Hunk to Go by Lbilover

Originally written in 2014 for Elijah's 'Coming of Age' birthday celebration at Tol Eressea, for the prompts 'gobsmacked' and 'Dadrock'. High on the improbability list...


"Hunk to Go, Sean Astin speaking."


"Sean, it's Jason. Look, I'm sorry to bail on you at the last minute, but I'm not going to be able to work the party tonight."


"What?" Sean fairly shouted into the phone.


"I've come down with the flu. I don't think you want me upchucking in the middle of a strip tease. It'll kind of ruin the effect."


"But Jason, there's nobody else! Greg's gone out of town and Rob has another job. You're the only one who can do it."


"I'm sorry, but there's simply no way." A strange gurgling sound came over the line. "Sorry, but I gotta go. Like now." Jason disconnected.


"Shit!" Sean exclaimed, hanging up. He stood there, thinking furiously. The party was in less than two hours. The giant personalized pop out cake was on its way to the venue, the costume had been rented, and both had cost a bloody fortune. While Hunk to Go could supply the most popular costumes, such as firefighter, cowboy and policeman, sometimes the client requested something more specialized, as in this case, and Sean had to go through a Hollywood costume company with concomitant prices. If he canceled at this late date, not only would the client be unable to find a replacement at such short notice, but the reputation of the company would suffer and he'd be in the hole nearly a thousand dollars, money he couldn't afford to lose, not with a daughter starting college in the fall. "Shit. Shit, shit shit."


He might as well kiss that grand goodbye. He was screwed.


Or maybe not. Desperation suggested an alternative solution. There was someone else available: him. Sean studied his reflection in the office window. Short, forty-ish, with a gut no amount of exercise could fully eliminate. Was he nuts? He had no business jumping out of a cake and stripping down to scarlet satin thong, all the while crooning Happy Birthday in a sexy voice. Those days were long gone, if they'd ever even existed. For god's sake, he drove a minivan and listened to Dadrock. Hunk to Go? More like Schlump to Go.


But unfortunately, he couldn't see any other solution. One of his chief mottoes in life was that he wouldn't ask anyone else to do something he wasn't willing to do. Of course, he'd never envisioned this precise scenario, and he mentally cursed his decision three years ago to open a Hunk to Go franchise to supplement his income as a writer. True, at the time Sean, between novels, had been thinking only of his hefty monthly alimony payments in addition to looming college expenses. But he should have known that at some point his brilliant idea would up and kick him in the balls.


Sean sighed and turned away from his reflection. There was nothing for it. He was going to have to jump out of that blasted birthday cake, and dressed as a friggin' Elf with silken robes and pointy ears, no less.


~*~


He arrived at the restaurant shortly after the van from Surprise! pop out cakes. He was familiar with the venue; it was a popular one for birthday parties and Hunk to Go had supplied entertainment there many times.


With the Elf costume in a garment bag draped over his arm and carrying the case containing the long blond wig, head dress, and foam rubber ears, Sean made his way to the small staging area behind the banquet hall, feeling rather like a man going to his execution. All during the drive to Santa Barbara he'd prayed that his cell phone would ring and Jason would announce that he was miraculously flu-free and able to work. No such luck, though.


When Sean entered the room, the giant cake-on-wheels, swathed in protective covering, was being maneuvered by two employees from Surprise! to a position near the closed double doors that led into the banquet hall. He could hear music, laughter and the clink of silverware on china coming from the other side. The birthday banquet was underway. According to the schedule Sean had gotten from Dominic Monaghan, the client who had hired Hunk to Go, as soon as dinner was over, it would be time for the cake and the performance. ETA was eight o'clock. It was now seven thirty-five.


Sean set down the costume and joined the men from Surprise! "You ready to unveil the pièce de resistance?" he asked them, after introductions were made.


