Anyone in his position would have been grateful and anyone who knew him would have been envious. But Steve Blade felt neither of these things about his life. As far as he was concerned, life was too busy and also too empty.
At just 21 years old, Steve had managed to secure a job as a stage manager in one of the larger broadway theatres. He had a position clamoured for and for one so young it was quite an achievement.
However, Steve, gaining this job had been almost entirely for selfish reasons. Everytime he walked into the stage door of the theatre, he took a deep breath in and every day he was reminded of his life at school.
Steve had never much enjoyed the theatre himself, he found it boring if he was being honest but his job was a constant reminder of someone who did.
The combined smell of sawdust, varnish, sweat and paint seemed like it had been lifted straight from Connor McKinley.
Two years ago Connor had flown half way round the world to complete his mission and two years later he was coming home. Steve had begun counting down the days since the very first day Connor was gone. It would be less than a week until the plane from Uganda would land on American soil and they would be reunited again.
Connor had explained before he left that he wouldn't be able to contact Steve. However, just six months into his mission Connor had begun writing letters telling of a scandalous excommunication and thus his ability to bend the rules.
Steve had suggested he come home if there was nothing keeping him there but Connor had replied that the people there needed him anyway. Steve hadn't said how he needed Connor here with him.
Two years rolled by very slowly. As the end of the mission came round, Connor wrote to ask if Steve had a place for him to say. He couldn't go home, there wasn't a place for him in Utah anymore. So Connor would be flying into JFK and Steve would be there to meet him.
Steve had no idea what to expect. Two years was a long time and he had no doubt that Connor would at least look different if he hadn't changed in other ways. He didn't even know where their relationship was let alone where he wanted it to go.
Meanwhile, Connor nervously crammed his flowery suitcase into a baggage holder above his seat and sat down. His companion smiled sadly up at him, knowing that the few short hours they had left would fly by.
He just managed to fit into the seat of the tiny plane that would take him from the tiny village of Kitguli to the city of Kampala where his flight home was. Or where his home would soon be.
Connor watched out the window as the village, the mission centre and his life for two years grew smaller and smaller.
There were eight of them on the minuscule propeller plane. Elder Price and Elder Cunningham were staying behind. He couldn't blame them really. It was clear to everyone that life would be very different once they returned and most of them would become outcasts within their communities.
Elder Cunningham was a no brainer, of course he'd stay in a place which was the first to accept him, not to mention the love he'd found. With a little persuasion, Elder Price would join him.
Connor had been in love once and it hadn't made him stay. But it was now making him return. He didn't know anything about Steve anymore, only his address. He was scared at what he would find.
At Kampala, Connor waved his elders off, a painful ache in him as he realised he may never see many of them again. His companion had hugged him for the longest and he was sure a few tears escaped his eyes. Elder Thomas bestowed a strawberry flavoured box of his namesake upon him for the journey and wished him luck. Connor promised he would be in touch and he gladly accepted all the luck he could get.
He boarded his plane to New York alone and was pleased to have a window seat. He leant his forehead on the cool plastic and closed his eyes. Sleep overcame him provoked by the soft hum of the engines and a general exhaustion.
He woke in a fit of nerves twelve hours later, suddenly realising how close he was to landing. Still in his white shirt, black pants and name tag he decided to change out of his uniform. He had one outfit, unworn for his whole mission, that he'd been saving for this moment. It felt odd to be wearing just jeans and a shirt. He felt like he was lying for some reason. His uniform had felt like an intrinsic part of him, not just his job but his life, and now it was cast aside so he would fit in. So he would be normal.
His heart dropped in time with the plane as the pilot announced their destination. He walked through security in a numb daze trying his best not to collapse from either tiredness or fear. His wheeled suitcase in one hand and a rucksack in the other he headed towards the double doors that led out to civilisation.
The first time Connor scanned the waiting crowd he didn't see Steve. This was because as soon as Steve had laid eyes on Connor an unwelcome physical reaction had overcome him so he'd turned away to hide his now red eyes.
His insides crunched as he felt a calming hand on his shoulder. Steve didn't know what Connor would want from the next few moments. Would a welcome back hug be enough? Should he push for more?
Steve turned and looked into a pair of sparkly blue eyes he'd missed and dreamed about for two years. Connor's lip trembled and Steve caught it with a gentle hand.
"I missed you" he said weakly, realising at once how pathetic he sounded.
"That doesn't even begin to explain it" Connor replied in a similarly aspirant voice.
"You look different" Steve said warily.
"What did you expect?"
"So what happens now?"
"I'm going home with you I thought"
"No I mean now, right now what do we do...?"
Connor dropped his cases and leaned over the barrier, his purpose obvious. He wasn't expecting Steve to move out the way and he was left confused.
"No it's not your fault"
"I just thought...I'm sorry"
"You were gone two years, what did you expect?"
"I'm sorry Connor, but there's someone else"