Looks can be deceiving, and no one knows that better than this week’s Character of the Week. Quentin Frost, one of the main characters from Coming Out on Top (previously called Snow Way Out) has been fighting against people’s first impressions of him his whole life. So when we sat down for a talk, that was the first topic we discussed.
Quentin, what do people see when they look at you? What’s their first impression?
[laughs] Usually, their first impression is that I’m very gay. I make everyone’s gaydar go off, for some reason. Not that I mind or would ever want to fix that. It is what it is, and I’m not ashamed of who and what I am, but everyone immediately pegs me as gay. And not just that, but because of my slender build and the fact that I look young, I’m immediately labeled the cute little twink. The flirtboy, the eager recipient of everyone’s attention…the bottom. And most people probably think I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed either.
But you’re none of those things.
No, I’m not. I don’t think I have a submissive bone in my body, and I very much prefer to top…and to be in charge. I’m a bossy little shit, and I’m quite happy that way, actually, although it took me a while to accept it. And while I hate tooting my own horn, the fact that I’m a PhD researcher at a highly respected university speaks volumes on my intelligence.
Augustus never had an issue with it.
No, but he’s… I’ve never met anyone like him. Even after everything he’s been through, his soul is so pure, almost innocent. He has no preconceived notions about how things should be. He just accepts them as they are. It still amazes me, how he can be so open to seeing people as they really are, without any judgment or bias. I wish I was the same. I guess I’m a lot more jaded than he is, even though he’s got plenty of reasons to be cynical.
He’s had to fight against people’s impressions of him his whole life as well.
[his face darkens] What that man has suffered… I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to go back to that stupid little town of his and tell those people exactly what I think of them. Which is very little, let me tell you. The fact that he has a severe stutter doesn’t mean Augustus is stupid. I can’t believe people still think that in this day and age. The two have nothing to do with each other. Augustus is very smart. Hell, he’s read more books than I have, and that’s saying something because I’ve read a lot.
I would imagine his size, combined with his tattoos and his piercings, make people judge, too.
Yeah, for sure. The man is built like a fucking wall, there’s no denying it, and he looks like he’s part of some criminal MC. [chuckles] But that man couldn’t hurt a fly. He’s the most selfless, softest man I’ve ever met. And let me just say that his piercings provide us with a lot of fun. Or me, I should say, since they offer me endless opportunities to torment him a little.
You like that, tormenting him?
Hell, yeah. God, the sight of that man on his knees for me… His submission is such a precious gift. It never fails to amaze me…or to arouse me. He could crush me with one hand if he wanted to, and yet he chooses to submit to me. And as a reward, I torment him [laughs].
How is he doing in California?
He loves it here. We’re still living in the trailer park, which is not ideal, but it’s cheap, so there’s that. Because my mom has been here for so long, we got a great deal on our own trailer, which means we can save up money for later. Augustus makes good money now as a mechanic, enough for us to rent a rundown building right next to where he works, where he’s started creating metal sculptures again. They’re amazing, and he already sold a few to passersby who saw him work and asked if they could have a look. He made this giant bear out of scraps, and it sold for two thousand dollars. You should have seen his face…
And his stutter isn’t an issue in his job?
No. His coworkers all know, and they’re super understanding and accommodating. He’s really good at what he does, so they’re happy to help him by allowing him to work mostly on the cars and do as little direct contact with customers as possible. That alone has been such a relief for him. The cruelty he encountered back in New York over something he had no control over still makes my blood boil.
How’s your job going?
Very well. I hope to be done with my research in a few months and officially get my PhD. I’ve already been offered a post-Doc research fellowship at my university, where I can combine more research with teaching certain classes. I’m really excited about that.
Looks like you guys will stay in California, then.
For now, yes. Augustus does miss the snow. [shudders] I’m so not on the same page as him when it comes to that. If I never see another snowflake in my life, I’ll die a happy man. But I understand he truly misses it, so we’ve agreed to spend some time in the snow this winter. Somewhere, no specific plans yet. I’d better invest in lots of blankets for that…although Augustus does a good job of keeping me warm at night [grins].
And Lucy, how’s she liking California?
[laughs] A little too much. She was a little hussy and met up with Poncho, another dog here in the trailer park, and now Lucy has five puppies. Poncho is a husky mix, so now we have gorgeous puppies with blue eyes and German shepherd features that are absolutely adorable…and a hell of a lot of work. Luckily, between me, Augustus, and my mom, we made it work, but that was a surprise we hadn’t counted on. But Lucy is a great mama, and we found good homes for all the puppies. My mom is keeping one and so are we, and Augustus’s coworkers have taken the other three.
One last question. When you were in Northern Lake, you got invested in the story of the owner of the gas station, Alexander, who seemed to have a love-hate thing going on which a much younger man, Langley. Augustus stopped by before he left for California to tell them to get their heads out of their asses. Did you ever hear how that turned out?
[smiles broadly] I did. I debated for a long time, but then curiosity won, and I just called Alexander. The number of the gas station was easy to find, obviously. Alexander was a little baffled by my interest, but when I explained who I was and about Augustus, he laughed and told me their whole story. It’s such a perfect love story, Nora. You should write it…