The first time Charles met Erik he was at Wizard Books.
Well, maybe 'met' was misleading. 'Saw,' 'smelt,' 'heard,' 'lusted after'-those were all perfectly honest.
Wizard Books was his favorite bookstore because it was exactly on his way to and from campus. Really, this whole stretch of two blocks was his favorite in the city. The pizza place, the soup and sandwich joint, the coffee place he liked the look of but had never actually entered-it was all gorgeous and his on a daily basis. Despite how much he loved the stretch, though, the only places he had ever actually been in were the drugstore on the corner and this bookstore. This was purely by accident; he always meant to explore further, but just never seemed to get around to it.
Today he was enjoying the air conditioning and scoping out the sort of mindless literature he could zone out with at the lake house with Raven and Moira and her son Kevin. Logan might even make it. Summer vacation was his favorite time for just this reason: no classes, and no one was honor-bound to spend time with their family like at Christmas vacation.
He had told Moira he'd try to find some kind of chick lit book for her, and was considering getting one for himself too, to get into the true mindless swing of things, when it happened.
The man scoping out the history section behind him shifted sideways, standing directly behind Charles in the narrow aisle and Charles got an instant lungful of the man's cologne and was suddenly hooked.
He took deep breath after deep breath, had to put a hand out to steady himself on the bookcase in front of him or else risk falling over in his concussive lust.
He wished he'd looked up when the man had come into his aisle. As it was he didn't even know what the man looked like-could only really tell by the cologne that it was a man at all, and the peripheral sense that he was taller than Charles.
Before Charles could immediately start seducing him, sight unseen, the man's cell phone rang and he answered it.
"What?" the man said, voice gruff and low and seeping straight into Charles' cock.
He gulped, tried to think straight.
While the man was distracted he managed a slight turn, just enough to get a sight of the stranger.
Taller than Charles, by a head maybe, or slightly less. He had short auburn-looking hair, and despite the heat of the day he was dressed in heavy jeans, but coupled it with a shirt so thin Charles imagined he could see through it: dusky and shoved up at the sleeves and clinging to every chiseled plane of him.
Charles' desire hit him like a sudden roiling wave and he had to suck back a rush of saliva.
"It's under the cash register. To the right...Are you kidding me? I can't leave you alone for two seconds? Look for it, damn it," the man was sighing. Charles realized his voice had some sort of accent. Faintly European. Irish, certainly some portion of it was Irish, but what was that he detected underneath it? Or had it simply been tapered out with Americanism? He wanted to know-to know all that and more about the stranger.
"For fuck's sake," the man growled. "Don't move. I'm on my way."
He jabbed his phone off with irritation and stormed from the aisle and didn't notice when Charles followed him to the door. Luckily Charles realized he could not actually follow the man home, and stopped himself at the entrance, taking deep breaths and trying not to work himself up into a full erection by staring at those slim hips as they moved. The man didn't really walk at all but prowled, so intense and erotic that Charles could barely see past the haze of his own burning want.
A couple seconds of safety-buffer and he slipped out the door, watching as his new idol disappeared into the cafe on the corner.
He realized he hadn't even seen the man's face.
Then he talked himself down from finding a bathroom near enough for a wank, rushed back into Wizard, and vacillated for the next couple of months between stalking this man or letting fate intervene if it would.
That decided, he had Moira pay him back for a babysitting weekend by bringing him to that quaint cafe she was always raving about. He had a hope that Café Haifisch was going to play a big part in his life for a while.