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Cousin Enzo's Arms - Parts 1-4

londonboy

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Cousin Enzo's Arms.jpg

 

“Cut it out Enzo,” I said trying to push by him.

 

“Come on, Antonio.  You’re the only gay guy I know.  Just answer my question,” he said as his body made it quite clear I would be unable to pass.

 

“This is not funny, Enzo.”

 

“Listen, do you think gay guys would be attracted to my big guns?  I mean, I know the ladies are – trust me, I know the ladies are.  These big things have gotten me laid more times that I can count.  But I’m trying to put myself out there as a caring, open-minded metrosexual and someone told me that meant I had to be nice to the faggots . . . oh damn, that’s not a nice word . . . I meant to say the gay guys.  I’m sorry, Antonio.”

 

I was floored.  Not because of what he was saying, but because he actually apologized and changed the term every man in the extended DiMarco family to describe people like me ever since before I was even born.  It made me stop and actually look my cousin right in his pleading eyes.  He smiled, showing me that his apology had been sincere.  The big ape was actually trying.  That floored me.

       

“Geez, thanks Enzo.  I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a DiMarco boy correct himself.  For the record, though, faggot doesn’t bother me.  I view it like a term of endearment.”

 

“A term of what?” Enzo asked and, immediately, we were back to the Neanderthal stage.  “I was told that this shirt would be hot if I wore it to gay clubs…”

 

“Wait.  What?  Did you just say that you are going to go to a gay club?  Why?”

 

“For the chicks, Antonio, for the chicks.  Hot women love gay bars.  I figure I’d finally go with some co-workers who’ve been asking me to join them for a while.”

 

“Why?”

 

“You know . . . to meet new people.  Open up my horizontals.”

 

“Horizons.”

 

“What?”

 

“To open up your horizons.  Horizons . . . never mind, Enzo.  What’s the real reason you want to go?”

 

“Fuck, are all gay guys mind readers?  You always know when I’m not telling the whole story.  It’s like when we were in junior high together and I told you I was joining the drama club to learn to talk better and you asked me what girl I liked.  I bet you even knew it was Iris Loftus, but you were too shocked I liked an Irish girl to say her name.”

 

“Who’s the girl this time, Enzo?”

 

“See, that’s what I’m talking about.  I hadn’t even mentioned a girl and you already knew it.  No wonder you graduated Harvard with those things called honors.”

 

“Who’s the girl, Enzo?”

 

“Why does there always have to be a girl, Antonio?”

 

“Because it’s you, Enzo.”

 

“Okay, okay.  It’s Carla Luigi.”

 

“The singer from down at the club?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Enzo, your taste is improving.  It’s like you’ve gone from zero to ninety in mere seconds.  I’m impressed.  Careful now, she’s an out and proud liberal.”

 

“I know, Antonio!  That’s why I’ve got to change.  I can’t be calling guys fag . . . um, names, anymore.  I need to know about dressing right, where to get my hair cut, and about wine that doesn’t come in a box.  You’re my only connection to class, Tony.  Help me, please.  We’re going to some place called ‘Beefeaters’ tonight and I gotta seem cool – and I ain’t ever worried about being cool before.  So, help a poor guy out, cousin.  Will the gays like my big arms?  I got this shirt specially for tonight.”

 

I looked at my cousin and felt the same stirring at my crotch whenever I gazed at Enzo.  He was one good looking guy.  Granted, his hair could be improved, his wardrobe lacked a little class, and the guy really needed to go back and finish high school – but none of that mattered when you gazed upon his dark brooding eyes, his thigh-quivering stubble, and what he always used to call his ‘gigantic bazookas.’  The man had the kind of arms that made you suddenly feel puny and weak whenever he was around.  They didn’t just scream power – they yelled it from the highest mountain nearby.  He had the kind of body that most men worked all of their life for and never achieved.  The crazy thing was Enzo wasn’t a gym rat or powerlifting fiend – he just responded well to the workout he got at his construction job in addition to frequent use of the set of free weights he’d had since he had been in eighth grade.  It was like some muscle fairy godfather had blessed him with a body that grew just from lifting the milk carton.  I came home each Christmas specifically to get a lift-you-off-the-floor hug from those monstrous arms – both when I arrived and when I was leaving.  Enzo used to protect me in school.  No one dared bully Antonio DiMarco or they’d have to answer to the ‘gigantic bazookas.’  A visit from those arms usually meant you’d be dangling by some pipe the back of your pants was attached to after being lifted off the ground or, worse, literally being stuffed into a locker.  The first part of my senior year was hell because Enzo, only a junior, decided to drop out of school.  My protector was no longer there.  After he heard I was having some problems, Enzo dropped by the school to say hi and remind the bullies I was off limits.  The silent threat worked. 

 

“Enzo, there’s not a breathing homosexual on this planet that wouldn’t find those arms stellar.”

 

“Cool.  Stellar is good, right?”

 

“Very good.  Now listen, I have a few other pointers that I think will help you a lot tonight, if you care to hear.”

 

The man seemed like I had just handed him the keys to paradise.  He broke into a huge smile, grabbed two beers from the fridge, and ushered me into the dining room so we could sit and talk without being interrupted.  I could tell he was all ears.  I was impressed he didn’t take out some paper and a pen – he always made lists of things he wanted to do, but then promptly lost the list.  He was actually going to listen and remember what I said.  This was, indeed, a new Enzo.  He looked at me like an eager puppy ready to please.

 

“First of all, gay clubs are a lot different than those places you call a bar.  And most of the gay men you are hoping to impress – along with your girl, Carla – are not like the guys, and even, forgive me, the girls you know.  With your regular group of friends, it’s fine for you to act like a bull in a china shop.”

 

“A bull where?”

 

“Um, it’s fine for you to come on strong – really strong.  I’ve been out with you and you’ve flexed your arms more in one night than all the guys in the Mr. Olympia contest put together.  It’s like you’re some power-hungry mafia guy that busts into a place wielding heavy artillery.”

 

“Very cool analogy, Antonio.”

 

“When did you start using words like analogy.”

 

“Since Carla started talking to me.”

 

“Remind me to thank Carla.  Anyway, in a gay bar like ‘Beefeaters’ you want to be really subtle . . . um…”

 

“I know what subtle means, dude.”

 

“Of course,” I said and I could feel my face turn red – causing the big man to cup my cheek with his big hand to show me all was okay.  “So, you want to be subtle.  Let those monstrous arms…”

 

“You’ve always been into my guns, haven’t you, Antonio?”

 

We stared at each other for a few seconds in total silence.  This was all new territory for me.   There wasn’t a DiMarco family member that had ever discussed anything personal with me, except my mom and that was always limited to ‘have you met a nice doctor’ or ‘Mrs. So and So needs some decorating advice.’  This was someone actually calling me out on what I was into.  I knew, however, that the new Enzo was ready for honest answers. 

 

“Yes.  I think they are stunning.  And so will everyone at the bar tonight if you just let them do their thing naturally.  There’s no need to announce them loudly like a foghorn on a cloudy night.  Their size will let them speak for themselves, when you are taking a sip of beer, waving to a friend, or scratching the back of your head – which, by the way, I would suggest doing quite regularly.”

 

“That’s kind of funny, since that’s what I do when I don’t understand something and I have a feeling I’ll be doing that a lot tonight.”

