Jesse Cisneros and his best buddy Tanner fly for Mile High Airlines, which is every bit as classy as it sounds. When Dr. Willis rings his call light on a flight from New York to Denver, Jesse is so taken with the good doctor’s looks and charm, he forgets all about the inflight medical crisis that prompted him to call for a flight attendant in the first place. Willis is handsome. Willis is helpful. And wouldn’t you know it? Willis is someone else’s husband.
Jesse can hardly believe his luck when their paths cross again on the patio of a popular gay bar. It’s been nine months, and Willis has been busy: now he’s single, he’s out, and he’s very interested in getting to know Jesse better. It all seems too good to be true! And you know what they say about that ...
“Nobody ever dies on an airplane.”
“Well, sure they do,” Willis said. “I mean, they’ve got to.”
Again the flight attendants gestured in unison: No. “It’s this whole quarantine investigation nightmare,” Jesse said. “The FAA has to do all these interviews and assessments, won’t let anyone off the plane. The health department comes out, cuz of the galleys and shit. The TSA gets involved. You know what that stands for, right?”
“Transportation Something Agency?” Willis hazarded.
“Thousands Standing Around,” Jesse said.
Clark laughed. “Good one.”
“No,” Tanner went on. “People become incapacitated on airplanes. They die in loading bridges and ambulances.”
“Seriously, though?” Jesse said again. “You had a guy die on your first flight, and you stuck around?”
Clark shrugged. “How much worse could it get? I got my drama right out of the way up front. The crew bought me a beer; I figure it’s all downhill from here.”
Jesse had never left the Beer Bust early -- all the beer you can drink for ten bucks? Nobody did -- but it was dark by seven. Once Tanner and Clark swerved off to the dance floor and he could offer his full attention to Willis, Jesse turned his hands loose under Willis’s shirt, and he was just drunk enough to answer Willis’s friendly, at-last-we’re-alone “Hi” with a kiss.
And Willis was excited about Jesse enough to kiss him back, but good. Jesse spread his thighs and, setting one hand on each muscle-bulged butt cheek, pulled Willis close. He tasted the salt on his tongue and smelled the warm beer on his breath, tittered at the tickling scratch of the handsome doctor’s Sunday night stubble. Willis was already half-hard, and Jesse mentally bumped his plans to catch up on episodes of Transparent to Monday morning. Or afternoon, depending on what time Willis had to be at work.
“Look, you wanna get out of here?” Willis finally proposed. “Maybe get something to eat?”
“Yes,” Jesse said, abandoning his half-full cup. He would have a million other opportunities for cheap beer, but handsome doctors with hard-ons, he knew, didn’t exactly grow on trees. And Tanner would be able to put two and two together and come up with See you tomorrow. “Yes, I do.”
Willis drove. A squat black Audi, of the type of high-end SUV designed to look like a sports car. Or a sports car designed to look like an SUV -- Jesse was a little unclear on which way that was supposed to go. Four-wheel drive and a big backseat, at all events, and a sunroof that sucked the springtime right into the car as they zoomed down Broadway. Of the many things Jesse loved about his Bannock Street duplex -- on top of the twee backyard and the hardwood floors and all the built-in shelves and sideboards so typical of old Denver houses -- was its proximity to Everything Anyone Could Ever Want on South Broadway. Donuts, beer, and bowling; thrift shops, foreign films, and tattoo studios; expensive mid-century antiques and cheap Chinese food could all be had within five blocks of his front door, not to mention a Walgreens and the only Mexican restaurant east of Santa Fe Drive he wasn’t embarrassed to take his abuela to. He called the good Chinese place, the one with the mind-blowing sesame chicken that was like eating spicy candy over rice, ordered up enough food for three hungry men plus a side of crab rangoons, ran in to get it while Willis waited in the car, then directed him around the block and down an alley. Willis parked in the weedy little cutout behind Jesse’s back fence and they each carried a garlicky paper bag into the house.
“Go ‘head and just set it on the kitchen table,” Jesse said, leading by example. It was as good a place as any for the food to go cold -- Willis had scarcely plopped his bag on the linoleum table when Jesse took his hand and led him down the hall to his bedroom. Bits of uniform were strewn about, but on the whole Jesse kept his room pretty tidy. He spared a second to wish he’d changed his sheets more recently, but it turned out not to matter. Of all the things they did get up to on the bed that night, “snuggle under the covers” didn’t make the cut.