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The Challenge - 1. Chapter 1 Make a Wish

What is life without risk?


Make a Wish



“What’s your hurry?”

Armie didn’t look behind him as he pulled on his jeans, wincing as the zipper grabbed onto skin that was still slightly engorged. He carefully disengaged himself and zipped up. He really should forgo ‘advertising’ and start wearing underwear again. “I gotta go.”

“Why?” the voice asked, its disappointment clear.

He finally turned and faced the one-in-a-million client on the fancy bed in the fancy condo. He’d been surprisingly tender and sweetly attentive, something Armie definitely wasn’t used to. “What do you mean, why? We’re done, right?”

“If you mean the sex, then maybe,” the man answered with eyebrows raised. “Can’t you stick around and talk with me?”

“Ah… I… what about?”

“I don’t know… anything… whatever you want. I’d like to know you better.”

Armie’s internal alarm bells struck a warning note. “Look, you’re a nice guy—really nice—and I’d like to stick around, but I’ve got to make a living.”

“But… wasn’t three hundred enough?”

Again with the alarm bells, and this time they clanged. As nice as this guy seemed to be, Armie was always ready for trouble. “Plenty. Double what we agreed on. So, you want your money’s worth?” he asked, turning on his practiced seductive mode while slowly running his hand from his chest down to his waistband, and exposing a few more inches of treasure trail.

This one obviously had money, and was probably the most considerate trick he’d ever had, to the point of it being unsettling. He held his tee shirt in his hand, prepared to do his job again if that’s what the client wanted. It certainly wouldn’t be the chore it usually was.

“No, that’s not what I meant,” the man answered right away. “I’m serious, Armie. I really would like to get to know you.”

“Why would you want to?” This was fast becoming annoying… and worrisome. Pulling his shirt down over his head, he swallowed nervously once his face was hidden. Never let them see your fear.

“I just do, okay?”

“Sorry, man, some other time. I have other clients, you know?”

“My name’s Trent, remember?” he asked with a quiet sigh as he sat up and swung his feet to the floor. “I know there are others.” He sighed again. “I just thought we could have some dinner or something. I can cook, or order in… whatever you feel like.”

Trent was a certified ten, no doubt about it, and Armie couldn’t resist staring at his naked form. Why was a catch like this picking up street trash like him? Some hot guys enjoyed slumming, but they usually wanted rough or really weird shit. Trent didn’t… at least, not yet.

Then again, maybe he had a wife somewhere. Lots of these guys did, and getting their rocks off with a prostitute didn’t seem to be considered cheating, judging how some would brag about loving their wife. He blew out his own long breath. “Ah, thanks. It’s really nice of you to offer, but you know how this works.”

“Actually, I don’t. I’ve never done this before.”


“Yes, really. You sound surprised.”

“I am,” Armie responded. “You were pretty smooth, man.”

“It’s Trent, okay?”

“Okay, Trent. Sorry, but I’ve really got to go.” He’d lied about other clients waiting, but the way this trick was looking at him made him uncomfortable. Three hundred was a damn good haul for the night, and meant he didn’t have to work for a day or two if he didn’t feel like it.

“What do you mean, I was smooth?”

“You came right to the point, man… Trent. I can usually tell the newbies. Most of them are jittery, and usually looking around like they’re buying drugs. You came out of the bar and just asked how much, cool as a cucumber, and you obviously knew what you were doing in there,” he said with a suggestive grin, his gaze going to the bed. Johns liked to get compliments on their prowess. Only thing was, this time he wasn’t lying. Trent was an incredible lover, and Armie wasn’t sure he liked the fact he thought so. Thinking about clients after the deed was done was a definite no no.

“Yeah, well, I was nervous. I was watching you through the window, and it took me a while to work up the courage. I was worried you’d leave with someone else before got my act together. I, ah… I have a confession to make.”

Instantly, the hair stood up on the back of his neck. Was this going to get weird? He hoped not, because Trent could do some serious damage to him if things got rough. As scrappy as he could be, Armie was no match for a guy his size—he was built like one of those MMA guys, lean, but powerful, with the kind of muscles you didn’t get in a gym. “What kind of confession,” he asked warily.

“I’ve been watching you for a while and… and I really wanted to meet you.”

Watching him? Yeah, this was definitely getting weird. “What, you been creeping on me? Dude, seriously?”

“No, relax, okay? Sorry, that didn’t come out right. I’m not a nutcase or anything, I swear. It was just a bunch of coincidences. I heard you talking on the phone once… to your mother.”

“How could you hear a conversation between me and my mom? I haven’t talked to her in months, so that’s—”

“You were lying on the grass in the park, the one you always go to, and I was too, not far from where you were. I wasn’t eavesdropping—I was going over some financial reports, and the sound carried. You were upset, and I almost went over to ask if you were all right, but you took off before I could get up the nerve.”

