As I drive to his apartment, I reflect on that lunch earlier today. I am so glad I didn’t have a mouth full of food when he asked me to come over or I might have choked to death on it.
I had looked up at his sincere face and those pretty eyes when he asked. “Yes,” was the only word I could form. I simply couldn’t turn him down.
Then I had started to feel a bit of panic. What about his parents? How would we explain this?
My face must have changed because I think he read my mind. “I live alone in a small apartment close to the college. My parents live in the suburbs.” He had sounded like he was trying to put me at ease. Bless his little heart.
“What time?” I asked.
“Well, I get off work at 4 pm, and will be home about 4:30 pm. So, come by at 5?”
“Okay,” I replied.
This whole car ride to his apartment, my mind has been reeling at being alone with him. I’m damn well old enough to know that a video game is just an excuse. But what does he really want from me? I feel fearful. Does he just want sex? Is he just curious and wants to try it with an old guy? Is he a daddy chaser? I’m sure sex with him would be utterly amazing but what about after? This just a one-night stand? When I was his age, that was no big deal. I was a slut. Thankfully I was a cautious slut and didn’t get any STDs. Now, the only person I’ve had sex with for the past 10 years has been Mike.
He had texted me his address, but we haven’t exchanged any messages since lunch. Maybe I should have texted him to see if he thought this through and changed his mind. As I pull up, I find a spot on the street. His building is a standard apartment building but, with this location, his parents are surely spending a lot on rent.
I’m standing before the intercom at the main door and it’s precisely 4:58 pm. I’m totally afraid to hit the button. I swallow and reach out to press the button for his apartment. Some stupid part of me inside hopes that I have the wrong address, or he won’t be here, or any other excuse to go home now and hide.
“Hello?” a voice comes over the intercom. It sounds like Ken. At least I hope it’s Ken.
“It’s James,” I reply.
“Come on up, third floor, apartment 11.” I hear the lock on the front door buzz and I jump a little. I quickly grab the handle and open the door and go in.
I ponder for a moment: stairs or elevator? Well, I don’t want to get all sweaty, so I take the elevator. Why does it feel like I’m slowly marching towards my inevitable doom? Like this is the last time I’ll ever ride an elevator. I must be mental. I need to relax.
I exit the elevator and walk down to the hallway to the door of Apartment 11. Suddenly I laugh at myself because I thought I would not be sweaty by avoiding the stairs when I feel like I’m drenched due to nervousness. It probably wouldn’t have mattered either way.
The final door. Now I’ve come to it. How did I get here anyways? I feel a bit faint, sort of lightheaded. I simply resigned myself to this fate and knock lightly on the door.
A moment later, Ken opens the door. Standing before me is the most beautiful person alive. He is simply dressed in a t-shirt, gym shorts, and socks. He has captured my mind again. I can’t speak. I can’t think. I feel like I am under his spell.
“Ah, come in,” he motions and then turns. This broke the spell.
“Okay,” I reply. I take my shoes off and leave them just inside the front door.
“Okay, let me give you the tour,” he says and starts to point and list off the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and living room. “It’s a small place, but just me and within walking distance to work and school. What more do I need?”
I look about and see that the furnishings are sparse, but his living room has a giant TV and all sorts of game systems hooked to it. “I like it.”
“Have a seat on the couch. Would you like something to drink?”
“OK, sure. What do you have?”
He goes into the kitchen as he speaks. “Well, I was thinking about a cold beer. Want one? I have tea also if you prefer.”
Do I really want to drink? Do I want to get that comfortable with him? Maybe one is okay. “A beer is fine.”
He comes back into the living room with two bottles of opened beer. He hands me one and says, “Cheers!”
I reply with cheers and we both drink.
He sits down on the couch next to me. I’m rather surprised, it’s a big couch. Why so close?
“To be honest,” he says. “I didn’t think you’d show up.” He smiles at me. I notice that his hair seems a little damp. He must have just gotten out of the shower. He smells nice.
“Oh, why’s that?” I ask.
“You looked like you were going to choke when I asked you. I figured that maybe you’d come up with some excuse before 5.”
I suddenly wonder if he’s had a lot of experiences of people flaking out on him. I try to put him at ease by saying, “Well, when I say I’ll do something, I do it unless something totally major comes up.”
He fires up the game console and I see that it’s the latest edition to a popular fighting game franchise. I’ve played the earlier games of the series, so I knew generally how to play, if not the specifics of this game’s current mechanics. I’m a PC gamer so I am a little out-of-touch with console games.
We bash each other’s brains out for an hour. I am really having fun. I realize that I love the sound of his voice, and his laugh. I make sure to be funny and keep him laughing. It feels great.
Unexpectedly, during the Character Selection screen, he looks to me and asked, “What kind of guys do you like?”
I nervously swallow. “Uh, all kinds I suppose.” Sure, it’s a rather non-committal answer.
“Taller or shorter?”
“Hmm. I would have to say shorter. Feels strange to me when they are taller.” I hope that this is a good answer.
“Fat or skinny?”
“Well, doesn’t matter too much as long as they are healthy and not morbidly obese.”
His voice drops a decibel as he asks, “Do you like Asians?”
I could talk honestly about this one. “Yes, actually I do. I went out on a few dates with a Filipino boy when I was 21. He was cute as hell. But in general, race doesn’t matter.”
He looks back at the game and selects a character. Then his voice drops yet even lower as he asks, “Older or younger?”
What do I say? “I’ve dated older or my own age, but never younger.” Wait, maybe I shouldn’t have added that last part.
“Oh,” he says as the game loads the next level. Did I detect the slightest hint of disappointment?
I try to smooth it over a bit. “Well, I mean not that I wouldn’t date someone younger, it’s that the opportunity hasn’t come up.”
“Oh,” he says as we both started smashing buttons.
“Would you, though? If the opportunity came up?” he asks quietly. This time it’s just barely loud enough to hear over the video game. I certainly know where this whole line of questioning is going, and it’s scaring the hell out of me. He shouldn’t seriously be asking this.
“Maybe, but what boy would want to date an old guy that’s the same age as his parents?” I tried my best to discourage him with this sentence and yet do it without seeming like I was.
My heart feels like it’s freezing into a solid block of ice. I think he really should not pursue this; pursue me. It can’t be healthy for a guy his age. He needs a partner, not a daddy. It would be so complicated. He’s still in school, working a job, not out to his parents. I would bring him a lot of grief.
He looks down at his controller in his hands and says, “I would.”