It was typical of Luis. He actually thought Gage wanted to be like him, and that he’d cut his hair so he’d look like him. Gage snorted and said, “I’m glad you approve. You know how I live to please you, Luis.”
Luis looked at his watch, an expensive piece with a diamond-encircled face. “Can we please get down to business? I’m supposed to drive out to Bucks County tomorrow for the weekend. Jase and Hunter will be arriving tomorrow night and I wanted to get a fresh start early in the morning. I took a short break from my modeling career this fall to be home with my son. We had a few nasty problems with a male nanny I hired last summer and Jase and I decided it was best for me to take off until I find another nanny for Hunter. So I’ve been throwing myself into projects at Cider Mill Farm to keep busy.”
“Blah, blah, blah,” Gage said. “I don’t want to hear about your nanny problems.” He’d already read about the nanny named Darius and the underage pornographer.
Luis rolled his eyes. “I’m sure you don’t. So can we get down to business? Why am I here?”
Gage locked the front door and escorted Luis through the store. When they reached the storage room where the back door led outside to Gage’s steps, he caught Luis looking up and down with his palm pressed to his chest. Gage smiled and said, “What’s wrong?”
“You actually live here?”
“Follow me,” Gage said. “My apartment is on the second floor and the only way to get there is through the store.” He knew it would be a waste of time to mention he liked living there, with his friend Billy who owned the grocery store, and his lover, Donny, who dropped by all the time. Luis never understood the simple things in life.
Luis followed Gage up the wooden steps and into the studio apartment. When Gage closed the door behind them and he noticed Luis’s expression, he smiled and said, “It’s a shit hole, isn’t it? I’m sure you’re wondering how anyone could live here.”
“It’s homey,” Luis allowed, as he ran his fingertips across the top of Gage’s dusty old television set. “I haven’t seen a TV like this in years. It’s so big and boxy and retro. Wherever did you find it? In an Ann-tee-kew shop?” He sent Gage a condescending glance.
Gage shrugged his shoulders and smiled. “Go ahead, Luis. Laugh at me all you want. I could have fucked my way through life like you did. I could have sucked off every rich old man who came along. But I decided to work for a living on my own two feet, instead of on my back with my legs up in the air.”
Luis turned fast. “You have no right to say something like that. I never slept with anyone I didn’t have feelings for. I never had sex with any of the older men I escorted. You have no idea how much Jase and I love each other or what we’ve been through. I didn’t marry Jase for money. I married him because I love him.”
Gage walked to the other side of the room. “Spare me the melodramatic details, Luis. I know you too well. I’ve seen this act before too many times.” He gestured to an old maroon club chair next to a lopsided rock maple dresser where he kept sex toys in the top drawer. “Why don’t you sit down?”
Luis crossed the room slowly and sat on the edge of the maroon chair, as if sitting all the way back would ruin his expensive jeans. “Why did you ask me here tonight?”
Gage sat on a bench to the right of the old dresser. He smiled and said, “I didn’t ask you to come. I ordered you to come.”
“This is getting tired, Gage,” Luis said, looking down at his lap. “If you don’t get to the point, I’m going to leave. I have better things to do with my time than argue with you. When you feel like having a grown-up conversation with me, I’ll be more than happy to listen. But this is just ridiculous. I have a very full life now.”
“Oh, shut the fuck up,” Gage said in a deep, low voice. He clenched his fists and held them close to his sides. “You’re still the same whiny little bastard you always were. Oh, I know, everyone thinks you’re sweet Luis Fortune, married to the Virgin Billionaire. I’ve read all your blog posts on that ridiculous website, where they post so-called artistic gay nudes and review gay books and movies. Every time I read one of your posts I have to force myself not to gag. It’s so bad I can’t eat for at least an hour before or after.”
“I’ll have you know I’m the most popular guest blogger on that site! I get tons of fan mail all the time.”
Gage twirled his finger. “Tell someone who cares.”
Luis moved forward, as if he were about to get up. “I’m leaving. This is a waste of time. There’s obviously no use talking to you. There never was.”
Gage stood up and pushed him back in the chair. “Sit still. I’m not finished with you yet, bitch.” He walked back to the bench and sat down. “I’m curious about a few things.”
“How long were you fucking Snake behind my back?” Gage asked.
Luis rolled his eyes. “Does it really matter? The guy was trash.”
“Yes, it matters,” Gage said. “It matters to me.” His face softened and he turned to the left. “We were in love. Snake promised me he’d take me away from that horrible farm. We didn’t just have sex. We weren’t fuck buddies. We made love to each other. He was my very first love.”
“He fucked you just like he fucked me,” Luis said, raising his voice. “The only thing he wanted was a piece of ass. Grow up already, Gage. He wasn’t going to take you away with him. The only thing he wanted to do was tap your ass. He didn’t make love to you. And when he found out he could fuck us both, he couldn’t get enough. How can you not see that? I’ll admit he was a good fuck, and certainly not the kind of man anyone in their right mind would throw out of bed. But he never had any intention to take you away with him. Both of us were nothing more to him than a notch in his belt.”
“You always did know how to twist things around,” Gage said. “You know it was nothing like that. You’re jealous because he loved me and he didn’t love you.”
“He seduced me,” Luis said. “I didn’t seduce him. He approached me first. And he told me the same things, that he was going to take me away and we’d spend the rest of our lives together. Only I was smart enough to know it was a lie.”
“How long were you seeing him?” Gage asked. “I want to know.”