Celestino fluffed up his perm and slipped on his favourite bright orange sweatband. He checked his Swatch: 6:55 pm. He sighed. He was starting to dread his seven o'clock class.
All his aerobics classes were well-attended — the community centre had even reduced his room rental to encourage him to run more classes – but the seven o'clock had him. The boy.
"Young man" would be more accurate, Celestino acknowledged grudgingly. Either way, he was becoming more of a problem with every evening. And it was indeed every evening.
Celestino slid the cassette with this week's new music into the boombox and headed to the room to make sure the mats were all in place. He loved sharing the gift of fitness in his classes but he had to spend way too much time listening to popular music to keep his classes fresh.
A crowd of people were already in the room, chatting and stretching. Women, like most of Celestino's attendees, and him. Chris.
"Christophe," he'd said, when he introduced himself three weeks ago, blond head tipped to one side, all preppy popped collar and sweater tied over his shoulders. Celestino doubted it was anything other than plain "Christopher".
And, predictably, as soon as Celestino came in and started setting up, Chris strutted over to talk to him.
"Hey, Celestino," he said, running his fingers deliberately through his feathered hair. He put his hand on Celestino's arm. "Did you want to get a beer with me after this?"
"It's time for class," Celestino said, and moved away, letting Chris's hand slip off his arm and ignoring the undeterred look Chris gave him.
But he couldn't ignore Chris once class had started because he was right there, front row centre, even though he was so tall it would have been more courteous to stay in the back. Right there and sweating at Celestino in a low-scooped tank-top the same neon orange as Celestino's headband and terrycloth shorts that Celestino could swear were getting shorter and tighter with every class.
Chris's bleached (Celestino could see the roots) hair flopped against his tanned forehead and he somehow made the poppiest moves into a sensual invitation. This was probably what made this particular class so popular, not to mention shifting some of the inevitable attention from female students away from Celestino. Celestino supposed he should be grateful.
But Chris's attention was completely fixed on Celestino. Celestino usually had to deal with a few obsessed housewives every year but this persistence from a young man probably twenty years his junior was a new experience. A new, highly frustrating experience.
Because it was starting to work. Because Celestino had a hard time keeping his eyes away from those tanned shoulders and long arms, those green eyes and long eyelashes. That taut torso and strong thighs.
Because as often as Chris stretched in front of Celestino, twisting into a pose that was pure T&A, Celestino still thought about seeing more. About dropping his wristband just to watch Chris bend over to pick it up.
After class, while the rest of the group filed out of the room, Chris, inevitably, came up to Celestino. "How about that beer?" He looked Celestino up and down and Celestino was embarrassed to be glad he was wearing his new blue tights.
But when Chris reached out to put his hand on Celestino's shoulder, Celestino swatted him away. "People are watching," he said and realized his mistake just as Chris did too.
"Of course," Chris said, fluttering his eyelashes. "I can wait." He picked up the boombox. "Let me help you with that."
"I'll take it." Celestino grabbed the handle. Chris slid his hand down so his fingers were over Celestino's, warm and way more exciting than was reasonable. But what was reasonable? Celestino wondered when he'd gotten so uptight.
A memory flashed into his mind: dancing naked in the rain at Woodstock, when nothing mattered except the music surrounding him, nothing except peace and love, and the hand stretched out to his own. When had that Celestino slipped away?
Well, fuck. "How old are you?" he demanded.
"Twenty-four." Chris tossed his hair back.
Clearly a lie, Celestino thought. "Show me your driver's licence."
Chris had the grace to look sheepish but he did rummage in his Adidas bag and pull out his wallet.
Twenty. Twenty-year-old Christopher. Half Celestino's age. Just a bad idea all around. Time for Celestino to go back home like every night: smoke some weed, listen to Revolver, and wait for his next trip to the city for anything more.
He handed the licence back and Chris fumbled it, sending both the plastic card and his wallet flying.
"Sorry!" Celestino watched Chris bend over to pick them up, those tiny shorts riding even further up his truly beautiful ass. Celestino swallowed hard. Dammit. "Let's skip the beer," he said.
Chris looked up at Celestino, his face suddenly shining with more than perspiration. "Awesome!" he said. He stood and this time Celestino let him put his hand on Celestino's chest, sliding under the shoulder strap of Celestino's unitard.
Celestino couldn't help leaning in for just one hard kiss, hand on Chris's neck, to show Chris what he was getting into. But when Chris's hand came around onto Celestino's back and his mouth opened to Celestino, Celestino wondered if maybe he was the one who didn't know what he was getting into.
"Your place or mine?" Chris asked, teasing his fingers through Celestino's chest hair.
"Mine," Celestino said. "I have a waterbed."