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  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
    Jesse_H_Reign
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Unrequited - 1. Chapter 1

This story contains adult themes and is intended for a mature audience

Ugh, I think, the first time I lay eyes on him.

Shit.

I know immediately that I was right, and my parents were wrong. They were very wrong. I shouldn’t have agreed to live in a dorm. I knew it. I should have fought harder. I should have insisted on moving into the apartment with Tyler and Sarah.

One look at this guy, is all I need to know that this is going to be an absolute nightmare. My worst nightmare. I can tell on sight that he’s a jock. The complete and utter definition of the word. A football player, if his broad shoulders and musculature is anything to go on – the worst of the worst. A good-looking jock, at that.

That’s going to make it worse. No doubt whatsoever, he’s going to be right up his own ass. No doubt, he’s going to be up to his eyeballs in pussy. I can tell just by looking at him that he’s going to be over-confident naked. He’ll almost certainly be the type, who gets a kick out of air drying and sitting around shirtless, all day.

Before he even opens his mouth, I’m willing to bet, he’s here on a sports scholarship. He’s probably thick as pig shit, and I’m going to be stuck in a small room with him for the next year. Hot fury boils up inside me. I knew this wasn’t for me. I should have ignored my parent’s insistence that, “You make friends for life, living in dorms.”

He’s carrying a large box under his arm and is dragging a massive duffle bag behind him, holding the door open with his foot. He staggers in, dropping the box on the empty bed, opposite mine.

“Hi,” he says, turning to me, smiling broadly “I’m West Baxter. I guess we’re going to be roommates.

Ugh, I think again, trying not to roll my eyes, West? Is he for real? What the fuck kind of name is West?

I stand to greet him, putting my hand out. “Andy Montgomery.” I say, shaking his hand. His handshake is firm. Self-assured. He flashes me a killer smile.

Shit.

He’s good-looking alright. Very good-looking. Symmetrical face, perfectly spaced eyes, nose and mouth. There’s a neatness about the way his features have been arranged, that only occurs as a result of impeccable bone structure. His hair is brown, short and spiky, as prescribed in the jock handbook, but he has very dark eyebrows and eyelashes. Almost black. Unusual colouring, given his eyes are such a light green. Almost translucent. Olive green, titanium and a hint of oxide of chromium, I think.

Before you get any ideas, it’s not like that. I’m an art major, specialising in portraiture. I analyse every face I see. It doesn’t mean anything. I just happen to like faces. And this face? Well, this is a good face. It’s pretty close to perfect, actually. The only thing that stops it from being a complete work of art, is a deep, faded scar on his left cheek, it’s forms an upsidedown v-shape, right near the corner of his eye.

He gets to work unpacking his things. He makes small talk the entire time, hurling a rapid fire of questions at me, almost faster than I can answer them.

“Where are you from?”

“What are you studying?”

“What do you like doing for fun?”

I can’t tell if he’s talking so much because he’s nervous, or whether he just likes the sound of his own voice, but I’m pretty sure there’s no way he’s going to remember all of my answers. Still, it seems rude not to ask anything about him, so I do.

I find out that he’s from New Haven, and yes, he likes pizza and grilled cheese. Unsurprisingly, I was correct, he is here on a scholarship.

I knew it, I think smugly.

“Football, huh?” I ask.

He shoots me a look, casting his eyes down briefly, before looking at me almost apologetically, saying, “Nah, academic scholarship.”

Despite myself, I sit up a little straighter. It’s almost impossible to get into this place, even if you’re a legacy placement. Sports scholarships are one thing, but academic scholarships are almost unheard of.

“What are you studying?” I ask, the first inkling that I may have misjudged him, raising its head slowly.

“Pure maths.” He says, again, looking ever so slightly apologetic about it.

“What?” I say, genuinely surprised and unable to hide it, “Are you some kind of genius, or something?”

He laughs a little, and I can’t help noticing a quick dent forming in his cheek, as a single dimple dips in his cheek. I also can’t help noticing, that he didn’t answer my question.

He tells me that he deferred for a couple of years, and I tell him I did the same.

“I guess that’s why they placed us together.” He says. “We’re a couple of years older than the kids who just graduated high school.”

“Where did you go for your gap year?” I ask.

“Uh, no, I stayed home. Just worked, you know, saved some money. Even with the scholarship, I knew I’d need to have some savings to get by.”

Guilt instantly stabs in my side. I’m here on a free ride, too, but mine’s courtesy of Linda and Stanley Montgomery, my parents. I spent my first gap year teaching English in Korea, and then spent the next year travelling through Eastern Europe. When I ran out of money, my parents were quick to make a transfer. They didn’t even have any questions. They were happy to do it.

“You got a girlfriend?” He asks.

“Nope.”

“Want to come prowling for pussy tonight?”

“Ah, no thanks.” I say.

I usually don’t enjoy telling people I’m gay. Something about it just feels a little awkward. It’s not that I’m ashamed, it’s just a little personal, you know. Right now, though, I’m actually looking forward to telling him. Maybe, he’ll be a homophobe. I’m pretty sure that if he is, I’ll be able to request a new roommate. I might even be able to swing getting my own room. “I’m gay.”

I study his face intently as I say it. I’m well enough versed in spotting prejudice, that I can recognise even the smallest hint of it.

It turns out, he doesn’t skip a beat. Not one. Not even a second.

“Oh,” he says simply, “in that case, d’you want to come cruising for cock?” I must do a double take, because he adds, as if to clarify, “Or, trawling for ass?” I’m absolutely positive I do a double take at that. I can feel my jaw drop open slightly.

He just smiles and shrugs, “Whatever you prefer.”

Okay, I think, fine. So, he’s not homophobic. So what? He’s still a complete nightmare, that’s for sure.

Against my better judgement, I do go out with him that night. He heard about a party nearby and thinks we should check it out. I text Tyler and Sarah to let them know where I’ll be.

Tyler’s eyes stand out on stalks when he sees West, “Holy shit,” he whispers, “that’s your roommate?”

“I know,” I say, smiling thinly, “lucky me, huh?”

“I’ll say.”

“I mean,” I clarify, “he’s a complete jock. My worst fucking nightmare.”

Tyler raises his eyebrows at me sarcastically, “If I rightly recall, and I think that I do, it wasn’t too long ago, when you would have been classified as a total jock, too.”

“Yeah,” I admit begrudgingly, “but I changed.”

“Yes, you changed. You changed for the better, and I take full credit for that.” He looks terribly pleased with himself.

He’s not wrong. Tyler and I went to school together. We ran in completely different circles for most of high school. He’s right, there was a time when I could have passed for a jock. I played football, if you can believe that. I hated it. I always did, but I played for my father. Running out onto the field, was one of a very small handful of times, I ever felt sure my dad was proud of me.

I almost kept it up too, but I just couldn’t. In Senior year, it all came bubbling to the surface. I spotted Tyler in library one day and cornered him. He’s five foot eight in his shoes and has incredibly well coiffed, flaming red hair, Raw sienna, Indian red and streaks cadmium orange.

Tyler’s the type of guy who never had to come out. For him and for everyone around him, that fact that he’s gay, was just assumed and accepted.

“That’s the beauty of being a screaming queen, darling.” He likes to say.

It was different for me. Nobody knew. I spent years hiding my secret. Trying to date girls, but unable to stay away from the right type of guy. It got me into trouble, when it finally caught up with me. A guy I’d been hooking up with, turned on me and started threatening to out me. That’s why I sought Tyler out. I didn’t know him from a bar of soap, but I had no idea who else to talk to about this.

“Can I talk to you about something?” I asked, noticing the slow look of surprise on his face.

“Sure.” He said cautiously.

I told him my story quickly, “I’m gay and some guy’s trying to out me. I don’t know what to do.”

He took a long breath in. “I’m sorry this is happening to you.” From the way that he said it, I could tell he really, really meant it. “This should be something you do on your own terms.”

