Chapter 29 – There Goes My Heart
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Chapter Twenty-nine - There Goes My Heart

He was still pondering over how the hell he had managed to get Aron to have sex with him so quickly when his phone started ringing. This time, he didn’t hurry to get it. Yeah, he was going to be a little sore, that was for sure.

But he could barely stop a small surprised gasp when he saw the caller.

“Hi,” Aron’s warm voice came through from the other side.

“Hey, did you forget your keys?” Carter mumbled and looked around. “I guess you’ll have to come back and find them, because I don’t see them ...”

Aron’s low chuckle made the words die on his lips. Why was everything Aron did so ... Like it was making him ... Like ...

“I just wanted to ask you how you’re feeling,” Aron said.

“We barely said goodbye 5 minutes ago,” Carter replied, confused.

“Ah, well, if you really want me to say it,” Aron exhaled. “How’s your ass?”

“Ah, my ass,” Carter almost exclaimed. “Well, I guess I’ll have to use some pillows or something, later, not like right now, but all in all, I suppose that ...”

I want seconds!

Are you insane?

What, you know that’s true.

“I’m glad to hear you’re fine, then,” Aron said in what appeared to be good humor.

Something of that attitude didn’t sit well with Carter, though. There was something suspicious about it. He just couldn’t tell why, seeing that he usually knew everything Aron was thinking. Well, except for the fact that the man liked guys, but well, that was in the past, and ...

“I’ve been thinking,” Aron continued, breaking the silence. “I want to take you out on Saturday night. Somewhere nice. Where you can stretch your wings a little.”

“You’ve been thinking? When did you have time for that?” Carter questioned.

“From the moment I left you until now,” came the prompt reply.

“Ah, okay,” Carter agreed to the explanation. “But what wings?”

Aren’t you glad he wants to hang out? What’s with 21 questions?

Shut up, I can tell something’s off.

Of course something’s off. He’s going through a break up.

His brain was good at offering him solutions when he had none. Which sounded really weird even to him, seeing that his brain was his, anyway.

“Well, I suppose the chick should try to see how’s the world outside the coop,” Aron chuckled.

“Chick? Coop?” Carter mumbled.

Other words that start with C? Come on, he’s trying to get you to hang out, and you’re being a slowpoke.

“Ah, everything needs to be clear with you, right?” Aron laughed. “Okay, since you’re not one for subtleties, and I seem to suck at it, too, here’s what I have in mind. Let’s hang out at a gay club on Saturday night. I suppose that you would like to see how the other side of the universe is living. Since you’ve been so curious lately,” the man added with that low, sexy chuckle of his that was making Carter’s hair rise on end, like he was tickled by a thousand feathers.

“A gay club? Hmm, okay, I guess,” Carter chose to leave other questions for the next time he was going to see Aron. “Wait, I can’t.”

“Why?” Aron asked, and this time he sounded more serious.

“I cannot leave Taz alone for so many hours. And I don’t know what dog sitters will be willing to work late while I go shake it ... on the dance floor or something. I mean, I will try to arrange something, but I don’t want to ruin your night and ...”

“It’s cool. Let’s leave Taz with my folks,” Aron said promptly.

“Your folks? But he’s a dog, and maybe your mom and dad won’t like him ...” Carter trailed off.

No, Aron’s parents were going to love Taz. He was certain of it. But to impose like this?

“Stop finding excuses. Mom and dad will love Taz. And they won’t be bothered by having him over. Come on, I know you must be a very doting dog father, but you should let Taz see other people. Golden retrievers like it best when there’s a full house.”

Carter could feel a small short circuit right through his usually overactive brain.

“How do you know that?” he almost whispered, his voice stumbling on his own words, like a poorly maintained mechanism.

“I’ve read about it,” Aron said promptly. “Are you sure you’re okay? Please tell me I’m not scaring you off right now.”

And now his best friend sounded a bit worried.

“No, no, it’s nothing,” he hurried to say.

“Good, for a second there I feared I broke you. You know, maybe I fucked your brains out or something,” Aron snickered, like a schoolboy bent on doing something naughty during study hours.

