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Gay Romance Fiction

You scurry around like a fire ant, never once stopping to take a break. I can see your forehead glistening, your shiny wet hair, your tired eyes accompanying a cordial yet insincere smile. You're amusing to watch; I feel happy being able to spend even these small moments in the same space with you. You glide towards my table, offer me nothing but a glance while spotting my near-empty pint. You knit your brows in curiosity, point to the glass, and all I can work myself up to say is, "I'll have another, please."


You grin. I can smell your cologne when you dip closer towards my table, grabbing the pint by its handle. Your scent is warm like cinnamon, earthy like trees, memorable, and reminds me of our other nights. I'm caught in a trance until you rematerialize beside me with another beer.


"Here, you go," you respond, beaming. I wonder if your smile is an honest one. I like to think that you smile sincerely to me while putting on a gleeful façade for clients just to snatch up tips. "Is that all, or can I get you something else?" you ask, being coy.


Part of me wishes I could bellow out my deepest desires, while another side of me knows that I'm under a drunk influence and should hold back my urges. I want to touch your cheek, to give it a peck. My hand itches; it longs to stroke your tattooed neck, to have my fingers wrap around your ink. You're probably exhausted, yet I'm the one who wants to rest my head on your shoulder.


"How are you? Rough night?" I offer, completely ignoring your question.


"You have no idea," you grin.


"Well, don't let me keep you," I say with an aching heart. All I want to do is keep you; keep us. I want to preserve the light in your eyes whenever you look at me. I don't want us to fade, to dim, to one day become unrecognizable like that tattoo on your neck.


"It's fine," you respond. "The bar should be closing soon anyway." You place your arm on my table for a second. "And how are you?" you ask.


I cough out an "I'm fine" and take a few gulps from my glass. You laugh; apparently, my jitters and nervous spasms are charming to you; well, at least that's what you once said.


"Are you planning on waiting up for me?" you whisper. I nod, and you wink. "My shift ends in thirty minutes," you mutter beneath your breath.


We don't usually talk much while you're at work; you prefer to keep me distant, and our contact professional. You shadow around my table constantly throughout the night, melting me like a candle with your heat. You speak to me politely, but as if I'm a stranger; we never touch at your place of work. When we do end up talking for more than a few minutes, it's generally to confirm our plans for that night. The routine is always the same. I drink, you waiter, we exchange words, I drink, you refill, we exchange looks.


By the end of the night, after drowning my spirit in booze, I pay my bill, tell you to keep the change, you smile and say thanks. You walk away, then sneak a peek at me leaving. You wave goodbye with your eyes; I then stand outside, waiting for you to finish your shift.


Minutes pass, you come outside and catch me smoking a cigarette. There's no one in sight, so you kiss the side of my mouth before I can react. I blow out some smoke, offer you a puff; you take the cigarette, and we walk back to my place.


*


We're so different when alone together. When in the same room, we don't act like ghosts; we breathe, touch, and live. I don't see you sweat, but glow, my heart doesn't beat, but chants. There's no need for us to scheme. I don't count your steps as they grow closer and farther from me; I move across our labyrinth with ease and smile blatantly to you like a child to the sun.


You head to the kitchen. I can hear the cabinets closing, the glass being filled. You dart to the sofa with wine in your hands. I'm curled up, but you invade my orbit, slither your arm behind my neck and offer me a sip from your glass. I feel worshipped like a god, bathed by your light, stitched to your skin. I can feel your knees below the soles of my feet, your breath looming over my nape. Here, alone together, we exist.


We're both bone-tired, but it's only in these late nights that we can truly bliss out. I go for the lighter and Marlboro on the coffee table and while I smoke, you dive your nose into the back of my spine.


"So how was class, did the kids give you any trouble today?" you ask.


"Same as always," I respond, exhaling a grey cloud. "We talked a bit about Greek gods today in class. The kids only knew of Zeus and Hercules until we started to talk more about the subject," I chuckled.


