Officer Gonzalez drummed his pencil on his desk, trying to make sense of what he was seeing. Investigating a suspect’s attorney was a highly unusual move, but in Jim Ainsworth’s case, Officer Gonzalez had decided to dig a little, only to discover that one of his ‘false leads’ given out in the canary trap had apparently been true all along. That development was disquieting enough, but it was the other ramifications that had Officer Gonzalez becoming ever more agitated.
After thinking for a few moments, Officer Gonzalez picked up the phone, dialed Jim’s number, and waited for the line to pick up. Taking pains to keep his voice pleasant and unaccusing, he said, “Councilor, you and I need to meet, alone. There’s been a new development in the case, and it’s one I think you might want to know about.”
The result of the call was an arrangement to meet at the north jetty of Sebastian Inlet – A pass between the Atlantic and the Indian River roughly halfway between Cocoa Beach and Ft. Pierce, in one hour.
When Jim arrived at the inlet, he left his shoes and socks in his car and walked towards the beach, wondering again why Gonzalez wanted to meet him, and why there. His relationship with Gonzalez was, he knew, adversarial by its nature, but he felt that he was building a rapport with the officer.
As soon as the north jetty came into view, Jim spotted Officer Gonzalez, who looked decidedly out of place in his business suit.
Officer Gonzalez scowled as soon as he saw Jim. “Walk with me, councilor.”
Jim nodded, and fell into pace beside Officer Gonzalez, and they began walking north along the hard, wet sand at the tide’s edge, surrounded by the muted roar of the Atlantic breakers. “Odd place for a meeting; it’s not in your jurisdiction,” Jim remarked, trying to find out the rules before the game began.
“This is off the record, for now. I noticed something that you and I need to discuss. To be blunt, your pro-bono work representing gay plaintiffs in wrongful-dismissal cases. You made some interesting personal claims in a few of your closing arguments, councilor.”
Jim gave Officer Gonzalez a level look. “So, you’ve been investigating me, have you? Rather unorthodox to dig for dirt on a suspect’s lawyer, not to mention the fact that bringing it up in this setting could well be interpreted as extortion. I’ll also remind you that an attorney is not under oath in court.” The implication was clear; he could have been lying for effect.
Officer Gonzalez came to a halt, and turned to look out at the choppy sea. “Why don’t we save each other a good deal of time. I’ll ask directly, are you gay?”
“I fail to see how you have any business asking me that,” Jim replied icily.
“It’s relevant on several levels, councilor, and if the answer is ‘yes,’ there are other questions I need to ask. Bear in mind that I can likely find out on my own, and if I need to do so, I’ll have questions regarding your relationship with your client, including a challenge to the issue of lawyer-client confidentiality.”
Jim shrugged. “That’s weak and you know it. Even if I were, hypothetically, in a physical relationship with my client, it would not invalidate the attorney-client relationship. I can cite numerous precedents to support that contention in court, if need be.”
Officer Gonzalez turned to face Jim. “It would, however, give weight to the claim that you are a co-conspirator, and that would breach the lawyer-client relationship, opening you up to both being compelled to testify, and prosecution. If Dirk Carlson is gay, that plays to motive regarding his wife’s death, and we both know it.”
Jim smiled. “If you are inclined to bring charges on those grounds, I would welcome it. You have no body and no forensics linking my client to whatever happened to his wife. We both know that you can’t get a conviction with that, all you have is a theory, and a weak one at that. You can’t even get an indictment with that, let alone anything else.”
“Unless, of course, I can show illegal conspiracy and collusion between you and your client, and force you to testify.”
Jim chuckled, standing his ground. “Ever heard of the fifth amendment? You can’t force me to testify against myself.”
Officer Gonzalez’s eyes narrowed. It was second nature for a cop to dig for whatever information he could get, but he was becoming painfully aware that fencing with a lawyer was harder than he’d imagined. “A written declaration of full immunity for you removes your ability to take the fifth, as you well know.”
