“Sven and your dad look really happy,” Matt says.

Takeshi got them tickets to the Halloween Bash and Matt thought it’d be nice to go to a party instead of hosting it like he usually does. He doesn’t know this decision’s going to change his life.

“Yep,” Takeshi says. “I like Sven. Dad’s dated younger men before. Men my age. It could get weird. But I’m glad he and Sven are together. He really brings out the best of my dad. He convinced him to dress up as Dracula, for fuck’s sake.”

“Sexy Dracula,” Manuel says.

“Yes, thank you, babe. ‘Sexy Dracula,'” Takeshi rolls his eyes. “I mean he’s always so demure and he hates crowds and now this?”

“He pulls it off, though,” Manuel says.

“Yes, thank you, babe,” Takeshi rolls his eyes again and Manuel playfully punches his arm. He in turn gives Manuel a deep kiss.

“And Sven’s supposed to be… Caesar?” Matt says.

“Caligula. They’re entering the Best Couple contest as ‘Draculigula.'”

“Holy shit,” Matt says. “I love it! That’s Bob’s Burgers level name mash-up! But nope, my girl and I are definitely winning the contest, right, babydoll?”

Chrissy giggles as Matt kisses his lips. “Sorry, guys. Halloween really brings out the worst in Matt. He’s even more competitive than usual. It’s scary.”

“Damn right! And not even Draculigula can win,” Matt says.

“Okay, okay, down, boy,” Chrissy says.

“Ruff!” Matt barks.

Halloween has always been Matt’s favorite holiday and not just because October is his birth month.

It reminds him of his childhood when his mom would read him scary stories before bedtime. She’d sew his Halloween costumes. They’d carve pumpkins together. She’d take him to haunted hayrides and trick-or-treating.

Matt’s mother died when he was ten and he lived alone with his overbearing, homophobic dad at their farm in Pierre, South Dakota. Seven years later, Matt moved to Los Angeles when his dad kicked him out after Matt told him he was gay.

“Bet you love wearing that monokini,” Manuel chuckles.

“It’s Matt’s idea, actually,” Chrissy lightly pokes Matt’s cheek.

“I’ll use any excuse to see my girl in public wearing as little as possible,” Matt says. “But I mean you’re basically only wearing underwear.”

Manuel giggles. “Guilty as charged! But you know what I always say.”

“‘Flaunt it if you got it,’ we know,” Matt says. “Hence the monokini.”

“You’re not the only one with a hot boyfriend who’s out of your league, Matt,” Takeshi laughs.

“I know,” Matt high-fives Takeshi. “We lucked out!”

“Damn right,” Manuel says. “Speaking of out your league… look who’s walking this direction. No, no, don’t look.”

“Wait, you literally told us to look,” Chrissy says.

“Not like that! Subtly… Oh, too late.”

“Hey, losers,” Aubrey says. A tall, handsome man stands closely next to him. “Hey, Country Boy. Love the wig and the stache.”

“Hey, uh… hi, um… hey… Aubrey,” Matt says as he looks down on his shoes.

Chrissy holds Matt closer. He can feel Matt shutting down like at Folsom when Aubrey came over. Chrissy grabs Matt’s hand. He sighs a mix of pain and relief when Matt squeezes it hard.

“I, uh, I love your costume!” Chrissy says. “Morticia, right? You’re so her! And is that Thing on Gomez? That’s amazing.”

“Oh, thank you!” the tall man grins. “Aub chose the theme.”

Aubrey scoffs. “Wait, ‘so her?’ What does that even mean?”

“Oh, uh… Your long hair and just… you’re so cool and poised. And you wear black really well.” Chrissy almost regrets complimenting Aubrey’s costume.

“Oh. Yeah. Thanks,” Aubrey smiles thinly. “What are you supposed to be? A tranny Turnpike whore?”

Chrissy feels his blood boil. It’s one thing to call him a “Turnpike whore.” It’s another to use a derogatory term by someone who’s supposedly a member of the queer community.

“Bae, don’t you recognize them?” the tall man says. “That’s Marshmallow and Bob Belcher from Bob’s Burgers! I love it!”

“Thank you!” Chrissy says before turning to Aubrey. “You weren’t that far off, though. Yes, Marshmallow is trans and a sex worker. But only small-minded bigots use the term ‘tranny.'”

