Out of the Five Boroughs: Atlantic City
No matter how much I denied it, Tonya saw through my “I’m straight” claims. I wasn’t sure if it was her desire for everyone to be queer, or my complete failure to not leer at dudes once I was tipsy or high, but she wouldn’t let it go.
I also had no idea why I continued to deny it. She wasn’t hetero either.
Come to think of it, I knew a lot of fucking gay people. Maybe there was something in the air in South Jamaica. Even Chris seemed to not mind my tendency to eyeball the bulge of his 2 liter dick.
“Hey, are you gonna buy a drink?”
I swung my glare from my phone to the bartender. He was pretty much an Adam Lambert lookalike.
“You mind moving, then?”
“Yeah, I do.”
Fake Adam Lambert scanned the jam-packed bar, including the people who were trying to thrust money or cards at him, and pursed his lips.
“You’re taking up excellent real estate, baby. And your mean mug is probably scaring people.”
“Good. Maybe they’ll stop touching me, then.”
He laughed. “Fat chance. You’re prime cut, and they want a piece. Until they see that glare. Not the best way to go about getting laid.”
Why did everyone think I went out to a club to get laid? That was way more trouble than it was worth.
“If I buy a beer will you get off my jock?”
His lips curled up at the sides. “Do you really want me to?”
Was this dude trying to annoy me?
“Because while my reasoning was totally valid,” he said over the music. “Me urging you to buy a drink was also an excuse to talk to you.”
Holy shit. He wasn’t trying to annoy me. He was fucking hitting on me.
I sat up straighter, dragging my forearms off the top of the bar, and looked around. On the edge of the dance floor, Michael and Nunzio were still grinding on each other. And not paying attention to me at all.
“Unless you don’t want me to talk to you…”
“Not really, but I guess it’s not awful if you do.”
“Wow.” He looked like he didn’t know whether to laugh or punch me. “I can’t tell if you’re cocky or just a cockhead.”
He started to say more but seemed to think better of it. “I’ll be back.”
I watched him serve customers, taking multiple orders and mixing two and three drinks at a time, and considered my life. I did eventually want to work up the nerve and screw around with a dude, but did I want to try it now? While my brother tried his best to nut in his pants while dancing with Nunzio, because he was too drunk to remember that wasn’t a thing they did?
Even though it was fun to picture myself burying my face in Fake Adam Lambert’s big round ass.
“So, what brings you here?” he asked, spinning towards me again.
I jerked my chin at Michael and Nunzio. “They brought me here.”
His eyes zoomed over. “Sexy couple. Good tippers too.”
He didn’t comment on my sarcasm. “Why did they bring you here? You’re pretty obviously not thrilled with the locale.”
“It’s my birthday.”
“Oh!” His eyes lit up. “How old are you?”
“I fail to see what’s awesome about me being twenty-one.”
“You definitely have to buy a drink now,” he said. “Your first one.”
“You really think I ain’t never drank before?”
He rolled his eyes. “Okay. Your first legal one.”
“Whatever. Give me a Corona.”
I could see the judgment all over his face. Not only was I buying a beer for my first legal alcohol purchase—I was buying cheap beer. Instead of commenting on the choice, he slid a bottle my way and I tossed some cash on the bar.
“So, my baby gay—“
“I’m not gay.”
Again with the look of astonishment. “Then what are you doing in a gay club?”
“I’m—“ I gripped the bottle tighter as my stomach twisted in a knot. I’d never said it out loud before. “I’m bi.”
Astonishment turned to something oddly…patronizing. “Aw, honey. You’ll figure that out.”
“Figure what out?”
“That whole bi thing.” At my blank stare, he continued. “A lot of guys say they’re bisexual at first. It’s like a confusing pit stop on the way to being a fully fledged homo.”
“What the fuck?” This was why I didn’t talk to people. “You held back on judging my beer but you’re going balls deep insulting my fucking bisexuality?”
“Fuck you.” I grabbed my beer and slid off the barstool. “I’m glad I’m not as big of a tipper as my brother.”
He looked baffled. I didn’t bother to explain. He was dead to me. In fact, the entire club was dead to me. If Michael and Nunzio—
The thought came to a screeching halt as shouting rose over the music. It sounded… like Nunzio.
For whatever reason, he was all up in some big Jersey Shore dude’s grill. He looked ready to unleash the full power of his Sicilian rage. At this point, I didn’t even want to know. I shoved my beer at a random guy and shoved my way through the crowd.
I grabbed Nunzio’s shoulder and yanked him back. “If you start swinging, I’m gonna start swinging, then Michael throws hands. Do you really want him to call his principal from jail?”
Nunzio blinked his big blue eyes at me. “No?”
Oh, for fuck’s sake.
“Let’s go.” I shoved him towards the path I’d carved through the crowd. One look back told me that Jersey Shore was now leering at Michael. Ah-ha. Didn’t take a study in human behavior to put the pieces of this shitshow together. “Michael, move your fucking ass.”
He moved his ass. Probably because he’d zeroed in on Nunzio’s retreating back. Getting Mr. Drunk and Ornery back to the room would be a blast.