“So you’re now threatening me with immunity from prosecution? Excuse me while I tremble in fear,” Jim replied with a laugh.
Officer Gonzalez let out an exasperated snort. “I’m trying to point out that you might be in a real mess, councilor. I’ll be blunt; my primary interest is in the Bellevue case, but what I’ve found out about you does renew my interest in your client, which has already been peaked by your stonewalling regarding his being directly interviewed about the Bellevue case. The reason I’m here is in large part to clear that up so that I can focus on the Bellevue case. As you’ve noted, I’m out of my jurisdiction, so this is an unofficial meet.”
Jim weighed his options for a few moments, and decided to take a less confrontational tack. “Look, it’s my job to protect my client, and I’ll level with you, because I have no reason not to. The fact of the matter is that he has disclosed everything he knows about the Bellevue case. That admittedly isn’t much, but he’s told all he knows. As for letting you interrogate him, hell no. There’s just no upside for him, so my advice to him is to refuse to say anything if you haul him in.”
Officer Gonzalez studied Jim for a moment, and decided to reveal some of what he was thinking. “Look at it from my point of view. If you and your client are in a relationship, and were at the time of Rachel Carlson’s death, that does give motive. Unless you can clear that up, I’ll need to take another look.”
Jim chose his words with great care. “It is very hard to prove a negative, but the fact of the matter is that I first met Dirk several years after the Ares was lost. I was in law school in the timeframe you’re asking about, in New Jersey. I’m sure you can verify some of this by accessing my school and financial records.”
Officer Gonzalez nodded. “Okay, let’s say I accept that, for now. You still haven’t answered my question regarding any current relationship with your client, or if you’re gay. You did claim that you were, in two of your cases.”
“And you still haven’t given me any reason to answer that.”
Officer Gonzalez stared at Jim for a few long seconds. “I need to know, councilor. One of the reasons I asked you here is to warn you about something, if it’s true.”
Jim was very curious as to whatever was being alluded to, so he replied, “If you do check my school record out, you’ll see that I was the president of the campus gay and lesbian association for two years. I’ll give you a freebie to save you some detective work; I’m one of those two, and I’m not a lesbian.”
Officer Gonzalez rolled his eyes in exasperation. “Okay, so if it’s no secret, why all the verbal fencing?”
Jim smirked. “I’m a lawyer; since when do I need a reason to argue?”
Officer Gonzalez let out a hearty laugh. “Touché, councilor. I guess I had that coming. Okay, there’s something I need to tell you, but first let me assure you that I had no knowledge of the sexual orientation of you or your client when I did it; I outed you to several people in my department, along with giving made-up Suez transit dates for Atlantis. I said that you and your client were a gay couple. I would not have done so if I’d known there was any truth to it.”
Jim nodded once. “So, digging for leaks in your own department, are you? I have to admit, I was wondering if those mystery e-mails were coming from there, though I have no proof. I accept that you had no idea about me, and I have no objection in any case. I’ve been out since my first year of college.” Jim gave Officer Gonzalez a wicked smile. “Of course, there is the little matter that you’ve just admitted to slandering my client... but, seeing as you’ve been good enough to warn me, I think we can let that slide.”
Officer Gonzalez smiled. “Thanks, even though internal department discussions would hardly be subject to slander claims. Does you client know about you?”
Jim chuckled again, mainly to give him time to plan his strategy. “Yes, he knows, and to answer your next question, Dirk Carlson is not gay,” Jim replied with conviction, taking care to speak only the truth.
Officer Gonzalez decided that he was satisfied, for the moment. “Fair enough. Now, let me ask you this; do you or your client know anything about any relationship between Arnold Bellevue and Rachel Carlson? If such a relationship existed, it would be a motive for Bridget Bellevue to kill them both.”