"Sure thing, Mr. Astin." Pete and Hank set to work, stripping off the protective layers of bubble wrap and blue plastic sheeting. "What the heck is this supposed to be, anyway?" asked Pete. "I've never seen anything like it before."


"It's a hobbit hole," Sean said. "From the book The Lord of the Rings."


Elijah Wood was apparently mad about Tolkien, for his surprise party had a Lord of the Rings theme. Dominic Monaghan had described it for Sean in some detail, and everything from the invitations to the food to the decor came from Middle-earth, and the guests were all dressing in costume. Sean had fortunately read the book when he was a teenager, so the request for a Bag End pop up cake and an Elvish stripper hadn't thrown him totally for a loop. He'd googled illustrations of the famous hobbit hole to send the folks at Surprise! for reference, and while they'd emailed him photos along the way it wasn't the same as seeing the finished product in person.


They'd nailed it, thought Sean, from the round green door with the yellow knob precisely in the center to the abundant flowers twining around the round windows and fake turf walls, to the tree standing on top - in this case attached to a hinged lid that Sean would open when he sprang out in a little while and went into his Elvish bump and grind. He wished it were an Elvis bump and grind. He'd more likely get away with being the King than the Prince of Mirkwood - Elvis impersonators were a dime a dozen and came in all shapes and sizes.


"Why does it say 'Happy Coming of Age'?" asked Hank.


"Because the birthday boy is turning thirty-three today, and in the context of the book, that means he's officially coming of age." Sean shrugged and lifted his hands. "It's a hobbit thing."


"If you say so."


Just then one of the double doors opened part way, and a man dressed in an old-fashioned green jacket, brown mid-calf length trousers, and a yellow vest with brass buttons, came in. His costume was completed by a curly brown wig and giant rubber feet covered with faux brown hair that slapped noisily as he crossed the cement floor.


"Are you from Hunk to Go?" he asked Sean.


"That's right. I'm Sean Astin." Sean held out his hand. "We've spoken on the phone, Mr. Monaghan." The Mancusian accent was a dead giveaway to the man's identity.


"Just Dom, please," the other said as they shook hands. "I'm glad to see the cake arrived safe and sound." Dom walked around it, nodding his curly head approvingly. "It looks fantastic - just like Bag End. Elijah will love it. Now all we need is the hunk to jump out of it. Where is he?"


"You're looking at him," Sean said fatalistically. A choked sound came from behind Sean. Obviously Pete and Hank didn't see him as a male stripper. How could he blame them? Sean had no illusions about his suitability as an Elf. A hobbit maybe - they were described as short and round - but not an Elf, tall, elegant, slender and immortal.


Dom stared at him open-mouthed. After a few moments he snapped his mouth closed then said, "Look, mate, no offense, but you're not exactly what I had in mind for Legolas Greenleaf."


"None taken, I promise. But the 'flu struck down my Legolas at the last minute. You'll have to make do with me, I'm afraid. Of course," he quickly added, "I'll refund you half the fee since we aren't fully meeting the terms of the rental agreement." It hurt, but it was only fair.


"Thank you. I appreciate that." Dom appeared at least mollified by the offer, if not entirely happy. "Besides I really don't have a choice; it's you or nothing. But have you ever done this kind of performance before?" he asked with a skeptical lift of an eyebrow.


"Oh sure," Sean said breezily. "Plenty of times." He figured he'd watched enough of his employees' performances live or on tape for it to be only a partial lie. He knew the dance routines backward and forward.


"That's something at least." Dom consulted his watch. "Now I better get back to the party and you better get changed. We'll be ready for the cake in about twenty minutes."


"I'll be good to go, never fear."


As Dom hurried off, Sean heard him mutter, "That's what I'm afraid of."


Avoiding the amused gazes of Pete and Hank, Sean gathered up the costume and retreated to the bathroom to transform himself into an Elf.


~*~


Sean crouched inside the cake, the folds of the overlong white silk robe bunched up around him. He brushed a long strand of blond hair out of his eyes and awkwardly adjusted the head dress again. He kept bumping it against the top and knocking it sideways.


