Friday, April 18th, 2014
Liam [4:15 pm]: ”Finally Friday."
Liam [4:15 pm]: ”This week is finally over."
Theo [4:25 pm]: ”I know. You couldn’t wait to see me again [winking emoji]"
Liam [4:26 pm]: ”[laughing emoji] That too, but a lot of shit happened."
Liam [4:26 pm]: ”Any plans for tonight?"
Theo [4:26 pm]: ”I’m going out for some drinks with a friend."
Theo [4:26 pm]: ”Why? Want me to drop by afterward?"
Liam [4:27 pm]: ”Not sure if I will stay up until that late [laughing emoji]”
Liam [4:27 pm]: ”But I can text you if I don’t pass out after work."
Theo [4:27 pm]: ”Okay, we’re still up for tomorrow though?"
Liam [4:28 pm]: ”Yeah, even if I can’t meet up tonight, you can come over after lunch."
Theo [4:28 pm]: ”Cool."
Theo [4:28 pm]: ”Smoke break is over, gotta go back to work now."
Theo had been messaging Liam all week, though never for too long. Liam had been quite busy and Theo had also been working overtime, catching up on the lack of sleep from the previous weekend as well as spending time with Alice and Jamie, whenever Jamie spent the night at Theo and Alice’s flat. Alice had been happy to hear about how Theo’s date had gone, but less enthused about how they had decided to just remain friends with benefits. They hadn’t really had a proper talk about it, because they hadn’t spent any time together with just the two of them.
Before Theo could even realize it, the week had flown by and even though he had been distracted with work and Liam, his finger would still occasionally linger on top of the unanswered conversation on Grindr. He hadn’t seen the dancer online after his message had been read. He knew it was stupid to dwell too much on it, but his gut was telling him that there was something there. Something he wanted to explore, even though he knew nothing about the guy except for his name. He wanted to see if the magnetic force of attraction was merely based on appearance and lust, or if there was some substance to it.
After the smoke break, Theo only had about half an hour of work left. After a fairly busy work week, that Friday afternoon felt a lot calmer and Theo knew he wouldn’t have to work overtime. A few emails arrived shortly before it was time for him to leave the office, so he ended up staying an extra twenty minutes responding to the most urgent ones. Around 5:20 pm, he left the office and walked home, feeling excited for his night out with Joel. They had agreed to meet at Kam Pek at 10 pm, so he had enough time to get ready, have dinner, and get the bus to Macau.
Upon entering his flat, he could tell Alice was smoking a joint on the balcony by the smell that lingered in the living room. He stepped onto the balcony and said, “Hey, Allie. Rough day at work?”
“The kids were too much today. Want some?” She offered the joint to her friend.
“Sure, I still have time,” Theo accepted the joint and took a puff as he sat down on the chair next to Alice.
“Oh? Are you going out later?” Theo took another puff and passed the joint back to Alice.
“Yeah, going out for some drinks with Joel and I might meet up with Liam afterward, depending on whether he is still awake or not.”
“Ooo, Liam. Why did you guys settle on just being friends with benefits again? He is fine as fuck and, from what you told me, you both seemed to get along pretty well,” Theo sighed and decided to give more details about the date, which he had not yet disclosed to his friend.
“I didn’t mention it to you, but he just broke up with his long term partner. I guess he doesn’t really want a rebound and I wouldn’t want to be his rebound either... And though he is definitely very hot, I didn’t feel that romantic spark towards him,” Alice handed him the joint again after taking a couple of puffs.
“Ah, yeah, in that case, pursuing another relationship shortly after a break up is not the best idea... But who knows? Maybe in the future, once he has moved on, you both could have a chance? And, I mean, what if you never feel that romantic spark again?” Theo couldn’t help but think about the dancer again. He had definitely felt that spark when their eyes met that night as Noah danced on stage at D2 as well as in their brief encounter in the bathroom.
“Well, right now I only see him as a friend...,” Theo took a puff before passing the joint back to Alice, “With whom I can have amazing sex.”
“You’re incorrigible,” Alice laughed at her friend’s remark, “Where are you going to meet up with Joel? How is he, by the way?”