You swirl your wine. "Did you talk about Dionysus?"


"Haha, I wish!" I answer. "We did talk about Poseidon, Hades, and Hera, though."


"What about Hermes? Apollo? Did you talk about that god of the sun, what's his name again?"


"Helios," I blurt. You nod in affirmation. "No we just covered a couple of them today, we'll go back to the subject tomorrow. I'll give the kids about a week before they know tens of Greek gods and not just the generic few."


I can smell the Tannat laced in your breath, the spicy undertones of the wine floating over my face. "You're so intelligent," you comment. "Those children are lucky to have you."


"Don't sell yourself short!" I reposition myself on the sofa. "You're also wicked smart."


"Yeah, I don't know about that. I was just never that good in school."


"Well, you could always go back," I comment. "You know, finish your degree, do something you love, get a..."


"Get a better job," you interject. A silence invades and lingers over our haven. "Can I ask you something?"


"Sure? What is it?"


"Are you embarrassed by me?" You continue, "You know, of what I do, of not being as educated as you?"


"Why would you think something like that? Of course not!" I return. "So what if you work in a bar? It's an honest job, though, I do think you could do a lot better."


"A lot better? Yeah, who knows," you let out a deep sigh.


You take the burning cigarette from my hand. I can feel a tightness around my throat, a numbing sensation over my arms. "And what about you," I return.


"What about me?" you ask.


"Same question: are you embarrassed by me?"


"What?" there's a pause, a sudden withdrawal of words. "Why would you say that?"


"Come on Lucas," I respond. "Isn't it obvious?"


You say nothing.


"We have been at this for months now. I know the names of all of your colleagues, from the bartenders to the kitchen staff. I'm basically the bar's best client."


"I don't get where you're going with this," you let out.


"Well, when can I stop meeting you after your shift outside the bar? When will we be able to sit together and talk without you looking over your shoulder? When will I get to hang out with you and your friends, see your place, exist in your life?"


"You do exist in my life!" you shout out. "Look, I'm just not comfortable with all of this; I'm not like you."


"Like me?" I repeat. "Well, how are you any different?"


"Look it's not like you go around telling your students that you date men."


"Are you really going to compare my students to grown adults?"


"Look, you don't get it. I'm just not ready yet. If the guys at the bar knew they would look at me weird, make jokes about it, screw around about my personal life. Hell, maybe I'd even get fired."


"Lucas, if they fire you for that, then they are just as idiotic as you!"


"Oh, so now I'm an idiot? Well, Kyle, maybe I should just go. You know, you have an early day tomorrow, teaching and working with people with more potential."


You stand up from the sofa and bolt to the door. "Lucas, just hold up a minute."


"Kyle..." You breathe out. "Kyle, maybe we should just stop with this altogether. Maybe we, no... I'm just not cut out for this right now."


Your words ring in my head. I see you open the door. You leave, don't look back, and the door just simply closes. I sit here, looking at the knob, thinking that at any moment it will turn and you will appear, that you'll crash through like a lightning bolt. Instead, I finish smoking the cigarette, toss out the wine you were drinking and watch it slip into the drain.


*


It’s been months. I live in another apartment, it’s farther from the bar, yet I still find myself coming here often. Part of me still wishes to catch you here, waltzing through the tables' aisles and charming the drunk clients. I miss the wave of heat I would feel every time you came in my direction.


I wonder how you feel and felt about me, about my importance to you. Was I ever important? I still remember that following morning after you left; I couldn't keep myself from thinking of you, Lucas. The memory of your words like arrowheads flying straight through my chest.


I remember teaching the kids about Greek myths. I told them how Zeus was unfaithful and had children with every other woman and goddess alike. I introduced them to Helios, to Dionysus. We dove into the world of Greek mythology, and in the end, I told them about me.


I didn't say anything about you, about us. But I explained how in many Greek myths, love and adoration knew no bounds and no gender. People assume that children know little of love, yet their reaction to that day's lesson was surprising. They all agreed that love was important but also very complicated.


