[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/OpZA0xq.png?1]][size12 The boy named Sue wasn't tough and mean like the leather jacket he wore might indicate. In fact, he seemed to be a bubble of jovial energy! A regular Dionysus, one might say. It only made him stick out more as he leaned over the bar counter, a bit out of place by his appearance alone in the slightly higher class establishment. Still, he was allowed to drink there seeing as he tempted there every so often. Sometimes it was bar backing, occasionally it was bartending, and during one chaotic bachelor party, he even did some bouncer work. Even now, Sue could barely recall how he ended up in that position... but it worked out in his favour. The point was, he tempted her frequently enough that the owner often let him stick around to drink so long as he didn't "disrupt the atmosphere" too much. Whatever vibe Phillip was shooting for went over Sue's head, though.
It was Friday after all! Drunk business men and high-class professionals were enjoying their upcoming weekend by trashing themselves into a miserable hangover. Nothing more entertaining to Susan than watching the older gentlemen regress from classy adults to more free-spirited people.
It was busy enough that Sue couldn't track the employees he normally chatted with during his little visits to the establishment. Instead of getting in between a lawyer and his scotch instead, however, he occupied a stool at the far end of the bar and, for once, calmed himself just enough to people watch. This wasn't a common place activity for him, seeing as sitting still wasn't an easy task for the chaotic man, but there was a strong enough reason that he seemed to settle down just enough to observe for once in his life.
See... the week had been shit. First, two of his agencies came up consistently dry that week, meaning he was going to have a smaller than average check to contend with. Sure, he would ultimately survive, but he never liked having a tight budget when a few other things in his life were already strained. Of course, he meant his parents. His mother had taken off again months ago, and she hadn't even called to try and check in yet. Normally, the woman would pick up the phone once a month so Sue knew she wasn't dead, but it had been a while, and he was started to get worried. Then his father had taken a rough fall off a ladder, breaking his arm and ending up crotchety. Sue's unending desire to just [i do stuff] was obviously from him, as Marshall Nichols groused about "feeling lazy" day in and day out while he was on the mend.
To top it off, the few jobs that did come through were not his favourite... but that was a complaint for a different day. The main thing to remember in Susan's case was that he needed to blow off some steam, and in a joint like this, he couldn't just hop into the lap of the first person who suited his taste visually. He had to actually be charming. Especially charming, seeing as he wasn't dressed to fit in that day. His leather jacket was open to show the paint-stained band t-shirt he wore, and his jeans hung a little loose on his hips, showing that fashion wasn't always the first thing he thought of.
A young woman tending the bar slid a glass toward him. [b "What is that, Amber?"] Sue asked the gal, a look of curiosity on his face. [b "It's on the house, is what it is,"] she said with a sympathetic smile. The girl had heard all about his woes before the busy evening kicked in. [b "I got permission from Phillip before he went back into the office. Are you sure you don't want to help tonight? You'll probably get some great tips, and I think Lyle left his uniform in the back again."] Sue shook his head with a look of disgust as he sipped at the whiskey Amber had served him. [b "Naw. Lyle's uniform is big on me anyway. Just... have Phillip text me tomorrow. I'll probably do it then."]
Amber gave him a little wink before going to serve the next bar patron, leaving Sue once again to stew and contemplate his approach.]
[center Matthias was known as many a thing. He was arrogant. He was salacious. He was a workaholic. While the man did not choose to outright contest these descriptions, Mathias thought they were amusing. He did think that they all had some truth to them anyway. Yes, he was busy as all hell. But the wild schedule came with the territory of working in healthcare. He loved his work as an orthopedic surgeon, but it truly did rule his life sometimes. It had its downsides, of course. But the role and title endowed him with many privileges as well. Matt had always been ‘well off’ as some would describe. And with his work he had seen many a case where patients who were of less fortunate backgrounds. This fueled Matthias’ desire to give back to those who needed the help most. Yes, the man had a bit of an ego. But the doctor felt great knowing that he could donate to foundations and social causes he was passionate to promote medical research, financial relief, things of that nature.]
[center But none of that was on Matt’s mind at the moment. He was preoccupied with the squad of local friends he was spending time with at a particular establishment that came to him as highly recommended. The male had come all of the way from Austria to the States for a conference regarding his sub-specialty of spinal surgery. And while the people he surrounded himself with were friends, most of them were also people he messed around with in one way or another when in the area. Matthias did travel quite often, but this did not stop him from bedding just about whoever he wanted whenever he wanted. He had needs! So, Matthias figured that why should he deprive himself especially when he poured so much of his time and energy into his work? He was never scared to approach a man he may had been interested in either. Sometimes he was not always as smooth as he had wished, but the Austrian was typically confident with his approach.]
[center As he and his friends shared drinks, they found themselves both flirting amongst themselves and with other patrons of the establishment. But at some point Matthias found himself getting up to visit the bar for another drink. He was initially confused when he saw a male lingering at the bar because the other appeared to stick out aesthetically from the rest. Other patrons, including Matthias himself, were mostly dressed in business professional attire. And this person was dressed so casually? It did not make sense when thinking about the atmosphere and clientele of the whole place. But Matthias was not going to harp on it.]
[center He turned his attention to the woman behind the bar. [b “Good evening, sweets! If I could get another draft beer, I would appreciate it.”] Matthias spoke, sliding her some cash for the trouble. He had an open tab, but he was not going to be a dick to the people taking care of him and his friends while they were there. The Austrian then glanced over to the man next to him for a moment. [b “And also a shot of whiskey for the gentleman.,”] Matthias started before looking back at Sue, [b “You look like you could use it.”] Upon receiving his newest beer, the male took a sip of the drink. [b “I’m Matthias. Who might you be?”] he inquired with an arched brow. While the other certainly looked delicious in his own way, but Matthias did not think of himself as being above just chatting. Besides, the other man looked like he needed company that was not his own anyway…]
[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/OpZA0xq.png?1]][size12 Amber gave the man a wink as she accepted the tip. [b "For you? I'll give you the moon and stars."] She waggled her brows playfully at Sue as she departed, leaving the young man to feel some relief that he wouldn't have to approach anyone this round. He leaned in a bit and wondered the best form of conversation to charm this handsome man into the sake... And, of course, Sue immediately ditched this line of thought. He was not a young man who liked to wait or test the waters first.
[b "I have a policy to never share my first name unless it's first thing in the morning,"] Susan informed him. [b "Keeps people from running off."] He grinned and took the glass that Amber held out for him. She had also placed the draft next to Matthias before sneaking away again, leaving the men to chat without her hovering. Sue would have to thank her for that when he came in the next night. [b "But you're right. I did need a drink."] Sue sipped the alcohol this time, enjoying the flavour and heat. He glanced at the crowd that he had seen the man with initially. [b "It looks like you're having a better time, though. You'll have to show me how it's done."]
Ah yes. Sue lacked subtlety. Or perhaps he simply had a disdain for it. Why gently tiptoe around the subject when it was far more effective to step on its toes? The man made him curious, though. Past the pretty face, he had a light accent. Definitely not local. Also... he spoke to Sue in general. In a dive, this made sense. Susan fit in with bar hoppers that stuck downtown, away from the glitzy areas. Here, though, Sue was self-aware enough to know this approach had to be impulsive. So what impulse was Matthias acting on?