Jim’s blood ran cold at that question. He knew that if the Bellevue case took that direction, Dirk could be offered immunity from prosecution in return for his testimony, which would prove disastrous. “I’ve never met Rachel, but Dirk has talked about her a lot. I can’t get into details, but I’m certain that there was nothing between Rachel and Arnold Bellevue other than the purchase of the Ares. As you can imagine, I’d very much like it to be true for my client’s sake, but to the best of my knowledge, there was nothing there.” Jim knew that he was telling the truth, but could see in Gonzalez’s eyes that he was not convinced, so he added, “I will check into this with my client, and I’ll let you know.”
“I’ll be seeing you again, councilor. Thank you for meeting with me.”
On the drive back to Ft. Pierce, Officer Gonzalez planned his next steps, which involved setting a trap for his leak suspect, Sergeant Pierson, and pursuing a new angle on the Bellevue case. He decided to shelve the Carlson case temporarily. He didn’t trust Jim, because he knew a lawyer would lie to protect a client, but at that moment, he was leaning towards believing that Dirk was innocent. His reasoning was that the cases were clearly linked, and he was certain that Bridget was a killer. Thus, it was easy to suppose that she had killed both her husband and Rachel.
Atlantis rode at anchor in a bay on the east coast of Samos, rocking gently in the warm, calm seas. The Meltemi was over for the moment and the hot, clear, calm weather had returned, offering Trevor and Joel a day in the sun. They set out in the Zodiac, wearing cargo shorts and flip-flops, to have some fun ashore.
The whitewashed walls of the Greek town glittered in the sun, a stunning contrast to the blue sky and turquoise seas. Trevor and Joel had no firm plans, preferring to just see where the day took them. Laughing and joking, they explored the small town where they’d tied up the Zodiac. The pedestrian streets were crowded with a mix of locals and sun-seeking tourists, with the lilting strains of Greek music echoing from many restaurants and bars.
Seeing an outdoor bar near the waterfront, Joel pointed out an obvious lack in their Greek experience so far, “We haven’t tried ouzo yet, come on.”
Together, Trevor and Joel took seats at the shaded bar, and Joel ordered a round of ouzo.
The waiter came back with two straight-sided three-ounce glasses half filled with clear ouzo, accompanied by a chilled carafe of water dripping with condensation. Trevor sipped the ouzo, nearly choking with the harsh taste. He then added a small amount of water and saw streaks of white in the ouzo grow and the once-clear liquid turn into a white milky drink. Trevor sipped it again and the taste had changed into a less harsh anise flavor. Trevor hoisted his glass again. “Here’s to you and Lisa. I can’t wait for the wedding... and hey, this means I get to plan your bachelor party, right?”
Joel slammed back his ouzo, wincing at the burn. Then he noticed Trevor’s wicked grin. “Thanks, and yeah, you plan the party... why does that make me nervous, all of a sudden?”
Trevor shrugged in mock innocence, and then took his shot. A wince and a couple of coughs later, he gasped, “No idea... I just hope you like strippers.”
Joel ordered a second round of ouzo, and after he’d paid, he resumed his conversation, “Sounds okay... why wouldn’t I?”
Trevor, shrugging again, and then they both downed their second shot of ouzo. “No reason. Don’t worry about it, I’ll handle it,” Trevor said, and then, before Joel could reply, Trevor got up and stretched, his bare chest flexing. “Ready to go, or do you want to drink some more?”
“Not ouzo,” Joel replied, cringing a little, before returning his attention to Trevor’s disquieting reassurances. “What exactly are you planning?”
Trevor headed for the sidewalk, and as Joel caught up, Trevor gave him his most angelic smile. “Leave it to me.”
Falling into step beside Trevor, Joel glared at him for a couple of seconds. “You said strippers... what kind of strippers?”
The sidewalk reached the beach, and Trevor kicked off his flip-flops, stuffed them in his pocket, and took off at a jog, calling back over his shoulder, “The kind that take their clothes off.”
Joel launched into a sprint, trying to catch up to Trevor. As he drew near, he shot back, “I know that, you ass. I meant, male or female?”
“What do you think, seeing as it’s my pick?” Trevor replied, breaking into an all out run.
