They say people come in all shapes and sizes, and unless you're a model at an Andrew Christian white party, they're not wrong.
But life is more than shapes and sizes. Fleeting surface qualities too many of us either can't seem to see past, or put far too much importance in.
Mankind is beautiful for its imperfections and eccentricities. Gems found deeper, under the skin. Treasures in people who know there's more to life than what they see.
These people, just by being, refuse to go with the flow. They're naturally averse to blending in regardless of how generic they seem or try to be.
Inside, they're unique.
Which is wonderful. I love diversity. Thrive on it.
Even as a thankless, feckless, manipulative teen, I found myself naturally repelled by beige buffets of most varieties. I liked the weirdos and the freaks, because I was one.
Not that I knew at the time.
At nineteen I was far too self-centred, arrogant and beauty-obsessed to grasp the social intricacies and subconscious motives pulling and pushing me to and away from certain types.
But Laurie Constantine was one of the freaks: I'll never forget the midsummer night our paths crossed.
Even the simple act of setting eyes on him from across the long, beautiful lounge room felt different than any man I'd met before.
It wasn't some shared compassion or combined empathy that bonded us as immediate kindred spirits. That was clear enough from the start. What Laurie and I shared was darker and more dangerous, even if it took us both a while to realise.
A black hole, Mr. Constantine was inescapable.
Naturally it helped that I was the guest of honour at the cosy, little soiree for his nearest and dearest.
The star attraction of a stud-studded evening of debauchery that promised to reimagine, in "true Constantine style", the mind-blowing afternoon Laurie had missed weeks ago.
But ... there's more to it than that.
Whatever I was feeling as the buzzing room fell silent, was more than the thrill of grown men lapping me up like the cocktails in their grips; looks in their eyes I could read in a dark room.
More than the dirty tingle in my groin at the thought of broke, straight staff paid to watch from the shadows.
Black leather masks to hide identities from each other.
And more than the load-stirring anticipation of being minutes away from playing the part of prettiest pig in the middle. Stuffed, basted and roasted on some of the most impressive spits I'd known in a long time.
As a wall of clean but old air, synonymous with buildings of this pedigree, pleasantly mixed with expensive colognes tickled my nose, in that flash of sweet-scented time, looking at Laurie Constantine was like looking into a well-dressed, martini-sipping mirror.
Magic glass in male form reflecting an image deeper than flesh. Glimpses of hidden, shared truths.
Truths still too soon in our nascent relationship to fully comprehend, but suggesting at something I, honestly, hadn't been expecting at all.
This will be a lot easier than I thought.
On the actual surface, however, Laurie and I were as close to opposite as a room full of body-conscious A-gays can get.
I was a slender, six-foot twink with thick brown hair and a swimmer's frame unfamiliar to the expensive materials covering my flawless, pale skin.
Hanging off the arm of another man.
Laurie, at least from where I stood, was five-five or six, definitely at least twice my age, and had thinning blonde hair and brown-once-white skin, tanned from what I assumed was a life of endless sun, sand and sin.
Out of ten, physically, he was a six at best. But the way he sat was elegant yet effortlessly striking, with a commanding, confident air proving, without a shadow of a doubt, that inside, he saw himself as a ten.
The boss. The man. Top daddy big bucks.
And, somehow, I knew.
As the lounge doors swung silently behind us, and the impressive four-chandelier room dominated my perspective, I knew Laurie and I had more in common than any of his so-called friends.
Why or how, I had no idea, but I could feel it deep in the part of my gut that had very rarely been wrong. The primal, clawing point I can't ignore even if I want to.
As heavy polished doors closed behind us with a smooth click, I didn't have time to ponder. Didn't have the luxury of a few more seconds to figure out what exactly it was I was feeling.
My southern brain had taken over, blasting my body with wave after wave of hot, prickling excitement that rushed up from between my legs and around my muscles like I was standing over a geyser of warm, bubbling water.
My cock pulsed inside my leather jock and my hole clenched like a vice between my cheeks. The toe-curling reason why I was here in the first-place blaring inside my head at air-raid volume.
Bar the modern fashions, Edwardian influences and contemporary technologies seamlessly integrated around the house, Richard and I had just walked into a living, breathing Ancient Greek tableau.
All heads and handsome faces turned our way. All wanting stares fixed on us.
From left to right Jason, Steve and Nelson, Laurie, Rob and Michael; two muscle butlers either end like a Vogue spread. Their silver trays steady, loaded with a colourful array of alcohol in glistening crystal, and matching silver boxes filled with white powder next to brown and blue pills in small, crystal bowls.
Ten men. Six players.
All eagerly waiting for the final two to join the game for their own reasons. Most to get the ball rolling, the rest to get it over with, stood, sat, perched on or near three large fabric sofas arranged in an upside-down U.
Jason and Steve on the first with Nelson perched on the arm, Rob and Michael filling the third and Laurie, dead centre, looking tiny in the grandeur of the second.
Everyone else at the peak of physical beauty and condition. Thick arms and strong legs. Chests wider than my shoulders and hands big enough to meet behind my waist.
Beards trimmed and stubble sharp and striking. Nails cut and hair perfect. Outfits meticulously picked to both impress yet ensure smooth removal. Shirts, chinos and shoes: nothing too complicated.
No belts. Zip flies.
The outline of a cock-ring behind one or two pairs of trousers. Rob and Michael, the skinhead couple with tatts down bulging arms that could rip me in two, undoubtedly already hard.
Fizzing glasses stuck mid-air; spherical ice cubes in blood-red negronis tinkling like bells. Knowing smiles beginning to pull at licking lips as, I like to believe, eight pairs of balls throbbed in blissful unity.
