Changing Colors (A Seasons of Love story)

Changing Colors by Elyse Springer
eBook ISBN: 
978-1-62649-517-3
eBook release: 
Oct 23, 2017
eBook Formats: 
pdf, mobi, html, epub
Print ISBN: 
978-1-62649-518-0
Print release: 
Oct 23, 2017
Word count: 
~65,000
Page count: 
~245
Type: 
Cover by: 

This title is part of the Seasons of Love universe.

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Tony Quinn has a knack for figuring people out. He likes labels, likes to be able to put everyone and everything in tidy boxes. As a theater director, it allows him to run a production without too much drama. But when he meets Gentry—“call me Gee”—in a bar one night, he discovers that some people aren’t so easily defined.

Gee Parnell is unlike anyone Tony has ever met before. He refuses to conform—to Tony’s expectations, or to society’s gender roles. He’s sexy and flirtatious, unapologetic and unashamed. And Tony isn’t sure he’s okay with that. So he breaks things off and escapes back into his well-ordered life.

But then an attack leaves Gee bloody and bruised, and Tony realizes that he isn’t ready to lose him. Not only is the passion between them off the charts, but Gee shows him a different way of understanding people. However, an exciting new job opportunity means that Tony has to decide between hiding his sexuality and his relationship with Gee, and his newfound appreciation for the color and beauty Gee brings to his life.

This title comes with no special warnings.

Caution: The following details may be considered spoilerish.

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Chapter One

Ten Months Ago

The club was not Tony’s regular scene. He felt like one of the oldest people in the room, ancient at age thirty-four and desperately trying not to roll his eyes at the hundreds of twenty-somethings grinding together on the dance floor to too-loud pop songs he didn’t recognize.

“Getting old, Anthony.”

He shoved his father’s words away and took another sip of his beer, leaning back against the bar and looking across the room for a familiar face.

It hadn’t been his idea to come here tonight. Half-price drink specials and close proximity to the theater had drawn his cast and crew to the club, and he’d followed in their wake, too exhausted and in desperate need of a few cheap drinks to complain. They’d just wrapped on a well-received run for a musical that Tony had directed, and there was no doubt the party was going to go until the early hours of the morning.

Mostly what Tony wanted to do was go home and sleep for twelve straight hours, maybe call his friend with benefits, Elena, for a hard-earned reward fuck, and then get to work on his next project. He loved directing musicals, and next month they’d begin preparations for one of his all-time favorites: Rent.

But he could be a good sport for a few hours more. And, as a woman from the crew gave him a flirty wink and raised a glass in his direction, he realized it might actually be a pretty fun night. After all, I’m not her boss anymore. A no-strings-attached night of sex and stress relief definitely would not go amiss, and would be a lot easier with her than convincing Elena to come to Midtown at this time of night.

Tony drained his beer and turned back to the bar. It was a busy night, and it took several minutes before the bartender was able to work his way down and get Tony a fresh bottle. He was already sipping the icy liquid as he turned back to the dance floor—

And choked on his next sip.

A pair of eyes was watching him from across the club. Even with the room between them, the gaze punched the air out of Tony’s chest.

The guy on the dance floor tilted his head up when he realized Tony was watching him in return, and Tony spotted a flash of white teeth under the strobe lights. Then the connection was gone, the guy turning to face the other dancers.

What the . . .?

Tony studied the man on the dance floor. He was thin and blond, with miles of white skin visible—not difficult, seeing as how he wasn’t wearing much: a scrap of fabric that only barely qualified as a shirt over his chest, and tiny shorts that reflected the light as he moved.

If anyone fit the definition of a twink, it was this kid. And he was a kid; even from this distance, no way was he more than a year or two past the club’s twenty-one minimum. Definitely not Tony’s type. Blondie would probably whine and beg for Tony’s cock, pouty lips eager to suck him in . . . but that wasn’t what he wanted tonight.

He pulled his eyes away from the blond, skating them over to a man a few feet away. Tall, probably a few inches on Tony’s own five-foot-seven frame, muscled arms gleaming with sweat and a black tank top stretched tight over his chest. He looked like the kind of guy who would shove Tony into a mattress and pound his ass all night.

