Isco felt something sticky on his face. He had just woken up, but kept his eyes closed. He was almost scared to open them. Whatever was sticky also smelled good. Isco opened his eyes and saw a puddle of white cream.
His eyes widened and he tried to recall last night’s events, but he relaxed as soon as he saw sprinkles.
He lifted his head up and saw cake icing all over his kitchen counter. Marcelo was asleep on the floor, hair full of star shaped sprinkles. Sergio was passed out on the couch, Animal Planet playing in the background. Nacho and Dani were on the floor, but they were clean of icing. Isco rubbed his eyes and sat up straight. He had fallen asleep at the kitchen counter in the bar seat, luckily it had a back to it, or else he would have fallen out.
He heard Sergio moving on the couch. “Feliz cumpleaños bro,” he said, eyes closed but with a smile on his face. “Te quiero.”
Isco felt his stomach do a flip.
It was his birthday. He was finally twenty five years old.
Suddenly, all of last night came to him. Some of Isco’s friends had surprised him at his apartment. Sergio brought over cake mix and promised to make a cake, yet it turned out he didn’t even know how to turn on the oven. Luckily, Marcelo knew how to bake and volunteered to make the cake. Nacho and Dani had both come with cases of beers in both hands, so Isco assumed that’s why they were passed out on the floor.
“No problem. Hate to ask, but is that icing on your face?”
Isco, temporarily forgetting it was there, hastily wiped it off with a paper towel. “Yeah. What did you think it was?”
Sergio held his hands up, feigning innocence.
Marcelo laughed from the floor. “You were wrong for that Sergio.” Marcelo reached his arm out, motioning for Isco to help him up. Isco helped him up and Marcelo shook his hair, dozens of little stars falling on the floor. He then grabbed Isco tightly and hugged him. “Happy birthday!” He exclaimed, the hug becoming tighter by the second. “Twenty five years ago we were blessed with you. I don’t know what I would do without your sarcastic ass. Love you bro.”
Isco felt his eyes water, but he blinked any tears away. There would be no tears on his special day.
Marcelo let go and gave him a thumbs up. “I’ll clean up, you go do whatever.”
“Don’t forget your party tonight,” Dani said, still flat on the floor.
“Yeah,” Nacho said, next to him. “Sergio went all out.”
Isco could only imagine what Sergio had planned. The last time Sergio had planned a party it was for Iker and it involved breakdancing clowns.
Sergio spoke up. “Hey, you know all my parties are the shit.”
Dani sat up and groaned. “Are we forgetting Iker’s from last year? I mean, the clowns were funny, but all the dick shaped balloons they kept blowing up were kind of alarming.”
Isco laughed. “Yeah, Iker really didn’t appreciate having floating dicks in his house.”
Sergio shrugged. “You win some, you lose some.”
Isco went to his room as the other guys kept talking. He leaned back on his bead, the warm duvet inviting him in bed. He grabbed his phone off his nightstand and couldn’t stop the smile on his face when he saw all the birthday messages he had gotten.
Cristiano: Parabéns! Can’t wait to see you tonight! Oh, and I hope you like my special gift.
Jesé: BRO!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I love you man! Oh btw, is it okay if I perform at your party?? I’ve been meaning to book some gigs and this seems like a perfect opportunity.
Marco: [a dozen smiley emojis] Happy birthday Isco! You’re my favorite bro!
Isco continued reading the messages, all of them wishing him nothing but happiness. It made him feel good knowing so many people cared about him. But there was also something felt like it was missing, but Isco couldn’t quite put his finger on it. He quickly shook off that feeling, knowing that it wasn’t worth thinking about on his birthday.
Putting his phone down, Isco still felt the stickiness on his face. He decided to take a quick shower.
Sergio, hearing the water running in the shower, began whispering. “I have everything planned for tonight.” He gave a thumbs up.
“Why are you whispering?” Dani asked. “He’s in the shower, he can’t hear us.”
Marcelo giggled. “Idiot.”
Sergio rolled his eyes. “Whatever. Now to the important stuff; Nacho, did you do what I asked?”
Nacho nodded. “Yes, I ordered the best stripper.”
Dani’s jaw dropped. “Wait, you ordered one too?”
“What do you mean by too?” Nacho asked. “Sergio asked me.”
“He asked me too!” Dani exclaimed.
Marcelo look at the two guys before looking at Sergio, who had a sheepish look on his face.
“I may have forgotten that I asked Nacho,” Sergio said, a nervous smile on his face. “The more the merrier though, right?”
“Two strippers?” Dani asked incredulously. “You know Isco gets shy about this stuff. Two is just going to make him feel uncomfortable.”
