Airport muscle

by Richard Jasper

When you have a really long layover, having a sleeping cube comes in handy!

Added: 1 Feb 2020 5,889 words 5,329 views 3.5 stars (2 votes)

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F
“Fuck, I’m hot,” I said.

I was looking at myself in the men’s room mirror. What I saw was stunning:

Shaved head, piercing blue eyes, a thick mustache and goatee that appeared to be made of spun gold. My neck was the size of a beer keg, my traps flying buttresses that ascended to my ears from bowling ball delts, my pecs two concrete pillows bursting out of a painted-on black tank top, framed by Olympia-worthy 24-inch biceps.

I was 5’8” tall, 295 pounds of solid muscle. And there was someone at Gate A17 waiting for me, I just didn’t know (yet) who he was.

I exited the men’s room and strolled to the gate, my 34-inch quads straining the seams of my camouflage pants, my wheat-colored Timberland boots of necessity unlaced to accommodate my 24-inch calves. My mile-wide shoulders and enormous 60-inch chest drew stares and my rolling gait would have intimidated anyone but a tiny smirk and twinkling eyes banished fear and replaced it with lust. I was conscious of the stares and the near misses and collisions they prompted but I paid them no heed.

My prey would be at the gate.

Ah, I thought, there he is.

And what a cutie he was. Twenty-five years old, no more than 5 feet 5 inches tall, and maybe 120 pounds soaking wet. Wavy brown hair, thick eyebrows, nice stubble on a pale complexion that screamed Black Irish, emerald green eyes, a surfeit of brown curls poking out of the top of his baggy plaid flannel shirt, skinny jeans held in place by a skinny canvas belt that was trying hard to compensate for his total lack of hips and ass.

He’d arrived at Hartsfield-Jackson from Sarasota 30 minutes earlier and his slumped shoulders told me all I needed to know.

“Let me guess,” I said, sitting down next to the violin case that occupied the seat between him and the end of the row. “The flight to Buffalo is delayed?”

He sighed.

“For three hours,” he replied, not even looking up. “I was hoping to get home before midnight!”

Then he did look at me and I thought he was going to have a heart attack. The beautiful pale face turned beet red, his mouth fell open and he sucked air as if he were drowning.

“Fuck,” he said. “You’re huge!”

I tilted my head back, an action that made my neck look twice as big as it was already, and chuckled.

“Well, working on it,” I said, then I turned slightly towards him, placed one gigantic arm on the back of the seat containing the violin case, and held out my right hand.

“I’m Rod,” I said, smiling. “What takes you to the Buffalo?”

He looked at my hand like it was radioactive, or the stuff that dreams are made of, then placed his own slender hand – a violinist all right, long and slender fingers, much longer than you’d expect for a guy his height – and gave it a firm shake.

“Pete,” he replied. “Pete Morgan, and I’m going home. I’ve been down in Sarasota for the summer, time to get back to school.”

He was a grad student in UB’s music program, it turned out, and he bought my line about being a traveling rep for a sports supplement company hook, line, and sinker.

“Jesus,” he said, “you must have used every supplement ever made! Is that how you got so huge?”

I laughed.

“Some supplements but mostly eating my head off and years and years and years of hard work,” I said. Then I waited for what I knew would come next.

“Uh,” he began, his face cherry-red again, “just how big…”

I told him. Height, weight, stats, body fat. For good measure I threw in how much I could bench, squat, and deadlift.

He broke into a sweat during the telling of it and I saw what I knew was a disproportionately long, thick cock stirring in his jeans.

“You wanna get big like me, don’t you?”

Saying it aloud totally floored him. He stared again, his jaw agape, and began a stuttering reply when the PA kicked in.

“Just an update on Flight 803 for our Buffalo passengers,” the gate agent announced. “Unfortunately, we’re going to have to change flight crews thanks to the delay and the replacement crew won’t be here until 11 p.m.”

