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The Right Time

By:Lane Hayes

One





“Is it really possible to tell someone else what one feels?”

― Leo Tolstoy



THE SWEEPING views of the Pacific from the ninth-floor balcony were impressive. An endless ribbon of golden beach and brilliant blue ocean beyond. It was a different slice of California coastline than the quieter one I was accustomed to in Oxnard. In the off-season, young, hip professionals, and those with Hollywood aspirations frequented the beaches. They knew to take advantage before summertime when the area catered to tourists who visited from far and wide to take in the wonders of the entertainment capital of the world. I didn’t care about being close to the action. My only request was to be near the water. As I gazed out to sea, looking past the traffic on Ocean Boulevard and ignoring the bright lights of the Santa Monica Pier in the distance, I decided the view alone could make this the ideal temporary home for me.

Brandon’s animated conversation pulled me from my reverie. I overheard him pointing out the luxury condo’s state-of-the-art kitchen to his boyfriend and smiled as Jake repeated “that’s cool” for the third time in under two minutes. I took one last gulp of fresh ocean air before joining my friends inside.

“Well? What do you think? I told you it was modern and fabulous. You like?” Brandon stood with his arms outstretched in the middle of the great room like a proud game show host showing a prize to the winning contestant.

“I like it. A lot. It’s a good location. Close enough to my project headquarters but still near the beach.”

“You can walk across the street to surf. And if the waves aren’t big enough, Malibu is close,” Jake added helpfully with a grin.

I nodded and made a show of examining the clean lines of the kitchen at the far end of the spacious room, though in fact, Brandon and Jake had my attention. They were an intriguing couple. A study in opposites.

Jake was a good-looking, unassuming firefighter with dark blond hair, blue eyes, and a muscular physique. He was one of those rare people who shunned pretense in favor of enjoying the simple pleasures in life, like hanging out with his boyfriend and his dog. He didn’t care about fashion, cars, or having the latest and greatest gadgets and gizmos. Life had dealt him a few blows in his youth, which undoubtedly influenced his Spartan outlook on life.

Brandon on the other hand was… ultrafabulous. Personalitywise he was a combination of over-the-top meets down-to-earth. Bran was a mixed-race beauty blessed with runway-model features, a lean, toned physique, and gorgeous hazel eyes that complemented his darker skin. He was the first to admit a weakness for designer goods and fine dining, but he also had a huge heart and was quick to offer assistance to anyone in need. Including a shmuck like me, who hadn’t been as welcoming as I might have been when we were introduced over a year ago. “Kill ’em with kindness” was his motto, and it worked. Sure, he was overly familiar at times, but he was also unfailingly generous, genuine, and compassionate. Perhaps I hadn’t understood the blatant adoration in Jake’s eyes at first, but now I could simply appreciate that Bran made Jake very happy. And that was what mattered.

“If you love, then you should take. Should I tell Alex you’re interested?” Bran raised one brow in query.

“Yes.” I chuckled when he squealed like a kid. “You told him I’d only need it for six months, right? The project I’m working on in LA is slated for completion by February.”

“Yawn, yawn. Yes. I told him, and he was cool with it. This is an investment property he was about to put on the market, so your timing is perfect. He said he’d wait till next year now. Win-win. I’ll tell him to e-mail you the contract, and you can iron out the details with him about when you want to move in, etcetera. Did I tell you he lives next door? And my best friend, Luke, and his boyfriend, Michael, own the upstairs unit. They stay there when they have extended business in LA. Lucky you! You’ll have a built-in set of friends!”

“Uh….”

Jake laughed at my pained expression. He knew me well. The last thing I wanted was insta-buddies. I had friends, and I liked my quiet life in Oxnard. This was a temporary arrangement while I was in Los Angeles overseeing a new project development downtown. I was here to do a job. Maybe I’d occasionally see Jake and Bran, but otherwise I was on my own, and that was exactly how I liked it.

Bran shot a look between us but let my less than enthusiastic response slide. Jake wrapped his arm around his boyfriend’s waist and kissed his cheek, then pulled back with a smile before turning to me.

“Are you coming by for dinner?”

“No, thank you. I need to get back.”

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