T.W. Discrimination, Sexual Content.
Lester vacillated between the few casual clothes he had and choosing the most appropriate for his date. He was one of those who took his time to decide, and he had grown used to being a meticulous man. With this, it's not that he lacked the right experience to meet people and speak naturally - he wasn't the shy Lester. He inadvertently became a professional, a Benxamin clone without being sarcastic. He knew how to take the initiative, how to seduce and avoid committing himself.
Things were going to be different with Victor; it wasn't a one-night stand, but an incredible opportunity to be with that man who made him sigh like a teen. Hating him was impossible. Lester seemed to have a frantic desire to be carried away by whatever idea Victor took up. Living a unique moment like this - in his 30 years of existence -, it was a real frenzy. Due to his job, due to his obligations as an only child, he never considered it relevant and therefore, he preferred to have short encounters only for his mere satisfaction. However, that was about to end as unrealistic as that might sound.
He still aspired to a serious courtship, perhaps, if it had been legal at the time, to marry a man. Before the twin, he had tried to live with his father's doctor, divorced and a few years older than him. He didn't consider him a replacement for Victor because the relationship never happened. Over time, the doctor moved away from him - Lester wasn't the cause. The reason was only for appearances; his ex was not going to risk being with a man in front of others. Lester felt belittled but he knew it was inevitable, from then on it became difficult for him to have a long-term relationship, at the same time, he also didn't want anyone to submit to being with him for his family issues.
Sometimes, in those moments of irrepressible desire with the men he met by chance, he questioned him actions, wondering if taking the next step toward bed was the right thing to do. Another problem that Lester had - and that he discovered over the years - was that when he dated someone, his only attention was focused on the other's flaws, comparing them to himself. He didn't know if he was underestimating himself or not, Lester didn't think he could be the right person to be with these suitors on a lasting basis. Possibly, Victor was not going to live up to the enormous expectations placed by him either. He was not a specialist in saying corny things.
Lester thought delusionally that fate had brought them together again on that bus and he promised himself to stop seeing other men -there was no reason-, although it was not easy to break those habits. Taking the situation seriously, he considered that if the date didn't go as expected, he was going to tell Victor the truth and try to remain his friend. On Friday night, it wasn't going to see any interruptions. A fanciful event - possibly -, but it was either that or refuse to try.
The coffee shop was the first part of their agenda. The talk was friendly; Victor sat next to him as planned. He was wearing an old jacket that was brightly colored, but visually awful with the rest of his outfit. Not that it was anything to be ashamed of, it was just that Victor needed to get better at choosing his colors. The young Haydar dared - as a good friend -, to ask him to take off his jacket, Victor could look much better without breaking his sense of individuality and personal style.
“Please don't take this the wrong way, but… that jacket,” Lester said.
“What? What are you trying to tell me?”
“It doesn't suit you, at least not with those pants,” pointing to the grey pants Victor was wearing.
“It's night and it's cold, man.”
“Once we finish eating, we will go to a nearby store. I think there might be something for you. If you want, Victor.”
“You don't... Am I forcing you to do something you don't want?”
“Huh? What? No, no,... sure.”
“Sure?” Lester asked.
Victor said nothing; he barely had money to invite him to dinner, go to the movies and have a few beers. His salary didn't allow him to spend unnecessarily like Lester planned to do. Once the talk was finished, the two walked through the most cosmopolitan area of the city; the big clothing brands, bars and tourist spots concentrated in one place.
At first, Lester seemed like an excited kid thinking about matching his crush's pants with a certain jacket or coat. Victor simply followed his steps - happy without being so expressive, to be near him. This behavior made the professor doubt, he wondered as he watched him walk next to him: “What will he think of all this? I don't mean to make him feel bad.”
Victor Dautt noticed that Lester was looking at him with mock confidence. He was an insecure man who at that moment played the role of professor - he said what he thought but doubted. So the man, with that attitude that characterized him since he was a child, decided to play with him a bit.
“Let's go there,” Victor said, pointing to a bar.
