A light rain went pitter patter against the windows as the driver turned the bus into a cruise ship. “All aboard,” he would call out at every stop, making himself known in a sea of quiet and distraction as passengers blasted their headphones or focused their attention on phone screens. I sat next to a man wearing a three piece suit with his legs crossed, reading a newspaper and giggling softly at the driver’s antics. He would occasionally turn to me, maybe for a moment of shared laughter. But I was admittedly preoccupied for a different reason: I was horny.
Not two hours ago, I would get a text sent to me by Lex, a fling I’ve been seeing for sometime. Funny thing is, that wasn’t his real name. I would find out by a picture he sent me through his online profile, a bathroom picture of him with no shirt wearing black jeans, and his photo ID sitting there on the countertop. A little zooming, some photoshop, and there it was. Clumsy, but he was a man invested in discretion.
When we first met a few weeks back, Lex requested that I only enter from the side door leading to the garage, preventing any snooping neighbors from being privy to his activities. We only messaged through email as he didn’t want others noticing him on the online profile he was using. Who, I don’t know. And he made one thing clear: we never acknowledge each other in public. It seemed reasonable, don’t we all use some kind of mask when it comes to our sexuality?
Anyway, Lex was the real deal. He was a shorter man, in contrast to myself, but he made up for it with his stockiness. He’d message me first, talking about looking for a regular thing with a twink type guy. He liked taller guys with long legs and soft voices. Once he heard me on the phone, he said he wanted me over. Right away.
Lex was some kind of managerial type from how he carried himself. He was demanding, liked to give orders, tell people what to do, and wanted it to be done right. Want to get on his bad side? Once, I’d witness him at his doorway chastising an employee for delivering a package to him at the wrong time, stating he specifically wanted it delivered around the evening (and keep us from getting caught). It was the highest I had ever heard his voice raised. When I told him I’d never work for him, he merely smirked as though I was joking.
He liked to do the same with me, requiring certain things whenever we meet: sometimes, he’d request that I wear some particular underwear, or my work uniform. Once, he wanted a session where I could only speak when spoken to. Not my cup of tea, but Lex always had some way to convince me.
“You do this for me, I’ll let you top me next time.”
And he always was true to his word. He was an architect, having scenarios constructed in his head on how we would fool around.
“Next stop, John Street,” the intercom system spoke.
But I digress. I pushed the stop button on the bus, struggled getting over three piece suit’s legs, and was on my way. It was around 10am. Dark clouds enveloped the sky, making it seem later in the day than it was. I heard raindrops pelting my hoodie and bounce off my leather coat. I appreciated he was close to the bus stop; he knew the bus directions to his place though he never used public transportation.
He greeted me at the door. “Did you come with condoms? I ran out.” Lex and I have a system: I come in, no pleasantries are exchanged. He takes off my jacket, I remove my shoes, and we beeline to his guest room on the 1st floor, but not before he asks, “Need some water?”
“I’m fine,” I replied.
Lex lived in a two-story, cookie cutter home in the suburbs. The outside, a tan-ish hue, contrasted with the vibrant peach and dragon fruit colored walls within. I memorized the path leading to the guest room: the picture of Van Gogh’s Starry Night that we would pass by, the mustard colored study on the left with the glossy black furniture that looked as though they had been cleaned using pine sol only a minute before. A dog lived here though I had never seen it, it’s white and black fur scattered across the wooden floor.
Compared to the hallway and connecting rooms, the guest room was much warmer. Lex didn’t care for cool sensations like the touch of cold lips on his or the icy touch of chilled fingertips. The room had warmer colors as well, containing soft pinks and oranges. I had asked why we kept using the guest room instead of his master, which he responded, “I don’t like getting lube on my sheets.” It’s too bad, who wouldn’t want to have sex on a king size bed?
Once inside, he turned me around and pulled me close, his thick arms wrapped around my waist and holding me firmly in place with no escape.
“I was thinking about this all day,” he said in a low tone, exhaling heavily through his nose. He removed my shirt and gnawed on my exposed skin, low moans creeping from his throat. His warm lips and curious tongue drove me crazy as I caressed his head and pulled him towards me, encouraging him to bite harder. Red marks were left behind on each spot he tended to.
