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Chapter Six — Do Cats Eat Bats?
Carter had never known the blessing of having a personal assistant, but as a programmer, it wasn’t like he needed one. He wasn’t even a good team player, and he worked as a freelancer for that reason. But leaving everything in Mark’s professional hands had made him feel relieved. Tomorrow, he was going to go to work and have his entire schedule well prepped by his new assistant, while he only had to worry about being pretty, as Mark had said, while almost throwing him out the door.
He did not complain. Half a day of working in the fashion business and he felt pissed, hungry, and not in the mood to socialize for like a week.
Plus, that douchebag Alex was a huge motherfucking cheater. How could he do that when he had such a great guy like Aron at home? Well, it was true that the guy’s bed manners lacked finesse, but Carter was a dude, too, and it was not like he had never gone out like a light after sex or just a handjob when done right. Of course, a diva like Alex must have considered such a thing a personal affront and had had Aron sleep on the sofa on more than one occasion. Presumably.
Now, he was frankly really worried about Alex’s bed manners, and, specifically, his habit of sleeping around at his workplace. Wasn’t that really risky? It seemed so easy for some info to just leak, especially with so many paparazzi that Alex seemed to have on his tail, at least, at formal events.
What if, a thought crossed his mind, what if Alex wanted to be caught? And Aron to hear about it? If the guy believed that Aron had cheated, maybe he wanted to pay his husband back with interest for that. Well, he could not tell what made him think that, but something in the way the guys had been pushing the door to his office today was making him believe Alex had just recently started raining sexual favors over his poor servants’ heads.
Or maybe it was what that puppy eyes dude had said. Mentioning Aron’s alleged cheating episode had been meant as a hit below the belt. But the guy had wanted to use it as leverage to convince Carter that cheating was totally worth it.
Yeah, sell it to someone with less than half a brain, puppy eyes, he thought. Was there a possibility that the guy was pulling his leg? What about the fatty boom boom from earlier then? It was clear that the guy had been pretty sure that he was going to get his dick wet.
Well, he wasn’t going to risk it. He needed to get Alex’s body checked for any kind of disease that he could pass to Aron by accident, and, if the results were going to come back positive, he was just going to bite the bullet and tell Aron to get checked, too.
Of course, he hoped things were not going to end up in such a mess. It was not at all in his interest to wreck Aron’s marriage, and if he could help it, he was going to protect it. Even if Alex was a douchebag, Aron didn’t deserve that. So, since destiny had put him in Alex’s shoes, literally, it was up to him to set things right. Of course, when Alex was going to be back into his body and Carter in his, things were going to change. For now, however, it was up to him and he decided to do his best to make sure that Aron was not going to be unhappy.
But how to go about it? Whether he liked it or not, he was a public face, and he could not just walk into any clinic and ask to be tested for STDs. That kind of thing was bound to make waves, and that was the last thing he needed. If anything, he needed to navigate under the radar.
Mark had dutifully informed him, just before kicking him out the door, that all his medical files were kept at that fancy clinic, where both he and Aron were registered, as the clinic also offered regular check-ups and medical services pertaining to a GP’s area of expertise.
He knew it! He was just going to ask for more extensive investigations on the grounds that he was a tiny bit paranoid and he thought himself ill. He was just going to slip that he wanted STD tests in-between those, and act like a diva on the point of a nervous breakdown. That douchebag Alex could afford it. Maybe he was not making millions, as he had exaggerated when talking to Aron, but Alex Ruskin definitely brought home the dough. He was no kept prized toy, although Carter would have liked to believe that.
Aron had always been well off, and his family came from money, as far as he remembered his own parents commenting one time. It was just the guy’s choice to work, and not just live the life while spending away his family’s cash. Plus, seeing how decent and modest the type of life Aron’s parents preferred to lead, such a nasty behavior would have just been a slap in their faces. And he knew one thing well; that Aron loved his parents above anyone else.
Hmm, maybe not anyone else, now. Well, he was not one to deny the facts. That fucker Alex was handsome and photogenic like a Siamese cat. Of course he was well paid.
He had just gotten out from the taxi, when his phone rang. He stared for kaçak iddaa a moment at Aron’s smiling face in the photo used for the caller ID, and rolled his eyes when he read the name under which the guy was saved in Alex’s contacts. Hubby, he shook his head. He swiped right.
