Hot In Here

By: Sami Lee

The night was sultry, and the air inside the Sovereign Hotel was thick. Scores of bodies pressed together, giving off the kind of electric chemistry that usually ended with at least one patron picking a fight and consequently getting thrown out of the establishment. Others would wind up going home together.

Most nights, one of those people taking someone new home would have been Leo Chatfield. But tonight, despite the kinetic energy in the air and the endless possibilities the Friday night crowd presented, Leo wasn’t feeling it. Truth be told, he had been growing tired of casual sex for a while now. He wanted something else, something more. Lately, he’d been yearning for someone to laugh with, someone who’d stay beside him all night and wake up next to him in the morning. Someone he could really care about.

In short, at the age of twenty eight, Leo had decided he wanted a girlfriend. He just didn’t know how he was going to tell Blair Bowman that.

“Your shout next time, Chats.” The man in question returned from the bar and handed Leo a chilled bottle of beer. “Don’t think I should show my face at the bar again.”

“What did you do?”

Blair winced and gave an exaggerated shudder. “Michelle’s working.”

Leo groaned. “I thought she moved to the Sunshine Coast.”

“Didn’t work out there, I guess. You’d think the distance would have given her some perspective, but apparently, she still hates me.”

“Blue.” Everyone at the Ashton Heights fire station called Blair Blue most of the time. “You told her she was too needy and that her desperate aura was a turn off.”

“Well, it was. One night means one night. We were both really clear with her about that,” Blair reminded him. “Why do some women not understand casual?”

“Sometimes the heart doesn’t agree with the head. I think Michelle liked you more than she let on.”

“Me?” Blair raised a skeptical brow. “It’s not me they like, Chats. It’s you.”

Leo shook his head and went back to watching the game of pool in front of him. He’d already placed a gold coin on the edge of the table, claiming it for the next game. Unfortunately, the two guys currently locked in battle sucked at aiming, and shooting, and sinking balls—so basically they sucked at the entire game of pool. It felt to Leo like he’d been waiting forever and he was itching to do something.

Something other than rehash an old discussion with Blair. Leo took a swig of his beer and told himself to drop it. He couldn’t seem to. “Women would like you more if you didn’t go out of your way to shut them out.”

“This again,” Blair scoffed. “I’m not shutting anyone out. I’m just not interested in happily ever after. No, more to the point, I don’t believe in it. I don’t want to lead anyone on, and I didn’t lead Michelle on. We were both straight up with her. What kind of woman goes to bed with two guys and thinks that’s going to lead to something serious?”

Leo thought of his colleague Steve and the rumors that had gone around the fire station of how he had really hooked up with his girlfriend, Pam. Scuttlebutt was their relationship had started with a threesome between Steve, Pam and another firefighter. Leo had always suspected his housemate, Rob McConnell, but Rob had refused to confirm or deny, and Leo had left it at that.

He thought of another firefighter, Corey Wachawski. He was openly bisexual and lived in a triad relationship with Dale Griffin and Erica Shannon. The three of them were tight, and Erica was pregnant now. Since he’d found out he was going to be a daddy, Corey had been walking around like he’d invented the Post-it note, all smiles like he was worth a trillion bucks.

Leo took another swig of his drink, that unsettling itch bugging him again. Everyone seemed to be moving on, growing up, getting serious. Everyone except him. And Blair, of course. The two of them seemed to be stuck on a merry-go-round, or was it stuck in a revolving door? They picked up a lot of girls—it was amazing how many were intrigued by the idea of a three way with two healthy young firemen—had awesome sex and parted ways with said girls the next day. It was a habit he and Blair had fallen in to when they’d started working together a couple of years ago. Blair was open about the fact he didn’t want to get serious, and at the time, Leo had felt the same way.