The club was packed, just like it was every Saturday night. I was standing against the wall watching Jesse grind up against some shirtless twink, just like I did every time we went clubbing. Sweaty bodies approached me and asked me to dance, but I declined. It was my job to keep an eye on Jesse. Granted it was a self-appointed position, but it was important to me to watch out for him. My best friend, my soul mate, the love of my life.
Jesse waded through the crowd and stepped close to me, giving me his phone number acquisition update. I smiled and nodded and watched him disappear back into the crowd of half naked men moving in unison to the latest dance pop song blaring over the speakers. I nursed my one beer of the night. Another self-appointed position, designated driver.
We were in front of Jesse’s apartment building. I stopped the car in a red zone and watched him stumble out.
“I’ll help you inside,” I told him, cutting off the engine.
“I’m good,” Jesse slurred his words and stumbled again, face planting onto the small grassy area in front of his building.
We slowly made our way up the walkway, Jesse’s arm was draped over my shoulder and he was leaning against me with almost all his weight. I punched in the security code and managed to open the big metal gate with one arm and one leg. We stopped at Jesse’s door and I held my hand out for his keys.
“Pocket,” he said, leaning his head against the wall.
I reached into his left pocket and caught my breath when I felt his dick against my fingers. The keys ended up being in the right pocket. My hands were shaking and I had to steady myself just to open the lock on the door.
Jesse’s apartment was tidy and smelled like vanilla. On the nights we went clubbing he would spend the day making it shine in case anyone was coming home with him. Most of the time it was just me dragging his drunk ass into bed and leaving him there to sleep it off.
We made our way into his bedroom and I let go of him when we reached the bed. He slumped onto the comforter. I pulled his shoes and jeans off, doing my best not to leer at his hard-on tenting his boxer briefs. I quickly pulled the comforter over him.
“Ryan,” I was halfway out the bedroom door when I heard him call my name. I went back to the bed and sat beside him.
He took my arm and pulled me close to him. “Stay with me,” he whispered.
“Not tonight Jess,” I kissed him on the forehead and watched him pass out for good.
I made my way back out of the apartment building. The lingering smell of alcohol on Jesse’s breath helped remind me that his request meant close to nothing. When I got to the driver’s side of my car I noticed the parking ticket.
“Perfect,” I said under my breath.
When I showed up at Jesse’s apartment to check on him he was laying on his couch with an ice pack on his head. Still in his boxer briefs and still reeking of last night’s club outing. I set a Venti Cappuccino on the table next to him.
“How you feeling?” I asked him.
“Shhh, don’t talk so loud,” he groaned.
“You owe me 85 bucks,” I said smacking his feet out of the way and sitting at the end of the couch. He put his feet in my lap.
“What for?” he grunted.
“Got a parking ticket carrying your ass to bed,” I told him.
“You should have let me fuck you, would have made the $85 ticket worth it,” he teased.
My heart fell and I had no comeback. I did not even think he would remember asking me to stay. We sat in silence until Lady Gaga singing “So Happy I Could Die” suddenly broke into the air. His ringtone. It annoyed the fuck out of me. Jesse looked at the caller ID and pressed the silent button. I wanted to ask who it was but I had no right.
“Did I give out my number last night?” he had the ice pack back on his head.
“I have no idea,” I really didn’t.
The phone beeped indicating the caller had left a message. I wanted to reach for the phone and play the message on speaker. But I didn’t. He picked it up and put it to his ear.
“Oh shit, I did,” he said into the phone. He held it out and pressed the speaker button.
“Uh, hey, this is Mark, you gave me your number last night. Was wondering if you wanted to maybe grab a coffee sometime. Anyway call me xxx-xxx-xxxx.”
“Which one was Mark?” Jesse said to the air.
“Well, I should head out, I have to be at work in an hour,” I picked up his feet and scooted off the couch.
“I’m not calling him back,” he told me under the ice pack.
“Calling who back?” I said in mock sarcasm. I left him lying on the couch and hoped he was telling the truth. My instincts told me otherwise.
Work was more stressful than usual that day. It just seemed like the universe had sent all the stupid customers out in the world and every one of them was looking to buy cheap furniture at a Swedish build-it-yourself store. It was all I could do not to kill small children who jumped on the display beds and punch the people asking questions like “what size sheets does this twin bed take?”
The worst part was I had no texts from Jesse through my entire shift. He always sent at least one or two. I told myself over and over that it was simple. He fell asleep. But my imagination kept telling me other things. He had called Mark back. They were out sipping lattes and flirting incessantly. They were rolling around naked in Jesse’s bed. You know, all those paranoid thoughts I have when he manages to forget to text me.
