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Authors: TJ Klune

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BOOK: Tell Me It's Real
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Even though I’d seen her perform this same routine countless times, it never got old, and I watched with rapt attention, anticipating the next steps in my head.
Okay, front kick. Land. Twirl. Give some sass. Give some sass. Give some sass. Walk away, walk away, and sexy pose! Two. Three. Four.
And, as always, she executed it flawlessly.

But then, the funniest little thing happened.

“Poker Face” segued into another diva with the words, “It’s Britney, bitch,” and the crowd screamed its usual roar of approval. I clapped quietly, not wanting to interfere with the sound on the video camera, knowing that Sandy would watch the recording with a hawk’s eye, wanting to point out all the little mistakes he felt Helena had made (and he would, too; no one was harder on Helena than Sandy). I sat back and got ready for her Britney routine (sans all the head-shaving crazy. Dear Britney: thank you for taking your super fun-time medicine now. Love, the gay community) when I felt a curious thing.

You know that prickly feeling you get when you just
know
someone is watching you? I’ve often wondered
how
we can know this. Is it like some sixth sense kind of thing? Or are our bodies so in tune with each other’s that we can pick up on actual heat in a gaze? I don’t know. I can’t explain it. I may never know.

What I
can
say is that I got that prickling sensation—that slightly odd feeling of being watched. I pushed it away, knowing it was probably just people down below glancing up at Charlie and me, wondering who the VIPs were and why we got to sit where we did. I focused back on Helena.

But it wouldn’t… go… the fuck…
away
. I was starting to get slightly annoyed and maybe even a little uncomfortable.
It’s probably nothing
, I told myself.
Probably nothing at all
. But I couldn’t get that feeling to leave, so finally, inevitably, I looked down to the crowd and saw him.

Oh sweat balls
, I thought.

Standing near the wall, surrounded by what looked like a group of total fratty jockish dudes, was a man. A very
fine
man. He looked a few years younger than me, with brown hair that fell all over his head in an artfully messy way that looked like he might have just rolled out of bed, but you
knew
was done on purpose. He had thick, pretty lips that were made for sin, stretching into a delicious smile that showed even teeth. Dimples.
Fuck me up, we have dimples!
Deep, deep dimples that I wanted to put my tongue into. I blushed a fire red, but I didn’t stop my depraved up and down assessment.

Tight white T-shirt pulled against a strong chest, the sleeves of which strained against his meaty biceps. Since he was standing against the wall, I couldn’t see his ass, and I was slightly disappointed, as I am an ass man through and through. But I could see his front, and I have no shame in admitting that I checked out his package, what little I could see given the fact that strobe lights were going off and there was a moderately large lesbian with a mustache blocking part of my view.
Move your labianical ass!
I wanted to scream at her, but somehow I was able to fight the words back. After all, one does not scream at lesbians in Doc Martens unless one wants to receive a penis kicking.

And so I let my gaze rise back up until I locked eyes with the man I’d already dubbed Mr. Yes Please. I couldn’t tell what color his eyes were, but I pretended they would be green, the sharpest of all emerald greens. I couldn’t remember ever thinking that noses could be hot. But he had a hot nose. Made for… well, whatever sex things noses are made for.

His grin widened.

Dimplepalooza. Dimplefest. Dimplenator 3000.

He winked.

And then I realized that I was blatantly eye-fucking what had to be the hottest man of all time, to ever exist, anywhere, ever, and that I was still
me
. I was Paul Auster, slightly effeminate, slightly husky, very ordinary and boring and any other adjective I’ve already thrown at you. I was
nothing,
and it was like my Pavlovian conditioning had kicked in and he was my bell. One of his frat-jock buds said something to him and he looked away for just a split second, but it was enough to break whatever spell he’d tried to cast over me like a level-thirty warlock hell-bent on getting my Crystal of Zyanthia. But then the fact that I’d just compared him to a
level-thirty warlock hell-bent on getting my Crystal of Zyanthia
caused me to hyperventilate a bit further, knowing that he was so far out of my league that it wasn’t even funny. I didn’t date guys who had
veins
bulging out of their arm muscles. I didn’t date guys who had
muscles
. I didn’t
date
!

