His tongue dragged from my balls up the underside of my shaft, flicking right under the head before he wrapped his lips around me.
“Push, Hulk, come on! Push harder!”
Barry’s encouraging voice rang through the gym as I struggled to finish the last three reps of the set from hell. Practice was cancelled due to a torrential downpour, so most of us were in the gym. And let me tell you—there is no place I would rather be less than the school gym at 6:00 am on a Monday morning. The remnants of the weekend had worn down quite a bit of my resolve, and the last thing I wanted to do was sweat out my annoyance in a smelly gym.
Unfortunately for me, Barry dragged me here, and then decided it was a good day to obliterate me. He came up with a work out that pushed any reasonable limits I had and I was pretty sure that I was three seconds away from dropping weights on my chest. He had added ten pounds to my normal weight, and it was enough to make my muscles scream out in agony.
“Okay, one more! You can do it!” He exclaimed. Once the bar was safely in place, I sat up with a struggle and gladly took the water bottle he offered me. “Awesome job!” He patted me on the back. “You completely crushed it today.” He took a seat facing me on the bench, our knees brushing in the small confines. His honey colored eyes bore into mine, almost as if he was trying to read my mind or something. “You’re awfully quiet today.” He mentioned. “Are you feeling okay?”
“I’m fine.” I muttered, taking another gulp of water. “Just tired.”
“You seem off.” He was persistent this morning.
“Don’t worry about it.” I told him, scooting back so I could climb off the bench. His normally happy face dropped a bit at my actions, but I just wasn’t in the mood today. The truth was, I’m not actually okay.
Sunday kicked my ass. Not only was I hungover, but I was dumb enough to believe Andrew–again. I woke up to find he had snuck out—again. He didn’t answer any texts yesterday—again. And when Lindsey and I went to dinner the night before, we saw him eating with Greg—again. He was being a douchebag—again, and I was dumb enough to fall for it—again. So no, I was not okay, and being at the gym in the shitty weather was not helping anything. All I wanted was to climb into bed and sleep until the skies cleared, but unfortunately, Barry wasn’t going to let me wallow today. Without even knowing what was wrong, he burst into my room like a ray of sunshine at 6 am and dragged me out of bed. It ended up being a good call since I was the only freshman there with all the seniors on the team, but still. It was time to start locking my door at night. There are far too many people walking in and out whenever they want.
I felt bad for being annoyed with Barry, when he actually had no idea what was wrong. It also didn’t help that Adam had sent me another email asking me to talk to him. He keeps insisting that he wants to make things right, but I just don’t have the brain space to entertain the thought of a friendship with someone who treated me so poorly. And I know I’m being hypocritical, since I continue to let Andrew treat me like shit, but I keep thinking that maybe one of these times, it will stick. He promised me a date, after all, and that was worth something to me. I could always reevaluate the situation once I see how he actually treats me when we aren’t sneaking around. Either way, I don’t think that getting involved with Adam for a second time was a good call. I know I’ll have to see him when I go to the election party with Matt and Jason since his father is a huge financial supporter of Matt’s dad like my father is, but I still had a couple more weeks before I had to worry about that. Hopefully, Andrew and I will have straightened things out by then and I won’t have to worry about Adam even bothering me. I could bring Andrew as my plus one, and we can enjoy our first formal event together.
“Josh.” Barry called after me as I walked away, not even saying goodbye. He caught up with me in a couple strides and grabbed my arm. “What’s the problem? Seriously. Don’t bullshit me. I can tell you’re upset about something.”
“Nothing.” I sighed. “Just having a bad week.”
He blinked at me, those warm eyes filled with confusion. “It’s Monday morning.” He pointed out, calling me on the fact that nothing could have gone that horribly wrong since I last saw him on Saturday. I hadn’t told Barry anything about my secret relationship, but I’m sure he had picked up that something shady was going on. He was in the same program as Andrew, so they knew each other, and I definitely couldn’t confide in him. I’m not 100% sure that they aren’t friends, since they certainly have some mutual ones.
“I know.” I chuckled. “But let’s just say it’s not off to a great start.”
“Because of the workout? You crushed it. You’re seriously bulking up since you started working out with us. You should be proud.”