“Look who thinks he’s funny,” Carter commented dryly. “Just you wait until I grab hold of your ass and I give you the D. We’ll see who’d be laughing then!” he promised.

“Ah, really? I’ll hold you to that,” Aron said cheerfully. “I’ll call you with the details.”

Carter could swear he had just been tricked into something somehow. But even if it was really irking him to admit to something he was not completely in control, it still felt fine. Yes, definitely. It felt fine as fuck.


What was there to do while waiting for Aron to call? The man was probably having a thousand other things on his mind, and he wasn’t going to think of nothing else but calling Carter.

He looked at the clock, an old piece of garbage he had gotten from a yard sale a few years back. It was supposed to look like a nautical anchor and other maritime symbols, but the thing was so rusty that one could not really tell what it was anymore. Truth be told, the thing had never looked better than this, and, at the time of the purchase, Carter had thought that the thing was going to look quaint and interesting. It was just an old piece of junk, though.

So, in the meantime, since there was nothing he would rather do, he decided to try looking into Alex’s social media for a bit. He didn’t care about following the guy on Instagram, but maybe clues of the guy’s indiscretions could be found there somehow.

After half an hour of reading saccharine compliments and dumb questions from people who seemed to be just as shallow as the subject of their misplaced affections, Carter was bored out of his mind. Maybe he should look into Simon’s social media, for a change? It was clear that the two clandestine lovers were not that stupid to let anything transpire, at least not from Alex’s part of things.

Simon did have the usual social media accounts, but nothing seemed to stand out on his feed, either.

Except, and now Carter looked closely, there was one strange post from Simon.

So happy. Not long until I’ll be with the guy I love. #personal #relationshipgoals

Oh, so Alex was ready to take the next step and file for divorce? Carter pondered while looking at Simon’s post. Maybe it was all for the better. It looked like Aron was taking the separation well, and if Alex was going to call it quits ...

Maybe, just maybe, Aron didn’t have to know that the douchebag was and had been cheating on him. By all means, it felt like a solution to the problem, but Carter found it that it didn’t sit well with him. He felt that Aron was still entitled to know.

So he can wipe the last ounce of affection he might still have for the asshole from his heart.

I wouldn’t put it like this.

Face it, Carter, you’re an egoist when it comes to Aron’s feelings. You want the man for yourself.

Says who?

He ignored the little righteous voice in his head. Funny how people called their conscience a little voice. It wasn’t really a voice. It was just a weird game of tennis which people played on both ends.

He continued to browse through Simon’s feed with disinterest. Apparently, the guy was using his social media presence to promote the business. Yolanda had to be pretty proud of him. Well, at least the guy had found the means to mix business with pleasure. And he did advertise heavily the company’s presence at various hip venues.

Including some gay clubs, he noticed at some point. Ah, so it was to one of these places that Aron wanted to take him. Maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea to look into it beforehand. Just so that he would not end up looking like a poor deer caught in the headlights.

Eh, the places Simon liked to frequent looked just like any other nightclubs, with the sole difference that the audience was preponderantly male. There were still female patrons in attendance, so all in all, those clubs were just different in the sense that they were offering various styles of entertainment, from live performances to thematic parties.

Entertainment? Wait, what if Aron had something totally different in mind? Like the type of place run by that guy, David?

Suddenly, the places showing on Simon’s feed looked like kindergarten. Carter gulped. Damn, what if Aron wanted to have fun with some rough play? Okay, okay, he needed to think.

First of all, how was he going to react? Was he going to take a hike the first moment he saw Aron pulling out a flogger or whatever? Ah, damn, he wasn’t sure he could live through it.

His eyes wandered to the various pics posted by Simon. Man, but were all the guys going to these places good looking or something?

Shit. There was a problem much bigger than the slight possibility that he was going to be introduced to a more alternative lifestyle than what he could face at the moment. He was going to face ...


All right, it was a good thing that Aron hadn’t called just yet. He hurried to the bathroom and took a look in the mirror.

“The 90s called, they want their clothes back,” Carter mimicked Alex’s words in the mirror.

