Happy Hump Day!
This week’s choices were either the sentence or the three items below:
"Well, I don't know about you, but I like to know what I'm getting into."
key, paper, raw meat
I had trouble with this one, but in the end I’m reasonably happy and it’s exactly 1000 words so, yay me!
Friends and Lovers
Copyright © 2011
The minute Ray opened the door he knew something was wrong. The apartment was too quiet. Jared’s annoying, pretentious music was always playing, but not right now. He took a step forward and stopped. A key was lying on the floor just inside the door.
Ray dropped his backpack in the hall and wandered through the apartment. The kettle was gone – and the teapot. There was a blank spot in the living room bookcase where Jared’s CDs and DVDs used to be. Jared’s toothbrush was missing from the bathroom, along with his shampoo and conditioner.
Ray’s pillow and the patchwork quilt his grandmother had made him were on the floor beside the bed. Ray sat on the bare mattress. Jared had taken the sheets. Well why not? He’d paid for them.
“He took the sheets right off the bed? What an asshat!”
Ray slapped two patties onto the grill. He stared at the raw meat as the blood congealed and turned to thick, gray-brown beads. He’d moved in with Jared for the wrong reason, but Jared had left him for the right one.
“Ray? You okay, man?”
Drew’s worried face blocked his view of the burgers.
“He left a note.” And a list of the things he’d taken. Jared had pinned the paper to the fridge with a smiley face fridge magnet.
“A note? What the— Hang on.” Drew held up a finger in a wait-a-minute gesture. “Welcome to Berserker Burger. Can I take your order?”
Ray heard an indistinct squawking from the drive-thru window.
“Okay, let me know when you’re ready.” Drew wrenched off his headset. “Beth, can you do drive-thru for me?”
“Yes!” Beth grabbed the headset. “You’re on fries for the rest of the night, Fool.”
Drew rolled his eyes. “Whatever.” He dropped some fries into the fryer then came to stand by the grill. “So why’d he leave?”
Ray flipped the burgers. “I couldn’t give him what he wanted.”
Drew looked so outraged he looked comical. “You gave him everything. You moved out of the dorms and rented that apartment to be with him. You passed up that sweet library job so you’d be home more nights.” He scowled. “You should have taken it. This place sucks.”
“I know.” Ray slapped cheese slices onto the patties. He’d been an idiot, but Jared had given him another chance.
Drew patted his shoulder. “Whatever you need, Ray.” His face went red and he hurried over to the deep fryer.
Ray gazed at his best friend’s back.
After work they went to Ray’s place. Drew poked through each room, shaking his head.
Jared had overlooked some herbal tea. Drew insisted on drinking it. He heated water in the microwave. “If he comes back for his tea it’s too damn bad.”
Ray thought of the key. “He won’t. You know, I’m glad he left. We had nothing in common. I don’t really know why he wanted to date me.”
“Cause you’re smart and sweet and fucking gorgeous, that’s why!” Drew closed his mouth abruptly.
Ray chewed on his lip. “The lease for this place is in my name.”
“What are you gonna do?” Drew sipped his tea and made a face.
“I’m good for the next couple of months, but after that I’ll need a roommate.”
“Uh, Ray, there’s only one bedroom.” Drew was sitting on the floor, his back against the couch. He looked worried.
So was Ray, but not for the same reasons. He took a deep breath. “Will you move in with me?”
He was watching closely or he wouldn’t have seen all the expressions that crossed Drew’s face: surprise, happiness, then regret.
“I know I’m not the tallest guy, but I can’t sleep on that lumpy couch for the rest of the school year.”
Ray knelt beside Drew. “You could sleep with me.”
“Sleep with you?” Drew tried to get to his feet but the coffee table — and Ray — were in the way.
“You asked me once why I was dating Jared. I said I didn’t want to tell you, but I’ll tell you now.” He reached out and gently touched Drew’s arm, just below the sleeve of his t-shirt.
Drew sat frozen, watching him with wide, solemn eyes. Such a lovely shade of green, like new leaves in springtime.
“I started seeing Jared because I couldn’t stop thinking about you.”
“Ray...” Drew sounded as if he was in pain.
Ray slid his hand down Drew’s arm. He interlaced their fingers.
“I thought having you as a friend was the best I could hope for.”
Drew pushed him away and got to his feet. “You don’t mean this. You’re on the rebound.” He went to the window and stood staring out, cupping his elbows with his palms.
“Maybe I’m a bit messed up right now, but I wanted you long before I met Jared. That hasn’t changed.”
“Why’re you telling me now?”
“You gave yourself away.” Ray stood behind him, his hands on Drew’s shoulders. “You didn’t like Jared and he didn’t like you. He said you were jealous. I didn’t believe him, but I started noticing things, like the way you looked at me when you thought I wasn’t looking.”
Drew turned around. “I hated seeing you trying to change for him. You shouldn’t have to change for anyone. But, Ray, friends to lovers is always a bad idea.”
“We’ve liked each other since we met. We can be friends and lovers.”
Drew looked torn. “This is a big leap. We haven’t even dated or kissed and you’re asking me to move in.”
“We can date first. If you don’t want to move in I’ll think of something, but I’m serious about seeing you. I guess I’m just gonna have to convince you. ”
Ray kissed him. The way he’d wanted to since forever, slow and sweet with a hint of tongue and teeth.
“Mmm.” Drew looked thoughtful. “I don’t know. I might need more convincing.”
Ray smiled. “No problem.”
We’ve got lots of Silver Flashers this week for your reading pleasure.
Julie Hayes (m/m)
Chris Quinton (m/m)
Elyzabeth M. VaLey (m/f)
West Thornhill (m/m)
Catriana Somers (m/m)
Freddy MacKay (m/m)
Lily Sawyer (m/m)
Sui Lynn (m/m)
Victoria Blisse (m/f)
Ryssa Edwards (m/m)