For the first time since he got out Neville was excited for the weekend. It had been a week full of 12 hour days and sore muscle with Tyler cracking the whip on the crew to get their latest contract done in time. The homeowners kept changing their minds and Tyler wanted to get it done before they added anything to the to-do list. Neville had been pulling double duty, doing drywall and painting, staying later than all the other guys to help Tyler get it done. To show his gratitude he gave Neville the company credit card and told him to take the boys out for a night of good times. They all decided to meet up Friday after work at a local sports bar to celebrate their job well done. Seeing him finally going out for something other than necessities Gianni couldn’t help ask if he could tag along and Neville didn’t refuse his buddy under one condition, he had to be the designated driver.
“Damn gonna make me sober bitch,” He pouted from Neville’s doorway as he coifed his hair. He wore a simple white undershirt and skinny jeans but Gianni could have made a burlap sack look high fashion with his limited edition hipster sneakers and diamond studs. “Guess it’s better if I’m gonna play wingman.” Neville made a face at him from the mirror as he buttoned his robin’s egg blue linen shirt. Gianni came up behind him and started to undo them. “Leave it open. You’re not going on a job interview.” Then he squatted down to adjust the cuff on Neville’s dark denim jeans. He dusted off his shoulders as he stood. “Flyness,” he said with a whistle and Neville laughed.
“I’m aight I guess.”
“Yeah when we ditch the straights I’ll show you just how much an understatement that is.”
A few spritzes of cologne later the two set out to The End Zone. They had to take Tyler’s pick up after they both surmised that Neville wouldn’t fit in Gianni’s little Euro hybrid. They laughed about that most of the ride into town, amongst other things. There was an easiness that came to their communication that he hadn’t experienced in a long time and Neville was beginning to cherish it. Of course there was the occasional flirtatious comment or touch but gone was the awkwardness that came with putting on airs for one you might want to bed. They were comfortably in the friend zone and it felt to Neville that he wasn’t the only one who appreciated it. They got there a little early figuring they could get a bite to eat while they waited for the rest of the guys. Gianni put their names on the game tables list and they found a few tables close by that they could slide together when the guys arrived.
It was almost nine by the time they showed up. The Dempsey cousins were the first to make an appearance. TimTom and Jared were both electricians, single and in their mid thirties. They lived at home with Jared’s mom and the crew joked that they still had a midnight curfew. Neville thought that might be the case since it was clear that Mother Dempsey packed their lunches every morning with wax paper wrapped sandwiches and homemade cookies. They were a little strange, but then again so were most of the other guys.
There was RJ, Raul Jimenez, an ex vato whose torso full of tattoos told a better story of his background than he did himself. Fortyish and stoic, he was a man of few words but he worked like a horse and was probably a better carpenter than Tyler even though he was a plumber by trade. They’d taken bets to see if he showed, Neville was the only one who didn’t doubt he would and was paid handsomely for it. Then there was Leif Langley but everybody called him Thor on account of his blonde hair, blue eyes, juicehead physique and the way he swung a hammer. He was hired as a carpenter but he did a better job knocking things down than putting them together. On his first job with them, Neville watched him gut an entire 2500 sq. ft. ranch house alone in one eight hour shift. He was the only one on the crew married with children, he also had a couple girlfriends and supposedly another wife overseas. Last there was the only other queer on the crew, Colin O’Keefe, though he wasn’t open about it. Neville only knew because he’d quietly offered his pig services on more than one occasion, to the rest of the guys he was just an almost thirty frat boy who drank his way out of college and into the construction business. He was the last to show and found every way to be near Neville. Even despite his puppy dog syndrome Neville had always found him easy to work with and quick with a joke.
After a few pitchers of beer and twice as many rounds of shots the bar had filled up and the guys had made their way to the games. Gianni entertained himself making ambiguous passes at people nearby. Neville marveled at his ability to entrance men and women alike with his light eyes and angled jaw. He could only shake his head as one woman followed him into the bathroom only to come out with smudged lipstick and messed hair. Neville shook his head as Gianni came back to their party at the pool table.
“Don’t bahis firmaları worry big fella,” he whispered. “We’ll get you some later.”
