FREE FICTION FRIDAY: IF YOU LOVE SOMETHING CH 12: PICKING UP WHERE WE LEFT OFF

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Hi All,

They say if you repeat something for three weeks in a row you’ve developed a habit….

Well, I think I’ve now developed a habit of flashing!

Here’s my flash with the Free Fiction Friday Group!

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IF YOU LOVE SOMETHING

( IYLS )

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SUMMARY

David and Jesse are childhood friends who get separated in their teens but meet up again at university in Newcastle, Australia.

They soon find out that though some things remain the same, other change… oh boy, do they change.

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Previously

“Are you waiting for David, mate?” I heard Howie ask.

Jeremy.

In my gut, I knew it was Jeremy.

“Ah, yeah, I am. Will he be long?”

Oh my God, it is him. He realized. He came back.

“No, not long at all. Should only be a few more minutes. He’s just locking up for the night. Does he know you’re waiting? Shall I call him?”

“No, that’s fine. I’ll wait. You go.” I heard Jere reassure Howard.

“Okay, then. I’m Howard, or Howie, take your pick.”

Jere’s reply had a warm feeling spreading out from the center of my chest. “Jeremy. I’m an old friend of Davie’s from Byron Bay.”

“Well, Jeremy, great to meet you. We’ll be bound to see each other again if you’re a mate of David’s”

“Yeah, sure.”

And with that I heard Howie walk away.

Slowly, taking my time, still trying to calm the excitement zinging through my veins, I stepped outside, allowing myself only a brief glance at Jeremy, before turning my back to him and putting down my bike. I locked the door.

Turning, unable to withhold the smile that curved the corner of my mouth, I told him, “Happy Birthday, Jere.”

He returned my smile. “Thanks, Davie.”

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CHAPTER 12: PICKING UP WHERE WE LEFT OFF

I hardly heard his quiet response to my birthday wish with the loudness of the blood thundering in my ears. We stood on the pavement, taking each other in, Jere with his head cocked to one side.

“I know this is going to sound ridiculous, man, but that’s what you are—a man. I mean, not a boy. Christ, I sound like an idiot. I think I might have sunk a few too many beers, and um, rum ‘n’ cokes. I’m not making sense, even to myself!” He chuckled, giving his shaggy head a shake. Closing the small gap between us, he threw his arms around me. “God, I’m just so stoked to find you again. This is the best birthday, ever!”

He smelt of rum, sweat, shampoo, and something uniquely Jeremy. It probably shouldn’t have smelt good to me, but according to my once again hard-as-a-rock dick, it was heaven. Giving his back a manly thump, I pulled back, quickly shoving my hands in my jean pockets. Freakin’ hell, I can’t be getting horny over Jeremy!

“It’s great to see you again too, Jere,” I croaked, cursing the emotion in my voice. Fuck, he’s going think I’m a pussy.

“Let’s go to my joint. We have to catch up. I’m at Hamilton. Where are you living? Are you closer? Should we go there?” he babbled, firing question after question at me.

“Hamilton? You’re kidding me. I’m at Tighes Hill.”

“Bullshit!”

We stared at each other in shocked wonder for a long moment, each of us scarcely able to believe we’d been living only a stone’s throw from each other for God only knew how long.

I had the oddest sensation as we continued to gawk at each other. It was as if with each second that passed the years fell away and nothing had changed. I was still Davie. He was still Jere. And we were still best friends.

Turning, I grabbed my bike, throwing one leg over and resting my butt on the seat. “Well, climb on, Princess, your chariot awaits you,” I teased, winking at him playfully.

“Princess? Not bloody likely,” he grunted, seating himself sideways on my bag rack.

“Whereabouts in Hamilton?” I asked, laughing. I felt so fucking happy. It was real. He was real. I had my best friend back. Now, if only I could persuade my wayward dick to behave, life would be just about perfect.

In a passable Pommy accent and with an imperious wave of his arm, he replied, “Lindsay Street, Jeeves.” I cracked up—in one short sentence, I’d gone from the knight in shining armor to the chauffeur.

I pushed off, still chuckling. My chuckle became a choke when his arm snaked around my chest, clasping me firmly about my ribs. And… cue hard-on! Damn, every time I thought I had it beat, he’d do or say something and I was back to square one. I realized he was probably hanging on because he’d had a fair bit to drink and didn’t want to fall backward off my bike, but I was petrified of his arm lowering and discovering my erection which was trying to slip under the waistband of my jeans in its quest to head north.

