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Fishing (The Deep Sea Mix)

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He can feel Ben’s restlessness behind him, the quietly hoarse “so, uhm” a dead giveaway, and Matt grins as he turns his head. Ben never could go more than a few minutes without talking, as if the silence were a vacuum he desperately needed to breach, an empty glass he couldn’t look at any longer without trying to fill. There’s not much out here except for quiet while he’s fishing, the noise of the engine only a beginning and an end – in between, there’s nothing. Nothing except him and Ben in a boat. A chill in the air now that the afternoon is slipping away. He still wouldn’t trade it.

“You’re bored, aren’t you?” Matt asks, unable to stop smiling. “You’ve never been very good at sitting still.”

Ben sits up, his face red from the cold. “I am. I can.” His indignation is almost laughable, like a joke only Matt understands. “I just don’t really see the point. I mean, you’ve caught what?” He glances at the cooler packed with more ice than fish. “Two fish in three and a half hours. And it’ll be getting dark soon.” As if to illustrate his point, the sun continues to sink, a bright aura surrounding him. He glows, and Matt can barely stand to look at him, his heart in his throat for a moment.

He swallows. “Two fish is enough for you and me.”

Ben flexes his fingers. “So you’re suggesting what? That we hang out on the shore and roast them or whatever over a campfire? Singing songs of bygone days and being eaten alive by bugs?” In the cold goes unspoken. Ben’s grin is like a bee sting.

“Nah.” Matt takes off his sunglasses, it’s getting darker by the minute and he can’t hide behind them any longer. He’s not entirely sure why Ben came out with him today, it’s not as though it was great fishing weather, but Matt had wanted a few hours of relaxation. “I was thinking,” he continues, “they’d go nicely with that bottle of white wine from yesterday. And then we could go out for a few drinks after that, find a bar or whatever, see how the night progresses.” A good diversion, he thinks, less chance that he’ll end up in bed with Ben if they go out and there’s a room full of girls driving them to distraction.

Ben stretches, his shirt and jacket riding up. Matt looks away. The boat rocks gently in the water. “I need to get laid,” Ben yawns, as if he’d read Matt’s mind.

“Well then,” Matt replies, smiling to himself. “Stretch like that in the bar, flash that smile of yours and take home the nearest star-fucker who catches your eye.” He half expects Ben to laugh, tell him to fuck off, that he doesn’t do strange girls who only want to get their pictures in the tabloids.

But Ben doesn’t. He just looks at Matt through the gathering darkness and says that maybe he will. A tug on his line saves Matt from having to respond, so he shrugs and turns his attention to reeling in the fish that he doesn’t really want to catch anymore. But it’s still a challenge and he wants to win. Him versus the fish. It saves him from having to see that look in Ben’s eyes.