Okay, so there went the list of problems. He needed a haircut. But what if Aron wasn’t going to like the change? Carter had worn his hair a bit long like this since forever, well, since the teachers had no longer cared to tell him that he should get a haircut.

So, no haircut. Aron had fucked him like this, maybe it wasn’t that big an issue. But maybe he needed other clothes? What the hell did he know about fashion?

Well, you were kind of a fashion icon for about a week or more.

True, true, but what did I learn? Nothing.

Well, Aron liked Alex’s body, right? And while he could not become a twink, or have magnetic green eyes that were making stern dudes like Aron buy a Porsche just like that, he could borrow some of that guy’s fashion sense, right?

Okay, but what could work for someone like him? He wandered off to his sparse wardrobe, and Taz woke up from his dog bed and came to accompany him. Both of them looked at the few clothes Carter had with disapproval and annoyance.

“I’m not going to conquer Aron like this, right, Taz?”

Taz looked up and made a small whiny sound. Great, even his dog thought he needed help. Eh, that meant that he had to go out shopping.


“I would like something that I could wear on a …”


Night out?

Just some place for hanging out?

The saleswoman looked at him with understanding, nodding slightly.

“The first time you’re taking her out?” she obliged, with a small knowing smile.

“Her? Ah, no, it’s a guy and …” Carter trailed off.

The woman’s face changed its expression from slightly interested to very much interested.

“Oh, we have the perfect helper then!” she exclaimed, clapping her hands. “Armand!” she then yelled, half turning.

Carter was enough uncomfortable as he was. He could not understand what he was doing in a posh store, like this one. Maybe he should just wear his usual clothes.

His internal debate was interrupted by the saleswoman talking again.

“Armand, dear, the gentleman here is in need of a bit of assistance,” she spoke to the guy emerging from some back room.

Carter threw a small look in the guy’s direction and he was rewarded immediately with a bright smile. Ah, damn, now he felt even more uncomfortable. He was not yet one to read all the signs right, but the guy’s smile had seemed flirtatious.

Armand also had perfect hair, brushed to the last strand like it was supposed to follow some kind of pattern, and everything about him spelled confidence. Like fashion confidence, but it didn’t matter. He was also dressed smartly in what looked to be a pretty comfortable, yet elegant, casual suit.

“Of course,” the guy said affably. “How can I help you, sir?”

“Ah, hmm, I need clothes,” Carter blurted out.

If the guy was amused, he didn’t show it. His smile remained courteous.

“What’s the occasion?” the man asked.

“I’m going out. With a friend,” Carter continued to speak in short sentences.

“A friend-friend, or a special friend?” the guy asked, and this time his smiled widened.

How special was Aron to him? Extremely special? Very special? What was the right answer?

“Let me make it a bit easier,” Armand offered, and began guiding him towards the racks of clothes. “Do you want your homie to notice you?” he leaned in, and almost whispered.

Wow, so being gay was like being in a secret society? What was with the whispering? Carter wondered. But he felt the need to whisper, too. And it did make things easier.

“Yes,” he replied in a small voice. “We’ll go to a gay club, and it’s my first time, and, really, I have no idea what to expect.”

Armand nodded thoughtfully.

“All right, then we’ll just need to go for something that will make you feel comfortable.”

“I thought I should buy something different,” Carter said, evidently surprised.

“That is a common misconception,” Armand explained. “If you don’t feel at ease, you will have a bad time, dear. And your friend will notice, trust me. We just need to upgrade you a little. I see that you’re a jeans type of guy, so let’s try something.”

With expert moves, the guy pulled one pair of jeans from a rack and handed it to Carter.

“Try these on, and let’s go from there,” Armand smiled.

Okay, so far, it wasn’t that hard. He could wear jeans. These were a much darker blue than what he usually wore, but it was fine. He dressed up and took a look in the mirror. Hmm, they were just jeans, but they were definitely hugging his backside a little better. They were a bit low on his hips, but, as he could notice while admiring himself in the mirror, that was the secret to making his ass pop out more. He could almost understand what Aron saw in his behind, and what that girlfriend with the strap-on meant by him having a fuckable ass. The jeans also, kind of, made his legs appear longer, somehow, and the straight cut looked elegant, too.

