But Luis started having his own fling with Snake just to get even with Gage. Gage’s heart was crushed when he found out, and so he took care of things as fast as he could. He followed Luis to the barn one hot summer afternoon and watched Luis strip down for Snake. Luis removed all his clothes, even his socks, and stood in a pile of hay. When Snake pulled down his zipper and spread Luis’s legs apart, Gage went into the house and told his father something wrong was going on in the barn he needed to see. And when their father went down there and found Snake fucking Luis over a barrel as Luis begged Snake to fuck him as hard as he could, their father fired Snake on the spot and threw Luis out of the house for good that same day.

“But I guess I should thank you now, Gage,” Luis said, exaggerating Gage’s new name on purpose as if he was making fun of it. “If you hadn’t told Pop what I was doing with Snake in the barn that day, I might still be back in Tennessee working on that God-awful farm instead of being married to one of the wealthiest men on the planet, with a thriving career of my own as a model.” He turned fast and smiled. “No hard feelings here, Gage. I think everything ended well.”

Gage knew Luis was rubbing it in now, putting him down for remaining in Tennessee and helping out on the farm long after he’d left. “Well, there are still plenty of hard feelings here, Luis. Why did you invite me here? To show me how wealthy you are now? To shove it in my face?”

Luis shrugged. “I haven’t seen you in years. You’re my identical twin brother. I thought it would be nice to catch up. Why did you come back here with me if you’re still so bitter?”

“I guess I was just curious, is all,” Gage said. “I wanted to see if you were still the self-centered little prick you always were.” He turned to leave. “Now that I know you are, I think I’ll go home. Have a very nice life.” He remembered one of the things that bothered Luis the most was complete dismissal.

“Don’t be so serious,” Luis said. “It’s impossible to be so serious with a name like Gage. It sounds like the name of a porn star.” He laughed. “How would you like to have some of my old clothes? I have tons of things I’ll never wear.” He looked up and down at what Gage was wearing and frowned. “From the way it looks, you could use a little help in the fashion department. I didn’t know people were still wearing sport jackets with lapels like that. ”

Gage could have used Luis’s castoffs more than Luis even knew. He was barely able to pay his rent and eat, let alone buy new clothes at discount prices. But he wasn’t about to accept charity from Luis. “I think I’ll pass, but thanks just the same.”

“Do you go back to Tennessee often?”

“There’s no reason to go back,” Gage said.

Luis took a step closer. “What do you mean?” His tone grew more serious.

“Mom and Pop died five years ago,” Gage said. “If you’d bothered to contact them even once after you left, you would have known. Pop had a heart attack and died suddenly. Mom was diagnosed with cancer a month later and it took about a year for her to go. I took care of her until the end. When she died there were so many liens on the farm because they didn’t have medical insurance that I just decided to let it go to the creditors and move to New York and start fresh.”

Luis sat down on a trunk at the foot of the bed and set his palm on his chest. “I had no idea.”

He seemed shocked, but Gage knew Luis well enough to know he’d get over it fast enough, probably before the next new trend in jeans came along.

“I wish you’d take some of my old things,” Luis said. “They’ll only wind up going to charity.”

“I’d rather pass if it’s all the same,” Gage said. “And I really do have to leave. I have to work tonight. I’m a stripper at a small club downtown. I need those tips.” He figured he’d mention this just to see the shock on Luis’s face. When they’d been kids Luis had always been the aggressive one, looking for attention, and Gage had always been the shy one afraid to step out of his shadow.

Luis turned and looked at himself in a full-length mirror, examining his expensive designer sweatpants. “You really hate my guts, and over something that happened over ten years ago.”

“I was in love with Snake,” Gage said. “I was a virgin. He was the first. You took him just to piss me off, like you did with everything else I loved.”

Luis threw his arms up. “His name was Snake. Think about it, you idiot. He was a character from a Tennessee Williams play. He didn’t even take off his pants when he fucked me. He just pulled down his zipper and yanked out his dick. It’s not as if you had a future with a man like that. He’s probably sitting in an old recliner right now in a stained T-shirt, with a beer belly and an abused woman named Stella.”

“How do you know that?” Gage said. “He was in love with me, and I was in love with him. We were planning to run away together and start a new life. He was in a country rock band.”

“But the man didn’t shower.”

“So he had a few flaws.”

Luis rolled his eyes. “He smelled like aged cheese and wine vinegar.”

“So he wasn’t perfect.”

“I’ll say. I had to hold my nose when he pulled down his zipper.”

“He smelled like a real man,” Gage said.

“He smelled like a fucking barn on a hot day.”

“But we were in love,” Gage said. “And when you’re in love you overlook the minor flaws in a person.” Gage lifted his chin. Though he didn’t have money like Luis, at least he didn’t judge people on a superficial level.

“Well, then, you should thank me for saving your life,” Luis said, raising his voice. “Because if you’d wound up with Snake it would have left you even worse off than you are right now.”

“It wasn’t just Snake,” Gage said. “You did it to me all my life. You intentionally made me feel inferior just for sport.”

“Did Mom and Pop know Snake was fucking you back then, too?” Luis asked. “Did they know you were blowing him in the cornfield?”

“Of course not,” Gage said. “They would have hit me over the head with a Bible and thrown me out of the house with you.”

“But you didn’t have a problem outing me and getting me thrown out of the house, did you? I’ll bet they went to their graves never knowing you were gay.”

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