Exchange of Hearts
Eighteen-year-old Harrison Haddon has grown up alone. Surrounded by wealth, nannies, and material things, all he craves is the approval of his father. Sent away to the boarding school his father and grandfather attended, it’s assumed he will follow in their footsteps from Sydney’s prestigious Ivy League school straight into medical school.
But Harrison doesn’t want to be a doctor.
He dreams of music and classical piano. His only true happiness, his escape from the world expected of him, is dismissed by his intolerant and emotionally detached parents.
Levi Aston arrives from London for a three-month student exchange program. Free-spirited and confident in who he is and what he wants to do with his life, Levi convinces Harrison not give up on his dreams.
But convincing Harrison not to give up on his family might not be so easy.
Given it was a Saturday and we had the day to ourselves and didn’t want to watch rugby, I took Levi into the city. We checked out Darling Harbour, the Harbour Bridge, and the Opera House. He did the tourist thing, taking photos and having me take photos of him.
We had a great time despite the cold weather, and the more we talked, the more we got along. We were just two guys, hanging out, having a laugh, but it wasn’t lost on me how easy it was.
How easy it could be, to be hanging out with a boyfriend… if coming out wasn’t so damn hard.
We stuck to ourselves over the weekend. Neither one of us mentioned Carson or the half-botched scheme to make him jealous, however preposterous it seemed.
But two days later, on Tuesday, it happened.
We walked into the library, to where the seniors have sectioned off areas for privacy.
And Carson was there.
All by himself.
Levi led the way to a table, diagonally in front of Carson, so he had to see us. He pulled out two chairs, nodding to one, silently telling me to sit beside him. And once we’d got our books out in front of us, Levi put his hand on the back of my chair and leant right over to me.
I could feel the heat of his body, his breath on my neck. God, he was so close it made my chest tighten. Then he whispered, “See how easy it is? He’s watching us right now.” He smiled. “He can’t take his eyes off you.”
I could feel the heat of blush creep along my cheeks, and I let out a nervous laugh. When I snuck a glance over my shoulder, I could see Levi was right.
Carson was staring. More like glaring. I turned back around, fighting a smile. Levi sat back in his chair, and not a second later, Carson packed up his things and left.
As he disappeared through the door, I laughed.
“See? I told you,” Levi said smugly.
“Maybe we shouldn’t antagonize him,” I said, though I couldn’t stop grinning.
“What can he say? It’s exactly like you said. You can’t say anything without outing you both, and neither can he.”
I nodded. “True.”
Levi looked straight at me. “So, how’d it feel?”
I smiled at him. “It felt good.”
Then slowly, he lifted his hand and touched my cheek. “And this blush… God, right on cue.”
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N.R. Walker’s Bio:
N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn't have it any other way. She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don't let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words. She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things...but likes it even more when they fall in love. She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal. She's been writing ever since...
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