I leaned forward, resting my 19-inch forearms – as big as his quads – on my knees.

“I have a cubicle for times like this,” I said. “Daybed, TV, microwave, minibar. Want to check it out?”

He followed me as if were in a trance, a young deer following his daddy buck into a deep dark forest, a place of mystery from whence he might never return.

In the cubicle he was all over me, grabbing and squeezing and feeling and rubbing and licking, every last inch of my immense body. He gasped when the pants came off and he found that I really was Big All Over, my 11 x 8 dick easily a match for the rest of my bod.

When it was my turn to look at his goods he was all shy for about a minute until I put my giant mitts on either side of his face and told him he was beautiful and that I had to see all.

He was as I suspected, lean and wiry and perfectly proportioned for all that he was tiny, his small muscles hard and stronger than he realized, the fur thick and full and manly yet oh so smooth at the same time, the oval nipples pink and perky.

I took his rock hard 8-incher in my mouth and he was off like a rocket. I drank his cum down in three big gulps and by the time I finished licking my lips he was hard again. I stretched out on the day bed, my humongous back more than twice the width of his shoulders, and arched my killer ass, inviting him to take it, which he did, repeatedly, for more than hour.

“Why me?” he said when we were done.

I rubbed his nipples, exciting his thoroughly spent cock once again.

“Because I know you want what I have,” I replied. “And I’m going to give it to you.”

He looked at me.

“But how…?”

I told him. In low tones, slowly and thoroughly, in a way that he would understand completely and permanently.

“Passengers on Flight 803…”

The cubicle intercom system allowed us to monitor announcements regarding his flight.

“Time for you to go,” I said, then gave him a kiss.

He looked at me.

“You’re not actually going to Buffalo, are you?”

I shook my head. Like most of them, he had figured it out.

For a moment, it looked like he would weep, then he threw his arms around my neck (he knew that he wouldn’t be able to encircle my chest, he’d tried already) and kissed me passionately.

“Thank you sooo much,” he whispered.

Then he was gone.

I saw him again a couple of years later, once again at Gate A17. The way he looked around it was clear he was looking for someone, that he remembered just where and when his life had changed. But he didn’t recognize me.

No one who’d been at A17 two years earlier would have recognized him. Gone was the skinny kid with the big glasses and the baggy flannel shirt. The man with the violin case was incongruously huge for 5 feet 5 inches, easily 250 pounds, all muscle, his massive pecs covered in a rug of dark curls, his hypermasculine flat-top haircut complemented by a handsome goatee, thick and black.

More than one of his fellow passengers looked at his fur-covered forearms, the size of Virginia hams, and the calloused meathooks that doubled as hands and wondered how he managed to play such a delicate instrument without smashing it to pieces.

I stood next to him in front of the mirror in the men’s room, watching him look at himself. I knew what he was saying to himself.

“Fuck, I’m hot!”

You’re welcome, I thought. Keep up the good work!
“Holy fuck, I’m hot,” I said to myself. I was looking in the men’s room mirror – again – and what I saw was stunning:

Shoulder length braids pulled back and tied with a leather clasp revealing a face of Nubian beauty, herculean traps, immensely wide shoulders, pecs that would make Ronnie Coleman weep in jealousy, tapering to a waist so slender and chiseled you’d have thought it belonged to an Alvin Ailey dancer, save that the legs below belonged to a racetrack thoroughbred, immense and round with power, my bubble-butt so wide and high and thick you could set a six-pack on it.

6 feet 2 inches tall, 315 pounds, 63 inch chest, 25 inch biceps, 32 inch waist, 36 inch quads.

“Mmm,” I thought. “Good enough to eat. Hope he likes it!”

The anaconda in my track pants, 10 inches soft, began to stir and I headed for gate B-11.

