CABB’s 2018

SUMMER HEAT

Challenge

STEAM HEAT

by JoAnn Baca

“Lordy, it’s hot!” Winslow wiped the perspiration from his brow with an already sweat-soaked towel. He had stripped down to his jeans and undershirt but he was thinking seriously of peeling those off, as well, and working in just his boxers.

Vincent, beside him, was in his lightest khakis and a long-sleeved workshirt, having discarded his vest long before. He was suffering from the steamy heat just as much as his companion, but the thought of taking his remaining outerwear off did not even cross his mind. It was bad enough that he had unbuttoned the top button of his shirt and rolled his shirtsleeves to the elbows. That was practically naked in front of someone else, as far as he was concerned.

The Con Edison steam pipe that ran through the pantry had ruptured, spewing a humid stream of heated air forcefully through the room. Many hands had been necessary to quickly clear the provisions from the chamber before their stored flour could become a congealed mass and their onions and potatoes begin to cook on the shelves.

It usually didn’t matter what the weather was Above; the Tunnels maintained a fairly steady, slightly cool but comfortable temperature year-round. So the fact that it was summer didn’t make the problem worse. It was bad all on its own…not to mention they needed to fix the problem quickly, before Con Edison was alerted by a customer to the drop in pressure and began to search for the breach.

“Gotta take a break,” mumbled Winslow, heading out of the chamber for a breath of cooler air and a drink of water. Vincent remained, concentrating on the problem. But since he was momentarily alone, he took the opportunity to remove his sopping wet shirt and towel off a little.

He was so focused on the crisis before him that Vincent didn’t notice at first that someone had entered the chamber, someone he had sent word to that certain materials were desperately needed Below to fix the crack in the steam pipe, someone who had moved heaven, earth and Elliot Burch to provide the materials in record time.

Catherine stood in the entryway, stunned, simply staring, mouth agape, at the picture of magnificent manhood in front of her. Vincent…bare-chested, sculpted muscles on full display, deliciously sweaty, a mist of vapor pouring over him as he shook damp tendrils of his long, luxurious locks out of his eyes….

The heat rising within her owed nothing to the steam coming out of the pipe.

Suddenly realizing someone had entered the chamber, Vincent whipped his head around and was stunned into immobility to see Catherine…her eyes definitely not meeting his but gazing much lower on his anatomy.

He belatedly lifted the towel to his chest, trying, however ineffectually, to cover himself. Catherine recovered her senses enough to understand he was terribly uncomfortable with her presence and she found her voice, only to blurt out, “I’ve got what you need.”

Well, that wasn’t exactly what she’d meant to say. It was more like what she had been thinking, and what she’d been thinking didn’t really involve metal braces and rivets. She blew out her breath and shook herself, closing her eyes to pull herself back to the business at hand. When she opened them again, she added, “The…rivets…and…you know….” She gestured over her shoulder with her thumb. “Out there. Winslow’s…. Well…. I’ll leave you to it.”

Catherine turned and fled, knowing how much she had embarrassed Vincent. But even as she began to retrace her steps to her threshold, she started to smile… because she knew that the image she’d captured in her mind’s eye – that vision of a glorious and gorgeous half naked Vincent – was what she would…eventually… drift off to sleep with tonight.

Steam heat, indeed.

1 Comment

  1. Oh, it made me hot!Vincent shirtless, dripping with sweat, fantastic story, working on the imagination. JoAnn, the ending gives so many possibilities for continuation!

    Reply

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