Leon, a shy, self-effacing business student at the University of Newcastle, starts to visit coma patient Travis ‘Rook’ Rookford, a heterosexual student who gets gay bashed by a group of bogans. At the hospital he meets, falls in love with, and has a lovers tiff with hunky male nurse Warrick, in that order. Then, when Rook finally wakes up, Leon is surprised to find Rook convinced that he and Leon are dating. In the midst of dealing with loving a man in conservative regional Australia, Rook’s upcoming court appearance and his own studies, Leon has to come to terms with what he wants, and gets to find out whether every gay man’s dream of having a hot straight guy fall for you is everything it’s cracked up to be. And he hasn’t even started Christmas shopping yet.
“Join me for a coffee, Leon?” Warrick asked, poking his head into the room.
Leon looked up from his notes on Giffen goods9 and smiled. “Again? Is it break time already?” he asked with a grin.
Warrick shrugged, and for a moment Leon was distracted by the play of muscle moving against muscle in the nurse’s shoulders.
“Sorry. What?” he said, when it dawned on him that Warrick was waiting for an answer.
“I said it is for those of us on duty,” Warrick said with a grin.
Leon grimaced and held up his text book “I want to, but I should really finish the chapter.”
“You know, medically, it’s good for your brain if you take a break every now and again.”
“I seem to recall you’ve said that before.”
“The truth bears repeating.” Warrick said solemnly. “And I could really use the company.”
“Oh, all right,” Leon said, closing his notebook and putting it away in his backpack. “Cafeteria?”
“Unless you fancy taking a bus back to the old CBD for something better.”
“Personally, I do,” Leon said as he and Warrick exited the room and headed down the corridor, “but that would make you late for work, wouldn’t it?”
Warrick smiled and checked the hallway before leaning in toward Leon. “Actually, I think that would be worth it to have some more time with you,” he said, his voice low.
Leon peeked up at the other man shyly. “Yeah?”
“Why do you always sound so surprised when I say something like that?” Warrick asked.
Leon shrugged. “You always surprise me.”
“That wasn’t an answer.”
“Fine,” Leon said. “Why me?”
Leon had gone a few steps down the stairs before he realized Warrick wasn’t with him. Turning, he paused and looked back up to where the other man stood, his face open and wondering.
“Haven’t you looked at yourself?” Warrick asked, his brow furrowing.
“Daily in the mirror when I shave, yeah. You can almost count my ribs. Every time I go for a checkup, I get asked if I’ve got an eating disorder.”
“Okay, so you’re slender,” Warrick said. “That’s not what I meant.”
“And what exactly did you mean?”
“You….” Warrick glanced up the stairs and hurried to join Leon, and Leon saw a doctor walk down the corridor they had just vacated. “How many other people bothered to come in and say thanks to Travis?” he asked in a lower voice. “I can tell you the answer right now, and that’s none.”
Leon stopped and stared at the larger man carefully, his eyes searching Warrick’s face.
“What?” Warrick asked.
“You really mean that, don’t you?”
“Okay? I just bared my soul to you and you say ‘okay’?”
“Well, I didn’t think you—I mean, I wasn’t sure if you were… serious.”
“I am, all right?” Warrick said, his voice tinged with exasperation. “So… now with that out of the way, you still up for coffee?”
Leon grinned and started down the stairs again. “Definitely,” he said.
9 A Giffen good is a rare product that people buy more of as its price increases, the traditional example being potatoes during the Irish potato famine. Of course, a more modern example would be Apple’s latest iPhone or One Direction concert tickets.
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