Evan has been meaning to ask Miguel out for months. The problem is, aside from when Miguel comes to the booth where Evan works at the farmers’ market, Evan never sees him.
It’s the last day of market season, which means it’s Evan’s last chance. He already had his own insecurities and nerves to deal with, but now there’s torrential rain, difficult customers, and a time limit Evan hadn’t anticipated.
Can he gather the courage to ask Miguel out before the bus comes and takes the man out of his life?
Evan had an ulterior motive for wanting more Miguel exposure today. Since it was the last day of the market, it was the last chance Evan had to ask Miguel out in person. They had exchanged socials once they found out they were both Biology majors, and had occasionally messaged each other to gripe about their assignments, but Evan’s father had raised him to be the sort of man who looks a person in the eye when asking them on a date. Hypothetically Evan could invite Miguel to hang out and then ask him on a date. That was extremely convoluted though. Miguel was right here in front of him, delicately eating a chunk of spicy pickle off a toothpick. Now obviously wasn’t the time to ask him anything other than if there was something else he’d like to sample. It had to be today though.
“How’s your day been?” Miguel asked.
“Good,” Evan said. But that was the automatic response he gave to every customer who asked that. He could be more honest with Miguel. “Busy, little stressed. Kinda getting sniffles from the weather and hoping no one notices.”
Miguel nodded. “Yeah, well, there’s only a couple hours left, right? Then you can go home and cozy up with a blanket and some tea and everything will be better.” He smiled, and Evan swallowed the reflexive urge to ask if Miguel wanted to join him snuggled up in that blanket so he could look at that smile some more. It wouldn’t be completely out of place in their conversations. Sometimes they jokingly suggested they should meet up for different things, usually things they wouldn’t even do alone, like protesting outside a McDonald’s because they only put nine nuggets in a ten-piece nugget order, or camping in the park to figure out where ducks went at night. Evan had lain awake some evenings wondering if Miguel was just joking around or if he was dropping hints that he wanted to spend more time together.
“I guess,” Evan said with a nonchalant shrug. As Miguel sampled one of the recently prepped carrots, he added, “Is that a new enamel?”
“Oh yeah!” Miguel held up the lapel of his jacket. Scattered across his chest like combat medals were an assortment of enamel pins. Half of them were pride-themed, which was how Evan had avoided the awkwardness of trying to find out if he was straight or not. Evan’s favorite was the opossum wearing a flower crown. The new one filled out the somewhat blank patch towards the bottom right. It had a tuft of grass with a frowny face growing out of a banner that said I’m crabby. Miguel angled the jacket to make that one more prominent. “My cousin got it for me. Said she saw it and knew I had to have it.”
Evan nodded. “It’s a good pun,” he said.
Miguel chuckled and shook his head. “Yeah, pretty corny. She knows me so well.” He took a sample of the pickled garlic and raised it like a toast. “I’ll let you get back to work. Definitely gonna swing back for my jar of candied jalapeños later. Don’t sell out of them!”
“Better hurry then,” Evan said, hoping Miguel didn’t hear the crack in his voice as he tried not to sound too desperate. “You know how popular they are.”
“Mhm, I’ll be back.” Miguel did the little wave Evan liked the most, the one where he waggled his fingers in a way that couldn’t be called flamboyant but it definitely wasn’t how any straight guy Evan knew would wave. He put up the hood of his jacket and wandered back out into the rainy market.
Paolo conveniently returned as the next set of customers stepped up to the sample table. “Did you ask him?” he whispered to Evan.
Evan’s heart skipped. “No.” He let it end at that, and Paolo didn’t inquire further.