That’s more like it.

Except something about the twink caught his attention again, and he found himself glancing back over. The guy was lithe, graceful, dancing to the heavy beat with the crowd, not focusing on any one person.

And damn could he move.

Tony worked with singers and dancers every single day. He’d seen women trained in classical ballet, and men who had done tap or modern dance since they were toddlers. But he’d never seen anyone move like that: hips swaying, arms above his head, sinuous and tempting.

The guy looked up, like he’d sensed that he was still being watched, and his dark eyes met Tony’s across the room once again.

His smile this time was wicked, and the distance between them wasn’t enough to hide the challenge in that smirk, or the unmistakable Come and get me in the way his chin tilted up. It wasn’t a request . . . it was a command.

Tony had set his full beer on the edge of the bar and was stalking across the room before he even realized what he was doing. The blond turned away, showing off an ass that perfectly filled out the tiny shorts. But he kept glancing over his shoulder to watch Tony’s progress, and his grin was all sex and triumph when Tony finally stepped behind him, chest to back, and settled his hands on narrow hips.

“Dance with me?” Tony asked.

The blond smiled. When he spoke, his voice was full of laughter, and he had an accent that was easily audible over the music, sweet and drawling. “Nope. But you can dance with me.”

Yeah, Tony could do that. He pulled the guy back until there was no space between them, brushing his hands along sweaty, hot skin.

One song merged into another, and the blond eventually turned around, hooking his long arms over Tony’s shoulders. He was shorter than Tony by at least four inches, and this close Tony could see the corded muscles that ran down his arms . . . muscles he used to position Tony exactly where he wanted him.

Fuck yes.

This was what he’d been craving. He could have called Elena, who had no qualms about shoving him onto the nearest horizontal surface and having her way with him. Tony wasn’t really submissive, but a strong woman or man who knew what they wanted had always turned him on. But she didn’t have the muscle mass to force him, to hold him down.

And he was fast realizing that this guy, the kid he’d pegged as a skinny twink who only knew how to shake his ass, was deceptively strong, and more than happy to push Tony around wherever he wanted.

Half a dozen songs later, that meant up against a wall in the back hallway, the building vibrating from the bass, and a narrow thigh pressed between Tony’s legs as dexterous fingers wove through his hair and pulled him down into a furious kiss.

“God damn.”

The blond smirked and bit Tony’s lower lip. “Darlin’, if you’re still able to talk, then I’m doin’ something wrong.” His voice was honey-smooth, and so Southern that Tony wondered if it was even real.

Then those lips were back on his own, and he didn’t have a chance to wonder much about anything.

It wasn’t until they were stumbling toward his bed, half an hour and one excruciating cab ride later, that Tony thought to ask the other guy’s name.

“You can call me Gee,” he said. And then he pushed Tony backward onto the bed and climbed on top of him, framing Tony’s body with long legs as he straddled his chest. “Though I’m hopin’ you won’t be able to manage even that one syllable by the time I’m done with you.”

Tony’s hands slid back to Gee’s hips, framing his narrow waist like they had when they’d danced together in the club. But this time Gee clucked his tongue and took Tony’s wrists, one in each strong hand, and pinned them to the sheets on either side of Tony’s head.

“You leave those there for me, ’kay?”

Yes. Oh hell yes. It had been a long time since anyone had bossed him around like this in bed. Too long.

Nimble fingers unbuttoned Tony’s shirt, pushing it open to bare his chest to the chilly air. He had the heat turned on, but there was no radiator unit in the bedroom, and the room was colder than the rest of the apartment. Tony only had a second to shiver, though, before a hot mouth licked over his collarbone and nipped at the base of his throat.

Tony arched up into the sensation.

Gee laughed, a puff of heat against his neck. “What should I call you when I’m fuckin’ you, darlin’?”

It was several seconds before Tony could process the question. Gee’s words rang in his ears: “When I’m fuckin’ you.” Somehow they didn’t sound as crude in Gee’s accent, which Tony was quickly realizing was real—and got deeper the more turned on Gee got.