“You like that,” he’d ask, though he already knew the answer. Our foreplay would eventually lead to the bed. His strong hands gripped legs and arms, pinned me down. You’d almost think he never gets any. Even our lovemaking manages to be rough.
“I could fuck you all day,” he’d say, and I’d be partially relieved that he wouldn’t be. Our time was always limited, Lex was a busy man. We could be in the middle of it, his phone would start to ring, and instead of letting it go to voicemail like most would do-
“No, no, no! You need a signature from every carrier that delivers materials to us. Haven’t you been trained on this?!”
... And he would keep thrusting away without a second thought. He’d finish the call, throw his phone to the side, and his attention would return right back to us as though nothing happened.
_ _ _
The window of the guest room had developed a coating of fog. The pillows were thrown on the wayside and the bedspread was falling to the floor. He had a towel for me to clean myself with, to remove the stickiness of our shared sweat. The desk lamp was knocked over while we were playing, which Lex was only now managing to fix. He was more preoccupied than he was during his phone call.
“How was it?” he asked.
I snickered, started rubbing my thighs. “I have no complaints. You?” The ceiling fan was on low. He was silent, his full attention being on the lamp. His forearms flexed as his fingers gripped, twisted, then assembled the unattached hood. He looked at me for a second with his hazel eyes, like he was observing me. But he didn’t end up saying anything at all. Droplets of sweat glistened on his forehead, sticking themselves to his brunette, curly hair. A few continued dripping, running down the edge of his pointy nose and five o’clock shadow.
“I’m glad you liked it,” he said, as he put down the lamp.
His head shot up then, head craning towards the door. “You hear that?”
My eyes wandered before asking, “Hear what?” He was already headed towards the hallway, then walked out the guest room. I pressed the towel on my face, and crossed one of my legs on the bed. I was thinking he might’ve heard some rat scurrying in the wall. Next thing I would hear is a low, excited voice not coming from very far. It was like a whisper, but I could’ve sworn I heard Lex say, “shit!” I could hear him grabbing shoes and shuffling around. I found my underwear and socks on the floor and started to reach for those.
“Is everything cool?”
He didn’t respond. I heard a door swing open near the front door and assumed it to be the closet where he kept shoes and jackets. I had just put on my underwear when the closet slammed. Footsteps came running towards the door. When Lex arrived, he wasn’t holding his own jacket, his shoes, or bag, but mine, my jacket still damp from the rain.
“You gotta leave,” he said.
I didn’t believe I heard him correctly. “Huh?”
He threw my stuff to the side and I saw him scan the floor. He started grabbing for condom wrappers, the lube, and threw them in a plastic bag that I didn’t know the origins of. He opened the window to the room and had the ceiling fan spin faster. I managed to put on my shorts, caught up in the moment.
He grabbed my stuff from the side before saying, “Come to the back door.”
Shirtless, I tried to keep up with him as we went through the house. It didn’t occurred to him that I didn’t know where his “back door” was, and had gotten lost along the way in his labyrinth of a house. We reached his kitchen, finding a door with the blinds covering the window. The floor tile was cold underneath my feet. He unlocked the door and gestured outside.
“Can you dress out here?” I snapped out of my confusion, dumbfounded by this urgency he had to get me out of the house. Was he being for real? “When I give you the signal, you can go out the side gate.”
A gray mist clouded the outside of the patio as a treacherous wind blew into the house. Goosebumps crept up my arms and covered my chest.
“Why am I doing this? What’s going on-”
“Please don’t ask questions. Just do this, please.” He was getting pushy, desperate. No longer did he get to rely on being the one “in control” of the situation at any given time. This obviously caught him off guard, forced him in a pretty vulnerable position. Seeing him without that confidence I was used to, I thought I had been looking at a completely different person.
I entered into the cold without my socks, shoes, or jacket on my person. What the hell was this? Was this punishment for me trusting a closeted man who hardly revealed anything about his personal life? Was it his family that was visiting? An old girlfriend? Children?? Making sense of the whole thing only made me angrier, humiliated.
