I have a weakness for shared universes–characters who carry over from one story to the next. Not sequels, entirely, though of course I’m not adverse to those.
One such character is David Campbell, who was a part of Cartography For Beginners from the start though he made his first appearance in Apples & Gin. The intention has always been to introduce is love interest in Cartography For Beginners, and tell their story later on.
So I did.
In the excerpt below the jump, David confesses to Leo that he’s been attracted to him ever since they first met as young actors years ago, and share a kiss. But Leo is still getting over his broken heart, and they’re interrupted by someone David hasn’t seen for a long, long time.
They parted finally, but not far. David pressed his cheek against Leo’s and they breathed each other’s breath as Leo clutched at David’s chest through his shirt. “David,” he whispered. “I’m not sure about this–”
“Oh,” said a voice behind them, and they pulled apart. A man stood on the landing, looking puzzled and more embarrassed than he should considering he was the one who caught them in a compromising position instead of the other way around. “Sorry. I was looking for a restroom.” He wasn’t anyone Leo recognized –some friend of Jack’s, maybe — though he was worth a second look. His eyes were dark and his features regular and fine, and his voice was rough but pleasing.
David made a soft sound and lowered his head. Leo said, “Up the stairs, and then go to the end of the hall. There’s an en suite bathroom in the master bedroom.”
“Thanks,” the man said. He continued the climb up the stairs without a pause, though he gave a curious glance to David. Leo didn’t see if recognition crossed his face, but David still sighed deeply when the man was out of earshot.
“I know that guy,” David said.
“You do? I don’t think he knows you. I mean, aside from how everybody knows you.”
“You don’t forget a face like that,” David said, and Leo caressed his cheek. David sighed and pressed his face into Leo’s hand. “It doesn’t matter.”
“I’m not going to brag to gossip magazines about how I made out with David Campbell at a funeral,” Leo said and David smiled crookedly.
“When do you go back to — wherever you’re heading next?”
“L.A.,” David said. “Tonight. My flight leaves in about three hours, in fact.” He swept his hand through Leo’s hair. “I don’t know when I’ll get back to the city, but if you come to London when the boys do–”
“I have to think about it,” Leo said.
“I see,” David said, and added, “It’s okay. You’ve only decided to change your life today.”
Leo studied him a moment, and then kissed his cheek. “Go talk to him.”
“Leo, he doesn’t–”
“Go,” Leo said. “You want to. You want to see if he remembers you like you remember him. I can see it in your face. Go on. I’ll be fine.”
David hesitated, and then got to his feet. “I still want you to call me when you’re in London. Here.” He gave Leo his phone. “Put your information in.”
“I still haven’t decided if I’m going,” Leo said but tapped in his name and number anyway, and added his email address, too. The gesture made Leo smile — the last time he’d been in the dating scene his partners rarely exchanged names, let alone contact information. When that was done David tucked the phone away, gave Leo a hopeful smile, and then hurried upstairs.