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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

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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.


Chapter 3

Chapter 3

Dates & Denim

 

SATURDAY, JANUARY 18, 2003

SHERMAN OAKS, CA 12:57 P.M.

It was almost one. Cynthia was at the table in the diner next to her parents’ hotel waiting for them. She was nursing a glass of water wondering where they could have been. She had to turn the waitress away three times since she had been warned by her mother not to order without them. She finally saw them walking through the parking lot to the diner.

Her mother, Agnes, was dressed as the perfect tourist. She had a large Hollywood t-shirt on and wearing short pants with an image of Marilyn Monroe airbrushed on the left leg. She topped the whole ensemble off with a fanny pack that couldn’t stay in one place along her waist as it moved back and forth to the movement of her hips. Her father trailed behind wearing just a plain shirt and blue jeans. She watched through the window and noticed how perfect an extreme her father and mother were for each other. Her dad could barely stay awake for more than a couple hours while her mother was just a ball of energy. Cynthia had a theory that she must have been siphoning energy out of him. As they made their way across the asphalt, Mrs. Davis saw Cynthia at the booth and waved.

They both walked into the diner and made a B-line for Cynthia’s booth. They both slid in without a word and settled in their seats. Agnes sat up brightly lit as she stared at Cynthia with a mother’s adoring eyes.

“Oh, honey! It’s so good to see you again! It’s been so long.”

“Mom, I was home for the holidays.”

“But that was such a long time ago.”

“It was a month ago.”

“Oh, humor your mother! Besides, a week is too long when you’re away from your child. I don’t know why you insist on living here of all places. I mean, when your father and I got off the plane, we saw two men kissing! Kissing! Right there in public! I couldn’t believe it. And if I told you half the stories your Aunt Perdie tells me. I just don’t feel comfortable with you living here all by yourself.”

“Well, mom, I’m not alone.” Her mother perked up to this news.

“Oh really?”

“Jason lives right next door. You remember Jason?”

“Oh, him.” Agnes said, disappointed.

“Yes. Him.” Cynthia said with a hint of anger.

“Oh, honey. I love Jason. I do. He’s a very sweet boy, but I can tell he has no intentions as far as you’re concerned. Don’t waste your time. You need to find a man who is ready for commitment. You need someone who’s ready to be a husband and a father.”

“I don’t really.”

“Yes you do! You’re not getting any younger. The end of your child bearing years is within sight. I cannot allow you to live your life just so you end up with a whole list of regrets when you get to be my age.”

“I have no doubt. So, where’s this Douglas Smythe?”

“Oh, Ned’s boy. Well, we haven’t been able to reach him yet, but we left him a message on his answering machine with our room number. He knows we’re here, and I’m sure he’s as excited to see you as you are to see him.”

“I’ll bet.” Cynthia said under her breath. They sat for a moment with nothing to say. Trent had fallen asleep and was whistling through his nose. Agnes was reorganizing the condiments and menus on the table, and Cynthia was staring blankly out the window, wishing she was anyplace but there.

A cell phone began to ring. Cynthia looked around but didn’t see anyone answering. She noticed the ringing was coming from a nearby location. She listened and as best as she could tell, the sound was coming from right in front of her. Her mother.

“Mom?” She asked. “Is that your phone ringing?” Agnes thought a moment and then dove for the phone in her fanny pack.

“I forgot! I set up the call forwarding!”

Cynthia sat puzzled, wondering how her mother had become such an expert with cell phones, yet still couldn’t set the time on her VCR.

“Hello? Oh, Douglas! Yes, this is Mrs. Davis. Yes. We’re at a little diner at the Holiday Inn. Yes. That’s the one. Okay. See you in a bit, dear,” Agnes clicked off the phone and put it away. “That was Douglas. He’ll be here in a few minutes.”

“Mom! I thought this was just going to be a quick hi there and hello thing. I have things to do! I can’t sit here all day!” Cynthia barked as she checked her watch. She saw the day was quickly slipping away.

“I’m sorry, dear. Just be patient. Let’s just order some lunch. I’m sure he’ll be here in no time.”

Just as they were all finishing their lunches, Douglas finally walked in. Agnes saw him in the corner of her eye. She got up and started waving her arms wildly.

“Douglas! Over here!” Cynthia pulled her back down.

