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Chapter 7

"You probably prefer a more exciting evening, huh?" Grant asked after he and Derek were seated in a booth at the sports bar Derek had suggested.

The older man was fairly nervous about what kind of impression he was making, this being their first date and all. This being his first date with a guy, after all. He opted for a casual pair of jeans and a blue button down shirt, figuring such an outfit would be acceptable in most cases. Derek looked pretty hot in his black cargo pants and matching tank top with a yellow shirt over it left unbuttoned. The shirt actually matched the yellow in his hair. Grant was amused at the irony of the situation, considering his own conservative look. But Derek was a good looking guy and he did initiate the flirting, so the older man felt like rolling with it.

"Actually, this is a relief," the younger man smirked. "I love clubs and all, but I work in one, so any time away from it is welcome … especially to my ears."

"I'm surprised you even have any hearing left!"

Derek grinned sexily back. "But I meet such interesting men there!" He leaned over the table and added softly, "Especially lawyer dudes!"

Grant chuckled and shook his head. The waiter came by and took their orders just then, thankfully, because flirting wasn't the older man's forte yet. It was apparently Derek's though, which wasn't at all a bad thing. They put their drinks and dinner order in at the same time, and Grant was relieved that Derek ordered a burger. He was afraid he would think the older man was pigging out. Though where the little put it all was a mystery.

"Tell me more about the … interesting men you meet at Urban's," Grant smiled, resting his chin in the palm of his hand and gazing at his date in what he hoped looked like rapt attention. To be honest, he really didn't want to hear about the other guys Derek picked up, but he didn't want to come off as possessive this early on, especially if he hoped to see the younger man again. So far, Derek had proven to be fun and amusing, so he wasn't at all adverse to the idea.

"What other men?" Derek asked playfully, assuming a vague and confused expression. "I don't remember any other guys."

Grant smirked in relief. The guy seemed to know exactly what to say to put him at ease. It was nice to meet someone like him on his first try since all Grant read about the gay lifestyle had indicated difficult guys and awkward first dates – or sometimes easy guys and … well easy first dates. Grant wasn't put off by the thought of sex, but he wanted to get to know someone a bit first, particularly since the new conservative opinion of homosexual relationships cited high rate of sexually transmitted disease as a major reason why it should be frowned upon. Grant couldn't care less what other people thought of him usually, but his profession put him in direct contact with mainly conservative clients. He didn't want to ruffle any feathers before he had a chance to establish himself in this office.

"How do you like law?" Derek asked when his rum and Coke arrived. He stirred it a bit before taking a sip and waiting for Grant to answer.

"I love it," the older man replied. "Nothing gets my adrenalin going faster than a case that gets me in front of a judge."

"L.A. Law style?"

"These days more like The Practice these days," the blonde laughed. "L.A. Law is way before your time."

"I watch reruns on cable," Derek shrugged. "That show cracks me up."

"It's pretty funny." Grant shifted in his seat then sat back and took a long sip of his beer. Then he set it down, knowing it was his turn to ask questions. "What got you into bartending?"

"It's a noble profession!" Derek sniffed haughtily before grinning. "I make great money at it and it put me through college."

"Really? What'd you major in?"

"Political science," Derek replied. "With a minor in philosophy."

"Heavy workload."

"Not as heavy as graduate school is," the younger man grimaced.

"You're in school and working at a bar? Must be hard to get studying in."

"It is during the regular semester. I'm working two jobs right now but I'll be back to just the bar come September. I'm glad it's summer and I'm only taking one class."

"You're taking a class and working two jobs?" Grant's eyes widened. "And you still have time to see me?"

"For an interesting guy like you, I'll make the time," Derek said winking.


Cody hummed to himself as he looked for the right mailbox to deposit the papers in that he'd graded. Professor Gundson was pretty particular about punctuality, so the redhead always made sure he got those papers graded first to avoid any lectures about "young upstarts" today who would be ruining the next generation. He rolled his eyes as he spotted the box and thrust the envelope into it.

"Finally, the weekend can begin," he muttered to himself.

He adjusted the shoulder strap on his messenger's bag and wandered out of the administration building, nodding to a few other teaching assistants on the way out. He was careful to avoid the dirt packed path he normally took when he went to the bus stop. Edison was going to be picking him up this evening and taking him to see a gallery show, so he wanted to look nice. He'd even shined his leather shoes the night before and made sure not to scuff them.

When he got to the end of the sidewalk the familiar Lexus rolled slowly up to him and came to a stop, the blonde man hurriedly getting out to open the passenger's side door for him.

"How was your day?" Edison asked, relieving Cody of the messenger's bag and helping him into the seat.

"It was okay," the redhead replied, amused at the treatment. Edison closed Cody's door and popped the trunk, placing the bag inside and closing it, before he got back into the driver's seat and put the car in gear.

"Still can't believe you opted to work over the summer."

"I needed the money," the redhead grinned. "And besides, it's something to do."

"You could always move in with me," the blonde said nonchalantly. "I wouldn't need to charge you rent."

Cody's eyes widened and his mouth fell open. This was the first overture Edison had made in that direction. They had only seen each other three times since the restaurant incident, and hadn't even gotten past making out a bit yet. Moving in? That seemed a bit fast for Cody's liking.

"Um, I'll keep the offer in mind for when we know each other better, maybe," he replied with a small smile.

Edison turned to him briefly when they stopped at a red light and smiled back. "I was just trying to think of ways to help you out, sweets. But whatever makes you more comfortable."

Then the light turned green and he looked back to the road. Cody raised an eyebrow in reply.


"I know I look like the type that falls right into bed," Derek said dramatically, with a hand over his chest, as he and Grant rose from the table. "But I like to get to know a guy first."

"Me too," Grant grinned, relieved that he wouldn't have to endure that awkward moment when Derek asked him, 'Your place or mine?'

"Seriously?" Derek suddenly looked just as relieved. "Thank God! You don't know how many times I've had to explain that in greater detail. It makes me wonder why fellow queers get so insulted by the mainstream attitude about us being sex maniacs."

Grant shrugged and followed Derek to his car. He felt a bit weird about it, like he was escorting a girl, but it didn't seem right to just leave him there on the sidewalk.

"Thanks for dinner tonight," the younger man said when they reached his small hatchback. "It was a lot of fun."

"Same here," Grant grinned.

Derek suddenly reached a hand up and pushed a lock of sandy brown hair off Grant's forehead. The older man took that as a good sign and leaned down slowly, giving Derek time to pull back if that wasn't what he wanted. But that seemed to be his goal as he leaned up at the same time. The kiss was soft and quick but Grant liked it and hoped Derek did too.

"See you again?" he asked.

"Definitely," Derek replied, opening his car door and sliding inside.

Grant watched him start the car and pull away then he smiled all the way back to his own car. It seemed like the night went better than he'd hoped. Now at least Virginia wouldn't have to pester him into going out. Even if Derek turned out to be just a friend in the end, at least Grant got a bit of dating confidence out of it. He snorted in amusement at the thought as he opened his car door.