Link

Something’s Always Wrong Chapter 5

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006LFPWCY

Chapter 5

Lounges & Latinos

 

Ken had been doing some cleaning around his apartment for no other reason than sheer boredom. He had pulled out every drawer he could find. The amount of lost treasures he found was becoming quite significant. He had uncovered a pod of porn magazines he hadn’t seen in over three years. Some old souvenirs from the weekend he went up to San Diego. Old movie ticket stubs and a small metal tag he had received as a ticket the last time he had gone to the museum. The cleaning came to an abrupt end when Ken discovered an old pack of photographs he hadn’t laid eyes on in months. Forgetting himself, he opened it up and pulled out the slick papers. His heart sank as he looked down upon the two smiling people looking back up at him. They had smiles on their faces that seemed to tell a story. They were two people who seemed as though they had the rest of their lives together to look forward to. He saw promise and hope. He saw Greg and himself during happier times. The picture was no more than a month old. He and Greg had been together long enough that Ken was secure that Greg wouldn’t just change his mind and leave without a word. He was comfortable enough to take pictures. He was sure that he would not live to regret it. He was sure that Greg would not leave behind a field of emotional land mines that he would later have to tip toe across in his wandering mind. He thought that at least. Ken threw the pictures into the nearest garbage can he could find, but thinking better about it, he went back and fished them out. He turned them over so he wouldn’t see the pictures and carefully folded them back into their envelope. He strategically placed them back in his closet way in the back of everything. He hoped enough time would pass before he endeavored to clean again that he would have gotten past the pain of Greg’s betrayal or better yet, found someone better, and he’d be able to look at the pictures again and not feel tremendous loss.

Ken continued burrowing through his papers and drawers. He found more packs of pictures but he didn’t bother opening them. He was just about finished with the last drawer in his computer desk. He was sifting through some old papers that he wasn’t sure he needed or not and he wasn’t really in the mood to read anything so he just assumed he’d need them and pushed them back into his desk. Just as he was about to shut the drawer, he noticed a corner of a small business card. He reached in and pulled it out. It was laminated and brightly colored. There was a colorful drawing of a lovely little resort surrounded by palm trees on it. He read the little text that was printed on the back of the card and realized it was indeed a pass for the Los Gatos Inn that Jason had received from Ben, and Jason then passed on to Ken. Ken had taken it and giggled a bit when he found out what the resort was all about. There were times he would find the card mingled amongst old magazines and old junk mail and thought of tossing it along with them. He never did though. He thought it was an interesting little item to hold onto, if for only the novelty of ever actually going, which Ken would never have considered. Not usually anyway. Ken sat there, holding the card in his hand. He began thinking. He knew he wasn’t in the best shape of his life and since it was a clothing optional establishment, he felt that could be an issue. He also knew the reputation of the Inn was that of a higher class bath house that catered to the beautiful and cosmetically adjusted elite of West Hollywood. Ken knew he would not fit in. He knew he’d be an outsider. He also knew he didn’t care at that point. He needed to escape. Any escape.

It took Ken two days of hard concentration to work up the nerve to even step out the door and begin his journey. He decided a plain, casual ensemble would be best; something that didn’t call attention to his slightly growing midsection. He settled on a baggy t-shirt with white cargo shorts and some beaten up tennis shoes with ankle socks. His hair was the only part of his body he wasn’t ashamed of, but still felt the need to cover it up with a small baseball cap.

Ken drove over the hill and found parking on a small residential street off of Laurel Canyon. It was at least six blocks to his destination. His heart beat louder with every step. He went through a panorama of feelings as he made his way down the street. He was ashamed because he just knew people walking and driving by knew where he was going. They knew what dirty business he had on his mind. He tried to think clean thoughts, but it didn’t matter. They already knew. He knew it. He also felt awkward because there were a few very cute guys who strolled up past him obviously leaving from where he intended to go. He could have sworn a few shot him little glances as if he were an alien. As if he were some grotesque monster who had no business being anywhere near their general air space. Before long, he reached his destination. He stood before the Los Gatos Inn. It looked like a large two story house and blended in along the row of homes and apartment buildings that surrounded it. There were large Ivy bushes growing up the front of the house making it impossible to sneak any peek of what was going on beyond that. Ken had imagined there would be naked men running around on the roof or loud music playing. Instead it looked more like a house with Ivy grown over it with a small sign out front with the name Los Gatos Inn in red neon letters. Ken took one final breath and walked through the front door. It began to seem like any other bathhouse that he had ever been to. Behind a glass window was a young man with an angelic face.