“Hear, hear!” Manuel and Takeshi say.

Chrissy waits for a retort but Aubrey just rolls his eyes and sips his red drink.

“This totally makes sense. Bob definitely has a thing for her. And your costume! Wow. Linda would be too easy. And you look absolutely sexy as Marshmallow.”

“Aw, thank you,” Chrissy says. “I’m already regretting wearing these heels, though. I’m Chrissy.”

Aubrey clears his throat. “Oh, where are my manners? This is my boyfriend, Marcus. We also signed up for the Best Couple contest. And looks like we’re winning.”

“Hey, Marcus. This is my fiancé Matt. That’s Takeshi in the Star Trek Discovery athletic wear and his boyfriend and my best friend Manuel as Apollo.”

Takeshi and Manuel wave at Marcus.

“You guys face some pretty tight competition,” Manuel says. “Chrissy, Matt, as much as I love you, my money’s on Draculigula.”

“Dracu whuh?” Marcus says.

“‘Draculigula.’ My dad’s Dracula and his boyfriend is Caligula,” Takeshi points at the two men canoodling in the corner of the room.

“Ah, fuck, your dad’s here?” Aubrey says.

“Hey, water under the bridge,” Takeshi shrugs. “Also I told him I got more customers ever since you posted about Lick It on your Dollstagram.”

“You’re welcome. But Dracula and Caligula? That’s… not a thing…” Aubrey sips his drink.

“Yeah, well, they’re going as ‘Misunderstood Historical Figures,'” Takeshi says.

“That’s actually genius!” Marcus says.

“I know, right?” Manuel says. “But my baby hates it.”

“I don’t hate it!” Takeshi smooches Manuel’s bare shoulder. “I said if they could bullshit their way into the contest with some cockamamie theme, then so could we.”

“‘Misunderstood Historical Figures’ is a great theme. It’s straightforward and fun,” Chrissy says. “But ‘dressing up as a space explorer who wants to get as close as possible to the sun god Apollo’ is kind of… convoluted.”

“Wow, okay. Ouch. I expected better from you, Cee,” Takeshi puts his hands on his hips in fake outrage.

“My girl knows what’s up,” Manuel chuckles. “Marcus, what do you think?”

“I think it’s super sweet,” Marcus says. “You two should totally go for it.”

Takeshi grins. “Thank you! See? Marcus gets it. Come on, babe, we’re signing us up.” He grabs Manuel’s wrist.

“Ugh, fine,” Manuel rolls his eyes. “Nice meeting you two! See you around.”

“We’re still gonna win, though,” Marcus says.

Chrissy giggles when he hears Takeshi groans loudly but his heart sinks when he turns to see Aubrey standing really close to Matt and caressing his bulging bicep.

“You’re awfully quiet, Country Boy,” Aubrey says.

“Yeah,” Matt says. “Uh… it’s uh, it’s difficult to uh, talk when the music is this uh, this loud…”

Chrissy knows it’s a lie. Matt was so animated before Aubrey and Marcus came. And the DJ’s only playing ambient music.

“Wanna get something to drink?” Chrissy squeezes Matt’s hand. “Wade and Derek are at the bar.”

“Oh, uh, yeah,” Matt looks up and smiles at Chrissy. His eyes light up.

Just as Matt and Chrissy are about to leave, Aubrey lurches forward and spills his red drink all over Matt’s apron. It even seeps under and onto Matt’s gray t-shirt and sweatpants.

“Oh, shit,” Aubrey says. “I’m so sorry. It’s these heels.”

“Oh, fuck, oh, fuck, oh, fuck” Matt says. “No, no, no…”

Chrissy quickly unties the apron so the red liquid won’t do more damage.

“I’m sorry,” Aubrey keeps saying. “It’s these goddamn heels!”

“What… how…” Matt says.

“Bae, you’re not wearing h…” Marcus says before Aubrey shushes him.

Chrissy doesn’t know what’s happening. Matt almost seems like he’s about to cry. He knows Halloween means a lot to Matt but this is something else.

“I’ll make it up to you,” Aubrey says. “Marcus, give him your costume.”

“Huh?” Marcus and Chrissy look at each other.

“I paid for that costume, Marcus,” Aubrey tugs Marcus’s arm.

