Alec shrugged. “I couldn't care less what anyone in this school thinks. I'll be graduated and out of here not long from now. Put your arms around me and hold on as tight as you can.”
Luis had never been fond of holding the flimsy bar behind the seat. So he wrapped his arms around Alec's waist and said, “Are you sure this is okay?”
Alec kicked the stand. He had to shout because the engine was so loud. “It feels great. You're giving me wood.” His voice went higher and he screamed. “There's nothing like guys riding on motorcycles with guys.”
Luis laughed; he squeezed Alec tighter and whispered into his ear. “That sounds like fun. It would make a great movie title.”
“You're right, even though no one would ever produce it in a million years.” Then he started the engine and took off before Luis had a chance to say another word.
Twenty minutes later, Alec parked at the top of a ridge and they climbed off the motorcycle. Luis had a basic idea of where they were, but he'd never been to this particular spot. When he walked to the edge of the cliff and looked out at a long, expansive view of mountains infused with tall evergreen trees, he pressed his palm to his chest and said, “I'm glad it's still light out at this hour in Alaska. I would hate to have missed this view.”
Alec walked to where Luis was standing and placed his palm on the small of Luis's back. It was a bold move for a guy his age; Luis didn't say a word. His hand went up and down slowly and he said, “It's also very private.” His hand went lower and stopped at the top of Luis's ass. “We could be the only two people left in the world up here. We can do or say anything we want and no one will see or hear us.”
Luis stepped back and ignored the gesture. He couldn't deny an attraction to Alec but he didn't want to act on it. Though it bothered Luis that Jase was out with Betsy Melchiorri doing anything he wanted to do, Luis still couldn't help thinking if he had sex with Alec he would be cheating on Jase. Not the young version of Jase in 1986. The older version of Jase in the future. For all intents and purposes, Luis was married and it didn't matter what year it was. The fact that he'd slipped back in time was only an abstraction he hoped wouldn't last forever. He'd never cheated on Jase in all the time they'd been together. And going back in time didn't give him license to fool around simply because no one knew better.
Alec took the rejection well. He smiled, followed Luis to a large, flat rock, and sat down next to him. They talked for a long time, about art, music, literature, and life in general. They discussed what it was like to be gay in the l980's with a sense of ease that seemed unfamiliar to Alec. Luis could tell Alec was just beginning to take ownership of his manhood and his gayness. He still wasn't sure what to say or how to react. He clearly didn't have many people with whom he could speak about it. When they talked about being gay, Luis did more listening than speaking. He didn't want to give away all the things he knew would happen in the future. Though Alec had a rough, dangerous appeal on the surface, Luis discovered he was much softer and more sensitive on the inside; he went deeper than anyone would have imagined.
By the time it started to get dark outside, Luis had lost all track of how long they'd been there. They'd talked for so long Luis forgot all about getting back to the Nicholas house before eleven. They were lying flat against the rock, looking up at the sky, talking about what they wanted to do with their lives. This was something Luis didn't usually do: talk openly about his future. Though he was almost thirty and had a successful career as a male model, he still hadn't figured out what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He thought for a while it might be writing. He wrote guests posts on a fairly popular gay blog from France about his life with Jase and what it was like being married to The Virgin Billionaire. For a short time, he even thought his long term goal might be cooking. He took cooking classes in both New York and Alaska. But he still wasn't quite sure what he wanted to do with his life, so he always went back to modeling, looking pretty, and making money because this was what he knew he did best.
“I want to be a writer,” Alec said. “I just don't know if I have any talent.”
Luis had only met Alec, in a wheel chair, for a few minutes in the year 2011. The only two things Luis really knew about his future were that he couldn't walk and he was a published author. “You should do what you love,” Luis said. “If you feel you have to be a writer, then you should go for it.” He decided the more generic his advice was the more harmless his influence would be.
Alec moved closer and sat up slightly. He rested his elbow on the rock and looked down at Luis. “Are you going to college?”
The only thing a few select people knew about Luis in Alaska in 1986 was that he'd graduated high school and left Tennessee. “I'd like to think I will someday. But not any time soon.” In 2011, Luis was putting his twin brother through nursing school so he could become a nurse practioner. Luis had always wanted to go to college. But he wasn't sure he was smart enough ... or young enough anymore. Being with Alec this way, as the sun went down and the air grew cooler, he felt young again and filled with all the possibilities of youth.
“What's stopping you?” Alec asked.
Luis shrugged. “I guess I'm afraid I might fail.” This was true, too. Luis didn't have the best track record in the future. He'd made more than his share of mistakes with men and career choices, especially during the short time he'd worked as a male escort. So far, the things he'd done best in life were being a husband to Jase, a father to Hunter, and a model. His blog posts for Elena's blog were marginal and amateur at best: it was only the Internet and there was a long way to go. He was well aware of this and never fooled himself into believing Elena's small blog was anything more than a nice little place to escape on a gloomy day. Maybe all that should have been enough to make Luis happy. It was more than most people get in a lifetime. But he still wanted more, and it had nothing to do with money, fame, or power. Meeting Jase as a young man, without his billion dollar empire, had reinforced this in Luis. He wanted personal fulfillment, which often seemed harder to get than anything else.
Alec thought for a moment. “What would you do if you someone told you that you only had one week to live?”
Luis laughed. “Oh shit, Alec. Let's not do the deep, artistic, boring shit tonight. I'm so over that kind of bullshit it makes me want to gag.” The dichotomy that ruled Luis was that he loved great art, but despised the fake, forced artistic types. They were always walking around in funky clothes with bad hair, longing for more emotion, claiming they devoted their lives to art when for the most part they wouldn't know great art if it bit them in the ass. Luis lost patience fast with pedants and idiots, and he'd stopped suffering fools right after he'd almost been killed in Amish country by a deranged stalker.