“Hello,” The young man said happily through the window. “Can I help you?” Ken was frozen in place. He walked up and fumbled for the pass. He found it and passed it under the glass. The young man took it and read it. He looked back up at Ken with a smile on his lips but a questioning stare in his eyes. “Of course. Come on in.” Ken heard a buzz and he opened a large door to his left. He walked on into the main lobby of the inn. There was another man, Latin he seemed, who came up to Ken and handed him a towel.

“The pool is right out that door there. Feel free to enjoy our facilities for the day, sir.” The Latin man said more enthusiastically than the front guy said. Ken nodded and proceeded to the pool area.

The sun was sparkling off the surface of the sapphire pool. There were lounge chairs lined up along all sides of the area. Ken walked out into the warm sun and saw a few men already camped by the pool and two men wading in the pool itself. One, a solidly built older man with salt and pepper hair, was wearing a very small Speedo that seemed to be stretched to its limit against the force of his crotch. The other, a very stunning Asian boy with jet-black hair and a tight, muscular body, was totally naked. They were swimming around until they met in the center at which point the older man scooped up his Asian lover in his large arms and they began to kiss. None of the others outside seemed to even care as most of them were laying down on some of the large chaise lounges that were lined up around the pool. They were all laying face down so Ken couldn’t tell if they were cute, but he could tell they were all in exceptional shape. They all had slender waists and curvy, muscular backs that glistened in the sun. Ken also went unnoticed as no one looked up as he walked out and the two lovers in the pool remained locked in their passionate embrace. Ken simply strolled around the area towards a bunch of chairs clustered in a shady corner that were empty. He laid down on one of them and settled in his place. He opened his bag and pulled out his CD player and a book. He didn’t even bother to take his shirt off. He just laid there in the sun, listening to Coldplay and reading another one of his trashy gay novels. Time passed and the world around him suddenly faded from his notice.

Ken was on chapter twenty of his book when he finally put it down and looked about. The sunbathers had turned over and he could see their chests. Ken looked around and noticed the older man and his younger, Asian lover had gotten out of the pool and were quietly fucking in the shade. The Asian boy was laid face down as his larger, muscular lover was gently pushing into him. Every now and then the Asian guy would lift his head and Ken could see what looked like pain melt into ecstasy. Every now and then one of the sunbathers would turn his head over to see the show, but they didn’t stare for long. Ken looked down at his watch and it had only been two hours since he had laid down.

“Enjoying yourself?” A voice came from behind as Ken’s glare was locked on the fucking couple as the Asian guy flipped over onto his back, begging for his lover’s cock. Ken looked around, startled. It was the Latin guy from inside. He was even cuter in the sunlight. His hair was dark and fluttering in the breeze. His eyes were deep. He had a small moustache running along his upper lip and he had some sort of boyish quality in his face that qualified him for the adjective ‘adorable’.

“Yes. I am. Thanks.” Ken said nervously.

“I only ask because many of our patrons take at least their shirts off. To relax. That is the point here. To relax. Leave the outside world behind and just be yourself. No judgment.”

“No judgment?” Ken questioned. “Are you nuts? These are gay men here. They do nothing but judge! I think we invented that.”

“Oh, well, maybe some. I don’t.”

“Well, these guys out here I’m sure do. The shirt stays on.” Ken said and went back to his book. He expected to hear the Latin guy walk off, but instead he sat down on the lounge next to Ken.

“Don’t you have to work?” Ken asked as he looked over at the Latin guy.

