“That was quite the day,” Stef said, as he and I collapsed into the soft seats of the Maybach. All I really wanted to do was sit there, say nothing, and try not to be in a pissed off mood, but Stef was evidently insistent on having a conversation, just one of the many things he’d done to seriously annoy me today.
“It was,” I agreed, forcing myself to be in a good mood, even though it took a herculean effort.We’d gone to the Gen Art show at the Manhattan Center on West 34th Street, and it had been a great event. Zac Posen had debuted his line there.Everyone loved him, even if they didn’t always like his stuff, but in this case his show turned out really well.He’d been the star of the show, but he’d still made a point to come up and talk to me, which I though was really sweet.
“Zac Posen is certainly coming into his own as a designer,” Stef opined.
“I really liked the way his stuff was simple and sleek,” I said.
“I think his choice in colors has improved,” Stef said.“Rumor has it you had something to do with that.”
“I just gave him my opinion on a few things,” I said in a self-deprecating way.Stef gave me an odd look, since I certainly didn’t used to be that way, but I guess my time with Bellona had taught me not to be too vocal about taking credit for things.“He had this hideous peach thing at his preview show, the one I went to with Aunt Claire.I told him to ditch that.”
“That layered pastel dress was part of that show was it not?” Stef asked.
“It was,” I confirmed.“That was my favorite.”
“Mine too,” Stef agreed.He finally shut up and left me to my own thoughts.He’d been annoying as fuck at the show tonight, blatantly hitting on all the hot guys we ran into.He must have handed out over fifty cards as he told them to call him.It was like hanging around with a 50-year-old version of Will.He was determined to be a total slut, and that would inevitably reflect back on me.I had flashbacks to Norway, where Will had come to my skating competition and fucked a bunch of guys, and that’s all anyone talked about.Just like Will had totally stolen my limelight, so Stef was doing that by making me seem like a frigid prude.
I wasn’t quite sure how I did it, but I managed to stop that train of thought and focus on the other issue that had been bothering me since we’d had dinner:Carullo.No sooner had I wrestled my mind under control than we got back to Tribeca and I was distracted by the huge production that was Stef arriving at the condo. I managed to escape back to my room, mostly since Stef was occupied talking to Julian.I rolled my eyes, thinking that dealing with the two of them would be so frustrating I’d probably be ready to beat up a puppy by the end of the week.
I stripped off my clothes so I was only wearing boxers, laid out my outfit for the morning, then sat on the chaise in my room, sulking.Stef’s words about Carullo had slowly begun to work their way into my psyche, only to have me shut them out to stop myself from feeling guilty. That brought on a frown.I really thought Stef could have been nicer about the whole thing.He’d pretty much skinned me alive.If he would have said what he wanted to say in a more pleasant way, maybe I’d have felt better about the whole situation.
My mind wandered back to Will and his nightmare battles with my father, and how on his birthday after Maddy and Riley had been born, he’d just about come unglued when my father, Grand, and Stef had started giving him shit about Tony.As if anyone should bother to worry about Tony Carbone at all.Will had been pretty upset that they’d just piled all that criticism on him and he’d told me that if he’d actually listened to what they said, he’d be a fucking mess.How ironic that he should worry about how people said things to him, when he was more likely to create a scene and scar people’s feelings than the other way around.That took my wandering mind to thoughts of him and Alex together, but I reeled those thoughts in, only to find myself thinking about Carullo instead.
I felt really guilty about how I’d dealt with him, which was the result of what Stef was trying to say, even though he’d been such a bitch about it.I’d been grappling with this all night long.Even as I’d admired the work by Posen and the other designers, I’d feel guilty about how I’d treated Carullo, then I’d be mad because I felt guilty and couldn’t enjoy the show, then I’d blame him for ruining my evening, then I’d be mad at him.Only that would fade, and I’d feel guilty about how I’d treated him plus I’d feel even more guilty for blaming him for my bad mood.The cycle would repeat, until I’d be internally more grumpy and guilty than the time before.
