Riptide

“We can’t keep doing this,” Ben said, with a faint smile that suggested the exact opposite. “It isn’t fair.”

“Fair to who?” I asked, hoping he’d correct my grammar. Sadly, he wasn’t the type of guy you dated for grammatical purposes.

“Fair to either of us,” he replied, leaning back against the pillow and staring pointedly at the ceiling. He was avoiding eye contact. It was going to be one of those conversations. He flexed absent-mindedly, and I found my eyes wandering down to his chest, and across his arms.

“Oh, well, that makes perfect sense,” I said. “Thank you for clearing that up.”

“Marco,” Ben said, with the voice that always made me want to reply, “Polo!” even after years of hearing that goddamn joke as a kid. “You don’t love me, and I need something more than this.”

I traced my hand across his stomach. He closed his eyes, before grabbing my wrist at the worst possible time.

“I’m serious,” he said. “This isn’t what I want.”

My eyes moved down to the bulge under the blanket. “You’re sure about that?”

Crossing his arms, he glared at me. “You know what I mean.”

And I did, I really did. In my calmer moments during the day, when I was thinking right, I knew that I should find a nice guy, and have a quiet relationship. Some days, I even convinced myself that I wanted it. But, every few weeks, I’d find myself on the phone, calling Ben. And he would always drop everything to come over, and then drop the rest when he arrived.

“We’ve tried this before,” I said. “We’re good for each other. You know we are.”

Ben shook his head, “In what fucked up world is this good? I don’t hear from you except for every two weeks, when you get worked up and want to cum. I don’t think we even like each other.”

The same old arguments. He always did this after sex. I practically knew the words by heart.

“There’s someone else,” he said.

“You’re joking,” I said with a laugh. He continued to look past me at the wall. “Wait, what do you mean, ‘someone else’?”

Ben finally looked at me, giving me his “serious” look. One that I hadn’t seen in a while. “Someone who gets me. Someone who actually cares what I think about things, and likes the same shit I do. I think I might be in love with him.”

“And yet you’re here, with me.”

“This is the last time,” Ben said. “I can’t keep doing this with you.”

“Does this mystery man have a name?” I asked, fighting a losing battle to keep my temper.

Ben leaned over the side of the bed, looking for his jeans. “You don’t know him,” he said.

“Then it shouldn’t be a problem for you to tell me his name.”

“Brian,” he said with a sigh, pulling his jeans up towards his hips.

“Brian and Ben. Sounds a little too cute,” I replied, the wounded tone in my voice surprising both of us.

He knelt back down to look for his socks, swearing under his breath as he did. I sat under the blanket, and wondered if I should get dressed as well. This didn’t seem like the type of conversation one had just wearing linens.

Ben sighed and pulled his shirt over his head. “This doesn’t have to be good-bye,” he said, in what I’m sure he thought was a calming tone. “It doesn’t have to end this way.”

I gave him my most gracious smile as I climbed out of bed. For some reason, this time hurt more than the others. I grabbed my robe off the back of the door before turning on him.

“It won’t be,” I said. “There have been a dozen Brians in the last five years. Each just as dull and uninteresting as the last. Sooner or later, you’ll always find your way back to me.”

“No,” he said, brushing his hair back over his ears. “Maybe. I don’t know. But I won’t know until I try.”

I choked back a laugh. “We both know I’m the best fuck you’ve ever had. It’s not going to get any better than this.”

Ben shook his head as he got up from the bed. He paused in the doorway, looking back at me with the kind of longing that told me I was right. I watched him walk out the bedroom and forced a smile. He glanced back as he stalked out of my apartment, before shaking his head in disgust and slamming the door behind him.

“Two weeks,” I said, listening to the familiar roar of his car in the parking lot. “Tops.”

©2015 Chris Page. All rights reserved.

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