“I’m on my break.” He said. “Good book?”

“Not really. A friend suggested I read it, but this thing is just like all the other gay novels out there. All the main characters are young, good looking and rich. What the hell problems could they possibly have?” Ken then slammed the book shut and tossed it into his bag.

“Are you okay?”

“I don’t know. I just wanted to get away and I guess this wasn’t a very good choice of escape plan.” Ken said, trying not to stare as the Asian guy started to go down on his boyfriend.

“I’m Julio.” The Latin guy said as he offered Ken his hand.

“I’m Ken. Nice to meet you, Julio.” Ken’s lips curled into a slight smirk.

“What?”

“Nothing. It’s just Julio.”

“Yes? It’s my name.”

“I know, but it just sounds like one of those exotic Latin names that no one actually has. I’ve never met a Julio before.”

“Well, I never met a Ken before. Until now I thought only plastic dolls got that name.”

“Touché.” Ken then saw a glint in Julio’s eyes.

“Well, if you’re not taking your shirt off, I am.” Julio stretched up and pulled his uniform shirt off. The skin on his body was just as dark and brown as the skin on his face. His body was smooth and muscular. He had very lickable nipples, Ken thought, as Julio laid back down, shirtless. Julio kept his stare on Ken.

“Wow.”

“Thanks.” Julio said broadening his smile to expose his bright, white teeth. Ken was beginning to feel light headed.

“I better go.”

“Wait, don’t go. Don’t you feel okay?” Julio asked as he turned to Ken.

“Just a little light headed.”

“Come with me.” Julio said as he took Ken’s hand and led him away. Julio took him inside and back through a door that said employees only. They walked up a small stairway and Julio took Ken to a small room with a cot all set up.

“Some of the guys who work late sleep in here. Just lay down here a minute. It could be the sun. You were out there for awhile.”

“Yeah.” Ken said as the words Julio was speaking began to make sense. Ken lied down on the cot and Julio kneeled next to him and began stroking Ken’s chest. “What are you doing?”

“Just relaxing you,” Julio said with a daring smirk. “Feel good?”

“Yeah. It does.” Julio suddenly hooked his thumb under the bottom of Ken’s shirt and pulled it up over his head. Ken pushed his shirt back down.

“Not bad.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. Look, Ken, I see guys coming in and out of here all day. Most of them are hot. Extremely hot and in my earlier days, I’ve had my share of them. I’m older now though and the physical aspects aren’t so hard and fast with me. I don’t dig ripped muscle heads. I like a little meat on the bones. A little imperfection. Wabi Sabi.”

“Huh?”

“The beauty of the imperfect. I believe in that.”

“You think I’m beautiful?”

“If I said yes, would you go out with me?” Ken had to try clearing his ear to make sure he heard correctly. Julio, a man that could have given Antonio Banderas a run for his money, was sitting before him, shirtless, and was asking him, also shirtless, for a date.

“Sure. I would even if you had said ‘no’.” Julio’s face lit up and he pulled out a small piece of paper from his pocket along with a pen. He scribbled down something and handed it to Ken.

“Here.”

“You were prepared, now weren’t you?” Ken said.

“Have to be prepared. Call me. I should get back to work now. Break’s over.” Julio then leaned in and kissed Ken’s lips before bolting up and running out the door.

An hour later, Ken collected his things and came down to the lobby and started towards the exit. The young man behind the glass called out to Ken, as he was about to leave.

“Excuse me! You still have use of the Inn for the rest of the day, sir.”

“That’s okay.” Ken said as he skipped out the door.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006LFPWCY

Advertisements

Link

Something’s Always Wrong Chatper 3

 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006LFPWCY

Chapter 3

Neighbors & Families

 

Jason returned from his lunch with Bill just as a moving van was pulling up to the front of his building. He swung into the garage and parked. As he walked into his apartment, he saw Ben sitting at the nearest window, peaking out from behind the blinds.

“What are you doing?” Jason asked.

