Box Shaped Heart Ch. 11

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Chapter Eleven – What Was Seen Cannot Be Unseen

Carter was chewing the nail on his index finger like a Duracell rabbit at a carrot tasting. The initial shock was gone, but he still held Simon’s phone in his hand, not wanting to let go. But it was not like those offending pictures were going to disappear by magic. There, on the shiny screen, Alex Ruskin was locked in a heated embrace with the guy currently sitting across from him, in the poshest cafe Carter had ever set foot in.

And that was not all. If anything, it was just the peak of the iceberg. What lay under water was much, much worse. Apparently, the two clandestine lovers had had no qualms with taking pictures in all sorts of compromising positions. Carter was certain that he had seen enough dick and man on man sex to last him for a century. And Simon, the dickhead, was right; in all the x-rated pictures, Alex was the one with the other’s cock in him. Now that was plenty of ground for divorce, right there.

Eventually, he unglued his eyes from the man’s phone and handed it back to him. There was no point in trying to erase them and then blame it all on a slip of the hand. Simon surely had copies lying around, on his computer and whatnot. He could not be that stupid.

“So?” Simon looked at him with a small, knowing smile.

Some people. They just liked asking for a punch in the face. Alex Ruskin was a damn cheater and a two-timer, and Carter had to deal with it. Should Aron learn about it? It was painful, but necessary. But he was not going to find it from Carter. Not like this. And there was maybe still time to save Aron’s marriage. Regardless of what he thought of guys marrying other guys and whatnot. This was not about him and what he wanted to believe of Aron. There was a marriage at stake and he needed to do everything in his power to save it. After he and Alex were going to swap back, it was completely up to Alex to decide. And Aron was going to find out. Eventually. There was no way in hell to tell what kind of thing was going to set that off, but it was going to happen.

Right now, though, Carter was in a terrible conundrum. What was he going to do? Tell Simon off? He wasn’t putting it behind that guy to blackmail him, to keep quiet. There was no way he was going to sleep with Simon, to maintain the wordly order in Alex’s life, either. So he just needed to grab the bull by the horns.

“What do you want?” he asked, frowning and playing with his thumbs, for lack of anything better to do, until he decided to just let his hands flat on the table.

Simon looked at him with a mix of confusion and angst. Carter shook his head. The idiot was a real charmer, with those dark caramel eyes. He preferred darker, black eyes. Like Aron’s.

“Do you really need to ask?” the man asked, and the pain in his voice was real. “I want us to be together. As you promised. You said that you were going to leave Aron, walk away from him, and be with me.”

Simon made a move to capture one of his hands, but Carter was quick enough to pull both of them away and hide them under the table. His eyed remained on Simon’s hand, still half open, until the man flexed his fingers, curling them in, and withdrew.

“Look, if you want to blackmail me, just tell what will take for you to keep quiet,” Carter spoke, looking at Simon.

“Blackmail you? I have no intention to do that!” Simon protested.

Ugh, now that was a relief.

“But I don’t intend to leave you alone, even if that’s what you’re asking. I don’t care that you say that you don’t remember! I don’t know what game you think you’re playing, and, if this is your idea of testing me, don’t worry, I won’t quit!”

Carter frowned and took a look around. Simon’s heated speech was starting to draw attention.

“Calm down,” he hissed at the other, and then smiled affably to a woman wearing cateye sunglasses who was already stealing glances their way.

Simon seemed to have a bit of difficulty to rein in his emotions, but, eventually, he chose to shut his mouth. His dark complexion made him look even more upset, with the frown and the pursed lips and everything. He was making Carter think of a character from some Gothic tale. Simon did look like he was ready to turn to the dark side.

“What are you going to do, Alex?” Simon asked, straightening up in his chair and looking straight at Carter.

Yeah. What the fuck was he going to do? He had never two-timed in his life, and he was not going to start now. It wasn’t only for Aron’s sake. He had his own dignity to think about.

“I’ll think about it,” he said, a bit too brightly, while trying to force out a smile.

Ugh, to think that he already knew how this guy looked naked. He had nothing against naked bodies, per se, but, right now, he felt like he was sitting across from a porn star or something. Simon did have a nice body.

“Is this all you have to say? Do you mean that none of this sparks any memory of us?” Simon pointed at the phone lying on the table.

“Nope, nada, zilch,” Carter shrugged.

