What is Himeros Massage? Brett Jackson knows Himeros was the Greek god of sexual desire, but how does that translate into a massage, and is he ready for whatever it might be?
After throwing his cheating and drug-addicted boyfriend out of his life, Brett spent a year believing celibacy was his best option. But his close friend Leo says Brett has checked out of life, and it’s time to return. He gives Brett a gift certificate for a massage. The only problem is, he won’t -- or can’t -- describe what a Himeros Massage is. He just assures Brett it isn’t a “rub and tug” kind of thing.
Meeting handsome massage therapist Aaron James, Brett decides to open his mind and see what happens. But can a massage really help him reclaim his life?
The address and phone number of the place was scrawled in Leo’s handwriting on the back. Seeing the untidy penmanship reminded Brett that he was a little annoyed with his friend. Leo had refused to explain what the massage would entail or why it was called “Himeros” The only thing he would say was, “I can’t explain it. You have to experience it. Just go with an open mind.”
And, one never knows with Leo. He gets off on some pretty crazy stuff.
Brett stopped walking, allowing the rush of people to pass around him. He pulled a wad of paper towels from his pocket and mopped his brow. He knew the walking wasn’t causing all this sweating. Instead, it was all the self-incriminating thoughts crowding his head; thoughts that reminded him how old he was, how unattractive he was, and what a loser he was -- all in a voice sounding a lot like Colton’s.
He took a deep breath, unavoidably registering the scents of New York City: the trash, the car exhausts, the wafts of cigarette smoke, the undercurrent of urine from all the dogs, and the odd mix of vanilla and salt from the nut vender across the street. He held the breath for a moment before slowly letting it out.
God, you’d think I was having a bad acid trip or something the way my heart’s pounding like a huge bass drum on speed. My head is dizzy, and I’m sweating. I need to calm the fuck down.
Brett took another deep breath and slowly released it. He re-pocketed the paper towels and turned right on 15th. On the uptown side of the street, the Google building stretched all the way down the street, linking 8th and 9th Avenues. On the opposite side was a line of older brick apartment houses.
Finding the correct building, Brett pressed the button for Aaron’s apartment, the extremely loud buzzer causing him to jump.
Jesus, Brett. Enough. You’re getting a massage not getting executed.
Vigorously mopping his brow again, Brett waited to be buzzed into the lobby.
“Hello?” Despite the scratchiness of the intercom, Brett recognized Aaron’s melodious baritone voice from their phone call setting up the appointment.
“Um, hi. I have an appointment,” Brett fumbled. “My name is Brett Jackson.”
“Brett, wonderful. You’re right on time. Please come up to the sixth floor, apartment C.”
There was another loud buzz and a click. Brett pushed the front door open and walked into the lobby. The floor appeared to be mosaic with tiny hexagon-shaped colored tiles that formed a swirling pattern, like a wave on the ocean that ran through the white floor. The walls were white and the ceiling was covered with silver tin panels. The chandeliers looked like they were old blown glass, and at the end of the lobby was a black elevator door.
For a moment, Brett felt rooted in place as he took in the lobby. He knew he could still back out if he really wanted to, but forced himself to walk to the elevator. His feet felt like they were encased in cement and the walk seemed to go on for miles. Finally arriving, he pressed the elevator call button.
Brett blew out a breath and let his shoulders drop. There’s no reason to be so keyed up. Just because I haven’t allowed anyone to touch me doesn’t mean anything. I’m not on a date and this isn’t about Aaron liking me. I need to relax and let myself enjoy this massage ... even if it did take me forever to make the appointment.
After Leo’s letter had arrived in the mail, Brett had spent two and a half weeks putting himself through hell, debating over calling and setting an appointment, going so far as to start dialing the number then hanging up.
Like a little schoolgirl, Brett chided himself as the elevator bell rang and the black door slid open, revealing a cherry red interior. Whoa, I wasn’t expecting that -- like the belly of some ravenous beast. He stepped in and pressed the button for the sixth floor. As the door slid closed, Brett realized Aaron’s business card was still in his hand.
He had studied the card when it had first arrived for clues as to what to expect, finally ending up on the computer, Googling “Aaron James” -- too many of them. Then he did a search for “Himeros Massage” -- several peripheral sites came up, but none that matched exactly.
Refining his search, Brett discovered that Himeros was a Greek god -- part of Aphrodite’s retinue. Further research revealed that there were several competing stories about who or what exactly Himeros was. The story he liked the best was one that explained that when Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love, had arisen from the sea foam, she was greeted by winged-twins: Eros, the God of Love, and Himeros, the God of Sexual Desire. The idea that this massage was linked with that particular version of the story titillated and yet terrified Brett. Leo had urged him to have an open mind and as scary as that might be, Brett was determined to trust Leo’s recommendation ... to a degree.
The elevator dinged as it arrived on the sixth floor, startling Brett. He realized he’d zoned out while staring at Aaron’s business card. He quickly shoved the card into the back pocket of his jeans and stepped out into the hallway.
Brett looked around and saw a man he hoped was Aaron standing in the doorway of an apartment. The man, probably in his forties, was attractive in a very masculine way. He was dressed in a black tank top that showed off muscled arms and a broad chest. He was wearing a piece of brightly colored, tropical fabric knotted around his waist, revealing strong hairy legs.
“Are you Brett?”
“Yeah. You Aaron?”
“That’s me.” He smiled and offered his hand in greeting. “So glad you could make it. Please, come in.”