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We ended up at this funky, candle-lit (too dark, actually) place with ringlet-haired waitresses wearing patchouli and a large vegetarian selection.

The important thing about the dinner I should relay is not anything to do with the food or what we talked about or anything like that, of course, but the fact that I FINALLY realized that, hey, if I played my cards right the possibility existed that I might be able to sleep with someone I genuinely liked and knew the name of.

Besides Carynne and Ziggy, I counted only one other in that category–Matthew–and I hadn’t exactly handled the end of that terribly well, but it had been okay, and I didn’t regret much.

The possibility of doing something I wouldn’t regret was exciting in and of itself. I hadn’t really decided one way or the other which was worse, being a “pervert” who fucked men for a sick thrill, or accepting a label that came with a completely different kind of baggage, even if I could be “proud” of it some day.

But with J sitting there, all smiley and warm and witty and so goddamned intimate with his questions and his answers, I thought maybe it was best to leave off theorizing until after I’d done some more field research.

Having a realization and making a decision on a course of action are two different things.

In fact, making a decision to make a decision, and actually making the decision, are two different things.

In other words, I didn’t know for sure if I wanted to or not, but I wanted the possibility, and enjoyed not knowing, for once.

The result was a long and lovely evening, where we talked and laughed and told things about our varied and sordid pasts, and ate and drank and drew things out as long as possible, such that it was close to midnight when we went back to the hotel, and sat around in the bar until maybe one a.m. and then…

And then I flashed to the possibility that maybe I still hadn’t drunk quite enough for me to be the leader here, and that I didn’t really know one way or the other whatJonathan wanted.

At the moment when this occurred to me, we were sitting at the actual bar, elbows on the wood, with our noses deep in snifters of something–I don’t remember now if it was cognac or whiskey. Something rich and dark and complicated, and J’s eyelashes looked light in comparison, a wheat-colored piece of his hair touching the outside rim of his glass while he inhaled, eyes closed. It seemed like he’d sit that way forever unless I made the first move toward seducing him.

And then I thought, whoa, what if he doesn’t want to be seduced?

My tongue burned with liquid smoke and I suppressed the urge to cough. The bartender, who I guessed to be about my age and bored, was ignoring us, his eyes on a silent television from where he rested at an inside corner, not even pretending to polish glasses. I imagined the scene from his point of view and couldn’t guess what he might think. Decadent rock and roll types, maybe. So I tried to imagine it from J’s point of view. What did he see when he looked at me? What did he want? I imagined myself successfully seducing him and then finding out later that he hadn’t wanted that.

My own nose in my drink, I closed my eyes, and thought, Jeezuschrist, Daron, he’s spent every waking moment with you for the past two days. How much more of a hint do you need?

I opened my eyes. J was looking at me.

I cleared my throat and said in a low voice. “I have to ask you something.”


My lips pressed slightly together as I got ready to open my mouth. The bartender chose this moment to stop ignoring us and asked if we needed anything else. “We’re fine,” I said too quickly, “just leaving.” He slid me the bill and I signed my room number on it. J raised an eyebrow and slipped what was left in his glass down his throat before standing up.

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