 

This kind of self-awareness in a DiMarco man was unheard of.  I suddenly felt a surge of love for this big dude that had never existed before.  Evolution had never really been a thing I thought about, but I had a feeling Enzo’s growth as a human was going to make me read some books about it.  He could tell I was impressed by something he said and this made him sit up taller – which made him look even more huge.

 

“You want people stealing glances at your arms all night long.  Trust me, if you don’t make a big deal about them from the get go, they’re going to be what everyone in the group is talking about when you go to the bathroom.  Now, forgive me – I know you’re a changed man, but I feel I need to also say – no loud burping, no sliding your fingers down the front of your pants while resting, no spread eagle adjusting of your family jewels, and do not – this is huge – be the first to take your shirt off on the dance floor.  Let other people convince you to take it off.  I’m pretty sure some of your co-workers will be tugging on that tight thing and pulling out your shirttail pretty early on.  Let the anticipation build.  Let there be lots of other guys that have their shirts off before you unveil that body of yours.  I have a feeling lots of shirts will immediately be put back on when yours comes off and that’s what you want.”

 

“Why didn’t you tell me all these things I’ve done for years weren’t cool.”

 

“Enzo!  They were cool for your group of friends.  Do not be ashamed of who you are.  Remember, you hugged me and said those exact words to me when I came out to you.  It was one of the most moving moments of my life.  You’re simply doing something most DiMarco’s don’t do – you’re going out to experience a different culture.  And when you’re in a different culture you need to strive and learn their customs, their preferred way of living.  Now, have you thought about what you’re going to do if some guy hits on you?”

 

“I thought I’d tell him I was flattered, but that he wasn’t my type.”

 

“Who told you to say that?”

 

“No one, I came up with it myself.”

 

“Our little boy is growing up,” I said, grabbing both of his cheeks and squeezing.  “The old Enzo would have lifted the guy and shook him like a rag doll or back-handed him across the room.  I’m impressed with your new plan of attack.  And, trust me, it will impress Carla, as well.  I think you’re going to have a successful night.”

 

“I know I am,” Enzo replied.  “With you as my wing-man how can I fail.”

 

“What?  Oh no, buddy boy, I’m not Beefeaters’ material.  That place likes their boys chiseled and gorgeous.  I’d feel so out of place.”

 

“Why do you say that, Antonio, you’re very handsome.”

 

His sincere words moved me.  I looked for any sign of the normal DiMarco sarcasm in his statement, but it didn’t exist.  He again cupped my face and brought his close to mine.

 

“Everyone says you’re the best looking DiMarco.”

 

“Thank you, but I’m still not going.”

 

“Yes, you are, cousin.  You owe me, Antonio DiMarco.”

 

“Owe you?  For what?”

 

“Junior high and high school protection!”

 

And with that, he leaned in closer and kissed me hard on the lips.  The kiss lasted a lot longer than was acceptable between two Italian guys.  I knew he was giving me a gift.  I knew he realized I had dreamed of kissing him for years.  His hand, at the same time, reached over and grabbed my crotch.  His hand quickly found my hard meat and he squeezed.  He pulled his head away and shook it in dismay.

 

“The most handsome Dimarco and with the biggest sausage in the family.  Life is just not fair.”

 

Enzo got up from the table and walked away – sure of the fact that I would be heading to ‘Beefeaters’ later on.  I knew the crotch grab meant nothing.  Ever since childhood the DiMarco boys had compared their endowments like you might show off a new car.  I didn’t partake of the custom until around age twenty when five of us were down by the river drinking one night and my cousins drunkenly held me down and pulled down my pants so I’d finally be part of the crazy club.  The shocked faces and total silence when my piece had been unveiled, plus the way they quickly let me go and returned to their beers, made me realize my assumption that all DiMarco men were huge below the belt was not true.  From that moment on I had been treated with a lot more respect than ever before at family gatherings. 

 

“Yeah, well you’ve got the biggest arms,” I yelled at him as he passed through to the other rooms.

 

“That’s for damn sure.  We’re leaving at ten!” he shouted back.   

 

(To be continued…)     

 

 

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Part Two

 

“I’m so nervous, Antonio, I’m going to need to do a couple of shots as soon as we get to the bar.”

 

“Hell no!  Absolutely not, Enzo. Last time I was around you and you did shots you put your fist through a wall and took on three guys at one time.”

 

“It was just wood and plaster, cous, and I clobbered those three guys, didn’t I?”

 

“You also threw me over your shoulder an hour later on the sidewalk and carried me to an all-night diner so I would buy you breakfast.  People stared at us the entire way.”

 

“That big thing in your pants told me you liked the ride.”

 

“That’s beside the point, Enzo.  Listen, no shots.  You need to be focused and coherent to talk to Carla.  I can help you as much as I can, but you’re going to have to carry on a conversation with her all on your own most of the time.  You won’t be able to just toss her over your shoulder like some caveman and take her home.”

 

“Who knows, she might like that,” Enzo said, smiling at me in the back of the cab I had insisted we take since I didn’t want to ride home on the back of Enzo’s motorcycle after he’d been drinking – even if it did mean I got to press myself up against his wide, strong back.  I gave him a stern look and he quickly added, “You’re right, Carla’s too classy.”

 

“Enzo, you’re used to girls…”

 

“Ladies, Antonio.”

 

“…Ladies that tease their hair higher than a skyscraper and think the size of their heels are more important that the size of their I.Q.  That’s fine for a hot night in bed, but it definitely limits the conversation at breakfast the next morning.”

 

“Oh shit, should I be offering breakfast?”

 

I looked at my cousin and immediately thought how fortunate it was he had gorgeous muscles for days and arms that enabled him to float through life getting things pretty easily.  I’d seen an elder baker give Enzo a dozen fresh doughnuts for free just to say thank you for my cousin wearing a tank top into his shop, which caused a little cash-carrying crowd to come into the place and buy things.  He got an A plus in algebra in ninth grade – from Mr. Hawkins, one of the hardest teachers at our school.  When I asked him how he got that grade he had simply smiled and said he always volunteered to carry heavy things for the elder teacher.  He had even flexed his way out of a speeding ticket with a straight-as-they-come cop just because the officer was so impressed with his arms.  Enzo wasn’t going to be the scientist who discovered the cure for some rare disease, but it was always be much more impressive that he could easily bench out many reps with the body of the scientist that was.

 

“Yes, Enzo.  You have to promise me you’ll cook breakfast for Carla the first time she stays over.  I’ll help you with what to cook.  And throwing her on your bike and taking her to your mom’s house for breakfast isn’t the same thing.  Instead of a walk of shame, you make it a breakfast of shame.”

 

“Tell me what to cook now, Antonio.  I not sure I have all the things I need to make a breakfast tomorrow.”

 

There it was – the DiMarco manly confidence that had somehow skipped me when I was born.  Enzo was absolutely sure Carla would be running home with him tonight to jump in his bed.  His brain could not even begin to consider the possibility of being turned down.  And when Carla did say no to his offer, I knew he would proceed to get shit-faced and the next morning tell all of the DiMarco men he had decided she wasn’t the girl for him and that he had turned her down.  It was the DiMarco way.  Save face, hold on to your manhood at all costs, and always blame the girl.  I thanked the universe, again, that I had been born gay.  Enzo could see in my face the mistake he had made without me even saying a word.

 

“I don’t get to take her home tonight, do I?”

 

“Nope.  You gotta make her want you more, Enzo.  The forbidden fruit and all.”

