Free Fiction Friday: September 5, 2014:

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Second Shot – The Senior Year: Chapter 36

 

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Blake paced his small dorm room. Brett’s stuff added to his made it feel even smaller. He’d been spoiled having the room to himself for the three weeks. Spoiled in more ways than one. But the weekend came and went, Ethan went home and Blake left Jason and Darryl’s house to come back to the dorm.

During the two days at Jason’s place, he’d tried to find the right words to tell his roommate. Everything he came up with sounded lame. “Brett, I’m gay,” was direct but had an overly dramatic feel. And he didn’t think he could or should blurt it out to start the conversation. On the other hand, the whole, ‘sit down, I have something to talk about,’ wasn’t any better.

Plus he really liked his roommate—in a friends only way. The last thing he wanted was to cause him more stress than needed. Especially the first week of school.

Still, they had to have this talk tonight. Enough people knew about Ethan and he being a ‘couple’ that sooner or later Brett would get the, ‘whoa, dude. You’re living with a gay guy?’ question and then it would be on. Better to deal with it directly and early on so they could both move on with the semester—one way or another.

His phone vibrated and he quickly dug it out of his pocket.

Ethan: {hows it goin?}

Why would he text that? He’d told Ethan he’d let him know how it went after he and Brett talked. Ethan meant well, but getting messages from him and Jason didn’t help him keep calm. Biting back the snark he composed an answer.

Blake:{He’s not back yet, I’ll text AFTER we talk. Promise}

He hoped Ethan took the hint. Back and forth with his boyfriend wouldn’t help him relax while he waited. And speaking of waiting, where the fuck did Brett go?

“Calm down.” Saying it out loud made him feel slightly psycho, but it also helped to calm his angst.

He plunked onto his bed and felt the not so new springs sag. Maybe dorm life wasn’t as good an idea as he thought. He spied his ‘getaway’ bag on the chair. Jason had suggested he have an exit plan. If Brett needed some space, Blake could stay at the house.

Of course, if Brett didn’t come back soon, Blake might not be awake. Weekends with Ethan were great and he loved curling up next to him, but that close, sleep wasn’t always what followed. Not that he minded the wake up sex, at least not at the time. But it left him so tired the next day.

Shifting slightly, he put his hands behind his and settled back against his pillow. He needed to get up if he wanted to stay awake, but settled in like this, his motivation for sitting up quickly evaporated.

He’d just started to drift off when he heard a noise at the door. The twisting feeling in his gut brought him to full consciousness before Brett turned the lock.

“Yo! You’re here.” Brett walked over as Blake sat up and slowly swung his hand. Blake clasped hands with a loud smack and let himself be pulled off the bed and into a quick hug. Brett let go and flopped onto his bed. “Wasn’t sure what happened to you. I haven’t seen you since I got back.”

“Um yeah, I was…um…staying at Jason and Darryl’s for the weekend.” He noted the look his roommate gave him and added. “Jason’s dad bought a house on Otis and Jason, his boyfriend Peter, Darryl and Jase’s younger brother Dean are living there.”

“Nice. Sorta like a mini frat house without the rules.”

He laughed at image. “It got that way a couple times when the team was hanging out there, but Jase has been toning it down. His dad will kick them all out if they don’t keep up their grades.”

“Still, has to beat being in the dorm.” Brett sat up and swung his feet over the side of the bed so he faced Blake. “So why were you staying there all weekend? I mean, I don’t think you even came back to change.”

“Yeah, I know.” He met Brett’s gaze for a moment, then looked down. All he had to do was say it, tell him the truth and it’d be out there. So why wouldn’t the words come out. “It’s kinda complicated.”

It really wasn’t. Just tell him and be done. When he glanced up, he found Brett still looking at him.

“Okay, so start wherever.”

It sounded so simple. Swallowing loudly, Blake nodded without meeting his roommate’s stare. “I was…I am…I’m seeing someone and it was easier to stay there.”

“Seeing someone? As in dating and sleeping together seeing?”

Blake snorted despite the serious topic. “Um…yeah. Is there another type of seeing someone?”

“No doofus, I just meant…I didn’t know is all. You’d think you could have told me or something.”

“It’s something I wanted to do in person.” His mouth suddenly got bone dry and he found it a struggle to swallow. He finally looked Brett in the eye. “It’s a guy. I’m seeing a guy and his name is Ethan.”