He pushed aside the curtain and braced for the verdict, as Armand gave him a professional once-over.

“Yes, I guess they are perfect, although I would like to see you in other things, too, now,” Armand pondered.

“I don’t have too much time on my hands right now,” Carter mumbled. “You see, I left my dog alone at home, and he’s really a good kid, and he doesn’t make a mess …”

What the hell was wrong with him? Why was he so chatty? This fashion assistant could not care less about Carter’s dog.

Yet, Armand smiled.

“What breed is your kid?” Armand asked brightly.

“Golden retriever,” Carter answered promptly.

“Ah, a family dog,” Armand nodded. “Mine’s a pitbull,” he added with a small satisfied smile.

Wow, talking about dangerous! Carter looked at Armand in awe, and probably a little frightened.

“Ah, don’t worry,” Armand waved. “They’re the most misunderstood breed. Brute is an angel, really.”

Brute? Wow, that dog certainly had to be an angel.

“Then let’s not hold you more than it’s needed, dear,” Armand smiled warmly. “Here is something to complete the ensemble,” he handed Carter what looked like a pretty much plain white shirt.

Again, as he studied himself in the mirror minutes later, he had to take that back. The shirt was a slim fit, somehow making his anatomy show off, but without being one inch distasteful. He presented himself to Armand, once more.

“Yes, definitely, it becomes you,” Armand nodded. “Now, just a few adjustments to show you how to wear this for, you know,” he added with a smile, “the optimal effect. May I touch you a bit?”

“Sure,” Carter shrugged.

Armand opened the first two buttons from the top and adjusted the collar, and then he proceeded to roll the sleeves up, arranging them in what looked like something very fashionable, although Carter could not exactly explain how.

“There, showing your lovely forearms a little, hmm, I like me a man with veiny arms,” Armand sighed, a bit too dramatically to be serious. “Are you working out, darling?”

“Just playing sports and stuff,” Carter said. “And Taz needs a lot of exercise, so I run a lot, too.”

“You have nice shoulders, too,” Armand said, a bit dreamily, as he dusted Carter’s shirt of some invisible lint. “Your special friend is lucky.”

If he had been a schoolgirl, Carter would have blushed to the tip of his ears. But he wasn’t. No, he was a grown up or something. Yet, that didn’t mean that he knew everything.

“Could you please show me how you roll up the sleeves?” he asked Armand.

“Of course,” Armand beamed at him, and carefully, proceeded to explain Carter how he could replicate that little trick that was supposedly going to make him more attractive to his date.

You’re just hanging out, who the heck said it’s a date?

Shut up. It will be just the two of us. What the hell is it if it’s not a date?

Sweet dreams, my delusional prince.

Fuck you very much.

He had no idea how to be thankful enough for all the help he had received from the shop personnel, so he just chose to buy new shoes, and a belt, to complete his outfit. And Armand also made him promise that he would come back again if his date was a success.

See? Armand thinks it’s a date, too.

Only because you made him believe that.


Saturday night, when Aron was at the door, ringing his bell, Carter stilled believed he was as far from being ready as he could be. At least, the new clothes were not making him feel uncomfortable. And Taz seemed to be excited to go out again, his tail wagging so much that Carter thought there was no more need for a fan or even AC in their small apartment.

“You’re going to stay tonight with the grandparents,” Carter told his pet, patting the dog’s head. “Be nice and they will want to have you over again.”

And maybe I’ll get lucky again.

Lucky? What exactly do you think will happen?

You have no idea.

Actually, I do, since I’m your brain. Have you thought about pivoting your career toward new horizons? Like adult entertainment?

Well, it was now or never. He wiped one sweaty palm against his new jeans and opened the door with what he hoped looked like a natural gesture.

“Hey,” Aron said, and, for a couple of seconds, they looked at each other, like they could not allow themselves to breathe.