“Tony,” he managed.

“Mmh.” Gee bit Tony’s neck again, then rolled his hips. His dick was visible through the tiny shorts, shadows making the bulge look almost obscene in the dimly lit bedroom, and Tony shuddered when Gee brushed the hardness against Tony’s lower stomach. His own cock was straining painfully against the zipper of his jeans. “That short for Anthony?”

Tony nodded.

Gee ran his hands down Tony’s chest, fingers digging into the muscles on his shoulders, thumbs finding places that made Tony groan with pleasure, nails scraping down over his nipples. “Well, Anthony, I think we’d best talk for a second, before this goes any further.”

Tony’s mouth was dry, and he had to swallow a few times before he could speak. What the hell is going on? He’d never been speechless like this around a one-off fuck. But, then, he’d never met anyone like Gee, who turned his expectations upside down with just a look and a grin. “About what?”

“About what’s going to happen tonight.” Gee settled on his stomach. He might have been half a foot shorter than Tony, and skinny as a rail post, but he was all muscle, and his body was a heavy weight across Tony’s abs. He rested his hands on Tony’s shoulders, and met Tony’s green eyes with his own dark-brown ones.

“You’re gonna fuck me.” Tony’s dick swelled even more as he spoke.

Gee leaned down and kissed him, hot and filthy, tongue pushing into Tony’s mouth before licking his way out. “Yeah, I am. But first I’d like to suck that dick I can feel pushin’ against me.” He shifted back an inch, his spandex-clad ass nudging Tony’s cock. “And I don’t much like the taste of latex.”

“Oh.” Tony groaned at the firm pressure, hips jerking up involuntarily, then forced his brain to process Gee’s question. He liked sex, liked having a lot of it, but he was always careful. “I get tested every few months. Everything is negative.”

Gee granted him a smile and another quick and dirty kiss. “That’s what I needed to know, Anthony.”

No one had ever said his name like that, like it was something to be moaned out loud during sex. Tony fisted his hands into the sheets on either side of his head and watched as Gee shot him a sultry smile and slid down his body.

His cock was so hard that he thought for a second he was going to shoot like a teenager the second Gee put a hand on his dick. He struggled to catch his breath as Gee flicked open the button on his jeans and inched the zipper down.

“Up.” Gee tapped the spot where Tony’s ass met his thigh, and even through the thick denim Tony could feel the light sting. He lifted his hips, letting Gee tug his pants and boxer briefs off his legs, and kicked them onto the floor.

Then, true to his word, Gee licked a long stripe up his cock and sucked the head in without further ado.

Tony’s eyes rolled back as he was surrounded by tight, hot suction, Gee’s hand wrapping around the base of his dick and jacking him while he sucked on the head, before sliding his mouth down. When Gee groaned, it was like an earthquake running up Tony’s spine, and he shouted, back arching off the bed.

The busy schedule meant that he hadn’t had much time over the last six months to get out and get laid, and his desperate whines betrayed that. Gee pulled back to lick a bead of pre-come off of Tony’s head, laughing low. His breath was hot against Tony’s cock, and Tony squirmed, pushing his hips up and painting Gee’s lips with white as he sought the return of that velvet heat.

“Gee, shit.”

Another laugh, and then Gee’s mouth was back on him, this time pressing kisses along his shaft, using one hand to move Tony’s cock out of the way so he could lavish attention on his balls. Tony generally wasn’t a big fan of having his balls sucked, but when Gee’s other hand slid down to rub at his crack at the same time, he let his legs fall open and moaned.

“You got stuff?”

The words and abrupt lack of heat forced Tony back to the present, and he struggled to focus on the lithe blond between his legs. Gee’s lips were swollen, shiny with spit and a streak of pre-come that glistened on his cheek.

“What?”

“Lube. Condoms.” Gee sat up a bit, jacking Tony slowly . . . and fuck Tony couldn’t think like this, not with Gee’s dark eyes staring down at him, grip firm around his dick.

“Yeah, I—” He gasped when Gee’s thumb grazed over the head of his cock, collecting the moisture there and using it to help ease the slide of Gee’s hand. “Drawer. In the— Shit.”

