Los Angeles is wonderful. Terrible. Somehow both at the same time. Warm, sunny weather throughout most of the year, sometimes unbearably hot - last week Joe looked at the temperature on his phone and his eyes about fell out of his head - with only the occasional rainfall, though driving around LA in the rain might actually be the most terrifying part of living here, with wildfires and earthquakes right behind.
He always wanted to visit, but he never once thought of himself living here until he flew in from the Netherlands almost three months ago, all thanks to his prestigious new curating gig at LACMA. You never know where life will take you when you become one of the world's leading experts on medieval Islamic art before the age of 35. LA though... who knew?
He's still getting his bearings living in the States, but routine helps. Joe's admittedly not the most devout Muslim on the planet, at least by most standards - he rarely visits a mosque, drinks socially, and has fucked far too many men, especially in his early uni days - but he's gotten back into the daily practice of Salat and keeps halal, so that has to count for something, Joe's sure. Religion is a personal thing to him, anyway, so he doesn't stress about it. But every Saturday morning he stumbles out of bed, rolls out his prayer mat, and performs Fajr before going for a run around his neighborhood, showering, and then heading to his local, non-commercial coffee shop with a sketchbook in hand. He orders a cold brew with cream and whatever baked good catches his eye in the display that day and then finds a table or cozy chair to deposit himself into, where he'll leisurely enjoy his breakfast and draw anything from a random patron to the lovely little church that sits just down the block and across the street, or whatever his mind happens to conjure up for the next couple of hours.
The past three Saturday mornings, however, he's had a muse. A white man about his height, maybe a little shorter, lean and elegant and possessing a timeless, ageless beauty that makes Joe suspect late twenties to early thirties, despite dressing like a college student in his baggy hoodies and loose jeans that can't hide the tantalizing swell of his ass. He comes in around 8:40 and orders too softly for Joe to properly hear his voice, but he drinks americanos, double shot - Joe knows because the barista calls out the order rather than a name, frustratingly - and alternates between looking down at his phone and glancing out the window, though he manages to do so without looking standoffish or impatient. Joe is desperate to get a better look at his eyes - blue, he thinks, or maybe green, but big and beautiful and resplendent in the light either way. Then he takes his drink with a gentle quirk of the lips at the barista and heads out the door, though not without always holding the door for whoever is coming in next, even if they have to jog a little to not let his polite gesture go to waste.
All that to say, the man has no idea he's become a muse, and Joe feels a little creepy about the whole thing but mostly just wants an excuse to talk to him.
And sketch him, preferably out of those clothes.
And - well, you get the gist.
And if Joe's started wearing tighter shirts on the off-chance this gorgeous mystery man possesses the three most pressing qualities Joe looks for in a man - gay, single, and interested in Joe - he'll neither confirm nor deny.
But there is something that strikes Joe as a little odd: why does the man wear a hoodie in the middle of the summer in Los Angeles? Granted it's not in the triple digits during the time of morning they both vacant the coffee shop, but it's hot enough that the man rolls the sleeves up to show off pale forearms and lovely wrists that Joe wants to wrap his hands around, even as he keeps his jacket zipped all the way up, the high collar brushing against his tempting throat.
This Saturday, however, things take an interesting turn. This Saturday the man comes in about an hour earlier than usual with a book under his arm, and after getting his drink he sits down a few tables away from Joe, directly in his line of sight, and begins to read.
Joe gapes a little, and then he gets to furiously sketching, as subtle as a freight train as his eyes rapidly go back and forth between the page and the man's prominent nose and sensual lips. Alhamdulillah, the man is as observant as Joe is subtle, and so Joe eventually takes to looking longer and harder at his muse, studying his form, his quirks, the striking beauty mark on his cheek, the way he delicately sips his coffee, ring-less fingers respectfully turning the pages as a book lover does, hyper-focused eyes scanning the text quickly. His legs cross a few minutes after sitting down, his foot occasionally shaking a little and shattering an otherwise perfect picture of quiet stillness. Slowly, a couple strands of his soft-looking brown hair fall over his forehead, escaping what little styling product he seems to use.
Joe's enraptured. Perhaps it would be better if this beautiful, seemingly intelligent, polite man is straight, married, and finds Joe hideous. Then Joe could move on and find someone a little less attractive and a hell of a lot safer.
