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Chapter Twenty-Two – Enough to Make a Difference
“No, it’s just some allergy and stuff,” he quickly wiped his cheeks with his hands.
“I didn’t know you were allergic,” Aron said, still worried. “What triggered your allergy?”
“A shmuck,” Carter said brightly. “I mean, that shmuck from earlier. The reporter. Yeah, that’s it. I’m allergic to scumbags.”
Aron placed a hand on Carter’s shoulder and squeezed gently.
“You don’t have to act brave. I know how what I said must be affecting you right now.”
“I don’t act brave,” Carter protested.
And you have no idea why.
He’ll never have.
“I love you,” Aron said simply. “That’s all that’s important right now. I promise: no more doubts.”
Okay, if Aron was going to keep it like this, his allergy was going to act up again. So he needed to do something.
“Let’s just go inside. I’m beat, and I think we both need the rest. And just so you know, none of this was your fault. The reporter and everything. And … I love you, too.”
His throat was dry like an afternoon in Sahara. But nothing mattered at this point. Aron was happy. So mission accomplished, right?
After getting out of the car, he had to walk with Aron holding him tightly, like the man was afraid that he was going to lose his husband if he was going to let go.
They were barely in, when his phone rang again. He almost dropped it when he saw the caller ID.
“Mother in law,” he barely managed and gulped loudly.
“My mom? Ah, damn, in all the ruckus I forgot to call my parents and give them my new number, too,” Aron said. “Come on, pick up, and then pass her to me.”
“Hey,” he answered, his voice as tiny as a speckle of dust.
How was Alex addressing his mother in law? Was he calling her by her name? Or was he calling her ‘mother’?
“Hello, Alex,” a voice he knew so well came through, a tad tired, and strained. “Aron is not picking up. And what is this story about a scandal? Are you two all right?”
“I think your mom wants to talk to you,” he handed Aron the phone, without replying to all the questions.
Yes, he knew that was rude of him. But he didn’t have it in him to talk to Aron’s mom right now. He hadn’t heard Clementine’s voice in years, and he could not take it. He just needed to sit down.
“Yes, mom. I … my phone was stolen. I’m sorry about all this. No, it’s my fault and no one else’s. I know I didn’t hand over my phone, but … Yeah, okay. Tomorrow night, then. I’ll send a message with my new number. I love you, too. Bye.”
“Oh, God,” Carter groaned, as soon as Aron finished his conversation with his mom. “Now your parents saw that, too?”
“No, they didn’t see it,” Aron shook his head. “And they wouldn’t, don’t worry. They just want to see us, tomorrow, at dinner.”
“Oh, fuck, why?” he buried his face into his hands. “Will we get lectured?”
He couldn’t image Aron’s parents giving them some big talk on how they shouldn’t be naked all over the news, but he was fairly mortified. If there was someone in the world he really didn’t want to let down, that someone had to be Clementine Ruskin, followed closely by her husband.
“No,” Aron smiled. “My parents are not big on lectures. They just think that we need support. Baby, I know you’re not crazy about family visits, but we see them too little these days. And, if they happen to say something, I’m ready to take full responsibility. You have no reason to worry. And it’s just dinner.”
“I … I’d be happy to see your parents,” he mumbled. “And it’s not like you shot that video by yourself. Gosh, it’s just … I just feel ashamed right now,” he added.
“Hey, what happened with being all chill about it?” Aron joked, clearly trying to lighten up the mood. “Thousands of people saw us.”
“Yeah. Strangers. Who gives a fuck about them?” Carter snorted. “But just thinking that your mom and dad …”
“Don’t worry. My parents are not exactly the type to go browsing porn sites,” Aron sat next to Carter, and held him. “They just heard about it from an acquaintance. Apparently, the little news featuring us was all over TV, too, in prime time. Censored, but still.”
“Oh, fuck,” Carter made himself little in the sofa.
“Come on, my parents are the least likely to lecture us in the whole universe. They just want to know that we’re all right, and they want to see us.”
“Okay, if you say so. But I’m still ashamed as hell,” Carter spoke softly.
“Want to go to bed?” Aron hugged him. “I promise, no more playing director in the bedroom,” he added with a small chuckle.
“Ha, ha, really funny,” Carter said dryly. “But frankly, I’m beat. I think I’ll sleep like a log.”
“I second that,” Aron agreed. “And I want to thank you. For tonight and for everything. That was one hell of revenge. But how come you knew that guy’s the boss’s son?”