I sat there torturing myself, trying to figure out what to do.There was a certain amount of satisfaction in doing nothing about this thing, and thus showing Stef that his bitchiness was ineffective, but my internal ramblings would damage me too much.I sighed even as I heaved myself off the chaise, feeling the fatigue try to keep me from moving farther than my bed, but I fought that off and walked out of my room, and through the condo until I got to Carullo’s room.I put my head against the door and heard nothing, so I knocked gently.I got no response, and I was tempted to just leave him alone.Instead I just stood there outside his door, wrestling with whether to peek in on him or not.I was about to give up and head back to my room when my rationalization skills kicked in.I reasoned that he’d put his dick in my ass, and that should be enough to let me check up on him when he was sleeping.I went to open the door then stopped, horrified, wondering if he was in there with someone else.If he was, I’d probably lose it.Was it worth the risk?I must have stood there for five minutes with my hand on the door, until I realized I was being a total wimp.
I opened the door and walked in, letting the light from the hallway shine a path to his bed.I was lucky in that he was alone, so at least I didn’t have to deal with that.I closed the door and let my eyes adjust to the darkness, then carefully walked to the bed, making sure I didn’t trip.How absolutely pathetic would that be if I snuck into his room, only to fall on my nose.I got to the bed, where the lights from New York wafted through the window and settled on his body, giving it a strange glow.He was laying on his back, snoring softly, even as he twitched a bit as he slept.He must be dreaming, because he seemed a little agitated.I pulled the covers back and slid into his bed, then moved up to him carefully before putting my head on his chest.He stirred, then stiffened.“Joey?” he asked, in a sleepy but surprised way.
That could have pissed me off, but I wasn’t that bitchy, or at least I wasn’t at this moment.My heart went out to this guy who still carried the pain with him from 9-11, who still hadn’t dealt with it.“John,” I said softly, even as I stroked his chest.
He stiffened even more as he woke up and tilted his head forward to see who was laying on his chest, then he relaxed back into the bed and I felt his arm wrap around me, pulling me in and making me feel welcome.“What are you doing here?”
“I came in to see you and tell you all about my day,” I said in a chipper way, even as I smiled up at him.
“And it didn’t bother you that I was sleeping?” he joked caustically.
“That might bother you, but why would that bother me?” I asked playfully.
“That would bother you, especially if it was a morning you were trying to sleep in,” he said.
“Whatever,” I said, and pretended to pout.
“I’ll bet you came in here because you were horny and you wanted me to sate your carnal desires,” he said, trying to sound all sexy. I started laughing.
“Sate my carnal desires?Seriously?”
“I read that in a book somewhere,” he said.“I thought it sounded romantic.”
“Dude, it sounds slutty,” I joked, then looked up at him.“I came in here to tell you I was sorry.”
“I’m the one who should be sorry,” he said, and looked away from me guiltily.
“Look, I don’t apologize very often, so you should enjoy this,” I said, pretending to be pissed.When he started laughing his ass off, I actually did get a little annoyed.
“I dumped all of my issues, all of my shit on you, and basically told you to deal with it,” he said.He was so transparent that it was easy to see how much he regretted it.
“Yeah, you did,” I agreed.It was funny to see that it irritated him when I agreed with his guilty ranting.“But you tried to be honest with me, and tell me what was going on, and rather than trying to help you out and work things through, I lacerated you.”
“Lacerated? Dude, that’s worse than carnal desires,” he said, giving me shit.
“I think not,” I replied loftily, imitating Grand, then giggled.I slipped off my boxers, then slid on top of him.“Speaking of carnal desires…”And then he took me on a wild ride, one that left me shivering.
“You’re a lot of fun,” he said to me, as we lay there enjoying the afterglow, in much the same position as we’d been when I’d first snuck into his room.
“You made me feel things I never thought were possible,” I said, sighing.
“It’s just as much you,” he insisted, giving my fragile sexual ego a boost.
“I’m really unhappy about you packing up all your things,” I said in a pouty way.
“Jay, I got no choice,” he objected.“I love my job.I gotta move.”
