This is a work of fiction. Any similarities between the characters in this story and real people (appearances, names, etc.) are purely coincidental. This story may contain homosexual material, including love and sex, so if material like this is illegal in your region or if it discomforts you, please leave.
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Olivia Palermo approached the chair and inspected Aiden. She scrutinized the model with a keen eye that made Aiden feel self-conscious. Especially when Olivia whispered with the makeup artist.
"Yeah," Olivia finally said, "the contour is too dark. And I'm not liking the discolouration on his eyelids. Did you get much sleep last night?"
"Ummm..." Aiden nervously began, "no. I- I was too anxious to sleep much. I got maybe three hours."
As the makeup artist blended out Aiden's contour lines, Olivia called, "Imad! When you're done with Sergio, can you do a side part on Aiden with a nice flare on the front?"
Twenty minutes later Aiden's face was fully made up with his orange hair styled impeccably. He had just been dressed in a pair of brown chinos, a baby blue checkered dress shirt, a violet vee neck sweater, with a black neck tie with the help of two ladies.
Aiden was instructed by Olivia to join Juanita Bajana at the white photography wall where the model was being photographed. Juanita was chosen to be the female face of Banana Republic's new clothing line, and Aiden could see why.
"Really get in and snuggle," Jen Brothers, the photographer, said and aimed her giant camera. "Juanita, left hand on his shoulder. Aiden, right hand on her waist. Great, now softer smiles."
Aiden looked deeply into Juanita's dark eyes, and imagined it was Nic before him. The thought made Aiden's smile feel more genuine.
"That's it!" Jen happily called as the photography lights flashed. "Great, guys! Now, Juanita, turn around. Aiden, you make like you're chasing her. Bigger smile, Aiden."
Aiden stood on one foot with his other raised behind him like he was running. He reached his right hand out, and hoped his smile looked like he was laughing. Everything flashed white from the photography lights, which disoriented Aiden for a second. But he remained a statue.
"Nic!" Olivia called happily.
Aiden looked, and saw the olive-skinned young man walking into the studio. He looked as sexy as ever in a grey suit with black sleeves.
"Olivia," Nic greeted the woman with a kiss to her cheek.
"Liv is fine," the woman appeased.
"Aiden!" Jen called unhappily. "Pay attention! Juanita, left foot up behind you and smile brightly at me. Aiden, hold her close and smile like you're insanely in love with her. That's it."
Aiden held the other model's lower back and kept his face smoldering. His smile was soft. And as he did so, he listened to the conversation between Nic and Olivia.
"Talia sends her apologies," Nic stated. "She's stuck in meetings for the next hour, and sent me to check in on the shoot. She'll be by as soon as she can."
"Well that's fine," Olivia responded. "As long as she shows up before the end of the day."
"How are the models doing?" Nic asked.
"We only just started with Aiden and Juanita," Olivia replied. "But they're working great. Come look at these photos. Aren't they phenomenal?"
The photography then suggested, "Now, Aiden, you turn your back on Juanita. Juanita, you hug his back. That's it. Small, soft smiles. Great."
Aiden noticed Nic stand by the photographer, and then a flash. Aiden's smile grew of its own accord upon seeing the assistant. Nic smiled shyly back, and Aiden noticed a faint blush that coloured Nic's face.
"That's a beautiful smile, Aiden," Jen stated, which made Aiden look down in embarrassment, and the lights flashed again. "Hold that pose. Gorgeous."
Aiden looked back toward Nic with only his smoldering, green eyes. Nic's arms were crossed over his chest and his lips were visibly fighting off a smile. Nic threw a wink toward the redhead, who's face heated. Aiden prayed that the blush didn't show through the layers of makeup.
"I think that's it!" Olivia called. "Time for her to change outfits!"
As Juanita walked away from the photography paper wall, Jen said, "Aiden, face me with your hands in your pockets."
As the photographer continued to shoot image after image of Aiden, the redhead glanced at Nic every ten or so seconds. Every time, Aiden's heart fluttered because the olive-skinned man was either smiling, or tossed him a wink.
"Can I offer a suggestion?" Nic asked the photographer.
At Jen's approval, Nic approached Aiden. The redhead studied Nic's flawless face as Nic neatly folded the sleeves, which showed off the baby blue checkers of the dress shirt, up to his elbows. Nic then unhooked the black leather strap of his diamond-crusted Jaeger-LeCoultre watch and strapped it onto Aiden's wrist.