“You have two options,” he continued, “you could deny it. Most people would believe you. There aren’t any rumours about you or anything like that. Only the most advanced gaydar would flicker for you.” He pointed to himself. Tyler loves to say that he has the most finely tuned gaydar in the whole country. “Or you can get in front of it and come out before he does it for you.”

My shoulders dropped and I closed my eyes, sighing deeply, “I can’t deny it forever.”

So that was it. My hand was forced. It was hard. It wasn’t ideal, but in retrospect, I’m glad that it happened. For all I know, I’d still be in the closet, if it hadn’t.

I quit the football team, causing a big raucous with the coach and my father. I’d always loved drawing and painting, but for the last few months of my high school career, I pretty much just stayed in my room and worked on my portfolio. The only people I hung out with were Tyler, and his best friend, Sarah.

I think my parents were relieved when I decided to take some time off to travel. I’ll bet our house was a lighter, happier place without my dark mood weighing the atmosphere down.

“He doesn’t seem too bad to me,” says Tyler, indicating to West, “give him a chance, he might surprise you.”

I confess, he does surprise me a little, that first night. I watch him, as he works the room, coming back to me periodically, to introduce me to people. He seems to know everyone. He moves through the room with easy grace, causing a little ripple as he moves through it. Guys seem delighted to see him, like he’s an old friend, and girls are dripping off him like sweat.

“How do you know all these people?” I ask him as we top up our drinks.

“I don’t,” he says, “I just met them. Hey, are you almost ready to head home?”

“Sure.” I say.

“Okay, let’s have one more drink and then go.”

I let my hair loose a little then. I might even have danced a little with Sarah, and if you know me at all, you’d know that doesn’t happen very often.

West comes to find me after a while and we take off, walking down the dimly lit street together.

“Looks like you got round to having some fun, at the end there.” He says.

“Yeah,” I admit, “I always seem to have the best time, once I know that I’m going to be leaving soon.”

He looks at me in something resembling incredulity, “Really? That’s weird. I feel like that too. Knowing I have a way out, makes me feel relaxed.” He smiles at me curiously, “You’re the first person I’ve met who feels the same way.”

“What happened with that girl?” I ask, “The blonde one? She was all over you.”

“She was cute,” he says, “but I realised I haven’t spoken to you about how you feel about me bringing girls home.”

I confess, I’m startled by that. That’s not what I’d expect from some straight guy, who looked like he had a sure thing on his hands. This is considerate. Very considerate. I can’t be completely sure, that if I was in his position, I’d have done the same thing.

“Uh, yeah, no, I’m fine with it. It’s no problem. I’m a really deep sleeper.” I lie.

“Okay, cool.” He smiles.

That night might have been the first time he surprised me, but it wasn’t the last. Far from it. In fact, the more I get to know him, the more he surprises me.

As a roommate, he turns out to be pretty great. It’s not one big thing that he does, but it’s lots of little things. For example, when he cleans his desk, he does my side too, without asking, he just lifts my coffee mug and wipes the surface down while I sit there with my hands in the air, clearing space for him. He doesn’t talk about it. It’s no big deal to him. It’s as if, he just assumes that everyone would do this type of thing.

When I mention that I like the chocolate brownies in the canteen, he tells me he doesn’t like them, but from then on, whenever we’ve been served brownies, I find his brownie wrapped in clingfilm, in the bar fridge we share. He brings it for me. He never forgets.

The other day, I was running late for class, so I when I got my clothes out of the dryer, I just left them crumpled in my hamper, and dashed off. When I got back later, I found my clothes folded neatly.

“Uh, thanks.” I say, when I see it.

“No prob,” he shrugs, “they were going to be creased as shit.”

I feel a little funny about the thought of him touching my underwear, but I quickly stamp out that thought.

Don’t be silly, I tell myself.

One thing I was right about though, is his comfort level with nudity. He’s more than happy to stand around, dabbing himself dry with a towel, while he talks to me. I make damned sure, I keep my eyes down, but it’s hard to avoid altogether. I admit, I’m not always able to resist a peak, when he has his back turned.

His body is amazing. I don’t say that lightly. I say that as someone currently enrolled in a course called ‘Human Anatomy’. You can tell at a glance, that he’s very athletic. Naturally so. Sure, he works out quite a bit, but his body would be good, even if he didn’t. His arms are insanely defined. Denting and bulging in all the right places. His pecs are unreal too. Larger than average, even for his size. His belly is taught. Tight.

I try not to look at his ass. I really, really do. I mean it. I don’t want to be disrespectful. I try not to look at his dick either. I do my best, but I’m not always successful. It’s just that it’s so hard to miss. Even when he’s in his boxers, the outline is massive. The bulge is so large, you’d have to be blind not to see it.

I’ve taken to turning my whole body, when he gets dressed or undressed. It’s not that I don’t trust myself. It’s just that I don’t want to make him uncomfortable.

Mind you, if I really thought it through, I’d realise that it would take a hell of a lot to make West feel uncomfortable nude. He seems so comfortable in his own skin; I almost envy him. He seems very comfortable with his sexuality too. I definitely envy him that.

He’s so comfortable, in fact, that I’ve walked in on him wanking several times. Each time, he just looks up with a big, goofy grin, shoving his dick slowly back in his pants.

“Sorry.” He says lightly.

He says it as if it’s no big deal at all. He says it as if, it’s completely natural. I guess that it is, but you know what I mean.

I was also right about the fact that he was going to be a chick magnate. He really, really is. He’s drowning in it. He has girls coming out of his ears. Literally. The way that he is with them, is not what I expected though. He’s not what my female friends have led me to understand is normal for a straight guy. He brings a lot of girls back to our place.

“Shhh,” he always whispers, “my roommate’s asleep. I don’t want to wake him.”

I really wish I hadn’t told him I was a deep sleeper. I’m not. I’m the lightest sleeper you could ever wish to meet. Thanks to that, I find myself awake night after night, listening to him fucking girls in a way that, by the sounds of it, is nothing short of transcendent.

He’s a giver, alright. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how I know that. He’s also a talker. I know that because I can’t help over-hearing every single, solitary word he says to the girls he brings home.

He seems to know just what they want to hear. He always starts by asking for consent. The thing is, there’s something about the way that he does it. There’s something about the way that he says it, that seems to cause a little pit to form in my belly.

“Can I kiss you?” He says, his voice low and hoarse. Even in the pitch dark, I can hear his desire. It’s thick in his voice. I can hear the way the girls respond too. They love it. They eat it up. Some of them actually squeal a little, when they say, “Yes.”

He knows his way around a woman’s body. He takes his time. He talks the whole time, asking them what they like, what feels good, what they want. Believe me, it doesn’t take long before they start telling him. Even the shy ones do. They tell him and tell him, and he gives it to them. He gives it to them, alright. No doubt about that.

My nights are tortured by the sound of girls getting what they want. High-pitched, desperate, cries ring in my ears, night after night, for what feels like hours each time.

I don’t begrudge him. We’re becoming friends now, and I want him to have fun. Of course, I do. I just hate hearing it. I hate it. It’s probably just because I’ve never been the biggest fan of straight sex.

That’s all it is.

I’m pretty sure, that’s all it is.

*

“He hardly works at all.” I tell Tyler. “I’m telling you. He hardly works at all and yet he’s top of his class. Can you believe that?”

Tyler nods his head, looking a little bored. I wonder dimly, if I’ve already told him about this.

“He says that for him, it’s not hard. He says that to him, numbers just makes sense.”

“What are we talking about?” Asks Sarah, walking into the room and flopping down on the sofa beside me.

“Oh,” says Tyler, “nothing much. Andy here, was just telling me about the massive crush he has on his straight roommate.”

“W-what?” I splutter. Sarah and Tyler give each other a quick, knowing look.

“I do not.” I try again, but even as I say it, I get that slow, sick feeling, one tends to get, when one realises something, a little too late.

