As a Multiple Sclerosis patient, it has become necessary for me to reinvent myself. I have ... and continue to ... refuse to lie down and die, or in this case, follow the normally prescribed drugs and treatments that do nothing to defeat my disease. I am not only surviving by pursuing alternatives, I am thriving. I do the things specialists told me I would never be able to do. I walk and hope to one day even run regularly. I retain my cognitive and creative abilities for the pleasure of my readers. Although you may never see me on my daily walk, you are welcome to read my novel(s) and in doing so, come to ask yourself, "How can the 'out of the box' protocol she has followed, help my loved one with an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis?"


Live, Love, Repeat --Chapter 3

CHAPTER THREE


To Trevor's surprise the judges of the semi-finals were not from an older generation. If they had been, he wouldn't have felt a whisper of self-consciousness. This group of judges appeared to be a group of very loud and man-hungry women in their twenties and thirties. Of course it made sense. This 'eye-candy' festival in Las Vegas paraded as an opportunity to promote small businesses. An attractive male owner or employee, preferably single, represented local businesses, each vying for one of the generous advertising packages. Trevor knew only the top prize would tide the company over until the season rolled into full gear. He compressed a snide smile on his lips, willing himself to put on a good show in the name of promoting Prestige Pools.
Trevor joined the other forty odd men in Speedos as they paraded around the beautiful pool at the Nugget. Each man wore a number on his right hip. Trevor measured himself against the rest. He stood at six feet two inches, slightly above average. Several of the guys sported obviously spray-painted tans. He knew his was all natural, even if the calendar read the end of March. Spending time in the cooler sunlight seemed warm after his polar dip last month.
Brodie had spent hours with Trevor at the gym and the results were impressive. Trevor hadn't been flabby to begin with, but they'd done a bit of sculpting, and Trevor felt confident, until number thirty-one paused in front of the gaggle of women and entertained them by making his pectorals dance. Whoops and screams filled the air leaving Trevor with little doubt as to the favorite. Several more of the guys joined the dancing pectoral display. Trevor considered it but decided he needed to find a more unique talent for the female audience. He considered what his talent might be as he sauntered past a group of panting females. Dang, this was demoralizing. Still, as luck would have it, he found himself between two apparently less appetizing guys for the duration of the early competition.
The first cut made, he found himself in the next round where he knew he excelled. He looked good in his tuxedo and he knew it. A group of ten guys made the cut. In this round, the guys presented their dancing skills. Trevor's jaw dropped to observe a few of the guys did little more than shake their butts and snap their fingers. Number five did some kind of pole dance ending with him ripping off his shirt. Trevor scowled, hoping the guy had at least had the decency to own the tux rather than rent it. For the first time in his life he appreciated a mother who insisted he learn how to dance and take her across the ballroom floor in a tango.
Trevor approached the women on the panel of judges, his music playing.
"Would one of you ladies care to dance?" Two of the women scowled at him; apparently they either didn't know how to dance or doubted his ability. He noticed the slender judge, closer to middle age, wearing the backless evening gown, squeeze a smile from her lips, a smile denoting her interest. He approached her and offered his hand. "May I have this dance?"
She nodded and stood.
"Would you prefer an open form or a closed one?" Trevor asked hoping he wasn't making a major mistake.
"Closed."
He gathered her close, her chest next to his, the inside of their right thighs together. To his surprise, she had obviously danced the tango in the past. Together, they covered the floor. The sultry movement of dancers as an impromptu team flowed with fluidity, although unrehearsed. They didn't share a single word, conforming to the competition policy which discouraged contestants and judges to mingle. The last chord faded as she leaned away from him, their thighs still anchored for balance. He brought her upright. She tilted her head in a modest thank you, and he escorted her back to her seat with a, "Thank you for your assistance."
He smiled and retreated to the wings of the stage to wait. His marks were mixed, some high and one or two extremely low. Apparently there were mixed opinions amongst the judges on how involved any judge should be with the actual competition, not merely the judging of it.
The talent portion followed. Trevor wished he could share his true talent but the show demanded performing arts, not visual, which meant his designing of pools, even the one here at the Nugget where this contest would finish on the morrow, remained out of the question.
He stood in the wings watching and listening, an opera aria in need of a little help, and a love song inaudible due to the swooning audience, maybe because the guy ripped off his shirt again. Vocal talent followed a jazz trombone. A drum solo, and a strip tease dance lacked timing. The humorous story telling stole the show, followed by a ventriloquist act and knife juggling. Trevor knew trouble loomed but the last act before his own sealed his fate. Aaron, the guy who had started the pectoral muscle dance at the pool,strutted on stage without his shirt. Trevor shook his head. He couldn't see the display but by the whoops and hollers from the audience, Aaron out did himself. He turned toward Trevor to leave the stage, his sculpted abs accentuated by the spotlights.
"Ladies and gentlemen please welcome Trevor Palmer," the emcee announced as the screams faded.
Trevor carried the microphone on stage. He looked good in his tuxedo, his shirt popping with bright whiteness. At the pool, his rich brown hair had been relaxed, as though he'd run his fingers through it, but tonight his hair exemplified perfection.
"I'm not matching that performance. I wonder if Miss America could." Trevor meant his comment as a snide remark toward Aaron, but the audience ate it up with an approving roar.
"Maybe a duet?" Trevor knew he could make his pectorals dance, maybe not to the music as Aaron had, but enough. He tightened his muscles, causing his shirt to go tight with each flex. The crowd cheered.
"Naw. That's just a cheap rip-off on his talent." A few cheers. Were they expecting him to rip his shirt off? He didn't intend to.
"This is more my style." Trevor pursed his lips, wetting the inner edge with his tongue. The women seated in the front squealed. A smile ripped across his face. He couldn't do it. He could feel his eyes twinkling under the spot light. He shook his head, wiggling his lips in an effort to get his smile back under control. More screams. He walked over to the five women in the front row who seemed to be leading the screams.
"What is it you think I'm going to do?" he whispered as he leaned down. The microphone caught his words.
"Kiss." "Show us how you kiss." Came the responses. Trevor stood up and looked into the spotlight, amplifying his surprise as it played across his face. He looked at the women, pulled his mouth into an 'O' and exhaled.  He could only think of one way out of this expectation--play it up.
"Seriously?" he asked into the mic. "You want me to do that here?"

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