“Why… why would you even want to do that?”

“Because you were obviously hurting, and I heard… stuff.”

“Stuff? What stuff?”

“That your mom didn’t want to see you… and how she wouldn’t let you come home because… well, I heard most of it… and it got to me.”

Armie pushed down some rising emotion as he recalled that conversation vividly. It’d happened about two months earlier, at a time he’d wanted so badly to quit this life, after two years of scrambling to survive. He’d been desperate, and tired of selling his body to make ends meet.

But, after swallowing his pride for the second time and reaching out again, his mother had repeated the same words—that he wasn’t welcome because his dad would never allow it. She didn’t have the guts to admit she didn’t want him there either, but he knew. She never once asked how he was. “So you pitied me? I don’t need anyone’s pity. Besides, it wasn’t that big a deal.”

“Wasn’t it?”

“No… it wasn’t like it was the first time I’d heard it.”

“Okay, well, I felt bad for you, but it wasn’t pity. It was more than that. You’re astonishingly beautiful, you know that?”

Astonishingly? Armie scoffed, wary still, but not quite as scared. The guy was just a little messed up. Probably liked to rescue stray puppies and kittens as a kid. “Yeah well, I’m already past my prime. There’s lots of fresh, young whores out there for you to pick from if that’s your thing.”

Trent appeared stung by his remark. “I’m not looking for a whore.”

“Well, you found one anyway. Sorry, but this is a strange conversation to be having. You want another round or what?”

“Can you stop, please?”

“Stop what?”

“I’m trying to talk to you.”

“Okay, and I’ve been listening, but you’re freaking me out.”

“I’m sorry… that’s the last thing I want to do.”

“All right, go ahead and say whatever you need to, but I’ve only got a few minutes.”

Trent shifted on the bed, and Armie watched the play of muscles in the soft lamp light, remembering distinctly how amazing every part of that body had felt. “I kept seeing you around the village after that, and you looked sad most of the time. Even tonight, sitting on the bench across from the bar, you put on a good front, but I could tell you were miserable.”

Armie scoffed again, but stayed quiet. He was surprised someone would notice. His guards must have slipped, so he’d have to watch that. Sad didn’t sell.

Looking down at his hands, Trent continued. “I know loneliness when I see it. I lost my partner twenty-three months ago. He was a soldier—killed by friendly fire. I met him the first year of university, and we had five great years before it happened”

“Sorry, man. That sucks. I lost someone too once—he didn’t die, but he might as well have.” Shit! Why did he tell him that?

“Thanks.” His eyes rose and the liquid brown of them had an unexpected effect on Armie. He couldn’t afford to be soft in his line of work. No friendships and no attachments. He’d learned that the hard way.

“My point is, you were the first person to break through the grayness. You made me see color again, and I didn’t even know you. I… I couldn’t ignore it, and… I don’t want to.”

“Look, I’m glad you’re seeing color again, but I’m an escort—a dime a dozen whore—and you can have your choice of guys. Just hit the bars, and they’ll be all over you, man, but I’m sure you already know that. Like you said, you don’t even know me.”

“I said I didn’t know you… but now I know enough, and I want to know more if you’ll let me.”

“How can you possibly know enough? That’s just crazy, dude.” He spied his socks on the floor, but was leery of turning his back on this guy.

“I know you volunteer Sundays at St. Jude’s shelter, and hand out money and food to homeless people on the street. I know you read a lot, and your favorite place to do that is the park. I know you keep to yourself most of the time, but you’re friendly and polite, and some days you go to movies alone. And, I know you’ve got an amazing smile, and when you laugh….”

Armie’s heart had picked up speed as he listened, and he realized he’d been holding his breath. He released it in a rush. “When I laugh… what?”

Trent frowned before he answered. “It’s a beautiful sound, but there’s pain in it. I know because I laugh the same way.”

“So we both know pain… so what? Everyone on the street knows pain. Dude… Trent, if you’re telling me you have a crush on me, that’s flattering and all, but it’s stupid. It’s just your dick talking, trust me. It happens, but it’ll pass.”

“That’s not it.”

“Yes, it is.”

“No, Armie, it’s not.”

“Okay, then what do you think it is?”

“I know I sound crazy, but you’re in my heart. You’re as handsome as anyone I’ve ever seen, and kind and caring, and you’re resilient… strong, even though life is battering you. You find joy in the little things, liking smelling the bouquets of flowers at the market across the street, and touching trees as you walk by them. Look, I never thought this would happen to me again, but it has. I don’t know why, but, earlier… that was the first time I’ve felt truly alive since Billy died. Tell me you didn’t feel something too.”

“No, it was good, damn good—not gonna lie—but it was just sex, man, that’s all it was, so don’t build it up into anything more.”

