Old friends abandon me, it's just the routine politics of jealousy
 
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 Chapter 17: Sets & Places

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Kell
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PostSubject: Chapter 17: Sets & Places   Mon Aug 22, 2011 9:29 pm

"Hello?" I said as I answered my cell.

"Hi...it's Ted."

"Oh. Hey."

"What's up?"

"Not much, just sitting around & watching tv."

"Cool."

"So what's up?"

"Not much. I just wanted to know, if maybe...you wanted to hang out for a bit today?"

You know that feeling you get when somebody asks if you want to hang out, & you KNOW you're going to feel guilty for lying and saying you can't, but you lie anyway? Yeah.

"Oh, umm...I dunno if I can," I said.

"Oh. Are you busy all day? Or just now?"

"Uhh-"

"I mean you don't have to if you don't want to, that's fine..." I could hear the subtle disappointment in his voice.

I closed my eyes & gave into the guilt.

"No, I can actually. Where?"

"I was thinking the park?"

"Ok, when?"

"An hour?"

I glanced at a nearby clock.

"All right. See ya then."

"Ok. Bye."

I hung up the phone & decided to change.

*****

When I showed up to the park, I was a little early. But I saw Ted sitting on a bench near the crooked oak tree that was a popular hangout spot when everybody was young. I was a good 10 minutes early. I had no idea how long he had been there for.

I walked up to the bench from behind him & walked around to sit down.

"Hey," I said. I must have startled him because his head snapped to look at me.

"Hey," he replied quietly.

"You ok? Did I scare you?"

"No, I was...just thinking about some things."

"Like what?"

"Just...what to talk about," he laughed nervously.

"Ok," I nodded. "So what'd you come up with?"

Ted sighed as his head turned down toward the ground.

"How mad at me are you?" I started to open my mouth but he cut me off, "And PLEASE...please just be honest. Don't lie."

I looked forward off into the distance.

Might as well get on with it.

"I'm not mad. I'm hurt..."

When Ted didn't reply, I kept going.

"I mean you didn't exactly murder my family but I mean...you just left me when I needed you most...& maybe you don't know what that's like but it sucks."

Ted sniffled & wiped his nose which was a bit runny at this point.

"You have no idea how many times I prayed to come back...the day after we moved I started saying to my parents that I wanted to go back...but they kept saying no. They didn't let me have any way of looking back. And I hate that I didn't try harder..."

"So do I..."

"You're mad at me, you can say it."

"I'm NOT mad!" I exclaimed, which may have meant more if I hadn't said it that loudly.

"I just..." I rubbed my neck, "I guess I'm just upset because...I don't know what you WANT from me now Ted."

I looked over at him.

"I want you to forgive me, & I want us to be friends."

"You swear this isn't just to get back together with me?" I said.

"No, of course not. I mean if it were to lead to us getting back together then I'd be ok with that," he said.

"I KNEW it!" I yelled, standing up & turning to him. "This is all because you DO wanna get back together with me!"

"Well Nick," Ted replied, standing up as I started pacing around the bench, "I'm not gonna lie, what I want most is to be boyfriends with you again. But I mean we're talking baby steps..."

"No, you know what?" I said as angrily & meanly as possible as I walked right up to his chest & point a pissed off finger in his face, "There ARE no 'baby steps' Ted. You know who you're like? You're like the ex boyfriend or fiance in movies who leaves the picture for a while & then waltzes back into the picture when the good guy has already won over the audience. That's who you are Ted, the asshole who comes back & just expects to get back together with me. You're the same."

"No, I'm not..."

"How?"

"Because I don't EXPECT you to take me back!"

I watched him.

"I'm also not oblivious to what I did wrong. But I'm NOT gong to stand here & lie to you Nick...I DO want you back. But here I am, willing to settle for friends at least."

I averted my eyes for a moment, trying to take in what he was saying. I walked back over to the bench & sat down, taking a deep breath. He joined me after a second.

"Taylor is my boyfriend," I said firmly. It was sort of an apology.

"I know that. And I would never do anything to split you guys up. Honest."

I nodded.

"All right."

"All right?"

"Yeah. And Ted?"

"Hmm?"

I turned to look at him.

"I forgive you."

He gave me a satisfied smile. I never forgot his smiles.

**********

The next day I had sneaked over to Taylor's house for a while & we were in his room on his bed flipping through one of my magazines I brought over.

"What about him?" I said, pointing to a guy with longish wavy brown hair & a fairly muscular figure. He had a handsome narrow face & high cheek bones, which made his eyes squint a tiny bit when he smiled, which opened up his mouth to a set of shiny white teeth. He was completely nude & spread out on a couch with either a semi, or a gift from God.

"Nah."

"Ok, that's like the 10th most GORGEOUS man on the planet in this magazine & you don't like ANY of them. I'm pretty sure you're a closeted heterosexual," I giggled.

"I guess you're the only one," he laughed, kissing me on the cheek.

"Well, I'm glad it's me then & not someone else. I used to fantasize about you all the time."

"Really?"

"Yeah."

"Even though I treated you like shit?" he said sorrowfully.

"Yeah..."

"Wow."

"I mean in my dreams you weren't exactly harassing me," I grinned.

"Not in a BAD way anyway," Taylor grinned.

"Exactly," I rolled my eyes & laughed.

"So I haven't seen you much lately. Watcha been up to?" he said as he flipped through the pages, clearly unsatisfied with each man.

"Not too much. Been busy & kinda tired I guess. I'm still getting over that cold Wendy accidentally gave me last week. Other than that, not really anything. I met up with Ted today," I said.

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah."

"For what? What did you guys talk about?"

"How he's still really sorry & how he's really desperate to be my friend again at least," I replied.

I stood up, walked over to the little bag I had brought & took out another magazine. Maybe we'd find some hotties in common in this one.

"'At least'?" Taylor said as I sat down.

"Yeah," I said. He gave me a raised eyebrow.

"He...kind of admitted that he wants to get back together with me. But that he knows we're together & he would never try to do something to come between us, & that he was just being honest about how he felt."

I was expecting Taylor to become super jealous from hearing that my ex wanted to get back together, potentially. Instead, a grin broke out on his lips.

"I have gay competition," he laughed.

"Oh please! Before this got brought up, we were talking about how you're so NOT gay since you can't get it up to ANY of these guys."

"So," he laughed, "what did you say when he said that?"

I shrugged. "Well at first I kinda flipped 'cause I always had that feeling & so I was like 'oh, I'm right' but then...I dunno, something about how honest he was being...just got to me I guess. I mean he explained that yeah, he'd LIKE to be back together with me, but that he's fine being friends & he would never like, get in between US."

Taylor nodded his head. "Well that's nice of him. Better than being some total douche bag like in a movie & try to steal you away from me."

"Yeah..."


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Chapter 17: Sets & Places
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