Josh knew Glenn taught a class every Sunday night at the community center, he just didn’t know what he taught. He was surprised to discover that Glenn was a figure-skating instructor. Josh found out when they went skating together one night and Glenn did a flying camel.
“When did you learn to do that? That was amazing!”
Glenn grinned widely. “I’m an instructor here. I’ve been a skater since I could walk.”
“Way! Watch this.” He skated out and around the rink in perfect back crossovers, then forward, and executed a perfect single axel jump. He skated back over to Josh.
“Wow! You never cease to surprise me, my dear.” He stole a kiss as the two huddled together at the public session. He moved Glenn’s hair aside and whispered into his ear. “You know, I never told anyone this, but I’ve always wanted to do it with an ice skater.”
Glenn smiled. “You have been, all these months. I just wanted to shock you a little bit with new information about me.”
“Keep up those surprises, baby. I wondered where you went off to on Wednesday nights. By the way, love your outfit. You look damn sexy.”
Glenn was dressed in ice blue jeans with a matching denim shirt. It was a sharp contrast to his black figure skates. “Thank you, you always look hot to me. Hey, want to learn more than just how to skate in an oval?”
Josh shrugged. “Think you can teach this old dog some new tricks?”
“You’re not old, and yes, I can teach you all kinds of things.” They stole another kiss and joined hands as Glenn led him around the rink. He taught Josh the basic edges, being kind and patient.
After seven months of dating, Glenn knew he wanted to be with Josh forever. He asked Kim what his ring size was. She asked him if he was ready to become the spouse of a doctor.
“What does that mean?”
“Well, it’s far better than it used to be since he has his own practice now, but when he and Greg worked together at the hospital he was always on call and worked twelve-hour shifts, all of that. He’d get called away from Ben’s games a lot…it was just highly disruptive.”
“But you said it was better now?”
“Yes. Well, you’ve seen it. You two practically live together, don’t you?”
Glenn blushed. “Yes. We wanted to keep it separate so Ben and Natalie wouldn’t be freaked out by that. I want to live with him more than anything. I want to be married to him.”
Kim cocked her head and smiled. “You're such a sweetheart, Glenn. If I could choose his next spouse, it’d definitely be you. I can tell how much he loves you. I’m glad that whole Greg situation ended like it did.”
That Sunday, Glenn asked Josh to the annual ice show.Both his students and he were performing. Josh watched his lover skate to “Swan Lake” and was mesmerized by every move he made. Such elegance in the man’s motions—his jumps and spins were perfect. He tried not to applaud too loudly after every maneuver.
Afterward, when the crowd was gone, he noticed some of the students stayed behind. They all held signs which were turned away from them. Glenn chatted with all of them quickly and skated around again. The first sign flipped over to “Josh”. He did an axel, and a sign turned that said, “Will”. The second jump was a loop, and the sign “You” was flipped. A toe loop revealed “Marry” and finally a Lutz showed “Me?”
Josh read the signs and leapt from his seat. He ran down to join Glenn at the edge of the rink. Glenn pulled out a small box from his pocket and knelt in front of his lover. “Will you?”
“Yes!” He placed the ring on his finger and kissed Glenn passionately. All the students giggled.
Glenn hugged him warmly. “You complete my life!”
“As you complete mine!”
Josh invited Greg out for dinner at a local pub the following night to tell him the news.But as soon as he saw his best friend again, his old feelings started to surface.Last night was wonderful, more than. But after the euphoria wore off and in the stillness of the dawn, Josh’s heart still felt like a prisoner to the past. He loved Glenn, no questions there. But he still loved Greg too. He wondered if all of this was moving way too fast and if he was ready to get married again. Despite how captivating as it was, the ring on his finger suddenly felt like it was burning as doubts about what he truly wanted flooded his mind.
“Hey, bud, how’s it going?” Greg waved over at his friend and smiled.
Josh rose and greeted the man with a hug. He shut his eyes and tried to breathe in every pore of his friend into his skin. He held on as long as possible without raising eyebrows around them. He patted Greg’s shoulder. “Come. Have a seat. I have huge news.”
They sat down at the pub table and Josh held out his left hand. Greg’s eyes grew wide.
“Holy crap! Is that what I think it is?”
Josh nodded. “Yup.A really nice engagement ring.Glenn asked me yesterday, and I said yes.”
Greg clasped the ringed hand and checked out the bauble. “Amber would’ve died if I gave something like this to her. It’s very nice! Didn’t know they made such elaborate rings for guys like that. I’m actually kinda jealous.When’s the wedding?”
“We haven’t set a date yet, but we’re hoping to get this done soon.”
“It’s already May, you think maybe by year’s end?”
Josh nodded. “I hope so.”But Greg could tell his friend's tone was less than energetic.
The waitress stopped by and they placed their orders, continuing their conversation once she’d gone.
“Are you excited about it?”
“Yeah, I am.” Josh examined the ring carefully under the pub lighting. It picked up the colors of the beer signs and the low light of the room. He couldn’t meet Greg’s eyes for a long moment.
Greg took a few sips of his water. He looked the man across from him up and down, trying to read his thoughts and expressions. “Penny for your thoughts, bud.”
“Hmm? Oh, nothing. I’m alright.”