“The new guy is moving in.” Ben said, not taking his eyes off whatever it was he saw for a second. “Steve was not jerking me, either. This guy is beyond hot!”

“Fascinating.” Jason tried to sound as uninterested as he could manage.

“Check this guy out!” Ben called out as loudly as he could without yelling. Jason, despite himself, hurried over. He looked over Ben’s head out the window toward the door across the courtyard that led to the stairs leading to Cynthia’s old apartment. Jason was taken aback with memories of late night gab sessions and junk food binges. It had been so long, he began thinking, since he had even spoken to her. He had been afraid married life would change things. She said it wouldn’t but it would seem she was wrong. Jason’s thoughts were shunted to the side as he caught a glimpse of someone walking out the door across from them.

He was at least six feet tall and had large, thick arms and a pillowy chest. His face was unimaginably beautiful. Perfect nose. Perfect mouth. Deadly eyes. His face was youthful but it was clear that he was quite a bit older, mid to late forties Jason guessed. He saw a streak of Matt in his face. His brown hair was just shaggy enough to give him that boyish, bad boy look. His blue jeans were sufficiently ripped and torn. He had on a pair of small flip flops, which topped off the whole look and made Jason really start to hate himself. He could hear Ben sucking the drool back into his mouth.

“Well?”

“Oh my god! How the hell can any one person be allowed to look that good?”

“I don’t make the rules. So how long do you think?”

“How long do I think what?”

“How long before I land him?”

“You don’t even know his name! Maybe he won’t like you.”

“Everyone likes me,” Ben said. “Watch.” Ben then straightened up and stripped off his shirt, exposing his tanned and ripped torso. Jason used to be made breathless at the sight but living with the man for almost five years had made him immune.

“So, just like that? You skip out there shirtless and he falls for you?”

“That’s how it usually works. Come on.” Ben then ran his fingers through his hair and walked out the door and Jason was close behind.

Jason and Ben walked out to the front where they found the handsome new neighbor climbing out of the moving van with a large, brown box in his grip. His well-shaped biceps were straining and flexing due to the exertion. Ben strode over confidently while Jason stayed back and was prepared for a show.

“Hi there!” The handsome man said enthusiastically.

“Hi,” Ben said in his most smooth and suave voice. “Need some help, neighbor?”

“Oh, thanks, but no. I got it covered.” Just then, a young boy no more than seventeen emerged from the van with a smaller box in his thin arms. He was a tall, thin young boy with black hair that seemed a bit disheveled and crazy. A bright, beautiful looking older woman followed him. She had short, black hair and a full bosom that was testing the limits of the slim sports bra she was wearing.

“Oh.”

“That’s Justin,” The man said pointing to the young boy who looked as if he wanted to be anywhere but there. “And that’s Victoria.” He continued as he indicated to the woman who was brightly smiling down upon them all.

“Great. So, your sister and nephew?” Ben asked with a glimmer of hope.

“No. Son and wife. I’m Ty. Ty King,” He said offering his hand underneath the box in his arms. Ben took it half heartedly but Ty didn’t seem to either notice or care. “You’re the first people we’ve met here so far. Aside from Steve of course.”

“Of course.” Jason then burst to life realizing someone had to rescue him from the situation.

“I’m Jason Preston and this is Ben Kollins. Number Nine. Nice to meet you.”

“Likewise.” Ty said nodding simply to Jason.

“You sure you don’t need any help?”

“Absolutely, but thanks for the offer.”

“Well, then. We’ll leave you to it then.” Jason gently turned Ben around and led him back to their apartment.

“I don’t get it.” Ben said breathlessly as soon as they were out of earshot. “He’s straight! And hot!”

“It happens, you know. They can’t all be gay.”

“But, he’s so pretty. Married. With a kid. Pretty old kid too, so I guess they’ve been married for some time.” Ben reasoned. “Maybe,”

“No.” Jason blurted, blocking Ben’s thought. “Let it go.”

