More Than Friends: Chapter 1

This is a story revolving around the life of a gay man. If this offends you... well, you offend me, so go away. Also, if you're looking for a story to jack-off to, you might want to look elsewhere. I don't have plans to do any graphic sex scenes anytime in the near future.

I stared down at my new college schedule in shock and disgust. On Wednesday, I would be on campus for nine hours. NINE HOURS!? It just wasn’t right; it was cruel, inhumane, and just.. wrong! I closed and rubbed my eyes, hoping that when I opened them again, it would all be a dream. But that never works, and those nine hours of classes were still printed clearly on my schedule. I groaned with disgust, and crumpled the paper up, not wanting to look at it again.

Being an art major, I figured I would enjoy at least my first two classes of the day, ART 103 and Art History. But it was my last on that I dreaded. Early American History. The name itself was enough to put me to sleep. But I knew it couldn’t be too bad.. Heck, in tenth grade I slept through Global Studies almost everyday and managed a 90 average, I was sure I wouldn’t have much trouble with this history class either.

Wednesday finally came, a bit too quickly I might add, and I suddenly found myself standing in the elevator; the third floor, and my history class waiting for me. The lift came to a stop with a slight jolt and the doors opened with a squeak. I sighed as I adjusted the strap of my bag before stepping off the elevator.

The class was in one of those large lecture halls, with rows of long, thin tables making their way down to the front of the room. I glanced at my watch, noting silently that I was 20 minutes early, which certainly explained why the room was empty. Suddenly I remembered that I knew this room already. It was the one where the note-taking lecture I’d been forced to attend had taken place; the lecture I’d completely slept through.

I climbed the steps to my same seat and watched as other students filtered in. It took all my will power to stay awake at this point, but when the professor finally made an appearance, I couldn’t help but laugh.

The guy was seriously hyper, practically running across the floor, talking at a hundred words per second. But, I had to admit, he was far from boring. The first thing he did was ask the last few rows to move toward the front, forcing us to move into the first 4 rows. I stuffed my notebook back into my bag and hung it over my shoulder as I made my way down the rows, looking for a seat that had some space that would be between myself and my potential deskmate.

I finally found one two seats away from some guy, but as I slid into the chair and maneuvered myself so my legs weren’t jammed into the back of the desk, I realized he wasn’t just ‘some guy’; he was gorgeous! I don’t know how to describe him, he was just too perfect. His hair was light brown and cut short, almost to a buzz, but not quite. It made just want to scruff it up. His face was slim, and his jaw was so sexy that I could barely stop myself from running my tongue alone it. I have this thing for jaws, y’see. And his eyes were incredible, deep brown and so intense. But as I stared at him though the corner of his eye, I knew it would be too much to ask for him to be gay. He was just too perfect.

I spent the rest of the 3 hour class trying not to look at him, but each time the professor said something funny, our eyes met as we laughed. I knew he wouldn’t see what I felt about him in my eyes, because we were laughing, and laughs are meant to be shared.

The three hours were over much too quickly, but when I finally got home, my best friend, Allison, was waiting for me.

"Hey, Ben! Bout time you got home. . . hey, why are you grinning like that?" Not for the first time, I was glad I’d confided in Al with my secret. I knew I would burst if I didn’t tell someone about Ethan.

I flashed her my trademark smile, but refrained from saying anything. I wanted her to brew in her juices for a bit. She followed me threw the kitchen, and tugged on my arm as I opened the fridge door and scanned the contents.

"C’mon! Tell me! What happened?"

"Can’t a guy just be in a really good mood without something happening?" I asked, a bit to smugly, twisting the cap off of a Sprite, and taking a swig.

"NO!" she screamed. "Now tell me!"

I smiled again. "Ok, ok, just give me a second. I have to gather my thoughts."

"Don’t hurt yourself," she laughed, then followed me into the living room.

"Just for that, I don’t think I’m going to tell you." I dropped onto the couch and rested my feet on the coffee table.

"Yes you are!" She grabbed my Sprite and held it over my head, threatening to pour it.

"Ok! I give! I’ll tell you." I grabbed the drink back, and sat, grinning, for just a few more seconds. "Today, in History, I just happened to sit next to the most beautiful human being in the world!"

Al’s jaw dropped. "Awwwww! That’s so cute! My little man has a cruuuuush!"

I laughed at her choice of words. "Als, I’m hardly little, I am six-seven you know."

"True, but you’re still my little man!" She smushed my hair.

