Dreamy Dylan

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#29 The bromance zone

The trouble with being in a fight that lasts for days when you’re living with someone is that there’s nowhere to go. I don’t know how other people do it. There’s nowhere to run. You get up, they’re there. You have breakfast… still there. You come home after work, and guess who’s there? Your boyfriend, who won’t even look at you.

The third night, I’ve had enough of it, so I ask Thom and Tracy if I can come by. He texts back that I’m welcome to come over, but Tracy is already asleep, having caught a cold, and Teagan is crying non-stop. I text Mila instead, but she’s got back-to-back streams with clients all night long, cashing in big this week. The next person I try is, of course, Andre.

He sends me a picture of him on the couch, eating a bucket of lactose-free ice cream. Reading a romance novel while I eat stuff that’s bad for me. You’re more than welcome to join.

I do just that, without even telling Kian where I’m going. Andre is the only one who knows what’s going on anyway, because I am not in the mood for Mila’s I told you so or Thomas telling me I moved in with Kian too quickly. I would kill to have my own apartment back right now, but I’ll never admit that out loud.

“Oh no,” Andre says the minute I walk in. “What happened now?”

Apparently I look miserable. I sure feel like it. With a heavy sigh, I flop down on his large sofa and settle in against the pillows. “I need alcohol. Stat.”

“Didn’t you drive here?” Andre checks before heading over to the kitchen.

“I took a cab. Now gimme a beer, Dre.”

“Dre?” He smiles at the nickname. “Want some chips too?”

“Am I alive? Am I fabulous? Do you think I’m the most amazing person in the goddamn world?”

“I will take that as a yes.” He throws me a bag of chips and hands me a beer before settling back into his corner of the couch where his romance novel is open on the armrest.

“What are you reading?”

He holds up a novel called The Bromance Zone by Lauren Blakely. I take it from him, turning it around so I can read the back.

“Two great friends. One road trip. And eight inches… of snow that night at the cabin.” I laugh at the pun. “If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. Friends don’t bang friends. I want my friends to stay in my life, especially that flirty, clever, outgoing best friend of mine. It’s a damn good thing Owen and I made a pact in college to never ever sleep together, or else I’d be tempted. Trouble is, eight years later I’ve been wondering what his kisses taste like. And I’ve been curious if our chemistry would extend into the bedroom. If he might feel the same risky pull. But I don’t want to lose Owen, and history says there’s no way a tryst between friends can end well. So as long as I avoid the bedroom with him, I won’t break that hard-as-steel rule. Except the snow has other plans…”

Andre goes back to eating his ice cream. “What can I say? I love a good gay romance novel, and she writes them quite decently. In some stories I’m like… that’s not where anything goes. Do these people who write books even know anything about gay sex? But this woman knows her stuff, and the banter is on point. Plus, I’m a sucker for a friends-to-lovers trope.”

“I know what you mean about people writing about gay sex without doing their research. Same for porn by the way, where a guy shoves himself inside another guy without even grabbing lube. At least, not on camera. That is how young gay guys end up with torn assholes. Trying to act out bad porn scenes.”

He laughs so hard he has to wipe away tears. “Thankfully my first time was with a guy who had a lot more experience than I did. There was plenty of lube.”

“Do you have a preference?” I ask, curious. “Top or bottom?”

He shrugs, looking a little shy. “I’m pretty vers. With maybe a slight preference for… being on top.”

“Same, but I prefer to be taken.” I take a swig of my beer. “It’s been a while, though. Haven’t had sex since my birthday.”

“That was only four days ago, Dylan.” Andre shakes his head at me. “Try eight months and you might start to feel the way I do.”

Damn. That’s a long time. “Why don’t you just go on the apps? You’re cute, successful and smart. Guys will line up to sleep with you.”

“They won’t, and I don’t want a one-night stand. I want love.” He gestures around to all the bookcases holding romance novels. “I want friends-to-lovers, or enemies-to-lovers, or one of those amazing meet-cutes. I don’t care which one it is. I just want to fall head over heels for someone and for it to be reciprocated.”

“That sounds nice.” And it does. I totally get that Andre wants that. “You’ll meet your guy. You’re too amazing to stay single for long.”

“Eight months since I last had sex, over a year since I last had a relationship that lasted for more than a couple of dates.” He groans. “Sorry, this night is supposed to be about you, not me. Did something happen between you and Kian?”

“We’re still not talking to each other. I’m starting to think moving in with him was a mistake, but it’s too late now. My apartment is gone, and if I move out now, my relationship will be over. I don’t want that, so I’ll just have to stick it out with this fight.” I’ve already finished my beer, so I get up to grab another one. Of course, I take the bag of chips with me to munch while I walk.

“Do you want to talk more about it?” Andre asks kindly.

I shrug. “What’s there to say? Everyone warned me, and I didn’t listen. Kian has thrown himself back into work, and he’s actually going out with some colleagues tomorrow night. He didn’t even tell me about it. I had to find out from our joined calendar. How fucked-up is that?”

“You spend a lot of time with your friends too,” Andre points out.

“Yeah, but I always tell him when I won’t be home. He just puts a notification in our calendar. While we were both home, might I add! That’s how much he doesn’t want to talk to me.” I’m fed up with his behavior, to be honest. I tried to talk to him, to work this out, but he said he needed space. How much space does he need, though? How long will this go on? It’s tiring and annoying. The guy is 40, for crying out loud. This isn’t junior high. “Okay, let’s talk about you again. What are you gonna do about your dry spell?”

Andre shrugs and looks away from me. “My left hand works perfectly fine.”

“Left?” I think back to seeing him make coffee and typing away on his phone. He does usually favor his left hand. “Right, of course! You’re left-handed!”

“Yeah, but I can do a lot with the right one as well, since the world is made for right-handed people.” He holds up both hands, wiggling his fingers. “Guess I’m vers when it comes to my hands too.”

“You’ve got big hands.” I move over to put my hands against his, confirming that they’re indeed a lot wider and bigger than mine. “Damn. You know what they say about people with big hands.”

Andre grins. “Yeah, well, I’m not going to tell you if they’re right or not.”

“My hands match my dick,” I confess. “So I’m probably a lot smaller than you.”

“I know.” He looks away from me, fidgeting with the hem of his plaid shirt. “I saw you naked, remember?”

Right. Of course. I streaked on my birthday. I forgot about that. “I’ve had guys dump me for that. For not having a big dick.”

“Assholes, all of them.” He meets my eye again. “I’ve been dumped for being too fat, so I get it. It sucks when people judge you for something you can’t help. I mean, yeah, I could work out more and eat healthier, but I’ve always been chubby, even as a kid. I didn’t lose a lot of weight when I was with Eric either, no matter how strict the diets he put me on.”

“Is there something wrong with your thyroid?” I’ve heard that can make it hard for people to lose weight.

He nods. “It works a little slow. I used to take medication for that, but it gave me headaches and a rash, so I had to stop taking it. Plus… well…” He hesitates. “The IBS doesn’t make it easy either, I guess.”

“IBS?” I repeat. Whatever it is, he seems embarrassed about it. I hate that look on his face. Whatever IBS means, it can’t be good.

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