[b "Tell me where you're from,"] Sue playfully demanded. This was not a question, but it wouldn't offend him if he didn't get an answer.
[center Matthias raised a brow at the woman’s statement, a laughing escaping from his lips. [b “Oh, you’re far too kind to me, love.”] the male responded with a flirtatious wink. While women may not have been his type of rodeo, Matthias was not an asshole. He was just a naturally amorous person. The Austrian simply would never sleep with a woman. The male standing next to Matthias, while unexpected, certainly caught his attention. And it seemed like the other had a hint of attitude based on the response to being asked for his name. This was going to be interesting in Matt’s opinion.]
[center Shifting his attention back to the other man Matthias huffed with a smirk. [b “Are you trying to solicit me for sexual favors, sir? I will have you know that I am not that simple of a man.”] the doctor rolled his eyes before taking a sip of his beer. He loved a sense of humor with any person. But the sass amused him. [b “Unless you have the name of some serial killer, I think it is quite alright. But that’s just me.”] Matthias shrugged. He then gazed over at his friends who were all very much having fun amongst themselves with their drinks and stories. [b “I mean, work gossip is pretty juicy as they say. It does get properly raunchy after a while.”] Matthias chuckled a bit. He loved his friends dearly. There really was never a dull moment between them when they all convened for a night of social drinking like this.]
[center He then stopped for a split second when the other demanded to know where he was from. Matthias leaned in ever so slightly, looking Susan dead in the eye. [b “That’s real bold of you to ask when you won’t tell me your name. Perhaps that will be the mystery I leave for you till the morning after.”] Matthias teased. [b “Until then I will entertain any guesses that you may have. I would love to hear them.”] the man added before swirling around the whisky in his glass, gazing at it in contemplation. [b “But how about we regroup with my friends? I’m sure they’d appreciate the extra company.”] Matthias suggested before carefully guiding the other back towards the area of the club that his posse were relaxing, drinking, and chatting it up as they normally did.]
[center The other men were boisterous and exploding with laughter while Matthias reapproached the fold. But when his friends saw that the Austrian acquired a new companion they raised a brow but raised their glasses to greet and welcome Sue into their ranks. Matthias took a seat on one of the couches that had empty space, patting the spot beside him for his new American acquaintance to join him. [#900 “I’m Simon, what’s your name, my good man?”] One of the men piped up. But Matthias quickly shook his head. [b “I have tried to inquire, but he insists that it be a mystery.”] A chorus of ‘Oooh’s sounded off as the men nodded their heads in understanding. [#900 “Matthias is going to try and fuck you to get your name, I hope you’re aware of this now.”] Simon mentioned casually before taking a sip of his beer. This only made Matthias roll his eyes in response. While the other wasn’t exactly wrong in his assertion, the Austrian did not want to force that idea upon his new companion. But, if Susan didn’t mind then neither did Matthias.]
[center [#758BA1 “I mean what can we all expect? Matthias is a man-whore.”] another member of the group shrugged, teasing. To this Matt arched an eyebrow before shaking his head. [b “You all bust my balls like we’re fucking each other. How about we rearrange this attitude,”] Matt started gesturing with his free hand, [b “And enjoy the new company?”] This only elicited a cacophony of snickers and laughter. [#900 [i “Sure. Enjoy the new company, Dr. Riedl.”]] Simon trolled. Looking over at Sue for a moment, Matt pointed towards Simon light. [b “As you can see, I am friends with complete idiots. But somebody has to make sure they don’t accidentally kill themselves.”] Simon had immediately scoffed at this, waving a dismissing hand at Matthias. [#758BA1 “Don’t listen to him, man! Just because I’m not a doctor like his arrogant ass doesn’t mean shit.”]]
[center Matthias honestly could not help but to huff out a sigh. His friends were certainly ridiculous, but he loved them to death regardless. [#758BA1 “But enough of stroking Matthias’ ego. What do you do? Do you live around here?”] Simon asked, curious like the rest of the group…]
[left [pic https://i.imgur.com/OpZA0xq.png?1]][size12 What a tease! Of course, Sue didn't have the name of a serial killer. He only had the name of a girl at the whim of her mother's then obsession with Johnny Cash. At the mention of his compatriot's likely topic of discussion, he smirked. No matter how old someone got, bragging about a conquest still seemed to be pretty normal when out drinking with your friends. How charming. Not that Sue had much against it, but he was uncharacteristically shy in talking about his sexcapades, more concerned for the privacy of his partners than anything else. This didn't stop his ears from burning with curiosity as the man leaned in with his jesting lecture.
[b "It sounds like we have a fair trade,"] Susan pointed out.
His delighted expression looked a bit started at first. Sure, he was enjoying flirting with the man, but he hadn't expected to be invited to join his party's activities. For a moment, Sue was... nervous! He attempted to squash that feeling as he followed Matthias' lead to the occupied corner of the establishment. It was possible the appearance wasn't just for show. It was a barrier, too. He wasn't accustomed to the professional looking men who could talk circles around him on various intelligent topics! After all, it had to be far more likely that they were speaking in clever innuendo and-
Oh nevermind. It appeared as if they were speaking over each other to assume how likely it was that Matthias would bed Susan before the night was out. If Sue had anything to say about it, that would be a certainty.
[b "Good to know he's actually trying to fuck me. After all, we have an agreement."] He leaned on the table with his elbows, drink between his arms. His hands clasped together, and that impish smile returned as he gently leaned his chin on his fist. There was a keen interest in his eye as the men bantered in their good-natured fashion. He felt a bit guilty for intruding, but this was worth leaving his comfortable spot at the bar. [b "I wouldn't say they're idiots,"] Sue disagreed. [b "I'd say they're nice enough to let a stranger sit at their table all to make sure you get laid. Heck, even my friends would bail on me if that were the case."]
Sue shrugged at Simon's gentle prying. [b "I definitely live in town. I work on whatever is the most exciting that day, or at least whatever is the most available job."] There wasn't exactly shame in Sue's explanation, but he did seem to dance around the topic a little. Again, this is a bit unlike him. He simply brushed it off as attempting not to come off as incapable of keeping up with these men. That felt like less of a problem than it initially did, though. [b "I've never liked doing the same thing twice. Keeps me on my toes."] Sue turned his attention to Matthias.
[b "A doctor, huh? What's your specialty?"] Sue flashed back to the few spot jobs he had assisting the intake specialists at a free clinic. Of course, he was effectively a glorified gopher for paperwork, but he learned pretty quick that a lot of doctors were proprietary around what they wanted to specialize in. Of course, a free clinic mostly had general practitioners, but an occasional specialist would pop in as a favour or to simply lend a helping hand and be charitable.
Sue wondered if he had ever unintentionally met this man in passing. It was likely. The free clinic that typically took his help was rather fast-paced, moving through cases efficiently. While working, Susan kept his mind on the job, thus cute doctors were often not at the front of his mind. What a shame too. Dr. Riedl definitely fell into the "cute doctor" category.
