Ian feels he has not been blessed with good looks, and his treatment from others lends weight to these beliefs. From a child, where he is teased about his big nose, to his twenties, where his best friend, the handsome Zack, seems to get all the attention, Ian is made to feel inferior. The resulting insecurity means he won't look in a mirror unless absolutely essential.
Then one night at Zenith, the local gay club, he locks eyes with Brad. He likes what he sees, but so does Zack. As Zack approaches Brad, Ian's heart sinks. However, there is a small chance Brad will tell Zack to take a hike.
Is Ian's life about to change for the better? Will he finally get a chance at love? Or will his so-called best friend Zack ruin everything? Could Zack really be that cruel?
There had been no official proclamation. It simply turned out that Ian was spending more time at Clint's house than he was at his.
It felt good to have a partner, although they had only been an item for a month. But after four weeks of kissing, hugging and sex, things had begun to go awry. The reason remained a complete mystery since Ian was doing everything he could to make Clint happy.
The first time he noticed something was up was while they were eating dinner in front of the television. He happened to glance at Clint who was looking at him in pure disgust.
"What?" Ian had asked.
Clint shook his head.
Ian racked his brain to think what could have prompted such a reaction.
Clint shook his head again. "The way you eat."
Ian was genuinely taken aback. "The way I eat? How do I eat?"
"So prim and proper. Like some fucking princess or something."
Ian felt as though he'd been slapped. He put down his knife and fork. His appetite gone.
"I'm sorry," he said, standing up.
He collected the dishes and went to the kitchen to wash them.
From that time onwards, Clint treated him as though he were a maid. Someone to cook for him and pick up after him. And Ian was so desperate to have someone special in his life, he tolerated it.
The illusion that there was anything between them was broken six months after they had met.
"What's all the beer for?" asked Ian, as he checked the roast he was cooking Clint.
"For my birthday party," he said, filling the fridge with bottles of beer, cramming them into every available space.
"Hey, Happy Birthday," said Ian. He went to hug Clint, but he put out a hand to block Ian. Undeterred, he asked, "When is it?"
"And the party is tomorrow night?"
Clint glared at him.
"Doesn't leave me much time to get you a present."
Clint pushed the fridge door shut.
"Don't worry about it. You don't have to get me anything."
Ian smiled. "I can't turn up at your party, in front of your friends, without a present. What would that look like?"
Clint sighed. "Listen, you're not invited, okay. It's just for friends."
It was as if a sword had pierced his chest.
"I thought ..." He glanced up at the ceiling in an attempt to stem his tears. "I thought we were friends. More than friends."
"Mate, I don't know what you were thinking, but look at you." The disgusted look appeared once more on his face. "You're enough to put my mates off their beer."
For a moment the room began to spin. Ian reached out for the kitchen counter to steady himself.
"Why are you saying that?" he heard himself ask.