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Slipping out of the party was easier than we thought. Everyone was too busy either dancing or fucking, to care if we were missing. Of course in the back of my mind T was probably pissed at me for punching that guy, but I didn’t care. Someone needed to teach that pompous asshole a lesson and I was glad to do it. If that ruins the friendship, T and I have then so be it. At least it wasn’t in vain.
Matteo drove us to a large retro diner. It looked like a diner where the 80s came to live but never died.
I honestly loved it because it was such a warm and welcoming place and because I have a fascination with the 80s, which is weird, since I’m a 90s baby.
Posters of various movies made famous in the 80s were hung up on the walls, the music playing was “La Isla Bonita” by Madonna and I was trying my fucking hardest not to sing along.
I love that song!!
Upon us entering, there were only eight people chit chatting and eating.
In one booth, were two men sharing a milkshake and staring lovingly into each other’s eyes. I always love seeing LGBTQ+ couples out in public holding hands and being so in love, it warms my heart to see San New City embracing that diversity.
Sure, New York City is where the Gay Rights Movement took place and they have a huge Pride Parade every June; but the hate crimes in that city have been rising and lowering for quite some time now. It made me sick to my stomach just thinking what these two men would go through if this was a New York City diner during the middle of the day.
Matteo tapped my right arm and guided me toward a booth located on the far right corner. It had a ‘Reserved’ note on it, which was weird since hardly anyone was here.
“Um, isn’t this reserved?” I asked as he slid in the booth.
“Yeah, it’s reserved for me,” he replied as if it was an obvious fact.
I slid in the booth sitting across from him and smiling, probably blushing too.
“So you come here often?” I asked wanting to kick myself for asking that question and sounding like a cliché pick up line.
He nodded waving at a waitress who was eight booths away from us. “Yeah. Let’s just say, you’d want to try their Pancake Blast Supreme.”
“What is in it?” I asked, not entirely sure if I’d be comfortable eating anything that has the word blast in it.
He turned to me and continued, “It has three fluffy pancakes, topped with chocolate chips, then topped with whip cream and on the sides are hash browns or home fries. I’d stick with the hash browns since the home fries are dry, peppery and did I mention dry?”
I nodded my head smiling again—God, why the fuck am I smiling again?
A waitress dressed in a bright pink uniform-the same color, tint and shade as Pepto Bismol walked over with a smile on her face. Her makeup was heavy and she reminded me of an older and thicker Fran Drescher. “Good morning boys what can I get you?”
Matteo gave me a wink and turned to the waitress. “Hey Regina, how are the kids and Larry?”
“Ugh!” she sighed shaking her head. “The kids are old enough to vote and yet I’m still stuck doing their fucking laundry. It’s like they’re four years old again. And Larry retired from his tow truck business which is fucking hilarious since he’s the president of the goddamn company. Now he’s probably sitting down on the sofa watching Impractical Jokers with his right hand holding his dick and the other hand holding a beer.” She had a hint of a New Jersey accent that made me miss some parts of New York.
She smiled at me. “Who’s your friend? You never bring friends here. He never brings friends here.”
My eyes darted to Matteo and he nodded his head clearing his throat. “His name is Echo and… he’s one a kind.”
Yep, I’m pretty sure my heart just jumped out of my chest and ran straight to the door never to be seen again.
Did he just say I was one of a kind?! Am I on a hidden game show? Is this part of the homo version of Punk’d?
Regina nodded her head probably thinking the same thing I was. “Well, it’s an honor to meet you, Echo. I’m sure you’re one of a kind—to hangout this one over here.”
“Oh fuck you,” Matteo laughed. “I’ll have you know, I’m not that bad.”
“Oh really? The last video I watched of you had you fucking a bottom who sounded like he was a cat being run over by a monster truck.”
Matteo let out a laugh making it obvious that these two enjoyed roasting each other for fun. It was entertaining to see Matteo in his natural habitat and being free to be himself.
“Okay, I have nothing to do with casting,” he admitted, still laughing. “All of that is done by the production studio. All I do is show up on time, recite my lines and—”
“Fuck a Banshee,” Regina stated not missing a beat.
He laughed hard and I couldn’t help but smile at how beautiful his laugh was.
She shook her head smiling and turned to me. “Sorry, we tend to rip on one another. It’s a tradition here in Retro Ramos. So what can I get you, honey?”
