Sunday, April 20th, 2014
Theo could hardly believe his luck as he stared at Noah. The young performer hadn’t noticed Theo yet. Off the stage, he looked like a very different person from his onstage persona, dressed in fairly laid back thrift shop clothes, resembling more of a hipster than the seductive danseur entrancing women and men alike. He appeared to be looking for something in his jacket. From the cigarette in his hand, Theo had a sneaking suspicion as to what Noah sought.
“Need a lighter?” Theo asked, handing Noah his lighter, who accepted the lighter with a grateful look in his eyes.
“Thank you! You’re a lifesaver,” Noah had a faint accent that Theo couldn’t quite place. It seemed like an intersection between the American and German accents.
“No worries,” Theo fished a cigarette out for himself as an excuse to spend some more time with the man he had been wanting to see again for weeks. They stood silently in front of one another, smoking their cigarettes for about a minute. When Theo looked up at Noah again, he noticed Noah was looking at him with a furrowed brow and a curious gaze, smoke leaving his slightly parted lips. Theo wondered what it would be like to kiss those inviting luscious lips.
“I’ve seen you before... You’re that handsome guy I saw at D2 once,” Noah smirked at Theo, “I looked for you at the dancefloor after talking to my boss, but you weren’t there when I got back...”
Noah looked incredibly attractive as he took a hit and then exhaled, smoke acting as a veil, adding a touch of mystery to the alluring stranger. Theo’s eyes couldn’t help but keep stealing glances at Noah’s delectable lips before gazing back up at the performer’s eyes, “I thought you’d left as well... You left shortly after me though. I saw you when I was in the taxi,” Noah nodded at Theo, “I was actually going to D2 to see if I could catch you there again,” Theo shyly admitted, feeling grateful for the fact that it was dark, so Noah couldn’t see the faint blush on his face.
“Oh, well I’m glad I wandered all the way here or we may have missed each other again. Noah,” Noah stretched his arm out to introduce himself to the other man.
“Theo,” Noah smiled upon hearing Theo’s name.
“Theo... Is that short for Theodore?” Noah sat down on the steps of the staircase and Theo followed, sitting next to the dancer.
“Yeah, but please never call me that,” Theo looked down at his unopened bottle of beer as Noah laughed at Theo’s retort, “By the way, would you... would you like to share a beer with me? I bought two and don’t really want to finish this second one on my own.”
“Oh, sure,” Theo opened the bottle and took a sip before handing the bottle to Noah, who also took a sip, “Thanks. So, Theo... What are you doing here all alone on a Saturday night?”
“Well... Like I mentioned, I was about to go to D2. My friends and I went to Sky 21 and then they went to Cubic and I stayed behind. Just came here to get some fresh air before heading to D2.”
“How long have you been here?” Noah asked, passing the bottle back to Theo and taking a puff from his cigarette before stubbing it out.
“About an hour, I guess...” Theo extinguished his own cigarette, before drinking some beer. Theo felt somehow at ease talking to Noah. He felt drawn to answer Noah’s questions and learn more about the man, who was still very much an enigma to him.
“An hour? Boah! That’s quite some time to get fresh air,” Noah chuckled.
“Well, I’m already a bit tipsy, as you can probably tell, so my perception of time isn’t very reliable,” Theo jokingly answered before adding, “and I guess I wanted to gather some more liquid courage...”
“Liquid courage? To go to D2?” Noah’s interest in Theo seemed genuine.
“Well... I’ve never gone to D2 completely alone. It feels awkward going to a club on my own. I’ve always partied with friends... I didn’t really want to go to Cubic though. I prefer D2,” And I kind of wanted to see you again, Theo thought, but didn’t utter. He already felt like his intense attraction to the man sitting beside him was absurd. He had a strong desire to explore his connection to the enchanting chestnut-eyed performer to see if there was a reason he felt a magnetic pull towards him beyond mere physical attraction and lustful thoughts.
Noah looked at Theo with a faint hint of a smile playing on his lips, “D2 can get pretty crazy at times, so I can’t blame you for feeling anxious about going on your own. I finished my shift a while ago, so I wasn’t really planning on going back tonight, but if you’d like some company, we could go together,” Noah suggested as he fished another cigarette. Theo handed Noah his lighter before taking out one of his own. After Noah lit his cigarette, he passed the lighter back to Theo for him to light his own up.
“Why would you want to go to D2 with me, a stranger you just met?” Theo asked. The alcohol in his system was acting as some sort of truth serum and Theo couldn’t help but voicing some of his insecurities.