But then it finally happens: the man looks up and makes eye contact with Joe. The pencil comes to an abrupt halt that's going to be a bitch to erase, but Joe can't bring himself to politely avert his eyes like a normal person caught staring would. The man's eyes are too ethereal, his gaze too piercing as he narrows in on Joe. Nothing else about that marble face changes, but the eyes. It's as if he can see right through Joe, or like he's trying to, at least.
Trying to figure him out, Joe realizes. Determine if... he's a threat?
It's intense, and possibly one of the sexiest encounters of Joe's life, and they have yet to exchange a single word.
Well. The man has broad shoulders and eyes like a sniper, but his slender wrists and forearms are telling, and loose clothing can't hide the thinness of his frame. Joe is bigger and can probably take him. And if this is some kind of dominance game, well, let's just say Joe plays to win.
So he winks, just to see what happens.
To his utter delight, the eyes across from him widen before quickly looking back down at his book, and a soft, pink blush on high cheekbones follows.
The duality of man!
Joe smiles at him like a besotted moron, eyes crinkling, and he doesn't stop even when the man glances back up at his face before shyly and resolutely looking down again, the color in his cheeks deepening.
Joe slouches back in his chair with a smirk and an undeniable air of smugness. But when the man flips his book closed and abruptly stands a moment later, movements a little less graceful than usual, Joe's smirk slips from his face. The man is still not looking at him as he downs what's left of his drink and tosses it in the trash, and Joe silently curses himself for coming on too strong.
Maybe he's not gay? Not single? Not attracted to Joe after all?
But then right as the man is about to push open the door, he looks back at Joe, a questioning look in his eyes. Joe stares back at him, and then decides to take one last chance. He smiles again, softer this time, and then the man does the most incredible thing of all: he gives him a soft, gentle smile in return before quickly ducking his head and disappearing out the door.
Joe drops his pencil and doesn't even realize until it rolls off the table and clatters to the floor. Then he grins.
The next Saturday Joe wears one of his tightest shirts - a favorite for when Joe visits a bar with the intent of taking someone home for a single night, the fit of the sleeves emphasizing his biceps while the rest of the fabric shows off his broad chest and bunches snugly around his hard abs - and takes extra care to style his curls so they're not too unruly. At just past 8 he's sitting at his usual table, attempting to discretely use the camera app on his phone to make sure his thick beard is free of any crumbs from the croissant he just devoured, when the door chimes and he looks up to see the man come in early again, just as Joe hoped and with another book in hand.
He doesn't spare a glance at Joe as he walks up to the counter, but Joe smirks as he takes in his careful stance and tense shoulders and recognizes it for what it is: one who knows he's being watched but is trying to act natural. Joe is pretty confident that the man hasn't decided sometime between now and that lovely smile last Saturday that he's repulsed by Joe, but it's still a bit of a relief when the man sits down in clear view of Joe again; and it's a pleasant surprise when he looks up and gifts Joe a tiny, nervous smile in greeting before turning his attention to his book.
Oh, Joe thinks helplessly. He's shy, and sweet and pretty, and Joe is so taken with this man he's never spoken to that it genuinely scares him a little.
Joe is a romantic at heart, though his past lovers and flings might argue differently. He's honest and considerate with his partners, always has been, but everyone he's been with has just been a bit of fun, a way to pass the time, a 'maybe' that quickly proved itself to be a 'no, not this one.' But he's yearned for someone to love, someone to call his own, for as long as he can remember, devouring art and poetry and music that reflects the longing in his soul and expresses the kind of love he's only dreamed of.
And call it madness if you like, but somehow, this man who he's never spoken to, who he doesn't even have a name for, feels like the biggest 'maybe' Joe's ever come across.
Joe starts a fresh drawing of him, trying to get the shape of his lips just right, and less than five minutes later they make eye contact. The man gives that cute little half-smile again as he pointedly looks down at Joe's sketching, clearly having caught on to what Joe's doing. Joe purposefully halts his hand, waits until those bewitching eyes meet his again, and then gives him another wink, this time accompanied with a more obvious, flirtatious smirk.
The blush returns, but the man continues to smile as he lightly shakes his head in amusement before returning to his book.