“I’m still freaking you out, aren’t I,” Trent stated sadly.

“Kind of, yeah. Listen… Trent… my time is valuable at night. And I really have to go.”

“No, please, not yet. You want more money?”

“No… but I’m a whore so you call the shots. It’s either sex or I’m out of here. Nothing personal, but there’s none of this getting to know me shit.” Trent’s suddenly desolate expression had Armie looking away. Those eyes made it hard to stay strong.

“Will you kiss me before you go?”

“I don’t kiss. I told you that already.”

“Even for more money?”


“Another hundred?”

“No, fuck!”

“Two hundred?”

“What the fuck, man, I’ll give you another blow job for fifty. Isn’t that a better deal?”

“No. I’d rather… I want to kiss you.”

“Not going to happen.” Armie’s gaze flicked to the man’s lips, and he swallowed. The last time he’d kissed someone was when he was eighteen. Pete. He’d loved him with all his heart, but that kiss had cost him the life he’d known up until then. Pete’s dad had found them in the act of lovemaking, and just like that, their talked-about dreams were over. That same night he was cast out by his parents after they received the dreaded phone call he knew was coming.

The next day he was a country boy on his way to the big city on a Greyhound bus, plans of college destroyed, with two hundred and sixty-six dollars to his name. A pathetic, gay fucking cliché, and Pete had been a coward who’d never responded to a single message from him. Not even the one saying goodbye.

“Okay, your rule, and I have to respect that, but I want to see you again.”

“Sure,” he said, relieved for the moment. “When? You want to make an appointment now, or text me when you want to get together? I’ll give you my number.”

Trent stood up and walked towards him. “I’ll take your number.”

“Okay, hand me your phone.”

“Right.” He turned and walked back to the side table and picked it up. Facing away, he asked another question. “How much would it take for you to stay the night? No kissing.”

“Trent… please… that’s not how it’s done.”

“So, you have more rules?”

“Yes, and I have them because they’re necessary. It’s just me out there, and I gotta look after myself.”

“It doesn’t have to be that way, Armie. Let me help,” Trent said as he handed his phone over.

“It does, though. You don’t understand now, but you will. You have this fantasy going on in your head because you’ve found your way out of that gray you were talking about.” He considered giving Trent a wrong number, but that was bad business, so he entered the correct one, hoping he wouldn’t regret it down the road.

“Because of you.”

“No! Because you were ready. I was just the guy standing in front of you at the time. If it wasn’t me, it would have been someone else.”

“You’re stubborn, aren’t you? I’m learning that, at least,” he said with a sad but still sexy grin.

“And you’re frustrating. I’m a whore, man! No one wants a whore for very long. We can hook up if you want… I’m not going to turn away good money, but….”

“But what?”

“I can’t stay the night. Here’s your phone back.”

When he handed it to him, Trent stared at the screen for a few seconds before returning his gaze to Armie. “Do you have someone? Someone waiting for you?”

“No, and I’m sure you know that, seeing as how you’ve been stalking me.”

“I haven’t been stalking you—I don’t follow you. I just can’t help watching you when I see you.”

“Then how did you know I volunteer at the shelter, or that I go to movies by myself?”

“I go to the same theater complex you do… I watch movies alone too… and if you look out any of my windows, you can see the front door of St. Jude’s to the right. I work almost completely from home, whenever the time suits me. I do a lot of walking, and I notice things like patterns because of my nerdy brain, but I swear I’m not dangerous.”

Armie sighed, relaxing slightly. “I know that.”

“Do you really?”

He nodded. “You learn to listen to vibes when you’re in my line of work.”

“I suppose you do. Do you like it? Doing what you do?”

He stiffened at the question. “What’s it matter. I do what I have to.”

“And if you had a choice?”

Now he bristled. “I don’t have one at the moment, and I don’t need some john trying to reform me like he’s a knight in shining armor. You’re not the first one who’s tried, but I’m not some naïve newbie who’s going to fall at your feet and thank you for showing kindness.”

“Hey, that’s not what I want. I’ve offended you, and I’m sorry. That wasn’t my intention.”

Armie forced himself to relax again. “It’s fine. Whores don’t have the luxury of being offended.”

Trent shook his head and sighed… loudly.

“What?” he asked, curious at the man's reaction.

“Nothing. Okay, truth is, I can feel vibes too, and you’re pretending… you act like you don’t give a shit, but you do, and you’re not happy.”

“Oh, really? Can you be more specific? What exactly am I pretending?”

“That you’re fine with how your life is. It’s bullshit, and we both know it, and I’m not trying to reform you or change you into someone you don’t want to be. I just… I just care about you.”

“Oh, so now you know what goes on in my head?”

“I’m starting to, but you’re not listening to me. I like you, Armie. I like you a lot.”