“Well, you’re a very attractive stranger,” Noah playfully smirked at Theo, “And I don’t feel like going home yet.”
“To be honest, I’m kind of enjoying just sitting out here and talking more. We could go for a walk though, if you want,” Theo knew it was too late to take his invitation back, but he’d sensed a mutual interest from the other man, so he decided to take a leap of faith. Theo drank some beer before passing the bottle back to Noah, “You can have the rest, I’m good for now.”
“Cheers,” Noah said before taking a sip of the beer, “Well, I don’t have to be up early tomorrow, so we can hang out and go for a walk. It’s a nice evening out tonight.” Theo felt relieved when he heard Noah’s reply. Noah’s lips were parted in a beautiful smile.
“It is...So... erm... do you work at D2 often?” Theo had been wondering about it since he first crossed paths with the dancer.
“Yeah, I dance there twice a week - on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but I also work at a book shop and at a dance school during the week.”
" Oh really? Which book shop? And are you a dance instructor?”
“Yeah, I teach some dance classes and the shop is called Elite Bookstore. Ever heard of it? ” Noah drank some more beer as Theo shook his head, “It’s near that walking street going up to St. Paul ruins,” Theo still didn’t seem to recognize the shop, “Okay, now you have to check it out one of these days. It has a decent selection of English books... ”
Theo chuckled at Noah’s shocked reaction to Theo not knowing about the book shop. “Sure, you can give me a tour of the bookstore,” Theo couldn’t help his flirty retort which received a raised eyebrow from Noah.
“Just drop by one day and I will show you around. I can’t promise any discounts on the books though, sorry,” Noah playfully responded with a smirk on his face, making Theo giggle.
“I’ll take you up on that offer for sure. But wow, your schedule sounds pretty busy. Three jobs, just... I can’t imagine working three jobs...”
“I need to pay the bills... and I like dancing, so this D2 gig’s a lot of fun. I also like participating in some local art projects whenever opportunities arise.”
“That’s pretty cool. The most exciting part about my job is really the souvenirs my work colleagues bring back from their trips,” Noah chuckled at Theo’s comment.
“What do you do?” Noah took a puff of his cigarette.
“I work at the Venetian in procurement. Not the most exciting job,” Theo rubbed the back of his neck.
“I can imagine. Do you like it though?” Noah rested his chin on his hand as his elbow rested on top of his knee.
“It’s not bad. The salary is pretty good and the employee benefits too. It’s also close to home.”
“Oh, you live in Taipa?” Theo nodded, “Cool! I live near Jardim de Camões, so not too far from here, but definitely a bit far from Taipa,” Noah paused to give a small smile to Theo, “My parents live in Taipa as well, so I go there pretty often.”
“Oh, my parents also live in Taipa, not too far from my place actually,” Theo noticed that Noah had fallen silent and was staring at him, lost in his deep thoughts. Theo didn’t have to wonder for too long what was running through the other man’s mind, as Noah soon broke their brief lull in the conversation with a question.
“By the way, where are you from, if you don’t mind me asking? You don’t seem to be from Macau,” Noah gazed at Theo as if trying to guess his background.
“I was born in the States, but I moved to Macau when I was two,” Theo explained.
“Oh, so that’s why you have an American accent! I kind of suspected you’d be from the States,” Noah smiled smugly at Theo, as the latter man took a puff from his cigarette.
“I guess the accent makes it a bit obvious, but ’cause I moved here when I was two, I feel like I’m more Macanese than American, to be honest,” Theo shrugged his shoulders before asking, “How about you? You don’t seem from around here either...”
“Well... I was born in Bangkok and lived there until I was six before moving here. I stayed here until I was 16 and then decided to move to Germany to finish high school and go to university there. My German wasn’t very good at first, so I had to become fluent at it before I could attend university there.”
“Oh, wow you’ve been all over the place! Did you live there on your own? In Germany, I mean,” Theo was surprised to hear Noah’s interesting background. Noah shook his head.
“I lived with my grandparents from my dad’s side. My dad’s German, so I have family back in Germany.”
“Whereabouts in Germany?”
“In Heidelberg, a student city in the south of Germany,” Theo seemed clueless about the city, so Noah grabbed his phone from his pocket and looked through the photos in his gallery until he found the picture he was looking for, “This is Heidelberg.”
“Oh wow, it looks like a fairy tale town!” Theo looked at the photos of the beautiful small town nestled in a beautiful and lush valley.
“Yeah, it was beautiful, especially in the fall. I studied there until I was 18 and then moved to Berlin for university, ” Noah said as Theo passed his phone back to him.