Aron was as stunning as ever, dressed up casually, in a black tank top that showed off his perfect muscled arms while offering perfect coverage otherwise, and also made Carter’s mouth water in an instant. The black jeans the guy was wearing also seemed tighter than usual. Maybe they could just skip the going out thing? Go straight to the main course or something?

“Wow, you look great,” Aron said with a small smile.

“Ah, thanks,” Carter mumbled, his eyes still going low, low, low, to Aron’s …

Okay, he needed to get a hold of himself. If not for any other reasons that the jeans he was also wearing were tight as hell. Comfortable, yet tight.

“Ready then?” Aron asked. “I hope you don’t mind we’re taking a cab to move around because I don’t want to keep from drinking tonight, in all honesty.”

“Sure,” Carter shrugged. “Well, I could be the designated driver,” he offered.

“No way,” Aron shook his head. “You’re drinking with me, buddy.”

See? Buddy! Who calls their date ‘buddy’?

I don’t know. Maybe gay guys do, what do I know?

For the time they were in the back of a cab, with Taz between them, everything seemed fine. They made small conversation, talking about common stuff, without a glitch or awkwardness. But Carter could swear Aron was a bit too nice, if that was a possible thing to say.

Clementine and Gary were ecstatic to see them, and not one moment they mentioned about Aron being separated from his husband. They seemed busy making Taz’s acquaintance, just as much as Taz was happy to meet them.

“Don’t worry about a thing, Carter,” Aron’s mom kissed both his cheeks. “Taz will feel great here. How come we never got a dog?” she turned toward her husband.

“Maybe we were too busy looking after the boys,” Gary smiled and gestured toward Aron and Carter.

Carter felt moved. Only after he had grown old enough, he had started to realize what Aron’s parents had done for him for so many years. He was about to say something, when Aron pulled him by the shoulder.

“Let’s go. Now that the baby is safe in the crib, and you don’t have to worry about a thing, it’s time for us to party a little,” Aron told him.

“Have fun!” Clementine said and Gary watched them as they walked back to the cab, and waved at them.

Ah, damn, he could get so used to this. This was, after all, his childhood home. Even if the one across the fence was, like many times before, silent and dark. He could not say that he loved Aron’s parents more than his own, but it was safe to say that he loved them just the same.

At least, this time, his parents had promised to keep him posted about where they were, embarked on another expedition. And so far, they had e-mailed regularly, which was more than what they usually did, so he was grateful.


Okay, so there was no need to panic, despite the quite high number of good looking dudes inside the club. Well, he was congratulating himself now for the decision to get new clothes, because everyone around, while dressed up casually, looked like wearing good quality clothes, and not exactly what Carter wore on a regular basis.

Aron’s hand on his shoulder was reassuring.

“I’m glad you haven’t run away just yet,” Aron spoke into his ear, caressing the skin with his lips.

Carter almost felt the need to tap with both feet. But it would have looked awkward. Aron’s touch, breath, anything, was doing funny things to him.

“Let’s sit at the bar,” Aron guided him.

They ordered drinks, and Carter paid very little attention to what Aron asked the barman. But he sipped from his glass, barely registering taste or whether the thing had alcohol in it, or not. Probably yes, if he were to take after Aron’s words from before. He was pretty sure he felt intoxicated already. If Aron was going to get closer, he would just fold down to the floor, like a curtain after a bad performance.

Yet, the man seemed keen on chatting up the barman, a guy who seemed to know Aron, at least as an acquaintance. To steady his nervous hands, he placed them carefully around his glass.

“Hi,” he heard someone talking from his right.

He half turned to see a young man in his late 20s, wearing pretty much the same getup as Aron, although being not as gifted in the muscle department. The neon lights made the strange colors in his short spiky hair more vibrant. Yet, Carter could not deny that the guy was attractive.

“Hi,” he offered back, with a perfunctory smile and nod.

The guy seemed pleased enough with his reply and mounted the free chair to Carter’s right.

“It’s quite crowded tonight,” the young man commented, looking around and then setting his eyes on Carter again.

Ah, all was well. Why the hell had he thought that a gay club experience would be different from any other one? This guy was nice and even striking conversation with Carter who probably looked like a fish out of the water.