He'd forgotten how much he hated enclosed spaces until Pete closed the lid, trapping him inside the cake's small, dark confines. He'd be damned glad to get out, even knowing what lay in store for him and for the recipient of his strip tease. He hoped Elijah wouldn't laugh. He told himself he was man enough to take his medicine, but truthfully he wanted to get through the experience with a minimum of embarrassment and without ruining the guy's party.


It was unfortunate that the expressions on Pete and Hank's faces when Sean emerged from the bathroom seemed permanently embedded in his retinas - a mixture of incredulity and hilarity, especially after Sean tripped on the trailing hem of the robe and the wig slid down over one eye. How he was going to exit the cake without falling on his ass was his biggest concern at the moment - a moment that was drawing ever nearer. He was torn between relief and terror. What had made him think he was a substitute for the tall, dark, handsome and totally ripped Jason?


At that moment, the cake began to move, rumbling across the floor. Dom must have given Pete and Hank the signal.


You're Marilyn Monroe singing 'Happy Birthday, Mr. President' to JFK, he told himself as the cake continued on its merry way, carrying Sean to his doom.


Sound was muffled, but Sean knew the precise moment when the cake emerged from the staging area, because the audience burst into applause. Dom clearly had a microphone, for Sean could hear him perfectly as he said over the applause, "Elijah, it's time to come and have your cake. If you aren't full from all that lembas you ate." Laughter rang out. "But before you can have any cake, we've invited a very special guest to sing you Happy Birthday on your coming of age. May I present... Legolas Greenleaf of the Woodland Realm!"


That was Sean's cue. Marilyn Monroe, remember? he reminded himself. Grasping the handle on the inside of the lid Sean turned it, and doing his best imitation of a jack-in-the-box, jumped up, arms upraised, and struck a dramatic pose. Hoots, whistles and cheers rang out. Sean tossed his head, flinging the long strands of hair around as he gyrated his hips to the pulsating disco music that was now playing.


Thankfully the room was in darkness save for candles flickering on the tables, which meant he couldn't see the expressions on the faces of the people watching. It definitely was better that way. But a bright spotlight fell on the cake as well as Dom and the young man standing next to him, a man who could only be the birthday boy himself, Elijah Wood.


Their eyes instantly met, and for a moment Sean forgot where he was and what he was supposed to be doing. He was completely gobsmacked. Elijah Wood wasn't merely attractive - he was drop dead gorgeous. His eyes were wider and bluer than any Sean had ever seen, and his mouth hung slightly open as if in amazement. Whether it was the same kind of amazement that Sean was feeling, the amazement of a man who has gone his entire life looking for an elusive something only to have it unexpectedly in front of him and in the most unforeseen circumstances possible, he didn't know.


People began to clap, slowly and rhythmically. Sean came back to himself with a jolt. He couldn't stand there like a pillar of salt with his eyes fastened on Elijah. He had an act to perform. A flush of heat prickled all over his body - but not one of embarrassment. He made the startling discovery that he wanted to perform for Elijah Wood.


Gathering his scattered wits, Sean reached behind him for the latch to the door on the back of the cake, fumbled it open, and stepped out. His apprehensions and fears vanished. He danced slowly, sexily in time to the throbbing disco beat as if he'd done so a thousand times before, loosening the gold cord belt knotted at his waist as he circled the cake. All the while his gaze was fixed on Elijah.


The music changed to a riffling chord that was the introduction to the Happy Birthday Song. Dom stepped forward to hand Sean the microphone, but Sean waved him off without ever looking away from Elijah. He wasn't singing to the party as a whole, he was singing only to Elijah. He didn't need a mike for that.