I call out to the nearest waiter for the tab. A young, slender boy comes my way; he bears no tattoos and smells of cheap antiperspirant. I pay the bill and ritualistically tell him, "keep the change." He smiles, shows off his crooked teeth, and walks away. I look for you; I imagine that any second you'll crouch beside my table and tell me when your shift is going to end.


Part of me sometimes questions your existence, if we were real and not just a myth. You were like the sun, and maybe I played the role of Icarus too well. Sometimes I think that maybe I'm wrong; perhaps, I was the sun, and didn't realize you were the one melting away.


*


I stand outside the bar with my blurry vision, trying to light a cigarette. My balance is not the best, and I can feel my knees buckling. As soon as I take a few hits, a warm sensation blooms and stings the back of my throat. I'm coughing profusely; I overdid it with the beers, and now I can barely handle a smoke. My chest aches, I keep my body curled forward as I croak.


"Hey dude, is everything alright?" I feel a hand patting on my back.


"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine," I respond while straightening up my body. "I probably should quit this stuff anyway."


I turn to say thanks for the help, and my eyes meet yours. You look taller, or I'm just too altered to notice that you haven't really changed at all.


"Is everything alright? You look a bit banged up."


"Yeah, I'm fine." I'm not fine; I feel like being hit by a freight train.


I notice your neck, how it's covered with wrinkly plastic. You catch my gaze. "Oh, I decided it needed a touch-up, just finished the first session. Should end up looking pretty good."


I remember your tattoo. The image of blistering black and gray sun expanding across the side of your neck. How many times had that image burned the edge of my tongue or run shivers down my spine?


"Aside from almost coughing out your lung, you seem good, Kyle."


"You too. How have you been?


"Can't complain. I'm doing alright I suppose."


"I noticed you're not working at the bar anymore," I comment.


"Yeah, I thought it was about time to move on. You know?" You continue, "I needed to work in a place that could offer me something better."


"Lucas, I'm sorry. Back then... I didn't it mean it like that."


"What?" you question. "Oh, I didn't quit because of our spat. I just needed to find myself, to work in a place I actually liked. If anything, you were right; I did have a lot more to offer." You flash me your famous cordial smile. "And what about you? By the looks of it, you still come here."


“I do, it’s a bit further from my new place, but I still end up coming here. I'm probably still the bar's best client,” I answer while fiddling with my fingers.


You chuckle. “So, any chance I can take you home?”


“Wait, what?”


“No it’s not like that! Seems like you’re pretty wasted and you did just say the bar is further from your new place. Let me give you a ride!”


“I don’t know, maybe it would be better if I just call a cab?”


“It’s fine, Kyle. Plus, my car's just down the street.”


“Can I ask you a question?”


You nod.


“Are you actually here right now?”


You start to laugh. “Yes, Kyle, I’m actually here. I’m not some drunk illusion.”


“Or a myth?”


“Or a myth,” you reply. “So, let’s go then?”


You put your arm around my shoulder to help and walk by my side. I’m wobbling but manage to keep myself together. I catch a better view of the ink on your neck, the blotchy, fresh image over the old.


“You think it’s going to look good, once it’s healed?”


“Yeah, I do. It’s going to look great. In fact, I’ve always loved this tattoo.”


February 14, 2021 22:29

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14 comments

A.Dot Ram
18:36 Feb 15, 2021

Really nice writing. I like all of the heat/sun imagery and how you add to it with the myths and the tattoo. I love that Kyle's character growth includes him telling the students about himself, how his conversation with Lucas was the catalyst, but it was small and subtle. I'm trying to think on the title. It could borrow a line in the story, maybe "You Were Like the Sun".

