Smile at Strangers

~1000 words :: LotRiPS :: Dom/Elijah :: 10/3/06
Clearly a surfing holiday in New Zealand is the best idea Orli ever had.

“This your first time here?”

The voice is unmistakably American. Must be a tourist, Dom thinks, forgetting for a moment he’s one himself. The guy pushes wet hair off his forehead and shifts his weight from one foot to the other, all big, innocent eyes and lips pursed suggestively around a fag, his cheeks hollowing as he inhales.

“Er, yeah,” Dom says, realising he’s been staring. He jerks his chin towards where Billy and Orli are paddling their boards into the waves. “Me and my mates.”

The guy exhales through his nose, squinting out to sea, and Dom watches beads of water drip from his hair to run down his bare chest and into his wetsuit, which hangs off him at the waist.

There’s a rush of warmth to Dom’s groin and he turns away quickly, bends down and opens the ice chest. “You want a beer?”

“Uh, yeah. Sure.”

A can in each hand, Dom straightens up and turns around, and from the blotchy redness on the guy’s cheeks and chest, and the way he won’t meet Dom’s eyes, Dom’d bet the last of his savings (currently totalling a whopping fifty-three New Zealand dollars) the guy had been admiring his arse. Not that Dom would blame him. He’s had a lot of compliments on his arse over the years.

Handing him a can, Dom says, “So’re you-” at the same time the guy says, “Thanks,” and then, “sorry, what were you-” over Dom’s second attempt.

Dom holds up his hands for silence and the guy grins at him, the tip of his tongue pressing against the gap between his front teeth. “As I was saying,” Dom says, grinning back as he cracks open his can, “are you here with your mates, too?”

“Oh, uh. Yeah. Yeah, they’re,” the guy nods towards the campground. He takes one last drag and flicks his cigarette butt onto the sand.



Dom kicks sand at it. “This look like a tip to you?”

“The tip of what?”

Bloody Americans. “For rubbish. And the answer is ‘no, it doesn’t.’ D’you know the sort of damage littering does to the environment?”

“No, I mean yeah, sorry, I-” the guy stammers, bending down to scoop up the fag. He holds it awkwardly in his left hand and sips at his beer.

There are birds squawking and waves crashing and in the distance someone is shouting, but everything seems muffled by the silence between them. Dom alternates between watching Billy and Orli and checking the guy out. The beach is nearly deserted, but it’s also flat and open, no handy dunes or beach huts in sight. Still, the car Billy hired is parked not too far away. It’s not as if a quick shag would be endorsing the guy’s appalling disregard for the environment or anything.

The guy finishes his beer, drops the fag in the can, and rocks back on his heels. He glances over to where his board sticks up in the sand. “Guess I’ll…”

“Oh! Oh. Yeah,” Dom says, and then, “wait, I mean. You wanna-”


They both turn towards the voice. A skinny girl in jeans and a bikini top is waving at them as she jogs over. At him. Elijah.

“Hi!” she says to Dom, and then turns to the guy. Elijah. Her boyfriend? Dom scowls at her. “Mom wants you to come help pack.”

Her brother. Who’s gone all blotchy again and is, Dom notices, holding the beer can slightly behind him so she can’t see it.

Dom smiles at the girl and says, “Give us a tick. I was just about to show Elijah something in my car,” he raises his eyebrows at Elijah, “wasn’t I?”

“Yes! I, yeah. Yeah.”

“Can I come with you?”

“No!” they both say at once.

“Tell her I’ll be there in a minute, okay?”

“All right,” she says, eyeing them suspiciously. “You’d better be. I’m not doing all the work myself.”

They start towards the car as soon as her back’s turned, neither hurrying nor dragging their feet. They talk about surfing and they don’t look at each other until halfway there, when they fall silent and Dom can’t think of anything else to say and he elbows Elijah in the ribs and says, “Here with your mates, eh?”

“Fuck you,” Elijah says, shoving Dom back.

“Well. Yeah.” Dom grins, eyebrows raised, and Elijah blushes again and throws his beer can at Dom’s head.

Dom deflects it with his own and it falls to the sand, and when he bends to pick it up, Elijah’s already running. Dom is faster, or Elijah’s not trying, or a combination of the two, and he catches him quickly, sends them both tumbling to the ground, the cans flying out of Dom’s hands. They’re less than twenty feet from the car now, which is good enough for Dom.

Under him, Elijah squirms. He twists around til they’re face to face, til they’re grinding against each other. Elijah’s mouth tastes like stale cigarettes, but his hands are on Dom’s arse and his dick’s hard against Dom’s belly and that’s all that matters, really.

Afterwards they lie side by side on their backs, arms over their eyes to shield them from the sun. The inside of Dom’s wetsuit is sticky and his heart is pounding and he feels a little lightheaded.

“Um,” Elijah says, and Dom cracks one eye open to see him pushing himself up and brushing off the sand. “I should.”


“Before Hannah comes looking for me again.”

“Right.” Dom rolls onto his side, props himself up on his elbow. He squints up at Elijah. “So. You’re leaving today, then.”


Dom is silent, watching his finger make patterns in the sand. “Well,” he says finally. “Have a good trip, then.”

“Yeah, I-” Elijah hesitates and then says, “You, too.”

When Elijah’s gone, Dom flops back down, lies grinning up at the sky until Orli’s toe in his ribs jerks him out of a doze. “Remind me to buy you a pint later,” he says, grabbing Orli’s ankle. “Surfing holiday in New Zealand’s the best idea you ever had.”