“The Pancake Blaster sounds delicious,” I said.
“Alright, two orders of Pancake Blaster, it’s Matteo’s favorite. Anything to drink, besides a large orange Juice for Matteo?” she asked, playfully rolling her eyes.
“I’ll have a light and sweet coffee.”
“Perfect choice. I’ll be right back boys.”
Matteo watched as the waitress began to walk away. “Thanks Regina.”
“Kiss my crusty toes,” she replied back.
Matteo turned back to me and apologized for going right into his diss match with Regina without giving me any context.
“She’s like a second mother to me. She’s a hoot.” He crossed his arms on the table and leaned forward smiling at me. “So, how have you been? It’s been how many years since we last saw each other?”
“Hmm, we first met a few years back at Pride here in the city. Then we ran into each other again last Summer at the Summer Bash on Fire Island hosted by the Luber Tenders. We were talking about the drinks then some drunk guy came and pulled you to the dance floor.”
“Yeah, when I turned around you were gone.”
“Well, that wasn’t my fault. I wasn’t feeling too well. Apparently there is a wrong way to cook sushi.”
I remember that night because it was my first summer off and I spent a majority of it with my face in the toilet bowl due to bad sushi.
“I tried following you on Twitter, but your account was gone.”
“Yeah, Noah banned me from Twitter after I got into a Twitter war with that horrible actor Russel Dovery.”
“That British guy with the Dumbo ears?”
“Mhmm that’s the one.”
“Wait! You were the one that got his show Cruising cancelled?”
I shrugged my shoulders. I refused to deny or accept that claim.
Russel did an interview with the gay magazine Him! about how effeminate gay men are not “real men” because “real men are not sissies. Feminine gay men need to man up because they’re a disgrace to the gay community.”
Of course I tweeted my thoughts on the matter and he tweeted back something vile, so we had a Twitter war, and then Noah caught wind and banned me from the social media app. Apparently, Russel is a huge client of Brian-a Top at Somin’s.
Who knew the homophobic homo liked taking dick?
“I plead the fifth on that. All I know was that I said all I had to say. I guess the network came to their senses and decided to fire him and cancel the show. Is it my fault he was part of a ground breaking gay network television show, only to end up being ignorant? No, I just called him out on it. Besides, it was eight months ago I’m sure he moved on by now.”
“Last I heard, I think he was trying to break into the Gay Porn Industry.”
“Ah it suits him, half of those Gay for Pay actors are just as homophobic as the pussies hiding behind avatars on Twitter.”
I expected Matteo to rebut my statement, but he just agreed with me. It was insightful and surprising. It didn’t take a genius to know that he probably had his share of homophobes he’s encountered.
Regina returned with my coffee and Matteo’s drink. She placed it down on the table, handed us napkins and chewed on her bubble gum loudly as she placed her hands on her waist staring at me. I’m pretty sure she was trying to read me-as in analyze the type of guy I was, not the Drag term used to analyze and insult someone.
“So what do you do for a living? Are you a porn actor like Matteo?”
I smiled and opened my mouth to speak, but Matteo quickly interjected, “You don’t have to answer that question.”
I adored how noble Matteo was being. “I don’t mind at all.” I looked at Regina and smiled. “I’m actually an escort.”
“Like a prostitute?” she innocently asked, although Matteo was shaking his head in embarrassment.
“Um, not really. I work for an agency. Most prostitutes work for a pimp, and I work for a very sophisticated pimp.”
Regina laughed aloud, literally her laugh sounded like a lion being attacked.
“I hear ya. I have respect for anyone who works in the sex industry. It’s not as easy as it was back in my days. People are being killed today by their Johns, raped, gang raped, stabbed then dumped. This world is fucked up. I respect anyone who can go to work every day not knowing if they’re going to be alive tomorrow.”
I wasn’t entirely sure if her words were supposed to be comforting because it didn’t seem that way at all. But I’m sure she meant well.
Thankfully, the sound of a bell caused Regina to walk back over to the cook’s window which was very faaar away, giving Matteo and I a chance to continue on with our chat. Or date… or chat?
“I’m sorry about her. She doesn’t have much of filter when it comes to minding her business.”
“No, she cares for you. It’s understandable.”
I knew there was something currently circling inside of Matteo’s mind because he was clenching his jaws together as if he was thinking.