“I scrolled through his Twitter really fast. I guess I was lucky to find that picture. My guess is that the guy changed his name to avoid people saying about him that daddy hired casino oyna him. And I noticed the other dude’s name and realized who that was. No big deal, really.”
“I’d say it is. It looks like I’m sleeping in the same bed with a detective,” Aron joked. “But what if you couldn’t find anything compromising in the guy’s phone?”
“Are you kidding me? Everything you need to learn about a person, you only need their phone, and you’re set,” Carter snorted.
Now that he thought about it, Alex’s phone seemed kind of clean. Not that he snooped around. But there didn’t seem to be any compromising pics, although Simon had a ton, and all in all, the guy knew how to be discreet. It felt like Alex knew well how to keep things out of sight. Yes, he seemed … practiced.
“Well, good thing someone’s the brains in this family,” Aron placed a quick kiss on Carter’s lips. “Which means I’m the muscle guy.”
“Of course you’re the muscle guy. Have you looked at yourself in the mirror? You’re like …”
What did he want to say?
Hmm, too serious.
Hmm, too little.
“A sex god,” he said promptly.
Aron burst into laughter.
“I thought you wanted to sleep tonight,” the man cooed into his ear, making him shudder.
“Hmm, hmm, I think I should,” he replied.
Who’s asking you?
“Let me just make you happy, then,” Aron caressed him slowly. “You won’t have to do a thing, I promise.”
“Sounds … really good,” he murmured.
Half an hour later, after having come into his best friend’s skilled mouth like there was no tomorrow, he fell asleep. And in his dream, he tumbled down a one-of-a-kind type of rabbit hole, with pictures of his old life being friends with Aron adorning the smooth walls, in downward spirals.
“Alex,” Yolanda jumped into his arms, the moment he sat foot in her office the next day. “I have no idea what you did, and I’m really dying to know, but I won’t ask. The editor in chief at New Entertainment called this morning and offered a tear jerking apology, while humbly offering some ad space, free of charge. Damn, how have I managed to rule this household without your help until now? And how can I repay you?”
Carter hugged the lady back.
“Don’t sweat it. Trust me, it was my pleasure,” he said with a small secretive smile.
Yolanda smiled in turn.
“I know! I should give you a little bit of time off. How about that?”
“That would be nice, only that, at this point, I have no idea what I would do with so much free time on my hands. However, I do want to ask if the day after tomorrow, you could let me off the hook earlier. There’s something I need to do with Aron.”
It was perfect for going to see his body. And he wasn’t willing to postpone things anymore. With all the excitement involved by being Alex, it was like he had almost forgotten about the most important things of all. And that was that he needed to find a way to return to his old self. To his own body, and his own life. No matter how he felt about it all. No matter how amazing it was to wake up in Aron’s loving arms.
“Sure thing, pumpkin,” Yolanda said and pinched both his cheeks. “There, you seemed a little pale.”
He nodded, a bit less absent minded. Yeah, Aron was right. He wasn’t particularly thrilled with having his cheeks pinched, and spoken to in a loving voice. But not for the reasons Aron thought. No, not at all.
“Boss, I am really so sorry,” Mark welcomed him.
“Man, would you quit it?” Carter smiled and ruffled Mark’s hair in passing. “You worry way too much. And it wasn’t your fault.”
“It was,” Mark insisted, while brushing down his disturbed hair with his fingers. “I wasn’t paying attention. I …”
“Alex, do you have a minute?” Simon peeked from behind the door, opening it without knocking.
Okay, this was going to be tough.
“Mark, prepare my schedule for today, and bring it over in … let’s say 15 minutes. Come, Simon,” he gestured for the other to follow him into his office.
“But boss, I already have your schedule and …” Mark protested, jumping from behind his desk.
“Mark, it’s okay,” Carter smiled at his assistant. “I know how to wipe my own ass,” he added with a wink.
Mark sank back into his chair, and pouted. All right, he could deal with his assistant and his hissy fits later. Now, he needed to listen to what Simon had to say.
He waited until Simon closed the door behind them, but he remained standing.
“Hey, you don’t have to look at me like I’m going to execute you,” Simon mumbled and he looked to one side, seemingly nervous.
“Well, I’d rather take a blow standing up,” Carter said. “I would ask what brings you here, but I suppose you want to tell me about how you intend to inform my husband about our affair.”
“No,” Simon said, keeping his eyes down.
“No?” Carter wondered out loud.
I think puppy eyes is on our side, now.