Sarah presses her lips together sympathetically, patting my shoulder supportively.

“It’s alright, darling,” says Tyler, “there’s no gay guy alive who hasn’t been there. Just keep a lid on it and don’t let it get out of hand. No good can come of it, I promise you that.”

Despite this little set back, West and I quickly become friends. Real friends. Soon, we’re inseparable. We have the same sense of humour. We both have an over-developed sense of the ridiculous. We often find ourselves laughing to the point of tears, at things that other people don’t even find funny at all. He doesn’t take himself seriously in any way, whereas I have a tendency to take myself way too seriously. He finds it hard to say no, when people ask him to do things for them. The first word I ever said, was, “No.”

I guess, we balance each other out.

Despite his nocturnal adventures, which always leave me feeling a bit queasy, I find it really easy to be around him. That’s saying something for me. I’ve always preferred my own company, to the company of anyone else, but West is different. He seems to know when I need time on my own. He seems to understand when I need to sit quietly, and think, with no talking. He always seems happy to give me what I need.

“Okay,” he says, lying back on his bed, “I’ve got one.” These little games are something we do when we’re bored. It’s pretty dumb, but we enjoy it, “Start a fight in ten words or less.”

I laugh, this is too easy. By now, I know him so well, I can push his buttons in way less than ten words.

“It’s jif, not gif.” I say, keeping my facial expression serious and neutral. I see him blinking his eyes, trying not to groan.

“The sauce makes the steak.” He says, matching my expression. I bite my tongue for a second, but I can’t keep it in.

I’ve seen this guy put ketchup on steak, for God’s sake!

“West!” I exclaim, “One day, you’re going to be some big, hot-shot, doing business in Tokyo and you’re going to put ketchup on your wagyu. Let me tell you, my friend, that is going to bring shame upon your family. Deep shame. You mark my words.”

He giggles a little. “One point for me.”

“Fine,” I say, bringing out the big guns, “guac should cost extra.” He gives me a look and a thin smile. He hates that I’ve said it, but not enough to argue about it. I must have touched a nerve though, because he pulls out all the stops with the next one.

“Broke Back Mountain is the most over-rated movie ever made.”

“What the fuck!?” I exclaim, “are you mad? Firstly, that’s eleven words, not ten. Secondly, that film is a cinematographic masterpiece.”

“Actually, ‘over-rated’ is one word, so, that was ten words, and I win!” He says gleefully.

I leap up and jump onto his bed, wrestling him down and jabbing him in the side a little, until he’s laughing helplessly.

“Fine,” he laughs, “I take it back, I take it back!”

I keep tickling him. I love to see him laugh. I can’t help it. I usually try to do my damnedest to not to touch him unnecessarily, but now, I’ve lost my concentration for a second, and I’ve got away from myself. His abs are knotted and hard under my touch. I can feel them contracting and tensing. I quickly stop, jumping back, giving him some space. I check his face, to see if I’ve crossed a line, but I see no cause for concern in his eyes.

“I’m only kidding,” he laughs helplessly, “I haven’t even seen that movie.”

“Are you kidding me?” I look at him incredulously. He shakes his head. “Well,” I say, standing up and flicking the TV on. “We’re going to rectify that right now!”

I draw the curtains and find and pay for the movie, while he gets up and makes us a batch of popcorn.

We watch the movie in silence, sitting together on his bed, leaning on our pillows against the wall. It’s the closest thing we have to a sofa in our room. The movie gives me plenty of time to reflect.

I see immediately that I let myself go a little, back there. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking, tickling him like that. I also don’t know what the hell I was thinking, making him watch this movie with me. The subject matter is entirely inappropriate to watch with a straight guy I have a huge crush on. Completely inappropriate. I sit there in agony, for most of the movie. It’s a long movie, believe me.

I’m relieved when it finally ends. This is the first time I’ve ever watched it without being moved to tears. Maybe it’s because I’ve watched it so many times, or maybe, it’s because sitting there, watching it with him, all I could think about was how close his body was to me. His shoulder was inches away from mine. I could feel his heat closing the space between us, setting me alight, burning me, without him even touching me.

I look over at him when the credits roll. He’s sitting there, looking a little stunned. He wipes his eyes on the back of his hand, first one, then the other. His eyes are red and watery. It’s the first time in a very long time, I’ve been close enough to someone, to see them cry.

He doesn’t speak for a long time. When he does, he says, “Holy shit, that was intense. It was brilliant, I’ll give you that. I thought it was just some gay movie, I had no idea it was so sad. My God.”

“Sorry. I guess, I should have warned you.”

“Why do you love it so much? It’s so, so sad.” I’ve told him many times, that I think it’s one of the best movies ever made.

“That’s part of what makes it so good,” I say quietly, “it’s a reminder that fifty years ago, that’s what life was like for people like me. It’s a reminder that in many countries, that’s what life is still like for guys like me.”

“Jesus,” he says, “that’s sobering.” He looks me up and down and says gently, “I’m glad life’s not like that for you anymore.”

If only you knew, I think, it might be 2011, but I’m sitting here right now, starring in my very own tragic love story.

I didn’t know it then, but years later, I’d look back, thinking of this moment, realising that it was the very first time I let myself admit that my thing for West, was more than a harmless crush.

My feelings for West seem to be getting worse. They’re are gaining strength. They’re starting to hurt. They’re starting to twist inside me, strangling me, making it hard for me to breathe when he’s near me. It’s started to hurt even more, when he’s not near me. I find it hard to sleep on nights when he stays over at a girl’s place. I try to sleep, but usually, I find myself tossing and turning, until I hear his key in the door in the early hours of the morning.

I’m trying to block these feelings out. Honestly, I’m doing my best, and the best way I know to do that, is to hit Grindr, and to hit it hard. So, that’s what I do.

I find myself standing outside the disabled toilets on the third floor of the library, waiting for a guy named 69cockscker69. His profile didn’t mince words, he is a man who likes sucking cock. Say what you like about the lack of originality of his username, one thing’s for sure, his branding is clear.

I see him approaching. His message said he was blonde and wearing jeans and a red t-shirt. He moves towards me a bit sheepishly. I nod slowly, opening the door, going in and holding it open for him.

He’s cute, in that boy-next-door kind of way. His body looks good. Even in his clothes, I can tell that it’s tight. He’s not overly big or muscular, but he looks like the type who would be agile. He looks like the kind of guy who might rock climb as a hobby, or something like that.

He has dark brown eyes and muddy blonde hair. He has an easy, cheeky grin. The first time I see him, one thing is abundantly clear. This guy is naughty. There’s really no other word for it. I can just see it about him. I bet, he got sent out of class more than anyone else in his year. His eyes seem to dance with glee. On sight, I’m excited. He looks like a good time and that’s just what I need.

He doesn’t waste any time, he gets straight to it, unbuckling my belt and unzipping my fly, sinking down to his knees, as he sets my cock free. His eyes light up in delight, when he sees what I’ve got in my pants.

“Mmh,” he says, taking my head into his mouth. His profile said that he deepthroats, and I can’t lie, that intrigues me. I’m half expecting it to be an exaggeration, but within a few seconds, I can tell that it isn’t.

He circles my tip with his tongue. Slowly. Over and over, until I’m wet and wanting. He licks up and down my shaft, before taking me into his mouth.

I let out a long, content sigh. He comes up for a little air.

“Don’t start thrusting until you are in past my gag reflex, okay?” He says.

I nod quickly.

He sinks down on me again. This time, he takes a little more. He bobs his head up and down on me a few times, before opening his throat and taking all of me in.

Holy fuck!

I gasp in amazement, as his nose makes contact with my pubes. Jesus. He’s taken all of me. No-one else has ever come close.

“Aaargh.” I moan, as he starts undulating his tongue, massaging and stimulating my dick in a way I’ve never felt before. He takes my hands and puts them behind his head. His profile said he likes being skull fucked.