Brett didn’t react and the room was so quiet Blake could hear himself breathe. They continued in silence until Brett nodded. Almost imperceptible at first, it continued until it moved his whole body. “I see.”

“I know I should’ve told you sooner, but…I don’t know, it’s just been impossible to tell anyone. If you want some space, I can go. Jase said I can stay with them until I figure out where I’m going to live.”

It would take considerably more effort than he made it sound, but he wouldn’t stay if Brett didn’t want him. Waiting for an answer, his fingers played with the strap on his getaway bag.

“It’s kind of a shock, you know? I mean, we hung out all last year and you never said anything.” Brett never broke their eye contact. “I mean you could’ve at least said something before we agreed to room together another year.”

“I know.” Of all the things coming out entailed, that was the one area of regret for Blake. He should have told Brett last year or else found another place to live. And from how Brett reacted, it did matter. He stood up and pulled the bag with him. “I’m sorry, Brett. I’ll get out. Just don’t trash my stuff, please? I’ll move out as soon as I can. I promise.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Who said you needed to leave?”

“No one, but I’m not going to put you in that position. I fucked up, not you. You shouldn’t have to say get out.” That and if the university found out Brett told him to leave because he was gay he could get in trouble.

“Do you want to go?”

“No.” Shaking his head, he debated whether to keep going. “But I don’t want you to be uncomfortable. I don’t do conflict well.”

“Says the man who’s idea of fun is sliding tackling other players.”

“That’s controlled.” He cracked a grin. “I just mean, I decided to stay because we got along and I never had to worry about being able to study here. If we hate each other….” He shrugged.

“I don’t hate you. Like I said, I’m a bit stunned.” Using both hands he pushed off the bed and confronted Blake. “I always wondered what I’d do if a friend came out to me. I’ll be honest I didn’t expect it to be you, but I always told myself it would be no big deal.”

He waited for more, but when Brett didn’t add anything, he said, “But I get the sense it is.”

Brett’s expression changed and he seemed distant. “I’ll be honest, I’m not as good with it as I thought I’d be or as I want to be.”

The queasy feeling returned as Blake realized he’d need to move. “I understand. I’ll let you know when I can get my stuff.”

Disappointed, he tried to keep his anger down. He had promised himself if Brett wasn’t cool, he’d leave quietly. Even if he didn’t want to, he planned to keep to that plan. He shifted his bag and stepped to his left. Avoiding his roommate’s gaze, he started toward the door.

He hadn’t cleared the foot of the bed when Brett grabbed him by the arm. “Wait.”

Blake stopped walking, but didn’t turn around. The hurt at being rejected was no doubt plastered on his face and he didn’t need Brett to see that.

“Don’t go, Blake.” Brett pulled gently on Blake’s arm to no effect. He let go and walked in front of Blake. “Please don’t go. I’m…I’m cool with you.”

“Are you sure?”

“Look, I won’t lie and say it’s not weirding me out a bit, but you’ve always been a good friend. And you’re easy to live with. You’re certainly not the dumb jock I expected when they told me I was rooming with a soccer player.”

“Was that a compliment?” Blake relaxed enough to smile.

Brett returned the grin and flopped back on his bed. “Not that I can tell. Being a step up from being a knuckle dragger like most of the jocks doesn’t make you attractive.”

That barb, more than any assurances told him they’d probably be fine. But he kept the bag on his shoulder.

“You sure we’re okay?

“I’m sure I don’t want you to move out.” He stared at the ceiling.

Blake stayed rooted in place. Not being mad wasn’t enough. Thinly veiled anger wouldn’t make for a good living situation. Maybe a night apart would help. “How about I crash at Jason’s tonight and let you think about it?”

“No!” The rejection caused Blake to flinch. “Blake, I’m good with us. Or at least I will be once I work through how this affects us going forward.”

“It shouldn’t affect us at all.” He held up a finger. “We can still talk about girls you want to date.”

“True. That was always one sided come to think of it.”

“Ya think?” Blake raised an eyebrow and then a second finger. “I’ll never try to steal your girl.”

“As if.”

“And I promise to never hit on you. I’ve already got a…someone.”

The lite moment nearly past, but Brett popped off his bed with a smirk. “Can I get those in writing?”

“Text okay?

“It’ll do.” He held out his hand and when Blake shook it, he pulled them together for ‘bro hug.’ “See? Problem solved.”

Blake patted him on the back and fought back the urge to say, “For now.”

 

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