Steven watched Luke cash out the last customers. On Pride eve they closed early to give the staff a chance to get enough sleep for the next day. Head chef Curtis took the final lock up to stay late to do prep work for Sunday brunch.
Steven wheeled in his bike and Curtis locked the doors. He and Luke pushed through the throngs to the bank on the corner.
“This is one night I feel safe making a deposit.” Luke rejoined Steven outside the bank. “What are you in the mood for?”
“Peace and quiet.”
“Sounds good to me.”
“Luke?” Steven wanted to talk about Tim but didn’t know how to start.
“We … uh … did the kiss for the first time today.”
“How’d it go?”
They walked through the park to the car.
“Not bad doesn’t sound good. His breath stunk?”
“No. It was weird. Kissing another guy like that.”
“You’ve kissed men before.”
“Yes, but none since we’ve been together.”
“None! I find that hard to believe.”
“You know what I mean. None in a ….”
“This was the nude stuff?”
“Did you get nekkid?”
“How was that? Was the rest of him as pasty as his face?”
“Yeah. But it was …”
“My God! He popped a boner!” Luke laughed. “Didn’t he?”
“You popped one!” Luke continued to laugh. “Be careful, you’ll put an eye out yet with that thing.”
“Luke, it isn’t funny. I think Tim has feelings for me. I’m not sure what to do.”
Luke stopped to check for the car keys.
“Tell him to piss off faggot.” A voice came from the shadows between the houses. Three men stepped into the street light. One tapped his palm with a length of wood.
Kevin went up the stairs of his fourth bar that night. The dance floor was packed. The music was loud, the smoke was thick, and the floor sticky under foot.
A song started. The chunky quick organ with faster piano on top of it went to his feet and forced him to the dance floor. A wild uncontrolled sax underlined a strong female vocal that repeated “Set yourself free.” The sax grabbed him by the crotch, and his legs pumped like pistons into the music, his hips moved by the swarm of men around him.
A swarm that pulsed together as one.
“What do you want?” Luke asked. “Money?”
“That’ll do for starters and the keys to your car.” The guy with the stick growled. At his nod they all moved. Luke and Steven had no time to react.
The first punch caught Steven in the cheek. He tasted blood. He braced against a car and kicked out with his right foot, caught the guy in the stomach. As he glanced to Luke another blow caught him in the stomach. He doubled over to the thud of wood on flesh.
Once he saw that he’d get nowhere with Kevin, David went home. He didn’t like his puppy-in-need-of-affection feeling. Kevin made him ache to hold, to touch, to love, to own, but he couldn’t let himself appear vulnerable to someone he had just met.
His answer machine blinked. A message from Robert Ing.
“David. You witnessed what happened at Big E’s this evening. If you value your future you will never design another garment for that fucking cow. If you do, you are dead in this town. Trust me.”
By the cold tone of voice Robert meant every word.
Steven pushed from the car, head-butted the man in front of him. As the guy fell Steven jerked up hard, fists first, to send the man sprawling.
Luke was curled in a ball on the ground to protect his head while the other two men kicked him. With an angry roar, Steven raced at them. They turned on him.
“Faggots should never fight back. Pisses us off.”
Steven was grabbed from behind. The other two stepped at him.
Yves finished his coffee. The energy around him became more frantic than festive. People were intent to prove they had a great time with as much noise and glitter as possible. It was as if they they wanted to reduce “queer” to the flash of a sequin or a silver chain.
All he had to show for his gay life was a pink plastic whistle on a string draped around his neck. An apt symbol, one that responds only when put it in your mouth.
He went out, walked a block from the crowd to hail a cab. He saw two guys punch someone held by a third. He blew his whistle loud and ran to help.
“I knew these steel toes would find the right asshole sooner or later.” He kicked out at the back of one of the punchers. The guy dropped like a stone.
He grabbed the other and whacked him with the back of his hand. The blow sent the man into the front of a car. There was a satisfying crack as the man’s head slammed into the windshield.
The third man dropped the guy he held and took off.
Steven heard a distant whistle. Next he fell into the arms of a heavy set man. After a deep breath he recognized Yves, “Yves! Thank God! We were goners.”
“Good t’ing I wore my sheet kickers.”
“I’m okay. Check Luke.”
Luke lay in a pool of blood. Yves knelt to check his pulse.
Steven started to cry. He threw up.
“I got a cell phone. I’ll call the cops.”
Steven shivered and looked at Luke while Yves called.
Kevin sat on the front steps of the Inn to take off his sneakers. His feet and ankles ached from the dance floor. His socks, drenched in sweat, smelt of the cologne in his shoes.
He stretched out under the clear sky and took in the sounds of the city. An ambulance flashed past in full siren and lights. After a brief panic he found his keys in his back pocket.
The house was silent except for the air conditioner whirr. It was like he was fifteen sneaking home. He held his breath and tip-toed up the stairs. He winced at each squeak. In his room he breathed again.
