When former tagger Eric hears a cute fellow student named Joel protesting to a woman that he's gay, Eric comes to his rescue and gives him a big kiss and hug in City College’s hallway.
Even though sparks fly between them, Eric doesn't expect any reward for saving the guy from being hit on in public, so he's surprised when undercover cop Joel asks him to become his pseudo-boyfriend.
How bad can it be for a former high school dropout, who's been to juvvie more times than class, to pretend he's a cop's lover?
Friday was a replay of Wednesday with Joel as a no show. This time another guy, a little older and lot bigger and meaner looking asked me where Joel was. If I weren't tall and sometimes mean looking myself, I would have been intimidated.
"Don't know. Said he'd be here," I answered zipping my backpack.
"You give him a message from me." The big guy pointed a stubby, calloused finger at my chest. I eyed it and then him. His stance adjusted, lightened, and the finger came down.
"What?" I raised an eyebrow.
"You tell him that Ian said the stuff better be there tonight."
"Ian who?" I added a frown for effect. "You threatening Joel?"
The guy looked a little scared, but stuck to his attitude.
"You just tell him." Then he turned quickly and stomped out of the room, almost at a run.
I was tending bar that night at Long Point, an unsubtly named gay bar frequented by older men and women who like to listen to jazz and not club music. One of my favorite tapes was playing with Ahmad Jamal and Dave Brubeck, the classics, when who should walk in but Joel with an older buttoned-down type.
They were both in suits and ties, not uncommon for the Point. The older guy had his hand on Joel's shoulder and was saying something Joel obviously didn't agree with.
"Oh, shit," Stevie, who was working the bar with me, murmured as he placed a drink in front of one of our regulars. "Look who just arrived."
"Yeah? And?" I answered. How did Stevie know Joel?
"It's William Greenbriar, and I'll bet the other guy's his stepson, the heir apparent," Stevie said, looking at me as if I was stupid.
"Greenbriar of the pro soccer team? The owner?" I asked.
Stevie sighed as he always did when I was slow to catch on to something he thought was important.
"Yes, meathead. That Greenbriar."
"Huh." I was used to his slams.
He and I'd had a thing a couple years before, so I knew where his attitude was coming from. He resented the fact I'd called him a dyspeptic diva when I'd broken up with him. I'd gotten tired of him hitting on my friends and borrowing my clothes, trashing them, and then complaining I was stingy because I didn't want to "share" them with him.
He was a hustler, and I wasn't into being hustled.
So the guy I'd kissed in the middle of the hallway at City College might be the heir to the Greenbriar soccer franchise. Huh. What else could I say or think?
Not only did this news make me more curious and deeper in the dark about what had been going on, but it made me back off. I definitely didn't need a new diva in my life, no matter how much I wanted him below the belt.
I didn't think he and his old man had seen me yet, and I was wondering how and why they'd wandered into the Point when Charlie, our boss, came out to give me a break. As he tied one of the bar aprons on, he tossed me his keys and said he'd left me a sandwich on his desk.
"Take your whole break, kid," he added. "Do some of your homework. We're fine out here."
I grinned at him, then looked up to see Joel staring at me. The older man, his maybe stepfather, was talking a mile a minute, staring off at the foyer, not noticing he'd completely lost his maybe stepson.
I nodded at Joel, then at Charlie, and hurried to the back, not knowing what to think. Why were they here? Far as I knew they'd never been in the Point before.
True, the Point was a respectable gay bar, not a dive or dump. But still, really rich people didn't usually drink here. So what was up?