David had done his research on Sydney and after a small bump of cocaine at the hotel, and a couple of glasses of champagne to wash it all down, he was heading into Darlinghurst to meet Sebastien at the Colombian. He knew there was a drag show there every night leading up to this Saturday’s parade, and he wanted to make sure he got to see at least one show before he and Sebastien got caught up in the celebrity socializing that always happened on jobs like this. Sebastien usually met the client, got invited to private parties and that was the end of checking out what was actually happening in the city they were in. David preferred to get a sense of the city though, and feel like he had actually been there.
His uber dropped him off out the front and he could see there was already a queue. The Colombian was heaving, which he supposed should be expected this time of year. He had heard people referring to Mardi Gras here as Gay Christmas. Through the entry he could see bodies pressed into the bar and hanging out the ground floor windows. Even David Rose wasn’t arrogant enough to think that his Out 100 profile, or the knowledge that he was heir to a Canadian Video Empire, was going to get him out of the queue. He dutifully fell in line and pulled out his phone to see if there was any news about how far away Sebastien was.
As the queue solidified behind him, he took the time to watch the goings on of Oxford St; it really was a queer Mecca. There were seven-foot drag queens made up so well that Ru Paul would be proud, talking a mile a minute and screeching greetings when they ran into people they knew. He noticed an older greying couple with matching beards and leather vests, walking peacefully hand in hand and there were scrums of young queer men giggling and squawking. Pairs of women were also holding hands; from the glamorously made-up in heels and tight corporate outfits, to the leather wearing women who had decided bras were a symbol of the patriarchy that needed to fuck right off. It made him feel happy, even if he couldn’t show any outward evidence of his happiness; Sebastien had told him he looked pathetic when he smiled, too eager, so he kept his New York face on. And while it wasn’t New York, David knew he was at home here, safe and surrounded by his people, regardless of the way he decided to present at any given moment, nobody was batting an eyelid.
Today’s clubbing outfit and armour was a black mesh t-shirt and his favourite leather pants. He was slightly regretting wearing the pants, regardless of how good his ass and legs looked in them, due to the blasted heat in this country. Over the top he wore a leather harness buckled around his chest that still left his nipples and his one nipple ring on obvious display.
As he moved forward in the queue, only three people from the door now, he saw Sebastien pull up in a cab. He exited the cab and two tiny toned young things slid under his arms, one on each side. He walked up to the entry, not bothering with the queue, as the young men he was with started chatting to the doorman.
“Sebastien!” David called out, annoyed that he hadn’t been noticed and that his boyfriend had two flashy pieces of arm candy hanging off him. He was literally four feet away from him, but Sebastien was so engrossed in his conversation with the young men and the doorman, he didn’t even see David. He walked through the rope that the doorman had opened for the three of them, leaving him in the line. David groaned and leaned his head back, closing his eyes and counting to three to keep himself calm.
He knew that dating artists was always going to be complicated. They tended to be temperamental and self-involved, but he put up with it. It was enough to be a part of a partnership where he felt good about what he brought to it. He had a prize-winning gallery and was Sebastien’s muse – Sebastien needed him. He wasn’t ridiculous enough to think he was in love with Sebastien, but that wasn’t on the cards for him anyway. A solid respectful relationship with good sex and a healthy reciprocal arrangement out of the bedroom was enough for him.
Even though he was already basically at the door, it was another ten minutes before David got into the club, considering the crowds. As he entered, he scanned the room he noticed the two young men grinding up on Sebastien on the dance floor. He rolled his eyes and headed straight to the bar, dropping his black Amex behind it to set up a tab ordering a Caipiroska. It was a good cocktail to have in the heat, refreshing with the lime, and enough soda water to keep you hydrated considering it also had a double shot of vodka. As he waited for the bartender to make the cocktail he perused the bar, checking out who else was out and about and noticed…. Holy fuck, it was the hot lifeguard from this morning. He was wearing a navy short-sleeved Henley that was very snug across his shoulders and chest, and a pair of very tight dark jeans. He almost looked more delicious fully clothed, if that was even possible. His hair was just a little bit on the side of too long, which showed off his curls and gave him a boyish charm. He wanted to put his hands in it and pull.
