Rourke and Ty

Bonus Scene from Virgin Flyer by Lucy Lennox

(best read after finishing the novel)

The Story of How Rourke and Ty Found Each Other


It didn’t take much for my friend Jack to wear me down and agree to attend trivia night at his place. He and Teo had recently bought a new house, and I guessed they wanted to celebrate by staying in for New Year’s Eve. I couldn’t blame them. I’d had more than my fair share of tuxedo-clad champagne parties in penthouses across the city, and I was honestly looking forward to a night in comfortable clothes with friends I could just be myself around.

Honestly, I was tired. I’d traveled to almost a hundred cities in the past year to give talks to various groups or sign copies of my books. When people asked me why I’d allowed my agent to keep me so busy, I always smiled and told them the PR version of the truth: I loved talking to people about my story. It was important, especially for children and teens.

But the real version of the truth wasn’t something I shared with others outside of my therapist. I was lonely as hell and terrified of being alone for the rest of my life. Samar warned that this kind of attitude could cause me to be an asshole (my words, not his) because naturally pushing people away was easier than facing the idea that no one wanted to be with me. And he was right.

Not that it stopped me from being an asshole.

“You’re not wearing that, are you?” my housekeeper asked with a raised eyebrow when I made my way to the kitchen to grab the champagne I was bringing out of the fridge. Peter was a controlling ass, but I wasn’t sure I could live without him. And I damned sure knew I didn’t want to live without him. If there was one benefit to having the kind of money I did, it was not having to do my own grocery shopping in a damned wheelchair. Peter managed all of the annoying details of my life like laundry, packing and unpacking for trips, reaching things on high shelves, and generally anticipating my needs to help my busy life run more smoothly.

And apparently, he also micromanaged my clothing style.

“Tonight is casual,” I reminded him.

“Pajama casual?”

I looked down at the soft faded jeans I was wearing along with a navy blue Patagonia fleece. The fleece was brand-new. “I look nice.”

I paused. “Don’t I?” I didn’t wait for him to answer. “What the hell? I don’t care what you think. There’s no one to impress. It’s trivia night for god’s sake. At least I’m not wearing the athletic pants and hoodie I had on earlier. At least I showered.”

He studied me. “You didn’t shave.”

I threw up my hands. “I’m in a fucking wheelchair. Things are ten times harder for me. Feel sorry for me, wahhh!”

By the time I was done with my usual argument, we were both laughing. Peter, more than anyone, knew the last thing I’d ever do was allow my physical limitations to keep me from doing something I wanted to do. I was more likely to stubbornly insist on doing things the hard way just to prove I could. It had taken me years of sessions with Samar to finally recognize it, but I still had a hard time asking for help from anyone other than Peter and his wife, Casey, when she came around.

Peter finished putting away some clean dishes and spoke over his shoulder. “I have a cooler bag already packed with the champagne and housewarming gift.”

“I bought them a housewarming gift?”

He nodded. “You bought them a gift card for a douching bidet.”

I stared at the back of his head. “I… what?”

“It’s a toilet that—”

“Stop,” I growled. “I know what a bidet is, and I damned sure know what douching is. Why would I—”

“Kidding. You got them a nice framed photograph of Goose Bay where they kind of met. It’s a sunset shot over the water.”

I smiled. “I am a thoughtful motherfucker.”

He half turned to me with a smirk. “You are. And you deserve a pay raise.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. “Pretty sure I just got a pay raise three months ago.”

He shrugged. “It’s never too soon to start planning for another.”

“Smug bastard,” I muttered under my breath. “Thank you. You’re the best. But you already know that, don’t you?”

“Yep.” He turned and helped me gather my things before helping me out to the car he’d arranged for me.

When I arrived at Teo and Jack’s house, I noticed how warm and welcoming it looked from the outside. Despite being a bit of a fixer-upper, the house looked well cared for and tidy. There was winter greenery hanging around the door with twinkle lights dotted throughout. The doormat said, “A pilot and a normal person live here.” Inside, the house was cozy and colorful which I was sure was way more Teo than Jack.

But I immediately felt at home. Realizing that they’d arranged the furniture in a wide open grouping with plenty of room for my chair to maneuver made me suddenly emotional.

“You’re just in time. Come in and break the tie,” Jack said, reaching out to take my coat and hat. “Tee says…”

I didn’t catch the rest of what he said because sitting on the sofa with a cat curled on his lap was a man I recognized from one of my speaking engagements. It had to have been at least a year ago, but I remembered him because he had the kindest eyes. He’d come up to me after the talk simply to thank me. He’d told me that my words made a difference and that because of me, other LGBTQ teens had a role model to look up to. I remembered scoffing and telling him mine was meant to be more of a cautionary tale, what not to do. But I knew what he’d meant. It was one of the reasons I did what I did.

