“You been avoiding me?”
I was in the backyard when I saw him sitting there. He looked amazing as always. Shay had on some trunks today but it still made his ass look big. He had caught him when he was just coming out of his pool. He was dripping wet. I couldn’t help but to lick my lips. I had to behave. I was a married man and there was no way in hell I was going to cheat…even if Shay was my type.
He smiled at me. Shay had straight pearly white teeth and dimples when he smiled.
He walked over to the fence meeting me halfway.
"You know I wouldn't do that."
I shook my head, "Just messing with you. Haven't seen you in a while."
Shay looked at me hard, "Well I still have a little bit of a crush so i was just getting over that..."
He was blunt. He was being real blunt. This dude was literally throwing himself at me. To be honest I did get it a lot. Guys and girls tried to get with me all the time. It happened ever since I was younger. I'd always been the dude who was chased. Me and Miguel used to be two of the most sought after guys in Miami. I was used to it and it never phased me. With Shay that was different though.
Shay made me...nervous...
"Lamont said he was going to cut the grass back here," I stated.
I did it on purpose. I don't know if I did it for him or for me. I just knew that I had to remind myself and him that Lamont was in the picture. I had to behave. This innocent flirting could lead somewhere else and I wasn't for it.
"About Lamont...how well do you know him?" he asked.
Shay was being suggestive. I didn't know what he was trying to say but it was clear that he was trying to get something off his chest. The look on his face said it all. He seemed to want to say something but for some reason he wasn't just saying it.
"I'm just saying, you seem down for him...are you sure he's down for you like that?" Shay stated.
"I know it's just..."
"Look. You seem like cool people but I kind of want to keep my relationship to myself," I quickly replied to him, "I wanna be cool with you. Maybe even friends but that can only happen if you respect my relationship."
I knew I was being hard. It was actually hard for the words to come out of my mouth. I just had to let Shay know that this innocent "flirt" we had going on stayed innocent. It wasn't even like me and Lamont were just dating. Me and Lamont were in a full blown relationship. That meant a lot.
He nodded at that moment, "You know what. You are right. Your relationship is none of my business and I have been out of line. I honestly think you and Lamont make a good couple. I should probably get going by the way..."
He was smiling but I wondered if I somehow hurt his feelings.
I grabbed him before he walked too far.
"Hey, I was going to invite you out..."
"You sure that's cool?" he asked.
I shrugged, "I mean we are going to be friends right? Besides. I need your help. A bunch of us are going to Town Hall tomorrow evening. We are going to protest what happened at the bar. We are going to protest cultural discrimination against lesbian, gay and transgender individuals. The police are not enforcing anti-discrimination legislation and it's time we spoke up."
He looked back at me, "You honestly think people are going to listen?"
I shrugged, "It's better than the alternative."
Shay nodded, "I'll be there then. I got your back."
There was a way that he said it. He seemed to mean it. Lamont had said that he was going to show up for the protest too but that was in the midst of him saying how stupid of an idea it was. Shay was different though. There was such an honest support that came from him.
Shay smiled back at me and walked away.
I hated to see him leave but I loved to see him walk away. He was so sexy. I couldn't help but to lick my lips and stare at him.
"Damn...that's my future..." I heard a voice say from behind me.
It was Miguel. He must have been referring to Shay. Was this dude too scared to come out until Shay walked away? No...impossible. It had to have just been my imagination. He had just walked in from outside the house. He joined me in the backyard. He had a beer in his hand which he handed to me. I quickly stopped looking at Shay walk away from us. I was hoping Miguel didn't see the lust in my eyes as I stared Shay down as he walked away. Clearly Miguel had the biggest crush on him and the last thing I wanted was to be involved in some sort of love triangle.
"Who...Shay is your future?"
"Hell yes. I want that to have little Moreno babies running around with him,"
"You sound whipped boy," I stated, " You sound like you retiring your player card..."
