Sixteen – Shin
I couldn’t relax until I was safely in Ian’s limo and we had put a few blocks between us and Gems. Butch, it seemed, wasn’t as jittery as I had been.
“…doing making me the owner of that motherfucking place. You know damn well my feelings about prostitutes, be they male or female.”
“I do, and I also know that you weren’t above taking me to a house of ill repute to lift my spirits,” Ian replied. I sat silently, chewing on my bottom lip, veins filled with adrenaline and fear. “I think it’s time you work through your issues. What better way to do that then to own a brothel?” The limousine pulled up to a red light. “Think of it as an early Christmas bonus.”
“I quit.” Butch yanked the rear door of the limo open and got out. The door slammed shut. The light turned green.
Ian sighed and lowered the privacy glass. There behind the wheel was the big guy who’d let us into Gems little under an hour ago.
“Drive on,” Ian said. The driver nodded, and the dark glass went back up.
“You’re not going to go after him?” I asked, drawing myself up to my knees and peering out the rear window.
“No, he’ll be back when he’s worked off his anger. It’s how we operate. I piss him off and he quits. He pisses me off and I fire him. Generally by the next day, things are back to normal.” Ian sat back and let his eyes drift closed.
“What’s his story with sex workers?” I asked, resting my ass on my heels, the corner where Butch had gotten out dropping into the darkness.
“That’s not my story to tell.” He reached up to rub his eyes with the tips of his fingers. “I think I need glasses. My head aches.” I wiggled around until I my ass was back on the plush seat and let my head rest on his shoulder. “I feel as if I should apologize. That comment I made about using you to lift my spirits; that was tactless. You’re far more to me than just a way to make myself feel good or get off. I want you to know that.”
“I do.” I ran my finger over the sharp pleat in his pant leg. “I also know that people think people like me and the guys are trash, or don’t have feelings, but we’re not and we do.”
“I know you do. You’re one of the most caring, affectionate, brave men I’ve ever met.” He kissed my stupid ugly hair.
“The day my parents found out I was gay, I was sixteen. They asked me to leave, politely and with little fanfare.” I exhaled, working that pleat flat then lifting my finger to watch it snap back. The man must demand extra starch at the dry cleaners to get that severe of a pleat. “In a way, I wish they would have yelled. That would have shown some emotion, but they didn’t. My father was always distant, but that night he was icy. He said I was shirking my duty as his son to continue the family line. That I’d end up dead in the river riddled with gay sicknesses.”
“Thanks. It is what it is. Countries that follow a Confucian value expect their sons will get married and produce children. They just couldn’t handle the shame a gay son would bring down on them, so they asked me to leave. I did as they asked. I ran. That’s not really all that brave, I don’t think. I managed to eke it out for about a year but then the need for money and something that felt like a family was just too strong. I ran into Kennedy one day, well, he ran into me, hooking in front of the docks, and he saw something in me. ‘You’re a beautiful Asian gem,’ he said and took me to his place. He called me Opal…”
“It’s all behind you now. Tomorrow is a new day, Shin.”
I shimmied over him, kissing him with everything I had, my hand shaking and my lips quivering. I was terrified and ecstatic. I loved him so much that it hurt. I barely recalled the limo stopping or us getting out and slipping silently into the elevator for his penthouse. Our mouths were melded on the way up and into his apartment, clothes and Kevlar trailed behind us. When we hit the bed, I wrapped myself around him, heated pleas falling from my tender lips.
“Love me, love me, love me,” I begged, and he did with slow strokes of his fingers, gentle touches of his mouth, and deep shattering thrusts of his hips. He was wild and gentle, commanding and giving, sweet and feral. His orgasm set fire to mine, and afterward, he lowered his head to lap up the pearly droplets of my cum from my skin. Eyes closed, I ran my fingers through his hair, marveling at the texture of it.
“You’re so quiet,” he whispered, flicking a hard nipple with his tongue. I shuddered and sighed, using my grip in his hair to pull his mouth to mine. I’d adored kissing him. Only him. It had been years since I’d given this to any man, but my kisses were and would always be his now. “Did I hurt you? If you didn’t want to make love, you should have—”
I licked into his mouth to quiet his worries. “Mm, I’m fine. No pain, just pleasure. I wanted you here, inside me, your lips close to mine.”
He dropped a kiss to my eyelids and cheeks, chin and nose, and then brushed my lips with his before he withdrew and rolled to the side. I sat up, clutching the dark blue duvet to my damp chest, and watched him pad into the bathroom. He returned a moment later, the used condom gone, a wet cloth in his hand.
“Lay down and let me pamper you.” I flopped back into the bed, my arms falling out to the sides. He pulled the duvet away from my groin and began wiping down by the neat patch of black curls. “Penny for your thoughts.”
“Such an old saying.”
“I’m an old man.”
“Not old. Mature, handsome, smart, funny, sexy.” He inclined his head in thanks then nibbled on my belly button until I giggled and pushed him away. I stared at the ceiling as he slowly drew the warm cloth over my belly and chest. “Ian, I don’t know the first thing about Gems, or how to run it. I’m not sure why you picked me to take over…”
“I picked you because I love you and because you’re a smart young man – no, you are, stop making the pickle face,” he teased, tossing the rag to the floor and stretching out beside me, his hand resting on my abdomen. “I picked you because you have your whole life ahead of you and I expect you will do great things with it.”
“Great things like driving a successful gay brothel into the ground or being killed by the man who is my partner.”
He chuckled. “You’ll do fine. Fiona, Butch, and I will help you over big humps in the road. Perhaps you could consider taking some business classes at Colchester Community College and see where that goes.”
I glanced from his handsome face to the ceiling. “I dropped out of high school. I can’t go to college.”
“Well, then, you better look into taking your high school equivalency test.” I shook my head. He took my chin between his fingers and gently turned my face to him. “What anyone has said about you in the past means nothing now. This is a new opportunity, not only for you but for the other men at Gems. You can work with them to make their lives better, just as you’ll be working to better your own life.”
“What if I fail?”
“What if you don’t?”
I crinkled my face, then buried it in his neck, pushing my nose into the divot of his throat. His arms came around me and he rolled to his back, hugging me tightly.
“I’m scared,” I confessed.
“We all are, Shin. Even those of us who make fancy space telecommunication balls are scared. I was terrified I’d never find another human being to love and nurture, that I’d die a lonely old man, but here you are.”
“The heavens are funny that way, huh?”
“That they are. We live on a tiny round rock that revolves around a huge glowing gas ball among a hundred billion galaxies. Space is vast, Shin, and the stars innumerable, yet two people can somehow gravitate to each other and find peace in each other’s arms. Love truly is one of the most mystical of things. It defies scientific explanation and cold hard data, yet it’s as real as you and me here, together.”
I lifted my chin so that he would kiss me. He did, and my heart swelled. I drifted off, lying there atop him, his heartbeat my lullaby. I dreamed of footprints on the moon and woke up with the understanding that even someone like me could shoot for the stars.
Next in the Gems world – Garnet
With Gems now under new management, change is certain to be coming. As the men grapple with the upheaval, legalities, and updated rules, certain things never change: the clientele, the soft beep of a credit card being scanned, and the beauty that the men of Gems are known for.
When Garnet is employed to escort a client to a charity fundraiser, he catches the eye of Colchester Colts star quarterback Sterling Vesco, and is instantly attracted to the tall, dark, handsome, and incredibly aloof footballer.
Try as he may, Sterling can’t ignore the captivating ginger on the arm of another man. A chance encounter in the men’s room leads Garnet and Sterling into a passionate but hidden affair that just might end up ruining a career or ending a life.
Or perhaps both…