I decided to break this weird silence and asked, “What is your endgame?”
The question caused him to break out of his thoughts and he looked at me as if I just told him I’m pregnant and he’s the father.
“What do you mean?” he asked nervously smirking.
“With all of this. Dining, taking me away from T’s mess of a party. What are you trying to get out of me?”
He lowered his eyebrows and tilted his head slowly toward the right. “I’m not trying to get anything out of you. I was just hoping you’d be up to go on a second date after this one.”
“A second date?” I laughed. “Are you seriously fucking with me? Look at me and look at you. You’re a fucking 10, and I’m a damn three, usually a five on a good day.”
“That’s bullshit,” he said following it with a chuckle as if he was calling me crazy. “You’re fucking amazing. That’s why I’ve been trying to find you. You’re honestly, my type of dude.”
“Oh please!” I said with a roll of my eyes and a shake of my head. “Do you say that to all the guys?”
“Are you for real?” he asked.
“Yes, I am. Guys like you: Hot, sweet and charming don’t go for guys like me. It’s like Gay Natural Law or some shit.”
“Fuck Gay Natural Law! Not every gay guy is shallow or obnoxious. You see? That’s the problem with the fucking community these days. They want to build us up only to tear us down if we aren’t skinny enough, light skin enough, hot enough, masculine enough. The guys who are fucking beautiful, like yourself, are full of doubt and low self-esteem because of the shallowness of it all. It’s fucking sick!”
I didn’t expect Matteo to get so worked up by my comment. He really was someone who surprised me and I liked being surprised… at times.
I gulped trying to find the right words to respond with. “I get it. You’re right but it’s just… for me… I was in a two year relationship before and it wasn’t my best life decision.”
Matteo nodded with a soft smile on his face. “No past relationships are our best life decision and we learn from those mistakes. I’m not your ex and honestly speaking? I don’t ever want to be your ex.”
At that moment, I knew exactly how the guy felt when I punched the air out of him. I didn’t have anything to say or add after hearing what Matteo just told me.
He took my hand in his-his hand was larger than mine yet softer too.
I felt a strange surge of electricity come from his hand and run through my body as he touched me.
“I know I may come off as some hard ass, but I’ve never met someone who makes me feel the way you do. You aren’t materialistic, shallow, rude or obnoxious. When you first met me, I was expecting you to talk about my movies or ask for a selfie. You didn’t. You shook my hand-something no one has ever done before. You made me feel… like a person. An actual human being.”
I didn’t think much of it when we first met. I was aware of his career because he was on the homepage of the Gay and Bisexual sections of Pornhub and he was very memorable. I was just being my honest to God, normal, considerate self.
“It wasn’t me being flirty at the time.” I responded back-I’ve never been too well with receiving compliments, so this was my way of trying to justify my kindness towards him. I didn’t want him to think I was nice to him that day because I had an agenda. “I just wanted to introduce myself to someone who… I’ve admired for quite a while.”
A smile spread across his face. “You admire me?” he asked in disbelief.
I nodded still blushing because he wasn’t letting go of my hand and I liked it. “Yeah I do. You go out there every day and expose yourself to the world without a care. You make your money, attend events and you don’t care if you get recognized in the streets because you love what you do and you love yourself.”
“Don’t you love what you do?” he asked using his thumb to caress my hand.
Matteo’s fingers were very nice—I know that sounds weird to say, but they weren’t dirty, he had a tattoo on his right hand of some tribal symbol, but his nails weren’t dirty or too long and he had nice cuticles. I think he actually takes care of them, probably gets a manicure daily or weekly? Either way, I wouldn’t mind them touching me.
I snapped myself out of my thoughts and answered his question. “Oh, I love what I do. It’s just… if I may speak honestly here?”
He nodded his head reassuring me I could, I didn’t need his permission to speak but I wanted to make sure anything I say wouldn’t be misconstrued.
“It gets lonely at times. Yeah I get paid to either get fucked by a client or maybe I’m their date for some suave event but at the end of the day, I go home to be by myself. Of course there is also Mr.Hamm but even he’s not enough.”
“You named your pet Mr. Hamm?” he asked amused at the idea.
“No,” I replied back. “That would be weird. Mr. Hamm is my dildo.”
For the first time in years I saw Matteo’s face light up as he was blushing.