The flight to Des Moines was delayed and it was clear that the pudgy Steve Urkel seated in front of the window couldn’t care less. His face was fixed on his iPad, playing some silly game. Occasionally he’d take a slurp from his Big Gulp (Bloomberg would never get elected in Atlanta) or pull out a Krispy Kreme to munch on, occasionally both at the same time.

“What’s the delay this time?” I asked. My voice was James Earl Jones deep, the intonation of Barack Obama by way of the Vulcan Tuvok.

Young Mr. Urkel looked up from Angry Birds with a start, certain that I was talking to him, even though my back was to him.

“My God, what a back!” he exclaimed.

What a back indeed, I thought. Dorian and Ronnie had posted comparison pix, inviting people to decide which was the “Best Back in History,” but neither of them had anything on me. The width, the thickness, the taper, it was all mind-blowing.

I gave him a good look, flexing slightly, and then turned to find the chubby kid blushing furiously, his café-au-lait complexion suffused with a rosy tint. He was 5’11, 200 pounds, sloped shoulders, sagging chest, round belly, soft as a marshmallow. For all that, he was exceptionally handsome, his face the perfect blend of African, European and Native American features, broad forehead, high cheekbones, straight nose, strong jaw. He was a looker all right, he just didn’t know it.

“I’m Rod,” I said, extending a massive paw in his direction. I thought he would faint but after looking around nervously he took it with a surprisingly strong grip of his own.

“Pleased to meetcha, Mister,” he said. “I’m Deshawn.”

I nodded at him, then arched an eyebrow.

“And, uh, the flight isn’t until 9 p.m., rough weather in the Mississippi Valley, apparently.”

That gave us three hours with plenty of time to get him back to the gate before the plane departed.

“C’mon then,” I said. “Follow me.”

He blinked, then shut off the iPad, stuffed it into his Jansport backpack, and started to gather his belongings.

“Leave the Big Gulp and the donuts,” I said. “You won’t be needing them.”

His expression was priceless, as were the stares aimed our way as we headed to the cubicle.

What’s that huge hunk doing with this goofy kid?

“Uh, Mister,” Deshawn said. “Where are we going?”

I told him about the cube, the daybed, the TV, the minibar.

“Besides,” I said. “I can’t pose for you out here.”

His step faltered.

“Would you really…?”

He said it so quietly that I don’t think he knew he’d said it aloud.

“It’s what you want, isn’t it?”

He nodded, albeit lost in thought.

“To see it, to be it,” I added.

His 10-inch dick was instantly hard, so much so he had trouble walking the rest of the way. Inside the cube he dropped his belongings and I picked him up under his arms, lifting him off the ground, and planting my full lips against his own, my muscular tongue shoving its way between his flawless teeth.

I held him there with one hand, ripping off his clothes (no doubt he had more in the roll-away), and worshiping his body, the wide shoulders, the beefy arms and legs, the chest that showed so much promise.

“Oh, God,” he said. “How is this happening to me?”

I threw him on the bed and fucked his silky smooth ass, plunging my 13-inch rod to the hilt, over and over, our orgasms simultaneous, gigantic, and, for him, shattering. He wept with joy and I cuddled him, finally letting his hands grope and feel and massage all of my massiveness.

“But why?” he asked, finally.

I sighed.

“Because someone somewhere somehow convinced you that you weren’t worthy of this,” I said, flexing my gigantic right arm and giving it a kiss with my long broad tongue. “That all you deserved were cokes and donuts and obesity and diabetes and a stroke at age 40…”

His eyes were wide, seeing his life for the first time.

“…when you could have this instead,” I added.

I told him how and why and when and what, in ways he couldn’t fail to comprehend, in terms that would motivate him to do all of it with enthusiasm and pleasure and self-fulfillment. And, no, I have no idea what those words were. They were words for him, not words for me.

“Will I see you again?” he said, his strong hand tracing the inches-deep cleavage between my monstrous pecs.

“I won’t recognize you,” I said, knowing that I would and that he wouldn’t recognize me.

