Tyler was already at his desk and absorbed in a project when Sammie walked in on Monday morning.
"Hey," Sammie said as he sat down.
"Hi,” Tyler turned to him, "I finished that book you loaned me." He reached into his desk drawer and pulled it out, taking it over to Sammie. "Thanks, I really enjoyed it."
"Wow, you must read pretty fast."
"So, you ready for another one?" Sammie asked.
"Sure. You don't mind?"
"No, I told you, you can borrow any of them. Do you have anything planned tonight? We can head over to my apartment after work and let you pick something out, then maybe grab a bite to eat or something. How does that sound?"
"Great, that sounds fine,” Tyler smiled.
Sammie smiled back. He had to admit, against his better judgment; he was falling for this guy. Whatever it was in his past that the kid was hiding, Sammie could only hope it wasn't anything too serious, because Sammie only had to look into Tyler's blue eyes and he was a lost cause.
Tyler walked back over to his cubicle and sat back down at his desk. He looked up as Jarred came in, looking more than a little hung over.
"Damn, Kramer, I hope she was worth it,” Sammie chided.
"Oh. She was worth it, Mary. You can be sure of that,” Jarred replied as he flopped down into his chair and began rummaging through his desk for some aspirin.
"Maybe you can regale us with the sordid details later,” Sammie chuckled.
"Giddy up." ??????????????
The rest of the day flew by, as there were so many projects in the works with deadlines approaching. No one seemed to notice the time passing until Sammie looked up to see the clock read 5:45. Jarred was clearing his desk. “I’m calling it good,” he announced.
“Yeah, me too,” Matt said, standing up and gathering his coat.
“You staying, Sammie?” Jarred asked.
“No, I think I’ll be heading home too.”
Jarred glanced over at Tyler, who was engrossed with whatever was on his computer screen, but after the fiasco Friday, Jarred was leery to say anything to the kid.
Sammie picked up on it, “Tyler, you about ready to go?”
“Huh?” Tyler turned around to see the three men looking at him. “Oh, um, yeah. Just let me finish this up. It won’t take but a sec.”
“Okay, see you all tomorrow.” Jarred turned and headed down the hallway, Matt trailing after him. Sammie began clearing his desk, slowly, waiting for Tyler to finish up. “You still want to come by my place tonight?”
“Yeah, sure. I mean, if you do.”
Sammie smiled, “Yeah.” ??????????????
Once they were in the car, Sammie asked Tyler about the book he had loaned him. “So you liked it?”
“Yeah, I did. It made me want to go to New Orleans and see the city for myself,” Tyler replied. “I think it was one of the best books I have every read.”
Sammie pulled into his parking place and the two men got out and walked into the building. As they walked into Sammie's apartment Tyler hung his jacket over a chair then dropped to the floor in front of the bookcase. "Which one should I read next?"
"Well, do you want another one by Christopher Rice, or do you want to try a different author?"
"Hmm, I really liked Density of Souls, so I want to read more of his, but I wouldn’t mind trying another author either."
"Well, as fast as you read why don't you pick out two or three?"
"Are you sure? You wouldn't mind?" Tyler asked.
"I'm sure. Here, try this one, and this one, and let’s see, this one." Sammie handed him three more of his favorites.
"Wow, thanks." Tyler began leafing through the pages of first one book than the other.
"You want something to eat? We could go out, or maybe order something to have delivered?"
"Delivery sounds fine," Tyler was already lost in the pages of one of the novels.
“How about Chinese?” ??????????????
Sammie and Tyler sat on the floor, the television on with the sound low, as some old black and white movie played on the screen.
"Ugh, I can't eat anymore,” Tyler leaned back and patted his stomach. "No more for me."
Sammie smiled, Tyler had eaten more than he had previously thought humanly possible. "Tell me about growing up in West Plains," Sammie asked while gathering up the take-out boxes from the floor.
Tyler shrugged. "Nothing to tell, it's a small town in the Ozarks. About what you would expect."
