Fiona Glass: Slippery Slope

This is a cute little story I wrote a few years ago, which I’d actually completely forgotten about until I found it while going through some old files! If you like this, you might like some of my other m/m romance, which often features contemporary relationships interwoven with history and the paranormal. You can find all my books on my website. And mind the slugs…


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The washing machine broke down just as Eric switched on for his first weekly load. There was a blue fizz and a sharp smell of burning and the door seal failed. He tried, desperately, to hold back the Niagara Falls of water, suds, socks and his only spare pair of jeans with his bare hands, but the force of gravity prevailed. Water sloshed round his feet, then spread in an unstoppable soapy sea across the kitchen floor.

            It was the last shitty straw in the shittiest week of his life. The break-up, and Jed being so weird. Packing up and moving out. Finding his own place at a time when property was in short supply and rents were sky-high. Taking the first place he saw, even though it was across town in an area he barely knew. New and snotty neighbours who’d moaned at him about the removals van. No pets. Above all, no–.

            His gaze slipped instinctively to the kitchen window, seeking the solace of his beloved garden to lose himself in. Of course, it wasn’t there. Just a stark paved yard, fences, dustbins, a lop-sided shed and a washing line. Which he’d planned on using to dry this lot. But couldn’t, because he had to wash them first. ‛Sod it,’ he muttered, and tried to remember where he’d stowed the mop.

            He was heading back in from the shed when the doorbell rang. His heart skipped a beat. Jed? Surely not. His ex had been abundantly clear about never wanting to see him again. Probably just the postman with another sheaf of bills. Or the snotty neighbours again, moaning about something else. He wrenched open the door, wishing he looked less of a state. Hair all anyhow, his pony-tail coming loose. Wet rings around the bottom of his jeans. But all thoughts of his appearance vanished when he saw who was standing on the step. No postie, no snotty neighbour, just a stunning dark-haired hunk. He must be asleep and dreaming after all. Although none of his dreams lately had been as pleasant as this. ‛Er, hi.’

            The stranger stared back, then grinned. ‛I take it now’s not a good time.’

            ‛Sorry. Washing machine’s fritzed and I’m no good with tech. I don’t suppose you could–’ Recommend someone to repair it, he’d been going to say, but the stranger had already pushed past.

            ‛No problem. This way?’

            ‛Er, yeah. In the kitchen. Just follow the flood.’

            But the stranger had already disappeared, and he could hear faint sounds of grunting and tinkering coming from the other room. He dashed back in to find a scene from one of Dante’s lower circles of hell. The stranger, arse uppermost, poking around in the machine. Puddles and wet socks all over the floor. And something else. He’d left the back door open and a slug had got in, aquaplaning on the wet linoleum. He shuddered. The sight triggered vague memories of some childhood trauma. He raised the mop.

            ‛Oh, poor thing. Don’t hurt it. Get a glass.’ The stranger grabbed one of the good glasses from the draining rack and upended it on the floor, then scooped up the slug and carried it carefully outdoors.

            Eric would probably have whacked it with the mop, but he supposed this way left less of a mess to deal with afterwards. ‛Thanks.’

            ‛No problem. It’s why I’m here, really.’

            ‛Huh?’ Was his visitor going to shape-shift into a giant slug? No, that was just too many late-night movies because he hadn’t been sleeping well.

            The stranger fished around in jeans that were tight enough to do odd things to Eric’s breathing rate. Then he held out a crumpled piece of paper and a pen. ‛I’m doing a sponsored swim next week. In aid of garden invertebrates. Wondered if you fancied sponsoring me?’

            Eric could think of plenty of other things he’d rather do to the guy. ‛What, slugs, you mean?’

            He must have betrayed the horror he felt, because the grin flashed again. ‛Well, yeah, but not just slugs. Snails, lizards, slow worms, newts. They’re fascinating creatures, you know. Anyway, I’ve found what’s wrong with your washer. It was just the fuse in the plug. I can fit a new plug for you if you want.’

            ‛Cheers, that would be great.’ Eric gazed round what was left of his kitchen. The slug had left a silvery, oozing trail and there was a greasy hand print on one wall. ‛Er, what do I owe you?’

            The stranger waved a hand. ‛Nothing, glad to help. Although you could, you know, sponsor me.’ The grin turned pleading, to go with the puppy eyes.

            ‛Sounds fair.’ Slugs, he thought. I must have got it bad. He scribbled his name on the list and offered five pounds, which made the new plug seem dear. But needs must, and his jeans wouldn’t wash themselves.

            ‛Cheers,’ said the stranger. ‛Gotta dash but I’ll bring that plug round this evening if you’re in?’

            ‛Sure. Yeah. Thanks.’ Sooner would have been better but at least it gave him a few hours to clear up the mess.

            ‛See you later then. Thanks for the sponsorship. The slugs will be grateful. Oh—I’m Charlie, by the way. From number four, across the road.’

            ‛Nice to meet you.’ But he was talking to an empty room; Charlie had already taken off, leaving only muddy footprints, bits of plug and—oh God, was that the screwed-up form of his posing pouch? He bent and started picking bits of laundry up, then stopped. This could wait. Grabbing a coffee and a cigarette, he headed outside, perched on an upturned packing crate and took a long deep breath. It wasn’t his beautiful garden, with the weeping willow and the lawn sweeping down to the pond. But he could put pots on the paving slabs. Bamboo, perhaps, and scarlet geraniums. At least some greenery would keep the slugs out here where they belonged.

            Although… Memories surfaced, of broad shoulders and capable hands, and a grin that would melt the sun. His own lips twitched in sympathy. If the slugs did get into the house again, he could always call Charlie for help…


14 thoughts on “Fiona Glass: Slippery Slope

  1. Pingback: New romance story, with added slugs! – FIONA GLASS

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