“Yeah, you said that already, and I heard you. But you don’t understand yet, and I do,” he responded bitterly.

“What don’t I understand?”

“That this is a game to you—maybe not intentionally—but you’ll want a little fling for a day or two, or even a week or two or three—something you can pretend is romantic so you can say all those sweet and caring things that make you feel good. But reality sets in eventually, and you dump the whore on the corner once you’ve tired of him.”

“No, that’s not what this is about… you’re wrong. Is that really what you think?”

“It’s what I know! Been there and done that,” he finished softly as he retrieved his socks from the floor.

“I’m sorry. I can’t imagine what life is like for you. Armie, look at me… please? All I can tell you is I don’t play games, and I would never, ever do that.”

He did look at Trent, and he saw his sincerity. Trust, though, was something he had in short supply. “What do you want from me?” he finally asked after holding eye contact that was surprisingly easy.

“Will you sit down?”

“No, I told you—”

“You don’t have to stay. Just let me talk.” He reached for Armie’s hand and took hold. “Sit with me.”

“No… look… just answer the question. What do you want from me?” He stood his ground but didn’t pull his hand away, and Trent didn’t relinquish it.

“I want a chance with you, and I’m not talking about a fling.”

“And I believe you probably mean that now, but….”

“But you don’t trust me.”

“I don’t trust anyone,” he said, withdrawing his hand from Trent’s grasp.

The man wasn’t good at hiding his disappointment when they separated. “All right. I understand how hard it is to put your faith in me, a guy you only met tonight. But you do trust your instincts, right? Your vibes?”

“Using my words against me, eh?” Staring into Trent’s eyes, he was able to relax enough to smile.

Trent smiled back. “Whatever it takes. I know I probably sound a little nuts, but I trust my instincts too, and they’re telling me my heart would be safe with you.”

“Your heart?” This gorgeous man was worried about his heart? Jeez, was he in some sort of twilight zone?

“I told you I like you, and while having sex with you was sweet and special, and everything I’d hoped it would be, I want more.”

“You mean kissing, right?” he asked flippantly, stalling for time. He was starting to fall for Trent’s little speech, and that scared the hell out of him. He wasn’t Julia Roberts and this wasn’t “Pretty Woman.” The streets were real, not some fantasy—they were gritty and dirty—and filled with pitfalls if you weren’t careful, and even if you were.

“No, and you know that. Tell me something, Armie. Do you like me?”

“Not a fair question, dude. I don’t know you.”

“Sure it is. Pretend we met in a bar and had a great conversation, a few dances, and I asked you for a date. Would you say yes?”

“Dates mean something different to me.”

“Stop doing that. You know what I mean.”

“Okay, well, a couple of years ago I would have said yes. I mean, look at you. No one’s going to turn you down. Anyway, how come you look like you’re carved from stone?”

Trent shrugged like it was no big deal. “I wrestled all through high school and university, and do some boxing as exercise now… the other bedroom’s set up as a gym with a punching bag, and I have a couple of cardio machines,” he answered dismissively. “What about you? Were you a dancer at one time? You’re pretty graceful.”

Armie snorted. “Graceful? Me? Nah, I’m a klutz on the dance floor, but I played soccer from Tykes right up until… until a couple of years ago. Other than a lot of walking, I don’t do anything physical anymore.”

“Well, you look amazing, and you move great.”


“See, we’re getting to know one another. Not so bad, right?”

“Don’t get too cocky, dude,” Armie cautioned, but he did find it easy to talk to Trent. He hadn’t revealed information about his life to anyone in a very long time.

Trent laughed. “I’ll try not to. So what’s changed in those couple of years since you would have said yes to a date?”

“Come on, man, let’s be real. I escort for a living. That’s no little thing.”

“It’s not an issue for me.”

“Yeah, right. You say that now, but…”

“Is this about your HIV status?”

“What? No! I’m negative, with a test to prove it. I don’t do unsafe shit, and I don’t do drugs!”

“Hey, I only asked to let you know it wouldn’t be a problem if you weren’t. I volunteer too, and I know all about the stigma attached to being positive.”

“Are you…?”

“No. Negative. Been no one but Billy until tonight.”

Armie had no idea why, but his eyes watered. He blinked and looked away. “You are way too good for me.”

“No one is too good for you, Armie, and don’t say I don’t know you. That is something I have no doubt about. So… you do like me?”

“Sure, but”—he swiped at his eyes—“you’re really confusing me.”

“Is that a good thing?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, let’s start with something simple. Could you ever see yourself wanting me as your boyfriend?”

Armie snorted in sudden amusement. “Boyfriend? You gonna ask me to the prom now?”

“If that’s what it takes. We’ll have to find one first and crash it,” Trent said with a smirk.