After a minute checking him out (he didn’t want to be a creep – or get caught) he grabbed his drink from the bar and turned to lean on it, trying to work out what the fuck was going on with his own boyfriend and those annoying little dancers.
Patrick had come into the bar via the back entrance with Hamish and his friends, taking the opportunity to say hello to all the Queens that he knew in the back room, before moving out to the bar. The place was heaving, he loved the energy, there was always a giant cross-section of the gay community in situ, and the dancefloor was packed waiting for the show to begin. Hamish was on third, with Killian and Marco, or should he say Ivana Rimjob, Peggy Harder, and Marcy Mounty. It made him chuckle that Marco’s stage name was the same as his mom’s name, but the three of them were hilarious together. They always did a bit of hysterical banter and call-outs before performing a few choreographed songs. He loved it. By the time they performed, he had usually found his mark for the night and was busy flirting with them. By the time their act had finished, he was ready to head out with the man that would share his bed for the night. Luckily for him, most didn’t want to stay when he told them he had to be up at five am for work.
He ordered a drink and started assessing the quality of the men in the bar, and he noticed the lanky asshole from this morning on the dance floor with two very sexy and toned young men grinding up against him. They looked like dancers, their movements were precise and professional, keeping time with the strong house beat flowing through the club. The elder man was lost in the music, running his hands all over the young dancers. Patrick found the whole thing extremely distasteful. Not that he wanted to judge anybody and their preferences, but that guy seemed like such a pretentious dick, he looked super creepy with his hands all over the young men, so possessively. Anyway, he guessed it was not his problem, they were consenting adults.
He started looking around trying to see if he could find someone interesting to approach or, have someone interesting approach him, when he noticed the gorgeous leggy man leaning up against the bar, watching his sleazebag boyfriend on the dance floor. He didn’t seem to be enjoying the show his boyfriend was putting on, in fact, he looked pretty upset. He shook his head, annoyed at himself for feeling oddly protective, but not enough that he could leave the gorgeous dark-haired man alone. He was so drawn to this man and decided he needed to know what was happening between him and his boyfriend. Maybe their relationship was open. Patrick sidled up to the gorgeous man at the bar. He looked stunning and sexy as hell in what he was wearing, his leather pants hugging everything so tightly Patrick got a very good idea of what was happening underneath them – more so than in his swim trunks. He took in the nipple ring and the chest hair under the mesh top and it made his cock twitch in anticipation. Patrick hadn’t had to deal with much rejection in the past few months.
“Hey,” he said loudly, quite close to the man’s ear. The music was loud and it was the only way to be heard. The dark-haired man was startled out of his own thoughts.
“Ummm, hi,” the guy shouted back turning to look at him, shaking his head a little to indicate he didn’t really know who he was.
“I’m Patrick,” he yelled. “We saw each other at the pool this morning. Your boyfriend was a dick? Threatened my job?”
David was nodding. It’s like not anything that Patrick said was untrue. Sebastien definitely was a dick this morning by the pool. “Patrick,” the man said again gesturing to himself with a warm smile. He seemed very confident and it was very alluring.
David was trying to decide which way he wanted to take this conversation. Should he address the part about Sebastien being a dick, or just carry on as if it wasn’t important. Glossing over things was a very strong skill that he had developed to move past other indiscretions, so….
“You’re a lifeguard.” David decided Sebastien’s behaviour this morning wasn’t his problem.
“I am,” Patrick replied, a small quirk flashing at the side of his mouth.
“And you are North American,” David continued.
“Canadian,” Patrick nodded and smiled just a little bit more.
“Hmmm, me too. Well originally – I live in New York now. I’m David.”
Patrick narrowed his eyes as he took in David’s face. “Hang on, are you David Rose?” David looked sharply at the man; he really hadn’t been expecting to be recognized on this trip. But given the man was from Canada, and most people had heard of Rose video, especially since it moved to online streaming, it wasn’t too surprising he’d been identified.
