When Luis lashed out this way, Jase must have noticed the hurt tone in his voice. He crossed to where Luis was standing and placed his hands on Luis's waist. “I'm sorry I said that. I was only joking around to make a point. It must be because I'm a little freaked out about this reunion. I know how hard you work. I know you're not with me because of money. Please don't pay any attention to me. I don't seem to know what I'm saying these days. All I know is I love you.”
Luis stared down at the floor and shrugged. “I do mean it, Jase. If you lost all your money tomorrow, I'd still be here with you. I would love you just as much whether you lived in a single wide trailer or a palace. And I always will love you that way.”
“I know,” Jase said. He pulled Luis closer and hugged him tightly. “And I love you just as much, if not more. My life didn't begin until I was in my late thirties, the day I met you. And I can't imagine going through a single future day without you by my side. The only real reversal of fortune I could have is if something were to happen to you.” He laughed; he poked Luis. “Get it, reversal of fortune.”
Luis's last name was Fortune. He rolled his eyes and said, “That's lame, even for you.”
“I thought it was funny.”
Luis kissed Jase on the chest. He squeezed his biceps and took a quick breath. “I still think this reunion is a bad idea. Let's stay home tonight and play around in bed. I'll put on those red see-through underpants you like and the black boots with the high heels.” He knew how much Jase loved kink of any kind.
Jase released him and turned toward the bathroom. “As tempting as it sounds, I have to go to the reunion. I can't explain why, but it's important. And I really want everyone to meet you. They've all read about us in the press and I'm sure they are all wondering about you. I'm proud of you and I want to show you off. I think that's the most important part of going tonight. I didn't have a real puberty. While everyone else was doing the normal things straight people do, I was pretending to be someone I wasn't. And you know how long it finally took me to admit I was gay. I'll be fine.”
When Jase put it this way, Luis couldn't argue with him. Although Luis had been sexually active in high school with a few guys, it had always been a huge secret. Luis knew what it was like to sit on the sidelines and watch the straight people live their lives without being judged, going to cotillions and proms, making plans for school dances and doing all the normal things high school kids do. Luis moved to New York and he'd come out of the closet at a much younger age than Jase had, but those hideous pubescent years, hadn't been easy for him either. The difference between them was Luis had no intention of ever revisiting his high school for a reunion or anything in his past. But Jase seemed so determined to do this; Luis couldn't refuse. “You shower first,” Luis said. “I want to change the sheets. We made a real mess in here and I hate coming home to a messy bedroom.”
On his way to the bathroom, Jase turned and smiled. “Did I tell you I'm going broke tomorrow? I made a few bad business deals this past year and I'll be worth nothing by tomorrow morning.”
Luis flung him a glance and shrugged his shoulders. “Then we'll just have to start all over again,” he said. “If you're smart enough to make a billion dollars once, you should be smart enough to make it twice.”
Jase bit his bottom lip and shook his head. “I like the way you think. You're a lot tougher than I give you credit for.”
Luis bent over and spread his legs so he could pull the covers off the bed. He knew Jase was watching him. “And don't ever forget it. Now go take a shower. You stink and you don't want all your old high school buddies to think you're a slob.”
On the way to the reunion, Jase brought up a subject Luis wasn't fond of discussing. “Have you thought about adopting another child? I'd really like to do this.”
Luis sighed. “I'd rather not talk about it, Jase.” Luis was heavily involved in an organization in New York called The Angel Association. It helped unwed mothers figure out what to do so they wouldn't panic and abandon their newborn babies. It killed Luis to think of the newborn babies that were abandoned on front porches and left to die in dumpsters. It bothered him so much he couldn't pass a dumpster without looking inside to see if there was an abandoned baby. The main reason why he didn't want to adopt was because he wanted to find an abandoned baby ... he wanted fate to lead the baby to him. One of Luis's quirks was superstition and a strong belief in the supernatural and spiritual world. He believed he would find an abandoned baby one day and he didn't want to tempt his fate by adopting a child in the traditional way.
“You're never going to find a baby in a dumpster, Luis,” Jase said, as if Jase knew him too well. “At least not alive. And you should know this better than anyone after all the work you've done with The Angel Association. The sad, painful fact is the odds are against you and those poor little abandoned babies.”
“I don't want to talk about it right now,” Luis said. The last time they'd talked about this it wound up in an argument, with Luis in tears.
“I want to adopt,” Jase said. “I want Hunter to have a brother or sister. I think it's important. I was an only child and I always wanted a bigger family.”
Luis glanced out the window and shrugged. “I don't want to talk about it right now.” He was also afraid to adopt a child. It was hard enough raising Hunter. He never knew if he was making mistakes; he wasn't sure he could do it again. But if he found an abandoned baby, he would know fate had led the baby to him and it was meant to be. He knew deep down this wasn't rational. But it was a way for him to rationalize a difficult life altering decision. Sometimes he wondered if he was really running away from the issue.
“When do you want to talk about it?” Jase asked, with a snide tone. “I'm not getting any younger you know. In a few years I'll be old enough to adopt a grandchild.”
Luis rolled his eyes. He was getting so sick of this mid-life crisis business he wanted to scream. But he loved Jase enough to know when to be kind and bite his tongue. “We'll discuss it later, not tonight.”
When they pulled up to Jase's old high school, Jase parked but he didn't turn the truck off right away. He stared up at a mid-century modern one story red brick structure and gazed at a white banner with gold letters welcoming the former students back for the twenty-fifth reunion. He rubbed his jaw and frowned as he watched couples walk through the front doors.