“Yes, of course. But, you don't like this jacket?”
“I don't have money to buy it.”
“Don't worry about it. I will do it for you. It's my way of thanking you.”
“Maybe, after we've had fun," he said, though he didn't really mean to.
Lester followed Victor, curious as to what was going on in his head. He smiled thinking that this first official date was going to run its course naturally.
A completely convulsed bar with lively people whose DJ played suggestive music further motivated the professor to continue. Victor was aware of what could happen. Lester wasn't that nervous, but he didn't want to appear awkward either. Without waiting more than five minutes, he bought himself and his friend a beer, then another and another to feel more relaxed and accept his challenge.
With drinks and more drinks in his head, he let himself be carried away by Victor who invited him to dance. Lester agreed and, in his opinion, his date was a very provocative dancer. Victor's incredible steps drove him crazy; completely ignoring the people around him, letting himself spin, moving to the music and finally, between so many consenting approaches and lustful caresses, Victor and Lester began to kiss.
An impulsive but yearned for act. Victor put his huge hands on Lester's face, touching his cheeks. Lester, for his part, hugged him around the waist and then stroked his back. The kisses lasted much longer than expected. Time and music stopped for them. Victor thought carefully about making his next move the following night - they had the weekend to continue. But Lester had estimated that it was not so, he wanted to go to the other level not only that Friday but as many days as possible.
“Can we go somewhere else more... private?” Lester asked somewhat blushing.
Victor sighed, intimately he wanted it. However, that was not the question he expected to hear so soon.
Their wishes led them to a nearby motel. A 4-story building with red and black walls, with paintings not suitable for all audiences - on a quiet street. They both agreed that they could venture further and requested a room.... with a jacuzzi. Lester was not modest, he took his man's hand and made him sit on the bed. Victor liked that detail; he couldn't stop looking at him. The professor began to caress his hair, and smiled at him in such a way that the heart of his lover did not stop beating convulsively, each part of Victor's body wanted more and more of his Lester.
The kisses resumed and the hugs too. Lester was not the dominant one here like on other occasions - he wanted Victor to be the leader and he followed his decisions. He liked his touch, his smell; all of him. As if he were exploring a new world but with infinite possibilities. The professor loved the game; he hugged his neck and the twin placed himself on top of him - he didn't assimilate that this moment was happening. Victor asked Lester's permission to take the next step. The man looked at him with a smile and nodded to continue. The clothes fell to the floor without contemplation. The movements were slow but steady, then a little faster and somewhat unpredictable: moans came and went. These two souls were together more than ever and in ecstasy in unison.
They looked at each other and admired each other in every possible way, with prolonged duration and moments of great exaltation during the rest of the night. The promised jacket was never bought.
A few hours later and in bed, Lester was able to better appreciate the scar on Victor's left leg,
“Can I touch it?” he asked, thinking the twin was going to say no.
“Sure,” the man replied.
Lester looked closely at the details of his wound, it was the first time he could see it in greater detail. He wondered what had have happened if Victor hadn't survived the infection. Both he and Benxamin had to get on with their lives; it was inevitable. Then he thought of someone else, his father, what if he had made the same mistakes as James? What if he had become an alcoholic or something worse? He meditated and understood that the unstable relationships he had were like - in a particular comparison -, his father's addiction.
Victor delighted in that complacent look, then checked the time on a flashy clock that hung right next to the bathroom door; he had to go to work.
“My job... doesn't allow me to give you what you need, but with this I don't want you to feel sorry for me. I just want to be honest with you.”
“I never thought about it, I don't care about your job. We've been through a lot together and money won't be the reason for me to walk away from you. If you say the same thing to me again, I will definitely break up with you,” Lester said mockingly.
“Hey, I don't know if we're dating,... dating. Although I like that you think so.”
“I would like it to be like that, if you want and also, if we continue with this, that we live together,” the professor expressed with some determination.
But Victor got up from the bed looking at him better,
“I'm not going to live with you on my salary, I want us to split our expenses equally. Besides, you know I have to think about Daniel.”
