Squeaking in just before midnight my time!
"No, this isn't right!" Bill yelped.
Tom almost toppled over when Bill backpedaled away from him, scooting all the way to the far side of the couch. Bill was brandishing the unidentified cosmetics tube like a knife, and his eyes were as wide as saucers. "Hey," said Tom, holding up his hands to show he meant no harm, and he wasn't planning on chasing Bill across the sofa. Not yet, anyway. Mostly Tom was just confused. He thought he'd read all the signals right, and their conversation had practically counted as an invitation to a makeout session.
"No," Bill insisted, shaking his head quickly. "Mr. Trumper, you're a client. I'm representing my company, here, and I apologize if I gave you the wrong impression but that's just not what I'm here for." He gave Tom a plaintive look, drawing his lower lip into his mouth to worry at it. Tom wanted to reach over and smooth that unhappy expression off of Bill's face, but he figured the gesture wouldn't be appreciated at the moment.
"Hey, look," said Tom. "It's not that you gave me the wrong impression, I just think you're hot. Cute," he amended the word to a less threatening one when Bill's eyes widened impossibly further.
"I remind you of a girl, that's all," Bill said miserably, lowering the apparently deadly makeup he'd been using to ward Tom off. "That's why everybody thinks I'm cute."
Tom frowned. He had just come to terms with his homosexuality, and now Bill was trying to deny its existence. "No, that's not it. I think I like you because you're a guy," Tom told Bill. "I mean, you're kind of the best of both worlds, you know? Gorgeous, good with makeup, and you're a baseball fan."
Bill's cheeks colored faintly, though he continued staring as though Tom had grown an extra head out of his shoulder or something. "But you don't even know anything else about me."
"Maybe I'd like to get to know you better?" Tom suggested, inching subtly closer, nudging the box of cosmetics over with his hip. He was halfway expecting Bill to go scrambling up the arm of the couch and maybe to tumble onto the floor, but Bill just gulped and stayed frozen in place.
"That's not the point," said Bill. "You're still a customer, and I'm still an Avon representative. Really, Tom."
Well, at least they were on a first name basis again. "I won't tell if you won't," Tom tried to persuade Bill, who shook his head obstinately. "Bill, come on. Just one little kiss?" He inched over until he was sharing a sofa cushion with Bill, although Bill had squished himself against the armrest, and there was still a box between them.
"I can't," Bill replied, sounding a tiny bit desperate. "One little kiss could completely destroy my credibility as a cosmetics professional. The guidelines for Avon representatives clearly state that having physical relations with a client is grounds for immediate dismissal from the business, and I just couldn't let them down that way. Nathalie has been such an amazing mentor, and I know how disappointed she would be if she found out I'd broken the rules..."
Bill was babbling, and Tom was starting to suspect that there were some other issues at play aside from Bill's clinging to his professionalism. "Bill," Tom interrupted him. "Have you ever been kissed before?"
"What?" said Bill, cutting off in mid-sentence and eyeing Tom as though he thought Tom was about to pounce and eat him. "I, well... no."