He lives in the shadows of the law. Now, wounded and stranded in the city after a job only he could do, he has no qualms about climbing through the window his old lover left open—or stealing his shampoo, at that. He has, however, not taken into account the possibility of being surprised in the shower.
Three years is a long time to go between visits, especially if you've left so much anger and hurt and desire unresolved. They try to negotiate a truce for one night—over Chinese takeaway leftovers and apples, and between the sheets.
We never hear the name of our narrator nor of the man whose home he's come to in order to lick his wounds. We don't need to -- there is "he" and "I" and a vast gulf between them. This story is a blend of hope and history, of regret, longing and the brief happiness that can be found.
The author doles out the backstory in small details, letting us fill in for ourselves how things must have gone -- this had to have been an epic love then, and then three years of nothing, for these two are on opposite sides. They cannot be together, yet they come together as if the time had never separated them except for the echoes of pain at how it must have been.
The writing is beautifully atmospheric, both very immediate in the first person present tense and evocative of their past. Things as small as a red apple and an open window shout of how deeply these two love each other, have hurt each other just for being what each one is. They know each other well and still crash against the reality, because they are something wondrous together.
There is no HEA here, but it's a romance -- there is deep love that isn't going away, even if one of the men does. 5 Marbles