After the 3rd Kiss

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I stared at Alex blankly. He wanted to pretend it didn't happen? Just when I'd come to realize and accept everything―just when I'd become ready to take a step towards being something more than friends? His words crushed me.

"Why?" I asked.

"It didn't happen," he replied.

Was it because he didn't love me? Or did he think I was just messing around? "Alex... I love you," I whispered.

He flinched, his fork clattering against his plate, and his cold expression turned pained. I realized that all he'd been doing is pushing his food around the plate with his fork. He, like me, hadn't taken a single bite.

"Alex, I love you," I said louder. My heart was hammering against my chest.

"Stop it, Liam."


Alex shook his head. "Stop."

He wasn't giving me an explanation, so I decided not to give up. "Alex Camejo," I said loudly, and some heads turned towards us. "I love you. I am in love with you."

Alex's brown eyes went wide and the fork fell from his fingers. He glanced around in alarm at the people staring. One person started clapping and a few others joined in. Someone from the serving counter hooted.

"Liam!" Alex hissed.

I stood up and proclaimed for the entire hall to hear, "I, Liam Santos, am madly in love with Alex―"

"Jesus!" Alex grabbed my arm and yanked me from the table.

He led me out of the dining hall, back to the dorms, and to the room. After closing the door, I watched him curiously as he pulled out his phone and started typing. When he was done, he threw it on his desk and turned around to me, putting his hands on his hips.

"Are you serious, Liam?"

"Yes. I'm sorry―"

"You think it matters that you outed yourself in a place where nobody knows you?"

He had a point. "Then... where do I need to announce it? How can I make you believe me? I'm sorry it took me so long. I'm sorry... I'm sorry..." I ran my hand over my face and frowned, feeling intense regret. "But I really do love you. I'm in love with you."

"How do you know?" he demanded. "I'm a guy, Liam."

"I know."

"You don't like guys."

"I like you. I love you."

Alex stared at me, brows furrowed deeply and a sad look in his eyes. "You want to kiss me?" he asked.


"And sex?"

I began to feel embarrassed and bit my lip. Alex took that as a sign I wasn't okay with it and rolled his eyes, looking like 'I knew it.' "Why not sex? You did it with your ex-girlfriend."

"I can do it," I said, taking a step closer and putting my hands on his arms. I kissed his forehead. "Last night, when we kissed, I really wanted to."

"Liam," Alex said, tears welling up in his eyes as he shook his head. "You aren't gay. You aren't even bi."

"I-if I like you, doesn't that technically make me b―" Then I realized, "W-what does it even matter? I love you. Call me whatever you want, it doesn't change the fact that I love you. Not as a friend. Romantically." I paused and looked down as I whispered, "Sexually. Emotionally. In every form of the word." Our eyes met. "I love you."

Alex stared at me quietly, a tear falling down his cheek. Suddenly, his face turned angry. "What have you been doing all these years then?! What the hell was all that? In high school..."

"I thought I was doing what was best for you!"

"Let me decide that for myself!"

I clenched my jaw. "No." Shaking my head, I explained, "I was miserable without you, but you did well without me. You got to be yourself and make a gay friend and get a boyfriend even though he was shit. And you got to come to Toronto and make friends with all sorts of people. It was worth it." It was painful, but I'd made the right choice for Alex.

Alex pursed his lips as another tear rolled down. "I could have done all that with you."

"You couldn't have. You know it."

"Damn it, Liam." He sobbed. "Don't act like my saviour." His fingers brushed away a tear. "Still... Since when have you...? You never once in the past eight years came to me and told me how you felt."

"I didn't know how I felt."

"...But you know now?"

"I know."

"And you're sure?" He stepped back, grabbed the hem of his shirt and lifted it over his head, as if challenging me to make a move.

"I love you," I said, placing a hand on his chest then pulling him into a kiss. Touching lips again filled me with emotion and desire. I wanted to pour all of my feelings into Alex so that he'd understand―I was never going to hurt him again.

 I wanted to pour all of my feelings into Alex so that he'd understand―I was never going to hurt him again

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