Ethan pulled his knees up to his chest as he stared blankly at the wall. The comfort of the couch did very little in soothing his pain. Learning about your boyfriend cheating is one thing but catching him in the act is another. He drowned out the frustrated cries of Justin and his lover as the pair donned their clothes and rushed out of the bedroom to meet up with him.
"Ethan! It's not what you think!" Justin attempted to defend his actions. "Leo and I…"
"Oh stop making excuses!" Leo snapped. The brown haired twink rolled his eyes and stared angrily at the catatonic musician. Snapping his fingers to gain Ethan's attention, the blond twenty one year old finally directed his focus on the other man in his boyfriend's life. "Ethan, is it? Listen, Ethan. Justin and I have been seeing each other for a year now and, quite frankly, he's no longer in love with you! So my advice is to grab your things, move out, and start a new life!"
Tears slid down Ethan's face. "Why…Justin?"
The surfer sighed. "The magic isn't there anymore. I hate to say it. I just don't find you attractive. I mean look at you. Your hair's a mess, your clothes are shabby, and you wearing those nerdy glasses that I hate. Plus, you're boring in bed. When I fuck you, I feel like I'm fucking a corpse. You're more frigid than Sarah Palin!"
"I…I…I've been tired," the blond man whispered. "I've been busy with school and working hard at night to support us both."
Justin clucked his tongue. "There you go, Ethan. Always nagging my ass! When are you going to stop getting on my case about everything? You tell me to get a job! You tell me to wash the dishes! Stop trying to be a control freak and maybe you can keep a man!"
"See?" Leo jumped in. "Justin doesn't want you. He's in love with me and I'm going to take care of him from now on. So you can go!"
Ethan whimpered. "But…but my stuff. It's all here."
Leo scowled, exited into the bedroom and returned with a pile of the blond man's clothes clasped in his arms. Dumping the contents including the hangers on to the musician, the twink put his hands to his side.
"There." Justin's dark haired lover smirked. "You have everything. Now get out!"
Defeated, Ethan glanced at his boyfriend with pleading eyes. "But…I pay the rent here…I already paid for the month…I live here…"
"My name is on the lease!" Justin stated. "That means you need to leave! Goodbye!" He and Leo grabbed the blond boy, yanked him off the couch that ironically was paid by him, and shoved him out the door before slamming it shut.
Ethan stood outside of his apartment with his pile of clothes in his arms and sat on the steps outside. The clouds above gathered as it began to rain. It seemed that the day had gone from bad to worse. Pulling out his cell, he called his closest friends. Wendy and Vince.
"Hello?" Wendy Perkins answered.
"Wendy…" he muttered.
"Ethan? Is that you?"
He hesitated before speaking. "Yeah."
"Are you okay? You don't sound like yourself."
Tears filled his eyes as the rain above began to soak his skin. "Can you come get me? Justin kicked me out…I have no other place to go…"
"WHAT!?!" Wendy screamed on the phone. "THAT ASSHOLE DID WHAT?"
Ethan did not respond but instead breathed into the receiver.
"Stay where you are, Ethan!" His best friend instructed. "Vince and I are coming to get you! And I'm getting Reggie too! He'll know what to do!"
"O…Okay," he finally responded. "I'm sitting outside…on the steps…it's raining…"
"Stay there!" Wendy ordered before hanging up. Ethan did.
Fifteen minutes later and with a downpour the size of tsunami wave, Wendy and Vince pulled up to the parking lot of Ethan's complex in their van. The twenty four year old woman rushed out to meet the young man on the steps who by now had been soaked to the skin. Vince got out of the driver's side with an umbrella and helped the blond man gather his drenched clothes and bring them to the van. Inside, their other friend Reggie Paddington still in his drag Chantee LeBeau persona had been waiting in the backseat ready with some towels and plastic bags. The African American man wrapped a terrycloth towel around the shivering blond lad.
"Goodness boy!" Reggie gasped. "You're freezing! That asshole boyfriend of yours deserves to be shot for kicking you out!" Wendy and Vince jumped inside the van.
Ethan's teeth chattered. "Th…th…thanks." He tightened the towel around him to keep himself warm.
"Why did he kick you out?" Vince asked from the driver's seat. "Did you two have a fight?"
Once again the tears flowed in Ethan's eyes. "I…I caught him cheating." He whimpered. "His new boyfriend assisted him in kicking me out."
"WHAT THE FUCK?" Wendy tugged at her blond and purple streaked hair. Fury appeared on her face. "YOU MEAN HE'S BEEN FUCKING BEHIND YOUR BACK AND HE THREW YOU OUT OF YOUR APARTMENT?"
Sadly, Ethan nodded. "You were right, guys. I was Justin's doormat. I paid the rent, supported him, and he screwed me over. I even paid for most of the furniture and he wouldn't even let me have that."
