Poetry Reading

Leon stops at the cabin that houses the multiple toilets and shower stalls to do another line, then paces around the outside of the building, kicking clumps of grass and cursing under his breath. This eventually culminates in him punching the cabin wall, which is unmoved by his fury. Searing pain breaks through his red haze.

He stays a while longer, muttering to himself and massaging his hand. When he’s calmed down enough, he makes his way back to the main cabin, where Tony the DJ has started spinning tunes.

One entire half of the cabin, opposite the dining area, was converted earlier into a scaled-down recreation of Club Diamond, erected by a work crew Nate brought up especially for the task. Two layers of scintillating silver fabric waterfall from the ceiling and pool on the floor, forming the front and back curtains. There’s a disco ball, colored track lighting, and a killer sound system. The only thing missing is a light-up dance floor, but between the stage and the rows of benches set up for the audience, there really isn’t room for one anyway.

Diego, Rain, Enrique, a woman named Kim who Leon knows from Studio 54, and a few others are on the benches near the back. Steven, apparently having no problem leaving the women unsupervised in his club, is sitting near them as well. Leon inhales deeply, then takes a bench behind him.

“Hey, man, what was with cutting me out back there?”

Steven half-turns to give Leon an unimpressed look. “It’s my club,” he says with a shrug.

“Yeah, I get it. It’s your club, your call, whatever. You just didn’t have to make a fool out of me in front of everyone like that.”

“So what do you want, an apology?”

Yes, he thinks. His chest is tight. He wants to shout the man down, make him feel as impotent as Leon does. But Steven’s scarred knuckles and meaty fists look like they have been used for more than just a bondage show. His leather vest shows off arms corded with muscle.

“No,” he says reluctantly. “It’s fine. I didn’t really want to have to piss off anyone on either side anyway. Better you than me.”

“Good.” Steven turns back to his conversation.

Leon balls up his hands and pounds a fist into his thigh. He takes deep, even breaths, trying to find calm again.

At length, he turns on his bench and into the ongoing conversation between Diego, Rain, Enrique, and Kim. “Hey, Diego! How’s your night going?”

It seems like the boy flushes, but it’s hard to tell for sure in the semi-darkness. “Uh, pretty good.”

Leon smiles at Kim. She’s sort of with the Saratoga Pact, but sort of with Studio 54. In fact, she’s sort of with a lot of social circles: she makes her living as a life coach and general career mentor. She was the one who convinced him to update his sound and helped hook him up with some session musicians to lay down the tracks for what he’s unveiling tonight.

“Hey, Kim! I see you’ve met my son.”

Kim glances at Diego, eyebrows raised in surprise. “I didn’t know you had a son! Diego, why didn’t you tell me?”

Diego shifts on the bench, looking slightly uncomfortable. “Yeah. Leon is my dad.”

“We only found out about each other a year ago,” Leon says. “I’m showing him the ropes around here.”

Strictly speaking, this is not entirely true at this point. When they first met, Leon had taken the boy under his wing, gone out and helped him cruise the clubs, and supplied him with dope, though with a warning to “Just try a little.” He’d given Diego a place to stay in his high-rise penthouse, and introduced him to Kimberly, a model photographer who had immediately given the boy a gig. He’s helped make him in the big city.

Leon doesn’t like to think about the time Diego stumbled in coked up and strung out and spent the night vomiting on the bathroom floor. Or the time he brought a friend home, clearly if awkwardly flirting with him, who somehow ended up in bed with Leon instead. Or the time Sorrento dragged him away from one of the pimps whose presence he normally willfully ignored at Studio 54. More and more, he’s let the kid run free without a leash, a 17-year-old released into a city of temptation and drugs and clubs where older cruisers can’t wait to get their hands on sweet young flesh.

So he doesn’t think about those things. He’s an awesome father, he tells himself. Most kids get a disciplinarian; Diego gets a fun, good-time buddy who can give him anything he wants and throw the doors of the closet wide open. What little queer kid wouldn’t want that?

“I got him an underwear modeling gig,” Leon tells Kim, “but I’ll bet you can coach him into even bigger and better things.”

“I’d love to!” She turns to engage Diego further, and Leon isn’t sure, but he gets the sense that the kid is a little relieved at the change in conversation.

“So what else are we talking about?” He puts his elbows on his knees and leans toward Enrique and Rain.

“Rain has been reading us some of his poetry,” Enrique says. His smile carries the hint of suggestion.

Something flutters in Leon’s breast at the idea, followed immediately by annoyance. He is not some sentimental fool who falls for kids, no matter how beautiful. He’s not someone who falls for anyone. This Rain thing… he just needs to get it out of his head, out of his system.

There’s only one thing to be done about that.

“Really?” He slowly takes off his sunglasses and lets heat into his gaze. “I’d love to hear some poetry.”

Rain is holding a little black notebook, its pages worn at the edges. “Yeah, yeah, okay, I, I – I’ve got more, let me, let me – let me find another one.” He begins leafing through the notebook, rejecting one scribbled page after another.

Leon slides his hand over Rain’s knee and halfway up his thigh. “Why don’t you come read it to me somewhere more… private?”

Rain nearly drops the notebook. He fumbles it back into a now clawlike grasp, closing the pages over one finger. His voice comes out shocked, shaking. Eager. “Uh. Um. Uh. Oh, oh, uh… oh – oh, okay.”

Leon takes him by the hand and leads him out of the cabin. He never sees the disgusted look that passes over Diego’s face.

They move down the back steps, to where the porch light just barely spills over their faces. Leon had said “private,” but what he’d meant was “not right here.” He wants to be seen.

“Here,” he says, backing Rain up to the railing. He grabs the boy’s hips in both hands, sees the growing bulge at his crotch. Rain doesn’t resist; his eyes are half-closed. Still pressing Rain against the railing with one hand, Leon uses the other to untie and unlace the boy’s pants.

No surprise: there’s nothing but Rain behind the leather. What could have fit under those pants without leaving an unseemly line? His cock springs out, erect and quivering, the moment his laces are undone. Leon curls his hand around the shaft and squeezes gently, and Rain moans.

“Start reading,” Leon says, and lowers himself to his knees.

Pages are frantically flipped. “When the routine bites hard,” Rain begins.

Leon takes him into his mouth.

“Ohhh. And… and ambitions are lo – ohh – low.”

His groans of pleasure are delicious. Leon decides he will get Rain off before the boy finishes his poem.

It’s how he will win.

“And – and the resentment rides high, but emotions won’t – ahhh! – won’t grow.”

He keeps his lips soft, his tongue gentle. He moves to the head of Rain’s cock and caresses it with open-mouthed kisses. Flickers the tip of his tongue over the frenulum, the sensitive place he knows lies just under the head. He can’t properly stroke the boy’s perineum from here, but he presses his fingertips to it through the leather nonetheless, letting them slip up and down the crack of his ass.

“And we’re, we’re – we’re change – oh my god – changing our ways, take – FUCK – taking different roads.”

He takes Rain all the way in again. Increases speed. Increases pressure. He was made for this.

“Then love, love… love… oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god…”

Hot semen fills Leon’s mouth, salty on his tongue, and he swallows it as quickly as it pulses forth. Rain curls his fingers into Leon’s hair, thrusts his crotch hard into his face. “Leon…”

Leon brings both hands up to squeeze the boy’s ass, and holds his cock in his mouth until it begins to soften. Without moving away, he looks up through his eyelashes at Rain’s face. “Finish your poem.”

“Then love…” Rain catches his breath and gives a final shudder. “Then love, love will tear us apart again.”


“Love Will Tear Us Apart” © Joy Division, 1980. Used without permission.

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