"For HIM...I might," Miguel stated.
"I never heard you sound like this," I replied laughing.
Miguel was a player! I mean there was a chance where Miguel used to flirt with guys lead them on and then never call them back just for sport. He was a handsome dude. He was a pretty boy. He had over 100k followers on Instagram and he didn't even have a goddam job. He was just one of those popular socialites that everyone wanted. The fact that Miguel was tripping over Shay blew my mind.
"There's something about him," Miguel replied.
"His ass..." I laughed smiling at him, "I know you boy. Don't even try to play."
Miguel shook his head at that moment, "It's more than just his ass. It's his personality. It's how positive he is. He smiles so wide that his eyes close. He is down as hell and seems loyal. Plus he's sexy. That's hubby material."
My heart raced. Miguel was that into him. I had to admit that a wave of anxiety went through my body. I had noticed the same things that Miguel had noticed. I noticed how Shay smiled. I noticed how confident Shay was when he walked. I noticed how Shay was able to walk into a room and just have everyone look at him. He seemed so positive as well. He didn't even seem humble.
He wasn't like Miguel. He wasn't one of those guys that could take a picture and you just fall head over heels for him. Shay was one of those guys that you had to understand in person. He was just...loveable.
"He's ok," I replied, "You are overexaggerating."
I didn't know why I said that. It wasn't how I felt. Maybe I wanted Miguel to back off of Shay a little bit and was being selfish. Maybe I was trying to throw Miguel off of how I really felt when I looked at him.
"You're married. You don't get it. You ever meet someone and...just stop thinking about everyone else you've met before that person. You ever meet someone and your imagination goes wild with what things might be with that person?" Miguel asked.
I had. I had met Shay and was thinking the same thing.
I tried to laugh off how I felt, "You sound like the biggest pussy right now kid. Ha. You sound like you are all the way in your feelings."
Miguel shrugged, "There's something about him..."
He was right. There was. Maybe I was being fucked up. I was married. Miguel was right. If Miguel felt this strongly about Shay then maybe I should have been supportive.
"Why don't you say more to him?"
"YOU of all people don't know what to say to a dude?" I asked.
Miguel shook his head at that moment, "Look it's different. I can kick game to these THOT dudes all day. It's nothing for me. I can fuck any dude I want. It's nothing. But Shay is a different quality. You don't kick game to guys like Shay. You give guys like Shay the world."
"I'm sure Shay would be cool with you giving him a convo first..."
"Why? Has he said something about me?"
I had to laugh again. Miguel sounded so desperate. I felt like I was in some alternate universe. Miguel was a player. Guys chased guys like us. We didn't get all excited and head over heels.
I had to tell Miguel the truth, "He doesn't even act like you exist."
Miguel rolled his eyes, "Mierda!"
It meant shit in Spanish.
I took to laughing, "Look cous. He's going to be at the protest tomorrow. Then is your chance."
"You said that last time," Miguel stated, "And then you danced with him the entire time..."
"What you trying to say?"
Miguel looked over at me, "I dunno. I mean Shay is an attractive dude. The two of you seemed to be really clicking or maybe I'm just imagining things homie. You like him?
Miguel was giving me a suspicious look.
"I'm married. Plus I'm not even into black guys like that cous..."
Miguel laughed at that moment, "Man. You're right. I'm tripping. You aren't grimy like that. You wouldn't try to play Lamont, let alone try to play me..."
Miguel walked away and I just felt bad. I could have told him the truth. I could have told him that, yes, I was attracted to Shay. I could have told him that I was working on building a friendship with him however. Anything would have been better than completely denying that I had any attraction to him at all. Miguel looked up to me like an older brother. I didn't understand why the hell I wasn't telling him how I truly felt about things.
It was almost night when the protest really started to kick off. I had been out there for 7 hours. I had literally spent all my time marching up and down the streets. I was sick of it. I had lost my job because they found out that I was in a relationship with Lamont. I literally had to fight for my unemployment benefits. I was barely making it by. Being gay had literally destroyed my life and I was sick of the discrimination.