[center Simon was definitely the first to snicker at Susan’s response to Matthias trying to bed him. The whole situation was comical to the group. But as funny as it was, none of the men were going to actually try to thwart the Austrian man’s efforts lest they wanted to be the one Matthias slept with instead that night. The male obviously had standards, but when he wanted to fuck that was exactly what he was going to do if someone allowed him to. [#900 “See I like you. You’re actually nice and kind of funny.”] Simon added. But the group of men went back to intently listening to what their newest member had to say. [#900 “That’s nice not being tied down to strictly just one thing, though! Unlike us. We’re either in finance, tech, or medicine. And while I like the innovation in tech, there are times that it’s boring as all hell.”] the rest of the group were nodding sympathetically.]
[center But Matthias’ brows arched up slightly as he was sipping at his drink, being questioned about his own work. [b “Orthopedic surgeon.”] he responded before his friends all started chiming in with their wise cracks, as per usual. [#900 “Because as you see, mysterious new person, Dr. Riedl here is a [i nerd].”] Leading the charge with teasing, the rest all added on with their own jokes. Matthias entertained this with an eyeroll of his own. [b “Says the people who is enveloped by [i math] day in and day out for work. I think you are the real eggheads.”] the Austrian huffed. [#900 “Whatever you say, Dr. Bone Daddy.”] Simon cackled whilst looking at Matthias dead in the eye.]
[center There had been a slight pause within the group as Matthias just stared at Simon. But then the group exploded, howling as Matthias went off in German to swiftly chastise Simon for being a complete dick. [b “Sometimes I swear that work makes me want to have an aneurysm half the time. But you definitely make the list, Simon.”] This only made the other snort. [#900 “You know I strive for excellence.”] the male said with a wink. In the moment Matthias was regretting bringing Susan into the fold. But they were all pretty well and inebriated. That was something that couldn’t be denied. [b “But yes. Orthopedic surgery is what I do. Lots of joint replacements, but I mostly specialize in spinal surgery personally.”] Matthias said to the one sitting beside him, trying to restore some sense of normalcy to the conversation at hand.]
[center [b “Maybe we should just go back to my hotel? I feel like we’re just going to argue all night at this rate. And we can just settle in there?”] Matthias proposed to Sue, while all of his friends were either making kissing noises or some other obscene comments just because the could. [b “Unless you like the audience?”] he jokingly added. While voyeurism wasn’t exactly Matthias’ number one favorite thing, he wasn’t about to argue. So, he wanted to at least give Sue the choice. Hell, even if they didn’t end up sleeping together, Matthias appreciated the company regardless…]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/OpZA0xq.png?1]][size12 This was turning out to be far more fun than he anticipated! Simon was a laugh, Matthias was charming, and everyone was good-natured at least about Sue's intent for being in their little group that night. It wasn't like one-night-stands weren't uncommon in his friend group, but it was an open secret almost, like everyone was still a little nervous about admitting it first. Unless it was Amber. That was half of why Sue liked working with her.
He felt Matthias had a fair point, as math was definitely not as exciting as surgery, but that could also be because Sue wasn't much of an academic. After all, he was a doer. In fact, he was wondering why he wasn't doing something to this charming man next to him. It appeared as though he was being given an invitation to, though. Something Matthias said caught his ear though. An audience... He'd heard Amber say something about that before.
[b "Isn't that a fetish?"] Sue asked, his curiosity peaked. It sounded amusing at least, but he had to admit that he wasn't worldly enough to have a full grasp on it. A moment after the question left his mouth, he felt a warm squeeze on his thigh. [i "It certainly is. I was asking if it was one of your's, however."]
The question was asked right by his ear in a hushed tone, but he felt it crawl under his skin. Matthias had made quite the approach on Sue, causing him to appear flustered for once. So... that was what he meant! It wasn't that the idea of being naughty in front of strangers excited him, but that first touch by Matthias locked him into the certainty that was going to get some tonight. [b "Jesus Christ, we have to go,"] Sue stammered out as he practically dragged the man out of the bar.
Susan hardly noted the hotel that Matthias was staying in, or the time it took them to get into the man's room. It seemed to blur together until clothes were off, and Sue was made unusually speechless by their time together.
And true to his word, in the morning, he picked up a pad and pen and gave Matthias his name:] [center [i Susan Nichols 7862346552]] [size12 Granted, Susan hadn't given the number to Matthias directly. He had left it on the nightstand as he silently dressed and slipped away, aiming not to wake the other man. It wasn't often that Sue shared his number, but for a night like that, it seemed worthwhile.
As soon as he made it down to the lobby, his phone dinged loudly at him, almost angry. Sue checked it and flinched. Six text messages. Six. All from his father. The man never texted unless it was an emergency. Susan sighed and bid his pleasant night goodbye to aid his father with whatever request he had. When he arrived at the tiny appartment his father occupied, it appeared to be a little bit of maintenance, but that was fine. Sue could fix the little things for the man who raised him.
[center The beginnings of a smirk played out upon Matthias’ face as he made it a mission to tease Susan to the ends of the Earth. Feeling the other male squirm under his touch was a sensation that the Austrian relished. And the fact that Sue wanted Matthias as much as he wanted Sue caused a full-blown grin to overtake his features. This was especially so when the American practically dragged him out of the establishment, making haste to get back to the hotel room Matthias was staying in for the time being. And this certainly did not leave the taller man disappointed. In the Austrian man’s opinion, Sue was definitely more vanilla in interests than he was typically used to. But Matthias was not the one to judge. He still had plenty of fun before crashing in the bed for the evening to sleep away any would-be hangover.]
[center The next morning was a blur, honestly. Matthias had felt Sue stir in bed early on, but he had not had the energy to do anything about it outside of mumble and resituate himself for more sleep. Typically, Matt was not a heavy sleeper, but given the amount of alcohol he had consumed the evening before there was not a snowball’s chance in hell that he was getting out of bed before noon time rolled around. Muttering to himself, Matthias eventually did wake up on his own although it was to an empty bed. Taking a second to reorient himself to his surroundings Matt noticed that Sue was not in the room at all. But he did notice a little note neatly presenting itself upon the bedside table. While furrowing his brows Matthias reached over to snatch the paper. It simply read a name and phone number.]
[center Perplexed Matthias wondered if his bed partner the night before was playing games with him. But based on everything they said and did Matthias had decided that there was no reason for Susan to lie about his name. It was an unorthodox choice, sure. But Matt did not care all that much. He was more irked by the fact that he woke up alone than anything else. It was normal at this part in Matt’s life, but it did not make it any less tiring. But he pushed these feelings away from his mind for the time being as he pulled himself out of bed and slinked into the bathroom to freshen up and shower off the sex from his body. It felt good to relax and unwind. Matthias figured that since he had time to kill that he would first hit up the hotel’s spa for a relaxation day with a massage and facial to help buy him time to figure out what else he had to do. While he was in the States for work, the conference he was waiting for was still a few days away.]
