Authors: Rob Rosen
Tags: #Gay Romance
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of either the author or the publisher.
An imprint of Torquere Press Publishers
PO Box 2545
Round Rock, TX 78680
2011 by Rob Rosen
Cover illustration by Alessia Brio
Published with permission
All rights reserved, which includes the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever except as provided by the U.S. Copyright Law. For information address Torquere Press. Inc., PO Box 2545, Round Rock, TX 78680.
First Torquere Press Printing: February 2011
Printed in the USA
For my husband, Kenny:
Mahalo, for bringing Hawaii into my life and the spirit of aloha into my heart.
And to BoBo, the best bear buddy two guys could have.
Fear of Flying 101: don’t board an aircraft that is about to travel five hours over nothing but open water. That’s it. End of lesson. Class dismissed.
Sadly, I was never a very good student. I must’ve read through the syllabus too quickly (or not at all) this time around. In other words, I boarded Hawaiian Airlines Flight 11 with nothing but a so-so book to read and a best friend who was more interested in joining the Mile High Club than keeping my mind off of more pressing matters, namely plunging forty thousand feet into the cold Pacific Ocean. Thankfully, said best friend also had a lifetime prescription for virtually every anti-anxiety drug on the market, hence the reason best friend is best friend. Go figure.
Two pretty, blue Xanax later, my fear had abated to mild hysteria, with just a tinge of panic mixed in for good measure. And speaking of mixing, we were doing just that: pills and booze. Fuck the Surgeon General. What does he know, anyway? Besides, we were in first class, meaning drinks were free. Well, free minus the exorbitant price we paid for the tickets. But hey, isn’t that what vacations are for?
Well, not a vacation, mind you, so much as a severance package put to good use. Yippee for an ever-dwindling economy. But that’s another story. And a long one. Real long. (Well, to be honest, about as long as the one you’re about to hear. In other words, if you have any booze and pills of your own, better go get them now -- we’re in for quite a bumpy ride.)
In any case, I had ample spending money. Ample as in enough money for a trip to Waikiki, even without a job, which I hadn’t started hunting for yet on Craigslist. Though, to be fair, it is, um,
to make it past that
Men Seeking Men
section. (Thank you, Craig, wherever you are.)
Since my aforementioned best friend, Brandon, and I had never been to Hawaii before, not to mention that penchant for tropical drinks (and men) of ours, it seemed like a reasonable choice -- five-hour plane trip excepted. (In fact, it is the farthest distance from the nearest neighboring land in all directions of any region on the friggin’ planet. On a bright note, however, it’s also the only state without a
line in its boundary.)
Anyway, several hours into the flight and many more gin and tonics later, I had a wicked need to pee. Brandon had his eyes glued shut and was bobbing his head up and down to his iPod when I tapped him on his shoulder and informed him, “Going to take a leak.”
He pried a lid open and replied, “Congratulations. Give it a shake for me.” Then he just as quickly went back to ignoring me. Meaning I downed the remainder of his drink and headed the three feet up to the first class john. No waiting. No lines. Goody for me.
It was upon my exit, though, that I spotted
. Middle of the plane, his face bent down, engrossed in a magazine. My heart began to beat a furious samba in my chest as I raced back to my seat, my breath catching in my throat.
“Oh, shit,” I whispered, my hand clinging to the armrest in a death-grip.
The iPod came off. “What? Your prick stopped working? Quit playing with it so much, then.”
“Fucker,” I retorted. “My prick works just fine. How does yours still function? I wonder. Hasn’t the odometer rolled back around to zero yet?”
“Not to worry,” he replied, his hand in the air, already ordering a new round. “I keep it well-oiled and take it in for a tune-up every thousand miles, or men, whichever or whomever
first. In any case, why the look of impending doom? Did we run out of gas?”
The mere thought sent my stomach lurching to the floor. “No,” I whispered in his ear. “I think there might be a terrorist behind us.”
He looked out the window, his face craning to the right. “Nope. No one behind us. You bring some sort of radar in your backpack that I’m unaware of?”
I punched his arm. “Not funny, shit for brains. I meant behind us, there’s a guy chained to another guy, one with a dark complexion. Bet the first dude is one of those air marshals.” I stopped, took a swig of my drink, naturally, and wiped the sweat off my brow. “What if there’s a bomb on the plane somewhere?”
He turned his head back my way. “Dude, lay off the Xanax. It’s one every six hours, not six every one.”
I sighed and stared deep into his bloodshot eyes. “Brandon,” I said, between gritted teeth. “There are two dudes chained together about ten rows behind us; what else could it be?”
He paused, slowly raised his head up, his blue peepers just above the top of the seat, and replied, “Only one dark dude, you moron, and he’s Hawaiian, not Middle Eastern. Other guy is probably just bringing him back home for some legal bullshit that clearly doesn’t concern us.”
“Uh huh, uh huh,” I coughed out, heart beating hummingbird-fast. “Or that air marshal caught someone trying to flush a bomb down the toilet.” Seemed reasonable.
Brandon didn’t respond. Instead, he sighed, stood up, and sidled past me. I, too, stood up and followed close behind. Maybe we’d just hide out in the... in the... well, fuck, where can you safely hide on a plane that’s about to be blown to bits? It wasn’t until we made it to mid-cabin that I realized where he was headed. He reached the marshal before I could protest. Or find a parachute to jump out of the plane with. Or, at the very least, make it to the amenities cart to steal a mini-bottle or three.
“Excuse me,” Brandon said, by way of greeting. “But are you an air marshal? And is the guy chained to you a terrorist? I’m just asking because I think I forgot to leave my cat enough kitty food before I left, and I’d like to call someone and let them know. I mean, a day or two is fine, but beyond that, she might start eating the furniture. And, let me tell you, that shit didn’t come cheap.”
