Home > Hidden Seams(7)

Hidden Seams(7)
Author: Alessandra Torre

“Whichever you prefer.” A bead of sweat makes it halfway down his temple before he captures it with a silk handkerchief.

“I’d prefer some lunch.”

“Yes sir.” He clears his throat, then nods. I watch him leave, whispering the order at the assistants as if my lunch request is top secret. I hear the feminine lilt of a voice and turn my head, watching a leggy redhead enter, her heels clicking across the floor. She spies me and I meet her halfway, extending my hand to meet hers.

“Peggy Nance, GQ.”

The interviewer. They didn’t tell me it was a woman. I tighten my jaw and force a smile. “Marco Lent.”

She blushes, and I don’t miss the glance that sweeps over me. “It’s a pleasure.”

A stupid thing to say, considering she is here to interview me about my dead boyfriend. I let my displeasure show and pull back my hand. “Terrible circumstances.”

“Yes. Of course.” Her hands grip the edges of her portfolio, and she manages to conjure up a frown.

I don’t want to spend an hour with this woman. I don’t want to answer her questions, to feel her eyes, and to watch that mouth.

“Mr. Lent?” An assistant gestures toward the dining room. “Lunch is ready.”

I nod, pulling off my jacket and passing it to Edward.

 

* * *

 

Lunch is an elaborate clusterfuck of expense, as every meal in our lives is. I once asked Vince about it, his tongue loosened by wine and success, his guard down. He confessed that at his first design jobs, he used to sneak into the restroom and eat his lunch there. He was ashamed of his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, his inability to afford eating out with the other designers. When he first made it big, he made a habit of eating out at the hottest restaurants, ordering the most expensive items and overtipping the waitstaff. As his wealth increased, so did his meal budget. In came the private chefs, the commercial kitchen, the five-course meals. In this house, we have over three dozen sets of china and hundreds of table settings. I sit down at the head of the table, in Vince’s old place, and take the napkin from the attendee.

“Bring the interview in here,” I look down at the tiny soft-boiled egg, brilliantly showcased in a silver Tiffany stand, set atop a Versace plate. “Set a second place.”

“Certainly, sir.” There is a quiet flurry of movement, silver, and china quickly set, fresh flowers brought in to frame the setting. I enjoy my egg, setting down the spoon as the woman settles in next to me, a recorder in hand.

“Do you mind?” She lifts the recorder.

“No.” I sit back as my plate is cleared. “Go ahead.”

“Great.” She digs into her bag and pulls out a pen and notepad, setting it on the table next to her plate.

The next course arrives, a crisscross of dressings over thinly-sliced steak. I wave off the server and watch as she eyes the meat.

“It’s carpaccio. Tenderloin carpaccio.”

“None for me, thank you.” She glances down at the pad, then at me. “Mr. Lent, we’re very familiar with Vince Horace’s life, but know little about your personal relationship with him.”

I twist the fork through the meat, piling it high before I bring it to my mouth. I take my time chewing and wonder if there is a question coming. She falls silent, and I pat at my mouth with the napkin before speaking. “Privacy is something that was important to both of us.”

“Privacy?” A small laugh coughs out of her. “Excuse me for saying this, but your lifestyle is anything but private.”

“Our lifestyle. Not our personal relationship.” I set down my fork and met her gaze squarely. “While Vince was fiercely loyal to the gay community and its causes, our story didn’t need to play a publicity role in that.”

“I wouldn’t view it as publicity,” she crosses her arm, resting her forearms on the table, and the woman must have been raised in a kennel. “I’d view it as the documentation of a beautiful love story.”

A beautiful love story. Ha. I pick up my fork and pay careful attention to my plate, delicately scooping up the next bite.

“Did you know that Vince Horace hired a historian?”

“Of course.” That damn man had spent thousands of hours with Vince, moving painstakingly through every single day of his life, as if anyone cared about Vince’s high school prom date or the time he spent a night in a Cincinnati hostel. “If you’d like to save me a great deal of time, you can just read his book.” The book had cherry-picked from Vince’s tales, each excerpt carefully selected to put Vince in the best possible light. The result—a glowing tale that made it seem as if Vince had single-handedly started the gay pride movement, along with every major fashion trend from the last three decades.

Her lips tighten, and I’m glad she’s a bitch. It makes this experience much easier, any temptation much more manageable. Not that I have any temptation, that disappeared when she pulled out the recorder.

“I’ve read it.” She smooths the front of her shirt, pulling it tight over her ample chest. “I want to talk to you about what isn’t in the book.”

“You’ll have to be more specific.” I reach forward, lifting my glass of wine and wonder if chugging it would show weakness.

“There’s nothing in the book about the two of you.”

I shake my head and bring the glass to my mouth. “That’s not true.” I’m all over the final chapters, minute mentions that paint me as a sexual Adonis and Vince as a well-taken-care-of stud. Think Hugh Hefner, finally settling down and getting married—that is us, in black and white text, in that damn book.

She reaches forward, gently touching my arm, and I recoil, the reaction obvious enough that she thinks better, and retracts. “There’s nothing personal about the two of you. Was your love instant? What was your relationship like? Our readers want to know the details.”

The intimate details. That’s what she wants. I watch the signs from the crowd, bobbing by the window, and regret agreeing to this interview.

“Marco?”

My eyes snap to hers. “It’s Mr. Lent.”

“Okay.” She adjusts the napkin in her lap. “When did you fall in love with Vince—Mr. Horace?”

Never. While I loved Vince like a brother, being ‘in love’ was never part of that equation. I pick up the closest utensil, a dinner knife. “You know, Miss Crawford, when I met Vince, I was just a struggling designer, trying to get someone to listen to me.” I watch the way the light glints off the blade. This is a Presidential set, from Kennedy’s term. He probably handled this same knife. Cut his meat with it. Lifted the fork to his mouth.

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