I finally fell sleep some time after midnight after staring at my phone only yielded more frustration and imaginary sex between Jesse and some twink named Mark whom I hadn’t even caught sight of but just knew how to describe in my mind. The next morning my phone woke me up with a message.
Don’t hate me.
Jesse’s text read.
My heart fell and I closed my eyes again.
Was all I could type.
I called him back. He’s so nice!
Here we go. They had talked for several hours, he told me. Mark was 19 and still living with his parents until after college. He was only out to a few friends. He was in school studying graphic design. They had no plans to meet up yet but I knew it was only a matter of time. I mhm’d and aha’d between his long texts and when he finished with his story I told him to just be careful.
Another smiley face.
Somehow I found myself standing against the wall at RAVE, sipping a beer and watching Jesse grind up against nameless twink #47. It was Wednesday night and I had just worked a full day. But Jesse begged and I broke and there I was. The clientele started getting to know my patterns, and I was beginning to wonder if that was a really bad thing. Nobody approached me for a dance or a drink anymore. They knew I’d just say no.
I took a swig of beer and looked out onto the floor. Jesse’s arms were wrapped around the neck of some tall skinny young thing. I really despise this channel. Wish I knew where the remote was. As my mind made amends for what I was doing to myself sticking with this show I saw Jesse approaching with the tall skinny thing.
“Ryan! This is Mark!” Jesse yelled into my ear, shoving Mark in my direction.
We shook hands and nodded to each other.
“I’m going to get us a drink, be right back,” Jesse yelled over the music.
Mark and I stood there staring at each other in silence. I hoped my eyes were saying what my mouth wasn’t. Be very careful with whatever game you are playing or I will hunt you down. Jesse returned with their drinks. They stood with me and took two big gulps before returning to the dance floor. I watched for about 10 more minutes and then pulled out my phone.
I gotta get home, work tomorrow. Be safe. Xoxo
I figured he wouldn’t hear it over the music and his new plaything was distracting him, but I wasn’t about to leave without telling him. As I waited outside by the valet Jesse came running up.
“Why are you leaving? It’s early,” he said grabbing my arm to pull me back in to the club.
“I’m tired, I have work tomorrow, you are in good hands,” I said, without looking at him.
“I see. I did not know he was going to be here, he showed up on his own,” Jesse got defensive.
“Never said you did, and I really do have to go,” I stayed firm.
“Don’t start this Ryan, I’m just having some fun,” more defensiveness.
“Be careful,” I walked to the front of my car and handed the valet a tip.
Jesse got into the passenger’s side and pulled out his phone. He sent a text message and pocketed it.
“What are you doing? Go back inside and have fun, you wanted to come here,” I turned the car off and sat there.
“No, I came here with you, I am leaving with you,” Jesse told me, reaching for the keys and starting the car back up.
“You’re so weird,” I said as I pulled away from the curb.
We got to Jesse’s apartment and I parked down the street in a legal spot. He could walk half a block and I was not about to stop at a red curb for any reason.
“You coming in?” Jesse looked at me and smiled.
I really wish he would not do that. Despite wanting to stand my ground and leave him here with a simple goodnight, there was so much of me that wanted to follow him inside. When it came to Jesse I always went against my gut. So I cut off the engine and followed him into his apartment.
“Want a beer?” Jesse asked from the kitchen.
“No, thanks,” I sat on the couch.
Jesse came back with a bottle of water and a beer. He handed me the water and sat down close to me despite the massive amount of space the couch held.
“There is nothing going on with me and Mark,” Jesse was looking at me with his serious face.
“‘Kay,” I said.
Jesse reached up and put his hand on my face, turning my head so that I was facing him. He leaned in closer and pressed his lips to mine. I let myself kiss him back, grabbing the back of his neck and pulling him in closer. I slid down the couch and let Jesse lay on top of me. We kissed and rubbed against each other, slowly removing shirts and pants until we were both just in our underwear. I could feel his hard shaft against me. He reached for the band of my underwear and let his fingers slip inside.
As I felt his finger graze against the head of my dick Lady Gaga came blasting through the air. Jesse ignored it. He kissed me deeper, running his tongue against mine, grinding his hips into me. Two minutes later it was Lady Gaga again. Jesse pulled the phone from his jeans pocket and looked at it. He silenced the ringer and let it go to voicemail again. He returned his attention to me, kissing my neck and chest, flicking his tongue against my nipples.
And, Lady Gaga again. “Hello,” Jesse answered. He listened to the caller as he ran his hands over my chest and stomach. He stopped just as he got to my crotch.
“I’m sorry, I’m sure everything will be fine, just go sleep and you can figure it out in the morning,” Jesse said into the phone. His hand rested on my stomach. “I should go,” he told the caller. “Night,” he ended the call.
“What was that about?” I asked.
