Upstairs Downstairs

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 spiralling 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.
What?
“Sorry?”
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.

Game on.

Aimer at Amazon

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Lucky in Vegas

Eyes on his laptop, Brian searched Air Canada’s website for flights to Vegas. “The Belagio is supposed to be nice.”

“Yeah?” David wasn’t really listening to the man sitting on the other side of their kitchen table. He opened the Expedia website on his own laptop, typed Las Ve — “Wait, what?”

“The Belagio, Eric and Daniel stayed there last month. They said,” Brian looked up from his screen. “It was —”

“You are so full of shit.”

“What? They said the Belagio was excellent. Nice rooms, great pool, sumptuous spa.”

Brian was a bad actor. He couldn’t do innocent, not without a lobotomy. That tick at the side of his mouth, the one that said he was holding back a smile, gave him away every time.

“Yeah? Nice. Sounds good. We’re going to the Venetian.”

Brian shook his head, turned back to his screen. The small twitch at the side of his mouth became a full-on smile. “It’s not the only hotel on the Strip, you know.”

David didn’t bother answering that bit of heresy because they both knew that it was the only hotel on the strip — for them. “Find a flight.”

 

Brian turned from the window and his view of blue sky and white clouds over rust coloured mountains. “We’re descending.” He plugged his phone into the outlet between the seats, opened a game he’d become addicted to. “You know, we haven’t been to the Venetian in a while. They might have renovated, redecorated.”

“No, they haven’t.” David heard the smug in his voice. There was no way Brian missed it.

“You called and asked, didn’t you?”

“Yep.”

“Unbelievable. You actually asked if they still had —”

“Give me some credit. I wasn’t specific. I just said we were very happy with our room last time we were there and asked if the rooms were still the same.” David sighed his satisfaction. “I was assured that they were.”

“Happy with the room,” Brian grinned. “Yeah, that was it.”

 

A five hour flight, a ten minute taxi ride, more time than David wanted to spend standing in line at check-in and they were finally in the elevator. Brian hit the button for their floor and his eyes locked with David’s.

The door hushed closed behind them. They dropped their bags and took in the room. Same railing dividing the room in two, same set of steps leading to the lower sitting area. Same king size bed and yeah, same —

“Still here.” Brian was already unbuttoning his shirt.

“Yep.” David kicked his shoes off.

The ensuite washroom boasted a flat screen you could see from the shower, the bath was big enough for two, and the towels were luxurious. The bed linen had a high thread count, the pillows were exactly right and the view of the strip was amazing at night, but none of those things mattered all that much to Brian and David. They were faithful to the Venetian because of the bench.

It wasn’t anything fancy, not by Vegas standards. A simple, solid piece of furniture, it sat at the foot of the bed. Upholstered to coordinate with the room, most people probably never saw it as more than a place to dump their suitcases.

Like everything else in Vegas, the bench’s magic rested in a happy coincidence of numbers. The height of the bench, the depth of its cushion, the relation of bench to bed. Angles and proportions, they all worked together to describe a sensual geometry.

Coincidence and luck, the very elements that built this city. If the bench was a little narrower, there wouldn’t be enough room for Brian to kneel behind David. If it was a little higher, the mattress wouldn’t be at the perfect height to pillow David’s chest as he leaned over the bed.

They didn’t need a casino to get lucky in Vegas.

Aimer at Amazon