Lou is married, in the closet, and facing bankruptcy in Carmel, California. It's Christmas Eve and he must sell his house to pay his debts while he tries to cope with the mysterious voice in his head telling him it's time to go home. He has no idea what that means, but he's pretty sure the voice is a symptom of stress. His wife has left him for her longtime lover and when he goes to his favorite bar on Christmas Eve, all he's hoping for is a friendly face to help him forget his problems.
When George joins him at the bar, claiming to be an old college buddy, Lou doesn't remember him, but he can't deny the instant attraction that springs up between them. George knows about the voice in Lou's head, and claims to be from another world where he and Lou were bonded partners. He's come back to help Lou remember who he is so they can be reunited.
Lou doesn't believe a word of George's story, but takes him home for the night to ease his own pain. The sex is so good he decides to go along with George's delusions even though he suspects the guy is crazy. On the Carmel beach on Christmas day at sunset, George insists that the way home is within their grasp if Lou will just trust him. Lou wants to believe this strange man, but to do that he has to let go of everything he knows about how the world works.
The hand on his knee felt capable. Like this man could do whatever he set out to do. Except for the other world shit, he didn't seem crazy. Lou gripped George's hand and stroked the backs of his fingers with his thumb. "Thanks for driving. I could have gotten a ride, but ..."
"You wanted company. So do I; so this works. I appreciate your hospitality. And I'm not going to rob you."
"Am I still on track for Carmel?"
"Take the next turn for Route One and get off at Carpenter. I'll guide you from there."
Ten minutes later, they pulled up to the gray-shingled house surrounded by old trees. The whole neighborhood was lit up and groups of people were walking back and forth from the neighbors' who were hosting holiday parties. George pulled into the driveway and let out a long appreciative whistle. "This a great place. It doesn't look empty."
"I left on the lights to fool the burglars." He pressed his remote to open the garage door. George pulled inside and turned off the motor. When Lou turned to release his seatbelt, George leaned in and kissed him, not hard, more as if he were asking permission. Lou gripped George's shoulder and went with it. Soft, full lips, tasting of beer and peppermint.
George hugged him. "I'm not off base here, am I?"
Lou allowed himself to rest against the other man's chest. "Nope. Come on inside. Don't forget your stuff."
As the garage door closed behind them, Lou led George into the kitchen. The glass that had held his first drink of the night still sat on the counter. Lights blazed in every room. Lou opened a cabinet and pulled out two glasses.
George dropped his bag on the floor and walked through the kitchen into the living room where the fir tree twinkled madly. He whistled again. "You've done all right, my friend."
"Yeah," Lou said. "I bought it right after I moved here from Chicago. Thought I would set the world on fire. Or at least the Monterey Peninsula. So, do you want a drink or what?"
"In a minute. You go ahead. Do you mind if I ..." He waved his hand around the room.
"Be my guest."
Lou retrieved the scotch from its cabinet and splashed it into the two glasses. Ice clattered out of the refrigerator door to join it. He wandered into the living room and then the library where he found George perusing his books.
"How many of these have you read?" George asked without looking away from the shelf devoted to mysticism and ancient religion.
"At least part of most of them. I minored in philosophy. Until the market went south, real estate didn't take up all my time."
George looked up from an antique copy of the Bhagavad Gita. "I can't picture you selling anything."
"Well, you might know more about my aptitudes than I do."
George put down the book and reached for Lou. "I'm finding you close to irresistible. Is that all right?" He took the glass from Lou and placed it on a ceramic coaster.
Lou walked into his arms. "I don't know who you are, but I'm glad you're here."