" Wow," I heard Grady whisper, as the four of us exited the sleek black sedan. A gaggle of press snapped cameras and others pushed microphones into faces for on-the-spot interviews. The mayhem that ensues at a press event can be merciless, if you're not on your game, and a noted likely few will end up torn to bits on all those love-to-hate rag sheets at the supermarket checkout.
I reworked an outfit, fitted tuxedo jacket over a vintage-tee, topped off with a Philip Tracy straw fedora. Two parts Dean Martin and a splash of "Miami Vice" made up my visual cocktail for the night.
I was broken free from my friends. as a hand pulled me across the dreaded step-and-repeat. In layman's terms, the step-repeat means being flanked by a carpet and backdrop that is plastered with logos of all of the event's sponsors and into the eye of flashbulbs.
I had done my homework, with a mental cheat-sheet of sorts stuck in my brain about the launch of the new Miami Magazine division. Just like New York City, but Miami could quite possibly be its kid sister, with fantastic nightlife, young, energizing designers, and a gay scene to bark about.
"Oh, look who decided to join the second class," Luke winked, as Will and Grady got cocktails. The guys really looked great tonight: Grady in Ralph Lauren, Will cool and smart in Dior Homme, and Luke in a tight black v-neck and Neil Barrett print trousers.
" Sorry guys, I had to make the rounds. You know how it is," I giggled.
"This is some bash. I never thought magazine people were so sexy." Grady gushed, scanning the oversized crowd.
"What were you expecting-rows and rows of blondes in tight sweaters on typewriters" Luke grinned.
Will hadn't said much. In fact the distance between us the past two weeks was unusual. Sure, we have our spats, but nothing that felt as icy as tonight. Will needed to find the bathroom and that gave me a chance to tag along. Luke and Grady squeezed through the throng and disappeared.
" I'm glad you came," I said, trying to secure a spot to wash my hands. The bathroom was loaded with so many guys chatting, smoking, and fussing in front of mirrors, that it felt the girls' room of a bad prison B-movie.
"I just wouldn't have thought that you would have gotten mixed up with a guy with a boyfriend," he finally said, after a long pause. " I was that guy, Joey, and I know what it feels like. Hell, I moved across the state to get rid of that feeling," he added.
True, Will was that guy who was cheated on, wrecking what they had together: a life, careers, and trust.
Before I could say anything, an interruption pulled me out of the room, moving me to the front of floor. Will followed, realizing that my reputation among my peers was much more important than a bathroom chat. The editors of both publications, New York and Miami, made short speeches, and Jaden, my editor, finally made an appearance.
" Are you excited?" Jaden asked. Confused, Will looked at me, as Grady and Luke came over. "You will absolutely love Miami," Jaden added, but this time his face looked guilty and drawn. After a fast handshake, he quickly walked off. My fate had just been signed, sealed and, apparently, just delivered.
"Congrats," a voice whispered into my ear, a moment later. "I'm sure he will miss you, but to me, you're quite forgettable." The owner of that voice disappeared in a matter of seconds, leaving a stinging sensation in my brain.
"Who the fuck was that?" I heard another voice ask. This time, it was Luke.
"Garret, Jaden's boyfriend."