Scott and Madix arrived at the bar at the same time. They had never met each other, but they felt an instant camaraderie. In fact, it quickly became apparent that they shared more than a sour mood – particularly when a certain blonde haired girl in a green shirt strode into their hole-in-the-wall completely oblivious to their presence.
However, they weren’t the only ones to see her enter. A dark haired boy about Daniel’s height with light brown skin and a bright replica soccer jersey sat alone at the table next to theirs staring at her with a mix of bitterness and lust.
“Hehe, okay, blondie, come to papi.”
“That can be arranged,” Scott said pulling up a chair next to him as if they’d been friends for years. “She is single…broke up with her boyfriend just this afternoon. It’s tragic really…”
“But not for you…” Madix continued taking the seat across from his ginger-headed cohort. “No, this is an opportunity – YOUR opportunity – and we’re more than happy to help you achieve it.”
“After all, we LOVE helping people. It’s what we do…”
“I know,” Michael said. “He seemed almost disappointed about not getting to cook anything for us.”
“Well, it sounds like you’re lucky to have him. I wish MY roommate would offer to cook meals for me.”
“Oh, I’m sure that could be arranged…”
“Heck,” she continued barely hearing her younger brother’s comment. “Regardless of how good or bad he cooks, it would be still cheaper than eating here AND we’d probably be getting better service.”
“You don’t know the half of it. Excuse me, waiter? Damn. Excuse me, could we? Fuck. What the hell do we have to do to get another glass of water around here?”
“I don’t know, but it’ll probably cost more than you’ve more than you’ve got on you.”
“Yes, Carlos,” Scott said. “If you want to succeed, you have to picture in your mind what success looks like.”
“Just close your eyes, relax and picture yourself alone on a deserted beach with her as the sun sets behind you.”
“Breathe deeply. Focus.”
“Imagine her luscious breasts hanging in front of you like low hanging fruit. They’re so tantalizing you want to touch them.”
Carlos lifts his hands off the table as if trying to grab them, and Madix takes a piece of peeling plastic from the side of the table, pulls it back slightly and releases it with a SNAP causing their friend to wince in pain even though it was nowhere close to hitting him.
“We said you ‘WANT to touch them’ not you could. Do you want to continue this exercise or not?”
“Then you need to dig deeper and focus harder on your objective!”
“Ignore everything else around you except the sound of our voices. We will guide you to your objective…”
Michael didn’t see the man at the end of the bar with the grey shirt. Hell, he could barely see his own waiter, so it didn’t come as a surprise that he didn’t see the man vanish into thin air either.
Except he didn’t “vanish,” he stood in the corner of the bar near the kitchen as if waiting to use the nearby restrooms. Then a young man in a black waiter’s uniform brushed past him, and he grabbed his arm.
“Who’s serving that table over there,” he said before his captive could protest, “the one by the window?”
“I don’t know,” the server said irritably. “And I don’t care either.”
Suddenly, the mysterious man holds his hand in front of the server’s face and quickly snaps his fingers just out of his peripheral vision.
“Who’s serving that table over there?”
“I…am…sir,” he said flatly.
“Much better, now get to work. You’ve got customers to serve, oh,” he said with a devious smile, “and one more thing…”
All Claire wanted was a few drinks to help her forget her day. Unfortunately, all her friends wanted to do was ask her about Daniel, and, as much as she hated lying to her friends, there was no way she could answer their questions honestly without giving away his “secret” (and thus implying that she was somehow complicit in it).
“Look, I need…I don’t know what I need just something…different – something he can’t give me. Does that make any sense to you?”
“Everyone needs to finds themselves at some point, I guess now it’s your turn.”
“You really think so?”
“Yes, go out, explore the world, meet new people and eventually you’ll find exactly what you were looking for…”
“Sure,” she said skeptically. “Like the perfect guy for me is just going to come striding in out of nowhere and offer me a drink…”
“Water,” Will asked holding a pitcher in his hands.
“Yes please,” Rachel said, and he dutifully refills both glasses.
It might have been his imagination, but Michael thought for sure his server was slowly spelling out “M…I…C…” as he refilled his glass.
“Did you say something?”
“No,” said continuing his song under his breath. “You… real… soon…”
“I thought for sure I heard you say something. Ah, never mind, thank you.”
Carlos steels his nerves as he approaches the front of the bar and walks up to Claire who’s leaning against the counter talking to some friends.
“Hi, can I get you a drink?”
“Get lost, pig.”
He turns around dejectedly and after three steps nearly collides into his new friends.
“Well,” Madix said. “That didn’t go well, did it?”
“Fortunately, Carlos is a strong boy, a resilient boy and most importantly Carlos is a GOOD boy…”
“Yes, he is,” Scott said patting his shoulder reassuringly. “And good boys like you ALWAYS have a ‘Plan B.’ Don’t they, Carlos?”
“This isn’t the first time you’ve been rejected by a member of the ‘fairer sex,’ is it?”
“Well,” Scott said. “As my father likes to say ‘anyone who rejects you, isn’t worthy of your time anyway.’ Would you agree with that?”
“Maybe, you should consider switching sides. You’ve always gotten along better with boys anyway, haven’t you?”
He thinks for a moment and then slowly says “yes” as if a light just went off in his head.
“That was the problem all along, you were gay – and always have been – you just never wanted to ADMIT it until just now.”