In the dim of the bedside lamp, he peeled off his wet shorts and wrung his Leafs t-shirt over the sink. The socks and undies he had rinsed out earlier were dry.
In a hot shower, he dropped his cut-offs and t-shirt into the water underfoot. He smelt cigarette smoke on his flesh and tasted the salt of his own sweat. He washed the smells of the bar off him and felt the slither of bodies around his.
God, he had loved dancing with men. Not that he danced with any one in particular. A couple of guys had caught him between them on the dance floor. One pressed him from the front while the other rocked him from behind. The memory got him hard.
He went to get his towel. Someone sat on the bed.
“What the …”
“Sorry. Didn’t mean to startle you.”
It was Paul. His tattoos swirled in the faint light.
“You forgot to lock the door. I knocked and it opened. Honest. You were in the shower and didn’t hear me. Let me dry you off.”
Kevin stepped back.
“Don’t worry. I won’t bite. Unless you want me to.”
“Yes, I know, I have a lover. Robert won’t be home for hours. He knows I mess around.” He reassured as he dried Kevin’s back. “Enjoy your first night?”
“Some of it. Especially this part.”
“I’m glad. I didn’t mean to sneak up on you, but you left Big E’s so fast. I wanted to give you a bar tour.”
“I managed that on my own.”
“Yes, I took you for an enterprising lad when grabbed the spot light this afternoon.”
“Thanks. Made it was easy to get Robert to let me do a few numbers at Big E’s. How could he say no “No” in front of people gushing about how good I was?”
“You’re even more enterprising than I expected.” Paul sam just as his unshaved chin scraped between Kevin’s shoulder blades and down to the small of his back. Paul pushed him forward and his lips moved along the crack of his ass. Kevin pulled away, but Paul held firm.
Kevin had never imagined this as sex but it was wonderful. His body relaxed as he gave into it. He moaned. Paul bit his ass cheeks before he stood. He pressed Kevin against the doorway. Paul’s body was against his. Skin to skin.
“Feels good?” Paul whispered.
They faced each other. They kissed. Paul’s cock beside his sent shivers up his spine.
Kevin moved them toward the bed.
“Not shy either, are we?” Paul laughed.
They rolled on the bed. Paul on top, then Kevin on top. They lay on their backs to catch their breath.
“Almost. There was some guy this afternoon. He … like … did me and got rid of me. I must have did something he didn’t like. I don’t know what.”
“Don’t worry. There are lots of guys who only want to tear off a piece.”
Their faces were inches apart. He traced Paul’s tattoos with one hand.
“There’s lots to learn.” His fingers plucked Paul’s pubic hair.
“You want it don’t you.”
“Want what?” Kevin wanted Paul’s cock but was ashamed to admit it. That was sex. That was gay sex. To let a guy do you was one thing, but to do another guy made you a queer. He was gay, but now that he had the chance to be one he was afraid. What if he didn’t like it? What if he wasn’t queer?
“Go on.” Paul nudged Kevin. “You want my cock.”
Kevin leaned forward. Paul’s cock was suddenly there. It smelled of flesh and heat and sweat and spunk. The head was slick with pre-come. He brushed his tongue along the shaft, his nose in Paul’s balls breathed deep.
Intoxicated by the nearness of another man, he gingerly tasted cock for the first time. Not what he expected, but he liked it. Paul pushed his cock into Kevin’s mouth.
Kevin moved up and down slow. His cock was in Paul’s mouth. He stopped to enjoy the sensation. Then he continued.
He enjoyed the full-mouth feel that both satisfied and demanded. As he sucked and Paul sucked him, he had the sense of wholeness that he sometimes had when he sang. Harmony and excitement at the same time.
Paul’s hips pushed quicker in and out of Kevin’s mouth. He spread Kevin’s legs and sipped his head between them.
“Keep sucking baby!” Paul implored while he kissed and licked Kevin’s ass. “So sweet. So perfect.”
Kevin’s cock pressed on Paul’s chest and pushed back and forth. He took Paul’s cock deeper into his mouth as he came.
“Sit up baby. On my face.” Paul pulled Kevin’s ass to him. He jerked himself off as his frantic tongue dug around.
Hard again, Kevin began to jerk himself. As Paul’s come erupted, it hit Kevin in the face, Paul bit his ass cheeks harder and harder. He came a moment later.
He rolled off Paul.
“Good?” Paul asked.
“Better than I dreamed. And me?”
“Fine. You got a nice cock and a sweet ass. What else could I ask for? If Robert sucked my dick like that, I wouldn’t be messing around.”
“I see.” Kevin didn’t contradict.
“Don’t get me wrong. Robert is super. One of the most affectionate guys I’ve met, and honest. But it’s always fuck fuck fuck. Not that I mind fucking him, but sometimes I want … you know what I like.”
“Uh huh. I think I’d like to wash my face.”
Kevin kissed him before he went to the washroom. How could he ever go back to Mitch’s. Back to what? He had sucked cock and he had enjoyed it. After tonight there was no way to go back.
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