I selected the image of the statue near the Firth of Tay in Dundee, Scotland for my prompt this week. I’ve done a twenty-minute sprint and a quick edit. I hope you enjoy.
Bailey sat on the little step at the base of the sculpture by William Longair that looked out over the Tay. He faced the water, taking comfort in the noise of people walking behind him. It was a beautiful day, so there were plenty of people out walking beside the firth. That’s why he’d picked the place. It was outside and usually had a small crowd within shouting distance at the furthest. He knew meeting someone he met online was a risky thing under any circumstances, but he was at least doing it in public where he should be safe and in reach of help if needed.
Not that he thought he’s need it. He hoped Ashley was everything she claimed to be online. They’d met on a sewing forum and bonded over cosplay they’d both done. Ashley hadn’t sent any pictures of herself in any of the costumes, but then, Bailey had only sent one and hadn’t told her it was him. In between talking about sewing tips, maker skills for props, and what not to try to wear to an American Convention, they’d talked about books, movies, and music. It was amazing how much they had in common.
Bailey glanced around, seeing if anyone was approaching. Then he glanced at his watch. Still early. He’d picked two in the afternoon on a Saturday because he knew the crowd would be here. He also got off work at one, and he wanted to be early. He liked to have the lay of the land before meeting people, strangers or not. Bailey was always early.
At two, Bailey got up and stretched, walking the short distance to the low wall along the water and back to the statue. He wanted to be close enough to be obvious, so he stuck close to the statue. He was looking out at the crowd now, just people-watching as he waited.
There was a slender man with ebony skin walking across the space toward the statue. Bailey smiled to himself as he looked down at his hands. He’d always wondered what it would be like to see his pale, freckled, white skin against the skin of someone with such a different complexion. The few boyfriends he’d had where all Scots like himself, so there wasn’t much contrast involved.
When the slender man stopped beside the statue, Bailey looked up again. He glanced back out at the crowd wondering what was taking Ashley so long. He didn’t even see any women walking alone. He glanced at his watch again, then glanced sideways at the slim man on the other side of the statue. He was looking down at his phone, scrolling through something. He had great bone structure, his cheek bones looking sharp in the bright afternoon light, and his hands looked strong with long fingers.
Bailey looked down again. If he found someone’s looks alluring, he tended to stare as he mentally tried costumes out on them. There were a lot of good ones for that man, but he didn’t want to be caught staring at a stranger.
“Excuse me,” the man said, walking closer to Bailey. He had a light tenor with a hint of an accent that wasn’t British.
“Yes?” Bailey asked.
“If I’m mistaken, please forgive me, but are you Bailey?”
“Yes,” Bailey said slowly, frowning. How did this random guy know his name?
“I’m Ashley,” the man said, holding out his hand. “I wasn’t sure you were who I was meeting. I was expecting a woman actually.”
Bailey burst out laughing.
“So was I,” he said, taking Ashley’s hand. His skin looked nice against the rich darkness of Ashley’s.
“I get that a lot,” Ashley said, his hand sliding away from Bailey’s.
“We never really talked about anything that could give us away, I guess,” Bailey said. “And you don’t run across that many guys who sew.”
“It does seem to be a bit rare here,” Ashley said, slipping his phone into a back pocket. “It’s nice meeting another man who enjoys the hobby as much as I do.”
“Likewise,” Bailey said with a grin. He’d come here to meet an online friend so they could maybe be real life friends or work on a project together. It didn’t matter that Ashley was actually a guy. Except that Ashley was kind of hot, but Bailey could ignore that.
“We didn’t really discuss what we’d do after we met up,” Ashley said.
“I didn’t really have a plan,” Bailey said.
“Would you mind finding somewhere I can get lunch?” Ashley asked. “My morning got a little out of hand and I didn’t have time to eat without being later than I was.”
“Sure,” Bailey said. “Have something in mind?”
“It’s so nice out, why don’t we just swing through the Tesco and then we can find somewhere to sit and talk?”
“Sounds great,” Bailey said. Part of him wondered if Ashley was as nervous about meeting a stranger from the internet as he was. The town’s only major grocery store and the outdoors were some of the safest places to be if you were a little unsure of your company.