‘Geez, don’t you have a boyfriend of your own? Chris is going to be jealous. He doesn’t know about me, remember?"

The room became suddenly very quiet.

"What? What is… you told him, didn’t you?"

She didn’t say anything for a moment, but nodded slowly. "I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to, it just sorta happened. I’m sorry."

I clenched my jaw, trying not to say something I might regret. We sat for at least ten minutes, trying to avoid each other’s eyes.

"So.. how did he take it?"

"Well, um.. he’s glad that he doesn’t have to worry about you having a crush on me or anything.. but I think now he thinks you have a crush on him."

I grunted, knowing that was very much the kind of reaction Chris would have. He seemed to think that any straight woman- or gay man- must be in love with him.

The silence resumed, both of us fidgeting uncomfortably.

"Ben, please don’t hate me, please. I never, never, would have told him if I didn’t think he’d be ok with it. Just.. just don’t make any passes at him, ok? His ego is big enough as it is." She chuckled softly at her own joke, and as hard as I tried not to, I found myself laughing too. Our eyes locked for a moment, and suddenly neither of us could hold back. The floodgates burst, and we both clutched our stomachs, cackling like madmen.

I gasped for breath as the laughs began to subside, my head still spinning. "Al.. I want you to know that I could never hate you. You’ve been there for me all the times I needed you; when the confusion and self loathing had almost taken their toll."

She stared at me for a moment. "Oh, Ben! You don’t know how much that means to me!" she leaned over and wrapped her arms around my chest. "I love you so much, you know. I would die if I knew I hurt you."

I rested my hand on her back. "I love you too, Als." She let go of my body and rubbed her eye.

"Ok, no more mushy stuff." She nudged me in the ribs. "Now, tell me all about this guy you like so much."

I took the same seat I’d used last Wednesday, hoping that Ethan would sit somewhere near me again. Ten minutes later, he walked through the doors and started up the stairs. My heart sank as he passed my row, but as he turned and walked down the one behind me, things started looking up again.

He took a seat that was one row behind me, and flashed me a smile as he sat. I didn’t know what to think. Maybe he was just remembering the professor’s actions from the week before, or maybe there was something else. I was hoping it was the latter.

The professor was his same, overly hyper self today, and talked non-stop for the first hour and a half of class. I took notes diligently, glancing back around the room occasionally, hoping to get a glimpse of his eyes. I wasn’t sure, but I thought I caught his staring at me a few times. I grinned a crooked grin and turned back to my notes.

Finally, the professor told us to take a 15-minute break, and the class began filtering to the elevators.

Somehow, I managed to be alone with Ethan in the lift as we made our decent to the first floor, and the snack venders that awaited.

"Wow, he certainly is a piece of work, isn’t he?" I asked, trying to break the silence.

"Yeah, what’s up with him, anyway? I think he needs to cut down on all that coffee he’s always chugging."

We entered the elevator perfect strangers, but left it best of friends. Laughing and talking about anything that popped into our heads. I followed as he walked over to the little food stand and grabbed a burger. He paid for it, and we sat at a table, talking about our old school, and old friends. In the process we almost lost track of the time.

"Holy shit! We’ve been gone for 20 minutes! We’d better get back!"

"Yeah," He tossed his wrapped and we walked back to the elevator. "You just know he’s going to give us that look when we walk in."

"Yeah, but who cares?"

We waited as the incredibly slow lift made its way back to the first floor.

"Um, look, Ethan.. There’s something I want to tell you."

The elevator interrupted me, and we stepped in.

"You were saying?"

"Well, I just wanted to tell you, before.. Ethan, I’m gay."

He stared at me, his jaw clenched, until the elevator came to a stop on the third floor, then walked out, not saying a word.

I didn’t know what to do. I’d just told the guy I’d been obsessing over for a week my biggest secret, and he walked out on me. I stood in the elevator doors closed again and rode it back to the first floor.

I spent the next week barely saying a word to anyone. Even people I’d never met were asking if I was ok. Allison was more worried about me than I had ever seen her, but I couldn’t bring myself to say anything. Somehow, to me, talking about it would make it even more real.

Much sooner the I would have preferred, the inevitable was upon me again. Wednesday reared its ugly head.

"Benjamin! This is college! You can’t go missing classes whenever you don’t feel like going, now get ready!"

I rolled out of bed, wishing I hadn’t decided to stay home for the first year of college to save money. It so didn’t help to have my mother treat me like a child still, and keeping my secret from her was becoming harder to do, especially since I knew she would have no problems with it. For some reason I just couldn’t tell her. I didn’t want to be any different.