“I—I didn’t mean to say that,” I replied, apologizing for making him squirm a bit. “I’m blunt at times.”
“No I—um… no I can see that and if I may be honest?”
I nodded my head.
“I love a man who’s blunt. Besides, I know how lonely our industry can get. Everyone only wants us for sex and nothing more. I’d love to be with a man who knows how this industry works, who doesn’t mind me leaving early in the morning to be on set fucking my co-star I have no interest in, then coming back home to be with my man. It’s not easy for us sex workers.”
I agreed 100 percent with him!
He let go of my hand as Regina returned with plates of our food.
“I sure hope you boys are hungry because I ain’t throwing any of this shit away.”
Matteo and I laughed. He glanced at me and gave me a wink and I felt my face cheeks once again warm up.
God, what the hell is he doing to me?
30 Minutes Later:
Throughout the course of our early breakfast/my late dinner, Matteo kept talking about starting his own production company featuring models of different ethnicities, different body types as well as different personalities.
I of course encouraged him to find better writers because the ones circulating the Porn industry were horrible and cliché.
However, I understood what Matteo’s vision was and I was a bit surprised to hear he endured his share of racism when he first started out in the industry. From his co-stars making fun of his Hispanic roots as well as his accent-he had an accent when he first started speaking English years ago but now he’s picked up more of a New York Dominican accent that made him sound rough around the edges.
I didn’t know any of this about him so it was both shocking yet intriguing.
After we finished our meals, he paid and tipped Regina, which of course resulted in their sparring match, and then he volunteered to drive me home.
This was all new to me because I haven’t went on a date in a very long time and it was even scarier that it was with Matteo ‘La Cima Dominicana’ Romero.
In what seemed like only a few minutes, we ended up in the front of my two family private house. He double parked next to a black Mercedes Benz and put the car in neutral.
“So you live here? Huh, I thought you lived in a mansion or penthouse. Especially the way Noah spoils his escorts.”
I smiled. “Oh no. He wanted me to move into some raggedy apartment but it was uptown in a horrible neighborhood and I wouldn’t have any privacy. I decided to move here. My upstairs neighbor is a Drag Queen named Cherri C. Lada or Alex when he’s out of Drag. He lives on the second floor and I live on the first.”
“That’s what's up,” Matteo replied licking his lips and staring at me.
I unclipped my seatbelt not wanting to make it obvious I was ready to leave the car, I was just nervous—a trait I hardly possess.
“I had a great time tonight,” I replied.
Matteo smiled wide revealing his pearly white teeth. “Me too. Here.” He unclipped his seatbelt. “I’ll walk you to your door. This neighborhood looks kind of shady.”
“Oh please, the most police activity we have here is when Mrs. Baker from next door purposely burns a pot so she can fondle the firefighters when they arrive.”
“Still, you never know what a waits.” He unlocked the doors and pushed open his door, I pushed open my door, got out and closed it behind me.
I walked onto the sidewalk, Matteo joined me and we walked up the three steps of the front of the building.
The night winds were forgiven, they weren’t as cold and harsh as they were days ago.
While Matteo shared so much of himself with me (story wise) I didn’t share enough with him.
I didn’t tell him about the exact details of my childhood or the offer Dave made to me last week.
I already had an appointment booked with Dave for tomorrow afternoon and he expected an answer by then but I couldn’t help but think about Matteo. He said he doesn’t see himself staying in San New City forever but only if “something came up.” I don’t know what exactly was happening between us, I don’t know if we were going to be more than friends or if this was just a friends with benefits situation. Therefore, I needed to push this button and find out what exactly is Matteo’s plan here.
“Why me?” I asked turning my back to the door of the building and facing Matteo.
I expected him to respond with some cheesy pick up line hetero cis people say in those cheesy Hallmark channel movies, but he responded back with a simple question, “Why not?”
“Seriously?” I chuckled not knowing exactly how to respond to that question.
“I know you’re scared, Echo. I’m scared too. You and I are not any different. We both work in the same industry and we both understand each other. Yeah, this will get fucking scary because I don’t want to lose you or hurt you, but at the same time I don’t want to get hurt.”
“And you won’t,” I found myself replying. “There can be 99 porn stars on Pornhub, but all I need is that one guy to help me jerk off… and that one guy is you, Matteo Romero.”
