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So, during my time in California I’ve made a lot of friends, but Nari is without a doubt my best friend.
My mother met Nari when she flew out to Fairhaven to see me dance on stage with the Chandler Theatre Ballet. Nari was charming, approachable and my mother found him to be a delight. She loved him so much that she invited to come to New York with me when I visited my family for the holidays.
When we were packing, I stuffed my parka and my aviator hat with the rabbit fur and down insulation into my suitcase. Nari monitored my actions and gave me a look like I was smuggling drugs.
“What is that?” he asked pointing to the interior of my suitcase.
“It’s my winter jacket and my winter hat,” I explained.
“Are you really going to need that?” Nari asked, “That hat looks like a dead rabbit caught in a trap.”
I rolled my eyes at this comment and said, “We’re going to be in New York, it gets cold there in the wintertime. Believe me, when it’s nineteen degrees and the wind is blowing, you’re going to want to be wearing something heavier than a t-shirt.”
“Nineteen degrees?” he asked incredulously.
“Yes,” I replied, “It’s New York. You ever hear of the term Nor’easter? We invented them. Nobody knows how to deal with frigid temperatures better than a New Yorker.”
Nari had spent most of his childhood in Arizona and his adult years in Southern California. He’d never in his life even seen snow. I had him google the blizzard of 1996 while I continued to pack. At some point I heard him say, “Gasp”.
Let me be clear, Nari didn’t gasp, he theatrically said the word, “Gasp”.
“How can humans live in that kind of environment?” Nari said, staring at his phone, then staring at me.
“Most people find a way to manage,” I assured him, “Thinsulate helps, so does hot cocoa. I’ll be your guide for surviving New York winters.”
I took Nari out shopping so he could get some winter clothes of his own. He ended up with a red and white puffer jacket that looked impossibly festive, a red and white hat with a fuzzy white ball on the top. He also got white winter gloves with white fur trim.
“You look like a young, slender Santa,” I told him.
“Or a Christmas elf,” Nari suggested, “One of those agile, energetic Christmas elves that do pirouettes and grand jumps while Santa looks on in amazement?”
“Yeah, okay,” I conceded, “I suppose you look like a Christmas elf.”
Kim is also a dancer at the Chandler Theatre and she’s a good friend of mine as well. We professional ballet dancers tend to live in a very insular world. You spend a lot of time interacting with your fellow dancers, they know all your secrets and sooner or later you know all their secrets as well. When times are good, they’re there to celebrate with you, when times are bad, they’re there to listen to your laments and to help you get drunk. Sooner or later all the dancer you rehearse with become your friends.
Kim was kind enough to drive Nari and me to the airport on the big day. When she dropped us off, she requested that Nari or I call her when the plane safely landed in New York.
“Sure thing,” I replied,
“And send me pictures,” she insisted, “Christmas trees, Christmas lights, Christmas carolers, snow covered lawns, Tiny Tim walking without his crutches, all that Norman Rockwell Christmas crap.”
“I don’t think Tiny Tim lives in Westchester County,” I said apologetically.
“You know what I mean,” Kim said as she parked her car by the curb in a white zone, “Send me lots of pictures of festive, holiday cheer kinds stuff. I’m spending Christmas with Daniel and his idea of Christmas tradition is to plug in his Xbox and play Saint’s Row IV for hours and hours.”
“Seriously?” I asked.
“You should get a sharpie, write the words ‘Merry Christmas’ on your butt and dance naked in front of the video screen,” Nari suggested, “That might get him away from his Xbox.”
“Now you suggest this?” Kim said admonishingly, “You should have come up with this idea yesterday, when there was a possibility of you helping out! Do you have any idea how difficult it is to write legibly on your own butt?”
“Um,” Nari said, furrowing his brow, “Nope, no idea, I’ve never tried to do that before.”
“Try it sometime,” Kim suggested, “It’s almost impossible.”
“What about writing ‘Ho, ho, ho’?” Nari suggested, “It’s easier to spell.”
Kim just gave Nari a reproving look and said, “Get out of my car.”
Of course, we had to remove our shoes, our belts and empty all coins and keys from our pockets when we went through airport security. Ever the smartass, Nari had to comment, “If I told them you had a kilo of coke hidden up your ass, do you think they’d pull you out of line and give you a body cavity search?”
“Nari,” I protested loudly.
“I’m just joking,” Nari said as he put his shoes back on, “Your asshole is really tight. There’s no way anyone could fit a whole kilo up there.”