The casino oyna problem was that he might not be able to forget what he had just seen. Now that was the kind of thing people used to say about that what was seen could not be unseen.

“I cannot believe it,” Simon murmured and leaned back in his chair, shoulders slumped in defeat. “I …”

The way the guy pressed his fist against his mouth was a bit too theatrical, and he was playing the hurt lover card too much, but Carter had to say that he kind of felt Simon’s pain. Kind of. Alex was still a cheater, and Simon was no better.

“What the fuck are you doing with a married man?” he blurted out, as usual, without thinking much.

Simon’s eyes narrowed.

“Really, Alex? You seduced me,” the man accused. “Did you really expect me to resist you? Who could resist you? Tell me, please. Tell me that this is not a game.”

“It’s not a game,” Carter shot back quickly.

The situation was getting more and more uncomfortable. Alex was a damn fucking douchebag. Carter had been right all along. He could, after all, get Alex divorced from Aron, while the body swap continued. But no, that was not an alternative to consider. Aron loved Alex, and maybe their damn marriage could be salvaged, somehow. He had no idea how, but whatever. He was not going to break Aron’s home, even if his husband was a fucking cheater.

Hmm, maybe after they swapped back bodies, he and Alex, he could just send Aron an anonymous message to let him know of his husband’s straying habits. Nah, too cheap, too sleazy.

No, he was just going to maintain the status quo until Alex was back into his body, and ready to sort out the mess his life was. Until then, Carter was just going to be neutral. Switzerland level of neutral.

“Why are you nodding?” Simon asked him.

Great, he had been caught up in his mental verbalization so much that he had no idea he was making faces.

“I’m going to be neutral,” he claimed right away.

“Neutral?” Simon questioned, making a confused face.

“Like Switzerland,” Carter said with determination.

“I have no idea what you are talking about,” Simon sighed.

“Look, man, I’m amnesic, all right? Until I remember everything, let’s just be … err, co-workers?”

“You couldn’t even bring yourself to say that we should be friends,” Simon huffed. “Don’t worry. I know what this is all about.”

“You do?” Carter could feel his eyebrows arching at a perfect angle. All that manscaping could not go to waste, obviously.

“It is about how you think that I don’t deserve you. You seduced me, and I was too easy for you.”

“Whatever,” Carter shrugged.

Were all relationships this complicated? Or only the gay ones? He was the most agreeable boyfriend, as far as he could remember. One girl had even told him once that he was really easy to break up with. That was him; the most accommodating ex in the history of relationships.

“I know what I will do,” it was Simon’s turn to show his determination. “I will win you back. I will be the one to seduce you,” he pointed at Carter.

Damn, this guy was an idiot. Not an agreeable ex, that was for sure. Although agreeable, as far as his physical appearance went, that he was.

“There’s no need for that,” he replied.

“Oh, yes, there is. There is plenty of need for that,” Simon smiled, his dark face finally lit up with a smile.

The guy was smitten. A smitten idiot.

“Look, Simon, take a breather. Don’t annoy me,” Carter spoke.

“Have I not been passionate enough?” Simon questioned.

“I’ll strangle you,” Carter said quickly. “If you don’t stop, I’ll run you over. With a car. I’ll find one,” he said with conviction.

“I don’t mind getting run over by you,” Simon grinned. “You look really sexy behind the wheel of that car of yours.”

“Wait? Do I have a car?”

Simon looked at him like he was a lunatic.

“The Spyder? Do you not even remember that?”

“Spyder? Like in Porsche Spyder?” Carter was certain his brain was slowly coming to a halt.

“I wondered why you didn’t come to work in it. But I assumed it was because of the accident.”

“I drive a car. That kind of car,” Carter said only to confirm it to himself.

“Yeah. You used to say that whenever you feel hungry, you only need to think of that car, and it’s the best diet tip ever,” Simon smiled at him.

Carter shook his head.

“Let me take you someplace nice tonight. Out of the city. Somewhere private. Where people won’t talk. Come up with something so that Aron won’t suspect a thing.”

Carter groaned and let his head on the table, making the little teaspoon tremble against the porcelain saucer.

“Simon,” he spoke from there, “stop being a fucking idiot. Tonight, I’m going home, and I’m fucking my husband. And you should better stay away.”

“Or else?” Simon asked, a bit aggressively.