“He’s great. He just got back from his trip to Malaysia with Michelle. And we’re meeting up at Kam Pek at 10. Wanna join us?”
“I’ll pass. Jamie is cooking dinner tonight at her place, so I’m actually heading there in a bit.”
“You have been spending a lot of time together these last couple of weeks...” Alice handed him the joint again, so Theo took a puff.
“Yeah,” Alice smiled, “she is different from other people I’ve dated. I don’t know how to explain it, but I can actually see a future with her and that scares me because I don’t want to fuck this up.”
“Is that why you are hesitant to make things official?”
“Kind of... Are we moving too fast? Or am I just being paranoid?” Alice looked at Theo for some words of wisdom,
“I think you both are great together and I’m sure Jamie would be happy to make things official with you. It might sound weird of me to say this, but even Jason didn’t look at me the way Jamie looks at you,” Theo handed the joint back to Alice.
“You think? We have only known each other for three months... It feels right, but what if we move too fast and ruin a good thing?” Alice took a hit from the spliff as she looked at the view from their balcony, almost as if she were seeking her answer amidst the sea of buildings on display for the two friends to observe.
“For what it’s worth, I’m sure that even if you aren’t ready for it now, Jamie will wait until you are ready,” Alice smiled at Theo as he paused, accepting another round of tokes of the thin reefer, before adding with a smirk, “I don’t mind you waiting either, you definitely make paying the rent easier.”
“You’re an asshole sometimes!” Alice laughed at Theo’s remark and playfully shoved him away.
Once both friends were quiet once again and the spliff had been laid to rest in peace on top of the pile of cigarette and joint butts in the ashtray, Alice turned to Theo and said, “Thank you. I needed to hear that.”
“Anytime,” Theo smiled at his friend. He checked his phone and noticed that it was already almost 6:30 pm and Theo still had to shower, shave, get dressed, and have dinner. He was also feeling fairly high and that would definitely be a huge distraction when getting ready.
“I gotta get ready! I will talk to you some more tomorrow!” Theo got up and rushed into his room to grab a towel before heading into the bathroom.
“Have fun! Say hi to Joel for me!”
By 8 pm, he was ready and still had enough time to get some dinner somewhere in Taipa before getting the bus to Praça Ferreira Amaral and walking to Kam Pek. He ate some pork chop noodles at Pui Kei before getting the bus to the Macau side. When he was already on the bus, he saw that there were a couple of vacant seats, so he took one by the window with an empty spot next to him. He looked through the window as he watched Taipa disappear behind him and the vivid dancing lights of the Macau skyline materialize before him, the mist enshrouding the city tinged in a plethora of colorful hues.
By the time he arrived at his stop, he had about ten minutes to get to Kam Pek. Unlike Alice, Joel was usually punctual. Theo walked to Kam Pek at a leisurely pace, as it was only a five-minute walk to the bar. He arrived with three minutes to spare, so he texted his friend, letting Joel know he had already arrived. He stepped out of the escalator and made his way to the bar. Kam Pek was still fairly empty at that time, so Theo quickly spotted Joel and his friends on the balcony surrounding the lounge area of the establishment. It would usually get busier around midnight, but Joel and his friends actually preferred heading there earlier, so that they could get a good table and get home at a reasonable time. Theo found it curious how different his friend circles were: one would dance the whole night at D2 and the other would be home before the clock hit 1 am.
He got along with Joel’s friends, Kenneth and David, but wasn’t as close to them as he was to Alice’s friends. He just had more things in common with Ivy, Yoyo, and Eric, but he still enjoyed their company. Theo noticed that there weren’t any other people with them, leading him to believe that the man Joel had mentioned to him was not with them.
“Hey, Theo,” Joel waved at Theo, holding a beer bottle in his hand.
“Hey everyone,” Theo smiled at everyone and noticed everyone already had a drink in hand, “I’m going to get something to drink and I’ll be right back.”
Theo headed into the lounge area, where the bar counter was located. The bar counter had an irregular curved shape, resembling a number eight, and it had several screens on display behind the bartender as well as above the seats. There were some black stools at the counter, matching the other chairs and tables of the lounge. He ordered a piña colada for himself and a beer for his friend before heading back out onto the balcony with drinks in his hands.
