Jump to content
  • Members Can Sign Up For Content Notifications

    Do you want to be automatically notified of updates to your favorite content?  Join now for free and follow your favorite stuff!

    ObicanDecko
  • Author
  • 2,684 Words
  • 3,531 Views
  • 24 Comments

Do You Remember - 11. A New Page

Over the next few weeks, Alex and Jeremy have unconsciously settled into a nice, comfortable routine of seeing each other at least two or three times a week - whenever their schedules allowed it. Alex usually worked the first shift at the car wash, which meant he was free most evenings and on the weekends.

Jeremy’s mom was still living with him in the apartment above the bakery. Although they planned for her to stay only for a week or two to help him set everything up, they seemed to have underestimated the amount of work that needed to be done on a daily basis. So, she was still staying there, covering one shift while Jeremy worked the other. Even though the apartment was small, it had two bedrooms, which meant they had their own freedom and privacy.

Alex enjoyed seeing the young baker whenever possible. He also knew Jeremy’s birthday was coming up and wanted to surprise him. Since Jeremy wasn’t much of a party guy, a surprise party was out of the question, but Alex still wanted to buy him a nice gift - he just had to figure out what.

The two guys shared some stolen kisses when they were alone - usually in Alex’s room - but otherwise mostly just hung out as friends. Close friends who had a crush on each other, but friends nonetheless. Alex was aware Jeremy didn’t want to start anything serious just yet, so he didn’t want to push it and risk driving him away.

That Thursday afternoon, the two of them were sitting on a wooden bench near the river, observing a family of swans swimming around graciously. Alex loved the view from the quay, so they often found themselves spending time together there. Jeremy indulged him even though he could observe that same view from the bakery every day.

“Natalie sent me a text yesterday,” Jeremy said, looking at his phone.

“Oh? What did she say?” Alex asked. After that one not so pleasant encounter at his house, he didn’t see the girl anymore, and was quite glad about it. Apparently, she hadn’t visited Jeremy either since then.

“She said she’d be away for a few weeks, visiting some relatives. I hope she won’t stop talking to me because of this,” Jeremy said. “We were best friends for so long.”

“Don’t worry, I’m sure she’ll still talk to you. Maybe she just wanted to distance herself from everything for a while - it makes it easier to cope,” Alex offered his words of wisdom.

“I guess. Pretending to be a couple was dumb, we never should’ve done it.”

“Hey, it’s no use thinking like that now. Seriously, Jer, don’t beat yourself up over it,” Alex said. He noticed Jeremy was often insecure and liked to over-analyze everything. Alex was different - in his mind, there was no use crying over spilt milk. That’s why, when he returned from Paris, he couldn’t wait for his family to stop talking about his screw-up. He did it, he was punished for it, so what was the use in holding it over his head for so long?

“Natalie knew what she was getting herself into. And it’s not like you did it to hurt anyone. So stop blaming yourself so much, ok?”

“Ok,” Jeremy conceded, even managing a smile.

“Now that’s better,” Alex nodded in satisfaction, resisting the temptation to plant a big kiss on his lips.

When he returned home that afternoon, Alex was taken by surprise when he started receiving texts from the person he least expected to - Brandon. The first one came as he was doing chest workouts in his room. Even though working at the car wash kept him physically active during the day, he didn’t want to neglect his strength training and muscle building workouts. As he did his bench presses, his phone buzzed and he waited to finish his set and take a look. To say he was flabbergasted to see Brandon’s name pop up on the screen would be a big understatement. Especially when he read the seemingly friendly, innocuous message.

Brandon: Hey, what’s up? :) Just wanted to see if you’d like to hang out - as friends?

Alex picked up a towel from his bed and wiped off the sweat of his glistening chest and face. He enjoyed how his body felt, his muscles all pumped up and tense. Finally, he wiped off his sweaty palms and took the phone again, thinking of whether to reply - and what? Ok, he would definitely reply, it would be rude not to, he decided - but should he accept Brandon’s offer?

It’s true that when he broke up with the guy, they agreed they could still remain friends, but Alex didn’t actually think it would ever happen. It was just one of those things people say to be polite, but never really mean it. He’d seen it many times when he was in college. You sleep with someone, they say “it’s been fun, I’ll see you around”, but you both know you won’t. That’s why it’s called a one night stand. You had fun for one night, and that’s it - in the morning, you go your separate ways. And that’s ok.

So now what?