Joel took off in pursuit, laughing and yelling, “You bastard...”
Trevor slowed and let Joel catch up before replying, “Consider it my revenge. If I do it, that is. You’ll just have to have fun waiting to find out.”
Joel gave Trevor a light punch in the arm before sprinting ahead. Grinning, he looked over his shoulder and yelled, “You’re an asshole, you know that, right?”
“All I know, I learned from you,” Trevor replied, sprinting as he chased Joel.
The beach was typical for the area: mainly sand and pebbles, broken by outcroppings of jagged bare limestone rock on the shoreward side, sitting at the foot of the brown hills of Samos.
Laughing and playing in the sun, they splashed through the shallows, swimming and diving, working their way along the sunny strand. Sometimes, rock outcroppings stood in their path, but that only served to provide them with opportunities to climb, forgetting their cares, and with them, caution.
Scrambling over one rocky ridge, following Trevor to the top, Joel was taken by surprise when one of his footholds moved: a chunk of rock breaking free.
The sudden loss of a foothold overbalanced Joel. He lashed out, grabbing for purchase, but hands clawed at smooth rock. With a shout, he began tumbling down the steep rock face to the beach, ten feet below.
Trevor heard Joel’s shout and looked back, in time to see Joel slam onto the pebble beach, landing hard in a tangle of arms and legs. “Joel!” Trevor shouted, turning to scramble down the rocks to the beach.
Trevor leaped the last few feet, landing in a crouch beside Joel, who was just pushing himself slowly to a sitting position. “I think I’m okay...,” Joel mumbled, rubbing his shoulder.
“You landed pretty hard, man, and you’re cut,” Trevor said, pointing to a small bloody gash on Joel’s right forearm.
Joel looked at his arm, flexing his fingers as he did so. “Ow, yeah, but I don’t think it’s deep. I think my watch took the worst of it,” Joel said, looking at the screen of his cheap plastic digital watch. The face had been scratched and gouged to the point where the watch was no longer readable, and the band had been torn almost through.
“Do you hurt anywhere else?” Trevor asked, studying Joel intently.
Moving with caution, Joel slowly stretched, and then stood up as Trevor helped him. Once standing, he began running his hands over his bare torso, and then his legs and head. “I don’t feel any more cuts, and I don’t think I broke anything.”
Trevor watched Joel for a few seconds, satisfying himself that his friend was okay. “You should wash that cut out,” Trevor said, looking at the small cut and the dripping blood.
Joel stared at his injury for a few moments before replying, “I’ll wash it in the sea, that’ll do until we get back to Atlantis. It’s just a scratch. It doesn’t look or feel deep.”
Eying the blood, and seeing that there wasn’t much of it, Trevor said, “It doesn’t look too bad.”
Joel turned away, towards the town and Atlantis, angling towards the sea. “This’ll sting, but I’ll wash it,” he said, checking his arm again, and then taking off his ruined watch and slipping it into his pocket.
As he began to follow Joel, Trevor glanced down Joel’s back. Trevor’s eyes opened wide, first in concern, then, seeing no blood, in amusement. “Feel a draft?” he asked, chuckling.
Joel twisted, checking the seat of his shorts with one hand. “Damn,” he muttered, feeling the tear near a back pocket, and the bare skin beneath.
Trevor snickered as they reached the edge of the water, pointing at Joel’s shorts as Joel turned to face him. “Dude, I can see your ass! What is it with you? You’re either clumsy or an exhibitionist, though I guess you could be both.”
Joel didn’t reply; his eye was on the water behind Trevor. With a roar and a whoop, Joel charged, tackling Trevor and sending them both tumbling into the shallow water. Trevor broke free and splashed Joel, laughing hard.
Joel stalked Trevor, trying to get close as Trevor backed away. “Exhibitionist or clumsy, huh?” Joel said with a wicked grin, the fall already almost forgotten.
“Or both,” Trevor added helpfully.
The chase was on, and Joel tore off down the beach in pursuit of Trevor, laughing in the sun.