He decided not to confirm or deny. “What are you doing out this late? Don’t you have to be up early? For your little swim before you start?” David cocked his eyebrow. A little flirting with a good-looking man that Sebastien hated seemed like a good idea considering what he was doing on the dance floor.
“You were watching me this morning, weren’t you, David.” Patrick looked cocky, like he knew what he was working with.
David raised his eyebrow in answer, waiting to see where this was going.
“So, I was wondering, seeing as your boyfriend is out there grinding up against two dancers, does that mean your relationship is open?” Patrick said, very confidently, giving David full eye contact, and running his finger down David’s bicep leisurely. “Because I’d be open, to, well…. pretty much anything with you.”
David was taken aback. The confidence Patrick exuded was mesmerizing, people he knew weren’t usually this sure of themselves, or they wouldn’t have admitted they were actually interested in him. He was usually the one doing the asking. However, he really did prefer to be a monogamous person.
“Sebastien is just having a good time; we will be going home together.” He’d had enough experience from multiple relationships and David was finished with the idea of being one of many in his partner’s bed, separately or simultaneously.
“Oh, you think, do you?” Patrick gestured over to Sebastien on the dance floor and David glanced over to see him sticking his tongue down the throat of one of the two men.
David rolled his eyes. “Yes, yes we will.”
Patrick’s eyes widened; clearly, he was as disbelieving as David felt at this moment. What the actual fuck was Sebastien playing at?
“If you say so,” Patrick said, taking a swig of his drink.
“Sebastien is an artist, sometimes he just needs to follow a stream of consciousness until the art reveals itself to him.”
“Mhmm, right, right.” Patrick rolled his eyes at David. If he wanted to be treated that way in his relationship then he guessed it wasn’t really his problem. It’s not like you can understand what happens behind the closed doors of other people’s relationships anyway. “Okay, then. Have a... Have a good night.” Patrick said stumbling over his words a little and then tapped on the bar twice before moving away from David. He was unsure why he cared about this guy. David hadn’t done anything to endear himself to him, aside from some very delicious eye contact that they had at the pool this morning before his boyfriend turned up, and he needed to get this guy out of his head.
Before he moved too far away, he spotted the antithesis of David standing at the bar. Blonde, blue eyed and stocky. He was leaning against the bar looking like he was waiting to be served. Patrick walked past him and took the opportunity to check out the tight white t-shirt straining across his shoulders. He clearly went to the gym.
Patrick stopped, turned and cozied up beside him at the bar. “Can I get you a drink, gorgeous?” he said waiting for his reaction with a suggestive smile. The guy turned and smiled at him, and then took a moment to give Patrick a very obvious once over, before giving him a flirty look, pretending like he was trying to decide, tapping his chin with his forefinger before nodding and saying, “Sure handsome.”
“What are you drinking….” Patrick said leaving a blank for the guy to fill in.
“Todd. Vodka soda please.” Todd winked at him, suggestively licking his bottom lip and then running his top teeth over it.
“I’m Patrick. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Todd.” He smiled charmingly at Todd, knowing the way to get what he wanted. He was the clean-cut Canadian that they all wanted to take home and take apart.
Patrick looked up to try and find the bartender and clocked that David was still in his sights, he hadn’t really moved far enough away before finding his mark. He glanced over at him to see David was smirking at him, clearly watching him putting the moves on Todd. David raised his eyebrows at him and lifted his drink to his lips, before turning so he was side on to Patrick, and took a drink from his glass. Patrick was mesmerized watching him swallow, his Adams apple sliding down his throat. Fuck, he shook his head and turned back to Todd, who was now regarding him a bit differently.
“Everything okay, Patrick?” Todd asked quizzically. He raised one eyebrow.
Patrick moved back to his easy charming smile, knowing he had to turn it on, so he played his killer move, dropping his head with a chuckle rubbing the back of his neck, before looking up through his eyelashes. Todd’s smile came back to the vibrant and charmed one he was looking for. He needed to keep his eyes on his target. He finally got the bartender’s attention and ordered the Vodka soda for Todd and a lager for himself.