Who am I to refuse? I’d hate to be rude.

My hips start thrusting almost at once. Almost involuntarily. I hold him in place and fuck his mouth with such vigour, I hardly notice him unzipping and taking himself in hand.

He starts jerking himself off in earnest, as I start clenching and quickening. My hips and ass spasm, as I spurt my whole load down his throat. He comes like a fountain, not long after. Spraying his cream all over the bathroom floor, narrowly missing my shoes.

“Holy shit.” I say over and over, as I sit down heavily on the closed toilet seat behind me. My legs feel weak and my head spins for a moment, as I take a second to recover.

He’s sucked me dry completely, so all I need to do is zip myself up, to make myself look respectable. His situation, on the other hand, is something quite different. His eyes have watered so much, his face is tear stained, and his mess has formed a puddle at my feet.

I tear off a long piece of toilet paper, handing it to him silently. He wipes his eyes and mouth quickly, before mopping himself off the floor. He tosses the paper into the bin and zips up quickly, heading to the door and unlocking it, looking back for a second, giving me a look and a smile, that is nothing short of pure mischief.

Well, damn, I think to myself, as he leaves.

* 

“I love you.” West says, hanging up the phone. He’s been on a call to his mom. He calls her all the time. They seem to talk about everything. He’s always affectionate to her and he’s never the slightest bit embarrassed about it.

I can’t help noticing that his calls to his mom couldn’t be more different to the slightly stiff, stilted weekly calls I makes to my parents.

“What’s the story with your dad?” I ask. By now, it’s not an insensitive or an invasive question. By now, we ask each other stuff like this all the time.

“Uh, no dad.” He says after a quick pause.

“What do you mean,” I ask, “don’t you have a dad?”

He looks at me patiently, “Of course I have a dad, dumbass. I just don’t know who he is.”

“Jesus.” I had no idea. “What’s that been like for you?”

He looks at me plainly. He’s comfortable talking about things that most guys aren’t. “It’s fucked me up a bit, to be honest. At certain points in my life, it’s been harder than others. But, you know what? I got the best mom ever. She’s a better parent then most people get if they roll both their parents together. I consider myself lucky.”

I nod slowly. His mom does sound amazing. He talks about her a lot. He says she’s out of control. He says she’s the best type of crazy. Knowing him as I know him now, I’m inclined to believe him.

That night, West goes out without me. He does that sometimes, I’m not nearly as much of a party animal as he is. Even though he’s the popular one, he always asks me to go, for some reason, he seems to prefer having me with him. Tonight, I’ve refused.

“We can’t all be gifted like you.” I tell him, “Some of us actually have to work.”

I have quiet night in. I got quite a lot of work done and have been reading in bed for a while, when I get a message from him:

Were are you? Can you come get me. I’n too drunk.

I sigh deeply. The spelling and grammar errors in the message tell me everything I need to know about his state. Every once in a while, this happens. Everyone loves him. Lots of people want to buy drinks for him. Sometimes, he loses track and gets a bit drunker than he should. I get up and head out, going to find him.

If anyone else did this, I think, I’d be mad. But because it’s him, I don’t mind.

I really don’t mind.

I get to the party and start looking for West. It’s not all that easy to find him, this party is wild. Everyone’s drunk. Sloppy drunk.

A wasted girl approaches, tottering over to me, “Wow,” she murmurs, “you’re hot.” She runs her hands up my chest. I catch her wrists and move her hands off me.

“Can I get you a drink?” She asks, trying to reach for me again. I duck out of her way.

“Sorry,” I say, “I’m gay.”

“You’re gay?” She wails. “No fair. You’re so hot.”

I smile tolerantly at her. “You know what I think,” she slurs, “I think you should come home with me tonight and I’ll show you that maybe you’re just bi.”

“No thanks,” I say firmly, “definitely not. I’ve tried being with girls, and I assure you, it’s, well, it’s not to my taste.”

That seems to get rid of her, so I find West quickly and get the hell out of there. He could easily have left on his own, but once he’s had a certain amount to drink, he just can’t seem to get himself out of trouble.

We walk down the deserted street together. It’s past midnight and the night has taken on that eery, moonlit feeling. He’s staggering a little, so I drape his arm over my shoulder and help him walk in a straight line.

I try not to think how good it feels to have his arm around me, I swear I do. I try not to notice, how warm his body is, or how strong he feels, but I just can’t quite seem to manage. Tonight, my senses seem heightened. Even more heightened, that is. Recently, it feels like I’ve developed a radar, that works just for him. I seem more in tune with his moods. I seem to know what he’s thinking. Maybe I’m kidding myself, but sometimes I feel like I know what he wants, or he needs, before he knows it himself.

“I love you, Andy.” He slurs, smiling like a drunken idiot.

“Shut up.”

“I love you.” He says again, “One of these days, you’re going to say it back. I know it. You’ll see.”

This is not unusual. He’s an affectionate guy sober, but drunk, he’s even more so. This declaration is nothing to get excited about, he says it all the time when he’s been drinking. He says it, even when he hasn’t been drinking. I bet, he says it to everyone.

“You’re my besht friend, d’you know that?”

“Uh huh,” I sigh, “you have mentioned that once or twice.”

“Am I your besht friend, too?” He asks, his head bobbing around on his shoulders unsteadily.

“Yes.” I say begrudgingly, and as I say it, I realise, I mean it.

I really mean it.

He stops dead in his tracks, his arms hanging limply at his sides. My subtle nudges do nothing to move him along.

“Tell me this then,” he says, pointing a little too close to my face, “if I’m your besht friend, then why are you so mean to me.”

I roll my eyes. “Don’t be daft, I’m not mean to you.”

“You are too.” He says, looking very sad suddenly. “You are so mean to me.”

Fine, I think, I’ll play along.

“When have I ever been mean to you?”

“You’re mean to me all the time,” he slurs, “so, so mean…I tell you everything. And you,” he says pointing up in my face again, “you tell me nothing.”

“That’s not true. I tell you lots of things.” I say, though I’m a bit intrigued to see what he’s getting at, and more than a little perplexed, as to why he might think something like this.

“You don’t.” He says, shaking his head sadly. “You just don’t. You don’t tell me anything real.”

“Fine,” I say, “what do you want to know?”

I feel pretty confident that I’m safe to play this game with him tonight. Given the state of him, I’m almost certain he won’t remember much of this, in the morning.

He looks at me intently, taking me by the shoulders and making me look back at him.

“I want to know why your eyes are always so sad.” He says, his voice trailing off a little at the end of the sentence.

My heart lurches. What the hell is he talking about?

“M-my eyes aren’t sad.” I stammer, shocked and alarmed that he’s noticed.

If my eyes are sad, it’s only because I’m crazy about a guy, I’ll never have.

“You see!” He exclaims, as if it’s a victory, “that’s what I’m talking about. You never tell me anything, Andy Montgomery.”

*

“I was right about you, you know.” He says, one afternoon at the start of the second semester.

“Hmm?” I say absently. I’m drawing his hands. He’s posing for me, as he sometimes does. He has his hands cradled in his lap. His hands are beautiful. They’re big. His palms are thick and solid, but his fingers are slender with long nail beds. I’m doing my best to look at his hands. His hands only. The sketch I’m trying to finish is due for tomorrow.

Stay focussed, I tell myself.

“I knew you’d be cool, when I met you. I thought you’d be all worldly and cool, and I was right.”

I smile to myself, when I think how completely wrong, I was about him.

“What about you? What was your first impression of me?”

I stifle a smile. “Well, to be honest, the very first thing I thought when I saw you, was “Ugh”.”

“Ugh?” He says in disbelief. “Fucking, “ugh”? Are you for real?”

I’m laughing now, I can’t help it. “I was wrong ok? I thought you were nothing more than a dumb jock, but I was wrong.”

