It’s a pretty slow weekday afternoon at Takeshi’s Lick It! ice cream place and Takeshi’s scrolling through his phone when the front bell rings to indicate a customer walks through the door.

“Welcome to…” Takeshi’s eyes widen as he realizes who’s here, “… Lick It.”

“Hi, Takeshi-chan!” Matt waves.

“Uh, hi, Matt… and… Aubrey… Why’re you holding hands?”

“Hey, you gorgeous Asian!” Aubrey says.

Takeshi winces. Aubrey’s greeting sounds too cheerful and enthusiastic, a complete 180 from his usual sullenness.

“Hey?” Takeshi says.

“Matt and I’ve been texting a lot lately and he can’t shut up about your place,” Aubrey looks around. “So this is it, huh? Cute chairs. 99 Cent Store?”

Takeshi grits his teeth. “Dollar Tree.”

Aubrey chuckles. “Slow day?”

“It’s not rush hour yet.”

“It’s summer and you’re selling ice cream. Every hour should be rush hour.” Aubrey flashes a toothy smile.

Takeshi grimaces. He’s so used to Aubrey’s bitchy face that his smile bothers Takeshi more.

“Trust me, bunnycake, it’s good,” Matt tells Aubrey. “What’d you recommend, Takeshi-chan?”

“Uh, sorbet or ice cream?” Takeshi says. Bunnycake? What the…

“Sorbet,” Aubrey looks at the menu on the wall. “Or Country Boy here’d give me flack about the calories.”

“Lies,” Matt laughs.

“Yeah, Aubrey’s good at those,” Takeshi says.

“Good at what?” Aubrey says.

Takeshi clears his throat. “Uh, you may like Sour Berry Sour. It’s raspberry, blackberry, and strawberry with lemon shavings.”

“It’s not pink, is it? I hate pink things.”

Takeshi balls his fists. He knows exactly what Aubrey’s trying to say, yet Matt seems oblivious. “No. It’s dark purple with a hint of fuchsia and light yellow.”

“I’ll take it. I love dark and sour stuff.”

“Bet you do,” Takeshi mumbles as he gets the scooper.

“Excuse me?” Aubrey says.

“I said, ‘One scoop or two?'”

“One. And do you have those dried fruits?”

“Yep. I’ll add them to your order. And Matt? The Matcha Mochi as usual?”

“You know what, I’m gonna try something new this time, something sour,” Matt taps his chin.

“Ooh, he’s crossing into the sour side,” Aubrey grabs Matt’s muscular arms and puts his hand on Matt’s pec.

“Yeah, that figures,” Takeshi says under his breath.

“What’s that?” Matt says.

Takeshi clears his throat again. He should remember to be professional, no matter how weird this whole interaction is.

“Well, maybe the Superman? It’s sweet with a hint of sour. Maybe after having it, you’d want to just stay with the sweet and ditch the sour, huh, Matt?”

“Sour’s always better than sweet,” Aubrey says. “But isn’t that ice cream? Daddy, you told me to watch my calories! That’s not fair!”

Matt laughs. “Well, babe, I guess it’s my cheat day.”

Takeshi narrows his eyes. Cheat day indeed. He knows Matt and Chrissy are in an open relationship, but Aubrey and Matt calling each other pet names sets off alarm bells in Takeshi’s head. Is Chrissy aware of all this?

“So… the Superman?”

“Yeah, why the hell not,” Matt says. “Two scoops on a waffle cone.”

“Daddy, two scoops and a waffle cone?” Aubrey playfully rubs Matt’s pecs. “You’re so bad.”

“We’ll work the calories off after, bunnycake.”

“Oh, wow, Aubrey,” Takeshi wants to vomit but tries to stay cool. “I’ve never heard you giggle before. Cackle yes, but never giggle.”

“Country Boy here’s changed me for the better.”

Takeshi feels bile rising in his throat. Be a pro, you’re a pro, be a pro, you’re a pro, Takeshi chants in his head to keep himself cool.

“That’ll be $12.25,” Takeshi hands the ice cream to Matt and the sorbet to Aubrey.