“So, Todd, are you from Sydney or are you just here for Mardi Gras?” he smiled at Todd, waiting for his answer.
“Oh, I just live around the corner actually,” Todd answered.
“Well, isn’t that convenient?” Patrick answered, with a sweet smile and a cute raise of one eyebrow. Patrick noticed the music had calmed down and the MC Ruby Lonesome had taken the stage with her mike. She was a stocky bearded man who dragged themselves up in the image of Doris Day.
The bartender returned with their drinks and Patrick turned to pay him, and while waiting for his change he noticed Sebastien had returned to David, with one young man still under each arm. David looked affronted, his demeanour guarded and hands were moving around animatedly. He didn’t look happy.
“Sorry, what?” Patrick focused back on the man in front of him.
“I asked what you were doing here? You’re clearly not from Sydney.”
“No, I’m Canadian. I’m working as a lifeguard down at Icebergs for the summer. I’m just staying until after Mardi gras.”
“Only here for a good time, not a long time then?” Todd looked like he couldn’t believe his luck.
“Something like that, yes,” Patrick said, eyes twinkling.
Over the loudspeaker, Ruby’s voice rang out with the words that Patrick was listening for. “Can everyone give a warm welcome to our next act, Ivana Rimjob!” The bar broke out into loud applause, cackling at Hamish’s stage name as he flounced onto the stage. “Performing tonight as trusty cockslut sidekick, Peggy Harder,” more screaming and applause. “…and supported by everybody’s favourite service top, Marcy Mounty…”
The three hit the stage blowing kisses to the audience and Patrick leaned into Todd’s ear and said “That’s my housemate,” proudly.
“Which one?” Todd yelled back into his ear over the ringing applause.
“Ivana Rimjob,” Patrick said with a chuckle. It was hard not to laugh every time he said Hamish’s stage name.
“And does she?” Todd said, suggestively raising his eyebrow.
“Oh yes, she always does.”
They both smirked and then giggled at the forward conversation, their eye contact letting Patrick know he was good to go. And as long as they suited each other’s preferences, he would be hopefully getting pounded into the mattress tonight. That would take his mind off David’s legs.
Leaning back on the bar and taking in the show, Patrick took the chance to look over at David without Todd noticing. It seemed that David was alone again, watching the show but looking thoroughly unimpressed. The scowl that had overtaken his face didn’t do anything to take away from David’s beauty. Patrick glanced at the dancefloor and couldn’t see Sebastien there, or anywhere else in the bar, and his heart skipped a beat for David, who looked like he was going back to the hotel alone after all.
David watched Patrick move away and start chatting up the gym guy at the bar. Sure, he was cute if you liked that pumped up look. Patrick looked up and caught his eye so he quirked an eyebrow at him and then gave him his best side view swallowing. He could let Patrick imagine what else he might be good at swallowing.
Just as he was about to continue the game of distracting the hot lifeguard while he was trying to pick up, Sebastien barreled over, young men in tow. Smiling at David and then ordering a bottle of Veuve Cliquot vintage Rosé, with three glasses and telling the bartender to put it on David’s Amex.
“Am I not getting a glass, Sebastien?” David arched his eyebrow at him, sipping the last of his cocktail and placing it on the bar behind him.
“Well, it depends David,” Sebastien said slowly and nonchalantly.
“On what exactly,” David tried to pull what he thought was a flirty face, instead of the annoyance he was probably showing.
“If you want to join Travis, Trent and I?” Sebastien said simply.
“I just said I wanted a glass….” David declared, throwing his arms up questioningly while looking confusedly at Sebastien and the two pretty young things.
Sebastien cocked his head and regarded him quietly for a moment, in that annoying manner he had when he was trying to imbue what he was saying with artistic meaning, so David waited patiently.
“I think that you should join us, as we reveal ourselves to each other.”
David paused for a second, narrowing his eyes at Sebastien, trying to work out what he was actually saying.
“We will drink this bottle and go back to the hotel and delight in the impermanent beauty of youth…”
“Sebastien, are suggesting that we take these two back to our hotel room?”
