tagGay MaleStill You Want Me Ch. 04

Still You Want Me Ch. 04

byMrsgnomie©

I recommend reading chapters 1-3 first.

(All characters are over 18 and this is a work of fiction.)

I love hearing your thoughts and opinions!

Enjoy the show and don't forget to vote!

* * CHARLES * *

[Monday 3:41am]

This has been the theme of my weekend. Abysmal sleep. My sheets are a tangled mess around my body and I'm feeling acutely mummified. My body is tingling with the need to be freed from this cotton confinement. This is a stark contrast from the normally motionless sleep I'm accustomed to.

Argh! I thrash my entire body like a fish out of water in an attempt to finally find the perfect utopia for sleep. I'm surrounded by the white fluff of pillows, sheets and a down comforter.

Ok, now sleep!

[4:03am]

Ugh! I'm furious so I throw my comforter, sheets, and pillows off of my bed. Maybe if I remake my bed? Yes, tight corners and sheets will sooth me.

Ok, now sleep, again. This is becoming a least favorite mantra of mine.

[4:19am]

I'm done. I must suffer my fate and be one of the dead that walk among the living. I pad to the kitchen and start coffee, it's been a while since I've used this machine because I usually buy coffee, so it takes me a moment for my muscle memory to return.

[4:21am]

It's only been two freaking minutes!

I survey my house while I listen to the coffee pot percolating. I love this house, everything is white and classy, it's large, and it's open; great for hosting large gatherings, which I do a lot.

Brr, my feet are frigid! I've never noticed how cold the kitchen tiles can get. I finish preparing my coffee and hustle to the living room to wrap myself in a blanket.

[4:37am]

This is ridiculous. Maybe I'll grab Colin a tea on my way to work. Friends buy each other a, Sorry I was a complete ass, can we please kiss and makeup, coffee or (in Colin's case) tea, right?

It's somewhat disarming for me, when I think of how much time I'm spending analyzing the events of Friday or, more precisely, anything to do with Colin. I haven't left the house all weekend, I've been cooped up as Ryan had suggested. My only visitors have been food delivery people. I even turned my phone off!

Well, that's a lie. I'd planned to turn my phone off, but didn't in case Colin wanted to call? I know it's unlikely because we hadn't exchanged numbers. In the off chance he'd go through back channels, I want to be available. I shouldn't have worried, he doesn't call.

I don't use my phone much, though. I mostly think about Colin. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to have a coming-to-Jesus moment, where I'd decide to make big life changes, or stand outside of Colin's window with a boombox and declare my love for him. None of that happens. The whole weekend is a pity party of sorts.

Poor Charles, woe is me. I'm thinking about writing a book and naming it: Man falls in love, but realizes it's too late and loses him to a smoking hot Blonde God. Technically, I'm a smoking hot blonde, too (or so I've been told), but I'm not the one he was on a date with.

Anyway, I'm not sure what I'm going to do, besides write a book. I know I'm going to apologize to Colin this morning. I'm almost positive I'll get him tea and a pastry from Brew'd Awakening. He'll love that. I

Seriously, can't stop thinking about that dance...

[6:38am]

Oh, shit! I fell back asleep. Today is not the day I want to be late for work. Damn it! I'm not going to be late, but I want to get there early so I don't miss walking into work with Colin.

[7:30am]

Okay! I run to Brew'd Awakening. I get a coffee, which tastes amazing by the way, and I get Colin a tea and a marionberry scone. I decide to wait in the parking garage so I can casually step out as Colin is walking by. How coincidental will that be? I'm so smart and not at all creepy.

I'm too cute to be creepy.

[7:55am]

There's no sign of Colin! Did I miss him when I was in the coffee shop? Shit! I quickly sprint upstairs. I want to talk to him before we start work, but it's looking less likely to happen by the minute.

I don't see him when I first get off of the elevator. The floor is open so it's not exactly easy to hide. We're working on the Asia project together, so I'll see him when we meet this morning.

We're gathering in the conference room for our Monday meetings when Allison notices Colin's absence.

"Where's Colin?"

Thank you for asking, Allison! Where the heck is Colin?

Kelsey doesn't even look up from her paperwork.

"He's not going to be here today."

She offers no explanation before she moves on.

"Alright...blah, blah, blah."

I don't know what she's saying. Honestly, I don't have the capacity to care.