He came back through B-11 exactly a year later, on his way from Des Moines to Los Angeles. He’d just won the Junior Nationals and signed a contract with Muscle Meds. In a year he’d grown another inch taller and added pound after pound of solid muscle, 7 1/2 pounds per month on average!

The flab was gone, replaced by huge ripped muscle, 6 ft and 290 pounds, the massive 58-inch chest complemented by a Coleman-worthy back, the 23-inch biceps perfectly balanced with 30-inch quads and 20-inch calves. He was going to give that other 24-year-old, Nick Trigili, a run for his money, that was certain.

Even then he had fans and he happily posed and laughed and signed autographs, charming everyone with his cornfed Iowa humor and friendliness, all the time scanning the gate area for the person he wouldn’t, couldn’t recognize.

“You’re welcome,” I mouthed. “I knew you would do it.”

“Holy Crap,” I said, looking at myself in the men’s room mirror.

“I’m a God!”

Shoulder length blond hair, blue eyes, short-cropped blondish brown beard, all added up to “Eat your heart out, Chris Hemsworth.”

Plus tall, tall, tall, broad, broad, broad. A good 6 feet 8 inches tall and well over 400 pounds, all muscle. The black muscle shirt must have been made by Omar the Tent Maker but even so it was painted on, showing every cut and crevasse between my pecs, abs, serratus, etc. As for the leather pants, well, they were just ridiculous. How could anything be that tight and still so supple, the tsunamis rippling up and down the shiny material each time my legs moved. And the crotch, oh dear.

“I hope he’s worth it,” I said. “Whoever he is.”

I headed to Gate C-19. This time I sat hunched over my Kindle, the e-reader tiny in my massive paws, waiting for him to come to me.

Soon enough I felt the seat move as a big man sat down next to me.

“I guess we’re gonna be here for a while, huh?” he said.

“At least another three hours,” I said, not looking up from the Kindle.

I could tell he was squirming, waiting for me to notice him, willing me to notice him. Hell, everyone else noticed him, why not me? Just as he was getting ready to give up, I powered down the reader, clicked the cover closed with an audible snap, and set it aside.

“You compete, right?” he asked.

I turned to him and grinned.

“What makes you think so?” I asked.

He blushed.

“Well, I mean, you’re so fucking huge!” he blurted.

I extended my hand.

“I’m Rod,” I said. “Nice to meetcha.”

He gulped. At 6’5 and 275 pounds, this guy was accustomed to being the big man in any crowd but my hand swallowed his like his would swallow that of a child.

“John,” he answered. “And, uh, you didn’t answer my question.”

I chuckled.

“I never really felt the need,” I answered. “I don’t like shaving down, posers don’t hold all my stuff, strong man stunts are just silly, and as for powerlifting, well, really, it’s no contest.”

I looked him up and down. About 30, shaved head, brilliant green eyes, long lashes, pouty lips, built like a brick shit house. Yes ma’am, he was used to being the ALPHA. Only here he was staring at me like a puppy, waiting to be petted.

His hand was still in mine so I stood up – and up and up – bringing him with me. I didn’t think his eyes could get any bigger but there he was and there I was, a good three inches taller than he was and twice as wide.

“On the other hand,” I said. “I do like to pose for an appreciative audience. And I think you might be.”

So many emotions crossed that beautiful face in a split second, delight and hope and fear and lust, all at the same time.

“But where?” he asked.

I nodded at his stuff, picked up my bag, and headed down the concourse, not waiting to see if he would follow (I had no doubts…)

When we got to the cube, the penny dropped.

“Oh,” he said, “I’ve heard about these. Isn’t it kind of pricey?”

I grinned as I opened the door.

“It’s comped, in my case…”

I led him inside.

“Jesus!” he exclaimed. “I didn’t know they were this fancy.”

