It was not but another five minutes that they arrived. Aaron and Jason quickly redressed themselves while Brian worked on re-hinging his chin so that it didn't remain fallen open the whole day. Fortunately, Jason had swallowed all the evidence, and there was nothing to clean up. The three popped out of the limo as if nothing had ever went on, save for Brian still possessing slightly rosy cheeks. He was never prepared for that show.
The mall was only slightly crowded-it was, mind you, Sunday morning, and all the residents of the region were in church or asleep. Those few who walked the stores were mostly older tourists. Fortunately for Brian there was not one giggly schoolgirl or horny teen in sight, excluding, of course, his current company.
"So, what do you want to get first?" Aaron and Jason looked at each other with uncomprehending faces.
"We have no money, not even a dollar." Brian shrugged. "And?"
"We can't buy anything with no money!" Rolling his eyes, Brian grabbed their hands, pulling them forward. "Do I look poor to you?" They perked up after that. Aaron, though, the very quiet one, finally started, "But we can't expect you to just..." He trailed off as Brian once again-the second time that day-raised his hand to create silence. Aaron just smiled and walked on.
They first hit every store in the mall that had anything wearable in it. Brian insisted on picking out everything in pairs. By the time they were done they'd taken out a trunk-full of bags to the limo. Brian had both Aaron and Jason change in the back-to spoof them up, their clothes from the previous night being rather ragged. At first he was just going to step out and let them change, but they stripped before his hand got to the door-quite a show.
It was already nearing eleven, not yet lunchtime, and the first shop they hit was-ironically perhaps-a music store. Brian bid them select some music, again using his all-powerful hand to wave away all arguments. Once they had enough CDs to last a good day or two worth of listening, Brian let them stop searching. He only let them rest momentarily, sending them into a Barnes and Nobles to get some books. "You might be around for awhile, and I don't want you to get bored." Their usual attempts at arguing were stopped dead with the possibility of their being around longer.
Four more hours and a whole mall later, they finally made their way to the food court for an overdue lunch. Both ate in silence, Brian watching them make faces at each other.
"So, where do you live?" Aaron and Jason just looked up like they were surprised to be spoken to.
"Come on, speak! I won't be seen hanging around statues." Jason snapped himself forward.
"We both have an apartment in the Garden District." Brian blinked.
"How do you afford it?"
"Well," Aaron interrupted his lover; "Jason here works as a male stripper, which brings in a hefty sum each night." Jason blushed, and actually as a result of something Aaron had said, Brian reflected. It was something quite unusual for that to happen.
"Aaron! Do you have to tell everyone that?!?" Brian giggled along with Aaron, who finally seemed to loosen up.
"Actually I do work as a male stripper. Ironically, I work in a club for women. Aaron's parents owned the apartment-which is really a large flat, I think, but I'm used to living in trailers and tiny New York apartments."
"He's from Manhattan. Can you tell? I came here with my family when I was fourteen. Before that we lived in Florida. My dad was a lawyer, and my mom, well, she was a sex therapist." Aaron barely squeezed out the last two words in a whisper and then started laughing. Jason just set back with a half-straight face. Brian leaned in.
"Yeah. That was, however, before they got divorced. They had some weird argument about how she married my father for his penis or something like that, and then they moved to opposing sides of the country. My aunt, who lives in the attic of the building, said she'd take care of me and I moved into the apartment my parents had shared before moving to Florida. Now my dad lives in Québec and my mother in California. Here I am in New Orleans."
"But how did you two meet?"
"When I lived in New York I started to model when I was about thirteen. A year and a half later it fell apart and I skipped home for Louisiana. With what was left of my money I moved into an apartment downstairs. Aaron's aunt checked me into a high school-even though she didn't know me very well-and became like a second mother to me. Well, really she is the only mother I've ever had. My father and mother in New York never even had the decency to file a missing persons report. Pretty cold." Jason peeked his eyebrows and gave Brian a sarcastic smile that almost said, 'As if I care, anyhow.'
"You still haven't answered my question." Brian pointed out.
"When I turned seventeen I finally met Aaron. He was coming home from school and I had gotten kicked out of my apartment. I hadn't even told Susan yet..."
"Who's Susan?" Brian interjected. "That's my aunt."
"Anyway," Jason took up his narrative again, "Before I was rudely interrupted... Aaron found me crying on the steps outside the building and practically forced me to come up with him. He was strong for a fifteen year old, especially versus me-his size is deceiving. I basically spent the night crying on his shoulder, and we became good friends. He yet again forced me, this time to stay with him. I went to school for another year as if nothing had gone wrong."
"He told me he was gay a week after he graduated. I just let him mull around for another two days until I finally told him I was bisexual. Well, actually three days. I kissed him the second day, then waited for him to ask me if I was gay... Two years later, we're both going to Tulane and living together,"
"...And getting along well, I see." Brian smiled evilly.
"Yes, and getting along very well." Aaron made a low catcall before giving Jason a quick kiss.
"So, if you'll let me get my notes in order, you're 17 and 19, both of you go to Tulane, and you somehow manage to pay for all this?"
"Actually we use the money my parents send me to pay for food and as spending money. It's hotpants here who brings in our tuitions-when he hits the clubs. I just sit at home and study while he dances with the ladies-ladies he's not even attracted to, and hot ones at that. Where does he get such luck?" Aaron sighed remorsefully.
"Hey!" Jason punched him. "I always come home-and you remember when I brought home that woman, that doctor, what was her name? Oh yeah, Sophia-24 and straight out of Med. School at Tulane-the same major as Aaron. She told me she wanted to join us in bed, so I thought no harm could be done. Aaron nearly freaked at first, but then afterwards they sat up all night talking about livers and something or another. I could swear they dissected a chicken or something from the refrigerator."
Brian's mouth formed a small 'O,' but the only thing that came out for a moment was, "Kinky."
"Well, it's nearing five. Perhaps we should get out of here before someone does realize who I am and we're forced to leave." Aaron and Jason nodded assent and they all walked out to the limo, paranoid of any youths. Before they had reached the hotel they had unwrapped and played around with everything that they'd bought-well, that Brian had bought, as Aaron pointed out, not without a large amount of gratitude.