My first two classes were a blur of talking head, and not much else. I didn’t know how I was going to face that class again. If I hadn’t needed the credits, I probably would have dropped it without a second thought.

But suddenly I found myself sitting in the back of the lecture hall, as far away from Ethan’s seat as I could get. I knew that the professor would make me move, but I wouldn’t sit any closer voluntarily.

He walked through the door the same time as always. If I didn’t know better, he almost looked disappointed to see that I wasn’t in my seat. But then he saw me in the back, and our eyes locked for a moment.

I wish I could have read what he was thinking through his eyes. Was it disgust at what I was, relief that I was sitting so far away from him, or concern, concern that he had hurt my feelings.

He took his seat and we waited as other students filtered into the room. I laid my head on the desk and closed my eyes, hoping to sleep through the class without being noticed by anyone.

After a few minutes, I felt someone sitting in the chair next to mine, and someone coughed lightly. I opened my eyes, greeted by the sight of Ethan, staring at the front of the room.

"Look, Ben. I’m really sorry about the way I reacted last week. I… I didn’t know what to say. You caught me by surprise."

I sat up but avoided his eyes. "You’re not gay, are you?" As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I regretted them. I had no real reason to even think he was gay.

"Yes, I am."

My jaw practically dropped to the floor and I swung my head to watch him.

"I.. I didn’t want to admit it. I thought maybe I was just being paranoid or something and that it would all go away eventually. But when you told me about yourself, I knew I couldn’t deny it anymore." I stared to take his hand, but he pulled it away. "Ok, look. I can admit this to myself and we can still be friends, but I just need to deal with this by myself, ok? I just need to pretend.." He stopped talking, and looked like he was about to cry.

"Believe me, I understand. We don’t have to talk about it at all if you don’t want to."

He smiled and looked up from the desk. "Thanks..." For a few more moments he looked like he had something else to say. I didn't do anything to break the silence, just let him think things through. "Um... are you doing anything after class?"

I smiled with relief. "Nothing that I know of—oh, I have to check in with my best friend. She's been pretty worried about me the past week."

Ethan looked away and his face turned bright red. "Sorry about that," he whispered.

"No, don't worry about it. No harm, no foul. Allison seems to think she's my mother or something; she's much to overprotective of me. But I love her anyway." I glanced at the clock near the front of the room. "You know, I really don’t feel like sitting through class today. You want to go grab some dinner or something…"

A look of fear crossed Ethan’s face.

"…as friends," I finished, knowing that Ethan wasn’t ready for anything else.

We snuck out of the room before the instructor made his appearance and headed for the stairs. As we walked through the first floor commons area, I heard someone calling my name.

"Ben! Hey Ben! Wait up!"

"Josh! Hey, what’s up?" Josh was one of my art friends, and one of the few people from school that I hung out with during my free time. He was openly gay, but I’d never told him about myself. He was a bit too flamboyant and femme for me, and I didn’t feel like I knew him well enough yet.

"Nothing much, but I thought you had a class." He walked up beside me and put his hand on my shoulder. Josh was the touchy/feely type, and was always putting his hand on my shoulder, or hugging someone. Some people I knew were uncomfortable around him, but I didn’t mind at all.

"Yeah, we do, but we decided we wouldn’t be able to stand sitting through a lecture today."

Josh laughed, "I can understand that."

"Hey Josh, this is my friend Ethan. Ethan, Josh," I said, finally getting to the introductions. Josh took Ethan’s hand and shook vigorously, smiling broadly. Ethan, on the other hand, looked slightly uncomfortable. I made a mental note to ask him about that later. "So Josh, do you have a class here?"

"Yeah, Art History." He grinned. "At least I’ll get an hour and a half nap." Josh and I laughed, but Ethan didn’t seem to get the joke.

"Art History is probably one of the most boring classes I’ve taken," I explained. "The teacher is really nice, but she has a very monotonous voice. And she kinda drags on off topic all the time. It’s pretty easy to get distracted."

"Hey, I have to go, man." Josh gave me a hug, and shook Ethan’s hand again. "I’ll call you later tonight, maybe we can get together for lunch."

"Sounds good. I’ll talk to you then!"

We pulled into Allison’s driveway nearly a half an hour later. She had no idea we were coming, so I hoped she would be home. I shouldn’t have worried though, as we were getting out of the car, she came running out of the house.

"Ben! I’m so glad to see you!" She wrapped her arms around my neck in a tight hug. "I’ve been worried—oh, hello. Who are you?" She asked as she noticed Ethan standing next to me.