After a couple of water fights and a swim in the surf, it was time to return to Atlantis. The two friends walked back through the crowded, narrow, winding streets of the seaside Greek town, and Joel didn’t seem to care that he had a rip in his shorts. Taking a pointed glance at the hole, Trevor said, “I’m thinking exhibitionist... You do realize that people can see your ass through that rip, right?” The tear was only three inches long and vertical, so it hung mainly closed, but not quite.
Joel snorted. “Yeah, you’ve mentioned that a few times already. About ten, I think. I wanted to just sit down and send you back to town to buy me a new pair but you refused.”
“What are friends for?” Trevor asked, with an innocent smile.
“So quit pointing out that people can see my ass,” Joel replied with a laugh.
“But they can see your ass. I can see it now,” Trevor replied loudly, starting to crack up.
“I’ll get you for this, count on it,” Joel replied with a laugh, as they neared the quay where Trevor had tied up the Zodiac.
A sign in a small shop caught Joel’s eyes, and he pointed. “Look, watches,” he said, angling in that direction.
“You’ve got a big hole in your shorts and no underwear, so you want to go watch shopping? Yep, exhibitionist and clumsy,” Trevor said, chuckling.
In the store, Joel found a basic waterproof digital watch for twenty euros, purchasing it as Trevor stood by snickering.
As they left the store, Joel adjusted the watch to fit his wrist and strapped it on, asking, “Okay, what’s so funny this time?”
Trevor smirked. “You should have seen the expression on that old lady’s face, when you bent over to look at that watch. She got a real good look at your ass.”
“Oh shut up,” Joel replied, laughing as he broke into a run, racing Trevor down the quay to the Zodiac.
Trevor gunned the motor, tearing back out to the Atlantis with Joel hanging on in the bow of the boat as it slapped across the glittering water.
An hour after they’d returned to Atlantis, the sun began to set. In that time, Joel had cleaned his wound and changed into unholey shorts, which reminded Trevor that it was high time to do some laundry As he loaded the washer, he asked Joel, “Bring whatever you need doing. Some air conditioning would be good tonight, and that means running the generator, so we might as well do laundry.”
Joel padded off to his cabin, returning a few minutes later with a small bag of laundry, consisting mainly of shorts but including a few tank tops and a shirt. “I’m guessing you aren’t doing whites,” he said, dumping the load on the deck.
“I’ll get those in a separate batch later,” Trevor replied, as he began loading the washing machine.
When Trevor encountered Joel’s ripped shorts, he laughed. “Planning on wearing these into town so you can show off your ass again, huh?”
Joel smiled and shook his head. “Nah, I just stuck ‘em in there, not thinking. I’ll trash ‘em.”
“Shove ‘em in the rag box; I’ll use them the next time I change the oil,” Trevor replied absently, as he measured out the detergent.
Joel padded aft and deposited the tattered shorts, plus a holey sock, in the engine compartment rag box. Giving the ripped cargo shorts one final glance, Joel remembered something he’d been planning on doing, and after closing the access hatch, he returned to the galley with a grin, stopping by his cabin to pick up a razor blade and scissors.
Trevor eyed the scissors as Joel snipped at empty air. Narrowing his eyes, Trevor said, “What are those for?”
Joel grinned. “I said I’d improve your wardrobe, and now is a good time,” Joel said, reaching out and grabbing several of Trevor’s shirts from the open washing machine.
Joel carried the shirts into the salon, and took a seat on the sofa to begin removing the sleeves. Trevor watched for a few moments, and then said, “I know one sure way to stop you; has it occurred to you that we haven’t eaten yet?”
Joel looked up and blinked. “I’m hungry, and I want to drink tonight... Okay, you win; I’ll do them later, after I’m drunk.”
“That’s not what I meant,” Trevor replied, rolling his eyes.
“Too late,” Joel said, setting the shirts aside.