He looks at me in amazement. A smile slowly takes over his face. It’s a beautiful thing to see. It starts in his eyes, flickering quickly, lighting up, burning bright green, before moving down his face. His eyes crinkle at the corners, especially the side with the scar. The scar creases deeply when he smiles, sending deep lines down one side of his face. His lips split open at some point, parting softly, giving me a gleaming, snow-white constellation.

I swear, when he smiles like that, I can’t help but think of fireworks going off against a pitch-black, night sky.

A few weeks later, he gets back after going home for the week-end. He drops his bag on his bed and starts to unpack, as he does so, he pulls something out.

“I got something for you.” He says, tossing a novelty cap to me. I turn it over and chuckle as I see it has the word, “Ugh” embroidered on the front.

I love it.

Despite myself, I really do love it. It’s exactly my type of humour. The small, idiotic part of me that hopes, despite how utterly ridiculous it is to hope, is quietly thrilled. I pull the cap on and check myself out in the mirror, turning around and showing him.

“Looks good.” He smiles.

I ask him about his week-end. I know he was a little nervous going back. He hadn’t seen his ex-girlfriend for six months or so, and this week-end, they had plans to meet up. He doesn’t give me details, we seem to get distracted talking about other things, but a bit later, we’re just kicking back in the room, feeling a little bored.

“Okay,” I say, “Tell me a story in twelve words or less.”

He thinks for a second, before saying, “When I saw her, I realised my feelings have changed.”

“Really?” I say, cocking my head at him a little. I’m very relieved. It’s stupid, I know, but I hated thinking he was still hung up on his ex.

“Yeah.” He says, “I’m glad that I saw her, and I wish her well, but I just don’t feel the way I used to. It’s weird how things like that can change with time.”

It’s my turn. I’m feeling a little out there this evening. I was at Tyler and Sarah’s place this afternoon and I had a few drinks with them. I’m not sure my judgement is one hundred percent.

“I thought I saw fireworks once, but it was just a smile.”

He smiles. “That sounds good, but it’s too cryptic. You have to go again.”

Fine, I think, I’ll give you something less cryptic.

“It hurt at first,” I say, not fully thinking through what I’m saying, “but then it felt good.”

I’m a little taken aback by what I’ve said. I shouldn’t have had those drinks. I hardly ever drink when I know I’m going to be alone with West. I just don’t feel like I can risk it.

God, I hope he won’t get it.

He smiles again. A slow smile. “Yeah, yeah,” he says, “that describes just about everyone’s first time getting their ass ploughed.

I swallow hard. I feel a bit flustered and warm. I shouldn’t have said that. What was I thinking?

He’s looking at me hard, trying to read me. The question is clear in his face.

I roll my eyes hard. “Fuck,” I say, “just ask it already.” I know the question he wants to ask. For some reason, straight people just love asking this question.

“Fine,” he says, after a pause, “do you like giving it or taking it.”

I swallow again. I know I shouldn’t be talking to him about this. As friends, I probably wouldn’t be too uncomfortable. Tyler and Sarah know my preferences and that doesn’t bother me one bit. It’s different with West though. Even though it’s all in my head, with West, it feels different to me.

“I’m more of a top,” I say at last, “but every once in a while, for the right guy, I like bottoming too.”

I don’t just like it, I need it.

Even though my filter is slipping a little, I manage to stop talking right there. Part of me would love to add, “I’m a size queen. I bottom for guys who are hung. Guys, exactly like you.” I manage not to. I put myself on notice though, I’m out of my element here. I’m playing with fire.

“Oh.” He says simply, as if I’ve just disclosed nothing more personal, than my favourite flavour of ice-cream.

He’s quiet for a while. It’s his turn to go. I wait patiently.

His voice is a little strange when he speaks. It’s softer and lower. “Sometimes, I think I might be the product of rape.”

I sit up quickly, swinging my legs down onto the floor. I look at him sharply.

“What do you mean?”

He takes a deep breath, “Sometimes, I wonder if my mom was raped. You know, if that’s why she doesn’t ever want to talk about my father.”

I’m shocked. That’s one hell of a thought to live with.

“Don’t you think, maybe, you should ask her.”

“I don’t know.” He says vaguely. “I asked her once and she seemed so uncomfortable. She’s happy to talk about anything, but the fact that she seemed nervous, almost scared to talk about this, gave me the impression, that she was hiding something. Something bad.”

He looks up at me, pressing his lips together for a moment. “I guess, I know that I can live like this, you know, with this small, little suspicion. Honestly though, I’m not sure I could live with knowing my suspicion was true. I just don’t think I could.”

I get up and sit on his bed next to him. I lean my shoulder lightly against his, and don’t say anything. We sit like that for a while, before he looks at me, “Thanks,” he says softly, “I’ve never told anyone about this. I’ve never even thought it aloud.”

“That’s not how you were made, West. I know it isn’t.”

“Okay,” he says, one random afternoon, “I have a question. Did you take a vow of celibacy or something?”

I look at him in amazement. “What the hell do you mean?”

“I mean, why don’t you ever go out and get laid?”

I’m astonished he’d ask this. I’m even more astonished that he’d think it. Mind you, I do go out of my way to keep my extracurricular activities anonymous and behind closed doors. Most of my hook-ups are random encounters. I like it that way. I have a bunch of guys I hook up with on a semi-regular basis. Tyler calls them, “Andy’s Harem.”

“I have sex all the time.” I say quietly.

“Yeah, right.” He says, “When was the last time you had sex?”

“I had sex this morning.” I tell him. It’s true. I’ve converted my friend 69cockscker69 into a very willing bottom. “Truth be told,” I add, “I’m kind of a slut.” That’s true, too.

He smiles that big, easy, broad smile of his, lighting up his whole face. “I never knew that about you, Andy Montgomery.”

I shrug, “Well, now you know.”

“I’m kind of a slut, too.”

“You’re not wrong there.” I say, nodding sagely.

He throws his head back, cackling loudly. I try not to think how much I like that sound.

“Oh, man, I love you, Andy. You crack me up.”

“Shut up.” I say, rolling my eyes.

He laughs a little more, looking at me with dancing eyes. “One day, you’re going to say it back. You’ll see.”

I try not to think a single thing. I try to keep my mind and my face one hundred percent passive. A little while later, he looks up at me. I can tell, something’s bothering him.

“Andy,” he says, “I hope I’ve never done anything to make you feel like you couldn’t bring a guy back here. I’d hate to think I’ve made you feel like that’s not something you could do, if you want to.”

It’s never even occurred to me to bring someone back here when he’s here too. I can’t think of anything more awkward.

*

Still, his words must have made a bit of an impression, as not long after that conversation, I get caught in a bind. I’m out one night and I’ve finally managed to hook up with a very hot bottom. I’ve had my eye on him for quite a while. His name is Chad Dwyer. He’s a sexy, muscular blonde with a handsome face and terribly well-cut hair. He’s in high demand and he knows it, still, tonight, he’s ticking a lot of boxes for me.

“Your place?” I whisper into his ear.

“Uh, no. No way, my roommate’s a nightmare.”

Shit.

Now that I have this guy in my grasp, I really, really have to have him. I’m so hot and so horny, I can’t think straight, so I find myself saying, “Okay, let’s go to my place.”

I let us in quietly. It’s the middle of the night and the room is dark and quiet, but still, I can see West’s outline in his bed.

Damn, I was hoping he wouldn’t be home.

“Shhh.” I say, pulling Chad toward me and starting to unbutton his shirt.

“Are you sure your roommate’s okay with this?”

“Yeah, definitely, he’s cool.”

“I don’t want to get my ass kicked.”

“Don’t worry, he’s not an asshole.”

I undress Chad quickly and myself too. I’m in way more of a rush than I usually am, and I’m not sure if that’s because of how hot Chad is, or if it’s because I want to fuck him and get him out of here, before West wakes up.

I push him down on his knees, without any forewarning.

“Oh, fuck!” He gasps, as I run my tongue down his crack.

“Shhh.” I say again.

