Diego, a tawny-skinned baby with chubby legs, his head already thick with the curls his father gave him in the deep rich brown his Puerto Rican mother did. Leon holds the child he never knew, confused but awed, his heart bursting with the love he has for his own mother but magnified by the thousands.
Alan Laurent, the first boy he kissed, a key finally sliding into the lock that fit.
Being on stage with his mother and step-father, learning jazz and blues at their side. The son he also would have introduced to the stage if he’d had the chance.
Hearing disco for the first time and knowing he’d found his home, the beat addictive, the horns tugging at the heartstrings of his youth. Watching men dance to it and wanting to fuck them all. Realizing he could seduce as many as he wanted with his own moves.
The elation of his star rising, fame and money and drugs and sex. He lights up the stage at Studio 54, both before the shutdown and after its reopening. Steve Rubell handing out drugs like candy, the nights of glitter and glitz and glamour, blurring into a haze of coke and ludes and alcohol. Walking on clouds and stardust.
The loneliness he never felt creeping in as the years went by.
The boy who finally ended that loneliness, filling his life and his soul with love. They’re at Saratoga, the place he will treasure for as many days as remain to him. Rain teases and ignores him, drawing his attention like a magnet. Their “perfect frozen moment,” the one that will live forever.
Even after his own moments have all run out.
He awakens with a start. The sheets he lies on are drenched in his own sweat. Behind him Rain snores softly.
Slowly, painstakingly, he rolls himself over to face his lover, his love. Heavy curtains blanket the room in near-blackness, but a faint halo of light outlines Rain’s face. Leon reaches for him and he jolts awake in an instant. “Leon?”
He finds Rain’s waist with his hand. “Come here.” Rain hesitates, then snuggles into Leon’s open arm.
They’d made love after their show, recapturing the passion of their first encounters, then again in the week that followed. But since his downhill slide Rain has handled him like a porcelain doll, a piece of spun glass, a fragile soap bubble that will pop if he touches it too hard.
Leon takes Rain’s hand and moves it to his cock. Rain’s hand flinches away and Leon presses it firmly. Feels himself begin to stir.
“Are you sure?”
“Touch me. Let me touch you.”
Rain’s hand stays stiff and flat a moment longer, then slowly wraps around Leon’s cock. His fingers stroke gently, teasing him to life. Leon runs his hand up Rain’s body, feels him shudder, then quake with a sob. He shifts to caress Rain’s face, wiping away the tears he finds.
“I’m sorry, my love. My dear one. I’m sorry for all of this.”
Rain quivers in the darkness. “I’m not,” he says, his voice choked with emotion. “Not for one single second I’ve had with you.”
Leon places his hand on Rain’s cock and the boy presses into it with a moan. He can’t take his lover as he once did, sinking into him, Rain moving to match the thrust of his hips. But he can touch him here, like this. Their lips find each other in the dark, and Leon kisses the salt from Rain’s. He knows the map of his lover’s body, reads the tempo of his gasps, holds him when he comes.
Once he catches his breath, Rain puts his hand on Leon’s shoulder, pushing him insistently onto his back. It’s too painful for Leon to spread his legs, so Rain kneels at his side instead. His tongue is no more than a butterfly kiss at first, growing firmer as Leon registers no pain. Finally he takes him fully into his mouth, still careful, still bracing his hands on the mattress, but giving him all he has to give, accepting all that Leon is.
“Rain,” he whispers. “Oh, Rain…”
He doesn’t come hard. It’s a soft flutter, and he’s not even certain whether anything fills Rain’s mouth. But peace suffuses him, and the fear that has been his constant companion for months now fades away. He holds his arms out to Rain and the boy – his beautiful boy – stretches out at his side and lays his head carefully on Leon’s chest. He smooths Rain’s hair. “Thank you.”
“Shh. Let this be one more. One more perfect moment. One…”
Rain’s chest shakes, and he sniffles.
“One last time,” Leon says. He settles Rain’s head into the space just below his shoulder, where it won’t grow heavy on him, and wipes his love’s tears away again. He stays awake until Rain’s shudders quiet and his breathing grows smooth.
“I’m sorry,” he whispers once more, and lets sleep overtake him.