“I’m sure I could get some now,” Neville slurred and made a not so covert motion at Colin who just happened to be staring at Leif’s ass as he took his shot. “Just don’t know how deep into filth he is. Wouldn’t want to drop the hammer in somebody’s toilet.”
Gianni almost choked on his soda at that. “So the big fella might want a little strange tonight?”
Neville shrugged his shoulders and finished his drink, conveniently called away for his turn on the darts. He laughed when he got to the list and saw Gianni would be his opponent, turned to tell him so but saw him at the bar talking to Colin. They caught eyes and Neville shook his head, but as he watched his wingman shoo the lanky ging in his direction, he figured why not dip his toe in just a little. He needed the practice, it was like being 13 again. It wasn’t as if he were bad looking, in fact Neville might call him handsome tonight in his soccer jersey and straight cut jeans. His package tucked snuggly between his thighs. The darts were in a corner all by themselves and no one else played on the other three boards. They’d have to yell to be heard, so Neville figured why not tease him a little.
“That bitch punked out on me huh,” he said to Colin as he came up to get his darts. Whether from drink or Neville’s overt appraisal his cheeks were rosy under his full red beard, making the freckles on his nose almost invisible. He smirked a little as he lingered next to him, the hairs on their arms rubbing together. “I won’t go easy on you red,” he said as he turned to take his position. He meant the dart color but what the hell he thought. Neville reached to mess Colin’s shaggy skater hair and said, “yeah that’ll work.”
“I’m sure I can take what you got,” he said with a quick lick of his lips. Neville caught the way those green eyes flashed down to his crotch before Colin went to retrieve his beer. “After you, sir,” he said with a bow for comic relief. Neville fought the urge to smack his ass and put all the pent up frustration into his first throw. It landed well off center, barely on the board stuck between 18 and 4. “Don’t worry I won’t hold misfires against you.”
“What say we make this interesting,” Neville said with a smirk, rolling a dart between his thick fingers. “Nothing monetary, a gentleman’s bet maybe?” Colin laughed at that and shrugged his shoulders.
“We’ve met right? I mean I’m not so gentlemanly if you hadn’t noticed but why not make a wager?”
Neville thought a moment, not wanting to make his intentions so obvious. Even if Colin would have done anything he asked, win or lose, he didn’t want there to be any presumptions between them. Whether anything happened between them, he wanted to keep their working relationship as uncomplicated as possible. He settled on the most innocuous terms his beer muddled brain could think of, food.
“I win, lunch for a week and no cop out with store bought subs. I want homemade stuff. I seen the inside of that cooler Red. I know you know your way around a stove…”
“And if I win,” Colin asked, his voice softened and his eyes roamed Neville’s broad chest. He flicked his eyes up to meet Neville’s, blushed when he realized he’d been caught.
“Name it,” was his quick reply.
After a few moments of what seemed like some pretty deep contemplation Colin smiled wide. “I’ll tell you when I win.”
With a smirking wink Neville took his two throws in quick succession, barely glancing at the board before he landed a triple 20 and the outer bull’s eye. “I’m not a big fan of ham.”
They played until last call, not even realizing that at some point they stopped keeping score. It stopped being competitive when they started telling college fuck up stories, one upping each other. Neville won with the brief version of him and Breeze. They headed back over to the guys to say their goodbyes and Neville went to the bar to settle the tab.
“So how bout that strange big fella, ” Gianni said from beside him and Neville snorted. “I’m saying man I saw y’all over there. You might have fooled your crew but not me buddy. No sir.” “Whatever bud.”
“Either you invite him or I will?”
By then they were on their way out to the sidewalk where the guys congregated. He noticed Colin glancing in his direction as handshakes were exchanged and rides were arranged. When Colin started to walk Gianni shoved Neville in his direction with one instruction.
“Stop being a pussy and get your dick wet tonight. “
Whether that would happen or not remained to be seen but he did agree he needed to man up. “Hey Red you need a ride? “
“Nah man I’m a couple blocks down, “he said as he stopped to let Neville catch up. “Just like college stumble in, stumble out.”
“Well Gianni was telling me about some club I need to join… “
“You heard of it? kaçak iddaa ” came from Gianni as he came up behind them. Then he laughed, “Ty sponsor you too?”