He realized he could’ve easily ignored the message or come up with an excuse for not having time, but he knew that would be quite tacky. Like taking the easy way out. Cheating. Like when his friends at college would see a drop of rain and use it as an excuse not to go to the gym with him. So, the part of his brain that was apparently in charge of making questionable decisions decided to accept the invitation. He figured there was no harm in having a beer and catching up with the guy as long as they were both clear they were just friends and it was not a date.

Alex: Hey, I’m alright, HBU? Sure, I’m up for hanging out.

It didn’t take long for a reply to arrive.

Brandon: Sweet! How about Sat @ noon? I’ll pick you up.

Alex thought about it and decided to go with it. He was free pretty much all day on Saturday, and Jeremy was working the first shift, so they had no plans to meet at that time.

Alex: OK see ya then.

After replying, Alex returned to his workout, but he still couldn’t stop wondering if he made the right call. However, he didn’t dwell too much on that, deciding that he would just see how things go on Saturday and go from there. Chances were high that Brandon would bore him again with his talk of his mega successful business ventures and acquiring new real estate in the most elite parts of town. If that happened, he decided he’d find any excuse to get out early.

~~

Saturday morning saw Alex helping his dad in the garage around the car. How unfair, he thought, having to help repair the car but can’t even drive it or have my own! As if I don’t get enough work at the car wash.

Still, he sucked it up and did what his dad told him to, passing him tools, checking tire pressure and whatever else was necessary.

Once they were done, he went back inside the house, wanting to get out of the sweaty clothes and take a shower. Back in his room, dressed in a thin, dark grey sweater and black jeans, Alex got comfortable in his bed and took his phone, opening the gambling app to check the latest scores. It became a habit of his over the past few weeks. He was still into football and would watch games whenever he had time for it. So, there’s no reason not to check the results, he told himself. I don’t even need to gamble, I just want to stay in the loop.

Still, when he heard a knock on the door and saw his sister entering the room, he jumped in alarm and locked his phone as quickly as possible. If anyone saw what he was doing, they would make a big deal out of it - especially his mom – so he had to be extra careful.

His sister, Liz, was especially jumpy those days, as the pressure of graduating from high school and getting into college was getting to her. She would come to his room ten times a day, always with a different question about college life. Even though it would be a few months before she got information whether she was accepted, she was already in the midst of planning everything.

“Hey, what’s up?” Alex asked, trying to sound relaxed.

“Hey I was just thinking, when you go to the dorms, can you choose your roommate? Or do you get stuck with whoever they give you?” Liz asked, joining Alex on the bed.

“Umm it depends on the college. In some places you get assigned a roommate, in others you can choose. But unless you already know the person well, I don’t see the point in choosing, right?” he shrugged.

“What about your roommate when you started college? Michael, right?”

“Yeah, he was actually alright. We got put together randomly and it turned out great. We were friendly the whole time we were there,” Alex remembered. Before I went to Paris for the last semester and fucked it all up.

At that moment, his phone buzzed and he swiped to read the message, already knowing who it’s from.

Brandon: Almost there!

Taking his phone and wallet, Alex got up and headed out the door.

“Sorry, gotta run,” he turned to Liz.

“Where you off to?”

“Just meeting a friend,” Alex replied as he went down the stairs, Liz trailing him.

“Oh, which friend?”

“Brandon,” he said, not turning around. He was almost out the door!

Brandon Brandon?!” Liz asked. Alex rolled his eyes at the screeching voice she used when she was surprised or excited. “I didn't know you two were friends all of a sudden!?”

“Well, we had a friendly break-up, so…” Alex opened the door and saw the silver Mercedes parked in the driveway, with the guy sitting in the driver’s seat. “See ya,” he greeted his little sister and went toward the car, happy to have quickly shut down Liz’s questioning.

As he entered the car and sat in the passenger seat, he could see that Brandon was all smiles.

“Hey man, how’s it going?” the brown-haired guy asked, shaking Alex’s hand. “I hope this is not weird.”

“Hey, good to see you,” Alex replied politely. “Um, no, it’s not gonna be weird. We’re ok, right?”

“Yeah, we’re good,” Brandon nodded.

Alex glanced at him and noticed something was different about him. His long hair still looked impeccable, loosely tied in the back, and he looked as fresh as a daisy, but there was something off.

That’s when it hit him – the guy was dressed way too casually compared to what Alex remembered from the brief period they were going out. His dress shoes and designer clothes were replaced by sneakers, faded jeans and a hoodie. It all still looked nice and perfectly color-coordinated, but he no longer looked as if he was headed to a dinner party at the Swiss Embassy.

After a few moments of what seemed to have been awkward silence, the two guys started chatting and Alex started feeling hopeful that maybe things don’t have to be weird between them. Maybe they could actually hang out as friends.

