"Quit your crying before I give you something to cry about." The girls always were complaining about something, from not being comfortable or that they were hurt whenever a client was too rough with them or when I was too rough with them when I would use them. Their whining was exhausting, especially when all I wanted to do was relax. Normally I didn't go out to do anything by myself but sometimes a guy needs space away from his crew, so I decided to go out since for more cigarettes and some air. "Keep an eye on things. Don’t let any of 'em out of your sight cuz it'll be your head if one of 'em squeals."
I left after putting on my leather jacket, a hand in my pocket as I made my way down the street towards the store, twirling my keys around my finger and whistling. Even though it was still before sunset, not a lot of people were out at this hour. People easily annoyed me unless they were making me some money.
"Excuse me." someone said, pushing by me in the aisle. I stepped aside before glancing at whoever it was as they grabbed some duct tape and pliers. I almost forgot I was in the hardware section. "You remind me of someone. I can’t quite put my finger on it though." They added when they looked at me. That was a little concerning to me.
"Mmhm." I turned to walk away, going to get my cigarettes before I left out, still thinking about the guy. He was definitely familiar. I lit up and leaned against the wall by the door, blowing out the smoke before the door opened and I saw him walk out. "Hey, you."
He looked at me with a confused expression, and I chuckled.
"You haven’t changed much except for maybe the piercings and the clothes." I said, taking another drag of my cigarette. "I would have thought you stayed in Canada." His eyes widened.
"Johnny?" he asked. "Oh wow, it's been years. Holy shit."
He definitely was a lot more expressive, especially with his choice of words. I couldn't help but laugh, pushing up from the wall and taking another drag of my cigarette before dropping it on the ground and snuffing it out with my boot.
"How've you been?" I asked. "You look good."
"Always been a smooth talker. Things have been good for me; I actually moved out here maybe...3 years ago? It’s not so different from back where we were except for the tourists." he replied. "You live far?"
"Not really. What about you?" He nodded and pulled some keys from his pocket, pressing the unlock button on the key fob, the headlights of a midnight black 2 door sports car flashed twice and the engine started. I whistled and walked over, looking it over. "Damn, how much was this?"
"The guy I got it from cut me a good deal. Only cost me about...15k. Got it customized, half tint, dark interior. I'm about to get a silent engine put in over the weekend and some new rims on it." he said as he put the bag of things he bought in the passenger seat. "There's a brand new sound system in there."
"Damn, Gabriel. You'll have to let me test drive it sometime." I said, pulling my phone out. "What's your number? We should catch up." I handed it over to him and watched him enter in his number before he passed it back and I saved it, sending him a text. "I gotta run for work tonight but I'll hit you up when we can chill."
"Sure thing. It was really nice seeing you again." he said as he got in the car. I watched him drive off before I chuckled and made my way back to the house.
That night was business as usual, booking appointments for the girls and getting them rides to their appointments. They wouldn't like it, especially knowing they couldn't say no or if they acted out with a client, but it didn’t matter. One of the girls who had messed up the day before had to be punished, and I opted to have her chained up in the basement after I beat her, glad to be out of earshot of her bitching and moaning as I went up to my room, grabbing one of the girls who didn't have to go out that night so I could get off before I had some time to myself. She was alright, definitely good looking. All of the girls were - it would make me look bad to have ugly girls.
“If you want me to hurt you, I will.” I told her when she started to cry and whine about how rough I was being, how bad it hurt her. I didn't care, leaning up and slapping her across the face, not hard enough to leave a mark, but hard enough that she got the picture and shut up. "You all complain about how I hurt you or how I don't let you do what you want, as if you didn’t know what was gonna happen when you came into my custody. You complain again and I'll lock you in that basement with the others."
"Go clean yourself up." I said when I finished, watching the girl leave the room and sighing as I sent a text to Gabriel.
[to: Gabriel] You free tomorrow?
[from: Gabriel] In the evening, yeah.
[to: Gabriel] drinks on me
[to: Gabriel] your place after?
[from: Gabriel] drinks yes, my place no.
I frowned, rolling my eyes. It was obvious that he was keeping something from me, but it had been a while since we had last seen each other, so I had to give him the benefit of the doubt.
[to: Gabriel] fair enough
[from: Gabriel] 10 at the bar by you, don't be late
I chuckled and got up, pulling on boxers and sweatpants before going downstairs to the kitchen to grab a beer.
"Got plans tomorrow night. You two make sure the girls get to all their appointments and make sure you get the money. Any issues, chain ‘em and I'll take care of it when I'm home." I said.
"We got it, boss. When are the new girls coming?"
"Lunchtime. They get here by car service, I break ‘em in. Nobody bother me unless it's an emergency."
I went back upstairs room and closed the door, sitting on the bed and sipping my beer as I watched TV. I slept well that night, unbothered, glad the house was fairly quiet except for the guys playing some video games but that was normal.
The next day was business as usual, the new girls showing up around noon. Two, which was good since I had to replace one. After I got them situated and got the other girls out to their appointments, I got some food and made sure that the "good girls" ate too.
That night around 10, I went to the bar and found Gabriel there, sitting at the bar. He was wearing an off-white button up, the sleeves rolled up to his elbows and a dark pair of jeans, already sipping a drink. I smirked, going to sit beside him. He was attractive and he knew it.
"Always early," I commented, gesturing for the bartender. "The usual."
"It would make me look bad being late." he told me, setting his glass down.