“Yeah, not to long after I started on with him. I only go for the events though. Gotta pace myself. “
Now Neville was curious. He had assumed it would be some kind of gay bar but as he listened to the other two guys talk about their encounters, he started to wonder why Tyler hadn’t brought it up. He was too drunk to dwell on it, instead enjoyed the ride listening to them.
It was a little ways away, almost an hour’s ride on the highway and another twenty minutes on back roads. Finally they pulled up to the biggest house Neville had ever seen. It was more of a compound with a circle drive situated around a fountain with a statue of David pissing on Atlas. Gianni pulled up to the front and they all got out to be greeted by a well dressed man who took the keys from Gianni.
“Mr. O’Keeffe, Mr.Bellomo I see you’ve brought a guest, ” came from somewhere above them as they came to the grand mahogany front doors. Neville stood warily behind the other two and they laughed. The doors flung open and out came one of the largest men Neville had ever seen, including himself. He was just as tall but his chest and shoulders made Neville feel small. Though age had stolen the definition in his muscles Neville could tell there was power behind that round belly and saggy pecs. And Neville almost popped a boner when he saw the thick layer of salt and pepper fur that covered the man’s arms and what showed through the open collar of his Paisley silk shirt. His voice was rich and bassy,smooth like butter.
“Niko Papadopolous meet my new buddy Neville Sinclair,” Gianni said in introduction as the two burly men shook hands. Next Niko shook with Colin, then to Gianni he gave big bear hug and lifted him off the ground. Neville thought he might have seen a blush on those olive cheek bones but he was too tipsy to comment.
“Please, everyone calls me Papa and welcome new buddy to HeDen, where men can be men with other men who like men…”
“and dickgirls…” came from Gianni.
“and the occasional ftm…” Colin quickly added as Papa lead them into a small posh seating area just inside the front door.
“Yes I agree I’ve gotten lax with the rules as the taste of clientele change but this is the nature of the business.”
“Oh I’m not complaining,” Gianni said with a wink and Papa chuckled, waved the beautiful young man off.
“Those dark brooding eyes do not work on one who possesses them Giannaki mou. Save them for those inside,” he said and they all laughed as another man, short but powerfully built and glistening came strutting out in nothing but a pair of plain tighty whiteys. He carried a clipboard and brought it to Neville. “Business is business,” Papa said as Neville didn’t even pretend to look at the lines of words on the page in front of him.
He looked up to see both his boys hand over their cell phones to the little wrestler and Gianni looked over at him. “Don’t worry big fella it just says what happens here stays here.”
“I have many members with public image restrictions,” was all Papa said but his tone conveyed his message well enough. Neville would have signed on Gianni’s word alone but he kept that to himself. After handing over his own phone Papa opened the next set of door and Neville was mesmerized by the contrast.
Behind those elegant mahogany doors was a loud, smoky, musky den of masculinity. Neville thought places like this only existed in his favorite porn. One side of the room was dominated by the bar, the whole place had a saloon type feel. Everything was made of wood, tables chairs and booths. At the back was even a set of saloon doors that the guys led him quickly through to a room that looked more suited to be behind those doors. This room was smaller and had a more loungy type feel. There were a couple booths, smaller bar with a single bartender, and a few tables situated around the room. The first room was a place to party, this was a place to talk. Neville scanned the room as they sidled up to the bar, mostly guys in suits and sport coats. There were a few more casually dressed and he noticed a well placed wig or two and more than few sets of fake breasts. The bartender came over and asked their order, Neville decided on water thinking his drunk mind was playing tricks on him when he glanced at the occupants of one on the booths. He quickly drank his water and turned back around to get a better look.
“Ummm, the other night…my boy…Breeze…how good a look did you get of him,” he asked Gianni, his gaze unmoving. It took a moment but Gianni followed his line of sight.
“Good enough to understand why you so hot for him, why?”
“I might be fucked up but is that him over there?” He didn’t have to ask the question before Gianni reacted to it. His eyes widened and he almost spit out his cranberry and club soda.
“You’re kaçak bahis definitely fucked up but he look a little worse off than you big fella. Hey Red, do us all a favor and keep this guyon this guy over here. Sit tight,” He said, his eyes locked with Neville’s before he approached the table.
