Literary Nymphs Interview
Title: First Impressions
Author: Christopher Koehler
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: m/m contemporary
Release Date: 4/16/12
What inspired the story?
I realized one day that my life as a member of a LGBT running and walking club in Sacramento bore a startling resemblance to a Jane Austen novel: it was a small, closed community in which we spent our time in a constant whirl of socializing and what amounted to bride-finding balls, we all knew each other's business, we all wanted the same thing (a husband), and one wrong step meant social suicide. Actually, I was and am married, which meant my husband and I played the role of Elizabeth Bennet's aunt and uncle, the Gardiners, but you get the gist.
Cameron jogged back down the beach back to the house that was the victim of the Thanksgiving Ass-travaganza slowly. He felt calmer, even if he knew he had to be on his guard all weekend. Perils lurked around every corner, anything from drug-addled friends and other hangers-on of a dissolute drag queen to Henry Hughes. He wondered how he’d make it through the weekend.
But as he climbed the stairs, he knew that he would. He grabbed two bottles of water from the fridge in the outdoor kitchen, sucking one down right there. The second he took with him as he went to stretch out. He put one heel up on the railing around the patio to give himself a good stretch, reaching toward that foot with the opposite hand to work the kinks out of his back. First one side, then other. He felt the remaining tension flow out of his body.
That was why Cameron ran. It felt great when he stopped.
He stood up, turning around to balance on a nearby table so he could stretch his quads…and looked right into the burning eyes of Henry Hughes. Henry stood at the glass doors, not even attempting to pretend he wasn’t staring.
Cameron flushed and turned away, but before he had, he noticed Henry’s mouth hung open a little. Cameron looked over the railing to the beach below, but couldn’t figure out what the man’s problem was.
Then he glanced down. Oh. He wore skimpy shorts that left very little to the imagination and nothing else. He was about to pull on his sweaty hoodie, but then another idea cross his path.
Pretending he hadn’t noticed the other man eye-fucking him, Cameron reached up and stretched, pushing his chest up and out. As his arms came down, he circled one hand lazily around a nipple.
He heard a glass shatter inside and knew his work was done.
Cameron opened the glass door and pushed his way past a stunned Henry with a breathy, “Excuse me, can I get by?”
Henry gulped and stood aside as Cameron brushed past, far closer than really necessary to avoid a puddle of glass-studded orange juice. Smiling to himself, he went upstairs in search of his room without even a backward glance.
As soon as he reached his bedroom, Cameron slid down the door, laughing helplessly. He’d never done anything like that before, nothing so shameless, but the look on Henry’s face? That made it worth it.
His giggle tapered off. Henry. He admitted—finally—that his feelings about Henry were complicated. If Henry had made a better showing when they first met, they might well be in a relationship by now. He also knew it was time to stop pretending he wasn’t attracted to him. As purely a physical specimen, Henry rang his chime like he was the bell tower at Westminster Abbey. At the Boo Bash earlier that fall, Henry had felt like such a solid, reassuring wall of man that Cameron had relaxed in spite of himself. He knew he’d be safe under those arms, and the man just as obviously found him attractive, at least based on that little spectacle after his run. The thought of being desired like that was a powerful one, and he fought not to respond in kind.
Cameron rested his head in his hands as the endorphins from his run crashed. No matter how hard he got for Henry, he just couldn’t get past how he was treated when they first met. A first impression like that should’ve been an only impression, but for some reason he and Henry were thrown together at every turn. He was pretty sure friends were up to something they way they kept shoving him in Henry's way, but he couldn’t figure out what or how they might’ve arranged this weekend.
But damn, Henry had looked at him like he was starving and Cameron was an all-you-can-eat buffet. Cameron found that hard to resist.
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