"Let's see, I would expect it to be blissfully peaceful and carefree." Sammie walked back over after having thrown away the cartons.
Tyler snorted. "Well, I suppose maybe it was that way at some point in time, but not when I lived there."
"So you didn't like it?"
"When I was really young, you know, like around nine or ten, I thought it was the best place in the world. Then..."
"You realized you were gay."
"Yep, and then I felt so isolated. I just wanted to get to a city so I wouldn’t be the only freak in the circus."
"I doubt you were the only gay kid there."
"No, I wasn't. But it didn't matter. Most everyone there had such small minds," his voice trailed off and his gaze became distant. "But that’s behind me now. I really don't like thinking about it."
"How about your childhood? Filled with nothing but happy memories?" Tyler asked.
"Oh, please, I don't think there are very many gay men that can say that. We all have our share of trauma as we come to terms with who we are and what that means to society. My childhood wasn't terrible, but it wasn't easy either."
Tyler nodded and sighed. Sammie had cleaned up their mess from dinner and was now sitting beside him on the floor, both of them resting their backs against the sofa.
"You know, we could move up to the couch, it’s more comfortable than the floor,” Sammie said as he nudged Tyler's arm.
"Yeah," Tyler smiled. They both pulled themselves up to be seated on the sofa. Tyler turned slightly so that he was facing Sammie. "I like you."
The words hung in the air for a moment, catching Sammie completely off guard. "I like you, too." Sammie looked into Tyler's blue eyes as he said it.
Tyler leaned forward and captured Sammie's mouth with his own. Pressing him down on the sofa, Tyler lying on top as their kiss grew more urgent.
Warning bells were going off in Sammie's head. Should he be doing this? Tyler was a co-worker; it could cause so many problems for him at work, and what about Steven? He had moved out six weeks ago, but were they over? Sammie couldn’t answer any of those questions, all he knew was that Tyler's kisses felt good, and they felt right. Damn the torpedoes.
Tyler began kissing his way down Sammie's body; down his neck, unbuttoning his shirt and kissing his bare chest. He trailed his tongue down across Sammie’s stomach, stopping at his navel. He looked up with mischief in his eyes as he undid the top button on Sammie's pants.
He freed Sammie's dick and bent his head down, licking the entire length of it. Sammie closed his eyes and moaned, letting himself get lost in the sensation.
Tyler took Sammie’s dick in his mouth and began to bathe it with his tongue. Much sooner than he wanted, Sammie felt the tingle in his balls; he wouldn't last much longer. He tried to pull Tyler off of his dick, not ready for this to end, but Tyler held firm and Sammie finally gave in to his orgasm, his eyes closing as Tyler milked him dry.
Then Tyler began kissing his way back up Sammie's chest. Slow, leisurely kisses, giving Sammie time to recover.
"Wow,” Sammie sighed when he was able to find his voice again.
Tyler gave him a shy grin, "Yeah."
Sammie realized that Tyler was still completely dressed. He began tugging on Tyler's shirt, pulling it up from his pants, wanting to feel Tyler’s skin. "You have too many clothes on," he said between passionate kisses. Sammie finally freed Tyler's shirt from the trappings of his pants and reached his hand up inside, running them over the smooth, soft skin of his back, them down over his chest. When his hands brushed across Tyler's stomach he felt an imperfection in the skin, a scar perhaps. He moved his hands around to run over Tyler's back once again. He noticed another raised area along his back. He pushed Tyler back, so that he could undo the buttons of his shirt. "Let's take this off."
"No, that's okay." Tyler pushed Sammie's hands away and bent back over and began his assault on Sammie's month again.
"I want to feel your body," Sammie sighed in between kisses.
"It's okay like this."
Sammie began running his hand back up under Tyler's shirt. His hands kept finding the same area of Tyler's stomach and back. "What’s this? Did something happen?" Curiosity finally got the best of him.
"What?" Tyler was becoming more breathless.