“You’re really serious, aren’t you?”

“Completely. Are you willing to give us a try?”

“Slow down, compadre. How old are you, anyway?”

“Twenty-five. Twenty-six this winter. You?”

“Twenty-one in three months. Like I said, I’m past my prime. You own this place?”

“I do. Lock, stock, and barrel. My mom… she was sick for a while, and passed away six months after I lost Billy, so, being her only child, I inherited her house. It took me a while, but I realized I couldn’t stay there. It was too big, with too many memories of her and Billy—we lived in her basement before he deployed—so I sold it and bought this place about eight months ago. I wouldn’t mind a house again one day, but this will do for now—it’s a good investment. What about you? Where do you live?”

Trent had been hit with a double whammy, and Armie felt genuine sympathy for him. “You’ve been through a lot in the last couple of years.”

He shrugged. “I have, but I got through it, and I’ve learned a lot about myself… and about life. It doesn’t make sense to waste time, because you just never know. Hell, my mom was only forty-three. So anyway, enough about me. You were saying?”

“Ah, what were we talking about?”

“I asked you where you lived.”

“Oh, right. I’m surprised you didn’t follow me there,” he said teasingly, getting an amused eye roll from Trent. Why was everything he did so damn sexy? “I’m lucky enough to share a room on Queen Street with a pothead who snores. It’s why I’m always in the park—hate the smell of that stuff. I’ve seen you there a few times, by the way. Anyway it’s cheap, and I can save my money.”

“You’ve seen me at the park? That’s a surprise.”

“Why is that a surprise?”

“Because I didn’t think you knew I existed.”

“Of course I did. You’re well worth checking out,” he added with a grin. “I’ve seen you there and other places, but I don’t make eye contact unless I’m working.”

“Oh, I see. Good to know you at least checked me out.” He looked adorably smug, and Armie had to admit he enjoyed causing such a reaction.

“I’m sure you get checked out a lot.”

“That may be, but I don’t care about anyone else. Just you. So, what are you saving for?”

Drawn in by the man’s intensity and directness, Armie almost lost his train of thought. “Oh, ah… online courses, and a nicer place eventually. Maybe some management and marketing courses that will lead to a degree in business… or something. Any job you apply for that isn’t flipping burgers, they want to see a degree before they’ll even talk to you.”

“So, you’re ambitious.”

“Believe it or not, yeah. I have plans.”

“Doesn’t surprise me. So is that the answer to my question?”

“What question?”

“The one that offended you.”

“Oh… that. Yeah, I hate what I do, and I hate myself for doing it, but I’ve learned to deal. It’s all about compartmentalizing, I guess. I’m careful, and I have a purpose. I have aspirations.” He shifted his weight from foot to foot as he felt Trent’s scrutiny, but for some reason, it wasn’t bothering him like it should have.

“Would you give it up?”

“For you?”

“For us.”

“There is no us.”

“Yes there is. I know you feel it. Am I wrong?”

“I don’t know how to answer that. The thing is I have to make a living, and if I stop escorting, all I have to fall back on is mopping floors two nights a week, and I can’t survive on that.”


“Yeah, oh.”

“I said oh because I didn’t know you had another job. Look, I don’t want to offend you again—”

“Then don’t. This is silly to consider anyway.”

Trent sighed. “I know it sounds crazy, but please don’t say that. What if….”

“What if what?”

“What if I was your only client for a couple of weeks, and then you can make a decision? Would that be something you’d consider?”

Armie was struck with a flash of pain. Client? That was the reality, wasn’t it? He put his head down.

“I did it again, didn’t I,” Trent uttered softly.

“No,” he answered, whispering the word. “All I can be is your whore, and that’s just the way it is.”


“Trent, you’re really sweet and really hot, but this won’t work.”

“Because you don’t want it to?”

“No, because I know how it will end, and I’m going to be the one who gets hurt. We’ve only known each other for three hours, and most of that was showering and fucking.”

“I’ve known you for months… you just have to catch up. And if you can accept the help, I could get you a really good job with great benefits. Just say the word and—”

“Stop! Just stop… please.”

“Sorry,” Trent said, looking chagrined. “I didn’t mean to sound pushy. Okay, so what do we do now?”

“We? I don’t know about you, but I guess I go now.”

“Can I call you tomorrow?”

“Ah, sure, I guess.”

“You guess?”

“I mean yeah, you can call, but I don’t think I want you as a client anymore.”

“What are you saying?”

“It wouldn’t feel right to take money from you after this… knowing what I do.”

“So caring for you rules me out? You’re never going to see me again?”

“It would just be too difficult.”

“Why? Why would it be too difficult?”