“Are you going to be late?” Aron questioned him from the other end.
“Yeah,” he answered, keeping himself with some difficulty from adding ‘hubby’ to that.
“I was wondering if you wanted to go out, or stay in, tonight.”
“In,” he replied without hesitation.
Aron did hesitate, on the other hand, making him want to bite his tongue. The socialite in Alex was probably hungry for social events on a regular basis. But he was in no mood to go out and try fending off who knew how many people who wanted who knew what, starting with a blowjob and ending up with … Okay, that was enough gay imagery for one day.
Focus, Carter, focus.
“I’m tired,” he said quickly, to alleviate Aron’s suspicions. “I just want to chill.”
“Netflix and chill?” Aron joked and Carter could swear he could picture the guy wiggling his eyebrows in that funny way of his.
“Don’t push your luck,” he growled into the phone, but he could barely keep from laughing.
How many times had he used that phrase with his casual hookups? He could not picture Aron using it, though. And especially with a guy. Well, probably Grindr wasn’t that different from Tinder. Just guys doing … other guys.
“What are you up to?” Aron asked, as his low chuckle was doing strange little things to Carter’s ear, like there was suddenly a flock of butterflies there, trying to tickle him.
“Just some last minute errands.”
Now wasn’t Aron a curious little shit right now?
“I need a new hand lotion,” Carter said snappily.
Aron sighed loudly on the other end.
“You have like one thousand.”
“Well, I need one thousand and one,” Carter lied through his teeth.
Even Aron was annoyed with his husband’s obsession for cosmetic products. It was a normal thing, really. By the amount of crap that guy had in the royal size bathroom, he was probably mummified on the inside from all the chemicals in those nice smelling bottles.
“Come on, baby, don’t be mad,” Aron cooed, but Carter could tell the guy was just trying to pull his leg.
“Then don’t make me mad,” he replied sternly.
“Okay, someone is a little pissed,” Aron joked, obviously fishing for info. “What happened?”
“Nothing. I just need this thing, that’s all. And I’ll have to go all over town for it. So, feel free to eat without me.”
There was a small pause on the other end.
“I thought about cooking your favorite, if we weren’t going out,” Aron eventually spoke.
Aron? Cooking? Carter could not picture his best friend in the line-up for Master Chef, trying to undermine the other contestants just for a chance to suck up to Gordon Ramsay.
He was kind of hungry. But Alex’s favorite was probably something vegan and out of whack that could not pass for edible stuff. That was how fashion icons kept skinny, he could bet. Oh, I’m vegan; actually, I cannot eat this shit, so I’ll just go hungry. Or you would not believe how much I pig out and I still look like this …
Aron’s small cough on the other end cut short his verbal mentalization.
“Yes. I know you only eat it on special occasions but seeing that you faced death …” Aron explained with a small chuckle. “Really, baby, you know how much you love lasagna. Just come home.”
Lasagna? Okay, he could live with that. And he could feel his mouth water just at the sound of that. What if Aron sucked at cooking or it was some kind of lasagna only fashion victims ate? It didn’t matter at this point. If Aron was cooking, he was going to make the effort to eat it. And say that it was awesome.
“Well, you convinced me. I’ll try to finish here and get home as fast as I can,” he spoke quickly as he went through the door.
The perfunctory female voice over the speakers started at the most inopportune time.
“Where are you, Alex? I think I heard …”
“I’ll be home soon, gotta go, bye,” he said and ended the convo abruptly.
All right, he had panicked like an idiot. But there was no way he was going to let Aron guess where he was. With a purposeful stride, he walked over to the reception and let the woman tending the front desk know who he was and what he wanted.
It had worked much better than expected, and except for the unpleasantries of having biological samples collected, everything had gone smoothly. The doctors at the clinic were more than happy with running tests. That was just easy money for them, so the guy in charge hadn’t even questioned him about the real reason he wanted the investigations to be carried on.
Now he felt a tad more relieved, but it was just going to take a while to have the results back. Until then, he had to make sure that Aron didn’t kaçak bahis fuck him by accident.
