It's the ninth anniversary of the day they met, and Allan Baker is at a neighborhood bar waiting for his husband. While there, he strikes up a conversation with an old man sitting on a stool beside him.
The man introduces himself only as Gene. He sits alone nursing a beer he never touches and listens to Allan’s story about coming to the bar for the first time years ago.
Little does Allan know, but Gene is celebrating a nine-year anniversary of his own.
The guy who had just sat down next to Allan was smoking hot. Like Hollywood star hot. For a moment, Allan tried to place him, tried to figure out what television or movie he’d been in.
Obviously, he’d been staring at Mr. Model for too long because the guy glanced his way and smiled tentatively. And what a smile. White, straight teeth flashed out at him. He had wind swept dark hair and dark eyes to match, perfectly manicured eyebrows. Just ... yum.
“Is this seat taken?” Mr. Gorgeous asked.
Allan couldn’t find words, so he shook his head.
The man got the attention of the bartender, who started to come down their way.
“Can I buy your drink?” Allan blurted out.
Those sultry dark eyes narrowed. “Why?”
“Because you’re so hot, you’re scalding me.”
The man laughed at that and Allan couldn’t blame him.
Allan winced. “I know. Bad pick up line, right?”
“Pretty bad. Phillip Walton.”
Allan took the offered hand and noted how warm it was as he shook it. “Allan Baker.”
The bartender got their drinks after Allan said he was buying.
“Here’s another for you, come here often?”
Philip smiled and shook his head. “You really are terrible at this.”
“Been a bad day. Got fired.” And geez, way to make an even better impression, Allan. “That is, I’m between jobs.”
“My sympathies on getting fired. It happens to most of us at one point or another.”
“Thanks. I didn’t embezzle or anything.”
Shut up, Allan.
“Good to know,” Phillip said, easily. “I just got off work myself. Challenging day.”
Another laugh and Allan realized Phillip had a really great laugh.
“No. Do I look like one?”
“A little. I mean you kind of have that GQ vibe going on.”
Phillip’s lips twitched. “Yeah? You look a bit like a rock star.”
It was Allan’s turn to laugh. And judging by the heat in his face, he was probably blushing too. “Eyeliner?”
“Well, yeah, and the whole messy spiked dark hair.” Phillip picked up his drink. “Leather jacket. You almost look too young to be in this place.” He frowned. “You aren’t, are you?”
“You aren’t a cop?”
“No. But your question doesn’t reassure me.”
“I am twenty-two actually. Got the ID and everything to prove it.”
Phillip shook his head. “God, you are young.”
“Oh, come on. You can’t be that old. What are you? Thirty-five?”
He grinned. “Anyway, not a rock star and you’re not a stockbroker. Glad we got that cleared up.”
“I’m a veterinarian actually.”
“I’ve never had that reaction before.”