>Works in Progress: Winning the Lottery

>Mark kept up his end of the conversation as they walked, laughing and joking, deliberately working to keep things light. Mark’s stomach twisted a little tighter with every step, nerves trying to get the best of him. He liked Bennett a lot, and unless he’d been misreading everything that had happened since the day of the interview, Bennett felt the same way.

His thoughts were interrupted by the feel of Bennett’s fingers wrapping around his hand. Mark jumped and barely stopped himself from pulling away. He turned his head and met Bennett’s smiling face.

“You okay?” Bennett’s voice held a note of amusement.

Mark laughed and tried to relax. “I’m fine,” he said, twisting his hand to entangle their fingers. “Sorry. I know I’ve been a little …”

“Jumpy?” Bennett grinned.

“Yeah.” Mark shrugged. “It’s just … I told you it had been awhile.” He shot Bennett a look out of the corner of his eye. “I should probably specify that ‘awhile’ means ‘try over two years.'”

Bennett blinked. “Since you’ve … been with someone?”

“By any definition,” Mark said. “No dates, no one-night stands. A couple of makeout sessions that never went any further. So, I’m kind of out of practice with all of this.”

“Well, no pressure,” Bennett said, tugging Mark a little closer to his side. “But I’m really having a great time, and I don’t want the evening to end quite yet.” He stopped in front of a building and nodded. “This is me,” he said, then grinned. “Wanna come up and see my etchings?”

Laughter burst out of Mark. “Please tell me you don’t use that line with every guy you go out with?”

Bennett chuckled as he stepped closer. “Just the ones I really want to get to know better.” He lifted his free hand, fitting his palm against Mark’s cheek, as their laughter died away. “Especially the ones I really, really want to get to know better.”

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