Scotty sat on his small suitcase below the flagpoles in the middle of Times Square waiting for his virtual friend Christy a fellow author. At four in the afternoon a slight breeze rustled the flags under warm clear skies. He left his longtime partner Timothy to eliminate seventy-five percent of their worldly possessions, create their home into a showcase and prepare it to sell. Timothy quit his job two years before he planned, not content to sink with his company into bankruptcy and his diminishing income. Scotty hated to leave their home; they both loved it but realized they needed to minimize their living space. Unfortunately they had not found a new house to accommodate their dreams. Christy begged Scotty to visit her in New York, a place he never visited. His vacation was an escape from the pain of drastic change and a chance to meet his best friend.
He was overwhelmed by the people, the buildings and the rapid pace of New York City, even though he left behind the congested San Francisco area. Christy knew the weather would be comfortable for him in late spring, not like the harsh cold winters or the hot humidified days and nights of summer.
Christy found Scotty first, bursting forth with a comforting hug and kiss. “You made it. I’m so glad you came.”
“I wasn’t sure you’d find me. How did you find me so fast?”
“I recognized your Pride shirt from across the street. I knew it was you. Let’s go have a cocktail.”
“Thanks I need one.”
Christy hailed a cab and told the driver, “Lux Lounge.”
“What kind of bar in the Lux?” Scotty asked.
“It’s gay. I checked it out yesterday.”
“I need a drink. After all I’m on vacation.”
They both ordered glasses of wine.
“Aren’t the bartenders cute?” Christy scoured the shirtless young men.
“Yes they are hot. What’s that for?” Scotty pointed to the dice in front of their drinks.
“It’s happy hour, two for one.”
“Are you trying to get me drunk and seduce me?”
“That would be nice but I thought you might want unwind before going to my apartment. Besides I’ll have too much competition from our bartender. He smiled at you when you paid for the drinks.”
“I must be blind. I didn’t see that.”
“This move has really gotten to you. Why did you leave Timothy to do all that work?”
“He’s more adept at getting rid of our excess baggage. And preparing the house. He’s a clean fanatic and has an artistic flare for arranging our house with minimal props. He wants me to relax. So he suggested this trip.”
“It’s too bad he couldn’t come with you.”
“That would’ve been fun but we can’t afford it right now.”
A man in a business suit sat next to Christy. Scotty, facing her, stared at him. “Don’t look now.” Scotty whispered. “The man next to you is the spitting image of Timothy twenty years ago. Am I imagining things?”
Christy turned toward the bar, sneaking a glance at the man, then turned to Scotty. “He does look like Timothy from the pictures you posted on Facebook. How spooky is that.”
The younger man smiled at Scotty, toasting his martini.
“He has the intrigue of Timothy when we first met. He just smiled and lifted his glass to me.”
“He’s flirting with you. Maybe you should offer him a cocktail.” Christy giggled.
But before Scotty could consider, the bartender set two more dice in front of him. “Shawn next to your friend bought you both another round.”
“That is so sweet of you.” Christy thanked Shawn. “Scotty’s visiting me. He just flew in from San Francisco.”
“Isn’t he a cutie?”
Scotty glared at her, disapproving her intentions, as Shawn moved next to him. “She’s my best friend.” He muffled a chuckle. “You bear a striking resemblance to somebody I know.”
“I hope that is good.”
“More than I can tell.”
“I have to go to the bathroom. Don’t you dare leave without me?” Christy walked past Scotty, smiling at Shawn.
“Is this your first time to New York?”
“It shows that much, huh?”
“A little obvious by your small suitcase below. Most guys bring much more luggage, even for a weekend. How long are you here?”
“A week.” Scotty nervously waited for Christie. She was taking too long.
“I’m sure you want to get settled in before tonight. Maybe we could meet for dinner later, or even a cocktail in Greenwich Village.” Shawn definitely had eyes for him.
“I don’t know what Christy’s plans are. It would be rude for me to go out and leave her my first night here. We actually were virtual friends on the internet, meeting today for the first time.”
“I’m sorry. I meant to include her.”
“So have you two made plans yet?” Christy returned to her barstool.
“We were just talking about that.” Shawn smiled deviously at her then winked at Scotty. “I’d like to treat you both for dinner in Greenwich.”
“That’s an offer we can’t refuse.” Christy laughed, bubbly from the wine.
“I’m getting toasted from the wine. If we’re going to dinner, maybe we should go to your apartment. Besides I need to change clothes. I only wore these for comfort on the plane.”
“Do you like Italian?” Shawn bragged.
“I love it!” Christie pinched Scotty’s butt.
“And you Scotty? New York has the best Italian food. Po is my favorite in Greenwich.”
“Actually that does sound appetizing.”
“How’s nine?” Shawn pressed them for a commitment.
Christie’s eyes pleaded with Scotty to accept.
“Why not. But Cupid we better go to your apartment now.”
“Yes I agree. Nice meeting you Shawn.”
“The pleasure has all been mine.” Shawn stood up. His eyes sparkled glancing at Scotty. He leaned forward as if to kiss but Scotty hugged him.
Christie did accept Shawn’s romantic gesture.
“Why are you matchmaking me?” Scotty asked in the taxi.