“Mark’s parents were questioning where he was and who he was with, it freaked him out,” Jesse explained.
“And he called you?” I asked a little more harshly than I meant to.
“He doesn’t seem to have anyone else Ryan, so yes, he called me,” Jesse leaned in to kiss me again.
“I don’t like this kid Jess,” I blurted out.
“He’s not a kid he’s 19, and you don’t know him,” Jesse countered.
“19 is still a kid and I know enough,” I said pushing Jesse off me.
“Stop being dramatic,” Jesse tried to push me back down.
“I have to get going,” I told him, grabbing my jeans.
“What the hell Ryan, it was just a phone call, I’m here with you,” Jesse raised his voice.
“I’ll talk to you tomorrow, get some sleep,” I kissed him and walked out the door.
Friday morning I woke up with my phone beeping at me.
Jesse’s text read.
I am now.
I replied, quicker than I should have.
His standard question for everything. It meant hi, how are you, what are you doing, all in one.
Just woke up. You?
Thought maybe we could hang out, finish what we started the other day.
I don’t think that’s a good idea.
You don’t want to?
You know that’s not the case. I just think it is a mistake.
We want different things, Jess.
You just said you want me. I want you. Seems simple enough no?
Jesse. You don’t want me. You want my ass. You want options. I’m not an option. I am the choice. I won’t take anything else.
What are you talking about?
You have other people in your life that you want. I can’t be your sometimes lover. I need to be the only one. You know that about me.
There is no one else in my life.
So no more Mark?
I haven’t talked to him in 2 days. Why are you always bringing him into this. He has nothing to do with us.
I know you well and I know that this kid is in there, in that head of yours, and in your heart. You can’t lie to me, I’ve been around too long. You have a pattern.
Jesus Ryan you are always so intense. There is nothing going on with Mark or anyone else. You know I love you, I don’t know what you want from me.
I want you to understand that I can’t, won’t, be 2nd best. I won’t be optional. Our relationship stays as it is as long as you still feel the need to go clubbing and searching for something else. I’ve been right in front of you for 4 years and it hasn’t been enough. No amount of sex with me is going to fix that for you. Sorry.
You know I despise ultimatums Ryan. You are asking me to change who I am. You know I can’t do that.
I’m asking you to understand me and love me the way I need to be loved. You can’t do that, so, I will not put myself in a situation where I am the one who loses. You don’t get to have it all princess.
That was his final word. Whenever he could not counter argue it ended in whatever. I was shaking, near tears, but I felt good, getting the words out into the open.
The weekend went by in a blur with no word from Jesse. I was at work on Monday when my phone started buzzing with texts.
I need you.
Where are you?
They were about 5 minutes apart. When I went on break I called him. It went to voicemail.
“Jess, I’m at work, you know I can’t talk or text when I’m on the floor. I am on break now, I have 10 minutes. Call me.”
Jesse did not call back until after my shift had ended. I spent the 6 remaining hours pacing the showroom floor, barely paying attention to customers. I sent him several texts when I could go on break and tried to call again at lunch. My head ran through a gamut of scenarios. They all had to do with Mark.
“What’s up?” I answered on the first ring.
“Mark was kicked out of his parent’s house, so I had to go get him,” Jesse broke the news.
“Where is he now?” I asked, but I knew the answer.
“Here,” Jesse confirmed my thought.
“‘Kay'” it was all I could think to say.
“I couldn’t just leave him on the street Ryan, he’s scared, alone, and he called me,” Jesse tried to justify it.
“I can’t tell you what to do, just be careful Jess, you don’t really know this kid,” I tried to keep my voice calm.
“I wish you would stop calling him a kid,” Jesse snapped.
“He’s 19. You are 31. He’s a kid,” I snapped back.
“Whatever,” Jesse’s usual retort.
“What did you need me for?” I asked.
“I need you to just be here for me, be my friend,” he told me.
“I am always your friend Jesse,” I assured him, “but you know I never hold back my words and you know how I feel about this,” I reminded him.
“I know. Just trust me. I need to help him, but I need you too, I know I am being selfish but I need you both,” his voice was shaky.
“I’m not going anywhere,” I meant it. As hard as it was on me, I couldn’t just walk away now.
We hung up and I went about my week as usual. I worked my shifts, came home, watched some TV, did some reading, and went to bed. Jesse and I exchanged texts daily with updates on the Mark situation. Nothing had changed. Mark had made no attempt to find somewhere else to be and Jesse had not pressed him to. As far as I was being told nothing was happening between them, and I wished that my gut was not telling me otherwise.