“It’s not the work out.” I told him. “Just some personal drama. I’ll survive.”
He gave me an understanding nod. “Do you have class today?”
“Yeah, I have a couple. Why?”
“Anything that involves participation points?”
“”No, just a couple large lectures.” I answered. “Why?”
“We’re playing hooky today.” He told me with a grin. “Go home and get changed, and meet me at the gate in an hour.”
“Where are we going?” I had learned by now that there is no saying no to Barry, so it was easier to just roll with it and agree. He would convince me eventually, so it was easier not to resist.
“It’s a surprise!” He told me. “It’ll be fun. I promise, it will make your day.”
“You’re not even going to give me a hint?” I whined, but secretly excited that he would go out of his way to make me feel better. He had been a really good friend, and I have never been more pleased with a decision I have made than I am for deciding to go to that first crew tryout.
“Nope.” He grinned. I followed him into the locker room to grab our stuff. There were a couple guys changing in there, so we said hi and talked to them for a bit. I was packing up my bag when I overheard a conversation between Barry and one of our other teammates, Brian, that piqued my interest.
“So Mikey told me that Casey is in town this weekend.” Brian said with a suggestive undertone that was not so under. In fact, it was the most innuendo-laced version of a simple sentence I had ever heard.
“”Yeah, just Friday night though.” Barry told him. “Anniversary dinner and all, but I have an exam and a paper due Monday so it won’t be a whole ordeal or anything.”
Brian let out a loud whoop. “Anniversary dinner, huh? Is that code for ‘We aren’t leaving the bedroom all night so doesn’t even try to reach me’?”
Barry flushed, but let out a good natured laugh. “Naw, we are actually going to dinner. There are also a couple good parties to hit up, so we will probably do that.”
“You’d rather go to a frat party than have anniversary sex?” Brian gawked. “I mean, I guess after 6 years the magic is kind of gone, but still. You could at least be a little romantic. Wine and dine, you know, uncork it then pork it.”
“Yeah, that sounds really romantic, Bri.” Barry laughed. “Look, we have to go. I’ll see you tomorrow.” He pulled his hood up over his head and hoisted his bag onto his shoulder. “Come on, Hulk. We have to get going.” He led me out of the gym. We walked in a comfortable silence, but I was dying to ask a million questions. Who is Casey? I didn’t know he had a girlfriend, let alone one that had lasted six years! I was dying for more detail, but I figured there was a reason he hadn’t told me anything, and let it go.
When we got to my building, he stopped. “So I’ll see you in an hour, right?” He asked. “That’s enough time for you to get ready?”
“Of course. I’m not a princess!” I laughed. “I bet I’m ready before you.”
“Doubt it.” He grinned. “I’ll see you soon.” Without another word, he turned and walked away. My competitive streak got the best of me and I bolted up the stairs to my room so I could strip and grab my shower stuff. I was just walking into the communal bathroom when I crashed into someone.
“Sorry.” I grunted out, but stiffened when I saw it was Andrew. Fantastic. He stared at me, his eyes dark and unreadable. “Hi.” I finally muttered.
He just gave me a nod. I rolled my eyes and shoved past him, in no mood for the hot and cold act today. I climbed into an empty shower stall and slammed the water on. What the hell was wrong with me? Why was I incapable of finding someone who would actually stick around? Andrew looked at me with such disgust. I still have no idea why he looks at me like that, but it was not the time to ponder that mystery. I had a deadline, and I needed to keep moving.
My plan was hindered when I got back to my room and found Andrew sitting at my desk chair. “What are you doing?”
“Your door was unlocked.”
“You watched me go into the bathroom so you knew I wasn’t in here. So again, what are you doing in here?” I asked again, my annoyance building rapidly. I wasn’t exactly in the mood to be standing in front of him in just a towel while Barry was waiting for me. I had never really been one to ditch friends when I was seeing someone, and I certainly wasn’t going to start now, not for Andrew at least. He couldn’t even bother returning a text. I refuse to make him a priority. Kind of. I also really just wanted him to pull it together for me. Show me that I was worth it to him.