I ushered them along with no shortage of impatient cursing in both English and Spanish, and called Tonya. I begged for a ride back to New York. Or at least to a train station in Hoboken. She laughed at me. Asshole.
We made it to the lobby of our hotel without major roadblocks, but Nunzio was in full rant mode. And loud enough to make everyone in a fifty mile radius well aware that he’d taken over as the jealousy monster in their dynamic duo.
“I just don’t like when people touch you.” He punched the up button on the elevator. “That motherfucker saw me dancing with you, right? He wanted some shit to pop off.”
Michael slid an arm around him and leaned close. His lips grazed Nunzio’s ear as he whispered something. Whatever he said instantly had a calming effect.
I rolled my eyes at Nunzio’s moony expression, and shoved them into the elevator. It turned out to be a huge mistake because they both stumbled against the wall, and into each other’s faces. As I watched in horror, their big-eyed gazing turned into full-on tonsil hockey. Legit zero hesitation before Nunzio was pressing Michael up against the glass wall of the elevator while trying to taste the back of his throat.
“Holy shit.” I thudded my head against the elevator door. “How the fuck is this my life right now?”
My answer was a muffled moan.
The elevator dinged, and they both surprisingly rallied. Michael jerked away from Nunzio with a glassy look of confusion. Nunzio glanced at me as if finally remembering I existed.
Michael strode ahead of us with only minimal weaving, and Nunzio slung his arm around my shoulders. He reeked of booze. I wanted to be irritated at him, but the smile he gave me was so self-deprecating that I couldn’t do it.
“Sorry I’m fuckin’ up your birthday,” he said lowly. “I just really fucking love him.”
“Uh. I know.”
“He doesn’t love me though, right?”
“Yeah he does. He just doesn’t wanna screw things up.”
Michael had already stumbled through the door of our hotel room, but Nunzio pulled up just short of the door.
“Come on, Zio,” I said wearily. “Can you just go in? I’m over this night. No offense, but—“
He jerked me forward into one of his huge overly affectionate bear hugs. No amount of my discontent allowed me to pull away. Well, until he picked me up and squeezed me hard enough to crack my ribs.
“I love you, Ray.”
“Put me down.”
He did with a flourish.
I nudged him towards the second bed. He looked between it and Michael. I chose that suspenseful moment to go to the bathroom and wash up.
There were two options left to salvage this night—go back out and go dancing on my own without having to babysit, or stay here and do nothing. Contrary to the belief of douchebag bartenders, I actually did like dancing, even though the idea of going to the gay spot made me nervous. Besides that, option two was depressing as hell.
Maybe the drunk duo would have an opinion.
I walked out of the bathroom and stopped in my tracks.
Not only had Nunzio joined Michael on the other bed, but they were caught up in such a passionate kiss that I felt like an intruder for walking in on it.
I cleared my throat.
They kept kissing.
I loudly jostled my duffle bag while muttering to myself.
Kept on kissing.
“Okay, well, I guess you guys are done for the fucking night then.”
Nunzio stopped just long enough to trail open-mouthed kisses down Michael’s neck. “You’re so gorgeous, Mikey.”
“Mmm.” Michael buried his fingers in Nunzio’s wild black hair. “Don’t stop.”
“Well,” I said again, louder. “Guess I’ll go out and hope you guys are done by the time I come back.”
Michael raised his hand in a half-assed wave.
The chances of either of them remembering this tomorrow were slim. I had no idea if I should be the one to fill them in on the details, either. On the one hand, I had a feeling my stubborn-ass brother had reasons for fooling himself into believing he wasn’t in it deep for Nunzio, and he’d be upset. But on the other hand, they really just needed to stop playing games and get together already.
I glanced at them before closing the door. They’d deescalated into drunken murmuring and caressing, and were staring into each other’s eyes again.
…Yeah, if they didn’t remember that was their problem. I would not be the one to tell this story. One day, they’d figure it out on their own.
Stay tuned next month for another Five Boroughs short!
If you missed Part One, check it out HERE
A Five Boroughs Story
Caleb Stone was raised on the Upper East Side, where wealth and lineage reign and "alternative lifestyles" are hidden. It took him years to come out to his family, but he's still stuck in the stranglehold of their expectations. Caleb knows he has to build his confidence and shake things up, but he doesn't know how... until Oliver Buckley enters the picture.
Oli is everything Caleb isn't--risk-taking, provocative, and fiercely independent. Disowned by his family, Oli has made his own way in the world and is beholden to no one. After a chance encounter on New Year's Eve, Caleb is smitten.
As Caleb sheds the insecurities that have held him back for years, he makes bold steps toward changing his career and escaping years of sexual repression. But for Caleb to take full control of his life, he has to be brave enough to confront his feelings and trust Oli with his heart.
This story can be read as a standalone and ends with a HEA
SUTPHIN BOULEVARD (Michael’s story) and SUNSET PARK (Raymond’s story), are on sale for $0.99/£0.99 and $1.99/£1.19 until 4/30/16!
Meet Santino Hassell
Santino is an author of gay romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences. His new book, FIRST AND FIRST, is the third in the Five Boroughs series and will be released on April 18, 2016. It is a standalone with a HEA ending.
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