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K. Antonio
18:44 Feb 15, 2021

If I were to tell you, that I was thinking the same thing, but for some reason I didn't go with it. 😂🙃 I was for some reason really inspired by the story of Icarus and in my head I imagined him "loving" the sun. The fact that my current relationship is a bit twisted and could serve as inspiration was in some ways a plus and also therapeutic. XD

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Claire Lewis
15:22 Feb 15, 2021

The writing in this piece is beautiful. One of my favorite things was the tension in the first scene, where it’s not exactly clear if this is a secret crush or if their relationship is real, which sets up the main conflict nicely later. I love the Greek mythology that weaves the story together, and the recurring bit about Lucas’ tattoo is making me want a new one lol. Love this line: “ I drink, you waiter, we exchange words, I drink, you refill, we exchange glances.” Some nit-picky edits for you: “Here you go,” you respond, beaming. (Add t...

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K. Antonio
16:04 Feb 15, 2021

I can honestly say that this story made me rethink my relationship xD. Thanks a bunch for taking the time to read, comment and help me edit this piece! It's a big help!

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Claire Lewis
17:20 Feb 15, 2021

Absolutely! I always love reading your stories :)

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H L Mc Quaid
12:57 Feb 15, 2021

Hi K. Some nice writing here, and believable characters. I noticed a few typos: A rogue quotation mark after 'breath.' ...."My shift ends in thirty minutes," you mutter beneath your breath." "you're" in this sentence We don't usually talk much while your at work; you prefer to keep me distant As for titles, a few words that might spark something: fading, burning, indelible, I enjoyed it. :)

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10:49 Feb 23, 2021

This is the first of your story I'm reading so I wouldn't know if it's my favorite or not. What I do know is the uniqueness of this piece. You Were Like The Sun has a combination of both sadness and love and hope and you manage to wrap it all together that it almost seems easy. I didn't get why they had to "hide" at the start until I realized that Lucas isn't a girl. Now I know that I might have been biased but forgive me if the first thought on my mind was the girl must be beautiful. Taking us in gently, I believe this story has beauty and...

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K. Antonio
12:45 Feb 23, 2021

Abigail! I have followed your work on here for such a long time. I'm happy you got to read a piece of mine and found it so intriguing and beautiful, that means a lot to me. To be honest, in the beginning I did intentionally hide the characters' genders a bit, I wanted people to focus on the pronouns "I" and "you" to form a connection to them before revealing that they were both indeed men. I guess maybe, I was successful with that! I'm super happy that this piece resonated with you and you felt that it was poetic. I can say that a lot of w...

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Beth Connor
04:47 Feb 16, 2021

I’m excited to see a story or two from you! This one felt real- It drew me in, and was as though I had a window into Kyle’s life. You were able to write with a romance tag, and not make it feel sappy. As a reader I feel like regardless of the evenings outcome- Lucas will always be a ghost in his life. Well done

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Tom .
00:07 Feb 16, 2021

This is a really solid piece of writing. I love the naturalness of their interactions. Great title, great reasons for the title. I normally try to look for improvements but I don't think I can find any. Good Job.

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Aisa M
10:37 Feb 15, 2021

I enjoyed reading this :) So heartfelt, so real.

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A.G. Scott
04:03 Feb 15, 2021

Thank you for writing so vulnerably. Once again, emotion is dripping off the page. If I could make a suggestion: - Since you spend so much time on the Greek myths, it might be nice if there were a stronger tie-in at the end (since he's drunk and emotional, Dionysus might be a good choice)

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Nancy Drayce
23:35 Feb 14, 2021

Ah, such a well-written and well composed story! The tension between them seemed very real, it was very well portrayed. I loved the pace and the voice of the story; everything was truly amazing. Wonderful story 💙🌟

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K. Antonio
22:32 Feb 14, 2021

Still thinking about the title. Had some free time and said "heck, why not?" I based this story (yes, this is inspired by my life) on the current relationship I've been pursuing. Certain details of this piece are made up, while others are very true. The ending is meant to be inferred, thought about, or speculated upon. Hope you enjoy the read and feel free to share your opinions and critique!

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