Time to Grow Up

“We need to have a talk, man.” Sorrento is waiting with a pair of beer bottles at their usual spot at the bar. He opens Leon’s and slides it across the countertop to him as he sits down.

It’s been a week since they got back from Saratoga, and the two have barely spoken since. Sorrento brought Diego to Leon’s penthouse the night they got back to collect a few things, Sorrento throwing clothes in a laundry basket while the boy stood by the door with his head down, shuffling his feet and nodding occasionally when Sorrento held up an item. Leon had retreated to the balcony to give them space, staring at the lights on the Empire State Building and hoping against hope that Diego might change his mind. Sorrento opened the door to tell him they were leaving and to be at the club Friday night, and until tonight that was the last Leon heard from him.

But this is their Friday night ritual before the club opens as long as they’re on speaking terms – not always a given when their egos really clash – and Leon is relieved as hell to see they currently are. He takes the bottle Sorrento gives him, and both are quiet until they’ve each finished their beer. “Okay,” he says once the first empties have hit the countertop. “Let me have it, I guess.”

Sorrento folds both arms on the bar and leans into them. “Look, it’s not that I want to lecture you. But…” He sighs deeply and furrows his brows. “I just think it’s time we took a good look at ourselves. At what we’re doing here. I had… kind of a revelation when I went to that Tantra thing.”

Leon makes a noise somewhere between a laugh and a rueful sigh. “You and me both.”

“Yeah? What was yours about?”

“Being seen.” It’s an insufficient explanation, but he isn’t sure how to say it better.

Sorrento frowns and nods. “Yeah. Whether anyone has ever really seen you.”

It’s not quite the same, but Leon decides not to go into it. “Yeah. So… have they? Seen you, I mean?”

“Yeah, man… you. I think you’re the closest there is.”

That brings Leon up short. “You… really?”

“Yep.” Sorrento pushes himself up from the bar and gets a pack of cigarettes from his jacket pocket. He lights one for himself, then offers them to Leon, who takes one as well. “And it made me think about what other people see when they look at me, and man, I don’t know if I like it that much. We’re still fucking around doing blow and partying every weekend and fucking teenagers. Do we want to still be doing that in our sixties?”

Leon exhales a stream of smoke. “I think I’m done fucking teenagers.”

“Good. Me too. So I don’t need to get on your case about the Rain thing.”

Well, shit. That was unexpected. An icy finger touches Leon’s heart. “Hang on, what about Rain?”

Sorrento looks at him like he’s asked whether water is wet. “He’s a fucking teenager? Or near enough.” Leon’s protest must show on his face, because Sorrento’s tone gets harsher. “He’s too young for you, and you – ” He leans on the bar again to jab a finger emphatically into Leon’s chest. ” – need to stop stealing the kids your kid wants.”

Rain? Since when? “Okay, I know the thing with that kid he brought home that one time – ”

“Karl.”

” – yeah, Karl. That was… real shitty. And I know it, and I’m sorry, if he would let me tell him that. But I didn’t steal Rain, we… he…” He trails off, falling into uncomfortable thoughts. Has he ever really talked with his own kid about what he wants? Or has he just made his own assumptions and dragged the kid around to his parties, his scenes, his clubs, pushed him into the lifestyle he thought Diego must want? All while running around doing whatever the fuck he pleased.

“You’re making yourself sexual competition for your own kid,” Sorrento says with an accusatory edge. “Eli. Enrique. Yes, Rain. Everywhere he looked last weekend, there you were fucking someone he’d had his eye on.”

“… shit.”

He can’t even say for certain that it wasn’t, on some level, intentional. What kind of shitty fucking father is jealous of his own kid?

“Yeah. And then there’s Urban Renaissance. You know Rain and Simon are in love with each other, and all you’re doing is getting between them, and you’re gonna feel like shit when you’re why the band breaks up. They’ve got talent, you know it, I know it. I want them here, on our stage, and all this shit’s gonna hit the proverbial fan the first time I get you and Rain and Simon all under the same roof again.” He opens another pair of bottles. “So end it, man. Whatever the fuck it is. Let’s grow up, let’s act our ages, let’s get this place cleaned up and figure out where we’re going.”

Leon is silent for a very long time. He nurses his second beer and smokes the cigarette down to the filter. Finally he nods. “Yeah. Okay.” He finishes the last swallow. “How’s my kid doing?”

“He’s doing okay. Looking for an apartment. Kim and Kimberly are both helping him find more work.” He lights a fresh cigarette with the end of the first one. “I’m damn sorry now I fucked him the times I did, and I swear to God I’m never touching him again. But I’ll still say out loud, he’s one gorgeous fucking kid and no wonder he’s making himself a modeling career. He doesn’t even have to fucking try.”

The two open one more round, and then it’s time to go get dressed. To put on the shades and the skinny pants, and touch the unfamiliar nakedness of his upper lip for the thousandth time this week. To do a line, because even if they’re cleaning the place up it’s surely not starting yet, not when in a couple hours the Friday night party will be in full swing. And after that conversation he’s got the shakes something fierce.

He hasn’t seen Rain since Saratoga either, and up until now he’s hoped his lover would be here tonight. Now he thinks over what Sorrento has said, and how it’s undoubtedly all true. He knows what he’ll have to say, what he’ll have to do. Maybe it is love, but he can get over it, and Rain can too. There’s more out there for both of them.

But that doesn’t make the lump in his throat any easier to swallow.

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