It is a Tuesday night smack dab in the middle of an unusually snowy winter in Denver. Because of this there is almost nobody at the pub when Chazz arrives, which allows him to take possession of the corner booth near the back, the one he and his friends call the Mafia Booth. The few patrons who have made the trek through the blizzard to be here are sitting at the bar, playing some kind of trivia game. He recognizes a few of them, and after dropping off his coat as a placeholder at the Mafia Booth, he wanders over to the bar to say hello and order a drink. 

Hidden from view by snowfall and gusts of wind, Jordan peeks in through the window of The Ugly Monkey, trying to get a feel for the place. The man standing at the bar making small talk with the pub quiz freaks appears to be his date, according to the description he was given by a mutual friend. The bar is mostly empty and the guy is completely gorgeous, so he decides to put on his coy-boy facade and make an obviously-too-shy entrance, just to get that hard-to-get thing out of the way right up front.

Chazz sees his date come through the door, playing it cool and mousy. It is an obvious seduction ploy, but the guy is a smokeshow, so he gladly plays along. Cat will hunt.

Jordan can tell that the man is a decade older, and carries the added confidence and charisma that comes with life experience. Chazz meets him halfway across the floor and wraps him in an embrace, which endangers his ability to play it cool and casual. He is instantly smitten. His date points to the booth in the corner.

"That's all us. Can I get you a drink?" Chazz asks.

"Yeah, uh. Hmmm," Jordan is unable to concentrate. For about 8 seconds he stands there looking like an amnesiac, not even able to remember what his preferred beverage is. "Sorry, whiskey and Coke. Nothing expensive, I'm not picky."

As Chazz heads back to the bar to order the drink, Jordan takes a seat at the booth. He is exhilarated and frightened. When he gets excited he tends to be a bit extra, but he doesn't want to mess this up. The guy their mutual friend Jules arranged this blind date with far exceeds his expectations, even though they have barely even spoken to one another yet. He closes his eyes and silently recites Casey At The Bat, which is what he does when needs to calm down, despite the fact that he has no interest in baseball. 

"He's cute," the bartender tells Chazz. Her same is Sylvia and the two are close friends, which is why he picked this place, despite the fact that he usually avoids bars nowadays whenever he is not on tour.

"Cute? The guy is fuckin' gorgeous. He's like the lovechild of Kurt Cobain and Thom Yorke." Chazz semi-reprimands her.

"Damn, you're exactly right. Find out if he is bi, in case it doesn't work out between you two," Sylvia teases her friend.

Jordan cannot hear their conversation but he can tell the woman behind the bar is speaking very loudly to his date. She doesn't look mad and the music isn't that loud, so he cannot figure out what her deal is, and is still pondering it when Chazz arrives with his drink.

"Was she just yelling at you?"

"Who, Sylvia? The bartender? Well, yes and no. I'm not sure if Jules told you, but I'm a musician. Guitar, punk rock. My hearing isn't so great anymore." Chazz makes a weird gesture with his hands next to his ears.

"Wait, so you're like, a hearing impaired rock star? That's so hot!"

Chazz lets out a hearty chuckle, "Something like that."

This is actually great news to Jordan. His relationships have been incredibly brief affairs, and he heard through the grapevine that his former boyfriends thought he talked too much, which he also knew was true. He could not help himself. Nearly everything that popped into his head came out through his mouth. For instance, this morning in yoga class he had a flashback to his tenth birthday party, which caused him to exclaim "I like cake" right as the class was in the middle of a very difficult pose that required everyone's total focus and concentration. He had gotten half a dozen dirty looks from the Lululemon Army surrounding him. If Chazz wouldn't be able to hear him most of the time, it might solve that problem.

"What do you do, professionally, Jordan?"

"Animal anal bleaching. Mostly pets of the cash chuckers over in Cherry Hill and Stapleton," Jordan was joking, but tried to look as serious as he could. A long awkward pause followed, which he finally broke by revealing, "Just kidding. I'm a film editor. Mostly workplace videos and local commercials, but a few independent films, as well. Have you ever seen Mountain Men?"

"Is that the one about the all-gay doomsday cult that was filmed at Kit Carson?"

"That's the one. Did you like it?" 

"It was okay. I mean, the movie is fine. I didn't care much for the score, though. I guess I don't remember having any thoughts about the editing." Chazz squirms at his own response.

"That's okay, nobody ever does. What I really like doing the most are music videos. The arty, surreal ones that are like eighty percent graphics and not much video. Like the new Marilyn Manson video. That shit is brilliant."

