-Flight of Fancy Excerpt-

          “Hey!” Joss Kincaid called out right before Tim, his new hire, disappeared around the corner in the road at the end of Kincaid Air’s driveway. Tim turned around. “What the hell are you doing?”

          “Going home,” Tim hollered back.

          On fucking foot? Not only was it a long damn walk down to the San Fernando Valley from his hanger in the foothills of the San Gabriels, on a windy road with no shoulder, it could be deadly.

          Joss waved him back. As Tim approached, the setting sun was at the man’s back and shined around his head like a damn halo. Joss laughed to himself. Tim seemed like a good guy, but an angel was probably stretching it, no matter how good he smelled.

          Maybe, but I bet if he wrapped those lips around your cock, you’d call out God’s name and hear the angels sing.

          “Give me a minute to change, and I’ll give you a ride to wherever you need to go.”

          “It’s okay, the bus stop isn’t that far and—”

          “Don’t argue.” The words come out harsher than Joss had intended, but it was not a good enough excuse that his nerves and temper had been riding a knife’s edge in the time leading up and right after the anniversary of Dan’s death. This time of year always made him short-tempered and quick to lash out at people. It wasn’t something Joss was proud of, but even after seven years, he hadn’t managed to find a way to mitigate it yet.

           Tim swallowed hard and snapped back a quick and obedient, “Yes, sir.”

          What Joss wanted to do was lean toward him and, in a deep, sultry voice say, ‘say that again.’

          Instead, he did an immediate about-turn toward his apartment in the hangar. ‘Yes, sir.’ Fuck if the kid didn’t know what those snapped out words did to him.

          The semi he’d sported since Tim had walked through the hangar’s doors was a situation Joss couldn’t quite understand. He wasn’t a stranger to basic needs, but sex hadn’t been his focus for so long that his body’s response had taken him by surprise.

          Hell, it wasn’t like he hadn’t been around any sexy men since Dan had died, and he’d hooked up with his fair share of them as the need arose, but this seemed... different somehow.

          And the urge to jack off hit hard.

          He walked into his apartment and left the door open for Tim. “Make yourself comfortable,” he said as he walked past the den, the kitchen, and down the back hall to his bedroom. Closing the door, he stripped and jumped into the shower for a quick, cold wash. Maybe that would cool the heat in his belly and alleviate the heaviness in his balls.

          But the shower did nothing to help, and Joss had to tuck himself into a pair of jeans that didn’t quite have enough room in the crotch when he was half-hard.

          He had nothing against taking himself in his hand and relieving some of the pressure, but he didn’t have the time, and it felt wrong doing it with his new, possibly straight, employee on his mind.

          In less than fifteen minutes, Joss came back out of his bedroom, his motorcycle boots clomping on the stained concrete floors, to find Tim standing in front of the wall of pictures behind his kitchen table.

          “What are you doing?” Joss barked.

          Tim jumped—even though technically he hadn’t been doing anything wrong—and slunk away from the wall, his eyes big and doughy, the way a puppy’s might be after eating the corner of the couch.

          Tim put his hands up as if fending off an impending attack. “I was only looking.”

Fuck, Joss had sounded like an asshole. The wall was covered in pictures of him and Dan. Their flights and jumps and adventures. To Joss, it seemed as if it were a private memorial. For his eyes only.

          But it’s in a public part of your house. A public part that you invited Tim into. It’s not like he’d pulled a photo album out from the bottom of the bookshelf and started thumbing through the pictures.

          Just because you can count on one hand the number of people you’ve had in this space since Dan died isn’t anybody’s fault but your own.

          Joss took a mental step back.

         "Sorry,” Tim said. “It won’t happen again.”

         “Look…” Joss closed his eyes a moment to collect himself, when he opened them again, the vulnerability on           Tim’s face nearly undid him. “That wall represents some of the best moments in my life, and sometimes I forget that sharing that with others isn’t going to take those special moments away from me.”

          From Tim’s confused expression, those words raised a lot more questions than they answered, but Joss wasn’t getting into any of that with someone he’d known for only a few hours.

          Instead of asking questions, Tim said, “Fair enough. I can still walk to the bus stop. It’s not too late if you’d rather not—”

          “What’s the matter,” Joss said as he swiped his Harley keys off the island in the kitchen. “You scared of the bike?”