“Jeez, Davie, you’ve got some muscle happening here,” he said, his hand giving a light squeeze or two of my abdomen, snickering as he laughingly spat out, “Bet the chicks love it!”

Jesus fucking Christ, just send the bolt of lightning and kill me now. The universe, I was certain, was intent on humiliating me.

The ride to his terrace house was exquisite torture. I was hyper aware of the heat of his arm wrapped about my torso, his hand clasping my side, and I kept glancing down to make sure I wasn’t wrapped in a cloud of smoke as it felt like I was about to burst into flames. Suddenly, the concept of spontaneous combustion didn’t seem so improbable. At one point, he rested his cheek against my back and I thought I’d died—though whether I’d gone to heaven or hell was up for debate.

Jere being Jere, he didn’t shut up the whole time. I learned he was in his second year of an Industrial Design degree, had spent a year travelling Europe, though apparently he’d tell me more about that later, and that his mom thought she’d seen me in Byron Bay a few years earlier. I tried to take it all in, but it was difficult to focus with his arm wrapped around me and his face bumping against my back, or worse, feeling his hot breath through the thin fabric of my T-shirt.

After following his directions, I glided to a stop in the driveway to his flat. It didn’t seem right calling it a flat. I lived in a flat. He lived in what was obviously a beautifully renovated terrace house. I had to smile. Trust Jeremy to fall on his feet and score such a great place to live. The guy had the luck of the Irish.

Having unlocked the door, he stepped aside to lean against the doorjamb, allowing me to enter first. With my hands still in my pockets in an effort to conceal my semi, I brushed past him, my shoulder touching his chest for the briefest of moments. The contact might have been fleeting, but it was enough to have every hair on my body stand to attention as if an electric current had passed right through me.

My body was on high alert, like a tightly coiled spring, needing only the slightest touch to set it off.

Not being sure which way to head, I turned to face him, and the shock of his beauty hit me as hard as it had at the shop, scattering my thoughts and robbing me of the ability for speech. Before I had a chance to gather myself, he threw his arms about me again in a fierce, full-body hug, the stubble on his cheek rubbing against mine, our torsos pressed together. My arms wrapped about him of their own volition, and I longed to turn my face and kiss the roughness of his jaw. Quicker than warp speed, my semi erupted into a full-on erection, and I only just managed to tilt my hips back in time to conceal it from him.

“I’m so glad we’ve found each other again. I’ve missed you so much, Davie!”

His words seemed to come at me from a distance, almost drowned out by the roaring sound inside my own head, like that of a train speeding through a dark tunnel.

Holy fucking shit, get it together, Sadler

“Me too, I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone. I keep wanting to pinch myself to prove I’m awake, and this is real.”

“Well, pinch me while you’re at it.” He chuckled, releasing me. “Go grab a pew, while I get us something to drink. I’ve got orange juice, water, Coke, or coffee. What’ll be?

“Coffee,” I replied, knowing I’d need it in order to stay awake and keep up with him, seeing as he was still pretty wired from celebrating his birthday.

I sank onto the corner of one of the sofas, closing my eyes, and sighing in pleasure as it seemed to accept my body and ease itself around me. God, it was comfortable. Under normal circumstances, after having worked a ten hour shift, I’d have been asleep inside of ten minutes if I’d rested on anything even remotely as comfy.

“Hey, don’t fall asleep.”

I opened my eyes to see Jere, navigating his way across the room toward me with two coffees in hand.

Winking at me, he passed me my mug. “I’m not done with you yet, Sadler!”

“No worries.” I grinned back at him. “I’m absolutely knackered from work, and your lounge is sinfully comfortable, but I think I’ll manage to stay awake for a bit longer.”

“Have you worked at Darby’s long? It must be the only food joint on Darby Street I hadn’t tried before tonight.”

“I started with Howie out at his Warners Bay shop when I was fifteen.” I took a sip of my coffee, waiting for the penny to drop.

“Fifteen?” he queried, to which I nodded. “So you started working there the year I went to Africa?”

“Yeah, Mom and Dad split up around my birthday, and Mom decided we needed a clean break so she moved us here.”

“Is that why you stopped writing?” Jere asked quietly, looking at me over the top of his coffee cup.

“That, and a few other things,” I murmured, unable to meet his eye.

“What other things, Davie?”

