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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 casino siteleri 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!

Smiley face.

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.

He’s harmless.

Another smiley face.


Somehow I found myself standing against the wall at RAVE, sipping a beer and watching Jesse grind up against nameless twink 7. 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 canlı casino 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.

You awake?

Jesse’s text read.

I am now.

I replied, quicker than I should have.

What’s new?

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 kaçak casino 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.

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