dontravis.com blog post #558
This week, I’m opting for a repost from May 2016. The following story is essentially lifted from my novel, The Zozobra Incident, except it is told from the viewpoint of Paul Barton, who becomes the significant other of B. J. Vinson, gay former marine, ex-Albuquerque cop turned confidential investigator. Actually, you might say it is from the viewpoint of Pedro, the small, tattooed dragon with a death-grip on one of Paul’s nipples.
From his high perch, Pedro the Dragon’s lidless eyes seemed fixed on the man in swimming trunks lying on a poolside lounge. Good build, and probably handsome when viewed up close. He knew his owner watched the man as well. The brown nipple Pedro held in the talons of one clawed foot stiffened and puckered, a subtle but sure sign of interest.
Paul sat in the tall lifeguard’s chair at the North Valley Country Club and watched the man basking in the early morning sun. At this hour, they were the only two individuals at the swimming pool. Even though Paul was new to the club, he knew the man had an interesting history. B. J. Vinson—no one could tell him what the initials stood for—had once been a US Marine and then an Albuquerque Police detective before becoming a private eye. Intriguing.
But no more so than the man, himself. Strange colored hair… mocha he’d heard it called. Eyes as green as a polished Granny Smith apple. Chiseled features; handsome but not pretty. Lean and athletic. Good, tanned skin without blemish except for one scar on the inside of the left thigh. Scuttlebutt held that was from a gunshot wound Vinson got back when he was a policeman.
Although aware they were alone, Paul involuntarily glanced around to see if anyone noticed he was taking too much notice of a nearly naked man. Where he came from—Albuquerque’s south valley—interest like that would earn a guy a beating or worse. The thought startled him. Interest like that? Well, he couldn’t deny it. He felt the small, tattooed dragon on his left pec squeezing his nipple, making it stand up. And tingle. Pedro often set off so many nerve endings that it became embarrassing for Paul to stand up in polite society.
To avoid that eventuality, he climbed down from his elevated chair and snared a floating candy wrapper with a telescoping aluminum pole equipped with a leaf net.
“Kids,” he muttered softly with half an eye on the other man. The aroma of summer roses climbing the club’s adobe wall battled the odor of chlorine from the pool, distracting him for a moment.
Vinson reached for a glass beside the lounge and missed, spilling what appeared to be orange juice.
Paul dropped the skimmer and picked up the glass, holding it out. “Can I get you another?” Pedro gave a yank on Paul’s nipple when he noticed those fascinating green eyes studying the tiny tattoo.
“No, thanks. Nothing left but ice cubes, anyway.”
Pedro about went crazy at the sound of the deep baritone.
“But I appreciate your offer, uh….”
“Paul. Paul Barton.”
He noticed the slight hesitation but decided not to enlighten the man. Aware he was a mixture of Hispanic and Anglo blood, he often got that reaction to his last name. But his mother had been the Latina; his father the Anglo. “Anytime,” he muttered as his eyes wandered the man’s lanky form, halting without intention on the purple scar.
“Bullet wound,” Vinson said.
“Damn, I’ll bet that hurt.”
“Like you wouldn’t believe. That’s why I swim early in the morning. Therapy.”
“Swimming’s the best exercise in the world.” Paul felt his cheeks burn as he revealed himself as a dyed-in-the-wool water bug. He glanced down at his tight trunks. Well, dyed-in-spandex, anyway.
His cell phone piped “Dixie” on a nearby table. He eyed the other man as he answered the call. Jill Hardwick asked what time he got off work and suggested they go to a movie that evening. He told her “five” and said he had plans. As he finished the call, Vinson tossed him a wave and disappeared into the locker room. Pedro gave a final squeeze to Paul’s nipple, making him wish he could follow the detective to the showers. “Sorry, Pedro,” he mumbled. “Can’t think of a logical excuse.
By five-thirty, Paul felt foolish hanging around outside the club’s Moorish gate. He’d misread the situation… badly. BJ Vinson, PI, probably hadn’t given him a second thought once he left poolside. But Paul—as well as Pedro—had had sensed a strong connection with the attractive detective. Looked like they were both wrong.
Just as he started walking to the employee’s parking lot, a white Impala swung to the curb and stopped. The hunky detective rolled down the window and leaned across the seat. Without exchanging a word, Paul hopped into the passenger’s seat as Pedro did his thing beneath the tight polo shirt. Feeling the need to say something, Paul went trite.
“Hi, Mr. Vinson.”
“Call me BJ or Vince. The Vince comes from Vinson.”
“What do most people call you?”
“Okay, then I’ll call you Vince. At least when nobody’s around.”
“Where can I drop you?” Vince asked with a smile.
Paul’s grin almost split his lips. “Wherever you’re going is okay by me.”
Pedro must have approved because the inky claw spasmed, squeezing Paul’s tit almost painfully.
The story stirred a feeling of nostalgia in my worn breast. Hope you enjoyed it.
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