I don’t stop my assault on his hole though. He’s squirming and arching and seems entirely unable to keep quiet.

“Ooooh, fuck, that feels amazing.” He says when I dart my tongue into him.

“Quiet.”

His ass is unreal, a perfect, pert bubble butt. I can’t resist getting up to my nose in it, tonguing him, in some sort of frenzy.

“I can’t help it,” he moans, “you’re so good at that. I’m losing my mind here.”

Ordinarily, this type of talk would be right up my street, but tonight, it’s stressing me out. I finger him quickly, stretching him out as much as I can. I’m horrified and excited, in equal measure by the ghastly, loud groans he’s omitting.

I enter him smoothly, hoping against hope that the shock of my dick might silence him for a while, but to no avail. He’s moaning in earnest now.

“Oh, God, Andy, you’re so big. I feel like you’re splitting me in two.” I clamp my hand hard over his mouth after that.

“Quiet,” I say, hissing this time, “if you don’t keep it down, I won’t let you cum.”

He groans even more loudly at that, arching his neck, straining and struggling to take me. Under different circumstances, I’d really, really be enjoying fucking this guy.

He starts jerking off as I pump in and out of him, he’s still moaning his ass off, but at least the sound is muffled by my hand now. The effort to be quiet seems to be making it hard for him to get there. He’s gasping and shaking. I pick up my pace, drilling him a new one, as he thrashes beneath me.

At last, he lets out a long, choked cry. I try my best, but I can’t catch the whole sound in my hand. I come soon after. Silently. Finishing with nothing more than a shivery sigh.

Afterward, he gets dressed and gets ready to leave, kissing me at the door.

“The rumours about you are true,” he smiles, looking up at me with glistening eyes, “I want to do that again.”

“Shhh!” I whisper.

I walk back to my bed as quietly as I can, tiptoeing carefully.

West, turns in his bed, “For fucks sakes,” he says, sounding grumpy, “next time, just let the guy moan, so he can cum.”

Even though I’m shocked and embarrassed, a very, very idiotic part of me is pleased that he heard. Even though I know it’s stupid, believe me, I know. I’m pleased that he’s seen a glimpse of this side of me.

“Sorry about last night,” he says, as he pours himself his second cup of coffee. “I was tired, and I was out of order.”

“No problem.” I say with a shrug.

I know him well enough now, to know that he doesn’t wake up well. The two or three minutes it takes him to get up and get a pot of coffee brewing, are the only time of the day that he is ever anything less than a ray of sunshine.

Still, after that night with Chad, I don’t bring anyone back again, unless I’m absolutely positive West won’t be home. Strangely enough, he largely stops bringing girls back, too. He goes to their rooms instead.

I’m incredibly relieved that I’m not being subjected to the torture of listening to girls fucking the man of my dreams anymore, but at the same time, it means he spends less time in our room, and I hate that.

My feelings for him have now reached epic proportions. I’m at the stage, where I’m utterly convinced that I will never know a single day of happiness, if I can’t have him. As we all know, he’s straight. So, that means no happiness for me. Only despair. Deep, unending despair.

My melancholy knows no bounds, to the extent that I find myself at Tyler’s place, begging him to use his gaydar to give West another once-over.

“Please, Ty,” I say, “please just check him over again. Just look at him, okay? Just look. Are you sure there isn’t anything there?”

Tyler purses his lips and shakes his head sadly.

“Please, Ty, just look at his face? The way he holds his jaw? That tiny little bit of tension? Isn’t that something?”

Tyler closes his eyes and sighs deeply. He’s losing his patience with me. I don’t blame him. In fact, I’d probably judge him if he didn’t. I’m deeply ashamed that it’s come to this. I’m deeply humiliated that I’ve let it get this far.

“Please, Ty. Just tell me how you know. How do you know, he isn’t just a little bit bi?”

Tyler gets up, grabbing my arm and dragging me to the large mirror, that hangs in the hallway.

“That,” he says, pointing to my reflection, “that’s how I know.”

He turns to face me. “You’re how I know, Andy. That’s how I know, okay? It’s because it’s you. West has lived with you for almost an entire year. He’s slept in a bed a few feet away from you. He’s seen you getting dressed and undressed. He watches you work. He hears your voice all the time, and still, nothing has happened between you. He’s been rip-roaring drunk around you and still, he hasn’t made a move.”

I don’t move. I stand still and look at my reflection. West was right. I do have sad eyes.

“Do you understand me, Andy? West is not gay and not only that. He doesn’t even have one millilitre of bisexuality in him. Okay? That’s just a fact. If he did, he would not have been able to resist you. It’s as simple as that. There’s just no way that he could.”

I try to smile. It’s a wobbly, insincere smile that doesn’t reach my eyes. “Thanks, I guess.”

The small, idiotic part of myself, the part that can’t resist hoping, no matter how much it hurts me, can’t help thinking, did something happen?

It happened a few days ago. Though, whether ‘it’ was a thing, and whether it was a ‘happening’ is up for debate. I’m not sure either way, but it went like this:

West had been out for the night. Given the time, I thought he’d go straight to his first lecture, so I thought I had the room to myself. I woke up with massive morning wood and decided to take a leisurely approach to sorting it out. I don’t often have the opportunity to take my time, so I went all out. I set up my laptop and had one of my favourite porn clips playing, my pyjama bottoms were down round my ankles and I was sitting on the edge of my bed, with my dick in my hand, when who should walk in, but West.

“Holy shit!” I exclaimed, slamming my laptop shut, as if it was on fire.

West’s eyebrows shot up and he laughed in delight. I had both hands covering my junk and was in a bit of quandary about how to keep myself under wraps and get my pants up at the same time.

“Fuck.” I said, stunned and horrified and at a loss for anything more intelligent to say.

West was still laughing. Not laughing at me though. He doesn’t do that. No, he seemed genuinely amused.

“It’s no problem, Andy. It’s normal. Everyone does it.”

“Look,” I said, finally able to string a few words together, “I’m dying of shame here. Could you kindly just get the fuck out of here for a few minutes?”

He really laughed at that. “Nah,” he said, completely unaffected by my utter humiliation. “You’ve caught me lots of times, it’s no big deal.””

“Well, it’s a big deal to me.”

He sighed, as if I was being very silly.

“I tell you what, if you’re going to make a huge deal out of this, why don’t we just both jerk off? Let’s just get it out of the way, so neither of us is uncomfortable about it?”

I looked at him in amazement. It was an absolutely ridiculous idea. Absolutely insane. No possible way, that would make this any better. Still, I was horny. Really, really horny. I was pretty close when he walked in and my balls were heavy and full.

Plus, this was West. This was the guy, I fantasise about almost every single second I’m awake, and now he was offering something. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it was something. In my compromised mental state, I couldn’t think of a single reason not to.

“O-okay.” I said, I could hear the tension and excitement in my voice. I hoped against hope, that he couldn’t.

He sat on the bed next to me, unbuckling his belt and unzipping his fly. The fission of excitement that flowed through me felt reckless. Reckless and stupid.

Keep it together, I told myself. Keep it together.

“What are we watching?” He said, opening my laptop.

Holy fuck!

I darted forward to tried to slam my laptop closed again, but it was too late.

“Hmmm,” he said, reading what I’ve been searching for, “‘bottom struggling to take it’, huh?”

Hot, hot humiliation ripped through me. Red hot. I was so embarrassed right then, that I wanted to go back in time and slap my dumb, younger self for every time I’ve ever thought I was embarrassed before.

No embarrassment has ever come close to this.

“Nice.” He said.

“Uh, um, West, this is, um, this is gay porn.”

He looked at me as if I was mentally challenged, “No shit, Sherlock. I’ll just block out the dick and focus on the ass.”

He looked at me with a big grin, “After all, an ass is an ass.”

My dick lurched wildly at that, so much so, that I stopped trying to wrestle the laptop out of his hands and had to get back to trying to cover myself.

