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    Wombat Bill
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May contain graphic sexual content

Catering With Benefits (3) - An Appetite for More - 26. Secrets of a Diva

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Juanito arrived home around midnight, absolutely exhausted after a very long day of lectures at college and accounting work at Poppy’s after college.

Romel had gone to bed earlier, but Edward stayed up late watching old episodes of Midsomer Murders, which he had previously seen but could never remember whodunit, so to him they were always a new mystery to be solved. He had a particular reason for staying up tonight.

Almost zombie-like, Juanito went to the fridge for orange juice, said hello and good night to Edward, in the same sentence and disappeared into his room.

Edward waited and waited, not really concentrating on Barnaby’s deductions, because he was waiting for a reaction from Juanito’s room.

Finally Juanito, wearing only his boxers, came out of his room, headed straight for Edward and gave him a long hug. During the hug, Edward was sure he felt a bulge pressed against his thigh, but dismissed it as inappropriate for him to react. He felt it would be almost incestuous to do so.

Juanito stepped back and Edward was somewhat relieved to have the temptation removed. Then Juanito said “Thank you, so so much. Is it from you?"


“From both of us really.”

“Can I go and thank Romel now?”

“Maybe leave it until tomorrow. He’s on an early shift in the morning and I don’t like him to be disturbed.”

“Understood, it’s just so fabulous, I can’t thank you enough. But, I’m going to need a lot of instruction to use it all.”

“No problem, it comes with free lessons and it will be my absolute pleasure to teach you all I know.”

“I can’t wait to get started.”

“Maybe on the weekend; now off to bed, you’ve got college in the morning and I’ve got a murder or two to solve.”

“Ok, thanks again and thank Romel for me, if I don’t see him in the morning.”

Edward then gave Juanito a friendly smack on the butt and added “Sweet dreams, sweet boy.”

By the time Edward got back to his amateur sleuthing, there had been a third murder, so he gave up and went off to have his own dreams.

***

By Friday morning, Edward was beside himself with joy. He had already held one event for Price and there were two more booked before the end of the month. The responses to his invitations to participate in the wedding expo were very promising with half the space already booked. Edward had asked all exhibitors to send him a rough outline of their display and activities, samples and handouts etc. Among others, Craig, Brett and Dean had booked stalls. Brett was one of the first to get his display outline in and was so excited he delivered it in person. Edward thanked him for his promptness and put the package in a tray with the few others. Brett was disappointed as he expected Edward to open his offering and tell him how wonderful it would be.

<>

Later in the day Tristan called Edward to check if he would be at next Wednesday night drinks at Dean’s as he wanted to start workshopping his dance project.

“Are you serious about producing my show?” asked Tristan

“Of course, I apologise for being out of contact, just been flat out getting Divas all set up. I’ll be there on Wednesday, so let’s talk more then.”

<>

Friday night was traditionally lazy night for the Williamson/Campos household, so Edward dashed out about 6.30pm to get Thai takeaway, his favourite foreign food. The young woman who took Edward’s order was very polite but didn’t say much, and there was something about her that piqued Edward’s interest. While he waited for his order to be filled, he watched the young woman and concluded that it was odd for an Anglo to be working in a Thai restaurant. But that did not satisfy his curiosity. Then when she called his order, in a slightly deeper voice than expected an idea came to him.

<>

When he returned home, Juanito was unpacking his gift, had makeup all over the dining room table and his face looked like a sampling demo.

“Hey!” said Edward, that’s not a toy, it’s serious professional makeup.”

“Sorry, I was just so excited I wanted to try some of the colours.”

“Ok, now put it away, dinner’s here and where’s Romel?”

“He’s watering the plants on the deck. I’ll call him as soon as I put my kit away.”

“Good, and tomorrow we start serious make-up lessons.”

<>

At breakfast, Edward sat opposite Juanito and stared at his face.

“What are you doing?” asked Juanito

“Looking at your facial shape and features. I’m trying to work out which features we should highlight and which to cover up.”

“But my face is just what it is.”

“For now, but that is the purpose of makeup, to create an image using your natural features and accentuating those that will make you look more female and beautiful.”

“You can see all that in my face.”

“In your case, yes. Most drag queens need to change their faces completely and not use any of their natural features to create their drag looks. But you my sweet are different. You have smooth rounded features that can easily be made to look female. It also means you won’t need to spend so long on your makeup. You know most drag queens take about two hours to get ready, and most of that time is spent on makeup.”

“Hell, I didn’t realise it would take that long.”

“Maybe not for you. There's often a lot of body hair removal for most men, but not so in your case.”

Then Edward passed a book across the table and Juanito read “Drag Makeup Design and Practice Book.”

“When you get an idea of what sort of image you want, this book will allow you to practice with coloured pencils, using the face templates. Did you have colouring-in books as a child?”

“Of course.”

“Then this is a step up from that, as you will be colouring in your own face.”

<>

Later that morning Edward explained to Juanito the various products in his makeup kit and what they are used for.