“Yes, David, of course!” rolling his eyes, as if it was obvious.
“But, we are exclusive!” David’s eyebrows shot up to his hairline, mouth hanging open.
Sebastien scoffed, “Wherever would you have gotten that idea, David?”
“From YOU!” David was almost screeching now, happy that the bar was so loud, nobody else was really noticing.
“Oh David, you always hear what you want to hear, but I can assure you that the strength of our relationship comes from being open… to all possibilities…”
“And how long have YOU been open to all possibilities…” David was trying so hard to keep control. He knew how much Sebastien hated when he made a scene.
Sebastien shook his head and smiled at the young men under his arms like David was being ridiculous.
“Day-vid,” Sebastien reached out and ran his hand along David’s jaw. “I have always been open to all possibilities…”
“So, you’ve been fucking other people this whole time we’ve been together!?” He narrowed his eyes as he waited for confirmation, but the realization hit him pretty quickly. All those nights when David would leave parties before him, and not hearing from him for a day or two he thought were just lost to cocaine, were actually lost to cocaine and fucking other people.
“Connecting, David, we’ve been connecting….” smiling smarmily at the young men. “Are you coming with us? Travis is fascinated with your nipple piercing….”
“No. Nope. None of that, thank you Travis,” David said quite firmly, waving his hand around Travis’ face.
“I’m Trent,” the young man said with a smile, seemingly unaffected by David’s tantrum.
“Well, then maybe we will just head back to the hotel before you make even more of a scene David. You are very good at making a scene… come on guys… he’s a good fuck but sometimes he’s just a little bit too much,” Sebastien said as he slunk off into the night.
At that moment a voice came over the loudspeaker and David looked around to notice the stage and a gorgeous bearded, chunky Doris Day type taking the stage.
“Welcome everyone to our next act, Ivana Rimjob!” the bar broke out into loud applause, cackling at Hamish’s stage name as he flounced onto the stage. “…Performing tonight as trusty cockslut sidekick, Peggy Harder,” more screaming and applause. “…and supported by everybody’s favourite service top, Marcy Mounty…”
David slunk down in his barstool, turning around to see the bartender had deposited the already uncorked $200 dollar bottle of champagne on the bar with three champagne flutes. He let him fill one before ordering a shot of vodka neat and then waving him away, which he downed before turning around to watch the show that had been announced. It seemed like he was staying, watching the show, drinking the bottle and hoping that they were done by the time he got back to the room, otherwise, he could see if they had any other room vacancies. He wasn’t missing the drag show though. He was going to have the full Mardi Gras experience, and cackling Aussie drag queens that reminded him of ‘Priscilla Queen of the desert’ were definitely an essential part of that experience.
As Hamish and his friends flounced off the stage, Patrick and Todd were in stitches. The act was hilarious tonight due to the number of tourists offering themselves to be roasted by the three obnoxious drag queens.
Patrick turned around to seal the deal with Todd when he noticed David again. This time he was clearly arguing with the bartender. The bartender was gesturing to the door and looked seconds away from calling security. Fuck. He couldn’t just ignore him. As much as he wanted to just have hot meaningless sex with Todd, David was clearly hammered and Patrick knew he had no one here looking out for him. He couldn’t do it. He knew Sydney’s drinking laws were tight, and if he was deemed intoxicated, he was getting sent out of the club. Yelling at the bartender was a sign of intoxication they didn’t take lightly.
Patrick put his hand on Todd’s arm and looked him in the eye before saying, “Look, I’m really sorry, but there’s a friend of mine over there and… well it looks like he’s in a bit of trouble,” jutting his chin out to indicate David to Todd. “I need to go help him out…. Can we take a raincheck?” He might not be getting there tonight but he knew better than to burn his bridges.
“Next time, gorgeous, next time. He’s a lucky friend to have you looking out for him,” Todd said with a smile, but Patrick could sense his disappointment.
Patrick leant in and gave him a quick chaste kiss; it was pleasant enough, nothing to write home about. He took a deep breath and moved down the bar toward David.