[center Throughout the massage he was thinking about the note Susan had left him. Would it be too soon to ask if the other had any free time that day? Matthias stewed on this for a while until it came time to set up for a facial. Requesting some time to put the spa robe and slippers back on Matthias stepped out of the treatment room to make a phone call. He paced lightly as he waited on the ringer. But he huffed when he received a voice mail message.]
[center [b “Good afternoon, Susan. We did indeed have a deal. You held up your end of the bargain. I have more time than I know what to do with today. If you would like, we can meet up and I can show you my passport. Although I am interested in any guesses you might have about my nationality. Be good, Susan. [i Ciao.]”]]
[center If Susan was interested, then great! If not then there wasn’t an awful lot Matthias could do. Although he did know that his friends were going to want every detail about the hookup they witnessed in the flesh back at the bar. But they could wait. Matt was much more interested in having his skin attended to so that regardless of what happened, that he looked and felt his best for going out on the town. Maybe a spot of shopping would do him well. All Matthias knew was that he needed to get something to eat after he was done at the spa…]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/OpZA0xq.png?1]][size12 The "emergency" was a clogged sink. Oh joy... It could have been worse. At least his father didn't go to fix it this time. He was relieved to see his stand-offish father instead leaning on the counter and scowling at the sink like it had insulted Nana Nichols. Sue was a bit amused by the sour look on his father's face. It was easy to forgive considering the man was such a workaholic before his forced retirement. Sue got to work immediately. Sure, he could have just called the landlord, but why wait when he could do basic sink repairs thanks to the grumpy old man he was aiding? While he worked, his father bitched about the horrible insulation and how his body ached from the cold. Sue combatted this with a reminder that he had gotten the man a space heater for Christmas. This was, of course, disputed with the fact that the space heater was [i loud] and [i ugly], which was a laugh to Sue seeing as the man had the most hideous plaid couch that had been there all of Sue's life at least.
And so the two would go, back and forth, an affection in their squabbles as if it was a way to re-energize the both of them. In face, by the time Sue had managed the minor clog in the sink, he felt like he could take on the world! His excitement was halted by his father, though.
[b "Haven't heard from your mother yet. Been a month. You remember where she was going?"] There was a vulnerability in Ronald Nichols voice, something that Susan had only just gotten used to hearing from the old man. He still cared for Abbigail, even after all the heartbreak. How damning for the man... [b "It's been seven weeks... but no. I think it was south, but she said something about Canada a bit after that too, so we'll see..."] Susan sounded just as worried. His mind started to go elsewhere as he cleaned up after his repair. His phone buzzed on the counter, ignored by Susan altogether as collected his suddenly distracted thoughts.
By the time he reached his phone, it had already gone to voicemail. He flipped it open to check the number, his brows knitting together as he saw it was unknown. The message brought up one flood of memories though. The kind that made Sue's face red. That night... It had been [i hot]. He almost felt like there was some kind of restraint from Matthias too, which was tempting to poke at. And here he was being offered yet another chance to poke! How could Sue say no? He glanced at his father. The old man was accepting, but Sue learned long ago not to let his father hear any details outside of "I'm seeing someone". Made the old man jumpy.
[b "Dad I've gotta go,"] he said, holding his phone up. [b "I'm going to meet up with a friend."] There, that was a gentle way to phrase it. His father gave a little shrug and a grunt. [b "Tell me if your mom calls,"] Ronald stated to his son's retreating figure. Sue exited the apartment, doing his best to forget the woman as he dialed back the new number. The moment he heard Matthias' voice on the other end, he smirked.
[b "I guess somewhere in Europe to start,"] he began to the other person. [b "But save the passport for now. Sometimes it's more fun to guess."] Sue bit his lower lip again, once more red-faced as he strolled down the street, avoiding a few pedestrians as he walked so as not to bump into them. [b "So, the name didn't scare you? My mom was obsessed with Johnny Cash for a few years, and I'm an unfortunate by-product of that."]
[center Matthias was in the middle of getting some pores on his nose expressed when he heard his phone go off again. Apologizing to his esthetician he held up his phone so she could take a look at who was calling to let him know who it was since he had cooling patches over his eyes at that moment. When the woman kindly informed him that it was Susan, Matt then requested that she swipe to answer the call and put it on speaker phone so he could carry on the conversation with the man. [b “Oh? Very bold first move there with the guesses, dearest Susan. Your gall impresses me.”] the Austrian chuckled, trying his best to refrain from full out laughter given the proximity the skin specialist was to him. [b “Just so you are aware, I have you on speaker phone because I have some eye patches on right now in a spa. The loveliest esthetician here, Mariposa, was kind enough to answer for me since I am blind for the time being.”] he informed the other, not wanting to accidentally make anyone uncomfortable by saying something that was meant to be left confidential.]
[center [b “Look, if you were named like Ted Bundy then maybe I would be slightly more suspicious, but fortunately you are not.”] he said, flinching slightly when Mariposa caught a particularly stubborn blackhead on the side of his nose. [b “But I called you earlier because I wanted to see if you were busy today. I really don’t have much to do until a work conference later this week. We can go get something to eat if you would like? My treat.”] Matthias offered, hopeful. Outside of the bedroom and sober, he felt like Susan made for fantastic company. [b “I’ll bring my passport just in case you cannot guess.”] he added feeling a bit cocky. He figured that Susan would be able to guess fairly easily, but who knew. Matthias considered maybe using what languages he knew to confuse the other, making the whole affair a little bit of a game. [b “And I do need to go shopping at some point too if you’d like to assist. I’m trying to get something fresh for that conference since I truly don’t want to look like trash while I’m there. I didn’t come all this way for nothing that’s for sure.”] Matthias mused for a moment.]
[center [b “And we can go do something for you too! I do still have some time left here at the spa, though, so I cannot up and leave at this very moment. But do let me know of your thoughts. I’m totally open to suggestions here…”]]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/OpZA0xq.png?1]][size12 A spa? Well, how posh! Sue wouldn't give him too much hassle for it, though. He self consciously checked his own beaten up nails at the thought. He tucked the free hand into the pocket of his jeans.
[b "Well thank goodness my name is just 'Susan', then... But you can shorten that to 'Sue' if you want."] He felt his stomach tighten a little. It was a combination of fluster and excitement. Of [i course] he was going to accept this man's proposal, bribed with lunch or no. [b "Well, a little more time with you would definitely be a treat, Dr. Reidl."] Susan let out a small sigh. [b "It might need to just be lunch, though. That girl from last night? She let me know that the bar needed a little extra help. I was thinking of calling her on that offer today."] He chewed his lower lip. [b "So if you want more than lunch, you'll have to make a third date of it."]
Sue considered what he might personally want for a date. Most nights, he didn't have dates. If he took someone seriously, it was a night in of talking and drinking and sex. Nothing wrong with a little more maturity, though. He hated to say it, but Matthias had been extremely charming in the brief evening he had with him, and he was a bit of a mystery to Sue. What else was there to the mysterious European doctor who was only in town for the week? Perhaps that was why Sue felt the need to act fast. After all, he highly doubted that Matthias would stick around past his conference.
