James Duran no longer fits in the world. At forty-five years old, his wife has left him, and his job as a pre-press technician was not just downsized, it was completely eliminated.
With no reason to stay in the world, James makes plans to jump in front of the train that took him to work every day for twenty-five years. But before he does, he’s finally going to introduce himself to the stranger who takes the same train. The stranger who has gorgeous eyes and a wonderful smile.
A stranger who can make the world fit James Duran again.
The only difference between that Monday morning and every other Monday morning was James had already crossed the line in the sand. The train wasn’t taking him to Double Door Publishing, where he had spent the past twenty-five years of his life setting typeface and preparing items for the printing process. The train wasn’t taking him anywhere. But he was going to ride it one final time before he jumped in front of it.
James positioned himself in the seat that the man always chose when he entered the train car. As soon as he saw James, he stopped short with eyes slightly widened.
“Oh, I’m sorry.” James smiled. “I think I took your seat.”
“No, no. It’s fine. My name isn’t on it.”
James turned in his seat, as if to check. “It might be. What’s your name?”
“Nope, no Chad Pennington. But I’ll move anyway.”
“You don’t have to do that,” Chad protested.
“I don’t mind.” James slid to the empty seat to the left. “I’ve seen you on here before.”
“You mean, you’ve seen me every morning?” Chad asked lightly as he sat down. The train lurched to life, the engines making a familiar, high-pitched whine.
“That is what I meant. I wanted to introduce myself sooner, but you’ve always seemed so busy.”
James nodded at the folded New York Times. “Reading.”
“Actually, I only pretend to read this.”
James arched his brow. “Why would you pretend to read it? Are you trying to impress somebody?”
“I’m trying to hide the fact that I read this.” Chad lifted the flap of the newspaper, revealing a startlingly explicit yet whimsical book cover. A dark-haired man held another man in the clinch, while fires raged behind them. It looked like a gay version of Gone with the Wind. White text on the front informed James that the book was actually titled Gone to the Movies.
“What is that? Gay porn?”
Chad laughed. “No, it’s not.”
“What is it?”
“That’s usually how people justify porn.”
“True, but this is actual art. Well, parody. They’re all homoerotic parodies of movie posters.”
“I don’t hear that word much in everyday conversation.”
“People don’t use it enough. But I could avoid using it again, if you’d like.”
James shook his head. “No, I don’t mind it. You look at homoerotic pictures every morning on the way to work?”
“Not every morning. Sometimes I’m looking at actual gay porn.”
James laughed. The sound startled him. It was rusty and unrecognizable, and it hurt his throat a little bit. But he didn’t mind. In fact, he wouldn’t mind another one.
“I take it you don’t read gay porn on the morning train?” Chad asked.