“So where are we going?” he asked.

“Actually, I was about to ask you if you had any ideas? If not, I thought we could just go downtown to a bar for a drink or two?” Brandon suggested, keeping his eyes on the road.

“Sure, sounds good to me.”

To Alex’s surprise, Brandon chose a rather small bar called ‘Clockwork’, located in an alley filled with similar-looking cafes and fast food joints. It was a popular place among tourists and locals alike. Most of the places were quite affordable and attracted a variety of people of all ages.

As they found an empty table and Alex ordered a light beer, Brandon did the same. Their drinks arrived quickly and the boys continued their chat. Even though the place was packed, the music wasn’t too loud so they could actually hear each other without having to shout.

“What’s new with you? Are you still working at the same company?” Alex asked, not knowing what to say. They didn’t really have much in common, which showed from the start. It was one of the reasons he broke it off - the biggest one being Jeremy, of course.

“Yeah, yeah, still there. I like it. Business is going well, but you know, nothing exciting,” Brandon shrugged and Alex just nodded. That was weird. The guy used to take so much pride in his job and how well he was doing at the company, and now it’s almost as if he was being modest. Is that even possible?

“What about you, still working at the car wash?” Brandon asked, but there was no maliciousness in his voice, only curiosity.

“Yeah, I am,” Alex nodded.

“So, uh, are you seeing anyone?” Brandon asked at one point during their chat. “That guy you mentioned?”

“Jeremy, yeah. We’re seeing each other,” Alex said briefly, not wanting to go into the details of their relationship. There was no need for Brandon to know. “He’s… he’s a great guy,” he added, smiling. “What about you? Any eligible bachelors come your way?”

“Hah, no, not really. I’ve had a few friends trying to set me up on blind dates, but nothing came out of it,” Brandon shook his head, frowning a bit.

“Ugh, I hate blind dates,” Alex said. “Why are they even still a thing? We’re in the twenty-first century, for God’s sake. Everyone’s got a camera and can take pics of themselves!”

“I know, right? It’s perfectly normal that I want to see what my date looks like beforehand. Like, I’m not asking for their DNA test.”

About two hours later, Alex noticed they seemed to have run out of conversation topics, so he decided it’d be as good a time as any to call it a day. He was surprised at how smoothly it all went. There was no awkwardness or hostility, although he couldn’t help but notice that Brandon did seem a lot different than the last time they saw each other.

“Well, I should really get going. I have a friend coming over in a while and I’d hate to cancel on him again,” Alex said, “but I had a lot of fun. Thanks for inviting me.”

“Hey, no problem, my pleasure! It was nice to catch up,” Brandon nodded.

Once they stepped outside of the bar, Alex pulled out several banknotes from his wallet and handed them to Brandon, who looked at him with a puzzled look on his face.

“I wanted to thank you once again for lending me the money. It was really a big deal for me back then and I haven’t forgotten about it!”

Brandon batted his hand away, refusing it.

“Come on, man, you don’t need to pay me back. Seriously, forget about it,” he shook his head, but Alex was insistent.

“Hey, I thought we were friends now? And you don’t wanna make things awkward between us, right?”

“Yeah…”

“Then accept this. It really meant a lot, but I don’t wanna have any debts,” Alex said, placing the money in Brandon’s hand. The long-haired guy finally accepted it without further complaints and put the money in his pocket.

After sharing a bro-hug, the guys went their separate ways, with Brandon driving off and Alex deciding to walk back home. He wanted to window shop for a bit, just in case he had a sudden stroke of inspiration for Jeremy’s birthday gift.

In the end, he went home empty-handed, but he still had nearly two weeks to figure it out.

Big thanks to everyone reading this story! Let me know what you think! :boy:

Copyright © 2018 ObicanDecko; All Rights Reserved.
  • Like 36
  • Love 10
  • Angry 1

Recommended Comments

Chapter Comments

1 hour ago, droughtquake said:

I think it’s stupid of Alex to ‘check the scores’ on a gambling app. He even realizes how dumb it is by reacting the way he does when Liz comes in his room. It’s the action of a guilty man. If it was as innocent as he tries to tell himself, he wouldn’t need to hide it.

Even a non-sports fan like me knows there are plenty of other non-gambling-associated sites that post the scores.
;–)
 

I realize Alex is young, but he’s setting himself up for a relapse of his gambling addiction. Avoiding temptation would seem to be the first step in kicking an addiction. It’d be like an alcoholic buying a commemorative bottle of alcohol – because he wanted to ‘remember the occasion’ or something!

Will Alex ever learn?

