Though Bret has been in love with Andreas since they were in college, he swore nobody would ever find out. Andreas doesn't do relationships, and the last thing Bret wanted was to make things awkward within their group of friends.
Now, two of their quartet are getting married. On what is supposed to be a final nostalgic fling, Bret and Andreas come face to face without the others. Will they walk away, or will Bret finally have the nerve to tell Andreas how he truly feels?
Note: This short story was originally published in the charity collection, Love Is Proud.
He looked so nervous that I felt sorry for him. “I’ve never thought you were an asshole. Even when you took your Jack Sparrow costume too seriously at Mark’s Halloween party and threw up in my helmet.”
Andreas snorted, though it did the trick to relax him. “Not one of my shining moments.”
“Maybe not,” I agreed. Because he’d already made the overture in chasing me down, the next didn’t seem as awful to admit as it would’ve an hour ago. “But you looked amazing before you did.”
His mouth canted in the crooked smile that always made my stomach flip-flop. “I’m guessing Mark never told you I dressed up like that because of your Johnny Depp fetish.”
Heat flooded to my face. Andreas was flirting. With me. I’d witnessed him in the moment enough to recognize it happening. I just never thought I’d be on the receiving end.
I’m not good at it. I never have been. I was Mr. Straightforward, which was yet another reason I’d never been able to admit to Andreas how I felt. If I could flirt, this would be the perfect opportunity to tell him I didn’t fanboy over Johnny Depp as much as I saw him as a viable substitute for the articulate, dark-haired man I actually preferred.
But I wasn’t ready to say that aloud. Not yet, anyway.
“Why do you think you’ll sound like an asshole?” I prompted, trying to get back to the earlier topic.
He grimaced. “Because the more guys I hooked up with, the easier it was to convince myself I wasn’t wimping out when it came to you. For the record, though? I fully acknowledge that’s a load of bullshit. I wouldn’t have freaked out at the idea of us being forced to talk if there was even a shred of effectiveness in my methodology.”
In spite of Andreas’s confession, we were both still dancing around the subject, which looked more and more like we’d been in the same boat without ever realizing it. I had to take a risk whether I liked it or not. After all, Andreas had already opened that door, hadn’t he?
“If all I ever wanted from you was sex, this wouldn’t be so hard.” I shoved my hands into my pockets to hide their trembling. “I don’t know what exactly Mark told you, but that’s a big reason why I never said anything.”
“What’s so funny?” I asked.
“I’m boggled you’ve ever even thought of me and sex in the same sentence,” he replied.
“Why’s that such a crazy idea?”