Secret Lives


By WBHunk

I sank back onto the soft leather bench in the darkened restaurant, acutely conscious that I reeked of smoke, vainly brushing at the streaks of soot and dirt on my clothes. “You know, I really don’t think I’m dressed for this occasion.”

“Relax,” Jim chuckled, his hands folded, his chin resting on them as he watched me across the table, his golden ring reflecting dapples on the wall. “First, Blue is San Francisco casual – which means they’re happy that you’re wearing clothes in the first place. Second, you’re a hero. It’ll be up and down the ‘Stro in an hour, in the Chronicle tomorrow, and the BAR in a week – ‘Gay Man Saves Mom, Dries Kid’s Tears’”.

I sighed. “I only did what anyone would do. Besides, I sure as heck didn’t do the heavy lifting – and I still can’t believe who did.”

“Superbear, you mean.”

“I can’t believe I’m saying that – but Superbear, I guess. You could have knocked me over with a feather when he came flying down the street.”

Jim smiled at the corner of his mouth. “Maybe he was only doing what anyone would do. Then again, maybe BOTH you and he are doing things no one else would do. Isn’t that what makes a hero?”

I grinned wryly. “CPR, anyone can learn. Super-strength, invulnerability, super-breath, and heat vision – and that was just what I saw today, God only knows what else he can do -- those are a little harder.”

“Or easier,” Jim said, leaning across the table, a harder look in his eyes. “After all, it’s not hard to be a hero when you’re super, now is it? I’m more impressed by someone like you who steps into the breach WITHOUT super-powers and does what needs to be done. What makes Superbear special?”

“The fact that he does something good with them,” I said, staring back into Jim’s eyes. “After all, if YOU had super-powers, what would you do with them?”

He blinked, almost as if stunned by the question. “Well…..I’ll throw it back. What would you do with them?”

I blushed. “Well, to be honest…..probably the same thing Superbear’s doing with them. Call it being warped by comic books, but I think…..I think I’d want to use them for the good of humanity.”

Jim grimaced. “Are you sure? Think of the responsibility….having to jet off at a moment’s notice anywhere, anytime…and the isolation. You couldn’t tell anyone….couldn’t share your secrets… couldn’t be honest with or get close to anyone without putting them in danger.”

“Well, it’s probably a good thing I’m not a superhero, then,” I said, levelly meeting his gaze and smirking, “because there certainly is someone here that I want to get closer to before the night is over.”

He blushed like a little boy handing a flower to his teacher. “I….well…..I’d ask for the check, but we haven’t eaten yet.”

“And you won’t get it when it comes, Mr. Gelber – or at least that’s the client name I’ll be putting on my expense report,” I chuckled. “Speaking of which, I suppose I’d better be calling a hotel and getting a room. Any recommendations?”

A wicked grin crossed Jim’s face. “I know this great bed and breakfast just a bit away…..original San Francisco Painted Lady, full laundry and linen service, garage parking, high speed Internet connection, easy access to shopping, transit, and attractions.”

“Hmmm, a B&B,” I smiled. “Is it really a B&B&B – Bed and Breakfast and Bear?”

“Brains, brawn, and blond – or is that you?” Jim snickered. “I can’t in the least figure out why you’re not taken. Are you an ax murderer or something?”

“Only every second Tuesday – and, since this is the third week of the month, you should stay intact,” I grinned. “How about yourself? I notice the ring….two bears embracing…is there another cub in the den?”

“Nope, nary a one,” he said hurriedly – just a little TOO hurriedly, I thought to myself. Oh well, he’s cute – I’ll deal with the moral implications, if any, later. “Well then, Mr. B&B&B Keeper, you’ve got yourself a guest for the evening.”

His face brightened, that beautiful smile coming back. “Thanks Dan…..that’s great!” •

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