“Yeah, definitely,” he replied, offering a more genuine smile this time.

“Would you mind going somewhere that is less crowded then?” the guy flashed a smile at him, while looking him straight in the eyes.

“Hmm, we just got here, though,” Carter mumbled.

“We?” the guy quirked an eyebrow, and leaned toward the bar, eyeing Aron on the other side. “Ah, I see,” he nodded in sympathy. “Have fun,” he patted Carter’s arm and stood up.

Hmm, what had just happened? Carter could not really say. The guy had looked friendly. Was there something wrong about having company?

Ah, wait, we know this. He was making a pass on you.


What did you expect? Some pickup line? Nice shoes, wanna fuck?

I told you, I have no idea what to expect.

“It’s okay if you want to chat up guys,” Aron spoke, again right into his ear, making his hair stand on end from something that he could only describe as too pleasurable. “I don’t want to hold you back.”

Funny, while Aron was saying that, he had sneaked one arm around Carter’s waist, like he wanted to make sure Carter wasn’t going to get up and start chasing guys that very moment.

See? It’s not a date. He expects you to flirt with other guys.

But I won’t! I’m here for him!

Then why don’t you make that a little clearer?

“Hmm, I don’t know,” he said, looking at his glass, and trying to ignore Aron’s fingers moving imperceptibly right above his belt.

Like the guy was caressing him, through the shirt.

“What, you didn’t like the looks on that guy?” Aron moved a bit closer now.

I like the looks on you.

“He was ‘kay, I guess,” Carter shrugged.

“Oh, look who has some really high standards,” Aron chuckled in his ear.

“High standards? Did you find that guy ... sexy?” Carter struggled to get out the right words.

“Not as sexy as you,” Aron cooed.

All right, so his palms were sweaty, his knees were made of butter, and he had some trouble breathing.

“Let’s get you some sea legs,” Aron stood up and pulled Carter up with him.

“What’s that?” Carter followed, but not without noticing a few guys throwing them looks that seemed like a mix of admiration and envy.

Of course, he was dragged to the dance floor by a guy who looked like Adonis, and while Carter could not say that he had had the time to examine the entire male population, make a hierarchy and then decide where Aron stood, in terms of attractiveness, he was pretty certain Aron was with the most desirable man in the building. He just knew it.

“Ah, no, I can’t dance,” he began to gesticulate, as Aron pulled him onto the dance floor, where numerous couples were already engaged in sensual dances of all kinds of degrees of sexiness.

Well, he was unfair to realize only that very moment that he couldn’t dance, but he risked disappointing Aron, so that couldn’t happen.

“You’ll just have to trust me,” Aron smiled at him, and pulled him close.

And Carter, no wonder there, stepped him right on the foot. Aron’s smile faded for one second, only to grow larger right away.

“No worries, you just need a little guidance,” Aron said with confidence.

Ah, great. Only he didn’t feel the same confidence. Aron grabbed his waist and made him turn so he could face the crowd, and stay flush against Aron’s strong body. Hands were on his hips, steady, and Aron’s voice caressed his ear again.

“I will teach you how it’s done.”

“Hmm, okay,” he agreed, and prayed inwardly that Aron was not going to need foot treatment after Carter was going to step on his toes an infinite number of times that night.

But the truth was, he noticed right away, that it was easy. Aron glued their bodies together, guiding Carter’s every move, while holding one arm round his waist.

Wow, he was dancing! Now that was something! Also, it felt nice to have Aron hold him like that. The song ended, in the cheers of the audience, and Carter made a move to step away from his best friend’s embrace.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Aron cooed. “I have so much more to teach you.”

Teach me oral sex.

You didn’t just think of that!

Why not?


This time, the tune was slow, and Aron turned him so they could face each other. Since Aron was holding his back, Carter found that there was no other way for him to stay without being awkward but to place his hands on Aron’s broad shoulders.

Aron was looking him right in the eyes, and while the play of lights in the club made it a bit difficult to read everything in Aron’s dark eyes, Carter knew, that very moment, that the man’s entire attention was trained on him.

