Chapter Seventeen

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I didn't live in the lap of luxury but I was used to living at a certain level of comfort in my own home. My high thread count sheets, my memory foam mattress...I knew how to spoil myself. For me, I was unable to control so many things in my life because of my anxiety so my sleeping environment and my home environment had to be perfect. It was the one place I could count on to unwind.

Well, due to all that it took me a while to find a comfortable spot on the couch. I was big, and my legs were long and the couch was trying it's best but it would never be a bed.

I hadn't dealt with casual homophobia in... a while. I had grown up in a big city, and for the most part I ignored stupid comments. There wasn't even anything wrong with Brian. He was the kind of effeminate people associated with gay men and people assumed I was straight when I was every bit as gay as Brian. It made it easier for me to hide and pretend if I wanted to, which is probably why Mel felt so bold to be homophobic in front of me.

It put me in the awkward position of constantly coming out and I hated that.

I turned on the TV to distract myself and it looked like it was on some gaming or electronics channel. I never recalled seeing anything like it before, but then again most of what I watched was the cooking channel or some kind of streaming service. Manny was more of a gamer and I had a few second hand systems but I wasn't exactly hardcore or anything.

The tv segment looked like a highlight reel of the most interesting things happening in the gaming world over the past week. To my utter shock and delight I saw Trace being interviewed by a reporter. Coincidentally, he was wearing the same outfit he'd been wearing when he dropped me off at the airport and that had been—Wow. That had only been earlier today.

I watched the video in awe as I learned for the first time that Trace was one of the lead writers for the third iteration of a fantasy role playing game that was coming out in the next few days. I recalled Manny mentioning the series to me and how he'd put the game on pre-order. In fact, it was a huge franchise game about warriors, wizards, dragons and had an open world concept. This was huge. Trace was the lead writer and...I didn't even know anything about it.

"So, Mr. Tsuchida, early reviews are coming in for A Clash of Swords III: The End is Nigh and outside of stellar scores for game play and visuals, the story is said to be, quite frankly, amazing. The role playing options are providing an emotional journey for players. How do you feel about these early reviews?"

Trace smiled almost bashfully and I couldn't help but notice how cute he looked. He always dressed in dark clothes and street wear so it was nice to see him in something different. "I was very blessed to be as involved as I was in the writing and story process for ACOS 3. It's a game that I've been following since I was a kid and it's very emotionally rewarding to know I had a role in this. It's a really special moment for me."

There were a few more questions about the writing process and how he and a team of writers worked together over two years to perfect the script , story line, and character design.

"How do you manage to juggle it all between your company, Playing a Role Productions, ACOS, your personal life and... I hear you run marathons?"

Trace laughed, and I could tell it was an honest one because of how his eyes creased. "I have no idea, which is why I'm a little glad ACOS 3 is over. I have to start prepping for my next race, and PARP will be releasing a new game soon, too." He paused to check his watch and his brows rose. "It was really nice to have this interview with you guys but I have to go see my boyfriend off at the airport."

There were a few more words exchanged but I'd stopped paying attention.

Oh. That was me. I was the boyfriend. I covered my face with my hands even though I didn't know what I was hiding from. It wasn't like anyone could see my cheeks burning or the goofy grin on my face. Thinking about Trace calling me his boyfriend made me feel light, giddy and happy. But, then that euphoric feeling washed away once I realized something.

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