72 seasons – ©Alex Jane 2018 – All Rights Reserved

Cal smiled at the text on his phone as he sprawled on the couch at Harry’s place. Not the apartment he used for work—which probably cost more to rent than Cal made in a year. No, the place where Harry slept and ate was much more discreet; a one bed with a small kitchenette in a less expensive part of town.

All Harry’s personal things were there; his trophies from high school that is mom brought over in an old cardboard box, the much-loved couch covered in afghans that his grandma had knitted him, old pictures frames hung haphazardly on the walls showing holidays with friends, and family, and Harry’s old dog. It was the only place where Harry ever wore sweatpants. It was cosy and Cal was pretty sure he was the only other person outside Harry’s family who was allowed inside.

They often hung out there, watching TV or eating together. It was a hell of a lot nicer than Cal’s current digs. Plus, it reminded them both of sharing a room at college, before life got complicated and their paths diverged. Some things hadn’t changed though. Tonight was their traditional post-Valentine commiseration evening, complete with Chinese food and some action movie trash. Harry, of course, wasn’t alone the night before but he was with a client that he didn’t particularly like, while Cal had fallen asleep on the couch about eight-thirty and woke up at midnight with sweet and sour on his shirt. They couldn’t decide who’d had the worse evening but were determined that pizza and Fireball could fix anything.

A dvd was paused on the flatscreen TV, as Harry paced around behind him, yammering on his cell. Cal had been staring at the distorted, frozen face on the screen for what seemed like forever while Harry dealt with whatever emergency it was this time. When Cal’s cell had beeped, it was a blessing. And the smile that came over him wasn’t so much at the content of the message but the formality of it. It just struck Cal as funny, given what he was arranging with the sender.

A couple of weeks ago he wouldn’t have felt so relaxed about getting a booty call from a complete stranger. Except, Ben wasn’t a stranger exactly. A guy generally became more of an acquaintance once you’d had your hand on his junk. Plus, the half-bottle of booze in his system was probably helping him to see the funny side too. Thank God, he didn’t have any classes until the following afternoon.

Cal had been a little surprised to get the email from Ben wanting a second session in the first place. He was less surprised when Ben had cancelled at the last minute on Tuesday but then when he wanted to reschedule, Cal was okay with it. There was something about Ben that gave Cal the impression he wasn’t the sort to play games and that he wasn’t going to waste Cal’s time on a whim. The last thing Cal needed was somebody messing with his head and chewing up his free days. But Ben didn’t seem the type.

Cal heard Harry signing off and he tipped his head back. “Everything okay?”

Harry sighed and walked over to the breakfast bar to refresh his drink. “Yeah, just one of the boys has a date at the apartment and the client turned up with a friend.”

“Shit. Do you need to go over there?”

Harry laughed and shook his head. “Nah, it’s Brian, the one with the big…” They both made the same obscene gesture. “He just wanted to make sure I knew the score, tell the guy not to do it again…and that I bill the guy for a double.”

Cal hmmed at looked back down at his phone when it beeped again.

“What are you smiling at?” Harry said as he set his drink on the coffee table.

“Nothin’.” Cal clicked the screen dark to keep Harry from peeking.

Harry scoffed, flopping down onto the couch next to him. “You know if you want more clients, I’ve got work coming out of my ass.”

Cal shook his head. “Ew. And no thanks. I appreciate you sending this guy my way but no more.”

Harry clapped his hands together and sat up. “I knew it! You sneaky bitch. I thought you said he cancelled on you?”

Cal sighed and hung his head. “He did…but I told him we could reschedule.”

Harry laughed. “I can’t believe it! You’ve got a regular! What happened to ‘Just this once, Harry’, huh?”

“I don’t know.” Cal scratched his chin. “He was sweet. And he paid me more than he should have. And I do kinda need the money.”

“I’m serious about the work, Cal.” Harry grabbed his phone and stated scrolling through his appointment book. “I got a bunch of guys off sick with the flu, and there’s a conference coming into town next week—”

“No! God, no,” Cal laughed. “I’m not doing it. Or them. I’ll take this closet case off your hands until he’s ready to get laid with the lights on, but no more. I’ve got enough on my plate right now.”

Harry’s attitude softened a little, as did his tone. “You’re not a social worker, Cal. This guy’s not a friend either. Don’t forget that.”

“I know, I know. You think I’d forget that?” Cal frowned at the way Harry’s eyebrows said yeah…you have before. “Whatever. I know you’re just thinking of me—”

“And the money.”

“Yes, let’s not forget the money.” Cal rolled his eyes. “But I’m okay. And I’ll be okay.”

Harry looked him hard in the face, scrutinizing him in the way he’d done when he’d tried to convince Cal he had psychic powers when they got high the first time. After a second or two, Harry relaxed back and put his cell back in his pocket. “Alright. But if you need anything you just have to ask me, okay?”

Cal smiled fondly. “Okay.”

Harry nodded and said, “Okay then,” as he reached for the remote.

“Harry?” Cal said softly as Bruce Willis came to life on the screen and the sound of gunfire filled the room.

Harry turned to Cal and gave him his $4000 a night smile. “Yes, honey?”

“Can I use the apartment on Monday? I have a date.”

Next

72 seasons


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72 seasons – ©Alex Jane 2018 – All Rights Reserved