Insomniac Sean Diaz spends his nights riding the subway around Manhattan, ignoring the people he might encounter, getting lost in the rhythms of the train so he's exhausted enough to sleep once he gets home. A hallucination about his dead high school boyfriend turns it into an obsession, but when Sean sees him a second time, he nearly falls apart.
That's how Judah Morey finds him. Concern prompts conversation, which in turn sparks friendship. When Judah invites Sean back to his place, Sean decides to take a chance for the first time in nearly a decade. Dating is new territory for him, but he thinks he's ready for it. He just needs to figure out how to let go of the past so he can take that step into his future.
"I'm glad I ran into you. I was thinking about you today."
My brows shot up. "Oh?" Questions of what it could've been whirled around my head, quickly resolving into the decision I'd been wank material, which put Judah's blunt nature above and beyond anything I'd ever encountered in a bar. It drove me to look him over again, noticing the definition in his arms I hadn't seen the night before as well as the way his jeans strained over strong thighs.
"Yeah, I figured if I saw you again, I needed to hit you up for some cooking tips. The cafeteria at work is getting old, and Gramps would probably appreciate something that doesn't taste like Styrofoam."
It takes a lot to embarrass me, but fuck if I didn't go redder than Rudolph's nose at how badly I'd mistaken what he meant. I ducked my head as soon as I realized, focusing on my knotted hands. "Cooking's not really that hard, but sure, if you want some ideas, I can do that for you."
"Or you could show me. That would probably be easier." He chuckled when my startled gaze snapped back to him. "I was going to actually work up to that part where I invite you over to my place, mostly because I didn't want to look too eager, but seeing as it looked like you were already going there, speeding up that timetable sounded like a good idea."
"You don't even know me," I blurted.
"I know enough. And since I don't really have time for dates, this seems like the best opportunity to find out more."
"Why don't you have time for dates?"
"Work. Gramps. Sleep. Then work again. I'm so busy, most of the time I don't even notice my lack of a social life. You're the first guy I've met in a long time who's made me think about it." He paused, waiting for my reaction. "So? What do you say?"
I thought he was nuts, but then again, pot meet kettle. While I hadn't really entertained any sexual thoughts about him beyond basic recognition that he wasn't a troll, I had looked forward to seeing him again. I couldn't remember the last time that had happened.
"Okay," he said without pause or argument. "It was worth a shot."
I took a deep breath to steel my suddenly racing nerves. "That doesn't rule out another time."
He sounded hopeful. As soon as I recognized that, I decided I didn't want that to die. I smiled. "No."
We talked about nothing in particular for the duration of the ride. I vaguely remember a comment about a headline we both had seen, but other than that, I come up with a blank when I try to recall that time between my not quite turning him down and the two of us standing outside on the street together for the second night in a row. Judah was poised to head off to his apartment when I made the conscious decision to test the waters. The streets were mostly deserted, and I was more at ease than I'd been in a long time. I hadn't given Dixon a single thought from the time Judah had got onto the train.
"Thanks," I said. "It's been a rough week."
His eyes gleamed in the darkness as he offered me a crooked smile. "Same here."
I surprised him by leaning in for a kiss. He still hadn't shaved, and he tasted distinctly of coffee, but the moment our mouths touched, he tilted and opened to make the caress more natural. The tip of my tongue found his, though only briefly. I wasn't interested in eating his face. I was mostly seeing if I could do it, if I wanted to do it.
The answer to both questions turned out to be the same. Yes.