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Rules of Engagement by Zero
Rules of Engagement
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Hey, Zero here. I’ve had this idea for a while, it’s going to be a slight departure from what I usually write and it will be more explicit than my usual work, so, I’m sorry or you’re welcome. As always, comments (of any kind) are more than welcome. Once more, this was brought to you by a sore throat, and listening to The Killers and Placebo.
Madrid’s summer was not at all the dreamy, golden-tinted paradise he had been tricked into believing it would be. The city (like all cities) is never gentle once you’ve lived in it long enough, but the days of July and August it’s especially ruthless. It’s a debilitating heat that steams from the asphalt, even in the shade. Even for him, who comes from the tropic and far more hostile latitudes, it’s unbearable.
If there’s one thing the summer has on all other seasons is the light, though. The sun doesn’t go down until late in the night and he still has the youthful hunger to devour the hours, even if his it’s not the voracity of his other classmates.
He’s a graduate student of Arts, which means, that for the most part, his classmates are as liberal as they come. For good and for bad. So, they make the best and the worst city guides.
And tonight, ‘La Bar(Bería)’ is not the weirdest place he’s ever come (been dragged to) by far.
"So... a barbershop-themed bar?" he asks his classmate as they step in.
"It’s also a barbershop, if you meet the right guy" his playfulness comes through even in the way he walks forward, like the entire world is just a thing for him to toy with "I come here to save in haircuts once in a while and have fun too".
He feels the need to clarify "Listen, I am a normal guy, I don’t like any weird stuff".
"That..." his classmate points at him with his index finger "... remains to be seen".
"No, it doesn’t".
He knows himself, and in matters related to his tastes, he’s the expert and unquestioned authority.
He glances around. Overall kitsch. Mirrors. Pinstripes. Chrome. Leather. Resurrected-vintage and new-old-fashioned illustrations of razors, scissors, combs and those shears that combine both into a steel abomination.
This bar goes to the list of fun facts he’ll drop at a dead conversation somewhere in the future. At a very, buried six-feet under, dead conversation, that is.
The stuff going on here aesthetically is Freudian to say the least.
"Okay, this place is curious, thanks for bringing me here, let’s keep moving" he says, ready to depart this roadside-temple-like stop behind.
"Give it a chance, let your hair down and see what happens".
Then, he feels the tug at his nape as his classmate pulls his hair tie out of his hair and the mass of curls come loose down to his chin, springing in all directions.
Out of laziness or out of dormant and late-blooming rebellion against the men of his family, he has let the grow out. He just isn’t sure which one.
"Now, you’re all set, go for a putivuelta" his companion ruffles his bangs back "Go upstairs and check out the view from the terrace".
‘Putivuelta’. A compound word from ‘puta’ and ‘vuelta’. European Spanish for an activity that consists on checking out possible hookups and ogling strangers. A spontaneous reconnaissance of a territory with sexual purposes.
He is skipping that. He doesn’t know what this place does for his classmate, but for him he feels his libido is agonizing here.
At least tonight there’s a resemblance of wind blowing and the air is not immobile and from the terrace the city skyline looks post worthy. So, he’s adding that to the future conversation he’ll try to resurrect bringing up this bar with someone: ‘Weird ass place. Nice views, tho’.
His sexuality stops being a flatline for a second.
There is a nice view right in front of him.
About his own height. He guesses he rounds his own age as well. Hair cut military short. Brutally so. A blur of dark blond, just a hint of stubble. Five o’clock shadow. Rings on his hands. Tattoos that snake down both his arms. Lip, eyebrow and ears, all of them pierced. A veiny, robust forearm that catches his eye. A lean, wide back and shoulders that he’d like to see out of that t-shirt and leather jacket.
His gaze lingers on him and follows his around, he recreates himself on this stranger. He’s not a fan of the ripped jeans he’s wearing, but he can overlook that and enjoy the full picture. He looks like he was ripped off an illustration by Tom of Finland.
He stops staring at him and orders a beer. He’ll have a drink and then go back to his classmate and convince him to go somewhere else.
Besides, he’s starting to get hungry.
"See anything you like?" a voice cuts through his own thoughts.
He looks out of the corner of his eye. It’s that guy. Must have been pretty obvious he had been staring.
"What’s your name?".
He has that peninsular lisp when he speaks. A thing in his voice, in the way he sounds that reminds him of a laid-back summer ballad.
"Gabo" he replies, curtly.
"Gabo" a smile comes afterwards "Alfonso".