Lester touched his leg,
“Victor, I... I earn more than you, that's true. But you do something I would never do. Benxamin told me you're also a volunteer. Tell me about everything you do and as for your son, we will find a way for you to relate to him.”
“Do you accept that I live with you even knowing that I have a child? Are you aware of what it means?”
“I'm not. I don't know what will happen with that, but I want us to try, yes, both of us and also, why not, if there is such a possibility, I wouldn't mind being Daniel's father. I see my co-workers with their children and I can't compare my situation with theirs but I would like to feel what it is like to have a family.”
“You are having a very fanciful idea of this.”
“I'm too old to think that way, but if I don't try, I won't know. I could refuse to take care of him because it's your responsibility, but I still want to meet your son,” Lester affirmed with a shrug.
“Sure?” Victor said kissing him, Lester pulled away from him because his answer didn't seem convincing.
“What I'm telling you is immature, isn't it? I know. Hey, if we are going to take this seriously, you must understand that I'm going to help you. You know where your son lives, where he studies. You have to tell your brother and Marcus this. If you don't, I will.”
“Don't do this just for me,” the twin sighed.
“I haven't thought of it that way.”
“Alright! I suppose we are understanding each other.”
“Hmm... See you tonight at my apartment?” Lester asked as he watched Victor get out of bed to take a shower.
“I was going to ask the same thing, although where I live is a bit small.”
“What happened to the room you rented before the shipwreck?”
“Someone else took it when I was in prison. For now I live a bit far from the coffee shop.”
“Victor... ” Lester hesitated impulsively.
“Do you want to look for a place closer to where you work? I know apartments that are cheap, maybe... where I live,” he insisted because he wanted to suggest in a not-so-subtle way that he wanted to be close to him.
“No, I don't want to ruin it. But we can keep seeing each other as many times as you want.”
Lester's mouth dropped open in surprise. Victor was taking each of his words seriously and did he think he was with the twin just to please him?
“I don't want to see you just to hang out and you're not going to ruin anything.”
Victor approached him and caressed his face,
“I want to be realistic with you and feel more confident about myself.”
“Never doubt that and Victor, I don't want this to be just for me, it's for both of us. Why do you talk like that?”
“Well,... 'cause I told you I hated you, man. Besides, I don't want us to rush this.”
“I agree with you, and since we are talking about nonsense, I want to tell you something else: I like you.”
Victor's eyes widened. He opened his mouth to answer him, but instead of stating the obvious, he pulled Lester out of bed and into the jacuzzi so they could bathe together, was that an "I like you, too" or maybe, “I love you”? When they left the motel they decided that that same day they were going to go to the movies holding hands like any couple, without worries of any kind, without hasty decisions or prejudices.
Several months later, they made a decision that might have seemed rash - at least to Victor. The professor sold his apartment and with the money obtained, plus part of his boyfriend's savings, they bought a small space in the center of the city; a cramped love nest for Lester but much cozier for the twin. With white walls, in contrast with vibrant tropical-themed paintings and furniture alluding to the beautiful landscapes that honored that paradisiacal place called Hephaestus. Combining the tastes of both men with a budget that was limited from which little by little they began to decorate. Among all these objects there was one that stood out: the painting that Benxamin drew for his brother. The beautiful piece of their mother.
In turn, Victor shared with his partner the details of his project for the play in the prison where Derek was still being held. Lester supported him without questioning any of his decisions, he felt admiration and respect for his boyfriend.
The professor, for his part, decided to sell all the most precious items that belonged to his parents. Having them with him brought great sadness and memories of the hardest times Mira and James suffered. His Victor didn't replace that loneliness to which he had to adapt; he was his hope and the restart of a new and positive stage in his adult life.
Simultaneously, in Benxamin's office, the man made an important decision that did not fit with his rational thinking. He called Marcel Witsel on his phone; he wanted to see him, but he wasn't going to be alone. He had unfinished business to attend to with him.