“Yes…I was always gay…couldn’t admit it until now…”
“And in fact, you love us, don’t you? It’s okay, you know we will never harm you just as we know you will never harm us, would you?”
“NEVER…sir,” he replied as if that was the dumbest question he’d ever heard.
“In fact, you want to make us HAPPY, don’t you?”
“YES,” he said deliriously.
“It’s all you want. It’s what you dream about at night…”
“And the first thing you think about when you wake up, and you would do anything in the entire world to achieve that, wouldn’t you?”
“Absolutely anything,” he beamed. “Because, Carlos is a good boy…”
“Yes,” Madix said kissing him on top of the head causing him to blush embarrassedly. “Yes, he is…and we love him to death…”
“Now…it’s…time…to…say…goodbye,” Will sang picking up Michael’s check and taking it over to the register.
“To… all… our… company… That leaves us with two choices: you can go back to being the snooty server ignoring his customers…or…you can continue serving me. Remember, Will is good boy.”
“See, I knew you’d make the right decision. Good boys ALWAYS do. Now… go deliver their change. I’ve got other plans for you…”
“Good evening, Claire,” a vaguely familiar voice said as she approached her car.
“Who are you, and what are you doing out here?”
“Just getting a little air, that bar was getting a little stuffy.”
He took a step towards her, and she instinctively took one backwards only to collide into a second person standing immediately behind her.
She tries to scream, but a hand comes up from behind her and covers her mouth. Suddenly, she felt a sharp, pressure across the front of her neck and she fell instantly to the ground.
“He’s my friend,” he said crouching down and lifting her barely conscious head up by the hair. “‘…And ANYONE who tries to hurt him…’ Well, I think you can guess the rest…” he said letting her head fall back onto the ground.
“Good-bye, Ms. Parson. You were nothing more than a nuisance anyway. A cute nuisance, but still a nuisance.”
He takes her keys and throws them to his accomplice, “The blue Honda Civic on the corner, I think you know what to do with it.”
Michael came back from dropping his sister off at her hotel to find his followers sitting on the sofa in the same matching Mickey Mouse T-shirts they were wearing when he left.
“You’re not going to believe this,” he said excitedly. “My sister was scheduled to go to Disney World next week with her friends… but they dropped out and she doesn’t want to go alone so she offered to let me and two friends stay in her villa for five days. Isn’t that awesome?”
“That’s very generous of her, master.”
“Now the only problem is finding two people worthy of going with me – and, of course, the ONLY option I could come up was the two of you.”
“If you wish, master,” Madix said. “After all, we are very grateful for any opportunity to please you – regardless of where it is…”
“Wow,” Scott said. “You’re looking resilient for someone who just lost his girlfriend. What are you doing up so late anyway?”
“Brendan wasn’t happy with the photos from today’s project so I’m planning another one for tom…,” he looks at his watch and continues, “well, today actually. You can join me if you want, I’ll need someone to take photos anyway. Besides, as my mom always said: ‘any girl who would dump you wasn’t worthy of your time anyway.’”
“A wise woman, she and my dad would probably get along. Well, anyway, I’m going to bed. If you need anything – ANYTHING at all – just let me know. You know where to find me, good night, Daniel.”
“Good Night, Scott,” he said with a tired smile. “You’re a good friend…”
“Thank you,” he said blushing. “You have no idea what that means to me…”
One week later, the three of them arrive at their resort. Michael had given instructions on how they were not to make his meals (as they “came with the room”), address him as “master” or act in an obviously subservient manner. In fact, when they got to the room, the first thing he did was dismiss his “friends” for the afternoon and laid down for a nap.
“Well, they certainly didn’t skimp on the pool,” Madix said. “God, it’s huge…”
“And crowded too, where are we going to put our stuff down? I don’t see a single open chair.”
“You can use mine,” a bespectacled young man said approaching them. He looks Matthew in the eyes and suddenly his own went blank. “My name is Dave…and I serve Master Brendan…My parents don’t know … but my brother does… I’ll move my stuff onto his chair…”
“Ahem,” Madix said. “I’m here too.”
“He can’t see or hear you in this state,” Matthew said flatly. “But I can introduce you if you want…”
He turns the mousy haired boy towards Madix and as he does so the young blonde is momentarily blinded by a bright flash of light. He then stares blankly into Dave’s eyes transfixed by the image of the sunlight dancing on the water reflecting off the window behind him directly onto Dave’s glasses.
“The light,” Madix said, his voice getting slower and flatter as he talked. “…It’s so beautiful…how it shimmers…moving with the waves…”
Matthew slowly raises his fingers up and quickly snaps them just out of Madix’s peripheral vision causing his head to fall limply onto his friend’s shoulder.
He kisses the top of the boy’s head and whispers: “Madix is a good boy, and always will be. Now open your eyes and meet Dave…”
“Well, that was a fun trip, wasn’t it,” Michael said as they exited the elevator.
“Yes, it was very nice of your sister to pay for it for us.”
“I know, she’s full of surprises, but at least we don’t have to worry about any more of those happening any time soon. Could you get the door for me? My hands are full.”
“Yes, master,” Matthew said.
He opened the door, and he and Madix came in to find Carlos and Will sitting patiently on the sofa, their faces lighting up when they recognized their respective masters.
“Welcome home, sir,” they said simultaneously…