Hal’s a big, shy bear of a man, just arrived at his first ever gay holiday resort. A nude gay resort. When a similarly-sized, good-looking Asian guy asks to join him for breakfast, what’s Hal to do? Apart from wish the cereal bowl he’s using for a loincloth was one hell of a lot bigger, that is…
A short, fluffy story, written for the Goodreads m/m group Hot Summer Days anthology.
by JL Merrow
Reaching the dining room, Hal put a hand on the door jamb to steady himself. This was either a dream come true—or something more like a nightmare.
There were naked men everywhere. Chatting. Laughing. Standing in line for breakfast, and sitting at tables. In every direction Hal cast his stunned gaze, there was naked male flesh. Ivory flesh. Pink flesh. Brown flesh, in every hue. Hairy flesh, like his own, and flesh waxed so meticulously it made him wince to look at it. Tall guys. Short guys. Skinny guys, and guys with a decent bit of meat on them. Guys so young they looked barely (hah!) legal, and guys like him with grizzled hair on their heads and chests. Guys with no hair at all. All laid out before him like the banquet of the gods. If, that was, the gods happened to be into guys—and from what Hal had heard, some of those old Greek and Norse dudes had been into everything.
Phil, Hal thought, wherever you are—and if I know you, you’ve got a beer in one hand and a barmaid in the other—I hope you’re looking down on this feeling just a little bit guilty for what you’ve gotten me into. How the hell was he going to make it to the breakfast line without springing a boner?
The pile of cereal bowls on the end of the counter was an answer to Hal’s prayer. He grabbed one and held it in front of his groin, wishing the dainty little bowls didn’t all come in Baby Bear size. Feeling a little more secure, he shuffled along the line—then nearly dropped his last line of defense when the guy in front spoke.
“Hi! I’m Miki—mind if I eat with you?” The confident voice belonged to an Asian-looking guy who was just a little shorter than Hal’s five foot eleven and a half. He was also well-built, broad-shouldered and way too hot to be talking to a guy like Hal.
“Uh, sure—I mean, no. I mean, I don’t mind. You joining me, I mean,” Hal stuttered. Way to impress the cute guy, he thought, cringing inside. Five minutes ago he’d been wishing his cereal bowl was just a little larger. Maybe twice the size, that’d do. Now, though, he could have done with it growing to swimming-pool dimensions and swallowing him up whole.
“That’s great!” Miki’s smile was brighter than the gleam of the sun on the pool outside. “Looks like there’s a table free over by the window—how about it? I just need to grab a coffee first.”
Hal followed Miki’s example, and they padded over on bare feet to what, Hal decided, had to be the smallest table he’d ever seen outside a dollhouse. Did the hotel do this on purpose? No chance of any camouflage there. He sat on the (thankfully full-size) chair and tried to place his coffee mug strategically on the table.
“So, do I get to find out your name? Or is it a big secret?” Miki grinned.
“It’s Hal.” Desperately trying to work out where to look, Hal let his eyes roam over Miki’s broad shoulders, firm pecs, solid middle and—uh, oh. Big mistake looking down further. At the sight of Miki’s manhood, which was definitely along Daddy Bear lines, Hal felt stirrings in his own groin, and they were nothing to do with the spoon in his cereal bowl—which he was currently attempting to use as an improvised loincloth. And failing.
“Have you, uh, been to a lot of these places before?” Hal asked his cornflakes, having figured they, at least, were safe to look at.
“One or two,” Miki answered. Hal could hear the smile in his voice but didn’t dare look up to see it. “I’m guessing it’s your first time, right? Don’t worry, you’ll soon get used to it. It’s pretty much like any other gay resort—after a day or two, you’ll be having so much fun you’ll forget you’re naked.”
Okay, that, Hal doubted. And damn—Miki sounded like he was an old hand at this kind of thing. No way could Hal admit to just how inexperienced he was. Miki would just laugh at him. “Yeah, I guess you’re right,” he said, forcing himself to look up and pasting on what had to be the world’s most unnatural smile.