“Or I’ll think of some terrible way to make you regret it.”

“I see. You’re playing hard to get. slot oyna I can deal with it. But, as I said, I won’t give up.”

“Whatever,” Carter murmured.

Yeah, now he was certain. Being gay was complicated. Being gay and a two-timer even worse. But this had nothing to do with being gay. It had all to do with Alex being a fucking asshole.

***

He had endured Simon squeezing his knee shortly before getting out of the guy’s car. This was going to get tough. The langurous looks Simon had thrown at him all the way back to work had given him the willies. The fuck was he going to do? Damn Alex and his idiotic two-timing habits. Just thinking of Aron was making his heart clench.

He went through the day, being pretty much a wallflower, but Yolanda had managed just fine as he stood there, looking pretty.

At the end of the work day, he felt emotionally exhausted, if that was a thing. He had no idea how he was going to fend off Simon’s amorous assault, and he had a gay husband at home who was not going to be denied conjugal rights forever. Talking about being between a rock and a hard place. More like being between a hard cock and another hard cock, if the pictures he had seen of Simon and Alex earlier were any proof of the guy’s sexual prowess. As for Aron’s cock … yeah, that was, ugh, pretty much a challenge, too.

The only silver lining in all this was that he was going to drive a fucking Porsche Spyder. Yeah, he deserved that after everything he had to put with for the entire day. He needed that beautiful car, if only for a single ride. How come the fucking douchebag could earn that kind of money? In retrospect, having his asshole waxed and stripped bare along with his dignity was maybe worth it. Yeah, from a douchebag’s point of view.

Just thinking about it made him want to grind his teeth. At least, he was going to get home and relax. He could barely wait.

“I’m off,” he told Mark, as he grabbed his phone and headed for the door.

“Boss, did you forget about the interview? The New Entertainment show?”

“Show? Isn’t it a newspaper or something?” he asked, intrigued.

“A media company,” Mark promptly spelled it for him. “You’re going to be on TV tonight, boss.”

“Stop basking in my misery,” he moaned. “When is this interview scheduled?”

“You have to be there at 6pm, and it starts at 6.30,” Mark supplied the information. “They need to prepare you,” he added.

“What? Do they let me know the questions in advance?” Carter asked.

“No, they prepare you with the makeup and everything,” Mark explained. “Don’t worry, boss, I’ll be there with you.”

“I’m not worried,” Carter protested.

Shit, he was worried. If he felt the need to practically hide behind his 22-year old secretary, there was something wrong with his head. And that was the only solid truth in this.

“Shouldn’t your work day be over?” he added, a bit irritated.

Mark showed no signs that he was fazed by his boss’s behavior.

“My work day ends when your work day ends.”

Carter shook his head.

“Keep it like this and you’ll get a promotion, Mark. What’s better than being my secretary?”

Mark giggled.

“I just want to focus on being your assistant for now, boss.”

“Cool,” Carter commented dryly, but he was thankful for Mark’s presence.

At least, he was not going to face that idiotic interview, completely alone.

***

He could deal with this. If he repeated that mantra enough times in his head, he was going to go through this unscathed. There was so much ruckus around him, so many people wanting to talk to him, that he felt a bit nauseous. He wasn’t exactly a big fan of crowds and a reason why he preferred to telecommute as a freelancer instead of working in a cubicle, stucked with dozens of similar cubicles, slaving for the man from dawn till dusk. If he was to think about it, working a cubicle job was probably just as lonely, but he hated corporations, as a principle. At least, while working as a hired mercenary, he could pretend he was not part of the problem.

Now the problem was that he had to face a different kind of animals, as he looked around. Everyone at the studio seemed pretty excited about having him over, but he was not going to let himself fooled by the fake smiles. If this were a horror movie, the straight fake teeth would soon turn sharp, the manicured fingers into talons, looking to dig into his flesh.

Just like a proverbial sacrificial lamb, that was what he was. Mark, blessed be his soul, was trying to stave off the unnecessary attention, by keeping back the throngs of assistants, makeup artists, or whatever those were called, and other people whose probably only job was to gawk at guys like Alex Ruskin, like he was their last meal.

Eventually, the man in charge, aka the host and producer of the show, came to see him.

“Alex,” the man called, stretching both his hands, probably waiting for him to take them and shake them.