“Well it’s too late to cancel my stripper,” Nacho interjected. “There was a strict no refund policy. Apparently the one I got is one of the most popular ones.”
Marcelo raised an eyebrow. “Really?”
“Yeah. He goes by ones name, I forgot what it was though. It’s kind of different sounding.”
Dani groaned. “Mine has a kind of weird name too, but I forgot. Two strippers though? It won’t be too much. I mean what are they supposed to do? Out strip each other? How does that even work?”
Sergio motioned for everyone to be quiet. “It’ll be fine. They’ll be tons of people at the party and I’m sure having one more person won’t hurt anything.”
“He’s right,” Marcelo agreed. “Plus Isco might be kind of shy sometimes, but he can be kinda freaky at times.” Dani sucked his teeth and Nacho laughed. “What!? You know it’s true. Remember when that one summer when he refused to put on any swim trunks to go swimming? Yeah, I think he liked that attention.”
“Yeah, thanks for reminding me Marcelo. It’s not like I tried forgetting that or anything,” Dani replied.
“Shhhhh,” Sergio hushed. “I heard the water just turn off.”
Marcelo went back to the kitchen, rapidly turning a mess into a spotless counter. Dani and Nacho climbed on the couch, praying for their hangover to go away.
Soon enough, Isco came in. His hair was wet and fluffy and he had a big smile on his face. “What have you guys been up too? Talking about me, I hope.” He stuck his tongue out and took a seat next to Nacho.
“Are we that obvious?” Dani asked.
“A little,” Isco answered. “Oh, and about this party. Is there a dress code or something?”
“I can’t tell you,” Sergio answered with a twinkle in his eyes. “It’s a surprise.”
“What? That’s not fair. What if I dress wrong or look completely out of place?”
“Don’t worry,” Marcelo said. “We have some clothes for you when you actually get to the party. Don’t sweat about it.”
“Okay, okay,” Isco said, feeling more excited by the second. “Can you give me a hint to what the theme is?”
“No!” Sergio hollered before anyone could answer. “It’s a secret. Plus it took me forever to come up with and it’s amazing, so no, you can’t know.”
Isco pouted. “Fine.” He looked at the clock on the wall and it was still hours before the party. “How about we watch a movie or something?”
“Sounds good with me,” Dani answered. “We still have some time to kill.”
Isco clapped his hands. “Good. We’re going to watch Minions.”
Sergio and Marcelo cheered but Dani and Nacho silently groaned.
Two hours after watching the Minions invade London; it was nearing closer to Isco’s party. Dani had fallen asleep and Sergio was singing along to the credits.
Isco was giddy. He hadn’t had a birthday party in years. He was excited to see his friends all together.
Marcelo ate the last handful of popcorn and took a sip of soda. “I guess we should be getting ready, yeah?”
Sergio nodded his head yes.
“Okay, what time exactly are we leaving?”
Sergio laughed. “We? Isco, you’re staying here. We’re sending someone to come pick you up.”
Isco’s jaw dropped. “Why?”
“We still have a few last minute things to do,” Nacho chimed in. “We want it to be perfect.”
“Yeah,” Dani said, voice still sleepy. “It has to be perfect or Sergio threatened us.”
“Let’s spare him the details,” Sergio said through gritted teeth. “Vamonos muchachos!”
Marcelo, Sergio, Dani, and Nacho all stood up. They all shot sympathetic looks toward Isco, obviously hating to leave him alone.
“It won’t be long, I promise.” Marcelo ruffled Isco’s hair. “It’ll be worth it, I promise.”
“It better be,” Isco said, sticking his tongue out.
The four guys said their goodbyes and closed the door behind him.
Isco, not having anything to do, slowly closed his eyes and lay on the couch.
There was a loud knock on his door that nearly made Isco fall of the couch. It was so abrupt and the person kept knocking and knocking.
Isco jumped up and opened the door. Standing there was his friend, Luka.
“Luka!” Isco hugged him. “What are you doing here?”
Luka smiled. “I’m your driver for the night. Happy birthday, by the way.”
Isco thanked him. “You didn’t have to knock so loudly.”
Luka snorted. “I had been knocking for over five minutes. I was getting a little worried.”
Isco frowned. “I must have been really sleeping, then.”
“That’s probably a good thing because from the way Sergio has been talking, you’re going to need all the energy you have for tonight, my friend.” Luka led them down the little hallway and to his car. They both got in and Luka started the car. “Are you excited?”
“Honestly? I really am, but I’m also nervous.”
“Why are you nervous?”
Isco shrugged. “I don’t know. It’s just those little butterflies in my stomach, you know.”