“So,” he gulped. “What would you like to do next? And I didn’t ask you, because I didn’t know … Well, okay, if you want to pick up some guy or …”

The cascade of words flowing from his mouth was cut short by Aron’s firm lips. Ah, so nice! Even his brain was shutting down, now relaxed and floating somewhere in the vast expanses of the universe.

Aron didn’t need to fight him to make him open up. Carter had no hesitations when it came to that. Not anymore, not that he had ever had, come to think of it. Aron had his kryptonite. He only needed to kiss Carter, and nothing else mattered.

The man pulled him tightly and buried one hand in Carter’s hair, making a fist. Oh, fuck, the sudden jolt was making his knees tremble. Aron knew so well how to kiss it was unfair. Desperately, he opened his mouth wider, allowing Aron to reach deeper. Carter knew as much as to not let go and be a slowpoke this time around. He stuck his tongue into Aron’s mouth, too, and they were pretty much devouring each other at this point.

The only thing they needed was to breathe. So they had to stop, but they continued to move slowly, to their own rhythm, while tasting each other with small licks and bites. Around them, another fast paced song was making the audience move spastically on the dance floor.

“Oops, sorry, guys,” someone apologized, when he bumped into them by accident.

“No problem,” Aron said promptly and now dragged Carter down from the dance floor.

“Should we get drinks again?” Carter asked, unsure of what his best friend’s determined gait could mean at this point.

“No, let’s get going,” Aron said, and his voice sounded a bit strained.

The music in the club was loud enough to make them yell at each other, but Carter knew when his friend was preoccupied, and that was now. But why the change in attitude? Until now, Aron had seemed pretty relaxed.

It took what seemed like seconds to be out in the street, again. He was about to ask Aron what was wrong, when the guy just pulled him close into another kiss. This time, Carter wanted that humans didn’t need air to function. Because sure as hell he didn’t want to let go.

“I cannot believe it!” an angry voice interrupted them.

Both Carter and Aron stared confused at someone who was gesturing with a smartphone, probably taking pictures of them.

“Simon?” Aron asked, intrigued.

Carter could feel his head starting to hurt. Now what were the chances?

“I have it right here!” the guy continued, without looking at Carter at all. “The proof that you’re cheating on Alex!”

“We’re separated,” Aron shrugged, seemingly not impressed at all with Simon’s threats.

“Not divorced yet!” Simon insisted. “Wait till I show him this. This is grounds for divorce, you know?”

Simon’s eyes finally traveled to Carter and grew wide.

“What the hell?” he exclaimed, but then he tried to regain his angry composure. “Not gay, my ass!”

“Wait, do you two know each other?” Aron intervened.

“We run together, sometimes. We met at the park,” Carter said quickly.

“Okay,” Simon exhaled, clearly now a little thrown off balance by Carter’s presence. “I don’t blame you. He’s cute,” he addressed Aron. “But you should just let Alex go if you don’t want him,” he wagged his phone at them again. “Don’t think I won’t show him this.”

“Aron and Alex are in an open relationship,” Carter found himself talking. “They’re trying to see how it would be to see other people. So your so called proof means nothing,” he gestured toward Simon’s phone.

“You’re pulling my leg,” Simon lowered his phone, now a bit unsure of his actions.

Carter let go of Aron and pushed Simon three feet back. Then he grabbed the guy and whispered in his ear.

“How else would I know that you have a tattoo on your chest saying ‘Alex’s Property’?”

For the love of all that was holy, he hoped Aron was out of earshot. He could not check.

Simon almost staggered.

“No way!” the guy whispered.

“Yes way,” Carter said quickly. “But Alex doesn’t want people to know, so if you go to him with this, he might not take it well, okay?”

“Okay,” Simon mumbled, visibly shaken. “So you and Aron, huh?”

“Yeah,” Carter nodded.

“Okay, sorry to bother you, then,” Simon began walking away, still starting in awe at him and then at Aron. “Enjoy your night.”

“What was that all about?” Aron asked, amused. “What did you tell him?”