Named after a king, possibly. He looks like royal attires would suit him. If it wasn’t for the tattoos and the piercings, that is. Not that he is complaining.
"Where are you from?" it doesn’t take him long to pick on his accent.
"Not from here" he offers, not wanting to mention the godforsaken place.
"I see that" Alfonso lays his back against the wall next to him. It is nice to get to see him closer, to smell his cologne "So, what are you doing here? Checking the view? Can I get you something to drink?".
"I already have a drink, thanks" he lifts his beer.
"I could get you your next drink" his accent is from southern Spain, he finally picks up. Andalusian "Or I could show you around while you have a beer".
He picks up a leather backpack from the floor, set to get moving right away. Playing host to city that isn’t his either. He half wants to play along and act like a newcomer for him as well. If just for the thrill of it. So, he accepts the invitation and follows after Alfonso.
His second beer glass is almost empty when the Andalusian man gets him in front of a door that leads to a secluded place in the bar.
There’s a spike on the line of his sexual desires and he thinks coming to this weird hole was worthy after all as he opens the sliding door.
"Before anything happens, you must know there are three things I don’t like" Alfonso steps in first, putting his backpack on the corner "I have what you’d call... rules of engagement".
It’s a game, and all games have rules.
Terms and conditions are understandable.
"I’m listening" he finishes his drink and sits down on the bench in the middle of the room.
"I don’t like The Beatles"
His gaze travels downwards over his chest, beneath his ribcage.
Alfonso’s hands slide the t-shirt off his torso, over his head. His fingers run across his cool, sweaty skin, and his body temperature jumps in response. His band t-shirt is flown across the room, discarded.
The Andalusian is on top of him, forcing him almost on his back. He propels himself up with his elbows and takes in his tongue inside his mouth, feels the chilly metal of the piercing on his lower lip against his own. He can taste the acid, sweet summer red deep inside his throat.
He gives him room to breath and a pair of dark honey eyes stare him down.
Alfonso’s fingers move in a caress from his lower waist, teasing the trail of hair that goes down underneath his jeans and move upwards from his navel to his breastbone. They both crawl and make his skin crawl at the same time.
"I also don’t like body hair" his hot breath comes down to his ear after his teeth.
He goes off his body, and his heat follows after him and almost leaves him shivering.
He sees the leather jacket tumble down his arms, uncover his shoulders and back. Damn. He looks even better than he imagined.
He bends over his backpack. There’s a trail of ink peaking on his neck, that continues down his spine and shoulder blades. He really wants that plain white t-shirt ripped off his body.
He’s willing to let him rip out all his chest and groin and leg hair with a tweezer or hot wax or whatever he likes if he gets to do that. He can compromise.
He sees the hair clippers inside the Andalusian’s hand. The metallic teeth are bare.
He has second thoughts all of sudden.
He thinks about how this will look in the future: Will he tell that a very hot guy was into him and then wanted to shave his body and he freaked out? Or will he tell the story of a hunk that was really kinky and he played along just for one night?
A noise like a buzz fills the air. Like the angriest, largest bumblebee has flown inside. Alfonso unzips his pants and he feels the air going over the skin of his legs.
He looks at the thick, coarse hairs that run down his thighs. The multitude of them over his chest and over his arms. The Andalusian presses the chattering teeth of the machine against his skin, just above his ankle and it ascends.
The path that’s cleared is a skin so bare, he feels naked in a way he’s never felt before. His skin is exposed like he has no previous memory of. It’s a tenderness and a shiver he can’t recognize. He thinks he will explode when the vibration goes around his inner thighs and just at the seams of his underwear.
His groin draws all both of their attention and Alfonso just explores with three fingers underneath his waistband. He takes off his boxers. He observes the way the blood is flowing and hardening his penis and smirks. His fingertips only graze, tease and then move away.
He’s in control.
From his inner thighs, Alfonso moves to both his arms and the tattooed skin against his own free of any kind of ink contrasts even more once he has epilated it.
He saves the chest for last. The machine removes the pelt effortlessly, the blades slide down in parallel paths downwards. He is reminded of the sensibility of his nipple, in the heightened panic that he will clip it off when he stops just short of it.
Then, he shaves the trail that leads to his groin. His dick gets at full attention. The vibration of the clippers sends waves of stimulation underneath his skin.
Alfonso turns off the machine and brushes off the trapped hairs and sends them flying away. Then his mouth nibs and kisses below his navel.
He hardly holds a moan of pleasure in his throat.
The Andalusian catches it and gets on top of him. He sits on his lap, with his legs spread apart, on his thighs, imprisoning him in place.