I rushed to put on the last of my clothes in order to battle the cold. Beyond the porch was a small yard and wooden fence, good enough cover along with the mist to keep neighbors from asking later why a shirtless man was getting dressed on Lex’s back porch. I finished and walked towards the side gate like Lex had asked, the light rain landing softly on my face and cooling off the rage that welled up in me. And just as I turned the corner-
I turned to find Lex peeking his head out the door. He waved his hand, gesturing me to come inside. I nearly protested in frustration, but, not having to tip-toe out the side gate restored some of my dignity. Now, I could tell confront him face to face. Once I shut the back door, I opened my mouth, but he spoke first.
“That was close,” he said. It was strange; during the time I had been outside, Lex had changed clothes. He was visibly more relaxed, his chest not as quick to rise and fall from his heavy breathing. He stretched out the edges of his shirt and jeans as though he was still getting out the wrinkles.
“Why would you do that?” I asked. He blinked at me. “That was a crazy position you put me in, you realize that right?”
“I’m sorry, I-”
“A sorry isn’t going to cut it, Lex.”
“What do you expect me to do? You know our agreement: No one can know about us-”
“I know our arrangement, I don’t need to be reminded. You are the one whose responsible for making sure this type of shit doesn’t happen-”
“I can’t predict these type of things!”
“Hey, I told you not to scream at me like that, okay? I’m not your staff.”
He opened, then shut his mouth, letting out a long exhale. He put a hand on his hip, and another to his forehead.
“My bad, alright?” he said sheepishly. His raised hand slapped against his hip. “I didn’t expect anyone at this time, just a mail courier. When I heard someone near the garage, I thought it might’ve have been my wife, but I overreacted. My fault.”
The words flowed seamlessly from his mouth without thought, hesitation, or even shame. I caught my breath and stared at him.
“What did you say?”
An eyebrow of his lifted. He looked around as if the question came from someone else. “...My wife.”
Fuck, I said under my breath, though I’m sure he heard it. My hand grabbed at my head, which began to throb like it was ready to implode.
“Your wife?! Lex, you never said you had a wife!”
“You never asked. It wasn’t something I wanted you to know.”
“Wait, what?! That’s not the point! Fuck!” This time, I screamed it. I started pacing along the kitchen. Lex stared at me, his face reactionless to my meltdown like he had nothing to do with it, and I couldn’t figure out why the hell he was so damn calm? “Lex, you have a wife. So why are you sleeping with me?”
“...She doesn’t have to know any of this.”
“But you’re still cheating-”
“What do you care?!” His voice rose for a second, until he checked himself. “What are you trying to tell me, that you suddenly care for this woman you’ve never met? You wouldn’t have known about her had I not said anything.”
“It still doesn’t make it right.”
He shook his head, like I was somehow naive for my beliefs. He seemed unmoved by this sin he had me take part in committing without my consent, and didn’t bother to reflect on the recklessness of his behavior. He started walking towards me, and I stepped backwards without thinking. He came so close, I could feel his breath.
“I’m sorry for not being upfront with you. It isn’t something I’m open about sharing...for obvious reasons. If you’re upset about it and don’t want to talk to me anymore, block my number. I’ll understand.” He moved up closer, his lips nearly touching my shoulders like he would kiss them.
He whispered, “But if you want to keep this going, you have my number. It’ll be our secret.”
_ _ _ _
Lex lent me money for a cab as an apology for earlier. It was nice to keep quiet, with the driver focused on what was playing on the radio. The background noise helped me try to process all that occurred.
I was angry at Lex for his secrecy, and I was angrier at myself for being fooled and not being more careful. And yet, his words still played like a tape recorder in my head. What do you care? You suddenly care for this woman you’ve never met? Was my outrage unjustified? Unsound? Even as the cab pulled up to the curb, I couldn’t distinguish his thoughts from my own. The drizzling never stopped falling, blown around by the wind and moving every which way. I zipped my jacket tighter as I exited the cab.