“You want to win, right, Matt? You told me about your mom and Halloween. You’re not gonna win as Bob with a stained apron. You’re not gonna win Best Couple as Bob and whatever the fuck that mess is,” Aubrey gestures at Chrissy. “If you really think Halloween is important, you want to win. And you will win Best Couple with me as Gomez and Morticia.”

Matt’s gaze is fixed on the apron in Chrissy’s hands.

Chrissy can’t believe Matt told Aubrey about his mom and Halloween. It’s such a personal story and Chrissy thought Matt only shared it with his closest friends. What the hell is going on between Matt and Aubrey?

“Bae,” Marcus says.

“Shut the fuck up, Marcus,” Aubrey says. “Well, Country Boy?”

“I… I can’t,” Matt says.

“Marcus, go to the bathroom with Matt,” Aubrey shoves Marcus with such strength that the muscular guy almost falls over. “You two are exactly the same build. You can take Matt’s Bob outfit since you like it so much.”

“No,” Matt shakes his head.

“Excuse you?” Aubrey says.

Chrissy turns his head to look at Matt. His fiancé is glaring at Aubrey, fists balled.

“You thought about this, didn’t you?” Matt points his spatula at Aubrey. “You planned this, didn’t you? You know how much Halloween means to me and you still want to ruin it! And not just Halloween. Chrissy means to me more than Halloween and definitely more than you and you want to ruin it for him too! Don’t you get it? There’s nothing between us! Never! Never has been, never will be!”

For a moment, only the thumping beat of the background music fills the room.

Chrissy holds back tears as he looks at his fiancé. He squeezes Matt’s hand.

“I have an idea. Come with me,” Chrissy gently tries to lead Matt away from Aubrey and Marcus, but the muscular man stands still like a rock, his eyes shooting daggers at Aubrey.

Marcus looks away, bewildered and lost, while Aubrey’s in a staring contest with Matt.

“Matt, come on,” Chrissy says. “Please?”

Matt finally relents and follows Chrissy.

“How dare you!” Aubrey says loudly enough that a few people look at them. “Fuck you, Matt! Fuck you and that dumb tranny skank of yours!”

Chrissy bristles. He can hear the shame and hurt in Aubrey’s voice. He also feels Matt violently tugging away, ready to confront Aubrey, but Chrissy keeps his hand firmly around Matt’s wrist.

One time, Gar told Chrissy how in high school, young, skinny, pimply, Matt, way before he started on his journey to having a hulking bodybuilder physique, got in trouble for pummeling three guys who called one of their school friends a dyke and harassed her. He almost got expelled.

“Please, Matt? He’s not worth it,” Chrissy whispers in Matt’s ear. He sighs with relief when Matt loosens up and follows him without engaging Aubrey. They don’t need that kind of mess right now.

As they walk away, Chrissy looks back and sees Aubrey stomping away in the direction of the bar. Marcus looks at Chrissy for a split second before turning around to follow Aubrey.

Chrissy can’t help but feel sorry for Marcus. He seems like a nice guy.

Everything is like a blur. Matt finds himself and Chrissy at the back entrance of the building, staring at the bucket on the ground, waiting for the bleach to work.

Chrissy was able to get bleach and a bucket from the cleaning staff. But it has to be used in a well-ventilated area, not the restroom. And the back entrance is the only place Chrissy could think of.

Now here they are, practically surrounded by garbage.

“Babydoll…” Matt says.

“Why did you tell Aubrey about your mom and Halloween?” Chrissy says.

“Babe…”

“Why?” Chrissy half-shouts. His voice echoes against the cement wall.

Matt knows why. But he doesn’t know what Chrissy will do or say if Chrissy learns the truth.

“Well, you never told me about Thor fucking you either! For five goddamn years!”

Matt regrets it as soon as the words escaped his lips. He’s cornered and goes in a defensive mode without thinking.

Chrissy looks at him in disbelief.

“Babydoll, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean…”

“You didn’t? Holy shit, Matt! They’re not… they’re not even the same.”

“I… I know… I’m sorry…”

“No, you don’t know! You don’t.”

“That’s not what I meant,” Matt wants to kick himself in the butt.

