Some neighbors share more than others...
Andy Madison is city born and bred. Filling in for a friend at a coffee shop, Andy meets Ben Hardin and sparks fly. They spend a long, lazy Sunday afternoon together to get to know each other, and when they decide to let nature take its course, they go to Ben’s cozy apartment.
Ben’s taking his time becoming acclimated to his new life in the big city. He’s got a great job he loves, he’s making new friends, and his starter apartment has the most incredible views a young man could dream of. Ben’s discovered there’s more to admire than the arts, music and architecture. All he has to do is look out his window and across the narrow alley.
Andy thinks he’s seen it all living in the Big Apple, but what he spies through Ben’s window is something that can only be enjoyed by the eye of the beholder...
I'd chosen to sleep on the side of the bed beside the one and only window in the apartment. It might have made a different decision if the window faced east, but it didn't. I peered out through the streaky glass at the glow of the city lights and wondered if I'd someday make enough money to have a real view. The surprising, and scary, answer to that musing was I actually might. My employer recognized my talent.
I was just about to tuck my toes under the sheet when for no real reason a movement on the other side of the narrow alley drew my attention. I yawned as the lights in the apartment across the way and down a story went out. The lower half of the window rose about six to eight inches and a pair of male hands set a block to keep it from falling closed. The hands, now unseen, pushed the sheer curtains apart to allow what little breeze stirred this night entrance to his room. Naked, he flopped down on his bed, his back arched as he stretched his arms over his head.
Why I didn't crawl between the sheets and go to sleep will forever remain a mystery. I never aspired to be a peeping Tommy. I might watch a little gay porn now and again, but what poor deprived country boy hadn't resorted to the joys of the Internet to get by until they could find a real man? That didn't make me a pervert. Unlike a few of the tricks I'd had since arriving in lower Manhattan, I didn't even like to have sex in public places. But in the blink of an eye I became a voyeur.
...Andy was sorta cute. I could invite him to a movie this afternoon and see what he said. It was one sure way to find out which team he batted for. “When do you get off, Andy?”
A smile played at his lips as he cocked his head to the left and raised his eyebrow. “Usually about midnight every night, one way or the other.”
I bet I looked stupid with my mouth hanging open. A wide grin split his face, then he laughed, a low, happy sound that said he was pleased to have rendered me speechless. Andy sobered, at least a little.
“Are you attempting to ask me out?”
I gripped my coffee cup for dear life as I gathered my wits. “I’m not sure now. I think you might need to go home and get some sleep.”
He leaned forward and brushed his knuckles across mine. “I don’t like to sleep alone, Ben.”
The smooth, silky way he said my name made me shiver, but I’m sure he intended that I would. Heart thudding unevenly in my chest, I met his gaze.
“Me neither, Andy, and I happen to be free around midnight.” I didn’t add that if we went to my place I’d make damn sure my curtains were safety-pinned closed.
He leaned forward again. “Tell you what. Give me your cell phone number and I’ll call you when my shift is finally over.”
“That’ll work. We can figure out what happens between now and midnight then.”
Andy smiled and shoved the rest of his muffin in his mouth as another customer hustled in out of the rain.
“Be right with you,” he called out as he stood. “I don’t know how long I’ll be, but I’ll call. Swear.”
“I need to head home to make myself all sexy, so you do what you have to do.”
He flashed me a parting grin and slipped behind the counter, then schmoozed with the new arrival. It was in my mind to wait a while before leaving, but the rain suddenly eased. Within minutes, the coffee shop was full of people. I cleared the little table and made a strategic exit. I saw no point in trying to distract him from his work just to say goodbye. A certain level of maturity was called for in these situations, or so I told myself.
On the other hand, I had a hookup for today that had a lot of potential. Andy was a friendly, charming fellow. Maybe I’d end up with a fuck buddy, which would be fine with me. What lonely fellow on his own in the big, bad city couldn’t use one of those from time-to-time?
As predicted, the rain kicked the humidity up yet another notch. Everything from the streetlights to the trees to building canopies dripped, but my trusty umbrella kept my newspaper dry. The apartment was stifling when I opened the door, but then the air conditioning cycled on. I toed off my shoes and settled at the table to finish my almost cold coffee and leaf through the paper. If Andy did call, I didn’t want to spend the entire day in bed.
Unless, of course, he could get it up more times in an afternoon than I was capable of doing. That would be a game changer, not to mention it would impress the hell out of me.
The paper yielded a few possible activities. I circled them, put on a fresh pot of coffee, and took a fast shower. It was almost eleven o’clock when Andy finally called. He wanted to dash home for a shower and suggested we meet at the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 42nd Street at one o’clock.
There was a movie he wanted to see, his treat, then we could get an early dinner, nothing fancy, my treat. After that, we’d see how the evening shaped up. It sounded like a perfect afternoon, and I quickly agreed.
It didn’t take long for me to get nervous. I liked Andy and I didn’t want to screw up a simple date, but what if he was the clingy sort? I wasn’t looking for forever, just a good time tonight. If I got a different vibe from him, I’d have to make my intentions clear without hurting his feelings.
Nothing like getting ahead of myself. Jeez. And to keep from doing it again, I decided to wear a white T-shirt and jeans. Simple, yet sexy, with the message today was about fun.
Or maybe something else was already in the cards.
Andy greeted me with a kiss...
EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
Contemporary gay romance
available now at Amber Allure
website at: http://www.kckendricks.com/
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