A+E

The Domino Effect

Gabe,
Congratulations on turning 35!
I know how bummed you are about me moving to Boston so I bought an open-ended plane ticket for you to use when you’re ready to come see me. Also, I want to say that these past few years have been some of the best. I’m glad you came up to me at the bar that night and asked me to play pool. I enjoy your friendship more than I ever thought possible. You’ve made me a fuller and better person and I love you for it.
Please go see your parents as a favor to me, share your wisdom with them like you did with me.
Always,
Kyle
PS – Take care of my little sister, I wouldn’t trust anyone else to do it.



Gabe folded the letter and returned it to the green velvet diary.

Gabe had asked Eddie to move in with him over a week ago. Yet day after day Eddie dodged Gabe’s attempts to inspire an answer, just as he also was dodging questions about Kyle.

Eddie’s persistence the last few weeks was beginning to alienate their relationship; Gabe thought if he asked Eddie to move in with him the questions and suspicion would end, and memories from his past would again subside, allowing Gabe to sleep at night.

The memories were once distant shadows that had crept back into his head, and stood poised in single file like disciplined soldiers ready for battle. Determined and ambitious, they’d patiently wait for that inevitable touch that would heavily topple them over in quick succession, like watching the travels of a bicycle through a picket fence.

Unfortunately, Gabe’s plan had misfired: Not only was he still riddled with those dark memories, his anxiety was now coupled with the disappointment and sadness he felt over Eddie’s reluctance to share a life with him.

Gabe languidly entered the bar and ordered a Sapphire gin martini from a tall, mustached bartender who winked at him. He left a dollar tip — would’ve been more but the wink annoyed him.

Then it happened; his mouth dropped open and his heart raced to his stomach. Perfection was in the bar. Perfection had thick, dark hair tufting behind the ears, and a tanned neck with blue-gray veins racing underneath a white-ribbed crewneck. Gabe watched Perfection’s back muscles pulse underneath the shirt. He sauntered past and shot Perfection a smile.

“That guy just checked me out,” Perfection commented to the blonde sitting next to him.

“What did you expect,” the girl replied rhetorically. “This is a gay bar!”

“Excuse me,” Gabe interrupted, then asked Perfection, “Do you want to shoot pool?”

“I’m not gay!” Perfection blurted out.

Gabe took a step back, “Sorry. I didn’t mean … I just need a partner to play doubles.”

“No. I’m sorry man. Yeah, sure I’ll play.”

“I’m Gabe,” he said.

They shook hands, “Kyle.”

Perfection’s name is Kyle. Gabe noticed the blue-gray veins also branched out along smooth, tanned, robust arms and hands.

“Uh, this is my sister Ronnie,” Kyle said, indicating the blonde.

“Hi,” said Gabe, taking her hand.

“Hello,” she returned.

“So what brings you here,” Gabe asked.

“I come here with my girlfriend, but she’s in Arizona visiting her parents. So I made my apparent homophobic brother come with me,” Ronnie jabbed.

“I’m not homophobic,” Kyle retorted, flustered. “I thought you were trying to pick me up … I didn’t want you to feel embarrassed.”

“So bellowing, ‘I’m not gay!’ was saving me from being embarrassed,” Gabe said playfully.

Kyle dropped his head, giving up, “Yeah, really, I’m sorry. Not my finest moment.”

“Come on, let’s play pool,” Gabe dragged Kyle off.

That night, a friendship started that was as close as any gay-straight men could have. Kyle taught Gabe to fish; Gabe taught Kyle to make hobo dinners. They went to the movies weekly and shared a jumbo salted popcorn and a large Sprite. They occasionally went to nightclubs – Gabe introduced Kyle to the Electric Slide, and Kyle introduced Gabe to Mudslides.

Then one night, their friendship took a tragic turn. It was Gabe’s 34th birthday and Kyle threw him a bash in his home. After hours of dancing, games of Twister, countless tequila shots and eventually pushing Ronnie and her girlfriend out the door, a highly inebriated Kyle suggested Gabe join him in his bedroom.

“You want to watch porn,” he asked Gabe.

“I’m not really into straight porn, but thanks.”

“Come on, I have one that has some man-on-man action in it.” Kyle slung his arm around Gabe’s neck, toppling them over.

Kyle finally coaxed Gabe into his room, where he drunkenly stripped off his shirt and pants. He popped in a DVD and pounced on the bed like a dog. He patted the mattress, inviting Gabe to join him.
Gabe reluctantly joined him, fully clothed.

Kyle fast-forwarded the film to the male-male-female scene. Within seconds Gabe noticed Kyle’s boxers rise, and found it amazing that as drunk as Kyle was, he could still get hard.

Gabe peeled his eyes off what he estimated was at least a 9-inch hard-on and looked at Kyle. Kyle’s green eyes, lined with a golden speckle, stared back at him, longingly.

Gabe hesitated for a moment then slipped his hand under Kyle’s boxers. He started to stroke him.
Kyle turned his head back to the film. His breathing gained momentum into a near-inaudible moan. His bare chest heaved, and he climaxed in Gabe’s hand.

Suddenly Kyle jumped off the bed as if he realized he was lying in toxic waste, causing Gabe to fly off the bed too.

“What the hell was that,” Kyle demanded.

Gabe was so stunned he couldn’t even respond.

Instantly Kyle was within inches of Gabe; intense pain surged through Gabe left cheekbone. Suddenly he was balled up on the carpet shielding Kyle’s swift kicks.

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