Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Flashback, Part 6: Full Circle

Flashback, A Short Story in Six Parts

[Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5]

Part 6: Full Circle

A few weeks later, he and Peter would exchange IMs, including a few wherein Peter would ask about Nick. Having substantially calmed down, he would simply tell Peter that he did not plan on calling Nick again, and that was that. (Peter would be one of the many who raised the "but it's not like you were actually dating" argument.) Explanations soon became unimportant. Explanations would make him look stupid anyway (couldn't have that), so none would be forthcoming. Then again, if avoidance of the appearance of stupidity were the goal, anyone who had any knowledge of what happened at the club pretty much ensured that goal had failed. And seeing as it was wholly accurate that he and Nick were never "dating" to begin with, there really appeared little need to broadcast some sort of "split-up."

He and Peter met for happy hour one rainy evening after work. He got to the bar a little early and a little wet, and settled in with a Sierra Nevada. The weather had already slightly dampened his spirits; he supposed that was why, when Peter arrived, they weren't having as much fun at this happy hour as they normally would. They shot the shit about the weather, about their jobs, about Peter's boyfriend, and random stuff. And then:

"David and I are having a dinner party next week if you'd like to come."

"Oh, cool. Let me know the date and I'll see if I'm available."

"Okay, yeah. We'd love to have you. Uh... by the way, I suppose I should tell you that Nick is also invited and he'll probably be there."

He had forgotten that Peter had met Nick at his apartment during that pre-Pride party he had hosted before the dance club outing. They had gotten along famously and exchanged contact information.

"Ah," he responded, silently thanking The Powers That Be that he hadn't accepted the dinner invitation on the spot.

"You're not mad or anything, are you?"

"No," he replied. He really meant it this time, unlike the many untruths he had let fly at the club. "I'm not going to tell you who you can and cannot hang out with. You guys hit it off well, that's great. There is no fucking way I'm about to tell you that you aren't 'allowed' to hang out with someone just because I don't plan on calling him. I ain't the boss o' you."

For a second, he thought perhaps that sounded too level-headed, too rational. This, he knew, would translate into sounding too defensive, too obviously calculated to show how sane his response was. He silently cursed that perception, for even though he truly meant what he said, there was a great probability that his words sounded forced.

He meant it. He was not going to tell his friend that he was not allowed to make friends with another person. But that didn't mean he thought spending any more time in Nick's company would be a good idea. The point was to put Nick in his past. He knew it seemed childish to think it, but the fact was, he didn't want to do that to himself -- or to Peter's and David's guests.

He never made it to the dinner party.

After they left each other that night, he never saw Peter again.

Until a random night when he decided to go buy sushi for dinner at the local Whole Foods in lieu of cooking for himself.



anne said...

So many unanswered questions... Loved it. Don't even want to know if it's real life or fiction. :)

Sub Girl said...

loose ends! suspenseful!!

kat said...

full circle. i love it.

Dop said...

nice job dennis

Dennis! said...

Thanks for the comments, y'all. I'm glad this endeavor turned out well.