If you told me that I would be standing against the wall at RAVE again I would have told you to go to hell. But here I was, watching the dance floor and drinking a beer. It was Saturday night and the room was packed with bodies. Amongst the crowd Jesse and Mark were moving to a different tune than what was blaring over the oversized speakers. I looked in their direction just in time to see them in a full lip lock. I averted my eyes and chugged my beer.
My brain went over the aspects of the evening and asked why I was torturing myself here. I had no business being at the club, it was not my scene. So why was I still standing against the wall pretending I had a purpose in this place? My job had been outsourced. I set my beer bottle on a nearby table and headed for the exit, promising myself not to come back under any circumstances. When I got to my apartment I shut my phone off.
When I woke up late Sunday morning I turned the phone back on and found several text messages and a voicemail. Jesse looking for me. I set the phone down without answering him. I spent the day doing busy work, trying to stay distracted from the want, need, to pick up the phone and call him back. While I was on a marathon walk I felt it vibrate in my pocket.
Ryan. Where are you?
I stopped and sat on a bench at the park I had come to during my walk through the neighborhood. I held the phone in my hand contemplating what to do.
Wasn’t feeling the club so I went home. You were busy, I did not want to disturb. Hope you had fun. I’ll talk to you during the week.
The phone went back in the pocket and I power walked back to my apartment. I could feel the vibrating as the text messages came in. Ignoring them was rough. I read through them when I got back to my place but never responded. He was angry and confused, and I needed him to feel that way for a while.
On Wednesday I worked a double shift, a coworker had asked me to cover for her and I was all for spending more time working than not. It was not really a busy time at the store so my day was mostly spent setting up new displays and decorating mock rooms. It felt good getting to help design the spaces. That was my ultimate goal someday. Interior designer. For now I was stuck working for minimum wage while I paid off my business degree. A kneejerk reaction to the “what do you want to be when you grow up” issue. College was a must, so I went with the easiest route. Now I was 28 and wishing I had known who I was 10 years ago. But that’s for another time.
I was tucking the duvet into a bed frame when I heard my name and I looked up to see Jesse standing outside the children’s room display.
“What are you doing here?” I asked as I approached him.
“He’s gone,” Jesse’s voice was shaky and hoarse.
When I got closer I could see that his eyes were puffy and red. “Gone where?” I asked, pulling him over to a chair.
“I don’t know, he just left, without saying anything,” Jesse said slowly.
“Sorry,” it was all I could think to say at the moment.
“Why would he just leave?” Jesse asked.
“I don’t know Jess, did something happen?” I wondered.
“No, everything seemed fine. He’d been down because of his parents but we were having no issues,” Jesse told me.
“How can you be sure he’s gone, gone?” I asked.
“He took his stuff, everything he’d had with him when I picked him up,” his eyes were filling with tears.
I was silent for what seemed to be forever. My brain was fighting with my heart. I had the extreme need to scream at him. This was not the reaction of a man who felt “nothing” for this kid.
“I called him a couple of times but he never answered, sent him texts, no response, and I looked for him around town, but I could not find him anywhere,” Jesse told me.
“Maybe, he’s not as needy as he made it seem?” I tried to make it sound like more of a question than an accusation.
“He told me he had nowhere to go, no one to help him, he’s not out to many people and those he is out to are not really OK with it,” Jesse defended.
“Jess, I’m sorry that this is happening, but I can’t do this here, now, I have to finish my shift, go home, I’ll come over after work,” I pulled him up from the chair and walked with him toward the front of the store. “I’ll see you soon,” I hugged him and watched him walk through the parking lot.
After work I sent Jesse a quick text to let him know I was on my way.
It’s OK. He’s here. We’re talking. xoxo
Should have seen that coming.
My phone rang several times throughout the day both Thursday and Friday. I ignored it every time it rang or buzzed with texts and voicemails from Jesse. Saturday night I went out with a group of coworkers. Dinner and a movie was much more my speed. When I woke up Sunday morning my phone was dancing on the nightstand. I had put it on vibrate Saturday morning and left it silent.
“Hello,” I decided to answer.
“What the hell Ryan, I thought we were friends, why are you ignoring me?” Jesse’s voice came through the speaker, loud.
“I’ve been around, just really busy, sorry,” I kept my voice calm, emotionless.
“You’re being ridiculous and you know how much I hate jealousy,” Jesse’s voice stayed at level 10.
“Can’t imagine why I haven’t answered the phone,” I said under my breath.
“I told you that Mark had nothing to do with us, why are you acting so put out?” still no change in tone.
“You’re the one making a big deal out of things, I’ve been busy and not answering my phone, is that a crime?” I finally started raising my voice.
“Fine. I’ll let you get back to your life,” Jesse huffed.
“‘Kay bye,” I said into the speaker, and I pressed the end button.
You are acting like it is a crime that I am helping someone who needs me. Don’t pretend you haven’t been ignoring my calls. I know you well. And don’t ever fucking hang up on me again.
