© The author reserves all rights to this work.
This story is of an adult nature. It is not intended for minors nor for those whose law in their land forbids them to read this material.
This story is entirely fictional. Any resemblance to actual people is purely coincidental and unintentional.
NB: Words found between asterisks (*) refer to words exchanged in psychic or telepathic communication.
When Danny got back to his room, he found his personal communicator blinking. Erik had been trying to get him. Danny had been so taken up with Al that he forgot that Erik was going to call him. He paged back.
“Oh Danny!” Erik said, “where were you? I’d been trying to get you. I’m now at the space port getting ready to depart. I’ve booked the next flight to Neptune for you. That’s on Monday. All you’ve to do is call when you reach the Main Neptune Space port.”
“Sorry, Erik. I was out and I met this guy ...”
“You’re cheating on me?” Erik asked in a teasing voice.
“Do you think I’d tell you if I were?” Danny shot back.
“No. You know I was just teasing. So what about this guy whom you’ve just met?”
“He’s gay and he has a story similar to my own but a little more complicated. I was trying to cheer him up.”
“Danny, you’re just like that: always helping others. That’s why I’m so in love with you.”
“Is that the only reason?” Danny asked misheviously.
“Yes. I know what you’re thinking. Sex is just a bonus for me. Seriously, Danny, listen up. I know you’re trying to help. Don’t end up hurting the guy, okay?”
“Okay. I’ll see you in Neptune then.”
“Yes. See you. Remember to call.”
After the call, Danny took his shower and changed for dinner.
After dinner, Danny and Al took a walk by the sea. Danny was a good listener. He let Al talk about his life, his feelings and his worries. Danny was beginning to like Al more. Al pointed out Venus in the night sky, saying that it was particularly bright that night. Then, Danny remembered Erik. He felt a little guilty. All the time that he was with Al, he had not thought about Erik at all. Erik was supposed to be his lover!
“What are you thinking about?” Al asked. “I know I’m a bore. I shouldn’t be talking about these things to you. You’d probably had a more exciting life with all the girls and the glamour ...”
“No!” Danny almost shouted. “Don’t ever think that you’re boring. I’m sorry that I wasn’t paying attention. I just remembered something and was distracted by it. Your life is not boring Al; it’s your life. You have to live it whether you like it or not. You make it boring or interesting.”
Al was awed by Danny’s words. Danny was only three years older than he was and yet he was wise. Life was really what one made of it. He knew he had to live life to the fullest. Then he had an idea. “Danny, do you like to dance? I know a good dance club.”
“Yes, I love to dance.”
“Do you feel alright if I danced with you?” Al asked.
Danny became a little wary. He had remembered Erik’s words about hurting Al. After all, Al didn’t know that he was gay. “Do you want to broadcast to the world that you’re gay?” Danny asked.
Al thought a little and said, “I see what you mean. I don’t know this place well enough to come out and I’m sure the gossips will have a field day with you when someone sees you dancing with me.”
Danny smiled. Al had helped him out of a difficult situation without realising it. “Will we be able to find girls there who want to dance?”
“Yes, I’m sure there’ll be.”
During the next two days, Danny and Al becoming very good friends. Whenever Al got off his shift, he would spend time with Danny. Danny was getting fond of this younger man. Al felt like a little brother that he always wished for.
When it was time for Danny to leave, Al was sad. Danny had told him that he was going to Neptune for a month to help out a friend. Danny told him that he would write and contact him the first thing he arrived back on Earth. To cheer Al up, Danny gave him a little gift. It was a picture of the two of them sitting by the sea. One of the crew members had snapped it and Danny had it uploaded into a portable display. Al brightened up and said that it was his most prized possession. Al, on his part, gave Danny his high school swimmer’s medal. He won a gold in the state championship. Danny could not help worry wondering if Al had fallen in love with him.
♦ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ♦
The space transport system was first developed almost two centuries ago and had become very efficient. Faults and accidents were rare. If Danny had heard of Murphy’s Law from the twentieth century, he would have belived it when he was at the spaceport. They were about to board the ship when there was an alarm. There was a problem and the flight had to be delayed. An hour later, the spaceport cancelled the flight because it was more serious than they had anticipated. Passengers were put on alternate flights. However, the flights to Neptune were all fully booked and those with more urgent needs were given priority. Danny was going to Neptune as a tourist and so was given a lower priority. The earliest flight was going to be two weeks from that day.
Danny cursed his luck. He sent a message to Neptune, to Erik. It would take at least a day to reach him. Danny sighed. He had finished his movie and was now free for the next two months before his next movie. He had cancelled all appearances and appointments because he was going to be with Erik. Now, it seems that he was going to spend only a few days with Erik in Neptune before coming back to Earth.
Danny waited in line at the public transport terminal. As he waited, he suddenly felt very lonely. He felt a little chilly and so put on his jacket. He noticed that he had something in his jacket pocket. It was Al’s swimming medal. Danny was puzzled. He was sure he had left it at home. Seeing the medal, he decided to call Al and spend some time with him.