“Firstly” said Edward “Most drag queens use stage makeup, because when you have a man's bone structure, you need that extra thickness to create the illusion. However, in your case I don’t think that’s necessary so this kit is just good quality professional make-up.”

“Are you saying I’ve got a girly face?”

“Don’t take it too seriously, it’s an advantage in this business that your Asian genes have given you those softer features.”

“Ok, so where do we start?”

“You’ve heard of primer, used when painting a wall, well it’s the same with makeup. You start with a quality primer, which is a preparatory product we apply to create an ideal blank canvas to hold onto whatever makeup you use.”

“Do I use thus brush to apply it?”

“No, most professional makeup artists say using your fingers to apply primer is the best and easiest way to blend everything and get a seamless finish. A makeup brush will just drag the primer around.”

“Wow, there’s lots to learn.”

“Exactly, now put a little of this on your face, spread it around evenly with your fingers and then wait a minute or two for it to set before applying the foundation. After that we’ll be ready to create your new image.”

Juanito listened to every word of Edward’s advice, took notes and learned quickly the makeup techniques.

***

On Saturday morning, Craig had a call from the TV station SBS. “Good morning, is that Craig Simpson?”

“Yes.”

“Craig, this is Damien Underwood from SBS Small Business Secrets. We met at the Price political function.”

“Yes, I remember you were digging for dirt on the Prices.”

“I was trying to get a story about the candidate, but there was not much of interest. I think I also mentioned that I am a research assistant for the Small Business program here. So it is really you and your business partner that I want to talk to.”

“Why are you interested in us, there are no skeletons in our closets?”

“Are you saying there might be skeletons on Price’s closet?”

“I’m not suggesting any such thing. It’s just what I expect from reporters.”

“I’m really not interested in that sort of reporting. Our program looks at successful small businesses, especially those that are unique and a little outside the box.”

“And how are we outside the box, as you say?”

“I originally heard of your business from my partner, who is a nurse at Prince of Wales hospital. She attended a party that you catered for and there was lots of talk about your partner and how you transitioned from nursing to catering. I believe your unique approach to business would make a great story.”

“Ok, if that’s all you’re interested in.”

“Have you seen our program?”

“Sorry, I haven’t, when is it on?”

“Sundays at 5.00 pm, but you should look at some of our episodes streaming from On Demand. That will give you an idea of what we’re about.”

“I’ll do that and get back to you after that. Would that be ok?”

“Sure, then if you like what you see, we’ll talk first and later arrange a shooting day.”

“Thank you Damien, I feel a bit more comfortable about that now. I’m sorry that I don’t have a very high opinion of journalists.”

“I can understand that, here at Small Business, we consider ourselves more documentary makers. Do you still have my card?”

“I think it’s somewhere here in my office.”

“Good, I look forward to hearing from you and enjoy your viewing. I think you’ll see we present the facts and a few secrets but not in a sensational way.”

<>

Justin arrived at Poppy’s an hour later, made a flat white and cappuccino for him and Craig and went to the office.

“Oh just what I need, thanks.” said Craig.

“Why, have you had a bad morning?”

“No, I got distracted by a phone call as soon as I arrived and just forget to make coffee for myself. Sit down and I’ll tell you all about my phone call.”

After Craig explained about the SBS program offer, Justin said “Are we going to be TV stars? Will you be cooking, like Masterchef?”

“I doubt that, it’s only a short program, probably just an interview.”

“I think I’ve seen that show, the host is Ricardo Gonsalves, he’s a hottie.”

“Really? I hope you won’t have your tongue hanging out when he interviews you.”

“Well, he does bat for our team.”

“Ok, now I’m feeling better about the program.”

“So why do they think our business is suitable for their program?”

“He said we were outside the box. You know what that means?”

“Sort of, like we’re different. That’s true, not many catering businesses are started by nurses, or discover a gimmick when a drunken woman spills red wine on a waiter. Hey, do you think they’ll want me to go nude?”

“Not likely on a business program that screens on Sunday afternoon.”

“Oh, then what will I do?” Justin said disappointedly.

“I thought we’d moved beyond you just being a body beautiful. You’re an equal partner in our business and therefore have more than beefcake to contribute. Remember that brain versus brawn scale you were working on?”

“Yeah, that’s right. Do you really think I’ve tipped the scale more towards brain now?”

“When was the last time you appeared nude or near nude?”

“It’s been a while, I guess I’ve just been involved in other matters and we have some great looking guys that now do that work for us.”

“Exactly, and it was you who recruited and trained them. Also who was it that sweet talked Prentice at our original interview with him, and who suggested the gradual change of the menu from French to modern Australian? And then it was you who suggested Brett and Jeremy look at the shop for their studio. You contribute a lot to our continuing success. Don’t underestimate your various talents.”

“Craig my love...”

“Yes, what?”

“You just made me feel so good about my abilities. I didn’t realise until now how much I have done and even better, that you have noticed. Kiss me!”

***

Edward and Juanito took their lunch out onto the deck to enjoy the spring midday sunshine. While Edward laid out the lunch, on the table at the end of the deck, Juanito went back for drinks. When he reappeared with two glasses of wine, he strode along the deck as Edward watched him. “What are you looking at now?” asked Juanito.