“I’ll get it, Daddy, my treat,” Aubrey says.

“Aww, thanks, baby,” Matt says.

Takeshi almost falls over. Since when does Aubrey spend money to buy stuff? He glances at Aubrey’s card before swiping it. It’s titanium. Of course. The Ashfords practically own half of Santa Monica.

The machine dings, approving the transaction.

“You’re all set,” Takeshi hands back Aubrey’s card. “Please enjoy.”

Takeshi forces himself to smile back as Matt and Aubrey smile at him. He narrows his eyes and watches the two men grab the chairs to sit down. He fights the urge to call Chrissy.

This can’t be right, Takeshi thinks as he watches Aubrey feed a spoonful of his sorbet to Matt and suggestively licks Matt’s ice cream.

What the fuck is happening. Takeshi wants to rip off his hair when he sees Aubrey laughing as Matt grimaces from the sourness. Now the two giggle like stupid kids.

Also, Matt’s hand seems to be resting comfortably on Aubrey’s inner thigh. Maybe a bit too comfortably.

Have these two been fucking? Ugh, yeah that’s a stupid question. Matt can be a horndog sometimes. It’s not like Takeshi didn’t see Matt fingerbang Chrissy when they were at the beach the other day.

The real question is, how many times have Matt and Aubrey had sex?

He finally looks away and tries to busy himself by cleaning the station.

Years of crying in therapy sessions flash before his eyes. He almost wasn’t able to forgive his parents for sending him to boarding school where he met Aubrey and Derek who made sure the six years of his young life were as miserable as possible. Therapy gradually helped and he was able to mend his relationship with his dad after his mother passed away.

“Where’s the restroom?” Aubrey’s voice jolts Takeshi out of his thoughts.

“Employees only,” Takeshi says.

“Oh, come on. Really?”

The last thing Takeshi wants is to clean up after Aubrey’s excretions. He shudders at the thought.

“Can’t you hold it in? Aren’t you heading out to the gym right after this? Or maybe not since you don’t have your stuff with you.”

“Oh, my stuff’s in Matt’s bag. He came over earlier today and he’ll drop me off after gym.”

What the fuck, Takeshi wants to scream.

“Please?” Aubrey says.

Did Aubrey just say please? That’s… unnerving. Although, letting Aubrey use the bathroom means Takeshi can confront Matt about this whole thing.

Takeshi rolls his eyes. “Fine. Go to the back. But don’t make a mess.”

“Xiexie,” Aubrey says.

“Uh, that’s Chinese. I’m Japanese.”

“Same thing.”

Takeshi’s about to curse loudly at him but Aubrey’s already disappeared. He rushes off to Matt.

“What the fuck is going on? Does Chrissy know you’re on a date with Aubrey Ashford? And that you took off early from work to fuck Aubrey?”

Matt looks at Takeshi. “Whoa, someone’s coming in hot. Yeah, Chrissy knows and he’s okay with it. And I finished my work early. Relax.”

“Chrissy’s okay with you holding hands with Aubrey and acting like two teenagers in love? Geezus, Matt!”

Matt scoffs. “What? That’s crazy. He just started holding my hand on the walk here and it felt… right?”

“What do you mean ‘it felt right?’ Fuck, Matt, are you out of your mind? And what’s with the pet names?”

“‘Baby’ is not a pet name.”

“Maybe not, but ‘Country Boy’ and ‘Daddy’ and ‘bunnycake’ and whatever else you call him are pet names.”

“Takeshi-chan, everything is fine.”

“I’ve told you about Aubrey. He’s manipulative. He wants you and he’s gonna get you no matter what. You’re playing with fire, Matt, but it’s Chrissy who’s gonna get burned.”

Matt stands up and looks at Takeshi incredulously. “I think I’m gonna stop you right there before we both say something we’ll regret.”

“What’s happening here?” Aubrey says.

“Oh, hey, bun… Uh, I mean…,” Matt grimaces at Takeshi as they both catch him using a pet name for Aubrey. “Nothing. We were just chatting about how great the ice cream was and how you loved your sorbet.”