“Look pretty lost in space there.”
Greg cocked his head. “About what? You don’t seem very with it today, to be honest.”
Josh sighed. “Didn’t get a lot of sleep. My fiancé was very excited.”
The waitress walked up with their orders and quickly left again.
“Ah, good. I’m famished. Long day at the hospital today.”Greg eyed the potato skins and chicken wing dinner.
“You know what your patients would say if they saw you eating that?” Josh chastised as he picked up the fork for his salad.
“Hey, I’m good about everything else. I can have a little fun sometimes.”
The two ate silently for a few minutes and drank their beverages. Finally, Greg broke the silence.
“Are you alright? You’re not just tired. Talk to me. This is huge! You’re getting married again! Aren’t you the least bit happy about it?”
“I am happy about it!” Josh barked back, his voice more than a little raised.
Greg withdrew and peered over at his friend through his beer glass. “Holy crap. Will you get a grip?”
Josh shook his head and put his thumbs to his eyes. He took several deep breaths and finally looked back up. “I dunno why I even told you.”
“What? Are you serious? I’m your best bud! Why wouldn't you tell me?” Greg joked as he bit off part of a chicken wing.
“No. We should have snuck out of town and eloped and no one would be the wiser, would they?” Josh shot back.
“What the hell is your problem, man?” Greg sat back, his arms crossed.
“Nothing.” He sank his fork into the salad and bit into the large lettuce leaf that surfaced with it.
Josh shot his friend a suspicious glance. “If I say there’s nothing wrong, then there isn’t. Let it go, Greg.”
“Nope. You brought me over here for a reason; you told me part of it. Now tell me the other part.”
“So this was what? Obviously not a celebration over your betrothal, which you’re not exactly doing backflips over.”
“Let it go,” Josh warned.
“Does Glenn know all this? Or did you act excited just for him? Does he even know how you really feel?”
Josh tossed his fork into the salad and reached across the table and grabbed Greg’s collar tightly. “I said let it go!” he growled.
Some of the other patrons took notice and the obligatory stares and whispers started. Josh let go and sat back down.
The waitress walked up. “Can I help you with anything, sir?”
Josh shook his head. “No. Thank you. I’m sorry for causing a scene. Won’t happen again. Could you bring the check, please?”
“Got it right here.” She pulled the bill from her pocket and handed it to him.
She smiled at him and walked back to her other customers.
Greg straightened his shirt and ate his dinner quickly and quietly.
“I’m sorry,” Josh mumbled.
“No, it isn’t.”
Greg wiped his mouth and leaned in to his friend. “Let’s go talk in the car, okay? A lot more private there.”
Josh nodded and waved the waitress back over. He got a to-go box for his salad and paid the tab. The two walked out to Greg’s car.
“So, what’s really going on in your mind?”
Without missing a beat, Josh let out a breath. “I still wish it were you.”
Greg nodded and ran his hand over his beard. “Josh…we’ve been over this...”
“That doesn’t stop me from feeling what I do!” he barked back.
“Does Glenn know?”
“Kinda,” he sighed.
“How much is kinda?”
“He knew I was in love with you first. He’s done everything he can to endear himself to me, and believe me, I love the man deeply.”
“But I’m not in love with him.”
“Is that because you’re still in love with me?” Greg fingered his hair and pulled at it.
“Then you can’t go through with this wedding. It’s not fair to him.”
“But I have to.”
Greg frowned. “What do you mean you have to? Gimme a break. He’s not pregnant, is he?”
Josh shot Greg a bizarre look. “What?”
“Just trying to get your attention. Look, if you don’t wanna marry him and you’re not in love with him, then don’t! Spare him the agony of a loveless marriage!”
Tears began in Josh’s eyes, but he batted them away angrily. “Fuck. This is so out of control. I do love him, I really do. I’ve made love with him and care for him and he’s so terrific. He loves me unconditionally, I can tell.”
“Let’s war game this out, alright? What would happen if you broke off the engagement?”
“Well that’s obvious; he’d be very upset, and very angry. Very jealous. It wouldn’t be good.”
“Alright, all that put aside, you’re a free and single man again. What’s your next move?”
Josh shrugged. “I-I dunno. I hadn’t thought that far ahead. I still keep hoping that maybe just part of you can really understand what I feel for you.”
Greg reached over and patted Josh’s back. “Bud, I know what you feel about me, for me. I can’t return the same! I’ve told you this over and over. I’m not gay or bi or anything that would make me want to sleep with you. I’m sorry!”
“Nothing at all I do with help that, will it?”
“No. I’m sorry. I don’t want to be all blunt on you, but we gotta face facts! I’m not attracted to you in that way. Please try to understand. Please…move on with Glenn. Don’t break his heart. I know you two can be a happy couple and work it all out.”
Josh wrapped his fingers around the door handle and pulled it forward. He looked over his shoulder at his friend. “Guess I never had a choice, did I?”
Greg shook his head. “Not really.”
With a final glance, Josh exited the vehicle and walked over to his own car. Greg watched him get inside and wrap his arms around the steering wheel with his face to his arms. He got out and walked over.
“Dammit…Josh. Please stop. Please?” He banged on the window but had to step back when he heard the engine start and Josh pulled away.