"Here, is it a scar?" Sammie asked, as his hand ran back over the area again.
Tyler froze. He sat up, pushing Sammie's hand away from his torso. "It’s nothing." He was suddenly somber and serious.
"Hey, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to pry." Sammie instantly regretted asking. "Come back here." He pulled gently on Tyler, trying to get him to resume their kisses, but Tyler pulled away, standing up.
"No, I should go,” he said looking around the room for his shoes.
"Tyler, wait. Come back here, sit down."
Tyler ignored his request and began putting on his shoes. Sammie rose from the sofa, pulling his pants back up. "Tyler?"
"I need to go home now."
"Okay, let me get dressed, I'll take you."
"No, I'll take the bus," Tyler said.
"The bus? Why? I can drive you."
"No, it’s okay. I really need to go now."
Sammie reached out grabbed Tyler's shoulders. Holding him still long enough to look into his eyes. They were full of fear. "Tyler, what ever it is, I'm sorry I asked. Really, it's okay."
Tyler nodded, relaxing slightly in Sammie’s grip. "I know. It's not you, it's me. I need to go, please Sammie, just let me go home. Okay?"
Sammie released him. "At least let me call for a cab."
Tyler sighed, his shoulders slumped. "Yeah, all right."
"Sit down okay?"
Tyler walked back to the couch and took a seat. Sammie reached for the phone and decided to try one more time. "Let me take you home, okay?"
Tyler chewed on his lower lip and sighed, finally he nodded his head. "Okay." ??????????????
The drive to Tyler's was filled with silence. Sammie kept going over the events of the evening in his head. He wanted to apologize again, but he understood Tyler wasn’t mad at him, only upset.
"You must think I'm a freak," Tyler said quietly.
"No. I don't, and we've had this conversation before," Sammie replied.
Sammie pulled up in front of Tyler's apartment. "I'm sorry that I upset you," he tried again.
"I'm the one who owes you the apology." Tyler reached for the door handle.
"Here, don't forget these," Sammie handed Tyler the three books.
"Oh. Thanks. See ya tomorrow."
"Yeah, okay. Tyler, are you sure you’re okay?"
"Yeah, um, see ya,” and he was out the door and walking up the sidewalk.
Sammie watched until he was in the building and then pulled away from the curb and headed back home.
As he lay in bed that night, he couldn’t get Tyler out of his head. He wondered what could have caused the scar on his abdomen and back. It was too long to be from a bullet, but whatever it was, it had pierced him completely through. Then he worried over the ramifications this could cause for him at work. How would Tyler act toward him tomorrow? Finally he drifted off to sleep and dream of those blue eyes so full of pain. ??????????????
The next morning Sammie arrived early to work, hoping to get to talk with Tyler before everyone else arrived. As he walked in he was disappointed to see Tyler's desk empty. As he was sitting down he remembered that it was Tuesday. Tyler's other 'obligation'. He wouldn't be in until close to ten. Sammie still had no idea what it was that Tyler had to do on Tuesday mornings, and after last night he was afraid to ask.
Sammie lost himself in a project and didn't hear Tyler walk in until he heard his voice. "Hello, Sammie."
Sammie jumped a little then looked up and smiled, "Hello, Tyler. How are you today?"
Tyler nodded, "Better, thanks." ??????????????
At lunch Sammie found Tyler sitting at what he had come to think of as ‘their bench’ in the park. He walked over and sat down next to him. Not sure what to say, he sat there in silence. Finally Tyler spoke.
"I'm sorry for the way I behaved last night. Please don't take it personally."
"I'm trying not to, but I wish you could tell me what it is you're hiding. I wish you could trust me with it."
"I will, I promise. But I need more time first. I'm not ready to share it with anyone just yet. Please, just be patient with me." Sammie saw the pleading in Tyler's eyes.
"It's okay Tyler. I'll wait until you’re ready. No pressure, okay?"
They sat in silence again watching the people walking by.