The made phone calls to Joel’s parents and Lisa, and then Trevor and Joel piled back into the Zodiac, heading for shore in search of a restaurant for dinner. They both loved Greek food and were not disappointed.
After returning to Atlantis and drinking a few beers, Joel resumed his work on Trevor’s shirts.
Trevor watched Joel for a few moments, and then walked over to the bar. “If you’re doing that, I think I’ll need more than beer,” Trevor quipped, pulling out the bottle of Italian brandy.
“Set me up a shot, but don’t blame me if I ruin your shirts,” Joel replied.
Trevor laughed. He was having fun arguing, but the t-shirts Joel had picked out were old, and Trevor thought they’d look good with the sleeves off.
Three shots of brandy later, Joel declared, “Done! I’ll stick ‘em in the washing machine. When do you want to start it?”
Trevor got up, a little unsteadily. “I’ll fire up the generator and turn on the air conditioner. Just add soap and start the washer.”
While the washing machine churned, Trevor and Joel returned to their drinking, side by side on the sofa, playing video games. After another set of brandy shots, they put the brandy away and resumed drinking beer.
An hour later, they were both drunk from the mix of beer and liquor, and were laughing at everything, and nothing. Joel elbowed Trevor, and then took a swig of beer as Trevor jabbed him back.
Joel looked down, and then reached for a paper napkin and began dabbing clumsily at the beer he’d spilled on himself. Trevor’s eyes followed the motion and he found himself watching as Joel dabbed the beer from his bare, tan, chiseled chest. In his drunken state, it took Trevor a few seconds to realize that he’d been staring, and he turned his head away.
Joel had seen the look, and then the turn. “You still stress about looking, don’t you?” he asked quietly, slurring a little, and set the napkin aside.
Trevor shrugged, and then, still looking at the stereo across the room, replied, “Sometimes. I know you’re cool about me being into guys, that’s not it, not anymore. It’s just... how would you feel if a girl was sitting here, this close, staring at you and checking you out?”
Joel chuckled. “Me? I’d like it. But what about you? How do you feel when a girl is eyeing you? You’re a hot guy, and you’ve said that some of the women on your charters do it.”
Trevor took another drink. “Yeah. On my last charter, there were two middle-aged women who liked looking at me, and weren’t shy about it. It was a little... weird, at first.”
“Then what?” Joel asked.
Trevor was still looking at the stereo, though now more out of chagrin than anything to do with Joel’s body. “On one of the drive excursions, I just wore speedos. I was thinking about the tips, but... it kinda made me feel good, being looked at like that. An ego trip, I guess. The next day, when they were checking me out when I had my shirt off, I was enjoying it,” Trevor said, feeling his cheeks begin to flush.
Joel laughed, elbowing Trevor again. “Yeah, you told me about that, and that you wore speedos... and you call me an exhibitionist... Look at me, man,” Joel said, and then waited until Trevor had turned his head towards him. “It felt good, right? You’re not into women, but it still felt good. You’re like me; you like the attention. I did, back in Palm Beach on your birthday, when that waiter was checking us out. It’s okay to look, man. I like being looked at, and it’s just weird when you get all angsty about it and turn away.”
Trevor glanced at Joel’s chest, and then back to his face. “I’m just drunk, I think, and I don’t know what’s okay and what’s not.”
Joel looked into Trevor’s eyes for a long moment, before replying, in a slightly slurred voice, “What’s wrong, if something feels good?” Joel put his arm across Trevor’s shoulders, feeling Trevor tense slightly, and then leaned a little closer, studying Trevor’s eyes, “Do you want to have sex with me? I won’t freak out, I swear, I just want you to look me in the eyes and tell me the honest truth.”
His pulse racing, Trevor stared into Joel’s intense blue eyes, just inches from his own. Feeling the warmth of Joel’s arm across his shoulders, Trevor let his eyes fall, taking in Joel’s bare chest, and then his taut abs, and then lower... Trevor looked up, meeting Joel’s eyes. Trevor took a deep breath, and found it easy to tell the truth. “Part of me does, but... no. You’re Lisa’s, and even without that, you’re straight and it’d be just experimenting for you... and we’re friends; I don’t want to fuck that up.”