 

“You calling me a fruit,” Enzo said, tensing his big arms.  “Just kidding, Antonio, don’t look so scared.  I understood the reference.  It’s just that I’m so fucking horny.”

 

“I’ll blow you when we get home,” I responded, boldly – his size and proximity clearly making me feel more me confident and slutty.

 

“Promise?” he shot back and you could have knocked me over with a feather I was so taken aback.  “What if she doesn’t like me?”

 

“Since when do you care about things like that, Enzo?”

 

“Since I met Carla.  One night, after her gig was finished, she came and sat beside me at the bar.  As we slowly sipped our drinks, she asked me questions about my life, my dreams, my fears.  I could instantly tell it wasn’t a flirty conversation – she was just chatting with me like a friend.  I’d never met a girl that seemed interested in anything more than my big arms, my power.  She actually seemed oblivious to all that – looking me in the eye the entire time and not even once asking if she could feel my guns.  It was both deflating and empowering at the same time.  Did I choose the right words just then?”

 

“They were perfect, Enzo.  So, you know you’re not acting like a DiMarco man right now, right?  You’re more worried about a girl liking you than you are being in a bar with a bunch of queers.”

 

“Hey, is that word acceptable?”

 

“Depends on who you’re talking to and how you use it.”

 

“Fuck, there’s so much to learn.  I’m getting tired of hanging out with the same crowd all the time, Antonio.  No one seems to want to do anything other than drink, fight, and fuck.  And that’s just the women.  Just kidding – I gotta learn not to be so rude to the ladies.  Anyway, I figure tonight’s going to be some new interesting conversations, a new environment, and there’s going to be a lot of new people that have never met my ‘gigantic bazookas,’” he said and flexed both of his arms in the tight space of the back seat.  “I’m ready to bless them with my hugeness.”

 

“Even though I love the sight of your arms, Enzo, remember, you can’t be flexing any time you feel like it, tonight.”

 

“I know, Antonio.  I just did it because I knew it would get you stoked.  You’re going to have to get out of the cab with that big log of yours bulging something obvious and that’s going to embarrass you to hell,” he said smiling because he knew he was one hundred percent right.

 

At that moment, we pulled up in front of ‘Beefeaters.’  There was already a line of people waiting to get in.  I felt Enzo’s nervousness suddenly skyrocket off the charts.  I was, again, amazed that the biggest and most muscled DiMarco man was about to walk into a gay bar.  I was absolutely sure he was the first cousin or brother of mine to step into one – unless one of them had done it by accident some time.  I then realized that couldn’t have happened because they never went anywhere they didn’t already know.  They all put the ‘regular’ in regular customers.  I felt my own anxiety rise, too.  I suddenly thought I hadn’t prepared Enzo enough for the evening.  There were so many things about the gay culture and gay bars that he should have known before I let him come here.  I felt like I was leading a guy onto a big stage and he was totally naked.  Maybe I felt that way because I secretly wished I could take a long gander at a naked Enzo.

 

“Gay bars have lines?”

 

“Fraid so.”

 

“And what is that?”

 

“That, my dear cousin, is the doorman . . . um, doorperson.  Behold your first ever drag queen, Enzo.”

 

“She’s huge!  Are those tits real?  Look at those fucking legs – they’d wrap around me two times.  Her arms are as big as mine!”

 

“Trust me, they are not.  As for the so-called ‘tits,’ I’m pretty sure they are not real.” I answered after paying the driver and turning to head to the back of the medium-sized line.

 

“Where are you going?” Enzo asked. 

 

“The back of the line is just there,” I replied.

 

“Bro, all of this muscle doesn’t wait in lines, follow me,” he said, inhaling so his upper body seemed to balloon even bigger and walking in the other direction.

 

I didn’t have time to stop him.  I didn’t have time to explain to him that the unspoken laws of the gay world said only the fabulous people zoom ahead of the line.  Enzo was suddenly that dweb flying in coach who had accidently stumbled into the first-class line.  He was going to be embarrassed and ashamed when the ticket counter turned him away.   I so should have explained how things like shoes, haircuts, expensive watches, and showing up in cars that cost the same as Midwest houses made it possible for you to get special treatment.  Any time I went with a DiMarco cousin to his drinking establishment we by-passed any line, which rarely existed.  We got to zoom through because whatever cousin I was with had been coming to the joint since he got his fake I.D. at age fifteen.  He was such a fixture at the place he practically owned a stool and a pool cue.  Before I could do anything, Enzo was standing beside the high-heeled-made amazon drag queen that clearly ruled with an iron fist.  She was looking at a clipboard in her hand and shaking her head slowly at the hopeful demure couple in front of her.  She did not look up at us when we stopped beside her.  She continued to flip through papers.

 

“The line forms back there, bitches,” the tall Dolly Parton look-a-like said, pointing behind us with her pen – still not looking up. 

 

That’s the moment I saw my somewhat uncouth cousin Enzo turn into something magical.  He hooked his thumbs behind his belt buckle, flared out his lats in a way that highlighted his big frame so it seemed to emanate moonlight, smiled a smile that could have even won over a conservative asshole protecting his riches from the masses, and then spoke in that distinctive DiMarco manly way that I’m sure had often made some women cream in their undies on the spot.  I didn’t have time to warn him he wasn’t in Kansas anymore – he was about to face the Wicked Witch of the West and his Dorothy Gale innocent charm wouldn’t work. 

 

“How-you-doin, gorgeous?”

 

“Listen honey,” the drag queen said, looking up terrifyingly slow from the clip board, “I don’t have time for your sorry-assed . . . helllllooooo, Mr. Fucking Muscles!  What Planet Fitness just beamed your gorgeous body down to our earth, big man?  And how can Ms. Dolly serve a big bull like you?”

 

“I’m really thirsty, Ms. Dolly.  I was hoping I could lift you off the ground in exchange for a quicker entrance to your fine establishment.”

 

If Enzo had told me his plan in advance I would have told him it was cheesy and stupid – a sure-fire way to not gain access to the bar, ever.  However, the reality of what transpired was nothing short of breathtaking.  Enzo exuded enough manliness to knock down a building.  I watched as the impenetrable heart of a big older drag queen was melted by the aura of my macho cousin as if it had been nothing more than an ice cube dropped on the sidewalk on a hot August afternoon.  I’d never felt such masculinity permeate the space around me as I did at that moment.  The tone in Ms. Dolly’s voice became sweet and more vulnerable than a Disney princess.  It was like Enzo’s presence sucked every hard, strong, remaining drop of manhood from the drag queen.

 

“Don’t worry about the dress, sweetie.  Grab me hard and leave some bruises so I’ll remember you tomorrow.”

 

Enzo wrapped his big hands around Ms. Dolly’s hips and gripped hard, pulling the sequin-covered body closely into his.  Without ever taking his eyes from those of the rising drag queen, Enzo’s bulging arms lifted the quite hefty Ms. Dolly into the air slowly, making sure her front rubbed against his abs and chest all the way up.  The drag queen bent her right foot upward and arched her back as her crotch was pushed up and down against Enzo’s hard chest a few times.

 

“Now, Mr. Muscles, don’t be making Ms. Dolly’s nicely tucked and taped manhood bulge out this pretty dress.  We don’t want to ruin the mystery, now do we?”

 

“No ma’am.”

 

“Oh, my goodness, he’s so polite, too.  Strong as fuck and good manners – what more could a woman ask for?”