[b "And to make it easier, I will absolutely plan that third date."] He stopped by a small shop, catching his reflection in the window, dimmed as it was. It donned on him that he really needed a shower and a change of clothes. [b "What time did you want to meet up? I have some errands to run first."] Like not smelling like the night before. And confirming the extra shift with Amber. Making sure his mother didn't bite the dust. Ya know! A typical day in the life of Susan Nichols.
[center Matthias hummed slightly while his esthetician gently massaged his face with some type of serum that his skin was clearly drinking up like water. [b “Well, I also think Susan is a sweet name anyway. So, you have that going for you if you are particularly worried about it.”] he replied, relaxed and in a state of calm. He really enjoyed the pampering, but he also liked listening to Susan talk mixed with the serene spa music also playing in the background. But upon listening, Matthias laughed a bit. [b “I love how you say my name, pet.”] he teased. This also made Mariposa chuckle a bit, but she quietly scolded him for moving around so much on her table. The Austrian man made sure to apologize, mentally making a note to ensure that her type was sizable for having to deal with his ass for so long at one time.]
[center [b “Oh? A third date? I must have truly made an impression, hm?,”] Matthias began, contemplative, [b “I mean, I am more than willing to settle for lunch. Then as and added thank you I can drop you off at your work when you need to be there.”] he offered. The male figured that the extra courtesy didn’t hurt. He really liked Susan. The American was far more genuine of a person than most and Matthias appreciated that immensely. Matt assumed that Susan knew he was well off financially, and it didn’t seem to change his attitude towards him. This made all the difference in Matthias’ mind. [b “I should be another hour or so here at the spa then I should be ready to go to meet up with you. Send me the address of where you think would be good and we can go there today.”] he responded, curious as to what Susan might choose for them.]
[center [b ~~~]]
[center Matthias was quite excited for his third date with Susan, honestly. He had spent extra time making sure his ensemble was crisp and that his hair and beard were combed neatly into place. Matt did not want to look unkempt, especially since he hadn’t planned on wearing a full suit since he got the impression that the date was at a much more casual establishment. But still Matthias made sure to iron out his garments, accessorize with appropriate cuff links, tie, and belt. This was his version of casual. It probably looked formal to others, but this definitely wasn’t as dressed up as he could possibly get. That was definitely for other occasions. But Matthias did hope that he was presentable, but not overdressed for Susan. He was going to bring a coat just in case it got cold, but the Austrian figured he could handle the weather. It was definitely a lot more temperate than back home in his honest opinion.]
[center And after spritzing on one of his favorite colognes, Matthias was on his way out of his room and the hotel. He waved his goodbye to the front desk and thanked the doorman on his way out. With valet retrieving his temporary rental car Matthias chatted with the doorman whilst he waited. The other was a very polite, older gentleman who was as eloquent as could be. Matthias could listen to him talk for hours! But unfortunately, he did not have hours to spend at the moment since he already had arrangements with Susan to meet up at an aquarium. He thought that was an intriguing choice for a date, but Matt was not about to complain. The male had a fascination about the ocean and aquatic life in general, so it was going to be fun to be able to spectate and learn about the aquarium during their date. It was a decent twenty-minute drive away or so from what the GPS was telling Matthias, but he shot Susan a quick text to let him know that he was hitting the road to get there.]
[center Upon his arrival, Matt parked in the parking garage adjacent to the aquarium which appeared to be absolutely enormous from the outside! He marveled at it for a moment before finally going inside to get two tickets at the front desk. Matthias wanted to surprise Susan, so he made small talk with the ladies working at the customer service desk while he waited for the other man to arrive. The two women thought it was cute, the whole date idea and wished Matthias the best of luck…]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/OpZA0xq.png?1]][size12 That simple statement sent a roll of shivers through Sue, who stopped to feel that crawling flush burn away any of the chill outside. Not that it was too chilly to begin with. Or maybe Sue was feeling a touch... excited all over again. [b "Absolutely,"] Sue responded without thought, a bit drawn in by the interesting doctor. How could he tell the man no at this point? Even a simple lunch date felt exciting! [b "I can't wait to hear from you again."] He hung up to send the address of his small apartment to Matthias. Despite his economic state, his apartment was in relatively good shape. It was from the regular exposure to several different jobs. Not only did it keep Sue physically in shape, but it forced him to learn things outside of the same skill again and again. One day, he might be bar tending, eagerly learning about mixology and filling a small shelf with exciting alcohols to attempt new concoctions with, and the next day he would be at a warehouse, listening to the older men talk about how a simple wooden pallet can be taken apart and used to construct something new, like the small end tables at either side of Sue's bed with their rustic charm, if a bit mis-matched.
He had invited Matthias in to finish getting ready, allowing the man to check out the studio apartment. Despite the cozy size, it felt nice to Sue as it was his own space, everything painstakingly collected and placed in such a way where it felt like home... But there was a shelf on the wall that was filled with a collection of what could only be seen as clutter. Sometimes it was a picture of his mother in a new place, there was a small bowl of little things like keychains, coins, and tiny bracelets, and so on. These were a collection of gifts from his mother, looking dustier than normal these days.
Lunch was a delight, as promised. He chatted with Matthias, enjoying the man's company. He was intelligent, well-traveled, and very sweet and funny. At work, Amber gave him a bit of grief for gushing over the man, and even remarked how she hoped the guy didn't show up again so Sue would stay on task. He didn't, but that was likely due to the upcoming third date planned hastily after lunch that afternoon.
The aquarium was an excellent idea. It held its own excitement to those who have slogged through being a host there. Sue even did his best to dress up a little more. Instead of ripped jeans and a stained shirt, he wore a white polo and, hold your breath, clean jeans free of bleach stains and tears. They were shamelessly new, attempting to put his best foot forward for someone he was really coming to like. He had taken the bus, and found himself eagerly approaching the ticket desk to...
Be surprised! Matthias was earlier than anticipated. He looked a bit shocked, pulling his signature leather jacket off and folding it over his arm. [b "Hey you..."] He greeted, a bit nervous. [b "Did I forget the time? I hope I'm not late or something."] Sue looked a little flustered and found himself trying to squash a familiar anxiety, one he kept trying to forget he had.
[center Matthias was leaning against the customer service desk, chatting up the ladies to pass the time. They were quite delightful company in his honest opinion. But his attention was grabbed away from them when he noticed that Susan had arrived at the aquarium. Matt also noticed how put together Susan looked with his ensemble. With a smile unfurling upon his face the Austrian doctor straightened himself out properly. Standing normally, Matthias was nearly six and a half feet tall which was not something one could easily sneeze at. He was tall and lean in stature but walked with an authoritative attitude. Not many usually thought to question Matthias on a whole lot. [b [i “Hello, pet.”]] he responded, his accent rolling off the tongue.]