Joel read the honesty in Trevor’s eyes, and smiled, making no move to pull away. “That’s what I thought you’d say, and that’s why I asked. You’re drunk, probably horny, and I gave you every reason to think that was an offer. But you said no, and I can tell you meant it. Would I have done that if I had any problems with you, at all? Nope. I did this to prove a point. Do you get it yet?”
Trevor tried to think, but alcohol and confusion stood in his way. “I think I get part of it; that you’re okay with me, but....”
Joel smiled. “On your birthday, after Lisa and I came out of the cabin, you stared at my crotch and asked Lisa if you could borrow me for sex because it was your birthday too, remember? You were just joking around and we both knew it. But you only do stuff like that if Lisa’s around. I finally figured out why: because when she’s there, you know I won’t think you’re serious. Am I right?”
After thinking about it for a few seconds, Trevor began to nod. “I never put it together, but yeah. With Lisa there, I knew you wouldn’t think I was trying anything.”
“And now, when you had every reason to think I’d be willing, you said no. So, how can you ever again worry that I’d think you’re hitting on me?” Joel asked, as a self-assured grin spread across his face.
Trevor thought about that for a few moments, and smiled. “I can’t.”
“Bingo,” Joel said, and giving Trevor a one-armed hug and a big smile. “You said you don’t know what’s okay, so I’m telling you; short of trying to have sex with me, anything is okay. I wouldn’t have sex, because I’m with Lisa, and even if I wasn’t... think of it this way; when you knew Lisa was in love with you, did you ever think of having sex with her?”
Trevor took a deep breath and then another, remembering. “Kinda, but no. I considered it for like half a second, and realized it would be really stupid. I’m not into girls so it could never be more than just a one-time thing, sort of a... favor? It would have really messed Lisa up, and it would have been just... weird.” Trevor replied.
“And that’s why I’d never do anything with you, even if I was single and wanted to experiment: it’d mess everything up, and you know that too, so that’s why you turned me down. So, are we finally over that stressing stuff now?” Joel asked.
Trevor smiled and nodded. “Yeah, assuming I remember all this when I’m sober.”
Joel laughed and then leaned back, leaving his arm across Trevor’s shoulders. “Same here, but I don’t think we’re that drunk. Just try to remember, not just for me, but when you meet a guy you want and who’s into you too. Don’t push him away like Lisa tried to do to me, or like you did to me when you pulled away after coming out to me.”
Trevor nodded, and then gave Joel a thoughtful look. “You were pretty sure I’d say ‘no’, weren’t you? But what would you have done if I’d have said ‘yes’?” Trevor asked, giving Joel’s crotch a pointed stare, before looking back up, grinning and waggling his eyebrows.
Joel laughed, shaking his head. “I think I’d have tried to explain why it was a bad idea, but I know how you think so I was pretty sure you’d say ‘no’. I wouldn’t have done anything, but I meant what I said; I wouldn’t have been weirded out or mad if you’d said ‘yes’.”
Trevor stood up, staggering a little, and turned to give Joel’s body a slow, appreciative look. Grinning, Trevor said, “I can’t say I wasn’t tempted. You’re damn hot, and I’m drunk and horny.”
Joel stretched back, putting his arms behind his neck and puffing out his chest and said, “I know it must be hard for you, with me being so incredibly hot and all, but that’s no excuse for sexual harassment!”
Trevor doubled over, laughing so hard that he staggered. Then, he managed to gasp, “Your ego sure isn’t small.”
“It’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect,” Joel said, flexing his biceps and then doubling over, cracking up.
“I’ve got to crash or I’ll sleep until noon. I just hope Atlantis doesn’t sink under the weight of your ego,” Trevor said, slurring and snickering. “G’night, Joel.”
“Good night, Captain Bligh,” Joel replied, staggering towards his own cabin.