Maybe he's sick? Maybe he's avoiding me? The rest of the day is a total bust. I'm exhausted all day, which likely intensifies my overwhelming anxiety about the situation. I can probably get his number and call him, but I decide against it because, if he's mad, I want to apologize in person.

I toss his tea into the garbage before I leave for the day.

* * * *

I have an equally shitty sleep Monday night, but I'm not starting my day with the added stress of being late. I stop at Brew'd Awakening, again, and get Colin another tea and scone. Again, I wait in the parking garage, run upstairs, only to find out Colin isn't going to be at work today, again.

I'm having a major sense of deja vu, maybe Groundhog Day?

I pick up my phone and dial extension four-twenty-two.

"Ryan Matthews speaking."

"Hey, asshole!"

Ryan chuckles.

"Ah, Charles, always the professional."

"How about lunch today? I think you owe me after your boyfriend screwed me over Friday night."

"Ok, Nancy! You need to calm down. Quinn didn't force you to tell Blondie his date was potentially virginal material."

"Maybe, but he didn't help. So, lunch or what?"

"Sure. I want to try Brew'd Awakening. You all speak so highly of it."

I look at my watch. 11:40am.

"Yea, yea. See you in twenty minutes."

I hang up and return to my giant stack of work.

* * *

Ryan skeptically eyes me.

"You actually spent the weekend alone, thinking about your life and the things you want?"

"Yes, that's what I said."

He looks impressed.

"Well, paint me green and call me a pickle."

"What? You're the one who told me to, why are you so surprised?"

"I didn't think you'd actually do it. I know you like Colin more than you're willing to admit, but I didn't think you'd actually do anything about it."

We're among a crowd of people walking into the bistro. They already have a good lunch rush going. We sit toward the back of the restaurant and start looking at the menu. Ryan looks around the restaurant and nods toward the front, which I have my back to.

"Um, isn't that Blondie over there?"

I whip my head around.

Yep, not hard to miss that guy.

He's dressed casually in jeans and a zip fleece pullover. I don't know what he does for work, but it looks as if, maybe, he has the day off. He's eating with someone else who's dressed casually, too. At first, I think it might be Colin. I can only see his backside, but I know he's wearing glasses so I know it's not Colin.

Ryan's quietly yells at me.

"Can you be any more obvious?"

I roll my eyes. Okay, maybe I wasn't being super low key.

"Okay, okay. Shut up, you're going to attract attention, also. Who do you think he's with?"

Ryan's using a menu to try and hide his face.

"I can't clearly see, but it looks like Colin."

"Colin doesn't wear glasses."

He's trying to be inconspicuous.

"Are you sure? It really looks like him from behind."

I know more not. Honestly, I'm relieved Colin isn't here with Blondie.

"I'm pretty sure. It's probably a colleague or something."

Ryan's not convinced.

"I don't know, he has the same stupid Friday night smile on his face."

"Here are your waters." The waiter sets them down.

"The soup of the day is tomato basil and today's special is the Huevos Ranchero's."

He has his paper ready for us to order so Ryan hands over his menu.

"Oh, man, I was going to get the Spring Bowl, but I'm actually going to get the special and the soup."

I also hand my menu back.

"I'll have the same, but no sour cream."

Ryan returns his gaze to Blondie and he's shaking his head skeptically.

"Charles, I think that's Colin."

I take a chance and slowly turn around. Before I can see who he's sitting with, I notice Blondie stroke the guy's hand. I turn back to Ryan, his eyes are wide with surprise. We stare at each other for a moment and I try not to smile, but I fail, miserably.

"Well, it looks like Blondie has moved on."

Ryan looks unsure, "Maybe. I have an idea."

As he mouth's sorry as he knocks his water glass toward me, dumping ice water down my front side and onto my lap. I jump back, trying to save myself from the water, but it's too late.

"Shit!"

Now that we have everyone's attention, I notice Ryan looking toward Blondie's direction.

Degen rushes over with towels and starts drying the table and bench off. I shake the excess water off and, nonchalantly, glance around the restaurant until I spot Blondie and his friend.

Sitting across from Blondie, wearing a pair of trendy black frame glasses, is none other than the reason for my current bout of anxiety...Colin.

Colin and Jesse apparently find my current state of wetness amusing because they're chuckling as they watch me. Jesse smiles and waves when he notices me watching them. Colin doesn't do anything other than look at me for a few seconds before he returns his attention to Blondie.

I return to my seat, Ryan and I stare at each other, neither of us knowing exactly what to say, until I shoot daggers at him.