That was a pretty awkward thing to do, but he attempted canlı casino siteleri to grab the man by both his hands. For a few awkward seconds, the man shook them, while looking at Carter as if he was his next of kin. That was enough for him to examine the host. A man in his late 40s, with a bit of a receding line, still green, but getting ripe, with a smile so huge that it went from ear to ear, Michael Cathaway – as Carter had learned his name was – clearly knew what show business was all about. He had that artificial socially accepted warmth about him, that made Carter believe that TV host was the first human job that could be successfully replaced by robots.

“So, are we ready to begin?” Michael began looking around, while still keeping one of Carter’s hand.

The man’s skin felt like dry sandpaper; maybe the guy was a misophobe and used way too much hand sterilizer. Carter was not going to hold it against him. He was here for half an hour, and felt like he needed a shower after being touched by so many strangers who cared not a iota about personal space.

It was worse than a wedding cortege that followed them, as they finally took their places in front of the bright lights and cameras. Carter could not believe how much warmer it felt. Maybe that was why they were talking about life under the hot lights.

He was so amazed with everything, the way he could practically break the forth wall, by looking straight at the audience behind the cameras, neatly arranged on multiple colored chairs, that he missed the introduction given by the host. Michael had to repeat the question to pull him out of his musings.

“It was such a terrible accident, Alex,” the host spoke in a soft, yet thunderous voice. “Why do you think you escaped with almost no injury?”

“I don’t know,” he shrugged. “Maybe some of us have like a guardian angel or something.”

His eyes traveled to Mark, like they were pulled towards his assistant, for no apparent reason. The young man was shadowed by the cameramen moving about, but there was something in the way he was demurely keeping his hands together that Carter thought odd.

“An interesting concept, that of a guardian angel,” Michael piped in, for lack of anything better to say.

“Well, yeah, I mean, there’s gotta be an explanation for stuff like this,” Carter tore away his eyes from his assistant.

“Or maybe you’re just a lucky fellow,” Michael laughed. “And we’re so lucky to have you here,” he turned towards the audience that started applauding on cue.

Was this so called interview going anywhere? Carter suddenly remembered Yolanda’s training.

“And do you know another reason why we’re all lucky?” he managed to start speaking. “We have a new organic line project that I’m so excited about.”

Luckily for him, Michael took the bait, so, for five minutes straight, he yapped his mouth about the company’s new client. Apparently, Michael seemed to be quite knowlegeable in that area, finishing Carter’s sentences, and making the interview one of the most agreeable experiences he could have hoped for.

Until Michael decided to simply change the subject.

“Alex, you’ve been known as the poster boy for marriage bliss,” Michael said.

There was a change in tone right there, and Carter’s inner danger alarm went in high alert right away. Oh, so the gloves were off, apparently. Michael was looking at him with a bit of malice in his dark eyes.

He laughed, feigning embarrassment and looked down.

“Aron is an amazing guy,” he said.

“Two years of marriage,” Michael pressed his index finger against his lips, his elbows on the desk. “How do you manage that?”

“Come on, man, it’s not like that’s much,” Carter snorted. “Ask me again when we’re celebrating our 50th anniversary.”

The audience laughed agreeably, and this time it wasn’t on cue.

“That’s pretty ambitious,” Michael smiled, but the smile wasn’t reaching his eyes.

“Totally doable,” Carter said with confidence.

He had no idea how he could be such a good liar. But he was speaking the truth, sort of. He only had to focus on what Aron meant for him. For him, not for Alex. And he was pretty damn certain that he was going to feel the same way about Aron 50 years from now. Even if Aron was not going to speak to him at all for all these 50 years. So, all in all, it was easy.

“Then what do you feel about the latest rumors?”

“Rumors?” his eyes searched for his assistant, as if the guy could help him.

“Some would say that there is trouble in paradise,” a cunning smile was now lighting up the host’s face. “Could we please have the pictures up?” he turned towards his team.

The decor behind him changed. He did not dare to turn. What kind of fucked up things had Alex been caught doing?

“Alex,” Michael called for him, in a paternal voice. “Could you please turn and take a look?”

All right, whatever it was, he could deal with it. Unless it was one of those pictures on Simon’s phone with Alex chocked full with dick. Eh, he was just going to claim that the pictures were shopped.

Well, it wasn’t that bad. Just a succession of pictures showing Alex and Aron in what looked like a heated argument, taking place in front of a posh restaurant.

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