          He hadn’t meant it as a challenge, but it came out like one.

          And seriously, Joss knew he could be an asshole sometimes, but today he was in rare form.

          Tim raised his chin. “No.”

          He didn’t sound convincing, but Joss took him at his word. Joss could have driven him down to the valley in Dan’s old Jeep, but he only drove that on the rare occasion that the weather was too shitty to ride. Luckily, he lived in a place like Southern California and not Juno, Alaska.

          Joss plucked his spare helmet off the kitchen island where it seemed to live despite having a place for it in the hangar and handed it to Tim.

          Tim followed him out, putting on the helmet. He waited by the bike until Joss threw his leg over and got it started.

          Joss blipped the throttle when it wanted to die and motioned with his head toward the tiny seat behind him. Good thing the guy was small. He’d heard from enough people that the seat was hard on the ass.

          Tim kicked the rear pegs down and climbed on, acting as if he had no idea where to put his hands. Tim sat far back on the seat, and he’d likely fall off the first time Joss accelerated.

          Joss lifted his visor and raised his voice to be heard over the rumble and chug of his engine. “Get closer and put your arms around my waist if you don’t want to be dumped on the road.”

          Tim scooted closer, his thighs bracketing Joss’s and his arms going around his body, his hands linking an inch above Joss’s junk.

          Fuck. Maybe he hadn’t thought this thing through. But if he wanted to use the Jeep, he’d have to take off the cover and pray the battery hadn’t died, or the power steering hadn’t run out of fluid, or that the bald tires had enough tread not to blow the minute he took a turn sharply.

          You could fix all that with one day of work.

          If he had the time.

          And if he could spend hours working on Dan’s Jeep without breaking down and crying like a fucking baby.

          You know it’s all right to have emotions? You’re, like, human. Don’t pretend you aren’t.

          Fuck, if he didn’t know that. If he weren’t human, there wouldn’t be a fucking hole in his chest where Dan used to be.

          Tim lifted his visor. “Are we going?”

          “We’re going. Don’t get your panties in a twist.”

          “More like jockstrap,” Tim said.

          Jockstrap? Joss walked his bike back then shifted into gear. Did Joss hear him right? Tim wore a jockstrap?

          One point in the gay column.

          Make that two.

          One point for wearing a jockstrap under work clothes. And one point for admitting it.

          You don’t have to be gay to wear a jock.

          No, but...

          And if you want to know if he’s gay, you should ask him.

          Information he absolutely did not need to know. Professionally, it had no bearing on how Tim did his job, and personally... personally, it certainly didn’t matter because Joss had no inattention of doing anything about the stupid little infatuation he had going on.

          He’d jack off later that night. Clear the pipes and be good as new come morning.

          Right?

                                                                               # # #

          “Have you lost your fucking mind?” Foster paced his den as Milo folded the blankets on the couch. Milo felt bad he didn’t have time to wash them before he left, but Foster didn’t seem too concerned about the blankets right then.

          Milo didn’t answer right away because he was afraid the truth would come out, and he’d say ‘yes.’

          Really, what else would explain why he’d lied his way into a job at Kincaid Air after it became apparent                Joss had been expecting someone else? And not only not come clean but kept up the ruse. And let Joss bring him back to Foster’s. And then Milo—aka Tim—had started packing up his things without stopping long enough to think about what he was doing or what would happen when Joss found out who he really was.

          Because Joss was going to find out. Milo wasn’t that good of a liar, and the guilt of his dishonesty was already gnawing at the edges of his conscience.

          But he’d worked hard. And needed a job. That hadn’t been a lie. Not telling Joss the truth about who he was and why he was there didn’t mean they couldn’t both benefit from him working there.

          Clearly, Joss needed the help.

          And Milo needed a job.

          Win. Win.

          Except for the whole deception thing.

          “Are you even listening to me?” Foster had one hand in his hair, his grip tight on the strands as if he were about to pull them out in one big chunk.

          “Yeah. No. I hear you. It’s just…”

          “There’s no ‘It’s just,’ Milo. You fucking lied to the guy. If you don’t come clean now, it’s going to blow up in your face.”

          “Maybe it won’t.”