"People change, but you’ve certainly remained the same." I sighed, taking a sip of my drink.
"I take it you're still the same, too? To some extent?" he asked, looking at me.
I shrugged. There was a lot that was the same but there was also a lot that wasn't, and he didn't need to know everything.
"Still keeping to myself, you know," I said. "Good with people, persuasive." Maybe it wasn't the complete truth, but it wasn't a lie either.
"I know you might not want to...disclose everything... but did you ever figure out your preferences?" he asked.
I rolled my eyes and finished off my glass.
"Don't act so offended."
"Listen, I'm not gonna disclose. I haven't come to some sort of... agreement with myself either. It doesn't matter anyways, I don't have time for relationships." I explained, looking at him. He gave me a neutral look, his emotions not clear to me. I shouldn’t have said anything, not that anyways. "Gabe..."
"It's fine. Takes time I guess." he shrugged, gesturing to the bartender for a refill of his drink.
I sighed and tapped my fingers on the countertop. "I'm not gonna talk about this. I came because I wanted to catch up with you." This was part of the reason I was glad to be away from him. I had almost forgotten about him completely, but now I remembered why I started having a thing with him back in school. He always did catch my eye; was straightforward about his feelings when it came to me. He took a sip of his drink and set his glass back down before he turned to look at me. God, his eyes were so pretty. I almost felt bad for rejecting him like this, but I didn't have time for a relationship. I didn't have it in me to care for anyone like that.
"After everything and I'm still just... in the past. Hm," he said before he got up. "Thanks for meeting me, but I should get going."
"Don't do that." I told him.
He crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes at me.
"Look, you wanted to come to the bar. It's not exactly private here."
"Don't give me that, Johnny." he said before he walked out. I threw down the money to cover the drinks before getting up and going after him, grabbing his arm. He stopped and turned to look at me. "What?"
"I know you said we can't go to your place, but let's talk somewhere quiet." I hated his attitude right now.
I frowned at that.
"You can't change your mind like that."
"Whatever." I let go of his arm and put my hands in my pockets, turning to leave, making him think I didn't care. That's how things were, that's how I was. I heard him groan.
"Listen, we can talk in private, okay?” he offered. “Let me make a call first.”
I waved my hand dismissively, watching him pull out his phone and dial someone’s number. I walked off to give him privacy. He deserved that much right now.
His conversation was short and he waved me back over when he was finished, unlocking the car doors.
“You’re lucky you changed my mind, otherwise I probably would’ve just driven off.” he said, rolling his eyes as he went to get in the car. I chuckled and got in after he moved some things to the backseat. “Start talking, though. Maybe by the time we get there, I’ll be ready to decide if I’ll forgive you.”
“Who I am is my business. You taught me that much, remember?” A sigh passed my lips. “You still into me?”
“I’m not answering any questions until we get there.”
“Listen, Gabe, you’re not entitled to know jack shit about me, but I know you’re not gonna let this go. I’m not exactly out. With you? Sure, I don’t see why I should just pretend like I never did like you in that way, but I can’t risk my job. Not exactly a good bunch of people and I’m sure I’d be a target.”
He was quiet as he continued to drive, gripping the steering wheel tighter. That much I noticed. It was concerning, not being able to tell if he was upset or angry or just nervous about something.
When we pulled up to his house, I whistled as he parked, getting out and stretching my legs. The house was nice, though I still wanted to know how he was living like this. The clothes, the car, the house? He couldn’t have been doing anything like what I did.
“So, you didn’t answer my question.” I said as I followed him in the front door, greeted by a pair of cats rubbing up against my legs. Gabe sighed and closed the door, shrugging off his jacket.
“I am. I thought that was obvious.” he murmured, opening the closet door, hanging up his jacket and closing the door, picking up the black cat and gesturing for me to follow him into the kitchen. “I don’t expect you to out yourself if you’d get hurt for it, I just want you to be honest with me.”
The kitchen was neat, smelling like someone just baked cookies or cinnamon rolls. The countertops were dark and the light cabinets created a nice contrast with them as well as the appliances. Nothing was left out, not a single scrap of trash, no crumbs on any of the counters or floor, from what I could tell. The cats both had bowls of food and water by the entryway that went to another area which was closed off by a curtain.
“I didn’t want to assume, but thank you for confirming for me.”
“I’d give you a tour but I’m not in the mood.” he said, setting the cat down and gesturing for me to follow him out of the kitchen and down the hall into what looked like a living room and out into the sun room. It was well lit, a mini fridge and a sound system as well. He opened the fridge and pulled out two beers, handing one to me before he sat on the couch, crossing his legs as he used a bottle opener to get the cap off his.
“You’re different. Not just the piercings, but your attitude.” I told him as I took the bottle opener to get the lid off the beer, taking a drink before humming. “You meet someone?”
“No. Even if I did, I wouldn’t let them change me.” he scoffed, seemingly offended.
I watched him, not saying anything while he drank and looked at his phone. I couldn’t help but glance over his shoulder out of curiosity, seeing that he was texting someone. The messages weren’t in English and I just barely was able to make out whatever it was they were talking about before he closed out of the app.
“If you wanted to see who I was talking to, it’d be more respectful to ask first.” he said, glancing at me out of the corner of his eye as he pocketed his phone. “Besides, that’s not your business since we aren’t together, nor do we have any sort of arrangement.” He gave a small smile, something more like a smirk and I rolled my eyes.
“What if I wanted us to have an arrangement?”
“What if I said yes?”