I left my office and headed down the stairs to the ground floor of the building. The coffee in my cup was hot, and I sipped it cautiously as I considered everything I had to do that day. The biggest thing on my plate was the deadline for the phone directory I was developing. The comprehensive gay-friendly/gay-owned business directory was something I’d dreamed about for years. I’d gotten the funding for it six months ago, and it was almost time to send it off to the publisher. I was determined to squeeze out a few more donations. In theory, gay businessmen would be eager to support the idea, thereby making obtaining donations half as troublesome as it usually was. The sad truth was that gay businessmen were as cheap as their not so gay counterparts and needed incentive to do the right thing. The promise of a well designed ad where it was sure to be seen had proven incentive enough, but since I needed to offset costs as much as possible, it wouldn’t be time to quit begging until I stuck the damn thing in the box and sent it away.
I had a couple of prospects in mind for the day; they’d wavered the last time I approached, and with any luck, Nix’s Homemade Doggy Treats and Fan’s Toys Aren’t Just for Tots would be added to an already substantial list.
I reached the ground floor, turned and headed toward the coffee shop tucked away in the back of the building. Adam and Jay used one of the small tables each morning as their personal office space, and I needed to talk to them. If anyone had a suggestion about last minute prospects, it’d be those two.
I made my way around the temporary walls that had been set up in anticipation of the biannual art show, one of the most popular events The GBLT-Het Connection hosted. I’d founded the company just over eight years ago. We’d come a long way from that first dingy office with butcher paper taped to the storefront windows. Several different places had been home after that, but we had moved into our permanent residence about a year ago. The Connection was now housed in the state-of-the-art facility it deserved.
The GBLT-Het Connection was a major contributor to the community as a whole, making things better for everyone and improving life for gay citizens specifically through its intervention and outreach programs. I’d started The Connection based on my belief that the best way for the gay population to be accepted was through familiarity. Being a part of society played a big part in that. My ideas, put into practice, were proving themselves out in spades. Though in the beginning I had been called everything from a dreamer to an idiot, I now spent several hours a day fielding questions from people all over the country who wanted to know what I’d done, how it worked, and how they could accomplish the same goals in their cities. It made a gay boy proud.
No time for resting on my laurels, though, I had plenty to do. I grinned when I spotted the objects of my search sitting in their usual place, sharing a laptop.
They were sitting close, heads bent over the same computer; one light, one dark, and neither looked up at my approach, not even when I came to a stop at their table. I sipped my coffee, looking down on them, just watching. It was something special to see them work together. They owned their own web design company, working primarily for gay owned businesses, but that wasn’t what was remarkable about them. I watched as they spoke low murmurs, one pointing at the screen, the other working a mouse, either one likely to type. The blond, Jay, turned to nuzzle his partner’s cheek. Adam turned into the caress, and they shared a slow kiss before turning back to their work. They made me smile. I’d never seen a couple so natural with one another. They could be The Connection’s poster boys for Gay America; it was impossible not to love them.
“Adam….” I hesitated to interrupt, but I needed to talk to them before I headed out. Any hints they shared might keep me from wasting a day pounding the pavement with no results. The dark head came up at the sound of his name. Adam met my eyes as he draped an arm around Jay’s shoulders. His fingers traced aimless designs on Jay’s arm. I tried not to stare, tried not to obsess about how lucky they were to have each other.
Love like they shared was rare in the gay community; too many guys were all about sex and not interested in making the effort it took to build a lasting relationship. It was hard not to be jealous of them. They had what I’d wanted my whole life: a real relationship filled with easy looks and gentle affection. I wanted that stability. Hell, I’d be happy to just belong to someone. Adam smiled at me and something in his expression made me feel that he saw more of me than I was comfortable with, but before I could change my mind about talking to them he nudged Jay to get his attention. The blond man looked up with a grin. He looked so content, so happy, that it was unsettling. I didn’t remember the last time I felt that good about just being alive. They made me feel old.
“Hey,” I said as I returned his smile. There was no reason to pull them down into the emotional pit I’d dug for myself.
Adam took a drink of his coffee as they waited for me to explain what I wanted. His was the same Styrofoam cup with The Connection logo on it as the one I held, but Jay’s cup was a plastic insulated one from home. The sight of it replaced my attack of self pity with humor, and I grinned.
