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David opened the door. "Sorry, running a bit behind today." He was in khakis and an undershirt and had his toothbrush in his mouth and his hair needed to be combed, but he'd been up all night on the phone commiserating with his brother who was going through a divorce and slept through his alarm. At least his boss didn't care what time he made it into the lab.

He stared at the man on his doorstep and cursed his pathetic alarm. He yanked his toothbrush out of his mouth and tried to wipe the toothpaste away, ended up swallowing it down (yuck!).

"Good morning. I'm Evan, from Atlantis Cable. I'm here to do an install for David Parrish?" Evan wasn't tall, but he had broad shoulders and bright blue eyes and those coveralls weren't flattering on anyone, but the way the fabric was taut across Evan's chest was delicious. Evan consulted his clipboard and smiled at David.

"That's me." David wiped his hands on his pants. "Come in, please."

"Thanks." Evan had dimples. He turned away and bent down to scoop up a massive metal toolbox, and David sucked in a slow breath, because damn, that ass.

Evan straightened up and hauled the toolbox into the house, and David admired the flex of his arm muscles.

"Where's your television?" Evan asked.

"Here, in the den." David led Evan into the den, which thankfully wasn't terribly messy.

Evan set down the toolbox. "I might need to rearrange some things, if you don't mind."

"Of course. Do what you need to do." David smiled nervously. "Do you need me to hang around, or...?"

"Well, you can't leave me alone in your house, but feel free to get on with your morning routine." Evan smiled. "I'll need you to sign off on the order once the install is done, but this should only take half an hour, tops."

"Great." David could go make and himself presentable and get some food and maybe take a cold shower, because Evan was heaving the entertainment center aside and David really, really needed to stop staring at the cable guy. For reals. This was like a bad porn movie.

"Sure you don't need any help?"

"I assure you, I'm a competent professional," Evan said mildly. "I know how to handle my tools."

David, halfway back to his bedroom, paused. That sounded like a line. He had the sudden notion that this was a prank by the others at the lab. For being such a mild-mannered botanist, Katie had a wicked and sometimes filthy sense of humor, and she would totally send a stripper to his house under guise of a cable install.

Only David really had ordered a cable install - his brother was moving in and needed some entertainment while he moped and looked for a new job - and Atlantis Cable really was the company he'd called. But he'd told Katie about ordering cable, and she somehow knew an inordinate number of exotic dancers and escorts who seemed to have no problems doing outlandish things to embarrass David.

He edged back into the den and peered around the corner. Evan had tools arrayed on the carpet and was wedged behind the television, humming to himself and doing what looked like actual work.

David hurried back to his room and into the ensuite to finish brushing his teeth and combing his hair.

He set the coffee maker going and wolfed down a couple slices of toast and dithered between texting Katie and demanding whether she'd sent a stripper to install his cable or gushing about how hot the cable guy was. He had drunk one cup of coffee and felt more lucid - and very jittery - and was about to start on his second cup when Evan called for him.

"David? I think you're about good to go. Come on over here and let me show you how to use the remote."

David narrowly avoided spilling coffee down his white shirt before he dashed into the den.


Evan had put the entertainment center back and packed up his tools and was holding the remote. The TV was on and displaying some fancy guide screen with the actual programming in a small window in the corner of the screen. David, who'd had basic cable all his life, was intimidated by the remote Evan held out, which looked more like the control panel for a space rocket than a TV remote.

"So, this button turns on the cable box, and this button turns on the TV," Evan said. "Make sure this light is on to control volume and picture. This button changes the input, so you can hook a computer up to the TV or any gaming consoles."

David stared. He had a PhD. He could figure this out, right? "Great. Thanks."

Evan handed him the remote. "Give it a shot."

David took the remote, stared at all the buttons. Pressed one.

The guide vanished, and the picture was full screen.

Moans filled the room.

David had somehow stumbled onto the porn channel. "Oh, crap!" He fumbled with the remote, but the moans just got louder. "I am so, so sorry. I didn't mean to -"

Evan shrugged. "You ordered pretty much every channel ever."

"My brother is getting divorced," David explained. "He watches TV when he's sad. I wanted to make sure he'd be entertained."

"He'll have more entertainment than he knows what to do with," Evan said.

David fumbled with the remote some more, and at least the volume of the moans went down.

Evan reached out. "Here. This changes the programming channel." He showed David which button to push.

Only David got a good look at what was happening on the screen. Apparently he'd landed on the gay porn channel. The two men on screen were wearing what looked like military uniforms, and one was pressed against the wall while the other went down on him enthusiastically.

And then David realized. “Is that - is that you?

Evan peered at the screen, then laughed. “Wow. I can’t believe they’re still showing that. I refused to eat ramen in college, so yeah, I did a few adult films. You’d think I’d get royalties or something if the film is still playing after all these years.”

David peered at him suspiciously. “Did Katie put you up to this?”

Evan raised his eyebrows. “Katie who?”

“Katie Brown, yea high, botanist, looks innocent but has an imagination worth a decade’s issues of Maxim magazine?”

“No,” Evan said. “I really am from the cable company, as evidenced by the fact that you now have cable. Now, I can’t leave until you prove that you can use that remote, so, how about you change the channel and save both of us some continued embarrassment?”

On the screen, the one actor was wrangling younger soldier Evan onto the ground and out of his clothes.

Evan winced. “Got sand in some of the worst places ever.”

David pressed a button on the remote, and puppies were frolicking across the screen while an old British man narrated about the usefulness of canines in providing therapeutic comfort to the aged and mentally disturbed.

Evan raised an eyebrow at him. “You have no idea what you just did, do you?”

“Uh, no?”

“Come here.” Evan actually shifted so he was behind David, his hand over David’s on the remote, and he showed David how to change channel, input, picture, and volume. He walked David through setting his favorite programs to record (they were all botany documentaries and British flower shows) and deleting old recordings, and finally, after David demonstrated all of those skills on his own, did Evan hand him the install order for signature.

“Congratulations, Mr. Parrish,” Evan said. “You now have cable television.”

“Thanks, Evan.” David smiled weakly.

Evan pried the clipboard out of David’s hands, scooped up his toolbox, and headed for the door. “Enjoy your cable, and don’t hesitate to call if you need any future technical assistance.”

“I’d rather enjoy you,” David said without thinking, and immediately clapped a hand to his mouth.

Evan just laughed and said, “I’m on the job, but if you turn your copy of the work order over, I left you my phone number. Call me.” And he closed the door behind him.

When David could finally force himself to move, he picked up the yellow carbon copy of the work order Evan had left on top of the television and turned it over, and sure enough, there was a phone number.

David saved it in his phone and raced out the door to work.

On his lunch break, he sent a hopeful text message.

Hey, it's me, awkward David from this morning. I figure I must not be too awkward if you gave me your number. Dinner and a movie this weekend?

David got a reply two hours later.

Sure. We can reenact a movie I was in if you like. ;)