By accident? Who was he kidding? Aron was going to be all over his ass. Cooking? The guy behaved like he was trying to impress some chick. Carter had only tried it once. The girl he had been dating back then was nice; she had worn a cringing little smile all the time while trying to make sense of what lay there on her plate as if it was trying to reach her from beyond the grave like Carrie’s hand.
But Aron had clearly done it before, probably quite successfully, which could only mean that Carter was going to be well prepared for the offensive. It was extremely weird to be the one wooed. He needed to do something about it. Aron was bent on fucking his husband soon, and Carter needed to sort out a lot of things before that guy’s dick got within an inch of his backside. One of them being, of course, the fact that he needed to change back with Alex and let that guy get the well-deserved dicking from his beloved ‘hubby’.
In the meantime, he needed to juggle things, and he had never been a good juggler. He needed to make sure he was not going to blow things up at Alex’s workplace, he needed to maintain Aron’s marriage to the douchebag floating, and he needed to figure out a way to get back to his own body.
How was he going to do all those without fucking up really badly? He had no idea. But he was sure as hell going to try it.
About one hour later, an incredible smell hit his nostrils the moment he walked into the kitchen, where he supposed Aron still was, like the dutiful, loving husband he was. He made a small sound of delight before he could control himself. Aron’s eyes were shining as they were quickly trained on him.
Carter could almost feel the need to gulp. He could not be that easy. Well, at least he had one thing in common with Aron’s real husband: they both loved lasagna.
Aron quickly wiped his hands on his pristine white apron and walked towards Carter. There was a strange dance going on between them as Aron leaned in for a kiss, and Carter had no idea how to maneuver himself in such a way that Aron would just kiss him on the cheek, instead of lips.
With a small chuckle, Aron grabbed him hard, and, for a second, their eyes met, and Carter felt the strangest thing. Like he was on the verge of suddenly feeling very sick, or just his stomach was doing flip-flops, or it was just going to become airborne and wanted to come out through his throat …
Aron leaned in and kissed him, softly the first time. Carter could now feel his eyelids doing their own show of a hummingbird impersonation. Great. What part of his anatomy was going to misbehave next?
Err, okay. Aron just went all in for a second kiss and this time he was using tongue. And the guy’s hands were starting to wander, too, clearly aiming for his behind. Now it was not time for him to get lost in all these games. He needed to put an end to the circus. His body couldn’t handle it at all.
So he kissed back, a bit too forcibly, and with a loud smack, but at least, Aron’s tongue slipped from his mouth like a weasel.
“Well, where’s that lasagna? I’m starving,” he began talking quickly.
“Hey,” Aron cooed while embracing him. “I’m trying to offer a proper welcome here.”
There was nothing proper about the way Aron’s tongue was trying to give him a full dental inspection.
“Well, do a good job then, and put some food on the table,” he joked.
Aron frowned slightly, but only for a second. He went straight to the oven while Carter excused himself to change into some home clothes and wash away the grime of being in the fashion business for a day. Half a day. Half a work day. Whatever, he really was starving and he could not think clearly.
“Wow,” he said, as he patted his belly with unhidden satisfaction. “That was great, Aron. Thank you.”
“Glad you liked it. I wasn’t expecting you to call for seconds, but it was my pleasure. And I can assure you, I used 97/3 beef for the recipe. I know you would accept nothing less. Let’s watch that waistline,” Aron said with a smile.
“I’ll work out later, to compensate,” Carter waved, earning another quizzical look from Aron. “What?”
“Your ballet instructor will definitely have a fit hearing you talk so casually about working out. We don’t want bulky muscles like Arnold, Alex,” Aron spoke in a weird voice with a little lilt, probably impersonating the ballet instructor.
“Ballet?” Carter’s face fell and was now probably crumpled on the floor somewhere.
There was no way he was going to do ballet. He had two left feet, and not good left feet. He was athletic as a general rule, but grace was something that had always evaded him.
“Don’t look so down. I know that you always end up bossing poor Pedro around. I think he is grateful when he doesn’t have you in charge.”
“Ah, well …” Carter let the sentence stop mid-way.
He was speechless. And mortified. illegal bahis The mere idea of being dressed up in pants tight enough to reveal the entire anatomy of all his ancestors, not only his, was making him squirm.
“So, did you manage to go see him?” Aron cleared his voice.
“Hm?” Carter asked, too caught up in his own mind.