When illegal bahis we arrived in New York, Nari insisted that we stop in some of the airport shops before we went to claim our luggage. Christmas was just five days away, and he thought he should buy Christmas gifts for my family.
“You know nothing about my family,” I said, “How can you buy gifts for people you don’t even know?”
“I know a few things,” Nari replied, “I met your mom when she came out to Fairhaven. I know that she looks absolutely fabulous for a woman her age, and I know she was a soloist for the American Ballet Theatre.”
“And you know she loves flattery,” I replied dryly.
“Oh, Scott, every woman loves flattery,” Nari replied,” That’s a given.”
I followed Nari and the very first shop he entered was a place called the Romantic Depot. He went straight to the shelf where they kept the anal lubes and grabbed a large bottle of silicone-based sex lubricant and my eyes went wide with shock.
“Who are you buying that for?” I demanded, “You cannot give that to anybody in my family!”
“Relax, this is for us,” Nari said, “We’re going to be in New York for a week and I didn’t pack any lube. Do you really want me to slide it into you without lubricant?”
I could feel my face burning with embarrassment as he asked that question. There were at least six customers in the store other than Nari, and they were all within earshot. Nari’s casual announcement announced to at least half a dozen strangers, that I habitually allow him to fuck me in the ass.
“Nari,” I whispered, “You cannot say stuff like that when we’re in public.”
“Scott,” Nari said slowly and enunciating his words carefully, as if he were speaking to a particularly slow child, “We’re in a sex shop. Everybody in here is shopping for things like sex lube, butt plugs, ben wa balls, and rabbit vibes. If anybody in here gives you a judgmental look, just look them in the eye and ask them what they’re shopping for here. They’ll probably end up even more embarrassed than you.”
That was Nari for you. He was utterly and unashamedly sexual. He flaunted his sexuality and wasn’t afraid of being judged for it. In some ways he seemed fearless.
And of course, he had a point. Anybody shopping at the Romantic Depot was unlikely to judge Nari or me for our sexual relationship. I saw a redhead in another aisle stuffing anal beads and a double-headed dildo into her shopping basket. It would be rather difficult for her to act all pure and virginal and judge me while carrying around potential purchases like that.
After we left Romantic Depot, we hit up some stores that were less risqué and he bought some presents for my parents. Then he asked if I had any siblings.
“I’ve got a sister,” I replied, “Her name is Sophie.”
“Ah, is she your older sister or your younger sister?”
“Younger,” I replied, “She just turned eighteen last October.”
“A teenager,” Nari said, “Okay, this could be a challenge. Teenagers are notorious for not liking anything you buy them and then returning everything.”
“Yeah, that sounds like Sophie,” I agreed, “Welcome to my world.”
“Dancers seem to run in your family,” Nari observed, “Is your sister into that?”
“Nope,” I confessed, “Sophie took years of ballet lessons and my parents hoped that she’d dance professionally someday, but when she was sixteen she gave it all up. She said she wouldn’t take any more classes and she declared she didn’t want to be a dancer. My parents were pissed.”
“Ouch,” Nari said sympathetically, “Are your parents still angry with her?”
“I don’t think so,” I replied, “I mean, they were angry with her for a long time, but Sophie is basically a good kid. She didn’t do it to hurt them. She just setting her own path and finding her own identity. I think my parents finally got that.”
“So, no body tights or leg warmers?”
“So, what is she into these days?”
“The last time we spoke, Sophie told me she wanted to be a writer. She wants to create fascinating characters and gripping stories. She thinks that she can be more creative by crafting stories, than she could by dancing on stage.”
“Okay, this is going to be complicated,” Nari conceded, “We’re not going to be able to get her an ideal gift here in the airport. But we’ve got four shopping days left before Christmas, so maybe we can come up with an ideal gift before then.”
Nari scoffed at the idea of getting Sophie a gift card. He felt that a gift card would be too cold and impersonal. He wanted to get something that showed he put some thought into choosing a gift for her. He had never even met her, but he felt he had a responsibility to get her a gift that she would find impressive.
So, we retrieved our bags from the baggage claim area and then signed for our rental car. I insisted that I drive as I had experience with New York traffic, also I’d driven on snow and ice before. Nari was a virgin when it came to driving on the icy, snowy and slushy roads of New York.
While I drove, illegal bahis siteleri Nari pulled out his phone and called Kim and put it on speaker phone.