"Are you fucking kidding me? I'm soaking wet!"

I pinch my wet shirt and pull it forward, in case he needs proof. He shrugs.

"I know. I'm sorry, but I got their attention, didn't I?"

"You could have knocked the glass onto the table, or floor, or anywhere else other than down my front side!"

Ryan looks momentarily puzzled, then starts laughing.

"I literally didn't think about that. Oh shit! I'm so sorry!"

Except he's not!

This lunch is shit. Ryan looks apologetic.

"So, Colin's having lunch with Jesse."

I glare at him.

"Really? Is he the smoking hot brunette with the glasses?"

"Well—"

Ryan is cut off when Degen returns with our lunch. We drop the conversation and talk about other things while enjoying the delicious food. I notice Ryan keeps looking at them.

"Would you stop looking over at them?"

Ryan teases, "You're frustrated because you can't watch them and I can."

I don't deny it. It's really hard to sit here and not know what they're doing. I give Ryan a pleading look. He looks apologetic, again.

"You really don't want to know."

Ugh.

I feel so pathetic. I'm sure my face is full of disappointment.

"It's that bad?"

Ryan runs his last bite of bread through the remaining juices of his lunch and eats it.

"For them, no. For you, yes."

I push my finished plate off to the side.

"Well, I'm happy for him. He deserves it, to be happy."

Ryan wipes the napkin across his mouth and laughs at me.

"No you're not, you lying bastard."

Ryan grabs his jacket and stands.

"Let's go. I'm buying."

"It's okay. I invited you out so I'll buy."

"Yeah, but I waterlogged you."

"Yeah, okay. You're buying."

I get up and walk to the register with him.

"And you're buying me a coffee to go."

Ryan agrees. I notice Jesse getting up from their table and he's walking over to the register. Jesse is holding the check and smiling at us.

"Hey, guys, how was your lunch?" He's smirking at me, mocking my state of wetness.

"Dandy," I reply dryly.

Ryan starts talking about the weekend, so I decide to let them do their thing as I slip over to Colin.

"Hey."

I must've startled Colin because he jumps in his seat.

"Hey." His response is curt.

"Where have you been? Playing hooky and having lunch with your boyfriend?" I smile to show him I'm teasing, but he's unamused.

"No, Brett gave me today off."

"Really?"

That's strange.

"Yesterday, also?"

"I worked yesterday."

Clearly he wants to be anywhere, but here with me. This isn't good. I don't know what to say.

"Okay, well, I assumed, since you weren't at work and all."

"You don't have to be at a specific location to be working."

Ouch. Such short answers. He's not looking at me and it's obvious he's not happy with me.

"Okay..."

I sit in Jesse's chair so he can't avoid me.

"Can we have lunch tomorrow? I'd like to apologize for my actions Friday night."

He looks at me for a moment.

"I don't know, honestly, I'm irritated and I don't necessarily want to."

"I know you don't want to, but will you anyway?"

I give him my best pleading look.

"I won't even pay your bill." I give him a hopeful smile and he smiles in return as he grabs his jacket.

"Maybe."

Ryan and Jesse have finished paying and are standing by the door waiting for us. Ryan hands me my coffee, before walking back to work, and waits until we're out of earshot before starting the third degree.

"Did you have a good conversation with Colin?"

I shrug.

"I guess. There's no doubt he's upset with me. I asked if he'd have lunch with me tomorrow so I can apologize and I got a maybe in response."

It's not good but it's not a no. He casually sips his coffee.

"Maybe isn't no."

I affirm the possibility.

"I know. I'm sure we'll have lunch."

We get back early so I'm sitting at my desk when Bethany approaches me. I can tell she has something specific she needs from me, but she looks at my clothing and whatever she originally wanted vanishes. She doesn't bother holding back her laughter.

"What the heck happened to you?"

I run my hand down my chest, feeling the massive wet spot. I suppose 'spot' is a massive understatement. I'm soaking from my chest to my knees.

"A long story made short, Ryan dumped water on me at lunch, but that's not why you came over here."

"You're right. Where's Colin? I didn't see him yesterday, either."

"I honestly have no idea. He was eating lunch at Brew'd Awakening today. We didn't talk much, but he said he worked yesterday and Brett gave him today off. He didn't divulge any details."

I lean back and adjust my tie as Bethany looks around for a moment.

"That's strange. Brett!"

She's waving Brett over.

"Good afternoon. What can I do for you?"

Ah, Brett. Always so professional and helpful. Just tell us what we want to know.

