Ryan and I had known each other since he was thirteen and I was sixteen. The fact that we never had an inclination about each other is further proof that something in Cranberry Lake air jams the fuck out of gaydar.
We'd met at a summer camp, and as is common in Cranberry Lake and the rest of The Peninsula, we'd seen a hell of a lot of each other since: various parties, at the beach, at random mutual friends' houses.
I was managing a liquor store and waiting tables when he showed up at the restaurant looking for a job. He was less than qualified, and therefore, not hired. So I hired him at the liquor store, allowing me to take more time off to wait tables and fuck strangers that I'd met over The Internet. His working at the store affected my porn time, not a bit.
So when he showed up at my front door, I said "Ryan." I was thinking FUCK.
"I wasn't expecting ---" someone who I've hired twice to work with me to show up on my doorstep wanting me to fuck them up the ass. I wasn't disappointed, mind you. Ryan was fun to be around, and easy on the eyes.
"This is very ---"fucking awkward.
"Awkward. Yea." But I was willing to make the most of it. Even if we weren't going to get our fuck on, our IM conversation had hinted that he really needed someone gay to hear his shit. I was gay. I was his friend. I was more than willing to hear him out, and offer whatever advice I could.
"Yea." Was he going to come in or was he going to run screaming back into his car and drive off into the night. And if he did, was I going to half to hire a replacement at the liquor store?
"Well ---" I did my best frog bow a la Lewis Carroll. "C'mon in."
Ryan did the hawk circle around the den, picking up and then replacing the seashell ashtray, and the Tom Robbins book. "So. This is Chez Insafemode."
"You've been here before." "Haven't you?"
"Not since you got back from college, no." I watched a single drop of sweat make its way down Ryan's forehead and down the bridge of his nose. I could barely restrain myself from walking over to the couch and licking it off.
I had never realized how beautiful his face was. Well." Maybe I had. Maybe that's why I kept hiring him. Maybe my gaydar wasn't as fucked as I thought. Maybe I'd just buried it into my subconscious. How had I not realized how badly I wanted him. "Hard” yes I was “Lemonade?"
"I should probably be going." Over my dead fucken body.
"No. Please. Make yourself at home.” Move in “I know this isn't what" I tapped on a few of the piano keys. "either of us expected but" damn it, it's what I've wanted for years, whether I was aware of it or not. I flipped the cover over the keys. "you said you needed someone to talk to."
"Yea. But the idea was that it wasn't someone I knew. And that we would" he picked up the ashtray again I'd never seen him nervous before. He was so cute when he didn't know what to do with himself. "but I mean" he put it back down "that would be weird now" So the fuck what? he examined it as if it contained the most important element of his DNA "Right?" Wrong. It made perfect since. Our lives had been intertwined for six years. There was no logical reason for it. Small towns be damned. We were meant to be together forever and ever and -- I must have been fucken tanked.
"Are you sure you don't want something to drink?" I didn't want to be the only one trashed out of my fucken gourd.
"Jesus. I could really use something to drink, but if I have to drive home later."
"No. Don't worry. You can sleep in” my bed “the spare" I remembered the piles of dirty laundry and other assorted crap I'd thrown in the spare bedroom. "Couch. The spare couch." My bed.
"Okay." He sat on the couch. "Do you have any Guinness?"
I did. Back when I juggled restaurant work and managing a liquor store, my house was filled with every conceivable beer and hard liquor known to Cranberry Lake Liquors. I wasn't too much of a lush but company was forever dropping by, and whether it was a friend from work or someone who stopped over for some cock, they always wanted something to drink. I wondered if he knew that I'd been a little liberal with my employee discount. Would he care? Had he been liberal with his discount? Dear Lord, what if we started fucking on a regular basis and I ended up having to fire him for stealing or --- Yea, I was drunk.
"So." Ryan picked up the ashtray again. "You're gay."
"Yea." I went into the kitchen and pulled out a Guinness and a Hard Cider (much better than Hard Lemonade).
"I had no idea."
"Well. When I'm not in love or balls deep in a guy's ass, it's not an important part of my life."
"Fuck." I handed him the Guinness and a gigantic mug I'd picked up when I worked at a Renaissance Faire. "Have you ever fooled around with anyone I know before?"
"That's classified." I hadn't. Yet. "Would you want me telling the next guy about you."
He chugged the Guinness like it was a Coor's Lite. "Well. We're not going to." We were going to I could see it in his eyes. And in the bulge in his khakis. "I mean, we can talk and everything" more chugging "but you probably don't want to" "that would be too" perfect?
I went into the kitchen again. I brought the whole four pack out. It wasn't too far a walk from the den to the kitchen but I had a feeling I wouldn't want to leave the room again. It also didn't take much of a psychic to realize that he was going to drink through his fair share of widget cans.
He took the second can, popped the top and poured it into the mug. "You're not just trying to get me drunk to take advantage of me, are you?"
"Would you like me to seduce you?" "Is that what you're trying to tell me?" I couldn't tell whether he was getting the movie reference, or if he thought I was just quoting a George Michael song.
"Ha." He took another pull. "Man." "I don't know if I'm up for this." Again, I refer you to the bulging khakis. He was up for it.
"No worries." I sat down in one of the chairs facing the couch. "You said you wanted to talk about things first anyway."
He picked up the ashtray again.