Reggie twisted his lip. "Aw, hell to the no!" Adjusting his long red wig, he grabbed his beaded purse and opened the passenger's side of the van. Digging his high heel in the wet puddle of the concrete, he did not care that his sequent dress was getting wet in the rain.
"Where are you going?" Wendy asked Reggie as he was marching toward the apartment stairs.
"I'm gonna bitch slap that white boy for treating Ethan like shit!" Reggie snapped. He glanced at the married couple. "You coming?"
Wendy and Vince jumped out of the vehicle along with a towel wrapped Ethan and headed up the stairs to their best friend's apartment. Reggie curled his fake nails into a fist and pounded the door.
Leo answered it to see a tall drag queen getting his red wig soaked in the rain. The twink's mouth dropped.
"Yes? Can I help you?" He asked.
Reggie, aka Chantee LeBeau, shoved the little boy down to the carpet. "Don't get up! I'll show myself in!" Wendy, Vince, and Ethan trailed after their best friend. A puzzled Justin Wallace came running from the bedroom to see the four of them in his living room.
"Get out!" The surfer shouted especially to Ethan who cowered behind Vince. "This is my apartment! You're trespassing! I'll call the cops!"
A panicked Leo scrambled from the floor and ran behind his lover. "That faggot attacked me, sweetie!" He was referring to Reggie. "Call the police!"
Reggie sneered. Reaching into his beaded handbag, he pulled out a tiny pistol and waved it in the air. Wendy, Vince and Ethan hit the floor.
"Reggie!" Wendy yelled. "What are you doing?"
"I'm merely making a point, girl!" The African American man declared. He aimed his gun at Justin and Leo who flinched at the sight of the loaded weapon. "Go ahead and called the po-po, bitch! I'm itching to use this motherfucker!" He shifted his gaze over his shoulder to Ethan. "Baby, did you have any other clothes that belong to you still in the closet?"
"Well boy, go and get them!" Reggie suggested.
The blond lad dashed into the bedroom and within five minutes emerged with a large garbage bag of stuff. "That should be everything. Underwear. Shoes. Baseball caps. My two designer suits."
"Those suits are mine!" Justin pouted.
Ethan shook his head. "Actually, those were a gift from my cousins, Mack and Jennifer. Since you never wanted to borrow them to go on job interviews, I figure they were going to waste."
The surfer hissed at his ex-boyfriend. "Bastard!"
Anger displayed in the drag queen's eyes. Reggie raised his gun closer. "What did you say?"
Justin turned pale. "Nothing. Nothing at all."
Leo rubbed his back. "Don't worry, baby. I'll buy you a new suit! Don't worry, I know how to take care of my man." He glared at Ethan. "Unlike some people."
"I think…" Ethan began. "That's everything."
Reggie disagreed. "Not everything." He winked at Wendy and Vince who suddenly got the message. Then he turned to the blond twenty one year old. "Didn't you purchase the couch?"
"Yeah…I did," said young man with hesitation. The drag queen signaled to Wendy who vanished into the kitchen and remerged with a huge butcher knife. Marching toward the living room, the twenty four year old woman stabbed the couch cushions and began to drag it down until all the cotton separated on to the carpet. Then once that was completed, she drove the blade through the interior of the fabric until every seam and material was torn and shredded.
"MY COUCH!" Justin screamed.
The African American man grinned. "Correction. Ethan's couch. Purchased with his own money. Tell me, my boy, what else do you buy to furnish this apartment?"
A sudden boost of confidence surged through the blond man's body. For three years, he had made all the sacrifices in this relationship including financially supporting his deadbeat boyfriend and receiving nothing in return. Justin Wallace had emotionally stripped him of his dignity and his soul and now it was payback time. With the assistance of loving, supportive friends, he was finally finding his voice again and, frankly, he was enjoying every minute of it. It was now time for him to play along.
Winking at Vince, Ethan gave his twenty six year old best friend the signal. "Oh yeah. I bought the dining table too!"
Vince snickered, ran in the kitchen and emerged with a meat cleaver. Locating the dining area, he leaped on to the counter and brought the blade down on the center of the wooden table. After carving large letters on to the eating area, he stood up to admire his handiwork. Right there in the middle of the defaced dining table was the following sentence: JUSTIN WALLACE HAS A TINY DICK.
"That's pure, rare white oak!" Leo pouted from behind his boyfriend. The fact that these hooligans were destroying private property enraged him but there nothing he could do since a tall, crazy drag queen held them hostage at gunpoint.
As Vince finished carving his statement into the dining table, Ethan felt a sudden urge to join in the fun. Running into the kitchen as well, heopened every cabinet and smashed every glass, plate, bowl, and utensil on to the floor.
Justin opened his mouth in shock. "What are you doing!?!"
The young man grinned. "Well you never wanted to do the dishes. I'm just helping you out." Next, he directed his focus on the last thing he purchased for his ex. The surfer saw where the blond musician was heading toward in the living room and flailed his arms.
"NO! NOT THE TELEVISION!"
