Uniform Fetish: Manlove Edition Blog Tour – Dinner with James and Gustav
Evernight requested that the authors in the Uniform Fetish anthologies do a “meet and greet” of our main characters for the blog tour, which is why I’m currently hopping from foot to foot outside New York City’s Bistro LeClerq on a freezing March evening. The bistro is normally closed on Mondays, but I was able to wangle a special reservation with the owner and his fiancé.
A figure in black and white finally unlocks the door, ushering me in. “I’m sorry we kept you waiting, madame,” Gustav LeClerq says smoothly, helping me out of my coat and scarf. He’s of medium height, with dark hair threaded with grey at the temples and brushed back neatly from a broad forehead. His grey-blue eyes glint with humor and intelligence, and he has a Martin Freeman-level charisma that immediately draws you to him. I note that he’s wearing the classic waiter’s uniform — white oxford shirt with black tie, black trousers, long black apron and polished dress shoes — and ask him jokingly if he dressed up just for me.
He smiles at that, and the glint in his eye warms to something more personal. “Mais non, it was at James’s request. He has, how you say, a bit of a thing for me in my waitstaff uniform.”
He shows me to the only table that’s set for dinner, giving me the chance to subtly eye him from behind. I can’t blame James for his fetish; Gustav is a handsome man, but there’s something about the waiter’s uniform that lifts handsome to “put me on a table and do me now.”
Another handsome man with light blond hair and a patrician face is already seated at the table, and stands ay my approach. “I’m glad you could make it,” James Fairchild says, taking my hand and bowing over it before holding my chair for me. I’ll be honest, I could get used to manners like these. A veteran buyer for a certain high-end NYC clothing store, James is dressed impeccably as usual in a bespoke suit and tie, and takes his seat again as Gustav bustles out to the kitchen.
Drinks appear as if by magic; a Perrier with lime for James and a merlot for me. Gustav whisks out three appetizers, a lovely dish he calls wintry pear salad. As we start eating, I ask the men how things have been going for them.
“Quite well,” James said, giving Gustav a fond look. “I’ve decided to step back from some of my business traveling and take on more of a managerial role at the store, and I believe Gustav has agreed to take off an extra night a week.”
“Informing my brother Henri of this was interesting,” Gustav said, with an expressive French eye roll. “But seeing as he’s already training his apprentice so that he can do the same thing, I don’t feel too terribly guilty.”
Speaking of Henri LeClerq, I said, how did the bistro’s chef react to the news that his brother was getting married to one of their regular customers?
“He was delighted,” Gustav said with a smile. “He’d been nagging me for years to find a nice man and settle down. And he thinks James is très gentil. Marco, on the other hand, seemed to be somewhat upset at the news.”
“You know he had a bit of a thing for you, darling,” James said sympathetically.
Gustav shook his head. “Too young for me. I prefer someone with experience, a man of the world.” They exchanged a private smile at that.
Speaking of the upcoming wedding, I said, the two of you grew up in an time where gay men were pressured to hide or deny their sexuality. Did either of you ever expect a time to arrive where you would be able to marry the man you love?
Gustav clicked his tongue. “I am French,” he said. “We are both a romantic and a pragmatic people, non? The romantic side hoped that the day would come. The pragmatic side decided that it didn’t matter. When I found the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, I would do just that, even if our union couldn’t receive the blessing of the state.”
“Frankly, my dating skills were so dreadful I never thought I’d find a man, much less the right man for me. I didn’t even hope for marriage,” James admitted, picking up Gustav’s hand and kissing it. “The fact that I now have both continues to astound me.”
By this time we’d finished our appetizers and Gustav cleared the plates while James refilled all our drinks. I noted with pleasure that the two men worked in tandem like they’d been doing it for years.
Dinner was a marvelous pork tenderloin with apples and pearl onions. “James, the truth — do you really have a fetish for waiter uniforms, or Gustav’s in particular?” I asked.
The distinguished man blushed. “I’ve always found the classic waiter uniform to be elegant. And there’s something quite sensual about being served by a well-dressed man,” he said, giving Gustav a wicked little smile. “As for Gustav’s uniform, he does fill it so very well.”
Gustav raised an eyebrow at that, but smiled and lifted his wine glass. “To our fetishes. May they always take us to happy places,” he said.
We all toasted to that. After dinner, Gustav brought out three sinful Black Forest Parfaits. I would have preferred to savor mine, but I could feel the electricity growing between the two men and I suspected James had plans for Gustav and his uniform once I was gone. I finished the dessert as quickly as was civilized and made my farewells, thanking Gustav for the meal and the discussion.
He showed me to the door, giving me a quick buss on both cheeks after helping me into my coat. “Merci infiniment de tout,” he whispered in my ear.
I winked at him before heading out into the cold night. Something prompted me to glance back; through the bistro’s window I saw James come up behind Gustav and wrap his arms around the Frenchman. I suspected there would be one final course on the table tonight, and left them to it.
Where to Buy
I hope you enjoyed this little interview with James and Gustav, my MCs from “Fine Dining.” As a special treat for our readers, Evernight is sponsoring a blog tour prize of a $25 Evernight gift certificate. To enter, simply click on the link below!