"Al, this is my friend Ethan."

"Ethan! Oh my God! It’s so good to meet you! Ben’s told me so much about—" She stopped short, not knowing if she’d given too much information.

"Don’t worry, we’ve made up. Though we have yet to kiss," I laughed.

"Oh? So are you gay?" She asked.

Ethan looked very uncomfortable for a moment, but I put my hand on his shoulder to reassure him. "It’s ok, Eth, Al is great. You can tell her. The only person she’d ever tell is her boyfriend, and he’ll just assume you have the hots for him too."

Ally smacked my arm and Ethan laughed. "Ok, yeah," he admitted. "I’m…gay. But I’m not out of the closet yet, so please don’t tell anyone."

"It really helps when someone else knows. I was a wreck when I finally told Ally. She helped me through some tough times. And I’m not out of the closet either, so we’re in the same boat. When we come out, we can do it together."

I pulled Ethan into a hug. At first he resisted slightly, but quickly submitted and gripped my body as tightly as I was his. "That means a lot, Ben. And I think you’re right. It does feel comforting to know I have people who will support me."

We released each other finally and I turned to look at Ally. "…Which reminds me, we did have a reason for being here. Ethan and I were wondering if you would care to grace us with your presence for dinner."

Ally beamed. "I’d love too! Just let me change and we can go!" She ran back into the house, Ethan and I trailing behind her. "C’mon guys! You can help me pick out something to wear!"

"Al, we’re just going to Juanita’s or something. You don’t have to get all dressed up."

"I know," she replied. "I just want to look nice while chaperoning my little man’s first date!"

Ethan and I glanced at each other. I don’t think either of us thought of this as a date…until that moment. Suddenly a simple dinner had gained a whole new meaning. "Ally, I really don’t think this was going to be a date…"

"Oh…" She stared at us for a moment, then shrugged. "Oh well! I’m still getting dressed up!"

I sighed and dragged Ethan back into the living room to wait for her. Knowing Ally, she’d be awhile. We sat in silence for a moment, until I noticed Ethan was staring at me with a serious look on his face.

"What?" I asked, grinning. His expression didn’t change.

"What made you decide to tell me that you’re gay?" He asked finally.

"I…I’m not sure, really. From the first day, when I sat near you, I’ve had feelings for you. Whenever we’d look at each other when laughing, it was like magic. I guess I just couldn’t go on pretending I didn’t want you."

As I spoke, Ethan’s serious mouth rose into a smile. "I noticed that look in your eyes, but at the time, I didn’t understand what it meant. I’m glad you told me. If you hadn’t, who knows how long I’d go on trying to deny myself. I feel so comfortable around you, even comfortable with myself. I never thought that would ever happen."

We looked into each other’s eyes for a moment. "Ben, would you mind…if I kissed you?"

I was a bit taken aback by his question, but I smiled. "Ethan, you never have to ask."

He slowly moved closer to me, his eyes closed slightly. I leaned closer to him and our lips touched for the first time. At that moment, all of our insecurities vanished. We pressed our bodies together, joining at the mouth. I wrapped my arms around his back, pulling him as close to me as possible. He gripped the back of my head and ran his fingers through my hair. Our lips pressed and sucked on each other. Our tongues finding their way into each other’s mouth; soft, wet flesh grinding together. The world around us disappeared and we slowly dropped into a horizontal position on the couch.

"Hey! Stop that!" Ally’s voice shattered the magic of our embrace. "I thought we were going to dinner, not have a sex-fest on my couch!" Even though she sounded angry, I knew she was joking.

"Mmm hmm," I said, smiling. "You’re just jealous that we didn’t ask you to join us."

Ally laughed. "Not hardly."

I glanced at Ethan, who was now staring at the ground, his face bright red. I took his chin in my hand and raised his head to look at me. "Hey, don’t worry about it, she’s just kidding." I leaned to him and whispered in his ear, "That kiss was amazing. But I suppose it was good we weren’t able to go too far. I wouldn’t want to do anything you weren’t ready for."

He smiled and my heart jumped. I knew at that moment that I was falling in love.

This first chapter is based loosely on actual events. Then names have, of course, been changed to protect the guilty  :o). "Ethan" was a real person, but I never came out to him. This is a story about what could have been in a perfect world.

Now that you've read it, email me and tell me what you think. Hell, email me even if you have nothing to say about the story. I never get any good email. Good cookie recipes are always welcome.