Hudson shrugged, giving his honest answer.  “You barely know me, Peyton.”

 

“You could be a literal stranger on the street and I wouldn’t—” he stopped abruptly and took a breath.  “I get that you don’t know me either.  But you will, and someday you’re going to feel like a real jackass for thinking I would care.”

 

Hudson tried to ignore the warmth in his chest as he tossed his phone onto the table.  “I don’t give a fuck about him either.  By the time the divorce was final, all that was left was apathy and some trauma.  Part of me wishes that I could care how he feels, only to prove that I’d once had any feelings for him at all, but I don’t.  He can live, he can die.  He can be a failure or a success.  I honestly don’t care.”

 

Peyton said nothing for a long while.  “But we’re good?”

 

“We’re good.”  Hudson started to settle back down, then leaned forward to grab the brownies again, stuffing one into his mouth.  “You should call them Hudson’s Heaven.”

 

Peyton laughed.  “And you shouldn’t quit your day job.  You’re not great at naming things.”

 

“No, but I am good at listening,” he said thickly, swallowing through chocolate.  He turned his head to look at Peyton.  “You’ll find that feeling again, you know.  That power over yourself, and your body, and your sexuality.  It might not come in the form you expect, but it will.”

 

“It happened for you?” Peyton asked.

 

Not for the first time, he considered telling Peyton about his company, but right then he didn’t want the questions.  He just wanted to be there—as a man, and a friend—for his neighbor.  “It did.  And a guy like you?  I doubt you’ll have to wait long.”

 

Hudson wasn’t entirely sure, but in that moment, he thought he might have caught a faint blush dusting Peyton’s cheeks.  God help him, but that made Hudson somehow even more attractive.

 

 

***

 

BakerByTheSea:  Morning everyone.  New product going up soon.  A minty, rich, dark chocolate brownie, available gluten free.  I think I’m going to call them Hudson’s Heaven, and if my product tester was right, they will transport you to paradise.

TBC

Start HERE for Chapter One

Due to travel and scheduling conflicts, Nothing To Lose will be on hiatus until November 17th.

*** 

Chapter Fifteen Preview: 

His heart began to thud because if this was some kind of dildo, he was going to lose it.  He was already on the verge of just giving up for good—though he knew Linden and Taylor would throw him in the metaphorical stocks if they thought he was going to call it quits after one bad date.  But this would just be insult to injury.

 

He shook his fingers, then finally pulled the box out and grabbed the little note that started to flutter down toward the table.  Setting it aside, he pulled the tab and the whole box dropped sides and opened.

 

It was…interesting.  It looked like some weird weapon on Star Trek with the round hole, and the finger grips and the little knob at the base.