“Let me guess,” I said with a gesture at the bright blue cup. “Iced tea.” Jay lifted it and laughed as he toasted me.
“Sweet iced tea,” he corrected. “Ya’ll are uncivilized up here,” he teased, blue eyes shining from behind the fall of blond bangs. “Missing the finer things in life makes a boy homesick.” Adam made a disgusted face behind his head. Jay’s addiction to sweet tea was not one of the things they had in common. Jay elbowed him, “I saw that,” he said, though there was no way he could have. Adam rubbed his ribs and made a face at me. Jay turned back to the computer.
“I’m glad you stopped by this morning. I think we’ve got one for you,” he said. “A nice big fishy.” He motioned at the screen, and I walked around so I could peer over their shoulders. It was a mystery to me how they worked the same computer without killing each other. They had no sense of personal space with one another. My personal space was extra large, and the idea of it being invaded made me cringe, but their attempt to occupy the same space wasn’t the issue, and I forced myself to pay attention to what Jay was telling me. If he said he had a big tip, it was worth my time to check it out. The screen was filled with the picture of an old building, the beautiful lines of it undisturbed by the small discreet sign on one brick wall. It read Blue Skies in blue neon scrawl.
“What’s that?” I asked, my curiosity tweaked. They were obviously in the process of building a website for the business, but it was impossible to know what sort of business it was by the picture.
“New place in town, guy named Robin Levitt is opening it in a few weeks. It’s a gay dinner club—dancing, bands, formal/semi-formal dress only,” Adam explained. “They’re remodeling the inside now. You should hit the owner up for that little book of yours. He asked yesterday about local advertising ops in the gay community.” One of them clicked a link; I wasn’t sure who because they each had a mouse. One on the left side for Adam and on the right for Jay. I thought watching them work together might give me a migraine. Whichever one it was clicked through a few views of the inside. Though unfinished, the elegant promise in the workmanship was obvious. There were a couple more of the outside, and then Jay muttered, “Wait, it’s here.” One more click and, “There he is," Jay said as a picture loaded. When it was finished I blinked.
If there was something to say I had no idea what it was. My first impression of the guy was youth—he looked like he was about twenty—and the second was dimples. I was positive I’d never seen anyone that gorgeous in my life.
“He’s gay?” I asked when my thought process decided to start up again. I leaned over their shoulders for a closer look. “You’re sure?” Adam and Jay shared a look; Adam snickered, and Jay elbowed him.
“Oh yeah, we’re sure,” Jay said with an air of such innocence that if I’d really been paying attention would have set off my alarms. But I didn’t have time for Jay’s innuendoes, not with the way that guy’s wavy brown hair brushed his shoulders, his very broad shoulders, demanding my attention. The most important thing Jay said got through to me loud and clear. This Robin guy, who’d somehow managed to fly into town under my radar, was gay. I looked again—narrow hips, long legs, and big hands. For a man like that I’d learn to do casual sex. I couldn’t stop staring. While I was staring at the screen, Adam and Jay were staring at me. When I realized it, my face flushed under my freckles. Adam snickered at my blush and got elbowed again. He seemed to spend a lot of time on the receiving end of that elbow. I stepped back and straightened my tie in a belated effort to maintain my dignity.
“It sounds like I need to collect his information so his business makes the directory,” I said, ignoring the knowing grins Adam and Jay exchanged. “He should invest in a full page ad to help get things off to a strong start.” I handed Adam a small notebook and a pen. “Could you write down that address? I’ll head over there as soon as I’ve talked to Nix and Fan.” Adam wrote the information in his precise hand, his print neater than I would have given a lefty credit for, and handed it back with a grin.
“Guess we might not see you later?” He laughed, and this time his fingers wrapped around the elbow destined for his ribs. He winked at Jay, who promptly stuck out his tongue in response. I gave a noncommittal grunt and left them to their battering of one another. I ignored the sound of their laughter as I made my way toward the exit, mentally reorganizing my day. My carefully arranged schedule had been thrown into chaos by the sight of laughing hazel eyes and dimples denting the baby smooth cheeks of a guy I didn’t even know. I had a million things to do, but the only thing on my mind was Blue Skies.