"Holy shit!" Aiden said in awe. "You trust me with this?"
"I'm not entirely sure you wouldn't trip and crack it..." Nic responded teasingly as he adjusted the strap loop.
Nic stepped away from the white paper, and Aiden went back to posing.
Over three hours later, as Nic was working on a new schedule of Talia's appointments, Olivia called that they would be breaking for forty minutes for lunch.
Talia walked to the table at which Nic sat, and told him, "I am off to Winnemaiar. Would you like to join me?"
Nic looked up at his boss and answered, "Thanks, but I'd rather enjoy my ham, bell pepper, and cheddar egg muffins."
Talia kissed Nic's cheek before she told him she'd be back after lunch. So Nic resumed grabbing appointment dates from clients and coworkers from his emails, and sipped on his green tea from Teavana.
Five minutes had passed when Aiden took a seat beside Nic. Nic glanced away from his laptop long enough to offer the model a warm smile.
"You didn't call or text," Aiden glumly said. "It's been three days since I spent the night with you."
As he continued to type, Nic responded, "Neither did you."
"I thought we could at least be friends," Aiden complained. "I mean we cuddled all night. We cuddled in the morning. Dude, I was ten minutes late for my first class."
Nic smiled with amusement before he replied, "You could've texted or called. I was- I've been feeling ashamed and- and self-conscious about what happened."
"But you don't have to feel anything like that," Aiden assured. "You don't have to hide anything from me. Okay, yes I couldn't called you, but I just thought that you regretted that night. So, can we be friends? Or- or something more?"
Nic looked around the studio to make sure no one was listening before he told the redhead, "Can we talk about this tonight? Meet me at Le Guerison whenever you can?"
Aiden nodded softly and answered, "Okay, but I get off work at eight-thirty."
"Okay, meet at nine. Did you bring lunch or are you eating the catering?"
"Can't eat cayenne," Aiden replied. "I break out in hives. But I have a chicken salad in my car that was gonna be my dinner."
"Wait, hang on," Nic said quickly. "I have six egg muffins here that we can share. Just save your salad for work. And for dessert I have a container of black and strawberries."
While chewing his first bite, Aiden said, "Dear lord, these are so good."
Nic simply giggled, and then asked, "So how is your first shoot going?"
Aiden swallowed his egg and replied, "It's not as glamorous as I'd thought it would be. Their clothes are filled with my sweat, I can feel sweat begging to be released from under all this makeup and face powder, my muscles are sore from posing, the photographer is losing her patience, the shoes are too small, and they're putting me in clothes a size too small."
Nic laughed. He laughed so hard that he raised his left hand off the keyboard of laptop and placed it over his mouth. His laughter died down significantly when he noticed Aiden smiling at him.
Aiden asked, "Is that why you're not a model? I mean I'm assuming Talia has offered to sign you at some point. C'mon, you're the most gorgeous man I've ever seen."
"No. I- no. Underneath the O.C.D. lives a quiet nerd. A shy little boy. I was homeschooled until I was fifteen. In October of 2013 I tested out of high school. I took fourteen exams over a six day span, and received my high school diploma three weeks later. I had missed the application deadline for N.Y.U.'s winter semester, but a letter from the school board gave the admissions committee cause to consider me. My uncle Demi lives here in New York, so I lived with him while I studied. I was taking human resources and marketing classes, and I wasn't yet a college graduate when Talia hired me."
Aiden blinked, "Okay, that was a lot of information."
Nic laughed and replied, "Point is, I didn't wanna be a model. I don't wanna be a model. And I make more than enough money being Talia's assistant.
"Just over a year ago, I got my braces removed. Just over a year ago, I had laser eye surgery. I didn't always look like this."
Aiden nodded and asked, "So your dad and Talia were really close friends?"
"In college, yes. Best friends, in fact. Like Talia told you last week, they both went to Purdue University. Talia had double-majored in H.R. and photography. My dad studied micro biology. They shared a couple of H.R. classes, and became friends immediately."
"Why aren't you eating?" Aiden asked with concern. "This is my second egg muffin. These are amazing by the way."
"I'm almost done this... schedule," Nic replied and typed quicker. "There."
