Prequel to ’Til Death Do Us Part
Okay, then ... that's what Sam said after Henry convinced him he was interested in dating, not merely a fling while together on a research trip to the Solomon Islands. And so they embark on their first date, but the conditions are not ideal.
Henry is desperate to convince his crush of his sincerity but second guesses his every move. He's thrilled to discover Sam is just as anxious to impress him. Can these two work through their first-date jitters or are they destined to drift apart?
Note: This short story was originally published in the charity collection, Love Is Proud.
Sam looked miserable, biting his lower lip. His body seemed tense, and his brows drawn together. Not unduly physically uncomfortable, but like he was mentally kicking himself in the ass for having suggested we walk.
“Seriously, it’s not a big deal. If I can’t handle one little mile, then I’m a pretty sad case with no business attempting field work.”
He cocked his head to the side and stared curiously at me as I attempted a reassuring smile. His stance relaxed.
“You’re --” He cut off whatever he’d planned to say. His eyes widened and I got the distinct impression he’d been thinking aloud, and hadn’t meant to say anything.
“You’re what?” Because, really, it was better to find out now, before we fucked up our professional relationship beyond any hope of repair by, well ... fucking ... if there was something about me that bothered him. We’d been colleagues in the university’s biology department in Seattle for ten months, so we knew each other fairly well. I hoped to hell he wasn’t having second thoughts about dating me.
“You’re ... you’re actually trying to impress me, just as much as I’m trying to do the same with you.”
I laughed and pressed a palm to my heart. I was so damned relieved to hear those words. “You’re damned right I am!”
His Henry-melting grin appeared, and I was lost. Sam wasn’t conventionally handsome. His nose was a bit large for his face, and his ears might’ve made Dumbo jealous. He was a little on the shy side, but he was the nicest man I’d ever met, with denim-blue eyes that always exuded kindness and patience. He was a fortunate blond who tended toward easy tanning rather than burning, although he still had to be careful here near the equator, of course.
In many ways he was my polar opposite, since I had an outgoing, speak-before-you-think personality, with brown hair and eyes. I was only slightly smaller than average, but the muscular build on his almost six-foot frame made my lean, smaller body look scrawny in comparison.
We pushed through the doors into the café, and I said, “I’m ordering the biggest, baddest smoothie they have.”