“Hey, Kim! The plane landed! I’m here in New York!” Nari told our friend cheerfully.
“Nari!” Kim yelled back.
Snowflakes began to fall from the sky, and I turned the wipers on as they hit the windshield. Nari gestured in the general direction of the most visible snowflakes and squealed, “It’s snowing!”
“Seriously?” I asked, “You don’t need to get so excited. It’s just snow.”
“I’ve never seen snow before!” Nari insisted, “Stop the car!”
I pulled into the first available parking lot and stopped the car. Nari got out and danced around, catching snowflakes in his hand. He was like a little kid. He left his phone in the car, so I narrated events to Kim.
“Nari saw snow for the first time in his life,” I explained, “Now, he’s decided to become the Westchester County Snow Fairy.”
“What? What’s he doing?”
“He’s dancing in the snow,” I replied.
“Are people watching?” Kim asked, “He’s a professional dancer. If people are watching, you should sell tickets. Tell them it’s the Winter Festival Ballet.”
I eventually got Nari back into the car, and Nari began to speak with Kim. He told Kim that a meeting with my sister was imminent and he wanted to get her a perfect Christmas gift.
“But, she’s a teenager,” I told Kim, “And she’s a girl. Nari isn’t either of those things, so he’s having trouble relating to her and determining what she would want.”
“Guys,” Kim said, “If she’s a teenage girl, every thought she’s had for the past five years will be up on social media. Find her social media accounts, and you should be able to piece together what she wants for Christmas.”
“Social media?” Nari asked.
“You know, like Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter,” Kim elaborated, “I guarantee, she’s active on at least one of those. Do some research, find her social media accounts. Once you’ve found them, her own words will tell you more than you could ever possibly want to know.”
Nari and I felt that Kim’s advice was insightful, so Nari went online searching for Sophie’s social media accounts while I drove. Within minutes, Nari found a Facebook account for Sophie Alexander, and he researched several years’ worth of Sophie’s posts, looking for any clues that would help us.
“This is going to be harder than I thought. Your sister is very mercurial,” Nari commented.
“Okay, back in 2017, she had a huge crush on Justin Bieber. But in 2018, she said Justin Bieber is lame. In 2019, she says she has a girl-crush on Taylor Swift.”
“Wait, my sister has a crush on a woman?” I asked.
“Well, she says that Taylor is ‘yummy’ and that she ‘would eat her up with a spoon.’”
“Okay, that’s not very helpful,” I commented, drily.
“Not unless you can get Taylor Swift to come over to your house on Christmas day to be eaten by your sister.” Nari said playfully.
“I have no response to that,” I said as I drove and vigorously attempted to kill the visual that was forming in my head of Taylor Swift and my sister lying on the floor underneath the family Christmas tree on Christmas day, with my sister’s face buried in Taylor Swift’s crotch.
“She also says that Julian MacKay is yummy,” Nari added after more research of my sister’s social media.
Uh huh,” I said non-committally.
“At the beginning of the year, she had a boyfriend named Josh, but the two of them broke up back in July. She also had a BFF named Tricia, but she and Tricia had a huge fight back in August. Now she and Tricia are barely speaking, and her new BFF is a girl named Stephanie.”
“Does that information help us in any way?” I asked.
“Maybe,” Nari replied, “For right now, we’ll call it a piece of the puzzle.”
“Why can’t she just write a post where she says what she truly desires, and where I can buy it?”
We had approximately five days before Christmas, so we decided to sleep on it and start fresh in the morning. As I drove the rental car down Longview Avenue, every house on the block was decorated with bold, colorful decorations and brightly lit by Christmas lights. Of course, my parent’s house was the only one with life-size, illuminated Nutcracker statues in festive red and white uniforms, lining the walkway like an honor guard. When I parked the car and killed the engine, Nari enthusiastically said, “Oh my spandex-garbed god! Is that where your family lives?”
“That’s it,” I conceded.
Nari proceeded to take several pictures of the front yard and said, “I have to text this to Kim. She’s gonna love this.”
It was still snowing, and the snow combined well with the Christmas decorations to create a festive scene. I’d seen festive scenes like this many times while growing up and I just sort of took them for granted, but Nari seemed genuinely impressed. Instead of being blasé about the whole thing, he was wide-eyed and full of wonder.
Snow canlı bahis siteleri crunched underneath our feet as we made our way to the front door. The door was locked, I knocked and after a few minutes, my sister answered.