“It was okay,” Aubrey says. “Country Boy here thought your place was the bomb and told me I should post it on my Dollsta. I did and it got so many likes already. You’re welcome.”

“There’s also another thing, right, bun… I mean, Aubrey?” Matt nudges the long-haired younger man.

“Yes, Daddy…”

Takeshi wants to scream. Please cut it out with the pet names already!

Aubrey exhales. “I’m sorry for treating you like crap all these years, Takeshi. We were kids and I guess I just didn’t know any better.”

“You sued my dad when we were twenty, Aubrey. It almost ruined him.”

“That was my parents. Not me. And I did fall in one of your dad’s restaurants.”

“You slipped because you were on your phone, too busy to notice the wet floor sign. that I put after I mopped the floor when I was working at my dad’s restaurant as a janitor because unlike you and Derek, my parents didn’t spoil me. Also, we got it on camera. That’s why you, I mean ‘your parents’ lost the case.”

Matt sighs. “Takeshi-chan…”

“No, Matt, he needs to know this.”

“Okay, well, I guess I’m sorry about that too.”

“Great, now hug it out?” Matt says.

The two younger men hesitate.

“Come on, baby,” Matt places his hand on Aubrey’s shoulder.

“Fine.” Aubrey opens his arms. “Get in here, Takeshi-chan.”

Takeshi looks at Aubrey, then at Matt, then at Aubrey again, not believing what he’s truly seeing in front of him.

He remembers the year when the Ashfords sued them and it took a toll on his dad, Hiro. Takeshi had to see Hiro change from a happy-go-lucky man into a paranoid old man, even after they won the case and awarded Hiro and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But he was glad that through it all, he, Hiro’s boyfriend Sven, and Chrissy were able to support him emotionally and finally convince him to get therapy.

Takeshi reminds himself to thank Sven again for standing by his dad. He’s grown to truly love Sven. At first, Takeshi thought Sven was just another gold-digger because they’re the same age, which means Sven and Hiro have thirty years between them, but Sven has truly shown how much he loves Hiro.

“Come on, Takeshi-chan…” Matt smiles at him.

Chrissy has also been there to comfort Takeshi. First when they were acquaintances, then briefly when they became lovers, and now as a close friend. It took Takeshi a while to accept Matt but Matt’s also proven himself time and again and Chrissy’s head over heels over Matt.

Chrissy. Sweet, sweet Chrissy. Maybe this new Aubrey will treat Chrissy better?

“There you go,” Matt says as Takeshi hugs Aubrey. “I’m getting a photo of you two so you can post it on your Dollsta, okay, babe?”

“Yes, Daddy,” Aubrey says. “Come on, Takeshi. Say ‘Lick It!'”

“Lick it,” Takeshi feigns a smile as Matt takes a photo of them.

“Aw, you guys are super cute! This one’s a keeper,” Matt says. “See you at the gym tonight? Sven’s teaching the circuit training.”

“I… Yeah. See you,” Takeshi says. “And thank you, come again.”

“Oh, and the Superman was great!” Matt turns around. “Whadya know, guess I’m starting to love sour stuff.”

Takeshi watches in disbelief as Matt and Aubrey walk away, clinging to each other.

As soon as the two are out of sight, Takeshi hurries over to the back of the counter to grab his phone. Chrissy needs to know about all of this, but first, he has to call his boyfriend Manuel.

Yeah, Manu will know what to do.

BTS Thoughts:

Yes, the chairs are from Dollar Tree. I was looking for something similar to what MyFroggyStuff has on her video. She said “dollar store” but I don’t know if she meant Dollar Tree or Dollar General or 99 Cent Store.

I hate Schitt’s Creek. I wanted to love it because it’s gay but I just couldn’t. Same thing with Glamorous and White Lotus.

That’s why Aubrey’s wearing a tee with “Ew, David.” written on it because of course he loves Schitts’s Creek. I hope this can be one of his redeemable qualities for those who love the show.

Complete set:

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Dollsexposed showcases queer erotica, kink, fetish, and activism through twelve-inch doll photography.

Their adventures in the doll world began in 2011 before establishing a home on eleven years later.

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