Lily G. Blunt
“Always I want to be with you,
Make believe with you,
Live in harmony…”
From the song Always by Erasure
For a split second, I thought I’d finally found him—the man of my dreams.
As he sat smiling with his friends, I took in his tousled copper hair. His emerald eyes glinted, lighting up his face, and his… jaw. Holy jawporn!
But as he moved and talked, I realized he was far too… what can I say?
His mannerisms were too effeminate for me.
He was definitely gay.
Very obviously gay.
Far too camp.
An out-and-out queen, in fact.
Not my type at all.
His hand movements and the way he flipped his head to the side and lifted up that chiseled jaw were just so flamboyant.
“Jayden!” Ellis waved, drawing my attention away from his beautiful face. “I’m so glad you could make it tonight. Everyone, this is Jayden. He’s in my History class this term.”
I walked toward the group of guys seated around the large table in a booth in this rather rundown coffee shop.
“Let me introduce you to the gang, Jayden. This is Ryan.” He pointed to the person furthest from me. “This is Jack and this is Zachary.”
“Hi, guys!” I glanced at each guy seated around the table. “Pleased to meet you all.”
“And this is Edward,” Ellis said, rather dramatically drawing my attention back to definitely the hottest guy in the place. “He’s my younger brother, but because he’s so brainy he moved up a year in high school and started college the same time as me.”
“Hello, sweetie,” he drawled, taking my hand in his. “So pleased you could join us tonight, Jayden.” He kissed my hand before shuffling over on the bench to make room for me and tapped the seat next to him. “Sit next to me, hun.” His voice was slow and unexpectedly deep.
I couldn’t think of an excuse rapidly enough, so I scooted along next to him and Ellis sat down in the space next to me.
“So, Jayden, where are you from? I detect a hint of southern twang in your sexy voice.” Edward tilted his head towards me.
Before I could answer, Ellis chimed, “Edward, don’t scare the boy.”
“Just being friendly, bro.” Edward huffed and lifted his chin away from his brother.
I could handle myself. I’d dealt with a lot worse than Edward before. “Yeah, I’m from Texas originally, but spent some time in Jacksonville and Chicago in my early and mid-teens.”
Edward smiled at me and then raised an eyebrow at his brother in defiance.
I found it difficult to take my eyes off him. He was good-looking, and despite his over-the-top mannerisms, there was something about him that kept drawing my attention back to him. He played with the collar of his rather loud and slightly too patterned shirt. He had a scarf knotted around his neck and I noticed a single diamond stud in one of his ears when his extremely long fingers ran through his hair.
“So, beautiful, you’re going to major in History, then?” Edward said, his eyes alight with genuine interest.
“Yep, it’s always been a favorite subject of mine. How about all of you?” I tried to open up the conversation to include everyone seated around the table.
Ellis took the lead. “These three are all taking Math and Physics.” He nodded to the guys facing us.
“Music and Literature are my subjects, darling. I’m the creative one,” Edward interrupted his brother. Obviously some kind of playful rivalry existed between the two of them and I was now playing ‘piggy in the middle’.
Ellis had invited me here for a reason, and if it wasn’t to meet Edward, had he intended to set me up with one of the guys opposite who now stared intently at me?
Or was Ellis interested in asking me out on a date?
I swallowed and tried to remain calm. Ellis had been the one to seek me out in the lecture theatre, his ‘gaydar’ presumably zooming in on me. He’d introduced himself within minutes of sitting down. I thought he was just being friendly and welcoming with his invite to meet ‘like-minded’ students for coffee.
Perhaps I got it wrong.
Ellis was definitely not my type. He reminded me of a beefy ex-boyfriend who’d become too possessive and controlling. I hadn’t seen the similarity until then. And his brother, who was currently sitting a little too close for comfort, was not my type either, despite his ravishingly beautiful face.
Not that I had a type yet.
I leaned forward and placed my arms on the table in an attempt to put some distance between my neck and Edward’s fingers, which occasionally brushed the hair on the back of my neck.
I scanned the three faces across from me just as the waitress came to take our order.
