Home > Hidden Seams(6)

Hidden Seams(6)
Author: Alessandra Torre

I run my hands through my hair, rinsing out the rosemary soap, the scent of it filling the space, the steam clearing my lungs. I think about that night in Vince’s home, a year into our friendship and work relationship, when I’d been in the shower and he had stepped into the bathroom.

I shut off the water and look toward the door, spying him through the fogged glass, my muscles tensing when he flips the lock shut. He turns away, his hands settling on the marble countertop, and speaks quietly. “Marco, I have a proposition for you.”

A proposition. I step from the shower, pulling a towel off the rack, and carefully consider the best words to use that won’t offend the man. I know the standard—any other intern or house employee would be rock hard at the thought of a moment with the legend. The distinguished forty-five-year-old has a build perfectly set off by his designs, his appeal enhanced with his fame, talent, and money. But I’d been clear, in our initial interview and in the time since, about my sexual orientation. I had a talent and passion for men’s fashion—not cock. And he hadn’t seemed bothered by that fact, assuring me that any stays in his New York home would be absolutely professional.

I wrap a towel around my waist, and wait, unsure in my footing. When he begins to speak, I listen. And when he proposes an arrangement between us, I consider it.

Now, I turn off the water and wipe my face, reaching for the heated towel and stepping onto the warmed tile. My feet flex over the stone, my eyes catching in the large mirror that stretches the length of the room.

To say that Vince wanted me for my design skills was a lie. My body, my face … that was why he had picked me. I rub the towel across my cock and watch it respond, thickening out of habit. He had liked it too, and liked showing it off. The parties we attended, the naked Sunday pool parties we hosted … half the gay man in New York knew that Vince Horace’s boyfriend rocked a cock that rivaled his perfect face.

I used to scowl at the thought, my public reputation almost not worth the high lifestyle, the front seat into Vince’s design and thought process, his confidence, his respect. Almost not worth it. But as time passed, I learned not to give a fuck. I knew who I was, and so did Vince, our respect and bond growing stronger as the years passed, my access greater and opinion more valued with each new season.

Vince had given me the keys to a kingdom. I had given him my reputation. It had been an equitable trade, in my eyes.

Tossing the towel to the side, I step into the dressing room. The tailor averts his eyes, hanging the first of three outfits on the display hooks.

“These are the options for the interview?” I stop, thumbing the collar of the first vintage suit.

“Yes, Mr. Lent.” He pulls back the jacket to show me the shirt, and I move to the next.

“This one.” It’s powder blue, a color Vince used in countless campaigns, and is paired with a charcoal turtleneck. I pull the scarf off the hanger and toss it to the side. “It’s ready?”

“Yes, sir. Of course.”

I turn away, moving to open a nearby compartment and pulling a pair of pressed underwear off its hanger. I step into the boxer briefs and pull open the drawer to select a pair of socks. “Wait for me by the shoeshine station. And polish the Patek Phillippe.”

“Certainly.”

When he leaves, I return to the suit, carefully removing it from the hanger and dressing, each moment almost reverent, thoughts of Vince heavy on my mind. In the mornings, our dressing had been a ritual, ideas and inspirations pulled as often from this room as from the drawing room floor. I glance toward the front of the room, where the long mirror sits, the dressing counters empty, the lights off. As Vince’s condition had worsened, his need for concealers, spray tans, and the makeup team, had grown. Now, there is no need for any of it.

I press a button and the belt rack moves, a smooth rotation of leathers, all sliding by. I remember us building this room, knocking down walls and laying out the design. Each cabinet had been custom-designed and constructed, the discrete lighting shining off the pieces as if they were jewels. Over five hundred pairs of pants. A thousand shirts. Coats and jackets from every designer known to man. More custom pieces than not. A separate room dedicated to shoes. A watch and cufflink collection insured for a hundred million dollars.

I stop the action and pull a caramel colored belt from the display, sliding it through the loops and fastening the clasp. Sliding into the jacket, I step up onto the platform and look into the mirror.

“God, you’re pure sex.” Vince’s voice comes from behind me and I meet his eyes in the mirror, working at the neck of the jacket to get it flat. “Here.” He steps up and lifts his arms, batting away my hands and taking over the action. “You know, if I ever fire you as a designer, you could work as a model.”

“Tried that.” I grimace. “Couldn’t keep those frisky designers from trying to paw at me.”

He chuckles, smoothing his hands over the fabric. “I can see the problem.” He moves beside me, looking at his own reflection, next to mine, in the mirror. “It’s not fair, how the clothes hang off you. It makes my job too easy.”

“I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.”

He grins, and I laugh and—in this moment—there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with our lifestyle or our lie.

This suit, like all the others, hangs perfectly. Part of that is due to the custom fit created by our tailor’s needle. The other half of the equation is my build. Vince was right. You take a six-foot-two man, one with an athletic build and perfect proportions—and clothes behave. It never hurts that my pretty mug is stuck on top. I scowl at the mirror and the package only perfects. Every day, for the last decade, my looks have had a purpose, one that Vince and I exploited to benefit his reputation and brand. Now, I look in the mirror and don’t know what to do with myself.

 

* * *

 

“The interview won’t last long.” Paulie wears a suede jacket with a pocket square that clashes with his belt. I stare at the belt and force myself not to mention it. “An hour tops.” He stops in front of me, and I nod, distracted by the nervous clasp of his hands, the fidget of joints and fingers and twisting of wrists. Jesus. Has he always been so hyper?

“Who is this for?”

“GQ.”

“And this had to be today?” I watch the crew prep the area around the sitting couch with light screens and stands. A separate group stands by the window, looking down at the crowds, and discussing the noise. As if on cue, a new chant of Vince’s name begins. “Are we doing the photos before or after?”

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