When Danny called, Al was overjoyed. Al gave his address to Danny and Danny made his way to Florida to Al’s apartment that weekend.
♦ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ♦
Danny called up at Al’s place at five in the evening with his bag.
“You’re here at last!” Al said when he opened the door.
“Hi, Al!” Danny said as he walked into the apartment. He looked around and saw a bachelor’s apartment. He had to admit to himself that Al was definitely neater than he was. The apartment was tidy and cosy.
“So you see that my apartment is really small. Are you sure that you don’t want to stay in the motel?” Al asked.
“No, staying here is much cheaper,” Danny said with a grin. ”I don’t have to pay a friend, do I?”
Al laughed. ”If you can put up with the inconvenience, you don’t have to pay. Just don’t sue me if you aren’t satisfied with the service. Come, let me take your bag and put it in the bedroom.” Al reached forward to take Danny’s bag from him.
“It’s okay. Point me to the bedroom and I’ll be able to find it. You’re a friend, not the bellboy. Unless, of course, you want to get a tip?” teased Danny.
Al just smiled and pointed to the bedroom. ”In there and you’ll find the bedroom to your left.”
Danny went into the bedroom. He had expected to sleep with Al in the same bed but he only saw a single. He left the bag outside the door and looked to see if there was another bedroom. There was none. The bathroom and closet was across the bedroom. Danny came out and asked Al, ”Where would you be sleeping tonight?”
“On the couch. You’re the guest, you get the bed.”
“No, I can’t take the bed. You’ve got to work tomorrow. I’ll take the couch.”
“I can’t let you do that! You’re the guest. I’ll not be a good host if you took the couch,” Al protested.
“You’ve a greater need for the bed. I’m on holiday, you need to work. The matter is settled, I’ll take the couch,” said Danny.
“No, you can’t take the couch. I’ll call the motel to give you a room … on me.”
Danny stopped Al. ”Please Al, you’re not throwing me out, are you?”
“But you don’t want the bed!” countered Al.
“If you’re really treating me as a friend,” said Danny, ”you’ll let me have the couch.”
Al gave up. ”Okay, I’ll take the bed but if you so much as complain about the lack of sleep because you were uncomfortable, I’ll get you a room at the motel. Deal?”
“Deal,” replied Danny.
“Okay, do you need to clean up? I’ve reserved a place at the Hilo Restaurant. They serve traditional Hawaiian food.”
“Just let me freshen up.”
That night, Danny felt very uncomfortable on the couch. He crept to the rug on the floor and found it more comfortable and slept there. Danny woke up at about four in the morning. He remembered that he was at Al’s. He got up and did his usual stretching. Normally, he slept in the nude and would do all his stretching in the nude too. However, he wasn’t able to do that in someone else’s house. He had a loose T-shirt and very baggy sweatpants on. He was glad that he was able to stretch without ripping his clothes. After the stretching, he walked to the window and stared out into the night sky. His thoughts were on Erik.
“Do you always wake up that early?” whispered Al.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you,” Al apologised.
Danny smiled. ”Yes, I do. It’s just my internal clock, I think. Anyway, whenever there’s an early shooting at the studios, it helps. When there’s none, I’d like to take my morning run at about half-past five. You’re an hour later than my time zone. That explains my waking up at four here.”
Well, it’s already quarter past five. I’ll have to leave for work at six. I’ve taken half a day off today so that I can spend more time with you. Since I’ve the weekend off, we’ll have two and a half days together.”
“That’s great!” said Danny. He was looking forward to spending some time with his new friend.
“I’d thought that you’d be sleeping late and so I didn’t make any arrangements for anything in the morning. Are you sure you’re going to be okay?” Al asked.
“I’ll be fine. I’m a grown man, Al. Tell you what; to show that I’m able to take care of myself, why don’t I cook up a scrumptious lunch for the both of us?”
“I can’t let you do that. You’re a guest …”
“We’re friends. I’ll buy the stuff. In that way, if we don’t like what I’d whipped up, we can throw it all away and no one’ll be the wiser and we can both go out somewhere for lunch.”
“Okay!” said Al trying not to laugh. ”Thanks for being here, Danny. I haven’t been so happy in weeks.”
“Think nothing of it! Just tell me where I can get groceries,” Danny said.
♦ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ♦
The weekend at Al’s passed really quickly. Danny had enjoyed himself tremendously. Al had become a great friend. However, he did not reveal to his new friend that he was also gay. He felt that it wasn’t the right time for it.
Danny decided to get to Erik’s and help him tidy up. He had done that many times in the past and it was nothing unusual for him. This time he’d remembered to bring his key. He got into a booth at the entrance and put his key into the console. Then he faced the scanner as it scanned him for identification.
“Good day Mr. Myers. Please proceed.”
Danny got into the lobby and got into the intra-building transport cubicle that brought him to Erik’s apartment. He exited the cubicle and used the key to open the front door of the apartment. He got in and shook his head when he saw the state of the apartment. Apparently, Erik left the house in a hurry. Danny just smiled to himself. Erik never learned not to do last minute packing. He decided that he should start cleaning in the bedroom.
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