Ben spent the rest of the afternoon watching Ty and his family move into Cynthia’s apartment. For every one box Justin dragged up, Ty brought up four. Despite his youth, Justin seemed to be out classed by his father at every step. The resemblance was difficult to see except in the face. Justin clearly did not have his father’s perfectly sculpted body, but he did have his well formed face and the same pair of ice blue eyes. Every now and then Ben could have sworn he saw Justin looking back at him through the window. He thought maybe there was a reason Justin was taking things a bit slower than anyone else. Almost instinctively Ben got up and walked back out to the front. He walked out and saw Ty and Justin struggling with a large chest of drawers.

“Come on, son! Lift!” Ty yelled sounding both exasperated and encouraging at the same time. Then the chest of drawers landed with an audible crunch. Ty turned away and put his hand to his face, obviously trying to keep from saying anything he would regret. “Justin? Maybe you can help your mother with the unpacking inside.” Ty said in a calm, trembling voice. Justin seemed to understand his father’s tone more than Ty thought as he angrily stomped away back into the apartment building. Ty looked up and over at Ben who had silently witnessed the exchange.

“Ben! You look pretty fit! How about lending me a hand with this thing?”

“Sure.” Ben said. He got onto the van and grabbed his end of the chest of drawers. Ty counted to three and together they lifted. This little maneuver worked out better for Ben, as he was able to finally show off his physical prowess to Ty without having to risk a clumsy come on. Ben looked over and saw his arms were straining and pulsing as much as Ty’s. With a great push of force, Ben and Ty lifted the chest of drawers up and Ben brought his end down off the van.

“I guess Justin doesn’t take after you in everything, huh?”

“Yeah. He’s a good kid though. I try not to put so much pressure on him. It’s hard though. In my line of work, pressure is what it’s all about.” Ty said as he carefully guided the chest of drawers along onto the sidewalk.

“What do you do?”

“Personal trainer.”

“I knew it.” Ben said softly under his breath.

“I worry about him though. He’s so withdrawn. He’s never been to a school dance. Ever. Can you believe that?”

“It’s natural. I remember how it was when I was young. You never know what you’re feeling. Justin just doesn’t seem to be one of the lucky few who sail through puberty effortlessly.”

“I guess he got that from his mother. When I was his age, I didn’t think life could get any better. I lettered on all my teams. I got good grades. I was popular. I’d get hit on by all the girls, a few guys, and even some of the teachers. It was the greatest time of my life.”

“Really? What about now?”

“Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m happy. It’s just back then I had a freedom that I just don’t have anymore. It’s just something that comes and goes with time. No complaints.” Ty said. Ty went on about his life with Victoria and Justin. He talked about how they had been living in New York up until three years ago when Victoria’s employer laid her off after twenty years of loyal service. It was at that point that they decided that the time had come for a change. They both agreed that moving to California was just the change they needed. Ty knew his training could travel with him and Victoria was certain she’d find a new job out in Los Angeles. Justin, Ty said, didn’t weigh in on the moving issue. He just seemed to agree with it as he did with most things and went with it. They had been living in Hollywood up until six months ago when a shift in their income forced them to find a building with lower rent.

After Ben and Ty moved the chest of drawers in, they joined Justin and Victoria in unpacking the other boxes. Ben was happily opening box after box, half way hoping he’d open up the box containing Ty and Victoria’s bedroom things. He was wondering what kind of porn he enjoyed. Did he get off on girl on girl stuff or was he more traditional? Did Victoria enjoy it with him or did she, like most wives as Ben understood it, just tolerate it for the sake of harmony? Victoria seemed to have the wild streak needed for such activities. As he pulled open the flaps of the last box, he found disappointment, as he looked down upon a pile of old dishrags. He began to dig through but there was nothing more inside. Victoria popped over and snagged a couple handfuls of towels and flashed a courteous smile at Ben.

“Would you care to stay for dinner?” She asked. “Nothing fancy. We were just going to order in a pizza.”

“Thanks, that would be great.” Ben said as he rested on the couch. He kept himself hunched over in order to keep his sweaty back off the upholstery. Justin was sitting across the room sorting through one of his boxes. His eyes were intent on the contents but Ben noticed Justin catching quick glances at him every now and then.