Gee rewarded him by twisting his wrist and tightening his fist, perfect friction pushing Tony closer to release. He eased off after a second, though, ignoring Tony’s pleading and removing his hand altogether.

“Roll over.”

The words were low, spoken with enough authority that Tony was moving before he’d even processed the order. His body flushed with heat as he got on all fours, head hanging down while he tried to catch his breath. He could see Gee behind him, though the room was dark enough that he could only catch glimpses of movement.

His whine when he heard the click of the lube opening would have been more embarrassing if not for Gee’s own reaction. “Goddamn, Anthony.” That thin body plastered itself over Tony’s back, suffusing him with the scent of fruity perfume and sweat. A kiss was pressed between his shoulder blades. “You want this bad.”

“Yeah.” There was no denying it, not when his cock hung heavily between his legs and when he rocked back against Gee, seeking the pressure of Gee against his ass.

“So fuckin’ hot.” Gee shifted, pulling away for a second, and when he returned to Tony, it was to rub slick fingers against Tony’s crack. “Big guy like you, you have no idea how much I wanted you from the moment I saw you in that club. Wanted you beneath me, crying out.”

Tony obliged when Gee slid a finger into him without warning. He arched his back, burying his face in the pillow to muffle his pleas for more. The lube was still cold, but heated up almost immediately as Gee added a second finger, thrusting them into Tony’s ass while he kept whispering against Tony’s ear.

“Was watching you browse the other people in the club, and your gaze always settled on bigger guys, the bears and the jocks, the ones with bulging muscles.” Gee crooked his fingers, finding Tony’s prostate, and Tony could feel Gee’s grin against his neck when he shouted, pushing back eagerly, chasing the sensation. “And I thought, fuck it, I could give that man what he needs.” Gee’s teeth bit down on his earlobe, more a tease than a sting. “What do you need, Anthony?”

“For you to fuck me.” The words sounded like a sob, wrenched free from his chest.

“You need it hard?”

Tony gasped. “Yeah. Yes. Fuck me, Gee.”

The fingers vanished from his ass, and Tony would have protested the loss except he heard a foil wrapper being torn open. Tony arched his back, sinking down until his shoulders were almost touching the bed, hands twisted in the sheets, and Gee swore under his breath.

“Fuck me,” Tony said again.

And Gee did.

He thrust in hard, hands finding purchase on Tony’s hips to pull him back. It was tight, but not painful; Gee hadn’t stretched him as much as other men—and women—had, but there was enough lube to ease the way, and the pressure, the stretch, was exactly what Tony had been chasing all night.

“Gonna make me do all the work?” Gee asked.

Tony followed the unspoken command, pressing his hips back to meet Gee’s when they snapped forward, clawing at the bed beneath him as Gee wrung out cries and hoarse, garbled pleas for more.

It was just what he’d needed. And when Gee shifted, finding the right angle so that he was nailing Tony’s prostate, Tony’s brain shut down, overwhelmed by a steady flow of Harder please fuck yes Gee.

He was distantly aware that Gee’s hand was reaching around his hip, taking his cock in a tight, slick grip and tugging in time with each thrust, but the sensation was just one more in a body already at the edge, and he shouted and came, harder than he could ever remember coming before.

Gee wasn’t done, though. He jacked Tony through until he was empty, then leaned forward and wrapped his arm around Tony’s waist to hold him up, fucking him with short jabs while he spewed absolute filth in Tony’s ear.

It was almost too much. Almost.

But after Gee came, biting down on Tony’s shoulder and gripping his hip hard enough that Tony could feel the bruises forming, Tony sank down onto the bed, sated and content.

Gee collapsed against him, still connected, and nuzzled his back, and the cool air of the bedroom hit their heated skin. Eventually, Tony shifted, hissing as Gee slipped free. He turned on his back, watching Gee pull the condom off and tie it.

“I’ll be right back, darlin’,” Gee said, giving Tony a honey-sweet kiss before sitting up and sliding off the bed. A few seconds later, Tony could hear him moving around in the bathroom, water running, and then Gee reappeared with a washcloth.