“But you can leave at least some of your things here,” I said.“I want you to do that, and I want you to feel free to come back here whenever you want.”
He shook his head.“I’ve done nothing but jerk you around this past month.I can’t do that.”
“Look, like I said before, it’s not all your fault,” I insisted, which bugged the shit out of me.I hated admitting I was wrong to begin with, but then to have to argue about it was maddening.“Stef accused me of being immature.”
“You and I could be good if we were together at a different time,” he said, all but confirming that I was being immature.I fought back the rage that threatened to consume me.
“Well we’re not,” I snapped, then changed the subject.“I want to go to Bristol with you when you shop for apartments.”
“You do?” he asked, confused.
“I do,” I confirmed.“And I’m going to help you decorate it.”
“You are not going to decorate my apartment,” he objected.
“I am, because you have horrible taste,” I said, teasing him.
He grimaced.“My family was giving me shit about that the last time I went home, telling me I was all classy now.”
“I wouldn’t go that far,” I said, teasing him.
“Jay, you’re a really special friend,” he said, and hugged me tightly.“I can’t be your boyfriend, but you’re the only dude I bareback.”
That wasn’t really what I wanted, but it was probably all that was possible at this point, so I decided to make the best of it.“Cool,” I said, and drifted off to sleep.
I was awoken the next morning, alone in Carullo’s bed, to the sounds of John’s hairdryer, but it was a constant, melodic sound, one that I could zone out.That noise would have been OK, but there was also someone knocking on the door, with the knocks getting louder and more urgent when they got no response.“John,” I heard a deep voice say.“Johnny!”What was some guy doing in the condo at 7am, banging on Carullo’s door?I figured if I ignored him, he’d go away, but he kept knocking and calling out for John.
I got up and stalked toward the door and pulled it open angrily.“What?!” I demanded loudly.The guy in front of me was wearing just a towel.He was probably six feet tall, blond, and had an amazing body, one that suggested he spent much of his free time at the gym.He was gorgeous, so it was no surprise he was a model.I’d seen him at the show yesterday: he’d been one of the guys Stef had been flirting with. Evidently he’d spent the night.
“Dude, I am so sorry,” he said as soon as he saw me.“I did not mean to wake you up.”I was willing to admit that I was a total bitch in the morning, and I was especially ferocious when people woke me up, but this guy had played me perfectly by apologizing profusely.Plus it was hard to be mad at someone who was as handsome as him.I ignored the fact that he’d obviously been with Carullo before, and he’d been with him here in the condo.
“It’s fine,” I lied.“John’s in the shower.”
“Oh, OK,” he said, and seemed really stressed out.
“What did you want?” I asked.
“I have to be at Bryant Park in an hour and the other showers are all being used,” he said.“I was going to see if Johnny would let me use his.”
I grimaced.“Come on,” I said, and led him back to my room.“You can use my shower.”
“Thanks!” he said, with a huge smile, and gave me a sweet kiss on the cheek.“I think we met yesterday, but you probably don’t remember me.I’m Derek.”
“I remember you,” I said, as I shook his hand.“I don’t think I’ve seen anyone wear Kevin Cole so well. I’m Jeremy.”
“I know who you are,” he said, flirting with me, then went in to use my bathroom.I went back to the kitchen and made myself a light breakfast, only to be joined a few minutes later by two other guys, both as hunky as the dude in my shower.
“Morning,” one of them said, a guy who looked a little like Carullo.“I’m Vince.”
“Hello,” I said frigidly and introduced myself.The other guy’s name was Dave, and he was a cute redhead.These guys were at the show yesterday too.After the introductions, they ignored me and helped themselves to a glass of orange juice.
“Dude, that was one fun night,” Vince said to Dave.“You coming back for the party tonight?” What the fuck was he talking about?What party?
“I’m here,” Dave said emphatically.“See you,” he said to me, and they both hurried out of the condo.I just stared after them, wondering what the fuck was going on.Was Stef planning to host non-stop orgies here during the entire week?