Then I recognized this for what it was, that I’d totally misconstrued the whole look. It was just one of those things where we’d looked at each other at the same time and he was being polite while I drooled all over him from afar.
He probably gets people falling over him all the time,
I thought.
He’s probably used to humanity begging to suck on his dimples, so he was just letting me enjoy the moment of being able to bask in the awesomeness that is him
.

Or maybe he wasn’t even looking at me. Maybe he was grinning and winking at Charlie. Or the ceiling. Or maybe he wasn’t grinning and winking at all, and it was just a facial tic brought on by having a slightly chubby man practically ovulating right in front of him.
Take my fictitious eggs!
I wanted to bellow at him.
I will carry
all
your babies to full term!

He wasn’t looking at you, I told myself. And even if he was, it meant nothing.

But then that heated sensation into the side of my head was back.

I refused to look.

For three seconds. Then in a performance that would have made Daniel Day-Lewis proud, I stretched, popping my back, yawning and all the while squinting my eyes partially shut. Once I was in mid-stretch/pop/yawn/squint, I looked down briefly and saw that Mr. Yes Please was watching me yet again.
He’s probably just wondering how big my nipples are
, I thought as I continued what undoubtedly had to be the longest stretch/pop/yawn/squint ever.
He probably thinks that I’m quarantined up here because I’ve got the biggest nipples in the world. If he even can
spell
quarantined. He might be hot, but he’s probably dumber than a box of rocks covered in cocaine. Ha, ha! Crack rocks. I’m funny as shit. Why am I still stretching?

So I stopped stretching, but Charlie must have seen what was going on because he started making a weird chuffing/grumbling noise he made when he thought something was
really
funny. I glared at him. “Real smooth, boy,” he said as he chuffed/grumbled, somehow able to move the spotlight perfectly over Helena as she prowled the floor even though he was watching me. “Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have game.”

“Shut up, Daddy,” I groused.

I looked down again, and Mr. Yes Please was laughing silently up at me, but for some reason, I got the feeling he wasn’t laughing at me as much as he was laughing at my blatant disregard for subtlety. I blushed again and looked away, determined to watch Helena perform and not watch the hotness watching
me
for some damn reason.

It almost worked.

Of
course
I gave him a quick glance every now and then. Okay, it was more like every few seconds. With how much my head was going back and forth between him and Helena, you would have thought that I was trying to dance really awfully along with the music. Sometimes he was looking at me, other times he was laughing with his perfectly perfect friends. Once or twice, our gazes locked and clashed and my breath caught in my throat and I had to tear my gaze away before I jumped on him from the second floor and demanded that he take me right there.

Halfway through Helena’s set, one of the shirtless twinkie barbacks walked by him carrying a tray. Mr. Yes Please stopped him and spoke with him. The twinkie (Eric was his name, stupid perfect little twinkie Eric) started to put a little sex in his pose. His jeans hung low on his hips, so low that it was obvious he was circumcised. His tanned skin glittered wondrously in the strobe lights. Mr. Yes Please laughed at something Eric said, and Eric reached out and playfully gripped Mr. Yes Please’s large bicep.

It was about that time that I pulled out my phone and googled how much time you got in prison for premeditated murder in the state of Arizona, all the while watching Eric out of the corner of my eye getting so close that I’m sure his normal-sized nipples were rubbing up against Mr. Yes Please. Google told me it was twenty-five years to life, and I weighed my options. I knew if I ended up in prison I’d just need to find the biggest, baddest guy in there and immediately become his bitch so that I wouldn’t get shanked or shivved by some guy named Boisterous Frankie. But at least the twink would have felt my wrath.

On the other hand, I could avoid prison altogether instead of getting oddly jealous over Eric touching a guy who I hadn’t even known existed less than ten minutes ago.

I was still debating this when someone said, “Paul,” right next to my ear.

I jumped. I turned and saw Eric standing right next to me. “You bitch,” I hissed at him, unable to stop myself. I glanced down at the floor and saw Mr. Yes Please watching us.
Did he send Eric up here to tell me to stop staring at him like a crazy person? Well, then, I will send Eric down with a message
back
saying that the only reason I was staring at him was because I was wondering where one bought steroids because muscles that big are gross. Sort of.

Eric didn’t seem to hear me slander him, or maybe he was just used to it and tuned it out. “Compliments of the guy downstairs,” he said, handing me a shot of something from his tray. “Who the hell is he?” You could tell what he
really
wanted to say was
how the hell did you pull
this
off?