“I don’t care that you fuck Aubrey! I don’t even care if you’re friends with him! It’s just… When we had our first Halloween together you only told me you loved it because your birthday’s also in October. It took you three years to finally tell me about how much your mom also loved Halloween. Three years!”

“Princess…”

“But you just met this guy and you’re already trading personal stories with him? I know I can’t and I don’t have the right to keep you from telling people about them but I feel sad you’re able to open yourself up to this stranger so quickly when it’s almost the opposite with me.”

“Christopher…” Matt lunges forward and holds Chrissy so tightly. The lump in his throat grows as he hears Chrissy’s sobs and feels Chrissy’s staccato hiccups against his chest.

“Are you… in love with him?” Chrissy asks.

“Fuck no, babydoll,” Matt says. He strokes Chrissy’s back. Chrissy is irreplaceable. “Definitely not. Most definitely not.”

“Good,” Chrissy says.

Matt lets Chrissy cry for a bit more. He then wipes away Chrissy’s tears and kisses Chrissy deeply. He sighs.

“Aubrey is… so different from you,” Matt says. “You’re all pink and rainbow and he’s dark rainy days. You’re golden and sunrays and he’s silver and eclipses. You’re sweet like sugar. He’s… bitter. Like… broccoli.”

“I love broccoli. And rainy days. And eclipses.” Chrissy wipes his tears. “I hate arugula, though.”

Matt smiles. “I know you do, babydoll. I was gonna go for alliteration.”

“So you’re… bored with me?”

“Nope. Never. How can I be bored with you?”

“Is it… the animals?”

Matt chuckles. “Are you kidding? Princess, it turns me on so much to see you with animals! But I have to admit, I guess I had a crush on Aubrey?”

“Yeah, I get it. He has that allure.”

“Well, so do you, but… we were talking about things, and parents came up. He complained to me about his and I told him about mine. I told him how life with my dad became an absolute hell after we lost my mom. And I told him Halloween with her had always been something I looked forward to.”

Chrissy’s still a bit breathless from crying.

“I wish… I wish I knew your mom.”

“Oh, babydoll. I wish you did too. She’d love you. And you’d love her. And I’m so sorry for getting you into this mess.”

Chrissy looks into Matt’s eyes. “I’m sorry too.”

“Oh, no,” Matt says. It feels as though his heart leaped out of his chest. Why is Chrissy sorry? “For what, babydoll?”

“I’m… I’m sorry you had to tell him off in public. I know how much you hate conflicts.”

Matt laughs. He’s never been so relieved in his life.

“Oh, fuck. I thought for a moment, you were about to dump me. You mean the world to me, princess. I’m not gonna let anyone hurt you. Including me.”

Chrissy smiles and wipes away the remaining tears.

“I love you. I’m in love with you. You’re my Wonder Woman in a white fake fur coat. The bleach and the bucket are your lasso and tiara.”

Chrissy chuckles. “That’s really dumb. I mean, are you telling me I should wear a bucket on my head?”

Matt laughs. “Fine. You’re my funny, crazy, loving Linda and sexy, slutty, and kinky Marshmallow to my clumsy, awkward Bob. My devoted, absolutely out-of-my-league Marge to my stupid, clumsy Homer.”

“You’re not stupid. Clumsy, yeah. Awkward, for sure. But not stupid.”

“You literally just called me dumb!”

“The lasso and tiara line thing was dumb. Not you. Can’t be helped that you love dad jokes.”

Matt kisses Chrissy.

“Aubrey was a stupid mistake,” Matt says. “I got way too involved. I tried not to lead him on but I must have. Even Homer didn’t cross that line with Mindy.”

“Live and learn. But you’ve made it clear to him tonight.”

“I love you, Christopher,” Matt says and kisses Chrissy again. “Super duper in love with you.”

“I love you too, Matthew,” Chrissy gives Matt tiny kisses. “With the force of a thousand, thousand suns.”

“Oof, that’s hot,” Matt grins and kisses Chrissy some more.

“And I’m absolutely not out of your league.”

“I know I face a lot of competition, and not just from human men…” Matt reaches under Chrissy’s coat to caress Chrissy’s bare skin when suddenly Chrissy’s phone rings.

“Whoops, ten minutes’ up,” Chrissy jumps off Matt’s lap.

“Awww, babe! We were just getting to the good part!”

“There’ll be more time later,” Chrissy drains the bucket. “Come on. We need to wash this with hot water.”

