#20 Dirty dancing and a cockroach
As I survey the crowd for a new dance partner, I spot Andre busting a move without even being on the dancefloor, just enjoying himself. He’s talking to one of James’ sisters and her husband, fitting in with ease even though I doubt he’s met them before today. It’s just impossible not to feel comfortable with the guy.
I go over and hold out my hand, wiggling my eyebrows.
“Shouldn’t you be dancing with your boyfriend?” Andre asks, not taking my hand.
“Kian doesn’t dance, but I have a feeling you do.”
He grins. “You’re right about that.”
“So… is that a yes to dancing with me?”
Andre hesitates another second, but then he takes my hand and follows me to the dancefloor. The music is still pretty traditional, as is the dancing. No one jumping around or anything, just couples doing what I think is the chacha. Aston and Annabel are the stars of the show for sure. The guy can dance. Who knew?
When Andre and I reach for each other, it’s automatic who leads. He does. I’ve danced with my fair share of guys the past years - mostly in clubs, not all fancy like this - and it can be a bit of an issue who takes the lead. Who holds open the door. Who drives the car. Who pays for dinner. I have a feeling it wouldn’t be that way with Andre, just like it isn’t with Kian. Around some people, I guess I’m naturally… submissive? I’m not sure that’s the right word, because it feels like the furthest thing from who I am. I guess I just fall into a certain… role? No, that’s not right either. It’s not a role. I just like it when a guy takes charge, I guess. Or a girl. I like it when a woman takes charge too - one of the many reasons I fell head over heels for Mila when we first met. I’m into independant, strong-willed, easy-going people, no matter their gender.
“You can really dance,” I compliment Andre, moving a little closer.
“Why the tone of surprise?” He tightens his hold on me. “One of my ex-boyfriends was a dance instructor.”
“Ooh, private dance lessons. Very… dirty dancing.”
His grin is a little on the dirty side too. “You have no idea.”
We dance for a while, and I am beyond impressed with him. He’s very light on his feet, and he leads so well I almost feel like I had private dance lessons too. I normally just wing it, but now I am actually doing the proper steps. At the last notes of the song, he presses his hand firmly against my lower back and then dips me. I yelp, taken by surprise, but he keeps me perfectly stable, and I kick up my leg for effect.
Now that was a dance.
A few people applaud when we get off the dancefloor, and we’re both laughing as we make our way to the bar. We grab some beers, and chat more about how he learned to dance. Turns out he was with that particular ex for over a year, and he learned a lot from him. How to dance, how to sew, and how to recognize when a guy is cheating on you.
“With his dance partner.” Andre rolls his eyes. “Perfectly cliché, I know. In his defense, she was really pretty.”
“She? He was bisexual?”
“Yes, there are men who like both men and women,” he teases. “Hard to believe, I know. They’re not a myth, though.”
I roll my eyes. “You don’t say. I just didn’t know you dated… them.”
“I’m into men. They don’t need to be gay,” he says like it’s no big deal.
But it is. I know it is. I’ve been rejected before for being bisexual, by both men and women. Some people think me being into both genders means that I’m more likely to cheat. Others don’t believe that bisexuality is even a thing. Some women are afraid I am gay and just not ready to admit it yet. Same with men - they tend to ask if I’m experimenting. I hate that. Even if I don’t get rejected, there is never a second date when I get stupid questions like that. The only person I know who truly gets it is Mila. She’s bisexual too, so she’s familiar with the prejudice. Still, I think it’s worse for men. She doesn’t get as much crap for it as I used to, before I met Kian and stopped dating altogether. Kian doesn’t care, and apparently, the same goes for Andre.
Speaking of Kian… I should probably look for him. I excuse myself to Andre and walk around until I find Kian sitting on a bench with Annabel. They’re talking work - of course they are. Leave it to Kian to find a boring topic to discuss at a goddamn wedding. Annabel smiles when she sees me, and gets up so I can have Kian to myself.
“Did you have fun dancing?” he asks, his voice tight.
“Yeah, I did.” I hate that I sound defensive.
“You and Thomas looked… cozy.”
Thomas? Seriously? “He’s my best friend. You know how we are. You’ve seen me lick his face.”
“Yeah, I didn’t care for that either.”
“Are you worried about me and Thomas being close?” I can’t believe this. “Kian…”
“He’s bisexual,” he reasons. “Him and his wife invite people into their bedroom. Could be you, right?”
“No, because he’s my friend, not my lover. And on top of that, I don’t cheat. Ever.” I did break up with a girl over the phone once so I could sleep with Mila. That was a dick move, but I didn’t cheat.
“And you and Derrek,” Kian goes on.
“Who is just a friend too, and married to Matt.” I’m getting fed up with him. “Look, if you weren’t so goddamn concerned about being seen dancing with a man, I wouldn’t have danced with anyone else. No, wait, scratch that. I should be allowed to dance with my friends.”