“I know. I just figure I would wait for you so we could talk. I owe you a date, after all, so maybe we should plan it now.” He offered. I took a moment to study his face. I wanted to believe that he meant it, that he really wanted to plan something with me, but his actions spoke louder than his words, and I found myself doubting everything he was saying. I had to stop letting men like him beat me down.
“Okay.” I agreed. “What did you have in mind?”
“I was thinking that maybe we could go down to Greenwich on the train on Thursday.” He told me, standing up and facing me. My stomach flipped. Greenwich? That was an hour away! He put a hand on my hip and gently played with my towel. I gripped tightly at the knot on the other side, not wanting him to knock it lose. God only knows what would happen if he got it off. “There are some really awesome restaurants down there. And we could go see a movie or something after.”
I took a step away and moved towards my closet to get some clothes out. “There are restaurants and movie theaters in New Haven, you know.”
“Yeah, but….” He trailed off.
“You don’t want people to see you out with me.”
He at least had the good sense to look ashamed. “It’s not like that.”
“It is, actually.” I told him. “You need to go. I have to get ready.”
He stood, and gave me a curt nod of his head before heading over to the door. “So just let me know about Thursday, I guess.” He told me before he left the room. I stared at the door after he left, shocked that he honestly just didn’t get it. Ridiculous. I shook my head to break myself out of yet another Andrew-induced fog and got dressed, having no idea what we would do for the day.
By the time I met up with Barry, he was of course already waiting for me. I don’t think that guy has been late to anything in his life. The rain had let up, but the whole campus was foggy and damp. Students were scampering across the quad on their way to various classes or to the library. I waved at a few people I recognized from various classes as I approached Barry. He was on his cell as I approached, but he waved at me in acknowledgement as he wound up. He was listening to someone on the other end ramble, and made a gesture with his hand at me to joke that the other person wouldn’t stop talking. Finally, he said his goodbye and hung up. “Sorry, Casey just would not stop talking.” He told me as he stuffed his phone in his pocket.
“No worries.” I told him. “So where are we going?”
“What part of it’s a surprise did you not understand, hulk?” He laughed. “Relax, we’ll have fun.”
“If you insist.” I followed him down the street until we reached a pickup truck that he went to get in. “I didn’t know you had a car.” I commented idly as we both climbed in.
“Yeah, I just brought it down this year. I don’t really need it, but it’s nice to have when I do feel like going somewhere, and it’s nice that my parents don’t have to come get me if I ever want to go home for a weekend.”
“Do you live that close?” I asked, realizing I knew almost nothing about Barry. I mean, we hung out as a group, but I don’t think I knew anything about his life outside of Yale. Hell, I didn’t even know that he was dating someone. He never talked about her, and I don’t think I had ever even heard the name Casey ever mentioned in the past few months.
“It’s about an hour away.” He told me. “My family has a little farm where we raise goats and cows. It’s nice to be close enough to go home if I want, but I still don’t make it as often as I’d like. I have a lot of siblings so I like to hang out with them and see them as often as I can.”
“Do you think you’re going to stay around here when you graduate?
He shrugged. “Probably. I like it here, and I don’t want to move too far from my family. I’ll probably try to get a job around here, but I also applied for a couple grad programs, so I might go to school and come back later.”
“Cool.” I stared out the window, realizing we had gotten onto the highway, heading away from New Haven. I hadn’t left the city since moving, but I hadn’t exactly had reason to. This thought only reminded me of Andrew and his invitation to join him for dinner in Greenwich. That was easily an hour away, and I still couldn’t figure out if I was angrier or hurt that this was his solution to not hanging out with me in public. It was just ridiculous.
“Are you going to go to anything for the election?” Barry interrupted my thoughts.
“What?” I asked. I had been busted not paying attention, so I straightened and looked at him. His lips twitched into the slightest little smirk, lighting up his handsome face even from my side profile view.
“You’re friends with Matt Humphrey, right?”
“Kind of.” I shrugged. “We went to high school together. He’s really only friends with me because he was dating my roommate. I wouldn’t consider him a friend on my own though. I think he really just has to tolerate me.”
“Really? He made it sound like you guys were really close.”
“You talked to him about me?”