The Unused Room Ch. 05byvelvetpie©
By dinner, Caiden was back to his old awkward self around Michel, second-guessing the feelings that he'd had and wondering if it was just a wham-bam-thank-you-sir kind of thing and Michel noticed it. He set down his chopsticks and stared at him.
"Bullshit. You look guilty." The way Caiden turned his head convinced Michel that he'd hit the nail on the head. "Are you rethinking our dalliance?"
The wry smile on Michel's handsome face made Caiden blush and he grinned, looking down into his bowl of miso soup. "Yes. Many times over ... but ... "
"But I don't know how I feel about it."
"You don't know how you feel about having fucked a hot boy?"
"No, silly." Caiden appreciated Michel's humor but it was getting in the way of the serious feelings he wanted to express. "I don't know how ... I mean, I want you and everything but ... "
"You feel strange wanting to bone someone now that Hardy's gone?" When Caiden shook his head, Michel reached across the table and took his hand. "I know how much you loved Hardy, but if he was in this same circumstance, what do you think he'd do?" Caiden hesitated, an answer on his lips. "And be honest."
The young man sighed. "He'd move on."
"He'd move on." Michel gently echoed. "Hardy would want you to remember him but he'd also want you to be happy and to move on and find someone else who could make you happy."
Caiden knew that Michel was right but he felt so lost. "Then how do I do that? How do I move on?"
Michel grinned. "Come to a party with me tonight. Maybe you'll meet someone there."
"I thought I'd already met someone."
He stared at Michel until the artist caught the drift of what he was saying. "Me? Oh, no, honey, that was just a quick fuck. I'm not the marrying kind." Michel noticed that Caiden was hurt and gave his hand a pat. "But I promise to be the best and hottest friend you'll ever have." He winked. "A best friend with benefits." Caiden found himself smiling at his outrageous friend and knew that he could deal with that. It would be wonderful to know that he had a friend downstairs and an occasional lover as well. "Now, eat your meat. You'll need your strength tonight!"
* * * * *
Despite the strangeness of the crowd swirling about him, Caiden was having a blast. They'd gone back to Hardy's apartment, fucked again, this time with Michel bent over the balcony rail and had laughed like lunatics when they wondered who got hit when Michel squirted over the side. A quick shower, a change of clothes (which found Michel styling his Timberland-wearing friend) and they were off.
Lora Walmsley was having a soiree and when you were invited to a Walmsley party, it was a sure sign that you had arrived. Walmsley's father, Richard, had purchased two of Michel's paintings in the last month and was eyeing four more for his office. Michel told Caiden that the old man probably wanted to fuck him so he'd raise the price as well. After a cab drive over to the Upper East Side, they took the elevator up to the Walmsley suite and were met at the door by Lora herself, naked except for a wide blue stripe of dried paint across her middle.
"Lora! Where the hell are your clothes?"
The pretty redhead giggled, half-sipping and half-spilling her vodka martini. "I am art tonight, my dead Michel." She struck a pose. "I am Blue."
"I see." Michel gave her a kiss on the cheek. "You'll be red if your father sees you."
"Not a chance. He's in Innsbruck with wife number two."
"The more the merrier, I say."
"Who's your friend?"
"Caiden and don't bother him, he's bent."
"Damn!" She gave Caiden a knowing grin. "Why do you always bring these absolutely delicious gay boys to my parties? Do you not like me?"
"No, I love you, baby. I just can't go straight long enough to find a man for you!"
With a laugh, Lora wandered off, striking a pose every few steps and Michel gave Caiden's elbow a squeeze. "Come on. Let's get something to drink."
One drink led to more and soon, Caiden's head was spinning, not just from the booze but from the effort of trying to remember the names of Michel's friends. There were too many and were as varied as the colors on his palette but one stood out. A quiet blond with sad blue eyes who looked as if he'd seen too much of the world and wanted to live quietly in its midst. Caiden found himself drawn to him, not knowing why but knowing that he needed to at least speak with him.
"Hi." The blond looked at him and the blood drained from his face. He immediately began to back away from Caiden, his face filled with fear. "Hey, what's wrong? I just want to talk to you. You look so sad ... "
"Don't act like you don't know! Oh, God, I knew this would happen some day ... "
"What are you talking about?"
Michel spoke up for the terrified young man. "Caiden, this is Tommy." He slid an arm around the cowering man, gently rubbing his shoulders. "He's the reason Hardy died."