I expected this to be a very romantic moment, but Matteo started laughing!
“What?” I asked nervously.
“That is the corniest line I’ve heard.”
I smiled, gazed into his hazel eyes, and said, “Shut the fuck up and kiss me.” I sighed feeling myself letting go of fear.
Matteo changed his composure and he was no longer laughing at my corny joke. He just nodded his head, “Gladly.” He grabbed my face softly and kissed my lips.
I closed my eyes feeling his warm tongue enter my mouth like a long lost lover returning home.
I deepened the kiss by wrapping my tongue around his and even sucking on it a little.
He gently pushed my back against the door, pressed his body against mine and I felt his hardened length press against me. Good God he was fucking huge!
I didn’t want to think too much about him naked and the damage he could with that piece of Dominican dick because I was too busy getting lost in his kiss.
After a few minutes of me moaning into his mouth, him grunting into mine and me breathing through my nose, he pulled away slowly causing me to open my eyes.
He rested his forehead against mine. “I don’t want to fuck you,” he said breathlessly.
“I—I um okay?” I was confused. Didn’t he find me attractive? Was my kiss that horrible?
He must’ve sensed the confusion in my tone because he then replied, “No, I want you. Oh fucking Christ I want you, but I don’t want to fuck you like you’re some Gay for Pay actor. I want to make love to you like you’re mine. I want to be the reason you shiver, the reason you moan, the reason you whimper. I want to please you, when the time is right. I don’t want to rush into sex. You and I do enough of that when we’re being paid for it. I want to make love when you and I are ready to become one.”
Okay, this was a man that God created just for me.
He gave my nose a soft kiss and used his right thumb to trace my lips. “I hope you have a good night and I’ll call you later on. I need to hear that voice again.”
“My voice?” That was the first time I have ever heard a man say he needed to hear my voice. My “feminine voice,” the same voice I got teased for as a kid, the same voice that got me rejected so many times in gay clubs and the same voice that my clients loved hearing as they fucked me, imagining someone else.
“Mhmm. It’s a voice I can’t live without.” He kissed me once more on the lips and he released his hold on me.
I was going to ask him how he planned on calling me without having my number but I forgot we exchanged numbers during our meals.
Really, I was losing my mind and probably because his kiss was everything I imagined and even better!
I watched as he walked over to his car, walked around to the driver’s side, waved at me, opened the door, got in and drove off.
“Okay, Echo, you got this.” I told myself feeling my knees buckle.
I pushed open the front door and took out my keys from the right pocket of my black jean shorts.
The light leading to upstairs was turned off which meant Alex was still at his gig in the gay club, La Islabella Bonita.
As soon as I found my keys, I felt my left pocket vibrate. If that was Matteo calling me because he missed my voice, I’m going to cry happy tears and yet be very creeped out.
I pulled out the phone to see the caller ID read Unknown Number on it.
Hmmm, that was strange considering it couldn’t be Matteo since he’s listed in my phone as a contact.
I quickly swiped the answer button. “Hello?”
“Echo… it’s me… Cypher.”
“Cypher?” Why was he calling me? Was Dave expecting an answer sooner than tomorrow? If so, I still wasn’t prepared to give him one.
Now that Matteo was inching his way into my life (no pun intended) I needed to make sure that my heart was in it for the long haul.
“Listen, if you’re calling on Dave’s behalf, I don’t have an answer yet—”
“No, I’m not calling for that,” he lowered his voice to a whisper as if he didn’t want to be overheard. “I’m in trouble and I need you to come to the Silmont Hotel. I don’t know how much time I have. There should be a package waiting for you downstairs. It’s a USB with—no!”
The phone went dead.
“Hello? Cypher? Cypher?”
Shit! Something wasn’t right. The last I heard through Dave was that Cypher was at his cabin. Now he’s at the Silmont Motel? That’s only two blocks from me. He has a USB waiting for me. What was on it? What the hell happened?
I have to get down there ASAP!
I opened my apartment door, ran inside, grabbed my Taser, threw it into my black messenger bag, threw the messenger bag over my shoulders, and ran out the apartment closing the door behind me.
Something was extremely wrong and any normal person would call the police… but I’m not any normal person.
I ran out of my building and ran down the block into the unknown.
What could possibly go wrong? I have a feeling I’m going to regret asking that.