 

“Breakfast in bed,” Enzo replied as he returned the light-headed Ms. Dolly to the ground. 

 

“Oh hell, you big, giant, mountain of a man, you better get inside before Ms. Dolly ravages you right here in public.  You’ve made me feel more like a woman than I ever have before in my entire life.  Now skedaddle in, but promise me another little lift when you leave.”

 

“I promise.  He’s with me, too, ma’am” Enzo said, nodding in my direction.

 

“Lucky little tramp,” Ms. Dolly said, winking at me and then whacking me hard on the ass as I walked by.  “I’ll take any leftovers when you’re done cute, dark, and handsome, but if I was you I wouldn’t be sharing any of your fine Mr. Muscles.”

 

“I know it wasn’t very subtle, Antonio, but I didn’t want to wait in that line,” Enzo said, apologetically, as we walked through the small dark lobby of ‘Beefeaters.’  “I figured Ms. Dolly was still a man deep down and there’s no man on earth that’s not impressed by power.  I might not have wealth, but I do have brawn – so I just thought I’d use it.”

 

“Are you kidding?  That was incredible.  And very subtle.  You didn’t even have to flex.  And it was so hot the way you lifted her!” I said, clearly in awe and very excited – causing Enzo to reach down and grab the engorged hardness in my pants.

 

“Well calm that big thing down, cousin.  I don’t want people looking down there instead of at my big body,” he said pulling back a curtain so I could enter the bar.

 

“That’s not possible,” I replied as I walked by his beautiful arms. 

 

(More to come…)

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Part Three

 

Was I in love with my cousin?  Probably.  Probably in love with his arms more than him.  Although, I had a feeling there was a part of me – more nurture than nature – that adored a beefy, gold-chained, Italian muscleman who wouldn’t recognize the difference between the sentiment of a Hallmark card and a Shakespearean sonnet if his life depended on it.  That was the way of the world, right.  We were attracted to things we knew – things we were familiar with.  But, with that in mind, here was my cousin, the biceps-obsessed uneducated knucklehead chasing after a free-thinking, bra-free feminist who probably considered men as low as pond scum and only good for procreation.  It was really bizarre to think of my strong, huge, bodybuilder cousin as a pussy-whipped yes-boy.  At the same time, I wished he was my yes-boy. 

 

“Never leave my side, Antonio,” Enzo said as we made our way through the oh-so-handsome gay crowd of ‘Beefeaters.’ 

 

Even I was able to single out the gorgeous Carla Luigi in the middle of a mixed crowd over near one corner of the bar and appreciate her beauty.  My cousin had chosen well.  I could not knock him for that.  I did, however, question his choice when I saw that she was drinking an obscure Spanish beer I was absolutely sure Enzo had never even heard of.  I instantly recognized that the group around her was mostly made up of gay men that automatically assumed they were part of an imagined A-list club because of their salaries, the boyfriends they dated, the latest plastic surgery that had been performed, or merely because they were naturally beautiful.  I also realized that Carla was clearly a card-carrying fag hag.  I’m sure there were several hidden reasons for this fact, but the truth of the realization was undeniable.

 

“I’ve got your back, Enzo.  Pretend like this is junior high or high school,” I said to my cousin and he understood the magnitude of my words immediately – my commitment – and it empowered him. 

 

I saw a little of the DiMarco bravado instantly return to his posture, his walk.  Suddenly, it dawned on me – like an explosion of fireworks – that the roles had reversed.  I was now the protector – the big man who scared away the bullies.  In the world of gay men, Enzo was the target, the dweeb who needed protecting.  I was his knight in shining armor who knew the territory – who could put the villains in their place with just a few words.  I realized that my wit and my knowledge now were equal to his brawn and intimidation factor back when we had been in junior high and high school.  I had the power to make or break Enzo’s night and I fully understood the importance of protecting family – of making sure he was treated evenly and fairly.  I was completely aware of the responsibility and obligation he had felt all those years ago – still felt, I’m sure.  I was, simply, becoming a true DiMarco man and he was letting me take the lead. 

 

“She’s going to adore you, man.  I’m going to help make sure of that,” I said and I saw Enzo’s entire body relax. 

 

“I couldn’t have done this without you, Antonio.  You’re my lifesaver,” he said with a look of sincerity that almost brought me to tears. 

 

I suddenly felt huge . . . powerful.  I instantly knew the pride and privilege of being a DiMarco man.  It was knowledge and awareness that flooded me like water from a busted dam.  I felt a kind of obligation I had never experienced before.  I also realized this is what every DiMarco cousin or brother had felt when protecting someone younger or smaller at school.  Enzo could have tossed my body as easily as a small sack of rice, but when it came to all things homosexual I was the Hercules of the gaydom.  I felt invincible.

 

“You’re my hero,” Enzo said and it was at that moment I realized he needed ammunition.

 

“One shot is acceptable, Enzo,” I said with sudden clarity and assurance.

 

“Are you positive?” he asked.

 

“Yes.  If you and I are going to rule the world then we better have some fortification.”

 

“Rule the world.  I like the sound of that,” he said, following me to the bar.

 

“Holy shit, you’re hot as hell,” said the more-than-cute hulky bartender after looking Enzo up and down when we arrived at the bar.

 

“Thank you, I’m flattered,” Enzo quickly said, “But you’re not my type.”

 

It was his memorized response for all the come-ons he was sure to get throughout the evening.  Enzo’s nervousness about meeting Carla Luigi was momentarily lost in the realization that many men were going to flirt with him.  I knew Enzo loved attention, so he’d finally find a way to accept it even from gay men, but the first time had just caught him off guard and he instantly jumped to the comment he had come up with for such moments.  Nothing was said for a few seconds and Enzo turned to me.

 

“Too soon?” he asked.

 

“Too soon,” I replied.  “He was just complimenting you.  You are hot as hell.  We’ll have two shots of Cuervo, please.”

 

The nicely tattooed bartender, with the tight body, gorgeous face, and equally-nice arms smiled at me and went to get our drinks.  I tried to see this moment through Enzo’s eyes.  The poor guy was out of his league, here.  I needed to give him some slack for his mistake.  He was so new to all of this. 

 

“He’s fucking hot, though, isn’t he?” Enzo asked and my mouth dropped open at Enzo’s comment as he watched the bartender walk away.

 

“Yes.  Many gay men would say that.  He’s also one of your kind, Enzo.  Straight as the day is long,” I replied.

 

“What?  Are you kidding?  Why in the hell does he work here?”

 

“Because he probably makes more in tips in one night than you bring home in a week,” I answered, causing Enzo’s mouth to drop open wide.

 

“Couldn’t he be that thing called ‘bi’?  You know, where you like girls and guys.”

 

“Possibly, but he’s got a really cute cheerleader-looking wife that I think keeps him pretty happy.”

 

“Fuck me!  I might have to think about getting a part-time gig here if I could make that kind of money.”

 

“Sure, and I can’t wait to hear you explain your new job to all your DiMarco brothers and cousins.  They’d immediately send you to some kind of electrical shock therapy – just to zap the gay out of you.”

 

“Just so you know, Antonio, I’ve never thought that we should somehow change you.  You’re still just little Antonio, no matter who you love,” Enzo said with such open love that I wanted to throw my hands around him and kiss him, but I always wanted to do that. 

 

“Thanks, Enzo,” I replied, as the bartender arrived with our shots.

 

“Sorry about my slip up, earlier, dude.  It’s my first time in a gay bar,” Enzo said, turning to the hot guy.

