**This one was a definite challenge, which I know pleases the Admiral. Cultural differences, a misunderstanding, and a farewell trip, led me to this. I hope you like it**
A year. I’d been living and working at the corporate headquarters in Weimar, Germany for an entire year. Nose to the grindstone, shoulder to shoulder with a team of exceedingly intelligent men and women. I’d been a fish out of water when I first arrived, the lone American on the project, and the only reason I’d been sent was because I had a good grasp of the language. I’d been fortunate that the team I worked with took a liking to me and showed me the sights and only teased me a little when I didn’t understand some of the cultural differences. They were good friends, and I’d come to rely on them. I was going to miss the holy hell out of them now that the project was completed and I was going home.
Even if not one single one of the fuckers could be bothered to throw me a going away party.
I shouldn’t have expected it, but I thought we were closer than that. I thought they would miss me too, and would want to send me off in style. As the date of my departure got closer, and still no one said anything, I thought perhaps it would be a surprise party. But my train was leaving bright and early the next morning, it was nearly ten o’clock at night, and still nothing. If I were completely honest, I was broken hearted about the whole thing.
I resigned myself to spending my last night in Germany on my own. It hurt, but I’d deal with it. I changed into my sleep wear and set about packing up the last of my things. I’d already shipped several boxes home to the states, and since it was a company apartment, not much of what was left was mine. I had two large suitcases and a duffle bag left, and I’d take that with me on the train to Berlin, and home on the plane.
The sudden pounding on my door scared the ever living shit out of me. I took a moment to get myself under control before I cracked it open, then threw it wide. Johann was a thing of beauty, tall, blond, and muscular. He had a sharp wit, and a clever mind. I’d been nursing a crush on the man for pretty much my entire stay. But he’d never given me any indication that he was even the slightest bit interested, and since I didn’t want to get killed in a foreign country, I kept my mouth shut.
He sauntered in with that commanding swagger he had, and looked me straight in the eye. “We all wonder why you never throw a party,” he said, his English a little stilted but his tone matter-of-fact. “I think maybe you don’t know you should?”
I blinked, utterly confused. “What?”
He gave me his patient smile. “Here, when you go, you throw your own…” he trailed off for a moment, seemingly searching, and then his blue eyes lit up. “Goodbye party? Is right term, yes?”
I took a minute to let that sink in. “Really?”
Johann nodded, his grin shining. “You leave tomorrow, so there is no time. Instead, you and I, we take a trip. I changed your flight home, and we’ll go on a…” His brow creased for a moment. “A farewell trip.”
“Johann,” I said slowly, cautiously. I loved the idea, of course. But if it were just the two of us, I knew I would do something to show my interest and that could be all kind of disastrous. More than that, I couldn’t figure out why Johann would want to do this. We were close, yes, but a trip? No, that wasn’t a good idea. “I appreciate you wanting to make up for the misunderstanding but–”
Johann just shook his head and took a step closer to me, forcing me to look up at him and making my words dry up. His blue eyes were soft with affection, and it took my breath away. When he reached out to cup my cheek, my knees nearly buckled.
“You misunderstand,” he said quietly, emphasizing the word. “It’s not because I want to ‘make up.’” He stopped then, and continued on in German, apparently feeling like it would be easier to explain himself in his native tongue. “You are leaving tomorrow, and I do not want to be parted from you. So we will take this trip before you go home, get to know each other, so that when my transfer to the states comes through, we will be ready to start our relationship.”
“What? I don’t–What?”
Johann captured me in his arms. “You are not as subtle as you think, Kevin. But this is not the safest place to be together, ja? In your New York, it will be better.”
I nodded fast, all the feelings that had been building for the last year bubbling up. He must have seen that on my face, because his grin was beautiful. He bent toward me, but stopped before our lips touched. “We will take this trip and then I will come to you in New York.”
It wasn’t a question, but I answered it anyway. “Yes.”
The kiss tasted like promise and heat. It was the best kiss of my life.