Luka patted him on the back with his free hand. “You’ll be fine.”
The two drove for a few minutes. Luka was playing some strange music, but Isco was too busy wondering what Sergio had planned to worry about the music. The minutes got longer, but finally, Luka said, “We’re here.”
Isco instantly recognized the place. It was once a motel that had been renovated into a popular dance hall. There were dozens of cars parked out and the music could be heard all the way in the parking lot. Luka parked the car and reached in the backseat. “Here,” he said. “You might want to put this on before going in.”
Before Isco could ask, Luka had already left the car and was running in. Isco pulled the clothes out to find white bell bottoms and a white button up with a black collar. Something about it seemed familiar, but Isco couldn’t put his finger on. He awkwardly changed clothes in the passenger seat, grabbing the gold necklace that was at the bottom of the bag and putting it on, completing his outfit.
He got out of the car and straightened out his clothes. He hoped he looked okay. He took a deep breath and made his way to the front door. Before he could open it, it swung open.
A loud chorus of ‘Happy birthday Isco!’ was echoed in the room. Isco was instantly grabbed in the room, the door closing behind him. Countless smiling faces whirled around him. Isco looked at the wall and saw a huge banner that said ‘Happy birthday Isco! Hope you enjoy your disco.’
Then it clicked.
The Bee Gees were playing in the background, everyone one had on bell bottoms and sequins, Isco himself dressed like John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever. Sergio had set up a disco for him. Isco laughed. Leave it to Sergio to rhyme something with Isco.
After the initial excitement of Isco arriving, people backed up and were letting him walk around. Cristiano came up to him first. “Hey man! I hope you have a good time. I left my special gift on the table.”
Isco looked and saw a cake. “Thanks!”
“I remember when I turned twenty five. It wasn’t that long ago and people tell me that I look twenty five nowadays. But what I’m trying to say is that it’s never too early to start eating healthy! I made that cake over there with a special recipe I found.”
Isco gulped. Knowing Cristiano, that cake didn’t have an ounce of sugar or more than ten calories in it. “Wow, you’re right. I’ll have to try it and let you know.”
Cristiano patted him on the back. “Please do. See you around!” He soon walked off, leaving Isco wondering how he could throw away that cake without being noticed.
Isco saw Marcelo walk by, his hair spray-painted silver to resemble a disco ball. Isco then saw Sergio and Iker and ran up to them. “This party is amazing!” Isco exclaimed.
“I’m glad you like it!” Sergio smiled from ear to ear. “It took me a while to think of a theme, but Iker actually helped me.”
Isco was shocked. “Really?” Iker was not exactly the partying type.
“Yeah! I was at his place and he was listening to some disco music trying to-“
Iker cut him off. “I don’t think he really needs to kn-“
Sergio interjected back. “He was trying to dance to some disco music and I kept laughing but then it hit me! Isco and disco! A match made in heaven. It was too good to pass up.”
Isco laughed. “I guess I have to thank Iker then.”
Iker took a sip from his red cup, looking like he wanted to be anywhere but there.
The music suddenly got quieter as two guys walked out on the stage. They were dressed like police officers.
“We have a warrant for Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez,” the taller guy said.
“Does anybody know where we can find him?” the shorter one asked
Isco didn’t know what was going on. All he felt were hands pushing into his back until he was all the way up on stage. Everyone had their phones out, recording or taking pictures, and the flash made everything blurry for Isco. He was shoved into a chair. He was sweating; he was so nervous.
Then Isco took a real look and couldn’t believe it. The ‘police offers’ were wearing skin tight booty shorts along with an unbuttoned shirt. One had a plastic baton that was covered with sequins and the other had fluffy handcuffs. Isco couldn’t find Sergio in the crowd, but he knew that he was the one who had set this up.
“Well, well, well, look who we have here. Mr. Francisco, or as his friends call him, Isco,” the shorter police officer said. He had the baton, slightly caressing it on Isco’s cheeks. “He’s been a naughty boy.”
“And there’s only one way to treat a naughty boy,” the other office said, swinging the handcuffs.
Isco’s heart was racing. He thought the whole thing was funny, but it was just too much. If it was only him and a couple of friends, then it wouldn’t be so bad, but in front of so many people was intimidating and scary to him.
“Stop!” Isco said. The two officers looked at him and they crowd were audibly whispering. “I know what happens to naughty boys.”
The two officers looked at each other and then to Isco. “You do?” One of them asked, breaking out of character, as his voice lowered.
“Yeah,” Isco said, nodding his head. He was trying to stall, but he had actually come up with a quick idea. “It happens behind closed doors.”