[center The ladies behind the desk swooned in the background, a little jealous of Susan since he clearly appeared to be the main focus of Matthias’ attention. Expertly winding an arm around Susan’s waist, Matt stole a quick peck on the lips before pulling back. [b “Oh, you’re certainly on time. I just arrived a little bit early to snatch one of these for you.”] Matthias mentioned as he held up an admission ticket for the other. [b “But these wonderful ladies were telling me all about a couple of the exhibits and apparently there is an outdoor exhibit for various wetland animals where you can hold a baby alligator. I have never seen an alligator in my life, so let’s go see those guys first.”] he suggested, equally excited and nervous about actually seeing a gator.]
[center Even along the way Matthias marveled at all of the foliage and fish on display in raised tanks that looked much like long rivers. He even had a good laugh at the playful nature of the otters that flitted back and forth as people passed by. But Matt found himself in a state of shock when they actually came upon the alligators. Feeling much like a child waking up on Christmas, Matthias intently listened to what the handlers were saying as they carried a baby alligator. Holding onto Susan’s hand, Matt squeezed it gently. [b “And to imagine that they get so big when they grow up!”] he mentioned, quite bewildered by the idea. And as the presentation went on the handlers were picking out some people who were willing to hold a baby gator. Naturally, Matthias immediately agreed, but when the creature was actually in his hands he had to internally fight to not get to overly excited and scare the animal. His face practically hurt from smiling so much! [b “Susan, look! It’s too precious! Then it will grow up and eat whole animals.”] he chuckled.]
[center The animal handler was thoroughly amused by Matthias’ reaction before looking over at Susan. [#900 “You should take a picture, it’ll be the funniest thing to talk about in the future.”] they commented with an arched brow. The Austrian man was flustered by this idea, [b “I definitely look like a fool!”] [#900 “That’s the beauty of the moment.”] the handler responded. Matthias was just so caught up in having the reptile in his hands. And it seemed so calm that it did not even mind being carried by a human. And to think, this was only the beginning of their aquarium adventure! Matthias absolutely could not wait to see what other animals were housed in the facility…]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/OpZA0xq.png?1]][size12 Sue was normally considered tall, but he shrank an inch shy of six feet, meaning that Dr. Reidl easily dwarfed him as he approached and wound the arm around Sue's waist. That little greeting threw Susan off a little more than he cared to admit, but he returned the quick kiss with a grin. [b "You didn't have to do that,"] Sue informed him, some of that bounce coming back. At the mentioned of the baby alligators, he looked absolutely thrilled! Holding baby reptiles? Talk about a great date idea!
While Matthias directed him toward the exhibit, his mind flashed toward one of the pictures cluttering that shelf. A woman that Susan resembled was posing next to an adult alligator at what had to be an illegal exhibition of large and dangerous reptiles of the south. Compared to the mammoth in that photo, the baby looked practically harmless, and Susan was just as eager to hold the creature as Matthias was. In Matthias' excitement, he couldn't stop himself from spouting off a random factoid or two. [b "Oh geez. They're bigger when they're not in captivity too. And vicious. They have this thing called a 'death roll'. They'll basically clamp down on whatever piece of your they can get, and then roll with you trapped in their jaws to disorient you so they can eat you..."] Susan pretended to take a bit out of Matthias as he held the baby creature.
The voice of the handler caught his ear. A photo would be perfect! Sue whipped out his phone and immediately snapped a picture of Matthias, catching that childlike grin and amusement. [b "You look sexy!"] Sue encouraged. [b "I'm going to get you a leather jacket and take you to Florida with me someday. Then we'll see what the adults look like..."] The whimsical plan hardly registered as he made it. As the words were leaving his mouth, he recognized the handler with a bit of surprise. [b "Shit, Ray! It's you!"]
The handler looked a bit stunned, but squinted at Sue before the recognition fell in place. [b "What? Susan?"] He beamed at Sue with pure joy. [b "Christ! I haven't seen you in ages... Listen, I'm off after this next showing. Want to catch up and grab a drink? You're new friend too."] Susan snickered at Ray's interest. [b "I'm fine,"] Sue informed him. [b "I'll message you later, though. I'm sort of on a date right now."] Ray scoffed. [b "As if. You barely make it past... Oh, nevermind."] He glanced awkwardly at Matthias, holding his hands back out for the baby gator. [b "Listen, Minnie is running the touch pool today. Let her know that I sent you, and she'll get you to the front of the line."] He winked at Sue. [b "Call me later."]
Sue waved a dismissive hand, but kept the small tip in mind. [b "Touch pool... Is that further down this way...?"] He seemed to mumble the directions to himself as he waited for Matthias to release the baby gator and rejoin him. [b "Matthias, what do you think? The touch pool looks pretty close, I can see the sign. There's also the polar zone with the penguins though, and how do you pass up penguins?"]
[center Matthias was fascinated by the tiny creature he held in his hands. The reptile felt cool and smooth to the touch, its eyes shown with a glint the man thought looked like dastardly intent for some reason. The two seemed to stare at each other for a long moment, but then Matthias was drawn out of his thought bubble when Susan began rambling off a bunch of facts about alligators to him. The pretend bite of his arm made the man laugh a bit before he carefully stroked the back of the baby gator with a finger. If only they remained so small and cute Matthias would have wanted one as a personal pet. But logically he knew there was no way in hell that would ever happen in his lifetime. It was a humorous idea to ponder though!]
[center The male’s look of childlike fascination morphed into one of shock when he realized Susan actually took a photograph of him handling the tiny alligator. But hey! At least Susan thought he was sexy. That was his only solace, though, as a faint flush turned his cheeks a delicate shade of pink. [b “I suspect you’ll be posting that to Facebook or something.”] Matthias mentioned, clearing his throat to regain his composure. But the leather jacket comment broke his resolve. [b “Bold of you to assume I don’t already have a leather jacket.”] he winked. In fact, he had several in his wardrobe! One had his last name across the shoulders like a letterman jacket with arm patches. Another was one with a few silver zippers and a sculpted collar. That one he wore more for leather kink events he attended every once in a while. And there was one that was not so flashy, a standard black leather that was worn and very much well loved. That was Matthias’ most casual leather jacket. He lamented that he didn’t have more of a chance to wear his leathers because they sure as hell costed him a pretty penny to have made since it was incredibly difficult to find something that wasn’t custom that fit his body’s frame. But that was a different story for another day because the same handler who allowed him to hold the gator recognized Sue…]
[center Only for the handler to have the audacity to try and hit Susan up for some time together. [i In front of him.] They clearly had rolled up hand in hand together. Matthias wondered if the handler was blind, or just all around stupid as hell for making the comments he did. But initially Susan had automatically deflected the proposition without Matt saying anything, which was reassuring to the Austrian doctor. But then Ray had started to make a snide remarking before he apparently reconsidered his words. That was, quite frankly, a wise decision in Matthias’ opinion. He just wanted to enjoy Susan’s company and indulge in the feelings of awe and wonder that the aquarium invoked. Matthias’ gaze was incredulous as he handed over the baby reptilian to Ray. He [i really] did not like how Ray talked to Susan. Matthias knew he could be an egotistical and arrogant person at times, but Ray wreaked of plenty of issues. [b “Please, I have a name, Ray. It is Dr. Riedl. Address me as such, or not at all.”] Matt stated unflinchingly. [b “I don’t think he will be calling you. However, do have a great day.”] he added before moving to casually follow Sue along towards the touch tank area.]
