This story started to take shape at Smutathon 2019.
I’m still not sure quite where it’s going to go yet, but I’m glad that at the very least, things between these two have finally gotten started.
I slump into the barstool, sweaty and annoyed.
I’d rushed from the check-in desk to security, then reluctantly stoked at the anxiety burning in my gut as I trudged painfully slow through the snaking line that led to those snarky trolls who guard the gate to the secure area, then sprinted down the hall, the flat of my shiny dress shoes banging without ceremony, all the way down to the other end of Concourse C to reach my gate.
Only to find that my flight had been delayed by an hour.
Needless to say, after suppressing the urge to berate that poor customer service agent at the desk because obviously this was not her doing, I was ready for a drink. It may be 10:30 in the morning in this town, but let’s be honest: that’s never stopped me before. And time, though I have a fair bit more now than I wanted, is irrelevant here. Such is the magic of these airport places.
I peel my grey suit jacket off and drape it over the back of my seat to let it dry. Luckily, I’d had the accidental sense to wear a black shirt today. I’d chosen it because it’s one of my favourites and I like to make a point of looking good on travel days. Something about strutting down that moving catwalk with so many eyes admiring me in all my glory, maybe. But today, there’s the added bonus of camouflaging these enormous sweat patches under my armpits and tracking down my back. I still haven’t gotten the hang of this thermoregulation thing.
I lean back and loosen my tie with one hand, then tug a little at the top buttons on my shirt. My bartender eyes me as I’m doing this. I’m still getting used to these human gestures; I hope he hasn’t taken it for some weird attempt to get his attention. It was just a sad attempt to move some air around my chest.
“You look a little thirsty,” he says as he leans one forearm into the bartop in front of me.
“More than a little,” I say curtly, without irony, though it does mean everything you could want it to. “I’ll have the, uh… house lager. And a side of clam.”
His brow furrows as he smiles and nods to demonstrate his subtle approval of my order without saying anything. I feel particularly validated by having mastered this unassuming skill.
“Switching it up. I like it,” he says. “Menu?”
“Maybe later,” I lie.
I watch without paying full attention as he selects a pint glass from the lineup on the counter between us. He rinses it with a quick push down on the faucet, flips it, brings the mouth of the glass to the tap, and tugs the handle with index and middle fingers to invite the beer into my cup. He does this all with the same hand, making art of his efficiency, and looks around the near-empty bar, surveying his terrain until the foamy head reaches the rim and spills a little over the edge.
He flicks a coaster onto the bar. As usual, it lands perfectly in front of me.
“Voilà.” He places a sidecar of clamato juice next to the beer. “If you change your mind about that menu, just holler.”
“You know I won’t, but thanks, Seth.”
I pour half of the opaque, umami juice into the pint glass and watch the bright red bleed gradually through the bubbly light lager; I eye Seth in profile as he checks on the eggs benedict that just went out the woman at the other end of the bar.
A sudden gust of cool air from the AC kicking back in licks at the nape of my neck, sending a chill all the way up my damp spine. It invites me to stretch my neck. I accept, drawing an unexpectedly loud pop and crack from between my brittle vertebrae.
“Fuck me,” I say to myself.
“Right now?” Seth pauses and leans in front of me again, unfazed by the trio of empty glasses he holds expertly in the pincer grip of one hand. “Jeez, buy a lady a drink first, why don’t you.”
I flash him a smirk and raise my eyebrow. “I thought you weren’t supposed to drink on the job.”
“Oh, right…” He does that thing where he traps the tip of his tongue between his incisors. Because he knows too well how effectively his sass ruins me. “Well, I guess yours can count for both of us.”
“Fine. Cheers then.”
I let my eyes linger on him as he saunters his way back to the kitchen and smile to myself when I notice the telltale tear on the back right pocket.
I hadn’t meant to rip them down so aggressively, but our time was limited and the space and light, or lack thereof, in the bar’s broom closet made for a precarious beginning to the blow job I needed to give him before heading to Bangkok a couple months ago. Not because Bangkok makes me horny… (Although, come to think of it, I guess Bangkok does get me pretty hot, but that story is too long to get into right now.) But because an unfortunate re-route of my flight had me laying over in Winnipeg and their airport makes me abnormally irate. I’d figured doing something to let off a little steam before I got there might help my cause and fortunately for me, Seth was happy to humour me.
I wash down that reverie with another swig of my beer and juice just as Seth reemerges.
“So,” he runs his flair hand through his hair as he spoke. “Where to this time?”
“Wow, don’t sound so excited.”
“I promise, I’m not excited.”
“I’ve always wanted to go to Japan.”
“Well, tell you what. If you want to sort things out with my Japan account, you can go for me. My treat.”
“See, that’s very tempting, but I promised to cover the open tomorrow for my buddy, Keith. I wouldn’t want to let him down.”
I leaned in on both forearms and said at slightly lower volume: “And what if I let you fuck me over this bar? Would that help?”
He matched my body language, bringing our faces within a half a foot of one another.
“That would sweeten the deal,” he conceded, “if it didn’t mean losing my job.”
“The security camera footage alone would be worth it.” I arch back, leaning an elbow into my armrest while my free hand brought my drink back to my lips. I keep my eyes trained on him as I take down one generous gulp, then another. The way he crosses his arms and shifts the weight from one foot to the other tells me exactly what’s going on behind his little black server’s apron.
“Okay, fine,” I add. “I’ll settle for a quick blowjob in the bathroom, but that’s my final offer.”
“Let me think about it.”
“That’s all I ask.”
In that moment, my phone lights up. I glare at the notification burning into my screen and, if I’m not mistaken, my lip seems to be curling in a curious fashion.
“Uh oh… What up?” Seth asks.
“My flight’s been delayed again. Two more hours.”
“Looks like you’re stuck with me for a bit longer then.”
“Another?” He points at my near-empty glass.
“Obviously. But I might need to run to the bathroom first and take care of the, uh… situation,” my eyes drop quickly to my crotch by way of elaboration, “that’s been building since I got in here.”
Seth doesn’t say anything then. He just stares me down, rolling through a series of unspoken challenges he has yet to pose to me.
My head spins a little when I rise as the blood tries to find its way back to my brain. I take my coat with me, draping it over my shoulder with the debonair flourish of someone who knows exactly what they’re doing. “Have that filled by the time I get back,” I say over my shoulder without looking at him.
“Oh hey, Cal.”
I turn back just in time to catch that playful glint in Seth’s eye.
“I wouldn’t be mad if you, say, took a little video while you’re in there,” he says. “Of your situation, I mean.”
“Hmm.” The sound catches in my throat and with as much seriousness as I can muster in the face this apparently smothering arousal, I tell him, “I’ll take that under advisement.”