Rick Cooper pulled into the driveway, his heart still pounding from his run-in with the curb. More truthfully, it was the sight of a sweaty, beefy muscle god in tiny, green shorts that flustered him. He was still a tad dumbfounded by the experience. If things had gone worse, if he had run into a house instead of trash cans, there would have been serious repercussions. He only had one eye. It would be a clear-cut case to any police officer.
“Ricky, baby!” came a shout from the lawn. Terrence sat in his green lawn chair in the center of the grass, holding a very large margarita in one hand and a very small pink cell phone in the other. “I’ll call you back,” he said quickly to the person on the other end.
“Hey, Terrence,” Rick greeted, as he got out of the rusty blue Festiva.
“Is this all you brought?” Terrence asked, somewhat disappointedly as he approached the vehicle, peering in the back seat. He held his drink like a prized possession, high and out of harm’s way, sunglasses he had perched on his shaved head.
“I didn’t have much,” Rick answered, numbly. “Most of the stuff was Coby’s.”
“So, he gets everything? The apartment, the dog, the computer? The greedy slut!”
“Yeah, I didn’t buy too much when we were together.” Rick’s reply was simple, nonconfrontational.
“Well, how could you? I mean, he was using everything you made to support his gambling habit,” Terrence explained. “What an ass! And after your accident, too.” He shook his head in disdain before taking a gulp from his glass as one hand stayed permanently fixed to his hip.
“Well, it’s over now. All I’ve got are these few boxes of clothes and CDs.”
“We’ll soon fix that, baby!” Terrence grinned. “There are some fabulous places around here to shop.”
Rick could always count on Terrence to know the best shopping venues. Even in college he could smell out a unique shopping experience a mile away. But then, unique never much appealed to Rick.
“I like the shaved look,” Rick said, gesturing to Terrence’s dome.
“Why, thank you, darlin’,” Terrence replied in a faux southern accent. “I like the eye patch. It looks good on you. You can really pull that off.”
“Whatever,” Rick shrugged.
“No, really. Gives you character. It’s sexy.”
“I lost my eye, Terrence,” Rick said. “That’s not sexy.”
“You didn’t lose it. It was taken from you by that bastard of a boyfriend and his gambling debts. And then,” he exclaimed, clearly getting more intoxicated by the minute, “he goes and breaks your glass eye! Who breaks someone’s glass eye! I mean, really! You were living in a damn Tarantino film, my friend.”
Rick laughed dryly. “It’s good to see you, Terrence,” he said, giving his friend a hug. “Thanks for this, for letting me move in. You and David are great friends.”
“Don’t mention it, hon. It’s David’s house, though. I’m just staying here for a bit, too. Want a margarita before we unpack you?” David and Terrence had been the best of friends since college, yet they couldn’t have been more different. David was athletic and masculine, Terrence was artistic and a tad feminine. Somehow, though, they connected. There were times in college when Rick had felt like an outsider around the two of them-but then, Rick always felt like an outsider.
“No, thanks,” Rick declined. “What are you doing, drinking so early-and in the yard, no less?”
“David and I have been doing this for the past two weeks. You’re not the only newbie on the street.”
“A big muscle man,” Terrence moaned. “He runs by here every day. Just moved into a house down the street. Yummy! He was in the military.” His eyes lit up with mischief.
“Oh, I think I saw him. Almost caused me to run off the road.”
“Uh-huh,” Terrence said, sipping his drink. “Speaking of you and the road, are you supposed to be driving? Isn’t that dangerous with the whole Cycloptic thing going on?”
Rick took a playful swipe at his friend’s cheek. “You’re the dangerous one,” he joked, as best he could.
His attention, though, was immediately drawn to a grey Hummer pulling into the driveway behind his Festiva. The bass thumped loudly, shaking windows down the street before it was silenced.
“Who is this?” he inquired, awestruck by the massive vehicle.
“Hmmm?” Terrence said, as he turned to look at the land yacht. “Oh. It’s just David.”
“David owns a Hummer?”
“Of course not! That’s his boyfriend’s.”
“Ricky!” David’s voice called from behind the passenger-side door as it opened. He struggled to get out of the beast without falling awkwardly to the ground. “My God! Ricky! How are you?” he yelled as he ran to his friend with arms wide.
David had clearly been to the gym recently. His arms were twice the size they once were. He’d been a wrestler all through high school and college, but he had never looked as swollen.
“I’m good, David. How are you?” Rick smiled.
“Oh, you know,” he shrugged off the question. “I’m so glad you’re going to live with us! And if that Coby or any of his gambling goons tries to come around here, we’ll sic Cliff on them.”
Rick’s question was answered as he saw the owner of the Hummer, a solid man built from muscle and veins, walking toward them in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, both of which were barely able to contain the bulges beneath.
“Rick, this is my boyfriend, Cliff,” David said with pride.
Cliff held out his huge hand with a square-jawed grin. “Hey there, Rick,” he said with a deep baritone of a voice.
“Hi,” Rick replied, taking the giant’s hand. “You’re huge.”
“Eh...it’s the steroids,” Cliff admitted, nonchalantly.
“Oh.” Was that supposed to lessen the wonder?
“Cliff, would you take Rick’s things inside?” David asked.
“You bet,” Cliff said.
He opened the Festiva’s back door, nearly tearing it from its hinges, and got almost the entire lot of clothing and CDs with one muscled embrace. He walked to the house with heavy strides as the three friends watched by the car.
“Where did you find him?” Rick inquired.
“Becky Ridgeworth, down the street,” David answered. “She knows a lot of guys in the film biz.”
“He’s an actor? I think I would remember if I saw him in anything. What has he been in?”
“You haven’t seen him in anything, believe me,” Terrence cut in, taking a break from the margarita. “You don’t watch porn.”
“He’s a porn actor?” Rick glanced at David with eyebrows raised. It was as exclamatory as he ever got.
David grinned widely and nodded. “Becky does copy writing for porn studios...on the sly, of course.”
“That’s amazing. I imagine it’s hard to breathe with that much man on top of you during sex, huh?” Rick winked.
“Oh, honey. Cliff’s a bottom,” David corrected.
Rick nearly fell over.
“Are you all right?” Terrence asked.
“Uh, yeah.” Rick steadied himself. “Depth perception,” he said, blaming his one eye. “Screws me up, that’s all.”
Cliff strode back out to the Festiva to retrieve the last bit of luggage. As he leaned into the backseat, Rick watched the muscular, steroid-enhanced ass.
“I’ll have that drink now,” he whispered to Terrence.