At twenty-three, Kel is buff but awkward. He hates going to clubs but loves to play online games. His current boyfriend Jimmy would rather go out and dance the night away, and often makes fun of Kel for wanting to stay home. After a bad fight, Kel catches Jimmy cheating on him and they break up. Later, Kel tries to ignite a spark with a local hunk named Gunnar, but their first kiss ends in disaster and the rest of their date is even worse.
Heartbroken and alone, Kel retreats to the online 3D game world of New Life, a virtual earth where people can meet others with similar interests ... including naughty ones. At one of his favorite fantasy clubs, Kel becomes intensely involved with Darius, a black knight with a penchant for dominance. Their first meetup is slightly kinky online fun, and soon they realize they have more in common than they first thought.
When Darius wants to move things to the next level, Kel isn't so sure. Is he ready to make their online relationship reality?
The bouncer looked it over, then at the roses in my hand. "Proposal or apology?"
I looked at my feet.
"Never mind, I got it. Good luck, cutie." He pulled open the door.
I smiled, took another deep breath, and walked into the loud, smoke-filled den in search of my boyfriend. I started with the front bar, then made my way onto the little patio off to the side. When I couldn't find him there, I checked the crowded dance floor before scoping out the lounge in the back. I saw some of our mutual friends, sitting and chatting and having a good time. That is, until I approached.
Suddenly, everything stopped. I guess Jimmy told them what happened.
I decided to keep things direct. "Hey there, have any of you seen Jimmy? I have something I want to give him." I held up the roses.
Mark stood and pulled me off to the side while the others resumed chatting. They occasionally looked our way, then huddled back together in their secret circle.
"Kel, I have to be honest. This probably isn't a good time to find Jimmy." It was hard to hear Mark over the music, but I got the gist.
I, however, refused to give up so easily. "Please, Mark, this is important. I need to know where he is."
He glanced at the rest of the group as if seeking help, but they all looked away and continued whispering among themselves. Mark turned back to me, a lost expression in his eyes. I could almost see the wheels in his head turning as he tried his best to come up with a story that would make sense to me.
"The last time I saw him, he said he was going to get some air."
"So, he is here? But he wasn't on the patio and I didn't see him on my way in."
"I don't know, maybe you missed him." Mark gave me an awkward silence before continuing. "Let me give you some advice, Kel. Just go home and wait till he calls you. It will all blow over soon. Don't push him while he's still upset."
I appreciated the advice, but Mark was the last person I really wanted to hear this from. He'd never really liked me, and had always tried to keep me away from Jimmy by calling me a loser, a child, and other names simply because I liked to play video games. In other words, I could be the one to cure the world of all its problems, but as long as I enjoyed a game of Mario or wore a Ghostbusters T-shirt, I was still not worth it.
"Thanks, but I think I'll look around once more."
Mark shrugged and headed back to our gaggle of friends.
I walked around the crowded sections one more time, and when I couldn't find Jimmy, I figured he'd probably left and that I should do the same. Maybe I could go to his place, I wondered. Or would that be a bad idea?
Halfway to my car, I noticed another vehicle's backseat door open. I continued walking, but out of the corner of my eye, I recognized one of the two people stepping out -- Jimmy.
The three of us stood there, not sure of what to say. The silence allowed my anger to build until I couldn't take it anymore. I threw my roses at Jimmy, then ran to my car. Or so I thought.
Instead, I'd actually headed back in the direction of the club, and before I knew it, I was back inside. Seeing the friends apparently more loyal to Jimmy walking toward the door, I made a swift turn into the bathroom. I stumbled to the sink and began splashing water on my face.
"So, we meet again. How did the roses work out?" a voice said from behind.
I lifted my eyes to the mirror and saw the supermarket cashier from earlier. I looked at myself and realized my face was all red and my eyes were a bit watery from almost crying.
"Are you okay?" he asked, walking closer. "Look, I didn't mean to pry. I just remembered you from earlier and didn't see the flowers, so I figured ... well I don't know what I figured. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have --"
"No, it's okay. I'm fine. Or I will be. Let's just say that I gave him the roses, just not in the way I had planned. Now all I want to do is go home, but I might run into him with his -- I'm not sure what to call it."
He flashed me a different kind of smile than the one from earlier, this one full of concern, which oddly enough provided some comfort. "Would it help if I walked out with you?"
Even though I didn't know him, the thought of running into Jimmy was too much to bear, so I agreed.
"I'm Gunnar, by the way," he said.