I’m posting this a little early today. Tomorrow I am very excited to host M.A. Church who will be by to chat about her new release, Wrapped in Leather. Please come by to say hi to her!
In the meantime…back to the boys…
We made it through the holidays drama-free. I spent Thanksgiving with the Mendez clan and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was hard not to love his family. They were very warm and welcoming. Their large family home outside of Baltimore was filled with the fragrant smells of turkey and all the trimming with a dash of Latin flair. Spanish was spoken as frequently as English and kids ran down the halls and in between adults like demented monkeys. His brother and dad were big sports fans so conversation tended to center around football. There was no drama, no awkwardness about being their son and brother’s boyfriend. They loved Aaron and they accepted me without question.
I went back to Pittsburgh for Christmas. While I enjoyed seeing everyone, I couldn’t shake the feeling there was an undercurrent I couldn’t quite grasp. It was as though my parents were trying too hard to make things “normal”. I mentioned Aaron’s name in passing a couple of times in conversation with my brother and sisters, but my mom’s watchful eye kept me from officially coming out to them. Without words, she was pleading for me not to make waves or create any awkwardness during the holiday. I went along with it because she was so adamant but I hated being back to lying about my life to keep the peace. I wanted everyone who mattered to know I was with Aaron, whether my parents acknowledged it or not. They were going to have a hard time ignoring it when we moved in together after the New Year, I mused.
“The living together part… are you sure? I mean… I want to. I do. I just want you to remember it’s me you’d be living with. Are you ready for that? Not that long ago you were telling me I’m high maintenance and crazy and…I doubt that will change much.”
“Yeah, I’m ready for it, baby. I like your brand of crazy.” I was smiling so hard my face hurt.
We decided before Christmas to move in together. His place was too small and mine came with roommates who were ready to relocate as well. Aaron wanted to stay in the Dupont Circle area where he currently lived. It was gay friendly and centrally located. Worked for me. I honestly didn’t care where… I was just happy he said yes.
“What if it doesn’t go well? What if you get sick of me? Ugh…or what if you’re too messy? I don’t do well with chaos not of my own making. What if…?”
I put a finger to his lips.
“Shh. Aaron. I can make no guarantees this won’t be a fucking disaster, but…” I reached for his chin when he looked away from me, seeming upset by my honesty. “But, I don’t think it will be. We aren’t total idiots. I know things about you…you are a clean freak and you listen to techno club music at an excruciatingly loud volume. I, on the other hand, am not a total slob but dishes in the sink don’t bug me the way they bug you…”
“My skin crawls thinking about it…”
“I know. Look, we’ll just have to compromise, right? I’ll try to be neater, and you’ll have to agree not to blow my eardrums everyday. And then there’s television.”
“What about it?” He tried for nonchalance but the guy was addicted to his reality programs. He peered through the longish hair covering his right eye.
“I like sports. We’ll have to share the big screen baby.”
I leaned back to observe Aaron and tried to gage whether or not I’d scared him off.
“You aren’t going for the easy sell, are you Matty?” Aaron crossed his arms over his chest. I laughed.
“All I’m saying is that we’re different, which is probably why we’re together in the first place. Sometimes those differences may make living in the same place a little challenging but the truth is… I wouldn’t have suggested it if I didn’t think it would work.”
“I want to believe you, but I think you like a challenge too.”
“Maybe, but I’m not a glutton for punishment. I love you, Aaron. We’re already practically living together except I’m paying rent for an apartment in Georgetown I’m never at and I haven’t given you a dime in rent. It’s financially a good move too. See?”
“Do I get to decorate?”
He was back to feigning nonchalance, but it wasn’t working. I rolled my eyes at his purely rhetorical question. Of course he would decorate. He knew I didn’t give a shit about color schemes and accessorizing. Aaron jumped suddenly from my lap and returned a minute later resuming his perch straddling my thighs with his cock grinding against mine in invitation. I had a feeling he wanted to tell me something and not just that he was horny. I waited patiently for him to speak. Instead he leaned into me and gently kissed my lips. I smiled but still waited, knowing he had something on his mind. He picked up my hand and turned my palm face up before dropping a candy heart in it. I chuckled. I hadn’t seen these since Jay found the box in the kitchen a few months ago. It was officially pre-Valentine season though. They would be easier to come by now. I looked at the pink heart in my hand and read “Gracias”.
“You’re welcome. How did you find these in Spanish?” I knew there was more going on than him buying these in the language of his heritage. I just wasn’t sure what it could be.
Aaron shrugged and slipped the candy between my lips. “Oh Matty, you can find anything online. And don’t worry. We’ll find an amazing place and I’ll be sure to decorate it “macho chic”!”
I didn’t know what that meant but I was pretty sure I didn’t care as long as we were together.
“I’m James. So nice to meet you both. Richie told me to take you to see 7A. It’s absolutely exquisite! You will love!”