Once again, the two officers looked at each other. “Um, did we get the wrong script or something? I thought ‘Smooth Criminal’ was going to start playing and that was our cue to strip,” the taller one said. The shorter one simply shrugged.
“Please,” Isco said. “I will pay you extra if you don’t do this, at least not right now.”
The two officers looked confused, but shrugged. “Extra money is extra money,” the tall one figured.
“Okay okay ladies and gentlemen! But mostly gentlemen I see, Mr. Isco here has a proposition for us. Yes, us! This little quick wit has turned the tables on us. It’s time for him to give us something.”
Isco quickly got up from the chair. “Yeah, the show will be behind closed doors.” The audience booed.
The two officers stood on stage as Isco quickly bolted off onto the floor. “Should we start stripping?” One of them asked.
Sergio quickly came up on the stage. He whispered something in the two guys’ ears and they nodded before walking backstage. Sergio walked down and Isco was there waiting for him.
“What was that?!” He yelled.
“Are you mad?”
Isco sighed. “Not mad, but just… caught off guard.”
Sergio frowned. “I’m so sorry Isco. There was only supposed to be one stripper but there was a mix up. I know you made a joke about having a stripper at your party months ago, but I thought you really meant it.”
“I probably did mean it. I mean, who doesn't like strippers?”
“I can never tell with your sarcasm,” Sergio said, a smile slowly growing. His pink sequin tuxedo was making Isco feel drunk. “Promise you’re not mad?”
Sergio raised an eyebrow. “They were pretty nice looking, yeah.”
Isco blushed, but didn’t disagree.
The awkward silence that had fallen when Sergio walked off stage was instantly replaced by Jesé . He started singing and the crowed seemed to forget the incident.
Needing some fresh air, Isco opened a door and walked outside. Not looking where he was going, he ran into something.
More like someone.
Just his luck, Isco had run into the two police officers. Except this time they were dressed in normal shirts and jeans.
“Hey,” the shorter one said. He reached his hand out and shook Isco’s. “I’m James. This is my friend Alvaro. I heard it’s your birthday. I hope we didn’t embarrass you too much.”
The other guy, Alvaro, nodded. “Yeah, we just wanted to make sure you were having a good time.”
Isco raised his hands. “It’s no problem. My friend just wanted to make sure I had a good time.”
“Speaking of a good time,” Alvaro said, “We’re still paid for three more hours, so you can technically tell us to do anything and we will.” He wiggled his eyebrows.
“Why are you telling me this?” Isco asked.
“You’re cute,” Alvaro said, shrugging like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“Super cute!” James exclaimed. He pinched Isco’s cheeks. “And this beard is to die for.”
“You’re just saying that because you can’t grow one,” Alvaro teased.
“Shut up,” James retorted, rolling his eyes. “I have a baby face.”
Isco looked at them while they bickered. He was thinking about what Alvaro said; they would do anything. It was Isco’s birthday anyhow, so he could get anything he wanted…
“Do you guys wanna fuck?”
Isco didn’t try sugar coating it. There was no way to do that anyhow. The truth was Isco was missing something in his life. No, he didn’t want a boyfriend; he just wanted somebody to have sex with. And if that somebody just happened to be somebodies, then he was fine with that too.
“I mean, if that’s fine with you guys. If not, I totally understand.”
James and Alvaro didn’t say anything, but their faces gave them away; each with a wide grin on their face.
“Yes!” Alvaro said. “Fuck yes.”
James let out a sigh of relief. “I was almost upset when we weren’t able to give you that strip tease. You were too fine to be let go like that.”
“Where? My friend drove me here?” Isco asked.
Alvaro pointed to a large SUV parked a few cards. “I guess it’s a good thing we drove that, James.”
James nodded. “Yeah, the backseats let out and it’s amazing.”
“Sounds like you’ve done this kind of this before,” Isco laughed. “Not that I’m judging or anything,” he hastily added.
James shrugged. “We just go with the flow.”
The three guys made their way into the SUV. Alvaro locked the door behind him. Isco took a deep breath. This was about to be the best birthday of his life.
Minutes had passed by and Sergio couldn’t find Isco anywhere. He finally decided to look outside. When he heard moans coming from the parking lot, he walked until he saw the huge black SUV.
“Son of a bitch,” he said with a smile on his face.
Iker soon came out. “Did you find him?”
Iker looked around. “I don’t see him.”
Sergio grabbed Iker’s hand. “Don’t worry, he’ll be coming soon.”
Iker knew better than to ask. Instead, he and Sergio walked back into the party, where ‘It’s Raining Men’ was blaring.