Nic closed the lid of the laptop, and grabbed one of the egg muffins out of the Tupperware container.
The time had been eight-thirty-four in the evening, and Austen Ticho hadn't shown up for his shift. Aiden became increasingly agitated at his coworker's tardiness with each minute that passed.
When the front desk phone rang, Aiden answered it, "The Marriott front desk."
A man's voice said, "Hi, this is James in room twelve-oh-three. The T.V. remote isn't working."
"Okay," Aiden pleasantly replied, "the remote in that room is a bit finicky. We suggest you switch the batteries around to see if that fixes the remote."
"Okay, just let me do that...
"Ah! There we go, it's working now. Thank you so much."
"You are absolutely welcome, Sir. May I assist you with anything else?"
"Yes, actually. Do your vending machines take Tap payments? I don't have cash and I don't wanna waste money on A.T.M. fees."
"Absolutely. The vending machines accept Interac Flash, as well as Google Pay and Apple Pay if you wish to pay using your mobile phone."
"Excellent! Thank you."
"You're welcome again. Have a good night."
Three minutes later, Austen finally showed up. He ran into the hotel and apologized to Aiden for being late. After the blonde man clocked in, Aiden gave him a very quick rundown of the guests and hotel, and then clocked out.
As he ran to his truck, Aiden sent a quick text message to Nic letting him know that he was on his way.
Aiden got to the cafe ten minutes late and promptly apologized to the olive-skinned man.
"You look different in street clothes," Aiden observed.
Nic looked down at his navy blue polo, but then responded, "Want something to drink or eat?"
Aiden followed the older man to the line, which wasn't the longest of lines. While waiting, Aiden gathered the courage, and pressed his lips against Nic's cheek.
Aiden became fearful that the display of affection was not welcomed. Nic's black eyebrows drew together, but he didn't say anything.
"Nicos!" the redheaded cashier said happily when the two stood at the counter.
"Hallo, Sebastian," Nic greeted back, equally as jovial.
Aiden couldn't follow the rest of the conversation after that. He wasn't positive what language it was that they had spoken, but he had a strong feeling that it was German. Nic and the man- Sebastian, conversed lively, and even shared a laugh.
Two minutes later, Nic said, "Seb, this is Aiden, a model at Kleinhart. Aiden, this is Sebastian, owner of the Le Guerison Cafes."
Sebastian stretched his hand out. Aiden could admit that the man was beautiful, and sexy, and his smile was stunning. He looked much too young to be an owner of a line of cafes. But he became upset that perhaps this Sebastian was something to Nic. He swallowed that jealousy down, and shook his hand.
And then Sebastian asked Nic something in German. Nic laughed before he answered with a simple 'No'.
Sebastian asked, "So what can I get for you gentlemen?"
"Can I please have a strawberry rhubarb tea?" Nic asked. "And whatever Aiden's having."
"A decaf cappuccino please," Aiden stoically ordered.
Nic paid using his cell phone, and the two waited at the handoff station.
The second they sat back down at their table with their mugs, Aiden asked, "So are you and Sebastian... exes or something?"
"No, Sebastian's..." Nic cut himself off with a smile. "Do I detect a hint of jealousy?"
"You detect a lot of jealousy," Aiden supplied with a laugh. "I mean it's great that you two seem to have parted on good terms."
"No," Nic responded. "No. Sebastian has a partner. And he's thinking about proposing. Sebastian is a gorgeous guy, but nothing but friendship is between us."
"Oh," Aiden awkwardly said. "So how'd you meet him?"
Nic laughed again, but answered, "I met him here. He was working a bar shift and heard me answer my phone speaking German. He gives discounts to people who speak languages that he speaks when they're patrons here."
"How many languages does he speak?" Aiden asked as he turned back to look at Sebastian.
"I don't exactly know. But the languages we have in common are French, German, Arabic, and Mandarin. And English, obviously.
"And I'm gonna let you know right now that you have no right to be jealous. You and I are not together."
Aiden suddenly turned his attention back on the olive-skinned man, and disappointedly said, "Oh. Sorry."
"Don't be sorry," Nic softly said. "We're not a couple. But I'm open to being friends with benefits, if you can handle that."
"I can so handle that," Aiden replied with bravado.
"But, as you may have guessed from the other night, I can't be a bottom. I can't be a bottom."