          Foster laughed. It sounded dismissive and lacked even the tiniest fraction of humor. “And maybe RuPaul will be your fairy godmother and make everything okay, but I wouldn’t bet my life savings on it.”

          “At least you have a life savings. All I have is this job and seven dollars in my pocket and a whole lot of questions about a dead man I’ll never meet but owe everything to.”

          “Fuck, Milo.” Foster plopped into the leather chair across from him, his forearms resting on his knees. “I know you’re curious about your heart donor, but—”

          “Dan,” Milo corrected. “His name was Dan.”

          “You should have stuck to your original plan of introducing yourself and seeing if Joss would talk with you.”

          “Too late now.”

          Foster leaned back as if deciding further argument was fruitless. “Did you see the size of that guy? I did.              He could break you like a twig if you got him mad enough.”

          Milo batted his eyes and smiled his most endearing smile.

          “What’s that look? You look like you ate bad shrimp and need to fart, but you’re sitting in front of the Queen, and you can’t.”

          Milo rolled his eyes. “That was me being adorable and un-twig breakable.”

          “You might want to practice that in the mirror a few times. I think it needs work.”

          “You only say that because you’re my friend and you’re immune to my charms.”

          “No, I say that because I’m your friend, and I don’t want you getting your ass kicked.”

          “Psht,” Milo waved him off. “Joss looks rough and gruff, but I’m sure there’s a soft, chewy center at the core. He gave me a ride back here, didn’t he?”

          Foster reached down and started packing some of Milo’s electronics into his backpack. “That only means he’s not a complete asshole, or more likely, he’s happy to have found an employee and didn’t want you getting smooshed on the road before he could get a bunch of work out of you.”

          “See? Soft and chewy center.”

          Foster shook his head. “Whatever. All I can do is hand out the advice. I can’t make you take it.”

          Milo stood and set the stack of blankets on the coffee table. “I know this must all seem nuts to you, but I’ve got to see this through. I can’t explain it, even to myself.”

          Foster picked up the blankets to take back to the linen closet.

          Milo said, “Maybe you don’t want to pack them too far in the back of the closet. I could be back here in a few days if it all goes to shit.”

          Foster shoved the blankets onto a shelf and had to hold them back and lean on the door before it closed.                   “Don’t you mean when it goes to shit?”

          “You done?”

          Milo didn’t mean was Foster done putting the bedding away. He meant was he done busting his balls.

          “For now.”

          “Are you still taking me back, or do you want me to take the bus?”

          “Don’t be an idiot. I’m taking you.”

          Milo grinned and shouldered his backpack. “You want a closer look at Joss.”

          “I want to know if the photo on his website does him justice, or if he paid someone to airbrush all those muscles onto him.”

          Milo laughed, glad Foster was allowing him to shift the subject. “Trust me. I hand my hands on him as we weaved in and out of traffic. Nothing on him is airbrushed. It’s all real and even more impressive in person. Especially when he’s all sweaty from a workout and has his shirt off.”

          “Ooof. Don’t make me jealous.” Foster toted Milo’s duffel bag, and they headed down to his car. Milo didn’t have much in the realm of worldly possessions, a good thing, considering the trunk of Foster’s Vette could barely hold a six-pack of beer.

          “Does he know you’re gay?”

          “It didn’t come up,” Milo said as Foster beeped his trunk open and they squished his belongings inside.

          But something else certainly did come up during that ride. If his boss wasn’t paying attention, if he hadn’t already caught on that Milo was gay, Joss certainly could have figured it out when Milo had gone hard with his crotch snugged up against Joss on the ride down to the valley.

          They climbed into Foster’s car, the low grumble of the engine vibrated throughout Milo’s body and, even for a guy who wasn’t a gear head, it was hard not to appreciate the power under the hood.

          As they drove, the awkward silence lingered.

          Foster turned at the first traffic light. “What aren’t you telling me?”

          “I may or may not have popped wood while riding on the back of his motorcycle.”

          Foster barked out a laugh. “Are you saying you rubbed your hard-on against your boss’s ass?”

          “Not intentionally.”

          “Oh, sweet gay baby Jesus. This is going to be a disaster.”

Flight of Fancy by Vicki Tharp (2).jpg