"You didn't get much sleep last night did you?" Sammie asked.
"Why do you say that?"
"The dark circles under your eyes."
Tyler frowned. "I'm not even sure why I freaked out last night. I mean, it’s just a scar."
"Not if it holds a tragic memory for you, then it’s more."
Tyler nodded, "I won't always be so fucked up, Sammie. Really, just give me a little time."
"I will. And maybe some day you'll even let me help you."
"You already are,” Tyler smiled. ??????????????
Sammie and Tyler continued their lunches in the park. Sammie kept the conversation light and stayed away from any personal questions. Mainly, they discussed the books Sammie had loaned him. Sammie was finding out a lot about Tyler through listening to his views of the plots he was reading. Tyler was also studying the almanac Sammie had given him and most everyday he had a question concerning something he had read.
On Friday Sammie asked Tyler if he wanted to go out again. Tyler chewed on his lower lip, thinking it over and asked, "You're not afraid that I'll freak out on you?"
Sammie shrugged, "If you do, you do. I like spending time with you."
Tyler smiled. "What were you thinking of doing?"
"I don't know. We could go to the club again, or to a movie. What would you like to do?"
"I'd love to go to the club again, but this time I'll only drink one drink," Tyler laughed. "And maybe I'll dance too."
"Okay. I'll pick you up at eight and we'll grab a bite to eat," he smiled. “That should help a little, too.” ??????????????
That evening Sammie pulled up in front of Tyler's apartment building. As he walked up to the door he realized he didn't know which apartment Tyler lived in or his roommate's name. He only hoped Tyler's name was on one of the call buttons. As he began reading the names over each button, the door opened and Tyler stepped out. "Sorry, I was trying to watch for you,” Tyler said as Sammie looked up.
"No problem. I just realized I don't know what your apartment number is."
"Oh, it's 4D. That one there," Tyler said, pointing to a call button about half way down. The names Morrison and Williams were listed above it.
"You ready then?" Sammie asked.
Tyler nodded. They walked back to Sammie's Jetta and got in. "Where do you want to eat?"
"You know, I have been hungry for pizza all day,” Tyler said.
"Pizza it is." ??????????????
They walked into the club after Sammie watched Tyler stuff himself with pepperoni pizza.
"Wow, it’s busier tonight," Tyler remarked as he looked around at all the men on the dance floor.
"It’s the weekend,” Sammie replied. He led them over to the bar and ordered them each a drink, then carried them over to a table.
Sammie watched Tyler as he looked around the room, taking everything in.
"Compare this to a circuit party for me," Tyler requested.
"Circuit parties are much bigger, and have a theme, like the White Party, or the Black and Blue party. Also there’s a lot more drug use at them."
Tyler nodded. "Do you do drugs?"
"I have, but not so much anymore. I guess they never really were my thing."
"Good," Tyler replied. "Ready to dance?"
"Sure." Sammie was surprised, but downed his drink and rose to his feet. ??????????????
After dancing to song after song, Tyler announced he needed some water. Sammie started leading him over to the bar, but Tyler stopped him. "Let's go to your place."
"Yeah?" Sammie asked.
Tyler chewed his lip and nodded.
Sammie turned around and led Tyler out the door and to his car.
"That was fun," Tyler said once he was settled into the Jetta and they were on the way to Sammie's apartment.
"Yeah? I had a good time too. I'm glad you like to dance. You’re good at it, you know."
"I doubt that. Did you and Steve go dancing there?" It was the first time Tyler had asked about Steve. It took Sammie by surprise.
"Um, some. We use to go out more when we were first together. We quit going out so much the last few years."
Sammie shrugged. "I don't know, we got older I guess."
"You're not that old."
"Maybe we just got lazy."
Tyler was silent as Sammie pulled into his parking place, then asked, "Do you still see him?"
"Steve? I haven't seen him in a couple of weeks," Sammie said, putting the car in park and shutting off the ignition.
"Do you miss him?"
