Antique dealer Christopher Gleason isn't looking for love. He isn't even looking for a one-night stand. But when a young man with an innocent smile offers to buy him a drink one night, he accepts. He's even tempted to take it further, until he learns the innocence isn't an act. Though he can't deny his attraction, or the fact that he likes the young man quite a bit, Christopher puts him off. He'd rather be friends than risk hurting him.
Gage Kimball fled Salt Lake City for Los Angeles with his guitars, what little money he had, and no friends. Raised in a devout Mormon family within a tightly knit community, he's never had the chance to be himself or explore his sexuality. Until now. Christopher supplies the emotional support Gage needs, but Gage wants more than friendship. Even at the risk of everything he has left.
"What is your type?"
Christopher returned and offered the water, as well as a couple pills Gage didn't remember seeing him get out. "Physically or otherwise?"
"What does that mean? The guys you want to date are different from the guys you want to fuck?"
"Most of the time, unfortunately."
"Then what are your types?"
He waited until Gage had taken the glass, leaning against the edge of the counter once he no longer held it. "I like self-sufficient guys, actually. Someone who knows what he's doing, who isn't afraid of a little hard work to get what he wants. I don't like users. I think if you're seeing someone, it's because you both have something to give to it, not one giving and the other taking. It's why I have a hard time with casual hook-ups a lot of the time. And probably why Bodie gets under my skin as much as he does."
To Gage, it sounded like what Christopher wanted was a serious relationship. He felt a pang of disappointment at that. Not because he had any reason to believe Christopher wanted any sort of relationship with him, but because it confirmed Gage wasn't right for him. Gage definitely wasn't looking to settle down right away -- he was only beginning to really enjoy his freedom.
"You're very ... serious minded, aren't you?"
"You make that sound as bad as a root canal."
"It makes me wonder when you ever have any fun."
"Why? I've had fun today. Well, before you got hurt. And your opening night was the highlight of my week."
Gage snorted. "That's not the kind of fun I meant."
"What kind of fun are you talking about, then?"
He almost answered before realizing he didn't want to know about Christopher's sex life. Not really. "Never mind."
"No, not never mind." The tension had returned in Christopher's jaw, though now he looked annoyed more than anything else. "Look, I realize there's a reason I'm the designated driver, and Rev's go to man, and whatever else Bodie has decided to call me. But just because I refuse to flake out on the people who matter to me, does not mean I don't know how to have a good time. I was at Power, wasn't I? And we had fun, don't you dare try to deny it."
"You were at Power to babysit Rev. And, yeah, we had a lot of fun. Until you latched onto the first crap excuse you could find and ran the other direction."
His teeth audibly clicked. "It wasn't a crap excuse."
"Fine, I believe you. You want to know the kind of fun I meant? I mean, do you ever get laid? Do you ever go out on a date that doesn't involve babysitting?"
Posing the question didn't actually relax Christopher. If anything, his eyes flashed even more. "Yes, and yes."
"Well ... good." Gage's irritation deflated and he smiled sheepishly. "I'm sorry. That was ... I was out of line. It's none of my business."
Christopher didn't move. "Is that really what you think of me? That my life is so pathetic, I don't ever get out except to bail someone out?"
"No, no. That isn't what I meant. I was just ... being stupid. Sometimes I get stupid."
Condensation dripped down the side of the glass, chilling Gage's fingers, but he couldn't bring himself to take the painkillers while Christopher looked at him like that. The stasis didn't break even when Christopher shook his head and turned away.
"I need to get a clean shirt," he said, heading for the screened corner that served as a bedroom.
"Oh ... dammit." Gage abandoned the pills and water on the counter and hurried to catch up with Christopher. He had no idea what he wanted to say, but he knew he needed to say something. He sidled around Christopher and blocked his path. "Listen, I'm sorry. That's not what I think of you. That's not what I think of you at all."
Something flashed behind Christopher's eyes, something haunted and hurt, before his handsome features evened out, masking it away. "I told you to stop apologizing. Especially for this. You have a right to an opinion. Besides, it's not like you've got a lot of evidence to base one on, and what you do have, fits. Even I have to admit that."
"Well, you're right about one thing. I don't have a lot of evidence to base any opinion on. Except that you're pretty much the nicest guy I ever met, and I should be thanking you for everything you've done for me." And I want you and it's killing me that I can't do anything about it.