In Plain Sight
An excerpt from the short story by Josh Lanyon
Nash did not believe in love at first sight.
He wasn't sure he believed in love at all. He believed in lust. He believed in sex. He believed in a lot of things. Friendship, companionship, partnership. But none of those things worked long distance. And two thousand miles was, by any reckoning, long distance.
So there really wasn't any option here. He had come to Bear Lake County, Idaho, to conduct a road school, a week-long, compressed FBI training course on everything from behavioral psychology to community relations for the local police department. He'd tacked on another two days because... because he hadn't wanted to leave. But time was up and Nash was on his way home to Quantico. Or he would be in a couple of minutes. In a couple of minutes he'd board his plane. They were announcing the boarding for Flight 2359 right now.
But first he had to say goodbye.
He looked at Glen -- Lt. Glen Harlow of the Montpelier Police Department -- and Glen, seeming to feel his gaze, looked up and stared right back at Nash. His eyes were the color of smoke or a stormy sky. He didn't smile. The corner of his mouth twitched, but it wasn't a smile. Wasn't even a real try at a smile. They had smiled about a lot of things during the past week, laughed more than Nash could remember laughing in years. But there was nothing to laugh about now.
Glen went back to staring at the electronic board listing the incoming and outgoing flights. Everybody was arriving and departing right on time. Everything working the way it was supposed to work.
For a second Nash let himself look, really look, at Glen. What did it matter now? He could look as much as he liked -- and he did like. He liked the way Glen's brown hair curled just a bit behind his ears no matter how hard he tried to keep it slicked down. He liked the straight, chiseled perfection of Glen's nose. He liked his wide, thin mouth and the way it turned down at the corner when Glen was trying not to laugh. He liked the sound of Glen's laugh and the color of Glen's eyes and the taste of his mouth. Hell, he didn't even mind the fact that Glen wore Old Spice aftershave. In fact, he was probably never going to smell Old Spice again and not remember Glen.
"Now boarding all passengers for Delta Flight 2359," announced the blurred voice overhead.
Glen looked at Nash again, and Nash felt the dark unhappiness in Glen's eyes like someone reached into his chest and rearranged his internal organs, turned his stomach upside down, shoved his heart into a cramped and painful corner where it had no room to beat.
He almost said it aloud, but Glen hadn't said a word. Neither of them was going to say a word because what words could they say? It was impossible. It was ridiculous.
It wasn't... real.
No, that wasn't right. Wasn't fair. It was real enough. It had been real from the minute he'd stepped off the plane a week ago and found Glen, tall, dark and serious, waiting for him in this very same airport lounge.
What did you call that kind of instant connection? It was just another kind of gut instinct, right?
The road schools were different from the typical, often territorial interactions between local law enforcement and the Bureau. Police and sheriff departments welcomed, even vied for the privilege of having Nash and his fellow special agents share their National Academy training. So long as you knew your stuff -- and Nash knew his stuff -- you could count on an engaged and enthusiastic audience. It wasn't a surprise that the nine-person police force of Montpelier had been delighted to have training from the FBI; the surprise had been Glen. The surprise had been Nash's reaction to Glen.
From the first minute they'd met, there had been that... affinity. As much as Nash knew about behavioral science, he couldn't explain that powerful and immediate rapport. It wasn't just chemistry or sexual tension. He wasn't unused to encountering either of those things, being a healthy, single, experienced male -- even in the aggressively heterosexual milieu of law enforcement . But this had been something more. Something new, something unexpected, something exceptional. Rapport. Yes, that was it. Rapport.
And suddenly, for the first time in his life, Nash hated goodbyes.
Glen drew in a harsh breath. "Well... "
Nash said around the obstruction in his throat, "If you ever want a personal tour of Quantico... "
"If you ever want to go fishing for steelhead... "
That had been the official excuse for staying the extra days. Idaho had some of the best fishing in the West. They never had got around to fishing, though. Nash didn't even like fishing.
And Glen had never been out of Idaho.
So this was goodbye.
A public goodbye. Well, they had already had their private goodbye, not that they had said goodbye. But it had been quiet and tender when they had made l--the second time that afternoon.
Nash shifted his safari bag to his left hand, offered his right. Glen took his hand, his own grip hard, tight. They held on too long, and then they both laughed. Nash could hear the shakiness in his own voice.
"Fuck this," he muttered, and slung an arm around Glen's shoulders, pulling him close. For an instant they held each other and then Nash pulled free and walked away.
He didn't dare look back.
Copyright 2000-18, Josh Lanyon.
All rights reserved.