I've heard some people say that in college you learn stuff about yourself you never even considered. In my case that's very true. When I arrived at my dorm room on my first day of college and met my new roommate; Sam, I felt I knew myself pretty well. The geeky guy with glasses who would probably never get further than second base with any girl, and desperately trying to get a spot of popularity by being clown of the class. I thought I knew the road laid out for me in the future; studying hard, getting a job and hopefully finding a girl, before I went insane from bottled up sexual need.
Sam and I clicked nicely and within a week we were best friends. We liked many of the same things but were also different enough to never make it boring. I was loud, rough and easy going. He was quiet, gentle and emotional. He could always crack me up with just a single word or a look at the right time. He was great that way. I was more of a practical joker, although I only ever tried to joke with him once. His reaction made it very clear that doing that again would mean an early death for me. Not that I needed it anyway. When we were together I always had a great time. Even if it was only doing homework together or our Friday ritual of shooting darts at the local sleesy pub and drinking weak beer.
We went through our first year without anything notable happening to any of us. We had fun, studied together during the week and got drunk on Fridays. After a summer break that was long and boring, we were both deliriously happy to be together again. I did notice he seemed a little more closed off towards me than the year before, but since he had told me before about his unbalanced family, I figured it must have been an awful summer at home. I felt my suspicion was confirmed when he started talking about finding an apartment for himself instead of the dorm during his next year, but I talked him out of it by assuring him that I couldn't get past my exams without my study buddy. So we stayed in our tiny room and after yet another long summer, where he had spent half of it at my place, we entered our third year.
A few months into the year I started getting seriously worried about him. He seemed constantly down and nothing I said or did seemed to make it better. His grades were fine, so I could only assume it was something personal. He'd never had a date while I'd known him, and since I thought it might help if he got one, I started looking for a possible score for him. Not that I had been very lucky that way either, but at least I put in a good effort. This year I had been busy pursuing the school bimbo Janice. I have to confess I didn't actually like the empty headed chick, but my dick had no such scruples and pointed to her like a compass needle every time she was nearby. Honestly I think I would have had a better chance of dating the president's daughter than actually scoring with Janice, but with hormones storming through my brain, I put that fact aside.
My hopes were high for a big party in the dorm common room the coming Friday, and I did my best scouting for opportunities for Sam as well. It wasn't easy, because I couldn't figure out what his tastes might be. If I mentioned some girl to him and wanted his opinion, the best I could hope for was a shrug. He couldn't have too much trouble getting a girl if he tried. He had that lean, dark, baby faced thing going for him. If he didn't slouch he was almost as tall as I was and looked like some goth god with his jet black hair and dark eyes. For the first time it occurred to me that Sam might be gay. It wouldn't matter to me, but it would explain a few things. But he was just as anti-informative about guys as he was about girls, so I gave up my quest for a date for him, until I could figure out exactly what he was into.
On the night of the party I was getting ready alone. Sam had for some reason forcibly denied coming along for the party and had slipped out early in the day before I could catch him and persuade him to go with me anyway. My mood was high though and my self esteem was climbing as well. I wasn't too bad looking this evening I suppose. I still had waves of acne every once in a while and a tendency to get a minor tyre around the middle, but I had been swimming a lot to keep it down and my acne was mercifully absent at the moment. I had grown a last few inches since I started at college and my shoulders had broadened noticeably. My hair was still a muddy brown, but I'd managed to comb it down to a somewhat rugged look instead of the been-fucking-all-night kinda style I usually had no matter what I did to it. So all in all I thought I looked ok.
The party went well. Janice got drunk as a skunk and I swooped in to make my move. But then my wonderful plan failed. Drunk as she was, Janice had no trouble conveying to me that I would be selling snowballs in Hell before she would let me lay a finger on her curvy body. That was a rather hard setback, and I spent the rest of the night feeling sorry for myself and slowly getting fantastically drunk. Meanwhile Janice was busy claiming her rightful position as the football captain's fuck toy and I then decided it was a totally lost case. It did absolutely nothing to elevate my mood.