[center Matthias had no idea what Ray’s problem was. But the doctor was not about to let someone he didn’t even know ruin his day with some unwarranted attitude. Gingerly, Matt took Susan’s hand in his own once more. He very much enjoyed such contact. But he hummed with careful thought when the American mentioned the touch tank as well as the polar zone of the facility. [b “How about we do the touch tank first then we can go visit the penguins. I’m sure they’re delightful little devils. I wonder if they have polar bears too?”] he reasoned and questioned. But then it occurred to him that he had no idea what was supposed to be in a touch tank! [b “Befinden sich Stachelrochen in einem Touch-Tank?”] he had asked, wondering if it was for stingrays. [b “You know, those little ocean ravioli looking things with wings?”] He honestly couldn’t remember what the actual word was so he made do with what he could remember in the moment. He then looked around at the other animals in surrounding exhibits like moon jellyfish and various types of actual fish [i and] sharks. It was definitely a lot to take in, but he was glad to be spending this time with Susan.]
[center The large looming figures of the sharks navigating their habituating was quite humbling. It made Matthias thankful that he could walk and stay on land and be separate from them. If there was any fears he actually had it was swimming in deep oceans and being surrounded by sharks. [b “What do you think of sharks? Because if I’m quite honest, I am kind of scared of them.”] he admitted while his eyes followed one particular sand tiger shark. [b “Don’t they eat people sometimes? I don’t know how people can dive with them for work.”] The Austrian had the utmost respect for any and all divers. They had more balls than he could ever hope to have! Looking towards the bottom of the absolutely massive habitat there were a group of stingrays all huddled together, some occasionally gliding off from the group in the water to go about its business. Matthias pointed at the huddle and looked at Susan. [b “Come on! You cannot tell me they don’t look like ocean raviolis lying on the sand like that.”] he said. [b “I bet they feel cold and slimy now that I think about it.”] Matthias speculated. [b “What do you think?...”]]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/OpZA0xq.png?1]][size12 Sue was oblivious to Dr. Reidl's confrontation to Ray. He was still busy deciding their next exhibit! Still, he was grateful that Matthias seemed to have an idea of what he wanted. Susan gave Matthias' hand a squeeze laughed. [b "I think they do have polar bears,"] Sue confirmed. He listened to the string of German with an amused expression, and started to laugh helplessly at Matthias' description of what Sue hoped was a "Stingray". [b "Christ you're cute,"] Sue teased. [b "Okay, so yes, I think they have the ocean raviolis too, but now I'm going to make a guess. You're from... Germany."] He pecked a kiss to Matthias' cheek and found he was still giggling as he started to stroll with Matthias to the touch tank to begin, passing other displays as they went.
When they paused by the sharks, Susan gave a somber nod. [b "I mean, sharks don't really do much unless you're bleeding into their territory. Then it's lunch time."] He made another playful bite in Matthias' directly. [b "They have these jagged teeth too that help them hold their prey, but for the most part, sharks are just... doing their own thing I guess?"] Sue shrugged. [b "I'm not quite sure how to say it. It's not like they go out of their way to hunt people."]
When they reached the touch tank with stingrays lazily swimming about, he beamed and nodded to Matthias. [b "Fine. They look like raviolis, but I bet they feel more like silk."] He caught the enthusiastic expression on Matthias face and felt a small pause in his breathing. He was just... stunning! He was handsome and exciting and funny to boot. It felt unfair that he was only here for a convention. [b "Hey..."] Susan murmured, trying to catch the man's attention. [b "When do you have to go back to... wherever?"] He looked a bit saddened at the thought that Dr. Reidl might leave. [b "I mean, I get you're here for a short time. I just want to know how many more dates like this I can have."]
[center Matthias felt a small smile pull at his lips when he felt Susan squeeze his hand. The gesture was sweet and endearing. [b “I hear that polar bears can get quite tall. Do you think they’re taller than me?”] he asked, almost facetiously. The Austrian was almost positive that they would be significantly taller than himself. However, the idea of being able to stand eye to eye with such a creature gave him goosebumps. But the ‘cute’ comment caught the doctor off guard. [b “You’re going to just let me call them ocean raviolis when you know what they’re called? You have some nerve, Susan.”] Matthias mused out loud before a laugh erupted from deep within his chest. [b “You think I’m German?? I would be offended, but you’re much too nice to be mad at.”] he cackled. This man thought he was German! That was too humorous. [b “Besides I don’t only speak German. There’s Italian, Spanish, some French.”] Matthias added.]
[center He then patiently listened to Susan’s explanation about sharks. Seeing the other’s features illuminated by the light shining through the habitat’s waters struck Matthias in a certain way. It seemed that it highlighted the contours of Susan’s face in a soft, complimentary fashion. Matthias practically did not hear anything he had been saying, but the light squeeze on the arm in the form of a faux shark bite broke the male from his reveries. And when they arrived at the touch tanks Matthias noticed the label tags that told one what animals were located in the exhibit. [i Stingrays.] They were stingrays! And they did feel cold and slick to the touch. It was a truly strange sensation to experience. The creatures excitedly splashed at the water with their wings, seemingly begging for the human interaction. And to be honest, Matthias adored petting them since they acted more like puppies than anything else.]
[center But then Matthias heard Susan trying to quietly gain his attention. Curiously, the doctor glanced over at the other man who seemed a bit downed by his questioning. But he decided to not torture the other so much over his nationality, as funny as it may have been. It was a small mercy Matthias decided he could easily afford for Susan. [b “Austria. Not quite Germany, but close.”] he chuckled a bit. [b “I’m set to go back home next week since I am only here for a work conference for orthopedic surgeons. Just a get together over some new techniques and case study analysis. You should see the binder I put together for it. It’s ridiculous.”] he rolled his eyes at the last bit. He loved his work, but it certainly was time consuming.]
[center But moving closer to place a kiss on the top of Susan’s head. [b “But for you, you can have as many dates in the meantime as you can handle.”] Matthias tried to reassure the other. He wasn’t sure what would come from knowing Sue, but the Austrian man felt a warm sense of joy by having him around. It certainly beat being alone all of the time! [b “Maybe we can grab some dinner tonight and go for a light bit of shopping. My treat.”] Matthias felt like he wanted to spoil the other. It was something he took some pleasure in. Making other people feel happy was something Matt thrived upon.]
[center When the touch tank session was concluded Matthias made sure to dry his hands with paper towels that were provided. He also grabbed extra to dry Susan’s hands, which he did carefully. If there was anything to know about Matthias it was that he was skilled with his hands. In various practices of course. But he was a very dexterous person and did his work with a delicate touch always. [b “How about we go take a look at the shark jaws. I saw a sign about megalodon jaws on the way to the stingrays here. We should take some pictures together too. Maybe there’s a photo op somewhere around here for souvenirs.”] he suggested. There had to be something like photographers that took pictures for the sake of souvenirs and raising money for the facilities.]