"Happy Birthday," Sean sang in a husky growl, shimmying toward Elijah, twirling the end of the belt in one hand. "to you." He shrugged a shoulder so that the Elven robe slipped down. "Happy Birthday," he moved in a sinuous circle around Elijah, letting the robe slip further down so that a copper-brown nipple was exposed, "to you."


Elijah's gaze was now riveted to Sean's chest. His color was high, his forehead dotted with perspiration and he appeared to be breathing rather fast. Sean was peripherally aware of people getting up and gathering at the edge of the spotlight, wolf-whistling and urging Sean on.


He didn't need any urging. Continuing to undulate in a slow circle, Sean sang, drawing out each word and making them sound as intimate as if they were pillow talk, "Happy Birthday, Elijah. Happy Birthday to you."


On the final word he undid the belt completely and let the white robe fall in a whisper of silk so that he stood before Elijah and the rest of the party dressed only in a scarlet satin thong. The crowd went wild, wolf-whistling and cheering as the song repeated, shifting into a faster tempo and Sean moved with it, his steps sure and unfaltering. Even the blond wig behaved, swirling sensually around him as he did an uninhibited bump and grind, stopping periodically to clench his fists and thrust-pump his hips suggestively in Elijah's direction.


It was, weirdly, incredibly liberating, and he put on quite a show, flawlessly executing the steps he'd watched his dancers perform, as if he'd been a stripper his entire life. All the while Elijah kept his eyes glued to him, his gaze moving up and down his body, sometimes lingering on what was blatantly on display in its cradle of scarlet satin. He didn't whistle or cheer or clap, seeming completely mesmerized by Sean's performance. Once Sean thought he heard him mouth, "Holy shit!" and then swallow hard, Adam's apple bobbing.


Sean was almost shocked when he realized the song was coming to an end. It seemed both no time at all and an eternity that he'd been dancing, dancing, dancing for Elijah. As the last notes sounded, he sank down right at Elijah's feet, sweating and panting with his arms outspread and his thighs splayed as if offering himself to the young man. The blond wig fell like rain to the floor behind him. Time stood still as they stared at each other, until Dom strode up and broke the spell.


"Let's hear it for Legolas Greenleaf, everybody!" he shouted, and the crowd went wild. Improbably enough, Sean had been an outright hit. Dom offered his hand to Sean and pulled him to his feet. "Fucking amazing, man," he said in a low voice. "Never thought you could pull it off."


"Me either," gasped Sean, and blushed when several people darted up to stuff bills in his thong and thank him.


"Now it's time for the real cake," Dom announced. "That was just the teaser, and quite a tease it was, too. Elijah, it's time to blow out the candles - if you've gotten back enough breath, that is."


The spotlight went out. A waiter wheeled out a cart. It held a birthday cake that was a smaller replica of the fake pop out cake, a perfect miniature version of Bag End, ablaze with thirty-three candles.


Sean's part in the event was over; the crowd gathered around the cake, oohing and aahing. Dom started dragging Elijah with him, but the young man held back. "Hang on a sec, Dom." He looked at Sean. "That was brilliant," he said. "Best birthday present I've ever gotten. Thank you."


Elijah was pulled away by Dom before Sean could reply, which was just as well, because what Sean wanted to say was, You can keep the present if you want. I offer myself to you forever. Which was insane, and now that the adrenaline high was fading, self-consciousness intruded and Sean was aware of himself as a short, slightly overweight, middle-aged man, not as the sexy Elf hunk in a thong he'd briefly morphed into. Gathering up the crumpled robe, he retreated to the staging area. He paused only long enough to pull off the wig and head dress and put on his street clothes, and then he fled.


~*~


"Mr. Astin, you have a call on line two."


"Thanks, May." Sean turned away from the window, out of which he'd been absent-mindedly staring, lifted the handset and punched the button. "Hunk to Go, Sean Astin speaking."


"Hi, this is Elijah. Elijah Wood. You know, from the coming of age party last night? We weren't properly introduced, but I got your name and number from Dom. I hope you don't mind."