September 16, 2003
Palo Alto, CA
I walked toward my room, so exhausted I felt like there was lead in my feet.I so desperately wanted to reach the sanctuary of my room and spend the 45 minutes I had before dinner trying to recover.I’d been up late with Dillon, so I’d started my day tired.School had been grueling, then I’d had practice for the talent show.I had missed a lot of the sessions, and I didn’t have the choreography down like I was supposed to, which got me some vicious glares from Marie.I tried to figure out when I’d have time to practice, but it probably wasn’t happening.I’d have to hope I could pull this off just with our after-school practices.Then on my way home I’d had a relatively unpleasant conversation with JJ.He’d bitched at me for sleeping with Alex, and then I’d groveled and told him why I did it, and he’d pretty much forgiven me.After we’d gotten that out of the way, he’d gone on a full-scale ranting tirade about how Stef was fucking damn near everyone in New York City.I guess the good news was that he was so hyped up about Stef, he’d pretty much blown off the whole deal with me and Alex.
I got to my door and heard the sounds of video games beyond it, along with Dillon’s voice yelling.He must be playing on X-box Live.Dillon told me he was a slacker, and I’d kind of assumed he was bullshitting me, but he pretty much spent the whole day yesterday working out and playing on my X-Box.He’d probably done the same thing today.That started to bother me, but then I smiled when I thought of Dillon, and how cute he was.We’d blown each other, and frotted, but that’s as far as it went.My smile got bigger as I grabbed the door and thought about how awesome it would be to get him to fuck me. That definitely put a spring in my step.
The sight that greeted me when I walked into my room completely destroyed my optimism.Dillon was hanging out in his gym clothes, and had pretty much trashed my room.There were a couple of plates with leftover food on the floor next to him, video games scattered around, and his socks and shoes in entirely different parts of my space.“Hey,” I said.He nodded at me and kept on playing, totally absorbed in his game.“Hey,” I repeated more loudly.
“Hey,” he said, and pulled his headset partly away from his ear.“I’m almost done with this game.”I started picking up his shit and putting it away, and after ten minutes, when he still hadn’t stopped playing, I decided to take a shower to wake myself up.It was no surprise that he didn’t come join me.
I got dressed for dinner and walked back out into my room, to find him just as I left him.“Dude, it’s almost seven,” I said.
“I’ll just grab something and eat here,” he said, totally blowing me off to focus on his game.I just shook my head and went up to the dining room.My father and Jake were up in the City, so it was just Grand, Grandmaman, Frank, and I.
“Did you chase away all the hockey players?” I asked Grand playfully.
“Evidently they had planned to have dinner out tonight,” he replied.“I was under the impression that Dillon was still here.”
“He’s playing video games, and decided that was more important than having dinner with us,” I said acidly, letting them see how much that annoyed me. We sat down and started eating before I raised the next topic.“Have you spoken to Stef?”
“I have,” he said succinctly.
“Evidently he has filled the condo in Tribeca with hot models,” I said.“JJ is not happy about it.”
“I think it was made clear to JJ that the condo in Tribeca is a family property, and not his personal domain,” Grand said.
“Still, since he is living there, surely that warrants some respect?” Grandmaman said.
“I do not think that the respect you refer to includes banning a family member from inviting a few guests over,” Grand replied, gamely defending Stef.
“JJ told me that last night, three guys spent the night with Stef,” I said.“I would like to ask you to remember that the next time he gives me crap for my sex life.”
“Three men?” Grandmaman asked, raising an eyebrow.“It sounds as if Stefan thinks he is 25 again.”
“I suspect that he does,” Grand said, trying desperately to shut down this topic.
“And that does not bother you?” she asked, probing.
He put down his utensils and eyed her intensely, then shifted his look to me, as if to make sure we would both know how much he was not enjoying this conversation, and then his annoyance seemed to miraculously evaporate.“It does not.”
“Why not?” I asked, and got to witness the return of his nasty look.“I’m not trying to bust your balls over this, I’m just trying to figure out what you’re thinking.”He nodded, and gathered his thoughts.