When I finally wobbled into our room sometime early in the morning, Sam was there, sitting on his bed as usual. He was smiling and humming to himself while browsing the web on his laptop. In my drunken state I didn't notice it at first, but after some cold water on my face it dawned on me how unusual the goofy smile was for him. I asked him about it, but only got his usual shrug as a response. Oh well. If he didn't wanna talk, then fine. I usually did most of the talking between us anyway.
I crashed on my bed and woke up the next day with a magnificent hangover and a morning woody that could cut glass. My covers were crumbled at the bottom of the bed, and my shirt had spun around me endless times before coming to rest under my armpits. So there was absolutely nothing left to hide the tent in my boxers. No matter. I wasn't shy normally and frankly, my head hurt too much for me to care.
The shirt kept pissing me off when I tried to unwind it and eventually I just ripped it over my head (with a moan of pain I might add) and threw it aggressively to the floor. It wasn't until that moment I noticed I was being watched intently by Sam from his bed across the room. He was dressed and looked like he had been up for a while. At first I blushed a little about my hard-on, but then I shrugged it off and went to the bathroom. I could feel Sam's eyes on me all the way through the room and I did wonder if I had something on my face or something. An inspection in the bathroom revealed nothing out of the ordinary, and after a shower and shave, I felt a little better.
When I came back to our room, there was a soda and some painkillers waiting for me on my nightstand. Sam never got hangovers no matter how much he drank, but he was very understanding about mine and often made this little gesture, for which I was very grateful. After pouring it down and putting on some fresh clothes I felt much more like myself and reflected a little about last night. I whined about my bad luck with Janice and Sam didn't say much, as was his usual custom. But I could have sworn I saw him hurriedly adjust his face after smiling a few times. 'Damn he must have had a great evening' I thought. 'I bet he got laid'. Lucky bastard. I confess I'm am awful whiner and I harped on about Janice for a while when suddenly Sam snapped at me, while I was halfway through a thorough description of the nice tits and ass I missed out on.
"Oh Christ, go jack off or something! Jeez..."
This was a pretty harsh outburst for Sam, who usually only shrugged or offered single word replies to my ranting. What the hell was up with him? He was grinning stupidly just a minute ago!
"What is up with you man? One minute you look like the cat who stole the cream and the next you act like someone died!"
He looked down and frowned at his keyboard.
"Sorry. Just got stuff on my mind."
"Yeah, no shit. Wanna talk about it?"
He shook his head very fast.
"No! No dude, it's fine. Just need some peace ok?"
He was slowly freaking me out more and more. His usual solution to bad mood was to go and drink it off at our hangout and slowly divulge whatever was on his mind during a long game of darts. His mood usually improved during the game, as he almost always won. So I suggested we did that later and was rewarded with his usual shrug. Oh well. I would just haul him off later, no matter what he said.
To my great shock however, he refused point blank when I attempted it after dinner. He usually gave some half assed protest and then went along anyway. Call me an ass, but I felt it was a good time to force him to go. Whatever was troubling him had to be bad and I would push him through the only thing I knew worked for him. Just the game of darts at least. Anything to cheer him up just a little. He was my best friend after all. So I started poking him. I'm good at poking.
"Why don't you tell me what's bothering you?"
"Oh fuck off."
"Come on. Tell me!"
"What did you do last night?"
"None of your business."
"Aw come on, don't keep your mate out of the loop here! You got laid, didn't you?!"
"Go fuck yourself."
"I'm not going away until you tell me all about it."
"That'll never happen, so piss off!"
Hmmm. Tough cookie. But hey, I wasn't a clown for nothing!
"Ok, I'll make you a deal! Come with me to the Maiden's Mug and beat my ass in darts. If you win, I'll never pester you about it again. If I win, you'll tell me everything. And i do mean e-ve-ry-thing!"
He shrugged. I cheered, grabbed his arm and pulled him out of the door. This was perfect. He would win and slowly tell me everything anyway. I didn't care about winning or losing. It didn't matter to me like it did to him. He hated losing. So of course he would put in his best efforts and I would just be good and sloppy and let him win. Not too obviously of course. He hated when people let him win even more than he hated losing.
