Recorded before events in Dirty Deeds
It’s been a couple of years since I’d last sat down with Cole McGinnis. He agreed to take some time out of his day and catch up, choosing a Korean bakery and coffee shop near his neighbourhood. I am there first, settled in with a very strong hot Vietnamese coffee when he comes in. If I had any question about my server being gay, the look he gave Cole as the man came through the door ended any speculation.
Los Angeles is nippy enough for a jacket but inside of the bakery is warm. He’s stripping off a worn black leather jacket as he moves towards the table, his long legs eating up the distance quickly. His hair is shorter than the last time I saw him but he’s gained about fifteen pounds of muscle. I’ve seen the t-shirt he’s wearing before. It was looser then and the soft burgundy fabric moulds to his chest and arms, its Dr Pepper logo stretched over his defined pectorals.
He orders a latte as he sits down, sweetening the request with a smile. The pretty boy with the order pad practically floated away on Cloud 9 but Cole didn’t seem to notice, more focused on saying hello to me than anything else.
Hello and the cupcake sampler I’d let the pretty server con me into ordering.
“Go ahead,” I say, pushing the plate at him. “Let me know if you find something not too sweet. I’m not a big fan of frosting.”
“Here, this one.” He plucks an orange-chocolate treat from the platter, setting it down on the plate in front of me “More bittersweet than sugary. Goes good with coffee.”
His fingers daub through a pink swirl of frosting, bringing the foamy mess up to his mouth. I see the server drop the cup of coffee he’d been about to place on a tray. The sound of the shattering ceramic cup made Cole flinch and he glanced over his shoulder, suddenly keenly aware of any movement around him. His gaze flits over the server and his body relaxes, his casual smile coming back to his handsome face when he turns back around.
“So, you got some questions for me?” He thanks the server who brings over a latte but his attention is mostly on the cupcake he’s licking clean of frosting. There is a sprinkle on his lip and he rubs it off with the ball of his thumb then sucks the purple candy off. There is a bit of a little boy in his face when he looks up at me, a bit bashful at being caught licking his fingers clean. “I’ve got a bad sweet tooth.”
“Yeah, let’s give it a go.” I grin back at him. It’s hard not to. His smile is infectious and I can see the change in his manner. Things are a bit settled than they were a few years ago. There are still shadows lurking in his green eyes but there’s definitely a lot more joy.
How are you and Jae doing? Since the last time we heard from you?
C: Wow, good. We’re doing good. He’s pretty much all healed up. And bendy. Very bendy. He started doing yoga to get back the mobility in his shoulder and it’s been… really nice.
Have you thought of doing yoga yourself?
C: I tried. It didn’t go well. I’ll stick to the ring. Safer for everyone and the furniture. We’re short a lamp because of me and I don’t think the cat’s ever going to forgive me for landing on her.
How are you doing learning Korean?
C: Boy, you’re just drilling me here. I can do a lot of things, but I suck at languages. I mean I got enough Spanish—SoCal Mexican—to get by. The Korean I’ve got, I fought for. It’s kind of why he calls me agi. It’s his way of making fun of me because I called him baby and that’s what I latched onto. It’s the wrong damned word but now it’s kind of ours. ‘Course if you ran across a couple of guys calling each other ‘infant’ in public, you’d think they were nuts.
He doesn’t mind my shitty Korean and sometimes we try a new phrase. He is in serious pain when I try to pronounce things. So, I know the foods. Or I’m learning the foods—so much damned food. But I can order food, ask where the bathroom is and say I love you. What more do I need? Especially the I love you.
Why haven’t you started carrying your gun on you since you have a conceal weapons permit?
C: I actually have started carrying because well, Sheila. Fucking Sheila. I don’t know. The weight of it—it’s too much. There’s a smell to a gun, you know? The oil. The powder. Sometimes, I shoot one or catch a whiff of one and I’m standing there with blood on my hands. Rick’s blood. Fuck, my blood. So yeah, carrying’s a bit rough.
Last question—what are the chances of putting a ring on Jae’s finger?
C: Oh man. Wow. That’s… wow. Okay, give me a minute.
Lets talk about this. So much has changed since…shit, so fucking much. Think about it. Society’s kinda flipped over in midstream. Ten years ago, you didn’t even see two guys kissing on television. Or if you did, it was hidden up in the pay-channels. Now, totally different. And if it’s taking me a bit of time to adjust, you’ve gotta think about Jae. He just was shoved out into this world six months ago. He was holding his breath his entire life because he was drowning in fear. Will I marry him? I’d love to fucking marry him. Hell, I’d fucking love to not marry him if that’s what he wants.
I don’t need anything but him. However he wants me.
We finish the cupcakes—well he does. I pick at the orange and chocolate creation and it’s good, a spackle of rough sugar on top instead of icing goes a long way in dialing back the sweet. The server packs up the rest of the treats just as Jae-Min Kim joins us and the tragic look on our waiter’s face would be comical if his pain wasn’t palatable. Cole hesitates as he stands but Jae leans in, boldly kissing him on the mouth before heading over to the counter to order a coffee to go. Jae turns to ask Cole if he wants another latte and Cole nods a yes at him.
“Would I marry him? You bet. Will I wait for him if he wanted me too?” Cole’s smile is complicated, mostly love but also bittersweet. He definitely loves the man standing at the counter. That much is evident in everything he does, even as he picks up the duffel bag of equipment Jae’s left on a chair. “Yeah. I’d wait fucking forever.”