Thirty-something Nash "Watch" Dixon watches patients for a living. He works at Kimerman Hall, a mental illness facility, and makes sure his patients don't harm themselves. In his spare time Watch can't help himself and watches his hot and steamy neighbor across the street, Liam Caughtler, who has caught Watch's eye.
Watch knows Liam, host of the hit reality show Catch and Release, likes men. A bunch of men. Maybe too many men. If only Liam would be more than his friend. He often wonders if Liam will stop catching and releasing and finally settle down with one man. Can this one man be him? Who knows?
As summer turns steamy and hot, Watch learns a mind-blowing secret about Liam. And after he confronts Liam about it, the two just might turn out be summertime lovers.
One evening he has me to his Cape Cod across the street for steaks -- he loves meat, a huge carnivore, any kind of meat -- and I accept. Just the two of us. This summer. A hot evening layered in thick humidity. A kind of sweet-slick evening when a man doesn't need a shirt. We have too many imported beers together, lose our cotton tees, literally, and show off our taut chests to each other. We sit on his front patio that overlooks Oliver Street: lovers walk hand-in-hand, dog walkers work the street, teenagers bounce in packs, Ubers drive here and there, stars hide in the moist clouds, and sticky-dampness hangs from the yellow-white streetlights.
I'm a little drunk. Drunk on his big pecs and half dollar-size nipples. Drunk on the blond tangles of hair covering his chesk. No, not chesk ... chest. Drunk on his white-white teeth and narrow pips. No, not pips ... lips. I fall into his shimmering stare, ask him, "If you make so much money, Liam, why do you live in this small house and Pittsburgh?"
Straight-faced and wide blue eyes, he tells me, "It's all about family. My two brothers live here. Just a few blocks away. I also have two sisters nearby, a handful of nieces and nephews I get to see regularly. Plus, my parents are on the North Side, next to the casino and the football stadium. Pittsburgh has been my home since the day I was born. It's in my blood. I don't plan on leaving. I fly where I need to go. It works for me. How's that sound?"
"Fair enough. I get it." We clink beer bottles together, take swigs of the burnt-brown liquid, swallow.
He also has too much to drink. Stands with his beer, comes to my side, leans over, caresses my left pec with a fingertip, and inquires, "Tell me about the scar here."
"That little thing?"
"Every scar has a story."
"It's from fishing when I was nineteen."
He lets out a grunt. "No way?"
"You're going to make me hard. Fish tales turn me on, guy. It's the way to get to my throbbing junk."
I roll my eyes, but he doesn't see this because it's dark out, gloomy, thick with humidity ... something. "I spent a weekend at Camp Wannamuck. Do you know where that is?"
He nods, rubs two fingertips against my pec, now my nipple, making it rock-firm. "I do. Up north. Near Erie. Next to the lake. Been there a few times. Were you fishing in Lake Wannamuck?"
"No. Lake Erie. On a flat-bottom boat. I was with my first boyfriend. His name was Ten."
"Because he had a ten-inch dick?"
"Not quite. Maybe half that."
"So true." I sigh, enjoy his fingertips pressed against my nipple, and our conversation. "Ten got carless casting. In doing so, his hook ended up in my chest. Then he decided to yank it out and the tiny scar was left behind. It bled for hours."
"My kissing heals scars," Liam says. He leans over and kisses the dark, comma-shaped flesh. The kiss turns into a quick and unexpected lick. Before I realize it, he has my nipple in his mouth, sucking on its point, and shares a light groan.
I don't push his head away: relax, enjoy his sucking, grow hard between my legs ... whatever. Honestly, I don't know where this moment is going, if anywhere. Ride it out. Someplace. Somewhere. Hang on.
When he comes off for air, he stands next to me with his shorts-covered junk in my face, says, "Tomorrow the scar will be gone."
"I promise." He's had was too much to drink. It's fine. Neither of us have to drive.
"I'm going to hold you to this."
I half expect him to push his shorts down to his knees and request a blowjob from me. Liam doesn't do this, though. He backs away, returns to his wrought-iron chair, and sits down. "You're skin is sweaty-sweet. I like it."
I don't know why I ask, "Who are you seeing these days, Liam?"
"A number of guys. Jim. Paul. Keith. Lando. Dwayne. Raa. Kenwa. Hank. Gate. Iowa. Chris. How about you, Watch?"
"No one. Just you at this moment."
"How sweet." He raises his beer. "To us ... at this moment."
"To us," I repeat.
We take sips of our chosen beverage, sloppy. He says, "I have to leave town again tomorrow for the show. Bahamas this time. Three women will catch barracuda. Should be an interesting trip. A week. Maybe longer. Depends if the fish are biting."
I think of all the men he catches and releases. His show with them. Reeling them in. Getting what he wants from them. Some oohs and ahhs. Lets them go. "Are you a barracuda, Liam?"
"Could be. Why do you ask?"
"No reason. Just wondering."