So we got to the pub and got through a few watery beers and the first few rounds of darts. Still not a word from him. Hmmm. Maybe more beer was needed. As we approached the end of the game, I noticed to my horror, that despite my best efforts to lose, I was slowly getting ahead in points. Sam got more and more tight-lipped through the game and I saw no way of botching my throws without being too obvious about it. Our last beers were ignored as we both concentrated as if it was a matter of life and death. When the last darts were thrown, I won by two points. Two lousy points. I tried to save the situation.
"Look man, you don't have to tell me anything if you don't want to..."
"Yes I do. We made a deal."
"No we didn't, I made you come here..."
"Shut up asshole, you know me too well for that shit. I agreed to come here and you know it."
Now he was really freaking me out. He looked close to tears. He glanced around the pub at the sleepy old farts and frowned.
"We can't talk here."
I had to agree with him there and grabbed our coats with more than a little apprehension about what he was about to tell me. It looked bad.
We were in no hurry to get back to the dorm and made our way slowly across the park we usually cut through. The sound of traffic was becoming distant and the dry autumn leaves whispered around us in lazy circles as the wind toyed with them. It wasn't too cold, so when Sam sat down on one of the park benches I didn't object. For once it was his turn to talk and mine to listen. For several minutes we just sat there in stony silence. I didn't push him. I almost wished he never got the nerve to tell me anything. I wasn't good at dealing with personal stuff. Not even my own. He cleared his throat and we both sat stiff as boards until he finally talked.
"Look... I... God this is hard."
I just sat there. What else could I do?
"When you went to the party last night, I went down here and just walked around for a while. But it was fucking cold, so I went back when I was sure you'd be gone."
He looked at his toes like they were the most interesting thing on the whole damn planet.
"I knew you were gonna go for Janice and when I got back, I couldn't help but go and see how you did. I slipped in and sat in the corner. I saw her ditch you and eat Marcus for dinner. I saw you get drunk and then I went back to our room."
I was lost now. What the hell was he talking about?
"I... I'm... glad she ditched you."
I couldn't help but reply.
"What the hell? Why?!"
He looked and sounded like he was about to cry. His voice trembled.
"Because...I... I can't..."
I small sob escaped him and now I felt really awkward. But he was my friend and I'd stick it out with him if he needed it. No matter how weird it was.
"What? Tell me."
He looked up at the cloudy sky and blinked furiously. He then shook his head and looked at his shoes again. The nearby streetlamp illuminated a tear as it made it's way down his smooth cheek. I really wanted to hear the rest, now that I knew it concerned me somehow. I just didn't know how to proceed. But as usual, I just blurted out something, because I'm an idiot.
"If you didn't wanna come to the party in the first place, then why..."
He cut me off by shouting in my face.
"Because I was jealous ok! I couldn't bear seeing that bimbo putting her clammy hands on you."
I didn't catch on. Or maybe I didn't want to. So I just gibbered.
His eyes flowed over with tears and his voice cracked as he looked straight at me and answered.
"Because I'm head over heels crazy in love with you. I have been for a while."
After that my mind sorta stopped. He just looked at me, sitting there with a blank expression. His eyes still shone with tears and he looked like it was the end of the world. He pleaded with me.
"Please. Say something."
I was so stunned I just sat there. I tried to piece together some rational answer, but the best I came up with was this:
"What do you want me to say man? I didn't even know you were gay!"
He gave me a weak smile.
"Neither did I until last year. I'm still not totally sure that I am. But I...I love you."
His eyes burned into mine and with a slight shock I realized that the look in his eyes was lust. He very nearly x-rayed me with those loving eyes. I was as straight as they come, but my dick didn't seem to care. It loved the look and sprang to attention, just to make me even more confused. All this stuff was just too much. I jumped up and walked away. Yes, yes I know. I was an ass. But how the hell do you deal with something like that?