It would have been a $2000 a night suite at a deluxe resort, separate living, sleeping, and wet areas. A giant flat screen television, a fully stocked bar, and a large sectional sofa dominated the living area; another flat screen TV and a California king in the sleeping area; a walk-in shower, whirlpool tub, and sauna in the wet area.

“You must be pretty important to have all this comped,” he said.

I started unbuttoning his loose cotton shirt.

“I’m nobody,” I pointed out. “It’s just one of the perks of what I do.”

I put my mouth on his huge dark nipple and gently licked and sucked and nipped at it while my right hand began massaging his long, heavy cock.

“I’ve got to see you out of your clothes,” he breathed, and they were gone.

He explored every inch of my body, the mountainous pecs, the humongous traps, the biceps that were bigger than his pro-quality quads, the shoulders measuring 4½ feet across.

“You outweigh me by 200 pounds,” he breathed. “How is that possible?”

I picked him up as if he were a rag doll and sat him on my enormous cock and showed him how it was possible. By the time I finished with him an hour later he was a quivering lump.

“Why?” he asked, finally. “Why me?”

I caressed his sculpted cheeks.

“So that you will know,” I answered. “That no matter how tall or strong or handsome a man is, there is always someone somewhere who is taller, stronger, handsomer.”

He wept and I licked the tears from his beautiful face.

“And to let you know that you can be more than you are,” I said.

What he had had come easy, awesome genetics and good training and a decent work ethic, but he’d been content to let it ride. I’d showed him something grander and I told him how he could achieve.

“Is it really possible?” he asked.

I smiled.

“Oh yes.”

It was more than a year before I saw him again and what a year he’d had. At 400 pounds of solid muscle he was the first man to win the Olympia title and the World’s Strongest Man contest. His entourage at Gate C-19 included the big men of three sports, Derek Poundstone, Ryan Kennelly, Noah Steere, Joel Stubbs.

None of whom were as big as he was.

He looked around the waiting area, shook his head, and sighed. It was as if I could read his mind.

And I’m still not as big as Rod was. I wonder where he is now?

Right here, I thought. Just like always.

“Grrr! Woof” I said to myself, looking in the men’s room mirror. “I’m a fucking gorilla!”

Shaved head, Fu Man Chu mustache, broad forehead, strong jaw, high cheekbones, prominent eyebrows, I looked like a Sumo wrestler crossed with a Hirajuku fashion model.

And so fucking thick!

Only 5 feet 9 inches tall but 350 pounds of solid muscle, all of it my shoulders, chest, arms, legs, ass. I looked as wide as tall and in fact with a 69-inch chest I was big around as I was tall. The black v-neck shirt looked ready to pop as did the skin-tight black jeans. Bright read sneakers with neon-yellow laces completed the look.

I could have done without the sneakers and the laces, truth to tell, but whatcha gonna do?

“I just hope he doesn’t have a shoe fetish,” I thought to myself. “Whoever he is.”

I headed to Gate D-34 and my guy saw me before I saw him. By the time I approached the seating area his open-mouthed stare and tented summer-weight wool slacks told me everything I needed to know.

Asian, or, like me, perhaps Eurasian. Mid-30s, an inch or so taller than my 5-9, average build, handsome face hidden by nondescript glasses and an abysmal haircut. In Atlanta, as in Japan, just another sarariman headed home after a long week on the road.

“Name’s Rod,” I said, walking right up to him, my cinder-block hand extended. “This seat taken?”

He sat there staring for half minute, then seemed to jerk back to the real world, taking my hand and giving it a firm shake.

“Mike,” he answered. “Mike Nagamatsu.”

He moved his stainless steel brief case and lightweight overnight bag from the seat next to him and motioned to me to sit down. Airport waiting area seats being what they are sitting next to him meant my more than yard-wide shoulders were bumping up against his, my 38-inch jeans-clad quads rubbing his left leg.

“How late is it this time?” I asked, knowing in advance what the answer would be.

“Three hours,” he said, mournfully.