Not on our-our side, though.
“I … saw the video,” Simon slot oyna said with a small huff.
“Ah, the video. Well, we sent requests everywhere to be taken down, but well, this is the Internet. Nothing ever gets erased for good,” Carter said quickly.
“It wasn’t what I could have expected,” Simon crossed his arms over his chest, still refusing to look at Carter. “I thought you hated having sex with your husband. You always complained about him being too big, and always pressing you to come while being fucked …”
“Pressing me to come?”
How the fuck?
I thought Aron was kind of a douche because he didn’t seem to care about that too much!
Yeah, like I said … how the fuck?
“Yeah, you said that it took you half a year to get him to understand that you could live without coming during fucking, and another half to get him to come faster so that he could let you be.”
“That’s bullshit!” Carter exclaimed.
Damn, he needed to stop saying everything crossing his mind.
“Yeah,” Simon threw him a curt look. “It looks like you lied to me. And you didn’t have any hard time coming when you were with me, so … Alex, you tell me what to think.”
“Really, I have no idea,” Carter mumbled, shaking his head.
This Alex dude didn’t cease to amaze him. How much of a spoiled brat could he be to act like this? And why on earth was Aron taking everything from him?
“In that video, I saw you happy,” Simon accused.
Actually, there were just two people fucking.
Shut up, can’t you see this boy is trying to tell us something here?
“How … why did you … why did you lie to me?” Simon continued. “You gave me false hopes, you said you were going to divorce, you always whined about how Aron was so annoying always trying to make you happy by force … Why? Can you please just tell me why?”
“I … really wish I knew the answer to this one,” Carter shook his head. “For all that’s worth, I’m sorry, Simon. I mean, you’re a cool dude. You’re handsome. You’re generous. Letting aside that you were with a married man … but that’s on me, I guess. I think you’re a decent guy. So, you’re not going to tell on me?”
Simon threw him a hurt look.
“No, but you should tell Aron everything. All this time, I thought you were unhappy with him, when actually … you were just two-timing us, right? Why wasn’t I enough? Why wasn’t your husband enough? No, I won’t tell on you. But I tell you this, and I tell you because somehow, I don’t know why, I still think you should be happy. Tell Aron. You won’t feel right until you tell him.”
“How old are you again?” Carter looked at the guy. “Really, that sounded really profound right now.”
Simon smiled, and managed somehow to look again like a silly puppy. Well, silly, but cute.
“I’ve read it online, on a relationship advice website.”
“Of course you did,” Carter said wryly. “Well, thank you for your concern with my wellbeing and happiness. But now, I should ask you. Are you still hoping that you’re going to get something out of this?”
Simon looked away, and bit his lips.
“A bit, yes,” he admitted in a small voice. “But I won’t say it. I might jinx it.”
Moron, you just did.
Hey, have a little compassion here. Look at them puppy eyes.
Dogs will be the death of us.
Are you stupid? I have no idea how you managed to put that in a sentence.
“So, if Aron decides to kick me out and divorce me, you’ll be here, waiting?” Carter tried to make clear whatever was happening in Simon’s silly brain right now.
Simon nodded happily. Yeah, the only thing the guy was missing was a tail to wag it.
“Damn,” Carter sighed. “You really should go chase someone else. With your looks, I bet 99% of single gay people in this city would want to be with you.”
“Yeah, like for one night,” Simon shrugged. “Or two,” he added, after a bit of deliberation, and a small frown. “You’re my longest relationship ever,” he declared, opening his arms and throwing them aside.
“Ah, fuck,” Carter mumbled. “Still, this doesn’t mean that you should just take everything that’s thrown at you. I kind of treated you like shit these last days.”
“Actually,” Simon looked down again and smiled, mostly to himself. “I kind of liked these last days. You introduced me to BDSM, you fed me from your own hand, you spanked me when I asked, you didn’t talk me down once …”
“Talk you down? Like how?”
“Like how I should change my haircut, or change my favorite designer,” Simon grabbed the hems of his coat sleeves, and pulled, like he wanted to make a point. “You know. I mean, I know you’re more good looking than me, but I was born with this nose, and …”
“What’s wrong with your nose? I’d say it’s a bit too perfect,” Carter said.
“That’s strange. I mean, it was the other time when you asked me if I went under the knife … But I didn’t. You kept telling me it’s too long and pointy, and I see why. But I went to see a surgeon … there, you made me said it, and despite me pleading with him, he canlı casino siteleri told me that I shouldn’t ruin what Mother Nature gave me. What does he know, right?” Simon snorted, although it was clear that he was unconvinced by that.