Miki looked like he was about to snort his cereal. “You sound like you could do with some convincing of that! I’d be happy to oblige—unless you already have plans for later?”
An honest answer—hide in my room—probably wouldn’t go down too well, Hal figured. “Uh, no, not really.”
“Great! Why don’t I show you around a little?”
Hal blinked. “Don’t you have, you know, people you want to be with?” he asked awkwardly.
“Sure I do! And I’m staring right at him.” Miki smiled.
Hal’s toes curled up under the chair and his stomach did a flip-flop. “That’s—that’s great, then,” he managed.
Miki looked serious for a moment. “I hope you don’t feel I’m forcing my company on you, though. I wouldn’t want to do that.”
“No! No, definitely no forcing involved,” Hal assured him. The only thing that scared him more than the thought of spending time with this über-confident, totally hot guy was, well, the thought of notspending time with him.
The walk around the resort took longer than Hal had expected—it was all self-contained, but that didn’t mean it was small. There was even a private stretch of beach. And everywhere, naked men—but for some reason Hal found himself comparing each guy he saw to the man walking by his side. And finding them lacking. Miki was just… hell, he was just perfect.
Didn’t mean he didn’t have to look away quickly when they passed the couple making out on the beach, though. Because oh, dear Lord, he could just imagine them as him and Miki, and didn’t that thought make certain parts of him want to sit up and beg?
They ended up back at the pool where they laid their towels on a couple of sun loungers before stretching out to catch some rays.
“You know, you have to be careful when you come to a place like this,” Miki said, leaning up on one elbow and looking straight at Hal. The way he was lying emphasized his bulky shoulders and well-developed chest, and Hal took a moment to work out what the guy had said.
He coughed to cover his distraction. “You do?”
“Oh, yeah. You have to remember there’s some bits of you that don’t usually get to see the sun—and trust me, you do not want sunburn on those bits.”
Hal grimaced at the thought. “Ouch. Damn, I’d better go get my sunblock.”
“No need—I’ve got some right here.” Miki drew out a bottle from his string bag and held it out to Hal with a teasing smile. “If you need any help applying it, you only have to ask.”
And oh, God, that was the last straw. Just the thought of Miki’s lotion-covered hand moving over his dick… “I, uh, I have to go,” Hal stammered. “Just remembered something. I’ll, uh, I’ll see you later.” Grabbing his towel and holding it bunched in front of him, his last line of defense from total embarrassment, Hal half ran back to his room, slamming the door behind himself and leaning on it heavily. His dick was so damn hard he barely had to touch it before he was coming so hard he could see stars.
As he leaned there, panting, a knock on the door made him jump half out of his skin. “Hey, Hal, are you okay?” Miki’s voice called.
Hal looked down at himself. He was flushed and sweaty and holding a towel full of spunk—no way was he opening that door right now. He swallowed. “I’m fine,” he called back, his voice sounding kind of strangled even to him. “I’ll, uh, catch you later, okay?”
There was a pause, and then Miki’s voice sounded again. “Sure. Maybe I’ll see you at lunch.” He sounded kind of sad. Hal listened to his soft footsteps receding into the distance. Damn it all to hell—he’d blown it, big time. Oh, Phil, he thought sadly, padding into the bathroom for a cool shower, I guess I wasn’t quite as ready for this as you thought. I’m sorry I let you down, big guy.
Hal did a whole lot of thinking as he soaped himself in the shower. When he went down for lunch and saw Miki sitting alone, looking kind of sad, Hal didn’t think twice before going over. “Mind if I join you?”
Miki’s face cracked into a grin. “Hey, Hal! Sure thing—pull up a chair.”
“I, uh…” Hal sat, and steeled himself. “I figure I owe you an apology for running out on you like that.”
“No—man, that was all my fault. I guess I was coming on a little strong, huh?” Miki’s expression turned rueful. “Bad habit of mine when I see a guy I really like.”