He cleaned them both up, and Tony watched with sleep-heavy eyes as Gee hesitated at the edge of the bed after dropping the cloth in the hamper.

Lying there, studying Gee while every muscle in his body ached deliciously, he realized that Gee wasn’t the hot, toppy twink he’d initially labeled him as. He wasn’t a dom, or a power top, or anything that Tony could find a word for.

And that . . . was intriguing.

“Stay the night?” Tony was surprised when the words escaped his lips. Wait, what? He’d never had any of his one-night stands from the bar spend the night. But Gee . . . Something in Tony said that if he let Gee go now, he wouldn’t see him again. And he wanted to see him again. He wanted to figure out what was up with this guy, why he didn’t fit any of the labels Tony tried to stick to him. “Please?”

He was even more surprised when Gee nodded once and climbed back onto the bed beside him. “Yeah, all right.”

He pulled Gee against his chest, wrapping an arm around bony shoulders and tucking sweaty blond hair beneath his chin. They were both still panting, skin drying in the cool air. Tony managed to yank half of a blanket over them before giving up and sinking down into the mattress, his sated body giving out. “I’d like to do this again.” His tongue felt heavy, words a bit slurred.

“The sex?”

“Yeah.” Tony ran a hand down Gee’s spine. He thought back to the club, the instant connection when Gee had looked at him from across the room, the way they’d danced together. Gee was a mystery, an unanticipated surprise. Tony had tried to file him into a specific box in his head, and Gee had ripped through those walls in a split second. “And . . . and maybe dinner too?”

Gee was silent, and Tony thought for a second that he’d fallen asleep. But then he spoke, and his voice had something in it, a wariness that made Tony want to pull him even closer. “You don’t know me.”

I’m starting to. A deceptively toppy twink who fucked like a devil. Who watched him with those dark eyes like he was expecting something from Tony. He wasn’t at all what Tony had initially assumed, but Tony could find a new box to file Gee in. “You could show me.”

There was a sigh. “Guess we’ll have to see, won’t we?”

Tony buried his face in Gee’s hair, inhaling the smell of sweat and something floral. It was the same shampoo that Elena used, he realized. Strange for a man, but it was nice.

He fell asleep with that thought.

 

Chapter Two

Nine Months Ago

As much as Tony craved a repeat of that night, it was almost two weeks before his schedule lined up with Gee’s. Preproduction for Rent kicked off with a bang, and he was suddenly inundated with auditions, interviews, and meeting requests from sponsors and his fellow directors. There were actually three directors handling the production: Janine was the primary director, though she often deferred to Tony as the Creative Director, and her longtime colleague Cynthia was their Musical Director.

Gee had woken him the morning after with a handjob beneath the covers and a phone number scribbled on the back of a receipt, which had been left on the nightstand while Tony dozed in sated bliss. In the early-morning light, Gee had looked even younger than he had at the club. He’d washed his face in the sink in Tony’s bathroom, and his hair was a mess, wavy and tangled where he’d tucked it behind his ears. But the way he’d held himself, confident and self-assured, had told Tony he wasn’t an immature twenty-something at all.

Who is this kid? Tony found himself thinking those words multiple times over the next two weeks.

They texted daily, sometimes exchanging messages in a rapid back and forth that made Janine’s eyebrows go up when Tony’s phone didn’t stop buzzing for hours. But for all their texting, the mystery of Gee only grew.

Tony: How old are you?

Gee: Old enough to make you come without touching your dick next time we meet.

He’d included a winking emoji that taunted Tony for several minutes while he took deep breaths and willed his sudden semi back down. Needless to say, Tony had learned not to read his texts when other people were around, because Gee was shameless about reminding Tony of their night together . . . and what he planned to do in the future.

Tony: Where do you work?

He’d already told Gee that he worked in theater, and Gee had asked all sorts of questions but offered nothing about himself.

Gee: At a spa.

Tony blinked at those three words. It was a rare straightforward answer to a question, but Tony was quickly realizing that Gee didn’t talk about himself at all, or only in the most general of responses when asked.

Tony: What do you do at the spa?

Gee: Maybe I’ll show you if you’re a good boy.