With every look, every smile, Joe becomes more and more enchanted. He must talk to him, he decides, now sure that his advances would be welcome. He is trying to decide how to approach - perhaps to ask what the man is reading? Joe can't tell from where he sits - when the man suddenly frowns and pulls a vibrating phone from his pocket. Feeling the need to give him a semblance of privacy, Joe looks down at his sketch, though he's not so polite that he's not going to strain his ears to listen in.
"Hello?" he hears the man softly ask. There's a non-American accent there, but Joe needs to hear more. "Is everything all right?"
Italian. Joe wants to groan. How does this man keep getting sexier?
Then a small gasp has Joe looking up in alarm, but the man's eyes are looking beyond Joe to the window. "Which hospital are they taking him to?"
Joe's chest lurches in worry, his eyes flitting over the man's face in concern, but the man takes on a determined look. "I'm on my way," he says to the person on the other line before disconnecting the call and standing. This time he throws his trash away and hurries out the door without looking back, and Joe sits there for a long moment, his stomach churning, before he cuts his morning short and leaves, too.
He's uncharacteristically nervous the following Saturday, not even able to stomach a pastry as he waits to see if the man will come back again. With the temperature outside already sweltering, the coffee shop is far more crowded than usual, and Joe watches with irritation as every seat around him begins to fill with people who aren't gorgeous and demure and Italian. He keeps his bag placed firmly on the other chair at his table and starts doodling nonsense on a fresh page in his sketchbook, mainly to give his hand something to do that isn't obnoxiously tapping his fingers on the table or downing his coffee in just a few gulps.
After getting asked a few times if he needs the other chair and having to politely yet firmly explain that he's waiting for someone, Joe also slides his drink across the table, just to help get his point across.
The point being: fuck off. Besides, he is waiting for someone. It's not a lie, exactly.
Finally, the door opens and in steps Joe's man, and the irritation Joe feels is already seeping away at the sight of him in all his loveliness.
His man looks around with eyes a little wider than usual, clearly surprised and a little overwhelmed to see so many customers, and Joe suddenly feels a wave of panic, his mind screaming what if the crowd is too much for him and he leaves?!
But then the man looks directly at Joe, un-smiling, and Joe finds that he, too, can't smile for some reason, and just looks at his man almost pleadingly. It's weird of Joe and honestly embarrassing, Joe's very well-aware, but the man isn't much better as a willing participant in this strangely charged, almost emotional stare-down they've got going on right now. It's like something has changed, or something is about to change between them, and they both know it.
Then the door opens behind him, and he looks away from Joe as he quickly steps further inside and gets in line. He doesn't look back, but Joe has his mind made up now. Once he gets his coffee, Joe's going to invite him to sit with him.
If no tables have opened up by then.
And he looks like he wants to stay. He doesn't have a book with him this time, but maybe...
Oh, fuck it. Joe is going to ask anyway. He needs to get his man's name, at least. And a phone number. Easy, right? It should be. It's something Joe's done probably a hundred times. He's an expert flirt, really. So why does this feel like it's his first time?
When his man finally has a drink in hand, he turns and starts scanning the room for a table just as Joe hoped he would, a concerned expression on his face that Joe simultaneously hates and finds absolutely adorable and honestly, he'd give up his own chair for this darling man if it would make him happy. Or let him sit on Joe's lap, and isn't that an idea, Joe thinks, before telling his id to shut up and plastering a friendly, non-threatening expression on his face just in time for the man to lock eyes with him again.
Joe moves his drink aside as he gestures at the chair across from him in offering, and his man bashfully looks down, lips quirked shyly, before slowly making his way over to Joe.
"Hi," Joe breathes out once he's in front of him, heart pounding.
"Hello," he replies softly, in a voice as sweet as honey.
"Would you like to sit?" Joe asks hurriedly, already leaning over to grab his bag.
"Yes, thank you." He sits down slowly, and his eyes dart around a little nervously before focusing back on Joe. "It is very crowded."
Joe laughs louder than necessary. "It is!"
Get it together, Joe.
He clears his throat and holds out his hand. "I'm Joe." The man's eyes light up, and whoa. Joe's swears his heart stops for a moment.
With sunlight streaming through the window beside them, Joe finally finds himself face to face with those beautiful blue-green eyes, exquisite and inviting like the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Joe could drown in them, if he's not careful.
He doesn't want to be careful.