 

“I figured.  You are one fucking hot dude, just the same,” answered the gorgeousness across the bar.

 

“And you’re straight, too?” Enzo asked.

 

“What can I say?  I’m addicted to pussy,” the guy replied and the two straight guys roared.  “Let me guess, you’re the big guy that Carla Luigi’s been telling me about.”

 

“What?  Carla’s talked to you about me?”

 

“Yeah, she said she knew a guy whose arms put mine to shame.  She wasn’t lying.”

 

“Yours are awesome, man,” Enzo said, sincerely.

 

“Thanks.  I’m Eric,” he said, sticking a huge hand across the top of the bar.

 

“Enzo.  And this is my cousin Antonio,” the man with bigger hands and arms said in response as they shook – making me love him even more for including me.

 

“Hey, Antonio,” Eric said – his hand engulfing my smaller one and squeezing tightly.   “You must be playing wing man for big Enzo.”

 

“Yep, guilty as charged,” I replied.

 

“Better watch out, Enzo,” Eric said, smiling, “It’s not always good to have such a handsome wing man.”

 

“Oh, he’s into dick,” Enzo said quickly. 

 

“Doesn’t matter, man.  That’s the first rule of hot girls at gay bars – they can just as easily hang out with a guy that can do their make-up as a guy that can make them cream in ecstasy.  It’s just a law of the jungle and no one can figure out why.  Make sure you listen to Antonio and do whatever he says as long as you’re in the flirting stage.  You’ll be able to be the man once you get the girl in bed, but – for now – that cute guy, my big friend, is a superhero.”

 

“Don’t I know it!” Enzo quickly replied.

 

“Then there’s no way you’re not going to succeed.  One more shot on the house before you go in, fellas?”

 

“Can we take a raincheck, Eric,” Enzo said without even looking at me, “I tend to want to show off when I’m juiced on tequila.”

 

“Fuck, I bet that’s fun to watch,” Eric said, laughing. 

 

“Until someone gets hurt,” I replied – making both men laugh even more.

 

“Well, happy hunting fellas.  I’ll save those shots for a night when you don’t have to be on your best behavior, Enzo.  Remember, listen to the gay guy – he knows best.”

 

And then Eric was off to help some gaggle of gay boys down the way that kept stealing glances at Enzo.  I looked around and noticed that practically everyone within throwing distance was staring at Enzo.  I suddenly shot into protector mode, silently challenging anyone to come up and mess with my cousin.  I didn’t have to wait long.  An elder, super-sized, clearly drunken queen walked up and grabbed Enzo’s ass before I could even warn my unprepared cousin.  Enzo’s body shot super tense all over.

 

“I’ve always wanted myself a real-life Hulk,” the guy slurred as he stroked Enzo’s tight butt.

 

“If you don’t remove your hand pronto, dude, I’m going to shove it so far up your ass you’ll be able to lick your own fingers,” Enzo said softly, but firmly – assuming he’d scare the man away.

 

“Oooooh, how did you know I was into that kind of stuff.  I love it rough” the man responded, shocking poor Enzo to death.  “You are a real life He-Man.”

 

Enzo had been so confident of his power to scare a guy.  He’d been so sure of his intimidation factor.  He had not been prepared for the fact that most gay men – and definitely drunk gay men – were fearless beyond compare.  An aroused queen was like a heavily armed soldier ready to defend his country’s honor.  Threats of violence – especially violence that came close to what some gay men saw as pleasure – did nothing to dissuade an advancing queen.  Enzo was instantly at a loss as to what to do.  He was so shocked that he even didn’t begin to contemplate punching, tossing, or shoving the guy.  He just stood there, dumbfounded and unable to move.  It was time for superhero Antonio.  I knew exactly what super power to use to make the oversized horny queen retreat immediately.  I pulled the most underhanded, sure-to-work trick in the gay world.  I tapped the guy on the shoulder and, at the same time, pulled his hand away from Enzo’s ass.

 

“Yes he is, but he’s my He-Man, friend.”

 

You would have thought I had tossed out kryptonite and the dude was Superman.  Even in his drunken state his hand flew up to his mouth in horror and he retreated a few steps.  His eyes were wide with shame and he shook his head profusely.

 

“Oh honey, I am so sorry,” dramatically exclaimed the guy, confusing Enzo to no end.  “I was so blinded by his huge arms I didn’t see you there, baby cakes.  Bobby Madden is no homewrecker, cute thing.  I know better than to touch another man’s boy-toy.  I sincerely apologize for my mistake.  Can I buy the cute couple a drink as my penance?”

 

“All is forgiven Bobby Madden” I said, with equal drama, sliding my arm around Enzo’s tight-as-hell muscled mid-section – instantly hearing the disappointed grumblings of many men around us.  “Two Stella’s would be very nice.”

 

And with that, Bobby Madden trucked down the long bar to get Eric’s attention.  I glanced around to see the many jealous faces sending imaginary daggers into my body.  I also noticed a few smiles that were clearly offers of a third party if the handsome couple so wished.  As if I would share such a specimen as Enzo if he were truly mine.  What were those guys thinking?  I didn’t pull my arm from Enzo’s waist, it felt too good there, but I did turn to look at him.

 

“What in the hell just happened and what the fuck is a boy toy?” the dumbfounded giant asked.

 

“I used my superpowers and we’ll explain boy toy at a later date,” I responded.  “I pretty much made you off limits to the entire bar, cousin.  Almost all queens, except a few that have the nickname ‘shark,’ respect the rule of not touching boyfriends.  Oh, they’ll still flirt with you – a lot – but, you’re pretty much a no-go for groping now, because your boyfriend has thrown down the gauntlet.  Who’s the powerful one now, Mr. Big Arms.”

 

“Well, let’s seal the deal, then,” Enzo said, squeezing my body to lift me off the floor and then planting a big kiss on my cheek – I instantly noticed the sound of more disappointed moans rippling through the crowd.

 

“Oh man, nice double block, fellas,” Eric said, as he placed two beers down on the bar.  “Making Enzo off limits and raising the cuteness factor of Antonio at the same time.  Smooth.  These are from Bobby.”

 

“What did he mean?” Enzo said after putting me down and watching the bartender walk away. 

 

“He means that because you are so hot and have chosen me, I become a helluva lot cuter to some guys.  If Mr. Muscles chooses me then I must be much more than what meets the eye.”

 

“But you’re cute as fuck.  I can’t make you cuter,” Enzo said.

 

“Don’t try to put logic to the way of the gay jungle, dude.  It’s just the law of the land.”

 

“By the way, Antonio, what’s a ‘Stella’?”

 

“Never mind, just drink your beer.”

 

“Hey, this is good, what is…” Enzo started and smiled knowingly as soon as he read the label on the bottle – I knew the Belgian beer would be impressive to Carla.  I started leading my fake boyfriend toward the table in the corner – amazed at how the crowd parted for a big guy like Enzo.  Some superpowers I would never have. 

(...The night begins.)

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I  haven't finished Part 2 yet (much less started on Part 3) but I had to chime in:

You DO realize that this story is the gay  male muscle version of "Educating Rita," right?!?!

Tell me you planned it that way and it isn't just cosmic delightful serendipity?!

ALWAYS a pleasure!

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8 minutes ago, londonboy said:

Cosmic delightful serendipity, for I was going for Cyrano.😉

There are ONLY five stories! I was close!

