As You Are
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by Ethan Day
Category: Erotica/Gay-Lesbian Erotica/Romance
Description: Operation Danny?that's all bartender and recent college graduate, Julian Hallowell has had on his mind the past year. Julian may have no idea what he wants to do with his life, but he definitely knows he's in love with the boy next door: the next door down the hall to be exact, housing his roommate and used textbook store owner Danny Wallace. While Julian has done his level best to make Danny fall for him, all his hard work has been in vain. Danny doesn't seem to view Julian as anything other than a roommate and friend. So when new guy in town Andy Baker asks him out on a date, Julian can't think of a good reason to say no. Instead, he institutes a Reverse Operation Danny plan, which he's positive will purge all thoughts of love and lust for his roomie out of his head. He's ready to move on and start looking for his next Mr. Right, and Andy just might fit the bill. But has he given up too soon?
eBook Publisher: Loose Id, LLC, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: November 2009
143 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [268 KB]
Reading time: 175-245 min.
The sun was bright and high, not a cloud in the crystal blue sky. The leaves were in various stages of turn, and the vibrant, earthy rusts, dark reds, and fire-bright yellows clung to the trees and littered the ground around them. It was a stunningly beautiful day, and I was sitting on the windowsill of the loft smoking and feeling more than a bit depressed. Mom had just left after a weeklong visit, and I was suffering from my usual post-parental-partum depression.
As much as she drove me mental, I adored my mother. Life always seemed just the teensiest bit dimmer after Delilah went home from a visit, as if the color had slightly drained out of everything.
Danny burst into the loft as excited as a little kid, and he didn't notice me as he ran straight into his bedroom. I could hear him rummaging around as I used the smoldering butt of one cigarette to light a second one.
"Stop chaining." Danny came across the living room, hopping as he tried to put on sneakers. He looked charmingly rumpled in jeans and an old, worn rugby shirt. "Heading to the park for a little touch football."
I forced a bit of a smile and gave him a wink.
"You should come!" He had a look on his face like he'd just invented cheese. "It'll put some color into those cheeks."
"I think I'll pass." Images from the two weeks of high school phys ed I'd suffered through flashed before my eyes. Luckily, thanks to Mom and the very cooperative family doctor, the torture of PE hadn't lasted any longer. It always baffled me that as much as I loved to suck balls, I sure as fuck couldn't seem to catch one. "The last thing I need at the moment is to be the albatross in a team-sport montage."
"You can be on my team." Danny slipped on his second sneaker and fired off the most adorably sexy, knee-weakening half smile I'd ever seen. "Come on, don't be a pussy. Come with. We're just playing for fun, so no one will care how bad you suck."
See? He'd never seen me play a sport, and already he assumed I'd suck. I tried to hold on to my stony-faced demeanor, but the look on Danny's face said that he could spot the cracks in my faux-cade.
"Go on ahead, Danny. Honestly, I'm fine. I just feel like being alone."
He snatched the ciggie out of my hand and peeked out to see if anyone would catch him tossing it out the window. My mouth fell open, since that was something he insisted I never do. Danny was very antilitter. He took me by the arm and yanked me off the ledge.
"Come on, mopey. I'm not leaving you here to be all sullen and alone." He dragged me into my bedroom and surveyed the terrain as if confused about what to do once he had me there. "I swear, I'll throw myself out the window if I leave and get back home later to find you singing depressing show tunes about the men that got away."
I gasped, not because I was shocked by the accusation, but because he'd insulted my singing voice. "At least I can carry a tune." I placed my hands on my hips.
"True." Danny started rummaging through my dresser drawers. "As long as you don't have to carry it too far."
I gave him a dirty look, and he gave me an order: to strip off my pajamas. Since moving in with Danny, I'd had a lot of fantasies that began with him ordering me to strip. None of them ever ended with him finding me suitable clothes in which to play touch football. I honestly didn't want to go, but I couldn't seem to tell Danny no. If only I could get him to ask the right questions. There were plenty of things I could think of to get his heart rate up if that's what he was after.
Danny shut the last drawer and crinkled up his face. "Do you have any jeans that don't require lubrication to get into?"
I laughed a little, feeling myself blush slightly. "What difference does that make?"
"It's a man sport, Julie. You need to be practical."
I raised an eyebrow at him and crossed my arms as I stood there in my underwear.
He looked immediately regretful of the words that had just passed his lips. I watched the expression on his face change masterfully as if ready to try a different tack. "I just meant, you know...not club clothes."
"I know exactly what you meant." I pushed past him and opened up the armoire so stuffed with clothes that the doors wouldn't shut all the way. I could feel the heat from his body as he came up behind me. It was as if all the tiny hairs on my body were reaching out for him. I yanked out a pair of jeans that I hadn't worn in years, part of my less-slutty-looking, more-formative early twenties. I slid them on, and while they weren't exactly what one might call loose-fitting, they didn't reveal which side I leaned toward either.
Danny looked me up and down and shook his head...lingering over my ass a little longer than necessary if you asked me.
"What?" I asked.
"You have to be the world's biggest prick tease."