A soft hand takes his and shakes politely, his grip both sure and gentle; but just as the man opens his mouth to say something, Joe's traitorous voice starts rambling, "Well, Yusuf. Yusuf Al-Kaysani. But most people call me Joe."
Shut up, Joe.
But the smile he gets in return makes it all better. "Nicolo di Genova. But my friends call me Nicky."
Joe's thoughts start spinning out of control.
That's cute. He's cute. Does that mean Joe's his friend? Could he be more?
"Nicky," Joe says. "It's wonderful to meet you."
"You too, Joe."
His accent is cute, too.
Nicky looks between them, and Joe follows his gaze and realizes he's still holding Nicky's hand. They both let out a soft laugh as Joe lets go, and Nicky brings both hands to wrap around his drink.
"Italian, right?" Joe asks, and Nicky nods, looking pleased. "How long have you been in the States?"
"Three years," Nicky answers, and Joe must not hide his surprise very well because Nicky let's out a good-natured huff at his expression. "I know, my accent is very strong. I still sound fresh off the boat, as they say." His nose crinkles - again, cute. "That's what they say, no?"
Joe chuckles. "That is what they say. But I like your accent."
Nicky flushes faintly. "Thank you. And yourself? You are American?"
"Tunisian-Dutch, actually. I moved here a little over three months ago from the Netherlands."
Nicky's eyes widen. "Three months? And you sound like you've been here longer than me. What brought you to America?"
"I'm working for LACMA, as a curator."
"Oh? What kind of art?"
"Medieval Islamic art," Joe says as if it's no big deal, though he's secretly hoping that the mention of Islam or the questions that are sure to follow won't turn Nicky off. It wouldn't be the first time that's happened to Joe but, well. If Nicky has a problem with it, then he's certainly not the man for Joe.
"That sounds so interesting!" Nicky exclaims. "I studied Islam a little in university, and while I am no expert, the art is really beautiful. I also love the poetry."
"You must be a real expert to work at LACMA," Nicky continues, and gives him a cute little smile. "I'm very impressed."
He clears his throat. "Have you been to LACMA before?"
"Many times. I love it there."
Joe's so fucked.
"Then you'll have to come see the exhibit I'm working on, once it opens," he says, and Nicky's eyes light up again.
"I would love to."
This is the part where Joe should ask Nicky what he does for a living, but he's too stunned at this perfect creature sitting before him. So instead they smile at each other and silently sip their drinks for a minute, Nicky looking like he's trying to think of something else to say while Joe's brain is still coming back online. Then he nearly jolts as he recalls last Saturday, and suddenly he's looking at Nicky with deep concern.
"Last Saturday," he begins awkwardly. "I... well, I have to admit that I overheard your phone conversation. Is everything all right?"
Nicky blinks, and then he seems to remember. "Oh! Yes. One of my parishioners had a mild heart attack and his wife had to take him to the hospital. But he is okay and resting at home now." He smiles again. "You are very kind to ask."
"Well, I... wait, did you say parishioners?"
"You work at a church?"
Nicky gives an awkward little laugh. "I, well... I lead one, yes."
Joe's brain goes offline again, and they stare at each other until Nicky takes pity on him and clarifies.
"I'm a priest."
Then, "Wait... what?"
Nicky shrugs, smiles bashfully, and unzips his hoodie halfway down his chest. And there it is: black shirt, white collar.
Joe stares for a long moment, mouth open, stomach somewhere on the floor. "Oh, fuck, you're a priest."
"I just said that. Well, not like that -"
"I'm so sorry!"
"It's okay, I say 'fuck' sometimes, too -"
"No!" Joe cries, a little louder than he meant to. Thankfully the shop is still so crowded and lively that no one registers the outburst or his gay panic. "I mean..."
Nicky said 'fuck.' Nicky is a priest. Nicky is a priest that says 'fuck' and looks like a model and was everything Joe's been dreaming of until seconds ago.
"I mean," Joe shakes his head. Focus. "I'm so sorry for hitting on you!"
He's seen Fleabag, okay, he knows how this goes.
"Really? That's disappointing."
"I mean, I'd hoped you were hitting on me -"
"But I'm sure my, uh... vocation is not what you were expecting."
Joe blinks at him owlishly. "I'm gay."
Nicky smiles. "Yes, I gathered that."
"I didn't mean to assume, but -"
"And you wanted me to hit on you?"