Bethany talks quietly, not wanting to bring focus to the situation in case something is indeed wrong.

"Where's Colin been? He said he worked yesterday, but he wasn't here, and you gave him today off? Is everything okay?"

"Yes, he's fine. He worked Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, so I let him have today off. He'll be back tomorrow."

Bethany is as bad as a dog with a bone.

"What was he doing this weekend?"

Brett is starting to look a little uncomfortable, but he's hiding it well.

"He met with some clients for the Asia project."

This is shocking news to me.

"What? What clients? I'm on the Asia project and I have no idea what you're talking about! I mean no disrespect, but Colin's only been here for two weeks and he's going to meetings with clients?"

What in the hell happened while I sequestered myself this weekend?

"He pitched a proposal last week and I told him to follow up."

What fucking proposal?

"What proposal? I don't remember him mentioning anything. Who are the clients?"

I'm trying to play it cool, but I'm confused and insulted.

"He proposed a joint affiliation with Weinburg Steel, Jefferson, Inc., and SillyTech since they're also moving into the Asia market. It'll decrease our marketing budget, increase our visibility, and build stronger product partnership."

It's actually a genius idea.

"He met with all of them this weekend, alone?"

New Hire guy met with these three giants in one weekend? Solo? What the fuck?

"Yes, and things are looking good!"

Brett's clearly pleased with Colin.

"Don't be threatened Charles, it's not what it seems."

He squeezes my shoulder and walks back to his office. Bethany looks at me with the same confused look I have.

"I don't know what to say."

This is a lot of news to take in.

"I've been here for several years and I've only been to one client meeting and I didn't get to say anything."

Bethany's face is twisted in disappointment.

"Yeah, but it's 'not what it seems'"

I use exaggerated air quotes and Bethany shakes her head.

"Seriously, Charles, what does that mean? Well, it's time to start work, I'll see you later. Are we still on for Karaoke this Thursday? I'm really looking forward to it."

"Yes, so spread the word. The more people there are, the better."

Yes, I'm setting up a Karaoke night because I know Colin loves it. I'm a sucker.

I'm finally getting work done when I look up and see Deb, from Information, holding a garment bag. I'm surprised because she never comes up here.

"What brings you up to the fifth floor?"

She tips the garment bag forward, indicating it's for me.

"You."

I'm not following.

She's looking at my shirt, her pink lips curling.

"You're quite wet today, Mr. Gabett."

I frown in confusion.

"That's true, but your clothes won't fit me," I tease. "Thanks anyway."

"They're not mine, Mr. Gabett. Colin dropped it off."

She hands me the bag and walks away.

Colin brought me clothes?

They aren't a perfect fit as the pants are tighter than normal and long, but it's better than being wet all day.

I can't stop smiling. I know he's angry with me, but he went out of his way to bring me fresh clothes for work, on his day off. It's hard not to read into that.

Knowing Colin is coming back tomorrow, the rest of the day passes quickly and my anxiety has mostly disappeared.

I want to ask more about this whole Asia thing, but I don't want everyone to think I'm throwing a fit. I feel I should've been informed and in on the meetings. My family ties could've been beneficial, but I'm not the boss.

Again, I toss Colin's tea into the garbage before I go home for the day.

* * * *

I'm back at the coffee shop getting Colin his tea and scone, hoping my life isn't a terrible movie where everything repeats over and over. I see him and casually stroll out of the garage and step toward Colin. I smile and hand over my burnt offerings.

"Good morning. I got you a tea and scone."

He looks confused.

"Um, thanks. You got these from—?"

I respond, hesitantly.

"Across the street, from Greg and Degen.

Suddenly, I feel nervous. He gives me the strangest look, as if he's skeptical.

"Okay, then why are you in the parking garage?"

Are you fucking serious. I've had two dress rehearsals to prepare for this and it never occurred to me it'd be strange to walk out of the parking garage with drinks and food from the cafe across the street.

"Uh, that would seem strange, huh."

"No. It is strange," Colin's response is frank.

Think moron, think.

"I left my wallet in my car," I hesitantly reply.

"Then how'd you pay for the drinks and scone?"

How have I not died from stupidity?

"I have to go back and pay later."

I wait for the next round of questioning. I'm usually a decent liar, but this is out of control.

"Oh, okay. Thanks for the stuff." He lifts them in acknowledgment and smiles.

"Of course. It's the least I could do since you saved me from countless inquiries about the lunch incident."

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