It’s not easy being a gay man in Utah, but it’s even more difficult when you’re young and overweight. Jay has never fit in with the general “club culture” and he knows he’d never be attractive enough to catch a one-night stand, much less a boyfriend. Losing himself in books and school alleviates his loneliness, and he doesn’t waste time dreaming about what he can’t have. Until he meets the new director of the GLBT Center on campus and promptly falls in love -- against all common sense and logic.
Hoping to catch a few glimpses of Stephen outside of the Center, Jay decides to start working out at the university gym. The plan turns out to be too successful as Stephen volunteers to be his workout buddy, then invites Jay out to lunch, and finally, kisses him. Jay wants Stephen more than anything, but he can’t bring himself to trust Stephen’s intentions. Not when he knows he’s disgusting and Stephen is so perfect ...
They were still showing Cary Grant movies on Monday downtown. There was a talent show at West High School that night, and a decent band playing at Kilby Court. Jay thought he could use that information to put together one hell of a date -- if hell froze over, that is.
“Jay? Fancy meeting you here.”
Stephen’s voice was like a punch to the chest, and Jay had to give himself a second to catch his breath before looking up. “Hey.”
“How are you feeling after yesterday? All right?”
Jay half shrugged. “No pain, no gain. What are you up to?”
“Returning some books. Every time I move to a new city, I tell myself things are going to be different. This time I’m not going to lose my library books and end up paying hundreds of dollars in fees. So far, so good. What about you?”
“Getting some coffee. And I have some research to do for a paper, so I planned to just hang out here until they closed.”
“You’re going to stay in the library all day?”
“But it’s beautiful out today.”
Jay didn’t find that a compelling argument. It was beautiful most days. What was he supposed to do about it? Go to the park? Jay was not a go-to-the-park kind of guy. “A grad student’s work is never done.”
“I was thinking about driving up to Park City for lunch. I hear that’s where all the good restaurants are.”
Jay nodded. “Yeah, there are some good ones. Almost anything you choose on Main Street is good, but there are a few more that are completely out of the way. They’re a bit harder to find, but worth it.”
“Why don’t you come with me? You could show me the good places.”
It wasn’t a surprise that Stephen seemed to like his company, given how willing he was to spend time with Jay at the Center and at the fitness center. But the invitation still somehow left him breathless. He studied Stephen’s face for any hint that he was joking, but his smile was sincere. He was really going to have the chance to spend several hours with Stephen? And instead of huffing and puffing and straining on an exercise bike, he’d actually get to enjoy a fine lunch? It seemed too good to be true. It might have been just that. The whole scenario could very well be a dream. This wouldn’t be the first time he fell asleep in front of Mythbusters on a lazy Saturday morning.
“Unless you have other plans,” Stephen amended when Jay’s silence stretched for just a beat too long.
“No, lunch sounds great.”
“Did you drive here?”
Stephen smiled. “Good, because I didn’t bring my car. You just saved me a trip back home at least. Let me just drop these off real quick.”
“I’ll wait here,” Jay promised, a little unnecessarily.
Stephen was good to his word, dropping off the books and returning quickly, before Jay could change his mind or come to his senses. Fifteen minutes later, they were on the freeway and leaving the valley behind them, following the ribbon of the I-80 into the Wasatch Mountains.