Two days after the initial tour of Saint Agnes, Randy had accepted the position as the facility’s chief administrator, and had wasted no time buying the quaint urban cottage. What he couldn’t seem to find time for was making a home out of it.
He understood that, at least for a while, he would be on a one-man mission. He also recognized that the double duty of relocating to a new city would surely be too much for him to take on at once. If he was going to succeed in the herculean task of turning Saint Agnes into an actual hospital, he would need someone to temporarily look after his personal life while he tended to professional challenges.
For the second time, Van Sorrento, the Ellicott City based Plastic Surgeon stepped in to give Randy a hand. Van had hastily turned Randy on to the DC home before friends put it on the market; Van loved the idea of Randy buying the home, keeping it “in the family” as it were.
Van was Mr. Six of the Saint Agnes Eight way back when. His small but lucrative practice kept his wife of eighteen years happy and left him more than prepared to send his two sons to any school they wanted. His practice also afforded him the freedom to continue his community service work, visiting three different free clinics weekly.
And for a straight man, Van was curiously connected to the gay communities of DC and Maryland. He knew who had money, who needed money and what causes de jour were making a difference or just talking a good game while pocketing donations. He knew who was out and who was closeted, or someone who could find out if he didn’t. Just like the early days of Hopkins, he was an advocate and a stand up guy.
Van had anticipated Randy’s need for an interior decorator and put him together with a mildly flamboyant Life Strategist, Trevor Maguire. Though quite curious at first, Randy trusted there was a reason Van had suggest the life coach. The contradiction untangled itself in their first phone conversation when Trev explained, “I help people get their lives to where they want them to be. Our homes are the most basic expression of who we are and who we want to be.”
After just one rushed, eighteen-minute tour of Randy’s two bedroom home, nine photos of Randy’s previous home in Detroit, and with a more than respectable budget, Trev transformed Randy’s cottage into a warm and inventively stylish home. In less than four days, the modest cottage was refurbished and furnished, feng shui-ed and finished. By the week’s end, the two were lovers.
Trev possessed a physique that was thicker than the average pixie and a spirit as light as meringue (his own words). Trev sported chocolate brown hair with blonde spiked highlights that framed his round face and elfin features. His loose wrists and uncommon grace proudly broadcasted his friendship with Dorothy and Marilyn; and Colin Ferrell if he ever had the chance. And Randy would eventually learn that Trev’s lips were as loose as his wrists, brutally honest, mildly irreverent and quick-witted.
Yet even with all those appealing attributes, it was the blue granite piece that won Randy’s heart over to Trev. The exquisite subtly homoerotic sculpture told Randy everything he needed to know about Trev’s humor and intellect and personality.
Now, three months later, everything that Randy had come to know as home seemed to be slipping away. His beautiful custom made chaise, his antique furnishings all smothered under a blanket of thick plastic. The mosaic topped coffee table and tall shiny copper gilded lamps, sheathed for their own protection. Every inch of his beautiful home doused in noisy, clumsy impersonal plastic.
In the beginning of the great file move, intern Crosby had attempted to maintain some semblance of organization. But once the first legion of blue boxes of patient files arrived, completely engulfing the foyer off the front door from floor to ceiling, both men saw the real challenge was getting every box to fit in the home at all.
Orange boxes flooded the living room, piled on top of chairs and couches and the new, delectable, cream colored carpet Trev had picked out. Inspectors’ reports and invoices overflowing from beneath the lids. Boxes of construction plans and renovation files numbered in the dozens easily.
Ten great columns of staff files circled the dining room table like Stonehenge, and multiplied further, creating a wall that nearly cordoned off the kitchen completely. Yellow boxes filled with volunteers and support staff information. Green boxes full of LPNs and RNs employee files. Scores of red boxes, files of doctors who mostly had passed through over the years.
Brown boxes with white lids lined the hall leading to the bedroom on the right, while white boxes with brown lids lined the left, making passage to the bedroom impossible unless you breached the man made tunnel sideways.
Sitting cross legged on plastic, before his plastic shrouded coffee table, Randy reads and sorts through two black boxes, the specialty MDs. He came across his own file and eventually Van’s, which lead his thoughts back to Trev. As much as he tried to concentrate, he couldn’t. Everything that Randy had come to know as home was disappearing, and now that included Trev.
Randy was losing his favorite sprite to new adventures on the West Coast. Even now, as Randy sat amidst a storm of files and reports, he could hear Trev in the bedroom, packing his things, happily humming that terrible Clay Aiken song. Yet the thought of not hearing Trev’s sassed up rendition of the trite lollipop love song made Randy feel lost.
Randy could not remember ever being smitten before Trev. He regretted agreeing to an open relationship only two weeks into their involvement. He felt genuine sadness whenever Trev didn’t stay the night. What Trev was doing or where he might be occupied Randy’s thoughts more than he cared to admit to himself. But the biggest change Randy noticed was the touching. He simply loved laying hands on Trev. Every inch of him, any inch of him, Trev’s skin was always hot to the touch. Randy found it to be magnetic, hypnotic, irresistible. Fortunately, because he was new in DC, outside his old circle of friends, there was no one to take notice of his new clingy nature. Thank God.
Randy didn’t know why Trev has such an affect on him. But he had also decided not to suppress any feelings that might develop. He had spent too much of his life denying himself the benefits of a serious relationship because the odds of finding something real were notoriously dismal in the gay community. Now, knocking on forty, he felt he had nothing to lose.
Maybe it was love. Maybe it was infatuation. Maybe after so much caution with his addiction, it was time. At any rate, it was new, exciting, and whatever feelings arose from this relationship, Randy would allow himself to have them.
