GENRE: Gay Erotic Romance
LENGTH: 13,382 words
Henry Kavalauskas spends most of his time at YVR, Vancouver’s international airport. He works there, he hangs out there -- he knows the world is bigger than his fast-food job and his parents' living room, and he wishes he could find a guy to take him out into it. Someone to shepherd him through its teeming cities and sleep beside him in its fine hotels.
Someone like Zack Hoffman, to be quite specific, although Henry's first encounter with the short, sexy business traveler seems destined to be his last, seeing as how it takes place in an airport men's room.
But Zack's long-haul flight is canceled, and when their paths cross again quite by chance -- and Zack produces the key to a hotel room -- Henry seizes the moment. The room's gorgeous, Naked Zack is gorgeous, and being with him is a dream come true for Henry. Until reality barges in, chases Henry half-naked back into the airport, and raises some questions about Zack. Is he who he says he is? And, more importantly, will Henry ever see him again?
Note: may contain sexually explicit scenes of a homoerotic nature.
Only after he makes eye contact with the light-eyed bulldog in the blue suit does he realize the guy must be walking in circles; he’s walked by at least five times and Henry hasn’t been sitting there ten minutes. Henry likes the look of him, and when the guy tosses off a little half smile, he cocks his chin in recognition. If the guy isn’t hoping to see it, he won’t, but if he is looking for Henry’s attention, he’ll know he found it ...
“Hi!” Henry sings. Eager and awkward, like maybe he’d be with a blind date who turns out to be famous.
“Hi,” the bulldog parrots, friendly enough. But then he actually looks at Henry. Narrows his eyes the littlest bit, then moves the tip of his tongue to the corner of his smile. “Oh, hi,” he says. “You again.” Confused. Reticent. Pleased? His voice is unremarkable -- no lisp, no accent; no squeak, no basso profundo. He sounds like every other dude in Canada, but Henry stirs at the notion that these nothing words in this ho-hum voice have been offered especially to him. He blushes. “Hi,” he says again.
“Hi,” the bulldog says. This time the smile is big and full of teeth. Henry wants to look away. Can’t. Smiles. “You work here?” the bulldog asks.
Henry looks around. At the racks of burgers under warmers behind him, at the no-slip mats he has to move to mop the floor, at the counter between him and the bulldog. He shrugs a Yes. “Do ... you?” he ventures. Henry doesn’t see the green plastic YVR photo ID badge that airport employees wear -- that he’s wearing -- but that doesn’t mean it’s not in a pocket.
“Me?” the bulldog asks, swiveling his own head around the food court. “No,” he says. “My flight, last night, um ... canceled,” he says.
Hence yesterday’s suit, Henry figures. “Oh,” Henry says. “Sorry. That sucks.”
The bulldog gives Henry a thorough once-over. “Kinda,” he says. There’s that tongue again. “Might not be all bad.”
Henry grins. “Where you going?” he asks.
“Wow,” Henry says. “That’s a late flight, right?”
The bulldog nods. “Eleven-something ...”
It’s barely three o’clock. “That sucks,” Henry says again.
The bulldog gives Henry another once-over, another “Kinda.”
“So ...” The bulldog’s not exactly all talk. “You work here?”
Henry laughs. “I do,” he says. “What can I get you?” He shifts into work mode -- You want fries with that? -- and the bulldog is visibly relieved. Awkward small talk’s not his thing, but his eyes buddy up to Henry’s the same way they did yesterday. By the time Henry slides his tray -- two Papa Burgers and a big thing of poutine; guy’s definitely an eater -- down to Sunny at the register, his belly’s doing somersaults and his cock’s back at attention. The bulldog smiles a Thank You and Henry moves on the next customer the best he can. “Hey. What can I get you?” falls out of his mouth easy enough, he only says it like two hundred times a day, but if the dude -- lady? kid? bear on a unicycle? -- caught fire, Henry wouldn’t know it; his eyes are stuck on the bulldog and he can’t pull ‘em free. Can’t, won’t -- the end result is the same. The bulldog swipes his card, gets his tray, turns his back on Henry to walk off. He stops to gather up a couple napkins and a straw for his giant root beer -- Sunny, Queen of the Up-sell, strikes again -- and Henry feels a tug in his chest as their connection tests its tether. Again the bulldog stretches it until it unravels down to one thin thread, and in the heartbeat before it snaps he turns over his shoulder. “See you around?”