Undisclosed desires

Undisclosed Desires
While working feverishly on my computer, I suddenly heard an abrasive tone in the distance of my dim room. Being it was Friday, I did not bother to quickly turn to my phone as I usually do for I wanted to finish my work before Monday. A few minutes passed and the irritating tone came back. I sprung out of my chair and shuffled over towards my rounded mahogany coffee table. As my phone laid comfortably on the table, I glimpsed over at the twinkling screen and saw a combination of letters that spelt out “New Message from Nick”. In shock, I began to think back when was the last time I had seen him?

As my mind spun wheels to jog my memory, a clear image finally came through. Ah yes! The last time was when he had graduated from our local university in Los Angeles. When he finally appeared out of the sea of graduates, he grimaced towards me as his eyes settled upon the pink roses. Nicholas yelled, “Bro, how’d cha know?! Roses are fucking amazing.” I laughed and replied, “You son of a bitch. You think you’re so important now because you got a damn degree?” Nick smirked at me and lingered his eye contact as he walked alongside his friend Brittany. I yelled back, “ Dude. Just take this stupid bouquet! They were the best ones at the shop okay?” As Nicholas chuckled, I noticed Brittany banter her eyelashes towards Nick, probably in hopes of catching his attention. Nick bursted with enthusiasm in a mocking girl tone, “Oh my goodness Brittany, Mark is so sweet! Look how wonderful they are! These would go great on my white shabby chic table with my succulent collection.” We all laughed and shook our heads in disbelief at Nicholas. He was a funny guy, but also absent at times which made me feel disappointed. I turned back to him and asked, “So what are your plans now Mr. Eamen? Time to settle down, sell your soul to a company, or travel and never look back?” Nick walked up beside me on my left and looked down at his feet. We had just come to the edge of a beautiful overlook of the ocean on the north side of campus. I looked down at him and I could see his smile start to fade. Nick whispered, “Fuck. I have no idea man. I was so sure I wanted to be an executive at Dolby. After getting rejected though, I don’t know.” As he continued to look down at his beat up black converse, I saw his eyebrows cave in toward the top of his nose and his big brown eyes became a faint squint. We looked at each other and held a gaze, and quickly turned back to staring out at the ocean. My hands became clammy and I could barely make up any words to reply back to him. I finally managed to come up with a few words and ushered, “Everything will be okay in the end. It doesn’t matter where you start, it’s where you end up.”

As I blinked my eyes continuously at the screen, I had realized I did not open the message yet. I swiped my index finger across the phone quickly and began to read the message. Upon seeing the first few words, I felt a heavy wave of anger that instantly grounded me. The message read, “No invite to last night dude? It’s all good. Not like you hit me up anyways…” I was infuriated. The night prior, a mutual friend of ours had a birthday dinner. She mentioned she wanted an answer from the ten people she invited since it was reserved seating. After reading the text, I replied “I did not know you were back from your trip yet. Thought you might have been busy.” Within minutes of sending the message, Nick replied with a hasty undertone, “I came back a week ago. But it’s all good, I will see you all soon…” His second reply irked me even more so. I began to think back on that New Year’s Day night.

It was a rather chilly night. Nick, Jessica, Brittany, John, and I were at our favorite bar, Henry’s, and decided to play King’s Cup. Midway through our first round, the girls started to get more talkative and Nick started to become more touchy. I knew I could hold my liquor, so I took it upon myself that I would need to sober up and take care of the others. After Jessica pulled a red six of hearts, Nick, John and I knew that meant “6 for Dicks.”We all grabbed our beers and yelled out, “Cheers to them whores!” As I looked over at the clock, it was 3 minutes until countdown. I yelled out to Nick, “Nick, don’t let John drift off again it’s almost 12! Hurry!”

“What? I can’t hear you!”

“Nick seriously, stop messing around hurry up.”

“Alright alright alright, stop being so damn demanding bro.”

“It’s New Year’s, do you want to start it out shitty again like last year?”

