Day 24- Sea
Dean walked along the beach, nudging here and there at the crabs that were walking along. His slip on shoes were protecting his toes against their claws, plus he wasn’t doing much more than urging them along so he didn’t accidentally step on them. He had respect for all life, even these little guys. Near an outcrop of boulders, he paused to look out over the water. The morning was bright and the water looked bluer than usual. A lady jogged past with her dog, but he barely spared them a glance. Squinting against the rising sun, he moved closer to the rocks. There was someone up there, staring out at the water. In the distance he could see dolphins jumping through the air before diving back into the sea. It brought a smile to his lips. He looked up at the figure sitting up on the highest of the boulders. It was hard to tell whether it was a man or a woman, the sun was backlighting them. He’d wanted to come and sit here, but if he climbed up there and it was a woman, she might get scared, or worse, flirt with him. If it was a guy, he might get mad and not want to share his space, even though the boulders were large and there was plenty of room up there for two people.
“Did you want to come up here?”
The voice was deep, and he continued staring up at the person, even though he could only make out their form, not any other details.
“I was thinking about it, but I don’t want to bother you,”
“You’re not bothering me, come on up,”
Dean climbed up the rocks until he’d reached the top. Up here he could see the other man clearly. He was older, by at least a few years, and looking a little unkempt. He was dressed in a loose tank top that showed off his muscular arms and baggy Bermuda shorts. His feet were bare and he had the start of a pretty decent beard going. His dark hair was blowing in the breeze coming off the ocean but he smiled as Dean reached where he was sitting,
“Sit, please,” He motioned towards the flat part of the rock where he was sitting, so Dean did.
“Thanks. This is my favorite spot on the beach,”
The man smiled and looked out over the water again. “Me too. There are whales this morning, not just dolphins. Look, there’s a pod of blue whales now. You don’t usually see them this far south,”
Dean followed where he was pointing and spotted one just as it broke the surface. He loved getting to see the whales.
“My name’s Cas,”
He turned to look at the man again. “I’m Dean,”
“You live here, Dean? I don’t think I’ve seen you before,”
“No, I’m visiting my grandparents. They have a condo on the beach. I love coming to walk along the beach in the early morning. It’s peaceful and not crowded,”
Cas nodded. “You one of the trust fund kids?”
Dean was irked by the question. Just because he was on this beach didn’t mean he was one of the rich snobs that frequented this area. “For one, I’m not a kid, I’m twenty, for two, I wish I had a trust fund. I’m staying with my grandparents for the summer, before I go back for more school. I’m not as poor as I was growing up after my mom died. Another couple of years and I’ll be making much more money, I just have to have patience and work hard. It’s not trust fund level, but I’ll be quite comfortable,” Dean side eyed him. Maybe this guy was a trust fund brat.
“I’m sorry about your mom. I lost both of my parents when I was ten. My grandparents raised me. I live up on Ocean View,” Cas said.
“So are you one of the trust fund kids?”
Cas huffed a humorless laugh. “Yes. When I turned twenty one, my trust fund came through. I live with my grandmother. My grandfather passed away last year. She asked me to move back after he died. I don’t think she wants to be alone,”
“I wouldn’t either if my husband died,” Dean said. I’d take care of either of my grandparents if one of them passed away.”
Cas sighed and turned to look at him. His gaze took in the way Dean was dressed. It felt like he was being assessed. He didn’t often wear shorts but the summers here were too hot for jeans, so he’d worn his khaki ones. The embarrassment over his bowed legs was trumped by his desire not to melt in the hot California sun. The way he was being looked at made him feel funny. Did he like it? Did he not like it? He wasn’t sure, but he looked right back. He had no idea what the man was thinking.
“I bet you thought I was just one of the beach bums,”
Dean snorted and smiled. “It had crossed my mind,”
Cas grinned. “I guess I’ve let myself go. So, you’re really twenty? You look sixteen,”
Dean shrugged. “Not like I haven’t heard that before. I suppose my family just has good genes.”
“When I don’t look like a bum, I actually look a lot younger than I am,” Cas pulled his knees up and crossed his ankles. He wrapped his arms around his legs but kept his eyes on Dean.
“How old are you?” Dean asked.
“I’m twenty six. I look twenty when I actually shave, or so people tell me.”
“Ocean View, that’s where the rich people live, isn’t it?”
Cas sighed and looked out over the water again. “It is. My grandfather made movies. My grandmother was an actress,”
“And you? Do you work?” Dean asked.
“You assume that because my family has money that I don’t work?” Cas’ eyes were on him again, the blue almost the same shade as the water. He arched an eyebrow and Dean got the impression he’d just hit a nerve. Served him right for thinking he was just some brat kid. All he did was shrug. Cas pursed his lips.