“Because it could get messy. Look, I like you, Trent. I don’t know you, but I like you, and I don’t want there to be any confusion about—”

“Then show some courage, Armie, I dare you,” Trent said gently. “Take a leap with me, and let’s do this together. I could get you a full-time job in retail. It would be mostly cashier work at first, but there is lots of room for advancement. Just say the word, and once you complete your courses, you could enter a management trainee program there or somewhere else.”

“How could you possibly do that?”

“My best friend just opened her third retail outlet, and she owes me. Besides being her favorite shoulder to cry on, I do all her bookwork at a reduced rate. She’s always looking for presentable people, and you are certainly that.”

“And what if it didn’t work out?”

“Then you look for something else. I have other businesses as clients.”

“No, I mean with us?”

“Are you worried about that?”

“Yes, of course I am.”

“Good. That tells me you’re with me on this.”

“No, wait… don’t be jumping the gun. This is happening way too fast.”

“Fast, yeah, but so what? I can get you an interview tomorrow, or whenever you want. I talked to her this afternoon, and I know she needs people now. And, she doesn’t want any more teenagers, and since you’re past your prime….”

Armie rolled his eyes in amusement. “Very funny. I was talking about you and me.”

“I know,” Trent said with a grin that came across as victorious. “Will you at least think about it?”

Still uncertain, he nodded slowly. He’d tried many times to get a job like Trent was talking about, but with so many applicants for each one, you had to know someone. “I’ll think about it. I really should get going.”

Walking over to the bedroom window, he looked out. A full moon hung so close it seemed he could reach out and touch it. It showed the streets of the gay village six stories below in sharp relief, streets he’d walked many times and knew way too well. He was aware of Trent moving up beside him, but he continued staring straight ahead.

“Make a wish,” Trent whispered in his ear, causing a shiver.

“I don’t believe in making wishes. They never come true.”

“Not so far, maybe, but make one anyway. I made one last month, and here you are, right beside me.”


“Yeah… I know.”

After a minute of standing still, he looked sideways, and Trent’s expression stirred all kinds of emotions in him. A sad half-smile appeared on the handsome face before he turned his gaze away. Armie studied his profile, trying to be discreet. Was this guy for real? He wanted to believe he was, but he was afraid. His brain screamed this was insane to be considering, but his instincts told him Trent was a good man who, for whatever reason, genuinely believed they had a chance.

He ignored the inner battle, and with one finger, turned Trent’s head back towards him. Raising up on his toes and leaning forward, he did something unexpected by both of them, and brushed his lips against Trent’s. The man responded, deepening the kiss in increments, and his hands soon cupped Armie’s face. By the time the kiss ended, he knew what his choice was—the only one it could be.

“You kissed me,” Trent uttered, a blissful smile on his face. “I thought you didn’t do that.”

“I don’t.”

“So, did it mean something?”


“Good. Care to enlighten me?”

Trent’s obvious happiness made Armie laugh. “Nope, not yet,” he teased. “Enough conversation… I’m hungry.”

“Oh God, me too. Just for future reference, you should know sex always makes me hungry. What would you like?”

“Ah, buttered toast?”

“Is that all?”

“For now,” he said as he pulled the naked man closer. Kissing him had burst a dam, and now he wanted more. Trent obliged, and Armie felt a jolt of the magic that had been missing from his life.

“You kissed me again! Lord, this is so good… better than I could have imagined. Billy would be so happy for me. Are you staying the night? The week? Forever?”

“Cool your jets, hot stuff. One day at a time, okay?”

“Okay… but I have to warn you my jets are running hot right now.”

“I can tell,” he said, glancing downward.

They both chuckled before Trent leaned his forehead against Armie’s. He spoke in an almost whisper. “It’s what you do to me. So are you staying the night?”

Trent’s breath washed over his face, and he felt the exquisite intimacy of the moment. It was more of the magic he’d been missing. Nodding slowly, he allowed a huge smile to accompany his words. “Yes, I’m staying the night… no charge.”

The bigger man took it the way it was meant, and laughed before he picked him up and swung him around. “This is going to work, Armie. I won’t let you down, I promise.”

“I believe you.”

“You do? Really?” His eyes, suddenly serious, searched Armie’s, their faces only inches apart.

“Yes, now put me down and make me toast.”

Trent blew out a blast of relieved air and started walking. “I’ll put you down in the kitchen, okay?”

“Do I have a choice?”

“Don’t think so,” Trent answered, grinning as he lifted him a little higher.

“Are you going to make me toast naked?”

“I sure am. Any objections?”

“Nope, not a one,” he answered, enjoying all these new sensations as he was carried down the hallway. Who in their right mind would object to that?

His gaze went to the front windows as Trent finally put him down—he could see the moon from where he stood, and it still seemed within reach. Would the wish he’d made in the bedroom come true? A face soon blocked his view, and a moan escaped as those magic lips found his once more. Crazy or not, it was beginning to feel like it already had….





