Old money, family legacy, and duty were all topics Patrick’s father Raoul Cyprus Valdez would use to explain station in his family and life. His mother, Drusilla Livia Valdez while carrying Patrick had a difficult pregnancy and on orders from her doctor, she’s placed on bed rest for her remaining eight months.
The doctors scrutinized everything about her health. The labor was touch and go for both mother and child. Patrick arrived in the world three months early with underdeveloped lungs and required a respirator to aid him with his breathing. Due to her poor health, they told Drusilla she could not have any more children.
Patrick survived, but his parents took precautions to protect him. He had developmental problems that needed addressing. Home schooled, adhered to a strict diet, and saw more therapists than Patrick cared to remember. No contact sports; swimming and gymnastics became his favorites. He excelled in his lessons, finishing high school three years early and winning his parents trust he would not break if he was out of their sight. He applied for colleges overseas and promised his parents he would stay on campus and only venture off when accompanied by his chaperone. While over sea Patrick made friends, whom he’d traveled with across the globe during his summer breaks, performing in cosplay.
He completed his lessons and returned home. He was happy to be back, but his father discovered his son’s sudden interest in certain men. In his father’s eyes men below his social class were not worthy of his son’s attention. Raoul and Drusilla tried to discourage Patrick by holding parties in Patrick’s honor to match him with a proper suitor.
Patrick enjoyed the attention, but for reasons his father couldn’t understand. He’d wander off with a servant and hide in one of the many rooms in his family’s mansion enjoying each other’s company. Raoul caught Patrick during one of his rebellions with the pool boy and threatened to ship him overseas to live with family, that were stricter than his parents.
Patrick kept his cosplay and relationships separate from his family by purchasing a condo. He played the model son when he was home. When it became too much, he’d go to his condo where he thought he had full freedom. Things slipped away from him when he reconnected with Gavin Martin.
Born into a high suburban family, Gavin had the love and support of his two mothers who were lawyers—one a prosecutor and the other environmental. His parents believed in homeschooling Gavin, but in the tradition of hiring a Governess for him. He had arranged play dates and birthday parties with one other boy who was a fun distraction for him.
But as he crossed into high school, his views drifted towards more of a bohemian lifestyle so he settled on becoming a hipster. He submerged himself into the world that beckoned him. A subculture of men and woman who merited their liberated ideas on life, counter-culture, and open-minded politics. Gavin found a hangout that exhibited creativity, intelligence, and witty mockery. Gavin made The Cave, a nostalgic bar blending two eras in its décor, his stomping ground. He made friends as he bought drinks and sometimes throw drug parties impressing them with his endless wealth.
Once out of college, Gavin used his graduation money to buy property he baptized as his Fortress of Solitude. Three floors he used for his private use. The first level he turned into an art supply store he only used for mail orders. The second he used the whole floor as his apartment and the third he used as an attic.
For three years he threw numerous parties and had friends from The Cave over to his place. They seemed to tolerate him as he wasn’t shy about sharing his liquor or supplying drugs. His Mothers weren’t as thrilled when they received several bills for Gavin’s credit cards. They informed him to get either a job to pay them back or sell his building and return home and go to graduate school. Gavin promised he’d find work and pay his debts if they gave him one more year. They gave him three months. Gavin knew his free ride was over and he needed to find a different angle to make money fast.
While home relaxing on his couch in his robe, watching the news, he saw his chance. Gavin flicked between channels stopping at a gossip channel’s breaking news announcement. A quirky female who had too much makeup on stood off camera while the shoot zoomed in on Patrick coming out of a coffee shop with friends.
“The prominent family Valdez only son, Patrick Valdez, had returned home after studying abroad for the last few years. Source say he returned home over problems with the police and will make Cargo City his permanent residence.”
He remembered Patrick from his childhood as he watched them jump to another shot of Patrick waving to reporters outside a restaurant in Paris with his parents with last year’s date at the bottom. Gavin never imagined the once, thin, sickly child, who everyone fussed over would grow into eye candy. They had their play dates at the zoo, amusement park, museum, or another arranged event. His moms never talked about Patrick’s wealth. Gavin was being looked after, so they could work. Even Patrick’s parents weren’t around. It was always a nanny and two other people, suspected bodyguards for Patrick.
He saw his ticket out of debt. It took a few weeks for him to find out where Patrick spent his time and thanks to paying someone to shadow him. It came time for him to make his move.
Gavin knew from the tail he had on Patrick. He didn’t drive and walked to the convention center to work off any anxiety he had before a performance. Gavin made sure he ran into him.