I nodded.

“That ought to put you in Chicago, what, a little after midnight?”

He winced.

“And then an hour drive after that,” he pointed out. “I’m not really sure how I’m gonna do it. I’d plan to sleep on the plane but on the last leg I had a crying baby behind me for two hours.”

I grinned.

“I’ve got the solution to that,” I said and I told him about the cube.

He looked at me as if I were a life raft in a hurricane.

“Really? I’d hate to impose…”

I laughed.

“I could stand the company,” I said and his almond-shaped eyes went wide.

On the way there he kept licking his lips, working up the nerve to say what he had to say. Finally…

“Damn, boy, you’re the biggest Asian guy I’ve ever seen,” he said.

I chuckled.

“Half Asian,” I pointed out. “My mom’s Japanese, my dad is Irish.”

It was his turn to chuckle.

“Get out! Exactly the opposite for me! My dad’s third-generation Japanese from Honolulu, my mom’s fifth-generation Irish from Boston.”

Ah, I thought, that explains the accent.

“And, seriously,” I continued. “You know there are plenty of Asian guys bigger than I am. Think of all those sumo wrestlers. I’m just a dainty flower next to them!”

He snorted.

“They’re huge,” he agreed. “But you’re all muscle. I’ve never seen so much in one place!”

In the cube, I invited him to stretch out on the sofa and put his feet up while I made him a cocktail.

“It’s a Rod-o-tini,” I said, handing it to him as he laughed. “My own special recipe.”

I sat down across from him, totally relaxed and yet totally jacked, all at the same time, and said:

“Now spill it…”

He needed to talk and I knew it. So I heard it all.

Hapa life in Honolulu, successful in wrestling and track and field but even better with the books, a supportive family, popular with the girls but…

“I know,” I said.

Emory in Atlanta for undergrad, first time he’d spent any significant time on the “mainland,” amazed, disgusted, frightened, aroused by life in Atlanta in the 90s.

And then a blonde girl from a nice Southern family who liked him because he wasn’t fresh and, as for her, she wasn’t threatening and intimidating the way the other girls were. The next thing he knew he was married and 10 years and two kids later…

“She left me,” he said. “Not that she didn’t love me, not that she was mad at me, not that there was someone else. She just needed something more.”

So home was a two-bedroom apartment in the Chicago burbs and alternating weekends with kids and two-week vacations in the summer and at Christmas with the grandparents in Honolulu.

“C’mere,” I said, standing up.

He approached, reluctantly and nervously, but I knew he wanted it, needed it. I took off his dopey glasses, undid his tie, smoothed his rumpled hair. I kissed him, gently but long and deep and passionately. You can pack a lot of information into a kiss and he did and I did.

“Am I sure I want to do this?” he asked me.

In answer, I pulled off my shirt.

“You’ve waited a long time,” I said. “Isn’t it time to get on with your life?”

And so he did.

I saw him again a year later, same gate, only this time with his two adorable kids, 9-year-old son, 7-year-old daughter, and his uber hunky, uber built 25-year-old boyfriend. They were headed to Honolulu to see the grandparents.

Mike was completely transformed. At 5’11 and 275 pounds of solid muscle, he looked like a scaled-up Hidetada Yamagishi. The boyfriend was young and built like a brick shit house but Mike outweighed by 50 pounds and all eyes were on the Asian guy. This new Asian guy, I should say, the glasses replaced by contact lenses, his hair styled within an inch of its life, the rumpled clothes replaced by a bright red Underarmour shirt and black track pants.

Finished off with a pair of red sneakers and neon yellow laces. Mentally I chortled.

“Thank you,” he said, looking right through me.

“You’re welcome,” I replied and he nodded, hearing it without hearing, knowing it without knowing why.

“I know who you are.”

I looked up at the young man standing in front of me. “Young” being a relative term, of course. I later learned that he was 30 but even so I knew that I had 10 years on him.

