Dreamy Dylan

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#10 Fluffy monsters and racist jokes

I prefer glitter suits, but Kian was right. I look damn good in dark blue as well. He adjusts the red tie around my neck with a fond smile, and fixes a strand of unruly hair. Kian looks good enough to eat as well in a light grey suit with a white shirt underneath and a blue tie that matches my suit.

“We’re such a handsome couple,” I tell our reflection in the mirror as we both pose in front of it.

“Damn right we are.” He checks his watch. “We need to go. Don’t want to be late.”

Kian is a junior partner, and he’s on track to become senior partner next year. That means working late, kissing ass, and showing the other senior partners he’s the perfect candidate. According to Kian, he would have already been promoted if he’d been married to a woman, instead of coming out as gay. He was on track to become partner two years ago, could almost taste the victory, but when he came out shortly before he would be promoted, they chose someone else instead. He swears next year it will happen, though. The old dinosaurs are used to it by now, and some have retired since.

“I’ll be on my best behavior,” I vow to Kian in the car. “No sex jokes, no glitter, no unicorn rainbow sprinkles.”

“I know, babe, I know.” He looks nervous as he drives to the hotel where the charity gala is being held. Multiple firms organized this shindig together, and the money that they raise goes to the free legal clinic in town. It helps people who can’t afford fancy lawyers like Kian. I like that idea very much. I know Kian does a lot of pro bono work in his spare time, teaming up with the legal clinic when he can, but it’s hard when the partners only care about money and not about helping others. They like the positive PR a night like this brings them, but they couldn’t care less about free legal help.

Sometimes I wonder why he wants to work at a firm like that, but he says the money is good, he’s got some great colleagues, and he loves the work. Not everyone can be like me, starting their own business with their best friend, and earning money by doing what they love most. I get that. And he does really love his job.

There’s an actual valet to take our car into the underground parking garage, and a red carpet leads us to the space where the gala is being held. Tickets were quite expensive, and all the lawyers who are worth a damn are here tonight, even the ones who work as junior associates and who don’t have Kian’s salary. I don’t get this world. I really don’t. Why not just donate money directly to charity? Why waste any of it on a caterer, this big space, and a string quartet?

Kian takes me over to a group of men standing around with beers in their hands, laughing loudly. They look over at us, and I get the strange sense they were talking about us, since they shut up the second we join them.

“Hey guys,” Kian says with a winning smile. “This is my boyfriend, Dylan.”

“Oh yes, we’ve heard about you,” a guy in his late fifties says with a smirk.

Why does he look like that’s not a good thing? I shake hands, keeping my mouth shut, since I have the inkling feeling that anything I say can and will be used against me. Then I recognize Conrad, the colleague who walked in on me in my pink boxer briefs on Valentine’s Day, and he’s winking at someone next to me, who snickers.

Fuck. That’s why they were laughing. I’m already the joke of the night. Normally, I’d take control back by telling the story myself, not allowing something as stupid as that embarrass me, but I know that’s not what Kian wants me to do. So I smile and say nothing.

“So, what did you think of that pass McGregor made last night?” one of the guys asks Kian.

“Wicked,” he replies, sounding entirely different from the Kian I know and love. “I was on the edge of my seat until the last second of that game!”

What game? I don’t even know what sport they’re talking about. Kian despises all sports on TV. He thinks it’s a waste of time to look at people working out and always says he’d rather use that time to go to the gym, work, or make love to me. Why the hell is he pretending to like sports?

The next half hour is utter torture. I need to pretend I understand what they’re talking about, while my boyfriend laughs and jokes like a goddamn frat boy. When one of his colleagues makes a joke about a fat client, he smacks him on the back like it’s the funniest thing he’s ever heard.

A goddamn fat joke, is he kidding me?

Just when I feel like I can’t take any more, three women join the group. They’re married to three of these douchebags, and they act a little more decent with their wives close. The conversation shifts to something I understand even less than sports: dog pageants. A couple I’ve met a few months ago already – by accident, we ran into them at the grocery store and they insisted we come over for a cup of coffee – own price winning poodles.

Seriously. Kill me now.

“Talking about your fluffy monsters again, Marian?” a deep booming voice asks behind us. “Did they get a ribbon or something?”

I know that voice. That laugh. That big hand landing on my shoulder, squeezing in support.

“Aston?” I ask, unable to believe my eyes when I turn around.

“Hey Dyer,” he says with a grin. “How did you end up at a snooze-fest like this?” Then he spots Kian. “Oh, right, of course! Nice to see you, man.”

Aston is so buff his muscles are straining against his black tux, and he looks like both the scariest and most handsome man in this place. He could take on any lawyer, but his smile is warm. At least, it is when he smiles at me.

“And then…” One of the lawyer blokes is already cracking up at a joke he’s telling Conrad and Kian. “He had diarrhea and thought he was melting!”

Aston’s expressions turns from kind to murderous in a split second. “Did you just tell a black baby joke? Seriously? Do you need me to kick your ass again, Tom?”

The man waves his anger away. “I was kidding, Aston. It’s just a joke.”

“Racism is not a joke. What’s next? Gay jokes? Fat jokes?”

“They already covered fat people,” I can’t help but reply. “I think the gays are next.”

Kian shoots me a pleading look, so I don’t say anything else, but I’m fed up with this whole thing. I was excited to meet his colleagues and finally be a part of his world, but this is bullshit.

“Hey honey, there you are.” Annabel joins us, her arm going around Aston’s waist. “Oh no, you look angry. What did Tom say this time?”

Tom holds up his hands. “Nothing. We were just joking around.”

“Like you were in court last week?” she asks snidely. “I kicked your ass pretty good, didn’t I? Oh, and Conrad, didn’t you lose two cases to my sister Chloe this month?”

“Who wants another drink?” Kian says, forcing a smile. “I know I do.”

At his sign, I follow him to the bar, where he turns to me with an exasperated expression. “Did you really have to say that thing about gay jokes? I have to work with these people, Dylan. If I want to make partner, you can’t just-”

“Hey, I’m not the one at fault here!” I can’t believe I’m getting berated like a little kid. “I’ve been on perfect behavior. It’s those guys who are assholes, not me!”

“Shh!” Kian looks around with panic in his eyes. “Not so loud.”

I’m done. I’m just so fucking done. I know I can’t run out right now, because that would look horrible for Kian, and no matter how horrible he’s being right now, I love him. I’d never hurt his career on purpose. But I also can’t stand here with him, pretending any of this is okay.

“Where are you going?” he asks when I start to walk away.

“To talk to the only people here I can actually stand.”

That’s how I end up hanging around Annabel and Aston all night. They don’t ask why I am running from Kian. I appreciate them, but at the same time it hurts to see them interact. Annabel has no trouble letting Aston be exactly who he is. He makes sex jokes, laughs loudly, grabs her ass a few times, and twirls her around on the dancefloor. He knows all of her colleagues, and they all love him just the way he is. Like they should, because he’s a good guy for sure. I wish I had that with Kian.

Sometimes I wonder if he even likes me the way I am. If he doesn’t even accept all of me, how can the people around him ever accept me?

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