Hal’s heart skipped, and it gave him the courage to carry on. “Miki, I’m going to make a confession here, and I’ll totally understand if you run for the hills once you’ve heard it—but I’ve never been to a gay resort of any kind before. I only came to this one because I promised my best friend I would, just before he died. I’ve never even been in a gay bar. The only gay guy I’ve ever gotten naked with is, well, you.” He stopped, breathing heavily, and waited for Miki to—well, he didn’t think Miki would actually laugh, he was way too nice of a guy for that. He’d just give Hal a pitying smile and say he was sorry it wouldn’t work out between them, or that he’d had fun talking with him, and then he’d beat it to someone who wasn’t a total loser.
Miki was smiling, okay, but it didn’t look like pity. It looked a lot like the way Phil had used to look at that big, slobbery dog of his, back before he’d gotten sick and had to give the beast to his sister. “Man,” Miki said, shaking his head a little. “You amaze me, you know that? It takes a lot of balls to admit something like that.” He reached across the table and took Hal’s hand. “Not that I’m saying it’s a bad thing, you understand. In fact, I’m kind of tickled to find out I’m your first.”
“You are?” Hal’s breath caught.
“Sure! Although I have to wonder what all the other guys have been thinking of, letting a man like you get away.” His gaze trailed appreciatively over Hal’s chest, but then he shook his head. “Damn, and here I am, coming on too strong again.”
Miki’s hand slipped out of Hal’s, but Hal reached to grab it back. “No way. Nuh-uh.” He smiled. “You’re coming on just strong enough.”
A fortnight later, Hal sat in the diner across from his office and stared morosely at his lunch. He’d brought a book to hide behind just like he always did, but somehow he didn’t feel much like reading today. It didn’t help that the book was one he’d taken on vacation and hadn’t gotten around to opening. His ham, lettuce and rye bread blurred together and recombined, in his mind’s eye, to paint a picture of the cutest guy he’d ever met. Man, that’d been the holiday of a lifetime. Miki had shown him stuff he’d only dreamed of—and not just in bed, either. Hal had never known how much more stunning a sunset could look, walking on the beach hand-in-hand with his lover.
He’d tried to forget, then, that they only had two weeks together. Miki had hinted, from time to time, that he’d like to see Hal after the holiday was over—but Hal had just brushed it off. He’d known that once they were back in the real world Miki would soon forget him. Better to live in the present than make plans for a future that wouldn’t happen, and sully a perfect memory with a rejection.
Now though… now, he wished he’d gotten Miki’s phone number, at least. Maybe they could have stayed friends, if not lovers. He could hear Phil’s voice berating him, loud and clear: Man, what were you thinking? A hot guy who’s totally into you, and you let him get away? I ought to come back from the grave and smack you upside the head for that!
When the voice turned into Miki’s, saying “Hey, mind if I join you?” Hal figured it was all still in his head and didn’t look up even when he heard the scrape of the chair. A pair of beefy forearms with strong hands attached joined Hal’s on the table, looking oddly familiar. Except for the shirt cuffs… Hal looked up, hardly daring to breathe.
It was Miki, grinning fit to burst. “Are you going to tell me you don’t recognize me with my clothes on?”
“What…? How…?” Hal got a grip on himself. Then he got a grip on Miki’s arm to stop him from getting away again. “How did you find me? Damn, Miki, I was so wrong about not wanting to keep in touch. I’ve been missing you so bad… How long are you in town for?”
Miki laughed. “Oh, pretty much forever. Dude, I work just a couple of blocks away. I’ve seen you in here plenty of times—I dug the way you looked, with your nose always stuck in a book, but I figured you were straight. When I saw you on vacation I thought no way was I going to let that opportunity pass me by. So how about it? Think we can make a go of it even without the beaches and the sunsets?”
“Hell, yes,” Hal breathed. “Even with our clothes on.”
“Oh, yeah?” Miki raised an eyebrow, the eye beneath it twinkling. “Maybe it’s just a hunch, but I have a feeling they’ll be coming off again before too long.”
Hal sent a silent prayer of thanks to whoever was looking out for him up there.
He had a pretty good idea who it might be.