Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2023806-Week-One-Dinner
by beetle
Rated: 18+ · Assignment · LGBTQ+ · #2023806
Introducing Matt and Christopher, my definition of romance and erotica, and a story.
Part One

Written about characters from this piece:
 Overslept  (18+)
Written for the prompt(s): The screen flashed 9-1-1.
#2004161 by beetle

Character A: Matthew Alan Gerdes
Matt: https://www.flickr.com/photos/30927487@N03/2896388824/

What can I say about myself? I’m Matt Gerdes, I hail from Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I’m thirty-seven years old, and I live alone. I don’t even have a cat, because my landlord’s a dick about allowing pets. And I don’t like living alone, without even a goldfish to come home to, but that’s the way it’s gotta be, for now, I guess. Not that I’m complaining. I’ve been alone since I was seventeen—over half my life—so I’m used to the silences.

I’m a carpenter by trade, and I like what I do. Carpentry makes me feel useful and keeps me occupied. It pays pretty well, too. I’m not rolling in dough, but I’m comfortable. I’m neat, quiet, and I keep to myself. I’ve never been flamboyant or politically active about my sexuality. It just is, what it is, like everything else about me. Not a big deal, just a fact about myself. I’m neither proud nor ashamed. I’m out on the job, but only because I didn’t feel like lying about who I got lucky with when all the guys were bullshitting about their weekend conquests.

Not to brag, but I do alright, most weekends, myself. Or I did, till I met him. Since then, I’ve been a one-guy guy, even though I’m basically holding on tight to something I’ll never own.

Character B: Christopher Rivera Bosch
Christopher: http://www.flickr.com/photos/34501131@N07/4692731279

Hey, I’m Christopher Bosch—yes, of the Bosches: the ridiculously wealthy family with its fingers in every philanthropic and humanitarian pie in New York City. I work hard to keep up with the Bosch tradition of activism and progressiveness. I’m the family’s token queer, so I’m politically active in the equal rights arena. I’m the token minority, too (my mother’s last name was Rivera), so I’m expected to be an ambassador, of sorts, to both the queer and Latino community . . . I work hard, staying on top of my familial responsibilities. My familial duties. My familial identity. But I play hard, too. There isn’t a guy out there I can’t get, with varying degrees of effort and charm. Matt Gerdes is sexy as hell, but no different from any of the others. Except. . . .

It never quite seems to be done, with him. We had a one night stand that turned into two nights, turned into three nights, turned into four, turned into more, and before I knew it, it’d been nine months since the first night, and over three months since I’d bothered charming one of those other guys I’d mentioned. I don’t know what it is about the big lug. Maybe it’s the silences—the air of carefully controlled loneliness that matches my own. Maybe it’s the fact that looking in his eyes was like looking into a mirror, in some respects. . . .

Whatever the reason, I am—inconveniently—hooked. Through the bag. Like the song says, I meant to hit it, and quit it, but I messed around and got addicted. And now . . . now, I’m spoiled for other guys. Matt is the first one I’ve wanted to stay after morning rolls around . . . and maybe longer. I don’t know what to do about that.

Part Two

Romance: Romance, to me, is all about the slow-build, which culminates in some expression of infatuation, whether it be a tango or sex. With romance, I expect to walk away charmed, satisfied, and in a state of wonder and yearning for more of that kind of relationship in my life. Romance can lead up to Erotica.

Erotic: Erotica, to me, is also about slow-builds, too. But it can also be about a quick, wham-bam-thank-you-Stan. It’s meant to ignite the fires of passion in the imagination, even more so than in the body. Erotica can be (sometimes) the culmination of Romance.

I think the genres can be brought together quite fluidly, organically, and naturally. Romance is a tense, maybe tired body, and Erotica is like the warm bath it slips into at the end of a long day. Romance is the tease, almost, and Erotica the release. Romance is the appetizer and soup, Erotica the main course. Or, if you prefer, Romance is the main course and Erotica is the decadent dessert. It’s not necessary to half both, or even in that order, but they do complement each other when done that way. With Romance, the element that would warrant the most focus, I think, is the five senses, and what they perceive about the other person. I think that, coupled with a good, strong, internal monologue works best for Romance. With Erotica, the focus on the senses would eclipse the inner monologue. But it should still be there, though pushed to the background, as a tie with the Romance aspect.

Part Three

“So. . . .”

“So,” I agreed as Christopher put down his menu and closed it. I did the same, having already decided what I’d be having—can’t go wrong with pasta primavera, I figure. Even in a fancy-pants restaurant like Ciao-Ciao Bella’s—well before Christopher had showed up six minutes ago, late and slightly out of breath.

I looked up at Christopher to see him smiling at me almost fondly. I couldn’t help but smile back. “What?” I asked, and he laughed, taking a sip of his cabernet.

“Nothing, it’s just . . . I like looking at you.” He put down his wine and dabbed at his mouth with his cloth napkin before meeting my gaze again. His hazel eyes seemed to glow in the ambient lighting of the restaurant. “You’re gorgeous.”

I snorted and sipped my imported beer—Japanese, and very good—trying not to blush, and failing. “I’m a carpenter, Christopher. We’re not, by definition, a gorgeous bunch.”

Laughing again, Christopher reached across the table and covered my hand with his own, his thumb stroking my fingers. “You’re the exception that proves the rule,” he murmured, flashing his perfect teeth in a disarming grin.

I could feel that unfortunate blush spring up again. “You know, the average guy only says that sort of thing before they get in my pants.”