Randy tried to refocus. Cash or resources? Now that he was taking on the task of examining every aspect of Saint Agnes’ income and assets, he was finding that the facility had pockets of both, big and small, tucked away in the form of an unallocated grant or donated equipment – some brand new and never unboxed.
Suddenly, the front door pops open, file boxes first. “This is it for now,” Crosby announced. “Where do you want them?”
Both men look out over the avalanche of cubic cardboard. Randy sighs, hopelessly, “Be creative.”
Crosby grins innocently and pushes the latest dolly of boxes passed, headed once again for the dining room. Randy tracks his progress as he walks, only to notice Trev at the mouth of the corridor, watching him watch Crosby.
Both men watch in silence as Crosby unloads the hand truck, watching the fabric of his white shirt tense against his broad shoulders.
Trev rolls his eyes. He walks to the living room and pointedly sits on the files on a short stack of blue boxes. He crosses his legs and sits silently.
“Can I get you anything?”
“Naw, I’m good. Tomorrow?”
“I’ll call you,” Randy answers, escorting Crosby back to the front door.
Trev fans his fingers and tosses Crosby a plastic smile. Upon hearing the door shut, his smile falls away. “Well, I guess I know who you’ll be doing tonight.”
“Maybe tomorrow night,” Randy grinned.
Trev marches to the narrow box tunnel, then makes a dramatic one-eighty at its mouth. “Was that supposed to make me jealous?”
Randy hesitates, intrigued. “Did it?”
“No,” Trev lies, pouting.
They stand in silence, Randy watching as Trev begins to rock from side to side, his hips a steady, lazy pendulum between two pillars of boxes and that mischievous smirk slowly forming on his lips.
Randy thought he could feel the heat rising from Trev’s body five feet away. He takes a step back before getting lost. “I’ll have to try harder,” Randy smiles and returns to his plastic coated coffee table. “Although, I can’t begin to fathom what could be more enticing than the thought of sharing your every breath and meal and night, beside me.”
“Tempting, Darling. But alas, Code Black holds a greater allure for me now.”
“Should I know what that means?”
“Feel the Apocalypse?” Trev demanded indignantly. “Damn the Innocent?”
“Should I know what that means?”
Trev bounds forward, planting himself on top of the coffee table, atop dozens of documents, right smack dab in the middle of Randy’s work. “Those are his two top one hundred singles this year. He’s touring with his first EP across the country,”
Randy sits back on his kneels, thwarted. “Isn’t he the one they’ve been calling Code Pink?”
“Because he’s gay?”
Trev leans in closer, probing Randy’s features. “The record label is afraid he won’t make it to the west coast without self-destructing from the rumors. Hence, I was called upon to save the day.”
“So he is gay?”
Trev delights in Randy’s interest, before lifting his legs, spinning himself around and hopping off the coffee table, sending a whirlwind of pages flying as he dismounts.
Randy follows Trev into the kitchen, feeling decidedly less playful. “I thought the only thing rappers hate more than women and cops is fags.”
Trev stands at the frig, filling a glass with filtered water. “Code Black didn’t hire me, the label did.”
“They know you’re gay, right?”
“I don’t think I like this.”
Trev acknowledges Randy’s growing concern with a pat on his chest. “I’ll be fine Papa Bear.”
“Or you could just stay” Randy grabs the hand before it can fall away. “I know we talked about not tying each other down. But Trev, it just doesn’t sound safe.”
“This has nothing to do with being safe. That’s the whole point.” Trev pulls his hand away from Randy’s, backing away. “How many people do you know who can say they were a roadie for a rock rap band? And it’s not about being tied down either. I admit, the idea is still quite abhorrent to me, less so when I think that I’d be with you. But I’ll never be a kept boy. I’m just not wired that way. Would you be satisfied if you didn’t have your work?”
“My work is taking me all the way to Los Angeles,” Trev went on, dancing across the room. “By way of Chicago and Phoenix, but still…”
“I can find you clients here.” Randy offers. He notices Trev’s bare feet for the first time as the young man waltzes with himself happily. “Take the guest house out back so you will have your own space.”
“You can’t change my mind. Darling.” Trev sings as he finally collides with a tower of blue boxes in the foyer.
Both men leap forward to steady the leaning tower. Trev giggles guiltily.
“Then promise you’ll come back,” Randy says, once the boxes are steadied.
“Nope,” Trev answers defiantly. “You can’t have that either.”
Randy yields to an intense moment of desperation and reaches out to take Trev’s face in his hands. He watches as Trev subtly steels himself at his touch. Perhaps he loved the coolness of Randy’s touch as much as Randy loved the heat. Unsure of what to say, he watches Trev’s face as he slowly slides his hands over the man’s shoulders and biceps, down his forearms and over his wrists to take his hands. He watches Trev’s breath quicken and feels the body melting under his palms, sees the impending surrender in his lover’s eyes, and suddenly decides he doesn’t want to win this way.
Randy rubs Trev’s wrists then gives them a short tug. “If you promise, I know you’ll keep it. I’m gonna make you promise.”
“You can’t,” Trev whispered.
Randy pulls Trev forward, maneuvers him around. “Are you sure?
“Pretty sure,” Trev smirks.
“Let’s find out.” Randy kicks a black box off the edge of the coffee table and gently pushes Trev backwards down on it.
“Right here?” Trev breathes.
“Yes.” Randy kisses him lightly, pulling at Trev’s designer T-shirt, resting his full weight on top of him.
“Randy, this table is an antique.”
Randy doesn’t listen. He digs his hands into Trev’s crunchy hair, planting a wet hard kiss on his neck “When’s your flight?”
Randy lifts his head, staring into the beautiful face of his helplessly horny sprite. “Then I’ll have time to make you promise in the bedroom too.”
2012 © Better Half LLC