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Cherry Red

By Jack Greene



Description

Tom works as a bouncer in a gay club, but he's not gay.

Or so he claims, until gorgeous male model Andre needs his protection.

Tom tries to hold back but he can't deny his desire for Andre.


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Excerpt

Being a bouncer isn’t bad, as jobs go. I’ve worked in much rougher places. Most nights, I only have to stand around and look strong. Occasionally I do break up a fight, usually a lover’s quarrel. Alcohol and dancing, people on the prowl, usually means jealousy at some point. Of course I get hit on, which I have to ignore. House rules: no fraternizing with the customers. Usually that’s easy, because not many of the bar’s patrons are my type.

See, I work in a gay bar.

My friends fell over laughing when I told them about my new gig. Once they stopped, they questioned the need for the club to even have a bouncer. I don’t know why they think all gay men are effeminate wimps. For the most part, that’s entirely untrue. Sure, there are a few twinks—small, slender men who look like the stereotypical vision of a gay man—but most of them don’t look that way at all. These guys work out more than I do. And, some of the bears...I wouldn’t want to tussle with them if I didn’t have to. My friends don’t get it, though. They think I have an easy job.

Most nights, it’s just a matter of being a presence, keeping an eye on some of the more belligerent drunks, nip problems in the bud if possible. Most of the customers are pretty cool—they’re just there to dance and have a good time. There’s no sordid back room like you hear about, and if guys get it on in the bathrooms, I’ve never seen it.

The manager never asked if I was gay or straight when I got the job. I’m sure people make their assumptions, but I neither confirm nor deny. It doesn’t matter. Like I said, no fraternizing.

And, I’m not gay.

Well, that’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed some of the eye candy from time to time. Some of these guys are just gorgeous, and they like to show off. No one’s a hundred percent straight, and I know I’m further along that scale than most. I’ve done a little experimenting, discreetly, years ago. I know what I like, what I think about sometimes, when I’m alone with my hand. I like pretty things. Most men do—we’re visual, wired that way.

Speaking of pretty, guess who just walked in? Andre.

Tall, almost as tall as me, but rail thin with wispy blond hair past his shoulders, always hanging in his eyes. What eyes... huge and blue, and today he’s wearing eyeliner. Oh, God. Strategically ripped, flared jeans hang off his tiny hips, dragging the floor over black Chuck Taylors. The jeans are held up by a silver sequined belt. His shirt is gauzy and white, and when he’s backlit I can see through it. He’s got a white fuzzy jacket thrown over his shoulder. He peers up at me and smiles blearily. Looks like this bar isn’t Andre’s first stop tonight.

“Hey, Tom.”

“Andre. You okay, man?” I have to ask. Closer, I can see his gorgeous eyes are red.

Andre sniffles. “Yeah. Just a little tired.” He runs a hand through his hair, scraping it back off his face. It falls back almost immediately. “Long day.” He seems to focus, and his gaze skims my body. “Lookin’ good, Tommy.”

I’ve always hated being called Tommy, but for some reason I don’t mind it too much when Andre does it. “Thanks. You have a good time now.” I don’t bother to card him. He comes in here a lot. I know he’s twenty-two, even though sometimes he looks much younger.

“Thanks,” murmurs Andre, and for a moment he looks like he’s going to say something else, then his full lower lip sticks out a small pout and he turns for the bar. He drops the coat off his shoulder and it drags the floor as he walks. I’ll have to keep an eye on him tonight.

Not that much of a hardship, really.

In case it’s still not clear, Andre is one of the reasons that I call myself bisexual. Not that I call myself that to anyone.

I may be a little infatuated with him. Just a little.