"Yeah that's cool," Aiden assured. "I can bottom the fuck out of you. I could totally rock your top world."
Nic laughed loudly, boisterously. Aiden smiled at the beauty of it.
Then, cautiously, Aiden asked, "Do you mind if I- if I ask why?"
"Why I can't bottom?" Nic asked, clearly gone from amused to sullen within a second. "Yeah, I mind that."
Aiden nodded, and said, "Yeah, that's cool. I never want you to feel uncomfortable. I never wanna trigger anything."
Nic patiently said, "Just don't feel like you have to walk on eggshells around me. That's worse than anything else."
"Good," Nic responded with a nod.
"How's your strawberry rhubarb tea?" Aiden asked with an odd stare at Nic's mug.
Nic didn't answer. He just slid the mug over the table to the model. Aiden grabbed the handle, and sipped the hot liquid.
"Ohhh!" Aiden cried. "That's nasty."
"Well I love it," Nic replied and sipped it. "It's my second favourite tea. First is Lady Grey."
"So can we discuss our relationship?" Aiden asked. "Like, can I sleep over when you give me a booty call? Is showering after having relations breaking a barrier? No heart eyes at the office? Can we snuggle a little after doing the dirty? Is making out, like, a big no-no?"
Nic giggled and asked, "Can you slow down?
"Okay, spending nights is no problem at all. I sleep better when being the little spoon.
"Definitely no heart eyes at the office. I could lose my job."
"Then why risk it?" Aiden demanded. "Why be my fuck buddy if you could get fired?"
"Because you are way too hot not to fuck," Nic answered with a shrug. "Cuddles is obviously not an issue if you'll be big-spooning me to sleep.
"And we can make out whenever you want. Did I miss anything else?"
"You can shower at mine if you can put everything back into place. I have O.C.D. remember? I'm on meds trying to get better, and Dr. Lymin has me doing behavioural therapy. But I won't get better right away."
"I promise to keep everything organized and clean," Aiden assured. "How is therapy going, if I may ask?"
"It's..." Nic began, and sighed. "It's going. Dr. Lymin exposes me to items or situations that cause me anxiety, that screams at me to fix. The second session I had with her, Dr. Lymin told me to leave my disinfectant wipes in my car. I cried because I couldn't sit on the leather sofa. I stood during that session."
Sympathetic, Aiden asked, "And how is it now?"
"Well I can sit on the sofa," Nic answered. "Albeit just on the edge. And tense as fuck. But I'm doing it. And I no longer disinfect my desk and chair. And sitting here is easier than it used to be."
"You mentioned meds..."
Nic nodded, "Celexa. It's only been three weeks since I've started taking it again. I was on Celexa when I was a teen, and I hated it. It used to make me feel numb. It took a lot for me to feel emotions. I felt like a zombie every single day for two years. Maybe that's why it was so easy for me to be homeschooled. I don't feel like that yet, and the behavioural therapy is really helping with that."
Aiden laid his hand over Nic's, and said, "Good."
"There will also be weeks at a time that I won't call you. Another side effect of Celexa is a lack of sex drive."
"Any time you wanna do nothing but cuddle, I'll be right over."
Nic smiled at the model appreciatively. But a second later, that smile faltered. Aiden watched as Nic's finger trailed over the rim of the mug.
Finally, Nic said, "I also have some triggers that cause my- umm... my personality to- to alter. I- I have dissociative identity disorder. It- it's also known as multiple personality disorder."
Deeply saddened, Aiden said, "Oh, Nic."
"Anything that- umm... that penetrates my- umm... me. That's a trigger. And- and holding me down. And holding your hand over- over my mouth. And Old Spice aftershave. And Joop cologne. And monster truck horns."
"Okay," Aiden replied quietly. "I've never heard of Joop cologne. I use Clarins aftershave. And I promise to never do any of those other things to you."
Nic nodded, and then apologized, "I- I'm sorry for- for getting emotional."
"Emotions are something no one should ever apologize for. Well, unless you get sick of me making fun of you for your atrocious taste in tea and fling a frying pan at my head."
Nic snorted and shook his head.
Aiden then asked, "So you're, what, twenty? Twenty-one? Damn, you graduated high school at age fifteen."
"I'm twenty. My birthday is June twenty-second."
"What's your ethnicity anyway?"
