Come As You Are


He opened his eyes reluctantly as I sat down on the edge of the bed and laced up my Doc Martens. “You look like shit,” he mumbled with his usual tact.

“I feel like it.” My voice was gravel; my head was stuffed with cotton; there wasn’t a part of my body that didn’t ache, most especially my ass. For a second I sat there biting my lip, looking down at him while he groaned and rubbed his eyes. “So Ross… about last night…?”

“What a-fucking-bout it? It was no big deal.”

“Well… I just…” It wasn’t like I was expecting a bouquet of roses or anything, but all the sudden, I felt very foolish. “Nothing.” I stood up. “I’ll catch you later.”

“Johnny,” Ross said as I walked out of the room.

“What,” I said softly, stopping.

“See you.” Rolling over, Ross closed his eyes and I softly closed the door behind me.

Standing over Ethan, I looked down at him. He was so cute. Was I alone in feeling the connection, or was I just being silly and overdramatic? I wanted to wake him up, ask him if we’d ever see each other again; but I didn’t. Apparently this was how it was with guys, no clinging, no calling, no emotion, and from what Ross said last night, that was just the way he liked it. What other conclusion was there, except that Ethan probably agreed with him. I grabbed my shirt off the floor where Ethan had tossed it last night and slipped out the door.

When I got home my mom was still sleeping. Immediately I climbed in the shower and let the hot water wash the sticky reminders of last night’s sweat, spit and cum off my skin and down the drain. When I got out I wiped the steam off the mirror and looked at my face. I still looked exactly the same. I felt so different, I thought maybe it would show on my face, but it didn’t. Last night was all firsts: the first time I ever got drunk, got stoned, got fucked, all compacted into one. I grinned at myself. Maybe I was expecting a big scarlet C to appear on my forehead. C for cocksucker.

The worst thing about it was, I couldn’t tell Megan. I took her for a drive on Monday at lunchtime and explained to her that I was gay, that I’d been hiding it for a long time, and that I was still the same person I’d always been; I had a regular speech all thought up, but it dissolved when she stared at me with her eyebrows raised while I talked, and then when I paused to take a breath, she said in a bored voice, “Huh. No shit.”

I stared at her with my mouth open; and then all the sudden we both started laughing hysterically.

So, I could tell Megan the truth about myself at last, but I couldn’t tell her about the events that led to my finally admitting the truth. Without the night with Ethan and Ross, I would’ve eventually accepted the facts, but it probably would’ve taken a lot longer. As it was, I was still pretty freaked out by the prospect of coming out as gay and all that entailed; but smugly, I had to admit, when I thought about how much I loved the sex, the other baggage wasn’t nearly as heavy.

About a week later, Megan and I were over at Ross’. He hadn’t treated me any different since that night, other than maybe teasing me more pointedly, toying with me. When she went out of the room, he turned to me and smirked. “Ethan asked me for your number.”

“He did?” My heart started to thump. “Did you give it to him?”

“Maybe I did and maybe I didn’t,” Ross shrugged. With that statement, he left me to wonder for all eternity if Ethan had my number and didn’t call, or if Ross never gave him the number to begin with. Only about two weeks later, Ross dumped Megan. It was inevitable. While she cried on my shoulder, I tried to remind her what a prick he was.

“He treats women like shit, baby; you deserve so much better than that.”

“Yeah,” Megan nodded, sniffling. “But he’s really good in bed.”

“That’s the truth,” I snorted without thinking. Horrified, I glanced over to see her staring at me. Well, there was no way out of it now. I knew she’d get it figured out quickly. I cringed, my heart pounding. I couldn’t lose my best friend over that sexy little jerk. I was prepared to grovel if necessary. “Are you mad?” I asked carefully.

“I wondered if you were ever going to admit it, or if I was going to have to torture it out of you.” To my confusion, she suddenly started laughing. “Who the fuck do you think came up with the idea?”

My jaw dropped as I stared at her, replaying the whole scenario in my mind. It all seemed a little too subtle for Ross, now that I thought about it; inviting me over, getting me wasted, putting the moves on me. Megan had set me up. I thought it was only Ross, but they’d both had me.

“Hey, Johnny,” Megan said softly, “I love you, okay? And I’ve known for a long time that you needed this. I also knew you were too chickenshit to do anything about it. All you needed was a little push, so one night Ross and I had a talk about you. I suggested it to him and he told me you’d be easy, and to let him take care of it.”

“He said that?” I demanded in disbelief. “You set it all up with Ross and Ethan?”

“Who the fuck is Ethan?” she asked, frowning.

Well, maybe I’d underestimated Ross after all. I smiled grimly. Men really are assholes.

The rest of my senior year, while I moved on from Megan’s chauffeur to tutoring a shy football player in certain other sports, part of me was waiting for Ethan to call. The connection was there; but he never did, and I never saw him again. Just the first entry on my lifetime list of unfulfilled passions. Somehow I just knew Ross was behind it. There had to be a reason he’d called Ethan’s name during the moment of orgasm. Through all my relationships since then, I’ve never stopped wondering what might’ve been if I could've had a chance with Ethan.

I did see Ross. We ran into each other from time to time on breaks from college, and when we did, even though we really didn’t like each other, we always ended up having sex. He’d say he’d changed, he’d met the right woman and she’d reformed him, and he’d protest how much he loved his girlfriend even while I was sucking his cock. Once an asshole, always an asshole.

My friendship with Megan is still as strong as ever, but we did promise to stay away from each others’ boyfriends from then on.

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