It had been nearly a month since the barbecue with my cousins, which couldn’t have gone better. We’d had a blast once everyone had shown up, and they all seemed to like Dave. No matter how hard I tried though, I couldn’t get Josh’s words out of my mind. I’d found myself watching Dave when he wasn’t aware and there were times I’d catch him looking at me and I’d see hope, pain, and uncertainty in his eyes.
He recovered quickly, and I hadn’t said anything yet, but I was beginning to think I’d have to bring it up. I wanted to know what was going on in that head of his, and while he was very open about everything else, he still hadn’t confided anything about whatever it was Josh had mentioned. Whatever had happened still affected him, and I wanted to know what it was, before it came between us. Maybe I’d talk to him about it this weekend.
I slung my duffel over my shoulder and left my house, making sure the door was locked up tightly behind me. Dave and I were planning to go to a movie tonight, and since I got off work first, I’d agreed to meet him at his place and then stay the weekend with him. For once I had an entire weekend off and I was going to make the most of it. I pulled my phone from my pocket and texted him as had become normal.
He must have been waiting for it because within seconds I had an answering text.
I smiled, something I’d been doing a lot lately. For Dave, waiting could mean a couple of different things. One time he’d told me he was waiting, and he was—in the shower. Another time it was the bedroom. I think there were only a few times he was actually just waiting in front of the TV.
The drive over was uneventful, though I was so eager it seemed to take ten times longer than it usually did. I couldn’t wait. An entire weekend of just me and Dave with nothing to take us away from each other. I finally pulled up in front of his house, and he must have been watching for me. I was only halfway to the door before it swung open.
He pulled me inside. My bag fell to the floor as he pushed me up against the wall and kissed me like he hadn’t seen me in a month. I don’t know how long we stood there with our lips locked together, but he finally pulled back so I could drag a much needed breath into my lungs.
“A whole weekend. Santa Claus must have come early this year.” He grinned and picked my bag up off the floor and led the way to the bedroom, a path I knew all too well.
He dropped my bag on the bed and raised his eyebrow at me. Probably because I was still standing in the doorway to the bedroom. But we had all weekend, and I didn’t see any need to rush. Not because I didn’t want him—I did—but I also didn’t plan to spend all weekend in the bedroom. Besides, I was still trying to figure out how to ask him about whatever it was Josh knew and I didn’t.
“You okay?” Dave frowned and stepped towards me.
“Why did Josh ask me to promise not to hurt you?” I couldn’t keep the words back.
Dave froze and staggered back to sit down hard on the bed.
“When”—Dave swallowed and looked up at me—“did he say that?”
“At the barbecue.” I walked into the bedroom and sat next to him on the bed. “I’m sorry, I know I shouldn’t pry, but sometimes you just get this look about you. It’s like you’re just waiting for me to walk away while hoping I won’t. I don’t know how else to explain it.”
“No, you should know, it’s just not something I like talking about.” Dave sighed and shifted on the bed until he was facing me. “My freshman year of college I met this guy. We dated through most of freshman year and at the start of our sophomore year we got an apartment together off campus. He went home on breaks and stuff, but he wasn’t out to his family, so I never went with him. I didn’t think anything of it. Hell, I thought the guy loved me, guess I was naïve.”
“What makes you think he didn’t?” If the guy didn’t know what a great guy he had he was a moron.
“Because he was apparently bi and still dating his high school girlfriend back home.” Dave spat the words. “Spring break of our Sophomore year, he came back after his trip home… engaged.”
“What a bastard.” I didn’t know what else to say and something told me there was more to the story.
“Oh, that’s not all of it.” Dave’s hands clenched the bedspread and twisted. “He claimed he thought I knew. Said what we had was just some fun for him while at college and didn’t mean anything. He wasn’t going to come out to his family, said they wouldn’t understand and would probably stop paying for his college. Basically, he wasn’t about to stand up to his family and risk losing their financial support.”
I couldn’t even say anything; didn’t know what to say. I didn’t have to, Dave wasn’t done.
“I had barely looked at another guy since we’d started dating a year and a half earlier.” Dave’s shoulders seemed to slump in front of my eyes. “I felt like an idiot.”
“Why?” I reached out and rested my hand on his thigh. “You couldn’t have known.”
“Yeah, I could have, but I ignored all of the signs and other people telling me the guy was an asshole.” Dave shrugged.
“So, how did Josh find out?”
“My own stupid fault. Obviously I needed to find somewhere else to live. I stayed with a friend temporarily while I looked for another apartment. Josh had put an ad in the paper. We hit it off and ended up sharing the apartment for the rest of college. Our senior year, I got drunk off my ass and before I knew what I was doing, I was crying in my beer and spilling the entire story. He’d known I’d gone through a bad breakup, but none of the details.” Dave shook his head and looked down at his lap. “Once I was done, I felt sure he was going to tell me he wanted me to move out. Instead, he told me my ex was an idiot and I didn’t need him.”
I nodded. It sounded like something Josh would say. Him having a gay roommate in college helped me understand a bit better about why he was so cool with me when I came out to the family, not that I would have expected less from him .
“He was right, screw em. I’m sorry you dated such a prick, but as trite as it sounds, the experience helped you become who you are now. And who you are now is a guy I really like spending time with.” I slid closer until my knee pushed against Dave’s leg, smiling when he looked up at me. “There’s just one thing I don’t understand.”
“You said Josh filled you in a bit on how my family was with me, so why would you set yourself up for something like that happening again?” I realized how I sounded and hastened to reassure him. “I will never cave to their stupid demands or be anyone but who I am, but why take that risk? Not that it would be the exact same, but close enough.”
Dave smiled. “I knew Josh. He’d have never set me up for something like that. Besides, he assured me, repeatedly, you were one hundred percent gay and there was absolutely no risk of you leaving me for a woman. He also swore up and down you weren’t the type to cheat.” He frowned. “I can’t say the possibility never crosses my mind. It does. That’s probably when you see the look you were talking about.”
There really wasn’t much more I could say. I wasn’t ready to tell him I was pretty sure I was at least halfway in love with him. I didn’t want to scare him off, and until I could be sure we were on the same page, I kept those feelings held close to my heart. Even though I wasn’t ready to actually tell him, I had the whole weekend to show him how I felt. That thought in mind, I reached out and cupped the back of his neck with one hand and pulled him towards me.