“I just finished getting my PhD, if you must know. I intend to teach at a university, I just haven’t decided which one yet. I’ve been applying all over. My grandmother says that wherever I get hired, she’s moving with me, so that opens up a lot more options for me. I don’t have to stay here in California. I’m glad, because I hate it. I’m burned out after so many years of school, so I’m just relaxing this summer. I figured I didn’t have to shave if I didn’t want to, not until I have to interview for a potential job,” He looked past Dean at a couple walking down the beach before looking at the water again. “ You mentioned coming to see your grandparents. Did you skip college?”
“No, I went to Stanford,” Dean replied. “I have my M.D. already.”
Cas stared at him in disbelief. “But you’re twenty,”
“I don’t know of any twenty year olds with a medical degree,”
There was that doubt again. Dean wasn’t sure whether he should be angry or not. “I happen to have an IQ of 175. I’m finished with med school and I’m about to start my residency. I just needed time off so I could breathe before I’m not able to for the next three to seven years,”
Cas stared at him for a second before smiling. “That’s freaking amazing. I might have money, but you have the brains. I am deeply impressed,” He stretched his legs out and leaned back on his elbows. His skin was tan and Dean had a hard time not staring. With all the schooling he’d done, and the fact that he’d been so much younger than everyone he’d gone to school with, even back in high school, he hadn’t had time to contemplate his sexuality, but sitting here, seeing Cas all stretched out like he was, he realized he was attracted to him. That was interesting. Cas was still older, around the age of the people he’d gone to med school with, but the way he was looking up at him made him feel like maybe he was thinking the same thing he was.
“Like what you see?” Cas cocked that eyebrow again. Dean tilted his head, still considering what he was currently feeling.
“Yes, I do,” He replied honestly. Cas raised his other eyebrow, as though surprised by his honesty.
“Well then, blunt and to the point,”
“Does that bother you?” Dean asked. Cas smiled and pulled his lower lip into his mouth. He looked up coyly and shook his head. Dean smiled back. So Cas didn’t mind being told he was liked, but he didn’t know what to do with that information. Did that in fact mean Cas liked him back? He was mulling that over and didn’t even register that the other man had sat up and was now facing him.
“Hey, what are you thinking about right now? Because you look totally zoned out,”
Dean focused, his eyes landing on Cas’ face. The beard wasn’t so bad, but he found himself wondering what he looked like without the facial hair.
“I find you handsome, but I was wondering what you looked like without the beard,”
“I thought you were going to end that sentence with you wondering what I looked like naked,” Cas grinned. Dean laughed and offered up what he hoped was a flirty smile.
“Well, that is appealing to me too, but I-I’ve never considered my sexuality, not really, not until now. Too much schooling and everyone was always too much older to think about asking them out. I’ve never been on a date, never…done other things, I-I’ve never been touched either,” He actually blushed, embarrassed for having admitted that. He looked down at his hands which he was wringing in his lap. So much for attempting to flirt. It had only left him feeling flustered. Cas smiled and moved closer. He bumped Dean’s shoulder with his own until the other man looked up.
“Well, I didn’t come out here this morning thinking I was going to get to kiss handsome young men, but I find the idea exciting, and I’m definitely interested. First though, I’d like to take you out to dinner. That’s if you’re interested,”
Dean smiled even wider. His first date. He liked the sound of that.
“Yeah? You want to take me out? You’re not worried I’m too young? You did say I look sixteen. I’m hoping that’s not what you’re into,”
“To start with, I am a pretty bad judge of someone’s age. With the sun shining this bright, yeah, you looked young. Plus I wasn’t looking too hard at first. Not until you were sitting next to me and I heard that voice up close. You’re definitely not a teenager, not with that voice. And no, I don’t think you’re too young,”
“I’ll be twenty one in January anyway,” Dean said. Cas smiled. He was finding Dean adorable.
“Well, I don’t drink, so I wasn’t thinking of taking you to a bar anyway. How do burgers sound? Are you available tonight?”
Dean nodded. “Yeah, I am,”
Cas lifted his hip up and pulled his phone out of his back pocket. “Give me your number, I’ll add it,”
Dean gave him his number and a few seconds later his own phone was vibrating. He pulled it out and saw a new text, so he added Cas’ number.
“Text me your address,” Cas told him. Dean did, and after tucking his phone away again, he stretched out next to Cas and crossed his ankles.
“There’s another pod of whales. Those are humpback. Look at the size of that bull,” He pointed out the new pod.
“Think maybe you’d like to go whale watching with me?” Cas asked him.
“Why, you going to tell me you have a boat?”
Cas scoffed. “No, I’m not a complete snob,” He looked out over the water again. “My grandmother has one.”
Dean chuckled. Of course she did.