“Here you go,” he handed the beer to Joel and sat down next to him.
“Oh, cheers!” Joel clinked his glass against Theo’s before Theo took a sip from his drink. It wasn’t the best piña colada he had ever had, but he didn’t feel like having beer that night.
“Long time no see, Theo!” David said. David had studied at the Portuguese school rather than at the international school. He had met Joel at university and had gone on to work at the same law firm.
“True, I’ve been busy and Joel here has also been away for a while. How have you been?” Theo grabbed a cigarette from his pack and lit it.
“I’ve been good as well! Just got back from Japan last night,” he said as he picked his phone off the table and did a couple of swipes before turning his phone to Theo, “look at that! The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove! Lots of tourists, but definitely worth visiting!”
“Oh, wow. My parents were also in Japan this Easter break! Looks pretty cool!” Theo turned to Kenneth, the quieter Macanese friend of the bunch, “And how’ve you been, Kenneth?”
“I stayed at home. Finally had time to play some video games,” Kenneth had met Joel and David at work. He was much more introverted and kept mostly to himself, but David and Joel enjoyed bringing him out of his shell. Theo didn’t really have much in common with Kenneth, but they would occasionally talk about anime series, as that was one thing both of them enjoyed.
“Kenny here doesn’t ever leave Macau,” David said teasingly.
“Traveling is tiring. If I want to be well-rested after a vacation, it’s better to stay at home,” Kenneth deadpanned.
“And that, my friend, is why you’re single,” Kenneth glared at David’s remark and Joel laughed.
“Oh, by the way, Henrique, my friend, couldn’t make it. He had to work overtime today. He is working on a tough case apparently,” Joel told Theo as Kenneth and David were bickering about Kenneth’s non-existent love life.
“Oh, that’s fine. Remember the date I had on Monday? I might meet up with him after this,” Theo put his cigarette out before taking a sip of his drink.
“Oh, so I’m guessing it went well?”
“Well, we agreed to be friends with benefits,” Joel gave him a meaningful look, “and before you give me the whole ‘you should settle down’ spiel, he has just recently broken up with his long time partner. I don’t want to be a rebound and I see him more as a friend. I related to him.”
“Okay, I won’t tell you that whole ‘spiel’, as you put it,” Theo laughed at Joel’s remark, “Michelle sends her regards, by the way.”
“Tell her I also send her my regards and that I want to see her soon. It’s been a while,” Theo took another sip of his piña colada.
“Will do. You could come over for dinner one day, when you’re not busy shagging your ‘special friend’,” Joel nudged his friend, who shoved him back playfully.
“Fuck you, and yes, I will definitely accept your invitation. Not for you though, for Michelle,” Joel pretended to gasp and feel offended by Theo’s snarky retort.
“If you weren’t gay, I would be concerned,” the two friends then noticed that David and Kenneth were looking at them in confusion. Joel and Theo just laughed at the other two men’s reactions. And they carried on drinking and engaging in light-hearted banter about their most recent trips, funny episodes from work, and everything in between. David had gotten up at one point and dragged Kenneth up to dance along to some music the DJ was playing in the lounge area, leaving Joel and Theo laughing at Kenneth’s reactions. Around 11:30 pm, Theo received a message from Liam.
Liam [11:32 pm]: ”I’m still up. Had a nap after work, so I will probably stay up late."
Liam [11:32 pm]: ”Want to come over?"
Theo glanced at Joel and his friends and although he was enjoying spending time with them, he really wanted to see Liam again. After all, it was Friday night and he wanted to have some fun.
Theo [11:33 pm]: ”Yeah. Let me just leave and get a taxi there."
Liam [11:33 pm]: ”Great :-) I will see you soon."
“Hey guys, I think I’ll head out now. I am going to meet up with someone,” Theo gulped down the rest of his drink, as Joel smirked at Theo.
“Have fun with your... ‘friend’,” Joel teased Theo, who blushed a little bit.
“Will do. Enjoy the rest of your night!” Theo waved at the guys as he left the balcony area and walked out the bar, already feeling excited about the things he would do to Liam in a couple of minutes.