Thanks for reading, and thanks to Timothy M. for editing, and Valkyrie for proofing. So, did you enjoy this little story? Please share any thoughts you have in the comment section if you can. It would be appreciated. Cheers! Gary

Copyright © 2020 Headstall; All Rights Reserved.

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Friends in the business have told me the boyfriend experience is one of the most requested services. Interracial settings and three ways with couples are the other ones. Considering Trent's wealth and looks, he's definitely not the type of John my friends have described. LOL

A tad too sweet for my taste, but well written and paced. Trent's a stalker, alright. :)

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46 minutes ago, ColumbusGuy said:

I loved this slice of urban life and the way you crafted a happy ending for Trent and Armie that actually was more than the standard result for this type of encounter.
When I first moved to Columbus and would go out to bars with friends or singly, I was approached by such 'temporary companions', sadly mostly female...obviously of no interest though I was polite in turning them down.  The only time a man made such an approach was at a party with a mix of gay and straight friends, and it took a bit to realize what he was hinting at.  I'm fairly sure he wasn't gay, but needed money, and he also had other services like minor repairs and such.  Weird.  
I'm not sure if I didn't hang out in the right spots, or didn't have tons of money because I never saw an escort like in your story...sigh.  :)
Almost missed this one as it was the last thing in the queue!


Hey, CG! In the gay village, escorts are everywhere. Not in your face present, but easily noticed and easily found. I can't begin to tell you how many times I was approached, mainly because I am very social and friendly. Guys who have earned a living that way in the past are usually very open about it... it's a fact of gay life... especially young gay life. Sadly, many young guys with no means get passed from guy to guy, looking for love and a place to stay. 

There are happy endings to be found... for example, I know of a 'dancer' who had a 'client,' and they are still together twenty years later. Happy and monogamous. They were our neighbors when I lived in Toronto. I'm glad you enjoyed Trent and Armie's story... I enjoyed telling it. Thanks, as always for your support, my dear friend... happy to hear your last eye appointment went well. :heart:  :hug: xoxoxo 

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10 minutes ago, Carlos Hazday said:

Friends in the business have told me the boyfriend experience is one of the most requested services. Interracial settings and three ways with couples are the other ones. Considering Trent's wealth and looks, he's definitely not the type of John my friends have described. LOL

A tad too sweet for my taste, but well written and paced. Trent's a stalker, alright. :)

Lol. No, Trent is a bona fide Prince Charming for sure, and not your typical John. Apparently, Role play is another popular request. I don't think I would call Trent a stalker... remember in high school when you would watch someone from afar, noticing what they liked, and where they spent their time? (seriously, I was never a stalker... but I did have one :P ). I sort of see Trent like that. He developed a crush after two years of loneliness, and slowly realized how sweet and caring and special Armie was. You can sit on a seat on a patio, having a beer or a glass of wine, or on the steps of a coffee place in the village, and witness so much in a few hours. The village is like a small town... I'm sure yours isn't much different in that respect.  

And, speaking of sweet, this is definitely a sweet story, but you know that's how I roll. :) Love can happen anywhere... and when it's right, it's right. That remains to be seen with these guys, but sometimes you have to take a chance. My money's on them... I think the timing is right. 

Thanks, Carlos, for reading and commenting... I appreciate it. Cheers! 

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26 minutes ago, pvtguy said:

Your excellence is showing once again, Gary!  I love your writing.

At first, I thought it was a bit creepy - almost stalking - until Trent explained how he "knew" Arnie.  And he did!  What a beautiful story.  I do hope they appear in future writings. 



Hey, Tony! You weren't alone in thinking Trent was creepy... Armie thought the same thing. And yes, Trent did know Armie... and Armie has some catching up to do. I really like these characters, so who knows... Maybe we'll see them again. :)  Thanks for the great comment, and for loving my writing, buddy... it means a lot to hear that... cheers... Gary.... :hug: 

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Loved the story... I've met people like Armie... Is the story over?

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7 minutes ago, Nahrung said:

Loved the story... I've met people like Armie... Is the story over?

Hey, Neal! I've met guys like Armie too, and some are friends. Yeah, this anthology story is complete but that doesn't mean we won't see these characters again. Happy to hear you loved the story. I really liked writing these guys. :)  Thanks for reading and commenting... cheers... Gary.... :hug: 

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They were both taking a risk, and Trent probably realized during their talk how big the danger of scaring Armie off was. But Armie rose to the challenge and dared to trust once more. I think he made the right choice.

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Trent finally managed to break through the barrier Arnie had erected around himself in order to survive. Or did Arnie actually decide it was the right time and the right person for him to start dismantling it? 

A good story with which to finish the Anthology series.

