I forgot to state that there was a big Halloween party planned...they would see each other there.
Three weeks passed; the Halloween party was in full swing. The host and hostess, Josh and Kim, were dressed as bikers.Greg’s eldest brother, Adam, and his husband Mike came as an Indian and a cop. Greg and Amber arrived dressed as a cowboy and cowgirl. Greg’s older brother Paul and his wife Michelle were Antony and Cleopatra.
Josh greeted every guest himself. He saw Greg and hugged him quickly. The cowboy pulled away a little.
“You look great!”
“Thanks, you too.”
“Go get something to drink.Kim made a great daiquiri just for you.”
Greg shot his friend a confused glance but greeted Kim anyway.
The music swelled and through the crowded living room the brown-eyed men kept meeting one another’s gaze. Josh tried to walk over but was caught by Paul, who wanted a quick word with him. Josh obliged, and noticed by the time they were finished, Greg was nowhere in sight. He walked over to Amber.
“Hey, where’d your hubby go?”
Amber shot down the rest of her cosmo martini. “I dunno, maybe he went outside?”
“I’ll find him.” Josh snuck out the back door and walked around the yard. He saw Paul and Michelle having a chat, but no one else was around. He approached the couple. “Hey, you guys seen Greg at all?”
“No, maybe he went upstairs or something. His car’s still here.” Paul pointed out.
Josh felt his pulse race a bit as he grew worried about his friend. He went back inside and wove his way through the pulsating music and the gyrating crowd of half-drunk adults.He bounded up the stairs two-at-a-time and began searching rooms.
He opened the door to the master bedroom. “Greg?” Empty. Silent.
The next door was on his right. “Greg?” Not a sound.
Finally, there was the first door on his left. He saw it was already open and knocked before he opened it. “Greg?”
Josh saw his best friend at the foot of the guest bed, his arms folded in anger.
“I knew you’d find me eventually.”
“Nice to see you too. What the hell’s wrong?”
“Uh, well, it’s pretty obvious that you still haven’t told your wife the truth yet…so I think you have some explaining to do there for one. How long are you going to drag this out? Or do you keep hoping secretly that I’ll magically become gay and change my mind and have sex with you right here?”
Josh reined in his fluctuating emotions. “Don’t yell at me, please? I haven’t talked to you in three weeks. Let’s not let it spiral out of control that quick, alright?”
Greg let out an exasperated sigh and gave into a hug. “Sorry. Just think you need to do the right thing here. But I won’t change my mind…it’s not something I can be for you."
Both men took a seat on the bed. Josh let out a sigh and took off his hat. “I know. I want to discuss everything with you. I’m telling Kim tomorrow, I promise.”
Greg softened his tone and shook his head at his friend. “You have to know I love you and that’ll never change. I just can’t make love to you. Can you understand the difference?”
After a long moment, Josh patted his hand. “Definitely. I’d hate to lose you as my best bud.” Josh pouted.
“You won’t lose me. I’m so sorry about these past few weeks, but I thought for sure you’d tell her.”
A new voice entered the scene. “Tell her what? Which her?”
Greg looked over and saw it was his eldest brother, Adam. “Adam, hey! How’s it going?”
Adam grinned in greeting at the friends. He tossed back his shoulder-length blond locks and trained his sky blue eyes on his brother. “What’s going on, little bro?”
”Uh, quite a few things actually.Josh, should I tell him or are you?”
“Tell me what?” Adam shut the door and sat down next to his sibling.
”I guess it’ll come out sometime, but you have to swear not to tell anyone. Not even your hubby, Mike.”
Josh stood up and took a deep breath. “I’m gay. I knew it a long time ago, but I thought and prayed and hoped it was just a phase. I thought Kim had taken care of it. Well, she didn’t. I’m in love with someone, another man. It didn’t go away.”
Adam’s mouth gaped open. “Well, that’s good that you’re not fighting who you are anymore. Trouble is, your wife and kids…you haven’t told them yet?”
“What about this guy you’re in love with? Is he helping you out at all? Or is he staying in the shadows?”
Greg scowled. “I’m helping out, dammit!” He quickly covered his mouth, realizing he’d just revealed the truth.
Adam gasped. “Greg? It’s you? He’s in love with you?”
Josh nodded.“Yes. Keep that under your hat too.”
“Well…is the feeling mutual?”
Greg shook his head. “I love him, but not like that. We’re just friends.”
“Yep. Just friends,” Josh echoed. “We’re dealing with things.”
Adam put his arm around his sibling. “How are you dealing with this, little bro?”
“Okay.” The two hugged tightly.
He kissed Greg’s cheek. “I gotta tell ya, this is not a surprise to me,” Adam said.
Josh looked surprised. “How so? You mean everyone can tell?”
Adam laughed. “Come on. You two have been friends for years. I fell in love with Mike first as friends….”
”I’m not in love with Josh!” Greg protested.
“I understand that, but still…the feelings are there. Josh...” Adam caught the man’s hand. “I know what you’re going through and if I can help at all let me know. I’m happier than I’ve ever been, but was it easy? Hell no! I left my wife that I’d loved for over five years, but I couldn’t fight who I was anymore. Thank goodness she finally understands.”