[center And sure as hell there were photographers roaming about nearly articulated skeleton of sea creatures and shark jaws. [#900 “Excuse me, you two! Would you like to have your pictures taken today?”] one such photographer approached the duo. Matthias nodded as he wound an arm around Sue’s waist to pull him in a little closer. [b “I could never say no to some pictures. Pose with me, Susan. It would make for great souvenirs…”]]
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/OpZA0xq.png?1]][size12 One week. Susan had a single week to enjoy with this man. It hardly seemed fair! An old, familiar sting seemed to burn under his chest, and without consciously expecting it, Susan felt himself withdraw a bit. Why did it hurt so much to know that Matthias was going to leave after this wonderful week? And it was [i going] to be wonderful. Sue was going to make damn sure of it, seeing as he innately understood how precious each moment was before someone just disappeared. His fingers danced over a smooth stingray that bumped against his hand. Then it floated away. Sue took one of the offered hand towels and dried off his hands as Matthias offered him the kiss and all of the dates in the world. Granted, it was what Sue could "handle", but Sue was quickly realizing he could handle quite a bit from that man.
[b "Nope. Dinner's on me tonight,"] Sue declared to Matthias, bringing back the smile as his thoughts settled back down. His smile bubbled back to the surface. As they headed toward the display that Matthias had pointed out, Sue started to describe a little spot he knew about buried underneath the tourist spots. It was a bar that was easy to miss because it required you to take an alley to get to a door on the second floor. It was a bit pretentious, seeing as the location was designed that way to purposely steer off tourist-like visitors, but the foods were to die for, and all of the beer was local.
When offered the photos souvenir, Sue immediately hooked both of his arms around Matthias waist. [b "Only if I get a copy too,"] Sue agreed. [b "I like little souvenirs. I keep a bunch of them at my place. I'll go through them with out before you leave."] He leaned his head on Matthias shoulder. [b "Is this okay? Or do you want me to stand next to you for the picture instead?"] It was a bit clingier than Sue normally was, but if he was only going to get a brief time with the man, he was going to have his hands on Matthias every chance he got!]
[center Matthias noticed the shift in Susan’s attitude, which caused the Austrian to furrow his brow slightly with concern. He was not quite sure what the matter was for Sue, but Matt did hope it was not anything in particular that he had done. But Sue’s declaration of paying for dinner was when it seemed that his mood turned around for the better. This brought a sense of relief to the doctor accompanied by a dash of amusement. [#900 “If you so insist on it, Schatzi.”] Matthias responded with a flirtatious wink. But the Austrian man was quite interested in seeing what kind of place Susan was thinking about since he clearly knew the ins and outs of the area more than himself since he was merely just a tourist at that point. Matthias had already collected a handful of small souvenirs from this particular trip to America. If there was anything that he found weird, but humorous was just how often the country’s flag was plastered on everything. It seemed to be posted anywhere and everywhere. It was on shirts, hats, even swimming shorts!]
[center But Matthias’ distracted mind was brought back into reality when he felt Susan wrap both arms around his waist. Due to the height difference, there was no chance in hell the other could manage anything else otherwise. Matthias knew he would actually have to hold up Sue if the other had wanted to put his arms around the shoulders. But the male was more than happy to oblige the other with the simple pleasure of close contact. The photographer watched as the two men interacted with each other, though. Matthias looked down at Sue with a tender smile on his lips upon seeing and feeling the other’s head on his shoulder. It was a sweet moment that the photographer could not pass up, thus snapping a picture of it. They also took several pictures of when Matthias swept Susan up for extra dramatic effect for the pictures. The doctor could not help himself by beaming brightly in those photos. He felt happier in that moment then he genuinely had in a long time.]
[center [b ~~~]]
[center And, while all of these outings with Susan were fun and all, Matthias did eventually have to get down to business. The conference was a very big deal for him as it provided not only networking opportunities, but also chances to learn from the people he considered to be the brightest in their line of work. There were going to be spinal surgeons, like himself. There were going to be hand specialists, trauma doctors, and joint replacement physicians. While Matthias did do his fair share of joint replacements, his main subspecialty was in spinal surgery. He often struggled to articulate a lot of his cases due to just how complex they were. But Matthias was very proud of being able to bring one of his favorites, albeit most stressful case studies to present at the orthopedic conference. It was regarding a fetus who was found to have had spina bifida whilst in utero. He had collaborated with many different colleagues in pediatrics, obstetrics, and neurosurgery since they had gone in and fixed the spinal abnormality while the fetus was still in the womb. The amount of tedious planning, consulting, and simulations practically took a decade off of Matthias’ life, but the baby had ultimately been born a second time successfully to a happy and healthy mom. That was the goal. And honestly thinking about the whole experience again made Matt anxious as hell.]
[center He was getting ready for the conference, but was struggling with what dress shirt, tie, and belt combination he should have worn for the meeting. Thus, he consulted with Sue to see what he thought looked best. Matthias knew he was probably approaching it much like one of his work consults, but he could not help it! The man was worried about fucking up his presentation and making a fool of himself in front of some of the most brilliant minds that he respected greatly. Matthias did not want to wear a regular old white button down, he wanted something to contrast with his white coat. [#900 “I was thinking this crimson shirt, black tie, and belt… Or do you think just straight black all over would be easier? Plus, I have some of my favorite enamel pins on my lanyard.”] Matt mentioned as he fiddled with the pins. He had a pin of skull and crossbones for fun as well as a rainbow flag pin. If there was anything that he preached the hardest with work was inclusivity, despite the opposition he did regularly face at times. [#900 “My coworkers have dubbed me Dr. Bone Daddy, though, and I really want a pin for that. Although my bosses would never let me wear that on the floor.”] he cackled [#900 “But what is most important is that my presentation is on point. I feel that it is at least.”] The Austrian knew that he was probably just overthinking it, but when it came to his work he took it very seriously since it was lives on the line nearly every time!]
[center [b ~~~]]
[center And Matthias thanked every god that existed that he had not gone first with his case study presentation. But when he did go on, he panicked a little as he got himself situated at the podium before settling in to show off what he had to offer. But he believed that those in attendance were fascinated by what he had to show, which made Matt more than pleased with himself. However, when he got back to his hotel room after the fact he had immediately stripped down to just his underwear before collapsing on the bed. His presentation binder had been tossed on the dining table, shoes by the door, white coat hanging off the back of the couch. It was a bit of a mess, but Matthias could not give a shit.]
[center [#900 [i ‘So, I didn’t actually die at the conference. I think it went really well. I heard that a paper might publish some stuff from the event? I really hope it isn’t me, I almost panicked. Do you want to come over? I could use the company. I want to order Chinese food. xx’]]]
[center Matthias sighed as he tossed his phone onto the nightstand beside the bed. He thought about ordering food to be delivered to his room even if Susan couldn’t show up. Matt did hope that the other was okay despite the weird mood at the aquarium a few days ago. The Austrian knew that he had to go home in a few days, but he figured he’d use that time as best he could without wasting it away before having to take the ridiculous flights back home. That was not a thing he was looking forward to; airplanes…]
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