“Well, he told you the truth. You have a perfect nose. Don’t go cut it or do something stupid. It’s perfect as it stands on your face. Hey, how come you work in marketing, and you’re not a model yourself?”
Simon was now looking at him like Carter was growing a second head.
“But you told me I’m no model material,” Simon spoke. “That I should stick to what I know.”
Carter could feel his head bursting. What was with this Alex, and his obsession to torture everyone around him? It was getting tedious, to say the least.
“Really, I have no idea what you see in me, if I used to talk to you like this,” Carter eventually managed to speak.
“Well, you have your days. Well, they don’t happen that often, but you do have your days. When it’s like you’re everything I want.”
You were everything I wanted.
Remember Aron’s words?
Yeah … what the fuck is going on here?
“So I’m willing to wait for you,” Simon said brightly. “If you ever grow tired of Aron, I’m here for you.”
“Ah,” Carter sighed. “Please don’t do that. For your sake, please don’t. Can’t you see how much of a scumbag I can be?”
Simon shook his head slowly.
“No, you’re not. You’re not a scumbag. You just weren’t loved when you were a child.”
“Say what?” Carter exclaimed.
“Yeah, I mean … your mom and everything,” Simon looked away, seemingly embarrassed. “But I won’t talk about that. I know it upsets you.”
“Okay,” Carter mumbled.
No matter how deep this rabbit hole he was passing through was running, the one Alex had seemed to dig all his life was even weirder.
That’s no way to compare things. You’re pitching apples versus oranges.
Pitching. Pitches. Peaches.
Where are you going?
Leave me alone.
But don’t you want to know about Alex?
No, not really. I’m not going to feel for the guy now.
You’re agreeing for once?
Yeah, why not.
“I won’t keep you anymore. And I hope we can still be friends until, well, until you decide to leave Aron for me,” Simon spoke, interrupting his thoughts.
“You’re really bent on this,” Carter murmured.
Now that was worse than the prisoner’s dilemma. On one hand, if he went and told Aron about Simon, he was going to make Aron unhappy and ruin his marriage. On the other, if he didn’t, he was forcing Aron to continue living a lie, in the shape of a marriage to a famous model. What the fuck? He was still going at this in circles.
No, he needed to tell Aron. But he needed to choose his moment well. Maybe after the dinner with Aron’s mom and dad? No, better yet, after going to see his body. He needed to make all the ruckus around this die down before starting another shitstorm.
He was again lost in thought, so he didn’t notice when Simon came close to him and hugged him.
“Hey,” he said gently and patted the other on the back.
“I’m going to miss you,” Simon sniffled. “But I’ll wait. I’m sure you’re the one for me.”
Alex had to be a magician. Or simply, an expert in playing people. Because both Aron and Simon were smitten enough to think that Alex’s whims were just the result of an unhappy childhood or something like that. Somehow he wasn’t buying it. The guy seemed an emotional chameleon, capable to change to get the others fall for him.
And really? He had had Aron buy him an expensive car, like really frigging expensive. So Alex wasn’t only after other people’s feelings, he was after their money, too.
“What did you buy me last time as a gift?” he asked Simon suddenly.
The guy took one step away from him and smiled.
“The spanking paddle,” he answered like a child happy to know all the answers to a school quiz.
“That was more like for you, but let’s not talk about that right now,” Carter said quickly, unnerved by how Simon’s lovely caramel eyes were turning sultry and inviting. “Before that.”
Simon seemed to take one moment to remember.
“Well,” he began counting on his fingers, “it was that three day trip to Italy, on which you went alone, and before that was the diamond dust treatment for your skin at your favorite spa, and, ah, of course, your phone, that was a limited edition, just so you know, and before that …”
“Stop,” Carter raised his arms in surrender.
Just how much frigging money and things this guy needed? He was clearly making plenty of money, despite not being Kate Moss and all that, and he was still having his husband and his lover buy him ludicrously expensive stuff. What the hell was he doing with all his money?
“Thank you,” he added, when Simon looked at him, confused. “Just for the record, since we’re no longer together, please don’t buy me stuff anymore.”
Simon’s face fell.
“But I enjoy giving you things. My family has enough money.”
“Then why are you working here? You could have fun spending your money to have fun, right?”
“My parents taught me that work is important. But they don’t forbid me to spend money on gifts for someone else.”
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