For literally almost all of the New Year’s Eves we spent together, Nick always managed to get sick before or after New Years. It was inevitable. Last year though, we made a pact that we would make sure we would keep each other in check and start the new year on a fresh slate. As I heard the crowd in the bar start to quiet down, I knew it was countdown time. As we all stood together overlooking the dirty brick rooftop, I felt a hand interlock with mine. As my eyes lingered from my hand to up the stranger’s arm, I couldn’t believe who it was. It was Nick. Just as I was about to pull back, I heard the crowd scream, “5…4…3…2…1…Happy New Year!” I squinted my eyes and pulled back my hand and said, “Nick. You definitely have had one too many drinks.” He replied, “No I haven’t, you’re just scared.” Although Nick was my best friend, I felt uncomfortable and wanted to leave. “Nick, stop it. I don’t know if you’re joking or not but this isn’t funny. I wanted a special moment with Jessica but instead I was caught holding whose hand? Oh yeah YOURS.”

“What, embarrassed to even hold your best man’s hand? What a wuss.”

“No. I don’t see you in anymore than that. Leave me alone!”

“Damn look who is upset. It’s okay to be scared I’m here for you.”

“Scared of what? You know, you get really weird now when you drink.”

“Isn’t that what happens to everyone anyways Mark? Alcohol makes everyone loosey loose!”

“Dude, just go home and get sleep. I’m going to find Jessica.”

“Yeah your so called ‘lover’.You hardly know each other. You just met what a month ago? At that Christmas dinner at your work?”

“Yeah so? Did it ever occur to you that maybe I want more? She’s a chill girl.”

“Yeah chill. But is she lovely?”

At this remark, I was beyond pissed and uncomfortable. I didn’t want to talk to Nick. I gathered my coat and said to John, “Hey, make sure he gets home okay alright?” John answered, “Will do man. Happy New Year.”

As I sat there blank faced at the phone still. It was hard to understand why he was upset for he was infamously known for disappearing and not keeping in touch himself ever since that night. I replied, “It was George’s thing not mine. So don’t take it out on me.” As I could imagine, Nick was most likely typing faster than he could think for he replied, “ You’ve changed. I can’t believe you’re such an ass now!” I didn’t reply. I placed my phone face down on the coffee table, and went back to finishing up my work.

Days passed and then weeks passed and still no contact from him. I would hear from fellow friends about how he was so busy with his new job at Universal Music Group. A few times I found out he was in Westlake but I still got no message from him. On an early Sunday morning, I decided to finally reply. I grasped my phone gently in my hand and replied, “ Nick, It’s Mark. We need to talk about us and catch up. I was hoping you were free sometime this week to grab a coffee at our favorite place, Urth Cafe.” It was strange to type that message out for it felt so foreign. As I continued cleaning up my newly remodeled kitchen, I realized my phone was ringing. I rushed over and saw it was Nick. I picked up the phone and said, “Hey Nick.” There was silence. I could hear slight breathing but could not make out any conversation. I said “Nick, you there?” Nick coughed and said, “Hey Mark, I got your message. I can do Friday at 9 AM. Does that work?” I was surprised by the quick response. It sounded as if we were setting up a business meeting. I replied. “Wow look at us being so formal. Yes, that works for me. I will meet you there.” Nick suddenly interrupted, “ I need to tell you something, but I would rather it be in person. Can we go to our spot again after coffee? Just like old times.” I smiled at the phone, and was thrilled at his response. I replied, “ Ya, let’s go to our spot.”

I would like to say the bright morning sun started my Friday morning, but after having a sleepless night, the garbage truck woke me up at the beautiful hour of 6 AM. I threw on some jeans, a white tee, and grabbed a light cardigan before heading out. As I walked through the glass door that read Urth Cafe in beautiful cursive letters, I decided to wait patiently at a rounded coffee table by the window outside. As I checked my phone constantly for Nick’s text, I heard a familiar voice, “Dudeee this chai latter is dope. I got an extra shot with extra vanilla, here try some.” I was shocked and replied:

“Nick. You had one job. Meet here at 9 AM…so we could BOTH order drinks together.”

“Mark Mark Mark, how the hell am I supposed to know. Didn’t shoot me a text yet again did ya?”

