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Routines and Inevitability

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“I just don’t understand how it’s possible for a person to own this many leather-fringed vests,” said Lonny, shifting hangers back and forth inside the closet.

“I only own four, thank you, and leave my clothes alone,” Dennis called from the kitchen. Tonight was his night to be in charge of dinner, and he was making spaghetti and meatballs. Lonny’s dinner nights usually comprised of take out or pizza, or occasionally cereal and peanut butter sandwiches. Dennis preferred to make actual food, or go out to eat someplace that didn’t have a drive-thru window. If Dennis ever mentioned this, Lonny would call him a bloody old geezer and threaten to bring nothing but hairy cocktail olives to his next dinner night. Dennis would only roll his eyes and tell Lonny that his tight pants were cutting off the circulation to his brain. The banter would continue for several more minutes until they both were eating or practically pissing with laughter, and the conversation couldn’t continue.

The dinner rotation had been something that had existed even before the two had started seeing each other. It had begun one night when Lonny had been in the office when Dennis ordered Chinese over the phone. They ended up splitting pork lo mein and crab meat rangoon, laughing and talking late into the night. A few days later, Lonny ordered a pepperoni pizza, and asked Dennis if he’d like to split it. From that point on, every so often one would buy the other some form of dinner, or make it on the stove in the Bourbon, and the next time the other person would do it, without fail. This little routine and pattern never skipped a beat, never had Dennis or Lonny being in charge of dinner twice in a row, and eventually happening more and more frequently until it became a part of their daily routines.

To call it dinner was correct in terms of the food they ate, but in terms of time of day it would have probably been more appropriate to call it breakfast. But dinner didn’t happen until after the Bourbon closed, which wasn’t until the wee hours of the morning, and so Lonny and Dennis existed as night owls, eating dinner and going to bed as the sun came up, and waking up and enjoying breakfast when the sun went down. Living nocturnally was a necessity when one worked in and ran a nightclub, particularly one that featured headliners every weekend. And Lonny and Dennis wouldn’t have had it any other way.

The Bourbon had become their sort of bastard baby, with Lonny adopting it over the years as partially his own, even if Dennis took care of all the business side of things. Lonny had been there when Stacee Jaxx had first performed on the stage, when managers started calling asking if the Bourbon were free that weekend, and not the other way around. He had watched it grow, and had helped get it there, befriending the regulars and ensuring that everyone always had a good time. He and Dennis learned together how to spot the workers from the musicians, how to hydrate a crowd when the alcohol shipment was a day late, and how to sustain the performers on only a few handfuls of peanuts and strategically timed offerings of beer. Dennis had given birth to the Bourbon. But he and Lonny had raised it together.

Dinner had had only one distinct change since Lonny and Dennis had admitted to each other that they felt they were more than friends. They had begun eating at each other’s apartments, both complete dumps since most of Dennis’ money went into the Bourbon, and most of Lonny’s money went into records, clothes, and drinking bourbon. At one point, Lonny had been allowed to drink free at the bar. That had ended quickly with the constant disappearance of all the good booze.

Lonny sauntered into the kitchen, scratching his neck. “The seventies are over, Dennis. It’s time to move on.”

Dennis stirred the sauce. “Tell that to your hairstyle.”

“Excuse me, but mullets are going to be here forever.”

“Of course they are. Now sit down. The food’s ready, and I know for a fact that you haven’t eaten a thing all day.”

Lonny plopped onto one of the mismatched chairs at Dennis’ tiny kitchen table, and Dennis scooped pasta, sauce, and meatballs onto his plate. He served himself next, and sat down, while Lonny opened a bottle of crappy wine that Dennis kept around for dinners like this.

This level of domesticity had been achieved almost immediately after they had fallen in love. It had been sort of inevitable, really, like their sleep schedules and their cycle of the dinner routine. They had known each other so well for so long, and so long repressed their romantic feelings that once they couldn’t be denied any longer, they came out with the force of a geyser. They were best friends, and had been for years. And they loved each other. To call it dating would have been somewhat laughable; they were pretty much married. They just lived in different apartments.

They ate the entire pot of spaghetti, and finished off the sauce with a loaf of Wonder Bread like the classy fellows they were. Dennis washed the dishes while Lonny dried and put them away, and the two settled onto the couch to watch bad early morning television, with Dennis putting his arm over Lonny’s shoulders, and Lonny leaning into his chest. They stayed in comfortable silence through the news, and Lonny cried out in indignation at the soap opera that came on after that Melissa was falling in love with the wrong man, as Rodrik was actually being held captive in the Alps while his evil twin seduced the love of his life. They started making out about halfway through an infomercial for hair products, and decided to go to bed around 8 am, Lonny pulling Dennis eagerly most of the way.

Sex for them was a constant exploration. Both of them had been with plenty of women, but in terms of men only each other. They were close enough that most awkwardness had been defeated early on, and the overwhelming desire to get down and dirty that had fueled their relationship since day one had made it even easier. They touched, they kissed, they licked and rubbed each other, trying to see what worked and what didn’t. Lonny liked being kissed on the neck. Dennis loved the feeling of Lonny’s legs wrapped around him. Lonny liked to bite. Dennis liked to dig his fingers into Lonny’s hair. Both liked hair pulling and the feel of each other’s stubble as they kissed. Sex always happened in daylight, with everything exposed due to the hour they finally went to bed. But Lonny and Dennis never hid anything from each other, and night was reserved for booze, the Bourbon, and rock and roll. Morning was the time for each other, for caresses and kisses and dirty talk rumbled into each other’s ears. Mornings were the best, especially when they became afternoons, even if it meant they could barely function at the Bourbon later that night. Mornings were good. The sex was great. Years of pent up sexual frustration had certainly helped them out in this regard.

Later, when they both were spent and Lonny had rolled off of Dennis or Dennis had fallen over onto his pillow, the two would intertwine their limbs and grin at each other, happy to be alive and even happier to be with each other. They would talk a little, quiet whispers about love and pleasure and the wonders of the human body. Sometimes the talk would turn to God, other times to what they would do that night at the bar. Eventually they would drift off, still wrapped up in each other, the sheets crumpled between them since LA was always warm and the sex made everything warmer still. They would each have sweet dreams, and in the late afternoon Dennis would wake up first, going off to shower and then going down to the Bourbon early to open up and make sure everything was ready for the night ahead. Lonny would sleep until early evening, achieving different levels of being hung over depending on what had happened the night before. Dennis would dress and eat something, and then go over to Lonny, kissing him on the forehead and whispering to him to remember to not be a lazy bastard and wake up before eight, they still had work that night. Lonny would mumble something into the pillow (usually different levels of profanity, depending on the hung over level), and Dennis would leave, Lonny being allowed a few more hours of precious sleep.

The afternoon after the spaghetti, with Dennis in a sunny mood, he kissed Lonny on the forehead and gave his daily reminder. Lonny blearily opened one eye, more tired than ill that day.

“Oh get the fuck to work you bloody vest-wearing hippy bastard,” he said, pulling a pillow over his head. Dennis looked down at his ensemble and laughed.

“I may be a vest-wearing hippy bastard, but I’m your vest-wearing hippy bastard.” Lonny picked the pillow up a few inches, looking up at Dennis.

“And I’m your mullet-head limey boyfriend and I love you. And if you love me you’ll let me sleep.” With that, the pillow fell again, and Dennis chuckled, leaving his apartment and his lover in as much peace as the boisterous Hollywood street below would allow.