While waiting for the opportunity to approach his childhood play date, Gavin entered a Sprite store to buy a bottle of wine. While paying for his purchase, he saw Patrick, dressed in full cosplay attire, walk by the window. Gavin hurried out the store to catch up to Patrick. He didn’t have to rush when he saw the cutest bottom sticking out while trying to refasten a latch on his thigh-high leather boot.
Patrick was dressed as a female character from an anime, Gavin didn’t recognize. He studied Patrick’s propped leg on the bench as he leaned over to refasten the boot.
“Can I help?” Gavin asked, holding his bag as Patrick turned to him wearing a pink bob-cut wig that glistened as his glittered makeup cheeks elevated into a smile. Gavin stared into the most luscious hazel eyes he had ever seen.
“I’m having trouble with my boot. I must have secured it wrong,” said Patrick in his normal voice.
“You’re a guy?” Gavin pretended not to know.
“Yeah, I’m on my way to a show at the convention hall.”
“Wow, you look—amazing. I guess you hear that often?”
“I do, but I don’t mind. It comes with the costumes.”
“Well, allow me to help you with your boot.”
“That would be great—it’s hard to work the latches when I’m in full custom.”
Gavin sat down to fix the problem. He grasped Patrick’s calf and placed his booted foot on his thigh as Patrick placed his hand on his shoulder for support. Gavin’s hands carefully unlatched the ten leather straps from the large buttons, noticing powder puff pink stockings covering a hairless leg. The last button was undone.
“Here’s your problem, the last button wasn’t secured properly.” He refastened the boot up to Patrick’s hip. Gavin copped a feel of his slender thigh with his fingertips feeling the satin stocking that covered the soft flesh. Patrick surveys Gavin’s work ignoring the touch. He flashed him an approving smile.
“That was so sweet of you.”
“Glad I could help.”
“My name is Patrick,” he held his white-gloved hand out to him.
“Gavin…” he stopped in the middle of his introduction. “…wait, Patrick Valdez? I’m Gavin Martin, we use to play together when we were kids?”
“Gavin wow, this is crazy.”
“I know—seeing you like this.”
“Yeah. I guess it’s a shock. I cosplay.”
“As a female.”
“My body is better suited for it and I like it.”
“Do you dress like this all the time?”
“No, I dress like a guy when I’m not performing.”
“Cool, so great to see you—we should hang out.”
“That would be nice.”
“Where’s your car?”
“Oh, I don’t have one. I was just walking.”
“What? Why are you walking? The hall is a good ten blocks still.”
“I don’t mind.”
“Well, I do,” Gavin waved down a cab and opened the door for Patrick. “After you.”
“You don’t have to do this. I like walking.”
“You’d turn down an old childhood friend who wants to escort you?” Patrick sighed.
“Well, when you put it like that how can I say no?” He climbed in as Gavin followed. Patrick instructed the driver to drop him off at the side entrance.
Gavin jumped out first and helped Patrick with an offered hand. Patrick enjoyed the attention he was receiving from his old friend, who other than height and facial hair really hasn’t changed much in looks.
“I’m competing today if you want to check it out?”
“Are there tickets left?”
“Yeah, but I can get you in on a pass.”
“No, I don’t mind buying a ticket. You go on and maybe we can meet up after?”
“I’d like that. After the show, I’ll meet you in lobby three by the vending machines, okay?”
“I’ll be there.”
Gavin bought a ticket and saw the cosplay environment that was Patrick’s hobby. At first, Gavin found it strange that grown adults would want to dress in costumes pretending to be someone else just to mingle with each other. He found a good seat to view Patrick’s performance and when the show started Patrick was the fifth one to come out to Gavin’s amazement not only was he talented but the crowd went wild over his performance.
The rest of the event was not boring but energizing. After the show, he met up with Patrick, who changed his costume to everyday clothes while holding a canvas bag.
“Hi,” Patrick said, walking up wearing a high-end jacket, slacks, white shirt and leather shoes. His caramel locks bounced as his makeup-free face reflected his boyish appearance.
“If I haven’t met you earlier, I would have never thought you dress like a female.” Patrick held up his arms and did one spin for Gavin.
“It’s my amazing talent of illusion,” said Patrick.
“Well, permit me to treat you to dinner.”
“With wine, I hope.”
“Anything you wish.” Which cost Gavin’s moms a pretty penny after he charged it to his last credit card. That they told him was only for emergency.
They started dating and Gavin joined in with Patrick’s cosplay. Patrick’s parents approved they reconnected and started seeing each other. Gavin never knew how rich Patrick was until he went to his parent’s home. He'd been invited to summer homes, trips on his parent’s yachts, and parties.