Jesse’s text came through as soon as I put the phone back on the nightstand. I looked at it, rolled my eyes, and set it back down. The beauty of texting. I could wait as long as I wanted to answer him.
After a nice hot shower and some breakfast I picked up the phone and typed in my reply.
You know exactly how I feel about this and why I feel that way. But if you need a refresher, I would be happy to explain it all again. You do not get to decide when I answer my phone. You made a choice, I’m making mine. I’m here for you, when I decide it’s right. Take that tone with me again and the time will never be right.
I stared at the words for a while before hitting the send button.
His response came in quicker than I expected.
More ultimatums. I thought our friendship was about love and trust, not rules and regulations. Yes, I know how you feel about Mark and I have told you I am not leaving him on the street to die. He asked for my help and I am giving it to him. He needs me.
What he needs is someone to latch on to while he hides in the closet. He’s using you to avoid what he has to face up to. You are in no position to take care of him, you can’t even take care of yourself. You are acting like you are some selfless martyr. You aren’t. You just like having some kid follow you around like a puppy.
Fuck you. He is not a puppy and I am not a martyr. He is in a bad place and I am helping him out of it. This is not permanent and we are not a couple. As soon as he can get out on his own he will be gone.
You keep telling yourself that. I am your friend and I love you, you know that is true. But I won’t watch someone ruin your life because he found your soft spot. I am always going to be honest with you. This isn’t going to end well. There is nothing I can do or say that will change what you are doing but I cannot sit back and keep quiet either. You knew that about me when you met me.
Please just do not ignore my calls, I need you, you know that. But I need to help him, too. There is no way I am just throwing him out now. He’s here, he isn’t leaving until I know he has somewhere to go.
OK. I need to go to sleep, I work another double tomorrow. Sleep well, be safe. Xoxo
I love you Ryan. Xoxo
I set the phone down and rubbed my temples. I really despise being in love.
I decided to keep my schedule busy so that I could stay at a safe distance from the Jesse/Mark situation. It soon became clear that no matter how far I retreated, there was no safety. Just after lunch on the third day in a row of working double shifts I came out of the break room and nearly ran head first into Mark. I looked up just in time to see him turn to Jesse and show him the price tag on the shelving unit he was looking at.
“Hey!” Jesse greeted me like this was normal.
“Hi,” I forced a smile.
“We, uh, I came in to get a bookshelf, need a new one,” Jesse stumbled over the sentence.
“‘Kay, I’ll go get Maria, this is her department,” I tried to escape.
Jesse grabbed my arm “You can’t help?”
“No,” I pulled my arm away.
Jesse followed me as I went back into the break room.
“You can’t be in here,” I pushed him back out the door. He kept coming.
“Don’t act like a child, I need a bookshelf, I came to get one,” Jesse pushed me further into the room.
“Your lies are getting so out of hand you don’t even know you are doing it anymore,” I blurted out.
“Lies? So I don’t need a bookshelf?” Jesse acted dumb.
“You have a fucking trust fund, this is a cheap excuse for a furniture store. When you need something you go to Beverly Hills ritzy, not San Fernando Valley below average!” I shouted.
“Don’t flatter yourself, I’m not here for you,” Jesse retorted.
“You live less than 10 minutes away from Beverly Hills and you are at MY store in Burbank, see you can’t even keep up with your own lies,” my voice kept rising.
“Stop acting like a child, who are you to tell me where to buy a fucking shelf?!” he yelled back.
I grabbed Jesse’s arm and pulled him out the break room door, stopping when we got to Mark who was staring at a shelving unit pretending he hadn’t heard our little exchange. I tracked down Maria and explained that there were customers who needed a bookshelf in the shelving department. She looked at me funny, knowing full well that I could help them just fine myself.
“Please just help them, you’ll understand when you get over there,” I whispered.
Maria nodded and headed in their direction. I retreated to the far back of the store and made myself busy with a kitchen display.
After my shift I sent a text message to Jesse.
We need to talk. No holds barred. Alone. Come to my apartment tomorrow at 11AM. I am off work. No excuses.
At 11:05AM the next day there was a knock at my door. I took a deep breath. He was alone, and only 5 minutes late. I was momentarily impressed. I let him in and we headed for the couch.
“This is going to be one of those all out in the open talks,” I announced.
“OK,” Jesse nodded to me.
“How long have you been sleeping with him?” I asked without hesitation.
“A while,” Jesse answered.
“Are you in love with him?” I kept calm.
“Yes,” Jesse admitted.
“Does he love you?” I kept the rapid-fire questions going. No need to stop and think.
“He says he does, yes,” Jesse answered.
“When were you going to tell me the truth?” I prodded.
