Wednesday Briefs: Second Shot – The Senior Year – 9
“I ate too much.” Ethan bumped Blake with his shoulder. “Why didn’t you stop me? ”
Smiling, Blake bumped back, just a bit. “I didn’t know I needed to say, ‘Ethan, don’t eat six slices of sausage, pepperoni pizza.’ I figured you’d stop at four.”
When Ethan made contact again, their bodies stayed together long enough for Blake to feel a hand touch his. He had to fight the urge to grab the ‘offending’ hand, but it was still too light out to risk that. Still, he didn’t rush to move away.
“Oh, you should have known.” Ethan shook the take away box with a few slices inside. “I told you I liked pizza.”
When Blake turned his head toward the sound, Ethan winked at him. “So now you expect me to be Carnac the Magnificent?”
“The great Carwho?”
Still looking confused, Ethan shook his head. “Who’s that?”
“Not sure.” Blake had searched it before, but it sounded better this way. “That’s what my granddad always asks when he says I expect him to be a mind reader.”
“You’re using your grandfather’s shtick on me? Really?”
The quirk to Ethan’s lips had Blake on the edge all night. It threatened to derail his plans for a real date before they went back to his room. He didn’t want Ethan to think he only wanted sex, but it took a lot not to suggest they go back right after dinner. A warm breeze gently covered him in humid air, adding to his desire to go back to his dorm.
“Yeah, really.” This time he initiated the contact. “Besides, it’s new to you, right?”
“That might be true, but it doesn’t make it a good line. I’d suggest….”
They both turned in the to the left. Blake knew his teammate’s voice before he looked.
“Hey, Davis.” He nodded toward his other teammates, Eric and Matt. “Hey, what’s up?”
“Just getting back from dinner.” Eric answered. He noticed Ethan and waved. “Hey, you’re Jase’s friend, right?”
Blake felt a wave of panic hit. He’d known the risks, but didn’t really expect them to run into anyone. Had they seen them touching? It had been innocent enough. Hadn’t it?
“Yeah,” Ethan stepped forward. “Ethan. You’re Eric, Davis and Mike, right?”
“Matt.” Blake noticed that Matt didn’t spare Ethan much eye contact. After he gave his name, Matt turned his focus back on Blake. “Jason didn’t mention you were staying with them. We just left him, Peter, Dean and D.”
“Yeah, well…” Ethan looked over, but Blake didn’t react. “I’m not staying with him this weekend. I’m hanging out with Blake.”
The answer slammed into Blake’s solar plexus. His body trembled until he let out his breath. Matt’s stare continued the accusation Blake heard in his words.
“He’s staying with you?” Eric looked from one to the other. “I didn’t know you two knew each other.”
“Neither did we.” Ethan said. He added a small laugh that almost caused Blake’s dinner to come up. “We live about ten miles apart, had a bunch of friends in common and hung out at the same places. I needed some time away from home – mom’s cool and all, but I’m not used to being there anymore.”
Davis laughed and elbowed his roommate. “Yeah, we know what that’s like.”
Matt’s expression remained stony. After his lips twitched he shook his head. “Come on guys, let’s go.”
“Sure, Matt.” Davis’s eyes darted around as if looking for an answer. “Um… we’re going to the team house to play Grand Theft if you two want to swing by.”
It took some effort, but Blake managed to swallow. Only after Matt turned and walked off, did he find his voice. “Thanks, we’ll talk about it.”
“Okay.” Eric pointed toward Ethan. “Good seeing you again.”
His heart still banging against his sternum, Blake watched his teammates leave. Eric and Davis ran to catch up with Matt, whose determined stride added to Blake’s unease.
Blake felt a hand on his shoulder and couldn’t stop himself before he pulled away. Seeing Ethan’s face sag, he moved closer, but the mood remained tense. “Not sure. I think Matt figured it out. He seemed pissed at me, too.”
“Because he figured it out? ” Ethan’s posture improved and he seemed focused.
“I don’t know, probably.”
“Isn’t he one of Jason’s best friends?”
“Yeah.” Which is why Matt was the last person he thought would care.
“That’s what I thought.” Ethan shrugged and his smile returned. “I wouldn’t worry about it. He’s probably got something else on his mind. Anyone who’s that close with Jason wouldn’t have a problem with you.”
“True.” Blake knew Matt pounced whenever the smallest whiff of homophobia stirred up on the team. But Matt’s eyes. Whatever bothered him, Blake felt certain it had to do with him.
“C’mon.” This time when Ethan moved closer, he gave Blake’s hand a quick squeeze. “Let’s go drop this off and we can figure out what to do with the rest of our night.”
Anger threatened Blake’s already fragile control. Did Ethan only think about sex? He’d just outed Blake to his teammates. When he turned to yell at his date, the retort died on his lips.
A smirk, a leer, maybe even a suggestive eyebrow wiggle Blake expected. The look of concern? He hadn’t been ready for that. Shutting his mouth, he tried to swallow, but his mouth was too dry.
“I’m sorry, Blake. Really I am.”
“You didn’t do anything, it just happened.” Despite the words, Blake knew his face told a different story.
“If I’d been a bit quicker, I could have lied better.”
Blake’s stomach twisted again, then felt like it flipped over for good measure. “Ethan, stop. You didn’t do this and it wasn’t up to you to lie.” It took several deep breaths to calm before he could continue. “I knew the risks even if I never really expected it to happen.”
“So you’re not mad at me?” A hint of a smile tweaked Ethan’s lips.
“No.” The head shake was as much for him as for Ethan. Being a douche and making Ethan leave wouldn’t undo what had happened. “But do you mind if we stay in tonight?”
“Hmm.” The thousand-watt smile that made Blake’s chest tighten was back. “I guess I can manage that.”