About Henry

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ABOUT HENRY: by JL Peridot 

Let me tell you about Henry. I could get fired for this, but what the hell.

He was six foot tall, a snappy dresser, and had the most incredible baby blues I'd ever seen. He was around my age, not quite a year older. But you couldn't tell by looking at him. The way he wore his dusty brown hair, whether he shaved—it changed his face completely. I've always had a thing for guys who can rock a range of looks. You might call it "confident"; I call it "fuckable."

I noticed him hanging around the hotel. He spent a lot of time alone. Odd, I thought, considering his wife was there too. She was beautiful: long dark hair, high cheekbones, full lips, big black eyes—the kind of person I would have, in my younger years, made up rumors about, just for being who she was. Yeah... that kind of beautiful.

I overheard her checking in. Melody Aston, Room 1202, all paid up for the month. She said her husband would be arriving later that evening. On my way out after shift, I saw them having dinner in The Commons. They looked good—a good looking, rich American couple who dazzled like cut diamonds against the dull backdrop of Perth.

That was the first of only two times I saw them together. He was by himself when I saw him next. I was working the Bar Capri in the lobby. He sat out in the lounge, a snifter of brandy in one hand, his phone in the other, swiping left and right on a dating app I didn't recognise.

Hey, not my place to judge.

The following morning, I tended the cabana. He was there, alone. Fresh from the pool, he came to order a drink. I tried not to be so obvious. He was fit for a guy who looked much older. Crazy fit, like someone had glued individually shrink-wrapped muscles on all the right places.

He hadn't shaved yet. That salt-and-pepper beard made his shapely chest and washboard abs look all the more enticing. I go crazy for a tight set of obliques. His voice was gravelly, like he'd just woken up. He asked for a negroni with two slices of orange. Mate, you can have whatever you want. Even a breakfast cocktail.

But it was on the rooftop that we had our first real conversation. He sat alone at a table for two, eyes doing the rounds between his phone, the bar entrance, and the view of Heirisson Island. I'd seen that routine before. He kept it up for an hour before he came to sit at the bar.

"No-show?" I asked. Not that it was any of my business. The words just slipped out.

He didn't answer. Just smirked and ordered an old fashioned. It was the best I could hope for while bracing for a threat of complaint to management. I handed him the drink and figured that would be it, but after a quick sip, he turned to me.

"What's good to eat around here?" He asked. It was then that I noticed his eyes.

"Well..." I worked to stifle the smile that threatened to betray me. "If you fancy pub food, the Winding Ivy downstairs makes—"

"I don't mean here here." His free hand gestured a small circle, followed by a bigger one. "I mean around town."

"You're better off asking the concierge, sir. All our guests love his recommendations."

"What if I don't want the CapriLuxe's recommendations?" He leaned across the bar.

Was he being lewd? I made a show of drying off some glasses, buying time to come up with a clever response. But I didn't need to. He leaned back again and gazed out at the city.

"How about something off the beaten track? Somewhere locals go."

"We're kind of tourists in our own city, I'm afraid. The locals do everything tourists do. Although..."

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