“Those three other men, along with others he may have trysts with, will be lucky to experience Stefan’s body and his lovemaking skills,” he said.I was almost stunned at how he didn’t seem jealous at all.“That means nothing to me, because I have his soul.”
I thought about that and smiled.“I understand.Thanks for explaining it to me.”
“You are welcome,” he said.He swallowed hard, then changed topics.“I spoke to Stefan today, and he was enjoying himself so much, he has decided to stay in New York through the weekend.”
“He’ll miss the talent show on Friday,” Grandmaman said, the disapproval clear in her voice.“That is an important family event.”
“I am not sure I would classify it as a family event,” Grand said.I could tell he was nervous about this, because he was on shaky ground with his arguments.
“No?” Grandmaman challenged.“Marie has organized the entire thing, and she, along with Will and John, will both have important roles in the event.We are sitting at a table with our entire family, along with the Hobarts.I am not clear how it could be more of a family event.”
Grand looked at me, seemingly for help, so I dutifully jumped in.“It’s really Stef’s choice whether to show up or not.Speaking for me, it’s no big deal if he stays in New York.”
“You do not care if he is there or not?” Grandmaman asked.It was like she smelled blood, and was trying to find out if I was pissed at Stef.
“It would be nice if he was there, but as long as the rest of you show up, I’ll be cool with it,” I said, then sighed.“I’ll be much more upset if this causes a big argument.”Ironically enough, if it was one of my brothers who was blowing off a family gathering, I’d be all over them about it, but in this case, the battle about Stef not being there was for other people to fight.
“Perhaps I will call Stefan and chat with him about this,” Grandmaman said in a menacing way.
“Perhaps you should,” Grand said, using that as an excuse to switch to more mundane topics.
After dinner I went back to my room to find Dillon pretty much like I left him, only there were more plates near him.Evidently he thought he could have people bring food to him, like this was a hotel with room service.I swallowed and tried to control my temper, even as I felt my controls slipping away, then walked over and stood in front of the television.“Dude, move!” he said emphatically.
“Look, I have work to do, and I have to get some sleep tonight,” I said in a pretty pissed off way.
“You just fucked up my game! My whole team will be all pissed off!” he said.
“I could give a shit less,” I said in such a nasty way it knocked him back on his heels a bit.“If you want, you can take my X-Box and set it up in your room.”
“That’s cool,” he said, but in an irritated way.“Thanks.”
He started disconnecting it from my television and pulling all the stuff together in a really disorganized way.I could have helped him, but I was too annoyed to do that.In the end, I opted to help out by opening the door.“One more thing,” I said, as he left.
“You’re supposed to eat in the kitchen or dining room,” I explained.“There’s no room service here.”
“Fine,” he snapped, and shuffled off to his room.I spent the next half hour cleaning things up and getting my homework out, then I knocked it out and got some well-needed rest.
September 16, 2003
It had been another very long day.Stef and I had gone to a dinner, then he’d opted to go back to the condo.He’d done the same thing today that he’d done yesterday, flitting around like an idiot talking to all the hot guys who were at the show.I was so annoyed with him, and so ready to be rid of him, that instead of going back with him I went to an event at a gallery.Patrick Christian had invited me to go to another party after that, so I’d gone with him and ended up having a fun time.But when it had gotten to be about 11:30, I’d decided it was time to go home and crash.It wasn’t until almost midnight that I made it back.I took the elevator up to the condo and as I walked up to the door, I was surprised to hear really loud noises, a combination of music and talking.I open the door and without it as a shield, the sounds hit me like a shockwave.I shut the door, standing there all but stunned as I looked into the main area, which was filled with guys and had loud music playing.I so did not need to deal with a party in my house after a long day like this, especially when I wasn’t planning for it.
I thought about Carullo and got worried.He had to work tomorrow, and I’d kept him up pretty late last night.There’s no way he could sleep through this.“Hey,” a handsome guy said to me, with a slight leer, as he walked by me on the way to the kitchen.
