Dreamy Dylan

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#4 You lost your crown

Kian and I have a heart attack at the same time. He recovers first, stuffing the dildos and anal beads back into the glove compartment.

“No bottled water in here,” he grunts out.

“Why the hell do you have all that… disgusting stuff in your car?” Jim asks. He’s definitely not a fan anymore. Not even my Tesla can save me this time.

“It’s no big deal. A friend of mine got those from her sponsor, and she gave me the ones meant for men, since she’s not… well, not a gay man.”

“You use those?” Jim is driving back to the coffee shop, probably eager to get away from all the sex toys. And me. He definitely wants to get away from me.

“No,” Kian assures his dad before I can react. “Of course not, Dad. I’m sure his friend was just making a very strange joke.”

“A joke,” I repeat. “Yeah, sure.”

Jim grunts. “What kind of job does she have where her sponsor sends her those horrendous things?”

Kian looks over his shoulder at me, pleading with me to remain silent. I love him, but I refuse to act like I’m ashamed of Mila.

“She’s a webcam girl,” I explain. “She owns her own business too, actually. She has a website.”

“Let me guess, you designed it for her.” Jim doesn’t wait for my reply. “Kian, what the hell are you doing with this guy?”

Kian doesn’t reply. Not at all. He doesn’t defend me. I get that I embarrassed the shit out of him, but for him not to speak up in the slightest… It hurts. I’m not going to lie.

The moment Jim parks the car and gets out, slamming the door behind him, Kian turns to me. “Do you always have to be so weird?” His voice cracks, and I’m scared he’s going to cry, but he pulls himself back together within seconds.

“I wasn’t planning this.” I get out and take my place behind the wheel. “It’s time to get to the bakery anyway. Are you still coming to Anna and Aston’s?”

“I guess,” Kian groans, running a hand across his face. “It’s the last place on earth I want to be right now, but my dad picked me up, and you’re my ride home.”

“Do you want me to drop you off at home?” I offer even though I don’t have time for that.

“No, I’ll come.” Kian opens the glove compartment again while I drive to Liv’s, shaking his head the whole time he looks at the toys. “How the fuck did this happen? You were doing so well. My dad really liked you.”

I can’t help but roll my eyes. “He liked my car. Not me.

“Still, he didn’t get along with my last boyfriend like that.” Kian shuts the compartment angrily. “You and your friends… You’re all in your goddamn thirties, yet you act like you’re sex-craved teenagers. Did you have to brag about Mila’s job?”

“I’m fine with you asking me to dress down to meet your dad, but I’m not going to sit there and have someone tell me my best friend’s job is disgusting.” I feel strongly about that. No one talks about my friends like that. “Or are you saying you agree with him?”

Kian groans. “Not, but… I mean… I’d never date someone like her. Not because she’s a woman, but I could never be with a sex worker. I don’t understand how you were ever in love with her. She’s so…”

“Amazing?” I’m getting angrier by the second. “Funny? Sweet? Loyal? Yeah, she is. So what if she gets naked and touches herself for a living? And don’t act like you’re not a sex-crazed weirdo like the rest of us. You’ve got an even higher sex-drive than I do, and I never thought that was possible. Some days all we do is fuck.”

“What is that supposed to mean?” He looks over at me with fire in his eyes. “You like it just as often and hard as I do, Dylan. Don’t pretend you don’t love the sex.”

“I do.” I don’t know how the fuck the fight escalated into us yelling about who likes sex more. “I love sex, especially with you, but I just… I don’t know. Let’s talk about this some other time, okay? We’re going to a 4-year-old’s birthday party.” I park the car and order him to stay inside while I get the cake for Steffi and the cookies for Annabel.

“Are you okay?” Liv asks the moment I walk in.

“No,” I grunt. “Not even a little bit. First, Mila deems it necessary to tell me how wrong Kian is for me. Then I meet Kian’s dad, and I somehow win him over with my fancy car, only to ruin the whole thing by having a gazillion sex toys in my car, courtesy of Mila’s new sponsor and her generosity. To top it all off, I now have to go to a birthday bash while I’m in a huge fight with Kian. Who is coming to a party for the first time ever, might I add. He’s not too eager to spend time with my friends, but this time he insisted to come, and now I fucking ruined it all.”

Liv’s mouth drops open, and she struggles to find the right words.

“Doesn’t sound like you ruined anything,” a deep voice says behind me. “Sounds like your boyfriend is the problem.”