"My dad is Greek, and my mom is Hungarian."
"Your name is Nicos. Greek name. Is your middle name some impossible-to-spell Hungarian name? Fee-yoro-slav or something?"
Nic laughed and answered, "No, it's Kyril. Greek. My older brother has Hungarian names, and my younger sister has a Greek first name with a Hungarian middle."
"Mmm," Aiden replied with a nod. "So Hungarian is another language you speak."
"Mm-hmm. The languages I learned since birth are Hungarian, Greek, English, French, Mandarin, Arabic, German, and Spanish."
"Damn. Did you learn any in college?"
"Nope. Learned it all as a kid. I spoke all eight by the time I was thirteen. Both of my parents taught me Hungarian, Greek, English, and French. My mom taught me Mandarin. My dad taught me Arabic. And I learned German and Spanish from books."
"From books? You're self-taught in German and Spanish? Fuck, man. How did you not mix up words?"
"I'd practice words and phrases in all languages to keep it all organized and fresh. Want another cappuccino?"
Aiden looked down at his mug that had nothing but beige foam around the edges, and answered, "Nah, I'm pretty tired."
"Same here. Feel free to say no because I know you have early classes, but wanna spend the night? I'm too tired for sex, but..."
Nic smiled and replied, "Sure. Yeah."
Aiden's truck was parked by a meter two spaces ahead of Nic's B.M.W. X5, but it wouldn't start. Aiden turned the key. And then turned again. But the machine did not whir to life.
Nic knocked on the driver's side window, and asked what the problem was. Aiden, embarrassed, told the Greek that he didn't know.
"I know a guy," Nic stated. "He owns a shop and can tow your truck out in fifteen minutes. He doesn't charge a lot either. Want me to call him?"
Aiden sighed heavily and responded, "But I have a hundred bucks to my name right now. And I need food. I can't pay him."
"Leonard only needs a fifty dollar deposit right now. For the bill to fix it, he can type up a payment plan contract tomorrow."
"Seriously?" Aiden asked hopefully.
Nic nodded and replied, "I know the best people for everything. Need a teddy bear stuffed and stitched? Amaris makes treasured toys look brand new."
Aiden giggled, and kissed Nic's cheek.
"If you need money for food," Nic began softly, "I can loan you two hundred if you want."
"That's so embarrassing," Aiden groaned.
"It's not embarrassing. Food insecurity is not uncommon. And you're a college student. Understandable."
"Thanks. Just a hundred's fine. I'll pay you back next week when I get paid from The Marriott."
As the two young men waited for the mechanic, they sat on the tailgate on Aiden's truck. As Nic had promised, they only waited sixteen minutes. Leonard Wickern accepted Aiden's fifty dollar note and asked him to drop by his auto shop the next afternoon to discuss payment options.
After Leonard had hooked Aiden truck to his, he said to Nic, "Hey, Kid, tell ya uncle Demi that Liz misses him. Tell him to come by for dinner one o' these days."
Nic nodded to the man, and told him, "You got it, Lenny."
And with that, the tow truck drove off. Aiden followed Nic to his S.U.V. and climbed into the passenger seat.
At Nic's apartment, the two young men undressed in Nic's bedroom and climbed into bed clad in their underwear. Aiden laid down on his back. Nic rested his head on the warm, firm muscle of Aiden's chest.
"Okay, Google," Noc called. "Can you turn off all lights?"
Nic snorted a soft laugh before he told the redhead, "It only works for me. Okay, Google. Can you turn off all lights?"
"Sure. Turning off two lights."
Nic pressed a soft kiss to Aiden's pectoral, so Aiden whispered, "G'night, Nicos."
Aiden smiled a tiny, happy smile. He wasn't sure if he fell asleep before Nic did, but he fell asleep with a content glow about him.
To Be Continued...
There you have it! Our two favourite fictional me. Have finally hooked up! Or tried to.
By popular demand, here are images of how I imagine Nic and Aiden to look:
Stay tuned to see how Nic and Aiden continue. If you are interested in reading my other fictions, they're listed down below:
Do Not Go Gentle
Near Wild Heaven
The Other Half of Me Unknown
A Quick Fall
Some You Give Away
Somewhere A Clock is Ticking
Tearing Me Apart
The Trick is to Keep Breathing
You Call it Madness
You Don't Mean to Hurt Me