"I expected more boys to turn out," Miguel said next to me.
It was horrible. The lesbians had turned out to protest but the number of gay guys were so small. I was shocked at that moment to see that there were only about 10 gay guys that were there meanwhile there had to be about 50 lesbians that came out to show support.
"They are scared," Lamont replied, "Guys get it worse than girls."
We all knew what IT was. We got hated on way more than girls for some reason. We got bashed and discriminated worse than the lesbians. I didn't understand why this was an excuse for people not to show up though.
"Where's Rashad?" I asked.
"You know he's not for this protesting shit," Lamont replied, "And to be honest neither am I. No one is listening to us. No one gives a fuck about what about of sissies got to say."
"You mind being a little bit more supportive?" I asked.
"We should be burning townhall DOWN! Not protesting..." Lamont replied.
Lamont was serious. That was the fucked up part. I looked over next to me. The other boys that were with us were looking on. Miguel, Venus, a friend of Miguel named Tony and another guy named Felix were there. They all looked over at Lamont. It was just fucked up my own husband wasn't supporting me. Lamont was actually in his phone the entire time. He clearly didn't seem to care about what was going on.
"Can you just do this...one time?" I stated.
Lamont sighed viciously, "Whatever..."
Rashad had gotten to Lamont. He had made Lamont think that violence was the answer. That wasn't the case.
"Martin Luther King protested peacefully," a voice said.
I turned over to see that it came from Shay. He had made his way through the crowd. I was shocked to see that he painted his entire body in rainbow colors. I couldn't help but to smile when I saw him. I actually wanted to l turned. I was shocked to see him showing so much spirit with this. I honestly wanted to hug him. I think I took a step forward when all of a sudden I noticed Miguel moving forward.
MIguel tapped Shay on the shoulder, "Damn, you went all out..."
"I had to show support," Shay stated, "We can do this. Peaceful protests work."
Lamont rolled his eyes, "Boy please. How can you compare this to the Civil Rights movement?"
"Why not. This is an issue of civil rights?"
"You think straight people see us as humans?" Lamont asked, "You have to be seen as a human to have civil rights. They see us as animals."
I couldn't take it, "Lamont can you STOP being a fuckin' bitch...for once!"
I looked at the others. The public arguments between Lamont and I were getting worse. The others just stared at me with these knowing eyes. I had to pull Lamont away.
We took a few steps behind the others where I grabbed him. Luckily the protesting was loud on the streets and we could have a sense of privacy because so much was going on. I pressed my lips up against Lamont.
"Look, baby, I want change just like you," I told him, "I just need you to be supportive."
"I'm here aren't I?" he asked.
"Just because you are here doesn't mean you are supporting me. Shit."
"We need to agree to disagree with this. You want a cheerleader...clearly that boy Shay is a cheerleader. He painted his whole body rainbow colors. Why don't you get with him."
"Why the fuck would you say that!"
"I notice how you look at him."
My heart dropped.
"Are you fucking serious? Miguel is trying to get with him. Not me. That dude is ugly to me. I don't even know what the fuck you're talking about."
I shook my head, choking over my words, "Ok. That was a little much. Maybe he's not ugly. He's just not my type. Why the fuck don't you trust me..."
"I think you FUCKED him!"
My mouth shot open at that moment. How the fuck had an argument about the rally gotten into Lamont accusing me of fucking Shay? This literally came out of left field. The look that Lamont had on his face made me think that he must have been thinking this for a while. I hadn't even known Shay for that long.
"You're tripping. You know what. Stay away from me..."
"No STAY THE FUCK away from me. I may have flirt once in a while but for you to think I would straight up cheat on you after I agreed to marry you says a lot. You clearly don't know me as well as I thought you did. You got me all the way fucked up. I don't want to fucking talk to you right now."