“That sounds cool! I’d love to go to Berlin. I haven’t really traveled much around Europe. Mostly around Asia and the US... So, you speak English and German? That’s pretty impressive.”
“I also speak Thai and some Mandarin that I learned at school here, though I must admit my Mandarin is pretty shit. I’ve been trying to learn Cantonese with my friends and work colleagues though, as I plan on staying here for a while.”
“Oh yeah, you did live in Thailand for a long time,” Theo wondered out loud.
“That and my mom is Thai so I mostly speak with her in Thai. My English and German are much better though as I’ve always studied at International or German schools,” Noah gave Theo a small smile.
“That’s pretty cool! You’re quite a mix,” Theo looked more closely at Noah and could definitely see the blend of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds in Noah’s appearance as well as mentality. Most guys Theo had gone on dates with in Macau were harder to connect with.
He’d gotten along well with Flávio, but they hadn’t had much in common aside from sexual chemistry and attraction. However, deep down Theo knew that was only part of the reason why it hadn’t worked with him. The greater reason was his desire to keep any possible romantic relationships at arm’s length, not having fully healed from his past as he’d hoped. On the other hand, Liam had always felt more like a confidant or close friend rather than someone Theo could picture dating long term. Liam helped him accept that he wasn’t completely broken and that there was still hope for him to find someone he could connect with, even if it wasn’t him.
These thoughts ran through Theo’s mind before he turned and gazed at Noah’s side profile. The dancer was running his fingers through his smooth, dark hair, pensively looking at the view of the Macau tower and Theo couldn’t help but feel that his chapter with Noah was only just beginning, that it was different from any other man he had ever met, including Jason. He felt an ardent desire to explore his infatuation for the bewitching danseur, “You’ll have to teach me some words in German and Thai,” Noah’s lips parted into a wide smile at Theo’s retort.
Both men sat quietly for a while as they finished their cigarettes before putting them out. Suddenly, Theo remembered Noah’s Grindr account and instead of carefully thinking about how he would bring that topic up in a conversation, he just blurted out his musings.
“I actually saw you on Grindr some time ago,” Theo wanted to facepalm at his statement.
“Oh really?” Noah laughed at that remark, “I haven’t really been on that app. My friend Jenny, who is also my housemate, thought it would be funny to install it on my phone one night when we were drunk,” Noah chuckled slightly as he recalled the event in his mind, “We were at Cubic and she wanted to try to set me up with someone, but she ended up having a threesome with two guys,” Theo laughed, surprised at Noah’s bluntness.
“Oh wow,” Theo uttered in disbelief. He hadn’t met anyone who had been in a threesome. He wondered if Noah had already been in one.
“Yeah, she got two that night and I got zero. It was quite ironic actually. So, yeah, after that night I kind of forgot I had it on my phone. I go on it sometimes when I’m bored or just out of curiosity, but I never really pay much attention to the messages. I read some of them but I don’t really reply. Meeting people online isn’t my thing.”
Theo couldn’t help but feel relieved, knowing he hadn’t been rejected on purpose, but his relief suddenly turned to nervousness, when he noticed a mischievous smirk on Noah’s face, “Did you message me on Grindr?”
“I may have...” Theo shyly admitted.
“Well, now that you mention it, I think I saw a message from a Theo, but the profile picture was one of those standard shirtless mirror pics, so I kind of dismissed it,” Theo cringed internally in embarrassment. He’d uploaded that photo shortly before messaging Noah. His reaction didn’t go unnoticed by Noah, who asked, “Oh wait, was that you? I mean, don’t get me wrong, the photo was very hot and all, but I’ve always preferred meeting people in real life. I feel like we’ve just been reduced to shallow people, judging people on a profile pic, height, ethnicity and a whole other bunch of physical traits and we’ve forgotten to just talk to people and get to know them regardless of all that, you know?”
“Yeah, I get that, but why not give people online the same benefit of the doubt as you give people you meet in real life? I mean, you approached me in real life, but online you ignored my message,” Theo’s attraction to the endearing brunette sitting beside him was increasing as the conversation progressed.
“Hmm, that’s actually a good point. I haven’t thought about it in that way... But, for the record, if I had known that you were the shirtless pic guy, I would’ve replied to your message,” Noah teasingly smirked at Theo before finishing the beer in one final gulp, “So, this is done. Wanna go for a walk?”
Theo nodded and both men stood up. As Theo watched Noah walking down the stairs, he couldn’t help but feel like the dancer had cast a spell on him, compelling him to follow after his steps to attain the answers he sought, to understand why he felt such a fatalistic magnetic pull towards Noah.