He pressed play, and to my eternal shame, as the video started playing, I found myself more aroused than I’ve ever been in my life.

I tried to keep my eye on the screen, but he was sitting so close to me. So close. If I were to spread my legs a little more, my thigh would press against his. I tried not to look down, but I could hear him easing his dick out of his jocks. The temptation consumed me, to the point I had to turn my head away slightly, and watch the screen out of one eye, only.

Right from the start, my breath was uneven. The more I struggled to even it out, the worse it seemed to get.

I was hardly touching myself, but by the sounds coming from him, he was stroking himself quickly. He meant business.

I glanced over at him, moving just my eyes. His eyes were on the screen, he was engrossed, so I caved. I gave in. I let my eyes wonder down his body. He was fully dressed, his open fly, exposing only his dick, his dark, neatly trimmed hair and a glimpse of his balls.

I hated myself instantly for looking. Not just because I’d just invaded his privacy, but because, the second I did it, I knew I’d just caused myself weeks, months and possibly years, of absolute agony.

His dick was everything I ever imagined it could be. It was all that, and more. It was massive, the hefty outline in his pants had made me think he must be a shower, but now I knew, he was a grower, too. Absolutely no doubt about that.

I honestly couldn’t believe just how impressive it was. His wide, mushroom head was swollen and red. Pulsing as it disappeared into his fist.

I looked away quickly. Eyes on the screen.

The bottom in the video was moaning unbridled. The sounds were driving me wild. There’s nothing I love more, than the sound a man makes when he’s having his hole slammed.

My dick was pulsing too. It was pulsing like crazy. Stimulation seemed to be coming at me from every angle. My orgasm was close. I could feel it gathering force. It felt so wild and intense, even in my compromised state, I had the presence of mind to feel a little afraid. It was almost too much.

I looked down at West again. I couldn’t help it. A single, slick bead of pre-cum was glistening in his slit. My abs contracted and my neck arched back when I saw it. My mouth filled, as I salivated at the sight of it.

I want to touch it.

I want to touch it. Please.

Please, please, PLEASE CAN I TOUCH IT?

I was so desperate, I could feel the words forming in my mouth, my tongue circling around, ready to beg. I can say for certain, that I’ve never, ever wanted anything more.

I clamped my fist tightly against my mouth, biting down on my knuckle, doing anything I could think of, to stop me from speaking.

When I came, it was anything but the shivery sigh, I let out that night with Chad. This time, the sound erupted from me, without my assent. I came so hard everything went black for a second, and I let out a long, strangled cry.

Before I had time to berate myself for humiliating myself even further, West came. He came beautifully. His semen erupted like a fountain. Spurting up again and again, spilling all over his lap. He moaned soft and low.

He sighed deeply and closed the laptop, when it was over. He got up and got his washcloth, wiping himself down, as he picked up my washcloth, and tossed it over to me.

I cleaned up quickly, shocked and appalled by what had just happened.

So shaken, I wasn’t able to censor myself, as I whispered, “Is it weird that we just did that?”

West looked at me as if I was daft, smiling so widely, that his scar creased almost all the way down his cheek.

“Of course, it’s fucking weird. But it doesn’t need to be. It doesn’t have to be weird unless we make it weird.”

So, that was the end of that. We didn’t make it weird, so it isn’t weird. Say what you want about West, but he has a way of living in the moment. Nothing about his behaviour since has given a hint of tension or strangeness between us.

I find myself thinking of Tyler’s words from earlier today, over and over. “Nothing has happened between you.”

Now, I’m confused. I’m not at all sure, if that’s true anymore.

Is it?

It’s nearly the end of the year, we’re a few weeks out from final exams, when I wake in the middle of the night. I wake to a deep, sick feeling that can only be described as desolation. Chilling anguish and horror. It strikes me right in the core.

The cry that wakes me, isn’t the high-pitched, moan of a frantic girl, though there’s definitely a girl with him. This cry is low. This cry comes from a man. It comes from deep, deep within the man I love. It comes from West. It sounds as if something inside him has been ripped open.

My face feels hot and my eyes water instantly. I put my hands over my ears, but that doesn’t help. I can still hear him. I know what’s happening. I know exactly. A spell is being cast. I’m right here. I’m a witness. I have a front row seat, and there’s nothing I can do to stop it.

I don’t sleep a wink for the rest of the night. I can’t. I can’t move either, my limbs are heavy and leaden.

Afterwards, I hear him whispering to her. This is different, too. This time, he’s not asking her what she likes in bed, he’s asking her who she is. He wants to know her. He wants to know everything about her. This one is different.

He wants her.

When daylight finally rolls in, they get up and he makes coffee for her. I can’t pretend to be sleeping much longer, so I open my eyes.

“Andy,” says West, “this is Ashleigh.”

He looks about as happy, as someone who has just been announced as a Nobel Peace Prize winner. He motions to her proudly, as if she’s the trophy.

She’s petite with elfin features. Her hair is platinum blonde and short, falling forward, almost into her eyes. She’s wearing jeans and a white tank top without a bra. She’s just woken up, her make-up is a little smudged around her eyes and yet, even a guy as gay as I am, can’t help but instantly see, this girl is hot. Piping hot. Absolutely smokin’.

“Nice to meet you.” I lie.

Wave after wave of misery hits me. Outrage, too. I know, right as I sit there, that I’m watching my worst nightmare coming to life. It’s happening right in front of me. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe that this is happening to someone so beautiful and kind and wonderful. I can’t believe that someone as powerful and majestic as West, is about to be taken down by an Ashleigh.

A mother-fucking Ashleigh.

I’m beside myself, when I get to Tyler’s. I haven’t slept and obviously, that isn’t helping, still, I don’t try to control myself. I can’t.

“You should have seen him.” My voice is higher than usual. Even I can recognise that I sound a little unhinged. “You should have seen her.”

“Andy, please, you have to calm down. It won’t be as bad as you think.”

“It’s going to be exactly as bad as I think, I know it!”

“You don’t know that.”

“No?” I say, sounding quite angry, “I know West. I know him better than anyone.”

“Okay, fine, you know West, I’ll give you that, but you don’t know this girl. Okay? You don’t know the first thing about her. You don’t know what she wants.”

“Actually,” I spit, “I know two things about her. I know her name’s Ashleigh, and I know that she’s human.”

There’s no way in the world that anyone human, wouldn’t want West.

I sit down heavily. Tyler sits next to me quietly, putting his hand on my back. The warmth of his touch undoes me. Though I try not to, hot tears run wetly down my face.

“Oh, Andy.” He murmurs. Sarah has come out of her room to see what all the commotion is about. She sits next to me too, hugging me tightly, causing another wave of tears to escape.

Once I calm down, Tyler says, “Andy, Todd is moving out next year, we still haven’t filled his room. I think you should move in with us. You can’t keep living with West. You can’t do it to yourself. You just can’t.”

Sarah gives Tyler a quick look, but seems to change course, quickly dropping her gaze and then looking at me.

“Ty’s right, you can’t keep living with him. We’d love to have you. We’ll have fun together. You’ll see.” She says.

“You’ll see, Andy,” says Tyler, “within a few months, you’ll start feeling better. You’ll hardly ever see West. He’ll get on with his life with his boring straight friends and you’ll be able to move on. You’ll see.”

Even though the thought of West getting on with his life without me, feels like a blade to the heart, I know that they’re right.

I can’t keep living with him. I can’t do it to myself.

It’s almost the end of the year. We are in the middle of exams. I’m studying hard. West is doing the bare minimum. He’s completely and utterly wrapped up in Ashleigh. It’s even worse than I thought. He’s been hit harder than I expected.

“Don’t be stupid,” I say, “you can’t risk your scholarship for a girl.”

“I’m not stupid.” He says. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard an edge in his voice.

“I’m telling you, West, this girl is bad news. She’s crazy.”

He smiles at me patiently, “She’s the best kind of crazy. She’s out of control.”