Jack was probably the one I’d choose if I was ever given a choice. His body was lean and the muscles bulged under his tight black t-shirt. His long, jet-black hair was pulled back into a ponytail and he had a glorious smile with dazzling white teeth. He hadn’t said a lot yet, so I reserved my final judgment on him just for the moment. There was more to someone than their looks.
Ryan was sweet in his own way, but there was something a little creepy about his eyes and the way he looked at me. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was no instant chemistry between us.
Zachary was cute, I suppose, as well as good-looking, and seemed to have a wicked sense of humor. His razor-sharp quips cracked me up.
“And what would you like?” The waitress looked to me.
“Oh, just a plain black coffee, please.”
Edward nudged me. “He likes it strong… just like his men.” He laughed and winked.
I shook my head and gazed down, my face flushing hot, and decided not to comment. I hoped Edward was pulling my leg and having fun with me.
Ellis coughed loudly. “So, who’s up for a game of pool when we’ve had our coffees?” he challenged, changing the subject.
We all nodded and voiced our agreement.
“I think I can bend over in these jeans.” Edward wriggled on his backside unashamedly. I looked down at his lap. The denim hugged his lower half tightly. My eyes fixed on the bulge at the front for a few seconds longer than I should and only looked away when he leaned in close and whispered, “See something you like, Jayden?”
I blushed again and was fortunately saved from further embarrassment when the waitress arrived and served our coffees.
We all chatted amiably while sipping our drinks. These guys were certainly going to be fun to hang around with while I was at college. I hadn’t yet managed to connect with any of the guys in my dorm despite moving in the week before. I appeared to be the only gay male in our corridor and most of them had given me a wide berth. Another reason I was glad to receive Ellis’s invite.
“So, what do you say to three teams for pool?” Ryan suggested.
“I’ll go with Jack.” Zachary shifted closer to him.
“Ellis is usually my partner,” Ryan added.
“In more ways than one.” Edward grinned. “So that leaves Jayden all for me, then.”
“Just for pool, Edward, remember.” Ellis’s serious look warned his brother as much as his voice.
“Well, that’s entirely up to us, isn’t it, Jayden?” Edward’s eyes twinkled. “We’ll play last. I’ve got to pop to the little boys’ room.”
So, as we all headed over to the pool table, Edward minced in the opposite direction.
“Sorry about Edward, Jayden. He gets a little exuberant when he’s nervous or excited. He’ll calm down a bit by the end of the evening,” Ellis assured me, patting me on the shoulder.
I smiled at him. “No worries. I can handle him.”
I perched myself on a nearby stool and watched as the two teams each took turns to take shots at the balls.
Edward soon returned and headed straight toward me. I took in his full appearance for the first time. He was tall, probably an inch or two higher than me. He was slim but with broad shoulders; his tight fitting shirt emphasized the shape of his chest. His skinny jeans hung low on his hips and his legs appeared to go on forever. God, he was gorgeous, and despite the way he walked, all swaying hips and limp wrist, I felt blood rushing south.
I closed my eyes briefly, trying to stem my sudden erection.
He perched on the stool next to me. “You okay, hun?” His voice oozed concern. “Don’t worry, I’m a perfect shot. We’ll win, you’ll see.”
I shook my head slowly. If that was the only thing I had to worry about this evening. I wasn’t really falling for Edward. He just wasn’t my type, I told myself once more.
Ellis and Ryan won the first game. Jack appeared to be a sore loser. Zachary consoled him with a kiss and a cuddle, and as the night wore on, it became obvious these two guys were an item. I didn’t feel any disappointment that Jack was already spoken for.
Edward and I played Ellis and Ryan next.
“I’ll break for us,” Edward offered. As he leaned over the pool table, his shirt rode up his back, revealing a sprinkling of small stars tattooed over his hip and across his lower back. Against his pale smooth skin, they stood out and drew my attention away from the game.
When he stood up to face me, I caught sight of a piercing through his belly button, and I wondered where else he might be tattooed or pierced.