“Your legs and your walk. I don’t think we have much work to do there. Just have to add stockings and heels. Then slow the walk and work a little sway into the hips. After lunch we’ll take a rest from makeup and work on walking in heels. Have you got some in your size?”

“Luckily we have similar sized feet, so I’ll use your old ones. With a bit of cleaning they should come up well.”

“Similar to when I was younger, but like the rest of me, my feet have also broadened in recent years.”

As Juanito sat down he asked Edward “When I start doing drag will people think I’m a transsexual or want to be a woman?”

“No, that’s a myth. There is a general misconception that drag queens want to be women, but there is a definite difference between a man in a dress creating a character for entertainment value and, someone who is genuinely questioning their gender in day-to-day life."

“Did you experience that?”

“Not really. When I worked in an office by day I went home at the end of the day and took off my suit and tie. Drag queens go home at the end of the night and take off their makeup and dress and shoes and wig. It’s no different to an actor creating a character on stage and going home after their performance to be themselves.”

“That makes me feel a bit better but what about the bitchiness of the competition?”

“There's not as much bitchiness in the drag community as TV and movies would have you believe. Most of it is put on, as part of the act, and I don’t think Rue Paul has done anything to remedy that stereotype. In any job there's always going to be someone that you don't get along with or you don't like. And in the drag business where there are limited jobs, of course sometimes, there is going to be some form of rivalry. But for the most part, drag queens help each other out and are friends. That’s how I got started. A delightful drag queen named Bubbles, in Brisbane mentored me, before I came down to Sydney to strut my stuff on the Oxford street stages."

“So how did you break into such a competitive business?”

“Well, it was only a part-time job for me at first, as with you, but the rules are the same. You initially have to really prove yourself and learn the craft, before you are taken seriously. You have to learn the design and makeup, and learn the skills that are involved in becoming a professional queen. It's just like anything else. You won’t be successful overnight."

“Then I’m lucky to have you on my side.”

“And I’m lucky to have such willing and smart student.”

“Thank you. Do you really think I will do well?”

“I don’t see why not, but first you have to start learning to walk convincingly in heels.”

“Can we talk about tucking?”

“Ah yes, the big concealment. We will do that eventually, but for your first performance, it might be better to wear a loose fitting dress and a tight jock strap. There’s a lot involved in tucking and the worst part is, once strapped up, you can’t piss while tucked. So best to avoid unless absolutely necessary, when you wear a tight fitting outfit.”

“Oh, I don’t think I’m looking forward to that.”

“It’s not too scary once you learn the technique.”

Next Chapter - Brett’s Plan, oh dear. - The cousin’s cousin. - Those Brothers.

Copyright © 2021 Wombat Bill; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

@Wombat Bill, a fascinating, revealing, and entertaining chapter, all at the same time.  I predict that the drama will pick up again in a chapter or two, but this chapter was a resting and refreshing change of pace.

I is good to see Juanito doing much better than he was some chapters back.

The teaser for the next chapter? very intriguing!

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@ReaderPaul like our beloved author @Wombat Bill you do have a charming way with words. The description of this chapter as a "resting and refreshing change of pace" is perfect. Reading this chapter has been the perfect tonic for me; I am feeling more rested than I have for the past week. 

@Wombat Bill I wanted to shout Bravo! from the rooftop when I read Craig's affirmation of Justin, reminding him of the significant contributions to the business he has made of late, none of which have relied upon his body or sex appeal (not that there is anything wrong in my view with relying upon your body and sex appeal to achieve a desired outcome). This is the Craig I admired so in Book 1 especially. Justin's perception of himself and the joy he experienced from Craig's positive affirmation was a timely reminder that he is still the damaged boy with self-esteem issues he was when he first met Craig, albeit less so with the love he has received from Craig and his friends (apart from Jared whom I still don't trust at all).

And then there is a Juanito. What a revelation @Wombat Bill. I wonder if you "toyed" with us when Juanito was first introduced into the story. He was never inherently a bad person, just completely self-centred and absent of any empathy for the feeling of others. I think his character has undergone the most positive transition of any to date, the polar opposite of Jared. Juanito's relationship with Edward has also showcased Edward's paternal qualities like no other. Their growing relationship appears to this reader at least, to be one of great mutual benefit.

A delightful chapter @Wombat Billwith so much warmth it has almost made me forget how bleak the weather has been today. 

  

Edited by Summerabbacat
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So, @Summerabbacat it's a big thumbs up for Juanito, now rescued, rehabilitated, and almost revered. Yeah I've gave it a try, but am no competition for our @ReaderPaul, the awesome, artist of alliteration. 

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2 hours ago, Wombat Bill said:

So, @Summerabbacat it's a big thumbs up for Juanito, now rescued, rehabilitated, and almost revered. Yeah I've gave it a try, but am no competition for our @ReaderPaul, the awesome, artist of alliteration. 

Not quite there yet as you will see from my about-to-be-posted comment on the next chapter.

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