The pizza arrived and Ben sat down with the Kings in the living room. They sat on the floor in a circle. Ben did his best not to linger on Ty who was, like him, still shirtless. He just shot quick glances when he thought he was safe. A few times he thought that Justin had caught him and once he could have sworn Victoria had too, but she didn’t change her demeanor so it must have been a mistake, he thought. The only eyes Ben felt on him were those of Justin who seemed to be looking at him even more frequently as they were closer to each other.

“Oh!” Suddenly Ty spoke out. “I almost forgot! The van!”

“Oh! That’s right!” Victoria checked her watch. “It’s due back in ten minutes!”

“I’m on it.” Ty said as he pitched himself up, his muscled chest undulating with his movement. It was all Ben could do to keep himself from just jumping up and taking a bite out of him. Victoria struggled up as well.

“I’ll come with you. Sorry to run out on you like this, Ben. Go ahead and finish your dinner. We’ll be back in a little bit, Justin. Be nice to our guest.” Victoria said to Justin in an oddly motherly tone as they left.

Ben and Justin lingered on their dinner after Victoria and Ty left. There were no witnesses so Justin stared at Ben unapologetically.

“What?” Ben snapped.

“Nothing.” Justin said quietly.

“I’m going to call it a night. Tell your parents I appreciated the meal.” Ben then got up and walked to the door.

“You like my dad, don’t you?” Ben stood, frozen, at the door. He slowly turned.

“Excuse me?”

“It’s okay. Happens all the time. Everyone likes my dad.”

“Why are you asking me this?”

“I saw you looking at him all day. I know that look. I’ve seen it on a lot of people’s faces. Teachers. Baby sitters. Distant relatives.”

“Okay. You got me. You’re dad’s hot,” Ben said. “And since we’re talking about who’s staring at who, how about you looking at me?”

“I was not.”

“Come off it! Every time I was turning around, you were turning back the other way. I’m not stupid.”

“You’re cute, okay?”

“It’s okay to admit it.”

“I know. It’s just kind of new to me. I don’t know if it’s anything serious. I read that all guys go through this stage where they’re attracted to other guys.”

“I’ve heard that too. What do you think it means for you?”

“I don’t know. I’m kind of working that out.” Justin said brightly.

“Well, I’ve never really been the counselor type, but if you want to talk, let me know.”

“Really?” Justin asked as he lifted his head up. A slight smile formed along the corner of his mouth.

“Really.” Ben looked into Justin’s timid grin. For the briefest of moments his mind was taken back to when he was growing up in Seattle and how he felt the summer he realized about his own bisexuality. He remembered the fear and anxiety of those weird feelings and the euphoria of finally accepting what he was as well as the feeling of having his whole life ahead of him. He saw a road ahead of him that held nothing but promise and new discovery. He suddenly snapped back as a small clock nearby began to ring. He looked over and saw it was nearly nine o’clock.

 “I better get going.”

“Oh.”

“Sorry. Gotta work, you know? Besides, I am trashed after all this moving, but I’m downstairs, across the yard. Number nine.” Ben said feeling more important than he had ever felt in his life.

“Okay.” Justin looked up to Ben and tossed him a slight smile which Ben returned just as he slipped through the door.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006LFPWCY

Link

#freebookfriday

TGIFBF! This week I offer “Something’s Always Wrong”, the second installment in the Jason Of The Valley series.

After the events of the previous year, Jason is on track to make his movie and reunites with his family. Matt is visited by an old friend from the past which puts a definite strain on his relationship with Jason. Mike and Ivan are enjoying their first year anniversary trip to Europe, until Ivan’s mother shows up and deals a blow that transforms their relationship in a most unexpected way and Ben befriends a new tenant in the building and discovers a connection he was not anticipating. Jason and his friends return for another round of tears and laughter, as well as the surprise wedding everyone’s been waiting for but never thought they’d see. It’s another slice of life and love in The Valley.