“Mom! Sit down! People are going to think you’re having a seizure.”

Douglas saw Agnes and started making his way over to their booth. Cynthia looked over and saw a tall, dark, and handsome man dressed in denim and wearing boots. He had a thick mustache covering his upper lip and sharply cropped dark brown hair.

“That’s Douglas?”

“Yes.” Douglas stopped at their table, towering over them like a giant.

“Hi.” He said in soft tone that betrayed his rugged look.

“Hi.” Cynthia said coyly, avoiding his eyes. Agnes smiled broadly. She turned to Trent and roused him from his coma-like nap.

“Come on honey, let’s leave these two alone.”

Cynthia’s father gave an inaudible grunt and got up as he was instructed.

“All right, now you two talk. Get to know each other. Cynthia. You be sure to call me tonight.” Agnes said as she forced her husband along. Cynthia leapt up from the table and caught up with her.

“Mom! What the hell is that!?”

“What do you mean dear?”

“Douglas is totally not my type!”

“He’s a very nice boy.”

“He’s killed at least three animals for that get up he’s wearing! He’s just some over pumped, macho freak!”

“I realize he may not be your cup of tea exactly, but a lot of girls would find him to be quite attractive. Just sit down with him and talk. Learn about him.” Agnes then turned and walked out to the parking lot, dragging her husband along with her. Cynthia retreated back to the table where Douglas was already seated.

“Hi, again.” Cynthia slid in across from Douglas and smiled weakly at his joke. She took a sip from her glass of water. Douglas tapped the tips of his fingers on the tabletop.

“So.” He started.

“So. Look, let’s be honest,” She began. “You aren’t my type and I’m sure I’m not your type. I don’t eat meat, I don’t wear animal skins and I am a regular contributor to public television. If it’s all the same to you, I’d like to just get up from here and call this a wash. Okay?”

“Well, I don’t think I like that. I’d prefer to stay.”

“What?”

“I’m not a vegetarian myself, but I respect it. I don’t wear animal skins either. These boots are imitation leather, and I also contribute to PBS. I have the tote bag to prove it,” Cynthia let a small giggle escaper her lips. “Now, your mother told me a bit about you, and I was really impressed by what she said. I came here today to find out more. I intend to do that, if you’re okay with that. Are you?” Cynthia sat back, looking at Douglas as though he had just sideswiped her.

“All right. We can stay.”

“Great. I guess we should get the boring ‘first date’ questions out of the way first, so where do you live?”

“Oh, Uh, I live in Van Nuys. Nice little apartment. You?”

“Hollywood. I’m not gay.” He said, as if by instinct.

“I didn’t say you were.”

“I know, it’s just, a lot of people think just because I live in Hollywood and I dress like a cowboy, I’m gay.”

“Oh, I didn’t think that. Although, the whole western motif should be rethought.”

“Well, I don’t dress like this on purpose. I just like denim. And I like my boots. They’re comfortable.”

“I can totally respect that.”

“Your mom said you were a massage therapist.”

“Yes. She’s terribly disappointed by it, but I like it. I make my own hours, and I can usually make a month’s worth of pay in a few days. By the way, it’s legitimate massage. Most of the time when I tell people what I do, they get strange ideas.”

“Not me. I’d never assume anything like that. I actually got a massage a few months ago. It was great. I had a lot of stress. It totally loosened me up.”

“Really? What do you do? For a living?”

“I’m in construction. In fact I just won a contract for a new shopping center in Sherman Oaks.”

“Congratulations.”

“Thanks,” Douglas noticed the strings of beads Cynthia was wearing. “Those are nice.” He said, pointing to her jewelry.

“Oh, thank you. I actually made these. They’re what I call Harmony Beads. Each one is painted with colors that are in tune with my aura and arranged for maximum harmonic convergence.” Cynthia noticed the look of confusion on Douglas’ face.

“I don’t understand much of any of that new age stuff. I just thought they were pretty, but all that other stuff sounds real impressive.” Cynthia smiled at his sweetness and found it increasingly difficult to stop smiling the more they talked.

They sat at the booth for another ten minutes talking and Cynthia found her initial opinion of Douglas dramatically changing.

“Listen,” Douglas blurted “I think we’ve done enough of the getting to know each other thing. Right now I think we need a little mental stimulation. Want to see if we can catch a movie?” Cynthia blanked. She checked her watch. It was just a little after three.