Sammie smiled. "Not when I'm with you."
He ignored the too glib compliment. "Do you want him back?"
There it was, the question Sammie had been asking himself for the last week. "I did, but I don't think I do now."
"I think I want this instead." Sammie leaned over and kissed Tyler's lips. "Let’s go inside."
Tyler nodded, "Yeah." ??????????????
"Do you want something to drink? I have some wine," Sammie asked once they were inside his apartment.
"Just some water would be fine." Tyler made his way over to the sofa and sat down.
"Here,” Sammie handed Tyler the bottle of water and sat down next to him.
Tyler took a long drink, then set the bottle down on the table and turned to Sammie. "I'll try to not freak out this time," he whispered as he leaned in and began kissing Sammie as he had done a few days before.
Their kisses grew more urgent. "Let's move this into the bedroom,” Sammie said. He stood and pulled Tyler to his feet, then led him down the hall and into his bedroom.
Once in the room, Sammie turned and began kissing Tyler again. Tyler unbuttoned Sammie's shirt, then pushed it off of his shoulders. Once the shirt was gone he moved on to Sammie's pants. Sammie pushed his jeans down over his hips and toed off his shoes. He was now completely naked, while Tyler remained dressed. Sammie had decided to let Tyler move at his own pace. He led Tyler over to the bed and sat down on the side. Tyler stood between Sammie's open legs and began kissing him again. Then Tyler turned and walked back toward the bedroom door. At first Sammie thought he was leaving, but then Tyler turned off the lights and walked back over to Sammie. He toed off his shoes, pulled his shirt over his head, and pushed his jeans down to the floor. Sammie watched in silence, the glow of a small lamp the only light in the room.
"You're beautiful,” Sammie said softly.
Tyler pushed Sammie back on the bed and climbed on top of him. "I want you," he whispered.
In the glow of the lamp Sammie could make out the scar on Tyler's abdomen. He also could see a tattoo on Tyler's left bicep. This time he asked no questions. ??????????????
Afterwards Tyler lay curled up at Sammie's side. "Your bed is so comfortable," he said with a sigh.
"Yeah, I am so relaxed right now I don’t think I can move."
"Maybe it's not the bed so much, but the awesome sex we just had,” Sammie chided.
"Yeah, that too."
Sammie lay watching the shadows dance along the wall as Tyler fell asleep beside him. As the young man's breathing became deeper with sleep, Sammie slid the covers back to get a better look at Tyler's scars. His hands had felt many scars on Tyler’s back during their lovemaking, and now his curiosity was getting the better of him.
He reached over and turned up the lamp to give him a little more light as he looked over Tyler's torso. The tattoo on Tyler's bicep was a symbol Sammie didn't recognize. Across Tyler's upper back were four round scars that looked like they were cigarette burns, on his right side there was a long scar that was about a quarter inch wide and about three inches long. There was another similar scar on his stomach; what ever had caused this scar had punctured completely through. On Tyler’s right hip were the initials J.K. branded into his skin. Sammie began to understand some of Tyler's behavior. He had obviously suffered from abuse. Sammie wondered who had caused these scars, his father maybe? An ex-lover seemed more likely. Maybe that was why Tyler was here alone, with no friends. Maybe he was hiding from an abusive boyfriend. Sammie pulled the covers back up over Tyler, and dimmed the lamp. He lay there in the dark; imagining what Tyler must have gone through to receive such scars and wishing it were something he could ask Steve about. His experience in counseling would be helpful. But how can you talk to your old boyfriend about your new boyfriend? ??????????????
The next thing Sammie remembered was hearing Tyler calling out. As Sammie struggled to pull himself from sleep, Tyler's body jerked, trying to escape from whatever bogie man was haunting his dreams.
Sammie reached out to wake Tyler, but before his hand could make contact Tyler bolted straight up in bed, his eyes wide with fear, his breathing labored.
"Tyler?" Sammie asked quietly, placing his hand on Tyler's arm to reassure him.
