The message from Sirk made Adam smile. It was so simple and cute. Besides that, he wasn’t demanding a picture or asking for anything at all, he was just...making conversation. Adam clicked on the name. The picture he saw made his eyebrows shoot up, and he sat up a little straighter. Because, damn.
In the picture, Sirk was playing a guitar. He wasn’t looking at the camera, but off into the
distance--at an audience, maybe--and he looked...happy. Just really happy. His eyes were crinkled, like he was about to laugh, and his hair was kind of messy, and his neck and jawline were straight out of Adam’s dreams.
After a few minutes of gazing, Adam scrolled down to the profile message. 23. Moved to LA from Arkansas and looking to meet people, but not into the bar scene. I guess I’m a Iow key kind of guy. New at this, can you tell?
Yeah, Adam thought, I can tell. He wondered how many responses Kris must have gotten with a profile pic like that. Impulsively, he went back to Sirk’s message, hit reply, and typed: You wouldn’t believe how bad Twilight has been for our image. Mostly we’re hiding out at Whole Foods and waiting for it to pass. Welcome to Cali.
Adam went back to Sirk’s picture. This time he noted the plain white t-shirt that hugged his arms. Judging his size in relation to the guitar, he was a small guy. And Arkansas, that might mean a southern accent. While he was considering this, a chat box popped up.
Sirk: Thanks! I like it here pretty good.
Adam’s fingers were on the keyboard before he really thought about it.
Sushiwolf: Love your accent.
Sirk: Man! Even in print?! If I had a nickel for every time I heard that in the last two months.
Sushiwolf: I’m sure most people can’t hear the accent online. Wolf ears, remember?
Sirk: That’s reassuring. So what accent am I doing now?
Sushiwolf: Southern is my favorite. Always has been.
Just when Adam realized that oh shit, he shouldn’t be flirting, the next message popped up.
Sirk: Since I don’t have wolf ears, what kind of accent do you have?
Sushiwolf: Cali. Grew up in San Diego, moved all the way to LA. I have to travel a lot for work, though.
Sirk: Do u like the travel?
Adam thought about it for a while.
Sushiwolf: Yes and no. My job makes it really hard to have a relationship.
He frowned to himself. Might as well get it over with.
Sushiwolf: So I should tell you that I actually came here today to erase my profile after I realized that I’m not in any position to date anyone right now.
Sushiwolf: Now I feel like a jackass. I guess I just signed up when I was having a low moment.
Sushiwolf: Not that it means someone is having a low moment to sign up, just--I was. God, I need to shut up.
Sushiwolf: Sirk? You still there?
Sirk: That was my mime accent. Couldn’t you tell?
Adam threw back his head and laughed.
Sushiwolf: You are seriously adorable. And southern, and a musician, and really, really cute. I’ll bet half the internet is asking you out.
Sirk: There are a lot of disturbing people on here. That is all I’m saying. I was just about to cut bait myself until I saw your name and I liked it. No worries, man. It’s cool.
Adam sat for a moment, uncertain. He knew it was right to let this just end like this, but he didn’t want to. All of a sudden, he felt protective of Sirk.
Sushiwolf: Hey, be careful out there, ok?
Sirk: You too. Hey, if you ever feel low again I’m email@example.com. Just if you need a friend. My name’s Kris.
And Adam caught his breath, because this guy, this sweet little guy he was feeling protective over, he had Adam’s back.
Sushiwolf: Thanks, Kris. That means a lot. Take care.
It wasn’t until he closed his laptop that Adam realized Kris had never asked to see his picture.
“That guy was totally checking you out,” Matt panted. “Let’s rest here for a minute in case he turns back.”
“Nice try. We’re not stopping.” Kris slowed down a little, though. “Come on, man, only two more miles. You got this.”
“Only?” Matt stopped and leaned forward, gasping for breath. “You go on. Save yourself.” He staggered to a bench off the trail.
Kris debated heading on, but decided to do some stretches and wait for Matt.
“No girl is worth this.” Matt pulled his sweaty t-shirt away from his body. “Seriously, why did I let her talk me into this frickin’ marathon?” Matt’s latest crush had a charity kink.
“It’s not a marathon,” Kris said reasonably. “It’s, like, six miles, and it’s for a good cause. And it was either that or shave your head for St. Baldrick’s...”
“And that ain’t gonna happen, my brother. I’m keeping every follicle as long as I possibly can.” Matt sighed. “Aw, shit. She’s worth it. Just give me a--” Matt froze and bent over to tie his shoe. “He’s coming back.”
“That guy. I told you. Red shorts.”
Kris looked, and sure enough, red shorts guy grinned at him and waved. And kept on running, giving Kris an excellent view of his excellent behind.
“He’s just being friendly.”
“Kris? That guy was putting on a show for you. How can you not see that? Let me make this simple for you. Run after him.”
Kris just shook his head. “No way.”
“I said no, okay? Can we drop it?”
Matt looked a little hurt. “Sure. Sorry.”
“It’s just that. I don’t know, nothing seems to be working for me. I suck at this, I guess.”
It was obvious that Matt was dying to ask, so with a sigh, Kris continued. “The bar thing didn’t work out. There was this guy at church who was cool, but apparently I have, like, no gaydar, so I’m afraid to ask him out. I even tried that dating website Ally told me about.”
“Oh, shit. I forgot. Ally told me to tell you that she talked to Tony, and he said it was a total meat market, and it was like a freakin’ miracle that he met Fred there in the sea of--”
“Yeah, I figured that out on my own. One guy sent me a picture of his dick. Or somebody’s dick.”
“No Freds, huh.”
Kris shook his head. “Well, there was one guy who was really nice, and funny. But then he said he wasn’t in a place to date anybody, so.”
Matt looked puzzled. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is a dating site, yes?”
Kris sighed. “Maybe he was being nice. Didn’t like my picture, but didn’t want to hurt my feelings or something.”
“Maybe he’s into bears,” said Matt matter of factly.
Kris nearly fell off the bench laughing. “How do you even know this terminology?”
“Been reading Ally’s fic. You pick up stuff. Not that she writes about bears. She likes pretty boys. Let me tell you something, I will never listen to a My Chemical Romance song the same way again. And you know that guy in Zombieland, curly hair? Man, they got him going at it with fucking Spiderman.”
Kris helplessly tipped right off the bench.
Matt stood up and stretched leisurely, then took off at a sprint. “Race you home!” he called over his shoulder.
Kris wiped his eyes and climbed back up on the bench. He’d give Matt a five minute head start, just to boost his confidence a little.