“I don’t know. You seem like a nice guy, but I wasn’t really planning on making this an all-day thing.”

“Neither was I, but you can’t really plan things like this, can you? Come on. What’s the harm? A movie. Haven’t you ever done anything spontaneous?”

“Yes, but I really don’t know you.”

“Do I look like some kind of freak or rapist?”

“No, but neither did Ted Bundy.”

“How about if we take separate cars?”

“You’re really fighting for this, aren’t you?”

“I can be very persistent.” Douglas said and then flashed his perfectly white teeth in a charming smile. Everything Cynthia believed was being challenged and she found herself unable to find any real reason to say no.

“Fine.” She said at last.

“Great!”

They both slid out and walked out of the diner. Cynthia followed behind Douglas in a total trance. She had never met a man who so personified masculinity and very much to her surprise, she was really digging it.

An hour or so later, Douglas and Cynthia were standing in line at one of many, many movie theaters that could be found in Burbank.

She enjoyed that part the most. They were squeezed in between the ropes that defined the lines for the ticket booth. The crowd was so thick, they were both crammed together tightly. She was enjoying the feeling of his body pressing to hers. She looked up at him to give him a little smile, only to discover he was looking down at her, also smiling. They were coming closer to the end of the line, when Douglas noticed a couple of guys standing off to the side. They were laughing and pointing in Cynthia’s direction. Douglas took immediate interest in the object of their amusement. Cynthia saw a primal spark appear in his eyes. He then suddenly jumped over the rope and strode over to the boys aggressively. Cynthia looked on in confusion.

“Excuse me gentlemen, but I couldn’t help but notice you seemed to be laughing at something. I would like to know what is so funny.” He said in a booming voice. He was so loud she could hear him quite clearly from her place in line. In fact it seemed everyone in the general vicinity could hear him as a small crowd was beginning to form. The two guys Douglas was barking at both looked to be in their early or mid-twenties with large, athletic builds. Frat boy types. They looked over Douglas’ shoulder at Cynthia.

“Man, that girl you’re with? What’s with all those beads?” The first guy chuckled.

“Her jewelry? What’s wrong with it? I think it looks nice.” He looked back over to Cynthia.

“Oh, my God!” The other thick necked thug chimed. “What is she? Some tree hugging witch freakoid?” Douglas’ eyes popped open and his neck turned red. Cynthia tried to make out what was going on from the line, as she didn’t want to lose their place. She was starting to worry if this would escalate into a fight. She hoped it wouldn’t.

The last thing she needed was to have to go to the emergency room on a first date. Besides, she didn’t want anything to happen to that beautiful face of Douglas’. Beauty was such a fragile thing, especially in men. One good punch could mar him forever but faster than she could blink, she saw Douglas throw a tight right and drop both frat boys at the same time with one punch. He calmly turned and rejoined her in line.

The whole crowd outside the theater seemed to freeze in time. Cynthia couldn’t take her gaze off of Douglas’ calm features. They stepped up to the ticket booth. Douglas was quick to pay for both tickets, and they proceeded into the theater, the whole time, an awed hush held the crowd. Cynthia looked around. She felt like Lois Lane on a date with Superman himself. She was surprising herself at how impressed she was over that blatant display of machismo. A dedicated believer in equal rights. Believing the age of the strong man and weak woman as antiquated as videotapes, she would normally abhor such behavior, but there was something in her that was so enjoying it. She felt like she was betraying some of her most deeply held beliefs, but at that moment, she didn’t care.

They sat in the back of the auditorium for the movie. He kept his large, muscled arm around her the whole time. She basked in his radiating warmth. She was so mesmerized; she could barely keep her mind on the action up on the screen. She kept sneaking quick glances at Douglas, noting how good he looked even in the dark.

After the movie was over, they stayed in their seats until the last of the audience had left. They just sat enjoying the music playing over the speakers.

“You know, that whole macho episode out front didn’t impress me.”

“I didn’t expect it to. I really wasn’t even planning on throwing a punch.”

“Then why did you?”

“They said something about you, and it was pretty nasty. I was brought up not to say such things about women, and when such things are said, action must be taken.”

“That seems awfully retro to me.”

“Maybe it is, but that’s what my parents taught me.”

“I just didn’t want you to think I enjoyed it or approved or anything.”

“Of course not.” Cynthia looked over Douglas’ shoulder and saw the theater staff lined up at the front of the auditorium waiting to start cleaning up.

“They’re going to throw us out soon. They have to clean up in here.”

“Then we’ve got a little time. I really didn’t expect for this to happen.”

“What?”

“Liking you so much. The moment I saw you, I just was floored. You aren’t like anyone I’ve ever known before.”

“I hope that’s a good thing.”

“It is,” He assured. “It definitely is.” He looked at her with a pensive gaze. “May I kiss you?” Cynthia was speechless. She had never been asked that before. She could only manage to nod and with that confirmation, Douglas raised her chin with his finger and slowly pressed his furry lip to her delicate mouth. Cynthia almost orgasmed at that moment.

She had never felt anything so warm and soft before. The hairs of his mustache gently tickled her face. His lips were just soft enough, just moist enough. His mouth almost completely enveloped her lower jaw. When he pulled away, she had to fight to catch her breath. She looked at him with glazed eyes and the look in his eyes was unmistakable. If she had never seen love before, she had seen it then. He smiled and took her shoulder and pulled her into his chest. They stayed like that even after the cleaning staff had begun to clean. They were careful not to disturb Douglas and Cynthia, and just cleaned around them.

Next Chapter

Okay. Forget it. I’m just going to do it. You’re getting the first five chapters. I just feel one chapter isn’t enough.

 

Chapter 2

Lunch & Dinner

 

SATURDAY, JANUARY 18, 2003

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA 12:16 P.M.

The sun beat down on the outdoor dining area of The Garden, a chic West Hollywood cafe, but no one seemed to mind. It was a rather cool day and everyone had sunglasses on anyway. Bill Kaslow, a fat yet vibrant looking man, was sitting at a small table with two chairs. He was wearing a large Hawaiian shirt and Beige knee-length cargo shorts with sandals. He was there waiting for Jason to arrive for their weekly meeting. He kept impatiently checking his watch. He checked his cell phone to make sure he hadn’t missed any calls. He hadn’t.

Just as he was about to reconcile to the fact he’d been stood up, he saw Jason running up the street.

“About damn time! I’ve been sitting here for a half hour!” He exclaimed as he stood.

“Sorry, Bill. I was a little…busy, this morning.” Jason offered. Bill sat back down and motioned for Jason to take his seat.

“I don’t know why you have to be late every weekend. We always have lunch here, always at the same time. You’d think you could just plan your hangovers better.”

Bill was quite a bit older than Jason and very set in his ways. He was an independent film producer who had taken a liking to Jason’s writing style. He was employing Jason on a part-time basis despite the fact he could not offer to pay him anything and was instead offering connections in the industry.

Jason gave Bill a quick scan but resisted the temptation to slam his wardrobe choices. The whole tourist refugee look was a fashion theme Jason rather abhorred but he kept quiet, since Bill was usually good enough to pay for the meal.

“Cynthia made me a few drinks last night.”

“You didn’t go out?”

“No. I didn’t even get home until eleven. It was nice actually. Just nice to lie down and sleep. No pressure.”

“You got drunk with your neighbor.”

“Either way, a refreshing change.”

Bill handed Jason a menu.

“Please choose quickly. I don’t have a lot of time today.”

“Geez, why don’t we just call off lunch then, if you’re in such a hurry?” Jason threw the menu down on the table. Bill looked at Jason with a remorseful expression.

“I’m sorry. I really am. It’s just been one of those weeks. I’ve just finished going over a ton of scripts and I’m trying to line up the next movie to shoot. I’m dealing with so many assholes; I think it’s rubbing off on me.” Jason slowly picked the menu back up.

“Starting a new production?”

“Yes. I’m really excited about this one. It’s my first attempt at high drama.”

“Really? What’s the story?”

“Oh, you know. The usual dramatic stuff. Sisters, Cancer. Dying. Crap like that.”

“Sounds like a real personal project.”

“Well, you know, I gotta start doing something to get into those festivals. Right now I’m a joke. Too many schlocky horror flicks. I need to tap into the Oscar crowd. It all bores me to tears, but we’re talkin’ money.” He said while rubbing his fingers together in the universal sign of money.

A young European looking waiter walked up to the table. He was dressed casual, same as the rest of the staff. He had very short cut offs, showing every line and sinew of his muscular legs and a black tank top doing the same service for his equally beautiful torso. His dark hair framed his head perfectly. He had gentle, soft features and full lips that just begged to be bit. Jason’s breathing sped up and he started to sweat. The waiter’s mouth opened and a deep, thick, commanding voice that betrayed his youthful appearance echoed out.

“Can I get you started with a drink or are you ready?” He asked. Jason was so mesmerized he didn’t realize he was the one the waiter was talking to. Bill came to the rescue.

“He’ll have the turkey salad, and I’ll have the French dip, please.” The waiter took his pen and scribbled down Bill’s instructions.

“Very good.” The waiter said. Jason could only focus on all the muscles in his arm moving, flexing with every pen stroke. The waiter left them with a cheery smile and went back inside. Bill started snapping his fingers in front of Jason’s face.

“Hello? Earth to Jason! Come back!” Bill said, trying to coax Jason back to the land of the living.

“Huh?”

“You zoned.”

“Sorry.”

“It’s okay. He was hot. I’m not gay, and I was kind of attracted myself.”

“I hate guys like that. Perfect body, perfect face. It’s not fair! No one person should be allowed to be that good looking. You have to either have a perfect body or face. It’s not fair when they get both. Probably has a big dick too.”

“Life isn’t fair. Don’t get so worked up.”

“I can’t help it. You’re straight, so you don’t care, but for a gay man, attraction is a little more complex. At once, I’m attracted to him and I want to have sex with him and at the same time, I’m jealous of how good he looks and I want to be him. I’d like a body like that. I work out. What’s wrong with me?”

“Apparently more than I thought before I ever met you. Don’t compare yourself, man. Whatever he’s got, he’s got. I bet there are things about you he’d be jealous of.”

“Oh, yeah. I’m sure he’d be real jealous of my big throbbing….brain. And don’t even start with that inner beauty crap. I wouldn’t mind a little more outer beauty.”

“What you need is to get laid. I thought you were about to jump him when he turned away,” Jason looked down avoiding eye contact. “How long has it been since your last…encounter?”

“A while.”

“Define a while for me. A month?” Jason shook his head. “Two months?” Jason shook his head again. “Three months? Good lord!”

“Not three months. Multiply that by four.” Jason confessed. Bill sat stunned. His mouth held open so long, his cigarette fell out.

“A year? A fuckin’ year!? You haven’t had sex in a year!?” Jason turned his head away, noticing a few heads turning in their direction.

“Jesus, Bill! Keep it down! A little discretion?”

“Sorry, sorry,” Bill calmed himself and lit a new cigarette. “Damn, Jason. How can you still be alive? I’d die if I went that long without a milking.” Jason closed his eyes, trying to banish that visual from his mind.

“I’m fine. I have plenty of lube and porn to keep me from hitting critical. Besides, I got a nibble on the personal ad I put on line.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. How pathetic is my life that an email from a total stranger qualifies as an event?”

“I’ll be praying for you. I mean that.”

“Thanks.” Just then, the hunky waiter returned with their food. He carried both dishes on a large tray, perfectly displaying his flexed pecs. Bill looked over and saw Jason having another attack. He came back to normal once the food was served.

Conversation over the meal was light. After the meal, Jason and Bill both sat back, soaking up the sun, listening to the new wave music playing on the cafe speakers and whatever pieces of conversation they could make out from the other tables. A new waiter, one not nearly as gorgeous as the first one, came and set down the check. As usual, Bill sprung up and pounced on it.

“I got it,” He said. They both got up and walked to the cashier. “Hey, Jay, why don’t you just go wait for me out front okay?”

Jason didn’t understand this odd request but he just nodded and walked out ahead of Bill. He stood out on the sidewalk for a good ten minutes before the hunky waiter came out and walked right up to Jason, looked him in the eyes, and planted the biggest, wettest kiss Jason had ever felt. Jason had enough presence of thought to feel the waiter’s body. He cupped his ass and ran his hands all over his body as fast as he could. The waiter broke away and smiled at Jason with a devilish smirk and then handed him a small piece of paper. He walked away without a word. Bill came stomping out shortly with a big grin on his round, sun burned face. They both started walking down the street.

“You’re welcome,” Jason looked over at Bill, puzzled. “The waiter. I sent him out there. I told him about you and he agreed to do me that little favor.”

“A favor? He only did that because you asked him to?!”

“Relax, buddy. It still felt good didn’t it?” Jason stopped for a moment.

“Yeah. It did feel good. It would have felt better if he had done it because he wanted to. You pay him?”

“Five bucks. It was a favor, besides, I felt bad. I had just screwed him on his tip.” Jason dug out the paper that was given to him and handed it to Bill.

“This must be the receipt then.” Bill took the paper and looked at it. He handed it back to Jason.

“I really think this one is for you.” Jason took it and looked at it. It was a phone number with the word ‘dinner’ written under it.

“You told him to do this right?” Bill silently shook his head. Jason smiled and almost squealed in glee. He knew Bill long enough to know when he didn’t say anything, he was telling the truth.

Good Bye Porn

It seems the porn industry is setting up to leave Los Angeles for the bright vistas of Las Vegas because of their dispute with a voter approved law requiring male performers to wear condoms. I’ve never quite understood the big deal over this issue. I mean, wear a damn condom! It keeps the person(s) you’re in the scenes with safe and you as well. And considering all the cases of performers coming up positive with HIV in the past couple years, I’d think this wouldn’t have had to become a law. Some would argue the number of cases are so few that it’s not even that big a problem, but talk to the person who now has to live with this disease for the rest of their lives. Ask them if it’s a big problem. Some prominent figures in the porn industry have claimed that regulation already in place is enough. I don’t think that it is. We have just heard of the cases of HIV infection, but we don’t hear about incidents with other STDs and I am certain there are plenty. I have read articles that state that the watchdogs of the industry are not quite as vigilante as they lead us to believe, and this causes a public health hazard.

Let’s also not forget the number of ‘gay-for-pay’ male performers out there. They keep their gay enterprises on the DL and may engage in high risk behavior. They don’t tell anyone and they knowingly go into a situation where they could transmit something they may not know they have to someone else. Many performers also offer private services to interested parties and still more chances for disease to be spread if not detected. It’s called taking responsibility for your actions. All adults have to do it and you are not immune. You don’t like wearing condoms? Well, you know, everyone hates something about their job and considering your job is having sex, I’d say putting on a condom is barely an inconvenience. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The only other argument I can think they’d offer would be the expense of the condoms themselves, but are condoms really that expensive? I mean, you can go to Costco and get a jumbo box of condoms for less than 20 bucks.

People who work with hazardous materials must wear protective clothing on the job. In this case, that protective clothing is a condom. If construction workers, doctors, and others have to do it, why shouldn’t they? What makes them so damn special? The kicker here is I’m sure that this condom law thing is just going to follow the industry where ever it goes. It’s a common concern for many and even in Vegas. They know how to party, but I’m sure they also know how to stay safe so as to ensure many years of partying. If you don’t want to wear a condom in your private life, that’s your business, but if you’re in a professional environment you aren’t playing by your rules. The porn industry has been constantly asserting that it is a professional industry, but when they are called upon to act as such, they pitch a fit and act like children. This is why I have little respect for the industry as a whole, but I don’t want to get into that here. I’d be up until sunrise on that topic.

In the long run, it’s not a big deal. The porn industry is kind of dwindling down anyway with the influence of the internet and this new development could be the nail in the coffin, so to speak, because if they’re going to pull up stakes each time a state forces them to wear condoms, they’re going to run out of states at some point and they can’t really afford to play that game. Foreign markets are moving in and there are other cities in the US with booming porn scenes. I have noticed a lot of product coming out of Florida, which is currently being targeted for this condom law as well. And  with Florida? That is going to happen. 

Oh, The Single Life

I have a little wake up call for the single gay men of Los Angeles because as I’ve been observing for the past (censored) years, one thing in the singles scene has never changed. You guys are f@*#’d up! I’m sorry, but as I patrol the usual dating/meeting sites (never dating out of that bar again. Hand to God.) I notice that it’s pretty much the same crop of local singles as I saw about 3 years ago. This game is no big deal on sites like Adam4adam because that site isn’t really for ‘dating’ in the conventional sense, but OkCupid and Plenty Of Fish seem to be falling into the same pattern.

I see the issue as about two major problems. First, all you beautiful men with the abs and  pecs and perfect bodies need to realize that you’re not going to be like that forever. The day will come when all that perfection collapses and you’re going to be old men just like the rest of us. I’ll take this arrow out of your quiver right away. I’m jealous. I realize that. I wish I had a body that made me comfortable to be naked in front of people. I work out and try to eat right, but I just can’t seem to make it happen, so when you guys say you want a guy who takes care of himself, you should realize that there are those who do take care of themselves but still have not reached the same impressive results you have. You need to start looking beneath the surface and open yourselves up to the possibilities. Do you want a man who will let you wash your clothes on his abs, or a man who will be there for you when times get tough? You say you don’t need anyone? You say you can take care of your own? Great. However, even the strongest of us must at some point admit that we do need someone to help, if only to be there to offer a kind word or a soft touch. The measure of a man isn’t under his clothes, but under his skin. It’s time for some of you gym bunnies to grow the f#*# up.

The second problem is that it seems everyone in this city thinks they are so great, that no one is good enough for them. It seems like everyone is holding out for that cute, young ripped stud with the killer eyes, sweet smile and super exciting life to sweep in and change their lives. That poor guy. He’s got a lot of work ahead of him. Now I realize a lot of you guys out there feel you deserve nothing less than the best and you have vowed never to settle and I applaud you. I agree. I mean, if I was up for settling, I’d be in a wonderful sexless marriage right now, but I believe there’s someone out there for me that can make my heart race, and I know this because I’ve found a few people who did that already. My exes. None of them were muscular. None of them will appear on the cover of GQ, but I loved them and in some cases, I’d take them back in a heartbeat. I just think the millions of Cinderellas out there need to wake up and realize that Prince Charming isn’t going to be coming in the package you expect him to. By placing yourself on this pedestal, you’re putting yourself out of reach of some really good men. You want perfect? Who doesn’t? But let’s face it, it doesn’t exist. I’m not saying you HAVE to settle for some schlub, but I am advising you to open your eyes a little wider. Open your heart a little deeper. You’d be surprised. So he has a bald spot. His eyes are still killer and he treats you like royalty. So he’s got a little padding around the middle. He’s warm and cuddles like no one else can. I’m seeing a lot of single men out there running around the maze and for some reason, no one is making connections. There’s no reason for that.

There are other issues of course. Off the top of my head this whole FWB movement lately. Friends with benefits is NOT, I repeat NOT, a real thing! It’s just a transparent excuse for men to get their rocks off and act like it’s not just hooking up. I mean, if you have an FWB, do you honestly hang out and do ‘friend’ things? I’m guessing no. When was the last time you and your FWB did anything other than sex? It’s a cop out, plain and simple. I’m also having an issue with these guys on the DL. I mean, come on! It’s 2014! If you’re gay, you’re gay. Straight men don’t have sex with men. Once they do, they are not straight. It’s time for all you guys to come out and at least admit to being bisexual. And cut it out with cheating on your significant others. If you don’t want to commit to the person you’re dating, break it off. It’s not fair to them. They clearly want to commit to you, but if you don’t feel the same way, you owe it to them to be honest so that they can go and find someone who can give them what they want. Or you can start being the one they want, but you need to man up and make the sacrifices you need to make that happen.  And don’t use youth or ‘questioning’ as an excuse either. You’re just some horny brats who want to get off.  You know what you’re doing.

Another minor issue is all the couples out there trolling for a third to add to their bed. Really? You already have a man but you still need all the singles too? I’ve never understood this. I mean, if your boyfriend is so amazing and gorgeous, why are you looking for company online? You have an amazing gorgeous guy right there. It just transmits to me that you aren’t totally happy with your relationship but you don’t want to end it. Maybe the third person you should be talking to is a therapist so that you and your partner can communicate and really get down to why you feel the need to ‘spice up’ your sex lives. I get that some couples have fun adding a third and that’s okay, but I’m seeing more and more partnered men on the singles sites. Maybe you all should have a separate place to go for this stuff. I’m just working on getting my own bf.

And now this isn’t an issue, but this does kind of irk me. What is with all the guys from the east coast? I mean, I think 9 out of 10 profiles I read are from guys who are east coast transplants. And is everyone running marathons these days? It seems like I keep reading the same profile over and over. From the east coast. Traveled the world. Runs marathons. Was there a movement I missed out on or something?