Gay as Mardi Gras
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Published: Mar 06, 2013
ISBN # 9781623804312
Available in: Epub, Mobipocket (.mobi), Adobe Acrobat
A gay cruise.
Since Jesse’s roommate, Daniel, is recovering from a broken heart, the two decide to buddy up. They hit it off, and with Daniel now Jesse's partner in crime, they explore the boat and participate in all the fun activities on offer—with some, ah, interesting results for straight boy Jesse.
“YOU, my favorite grandson, are as gay as Mardi Gras,” Nana Torrens declares in her no-nonsense forthright way, a huge grin splitting her lively features.
“Naaan,” I moan, wagging my finger at her as if she is the child and I am the adult. “Firstly, I am your only grandson and secondly, how many times do I have to tell you? I’m straight. I had a girlfriend for six years. Janey. Remember? You met her, I don’t know, maybe a million times!” I chuckle, shaking my head at her.
Maybe I should be offended, but with her infectious and irreverent ways, Nan is impossible to be mad with. Besides, she’s my best friend. Wow, as I write that, it sounds kind of pathetic. A twenty-two-year-old guy saying his sixty-six-year-old grandmother is his best buddy. Well, it might be sad, but it’s true. She won my undying devotion at the age of two with her willingness to always get down on her hands and knees to play with me… and the first taste of her hot fudge brownie might have had something to do with it too. Regardless, she’s had me eating out of the palm of her hand ever since. She’s funnier than the Abbott and Costello re-runs she introduced me to as a kid, and a darn sight better cook than any of the guys I know. Fuck, they struggle to make cheese on toast! Hell, she cooks better than any of the chicks too. Especially Janey.
That girl should be declared a walking disaster area when it comes to anything even remotely linked to cooking. I mean, how hard is it to make toast? All I can say is thank God for smoke detectors, or I might not have had an apartment left. It’s really saying something when the local firemen have been called to either my apartment or hers so many times they know us both by name. Hell, they even had a joke sign made for her that, up until recently, hung in my kitchen that said, “This is a designated Janey-Free Zone.”
“Pfft,” Nan snorts in a most unladylike manner, her eyebrows raised in obvious disbelief. “You had a girl you hung out with for six years and maybe occasionally smooched. There was no spark. Not even when you were supposed to be a hormone-riddled teen walking around with a python in your pants.”
“Oh, don’t pull the shy, shocked, and horrified card with me. You can’t fool me, Jez, she never got your motor running. Hell, I doubt she got it out of park. And if someone as pretty and smart as her didn’t get your little soldier standing to attention 24/7, I doubt any girl would.”
She’s right, but I don’t want to admit it. That’s why we broke up. I care about Janey, and she cares about me, but I’ve never been hot for her, never itched to rip her clothes off and kiss her from top to toe.
“Whatever, Nan,” I reply, feigning indifference. “I just think you’re trying to live out your dream of being a fag-hag through me.”
Nan throws back her head, laughing in that unrestrained, heartfelt belly laugh way she has that is so at odds with her tiny frame, and before I know it, I’m joining in.
“Maybe,” she chortles, wiping the tears of mirth from her eyes. “So are you going to give an old lady her wish?”
“Not in this lifetime.”
“We’ll see. We’ll see,” she says somewhat slyly, a knowing twinkle in her eyes that are still as blue as a cornflower.
This time it’s my turn to snort. “What makes you think I’m gay? I’m not in the least bit feminine, I love hockey and basketball, and you can bet your bottom dollar you won’t find me at a flower arranging or sewing class any time soon.”
“Jesse Aaron Torrens! Shame on you. I taught you better than that! Since when did you start walking around with a bunch of silly stereotypes in your head? Just because a man is gay doesn’t make him effeminate. That’s like saying all blondes are dumb or all redheads have a temper.”
Biting on the inside of my cheek, I try to stop myself smiling at the fierce look on her face. She might be pint-sized but she has a huge spirit.
“Dear Lord, what about the likes of Marlon Brando, James Dean, and Matt Bomer? I don’t think anyone thought of them as ‘girly’, do you, and they sure as hell enjoyed looking at a nice pair of buns.”
“Buns, Nan?” She throws me another fiery look. “Okay, okay, point taken,” I concede, raising my hands in surrender. “But if I’m so gay, why have I never been attracted to another guy?”
“Well, I don’t think you’ve ever had the hots for a girl either, Jesse, but I’d say it’s because you’re a Torrens.”
I laugh—honestly, she’s incorrigible. “What’s that got to do with it, Nan?”
“Most men can compartmentalize—love and sex being two separate things—but not to a Torrens. Torrens men only love once. You just haven’t met yours yet.”
I open my mouth to argue, but end up closing it again. Damn, she’s right. Both Dad and Gramps married their childhood sweethearts and never looked at another woman again in their lives. Gramps and Nan still held hands and acted like two kids in love right up until his death.
“That still doesn’t explain why you think I’m gay,” I insist.
“It’s called women’s intuition, Jesse. Sometimes we just know.”
I shrug my shoulders—when she pulls the women’s intuition card it’s pointless arguing with her.
“So, Mardi Gras,” she continues, winking at me with the biggest, smuggest smirk on her face. “Change of subject. I’m sick of you walking around looking all droopy since you split with Janey, so I decided to do something about it.”
Once again she’s right. Lucky I love her or that fact might start wearing thin, and, really, I can’t deny I’ve been walking around dragging my ass like a sorry sack of potatoes since I broke up with my childhood sweetheart. It’s one thing to know she wasn’t “the one,” yet another to be thrust into the world of dating for the first time since I was sixteen. Frankly, I’m finding it all a bit daunting. It seems like it’s the women on the hunt these days and not the men, and boy, can some of them be aggressive. It’s enough to make my cock go into hiding.
“Hmm?” I mumble, chewing away on one of her to-die-for choc-chip cookies.
“I’ve paid for you to go on a month long cruise. You leave next Friday. The boat actually departs from San Diego, so I’ll be able to see you off myself.”
My mouth falls open, my half-eaten cookie on full display. Did I just hear her right? A cruise?
“Close your mouth, dear, stop catching flies. It really is most unattractive.” Tapping the underside of my chin with her forefinger, Nan chuckles, and despite her admonishment is obviously pleased with my stunned reaction. “You studied hard through both high school and college, so I figure it’s time for you to have a bit of fun before you settle down into your new job.”
“Nan… I… I….” I splutter, almost spraying Nan and the table with soggy cookie. After taking a hefty calming slug of my coffee, I try again. “Nan, I—”
“I know! You don’t need to say a word. Exciting, isn’t it?” She’s practically squirming in her seat, her hands twisting in glee. “If I was twenty years younger, I’d be going with you.”
“Since when has age ever stopped you? Why don’t you come too?” I ask, still reeling from her news. Holy shit, I’m going on a cruise! For a month!
“Maybe next time. This one is just for you,” she replies smugly, rising to her feet and then yanking me to mine as she grabs her bag, practically dragging me toward the door. “Come on, let’s get you some cruisin’ clothes!”