Nicky's face falls, and it feels like a sword piercing Joe's heart. "Oh, perhaps I misunderstood." His eyes begin to dart around the room again. "I thought... I'll just, um..."
He looks as if he's about to stand, and Joe reaches out lightning-quick and grabs Nicky's wrist. "Wait! Wait, I'm sorry. You thought correctly."
Nicky looks at Joe's hand enveloping his wrist, and then up at Joe. His lips twist, not unkindly. "If this is an issue for you, I understand, really. Interfaith relationships are -"
"An issue for me?" Joe squints at him like he's a difficult equation, and Joe was always terrible at math. "Isn't it an issue for you?"
"I've seen Fleabag, all right?"
"Joe," Nicky says firmly, but he looks amused now. "Will you stop interrupting me so I can explain?"
Joe finally shuts his mouth and nods.
"What kind of priest do you think I am?"
The hand that's not still clutching Nicky's wrist comes up to scratch at the side of Joe's head. "Catholic? Roman Catholic?"
Nicky laughs, a little louder than his previous huffs of amusement, and it's such a beautiful sound to Joe's ears that it cuts through the white noise in his brain. "I'm a priest in the Episcopal Church. We're part of the Anglican Communion."
"Anglican..." Joe repeats dumbly, and then squints some more.
"It's always a surprise for people when I tell them I'm Anglo-Catholic and not Roman." He gestures at himself with his free hand. "You know, being so obviously Italian and all."
Nicky laughs again. "So, in the Episcopal Church, we affirm and bless same-sex relationships and marriages. And clergy are not required to be celibate."
Joe blinks some more as his brain tries to process what it just heard. This sexy, beautiful man in front of him is a priest. But he's a LGBT-friendly, non-celibate priest?
"So you can have sex?" Joe blurts out, and then puts his hand over his face and cringes. This is horrifying. Mortifying. "I mean -"
"Yes, I can have sex. I could have children, even. If I weren't gay."
Joe looks through his fingers at Nicky, wide-eyed, and then finally drops his hand. "But I'm waiting until marriage," Nicky adds, and Joe finally laughs.
Shit. Of course he's funny, too. This just keeps getting better or worse, depending on how Joe looks at it. Before him sits the man of his dreams, perfect for Joe in every way - except for the little fact that he's married to Jesus.
Except he isn't, is he? Shit, Joe thinks frantically, have the tables turned? Is Joe now the asshole judging a potential date for his religion?
But that's not it, either. He doesn't have a problem with Christianity. He's just never been thrown like this before.
Looking into Nicky's gorgeous eyes now, his gaze soft and far more understanding than Joe knows he deserves in this moment, he finally remembers that this gay, non-celibate, sexy priest told Joe he wanted Joe to hit on him.
And well, what kind of idiot would Joe be if he didn't at least see where this goes?
He forces himself to take a calming breath.
"I'm sorry I reacted like that, you just - " Joe waves a hand at Nicky's chest, "always wore a hoodie, and... did you always have the, uh, priest clothes on under it?"
"Why else do you think I wear hoodies in the Los Angeles summer?" Nicky murmurs conspiratorially, and this time they laugh together. "It's not that I'm ashamed," Nicky adds. "I just like being anonymous sometimes. The collar gets a lot of attention."
"You get a lot of attention anyway," Joe says without thinking. At Nicky's confused look, he decides to just go for it. "I mean, look at you. You're the most beautiful man in the room. In every room."
This time Nicky blinks at him, lips parted, and then he looks down at the table with flushed cheeks and the most beautiful, open-mouth smile Joe's ever seen.
And just like that, it's settled. It doesn't matter that Nicky's a priest, or that he belongs to a different religion. None of it matters when Nicky looks like that, smiles like that, is so incredibly kind and gentle and funny and smart and perfect for Joe in the way that puzzle pieces sometimes are, in that you don't think they're going to fit until you put them together and those jagged edges just click in place, fitting together seamlessly, and it suddenly makes sense.
Nicky doesn't just feel like the biggest 'maybe' Joe's ever come across anymore. He feels like a 'yes.'
When Nicky doesn't look back up, it takes Joe a few seconds to realize that his attention is drawn to where Joe's hand is still holding his wrist. Embarrassed, Joe lets go, albeit reluctantly. The image of his large hand easily wrapped around Nicky's pale wrist, their skin tones contrasting beautifully, will never leave his mind, he's sure - and will definitely play a huge role in Joe's fantasies.