So, I suppose it’s time for some background on my sister. She’s blonde and blue-eyed and since she was eight-years old, her favorite color has been royal blue. But when she answered the door, she was dressed all in black and her hair had been dyed the color of India ink.
“Hey, Scott,” my sister said in an utterly passionless tone of voice, “It’s cold outside. You wanna come in?”
“Why, yes, Sophie, I think I would like that very much, thank you for suggesting it,” I replied sardonically.
Then she noticed Nari behind me and asked, “Who’s your friend?”
“That’s Nari,” I replied, “I’m sure Mom must have told you about him.”
“No, me and the Maternal unit aren’t really speaking much these days,” Sophie explained, “She’s being a control freak. Every time we talk, she pesters me about higher education and tries to get me to apply for colleges. She’s such a pain.”
“Um,” Nari said uncertainly. I’m guessing he hadn’t had much experience dealing with petulant teenage girls.
“Well, you want to become a writer, don’t you?” I asked, “A degree in the liberal arts or creative writing might help with that.”
“Hey,” Sophie said sharply, “Do not take Mom’s side on this! Ray Bradbury never went to college and he wrote some really kick-ass books! I don’t need to go to college to be a writer!”
I had no idea if this was true. I’d have to google Ray Bradbury later and find out for sure. If he went to college, it might give me ammunition to use against her the next time we discussed the possibility of her continuing her formal education.
“Okay,” I said with tired resignation, “Are Mom and Dad around?”
“The Parental Units went to a party on Roosevelt Island,” Sophie informed me, “When I heard you at the door, I thought you were them.”
“Why would they knock?” Nari asked.
“Dad loses his keys,” Sophie replied with quiet contempt, “He’s old and he forgets stuff a lot.”
“He’s forty-one,” I countered.
“Whatever,” Sophie replied, not interested in continuing that topic of conversation, “There’s food in the kitchen and there’s a movie on in the living room.”
I proceeded to bring bags in from the car and take them upstairs to my old room. I hadn’t seen my room in months, but it still looked pretty much the way I remembered it.
When I came downstairs, I discovered Nari attempting to engage my sister in polite conversation. It didn’t seem like it was going too well.
Sophie was watching Harry potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. “The Harry Potter movies are great,” Nari conceded as he stood nearby,” but with Christmas Day so close I figured you might want to watch It’s a Wonderful Life. That’s one of my favorite movies.”
My sister rolled her eyes at this comment and replied, “That movie is so lame! George Bailey is a whiny little bitch! Instead of feeling sorry for himself and going out on a bridge to commit suicide, he should have organized an angry mob to kick in the front door to Potter’s place, so they could drag Potter out to the bridge and throw his ass into the river!”
“Seriously?” I asked, “You wanted George Bailey to be some sort of violent criminal?”
“Ugh,” my sister grunted, “I wanted Bailey to be a working-class hero, like Robin Hood or Harriet Tubman. Potter was a gangster capitalist. His whole purpose in the town was to exploit the less fortunate, to wage a war against the working class and to make everybody suffer. If an angry mob killed Potter, it would have been a victory of the working class over the greedy exploitative thugs.”
“Wow,” I said, “That is a very unconventional take on a timeless Christmas classic. I never would have thought of looking at it that way.”
“Yeah, well I’m pretty unconventional these days,” Sophie allowed, “so, I’m gonna take that as a compliment.”
In the kitchen I made myself a sandwich out of turkey, pesto, and guacamole and provolone cheese. Nari watched with interest and then exclaimed, “Hey that looks good.”
“Here,” I said, handing him my sandwich creation.
Nari took a bite and declared it to be marvelous. I let him keep that sandwich and proceeded to make a second sandwich for myself.
“Your sister seems to be a bit intense,” Nari said with his mouth full.
“She’s hasn’t always been like that,” I replied as I prepared to take a huge bite out of my own sandwich, “She goes through phases. When she was sixteen, she went through a phase where she wanted to learn how to do HVAC repair. That phase only lasted six weeks.”
“And what does she want now?” Nari asked.
I shrugged and said, “To be dark and gloomy and see all the worst aspects of human society?”
“Well, if that’s what she was going for, she nailed it.”
When my mom and dad got home from their party, Mom was thrilled to see Nari. She gave him a huge hug and welcomed him into her home. Dad was less enthusiastic, saying only that it was nice that Nari dedicated himself to his years of ballet training and didn’t give up.
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