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2 minutes ago, divis24 said:

Get. Out. Of. My. Head....  actually, no, don't- you do up the place so nice!

If your head dreams about the same things as mine, I would never want to leave.  

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I LOVE this series!  It's touching and funny at the same time! 

Fuggdaboutit!

 

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Part Four

 

“Enzo, you came!  I knew you would,” the infamous Carla yelled with unexpected childlike enthusiasm as she jumped up from the table to come hug my big cousin – which made Enzo grin from ear to ear. 

 

“Hey Carla!  Um, this is my cousin, Antonio, the one I told you about,” Enzo said, suddenly sounding like the most shy and wimpiest man on earth and that could only mean his nervousness had returned full force.

 

“The Harvard honors cousin!  Hello, Antonio,” she said and gave me a warm hug, too, and I was a little caught off guard because I expected her to be harder and business-like.

 

I instantly liked Carla and had the feeling that everyone she met felt the same way.  I could easily see why Enzo had fallen head over heels in love with her.  It was clear at that moment that he had by the way he gazed at her like a love-sick puppy as she introduced us to the cadre of gorgeous gay men at her table.  I didn’t bother trying to remember any names – the way they only glanced up from their phones or stopped chatting to briefly acknowledge me made it very clear that they had forgotten my name as soon as Carla said it.  All of them, however, stared at Enzo’s arms with awe and lust while shamefully judging his haircut, clothes, and shoes with obvious disdain.  In spite of Enzo not cutting the mustard in some ways, they would definitely remember his name simply because of his gorgeous body and even more appetizing big arms.  I suddenly remembered Enzo asking me earlier that day if gay men would find his arms hot and I believe even the naïve big DiMarco man recognized the desire in the faces of Carla’s circle of friends.  In a welcomed gesture, Carla waved for everyone to move so Enzo could sit beside her and I could be on his other side.  This way, I’d be able to monitor his actions and words.  It would be perfect. 

 

“I’m so glad you came,” Carla said, lightly touching Enzo’s beefy forearm and then letting her hands drop to her lap. 

 

“I’m glad, too,” Enzo said, with a little more manliness than when he had spoken before and I knew in just a short while we’d have his DiMarco confidence back.

 

“What exercises do you do to get your arms so big?” one of Carla’s friends – who clearly visited the gym, himself – asked, expecting to get some special scoop that could make him a superman, too.

 

“Um . . . I lift a lot of bags of concrete at work,” Enzo replied, innocently.

 

Carla busted out with a loud laugh and gave a wicked look at her shocked friend sitting across from them.  I almost spit out beer since I was taking a sip when Enzo unknowingly put the guy in his place.  There was no way this manicured homosexual was going to be caught dead picking up something as filthy as a bag of concrete.  He was clearly disappointed that Enzo seemed so determined to hide his secret workout routine.  Carla made everything good, very quickly.

 

“Enzo works in construction.  He’s not afraid of hard labor,” she said and the comment made me like her even more – it seemed like I was not the only one who had superpowers here.

 

I took a moment, as Carla and Enzo chatted about her last gig singing at the bar, to look at the angel my cousin had chosen.  Carla had clearly never teased her hair up in a big pile a day in her life.  As a matter of fact, she was a brunette with a short cut that accented her face and didn’t even come down to her shoulders.  This was a first for Enzo.  She wore very little make-up – clearly not needing it to enhance her already beautiful face.  Her smile even made this card-carrying homosexual feel a little stirring in his private parts.  I could only imagine how she made the heterosexual men go crazy – even the enormous powerful Enzo.  Suddenly a strong hand tightly grabbed my thigh and I snapped back to the conversation happening beside me.  I luckily heard Carla ask her question again.

 

“Which guy here do you find attractive, Enzo?” she said, and I could feel Enzo’s fingers dig harder into my leg.

 

“I’m the gay one, Carla.  Enzo’s as straight as they come,” I said quickly to save my cousin and felt the pressure on my thigh release.

 

“I kind of figured that one out on my own, thanks Antonio,” Carla said, teasingly.  “I was just thinking he could still find guys attractive.  I can easily tell you what I find beautiful in a woman.”

 

“I like Eric, the bartender.  I think he’s hot,” Enzo said, removing his hand from my leg and looking at Carla proudly and making me feel proud at the same time, since he had answered so effortlessly and truly seemed to mean it.

 

“Not fair,” Carla said after taking a sip of her beer, “he’s as straight as you, Enzo.”

 

“Hey, can’t I be attracted to a straight guy?” Enzo asked.

 

“Touché, Mr. Dimarco, touché,” Carla said and I thought touché indeed, Enzo – the guy was definitely getting his mojo back.

 

“But if you want me to point out a gay guy or one I assume is gay,” Enzo said looking around the bar, “then I’d have to say the man walking toward us over there.”

 

“Christian!  You’re back!” Carla suddenly yelled, jumping up and running around the table.

 

I had turned to look where both she and Enzo had been looking, but I was distracted by a beefy Asian man walking nearby – then it dawned on me that both Enzo and Carla had been referring to that exact walking mound of gorgeousness that was now approaching our table.  Carla jumped into the huge waiting arms of the dreamboat of a man, wrapping her legs around his waist.  They hugged for a good solid minute and then Carla let her feet drop back to the floor.  When she turned around there were tears in her eyes.

 

“Guys, this is my brother, Christian, or are you going by your Cambodian name, now?” she asked.

 

“Christian is fine,” the twenty-seven-ish looking dark haired stud said, looking around the table quickly and placing a chair, plucked from nearby, right beside me. 

 

Christian held my hand a little longer than anyone else at the table as Carla introduced him.  He also gave his sister a knowing look when introduced to Enzo.  It might have been my imagination, but there might have been approval in the glance, as well.  I suddenly found myself hoping so much more so than before.  If Carla liked Enzo a lot, maybe that could lead to time with Christian. 

 

“Can I get you a drink?” Enzo asked Christian and I immediately turned to give him a ‘way to go, cousin’ smile – being caught red-handed by Carla, which made me turn red, but made her smile. 

 

“No, that’s okay, Eric’s bringing me one,” Christian said.

 

“Ohhhh, Eric’s bringing you one!  Enzo and Antonio, my brother, here, is the only man on earth that Eric says could get him to turn gay.  When Eric’s a little tipsy he always makes me show him pictures of Christian on my phone.”

 

At that point, the sexy bartender arrived with a Stella Artois for Christian, making Enzo give me a wink when I looked in his direction.  Eric rested his hands on top of Christian’s very broad shoulders and started massaging them.  The entire table became quiet as if all of us were now watching a porno movie together.  I realized I desperately wanted to be in Eric’s shoes.

 

“So, Christian, is tonight the night.  Are you going to finally sleep with me?” the bartender asked making the entire table swoon at the thought of them in bed together.

 

“Eric, Eric, Eric – when are you going to realize that I just can’t get beyond the fact that you’re Irish.  You know that’s not what I like.”

 

“You’re such a racist,” Eric said, slapping the top of Christian’s perfect head and walking away. 

 

“You and your infatuation for all things Italian,” Carla said, laughing loudly. 

 

“Spaghetti, sword and sandal epics, sweet leather shoes, and big hot thick Italian sausages - what’s not to love,” Christian raised his beer in a toast.  “Besides, you’re just like me, dear sis.”