He didn’t need an LOL to tell him Gee was laughing at him through his response.

Tony: I can be good.

Tony was, in fact, in the middle of a conference call with Cynthia who was wrapping up a show in Boston before heading to New York the following week. Thankfully she had no way of knowing that Tony’s neck was flushed and he was shifting uncomfortably in his chair while she talked about audition time frames and composition.

Plans to meet up with Gee over the weekend fell through when Tony was asked to fill in last minute for a theater camp. The director running it was a good friend, so he hopped a train out to Long Island and taught a dozen thirteen-to sixteen-year-olds how to build sets and operate the curtains and lights. It was the most fun he’d had in ages, and he didn’t even think about missing Gee until the weekend was over.

But once the week was in full swing, thoughts of Gee started creeping back into his mind, sending shivers of need down his spine. By the time Tony had a free evening in his schedule that matched up with Gee’s, he was almost crawling out of his skin in desperation. It was a Wednesday of all things, but Tony wasn’t due to meet up with Janine until lunchtime the next day, and Gee had Thursday off.

They planned to meet for sushi, and Tony arrived fifteen minutes early out of habit, leaning against the wall of the building and checking emails on his phone. When a throat cleared in front of him, he tucked the phone into his pocket and glanced up at Gee, smiling.

The smile froze on his face.

Gee was standing a couple of feet away, shoulders relaxed and grinning fondly. His hair was slicked back, the ends curling beneath his ears, and his eyes were smudged with eyeliner.

And he was wearing a skirt.

Tony took in the entire picture. Gee looked like he was fresh off a runway, clothed in a black shirt that made the pale skin at his neck glow, and a black skirt that fell to his ankles. He was taller than Tony remembered him being, and when he took a step forward, Tony caught a glimpse of heels.

Women’s shoes. Women’s clothes.

“You’re . . .” Tony trailed off, not sure what to say.

“I’m a few minutes late,” Gee filled in calmly. “I know, sorry. I’m always late. Even my mama likes to tell me that I was a week late to my own birth, and I haven’t improved much since then.” If he noticed Tony’s hesitation about his clothes, he didn’t react.

Tony swallowed and nodded. “It’s . . . fine. It’s okay. I’m always early, but my friends are always running ten minutes behind, so I’m used to it. I mean, not that I’m used to it, just—” He cut himself off with a grimace. “You—you look nice.”

Gee gave him a sunny grin. “Thank you. I’ve always liked the feel of a skirt around my legs.”

Was he trans? Tony liked labels, liked knowing where people fit into his world view. But Gee hadn’t mentioned being trans in any of their texts. “Are you . . . Should I use her and she with you?”

“Why on earth would you do that?” Gee seemed genuinely confused for a moment, before tensing. “Oh. You think I’m . . . No, honey. I’m a man through and through. Just, tonight, I’m a man in a skirt, okay? No big deal.”

Tony swallowed the words that threatened to bubble out. But you’re wearing women’s clothing.

And people were noticing. He caught a few passersby giving Gee a strange look, glancing between them. Even with the eye makeup, it was obvious that Gee was masculine: his shoulders were too wide, face too sharp, and he had a hint of dark-blond stubble along his jaw.

“Come on, let’s go in and get dinner.”

Gee hesitated for a second, studying Tony intently, then nodded. “All right. But you’re gonna have to order for me, ’cause I’ll admit I don’t know much about sushi except it’s expensive and delicious.”

Sitting at the table, laughing over their fumbling use of chopsticks, it was easy enough to ignore the fact that Gee was wearing women’s clothes under the table, that he only looked normal from the waist up. And Tony focused on what he could see.

It was easier to deal with the parts he understood, because the alternative wasn’t something he cared to think about.

He could hear his father’s voice in his head. “You’re a boy, Tony. Act like one.” Or “You’re eight, you should be acting like a man, and I come in here and find you like this?” Yeah, it was much easier to push away memories like that. And if that meant trying to force Gee into a box that he didn’t want to fit in, well . . .