I went back to the pub and sat down with a new beer and a boulder on my back. God. He was in love with me. Jesus... God...anyone. And my damn dick just wouldn't go down! All sort of stupid things went through my mind. Had he been ogling my package all the time we had been friends? Had he been checking out guys at the gym? Had he been trying to give me signs with the painkillers and sodas? After a while I came a little to my senses and knew that the gestures were merely friendly. Plus... if he did check me out... did I care? No girl had ever wanted me so badly as he obviously did.
I realized the truth in it with a pang. He wanted me. Not just in some sappy, stupid love-poem-girly kinda way. He 'wanted' me. His look had said it all. Damn. If a girl had looked at me like that I would have been over the moon. Honestly I had never thought it would happen to me at all. And I was still sporting a blue-steeler that was starting to ache! I had a few gay friends back home and it never freaked me out, but it never turned me on either. But the look in his eyes... I had to admit it turned me on easily as much as Janice. But... he was a guy, and that thought was scary to say the least.
And then there was the fact that he loved me. Oh boy. That meant a relationship. Could I do that? I was pretty sure that my family would be good about it if I ever brought home a boyfriend, so that didn't worry me much. It was much worse thinking about the relationship itself. How on earth did you date a guy? Was there a butch and a bitch, or was it just like an extended male friendship? It weirded me out a lot. I couldn't help but grin though, when I visualized Sam in a apron cooking me dinner and prancing around dusting stuff. No. He was still most definitely a guy. And so was I.
Somehow the image of waking up every morning with Sam in my arms sprang into my mind. That wouldn't be half bad. The thought of intimate contact with Sam didn't gross me out as much as I had thought it would if someone had suggested it to me earlier. In fact I would be willing to try it. I'd hate to hurt my best friend. And on top of that, if I rejected him, he would move out. I was sure of it. And that thought cut me like a knife. No, I couldn't do without him. What would I do if he wasn't there? I had to confess to myself that I loved him too somehow, but I had always considered it platonic.
But then... I had never thought of it this way. And in a way I was lucky. Lots of people lived their whole lives without finding someone as special to them as Sam was to me. I felt it would be insanity to walk away from this just because I was too chicken to explore the idea. I got up to leave and fished out my wallet. I hadn't touched my beer and the barman refused to charge me for the beer as I had needed to 'think more than to drink' as he put it.
I almost ran back to our room and didn't stop until I was looking at the rusting number nine on our door. I could hear myself breathing hard and tried to screw up my courage to open to door. With a shaking hand I finally reached out and turned the knob. The lights were off and I had to blink a few times, before my eyes got accustomed to the darker surroundings. It wasn't very late, but maybe Sam had gone to bed early. When the door closed behind me I heard movement from his bed. In the faint light from the window I could see him slowly rising from his bed and coming towards me. Oh boy. How to approach this?
Somehow it felt good to have the lights out and it made things a little less awkward for me. But I could still hear myself breathing like I had just run a marathon. He stopped a few paces from me and just waited. My call now.
"I've been thinking."
Oh my God. He sounded so hurt. Like he was expecting a rejection. I had to tread carefully.
"I've thought about what you said and... I... you mean a lot to me."
He started to talk, but I cut him off.
"No, wait. Just, hear me out, ok?"
He crossed his arms and nodded. He was just looking at me in the semi-darkness.
"I don't think I'm gay, but if I was ever going to try anything with a guy, I would want it to be with you. You're my best friend and I don't think I can live without you in my life somehow. So..."
I shuffled my feet nervously. Sam looked stunned. His arms dropped to his sides and he stepped a single step closer.
"So... what are you saying?"
I swallowed so loudly I'm sure they heard it all the way down the hall.
"I guess... I'm saying that I wanna give this a try. As long as you promise to bear with me, cause I don't have a clue what to do."
He barked out a short laugh, like he had been holding his breath.
"You serious? You really wanna try?"
I nodded as he stepped another step closer. He was now very close.
"I can't promise that I can do this, but I want to try. I don't want to lose you."
He was so close now that I could feel his breath on my face.
"If you're just doing it to keep me in your life somehow, then don't. I wont leave you if you don't want me to. I wont force you into a relationship just so you can keep me here."