Jesse took a long pause. “I don’t want to lose you and I did not mean for it to go this far. I hoped that he would get tired of me and leave and it would be all over, but he’s not going anywhere, I’ve tried to be mean, I’ve tried to encourage him to find someone else, he just, won’t,” he kept his eyes on the floor.
“Of course he won’t, he’s living the good life. He’s got a rich daddy to take care of him, he knows you love him and won’t kick him out, why would he want to leave?” I tried to stay logical, keep my emotions level.
“They always do,” Jesse’s response was more matter of fact than sadness.
“I’m not waiting around for you Jess, this isn’t healthy,” I told him.
“Are we going to do the ‘him or me’ ultimatum thing again?” Jesse snipped.
“If that’s what you want to call it, fine, but this is getting way out of control, if you loved me, I would be enough, there would be no need for you to seek out other people, but that’s not the case, it never has been,” I let honesty reign despite myself.
“Every one of them is gone and you are still here, doesn’t that count for anything?” Jesse tried to justify.
“Not really. It says a lot about what an idiot I am, always on the sideline waiting for my turn, we both know my turn isn’t coming,” I stayed with the truth.
“I have said it before, I know I am selfish, I want it all, I don’t want to lose you, why can’t we just be like we were?” Jesse kept on the same line.
“What were we?” I asked.
“We had fun, we went out, hung out, guys came and went and things were always OK,” Jesse tried to explain.
“Things were never OK Jess, I just dealt with it internally, this is not OK, I need more than you can give me and you need someone that isn’t, me,” my voice started to crack.
“I need you, I always have and always will,” Jesse tried to assure me. “You are the only one who knows me, the only one I let in fully,” he continued.
“And it’s still not enough, you can’t deny that. If it were enough you wouldn’t need to be at RAVE every other night looking for more, you would be able to let go of this kid and just be with me, without all this bullshit,” I pointed out.
“What does this all mean?” Jesse asked.
“It means that you made a choice, and that’s the choice you are going to have to live with, I can’t stick around anymore hoping for someday, it isn’t going to come,” I looked at my feet.
“There was never a choice Ryan. I have enough love to go around. My relationship with Mark doesn’t change anything between us,” Jesse pleaded.
“It does though, it changes everything, you now have a live in boyfriend, that changes things a whole lot,” I reminded him.
“He’s not my boyfriend,” Jesse said.
“What the fuck Jesse, he’s living in your house, sleeping in your bed, you’re out buying furniture together, you are in love,” I shouted.
“He’ll leave, it won’t last, I just need to wait for him to figure that out,” Jesse said quietly to his shoes.
“You have the ability to end it and you won’t, you are letting your need to be loved at all costs win out,” I kept on him.
“Give me a little more time, he’ll leave, we both know this,” Jesse looked at me for the first time since the conversation started.
I looked at him and chose my words carefully “I am not going anywhere, yet. But. I am also not going to let any of it go, and I will not hesitate to tell you the truth even when it would be better not to,” I kept my voice firm.
“OK,” Jesse was just relieved to know I wasn’t bailing.
We sat in silence, not looking at each other. My head wandered in the forest with an axe looking to cut off my heart at the arteries. My heart held its ground, hiding behind the biggest tree it could find.
Another week went by and I worked so many hours that they had no choice but to force me to take the next few days off. Monday morning I woke up early for no reason. My mind started to work its magic, over-thinking and overanalyzing every text and brief call Jesse and I had exchanged that week.
I wondered if a nice jerk off session would help me loosen up and fall back to sleep, so I wrapped my hand around my morning wood and started to stroke my dick slowly. It wasn’t long before my mind wandered to the short encounter Jesse and I had before Mark had called and interrupted us. My dick throbbed and twitched as I recalled the touch of Jesse’s hands on my body, his soft but strong lips against mine. And then it was like a switch turned on and suddenly I was watching Jesse make love to Mark. Moment over. I released my grip and cursed at the ceiling.
After eating some breakfast I decided fresh air was a better idea than sitting in my apartment staring at the television. I took my time walking around my neighborhood, strolling around the park, watching the stay at home moms or nannies, I couldn’t tell for sure, play with their kids.
When I got back to my apartment I took a very long very hot shower and tried to jerk off again. Still, I could not get past the visions of Jesse and Mark in various states of sexual pleasure. I got out of the shower and wondered if I was somehow defective.
It was early evening when my phone beeped at me.
I need you.
I rolled my eyes and stared at the phone. A hundred different stories rushed through my brain about what could possibly be wrong now.
This time he’s really, gone. He said he wants to just be friends.
I pressed the send button, knowing his number was the last one I had dialed anyway.
“What happened?” I asked, as concerned as I could get my voice to sound.