I hate the way he looks when he talks about her. He looks like a fool. His green eyes glaze over, as a helpless, toothy grin takes over his face.

“I’m moving in with Sarah and Ty, next year.” I say, without any preamble.

His face drops when I say it. He seems stunned. I immediately regret not telling him more kindly. This isn’t his fault. He can’t help who he is, any more than I can help who I am.

“Oh,” he says, over and over. “Oh. I guess, I just assumed we’d keep living together.”

“Tyler and Sarah have asked me to take the third room in their place. I think it’s for the best. Dorm living, just isn’t for me.” I explain, trying to soften the news. “Will you be alright?”

“That’s okay. I understand. I’ll see if I can still get that Student Rep position, they offered me. It’s not much money, but at least, I’ll get my own room. I can’t imagine having to share with anyone else.”

I nod. I feel bad, but I know it’s for the best.

Loving him and living with him, is killing me slowly.

I stand back and take in the painting. It’s the best work I’ve done. I say that without ego. It’s just a fact. It’s the practical piece for my portraiture class. It’s a self-portrait. Though the face and body are purposefully blurred out, I’ve captured my likeness. You can see at a glance, that it’s me. My expression and posture are perfect. Every nuance is there. I’m standing straight, one hand at my side, the other is raised in front of my gaping chest, holding my heart in my hand. I’ve painted the organ in a hyper-realistic style. The blood and membranes around the heart seem so life-like that anyone looking at it is likely to feel that slight clench, that slight sense of dread, you get when you see a car-crash.

I’ve named it, Heart.

I’m standing there, looking at it, when my professor walks up and stands beside me. She stands there quietly for a long time, taking it in.

“It’s incredible, Andy.” She says, “It’s the best work I’ve seen in years, and I don’t just mean from a student.”

Her words should thrill me. Professor Langdon is amazing. I love her work. She’s a brilliant teacher and I look up to her. She’s not quick or over-the-top with praise, so I know what she’s saying, is a big deal.

Still, right now, I can’t feel anything but what I see in the painting. I’m hollow. Broken.

She stands beside me. Not speaking for a while. I think she’s about to move on, when she looks at me. Her eyes are as sympathetic, as mine are sad.

“Unrequited.” She says softly. “There’s no worse way to love.”

*

Thanks for reading - please let me know what you think.

Copyright © 2021 Jesse_H_Reign; All Rights Reserved.
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Thank you for reading. This is my first post on this site. I hope you enjoyed it. I'm a very new writer, so feedback is invaluable to me. 

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I'm trying to amend it. I mistook the question to mean, "Has the writing process been completed?". I've considered posting my first two works here, but I believe they contain a little more sex than GA will allow 😬

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I liked this a lot. Hope you will continue writing. Also consider trying posting your earlier works - GA may well be fine with them.

Edited by itgilman
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Thank you. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I tried, but GA said, "Nah," to the first work I wrote 😅

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I enjoyed this a lot. Thought I was going to be too tired tonight to finish the whole chapter but I soon realized I’d kept reading straight through to the end.

The emotion really gets to me. I’m feeling Andy’s pain and I’m hoping there is some resolution for him. West would be extremely hard to get over after the closeness they’ve shared. 

As an artist myself I enjoy your color references and the description of Andy’s artwork. Pouring his emotion into his work seems to be doing wonders for him. 

I’ll cross my fingers there’s more to read after this.

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This story has captured exactly what it feels like to be in the throes of unrequited love  i am there right now and the pain feels unbearable at times. Thank you for this story.

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84Mags

Posted (edited)

9 hours ago, Jesse_H_Reign said:

I'm trying to amend it. I mistook the question to mean, "Has the writing process been completed?". I've considered posting my first two works here, but I believe they contain a little more sex than GA will allow 😬

That’s too bad about your first two stories, but I understand. Perhaps after this one is fully posted (and now that you have a rated review I suggest you contact a site administrator) you might consider combining your first two stories with sexual content edits? Not sure how that would work from an author’s standpoint but I can tell you from a reader’s perspective it wasn’t ever about the sex anyway.  
Glad to see you branching out to this site.  

Edited by 84Mags
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6 hours ago, Jesse_H_Reign said:

Thank you. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I tried, but GA said, "Nah," to the first work I wrote 😅

Where are your other works located? I'm disappointed GA said no. I've been using this site for over 11 years.

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10 hours ago, Jesse_H_Reign said:

So glad you enjoyed it. There's lots more to come. 

I hope this means there's more to the story! I love what you wrote so far, and can totally identify with Andy. The description of his self portrait brought tears to my eyes. 

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4 hours ago, jaysalmn said:

I hope this means there's more to the story! I love what you wrote so far, and can totally identify with Andy. The description of his self portrait brought tears to my eyes. 

There's definitely lots more to come!

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9 hours ago, Guilhelin said:

Where are your other works located? I'm disappointed GA said no. I've been using this site for over 11 years.

I post on Lit under a different name

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13 hours ago, Doha said:

This story has captured exactly what it feels like to be in the throes of unrequited love  i am there right now and the pain feels unbearable at times. Thank you for this story.

Oh, I feel for you. It's a terrible, terrible feeling.

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9 hours ago, alexlittel said:

Great read,  Keep the good stuff coming! Hugs

Thank you x

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I read this yesterday while on my break at work and just wanted to let you know how emotionally distraught I was after clocking back in and having to go about my day as normal. I had to be surrounded by people and walked around feeling like my emotions had run a marathon. I mean this in a positive way though. This story is beautiful. I connected with Andy so much and it was like I was reading excerpts from my own life at some points. It kind of brought up some old feelings I havent given thought to in a long time but I'm really happy I got the chance to read this.

 

Thank you for bringing it to GA and I'm looking forward to more of your works.

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15 minutes ago, Lamps said:

I read this yesterday while on my break at work and just wanted to let you know how emotionally distraught I was after clocking back in and having to go about my day as normal. I had to be surrounded by people and walked around feeling like my emotions had run a marathon. I mean this in a positive way though. This story is beautiful. I connected with Andy so much and it was like I was reading excerpts from my own life at some points. It kind of brought up some old feelings I havent given thought to in a long time but I'm really happy I got the chance to read this.

 

Thank you for bringing it to GA and I'm looking forward to more of your works.

Thank you for this wonderful comment. I'm happy and sad, in equal measure, that it affected you like this. I'll post the next chapter later today/tomorrow

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I too find this story very captivating!!  It rare to form a bond like these two have in their first year! I think it's a mistake for Andy to move in with Sarah and Tyler!! 

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 “I was so embarrassed right then, that I wanted to go back in time and slap my dumb, younger self for every time I’ve ever thought I was embarrassed before.”  Best line ever! I am having it painted on my wall! 
 

I just came across this story and everything about it is excellent — almost too much so because I am not sure how much more of the pain of unrequited love I can handle. I want to (and will) continue reading both because of the great writing and storytelling but also to see how you navigate and resolve the conflict. 

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With several chapters posted I'm a little late starting. I am so hooked after reading only one chapter! Your characters are interesting, and your writing style is very readable! I agree with Starboardtack; I'm not certain how much pain from unrequited love I can handle. I will also keep reading to see how things progress. I'm loving this story! Thanks. 

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WOW! I've only read the first chapter but I love it. Your writing is wonderful. Please continue writing and posting. And tell me where I can find other stories you've written. Well done, keep it up.

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13 hours ago, Paul Franklin said:

WOW! I've only read the first chapter but I love it. Your writing is wonderful. Please continue writing and posting. And tell me where I can find other stories you've written. Well done, keep it up.

Thanks, Paul. I'll send me a message re how to find my other work.

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Great first chapter!  You painted a picture with your words every bit as poignant as the fictional portrait.

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23 hours ago, CincyKris said:

Great first chapter!  You painted a picture with your words every bit as poignant as the fictional portrait.

Thank you!

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