The behemoth of a doorman nodded his recognition of Ethan and stepped back, allowing Ethan to enter the foyer. Before him, two staircases, one spiralling down, the other, up.
Ethan took the one that went down. He always took the one that went down.
On the lower level, Ethan bypassed the cloakroom. Most of the men here would be naked or close to it, reason enough to keep his clothes on. Ethan wasn’t one to follow the herd. Also, of course, he preferred a partner with a little imagination. Made for more interesting play.
In another incarnation, the room Ethan let himself into had been a library. The books were long gone, but the room itself remained unchanged. Built on two levels, the circular space supported a gallery that ran the circumference of the room.
Most of them mostly naked, men chatted in pairs and small groups. An X-rated cocktail party minus the cocktails…and the clothes. None of the men looked up. Each and everyone of them pretended the gallery above them didn’t exist.
“Fucker,” Daniel said, joining Ethan. “You don’t even try.”
“Hey,” Ethan said, tapping his chest. “New shirt.”
Daniel grinned, spread his arms open. “No shirt.”
No pants either, Daniel liked to put the goods on show.
Dressed or not, they were all on show. This was a goldfish bowl and they were the fish.
The fishermen stood on the gallery above them…watching, choosing their catch of the night.
A staff member, easily identified as such by his grey vest and black tie, spoke at Ethan’s ear. “Fourteen.”
No name, no description of the fisherman who had reeled him in, just a room number. All the information Ethan needed.
“Jesus,” Daniel said. “You just got here.”
“Must be the shirt,” Ethan said, with a smirk. “We still on for Saturday?”
“Tee off at 9:15.”
Barefoot and bare-chested, legs encased in faded denim, Ethan’s fisherman sat with his arms stretched out along the back of the couch. He stared at Ethan and his thin lips quirked into a half smile.
Ethan tracked a dark treasure trail down to a black belt, betting with himself as to which command would come first…strip or kneel.
“How do you feel about champagne?” Treasure Trail asked.
Treasure Trail leaned to the side, plucked a glass off a side table and proceeded to drip champagne down his chest. “Thirsty?” He spread his legs, inviting Ethan to stand between them.