“You and your friends are just so… close.” He makes that sound like a bad thing. “Thomas, Tracy, Mila… You’re always hugging and snuggling and licking each other’s faces and sprawled out on the couch, touching and stuff. And now with the dancing… What am I supposed to make of that?”
“You’re supposed to trust that I am not a cheater! I also danced with Aston and Imani. Are you going to tell me that’s not okay either?”
“That’s different. Thomas, Tracy and Derrek are all into men. Aston and Imani aren’t.”
“What about Andre? Am I allowed to talk to him? Or can I only hang out with straight guys and gay women from now on?” I’m fuming right now. Fucking asshole.
“Andre?” Kian laughs softly. “Sure, you can dance with Andre. I’m hardly scared of you cheating on me with him.”
“Erm… he’s gay! And single! Not that I’d ever cheat on you with anyone, but if it was going to be someone, don’t you think that the single gay man is a bigger threat than my married friends?” I know why he’s saying this, of course. I remember his comments from before. “Is this because he’s fat, and you don’t think that anyone could possibly be attracted to him?”
Kian looks away from me, refusing to confirm it, but I know that’s it.
“You’re an asshole. So if I gain twenty pounds, you’ll stop loving me?”
“Of course not,” Kian replies like I’m being ridiculous. “I love you for you. Besides, it would take two hundred pounds for you to even get close to the way Andre looks.”
“You shut up right fucking now, or you’re going home alone,” I hiss. “First you accuse me of being a cheater, and then you call one of my best friends too ugly for anyone to be attracted to him. Right now, he’s looking a hell of a lot better than you. At least he’s not a horrible, terrible, mean… cockroach!”
“Cockroach?” he repeats incredulously. “You’re calling me a cockroach?”
I don’t know where that came from either, but I’m too mad to admit that. “Yes, a fucking cockroach! Are you going to apologize or what?”
“I’m sorry I implied you’re cheating on me, but you can’t blame me for being uncomfortable about you being so close to your friends who are all into men, and very… sexual.” He doesn’t sound like he’s sorry. His tone is still accusative.
“Great apology.” I get up. “This is who I am. You knew that when we met, Kian. Maybe you’d understand if you actually had any friends.”
He winces, but I don’t care about hurting him. Not now. Not after what he just accused me of, and what a dick he’s being about Andre. We may not have been friends for long, but he means a lot to me already. It doesn’t take long to become good friends with someone. It took five minutes for me and Thom. A week for me and Mila. Three cupcakes for me and Liv. When the vibe is good, and we click, I make a new friend. I’ve always been that way.
Me and Andre? We click. We vibe.
Calling him ugly and fat? Mean and just not true. Yeah, he’s overweight, but that doesn’t mean he’s not attractive. It’s the personality that counts. And right now, I’m seriously doubting Kian has a good one.
“You know what, maybe it’s best if you go home. I want to actually enjoy this wedding, not fight with you all night.”
“Fine,” he grunts. “How will you get home, though?”
“I’ll get a ride with one of the many people you hate. Or get an uber. I’ll get home just fine.” Like I’ll be heading to his house after this debacle. For once, I’m gonna stay at my own apartment. There’s not a single cell in my body wanting to be around him right now.
They say there’s a fine line between love and hate. Right now, I’m right on that line, feeling all the damn feels.
Kian leaves without another word, and I sink down on the bench, covering my face with my hands.
“Tough day?” Mila’s familiar voice asks above me.
“Oh God, how much of that did you hear?” I groan, peeking through my fingers.
“Enough to know Kian is a total dick and you deserve so much better.” She sits down next to me, putting an arm around me. “Want to talk about it?”
“Can we get drunk instead?”
She ruffles my hair and presses a kiss to my cheek. “I approve of that plan.”
The rest of the night, Mila is my date. With Scarlett out of the country, and me being sad over Kian, we’re the perfect wedding companions. The last time I was at a wedding, it was her brother tying the knot, and Mila and I ended up having hot sex. It all ended with her telling me that she just wasn’t into me like that.
Despite Kian’s worries, of course this wedding doesn’t end like that. Yes, I go home with Mila. And yes, we end up in bed together. But no, there is nothing even remotely sexual about it.
She knows I don’t feel at home in my own apartment anymore, and I don’t want to go to Kian’s place. Her place still feels like home. I’ve spent many hours here the past years, so it’s no surprise I feel at ease when I settle into her bed, her warm body beside mine, both of us so drunk it doesn’t take long before we pass out.
Not the way I thought this day would end. I started so good, wondering if Kian and I will have a big wedding at a castle one day. For it to end like this… Why does this always happen? Can’t we ever get along for longer than five minutes? I’m not an easy guy to piss off. I hardly ever fight with people. What if Kian and I only bring out the worst in each other? What if… what if we aren’t meant to be after all?