“You two made up?” Josh asked.
“Yes. We’re good again. It wasn’t easy at all, for either of us. Coming out is very hard for both people. Hell, I denied it until I couldn’t anymore. I love Mike too much. Paula finally understood that and after some time, we could talk it out.”
The doctors’ eyes met in a silent question. “I’m alright, Josh. Just…this is new to me. I’m glad you told me at least.”
Josh put his arm around Greg. “I had to tell you.”
”We shouldn’t have gone out drinking, at least, not gone beyond a beer or two.”
“What’s this? What happened?” Adam queried.
Josh cleared his throat. “Uh, we got very drunk. I wanted to stay with him, but he wouldn’t let me….”
”I see.” Adam looked at Greg. “Was this before or after Josh revealed his true feelings for you?”
“So now you just have to tell Kim the truth?”
“Yes. Not an easy task.”
“Hardly an enviable one for sure.”Adam hugged Josh warmly. “I understand what you’re going through, so my advice is, the sooner the better.”
“I’ll see you guys down there.” After a last hug to Greg, he left the room, shutting the door behind him.
Not a minute later, Kim and Amber walked in without knocking. “Boys. What’s going on? What’s this secret discussion?”
Amber twirled her hair around her finger—a clear sign she was agitated. “Well? What the hell is going on here?”
“We’re just talking,” Josh said quickly.
“That’s the truth,” Greg reinforced.
”I know the truth; you just have to say it!" Kim spit out. "Josh, you’re gay, aren’t you? Dammit, just admit it! Stop sneaking around!” Kim harrumphed and left the room in disgust.
Josh flew from the bed and followed his wife. “Wait a minute! Kim? Kim!” He clopped down the stairs in search of her.
Meanwhile, back upstairs, Amber stood in shock. ”Josh is really gay?”
She looked at her husband’s face. “Greg, hon, you look really tired, do you feel okay?”
Greg patted his stomach. “A little queasy actually, but I took an antacid already.”
She took his hand and felt his pulse. “Do you want to stay here? Your pulse is up and you look awful, your eyes are all red and you’re so pale.”
“I just want to go home.”
“Let’s go, cowboy.” She took his hand, and they descended the stairs slowly. Josh was in the living room again. He looked up at his friend right away. “You look like crap, buddy.”
“Need some rest.”
“How’s Kim?” Amber queried.
“Not good. She told me to get lost for a while.”
“I’ll go to her,” Amber offered. “I think it’s best if you two hit the road and get out of sight for a while.”
Josh tossed his arm around his best friend. “I agree. Come on.”
They walked to Josh’s car in the street and left.
Once at Greg and Amber’s house, the two removed their hats and jackets and sat down on the sofa side-by-side.
“Can I get you anything? Water? Soda?”
“No, thanks. I’m fine. Relax; it’s been one hell of a night.”
“That’s an understatement,” Greg agreed.
There was a long moment of silence as Josh crossed his legs, then uncrossed them, fidgeted with his hair, and watched Greg drink his water.
Josh reached for his hand. “Are we cool? I mean…we’re good, right?”
Greg almost took the hand but refrained. “Dude, I told you. We’re good. Chill out.”
“What’s with the tone? I just wanted to be sure.”
”I know…I know. Sorry."
Greg relaxed his hand and shook it out. “I know, I’m sorry.I’m just really on edge about this whole thing. I remember when we couldn’t stand each other. It was easier back then; I knew how to avoid you because I couldn’t stomach you at all. That’s why this is so shocking.”
“I remember that too. I hated your guts.”
The two stared at each other for a moment and examined each other’s expressions.
“I don’t hate you at all, you know. I don’t even know why I did to begin with,” Greg admitted.
Greg shifted in his seat and kept leaning to the side. “So damn tired. Need a nap.”
“Hey, you want to lie down? Come on, great lap right here. I’ll just grab one of these throw pillows, and we’re good to go.”
Greg shook his head. ”No…I don’t think I should. I’m gonna call it a night.”
“Okay. I guess I’ll go find out what Kim wants me to do. Jump in a lake, get a quickie divorce, whatever she wants I guess.”
“I know I am, dammit. I’m afraid.”
Greg took Josh’s hand and sat up. ”Let me be what I’ve been for years, your best friend. You just came out to your wife, for goodness sake.It's okay to be a little afraid.”
Josh nodded and two tears rapidly exited his eyes, which he brushed away. “I didn’t tell her the other part though, about you.”
“Please leave me out of this…please? Shhh…gawd this has got to be hard.”
“You have no idea. I fought it for so long. Then to be turned down on top of it….”
“Why did you think I’d say yes? I never indicated anything like that to you.”
Josh shrugged. “Call me crazy for dreaming.” He jabbed his fingers into his wet eyes, trying to clear them.
“I’m sorry,” Greg whispered. He held his friend close while he calmed down.
Josh glanced at the clock and saw it was nearly midnight, and he knew the party ended at that hour. “Amber will be back before too long.”
“I know. Go home; let me know everything that happens. I’ll be here, phone at the ready. Alright?”
“Alright. Go face the music. One last hug?”
Josh hugged Greg one more time and kissed his head. “I love you.”