Matt groans but he knows his heart is full. He doesn’t even care if they win tonight or not. His life is already perfect with his Chrissy.

In the end, it almost doesn’t matter. Chrissy of course gets disqualified because his Marshmallow costume is too “indecent.”

Aubrey and Marcus don’t win because there are just too many Morticias and Gomezes in the party.

Takeshi wins Best Sci-Fi and Manuel wins Sexiest Costume.

Wade wins the Superhero Special category and Derek wins Fiercest Fairytale.

Vivian wins Most Original and Anaïs wins Best DIY.

And Manuel’s right. Draculigula wins Best Couple. Plus, Hiro wins the Classic Iconic trophy and Sven wins the History Buff category.

When the DJ opens the dance floor, Matt notices Marcus standing alone while Aubrey’s nowhere to be seen. Matt asks Chrissy and the gang if they’d mind if Marcus joined them, but everybody shakes their heads no.

Chrissy smiles proudly as his very awkward, very introverted fiancé walks over to Marcus and convinces him to join the group. The sullen expression on Marcus’s face changes almost instantly when everyone welcomes him.

As Matt holds Chrissy from behind and nuzzles him, Chrissy closes his eyes and says a silent thank you to Matt’s mom.

EPILOGUE

Leon steps out in the back alley. He notices the wooden pallets stacked up. A makeshift bench? He wonders if Chrissy sat here. He wanted to follow Chrissy when he went out to the back with Matt, but he decided against it.

He can’t reveal himself to Chrissy. Not right now. Not when the mission’s intel isn’t yet completed. Too much is at stake.

He inhales, savoring the cool, Los Angeles air. He smiles as a siren wails in the distance. Whatever’s happening here can’t be as bad as where he’s been these past twelve years.

Just as he’s about to leave, he hears a rustling sound.

“Hey, handsome, can I bum a cig?”

“Jesus Christ!” Leon says, clutching his heart. “You scared me!”

He recognizes the person. He’s the one who had a tiff with Chrissy and Matt. Leon takes a long look at him. He’s a tall drink of gorgeousness in the Morticia dress.

“Yeah, I’m good at that,” Morticia says. “You got a cig?”

“Uh, I don’t smoke, but yeah, I got one.”

“You don’t smoke but you carry cigarettes?”

“I… was kind of saving them for someone.”

Morticia chuckles. “How romantic. Can I steal one?”

Leon takes out a cigarette and lights it up for him.

“Thanks,” Morticia puffs. “Rough night?”

“Can’t remember a non-rough night,” Leon says.

“There you are!” Another voice calls out. It’s the guy in the faun costume. “I was looking for you. You okay?”

Morticia takes another puff of his cigarette. “Nope.”

“I uh… I’m gonna head back in,” Leon says.

“Thanks for the cigarette, handsome,” Morticia smiles. “I owe you one.”

Leon smiles back. He should’ve offered Morticia gum instead.

As he opens the door to go back inside, he looks at the two younger guys. Even with his training, they’re too far for him to overhear the conversation.

So he just silently watches them for a bit. Morticia already looks agitated but then he says something that makes Faun look deflated. The lighting makes it difficult to lipread. Leon can only make out Morticia saying “You owe me,” and “abortion.”

Whatever it is, it doesn’t look good.


BTS Thoughts:

Oh, wow. This shoot was actually much easier to pull off. Sure, the dolls fell off a few times and knocked down the walls but other than that it wasn’t that bad.

I got the two trash bins on Amazon. They’re meant to be as pen holders. I dried-brush gray and brown paint on them to make them appear dirty. I’d also always wanted to have giant trash bins and it took me about two hours to make it. I used cardboard and wrapped the body with blue painters tape and the lid with black vinyl tape. Then I dried-brush both the body and the lid with gray and brown paint.

The story itself underwent two major changes. At first, there was no Marcus and after spilling the drink all over Matt, Aubrey was able convince Matt to change into a Gomez costume. Then I decided that Aubrey and Marcus would be a thing (whatever that means for Aubrey), and Matt would take a cue from Gar and finally stand up for himself and Chrissy.


Full Set:


Click here to see the complete episodes of Dollsexposed’s residents, or choose below:

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 dollsexposed.com eleven years later.

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