I turn to see Andre standing behind me, holding paint samples. “You know what?” I bite out. “No one asked for your opinion, so shut the fuck up.”

He raises an eyebrow at me, but doesn’t say anything.

“Sorry,” I breathe, feeling even worse now. “I’m just…”

“You lost your crown.” Andre pretends to pick up something from the floor, brushes it off, and puts it on my head, stroking a wild strand of hair away from my forehead. “There you go. King Dylan is back. Better now?”

“Much better.” I smile back at him, appreciating that he’s not angry at me for snapping at him.

“Sorry for saying anything. You’re right, it’s none of my business. It just sounded like you were blaming yourself for something your boyfriend did.” Andre takes the box with Steffi’s cake from Liv and balances the smaller box of cookies on top of it, tipping his head towards the door. “I’ve been there and done that. Several times. Doesn’t make anyone happy.”

I open the door for him and walk with him to my car, where Kian has his face buried in his hands. “It’s not like that with us. It’s complicated.”

“Okay, if you say so.” Andre helps me put the cake safely on the floor of the backseat. “Drive safe.”

“Wouldn’t dream of risking anything to happen to Liv’s masterpiece.” I wave goodbye to Andre and Liv and then I get behind the wheel again.

“Who was that?” Kian asks, his eyes following Andre.

“Andre, Liv’s business partner.”

“Right, the barista,” he realizes. “You told me about him. He looks different than I thought he would. You said he was attractive.”

“He is.” I pull out of my parking spot and set course to Annabel and Aston’s house.

“Hmm.” Obviously Kian doesn’t agree with me.

“He totally is. I think he’s very cute.”

“Cute. Yeah, sure.” It almost sounds like he’s laughing. “You’re so sweet.”

Part of me wants to ask him why the fuck he’s being such a dick, but I bite my tongue. Maybe he’s not saying what I think he is. That I’m sweet for lying that I think a fat guy is cute. Perhaps he’s just jealous and insecure. We already had a huge fight today, and I’m sure there are more fights to follow after the party, when we try to sort out this whole mess with his dad. No need to add another thing to the list of reasons we’re upset with each other.

“Can we put a pin in everything that went wrong this morning while we’re at the party?” I ask, praying we can get through this in one piece, without my friends noticing how off we are.

“Of course. I know this is important to you. I’m sorry about the stuff I said about your friends. I want to come. I really do.”

See? We’ll be fine. He’s trying to be there for me. It just takes time for him to adjust to me and my friends. I get that. With his job and his father, he’s used to keeping his private life very much private. There’s a reason he didn’t come out until he was 38. He knew he was gay in his early twenties, when he started experimenting in college, but he desperately tried not to be. He almost married a woman when he was 30, but he couldn’t go through with it in the end, not wanting to condemn her to a life married to a man who could never love her the way she deserved.

I can’t imagine what that must be like. I’ve never faced that kind of hatred and bigotry from my family. And the self-hatred he feels sometimes… It makes me sad for him. Coming out was hard for me, but even my old-fashioned father accepted me with open arms. It took him a beat to get used to me flying my rainbow flag all the time, but he even marched in a Pride Parade with me a couple of years ago, and he always asks me to text him when “an important day for you queer people” comes up, as he puts it, so he can raise his flag as well. That’s my dad for you. He doesn’t completely get me, but he loves me, and he tries with all his might to show me that me being bisexual doesn’t change that. My ditzy stepmother is even more supportive, especially since her brother is bisexual too. She dresses my 5-year-old half-brother Blaze up in rainbow gear all the time. It’s weird, but sweet.

Kian has no idea what that kind of support feels like. I can’t expect him to be like me, because he has a very different past. Coming out was a way bigger deal for him than it was for me, and he almost lost his father because of it. I need to cut him some slack.

“You know I love you, right?” I ask Kian as I park the car in the only spot left on the block. “I didn’t mean to embarrass you in front of your father.”

“I know, babe.” He squeezes my hand and leans in for a kiss. “It was a very weird, unfortunate turn of events. We’ll talk about it later. Let’s focus on your niece turning 4.”

“Not my niece,” I remind him. “Aston is a friend from the gym, and his kid is turning 4.”

“Right, Aston and Annabel. She just finished law school.”

He’s trying to prove he really does listen to me, and I appreciate the effort. He could have known all of this from experience if he’d come with me to parties and get-togethers from the start, but there’s no changing that. He’s here now, and that’s all that matters.

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