THE guy was just too good-looking.
David Lassen sighed and picked his magazine back up. When, after the third attempt, the words of the paragraph merely swam around in his head, making no sense whatsoever, he set the magazine back down. The Gorgeous Guy was still there, just two tables away, sipping a grande non-fat misto with two pumps of mocha (David had listened in while Gorgeous Guy had given the barista his order). David tried not to stare, but it wasn’t easy. GG had a mop of dark hair, dark-brown eyes that David knew he could stare into for eternity, an adorably dimpled chin, and just enough of a five o’clock shadow (it was just after noon) to give him that dangerous, bad-boy look. GG was holding a Kindle in one hand and seemed to be engrossed in whatever he was reading. Which was a good thing, because David couldn’t stop staring.
Who am I kidding, David asked himself. This guy is totally out of your league, Lassen. Why don’t you try for the skinny, slightly effeminate guy over in the corner, sitting with a female friend and talking loudly about last night’s America’s Got Talent? At least with him you might have a chance.
David returned his attention to Gorgeous Guy. GG was wearing tight jeans (okay, David couldn’t see them at the moment, as the guy’s table obscured the delectable vision, but he’d noticed the way the denim hugged the man’s thighs while they’d been standing in line) and one of those MMA T-shirts. The T-shirt didn’t hide the guy’s muscular chest and arms. David couldn’t understand the attraction to Mixed Martial Arts fights. Two guys get into a cage, wearing only board shorts and skimpy gloves and beat the snot out of each other. If David got GG into a cage, fighting wouldn’t be the first thing on his mind. Getting those board shorts off him would, though.
David’s eyes began to glaze as he envisioned GG and himself in a cage. In his daydream GG, wearing black MMA gloves, quickly pounced, yanking a startled David right off his feet. Before he could even scream, David was flat on his back and GG was on top of him, grinding and writhing. The daydream David moaned as GG grabbed his face, holding him in place. The dream GG leaned forward and suddenly they were kissing. The grinding of GG’s pelvis increased, and David could feel the man’s erection against his lower abdomen, straining to be released from the confines of the board shorts.
A sudden movement shook David out of his reverie. GG was getting up! The Kindle had been put away and the grande non-fat misto with two pumps of mocha had been finished while David had been happily visiting the part of his brain reserved for erotic daydreams. Quickly David picked his magazine back up. GG would have to walk past him to exit the coffeehouse, and David didn’t want it to be obvious he’d been ogling the guy.
There were words on the page. David knew there were, because Time was known for well-written articles. However, David could only see, through his peripheral vision, GG walking by.
No, not walking by. Pausing. Pausing by David’s table.
“Excuse me, but are you reading the cover story?”
“Huh?” David looked up. GG was standing right next to him, smiling. David found he couldn’t look into the chimeric pools of GG’s eyes, so he quickly lowered his gaze. The MMA T-shirt was so tight that David thought he could make out the nipples on GG’s expansive chest. GG seemed to be waiting for an answer. David swallowed and found his voice. “Oh. Yeah. Good article.” Good article? Was that the best his brain could muster? GG—this magnificent hunk—was actually speaking to him, and all he could manage was “good article”?
“I thought it was a pretty good assessment of the Republican candidates,” GG said. He indicated the woman gracing Time’s cover. “Although if she gets in, I’m emigrating to Canada.”
“Yeah,” David agreed. He had to come up with something pithy to say. Something that would keep GG from continuing on toward the exit. “Cold,” he said.
“I meant, it’s cold up there. In Canada. At least, I assume it is. Stands to reason, doesn’t it?” Oh, God, he sounded like an imbecile. Stands to reason? Who talks like that nowadays? It was a stupid phrase in any case. Why couldn’t it sit down to reason? Why was standing conducive to reasoning?
David could see GG was wavering. Well, why wouldn’t he? The guy had merely stopped to engage in a little conversation, and David had rewarded him by babbling like an idiot. “Well, I guess I’ll see you around,” GG said. Had there been a look of disappointment in his eyes? Nonsense. The guy was just being friendly. There was no way a Muscle Hunk like GG could be interested in a skinny, bespectacled nerd like David.
“See you,” David said, his voice weak.
And Gorgeous Guy was gone, out of his life forever.
Sighing, David slid his chair back. He might as well go home and watch whatever was on the classic movie channel or listen, for the umpteenth time, to Angela Lansbury and Len Cariou belting out Sweeney Todd.
As David began to rise, however, he suddenly realized he was no longer alone at his table.
Sitting across from him was a strange-looking man, with long white hair and a long, aquiline nose. Perched on the nose were a pair of old-fashioned glasses that had no earpieces. What were those type of spectacles called? Pince-nez? The stranger wore no tie, but sported a brown sports jacket, complete with elbow patches.
The man was smiling at David with an indulgent air.
David blinked. The man seemed to have just materialized out of thin air. David hadn’t seen him walk into the coffee shop, and he certainly hadn’t been one of the patrons David had spotted at the other tables.
“I suppose,” the man said, his voice soft and reassuring, “that you’re wondering how I came to be sitting at your table, when seconds before no one was sitting here?”
David, still stuck in his half-risen position, blinked his eyes. “Yeah. Yeah, I was wondering that.”
The man waved his hand. “Unimportant. What’s important is that you’ve just let the love of your life walk out that door, and you’ve only got one more chance to live a happy life with him. If you mess it up, you’re going to be fairly miserable for the rest of your days. I say fairly miserable because you’ll always have your dogs, but isn’t Hunky Man plus dogs a better life than life with just dogs? Here’s my card.”
Accepting the business card gingerly, David glanced quickly around the coffee bar. No one seemed to have noticed that a white-haired gentleman had apparently just materialized out of the ether. People were chatting and sipping coffee. The barista behind the counter was making an espresso. The twink in the corner was gesturing wildly, moaning about how some singer he’d seen on television couldn’t hold a candle to Adele and shouldn’t try to mimic the style of the British songstress. No, the rest of the world seemed sane. The only insane part was sitting across from David.
He looked at the card in his hand:
Temporal And Dimensional Matchmaker
Keeping Sundered Hearts Together For Centuries!
David set the card down on the table. “Ah,” he said. “Well, Chance, it’s been nice to meet you and everything, but I’ve got a dinner party to go to tonight and I should get going. You know, spend an evening with sane people.”
The smile on the stranger’s lips didn’t waver. David gathered up his things and, tucking his magazine under his arm, he strode toward the exit. Once his hand was on the doorknob, he gave in to his desire to look back. The white-haired man was no longer sitting at his table. In fact, he was nowhere in sight.