In this week's Moving Forward, Marshall and Lee are standing on the Observation Deck, as the cruise ship leaves Galveston. They enter into a conversation with a man standing near them. Find out if it's a friendly exchange or not in this week's episode. Then check out the other Briefers and see what they're up to! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!
Moving Forward #28 (7.2)
“You’re not cold, are you?” Lee asked.
“No, not a bit,” Marshall assured him. How could he be, here in Lee’s embrace? Men were in motion all about them, he noticed, some watching the slowly receding lights of Galveston, others focused on scoping out the other men, like shoppers at a gay supermarket. Dustin wasn’t the only man on the prowl on this cruise. Marshall was glad he wasn’t in their situation. He knew in his heart he had the best man there was. That thought produced a smile.
A latecomer made his way to the rail beside them, staring out across the water. “I almost missed this,” he said aloud. “That’s what I get for not owning a watch.”
Marshall hadn’t meant to eavesdrop, but he was standing right there, and he couldn’t help but laugh at the man’s comment. “Don’t feel bad. I don’t own one either,” he said. “That’s why they make cell phones, isn’t it?”
Lee snorted. Marshall had expected no less. “You better hope you don’t end up in the middle of nowhere, with no cell phone coverage. What would you do then? Use the position of the sun and stars? That I’d like to see.”
“Then I’d just ask you what time it was,” Marshall retorted without missing a beat. “Since we’re always together, I don’t see a problem there, do you?”
“So ultimately you still need a watch,” Lee said. “Just not on your own wrist.”
The stranger laughed, and Marshall couldn’t keep from grinning. Encouraged, he continued. “I guess that might be one of your more useful functions,” he joked. “Timekeeper.”
“So that’s why you keep me around. I was wondering,” Lee teased. Before Marshall could respond, he pulled him into a kiss, and anything he’d been about to say flew from Marshall’s head.
“Hey, I know you two!” the stranger suddenly exclaimed.
Marshall turned toward him apprehensively. Had that stupid YouTube video come back to haunt them?
“I have the cabin right across from yours,” he went on. “We ran into each other a little while ago.”
Marshall remembered him now. He and Lee’d put on quite the show on their way to their cabin. But at least that was better than being Internet-famous.
“My name’s Roger, by the way.” The man held out his hand toward them.
Lee responded first.“I’m Lee,” he said, taking the man’s hand, “and this is Marshall.”
Marshall shook his hand in turn. “Nice to meet you.”
“Likewise,” Roger said. “It’s so exciting, isn’t it? I mean, being on a gay cruise. Or any cruise, to be honest.”
“This your first cruise? Ours too,” Lee said.
As he spoke, Marshall took more notice of their neighbor. He was older than Marshall, but younger than Lee. Maybe thirty or so, but a youthful thirty. Sandy hair and freckles. Kind of looked like the boy next door.
“Yeah, first time ever,” Roger confirmed. “I kept waiting for the perfect man to spend a cruise with, but then I realized I might wait all my life and never meet him. And I figured out I don’t need anyone else to have fun. So here I am.”
“Good for you,” Lee said. “No reason you can’t make your own fun.”
“That’s for sure. And I can make new friends along the way.” He flashed them a big grin. “By the way, I think you guys look so natural together, if you don’t mind my saying so. I envy that. Maybe someday I’ll find that too.”
“If you want it, I’m sure you will,” Marshall said. “And no, we don’t mind you saying so.” He returned Roger’s grin with a smile of his own.
“You have one of those rooms with a view, don’t you?” Roger asked. “I couldn’t quite swing that. Did yours come with a hot tub? I noticed in the brochure that some of them do.”
“Yep, Lee got us a hot tub,” Marshall said. “Damn nice one.”
“I bet, I bet,” Roger said. “I imagine it would be a lot of fun to sit there in all that lovely hot water and look out over the ocean. I’m going to have to try that next time.”
“I bet it will be,” Marshall agreed. Well, technically, that’s not what they’d been doing in the hot tub the first time. In fact, he could honestly say he hadn’t noticed any of the scenic view beyond Lee’s beautiful body.
“The food on the ship’s pretty good,” Roger commented. “And there’s plenty of it, too. A friend warned me that I could gain a lot of weight if I don’t watch it.” He patted his flat stomach. “I told him I’d take that chance.” He laughed, and Marshall and Lee joined in.
“Hey, would you guys like to get a drink? There’s plenty of bars on this ship, I’ve noticed. And music for every taste. What do you say?”
Lee and Marshall exchanged glances. Lee’s look was more questioning than anything, and Marshall realized it was his decision. The question was did he think this guy was another Dustin, and did they want to avoid other people for the duration of the cruise just on the chance he might be?
The answer was a resounding hell no. He gave a slight nod to Lee, allowing him to take the lead as he wished.
“Sounds like a great idea. Have a particular bar in mind?”
“There’s one on the next deck down that has some jazz. How does that sound?”
“Works for me,” Lee said, and Marshall chimed in with, “We like jazz just fine.”
“Good, glad to hear it. Listen, I don’t mean to be a pest or anything, and get in the way of your plans or anything. So don’t worry about me being the guy who just drops in unannounced. That’s not me, I promise.”
“Good to know,” Lee said with a smile. “Let’s find that bar.”
to be continued
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