As Gavin’s taste for Patrick’s wealth grew, Patrick saw a change in his boyfriend. Gavin grew bored with the cosplay events and drifted Patrick’s attention to his world and at first Patrick didn’t seem to mind.
He stopped cosplaying and fell into Gavin’s hipster lifestyle. When Gavin started doing hard drugs with his friends, Patrick missed his own friends. Patrick wanted nothing to do with the drugs. He told Gavin he was returning to cosplaying. Gavin didn’t argue but didn’t follow Patrick back to the conventions. He wanted to continue to date Patrick and enjoy his wealth.
Gavin came up with a way to lure Patrick from the big events by putting on shows in his art store. Private shows that featured Patrick’s masquerade talents. For a time, Patrick liked being the star and got to wear old costumes for new eyes.
He met some interesting people but also—not so interesting ones. Gavin’s friends became jealous of their relationship and always took jabs at Patrick’s ignorance to their hipster slang.
Patrick would have arguments with Gavin about his friends, but he would always take their side and tell Patrick he was overreacting. He even threatened Gavin with breaking up. Gavin responded by exploding in a violent rage, beating Patrick on his arms, chest, back, and legs, making sure the damage was on the parts of his body he could conceal. If physical violence didn’t shut Patrick up about wanting to leave, Gavin, presented photos of him posing naked and threaten to send them to the tabloids.
The next day, Gavin would apologize for being so cruel and that he meant nothing he said. ‘I love you, Patrick. I value you over anything or anyone,’ he would say—worming his way back into Patrick’s good graces and, for a time, everything got better. Then it would spiral again.
Only the next time it was at one of the private shows where Gavin wanted Patrick to be nicer to his guest. When Patrick refused, Gavin slung more threats. This time, he showed more pictures of Patrick, controlled by drugs, performing sex acts.
Patrick felt trapped and wanted Gavin to leave him alone, but Gavin’s obsession with him was terrifying. If he reached out to his father about the abuse and the pictures, he knew he would use it as an excuse to send Patrick away. Patrick didn’t want to leave Cargo City. So he decided to take care of his own problems.
One evening they were getting ready to go to The Cave. Gavin stood in front of a door mirror in his room, combing his hair, while Patrick stared out the bedroom window overlooking the front of the building.
“There’s a moving van outside?” Patrick said sipping from a ceramic mug filled with wine, watching men move boxes and furniture into the building next door.
“So,” replied Gavin satisfied his hair was fine. He moved to a tall dresser where a small square mirror with three lines of cocaine and a rolled up dollar rested. In three quick sweeps, Gavin inhaled the powder up his nose, tossing his head back allowing the drug to do its job. He breathed in feeling the rush of his high as he slid his finger over the mirror, collecting the residue and rubbing it on his gums.
Patrick laid eyes on a splendid figure of a man with stylish cut black hair, broad shoulders, and a hard chest that his tee shirt molded around. He was closing the truck’s door and seeming to say goodbye to three other males as he picked up and carried a box into the building.
“You have a new neighbor.”
“So the fuck what.”
“Don’t you want to welcome him to the neighborhood?” Gavin looked at Patrick as his high floated through his head.
“Get the fuck away from the window Patrick. You already sound drunk.”
Patrick swallowed the remaining wine in his mug before moving away from the window. He approached the dresser where the half empty bottle sat and was about to pour himself another cup when Gavin snatched the bottle out of his reach.
“I want another cup,” Patrick said, annoyed.
“You had enough. I don’t want you embarrassing me in front of my friends.”
“Fuck your friends Gavin. I want another drink.”
“And I said no.” Gavin placed the bottle on the floor beneath the mirror.
“Well, considering I paid for it I should…” The sudden slap across his face stopped Patrick as he stumbled to catch his balance, dropping his mug.
“Now, I want you to go splash cold water on your face and get your ass in gear to leave.” Gavin sneered as he grabbed the wine bottle and walked out of the room.
Patrick took a moment to regain his balance after the blow from Gavin, then walked into the bathroom. He used cold water to cool the burn in his cheek and wash the tears trying to form in his eyes. After patting his face dry, he studied his features in the mirror, checking for redness on his cheek and any circles under his eyes.
He combed his fingers through his locks satisfied with how his curls lay across his forehead. When he stepped back to check his clothes, he spotted someone in the mirror observing him through the bathroom window. Patrick turned and eyed a guy staring at him from across the ally. Patrick didn’t feel violated; in fact, he recognized the guy as the new neighbor. He felt flattered as the other male looked embarrassed that he got caught spying. Patrick just smiled and waved at the stranger before walking out the room.