 

I raised my glass to connect with everyone else’s, but didn’t look at the man newly seated beside me.  I couldn’t, since my face was flushed red with excitement from the words he had spoken.  I was pleased for Enzo, too, hearing that the girl he liked so much favored Italian men, but it was the fact that the Cambodian with the massive pecs, swollen arms, emerald green almond-shaped eyes sitting beside me liked Italian guys that made me turn into a quivering mound of goo, instantly.

 

“Would Eric really sleep with you,” Enzo asked and the innocent naiveté in his voice made me return to my job of making him look good – pushing away my own need for lustful gawking.

 

“For sure,” Carla said.  “What’s the matter, Enzo?  Don’t tell me you’ve never thought about sleeping with a man.”

 

“Well, to be perfectly fair,” I said with a much too-forced laugh to be taken as just casual conversation, “I’ve never thought about sleeping with a woman.”

 

“I don’t believe it, Antonio,” Carla said – almost challenging.

 

“Neither have I,” came the deep, melodic voice beside me – saved by the brother.  Maybe he had superpowers, too. 

 

“Really?  I think about sleeping with women a lot,” Carla said.

 

“Careful, that kind of talk is going to turn Enzo on,” Christian said, boldly winking at my cousin, which made Enzo laugh out loud – fully catching on to the fact that Carla’s brother was insinuating watching two women make out would be something he’d find hot, which he would, especially if one of them was Carla.

 

Enzo, this time, had been saved by the man with dark unblemished skin that sat so confidently beside me.  Christian definitely had superpowers, too, it seemed.  I could feel him looking at me.  I could feel him wanting to run his hand down my back and rest it at the top of my ass.  Or maybe that was just me projecting. 

 

“I kissed Antonio today and it kind of turned me on,” Enzo said, suddenly, and it was clear he was trying to show Carla he was an open thinker.

 

I turned to Enzo and gave him a ‘what the fuck’ stare.  On so many levels this kind of revelation was not necessary.  I couldn’t tell if the sudden stares from around the table were because people were appalled, turned-on, or just confused, like I was.  I mean, I had really liked the kiss – if I were being completely honest, but I had not expected Enzo to mention that he liked it.  I thought he wouldn’t even remember doing it.  I didn’t like where this conversation was headed, but I didn’t know how to stop it without embarrassing Enzo.

 

“Speaking of things I’d like to watch,” said Carla, smiling devilishly, which made everyone laugh – including me.

 

“I found myself wanting it to last longer,” Enzo overshared, “I guess there’s not much distance between a kiss and having sex – so I guess I have thought about it, before.”

 

This was one of the most simplistic and honest things I had ever heard anyone say.  Enzo was looking at his beer bottle, and it was clear he had truly thought about what he was saying.  I saw in the way that Carla was looking at him, that she, too, understood the huge inner awareness moment that was happening for Enzo.  I saw true admiration and respect in her eyes.  It was clear to me that she saw my cousin the same way I did – as the muscled rock-star of a guy that he truly was.  He was a man that always tried to do his best – no matter what.  I wanted to hug him for being so vulnerable and honest, but, again, it wasn’t the right time and it definitely wasn’t the right place.

 

“Hey Enzo, come be the big strong construction worker that you are and carry the next round of drinks I’m buying for everyone,” Carla said, pulling on the thick arm of Enzo as she stood up.

 

Enzo nodded, but looked at me with a ‘what do I do’ look as he stood up, too.  I nodded and motioned with my eyes that he should go.  I knew he was in trustworthy hands with Carla.  I had definitely picked up that she both understood my cousin and liked him very much.  She wasn’t threatened by him in any way – as a matter of fact I think he brought her a kind of calmness she wasn’t used to.  I watched the two of them walk away, having briefly forgotten the handsome brother that remained.

 

“She likes him.”

 

“How can you tell,” I asked, turning to look at the gorgeous smiling face of Christian.

 

“She never asks for help from a man . . . or anyone, for that matter.”

 

“I’m afraid Enzo’s never known a girl who didn’t constantly ask for help.  He’s helplessly smitten, by the way.”

 

“Maybe their meeting was meant to be,” Christian said and it was clear by the way he spoke he wasn’t just talking about Carla and Enzo.  “Man, his fucking huge arms make me jealous as hell, though.  Sorry to be so predictably vain.”

 

“It’s okay – you, me, and everyone else feels the same way.  What gives with the lack of similarity in the way you and Carla look, by the way?”

 

“You noticed, huh?  And thanks for being bold enough to ask.  You’d be amazed at how people dance around it saying stuff like ‘you two have the same eyes.’  Give me a break.  Carla, myself, and my five other siblings are all adopted.  We’re a modern-day Brady Bunch with one extra.”

 

“Seven children!  You sure you guys aren’t all Italian?”

 

“I wish!”

 

“I could help you become an honorary Italian, but it would involve an initiation given by my seventeen Dimarco male cousins and three brothers and only the strongest and bravest survive that.”

 

“Sounds a little painful.  Sex wouldn’t be involved, right?”

 

“No,” I said, laughing, “but there would be a hell of a lot of alcohol.”

 

“Do I not look strong enough to make it through a DiMarco initiation?” Christian asked, clearly looking for a compliment to show that I’d noticed his body. 

 

I turned to look him in the face, smiling.  I then slowly let my gaze drop down his muscled body tightly wrapped in a fading gray t-shirt.  I was only used to being this close to hugeness when I was around Enzo.  The almost hairless golden arms, along with the smooth as a baby’s behind chiseled face was so foreign to me and not just because of the different ethnic background.  I felt myself getting turned on to the point where I wouldn’t be able to get up from the table for a very long time. 

 

“You might survive,” I said, causing him to laugh – and tense his muscles, I might add.

 

“You seem to have survived,” he said, tilting his chin at me, “and I think I’m a little bigger than you.”

 

“If by ‘little’ you’re talking in dinosaur sizes, then yes.  You give Enzo a run for his money.  I survived because I have superpowers.”

 

“Oh yeah?  What superpowers do you have, Antonio?” he asked and I motioned him to lean in closer.

 

“I’m gay,” I whispered and then leaned back.

 

“Then I have superpowers, too,” Christian said, leaning back, himself, “I’m sure to survive the initiation now.”

 

“Cambodian, huh?” I said, quickly changing the subject because my throbbing crotch told me to.

 

“Yep, although I left when I was just a baby.  My family supported the wrong causes.  Both my parents died pretty soon after arriving here in the States, probably from broken hearts, and I had no one else.  I ended up in the crazy, wonderful, mixed-matched Luigi family and the rest is, as they say, history.”

 

“Luigi!  I forgot.  You are Italian!”

 

“Kind of,” Christian said, smiling, “although no one ever guesses that.  I wonder why?”

 

“Carla mentioned your Cambodian name.  Mind if I ask what it is?”

 

“Of course not.  It’s Vannak.  Or, for short, Nak.  Pronounced almost like what you do when you want to enter a door.”

 

“Good way to remember it.  Vannak.  Sounds cool.”

 

“Thanks.”

 

“You two look cozy,” Carla’s voice snapped both Christian and I back into the actual environment surrounding us – for a while it had only been us.

 

I looked up and the first - and most important - thing I saw was that the old Enzo was definitely back.  I had absolutely no idea what had happened, but the way he was holding his body, his confident smile, and that muscled-giant sparkle in his eyes had clearly returned with a vengeance.  His big hands were carrying most of the drinks, while Carla had a couple.  With ease, that I found astounding, Enzo passed out the right drink to everyone.  The guy must have been studying the entire evening to remember each person’s order.  Christian and Carla were distracted, talking about some family matter, so when Enzo sat down I looked at his beaming face and leaned toward him, so I could whisper.