Everyone, in that moment, ensconced in a setting so sumptuously designed and hedonistically detailed, if one of them leant in and told me I'd died and this was heaven, I'd have believed them.
Then, in a single movement, the master of the manor stood from his throne.
Definitely five-six on his feet but looking flash in a pair of fitted, dark navy chinos, polished brogues and a tailored creamy white, collared shirt with the top two buttons undone.
The largest, most devious grin spreading below piercing, knowing eyes; his full martini glass garlanded with a slice of cucumber but far from precarious in his expert hand.
His body, although slight, was tight and toned, and, most importantly, in proportion with the rest of his wanting stature.
And though Laurie was by far the shortest, dwarfed by everyone except Nelson, standing, he was still impressive. Even the sun damage on his hands, sharp, somewhat beak-like nose and red, rosacea-streaked cheeks seemed less obvious.
I hadn't seen a man, like him, be so smoothly dominating before. Like a king, or warlord, he looked right at home.
Unsurprisingly, everything about his home screamed wealth, from the usually-hideous-but-somehow-worked mustard yellow walls holding framed pictures larger than my student bedroom, to the headache of a rug over most of the polished wood below.
Next to each sofa was a matching side table, and on top of the side tables were crystal ashtrays, each holding five rolled cigarettes.
But, as Richard led us closer to the grinning, staring crowd undressing me with their eyes and taking in every inch of my teenage body, I realised they were, in fact, joints.
Holy blazing shit.
`Richard,' Laurie said as we made our way to the centre of the three sofas and, tearing my gaze from the tightly rolled doobies, I nodded and waved at the familiar faces around – some I hadn't seen since they'd unloaded inside me. `It's about time. We were this close to sending a search party.'
Grinning and letting out a polite, one-two-laugh, Richard embraced the little man with a half-hug and a kiss on the cheek.
Visibly glancing at the silent, white-collared sentinels staring at the walls opposite them, Richard said, `I wouldn't have objected. Good choices.'
`You're too kind,' Laurie said, rapidly lifting and lowering a single shoulder.
`You sure we won't have another ... incident?'
Rolling both eyes, Laurie said, `Positive. It seems the agencies are getting wise to what happens at these parties of mine. Now they fully brief any boys who choose to work. You know what you're getting into, don't you?'
One of the butlers, no older than twenty-one, with thick blonde hair and bright blue eyes behind his mask nodded and said:
`See?' Laurie said.
Nodding approvingly, Richard then began to greet the rest of the group, and Laurie fixed his attention on me.
Stared deep into my eyes with bright blues of his own, intently, for five full seconds. The first two, nothing. Held out his hand on the third and wrapped his small fingers around mine firm and keen for the final two.
The five seconds up, and my stare unwavering, Laurie grinned a mouth of pristine, white teeth and finally spoke:
`It's an absolute pleasure to finally meet you, Oscar,' he said.
`Likewise,' I said, squeezing his hand harder but not aggressively.
`Joint?' he said, still holding my hand. `Richard told me you're partial to a little green?'
`Partial is an understatement,' I said, finally letting go; Richard now group hugging Steve and Nelson; the others continuing whatever conversations they'd been deep in.
`Here,' the little man with a big smile said, picking up a joint from a pile and holding it up for me.
Leaning in and slightly down, I opened my mouth a fraction, and without taking my locked gaze from Laurie's, let him place it between my lips. Pulling a black lighter from his trouser pocket, he lit it.
It was beautiful weed. Smooth and strong but not so powerful I would end up face down and star-fishing.
The perfect balance.
`Drink?' Laurie said.
Clicking his fingers with a snap so loud it reverberated around the room, but didn't shock or surprise any of his guests, Laurie smiled wider than before. Two seconds later the blond butler was stood to our side with his tray.
Grinning wide to show how impressed I was, and being careful not to break eye contact, I said, `What have you got?'
Chuckling, Laurie said, `What floats your boat?'
`Is that so?'
Without missing a beat, the white curling smoke of my joint between us, I said, `Only one way to find out.'
Picking up a blue pill, a brown pill and a small tumbler of amber liquid, a large square ice cube and a single piece of orange peel, Laurie held the drink up between us; the butler silently backstepping to the edge of the sofa.
`This is an-'
`Old fashioned,' I interrupted, leaning down again and letting him feed me a sip. `And you have a Hendricks gin martini.'
`Impressive. Most boys your age will only drink vodka coke.'
`Most boys my age are idiots.'
Clink went our glasses as we took blissfully burning sips of neat spirits; our gazes deep and seemingly unbreakable.
`This?' he said, placing his glass on a side table and lifting the blue pill out of his palm with his index finger and thumb.
`Viagra,' I said, a small grin pulling.
He nodded and lifted the brown one.
`Clever boy,' he said; another pair of eyes burning into me.
I looked behind. Richard was busy with Jason, and the others were chatting amongst themselves. But the butler with a shaved head from the front door was back.
Staring right at me.
Ignoring him, I smiled wide and said:
`I love your home. It's a real honour to be here tonight.'
And like Laurie could read my mind, he leant in, lifted himself onto tip toes and planted a lingering kiss on my cheek.
Whispered, `I have so much planned for you.'
With a quick glance to check the others were still busy, but obvious enough Laurie understood exactly what I meant, I whispered:
`I want them all.'
`Naughty boy,' he said, picking up both pills in one grip.
Then he placed them into my mouth, fed me some of his martini and watched me swallow.
`You have no idea,' I said.
To be continued ...
The first in my novel-length series of tales, Oscar Down Under: Part One, is available now.
A lush sensory experience exploring themes of self-development and morality, find it on Amazon US here, Amazon UK here and Amazon Australia here. Or simply search for `Jack Ladd' on the Amazon homepage.
Copyright Jack Ladd 2019
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