“Jess. Tell me about you.”
Jorge yawns and lies back in the lounge chair. His easygoing demeanor and the quality weed relaxes me. I do the same, kicking off my sexy shoes and curling my legs beneath me. I could fall asleep here. It’s been a long night.
“The restaurant. You know about that. Five years now. My husband, Eric owns the Addison Gallery. We’ve been married ten years.
“No, no kids. We didn’t want the responsibility. We have Sophie, our Bichon Frise. She’s our baby.”
“Jess, I know this one. Cute little dogs. They don’t shed much.”
“Eric has allergies.”
“How did ju meet?”
“Oh, me and Eric? Our first year at college. We hung out in the same crowd and eventually became really close. We never officially dated, but we were friends with benefits, if you know what I mean.”
“I think I do,” he smiles in the semi-darkness. “Go on…”
“After college, he took an internship with a professional photographer as an assistant, which took him all over the world. I tried my hand at painting, did a bit of sculpture, writing, music for awhile—but never really found my niche in the art world.”
“What happened after college?”
“ We were never monogamous. But we made a pact. If neither of us met “the one” by the time we turned thirty, we would get married. I mean, it’s all about the friendship anyway, isn’t it? In the end?”
“True, but there can be many years between the beginning and the end.”
“Oh, we are happy. We are fine. I mean, we have our ups and downs, like any other couple…but overall…”
“What do you like to do? Besides dance at gay bars?”
“Hmmm, it’s been a long time since anyone asked me that. I love to cook, actually. I just don’t do it much anymore.”
“I got wrapped up in the business end of the restaurant and fell away from the creative aspects, I guess. I hired kitchen staff and a chef eventually so I could help Eric get the gallery started and now it practically runs itself.”
“I am pastry chef. Many years. Training in France. Working in Miami for long time. Bad relationship problem and I quit. Travel Europe for one year with Roger. I have drug problem, but no more.”
“So, food is your passion, too.”
“Jess. I like to make people happy with my food. To make them smile.”
“All set for tomorrow, my lovely…” Christophe calls from the kitchen.”
“Casa Marina. Remember you stayed there last time. The spa will receive you as soon as you arrive. Just text them. Here, I’ll put the number in your phone…”
“I’d better be going. Nice talking to you, Jorge.” I bend down to buckle my sandal.
Chris maneuvers his slim body into the chair beside Jorge with his tablet open, showing him the photos he shot earlier at the club.
“You’re not sleepy yet, are you?” He musses Jorge’s hair. Jorge whispers something in his ear and he smiles, pursing his lips mysteriously.
I grab my bag and look over my shoulder.
“Are you coming, Chris?”
Chris snaps his tablet closed and looks at Jorge. An awkward beat passes before Jorge interjects.
“Ju mus stay, baby. Please!”
“I guess that means no, I’m not coming. Not with you, anyway, ha ha!”
I get the joke. I leave Chris and Jorge to their own brand of fun.
“Don’t stay up too late, you two!”
It’s almost four in the morning. I know I don’t have to go home, but I can’t stay here.
I check my phone one last time. Six missed calls. I pull out of the parking garage into the empty street.
To be continued…