I knew I was being difficult. I was just offended. No one had ever just straight up said that to me.
I moved back to the front leaving him where he was standing. As I made my way back I had to admit all I kept thinking about was Shay. I was being accused of cheating and I hadn't even cheated. I had literally been trying to stay away from him and I was still being accused. The more I thought about it why the hell was I acting shady towards Shay? Shay had been nothing but cool and supportive ever since I met him.
At that moment all I could think about was talking to him. I didn't get it. Why did I have this urge not to talk to my husband but an urge to speak to Shay.
I found myself pushing through the crowd looking for him. I didn't know what I was going to say. Truth is I wasn't thinking that far in advance.
By the time I got back to where I was I noticed Shay.
"You look cute all covered up," Miguel stated.
"Cute?" Shay replied.
Miguel had his hand over Shay. Shay was laughing. It was clear that Miguel was putting his game on Shay. I watched as Miguel leaned into Shay. He must have said a joke or something because Shay was smiling all of a sudden. Even after he said his joke he leaned in again and continued to talk. I watched how Miguel touched the side of Shay's eyes. Shay smirked a little bit. He laughed.
There was this pain in my chest. At first I didn't know where it was coming from. It wasn't until I noticed that I was in back of Shay and Miguel staring at them. At that moment it was clear that I was jealous. I was jealous as fuck. I could feel my heart beating faster and faster as Miguel went closer.
Shay put his hand on Miguel's shoulder.
Shay leaned into Miguel and whispered somethign into his ear. They were close. They were so fucking close. Why the fuck was I tripping right now? Why the fuck was I so jealous?
I hadn't even noticed anything at first. I hadn't noticed the noise. The only thing I noticed was Shay. He was looking around. He seemed scared. That was when I looked around too.
It was Miguel. All of a sudden panic had filled the streets. I didn't know who was shooting. I didn't know where the shots were coming from but I knew the shots were coming. Immediately people started to run in every direction.
Who was shooting!
"SHAY!" I screamed out.
Shay wasn't looking my way. He was reacting to someone else. I noticed that he was reacting to MIguel. Miguel didn't hear me either. He was looking around too. I watched as he grabbed Shay. Even in the midst of this I realize how I was jealous. I wanted to be the one to protect Shay.
I felt at that moment Tony, Miguel's friend put his hand on my shoulder, 'RUN! They're shooting!"
The gun shots ran through the crowd like a chorus. I started to take off as fast as I can. In front of me Miguel and Shay. I saw Venus struggling to roll his wheelchair.
I quickly went behind Venus to help him push. I looked back. People were getting trampled. Chaos was breaking out. That was when I saw bodies dropping.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
I saw who was shooting. It was a truck. It was the same truck. It wasn't too far away from me. It read WAF. I saw the letters printed in clear letters. A gunman was on top of the truck. He shot into the crowd. Two people fell. He shot again. I watched as Tony, Miguel's friend fell beneath me.
I had to run back.
"Are you ok?" I screamed at Tony.
Tony looked down at where he was shot. It was all blood. He started to scream. I would never forget the scream. I would never forget the piercing shout of fear and pain that escalated from his throat. He was screamign. He was crying. And I saw the look on the face of the gunmen.
I couldn't see the mouth. The mouth was covered up by a black bandana, but I saw the eyes. I saw the machine gun in his hand as he sprayed out into the group of protesters. There was this distinct look that I would never forget. There was this look of hatred. These people hated us. They hated us because of who we decided to love. How much sense did that make?
As our eyes connected the gunman aimed at me.
No where to run. I was next on his target list.
Just at that moment I was pushed out of the way by someone and the person took the bullet for me. At first I wasn't sure what was going on but when I came to myself I realized what had happened.
Someone had taken the bullet for me. Several bullets straight to the head. The person was dead before they hit the ground.
And it just so happened to be someone that I loved...
To read the next chapter please go to www.crushedcrown.com