“He just, packed up and left, told me that he just wants to be friends, that this is too hard for him to handle,” Jesse’s voice was shaky and gruff, he had been crying.
“Too hard, what the hell?” This genuinely surprised me.
“Something about not being ready to be in a full blown relationship,” Jesse explained.
“I’m sorry Jess. Maybe it’s for the best?” I hoped he heard that the way I meant it.
“I just don’t get it, one minute everything is fine, the next it’s too much? Too much what?” Jesse was trying to make sense of it.
“Do you want me to come over?” I knew the answer before I asked.
“Yes,” Jesse’s voice cracked. He was crying again.
I got to Jesse’s apartment quicker than I should have, he was going to owe me a lot more money if I got a ticket for speeding. He had left the door unlocked for me so I just let myself in and found him lying on his bed. I sat down next to him and put my hand on his back.
“Why would he just leave?” Jesse asked me.
“I really don’t know Jess. He might just be telling the truth. He’s young, he’s not ready to be living with someone,” I amended my words, now was not the time to remind him he was living with a child.
“I told you he’d be gone soon,” Jesse said into the comforter.
“I’m sorry,” I was. I wanted this to be over but not this way.
“Why me?” Jesse asked after a few minutes of silence.
“Why you what?” there were way too many answers to the question. I needed specifics.
“Why do I find the ones that are so damaged and want so badly to leave me?” Oh. That one.
“I don’t know babes,” now was not the time to launch into my psychoanalytical mind warp.
Jesse sat up and looked at me. His eyes were red and puffy. I held out my arms and he moved closer so that I could wrap them around him. After a few minutes we moved to lie down and there we stayed, quietly cuddling, for quite a while. There were so many things I wanted to say to him, but I held my tongue. Now was not the time.
We fell asleep in each other’s arms and I stirred awake when I felt him move.
“You OK?” I whispered.
“Mhm,” he sighed.
Jesse sat up and I followed suit. We were sitting close, his shoulder against my chest. I could feel his breath on my neck. He looked at me and I visibly saw the shield he keeps over him lift. His eyes cleared and all the love he truly felt for me washed over me in a rush of emotion. Tears formed in my eyes but before it could turn into a full sob Jesse leaned in and pressed his lips to mine. He reached up and gently brushed his hand over my cheek.
Our mouths moved with hunger and want, kissing, nibbling, teasing. I leaned back slowly, pulling Jesse on top of me as I kissed his neck and chest. Jesse pulled my shirt over my head and laid his bare chest against mine, returning to my lips. His hands were hard at work on my jeans, unbuttoning and unzipping them. He reached inside and pressed his hand against my hard cock.
I traced his back with my fingers and stopped at the band of his pajama bottoms. I slid my hand inside and massaged his ass, pulling him closer to me, feeling his hard cock against mine. I slid his pants off and wrapped my hand around the shaft of his dick. Jesse pulled my jeans and underwear down and teased my cock before moving to get me fully naked.
He returned to me, laying against me, kissing me deeper, pulling me closer. While one hand stroked my dick Jesse prepared my ass with the other. He gently pushed against my hole and watched my eyes to be sure I was OK. I nodded to him, letting him know I wanted him to make love to me.
I sat up and kissed his neck and chest as I rolled the condom onto his dick. I took my time rubbing generous amounts of lube over the shaft, stroking him off as I coated it fully. Jesse reached down and gently moved my hand away, letting me know he was way more than ready to enter me. I laid back and let him take over.
Jesse’s hands were wrapped against my thighs, he pulled me close to him and I leaned my legs against his shoulders. His cock pushed against my ass and opened me up, sliding into me, making my eyes roll back into my head. I let out a soft moan and told him to keep going. When I felt his balls against my ass cheeks I let my legs fall to the bed and pulled him over me.
Jesse made love to me with strength and precision, hitting every possible spot and making me shake with pleasure. He kissed my lips, neck and chest and kept his eyes on mine as he thrust his hips against me. I could feel his dick throb harder inside me and I knew he was ready to burst. He let out a deep moan as he wrapped his fingers around mine. His whole body shook as he filled the condom with his cum. He kept his dick inside me while his hand wrapped around the shaft of my dick. It only took two short strokes before I was shooting cum onto my stomach.
He leaned over and kissed me, letting his dick slide out of my ass.
“Wow,” Jesse exhaled next to me.
“Ya,” it was all I could say.
“Can I use your shower?” I asked him after a few minutes.
“Sure. OK if I join you?” he answered.
We showered together in his big spa style bathroom. The hot water felt good against my sore ass. Jesse wrapped his arms around me as we stood under the water. We kissed and played as we washed off the sweat and cum we had shared. When we stepped out of the shower Jesse handed me a towel. I wrapped it around my waist and looked at him. Years of love and desire swept over me and I could not help but smile. Just as I was about to tell Jesse what I was feeling I saw the shield cover him again. I decided to wait for another time.