“Well, I’m not an average sort of guy, in case you hadn’t noticed.”

“I’d noticed,” I said, looking down at our hands, my larger, rougher one under his slimmer, elegant one. As the moments passed, I began having flashes of us together in bed—the pale olive of his skin pressed against my tanned and freckled skin; the gentle, admiring caresses we’d exchanged admittedly from the beginning, despite the No Strings Attached nature of our, ahem, relationship. For some reason, Christopher always liked my body, and I . . . certainly had no problem with his. He was lean and long and graceful. Deceptively so, because I knew from experience just how strong he was—had spent many a-night pinned under him, moaning into and biting his expensive pillows as he rocked my world to its core. . . .

“Penny for your thoughts.”

Christopher’s low, lyrical voice interrupted my thoughts, and I looked up again into his heated, knowing gaze, turning six shades of red.

“Uh . . . I’m gonna plead the fifth on that one,” I said, laughing uncomfortably and scratching my left eyebrow: a nervous habit I’d never quite been able to shake. Christopher chuckled and his hand closed around my own, before shifting and linking our fingers together.

“I was thinking about the same thing, myself,” he murmured archly. “All I ever think about lately is you. Being with you. Having you in my life more fully.” He fell silent for a few moments, his brow furrowing. “It’s odd, you know. We’ve been sleeping together for the better part of a year, and I don’t even know your favorite color.”

This time, my laugh was fully amused. “Really? Of all the things you don’t know about me, that strikes you as odd?”

“Well,” Christopher’s smile was self-effacing, this time, his eyes unusually unguarded and frankly admiring. “It just . . . it popped into my head while I was picturing you naked and bound to my bedposts: that I know your safe-word, but not your favorite color. And it made me kind of . . . sad.”

At this, Christopher turned that frank gaze to his glass of wine again, but not before I saw some of his customary walls go back up. “It’s weird of me, I know. I didn’t mean for it to slip out, Matt, pay me no—”

“Blue,” I said softly, squeezing his fingers with my own. When his surprised eyes ticked to mine, I smiled. “Ah, c’mon, don’t tell me you couldn’t have guessed.” I tugged the sleeve of my blue blazer and straightened my blue and white tie. Christopher blinked and smiled, too, slow and amused.

“Actually, I could’ve, I mean, even your underwear is blue.” He laughed a little, squeezing my fingers back. And we stared into each other’s eyes for long, long moments, holding hands and grinning like idiots. I wanted him to lean across the table and kiss me, but I wasn’t certain now was the time. I mean, not that it would be the first time we kissed, but this was the first date we’d ever been on. The first time we’d ever gone out for something other than drinks as a prelude to him screwing my brains out.

It’d been so long since I’d had a first date, I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with myself.

“Um,” I said to fill the expectant silence. Christopher’s neat, straight eyebrows lifted a little, and my face went up in flames. “Uh—what’s {]i}your favorite—”

“Red,” he said, his voice a mellow, aural caress. “The color of passion.”

“And of danger,” I added, and Christopher nodded.

“’Live dangerously.’ Nietzsche said that.”

“Hmm.” I took a sip of my beer. “Did he follow his own advice?”

“After a fashion,” Christopher replied absently, searching my eyes. Whatever he saw there made him smile. “Anyway, I like to live dangerously, on occasion.”

I felt my own bushy brows lift in incredulity. “Not as a rule?”

“Not like I used to, no,” he admitted. “And these days, my ideas of who and what is dangerous have changed. They’ve . . . grown up, shall we say?”

Thinking of my own by-gone wild days, and that those times had stopped seeming as wild and dangerous—as fun—as they’d used to, I nodded, as well. Now, my idea of wild and dangerous was the handsome, charming man sitting across from me, and of embarking on a . . . whatever we were embarking on together.

Suddenly, I wasn’t so certain that this—us—could possibly work. We were night and day, up and down, black and white. He was high class and I was working class. He was an intellectual, and though I wasn’t a total idiot, I most definitely was not.

What if the only thing we have going for us is physical attraction and sex? I thought, still gazing into his eyes—something, it was becoming frighteningly clear, that was a growing addiction—and at a loss for other conversation starters. What if—

“Are the gentlemen ready to order?” a deferential, accented voice asked from at my elbow. Startled, I looked up to see our waiter . . . waiting . . . with his pen and pad.

My previous thoughts were, for the moment, forgotten as I grinned wryly at Christopher and handed the waiter—Enrico, his nametag read—my menu. “I guess it’s ‘age before beauty’ at this place . . . I’ll have the pasta primavera, please.”

“Very good, sir.” Enrico scribbled on his pad, then turned his dark eyes to Christopher, who winked at me, and handed over his menu, too.

“Actually,” he said, that disarming grin in place once more, “it’s ‘pearls before swine.’ And I’ll have the linguine and clams.”

When Enrico made his exit, Christopher, who hadn’t taken his eyes off mine, squeezed my hand again and pulled it closer to kiss it. My big, rough, callused hand.

“What was that for?” I asked breathlessly, blushing yet again. Christopher flashed those perfect teeth once more, stroking my fingers.

“You have no idea how lovely you are when you blush, do you?” he asked, which only made me blush harder. “There’s such a wonderful, guileless quality about you when you do. You . . . glow.”

I had no idea what to say to that. I was left gaping. No one’d ever complimented me like that before. . . .

Chris’s smile turned wistful and he looked down at our hands for a moment before asking: “So . . . tell me something about yourself. Something I don’t know.”

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