Neville watched as Gianni sat down quickly and lit up a cigarette. As soon as he started talking the person who Brion probably thought was a woman slid out from the booth, leaving him alone with Gianni and another man. Older, probably about their fathers’ age, Neville could tell from where he sat that he had a gut the size of a basketball hanging over his belt. Brion didn’t say much as the other two men talked, until Gianni nodded his head towards Neville and the other man started trying to make his way out of the booth. Brion tried to stand to let him out but he couldn’t move fast enough and the man shoved him to the ground. He popped up fast though but instead of give the man he sat with a piece of his man he took a lazy wide swing at Gianni.
“I ain’t no fuckin’ faggot bitch. Just cause my home boy like dick on his breath don’t mean I do,” he slurred and went after the man.
“You know who that was right,” Gianni asked as he came back to them but he only looked at Colin who was already off his stool and following behind them. Neville didn’t ask but he got the feeling there might be trouble.
They were already outside by the time they got to the door, the older guy helping Brion into his truck. Gianni mumbled something and quickened his pace to catch up at them, Red followed closely behind. By then there were others gathering at the front door and Neville watched like he was outside his body as Red grabbed Brion while Gianni decked the older guy. To busy raining blows, he didn’t see Brion break free of Red’s grip and come up behind him to deliver two quick rights to his ribs. That broke Neville out of his trance and he ran the rest of the way down the stairs.
“Brion!” he roared and everyone froze, even the two men he would call his best friends despite how they were acting towards each other at the moment. “Let him go,” he said, but he didn’t wait for either of them to comply. Instead he grab Brion up around his middle and Gianni by the back of his shirt and pulled them apart. He gave them both a hard shove to further their separation and stood between them. “G, get the truck and you,” he barked as he turn to face Brion fully. “Stop being a asshole and chill out. Ain’t nobody tryna fuck you but that dude…why the fuck else would he have you up in there with some half-a-bitch?” By then, “that dude” had recovered from Gianni’s assault and was making his way around his truck in an effort to get Brion away from them but one look from Neville sent him in the opposite direction to get into his truck and speed off.
“Fuck you fa…”
“One more time and I swear I’ll forget we boys,” Neville said through clench jaws with one quick, menacing step forward. That seemed to shake Brion out of his rage, his shoulders relaxed, fists unclenched. “Get in,” he said as he opened the door and again he didn’t allow him to make the decision, lifted him by his belt and tossed him into the cab.
It was a long, quiet ride back to the house. Well, mostly quiet, as they rode Brion’s condition worsened and he began to voice his internal dialogue. None of the other guys responded, content to roll eyes and scoff quietly, and eventually he passed out.
“I’ll bring you home in the morning Red,” Neville said as Gianni turned onto the freeway, smirking. * * * * *
As usual, no matter the state he went to sleep, Neville was the first to rise. He’d slept on the couch on the loft, figuring it better Brion not wake up to him. Despite the fact he called them all types of fags and cocksuckers, the guys all helped dump him off in Neville’s bed after he showered them all with a healthy amount of vomit. Neville could still smell it when he peaked into his bedroom to put a bottled water and a bottle of aspirin in the bedside table. His head still a little foggy Neville dropped his shorts and headed to the bathroom to wash away the rest of the drunk from the night before. He finished quickly, not wanting to disturb Brion too soon. As he toweled off, Neville decided to be honest with himself. It was too early for them to talk, his feelings still hurt from the night before. He dressed quietly in shorts and a tank top all the while knowing Brion was only faking sleep. Even as he left to start the coffee he didn’t say anything.
By the time it finished brewing Colin was coming down with bloodshot eyes and a puffy face. Neville silently offered him coffee but he declined instead going to the fridge for Oj. Neville offered to make breakfast but Colin declined.
“Just this is good… And that giant ass tv, “he said already headed to it in the living room. Tyler treated his guys like family so it wasn’t the first time Colin had woken up in this house. Neville joined him, sitting on the other end of the sofa. He glanced occasionally to his room, the door still in the same position as he’d left it. Colin noticed, he also noticed the semi Neville sported under his nylon shorts.