By the end of the night he’d managed to shove the discomfort aside. He hailed a cab for a ride from the restaurant back to his apartment to avoid anyone looking at them strangely as they walked down the street, and focused on the heat in Gee’s eyes and the teasing hands that kept him half-hard for the entire ride. Once they arrived, Tony held the door open for Gee to walk in first, then found himself pushed back against the door as soon as he closed it behind them. The door was heavy and cold, and Gee was warm and soft against his chest, leaning up to kiss him gently.

Tony laughed and kissed him back, then said, “I figured we could put on a movie or something.”

Gee smirked. “Or we could skip the movie and go straight to the main event.”

It was a tempting offer. But having Gee in his apartment again, this time on a date, made Tony want to take things slower. “No, c’mon. Let me give you a tour and we can relax a bit.”

He took Gee’s hand, pulling him into the apartment and to the living room, and it took every ounce of his self-control to lead Gee to the couch instead of the bed.

“Honey, you get robbed or somethin’?”

Tony looked around at the apartment. There were a few pictures on the wall, his university degree, and a playbill for the first Broadway show he’d ever worked on in a frame. Furniture sat at sharp right angles, and everything was neat, tidy. The small desk he worked from was empty on top, just as he’d left it.

Nothing appeared out of place. “What do you mean?”

Gee let go of his hand, stepping forward to trail his fingers over the coffee table, the desk, and into the kitchen. “You have no stuff.”

Tony blinked. “I have stuff. It’s just . . . put away. Where it belongs.”

“You have . . . what’s the word? OCD?”

“I’m not obsessive-compulsive.” Tony glanced around the apartment again, trying to see it through Gee’s eyes and failing. “I like everything to be neat. I don’t like when things are out of place.”

Now Gee was walking back toward him, stopping a few inches away and dusting his hand over the front of Tony’s shirt. “So I see. You’re the nice young man my momma wishes I’d bring home someday. So professional.”

Tony blushed, and wasn’t sure why. Gee’s words were lighthearted, but they still felt like a dig. “I’m not sure there’s anything nice or young about me.”

That earned him a laugh. “Fair enough. The older gentleman with a secret naughty side in bed, then?”

Older gentleman. “Are you ever going to tell me how old you are?”

Gee tangled his fingers in the front of Tony’s shirt and yanked him forward. With his heels on, the height difference wasn’t nearly so drastic, and they kissed lazily for several moments before Gee pulled away to answer.

“Old enough to know what I want.”

“Which is what?”

Gee bit his lip hard, then soothed away the sting with his tongue. “You on your knees would be nice to start with.”

The movie was abandoned, and thoughts of women’s clothes and tidy labels—and cringe-worthy memories—were shoved aside.

 

Chapter Three

Nine Months Ago

If Tony thought things might change after the first date—that Gee might change, that the entire wearing women’s clothing thing was a one-off—he thought wrong. Gee showed up for their second date wearing a pair of black pants that hugged his body like a second skin, a gray shirt that caught the streetlights and glimmered faintly, and a waistcoat that was cinched to show off the dimples above his hips.

And makeup. Not just eyeliner . . . Gee’s lips were dark red, eyeliner flaring out beside his eyes in little wings, and a shimmering silver shadow on his eyelids that made his dark eyes stand out. His hair was teased up in a pompadour, a few blond strands escaping to brush his temples.

His entire appearance was vastly unsettling.

Tony knew he was staring, but he wasn’t sure what to say or how to react. The street they were on was quiet at the moment, so no one had noticed yet, but the thought of walking into the restaurant with Gee beside him, of having a waiter or hostess seeing him with a man who was trying to look like a woman, made his stomach twist.

Gee cleared his throat, raising an eyebrow. “Hello, Anthony.” His voice had a lilt to it, displeasure clear.

“Hey.” Tony startled, leaning forward to brush a kiss on Gee’s cheek. He smelled like artificial strawberry, the scent sweet and subtle enough not to be overpowering. His brain kicked back into gear. “I, uh, I put our name down on the list, but they said it might be an hour before they can seat us.”

“Okay.” Gee took a step back, putting distance between them. It should have helped, allowed Tony to process, but instead it only made things worse. He couldn’t stop looking, his eyes wandering from the blush on Gee’s cheeks to the day-old stubble on his chin, down to his prominent Adam’s apple and back up to the painted lips.