“Call me old fashion, but I figured I’d sit and wait. Like a normal human being.”

“Dude relax! Just go get your damn espresso shot with almond milk. “

“Nick…you still remember that? It’s been years since we’ve had coffee. Last time was when we were freshman in college.”

“Woahhhh my man you are right. We both couldn’t decide if we wanted to ask out those girls from…which class was it?”

“Angela from marketing. She was nice, but never ended up talking to her. And yours was…”

“Nevermind it. I forgot anyways. It was years ago too things have changed since then.”

“Come on tell me. What was her name again?”

“No one. It was you who wanted to ask someone out not me.”

As I sat there puzzled by the sharp interruptions, I calmly got up from my chair and walked over to get my new favorite drink: a cappuccino with coconut milk and caramel drizzle. As I waited for my drink, I peered a quick glance at Nick through the window. I saw his mouth moving up and down with his hands in sync as he talked to the two gentlemen next to us. Nick was always a friendly guy. I always longed to be more outgoing like him but i think us together, it was a good balance for our relationship. I returned back to my seat and the talking stopped. The two men, one blonde haired and blue eyed and the other a dark haired and slender man, gave a nod towards Nick and walked out the side gate with their lattes. I turned back to Nick and said,

“Boy you make friends fast. I wish I had your skills man, that’s how you get all the ladies right?”

“Bro stop it. I wish I was like you. So sophisticated and proper yet quiet and confusing.”

“I am not a pretentious guy with loads of money that’s mysterious, is that what you’re trying to get at Nick?!”

“Well using words like that, you’re pretty damn pretentious. Who talks like that anyways? Didn’t you just say you were trying to be normal anyways?”

“Hm, touche Nick. Touche. You got me.”

“Yeah I got you alright… “

As he said those words, his confident demeanor faded as I saw his eyes become glossy and aimed towards the ground. He started to look around frantically as if he were looking for those two men again. I replied, “Nick, what’s up? Looking for someone?” After a few sips of his coffee, he turned to me and murmured, “Mark, I know I have been distant lately and I’m sorry. I have been a horrible friend.” In shock, I was relieved to hear these words. He continued,

“I needed to talk to you too though was for another reason.”

“Okay, stop beating around the bush Nick, what?”

“I have feelings for you…”

“I love you too, you’re like a brother I never had.”

“No Mark. I am in love with you…don’t you remember New Year’s?”

As I heard Nick continue the story I wanted to forget, I couldn’t help but think what made him like me so much? After countless dates and several bad relationships, I was always left with an empty feeling that I couldn’t shake. But, as Nick confessed his true feelings, I felt not bothered but appreciated. As my eyes started to water and my usual frowned face quickly turned into a warm smile. I answered, “Thanks Nick. I am flattered. I’m sorry though, it will never be like how you want it to be.” As I replied, I could see Nick’s uneasiness start to fade and turn into a smirk. He continued, “I was pretty drunk that night. I know you might have seen it then, but I was discovering I liked men and you happened to be one of the ones I liked. It was a difficult time to go through. I didn’t tell many people but I guess coming onto you wasn’t the best idea either.”

“Well yeah. I was pretty upset and uncomfortable dude. I never in a million years would think anything like that.”

As I said these words, I felt a stab in my heart. I thought to myself, “Mark. Why did you just say that? That’s a lie.” I couldn’t understand it. I was furious that New Year’s Eve night, yet I could never really shake the feeling of us holding hands. Nick continued, “Yeah, those two guys I was talking with earlier, they’ve been together for two years. I met them at Gold’s Gym and they’ve been really helpful with the coming out process. I’m glad you know the truth though. I hope it doesn’t change our friendship.” As I thought deeper and deeper into the subject, I knew one thing was certain. I didn’t want to lose Nick. The thought of him being with another guy more often than me in the future began to infuriate me and I didn’t know why. Nick continued, “Well I know it’s been a crazy year for us both, but I’m glad we can be okay now. I’m going to get going though. I have to go back to work for a meeting.” As we got up from our chairs, we gave each other a hug. As we slowly released each other from the warm embrace, I quickly grabbed him back and kissed him.


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