James Chan is infatuated with Joshua Wallace. However, he’s eight years older than Joshua, and his catering business has a standing contract with the company the other man works for. Joshua also doesn’t seem to reciprocate his feelings. The future of their professional relationship will be uncertain if he’s rejected.
Fortunately, he isn’t. They start slow and everything is fine initially, but cultural differences between them become obvious when James invites Joshua to his father’s seventieth birthday party, which is an important milestone in the Chinese culture.
Initially Joshua is excited about the gifts he’s preparing for James’s father, but things become awkward when he learns about the negative light in which his gifts may be perceived. Can they smooth things out? Or will their differences be too much in the end?
James held Joshua’s hand as they made their way into the tent at half past six that evening. Then he stared at the interior decorations in horror. He could literally feel his cheeks burning from the embarrassment threatening to overwhelm him at the moment. He noticed Joshua glancing at him through his peripheral vision, and he was even more mortified when his lover burst out laughing almost to the point of hysterics. He couldn’t believe he had made such a blunder. There was supposed to a chic restaurant located inside the tent. Instead, there were plenty of small tables and chairs in various shades of purple, yellow, and green. What was even more terrifying was the number of screaming children, most of them under the age of maybe five or six years old, along with their parents. Some of the parents seemed overjoyed to play along with their children while the others were less than thrilled. James couldn’t decide how he really felt at the moment.
“This ... this restaurant doesn’t look like this in the pictures on their website.”
Joshua guffawed even more enthusiastically. “James, this ... this is the best date ever.”
James rubbed the back of his head, feeling rather uncertain about the right way to respond to Joshua’s compliment. “Uh, okay. Thanks?”
Joshua snickered and nodded at the same time before pointing at the announcement printed on a large piece of cupboard and nailed onto a standing piece of wood at one corner of the tent. “This is a themed night specifically for toddlers.”
James face-palmed himself. “Shi ... shoot.”
Joshua smirked while darting his eyes at all the children inside the tent. “Nice save, man.”
“I’m so sorry, Josh. This restaurant is supposed to be unique and fun. I had no idea about their themed nights.”
Joshua chuckled and shook his head. “It’s fine.”
Just then, a server approached them. “My name is Lisa. Do you have a reservation for this evening?”
James scratched the back of his head and bobbed his head up and down a couple of times. “I do, but I think I’ll just cancel it. I didn’t know it’s going to be a themed night for toddlers. I made the reservation online earlier this afternoon.”
Joshua squeezed James’s hand gently. “No, James, it’s all right with me. Let’s stay for a quick meal. It may turn out to be fun and exciting.”
James bit his lower lip before responding. “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” Joshua replied before addressing Lisa. “Table for two under James Chan, please.”
Lisa checked the list in her hand for a moment. “Okay. Got it. Follow me, please.”
James suppressed a sigh when Lisa led him and Joshua all the way to the back of the tent. It was a tad quieter because it was farther away from the other tables of noisy children. However, the table and chairs were the same size as all the others. He was concerned the chairs wouldn’t be able to bear his or James’s weight. He was one hundred and ninety pounds, and he was certain Joshua had even more muscle mass than him. Hence, he was relieved and pleasantly surprised to discover that the chairs were sturdy enough. Lisa had left him and Joshua alone to give them a little time to decide on the food and drinks they wanted. He browsed through the menu slowly.
“At least the food selection seems great,” James said while shooting a tentative smile at Joshua.
Joshua beamed in return. “I agree. I think I’ll have the triple cheeseburger and fries with a side of salad and a large soda. I also want the chocolate dessert, the one called “High on Chocolate.” What about you?”
“I’ll get the chicken chop, potato wedges, and coleslaw, but I can’t decide between the green tea smoothie or the strawberry milkshake. Then again, I really want to try the green tea layered crepes for dessert. Maybe I should get a strawberry milkshake.”
Joshua grinned. “Positive?”
James chuckled. “Yeah. Let’s order now.”
After that, the date was excellent. At least it was fantastic and wonderful for the next forty minutes or so. James was able to ignore the loud screeching, shrieking children for the most part. It was easy enough. He chose to focus on Joshua instead.