"Of course I don't mind," Sean replied, in what had to be the understatement of the century. He'd been awake all night reliving the experience, alternately wondering what the hell had possessed him, whether he had in fact made a complete and utter fool of himself, and if Elijah might want him to perform for him again - in private. "What can I do for you, Elijah?"


"I'm interested in renting a hunk," Elijah replied promptly.


Sean's palm grew damp on the receiver. His pulse sped up. "What sort of occasion would it be for?"


"A post-coming-of-age party. But the only thing is, I have particular requirements. Not just any hunk will do."


"I-" Sean cleared his suddenly constricted throat. "I see. What might these requirements be?"


"First off, he can't be too tall. A little taller than me, but not by much. And I like my hunks older. Not one of those guys in their twenties. If he's maybe ten years or so older, that would be perfect. And last of all, he has to be cuddly, like a teddy bear with a nice soft middle - or a hobbit." There was a short silence and then Elijah added, "Do you happen to employ any hunks fitting that description?"


By the end of Elijah's speech, Sean was grinning so broadly his cheeks ached and he was repressing an urge to whoop and jump madly around the office. "As a matter of fact I do, although I'm not sure I'd necessarily classify this particular man as a hunk."


"Well, I would, and if he hadn't run off so quickly last night I would have told him so," Elijah said. "You know, Dom's a great guy and a good friend, but he made one mistake when he planned my surprise party. He figured I was the type to go for an Elf. But I'm not. Give me a hobbit any day of the week. That's my idea of a hunk."


"Then I'd say I have exactly the hunk for you. When and where do you need him to show up?"


"Dinner tonight at my place. Elf wig definitely optional. I want to see what my hunk looks like without long blond hair."


"I hope he won't be a disappointment," Sean said, seized with sudden doubt.


"Oh, I guarantee you don't need to worry about that."


The urge to whoop and jump madly around the office intensified. "Then I think we can accommodate your request, Mr. Wood, and you'll be pleased to hear that we're having a sale on hobbity hunks today. 100% off our regular price. You won't have to pay a penny."


Elijah giggled. "How could I possibly pass up a bargain like that?" he said. "I'll take him."


They exchanged cell phone numbers, Elijah told Sean his address, and after they hung up, Sean gave into the urge at last and jumped around the office, whooping at the top of his lungs and pumping his fists as if he'd just won the Powerball lottery or the Super Bowl. Or maybe destroyed an evil Ring in the Crack of Doom.


"Mr. Astin, is everything all right?" His secretary poked her head through the door. She looked alarmed.


"May," he said, grabbing her and dancing her around "You are looking at the happiest hobbit hunk that ever lived."


~*~


Several weeks later...


"'If you don't come back, sir, then I shan't, that's certain,' said Sam. 'Don't you leave him! they said to me. Leave him! I said. I never mean to. I am going with him, if he climbs to the Moon, and if any of those Black Rulers try to stop him, they'll have Sam Gamgee to reckon with, I said. They laughed."


Elijah, his chin resting on Sean's shoulder as he followed along, let out a sigh.


"What is it, Elijah?" Sean asked, pausing in his reading.


"This passage always makes me think how incredibly lucky I am to have a Sam of my own. I'd just about given up hope of ever finding him, and then there you were, and at my coming of age party, too. Like it was fate or something."


"Exactly how I felt when I set eyes on you. And I can only echo Sam and say that I never mean to leave you, if you climb to the Moon."


"Oh Sean." They kissed, a little awkwardly given their relative positions, and then Elijah said, "Do you think Sam ever did a strip tease for Frodo?"


"Bumping and grinding in a red satin thong? I'm not sure that's exactly Sam's scene."


"Bah. I bet he did."


"You think?"


"Definitely." Elijah nipped at Sean's earlobe and added in a husky whisper, "If you want, we could role play it..."


"Lead on, Mr. Frodo," Sean said, shutting the book with a snap.


~end~