“Well, it always seemed to take you so long to reply. I felt like I was writing five letters to your one. I… I, well, I just figured you were doing all this new and exciting stuff, and you didn’t have time for me anymore, so when Mom tossed out the address book in her ‘start afresh’ phase, I guess I only made a half-hearted attempt to find you.” My confession had the heat of shame creeping up my neck and into my face.

“Didn’t you miss me?” he whispered, obviously hurt.

“Yes. So much. I felt lost without you there to do things with and to talk to. But I’d go weeks and weeks at a time, and not hear from you. Then Dad left, and Mum was a wreck, crying all the time, and I had no one to talk to about it all, and I just… I just didn’t want to feel hurt and rejected anymore. I didn’t want to feel unwanted. By you. By Dad. So I guess, I kind of, withdrew a bit. From everyone.”

“Jesus, Davie, I wish I’d known,” he replied, reaching across to squeeze my knee, and my whole body warmed at the contact. “I looked for you, you know. Someone said you’d moved to Sydney, so I only looked there. I could kick myself now—I should have looked everywhere.”

“You weren’t to know,” I reassured him. I didn’t want him blaming himself for my shortcomings. “You really looked for me?”

“Of course, I did. As soon as we got back to Australia. We were best friends, hell, as far as I’m concerned we still are—”

“For me too, Jere,” I interrupted. “I’ve missed you so much, and I’m so sorry I let myself disappear like that. I looked for you, too, when I thought you and your family had come back, but as far as I could tell you didn’t return to Byron Bay.”

“No, we moved to Brisbane for Dad’s career, so he could work in a larger hospital.”

“I can’t believe you looked for me,” I admitted, grabbing one of the cushions beside me and clutching it so hard my knuckles whitened.

“Why?”

“You were always so popular. I felt sure you’d have them queuing up to be your best friend.”

“Maybe, but they weren’t you, Davie.”

“It’s the same for me, Jere, Bobbi and Sam are great friends, but they’ve never been you,” I whispered. “I went back to Byron, you know.”

“You did?”

“Yeah, on my end of high school trip, we all went to the Gold Coast, and I met this bird at a nightclub, who, ah, said she knew you, and um.” I stopped, and took a deep breath in the hope it would help me quit stammering as I recalled the brash, confident girl who’d blatantly stated she knew Jere very intimately. “Well, anyway, I spent a day and a night wandering around Byron in the hope that you’d magically pop out. Stupid, huh?”

“A little.” He chuckled softly. “But I’d probably have done the same thing.”

We talked and talked, our conversation skittering from one subject to another and back again, but somehow it all made sense. At least to us it did. To anyone else listening it probably would have sounded like gobbledy gook.

The distinctive beep of my phone alarm sounded, and for a moment I felt annoyed at interruption to our conversation. That was, until I realized why it was beeping.

“Christ! Is that the time already?” I yelped, frantically grappling in my pocket for my cell. Giving Jere an apologetic look, I switched off the alarm and immediately began dialing Laurence’s number. I was meant to be taking him flying, but after a sleepless night there was no way I wanted to risk taking him up. I felt bad at cancelling so late, but Laurence, thankfully, took it well, saying he was a little under the weather himself. We re-scheduled for the next weekend. As soon as I hung up from him, I called the airfield to let them know of the change of plans. They also took it in their stride—lucky I had a long history with them.

When I finally finished, I turned to Jeremy and apologized.

“You’re a pilot?” he asked.

I nodded, feeling a little shy. “Yes, I have my private pilot’s license, but I’m still studying and getting my hours up for my commercial license.”

“Wow, you did it… you’re doing it. You’re doing what you said you would.”

He sounded quite awed, which made me feel even more shy and embarrassed, so I feigned a yawn, and suggested we catch some Z’s before we did any more talking.

“I’m absolutely zonked,” he admitted, lowering his gaze, “but at the same time, I don’t want to fall asleep. I don’t want to wake up and find you’re gone, and this was all just a fantastic dream.”

Seeing a blush flood his cheeks at his admission, I rose and knelt before him, and risked placing my hands over his on his thighs. I tried to keep it light, knowing he was no more comfortable with the heightened emotions of the last few hours than I was. “I’ll be here, Jere. Now that we’ve found each other again, you won’t be rid of me so easy. I’ll be like a bad smell—I’ll keep coming back.”

He chuckled, releasing one of his hands to cuff me lightly. “What’s a bad smell or two between mates?”