You're pretty much spot on! Now if only Alex was as smart to realize what he's doing... He definitely loves to learn things the hard way.

  • Haha 3

Share this comment


Link to comment
1 hour ago, Wesley8890 said:

Great chapter!!

Thank you!! ^_^

1 hour ago, travlbug said:

Can a leopard change its spots? He can at least change his clothes! Clearly, Brandon hasn't given up on Alex and is trying a different tact. At least, he's been a gentleman--so far.

Alex has integrity and wants to pay his debts, but gambling is an addiction: While Alex has been "punished" for what he's done, he really needs a good behaviorist to address the root cause. A "gambling addiction center," as mentioned earlier in the story, may be overkill, but I can't believe that the parents haven't insisted that he see a local psychologist. I agree with @droughtquake that Alex is setting himself up for a fall.

Exactly, Brandon seems to know he and Alex are two different worlds, so now he's trying to present himself in a different light.

Alex's parents probably have/had too much faith in him. We'll see what happens if he repeats his mistakes. 

  • Love 2

Share this comment


Link to comment

I things being set up for a fall here. Temptation: an ex and "checking the score", the repaying a loan to mentally set himself up for "Just one bet", and the search for a present that may lead him to places he wouldn't normally go.

You have laid a very dangerous path for our hero. Can his lover save him from following it to its natural end?

 

Great chapter. Thanks

  • Like 4
  • Love 1

Share this comment


Link to comment
12 hours ago, chris191070 said:

Awesome chapter 

Thanks, glad you enjoyed!

10 hours ago, Canuk said:

I things being set up for a fall here. Temptation: an ex and "checking the score", the repaying a loan to mentally set himself up for "Just one bet", and the search for a present that may lead him to places he wouldn't normally go.

You have laid a very dangerous path for our hero. Can his lover save him from following it to its natural end?

 

Great chapter. Thanks

When you put it like that, yeah we have every reason to be concerned. We shall see... ;) Thank you for the comment!

  • Like 1
  • Love 1

Share this comment


Link to comment
17 hours ago, jryski said:

Im still super down for Brandon. He seems like a great guy 🤷‍♂️

Well that's a first! I'm glad you're being open minded. :) We'll see more of Brandon for sure!

  • Haha 4

Share this comment


Link to comment
On 4/10/2019 at 12:12 AM, ObicanDecko said:

Well that's a first! I'm glad you're being open minded. :) We'll see more of Brandon for sure!

He seems like a really genuine and nice guy but who knows? He might be a Brony but so far he seems like a really great dude. 😅😅

  • Like 1
  • Haha 3

Share this comment


Link to comment

Great chapter! Alex and that damn gambling app is going to lead to just one sure fire can’t lose bet, which will end up disastrously.  Brandon texting out of the blue and asking to meet as friends after having a makeover and a new less pompous attitude change. I foresee that Alex is headed for more trouble than he’s prepared for. He needs to spend more time with Jeremy for a reality heck. Why hasn’t he offered to help with the bakery? It would release Jeremy’s mother from having to stay on to help work. I’m definitely looking forward to the next chapter! 😃❤️

  • Like 2
  • Love 3

Share this comment


Link to comment
3 hours ago, flesco said:

 Why hasn’t he offered to help with the bakery? It would release Jeremy’s mother from having to stay on to help work.

Maybe because he realises Jeremy would have to pay him whereas his mother works for free. Also, if he did start working for him it would alter the nature of their relationship.

  • Love 5

Share this comment


Link to comment
3 hours ago, flesco said:

Great chapter! Alex and that damn gambling app is going to lead to just one sure fire can’t lose bet, which will end up disastrously.  Brandon texting out of the blue and asking to meet as friends after having a makeover and a new less pompous attitude change. I foresee that Alex is headed for more trouble than he’s prepared for. He needs to spend more time with Jeremy for a reality heck. Why hasn’t he offered to help with the bakery? It would release Jeremy’s mother from having to stay on to help work. I’m definitely looking forward to the next chapter! 😃❤️

Thank you so much! Yes, Brandon is trying a new approach but we'll see how far he's willing to go. Alex will definitely have some more challenges ahead of him. 

31 minutes ago, Ivor Slipper said:

Maybe because he realises Jeremy would have to pay him whereas his mother works for free. Also, if he did start working for him it would alter the nature of their relationship.

Yes, that's exactly why. :) In one of the early drafts, I planned to have Alex working for Jeremy at some point, but then I chose against it. 

  • Love 4

Share this comment


Link to comment

Alex's persistent references to Brandon having "something" different about him were disturbing.

