Heinrich is a great Top. He’s creative and he has a rare knack for cruelty and intimidation. When he turns on, he’s serious as a heart attack—you’d think the guy was a prison warden instead of a book collector and art geek. He never flinches. He is not swayed by screams, and he is not swayed by pleas. Heinrich has the courage of his convictions.
I’ve been his friend and apprentice and worked with him for years, and I still don’t understand him. In many ways, he is a very private person. He is the rare sort of man who can have real, meaningful platonic friendships with women. He also identifies strongly with other men and bonds with them through mutual sexual interest in a woman. It really gets him off, for reasons that I do not entirely understand—there’s no homoerotic undertone that I can discern.
When I left the Studio at the end of the day shift, I knew that there might be more than one man waiting in Heinrich’s apartment. The anticipation was making me sweat and shiver. I was hoping that he would be in a good mood—Germany was playing Argentina in the World Cup.
I took the train to Brooklyn. En route, I received a text message from Heinrich telling me to walk into his apartment when I arrived—he left the door unlocked.
Anticipation. Feels so good. Sometimes I think that I’d walk into hell to know what it really feels like. In 48 hours, I was cutting myself off at the knees—leaving New York and moving back to my hick home town, on purpose. To get away from exactly what I was indulging in.
I announced myself to the doorman—“I’m here to see Mr. Romer”—and he let me through.
Sure enough, when I tried the knob on his door, it slipped easily in my hand. I still gave the door a tentative knock before I let myself in.
“Hello…?” I closed the door behind me and tip-tapped cautiously through the hallway and into the living room.
“Here! We are in the office!” Heinrich shouted, and I made my way towards it.
Brahms on the stereo. Not Bach. And over it, two voices—Heinrich and another man. I recognized the language as German, and I did not understand. I know words and some phrases, and I can read a little of it, but I don’t understand when they talk fast.
I entered the office and stopped just inside the doorway. His office is small-ish, looks like a converted bedroom. Heinrich and his friend were seated across from each other over a small table.
They stopped their conversation and stared at me. Neither one greeted me, or stood up, or formally acknowledged my presence.
I was on fire, just like that.
Heinrich was dressed in grey trousers and an off-white button-up (I don’t think I’ve ever seen the man wearing a shirt that didn’t have buttons). The other man was wearing a suit, a dark blue pinstriped suit. Looked like he was coming from work, but it was Sunday. He seemed about ten years older than Heinrich, and his light brown hair was parted on one side and combed severely back, giving his head the round, sleek look of an otter. He had glasses with gold wire rims. Little bit handsome, in a bland sort of way.
Heinrich said: “Please bring us the wine. It is on ice in the kitchen.”