“Just that …” Carter fumbled with his brain for a credible lie. “That I won’t run with him in the mornings if he’s a douchebag.”

“Ah, pretty convincing,” Aron laughed. “I’m pretty certain that you told him something along the lines of better not tell unless he wants to piss his pants from too much tickling, but …”

“Hey, I’m not the kind of guy!” Carter exclaimed.

“C’mon, did you forget? There was this guy in sixth grade who couldn’t stop teasing me over my height, and was an asshole about it, too, calling me names. You tickled him until he pissed his pants.”

“But I apologized!” Carter said, now completely mortified. “And I got one week suspension.”

“Regardless, that just goes to prove that you’re all for cruel and unusual punishments,” Aron laughed. “Well, I should say that I feel honored that you took my side. But it wasn’t needed. Simon could go to Alex with those pictures for all I care.”

“But he could divorce you,” Carter mumbled. “Make it hell for you.”

“That’s fine,” Aron shrugged. “The sooner, the better. Plus, I’m not going to cower in front of my soon to be ex-husband’s so called secret lover.”

Carter grabbed his jaw and put it back.

“You knew?” he asked. “I mean, this guy and your husband?”

“What? That Alex has an affair with this guy? He could barely wait for me to be out the door that he started going everywhere with Simon.”

“But, for how long …” Carter murmured.

Aron shrugged.

“It doesn’t really matter. I like to think that at least they weren’t together while Alex and I were still playing house. We seemed to get along just fine for a little while, and then Alex just flipped a lid again. Just as I felt like I was in love with him deeper than ever before. I just couldn’t stand it to go back to the war of attrition Alex seems to be a specialist in. Well, this time I’m done. And I’m not going to stand between him and his happiness with Simon, if that is what he wants.”

Carter let out a sigh. Ah, great. So Aron had his suspicions all along. Only that he had struggled to believe in his husband nonetheless. And he knew Aron well. The guy was as determined to walk away as he was invested in something. He embraced Aron tightly, hoping that he could transmit all that he was feeling with that hug.

“Don’t worry,” Aron hugged him back. “I’m okay.”

“But weren’t you afraid,” Carter mumbled, “with him sleeping around? Maybe getting something … bad from him?”

His fears from before came rushing back to him. Aron had been in danger all along? Even if Alex had claimed that he was always using protection.

“Alex is one fuse short of being misophobic. He doesn’t let people touch him too much, let alone other things. Simon must have made the cut. And it was one of the reasons why I asked our medical provider for regular checkups for the both of us and have the results transmitted to me, in duplicate. On one occasion, he even acted like a total hypochondriac. Just after he got out of the hospital. Trust me, putting up with his disgust of germs and dirt could alone drive someone insane.”

Carter could feel some sort of perverse glee imagining how Alex must have reacted with people wanting to hug him all of a sudden. Yeah, he hadn’t exactly left a happy legacy there. Ah, great, now he was feeling guilty again.

“Well, thank you for the night out, Aron,” he spoke. “I should get Taz from your mom and dad. I bet he’s sleeping right now, but …”

“The night’s still young,” Aron interrupted him and took his hand gently. “And, as you say, Taz is already asleep. Let the puppy have his rest. Plus, my parents won’t be up at this hour either. We would only just disturb them.”

“Should we go back inside the club, then?” Carter pointed toward the building they had just gotten out from.

Aron shook his head slowly, and then leaned in and kissed Carter.

“Do you remember what you promised me?” he whispered, brushing slowly his lips against Carter’s.

“Ah, um, ah, what?” Carter mumbled, all rational thought down the drain.

“You wanted to give me the D, if I recall properly,” Aron chuckled. “Come on, I have an awesome hotel room. I even have a Jacuzzi.”

Ah, who could resist to that kind of temptation? Carter stood there, dumbstruck, while Aron made the call for a cab.

“Are you serious about this?” he asked, as soon as Aron finished the conversation with the operator.

“About getting the D from you?” Aron laughed. “I’ve never been more serious about anything else in my life.”

Ah, damn. Carter could feel his knees getting wobbly again. Great. Now he had performance anxiety.