“Please tell me you went,” Aron said, a bit sternly. “To see Carter.”
“Ah, Carter. Yeah, yeah, I was. The poor guy,” Carter shook his head. “How come I escaped only with a few scratches, and he’s fucked up so badly?”
“The details are still unclear. The driver didn’t really see you at all. Or Carter. He just felt that he hit something. Heard the sound of something smashing against the truck, according to his statement. The police don’t seem to have too many details on the circumstances.”
Carter gulped as he reached for his wine glass. It felt eerie to hear about all this.
“So, no eyewitnesses? When did it happen? Was it late in the evening?”
“I was hoping you could tell me more. But you don’t remember anything,” Aron said, his eyes drifting away for a brief second. “It happened in the afternoon, and on a narrow street. The street camera didn’t catch more than the fire truck stopping abruptly. The police said that it was an impossible angle. As for eyewitnesses, there is a girl in the footage. But she just jumped in a streetcar moments later. She must have seen something, but she didn’t stick around to offer information. The only things we know about her are that that day she wore her hair in a ponytail, and had a huge backpack. Street view cameras don’t have that great resolution, unfortunately. The police launched an appeal on their Twitter, but, so far, there was nothing.”
“Damn,” Carter took a sip from his wine. “I feel a little guilty, you know? He’s lying there, while I’m here, eating lasagna and drinking wine. How could we be both hit by that fire truck and I escape like this while he’s in a coma?”
“Maybe you were just quick to cross the street, and you weren’t that badly hit,” Aron explained, as his eyebrows furrowed. “But don’t feel guilty. I’m glad you’re okay.”
“Well, better him than me,” Carter said wryly.
The irony was apparently lost on Aron.
“I didn’t say that,” Aron murmured and looked down. “Regardless of what he said and did at our wedding … I still care about him.”
Carter could tell it was taking Aron nerves of steel to admit that in front of his husband. Why had he had to fuck up so badly that day? Why had he gotten drunk and crashed Aron’s wedding? All he could remember was that he had felt pissed as hell and that he had just needed a scapegoat for what he was feeling. Or, simply put, he was such a closeted homophobe that his best friend getting married to a dude had been needed to bring that to the surface. Was it like a reversed closet thing, maybe? If gay guys needed to get out of the closet to realize who they were, homophobe dudes in denial needed to enter the closet?
That kind of reasoning was just taking him to one of the biggest conundrums in history. Do cats eat bats? Or do bats eat cats? He shook his head. If he was going down the rabbit hole, he would rather have his wits about him. And cats ate bats. He was sure of it. Or was it the other way around?
He must have been making all kind of faces for the last minute or so because Aron was now eyeing him warily.
“Please say something,” Aron said as he stood up to clean up the table.
He really needed to get out of his own head and take care of his temporary husband and what looked like quite fragile feelings. Aron was 6.4 tall, but Carter could bet Alex was bullying the guy like there was no tomorrow.
So he reached out and caught Aron’s wrist.
“I’ll do the dishes,” he said solemnly.
Surely, his sacrifice had to count for something. He only had disposable cutlery in his home, simply because he could not bring himself to do the dishes. It was an inefficient loss of time, as far as he was concerned. There was nothing to win from washing dishes and losing precious time while doing so. Except if you were Agatha Christie and this was a way for you to come up with new ideas for your next book. No wonder the lady had felt in a murderous mood when doing that. Yeah, washing dishes sucked balls.
Aron looked at him, without saying anything. Maybe instead of washing the dishes, he needed to do something else. With a sigh, he nudged Aron to sit down.
“Look,” he started. “I know how things went down.” No, he didn’t. “But I’m not mad at him anymore.” Alex was going to throw a hissy fit when they were going to swap back. “So just feel free to talk about him, without feeling guilty.”
“Really?” Aron looked at him carefully, but somewhat hopeful. “Please, Alex, tell me this is not some new idea of yours to torture me.”
Carter bit his bottom lip hard. He felt for Aron, but it was still a bit funny to see him so pussywhipped. Cockwhipped. Asswhipped? Ah, what the fuck was the gay equivalent to that? He had always known Aron to be his own man if a little stubborn and hardheaded at times. So this was a tad funny.
“Why are you grinning?” Aron’s eyes narrowed.
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