Richie? The name sounded familiar, but I couldn’t place it. I gave up and followed. James led us to a brightly lit floor chatting amicably with Aaron about the friendly residents and fabulous amenities one only finds in newer construction. I kept quiet wondering if all these wonderful things were affordable. I didn’t want to spoil either of their fun. James was unfailingly professional and extremely enthusiastic. Aaron was the perfect audience. When James opened the door to 7A with a flourish, Aaron gasped appreciatively as if on cue. I rolled my eyes and stepped inside.
I almost gasped too. It was incredible. The floor plan was open with wide plank hardwood flooring and high ceilings. A state of the art kitchen with an island sat at one end of the large room while a small fireplace denoted the living area on the opposite side. A bank of floor to ceiling windows framed one long expanse before curving to include a small portion of the adjoining kitchen wall as well. The walls were a brilliant white (which would be the first thing Aaron would seek permission to change, I bet), the wood floors were a light faux distressed grey while the kitchen featured black granite countertops and black state of the art appliances. Three small pendant lights hung over the island. Everything about the space was beautifully understated, shiny, new and modern.
“There are two bedrooms and two bathrooms. But the best thing is that they are on opposite ends of the main living area. So should you have houseguests, you aren’t on top of one another. I’m going to leave you two to explore on your own for a few while I check on another unit. I’ll be back in ten!”
The moment the door shut, Aaron lunged into my arms. His hands were everywhere. On my ass, in my hair, down my back, up my chest. He fused his mouth to mine. I pulled back slightly to look into his luminous eyes.
“Stop. We can’t do anything here.” I kissed his nose to soften my words.
“I know. Good thing we took a little of the edge off before we ventured out, don’t you think? I’m so fucking horny and this place is making it worse!” Aaron stood on his toes and licked my jaw, kissing a path down my neck before he looked back up at me with an innocent expression. Asshole. I adjusted myself and stepped away from him.
“This is really nice, babe. But…”
“I know what you’re going to say, but let’s not think about that right now!” He jumped back and danced away into the kitchen. “Just imagine, Matty… You wake up in the morning and I do my best “I Love Lucy” impression, “Good morning, dear, would you like a cup of coffee?” I’ll present you with a lovely cup of your favorite roast before I turn back to this outrageously gorgeous stovetop to create a culinary masterpiece for you. What would you like? Maybe an omlette? Nothing blase though. No! I’ll chop red peppers and sweet onions and I’ll…”
“Will you be wearing an apron?”
Aaron’s eyes lit up at my unexpected question. He giggled and batted his eyes mischievously.
“Yes. And nothing else.”
I gulped audibly. Damn.
“Can you picture it? I don’t just mean the naked omlette. The two bedrooms are ideal! You can play your guitar or use the other room as an office and say I’m tired and want to rest in our spacious master bedroom… no worries! Win win! It would be great for entertaining too! I could have my nephews over! Or even your family! What do you think?”
A soft click at the front door announced James’ timely return. Aaron took one more longing glance around the space before we both followed him out. James urged us to decide quickly if possible as another couple wanted to see the condo tomorrow for a second time.
“We understand. I don’t think you told us the monthly rent.”
James gave me a blank stare and then turned to Aaron.
“Didn’t Richie talk to you about…?”
“Yes yes. Don’t worry. We’ll talk and I promise to call you back tonight!”
Something was up and as usual, I was a step or two behind. I let it go. Numbers didn’t lie. If we couldn’t afford it, we couldn’t afford it. Period. It didn’t matter how amazing the place was.
“So, how much?” I gave him a sideways glance as we made our way by foot back to his small one-bedroom apartment nearby.
He gave me the amount and I almost choked. It was a deal, but it was still way more than I paid now. It turned out that Richie, the owner, was the artist friend of Aaron’s I’d met almost a year ago at a photography exhibit. He and his partner were moving to Europe for one year and needed to rent their newly purchased condo. When they heard Aaron and I were in the market, they made a special deal because they preferred leasing to people they knew and trusted.
“Does that mean no?”
He looked crushed. Fuck. I did the calculations in my head quickly and told him my concerns. I didn’t hold anything back. If we had to deal with financial catastrophe right from the start, we would be doomed. Aaron paid a lot to live on his own, so it was beneficial for him to pay half of the rent Richie was asking. He offered to put more in to make it work because it was still less than he paid now. My pride wouldn’t let me agree. It was important to me that we split the cost evenly. There was a part of me that wanted to be the guy who paid more, the guy to take care of him. He’d rake me over the coals for thinking it in the first place, so I wisely kept my mouth shut.
“We have to decide tonight?”
He nodded. I took a deep breath. Why the fuck not?
“Okay, let’s do it.”
Aaron stopped in the middle of the crowded sidewalk on Connecticut Avenue and gave me one of his full-watt beautiful smiles. My heart skipped a beat as I looked down at his gorgeous face. Knowing I had something to do with that smile made me feel like a fucking superhero. I had never been one for public displays but this time I didn’t care who saw. I kissed his full lips then his nose before placing my arm over his shoulder and tucking him close to me as we walked back to his old apartment.