Home > Hidden Seams(4)

Hidden Seams(4)
Author: Alessandra Torre

 

 

Chapter 3

 

 

MARCO

I’m five floors up, and I can hear the crowd. They chant, a rhythmic cheer that changes every ten minutes or so. At some point, you’d think their throats would grow tired, their lungs give out, their energy ceases. But it doesn’t. It’s been hours since the announcement, and still, they chant. I walk to the window and push the curtains aside, looking down at the street, our block filled with bodies, banners and signs, a rainbow of colors and faces, hands lifting and waving at the sight of me. I stay in place, meeting their upturned faces. What does someone do in a moment like this? Smile? Wave? I know what Vince would have done. He’d have pulled me to him, thrown his arm around my shoulders, and kissed me. Over the last decade, we’d had plenty of moments like this, when our street closed, police controlled the crowd, and the celebration or protest turned into a party as the night grew later. A few years ago, Vince brought a dozen models in through the garage, had their entire bodies sprayed gold and sent them out into the crowd with platters of Cristal. We’ve set off confetti machines from the porches and sprayed the crowd with silly string. Last Pride Week, we’d had Cirque De Soliel acrobats swirling above the crowd, suspended on silk ropes.

A showman, that’s what Vince had been, that’s what his entire brand had been built on. Colorful yet refined excess. Expensive. Daring. Fun. I know what needs to be done—starting the funeral arrangements—but it’s the last thing I feel up to doing. Turning away from the curtain, I look to the closest individual. “Call Mario. Tell him to have it on Thursday at four.”

The man’s small frame scurries quickly out of the room. He’d have Mario on the phone within a minute, the event planner prepared. One sad side effect of Vince’s illness—we’ve had a clear countdown to death, with plenty of the time to make the proper arrangements. And Mario had needed the time. This won’t just be a funeral, it will be one of the biggest parties New York has ever seen.

“Do you need help dressing, sir?”

I turn at the butler’s question, then glance in the direction of the master suite. “I’d like a shave in thirty minutes. Have them start the shower now.”

I step forward and stop before the table, a selection of fruit and crepes in neat and perfect rows along gold plated platters. I take a slice of mango and a sip of coffee, closing my eyes at the familiar taste of Vince’s favorite blend. Outside, the chants hit a new crescendo. “What time is it?”

“Ten oh-five, sir.”

Ten in the morning. At least a dozen more hours until this day ends. I hold out a hand and Edward places a hot, scented, white towel in my palm. I use the small terrycloth to clean my fingers and pass it back. Moving to the door, I inhale deeply and think of Vince.

 

* * *

 

Eleven years ago, I met Vince Horace at a Dolce & Gabbana show in Milan. It was at an afterparty, and we practically brushed dicks in a gilded gold men’s room that was doubling as a coke dispensary. He waited until I finished pissing, allowed me to zip up and wash my hands, then introduced himself. His handshake was firm, his eye contact professional, and I relaxed in his presence, despite the entourage that crowded behind him.

“What would it take to pull you away from Frank?” Frank Foster, the reigning Creative Director at Dolce.

“Not a great deal.” I smile, and it is a look that I carry well, one that has opened countless doors in this industry where looks mattered more than talent.

“Let’s have drinks tonight and talk.”

Drinks that night are at a quiet wine bar, one packed with industry heads. I sip a red wine that costs more than my rent and discuss trends and rumors with a group of women who work in merchandising. I am interrupted by a kid in a red leather shirt and a mohawk.

“Mr. Horace is requesting you upstairs.”

Every lipstick-covered mouth snaps shut, eyes widen, and I excuse myself and follow the pink-tipped hair up a flight of stairs and to a private balcony where Vince Horace sits.

It is like meeting a God. He is a maverick at a time when our industry is becoming stale and pushes the envelope continuously with his designs. He is controversial, not just in those designs, but also in his personal life. He’s promiscuous in an unapologetic way, wildly gay in a manner that has advocate groups rallying and fanboys flocking. He has become an entire culture, one with a million members, their hopes, dreams, and expectations, all resting on one thin, dignified man. A man who sits, calm and collected, at a tiny table on a Milan balcony and gestures to the seat beside him.

I sit, and he sips from a glass of wine, silent for a long while. When he speaks, his voice is wistful, and that of a man older than forty-five. “Do you have any children, Marco?”

“No.”

“Well. You’re a little young still. What are you, thirty?”

“Twenty-six, sir.” It is a common mistake. I don’t look my age. Neither does my resume and position.

His eyes linger on my face. “Are you single?”

I don’t shift in the seat, but the urge is present, various muscles in my body tensed for flight. “Yes.”

“There seems to be a varying level of opinions in regards to your sexuality.”

“My sexuality isn’t anyone’s fucking business.”

The corner of his mouth lifts, and he purses his lips together, the hint of a smile disappearing. “Including mine?”

I look away, off the balcony and out on the night, the city peeking out at us in between skinny buildings, the music from downstairs drifting up to us, paired with the scents and perfumes of a hundred strangers.

He uncrosses his legs, his thin frame extending, and he plucks a speck of something from the cuff of his sleeve. “I often find that those who don’t discuss their sexuality are confused by it.”

“I’m not confused about anything.” I reach forward and take a piece of cheese from the tray that sits between us, popping it into my mouth and giving him enough eye contact to enunciate the point. “If you’re looking to hire me, and a condition of that employment is to be one of your fuck toys, I won’t. If a condition of my employment is that you know whether I’m straight or gay or some grey area in between, then tell me that now, and I’ll clear up any of your curiosity.”

He smiles. “I don’t want your cock, Marco. Just your talent and intelligence. Forgive my nosy questions. I just want to know a little more about the man I am bringing into my brand.”

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