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.”“Whatever,” I say with a grin as I join him and we step into a wave of heat.Alongside the scent of cedar, dry heat is packed into the room, and together they rub up against us and fill our lungs.Under the single dim light, Curtis takes his beer and leans back on the cedar-slatted bench.Leaning over to pick up my own beer, I halt abruptly as he tugs on the corner of his towel, lifts himself an inch off the bench, and pulls it off.My fingers close around the brown glass bottle because there isn’t anything else to hold onto.Between the heat and the tingling of alcohol I’ve already consumed, I feel like I’m being lured toward a place where inhibitions don’t exist.Except that’s not right at all, because it’s just me and Curtis here.And if I’m not careful, I might fuck up the only friendship that has ever really mattered to me.I take a swig of my beer, but it goes down rough.I’m trying to keep my eyes off him by focusing on whatever else I can – the swirling knots in the cedar ceiling, the cold bottle in my hand, the coils of the heater glowing sultry red.“Come on, Danny,” Curtis says casually, eyeing my towel.“We’re both guys.Who cares?”“I’m fine like this,” I say, but my words sound even more dry and forced than the heat in here.Even so, I risk a single cautious glance.He’s lying on his back, face pointed toward the ceiling with his eyes closed.I can’t help but wonder if he’s doing that just to make it easier on me to be around him while he’s so… naked.Emboldened, I take a small breath and let my eyes move downward.Since he’s lying on his back, his abs have disappeared for the moment, replaced instead by a soft, flat belly that moves up and down with his breaths.Catching sight of that familiar line of dark hair, I follow it down over his navel, then lower to a dark patch of pubic hair trimmed short.And in the middle, draped across his leg, is his dick, fast asleep.I take a nervous drink of my beer and tug on the corner of my towel to pull it tighter around my waist.I don’t trust myself to lie down, and I can’t even consider taking the towel off, so I just sip my beer and avert my eyes, letting the heat wash over me.The temperature rises, and sweat pushes through my pores, collecting on my forehead and my neck and everywhere else too.Stealing another glance at him, I see that he’s perspiring even more than me.I know I shouldn’t stare, but it’s impossible to drag my eyes away.So I just look, reveling in how fine a man he has become.His stomach still rises gently with his breaths, and he looks completely relaxed.Drops of sweat mingle together on his skin – along his hairline, on the inside of his elbows, just below his navel.When I finally turn away, the admiration is tainted by regret.We were best friends once – a friendship that was torn apart because I loved being around him too much.And it’s happening all over again.It feels like fate is personally tormenting me.I didn’t move out across the country to be a successful craftsman with a beautiful home on the ocean.I didn’t give a shit about that stuff then, and I don’t really care that much now.I moved here because I couldn’t be with anyone without thinking about Curtis.Longing for him didn’t hurt at first.In a way it almost felt good, because I knew the feeling was real, and I didn’t wonder anymore what people were talking about when they said the word love, and I wasn’t afraid anymore that I might never feel it.But then it began to grate against me.It hurt every minute I couldn’t have him, because no matter what I did, every moment was a reminder that I wasn’t with him.And for everyone in my life who told me that I would eventually get over him, or that I should just start dating… I never doubted that they were wrong, not even for a second.They didn’t know Curtis the way I did.No one knew Curtis the way I did.But it didn’t matter, because even though I was best friends with a guy who was fun, kind, and handsome as hell, he was fucking straight.So I moved here, to find someone who was Curtis, but wasn’t.To find someone who I could love the way I loved him.And this time, just maybe, it would be someone who actually loved me back.I can feel the frustration beginning deep in my chest, rising through me into a sigh so raw it makes me want to scream aloud how broken the world is.Instead, I lean back against the sauna wall.Curtis is staring me down, watching the thoughts on my face.“Seriously dude, what’s wrong?” he asks.He sits up, and an outline of perspiration on the cedar marks his previous position.His towel is still folded beside him, but I can’t bring myself to look at anything but those eyes.Even that ardent look of his can’t make me confess the way I feel about him.I promised myself that I would never bring it up again, and I won’t break that vow.I uprooted my life because of that promise, and sometimes I feel like it’s the only thing that has protected me all these years.Curtis couldn’t understand what I needed from him then, and nothing has changed since.“You’re upset about something.” He crosses his arms and holds them tight to his chest.“When we were younger, you’d always get that face whenever you’d messed something up.”“Wow.” I don’t have any emotion to spin on the word except surprise.He blinks like he’s gotten something in his eye, then wipes a hand across his sweaty forehead.“Danny, spit it out.”“It’s just the beer and the heat,” I say tightly.That’s partly true – three beers and half an hour in a sauna have my head swimming.“Bullshit,” he snaps.“What the hell is going on with you?”Inside me, a switch seems to flip, and immediately I stand.“I can’t do this right now.I just can’t.” Throwing the door open, I walk out.Towel hugging my hips, I step over poky wet grass as steam rises off my skin.Contrary to what I expect, the cold feels good – at once both sobering and refreshing.It almost makes it possible to push the last hour out of my mind.The door to the house is nearly within reach when Curtis slows down out of a sprint and stops me with a hand on my chest.His other hand is clenched tight around the tips of his towel but he’s barely keeping it up.Flinching at his touch, I take a step back from him.“Will you just let this go?” I shout at him.“Just leave me the fuck alone, okay? That’s all I want right now.”“Are you kidding me, Danny?” His hands work to tie his towel properly, and his expression is mixed up with confusion.“You don’t need to be dropping f-bombs.I’m just trying to be a friend to you.Like I always have.”“That’s the problem,” I say, nearly choking on the sharpness in my voice.His face is blank, but his words are nervous.“I’m not following you.”“Doesn’t matter.I don’t want to talk about it.”His exhaling breath is one of desperation.“I don’t get you, Danny.It’s like you’re so upset about something, but I can’t figure out what on earth it is.Half the time I don’t know if you even want me here [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]