Before the 2nd Kiss - Part 4

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"I thought you liked me." Vic's voice sounded a bit sad.

"I do like you. I never said anything about breaking up."

"Oh, good. As long as you like me, that's all that matters."

I frowned. "No. It's not that simple."

As Vic stood up and walked over to me, I wondered if he was going to try to silence me with sex like Reed had. Instead, he kneeled beside me and ran his hands along my wrists and palms. "You like me, that's all that matters. Don't make things difficult."

The fear faded as I shot back, "I like you, that's all that matters?"

"Yeah, we like each other."

"That's not what you just said." I tried to rip my hands away, but Vic's grip was tight on my wrists.

"Alex, calm down. Is something going on? Is that why you're so sensitive?"

I stared at Vic wide-eyed, wondering what the hell was happening. He was the one being sensitive, wasn't he? It wasn't me. Was it? Was it me?

Vic kissed my hands and I thought he must be right. He was being so calm and sweet, I was the one getting worked up, I guessed. I opened my mouth to apologize when he asked, "You're sleeping over tonight, right?"

Something was keeping me from agreeing. Vic's grasp on my wrists tightened again and I found myself nodding. We kissed. He led me to his bed and we continued, but I was in a daze. I'd experienced something like this before back in high school, but now it was worse. Right now, I couldn't even remember what the problem was that Vic's touches were trying to make me forget. And right now, I wasn't accepting those touches because I was weak to pleasure; I was accepting them out of fear.

How was I able to escape last time? That's right, Liam came. It was by coincidence, but he saved me. Who would save me now?

"Say my name," my boyfriend whispered against my lips.

What was his name again? My mind was completely drawing a blank.

Li―no. Brad―no... As I shifted my eyes, trying to recall, I caught him glaring down at me. "You're not even paying attention to me. Who are you thinking about?"

And those words made me remember. I recalled everything leading up to now that verified that the man on top of me was manipulative, egocentric, and probably unstable.

I sat up, pushing Vic off. "I can't do this. Sorry, Vic, we just aren't right for each other."


I grabbed my shirt off the floor and threw it on as I made my way to the door.

"What the hell?" I heard Vic call over the thud of his footsteps following.

I sped up. "It's me, not you," I lied.

"Don't give me that bullshit line. You're doing this out of nowhere. What the fuck is going on?"

Having just reached the door, I turned around. "You terrify me," I admitted, throwing out my hands. "You're insanely manipulative and you just..." I blinked, flustered, the floodgates of my feelings bursting open. "Earlier you said all that mattered was that I liked you. And you didn't even realize. You're busy unless I act clingy and send hearts, what even is that?"

"Alex, you're misunderstanding and twisting everything. What is wrong with you? This is about another guy isn't it?"

"No, Vic! It's about you and your egocentricity and your... emotional puppetry." I jabbed a finger at him, low-key proud of my creative phrasing. "All you want is someone to mindlessly cling to you and stroke your ego. It's not going to be me," I huffed, frowning deeply, then opened the door.

"You can forget about ever getting into undergrad research, you―."

"Ha!" I scoffed. "Get over yourself, Vic. I have more connections than just you." I slammed the door closed behind me, then stomped down the hallway. The crash of shattering glass made me pick up my pace and thank God that I'd escaped before things with Vic got worse.


After that, I decided I was going to take Lexi's advice of focusing on friends rather than romance and was also going to be friends with the next person I dated. Though I did still visit gay clubs to find the occasional quick makeout partner or hookup.

Lexi and Zoe had broken up around the same time I started dating Vic, though they were still friends. Lexi had been a club-goer and, after becoming single, spent more weekends out partying. I was surprised to find out that she went to all sorts of clubs, not just women-only ones. She said she went mostly for the alcohol and music. It was only occasionally, like me, that she went to gay clubs to quench her other sort of thirst.

After I broke up with Vic, she invited me to a standard club and I reluctantly went along. There, I met Jay. Jay was not the type I usually went for with his piercings, messy hair, and leather jacket, but damn, his smile was cute. Nonetheless, I was fairly certain he wasn't into guys. That is, until our second meeting at the club when I realized he flirted with everyone. Yes, mostly girls, but even the male bartender wasn't safe from his charms. Now positive he was bi, I whisper-shouted to Lexi over the music, "Is that why you wanted me to meet him? Are you trying to set us up?"

Lexi turned to me, brow furrowed in confusion. "Who?"


Lexi blinked then burst out laughing. "Oh my god! Alex, Jay is so straight."


Jay came back over from the bar and sat down beside me with his drink. "What's so funny? Let me in."

"Nothing!" I blurted.

Lexi continued laughing. "Jay, tell him how much you like girls."

Jay raised an eyebrow. "Why? Is this some way of her picking on you because you're gay?"

I put my palm to my face. I was sure I hadn't mentioned that I was gay and pretty sure Lexi, who at the third LGBTQ+ Club meeting had said "Don't out your friends without their permission, not even to people like us," hadn't told him either.

"I like girls a lot, but you know, I won't talk about it if it makes you uncomfortable," Jay said seriously with a kind smile.

Grinning, Lexi said, "Jay, tell him your favourite Netflix shows."

"Hm? Super―"

"Oh my god, can you believe Dean?" I caught myself gushing.

"Right?!" Jay exclaimed. "That last fucking episode, man."

"That's why I had you meet." Lexi shrugged, then took a sip of her beer.

So, imagine how surprised I was when not many weeks later Jay texted me, "Fucking Dean. Btw, I'm probably bi. Lexi says we should go to queer clubs. You in?"

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