About Room for One More
by Willa Okati
The boys from Big Enough for Five are back. They've sold the press and are each pursuing different jobs, doing their own thing. They still come back together again at the end of the day though, living and fighting and loving as only a fivesome can. They're finally investing in a new bed, too. Something custom-made that'll fit them all just a little bit better, something that's made for five.
But what happens when street musician Rhymer decides he'd like a taste of each of them? Will his interest fracture what the fivesome have managed to build together? Or will they discover that they've got room for one more?
James Hogue, author of Vinculum, writes: “Room For One More” is the second in a series of books that brings a whole new meaning to the word ménage. This story opens with the introduction of a character, Rhymer, that is about to throw a monkey wrench into the relationship of five gay men, Ryan, Baz, Marcus, Aiden, and Nathan, who are so committed to each other that they wear rings to demonstrate their love and fidelity to one another. Rhymer observes the successful relationship between the five men and sees something that he wants and needs in his life. Will the guys let him in? Is there room for one more in this loving ménage a cinq?
Willa Okati has given us a story that is not only filled with love and hot sex, but also challenges us to examine our definition of what constitutes a loving committed bond between persons. Ms. Okati is a talented writer who guides us on a journey through emotions that range from lust, to jealously and betrayal, and finally to love and acceptance. In “Room For One More”, Ms. Okati has proven once again why she is one of the premier writers of gay romantic fiction.
The sun's not even up yet, and the streets of the big old town are cold and empty. Well, no, not empty. There's going to be traffic no matter what hour of the day it is: yellow taxis zipping back and forth, workaholics in their Beemers or Jaguars, and the wavery beat-up clunkers of partiers just now coming home from a big night out.
Doesn't matter what night of the week it is. There's always a party going on somewhere.
Rhymer himself is on foot. Contrary to what some folks who see him might think, he's got his own apartment. 'Course, it's not much more than a hole in the wall with a tee-tiny bathroom and a gas range, just enough room for his single bed and one beat-up old chair, but he can call it home.
He's got other plans, though. His daddy would have told him that what he's planning is like baiting a bear, and he figures the old man wouldn't be wrong. His momma would have shaken her head -- but in mirth -- and told him to watch his ass.
God, he misses his folks.
They're long gone and past, though, and since then Rhymer's been making his own way in the world. He's wandered from state to state, packing up and hauling out whenever he gets the fancy to move on. From one side of the coast to the other, he's made enough of a living to get by doing what he loves best and putting in some hard work otherwise. Construction. Laying down track. Carpentry. Selling hot dogs. Whatever would pay the bills.
But now, he's got enough salted aside -- not in a bank, mind -- that he can just concentrate on his favorite thing, and that's playing music. Any dreams of big-name stardom he's ever idly entertained have been put aside as he's pretty much figured out those aren't his kind of dreams. He's an ordinary guy who knows how to play a guitar like a lover.
Or so he's been told. He's had plenty of men along the road, sometimes one-night stands and occasionally something that lasts for a few weeks or a couple of months. Rhymer's never been against commitment, but it seems that those he hooks up with don't quite get his urge to travel or his determination to live free and easy.
As he walks slowly toward his favorite spot on a certain broad avenue, guitar case swinging from his hand, Rhymer thinks about his last lover but one, an earnest dark man who made up for his small stature with a great big heart and a painfully loud mouth.
"You know what your problem is?" he'd asked, jabbing Rhymer in the chest with one bony forefinger. Rhymer had tried to grab Vance's hand and suck that finger into his mouth, but Vance was too quick and too determined. "People don't want a vagabond, Rhymer. That king of the road shit is for young guys."
"You saying I'm old?"
"Not old. Just older than you used to be. Someday your hands are going to knot up and your legs won't be strong enough to walk you around. Then where are you going to be? Sitting on the side of the road with a cardboard sign, begging for food?"
Rhymer had taken offense. "You don't think I can look out for myself?"
"No, I think you don't. And I think you won't let anyone else keep an eye on you, either. That's why you're always moving on. If you don't let anyone get too close, you don't have any regrets when you walk away."
"Now that's just not so. I'd have settled down long ago if I'd found someone who got me."
Vance had shaken his head. "That's the problem, Rhymer. I do get you. It's you who doesn't understand yourself. Take a good long look in the mirror, man. It's time to grow the fuck up."
They'd parted ways after that night, although a big part of Rhymer had wanted to stay right there and prove Vance wrong. He'd had a bus ticket, though, and the road was calling.
Sometimes he's thought about getting a motorcycle, maybe someday, when he's a bit more comfortable than he is now. Doesn't have to be anything fancy, just something that'll get him from place to place with minimal need for engine tinkering.
Or rather, he has thought about getting a motorcycle, that being in the past tense. Rhymer thinks he may have come to the end of his traveling days here in this vast city that never sleeps.
There's five good reasons why he doesn't want to move on.