Has Brandon let himself go, since Alex broke up with him. Maybe Alex meant a lot more to Brandon than Alex wanted to admit. If so, it could get difficult if Brandon needs a shoulder to cry on, not that he appears to be the crying type.

Good on Alex for paying Brandon back. Yes it was unnecessary, but it shows a level of maturity and self respect in Alex. However, that gambling app is featuring ever more frequently in Alex's life. Earning a pittance at the carwash is never going to help Alex out of his predicament. Without any real prospects of a higher paid job, the temptation to see gambling as the only possible solution, looms large. I'm surprised that his parents haven't considered this and suggested a way forward, other than counselling.

Natalie appears to be dealing with her breakup needing time apart. It will take time to readjust back into the role of best friends. All those touchy familiar looks and sounds that once promised so much in her eyes.

Edited by Bard Simpson
  • Love 2

Share this comment


Link to comment
On 4/12/2019 at 7:38 PM, Ivor Slipper said:

Maybe because he realises Jeremy would have to pay him whereas his mother works for free. Also, if he did start working for him it would alter the nature of their relationship.

Yeah, Jeremy as the Dom and Alex as the slave. That really has possibilities 😀

  • Like 1
  • Wow 2

Share this comment


Link to comment
4 hours ago, Bard Simpson said:

Alex's persistent references to Brandon having "something" different about him were disturbing.

Has Brandon let himself go, since Alex broke up with him. Maybe Alex meant a lot more to Brandon than Alex wanted to admit. If so, it could get difficult if Brandon needs a shoulder to cry on, not that he appears to be the crying type.

Good on Alex for paying Brandon back. Yes it was unnecessary, but it shows a level of maturity and self respect in Alex. However, that gambling app is featuring ever more frequently in Alex's life. Earning a pittance at the carwash is never going to help Alex out of his predicament. Without any real prospects of a higher paid job, the temptation to see gambling as the only possible solution, looms large. I'm surprised that his parents haven't considered this and suggested a way forward, other than counselling.

Natalie appears to be dealing with her breakup needing time apart. It will take time to readjust back into the role of best friends. All those touchy familiar looks and sounds that once promised so much in her eyes.

I just wanted to thank you for reading and commenting! It's nice to see your thoughts as you go through the chapters, tho it's a bit scary as well - I'm not sure how the story feels when you binge-read it, since I wrote it with weeks/months between chapters. :lol: I hope you enjoy it!

  • Like 2

Share this comment


Link to comment
26 minutes ago, ObicanDecko said:

I just wanted to thank you for reading and commenting! It's nice to see your thoughts as you go through the chapters, tho it's a bit scary as well - I'm not sure how the story feels when you binge-read it, since I wrote it with weeks/months between chapters. :lol: I hope you enjoy it!

The story suits binge reading it too.

The storyline all flows smoothly without any noticeable breaks. Not having to wait for days or weeks is a real plus for me. I have several in progress stories on the go and it gets frustrating having to wait, at times.

I was very surprised that there was a definite 10 year break from the camp. I would have expected them to have kept in contact. If not, I thought you would add flash backs to the camp and approach it as a "Then and now" style story.

It's really interesting, just the way it is though.

Edited by Bard Simpson
  • Love 2

Share this comment


Link to comment
2 hours ago, Bard Simpson said:

The story suits binge reading it too.

The storyline all flows smoothly without any noticeable breaks. Not having to wait for days or weeks is a real plus for me. I have several in progress stories on the go and it gets frustrating having to wait, at times.

I was very surprised that there was a definite 10 year break from the camp. I would have expected them to have kept in contact. If not, I thought you would add flash backs to the camp and approach it as a "Then and now" style story.

It's really interesting, just the way it is though.

Phew, that's good to hear!

Yeah, maybe I should've posted Chapter 1 as the Prologue, that way it would've been more separate from the rest of the story. Anyway, I'm glad it works this way too.

  • Like 2

Share this comment


Link to comment

I think it will be good for Brandon and Alex to be friends, if they can make it work. Kudos to Brandon for making the effort.

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

Could this be a setup? Call me paranoid yet Brandon was dressed casually that hid how rich he was, took Alex to a small bar in an alley, and Alex then handed him a wad of cash. If that was caught on camera it might look like a drug deal or something similar so if Natalie got a photo of that she could put it to good use. Of course that would have to mean they’d predict Alex would want to pay Brandon back yet Brandon having gotten to know him could have predicted such an outcome. Of course Brandon might not be involved but Natalie could still be spying on Alex in the hopes of catching him in a compromising position and still have ended up with a juicy photo. Either way I’ve got a bad vibe.

Share this comment


Link to comment
View Guidelines

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..