I stared at the shot glass, confused.

“You gonna take this, Paul?” Eric asked. “Seems like a waste, given how hot the guy is. If you don’t want it, I’ll take it.” He smiled an evil smile. “And then I’ll go back down and thank him properly, if you know what I mean.”

“He would, too,” Charlie huffed. “Eric’s ass is so loose it sounds like wind blowing over a cave entrance when he walks.”

“Oh, Daddy,” I said, laughing.

Eric didn’t think it was funny. In the slightest. He sort of huffed and thrust the drink in my hand, spilling a bit of it before turning and stomping back down the stairs. “He’s a bit bitchy today,” Charlie observed in that dry way he has.

“Maybe he found out he has crabs,” I said.

“That was last month,” Charlie said. “He needs to be a bit more careful, otherwise he’s going to wind up in a world of hurt.” There was affection in his voice, however. Charlie’s a big old softie, and I’m sure Eric looking the way he does helps that just a bit. Charlie’s not a creepy lecherous old man, but he does have eyes. “You going to drink that?” he asked, arching an eyebrow. “Seems someone fancies you.”

“This has to be a joke,” I grumbled. I look down to the floor below and saw Eric reach Mr. Yes Please. Eric made sure I was watching with a little glance over his shoulder and then leaned in far too close to Mr. Yes Please, giving him a bit of the old bump ’n grind, whispering something in his ear but nuzzling a bit too. I wanted to stand up and tell everyone that Eric apparently had crabs last month, but even I’m not that mean. Out loud, anyway. In my head, I’m the meanest bitch who ever walked the face of the earth.

What bugged me a little bit (even though it had no damn reason to) was that Mr. Yes Please didn’t exactly seem to be pulling away from Eric. He even seemed to be smiling a bit to himself as Eric fucked the air around him with his mouth, the dimples flashing in the strobe light. His friends over his shoulder were grinning at the two of them and whispering to each other, obviously sure that Eric was going to get down on his knees and blow Mr. Yes Please right there.

“He’s a big fat slut,” Charlie told me, obviously not missing a thing. He reached over and patted me on the shoulder as Helena stood in one place and did this pretty little twirl.

“Shouldn’t your eyesight be failing by now?” I asked him, watching as Eric did a little twirl of his own, pressing his ass up against Mr. Yes Please’s crotch, bending over and then grinding against him as he held the tray perfectly level. Mr. Yes Please stared down at him, not touching him, but not junk-punching him either. People began to give them room, backing out of the way as Eric worked his whore magic. Mr. Yes Please glanced up at me, an undecipherable look on his face.

“Cheers, Daddy,” I said to Charlie, raising the glass to Mr. Yes Please and knocking back the shot before I even tasted what it is.

And as it hit my tongue, I realized it was whiskey.

I can’t
stand
whiskey. Makes me sick. Makes me feel gross. Can’t stomach it.

Which is why my throat closed up.

Which is why I spit it out of my mouth, forgetting I was on the balcony.

Which is how it sprayed off the balcony.

Which is why it landed right on Eric’s head, splashing a bit onto Mr. Yes Please.

Even though it was an accident, I couldn’t have planned that better had I done it on purpose.

Most people didn’t even notice, their attention still on Helena Handbasket, who was doing this awesome backflip thing, pressing her feet up against the wall. But Eric sure as fuck noticed, snapping back up and glaring at me. Mr. Yes Please had the weirdest look on his face as he watched me, as if he couldn’t decide if I was awesome or the grossest thing he’d ever seen. Charlie was busting up laughing, obviously not caring if it messed up the sound on the tape still recording.

And what about me, you ask?

I was fucking mortified.

I tried to sink down into my seat, my face going as red as it’d ever been. I really wanted to run down the stairs and get the hell out of here, but the stairs curved around and the door to the dance floor was right near where Mr. Yes Please and Eric stood. I decided in that moment that I was never going to leave the balcony ever again and that I would live up here for the rest of my days. People would come from everywhere to see the Gay Who Wouldn’t Leave Because He Couldn’t Handle His Alcohol And Spit It Onto A Stupid Slutty Twink. There would be lines to take my picture as I roamed the balcony, bemoaning my apparent lack of any kind of social skills.

BOOK: Tell Me It's Real
2.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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