 

“What’s up with you?  You look like you just won the lottery!”

 

“Antonio, six different people – including Eric, the bartender – asked me to flex for them while we went to and from the bar.  It’s like being at home!”

 

“Oh no, tell me you didn’t, Enzo.  We talked about his.  Please tell me you didn’t.  Oh god.  What did Carla do?”

 

“Antonio, that’s the thing.  I would have refused every request as politely as possible, just like you told me to, but Carla told me to do it.  She insisted.  She said I should give them what they asked for.  And here’s the kicker, Antonio . . . I think she liked it as much as they all did.”

 

I immediately turned to look at the beautiful woman as she talked to her equally beautiful brother and was shocked beyond words to find her massaging Christian’s big biceps, draped across the arm of the chair, while they spoke.  It was like neither of them even registered that she was doing it.  Suddenly, it dawned on me – that I had made the biggest mistake possible when it came to Enzo – no one was immune to the allure of his arms.  Classy people loved muscles, too.  Carla – the refined, educated, surely opera-loving, feminist liberal – was turned on by Enzo’s bulging arms just as much as I was – as anyone was.  And why wouldn’t she be?  She was different just because she didn’t drink wine from a box?  She had already determined Enzo’s inner being was worthy of her.  She had already seen what I also knew – Enzo’ heart was pure.  She was just really loving the wrapping on the Christmas present, too, and who could blame her.  Enzo’s arms just happened to be the cherry on top of his scrumptious cake.  I should have thought to tell him to always look to her to be his guide, but he had figured that out all on his own.  I looked back at the almost cocky smile of my cousin, who grabbed the back of my neck and squeezed hard – just as he had for years – to let me know everything was okay.  Enzo, my superhero, was back. 

 

“God, Antonio,” Enzo said, leaning closer in so he could whisper eve softer, “I like her even more than I already did.  I’ve never wanted a girl so much.  Isn’t she wonderful?”

 

“She is more than wonderful, Enzo.  I like her a lot.  But she’d also be lucky to have you,” I added and the hand at my neck squeezed again.

 

“She loves Italians!  She fucking loves Italians,” Enzo said, giggling like a schoolboy.

 

“What are you two cousins talking about?” Carla asked as she returned to her chair.

 

“How wonderful you are,” I said, smiling at her and then letting out a little yelp as Enzo squeezed my neck too hard.

 

“As you should,” she shot back, teasingly. 

 

Then Carla Luigi did something I will remember until the day I die.  She reached up and grabbed the thick neck of my giant cousin and, digging her nails in sharply, she squeezed.  Enzo yelped even louder than I did and instantly looked at her.  She nodded her head in the direction of Enzo’s hand at my neck, making it clear that she wouldn’t let go until he did.  Enzo immediately removed his hand.  Carla released her tiger’s grip and lovingly massaged the big man’s neck.  She then returned her hand to her beer bottle.  I stared at her with an open mouth.

 

“I have a lot of brothers.  And have you noticed the size of Christian?”

 

Fucking hell yes is what I wanted to shout, but I, thankfully, refrained.  Enzo looked at me and widened his eyes to make it clear that what Carla had just done had impressed the socks off of him.  I could see that he was smitten beyond belief.  And for the first time that entire day and evening that thought did not make me nervous.  I realized Enzo was going to be fine.  Sure, he’d make mistakes, but he was ready for that.  He was ready to learn new things and grow along side of Carla.  I knew he’d teach her a lot of things, as well.  I caught her looking at Enzo’s profile as he spoke to someone across the table and her face showed that she ‘got him’ and I knew – in my heart of hearts – she’d never hurt him.  Enzo had found the love of his life and Carla had, too. 

 

“Um, well you guys excuse me, I need to say hello to someone over there,” Christian suddenly said and it made me instantly remember our little ‘moment’ that had happened before Carla and Enzo came back. 

 

“Sure,” I said, scooting over a little to give him room to get out and the rest of our table mates took this opportunity to depart to other ports of interest, as well.

 

“Do you like Christian, Antonio?” Carla asked when her brother was out of earshot and it was just she, Enzo and me remaining. 

 

“Yeah, he seems like a nice guy,” I responded, glancing at him over my shoulder.

 

“No, I mean really like him.  Gosh, I sound like I’m in junior high, again.  Let’s try this in a more adult way.  Are you attracted to Christian, Antonio?”

 

“I can answer that,” Enzo chimed in, unexpectedly, “Yes, yes, and – uh – yes!  I know my cousin and that’s a face that screams attracted.”

 

“Well, he’s really into you . . . geez, again with the subtlety of a junior higher.”

 

“Um . . . I don’t know what to say…”

 

“Well, a simple ‘yes, I dig him’ will suffice.”

 

“Yes, I really dig him,” I replied, quietly, and Enzo slapped my back – but not too hard – and Carla raised her bottle to mine. 

 

“We should double date,” Carla said. “No, better yet, you two should make Christian and me a big Italian dinner.”

 

“Yeah, we should!” Enzo agreed. 

 

“And what are you going to make Chef Enzo?  Pour a bowl of cereal and call it dinner?  Since when have you cooked?”

 

“I made a beef Bolognese just the other night, I’ll have you know.  I’ve been getting lessons from Nona DiMarco every Thursday night.”

 

“Nona!  She’s the best cook we know.  You lucky son-of-a-gun.  Carla, I most certainly don’t recognize this renaissance man between us.  I do, however, want to publicly thank you for facilitating his departure from the land of Neanderthals.”

 

“Ha!  I wish every Neanderthal I met looked like Enzo . . . and had the heart of him, for that matter.  It’s me who’s the lucky one,” she said throwing her hand around his broad back and hugging him.  “I think I should probably thank you for helping him get the nerve to come here tonight.  I won’t lie.  It was a test.”

 

“I knew it,” Enzo said, smiling at her.

 

“And you passed with flying colors,” Carla responded, which made Enzo’s smile get bigger.

 

“I’d do anything for Enzo,” I said.

 

“And I’d do anything for you, cousin,” he replied, tipping his beer to me – and I noticed he was still drinking Stella.

 

“How about tomorrow night at 7:00pm?” Carla asked, not caring if she was being pushy and Enzo looked at me.

 

“That would be great,” I replied and that’s when Christian returned to the table.

 

“Sorry about that,” he said, “what did I miss?”

 

“Antonio really digs you and we’re going to their house for a big Italian meal tomorrow night.”

 

“Cool, I love Italian food,” Christian replied. 

 

“Come on, Mr. Cement Muscles, I love this song and want to dance,” Carla said, taking Enzo’s beer from his hand and placing on the table.  “Don’t worry, Antonio, I know the rule about Enzo taking off his shirt,” – then they were gone.

 

(…The boys talk.)

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1 minute ago, Mdlftr said:

Lucky you!  Talk about constant inspiration.......

And constant trouble down south!!! :)

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8 minutes ago, londonboy said:

And constant trouble down south!!! :)

As Cousin Enzo would say, "È una salsiccia nei pantaloni o sei felice di vedermi?"
 

😉

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1 hour ago, Mdlftr said:

As Cousin Enzo would say, "È una salsiccia nei pantaloni o sei felice di vedermi?"
 

😉

Happy, definitely happy!

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