I followed Jesse back into his bedroom and started gathering my clothes.
“You’re not staying?” Jesse asked as I was pulling my jeans on.
“Uh, sure” I pulled my jeans back off.
We climbed into bed and Jesse pulled the covers over us. He kissed my neck and cheek before settling in next to me. It took a while for me to fall asleep completely. It seemed like I had just drifted into a full sleep when Lady Gaga filled the room. I felt Jesse reach for the phone. He didn’t answer it.
“What time is it?” I asked quietly.
“8:15,” Jesse’s sleepy voice was in my ear. He had moved closer to me.
Jesse’s hands were exploring my body and I felt his lips against my shoulder blades. He reached around and grabbed my hard dick, brushing his thumb over the head while his fingers massaged the shaft. I moaned in approval. He quickened his stroking. And. More fucking Lady Gaga.
“Fuck,” Jesse yelled into the air. He silenced the ring and stared at the phone. “Hello,” he answered.
My instincts suggested I take that moment to go to the bathroom and figure out how to make coffee with the fancy machine Jesse had on his counter. I was moving things around trying to figure out where the coffee went when Jesse joined me in the kitchen.
“Sorry,” he reached over and pushed the piece of machine I had just pulled out back in place. He pressed 2 buttons and the machine came to life.
“Everything OK?” I asked, just to break the silence.
“Mark says his friend tried to rape him,” Jesse told me.
“What?” my mouth fell open.
“Nothing happened. He’s being dramatic. His friend came on to him, it freaked him out,” Jesse’s voice was calm.
“Came on to him?” I asked.
“Touched his arm, tried to kiss him,” Jesse explained.
“My God Jesse, what’s with this kid?” I folded my arms over my chest.
“What do you mean?” he played dumb.
“He called you to say he was almost raped, because the guy touched him?” I was dumbfounded.
“Girl,” Jesse said.
“Even better. What did you tell him?” I was starting to fume.
“That he needed to calm down, that his friend doesn’t know he’s gay and that he needs to stop making things more complicated,” Jesse said.
“‘Kay,” I was a bit surprised. He said the right thing, didn’t coddle the kid. I was semi-impressed.
We had breakfast together and I hung around for a few hours before I decided to make my way back to my own apartment.
“Let’s go out later,” Jesse suggested.
“Where should we go?” I asked, putting on my shoes.
“RAVE?” he offered.
“No Jesse, I’m not going clubbing tonight,” I was immediately annoyed.
“Why not?” Jesse pressed.
“I have to work tomorrow and I hate clubbing,” I told him. I headed to the front door with Jesse following behind me. “You go, have fun,” I suggested.
“No,” he said smiling, he kissed me goodbye “Don’t like to go alone,” he added as I stepped out the door.
Jesse left messages and sent texts later that night but I ignored them. Instead I spent the evening planning my exit, when I had cried myself to exhaustion I finally fell asleep and woke up 2 hours later dreading the long day of work I had agreed to.
When my 2nd shift ended I drove to Jesse’s apartment instead of home. I gave him no warning, had not even talked to him since I left the day before. I took a few deep breaths and listened for movement inside, waiting to hear voices in case he had changed his mind about going to RAVE alone and picked up some twink who might still be inside. This is what he does to my head. I knew there wasn’t anyone else in that apartment. I knocked.
Jesse answered the door and his face softened as soon as he saw me standing there. He pulled me inside.
“Ignoring me again,” Jesse tried to sound un-phased.
“Sit down Jess,” I suggested. He sat on the couch. I sat on the chair across from him. “This dance we’ve been doing, it’s getting old,” I started.
“What dance?” Jesse asked.
“The one where I pretend you are going to stop going to clubs because we’re together and you pretend you are just going to have fun and dance,” I told him straight out.
“We’re going to do this again?” Jesse huffed.
“Again, and for the last time,” I told him.
“What does that mean?” he pretended not to understand.
“It means goodbye Jess,” the words caught in my throat.
Jesse sat in silence. “Why?” He asked after a few minutes.
“Jesse if you don’t understand why,” I raised my voice.
“Ryan, this is ridiculous, why are you making everything so dramatic and weird,” he interrupted me.
“The only reason I am here in person is because you deserve more than a text message or a note left on your dining room table,” I stood up.
“Don’t do this Ryan. You leave and I won’t take you back,” he tried to spin it like it was his choice.
I stepped to the door and turned the knob. I paused for a moment, I knew it would be the last time I walked through it. “I love you Jess,” I said over my shoulder and stepped into the hallway.