The marshal, who we were soon to discover wasn’t one, sat there staring up at us, grinning widely, with a gleaming array of perfect pearly whites. My tummy, naturally, did a perfect somersault. (Tens from all the judges.)
“Um,” he ummed, raising his left hand, “I’m not an air marshal and this is not a terrorist. Your cat and your furniture should be just fine.” One end of the handcuff was dangling from his wrist; the other was manacled to the man sitting next to him: Hawaiian, as Brandon had made note, and hot, mid-twenties at most, obviously no pretty white smile beaming up at us. Not the criminal-looking type, either. Whatever that means. Oh, and on a side note, not that it matters (okay, so it matters), but the marshal who wasn’t a marshal was a total Stunner. (And, yes, it deserves the capital S.)
“Thanks,” Brandon replied, a knowing grin aimed toward me in an I-told-you-so, dipshit, way. “Okay, then. Well, nice to meet you. Have fun with your, um, prisoner.” And with that, we beat a hasty, albeit short, retreat.
We made it back just as another round of drinks was being served. Thank goodness. They were downed in a white-hot flash. Another batch was ordered, our livers no longer bothering to protest, prior complaints having fallen on deaf and equally drunk ears.
“My bad, dude,” I eventually thought to say.
Brandon turned to me. “Chase,” he said, “you’re as eloquent as ever.”
“Thanks,” I told him, sucking on an ice cube.
He placed the iPod back on his head. “I was being sarcastic,” he said, cranking it up.
“I know,” I replied, willing my heart rate back down to normal. “But I’ll take what I can get.”
And still I couldn’t get my mind off the marshal who wasn’t a marshal.
Something was setting off my bells and whistles. And, needless to say, those bells and whistles were playing a rather nice Barbra tune. Something about people needing other people. And the marshal who wasn’t a marshal was definitely my kind of people.
Two hours later, Brandon pointed out his window. “Land,” he uttered, much to my profound delight.
I leaned in, face to cold, hard glass. “Wow, look how beautiful.” The coast of Oahu stretched out before us, with Diamond Head looming magnificently in the distance and Waikiki spread out below it, radiant beneath the brilliant sun. Lush green palms swayed in the coastal breeze as the endless blue ocean at last gave way to, as Brandon so succinctly put it, land. Solid land. At last, I could breathe easy again.
The plane touched down, smooth as silk. (Could’ve been the Xanax, though, cushioning my brain. Hard to tell.)
“Aloha,” announced the captain, overhead. “Welcome to Hawaii.”
“Alo-ha,” came our reply, stretching the word out as we clinked our now-imaginary glasses together, and then, soon thereafter, gratefully deplaned.
We skipped off. (Well, trudged, really. Maybe mixing booze and pills wasn’t such a swell idea after all.) Once outside of security, we were greeted by Liko, a six-foot tall, almond-colored, Hawaiian god replete with two massive leis and a warm, bright smile. Our names were written on the placard he held above his head, so we weren’t merely flirting with him when we toddled over and eagerly shook his hand. Lingering several seconds too long. Naturally.
“You must be Chase and Brandon,” he said to us, placing the fragrant flowers over our heads.
“And you must be the reason why we overthrew Queen Liliuokalani in 1893,” Brandon replied, all googly-eyed. (Don’t be all that surprised; he read that little tidbit in the tourist guidebook during the flight over. Twenty more minutes and it would’ve been shaken clean from his memory, much like an Etch-a-Sketch drawing.)
Liko grinned but didn’t comment. Instead, he told us, “I’ve been contracted by your hotel. Once we get your luggage, I’ll be driving you back there.”
“Shotgun!” we both yelled.
“Um, well,” Liko interjected, now clearly flustered, “it’s a limo; you’ll both be in the back.”
Deflated, we quickly acquiesced. I mean, who could be upset about a limo ride through paradise? “There’s booze in the back, right?” I thought to ask, just to be on the safe side.
“Champagne okay?” he asked.
Our grins, obviously, made a rapid ascent.
Our driver (beau-hunk, really) walked us through the airport to claim our baggage. It took quite a while to gather it all up. “All this is yours?” he eventually asked, staring down at the rather large pile we’d amassed. “How long are you guys planning on staying?”
“Two weeks,” I replied. “We come prepared.” (Or was it that we were prepared to come? The Boy Scouts, it seems, have nothing on us.)
Brandon bent down. “It’s not as bad as it looks,” he added, opening up one of the pieces. “See, this large one is empty. For whatever we buy while we’re here.”
“I see,” Liko said, trudging along with what he could schlep. “You’re right, then; you guys packed lightly.”
I laughed, grabbing two of the smaller items, and gaily followed the leader. Well, his ass at any rate. It was hard to take my eyes off of it. Like two ripe melons, his cheeks were. Yum. Wait, wait. We were in Hawaii. Like two meaty coconuts, they were.
“Dibs,” Brandon whispered in my ear.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I whispered back. “Hawaiian for
take him, he’s yours
“Playing stupid won’t win you the prize.”
“At least I’m only playing, fuckwad.”
The verbal sparring abruptly stopped when we reached the jet-black, stretch limo. That and the outside of the airport. The air was sweltering, so thick with water that it felt like we were wading through a pool -- filled with Jell-O. And the heat, man, it hit you like an oven. In other words, we quickly hopped in and cranked up the air.
“First time to Oahu?” Liko asked, through the overhead speakers.
“What gave it away?” Brandon replied. “The smell of our lungs melting?”
Our driver laughed, the sound like seashells gently tossed by the surf. I felt an instant stirring in my shorts. “Don’t worry,” he said. “You’ll get used to it.” Since I practically walked around with an ever-present boner, I was sure he was right. Except I think he was talking about the weather, which I wasn’t so certain about.