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22. Pitstop
Steve beamed with pride as they unveiled the marquee above his bar: THE PITSTOP. The rugged, charcoal block lettering against the background of deep burgundy portrayed the exact juxtaposition that he wanted. This bar was going to be for everyone, the place that you went when you didn't feel pretty enough for MiniBar or young enough for Scarlet. It was going to be the bar that you went to and felt at home, but still could have a crazy good time. It didn't matter if you were young or old or fat or thin, all would be welcome. The once dusty storefront on Belmont and Macondray, just west of Halsted and just east of Clark, was finally beginning to take life. And he owned it.

"You are one proud papa bear," Edward grinned, putting a hand lovingly on Steve's shoulder.

"Who you calling a bear?" Steve protested, puffing out his trim and muscular chest.

Edward kissed him on the cheek. "You know what I mean."

"It's gonna be something, Edward."

"Very appropriate name, too. For the time of your life you're in."

"How's that?"

"You've been on this road most of your life, almost positive of where you're going. Then life detours you, derails you. So you take a moment to stop and enjoy it as you start a new path."

"Well, I was just thinking that it's the perfect place to stop on your way to Boystown or on the way home. Maybe stop a while longer and make a night of it. But your fancy-schmancy poetry works too." Steve leaned in for a kiss and Edward playfully chastised him by pushing his face away.

"As long as I'm not just some pit stop on your new path."

"Edward, if we were lesbians, I'd have driven up a U-Haul to you're house by now."

Edward chuckled. "How's that?"

"You're not a pit stop," Steve said, finally getting his kiss. "You're a destination."

*

The signing over of property was fairly painless. David worked his hardest to make sure that everyone had an equitable deal and as much as Steve and Bruce disliked each other at the moment, they wanted it that way. Twenty years can mean a lot of things, but when it's spelled out for you in black and white, you want to sign on the dotted line with some dignity and grace.

"I hope you'll be happy," Steve said as earnestly as possible.

"I will be, thanks," said Bruce, without malice. His phone vibrated.

"Is that one of your pretty young things," Steve teased, attempting a touch of friendliness.

"I... do you care?"

"You know what? I don't. Be well, Bruce." Steve couldn't help but worry about Bruce, if not with a little self-satisfied righteousness. In many ways Steve was trading up, dating this wonderfully handsome and passionate man who knew what was truly important in life. Bruce would forever be chasing after young twinks, who were surely gorgeous and a great time, and Steve would be lying if he said he weren't a bit envious of that. But Steve would always be THEIR pit stop, the handsome, mature, wealthy gentleman who helped fund their misspent youth before they grew up to the men they were meant to be. And Steve wouldn't trade him places for all the money in the world.

*

"Hello?" Bruce said, taking his phone to a quiet hallway in David's office.

"I need your help again!"

"What happened now?"

"I just... I can't quite make rent this month. Can you wire some money in my account?"

"I've just made a lucrative real estate investment. I'm not quite sure if I can... "

"Please Daddy. I'll make it worth your while."

"Fine. My place. Right now."

"Yes Daddy."

"Oh and Tristan? Wear those short-shorts and low v-neck I'm so fond of."

Bruce almost detected an exasperated sigh on the other end, but it was a perkier, upbeat voice that answered: "Yes, Daddy." And they hung up.

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CALL TO ACTION: Author Danny Bernardo needs your help! Please visit: http://igg.me/p/203358?a=1020165

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Wow. I've been meaning to ask: Are some of these names supposed to be similar to drag names where there is a double meaning involved?

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