Six feet tall, about 200 pounds, not super built but really nicely w-i-d-e shoulders, strong looking arms and chest and legs. A guy who worked with his hands, perhaps, or someone who did a lot of manual labor. The hands were calloused and strong-looking, regardless.

As for the rest…

Breathtakingly handsome. Perfectly shaped face, big brown eyes, long dark lashes, generous but well-proportioned mouth, and slightly wavy, floppy brown hair, longish in the front but not too long. Completely smooth skin, his complexion holding just the slightest olive tint, the kind you know tans easily and evenly.

And a nice thick bulge in his jeans.

“Perfect,” I said.

He smiled.

“I was just thinking the same thing about you,” he said before extending his thick muscular hand. “I’m Dave…”

And then he floored me by adding.

“And you’re Rod, right?”

I looked in his eyes and saw that, yes, he did in fact know me. But how?

“Tell me what you see,” I instructed.

The gate agent for E-9 announced the flight to Barcelona had been canceled. Around us our fellow travelers groaned and started heading for the podium. Dave didn’t seem to think anything of it.

He chuckled.

“Not accustomed to being on the receiving end, are you?”

And then he told me what he saw:

Archetypical musclebear, the one to which all others aspire. Forty years old, 6 feet, 385 pounds, all muscle. Giant shoulders, arms, chest, legs, improbably slender waist that even so looked like it could hold up an aircraft carrier.

Black hair with a few silver flecks, thick eyebrows, a full-beard, strong nose, pale complexion with a naturally pink tint to it, the kind of face that makes Tom Selleck or Pete Kuzak look plain and unmasculine by comparison.

And, like Gaston, every last inch of me covered in hair.

“Like Hercules,” he said. “Or more precisely, Hercules’s bigger, stronger, handsomer brother.”

I felt the massive log in my pants begin to stir.

“Oh yeah,” Dave added. “There’s that, too. It’s what? About 10 inches soft?”

I knew he was right.

“But how did you know that I’m Rod?”

He tilted his head and gave me that look, the look I’d given all the others.

“You don’t remember me,” he said. “And I didn’t expect you to do so. But I was there.”

Then he told me.

He was at A-17 when I met Pete Morgan.

He was at B-11 when I met Deshawn.

He was a C-19 when I met John.

He was at D-34 when I met Mike Nagamatsu.

“You were there,” he added.

I shrugged my impossibly broad shoulders.

“A strange coincidence but, yes, I saw those guys,” I allowed. “It was curious to see each of them head off with all those really built guys like they were puppies or something.”

Dave grinned.

“Those guys were you,” he pointed out, waving aside my protest.

“I don’t know what sort of magic you worked on them,” he continued. “But it was clear that what they and everyone else and the mirrors in the bathrooms were seeing was something other than what I was seeing.”

I was trying to grasp it.

“And what were you seeing?”

He put his hand on my impossibly thick traps. It felt good. Like it belonged there.

“I was seeing you,” he said. “This you. Look I have pictures.”

He pulled out his iPad and opened a file folder. He wasn’t lying. There were pictures of the guys when I first met them, all of them talking to….me! Me, as I was now. Not me as I appeared to them.

“And, look,” he added. “I was there when they came back, too.”

And once again, there I was, at those gates, being overlooked – or at least not recognized – by the guys whose lives I’d changed.

“What now?” I asked. “I have this place…”

He shook his head.

“I know all about the cube,” he said, shocking me once again. “But we don’t need to go there.”

I stood and he wrapped his arms around my neck, even his long strong arms unable to encircle my chest.

“We’re going home.”

I winced.

“I’m not sure I can,” I told him. “As far as I can tell, I’ve never been out of the terminal…”

He kissed me and people applauded. It was only then I realized that we were really, truly, actually in the real world. That people saw us, that they saw me, that I was truly part of the world around me.

“Just believe,” he said. “You know you want it.”

And I did.

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