Fantasies about a priest.
Well. Joe never claimed to be a good man.
"Do you -" Joe clears his throat. "Are you ever allowed to wear something else?"
"Oh, yes. It's just that I teach a confirmation class on Saturdays at..." Nicky trails off as he checks his phone, and then his eyes widen. "Merda, in ten minutes." He looks at Joe apologetically. "I have to get going."
Joe still has so many questions he wants to ask Nicky. Can he see him again? Can he have his number? How did an Italian man become an Episcopal priest in the U.S.? What are confirmation classes?
"Can I see you again?" his mouth decides on, thankfully.
Nicky smiles. "I would like that. Do you want to exchange numbers?"
They quickly do so, and then Joe is up and throwing both their drinks away before following after Nicky. He hurries to get the door before Nicky does and holds it for him with what he's been informed is a charming grin, which causes Nicky to laugh and smile brightly at him again.
Joe will do anything, literally anything, he decides, to get Nicky to react like that again.
"It was nice to finally meet you, Joe," Nicky says once they duck to the side, standing close together and out of the way of pedestrians; and something about the way he says it, the weight and sincerity of his tone, will later make Joe wonder if Nicky was aware of Joe's gaze on him for longer than he seemed. Nicky nods at the sketchbook tucked under Joe's arm. "I hope to see some of your work sometime. Especially the drawings of me."
"If you promise to pose for me for real," Joe says suavely.
"We'll see," Nicky responds, quick and coy and with a sexy little smirk that's just begging to be kissed away.
As much as Joe wants to, he also knows a kiss would be too much right now, even a kiss to the hand - which is something he's never done before, but Nicky is the kind of man that deserves to have kisses pressed to the back of his hand. So instead, Joe reaches out and gently holds his wrist for another moment, sliding his thumb over Nicky's racing pulse point.
Nicky blushes again, looking down at his feet and then up at Joe through his lashes. Joe is at least an inch taller than him, maybe a centimeter more than that, and that little difference is nothing short of thrilling as he gazes down into Nicky's eyes, as beguiling as ever.
"I'll call you," Joe promises, and reluctantly lets go of his wrist.
"Please," Nicky says softly.
He turns to leave, and Joe's eyes immediately and unapologetically drop to his rear. Even with jeans that could stand to be tighter, Joe can still see the shape of what has to be an incredible ass. He can't wait to get his hands on it.
Then he remembers the joke Nicky made about waiting until marriage, and...
Shit. That was a joke, right?
"Hey, Nicky!" Joe calls out before Nicky can take more than a few steps.
Nicky looks over his shoulder at Joe in response, unintentionally seductive with his big eyes and parted lips.
Mouth dry, Joe swallows. "You were joking when you said you were waiting until marriage, right?"
Nicky smirks, and Joe starts to wonder if the whole seductive thing is not so unintentional after all. "Bye, Joe."
He turns and starts walking again, and Joe just stands there and watches him go, panting after him like a moron. "Bye, Nicky," he finally says, pathetically, once Nicky is out of earshot.
He continues to watch as Nicky waits at the nearest cross-walk like a good citizen before crossing the street and heading straight over to the church that Joe's sketched once or twice, and oh, Joe thinks, that makes sense.
With Nicky - Father Nicky? Fuck - out of sight now, Joe looks up at the steeple cross for a moment and feels a little flicker of... guilt? Fear of God? But he quickly snaps out of it and laughs at himself. He's being ridiculous.
Nicky, beautifully receptive as he was to Joe's flirting, and not bad at it himself in his own, sweet way - Nicky, with those eyes and those lips and that body he can't manage to hide, even though he tries - simply had to be joking.
And with that settled, Joe starts his journey home, unable to keep from smiling as he walks. He'll give Nicky until Monday, at least, before calling. Later today might look too desperate - Joe's embarrassed himself enough for one day as it is - and, well, Nicky will be rather occupied tomorrow.
But come Monday he will call Nicky and set up what Joe hopes and prays will be the first of many, many dates. And maybe, hopefully, get him out of those fucking clothes and into Joe's bed already.
Anyway. Alhamdulillah. Joe loves LA.