It was a much better day than I thought, Cris thought as he got home. Despite how tired he was, he couldn’t stop smiling. I’m really glad he’s cured. Now he can focus on his dream… Too bad I couldn’t give him an oral today. It might have been my last chance. Since it’ll definitely get in the way of his performance, it’s best if I don’t keep tempting him… I want him to succeed too, but I wished he had accepted my offer.
Feeling more happy than sad, Cris went to his room. When he had undressed and got ready to sleep, his phone rang. Of course, he thought the moment he saw who was calling. For some reason he didn’t know, he had the feeling he wouldn’t like answering that call.
Cris put it on mute and let the call end. She’ll give me an earful tomorrow, he knew, but he was too tired to listen to his beloved cousin. However, before he lied on the bed, the phone vibrated again, this time with a text.
Pick up, Mari wrote. Cris winced but ignored. The phone vibrated again. I know you’re up. Gulping, the boy pressed the screen and brought the device to his ear.
“Hey, little cousin,” Mari said before he could speak anything. “Could you tell me how you dare ignore me?” she asked in a soft voice, pretending she was holding back her fake rage.
“I wasn’t ignoring you… I just got home and I’m tired…”
“Tired of your date with Nelson?”
Cris opened his mouth, but then gave up finding an excuse and sighed. How did she know? “It wasn’t a date… We just… hung out, that’s all.”
“Sure, sure,” Mari used the condescending voice that Cris hated. “Then tell me this. Didn’t you two watch a romantic movie together?”
“I wouldn’t call that movie romantic,” Cris said, remembering how much fun he had trash talking the movie with Nelson.
Even with her silence, Cris could tell his cousin was grinning on the other side of the line.
“Fine, we watched a movie, so what? Lots of people watch a movie with their friends. Is it wrong for a gay guy to watch a movie with his straight friend?”
“Of course they can. Especially when the gay guy wants to suck the straight guy’s dick.”
Cris blushed. It’s almost as if she could read my mind. “We’re friends,” he said in a not convincing voice.
“A hot guy that you spent the entire day with is still just a friend, huh?”
“Yeah, just a friend.”
“And afterward didn’t you go with this same friend to the arcade and then eat dinner with him?” Mari went on as if not interrupted, not making any effort to hide how much fun she was having.
Cris gulped and shuddered. “Can you tell me how do you know all that?”
“Oh, little cousin. I have my ways to know. Ways that you shan’t find out,” she said, all mysterious. Then she couldn’t keep the façade anymore and laughed. “It was Francis. He was at the mall and took a few pics of you on your date. I have to say, he was quite jealous.”
“I never realized he was there…” Why is he jealous? He was the one who said he wasn’t ready to go out, but wanted to just be friends with benefits.
“’Cause you were too busy enjoying the first date with your new boyfriend?”
Cris sighed loudly. “I told you, it wasn’t a date. Not the first, nor the second nor any number. And he’s not my boyfriend.”
“Yet, you mean.”
“No comment, huh?” Mari laughed. “Then explained me how you two were hanging out on the arcade after watching a romantic movie together but you won’t call it a date?”
Cris had given up putting some sense into his cousin. She’ll only like it more if I keep denying. I’d rather not give her the satisfaction. “We hung out today ‘cause I was trying to keep his mind busy. He had an MRI today and was too anxious for the results. So I kept him company until the results came out.
“Sure, sure. Aren’t you a great friend?” Her voice was full of sarcasm.
“Friend and manager. And as his manager, it’s part of my job. I’ll help him whenever I can.”
“You say manager, but all I can hear is boyfriend.”
“Then you should check your hears.” Cris threw himself on his bed, exhausted. “I give up trying to reason with you. You know very well why I’m not looking for that.”
“Yeah, I know that, little cousin.” Mari’s voice lost all the sarcasm and now was genuinely worried. Cris could tell. “But didn’t you say Nelson was different?”
Cris took some time to answer. “I think he is. No, I know he is. I only met him yesterday, but after spending all day with him, I can tell he’s a nice guy and cares about others.” The manager hadn’t forgotten how Nelson got angry because some teenagers were staring at Cris. I think it was the first time someone did that for me, he thought, smiling with the memory.
“You’re already falling for him?”
Cris widened his eyes as his heart thumped faster and his cheeks went red. This time he stayed in silence for a long time. “He’s straight, Mari.”
“As if the guy you liked being straight has ever stopped you before,” Mari said with a loud snort. “Even if you don’t want to get in the way of his goal, remember this. Dating isn’t an obstacle. Just because you had one bad experience with a swimmer, doesn’t mean it’ll happen again.”
“I need to get some sleep,” he said after a while. “I woke too early today and I need to prepare his schedule for tomorrow.”
“Right, right. Nice way to dodge me. But tonight I’ll let you slide. Good night.”
Even after she had hung up, Cris’ cheeks were still hot and his heartbeats weren’t back to normal. He stared at his phone as his cousin’s words echoed in his head.
I know dating isn’t an obstacle, but that has nothing to do with it… I mean, just met him, so there’s no way I’m already falling for him. He’s hot and all, but I’m not looking for a relationship. And neither is he. And besides, go out another swimmer… Even if Nelson’s different. Even if got angry for me when I told I was used to receiving those stares when I’m hanging out with a man…
Cris shook his head. It’s all Mari’s fault. I shouldn’t be thinking about these things. Even if he’s a nice guy, even if he’d never hit me, right now he can only focus on his goal. If I really like him, I can’t get in the way. I need, no, I want to help him reach his goal.
With that in mind, Cris had lost all sleep. He sat back up on the bed and got ready to make many calls.