"Haven't seen it," Chazz admits, looking like he is holding back from saying anything more.

"Oh, don't worry, I'm not a fan or anything. I'm not some closet goth case, if that's what you're thinking." 

Jordan feels like this is going well. With their age difference he worried that Chazz would command the conversation under the pretense of seniority, which would be a real turn off. That was usually the problem with older men, they liked to take charge, but Jordan didn't want to just be some lecherous bossfag's arm candy.

Chazz is also pleased with how things are going so far. Younger men can be prone to defer to older lovers, and he has no desire to be involved in that kind of power imbalance. 

The two talk for an hour, Chazz telling tales of touring and the craziness he encounters out on the road, Jordan revealing how he wanted to be an actor when he was younger and recalling the handful of times he was cast as a background on various film projects. The two have been so immersed in getting to know one another that when Sylvia finally comes to check on the status of their drinks, both glasses are nearly half full.

"I guess we must be a different kind of thirsty tonight, eh boys?" she winks at them, knowing it will embarrass Chazz, who blushes at her lewd suggestion.

Jordan finds his response to be completely adorable, and reaches under the table to squeeze his leg.

"I'll be back in an hour. If you need anything before then, you know where to find me." Sylvia pirouettes a graceful hundred and eighty degrees and walks back to her post at the bar.

"Are you close?" Jordan asks.

"Yeah, we are. We used to be roommates and became good friends. I taught her how to play guitar and in about six months she was far better than me. You should check out her band, Grundlejack, they fuckin' rock."

"God, I haven't been to a show in ages." Jordan admits.

"I guess I never even asked, do you like punk rock?"

"What if I don't? Would that be a deal breaker?"

Chazz sarcastically groans and gives a hyperbolic gesture suggesting it would, then lets out a laugh, "No, not as long as you like my band."

"I'm just messing with you. I like punk rock. But right now I am on a bit of a rocksteady bender. That sweet spot between ska and reggae."

"That's crazy. Just a few hours ago at practice I suggested we cover Small Axe on our next album."

"I love that song!" Jordan squeals.

Their conversation goes on for a few more hours when Chazz notices they are the only two people left in the bar besides Sylvia.

"I've had a great time, Jordan, but I have a feeling we might be keeping the help here a bit late."

"You think we should go?" 

"Yeah." Chazz says, betraying his disappointment.

"Do you want to..." 

"Let me stop you there. I think I actually like you. Quite a bit, really. I don't wanna cheapen that with first date sex." 

"That's so fucking hot, Chazz." 

Chazz starts to speak, to reassure Jordan that he is indeed attracted to him, but before he can get all the words out, the younger man leans in gives him a long, passionate kiss. While doing so he decides to make a dramatic exit, and as soon as he pulls away he stands up and starts putting his coat on.

"I'll call you tomorrow night."

Before Chazz can respond his date is halfway across the bar, heading for the door, and then disappears into the snowy night, leaving Chazz simultaneously mystified and aroused. Sylvia jumps at the opportunity to close and runs from the bar to lock the door behind him, and is already turning off the neon signs in the window when Chazz stands up to assist.

"You're not even going to hit that?" she calls out to him, as she shifts to putting the chairs on the tables for the night.

"You're such a barbarian, Sylvia," he jokes.

"Whatever, you prude ass punk rocker." she teases back.

Chazz helps her with the chairs and tells her about their conversation, and even goes so far to admit how smitten he is with the guy. When they are finished and ready to leave, Sylvia invites him to the all night diner down the street for coffee and pie.

"Well, it's too late for coffee for me, and even though you have already asked me this a thousand times, I still don't like pie," Chazz responds with a touch of snark.

"You don't have to have either, just come with. I forget, is it just pie, or do you just like have no sweet tooth at all?" she asks.

"I like cake."

August 26, 2020 18:03

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I love reading lgbt romances, they are always so full of joy and laughter. You did very well with this. I laughed a lot while reading, great job joshua. :)


Thank you, Melony! The romance prompts aren't my favorite, but that is why it is a good idea to practice it anyhow. A writer should be able to leave their comfort zone and still tell a good story. Herw's to pushing our limits!


I agree, I feel like I have a hard time writing romance as well, but I always push myself forward, just like you said.


I just balanced it out by writing some severe anti-romance. lol Literary Defiant Unite!


Lol! You can't see or feel it but I'm air- fiving you right now.


No, there it is, got it. :)


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