23 - Jealousy and a nosy friend.

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The surrounding noise – muffled voices, clicks of cups, laughs – and the smell – perfume, alcohol, cigarettes, bodies – contribute to worsening my mood. There is no good explanation as to why I accepted Teddy's invitation for a drink after work when I am feeling awful like this besides him being insistent.

It is Monday night and for all the weekend I couldn't summon the courage to contact Harry. In my mind, I know that he didn't do anything wrong but my feelings have been poisoned and I don't know how to react to them without hurting him.

"You really have to wipe off that moody look on your face, James. The ladies will steer away like this." Says Teddy with an annoyed expression while sitting by my side on a high bar stool.

Theodore and I meet in college, graduated together and after a while unexpectedly reunited in the same hospital, me in cardiology and him in plastic surgery. Nowadays he has a beautiful and nice wife and a pretty three years old daughter. The only crisis he has to face in his personal life is Elaine being suspicious about a possible infidelity. Unfortunately, she is right and more than once.

"I don't want any woman to come close, Teddy." I explain feeling edgy.

Giving me a doubting stare he says "Why? Still depressed about Amanda? It is time to let go, man! Just find someone else and move on." Talking with him can be tiring. "It is not because of her. I am dating someone."

With a huge grin, he gives me a friendly slap on the back. "Congrats, man! It was way past the time to get some action again. Let's find some girls to celebrate with us. And gulp down that drink." He points to the glass of whiskey on the counter in front of me.

"You really don't understand the concept of monogamy, right?" I comment tiredly since I am used to his womanizer nature. I never interfered but I do believe that this is going to come back and bite him in the ass someday.

"So, who is she? Does she work at the hospital?" Teddy's curious stare could drill holes on my face.

It is not a she but a he and "No, It is not someone you know."

"Oh, is she a beauty?" Why is he so morbidly interested? Well, in a sense Harry is a beauty, a male one. "Yes." I respond feeling a tightness of proud on my chest.

"Oho! Now see here my friend showing off!" He nudges my elbow with his. "So, when am I going to meet her?"

"Never." Not even over my dead body.

"Oh, come on. I wouldn't make a pass at a friend's woman!" That is not what I am worried about - though his declaration is also not true – Teddy is simply the kind of friend I don't want near Harry.

When I don't say anything he proceeds "So, if you are already seeing someone why the long face? Everything alright with you two?"

Remembering my uneasiness I respond "Yes, everything is fine."

Attentively staring he retorts "Your face doesn't agree." Why does he have to be perceptive now? Nudging my arm once more he teases "Hum? What is the problem? I will lend you my shoulder so tell daddy here."

Annoyed I ask "Is this one of the lines you use with women?" Smirking he responds "Why? Is it working on you?" Dispirited I just sigh.

"So?" Teddy insists.

Well, it is not like I will lose something by explaining. "Last Friday we had dinner at a restaurant but at the end, an ex appeared. Seeing that man put in an awful mood."

"Why?" Teddy asks surprised. "I mean, of course, it is awkward but everyone around our age has a couple of exs. Or do you prefer the virgins? You would have to go after high schoolers; that is a crime."

Giving him a deadly glare I declare "I am not you."

"Nope, I like the experienced ones; much less drama and a lot more pleasure. Don't you too? At least that would mean your girlfriend won't make you wait forever and the sex will be smooth since she already knows how things work, right? Or what, did you start to feel disgusted with her because she is not pure? You didn't seem to care with Amanda."

Disgusted? Don't make me laugh. If I was disgusted I wouldn't want to touch Harry but this is exactly what keeps playing in my mind. His white figure shivering under my fingers; his gorgeous face blushing for me; his lips gasping at my touch. But I am not the first one to see it. Other men have induced these reactions before and the thought is infuriating. I wish I had been the first; the only one. And now that I am not, I desire that every man that has ever touched him would disappear; that they were all dead. Like that Harry would be exclusively mine.

With an amused expression, Teddy points to me and mock "Oh, Wait! Are you perhaps jealous? Oh, my God, that face! You are dying of jealousy! Oh, man, you are deep on this one. She has you eating on her palm!"

Teddy's body will greet the morning floating in a river; face down.

Facepalming I sigh again. I had no idea that someday I would feel so possessive over a lover. Nothing like this ever happened before. I have meet ex-boyfriends of previous girlfriends and it was just a little awkward, not a big crisis. Because, why should I care about the past?

But not this time; Mark was already on the picture when I came so it wasn't a shock, but this new guy wasn't. He made me aware of a fact that I knew but hadn't really realized yet; that Harry had belonged to others before me. And that is driving me insane.

"But you still love her, right? Otherwise, you wouldn't be bothered like this."

Love? Yes, I love Harry with all my strength. In a way I have never loved anyone before.

Isn't it the most important in the end?

Resigned I agree "You are right." I can't let petty feelings about the past ruin the happiness I have been given now.

Laughing Teddy celebrates. "Great! Now let's party."

I feel torn between staying with him since he did help me sort my feelings and going home to call Harry, but before I can decide Teddy pokes me pointing at something and whispers "Is that what I think it is?" Looking at the direction he indicated I only see two men seated at a table talking and smiling, seeming close to each other in a more intimate way than just friends.

Speaking in a tone between horrified and delighted Teddy elaborates "Are they a gay couple?"

Yes, they probably are, why?

"My God! That is so perverted! What do you think?"

As I make a confused face he explains. "Don't you think they are gross? It is against biological rules, even the sex is unnatural. Besides, can you imagine yourself getting a hard one for a man? That is sick."

Placing my cup on the counter I coldly say "Which do you think is worse, Teddy, those two that are simply in love with someone from the same gender or you that cheats on your wife since forever?"

He gives me a confused gaze. "What's got into you?"

Shaking my head I state "Just stop being an idiot."

"Hey, what the hell! Besides, why do you care? You are acting as if I offended you. So what, are you gay now?"

Feed up with this talk, I stand up from the bar stool and gather my things, ready to leave Teddy alone with his offensive ideas, however, before parting, I face him and declare "Yes, the person I love and am dating is a man. Good night." then I turn and walk to the door not bothering to look behind.


A/N: So proud of James at the end!

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