When he met my eyes across the room, his mouth went slack. Clearly, he recognized me. I gave him a hesitant smile and moved in his direction. He stood and took a step toward me before seeming to realize he now had the usual height advantage. So he quickly did the whole uncomfortable sit-and-stand hesitation before grimacing at me and throwing up his hands.

“I’m horribly awkward, nice to meet you.” He thrust out his hand to shake. His handsome face flushed with embarrassment, and my stomach dropped.

I sat there and stared at him in shock, because as suddenly as a summer thunderstorm hits, I realized that this man was meant to be mine.



Imagine meeting your celebrity crush and then promptly forgetting his name. And worse.

“I’m Ty Nosen, a boyfriend of Jack’s.” Fuck. “No! Not a boyfriend of Jack’s. Ha! A friend of Jack’s. Although, I mean, I was his boyfriend, but that was a long time ago and really not important.”

“Gee, thanks,” Jack muttered as he handed me a drink. “Love you too, bud.”

I ignored him and continued being ridiculously awkward. “That’s not what I meant. He has Teo. Which always makes me think of Scott Baio, which is unfortunate because he’s a conservative weirdo and super unpleasant.” I realized that the man in front of me could have been conservative for all I knew, and I didn’t want to offend him. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

He widened his eyes and began to smile. “Really?”

“Shit. You’re… you’re…”

I didn’t miss the fact that he was still holding my hand. “Very happy to see you again.”

His voice was rich and deep, just like I remembered from the speeches of his I’d seen and the podcasts I’d heard. “Yes, I am.”

Oh god.

His dimple appeared. “You’re adorable. Do you remember my name?”

Pfft. Of course. As if I could ever forget my fantasy husband. I opened my mouth, and nothing came out.

He laughed. “What’s the opposite of calling dibs? That’s what I want to do to make sure you don’t end up on my trivia team tonight.”

His eyes sparkled over the rim of the glass as he plucked the drink out of my hand and took a sip.

“Rourke Wagner,” I finally choked out. “The Rourke Wagner.”

Rourke almost spit the sip of the drink out when he laughed. “You’re going home with me tonight. You know that, right?”

I couldn’t tell if he was joking or not, but I nodded anyway. It was worth the humiliation of being wrong just on the slim chance I was right. “Uh-huh.”

He handed me back my drink and let our hands linger together on the glass. Rourke’s eyes were laser beams locked on mine. “Good.”

I glanced up to see everyone in the room quickly looking away from where they’d obviously been staring at us. My face couldn’t possibly have been any hotter than it already was.

Pretty sure I floated through the rest of the trivia night activities. I remember being asked to name an obscure artist and I’d answered Picasso. Then I was asked to name a famous doctor and I’d answered Dr. Pepper. Finally, I’d been booted off the team and made to fetch drinks. It was fine. I’d enjoyed every minute of waiting on Rourke Wagner hand and foot. Part of me had even fantasized about kneeling on the floor by his wheelchair and laying my head on his leg like an obedient golden retriever. Whatever I could have done to make the man’s life easier, I would have.

As midnight approached and Jack turned on the countdown television coverage, I began to sweat. I didn’t mind being alone at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, but I sure as hell minded being in the same room as Rourke and not being able to wish him well. With my lips and tongue.

But when the last ten seconds began to count down, he was nowhere to be found. I decided to busy myself taking empty glasses and plates to the kitchen. Once at the sink, I braced my hands on the counter and squeezed my eyes closed. Surely, he’d been joking about taking me home with him. Maybe he’d already left, hoping to avoid the midnight awkwardness himself.

“I hope you’re not hiding from me.” His voice was quiet behind me.

I turned to see Rourke with an unusual combination of bravado and insecurity on his face. My heart felt like bees in a jar. “I was hiding from possible rejection,” I admitted just as softly.

He reached out a hand as cheers and shouts came from the other room. I took it and moved closer to him, squatting down until we were at the same level.

“Come home with me. Please.” His eyes were pleading even though his smile was self-assured. I could see a chink in his famous public armor. It made him seem more real to me… less like the perfect man who could speak confidently to an arena of thousands about the time he tried to commit suicide as a gay teen and failed miserably, landing himself in a chair for life. He was famous for making jokes about being sentenced to the electric chair for his crime of being young, gay, and horribly bullied. He’d made it his life’s work to teach children alternative solutions to suicide.

He was the bravest person I knew.

How could I have thought that insecure boy was no longer living inside of this successful man?

“Yes,” I said first, to get any doubt out of the way. “And if my New Year’s wish comes true, I will be coming home with you more than just tonight.”

Rourke’s eyes flared wide in surprise, but his mouth relaxed into a happy grin. “Thank fuck. Now kiss me, gorgeous.”

So I did. For a very, very long time.

*** THE END ***

If you missed the original story, check out Virgin Flyer here: