Sixty Tricks in Sixty Days Parts 5-7
"You guys on a date? We always figured you was sweet on each other. Made it official yet?"
Brian stared at the overweight, balding, badly dressed man and his overweight, bleached blonde, badly dressed wife and it took him a moment to place them. When he did, he felt ancient. They went to high school with this couple. The husband had been a jock, a member of the high school power structure. His wife had been a cheerleader. He couldn't see her lifting that lard in a leap now. Not without causing a tsunami when she landed.
Brian handed Michael the popcorn he had bought for him and smiled at his old schoolmate, while the person behind the counter filled up a cup with Diet Coke. Living well truly was the best revenge. This guy had been a bully in high school. He often tormented Michael, who had been so much smaller than him, and was virtually defenseless. He didn't take Brian on, because Brian had his own power base, built mainly on his cult of personality and beauty. Plus he was brainy. And more than capable of mixing it up when need be.
Brian could feel her appraising stare, taking in the fact that he looked even better than he did in high school, if that were possible. "Sublimating your true sexuality in food is such a losing proposition," Brian responded as he took in the huge tub of buttered popcorn the man was holding, while she cradled a couple boxes of M...amp;M's. They each had a soft drink container the size of Texas.
"Huh?" The man said, confused, and Brian smirked at him and motioned for Michael to follow.
"I hate that guy. Jesus, he's so fat," Michael observed as they took seats on the front row of the balcony. "They both are."
"The idiot doesn't know how Susie Cheerleader there, when she still weighed less than a Volkswagen, tried to put her hand down my pants more than once. The stupid cow."
Brian laughed and dug into Michael's popcorn. "Really."
"Who didn't? They all wanted you. Did you..."
"Stop right there. I'm eating."
"Yeah, you're eating my popcorn. You always say you don't want any, that it's just little balls of carb, and then you eat mine."
"Yours? I paid for it, didn't I?"
They looked up as a solitary man entered the balcony and grazed them with a glance. He wore a fine suit with a Brooks Brothers shirt, no tie, his collar open. He was tall, with short dark hair and a handsome face dominated by large, gray-blue eyes. Brian followed him with his gaze and Michael elbowed him. "No way. Not here. Save your cruising for Babylon."
"He cruised me," Brian caught the man's smile as he sat down several rows behind them.
"You're cruising him now. Isn't he a little old and a little straight looking for you?"
Brian found the man's ability to hold his gaze without letting go to be disconcerting and somehow challenging. He didn't want to blink. He didn't want to be the first to look away. Somehow that would seem like a concession. The start of the movie gave him an excuse to turn around without surrender. But his mind was still digesting the man's unexpected draw.
The movie, on the other hand, failed to hold his attention. Car crashes and action heroes were more Michael's fare than Brian's. He went to sleep a half hour into it. His feet were propped up on the railing, his head rested against the back of his seat, and he caught up on his rest. He moaned occasionally when Michael elbowed him to stop his snuffling snore. Michael finally shook him awake as the credits ended. Brian was disoriented, at first. He blinked at the rising lights and said, "Where's that guy?"
"He left about halfway through the movie. Not that you would know since you were sound asleep."
"He has good taste, too. Damn! I wanted to meet him."
"He's straight for shit's sake, Brian."
"Your gaydar is pathetic. No wonder you can't get laid. Let's go."
Babylon netted him one more notch on his count, but Brian wasn't really in the mood for a hunt, so he went home fairly early and went to bed, alone. The next morning he was groggy as Cynthia brought him a large mug of black coffee and sat down to go over his calendar with him. For some reason, when he slept a lot, he was more tired the next day than if he had no sleep at all.
"What's this Redux account? Never heard of it," he complained. He didn't like surprises.
"It's a preliminary meeting. The Redux is a style of motorcycle, a model, a brand, whatever they call them. British company that was recently acquired by a huge European conglomerate. The new president had one of those bikes when he was young, and he wants to remake them again and bring them out to an international market. His vice president in control of North American operations is meeting with regional advertising firms."
Brian sighed. This wasn't on his calendar when he left yesterday. Why now? She read his mind.
"The powers that be want a younger perspective on it. Thought maybe you knew something about motorcycles."
"I know enough to know that I've never heard of the Redux. Get me everything you can find on that bike before the meeting. Chop, chop."
"Brian, don't say 'chop chop' to me. It's just rude."
"What's your point?"
"My point is I don't have to listen to your being rude."
He smiled. "Okay, okay, why is everyone so sensitive? Go!"
By the time he went into the meeting, he knew enough about the bike to sound intelligent. Ryder, his boss, leaned over to tell him something before they started, but Brian didn't hear him. Brian looked up as the team from the conglomerate that owned Redux entered the room. The leader of the pack was the man at the movie last night. He met Brian's eyes and smiled. Brian smiled back. They were introduced. His name was Adrian Winter. He had a firm handshake. He was older than Brian's usual fare. Brian placed his age at around thirty-five, but something about him was compelling. Maybe it was the fact he was drop dead handsome. No wedding ring. Was he out?
"So, Mr. Kinney, how did the movie end?" he asked in a precise British accent. Brian smiled. He liked the fact that he threw that out there on the table. No bullshit. And it was like a little shared secret between them, leaving out the others.
"I can't tell you. I went to sleep right after it started."
"Clever man. Pity we can't reclaim those wasted minutes out of our lives," he smiled as he said it and Brian nodded.
"Could have put them to better use."
"Shall we?" Brian's boss asked nervously, uncertain what was going on here. Brian busied himself with his notes, feeling Winter's stare take up residence on his face.
That evening, Brian had to push back his clubbing plans to attend a forced social dinner with the Redux team. He didn't hate it. He didn't hate it because Winter would be there. His boss was hosting the dinner at a private dining club located on the top floor of a skyscraper. Brian stood by the tall windows, sipping a Jim Beam, when Winter walked over and said, "You seem rather well versed on our product, Mr. Kinney, unlike the rest of your team. Are you a bike rider?"
"I like Italian bikes, personally, but the Internet is a lovely thing," Brian replied.
"Yes, I'm addicted to it. Too bad neither of us looked up that movie review before we went, however."
"My friend wanted to see it. He's into those kind of movies."
"And what kind of movies do you like?"
Brian shrugged. "Mainly the old stuff. Brando before he ballooned. 'One Eyed Jacks', 'On the Waterfront', 'The Wild One'. How about you?"
"I'm a fan of old James Dean movies, myself. It would appear we were both born in the wrong era."
"Apparently. So why did you go to that movie?"
"My hotel is across the street from the theatre. I was restless. Rather than pay per view, I thought I'd walk over and mingle with people. One gets so isolated, living a hotel and conference room existence."
"You didn't stay there long enough to count it as a 'mingle'."
"Is he your partner, that dark haired young man?"
"He's my best friend."
They saw Brian's boss headed their way and Winter said, "Will you meet me in the bar of the W hotel when all this is done so we can speak privately?"
"Yeah," Brian quickly agreed, watching Winter reluctantly redirect his attention to Brian's superior, as was required of boardroom etiquette.
Throughout the dinner, Winter ignored Brian for the most part, although there were several long looks that passed between them. Brian felt as if time were suspended. When he excused himself to go to the men's room, he had a fantasy that Winter would follow. They would kiss, fuck, something like that. The ususal. He realized his reverie had a physical impact and he frowned as he looked down at his lengthening cock. What a waste. And no one had followed him in.
He went into a stall, locked the door and leaned his back against it, taking his swollen cock in hand and closing his eyes as he let that fantasy come back with even more vivid detail. It didn't take long. He pulled with increasing intensity until finally he felt it fly. He threw his head back, resting it against the metal as his body shuddered under the impact of his orgasm. He opened his eyes as he milked the last of the cum from his dick, identifying where the rest of his ejaculate had landed. It hit the back wall, behind the toilet, and was slowly edging down the tiles towards the floor, like the slime trail left by a very large snail. He politely wiped it off with toilet tissue, and then flushed that away. He zipped up and was washing his hands at the sink when the door opened. He knew his skin still broadcasted a sex flush, and he wondered if Winter could guess why, but it wasn't Winter who came in. It was Ryder.
"What's taking you so long?" he griped as he went over to the urinals.
"Is there time allotted for having a piss?" Brian snarked. "Miss me?" He really couldn't stand this guy and vice versa. They just needed each other right now. For how much longer, Brian wasn't sure.
"Winter seems to like you, for whatever reason. Use that."
Brian smoothed his hair with both hands, checked his fly, straightened his tie and said, "I like him, too."
"Then get out there. We need this account. Take no prisoners."
Brian rolled his eyes as he left the men's room, his tension slaked, but not his interest.
The W Hotel was, of course, terminally cool. The bar had white linen banquettes partially concealed by white gauzy drapes. Candles flickered in votives that resembled cubes of ice. The sound system played a dancey, jazzy mix at low volume. All the waiters wore black and were young and handsome. Brian had scored at least two of them. He liked that Winter smoked. He was sick of anti-smoking Nazis. Europeans were more evolved on that topic. He also liked his suit, a charcoal gray number with thin pinstripes.
"Hugo Boss?" Brian guessed. Boss had become a favorite of his.
Winter smiled, ordered a neat scotch from the waiter, and replied, "I had it made in Hong Kong."
"I've always wanted to see Hong Kong."
"So why haven't you?"
Brian shrugged. "Other priorities."
"Never let priorities stand in the way of what your heart desires, Brian."
"That's not a very type A kind of thing to say and you strike me as a very type A kind of guy, Mr. Winter."
"I can be very type A when it comes to commerce, but I like to indulge my hedonistic self as well. It's all about balance."
"Are you married?"
Adrian smiled. "That would be wrong. I'm gay. You didn't guess?"
Brian shrugged. "I thought maybe..."
"You knew," Adrian corrected him.
"I know a lot of gay men get married."
"Not this one. Do you have a partner?"
"I don't believe in partners. I believe in fucking."
His client laughed. "Most would tell you they do fuck their partners."
"I'm not interested in that. Do you have a partner?"
"I have had. Right now I don't. I tend to believe I'm a bad bet, romantically. I travel a lot on business... Moving to New York was the kiss of death for my last relationship. We thought a long distance partnership would work, but it didn't. Not for us. Maybe for others. How old are you?"
"Twenty-nine," Brian didn't give him his usual lie about being twenty-seven. "How old are you?"
"I just turned thirty-five. Today in fact, as it's after midnight."
Brian tapped his glass. "Happy birthday. You look well preserved for thirty five."
"I work at it. It's not the death sentence you probably believe it to be. I thought so too, at your age."
Brian picked up the candle that had been glowing on their table. "Make a wish."
Adrian met his companion's hazel eyes and smiled before he blew out the flame. Brian re- lit it and replaced it on the table. "What did you wish for?"
"If I tell you it won't come true," Adrian's hand moved over to rest on Brian's thigh, and Brian felt the shock travel up his groin to tingle where he liked it best. "Will you come upstairs with me, Brian?"
"Is that your wish?"
"No, that's a question."
Brian felt a warning bell go off in the back of his brain. He wasn't sure why or what it meant or what to do about it. He didn't feel physically threatened by this man. He didn't fear that he was a psycho in a handmade suit, or that he was in for witnessing some emotional melt down over Winter's lost love. But something warned him. He hesitated. Adrian let his hand wander to Brian's crotch, smoothing over his genitals, stroking his cock. Brian's eyes closed as his body flooded his dick with blood. The endorphins chased away his doubts.
"Let's go," he said. Adrian smiled, signed the check, so they could leave the bar for more private quarters.
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July 25, 2004