Luis stood up from the bed. The plaid shirt was shorter than Gage had imagined; it stopped just above Luis’s ass, exposing parts of his naked lower body. It looked more like he was wearing an oversized plaid minidress. Luis walked to the door of the jail cell in his bare feet and jiggled it a few times. When the door clicked open, Gage pressed his palm to his throat. When Luis stepped out of the jail cell and into the living room on his own, Gage nearly fell off his chair.
“Is something wrong, Gage?” Luis asked, walking to an armchair beside the jail cell. He sat down, crossed his legs at the knee, and smiled. “You look a little pale, Gage.”
“How did you get out?” Gage asked.
Luis’s head went back and he laughed. “That old lock didn’t work, you moron. After you left me alone, all I had to do was jiggle it around a few times and it popped right open for me. Seriously.”
“Are you telling me you’ve been able to get out on your own all weekend?” Gage asked.
Luis smiled. “I knew I could get out on Thursday when you thought you’d locked me up for good. I knew I could get out when you came back with all that awful fattening food and those horrible Playboy magazines. Do you think I actually listened to that country music station all weekend? I’d lose my mind. I only turned it on again this morning because I figured you’d be back early.”
Gage sent him a somber glance. “I don’t understand. Why didn’t you leave? Why didn’t you run out and call the police? Why didn’t you at least call Jase and warn him? After how I acted• ”
Luis sat back and sighed. “I didn’t call Jase because he doesn’t know about you. All he knows is I come from a dysfunctional family who threw me out because I was gay. I never lied to him. I just didn’t tell him about you, and I never went into any details about my family. I knew this might be our last chance to get it right once and for all. I knew you wouldn’t sleep with Jase, especially not when you saw for yourself how much we love each other. Despite our conflicts, I knew you’d never do anything to harm Hunter. I wanted you to get to know Hunter and Jase better, to see that I’m not this awful, ugly creature you thought I was all this time. And this seemed like the best way to do it.”
“You took an awful chance with me,” Gage said, still in shock.
“No,” Luis said. “I know you. You’re my brother. I knew you wouldn’t betray me.” Luis looked down at his lap and sighed. “In many ways, I know you’re a better man than I’ll ever be. I can be very superficial and flighty at times. I mean well. I try not to be that way. But I can’t help it.”
Gage frowned. “Ah well, you’re not that bad. And don’t praise me too soon. I’m not as decent as you think.”
“What do you mean?”
“Although I didn’t sleep with Jase,” Gage said, “I did fool around with the handyman and your neighbor at the end of the road.”
Luis blinked. “You slept with Cory and the Reverend von Klingensmith in the same weekend?”
“I only blew Cory,” Gage said. “And, dear Lord, I didn’t sleep with the Reverend. I slept with the other neighbor, the guy with reddish hair who looks like Prince Harry.”
“Oh my God,” Luis said, pressing his palms to his mouth. “You blew Cory and you slept with Ted? And they both thought you were me?”
Gage shrugged. “They both seemed so needy I couldn’t help myself. And it worked out for the best. After I blew Cory, he swore he’d never tell Jase. Then he told me he was getting back with his boyfriend and your kinky little teasing game with him was all over. By the way, what is this teasing game?”
Luis closed his eyes and frowned. “It’s nothing important.”
“Well, I’m sorry to tell you it’s all over. After the blow job, Cory felt so guilty he said no more games and that he was going back to his boyfriend. He’s really a nice guy. I think blowing him actually helped him more than anything.”
“What happened with Ted?” Luis asked, with his palm pressed to his forehead.
“Jase and Hunter went fishing and I went to Ted’s house to check out a new engraving, something called a Piranesi, I think. He practically begged me. I didn’t have the heart to say no. Besides, he looks so much like Prince Harry. And he fucks like he’s overdosed on caffeine. He’s a fuck machine.”
Luis shook his head. “Spare me the details. I never had any intention of sleeping with Ted. I’ve never cheated on Jase, and I never will.”
Gage held back the urge to laugh; he was sparing him the details. He didn’t mention the stirrup belt, or the way the Prince Harry look alike had licked his chest clean after they came. “I made Ted swear it was only a one-time deal. He agreed and said he’d never mention anything to Jase.”
Luis took a quick breath. “I don’t know why I’m worried. It wasn’t me they actually had sex with, it was you.”
“They both said they’d never speak about it to anyone.”
“I’m curious,” Luis said, “I’m curious about this taxi driver. You told me you were in love with him. If that’s the case, why would you blow Cory and let Ted fuck you?”
“I didn’t realize how I felt about Daksha until I knew he’d been in the accident,” Gage said. “If I had realized, I never would have had sex with either of them.”
Luis stood up from the chair and laughed. “Believe it or not, I actually do understand. I almost left Jase and flew to Vancouver to live with an older man in the beginning because I didn’t want to admit that I was in love with Jase. Jase seemed so out of my reach. I was so confused I actually tossed poor little Camp out of a taxi and left him alone on the streets of New York.”
“I guess we are a little bit alike in some ways,” Gage said. For the first time in his life, though they were both pushing thirty years old, he felt as though he and Luis were having a real conversation.
“How is Camp? Did he miss me?” Luis asked.
“He’s fine,” Gage said. “But you really should stop with those organic dog biscuits. He prefers sugar cookies.”
“You didn’t.” Luis’s jaw fell and his eyes bugged out.
Gage shrugged his shoulders. “And once in a while you really should let Hunter have a pizza and some Chinese takeout, with soda. I’ve never seen a kid eat so fast and love something so much. And you should have heard him snore when he went to bed.”