“Hello,” I said coolly, even as I stared after him.My mind went back to Carullo, and I was determined to go down and apologize to him loosing yet another night’s sleep.I walked down to his room and knocked gently, and when I didn’t hear anything, I went ahead and opened the door.The scene I witnesses was more stunning than the party that was happening here.There was some dude on all fours, with Carullo fucking him while the dude sucked another guy’s cock.They all stared at me, but like an idiot I was too shocked to move.
“Jay…” Carullo said.
“I’m sorry,” I mumbled, and shut the door firmly.I fled back to my room, fighting back the tears that were starting to form, even as I felt the fury building inside me.I was mad at Carullo for being with those guys when I had no right to be, but being mad with no reason just made me even more angry.Even more than that, I was furious at Stef for setting up this whole soiree, the one that had ruined my night, probably ruined my relationship, and definitely ruined any chance I had of getting laid.I got to my bedroom, desperate to escape from this hell and to ensconce myself in the privacy and safety of my own space.I opened the door to my room and got another big surprise.There were two guys fucking in my bed, but they either didn’t hear me come in or they didn’t give a shit.I couldn’t believe this was happening.Strange men were in my room having sex.My room!“What the fuck are you doing?” I demanded.They ignored me, which was just maddening.“What the fuck are you doing?” I yelled.
“Dude, chill out,” one of the guys said, acting completely annoyed.“Can you not be a fucking buzz kill.Go find another fucking room!”He was shouting over his shoulder, but as soon as he uttered those words, he turned back to fucking his friend.I stared at them with impotent rage, then stormed out of my room, slamming the door behind me.
I passed the small room that housed our security systems, and that transformed my cold fury into a truly evil idea.I went in and shut the door, then paused to flesh out my plan.I wasn’t the most technologically astute person, but I’d had to program this system to add a code for Carullo and for Jacinta, so I pretty much knew how it worked.I went up to the control panel and reset the master code, then used that to reset the system to eliminate all the other passwords.That meant that I would be the only one who could deactivate the alarm.I poised myself at the door and peeked out to make sure no one was in the hallway, then I hit the panic alarm and sprinted down the corridor.The results of my action were immediate, in that a loud alarm began blaring through the entire condo.I hastily went to Jacinta’s room and knocked urgently.I went in without waiting for her to respond, wondering if she’d be in there fucking someone too.I got lucky. She was sitting up in her bed, wearing her night gown, which was a hideous thing, looking alarmed.“I’m sorry to just burst into your room.”
“Is everything alright?” she asked me in Spanish, probably because she was so upset.
“Everything is fine,” I answered.“I’m sorry about the party and the noise.”
“It is OK,” she said, and looked at me curiously. “Why is the siren going off?”
“I thought the alarm may clear some of these people out of here,” I said, smiling at her, making her chuckle.
“They will just turn it off,” she said.
“Maybe,” I said cryptically.“Can I hide in here?”
“Of course,” she said, smiling and shaking her head.There was a loud knock on the door.I pointed at the closet and she nodded, so I hid in there.
“Jacinta!” I heard Carullo say.“Can you turn off this alarm?”
“I can try,” she said, and left the room.Her code wouldn’t work either, a fact that was validated by the continued blaring of the sirens even after she left.I sat on the floor of her closet, laughing my ass off internally as I heard the alarm blaring, then I heard other voices, those of either policemen or firefighters who would inevitably respond to the alarm.It took them almost 45 minutes to turn the alarm off.
Jacinta came back into her room and opened the door to the closet, giggling at me sitting on the floor.“I am thinking the party is over.”
I laughed.“Did everyone leave?”
“Mr. Stefan, Mr. John, and Julian are trying to explain things to the policemen, and to say goodbye and apologize to their guests,” she said, making us laugh even more.“They think that you did it, but they cannot find you, so that is making things more difficult.”
“If you don’t mind, I think I’ll stay right here for a while,” I said.She gave me an extra pillow and a blanket, and I just curled up on the floor of her closet, letting my joy at pissing off Stef and Carullo overcome how pissed off I was at them.