I shot him a nasty look. "Look here, Mister--"
"Settle down there, tiger," he interrupted, obviously pleased with himself for getting a rise out of me. "I can't believe the amount of clothing you own. This room is a firetrap."
I was ready to call the whole silly idea off when he yanked out a plain prison gray sweatshirt that I only ever wore when I was sick. "You seriously expect me to leave the house in that?"
"I just...figured you wouldn't care if it got ruined?"
My bullshit meter went through the roof. He turned a bit red, and I began to shove him out of my room. "Go downstairs and wait outside. I'll be down in a minute."
He tried to protest, but I kept jabbing at him, tickling until I had him back out into the living room. He might have been ten times stronger, but I was faster. I shook my head at him, and I could tell he was afraid of what I might come downstairs wearing. I smiled evilly to let him know he should be scared as I snatched the sweatshirt away from him. I shook my head a bit, a grown man worried about being out in the open with a big gay target by his side. The funny thing was that if he hadn't acted so hinky about it, I would've slid on a plain old T-shirt and we'd have been on our way.
Our building was on the corner of a one-way street downtown that had tons of foot traffic, especially at night. The area was littered with bars and restaurants, and it was only blocks from the main campus of the university, so there was always something going on. It wasn't always the quietest place to live, but I loved being close to all the action.
I came bursting onto the sidewalk wearing formfitting jeans that I never wore outside the bar. They were paired with an electric hot pink shirt that was so tight I might as well have not worn a shirt at all. It had 69 in huge black numbers on the back, and written across the chest in glittery black letters was SWEET MEAT. It was tacky as all hell, and it had taken me a bit of time and effort to find it, since I'd only worn the thing once. I'd bought it for one of the theme parties Gabby and I had thrown back in college. I think it was the plastics party we'd thrown around the time Mean Girls came out.
Danny's mouth fell slightly open as his eyes widened. I got the sense it was way worse than even he'd imagined, and I gave myself a satisfied mental pat on the back. You could see every last modest ridge in my tummy and...whoops, I thought, looking down. "There they are!" I smiled as my nipples tightened from the cool afternoon air.
Danny started laughing. "I suppose you just had to add the glitter?"
I gave him my very best devious grin as I checked out my reflection in a store window. There wasn't a lot of my dark brown hair to work with, as I kept it fairly short, but I spiked out what I had on the top. I smiled, taking in my sparkly face and arms. "This is what you get for being such a homophobe."
He nodded as if to agree he was indeed being a hink-ass before. "Come on." He tossed his arm around my shoulder and shook his head. "You are some piece of work."
I clenched my fist up into the air. "Balls of steel, I know."
He leaned back to check out my backside as we continued down the sidewalk. "Ass of steel too."
I wasn't the world's most butch queen, but I could pass through life without having my queer flag flying and go completely under the radar. It did however piss me off to no end when these self-righteous homos clad in Abercrombie got all pissy about the more limp-wristy members of our community. Some of Danny's friends were the worst. I had a tendency to get all ACT UP on their asses. That day I planned to pull out my inner queen and make them suffer their worst nightmare.
The large city park was sort of a catchall, with a picnic and barbecue area, and a sports section with basketball and tennis courts and several open fields, where I assumed we'd be playing football. While it wasn't as busy during the week as it was on weekends, it was late afternoon, so kids were already out of school and screaming their fool heads off from the playground area. As we passed the lake there were joggers, dog owners walking their pets, and people scattered about lying in the grass reading and whatnot.
A light breeze blew the leaves across the field as Danny and I made our way toward his group of friends. It wasn't long after moving in with Danny that I'd noticed his personality altered once he got around these dudes. I think he began to notice this as well over time, seeing himself mirrored back through my eyes. It was a change that had lessened quite a bit as the time that we lived together lengthened.
Most of these guys had been in a frat together back in college, and they were very much all-for-one types. Only a few were gay, but other than the gay-trashing banter and slurs that got tossed around occasionally, they actually seemed to be a decent pack of guys. All except for Donald Thomas, that is, who was Danny's oldest friend. They'd grown up together, and both turned out to be gay. That's pretty much where the similarities stopped. Danny was at the core a very kind and caring person, while Donnie seemed more like...the spawn of Satan himself.
Donnie was not a bad-looking guy. He'd actually be pretty fucking hot if it weren't for his personality. He was tall with buzzed, short hair like Danny's, like they were both getting ready to enlist. Donnie had very chiseled, masculine features. His nose had been obviously broken at least once before.
But there was something in his eyes. They were blue, but it was as if they'd faded over time, like a picture that had been exposed to the sun for too long. He was taller than Danny and built Ford tough as well, with very nice, long legs. Just about when Donnie had your tail wagging, he'd open his mouth and ruin everything.
"I didn't realize we were playing smear the queer." Donnie placed a hand on his hip and looked beyond irritated at the sight of me.
He was one of those people who always seemed to be giving somebody shit about something. It didn't matter whether you provoked him. He was either really in love with the sound of his own voice or just pissed off that he'd been named after a cartoon duck. Donnie had become worse where I was concerned since the night he'd come on to me and I'd shot him down. He really didn't seem to appreciate the fact that I didn't want to have sex with him.