Too late, Ethan pulled the big screen off the stand until it smashed into a million pieces. Dusting off his hands, Reggie gestured toward the blond gentleman.
"You done here?"
Ethan smiled. "Quite." He beckoned for Wendy and Vince. "Let's go. I'm feeling a million times better."
Reggie lowered his gun and placed it back in his purse. Following Wendy, Vince, and Ethan out the front door, they returned to the pouring rain as shouts from Justin Wallace could be heard atop the demolished apartment.
"DON'T EVER SHOW YOUR FACE HERE AGAIN, ETHAN ZYLKO!" The surfer screeched. "IF YOU DO, YOU'LL BE SORRY!"
Unfortunately, Ethan did not hear a word of it as the rain drowned out all the noise as the van peeled out of the complex's parking lot.
Rafael sat on the bed of his sister Daniella's suite of the U. S. Grant Hotel in San Francisco as the bellhop brought in ten pieces of luggage into the room. Even though his royal sibling had purchased coach tickets on their flight, she failed to comply to his request to book a cheap motel in the Bay Area. Even her designer Prada dress which was to be simple screamed money! Simmering in annoyance at his little sister, the Villatuone woman tipped the luggage attendance generously as the last piece of her carry-on was brought in.
"Don't pout mi hermano," she frowned. "This is San Francisco. Let's enjoy the week while we're here!"
Rafael stood up from the bed. "I told you I wanted to come here incognito! I specified that we were not to stay in a lavish hotel."
Daniella Donti laughed. "E pur troppo vero! It is true that you mentioned staying in an affordable hotel but you didn't specify which kind. I'm getting a ten percent discount off this suite since I'm regular customer of the U. S. Grant! That counts as afforadable!"
"And that Prada outfit you're wearing?" He noted. "What happened to a simple t-shirt and jeans?"
"I have them," she argued. "It's in my other suit case. I brought several Armani tees along with my True Religion and Seven jeans!"
The handsome man slapped his forehead. "Bastarda! Why did I agree to let you accompany me?"
She approached her sibling and gave him a peck on the cheek. "Because you love me, mi amor. Oh and I did blackmail you into coming." She began dragging her ten pieces of luggage into the other bedroom next to his.
"Why do you need ten pieces of luggage?" Rafael shouted from out his bedroom. "I only brought two."
"We're going to celebrate and paint the town red, hermano!" Daniella yelled back from the other room. "I have to be dressed accordingly with every occasion. This might be an educational trip but to me, it's a vacation to spend some quality time with my big brother!"
The twenty four year old artist sighed. "The art exhibit for Saintsbourough is in three days. I have to go down to the Museum of Modern Art to make sure my three pieces I shipped arrived in time for the competition."
"I'm sure it has," smiled Daniella. "I paid more to the courier to ensure that extra care had been taken for the two paintings and your sculpture. That London school would be foolish not to accept you."
"Competition is going to be stiff, mi Hermana," he replied. "There are many great artists out there. I'm not the only one."
She returned to his bedroom, sat next to him, and placed her head against his shoulder. "Don't you worry, Rafael. You have a gifted talent that you inherited from your mother, Guadalupe. That's why Father fell in love with her. Not only was she an artist but she was a free spirit and she made him feel more alive even though he was bound by his royal obligations. You're going to get into this school. I feel it in my gut."
"I hope so," he exhaled. "I never wanted something so much in my life."
"Not even love?"
Rafael paused for a moment. He never considered the possibility of love. Sure, his relationship with an unfaithful married man was strictly physical but, in truth, he never loved Baron Diego Hernandez. The thirty year old offered him a welcoming distraction and temporary muse but that quickly ended as their relationship began to deteriorate the last four years. For a while, Rafael never believed he was capable of love. Everything concerned art. From the colors that he saw of unique landscapes and the sky to the interesting lines and symbols that fascinated him from the objects that he dealt with or observed on a regular basis. Love was never in the cards for him nor will it ever will be.
He giggled to his sister's question. "You know me, Daniella. I'm not a firm believer in love. It's a ridiculous emotion honored only in poetry, romantic literature, and predictable film melodramas."
She playfully shoved the man. "You're such a cynic, Rafael! We're in a beautiful American city with so many handsome men around and you're too busy thinking about art and your acceptance in Saintsborough!" Folding her arms, she frowned. "Come! This is San Francisco, the mecca of gay culture. We're going to celebrate and let you have some fun."
Rafael protested. "But the art exhibit? I have to check on that shipment arriving…"
"Bah!" Daniella rolled her eyes. "The shipment is fine. You can check on it later. The art exhibit is not for another three days. Meanwhile, we're going to do some site seeing and take in the town! Now let me change into some more appropriate attire and we'll live a little. Mal comune, mezzo guadio!"
"A shared trouble is half joy?" The artist translated his sibling's Italian phrase.
"Si!" She giggled. "We're going to get into some trouble while we're in this city. Who knows? I might just find a man for you on this trip!"