As Edward predicted, we won the game and the next one against Jack and Zachary. We were about to start the second round, when I saw a figure walk into the coffee shop. I had to do a second take just to make sure.
“Oh shit,” I hissed rather too loudly, attracting my new friends’ attention. The color instantly drained from my face and my stomach churned.
“What is it, sweetie?” Edward asked.
“Oh God, don’t let him see me.” I pulled Edward by his shirt so he stood between my legs as I sat on the stool.
“Who are you talking about?” Edward whispered into my ear, sending a warm shiver down my spine.
“The guy who just walked in.” My forehead rested against Edward’s hard chest.
Edward turned his head to look over his shoulder. “The guy with the dirty blond hair scraped back into a short tail?”
“Yes, he’s an ex of mine, in fact, a rather nasty ex-boyfriend. Edward, would you do me a favor?” I asked in my panic without really considering the consequences.
“Anything for you, babe.”
“If he catches sight of me, can we pretend we’re together?”
Edward gave me a gentle smile. “No problem, hun.”
I risked a peak over Edward’s shoulder and froze when I saw him heading towards us.
Edward got the message, put his hands on my waist, and nestled a little closer. I looked up at him and blinked.
He reached up with his fingers and caressed my cheek before sliding them down to my chin. He slowly lifted my face so we were a matter of inches from each other. His pink tongue peaked out, and before I could stop him, his lips connected with mine. I surrendered to the moment and let my jaw go slack. Edward’s warm yet soft lips moved over mine, his moist tongue seeking entrance into my mouth. I opened up for him and tentatively flicked my tongue over his. He hummed with pleasure I assumed, although he might just have been acting the part.
When we pulled apart, I opened my eyes to see another pair of dark eyes glaring at me.
“Jayden,” he growled, “can I have a word with you… in private?”
“If you’ve got something to say, you can say it in front of me,” Edward said in a tone I’d yet to hear him use.
“And all of us as well.” Ellis stepped forward making his presence known.
“Okay… if that’s the way you want it.” My ex sneered. “Jayden, I’ve been looking for you these past few months. I wondered where you’d gone, and now I’ve finally found you, I want you to come home with me,” he said in a familiar sweet voice. I’d learnt my lesson with him and didn’t accept this pretence of niceness.
“We finished a long time ago and I’m not going anywhere with you ever again, Jedd. I’m here at college now, anyway.” I gritted my teeth.
“We just had a misunderstanding, Jayden. I promise you things will be better between us this time.” Jedd tried to smile and I remembered how he would have almost convinced me in the past, but not this time.
I sighed, but pulled Edward closer. I could feel his heart beating in his chest. He no doubt felt mine pounding as well, and my hands shaking as I wrapped my arms around his waist.
“He’s with me now.” Edward held me tighter to his body.
Ignoring Edward, Jedd looked at me. “You’ve got one chance, Jayden, before I start to get angry.”
“I think you’d better leave now.” Ellis snarled at him.
Jack stepped forward, and as he overshadowed Jedd, he wisely retreated and headed out of the door.
“That’s the last we’ll see of him.” Jack beamed.
I collapsed in relief and my head rested on Edward’s chest. “Thanks for that,” I murmured into his shirt.
“Anytime.” Edward took a step back. “Are you sure you’re okay, sweetie? He was a nasty piece of work. Whatever did you see in him?”
“We got on well at first, but after a few months he became all possessive, and I saw a vicious side to him. Thank goodness I got out when I did. I don’t know what would have happened if I would’ve stayed with him.”
“You’d have become a battered husband and another statistic.”
I shivered at the thought.
Edward and I lost our next two games. Neither of us seemed to concentrate fully on the game. On my part, I’m not sure if it was due to my unexpected encounter with Jedd or the fact that I wanted Edward to hold me and kiss me again.
Edward quieted down, too, just as Ellis predicted, but that didn’t stop him gyrating when the background music was turned up a few notches.
So, while the other two teams played their final games, I sat and watched Edward dancing and singing to some cheesy love songs.
“Always, I want to be with you, make believe with you, live in harmony, harmony, harmony…” Edward sang in tune and didn’t take his eyes from me.