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8 hours ago, Timothy M. said:

They were both taking a risk, and Trent probably realized during their talk how big the danger of scaring Armie off was. But Armie rose to the challenge and dared to trust once more. I think he made the right choice.

I'm sure Trent realized it could go either way. He showed a lot of courage in putting himself out there like that. Although it was a transaction, Trent didn't think of it that way... but Armie did. As clumsy as he was, Trent's sincerity finally came through, and the 'gray' lifted for Armie too, enough that he let himself feel again, and accept the risk he was taking. I don'[t think it's going to prove a risk at all. :) 

Thanks Tim. I appreciate you reading and commenting... cheers... G. :hug: 

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6 hours ago, Ivor Slipper said:

Trent finally managed to break through the barrier Arnie had erected around himself in order to survive. Or did Arnie actually decide it was the right time and the right person for him to start dismantling it? 

A good story with which to finish the Anthology series.

I think it was a combination of both, Ivor. Armie was ready to pack it all in and return home a couple of months ago, and Trent knew this. His hopes did have some basis for optimism. Still, it took a lot of courage for him to tell a 'stranger' he'd fallen in love with him. And Armie's being rebuffed by his mother put him back into his protective shell, but it didn't mean he wanted to be there. So, yes, I think you are right that the timing was right, and Trent definitely sounds like the right guy. 

I'm pleased to hear you liked it, buddy... thanks and cheers... G. :hug: 

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It'a all been said..."beautiful transition..", "expecting no less from you", etc....suffice it to say Gary, you could rewrite the 'frikin constitution' and we'd ALL read that thing from cover to cover...TWICE...and beg for "more please"!!!:worship: Another gorgeous 'shorty' from you...and we appreciate and thank you!!!!:thankyou: Stay safe, my friend and continue to give us brief respites from "S__t Show" surrounding us now!! :hug:(air hugs)😄

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19 minutes ago, Onim said:

It'a all been said..."beautiful transition..", "expecting no less from you", etc....suffice it to say Gary, you could rewrite the 'frikin constitution' and we'd ALL read that thing from cover to cover...TWICE...and beg for "more please"!!!:worship: Another gorgeous 'shorty' from you...and we appreciate and thank you!!!!:thankyou: Stay safe, my friend and continue to give us brief respites from "S__t Show" surrounding us now!! :hug:(air hugs)😄

Lol. Thanks for the vote of confidence, my lady. I'm not sure I could make the 'friken constitution' interesting, but I appreciate the thought... think I'll stick to gay fiction. :P  So happy you liked this one... like you, I need these respites too, and writing, as hard as it's been to stay motivated, gives me those. We are definitely in a shite show... I stay as safe as I can because my kids will execute me if I don't. :unsure2:  You stay safe too, dear friend, and I will try to continue giving you something new to read, to help take your mind off this horrible Malaise (see what I did there? :P ) Cheers, and be well... Gary.... :hug: 

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1 hour ago, DamnDogs said:

Would love for this story to continue.   

Actually, so would I. :yes:  Thanks, DamnDogs... you just never know. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on the story and I'm pleased you enjoyed it. Cheers... Gary.... 

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After reading the other comments, I am left without an original thought or different point of view. These characters are engaging. The dialogue seemed realistic. You brought a different look and feel to the escort falls in love theme. I enjoyed every minute of it! I would enjoy reading more about these two, but I agree this was a good place to end this story. Thanks for making my afternoon a little better!

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1 hour ago, JeffreyL said:

After reading the other comments, I am left without an original thought or different point of view. These characters are engaging. The dialogue seemed realistic. You brought a different look and feel to the escort falls in love theme. I enjoyed every minute of it! I would enjoy reading more about these two, but I agree this was a good place to end this story. Thanks for making my afternoon a little better!

Hey, Jeff! Always great to hear from you. This one was all about taking risks and putting yourself out there. Trent did that, and in the end, so has Armie. I'm pleased you found the story complete... I am toying with the idea of adding to this, but there is a lot on my plate already. Maybe another short story would work. :)  Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, buddy... much appreciated... Cheers... Gary....

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1 hour ago, mfa607 said:

Loved this! Thank you, great story!

Hey, mfa! Thank you! Thanks for sharing that with me.... appreciate it. Cheers, and stay safe... Gary.... :hug: 

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A nice story but too short, it needs more chapters to flesh out the characters.

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3 hours ago, Bft said:

A nice story but too short, it needs more chapters to flesh out the characters.

Hey, Bft! I'm glad you liked it, but yeah, it definitely could have been a longer story. It's possible I still might add to it, but as you know, all Antho entries have to be complete. I like these characters, and there is lot more that could be told both before and after they get together. I like writing short stories, but sometimes they can be frustrating when your brain wants to keep going... and mine did. :( Cheers, my friend... stay safe... Gary.... :hug:  

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