Tony swallowed hard. “I was thinking, instead of waiting, we could go back to my place? I’ll order something on the way, and we can put on that movie we missed last time.”

It wasn’t that he was embarrassed, he told himself. He wasn’t. But maybe it was just easier this way. No one would be staring.

Gee pressed his lips together, gaze drilling into Tony’s, but he nodded. “Sure, sounds good. I was craving Indian anyways.”

* * * * * * *

Tony turned the phone over in his hand, hesitating before tapping Gee’s name in his contacts. He’d spent an hour debating whether he wanted a third date, and still hadn’t come to a conclusion as the phone call rang.

He thought back to their first date, Gee’s confidence and utter lack of shame in wearing ladies’ clothing in public, the way he’d stripped off that skirt later and fucked Tony over the side of the bed. And their second date, which had ended with lazy blowjobs on the couch, movie ignored, and Gee’s makeup smeared across his face, red lips stretched around Tony’s dick.

It wasn’t that Tony had a problem with skirts, or women’s clothing. He’d once dated a woman who wore big, flowing skirts down to her ankles every day and who had convinced him to go down on her beneath her skirt in a barely private back room at a bar—after which he’d gotten inappropriately hard looking at skirts for the next few months.

But Gee wasn’t a woman. He’d made that clear, in fact . . . He was a man, who also wore women’s clothing and makeup. And the dissonance of that grated in Tony’s mind. It took his neat and orderly way of understanding people, and threw it into chaos. And it made a chill go up his spine, because What would Dad say if he found out about this?

Thankfully, Tony’s life didn’t overlap with his father’s. They might live in the same city, but Tony had spent his whole life learning to avoid his dad as much as possible.

The call connected while he was still thinking, and Gee’s distant voice snapped him back to reality. Tony brought the phone to his ear. “Hey, it’s me.”

“Oh, Anthony.” Gee’s voice went low and smoky, wrapping around Tony’s name, making him shiver.

This is why I’m calling him for another date. It had been a very, very long time since anyone had turned him on as much as Gee could with two simple words.

Besides, skirts on dudes were kinda trendy, right? He’d seen a fashion magazine ad with that one actor wearing one. And eyeliner on the boys in the clubs was hot.

“How’s your week been?”

Gee laughed. “Darlin’, it’s been one hell of a week. I do hope you’re callin’ to invite me for another visit to your bed, because I could use some stress relief after the mess that’s been these last few days.”

“I know what you mean.” He and Janine had met up twice this week to start working through scheduling, and the administrative side of directing always gave him a headache. “Work’s been awful.”

“I might have just the thing to help you out with that.” Gee’s voice was deceptively light; there was a thread of something beneath the surface that had Tony’s dick stirring in his pants. “Maybe we can find a way to relax each other?”

Tony cleared his throat as blood rushed south. “Yeah. You free tonight?”

“I could be.”

For a second, Tony hesitated. Mental images of Gee wearing the makeup last week ran through his mind. Maybe we could skip eating out. “Did you want to—”

“There’s a new burger place in Chelsea that I’ve been thinking about trying,” Gee spoke over him. “Should we meet there at seven?”

Tony closed his eyes. “Yeah, sure.” A chill crept down his spine, and he shivered despite the warmth of the room. He swallowed his next words: Can you dress normal tonight? Tony bit his lip, shaking his head once, hard. No. I’m not that asshole. Instead, he forced his tone to sound cheerful, masking the lingering fear. “I can’t wait. Text me the address?”

By the time seven o’clock had rolled around, Tony had worked himself up into a low-level panic. He’d imagined every scenario, made contingency plans, braced himself for the reaction of people around him.

Gee walked up to the restaurant only ten minutes late, wearing jeans, a flannel shirt, and a scarf.

No heels. Tony searched his face. No makeup. Relief flooded through him. Gee’s hair was purposefully messy, strands wavy and pushed back from his face, and he looked . . . normal. Definable.

We’re two men on a date. Nothing to see here.