"Don't touch me," Tyler hissed, pulling away.
Sammie sat beside Tyler watching him trying to get his breathing under control, then Tyler scrambled out of bed and made a run for the bathroom.
Sammie sat in silence as Tyler made his way to the small bathroom just off the bedroom and emptied his stomach.
Tyler came back into the bedroom after a few minutes.
“Are you okay?” Sammie asked. “You want some water?”
“Yeah, some water would be good.” Tyler lay back down in the bed.
Sammie got up to retrieve a glass from the kitchen. He returned moments later and handed Tyler some ice water. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, sorry about that,” Tyler said after he took a sip of water.
“S’right. Is there something I can do?”
“No, just go back to sleep, I’m okay,” Tyler said.
Sammie lay there for some time before sleep claimed him again ??????????????
He awoke the next morning to his alarm blaring and the bed empty. He slapped at the clock blindly, finally shutting off the noise. Looking at the red numbers on the display he realized he had failed to turn it off for the weekend. It was six thirty on Saturday morning.
Sammie rolled out of bed and went to relieve his bladder, then to go find his houseguest. He found Tyler sitting on the sofa wrapped up in a blanket, staring out the window.
“Hey,” Sammie said softly as he sat next to him.
Tyler looked over at him with red rimmed, bloodshot eyes. “Hey.”
“You’ve been up all night.” It wasn’t a question.
“Why didn’t you wake me?”
“To do what?” Tyler asked with a shrug.
The two sat in the quiet of the morning for a few moments. “Do you have them often?” Sammie asked referring to the nightmare he had witnessed.
Tyler shrugged, “They come and go.”
Silence fell between them again.
“Well, since we’re both awake at this ungodly hour on a Saturday morning, what do you say, we go eat some breakfast,” Sammie finally said.
“Yeah?” Tyler seemed to brighten. Sammie was catching on, the kid loved to eat. It seemed the promise of food could most always bring a smile to his face. “I don’t have any clean clothes here.”
“Okay, I’ll go take a shower, then we’ll swing by your place and you can clean up before we go.” ??????????????
When they pulled up in front of Tyler’s apartment Sammie wondered if he would be asked to wait in the car. That question was quickly put to rest. “Come on, my roommate is at work,” Tyler said, getting out of the car. Sammie gave him a questioning look. “He works six days a week, first shift, seven to three.”
“Oh,” Sammie replied and followed Tyler into the building.
As they walked into Tyler’s apartment Sammie looked around at the dismal abode. In the living room was a ratty couch that should have been thrown out lifetimes ago. A few feet in front of it a small TV sat on top of a turned over milk crate.
Tyler shrugged, obviously embarrassed. “Um, I plan on buying some furniture once I get my own place.”
Sammie smiled, “Don’t sweat it, you should have seen my first place.”
“Yeah? Well, I’ll go shower and change. Make yourself at home.” Tyler disappeared into the bathroom.
Sammie continued to look around. There were no personal items to be seen. No pictures displayed, no paintings on the walls. He peeked in a door standing ajar off of the main room. The room was completely bare of furniture. On the floor were an air mattress and a box with clothes folded neatly inside. Next to the mattress were the books Sammie had loaned Tyler stacked in a pile beside a desk lamp, also sitting on the floor.
‘Jeez, this kid really came here with nothing,’ Sammie thought to himself. He walked back into the living room and sat on the dilapidated sofa. Tyler emerged from the bathroom wrapped in a towel.
“Just let me grab some clothes and we can go.” He ran into the bedroom Sammie had just exited and closed the door. He was back out minutes later wearing jeans and a tight t-shirt. “Okay, I’m ready.” ????????????
Later that afternoon Sammie and Tyler were lounging at Sammie’s apartment. They had both fallen asleep while watching a movie. The jarring noise of the phone ringing woke Sammie up.
“Sammie? Did I wake you?”