Sitting back on my haunches, I smiled and gave him room to rise, watching as he strode across the room and down the hall. God, he has a nice arse. Within a few moments, he’d returned, carrying a couple of woolly blankets.

Tossing me one, he indicated the lounge I’d just vacated. “How about we bunk down out here? That way we can continue to catch up, but if one or both of us falls asleep it won’t matter.

I nodded my agreement and in moments had myself nestled into the cushiony softness of his lounge. Man, it was almost as comfortable as my bed. He switched off the lights which had me snuggling even deeper into the blanket.

We chatted quietly about his birthday, drowsily asking and answering each other’s questions, with a few long pauses occurring as both our brains slowed down.

“Mum is going to kick herself that they didn’t stay down an extra night,” he murmured sleepily. “She’ll probably faint when I tell her. She won’t bloody believe it.”

I chuckled quietly. “Can’t say I’d blame her. I nearly fainted when I saw you and your mates come into the shop, and we’ve been talking for hours now, and I can still scarcely believe it.”

“Me either, and just think, Davie, in a few months it’ll be your twenty-first, and we’ll be able to celebrate it together.”

“It’ll be great, Jere. For my last birthday, Sam and Bobbi had to just about drag me out. I ended up having a good time, but if they hadn’t of insisted, I’d have just had dinner at Mum’s and then gone back to my flat.”

“You know, I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing for your last birthday.”

I laughed softly. “That would be because I’m famous.”

“Haha. No, seriously. I was out with my mates at the Del, and I was checking my watch. It was just after midnight and I realized it was your birthday.”

“What? You were at the Delaney?” I asked, propping myself up on one elbow, and peering at him in the gloom as I spoke.

“Yeah, why?”

“That’s where I was. That’s where Bobbi and Sam took me.”

“Oh my God, you have got to be kidding me! I can remember one of my friends, Garth, talking about some guy doing some funny John Travolta moves—”

A ripple of laughter burst from me. “That was my buddy, Sam.”

Now Jeremy was also propped on his elbow. “Garth said there was a red-headed dude who had everyone cheering with all the dry-humping, dirty dancing stuff he was doing with some hot chick on the dance floor? Davie, was that you? Were you the guy?”

My face flamed. I was certain Jere was going to tease the hell out of me. Never had I been more grateful for dim lighting. “Um, yeah, that was me and Bobbi. She’s my best… she’s my, um, she’s my girl… friend.”

“Oh wow, you have a girlfriend? Why didn’t you say so earlier?”

Christ, the moment is here. For what seemed a long time I stared at him in the dim light, not wanting to believe the crucial moment where I had to choose to be up front and open about my sexuality or to hide it from him was upon me already. Fuck. I’d wanted more time. More time for him to realize I was still the same guy. The same David he’d known since pre-school. The same Davie who knew him inside and out. His best friend.

The temptation to lie and conceal was almost overwhelming. Part of me longed to utter those untruths. For the first time since I’d realized I was gay, I wished I wasn’t. I wished to be straight and for his question to be one that could be answered simply and easily, with a laugh and a shrug. There’d been no time to get a feel for his attitude to homosexuality. There’d been hardly any time with him at all. I finally had Jeremy back in my life after years of missing him and I didn’t want to risk losing him again.

I sighed, seeing him looking at me none too patiently, probably wondering why I was hesitating. He leaned over and clicked on the floor lamp at the end of the couch and I blinked at the sudden brightness.

“Davie?”

I won’t tell him. Not yet… I can’t risk it. It’s too early… But then my mother’s words echoed from the night I had come out to her. ‘Always be true to yourself, David. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Hetero, bi, or gay isn’t what’s important. Character, is what’s important. Attitude, heart, standing up for what you believe in and for those you love. Those are the things that matter. If someone has a problem with you for being gay that’s more a reflection on them and what they lack in character, than it is about you and the person you are. Always be proud of who you are. I certainly am. You’re a good person, son.’

My heart was pounding so loud I felt sure he must be able to hear it. Fuck, telling Jere is one hundred times harder than telling Mum was. Feeling a droplet of sweat roll down the back of my neck, I made myself look Jeremy in the eye. “Bobbi is a girl, and she is my friend but she isn’t my girlfriend. I don’t have, nor have I ever had, a girlfriend.” I took a deep breath. “And that would be because I’m gay.”

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Author’s Note

I don’t know about you, but I’m so proud of Davie right now!

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