Scott Brooks carried his espresso, his mail and his laptop out on the terrace of his apartment. Booting up the computer, he yawned and checked his watch. It was seven thirty in the morning here in San Francisco – definitely too early for Charlotte. He took a sip of the creamy bitter brew and absently pinched his belly roll. Uh oh! There was a distinct thickening down there that must be banished – he’d better hit the gym. Last week in Chicago, when he wasn’t shooting that “green” house constructed from bales of hay, he had enjoyed too many client dinners. Great food and an expense account are hard on the figure, he groaned inside. Scott’s fourplex was a stark, modern building wrapped in bands of steel and redwood. It sat at the top of Potrero Hill, a friendly neighborhood of families, gays, and a few cranky Seniors clinging to their rent-controlled apartments until their demise. From the balcony there was a spectacular view of downtown and the Bay Bridge, and a not-so-spectacular view of the seedy pocket park just across the street. Today the sky was a clear blue and gusty breezes were foaming up the clouds. Scott had chosen Potreo for the light – it was the warmest and sunniest spot in all of San Francisco. And while his side of the city lacked the woods and green fields of the Presidio, there were charming pocket gardens of sages and bamboo tucked between houses and shops on every block. A call of duty nudged him. He opened the computer and reread his mother’s email. He pictured his old house in Massachusetts – a white Victorian on a graceful, sloping lawn – and felt relief that it was sold. Scott wasn’t particularly attached to his hometown, and while he had some nice memories, he’d grown weary of having to return, year after year, for Christmas and family gatherings. His cell phone buzzed and he checked the text. It was his friend Andrew: did he want to meet for drinks tonight at The Buchanan on upper Fillmore? The image of Andrew – all six foot one, former swim champion, sculpted torso – obliterated all conflicting thoughts of his childhood house back in New England. See you at seven, Scott tapped back. Then a text from Charlotte flashed across his screen: Scott! Pls! Beggn u…go hm & pac my stuff 4 me? Scott quickly pushed delete.