Sammie recognized Joel’s voice. “Yeah, s’okay, I guess I fell asleep in front of the TV.” He looked over to see Tyler stretching, just waking up. “So what’s up?” Sammie asked.
“Well, we just got word yesterday, Troy’s novel got picked up by Random House. He’s getting published.”
“That’s great, Joel. Tell him I said congrats.”
“I will, but the reason I called is that we are having an informal get-together next Saturday night to celebrate. We want you to come.”
Sammie glanced over at Tyler. “Sure, can I bring a guest?”
“A guest? Sammie? You dog, are you seeing someone?” Joel asked.
“Yeah, kinda. A friend from work.”
“Well, of course you can bring him. I just got off the phone with Terri, she and Lisa are coming too.”
“Good. What time?”
“Sounds great. We’ll be there.”
Sammie hung up the phone, “Got any plans for next weekend?” he asked.
Tyler shook his head as a big yawn stretched over his face.
“Want to go to a dinner party with me on Saturday?”
“A dinner party?”
“Yeah, my friends Joel and Troy are having a little get-together next Saturday night. They invited me, and another couple I’m friends with, Lisa and Terri.”
“And you want me to go?”
“I don’t know, Sammie, I don’t do well in crowds. I might just embarrass you.”
“You won’t embarrass me, and it won’t be a crowd. I want you to meet my friends. I think you’ll like them.”
Tyler sighed, almost resigned, like maybe he’d been expecting something like this to happen and had been dreading it. “Yeah? Okay. I guess I can try not to say anything stupid.”
Sammie wondered where that comment came from. He had images of some ogre keeping Tyler a virtual prisoner in his home and berating him if he felt Tyler failed to impress. “Tyler, you’re not stupid, you’re just not much into pop culture, that’s all.”
Tyler gave a slow, shy grin, “Oh, it’s more than that.”
Before Sammie could question any more the phone rang again.
“Sammie? Um, we need to talk.” It was Joel again.
“Well, I told Troy you were bringing a guest and he told me he had already called Steve and invited him. I swear I didn’t know, Sammie and I didn’t want you to think you were being set up.”
“Joel, slow down, it’s okay. If you need to retract the invite I understand.”
“But I don’t, I want you to come. Oh, I hate this. I hate it when couples break up and you suddenly can’t have them in the same room.”
“Who said we couldn’t be in the same room?” Sammie asked.
“No one, I just don’t want you to be pissed at me.”
“Joel, it’s okay. Does Steve know I’m coming?”
“I don’t know,” Joel said.
”Well, just make sure he knows I’ll be there too, so he isn’t caught off guard. Steve keeps saying he wants us to be friends. So we’ll just be friends.”
“So, you’ll still come?”
“And still bring your friend?”
“And you aren’t mad?”
“Whew, okay. Good, good. Okay, see you Saturday.”
Sammie chuckled as he hung up the phone, then he saw the look on Tyler’s face.
“Steve’s going to be there?”
“Tyler, it’s okay. He left me. I have a right to get on with my life.”
“I don’t want to go,” Tyler said.
“Tyler, I want you to come with me, please?”
“He’ll be mad.”
“Who? Steve? I doubt it and even if he is, it’s his problem. But he won’t be. Actually I think you’ll like Steve. It’ll be okay, Tyler. Please?”
Tyler sighed around a frown. “I don’t know. It’ll be awkward enough just meeting your friends, but your ex too? I’ll act like a geek or something, I just know it.”
“Tyler, if you truly don’t want to go, then okay; but seriously, you won’t embarrass me, and I don’t really care what Steve thinks. I want you with me. I want my friends to meet you and you to meet them.”
Tyler eyed him for a moment. “Are you sure? Cause really, it would probably be better if you go alone. Your friends are probably hoping you and Steve will get back together anyway.”
“I want you to come with me. I’m sure.”
Tyler chewed his bottom lip, “Yeah, okay. I guess.”
Sammie smiled, “Good,” then leaned in for a kiss.
© Melina Catts 2005