He pulls his chin upward and runs the clipper from his neck upwards. His own three days old beard starts raining down his neck.
A momentary shock runs through him as he realizes he’s also shaving his facial hair. He lets him slide the machine over his jaw in any direction he likes. His sideburns are sliced, and cut at the top of his ear. He flinches slightly at how close they move to his hairline.
"Much better" Alfonso caresses his jaw as if he was inspecting his own handiwork.
Right away, he kisses him with hunger on the side of the neck, moving aside the curls that fall on his shoulder. His mouth goes underneath his jaw, his teeth go over his jugular and if he wanted to pierce through them and drink his blood, he would let him get away with it.
But there’s a more pressing matter, and his hands fumble with the Andalusian’s belt and pants while he is on top of him. As his mouth hungers to explore him too.
F***. He’s still clothed. Why the f*** is he still clothed?
A pair of hands stop him. Hold his wrists in place.
"There’s a third thing I don’t like..." Alfonso buries both his hands inside his mane, making him meet eye-to-eye "Curls".
He sees where this is going and he can’t believe it.
He draws a smile of expectation and defiance "Well, what are you going to do about that?".
He cups his chin in one hand. The machine is in the other. It’s loud, deafening.
The steel kisses his cheek, then it draws and angle and buries itself in what remains of his sideburn, then up his temples. He shuts his eyes. His curls collapse when the clippers leave his scalp.
Alfonso’s finger traces that first shaved path on his head with a voracious look on his eyes. His thumb sides back and forth against the stubble. Then he prepares to carve his head a second time.
His curls fall on top of the bench, over the other leftovers of his body hair. Everything in his body itches. His entire body is an itch and a fever while his head is shorn entirely by the Andalusian.
His bangs are pulled back at the side. Then they’re destroyed, almost uprooted by the moving blades. Alfonso holds the handful of locks in his hand and then drops them off the floor, which is a shame because they look captivating inside his fist, like they belong inside his palm.
His breathing hitches and almost trembles with desire. He manages to unbuckle the front of Alfonso’s jeans, wresting the belt and his hand finds what he wants. Hard. Well-endowed, he can tell right way. A Pure Spanish Horse and he will try to tame him.
Alfonso bucks at his touch. He loses himself and his head falls and touches underneath his chin and he can feel the soft-velvet like buzz on top of his head. He hangs onto the back of his neck to hold him and knows how much shorter his hair is compared to his. It’s a tidy, clipped pelt, while his is almost raw skin.
He throws Alfonso on his back, over the bench and gets on top of him now. The effort leaves him panting. He lifts that t-shirt and sees the stream of hairs down his navel, travelling down his pants. He wrestles it off him and the other finally gives him and throws it off his head.
He lowers the front of his boxers and sets the erect penis free.
He takes him inside his mouth. Ignores the sound of his name in Alfonso’s voice. Hears a grunt cut it short. Both their hearts and their breathing are pounding.
Then, he hears a click and a buzz and feels the clippers travelling up his occipital bone.
There’s a coolness all over his head that keeps extending, as Alfonso keeps maneuvering the clipper around his head, as he tries to half-sit up to do it. But he doesn’t want to let him. Not yet.
He makes him break off with jagged breaths and his skin flaring. He feels him grab a hold of his roughly, uneven shaved head and rub the bristles with his palm.
He has no idea what he looks like. But his scalp feels like someone ran a lawnmower over it while drunk. His curls litter the floor beneath them and his head hadn’t felt this light in ages. They sit right in front of each other. Legs hanging at the sides of the bench that they have somehow not fallen off.
Alfonso kisses him in the mouth gently.
He lowers his head against his chest and turns on the clipper again.
He runs them all over his scalp once, twice, thrice. He doesn’t know how many times. Loses count and listens to the other’s heartbeat, feels the warmth of his hand holding his head in place as he shaves off patches of hair and flicks them in the air.
Finally, he takes his head off his chest and goes over his hairline, mimicking a comb going through his bangs, while he closes his eyes and focuses on the sensation.
At last, the clippers go silent.
He knows right at that moment he’s going to regret cutting his hair tomorrow.
But it’s not tomorrow yet, and he reminds himself of it.
Besides, this is Madrid and it’s summer and this can help fight off the heat.
And he doesn’t want to fight off the heat.
"You need a shower. My place isn’t far away. It’s a twelve-minute walk. If you want to" the Andalusian offers, as they get dressed again.
He smiles. He can hold his appetite for twelve minutes more.