...“How about you buy the next round if you like the first one okay.” Cord waved two fingers at the bartender. “I’ll let you pick the table.”
Payton spotted a booth along the far wall. When he slipped in, he felt better in the shadows. When had not being seen become such a priority?
“Drown your troubles in that.” Cord slid a pint of golden beer across the table as he sat opposite Payton. “Local brew, doesn’t make it far from here because we drink it all.”
Payton could see why, it was fantastic. He was parched.
“Though we’d drink anything up here when the weather’s bad. Not much else to do when you’re single. If you’re not, of course, you can fight to keep busy.”
“Of course.” The way Cord was here with him, Payton guessed he had to be single himself.
Payton supposed he was single, too, now that his illusions had been trampled. Besides, he deserved to live without the guilt he’d been carrying. He had many excuses but they never kept him from feeling miserable when he thought about what he was doing with Dominic. He needed to be done with this.
“Of course, there’s talented and fortunate folks who can do both.” Cord drained half his beer like tossing back a shot and relaxed with a sigh. “Damn my rule about no alcohol on trips. I could sure use some with the types I’ve had lately. Maybe just none for clients.”
“What kind of trips?”
“Canoes, backpacking, kayaks. Any time someone wants help getting lost up here and getting back in a timely manner, I take them. It’s usually a bunch of yahoos with shiny gear and gadgets who are horrified that being out here is actual work.” Cord took another drink. “Too much money, not enough sense.”
“Man, I haven’t been out in a canoe in…” Payton stopped. The last time he’d gone canoeing had been just before he met Dominic. “A long time.” He promptly took a long drink.
“Maybe you should change that while you’re up here. If you don’t have any plans.”
Why not? He didn’t have any plans. And he missed doing things he liked to do, things outdoors.
“Yeah. I should.” While he was at it, he should go all in. “You said you’ve got a few days off. Any interest in spending some of it on me?”
“Sure thing. I can introduce you to a few folks around the Camp’n’Lodge, too.” Cord drained his glass, then waved at the bar for another round. “You’ll have a lot to do in no time.”
“Sounds great.” Payton wanted to enjoy his vacation, since he was stuck with it. Another beer with a hot, friendly guy was a fantastic start. He fished his wallet from his back pocket. “Let me get this round.”
“I won’t say no.” Cord leaned back in his seat to stretch, pulling his soft, thin shirt tight over his broad chest and arms. “Beer always restores my faith in humanity—and my tolerance for it.” He winked at Payton...