Love Is Complicated
It had never been a secret that I was deeply in love with my sister’s fiancé. No. That isn’t right. Ex-fiancé.
The point is, for as long as Krissy had been dating Tim, I’d wanted to be with him.
…That’s kinda wrong, I bet. There’s gotta be something, some law or rule or whatever, that expressly forbids older brothers from falling in love with their sisters’ boyfriends. Fiancés. Whatever. Then again… I guess since I go for guys, I’m already breaking the rules. Regardless, I had been daydreaming about dating Tim for 4 years now. I’d used every excuse available to spend time with him. Not out of some vain hope he might end up returning my feelings and running away with me. It took me zero time to figure out he was completely in love with my sister.
Mostly, I did it so that I could spend some time basking in his glorious personality and sense of humor. I did it because it made me happy. And because, honestly, it was fodder for daydreams. I’m not stupid, I know it was never meant to be. But a guy can day dream, even if he’s in his late 20's and eternally single. Especially in that case, I think.
So picture this. You spend all your time daydreaming about a guy. And he’s dating your sister, but you kinda block that part out, and have been for about 2 years because you really wanna date him and be with him and he’s 12 levels of perfect and your age not your sister’s age. And then he asks you to come to the mall with him. And you guys go to a jewelry store. And for about a minute, you allow yourself to daydream that he’s about to tell you he broke up with your sister. And your hopes are up, even though you know they shouldn’t be. And then he asks you to help him pick the perfect engagement ring…for your sister.
Killjoy, that was.
And I mean, I already knew my chances were nonexistent. Didn’t really matter in the long run. Because I still let myself get tangled up in falling for him. Which was extremely stupid. So whatever. I spent the better part of the next 2 years feeling really sorry for myself but still soaking up every ounce of his presence I could because I honestly just sort of instinctively knew that once my sister married him, he’d find out I was into men, and he’d get awkward around me. It always happened with the guys my sister dated. Even the ones I hadn’t been into, they all got to the point where they found out about me being queer and they decided to kinda avoid me. And I felt bad because it was pretty obvious, so much that even Krissy kinda figured out I was into Tim.
And then, all of a sudden, out of the blue, they break off the engagement.
That, I never saw coming. I don’t think a single person in our family did, because they were so happy and then all of a sudden Krissy wasn’t wearing the ring anymore and Tim wasn’t at family dinners and then a few months later Krissy brought Derek home. (Derek, by the way, found out about my being queer really, really fast. Like, the first dinner..) And Tim kind of just disappeared. Until today. He called me, this morning, and he asked me if I would meet him at this one coffeeshop across the street from my building. I agreed, and so we were sitting here on the patio of the coffeeshop across the street from my apartment, outdoors despite the weather, because both Tim and myself are smokers when we drink coffee.
I shook my head as he grinned lopsidedly and said, (quite clearly so everyone in the vicinity could hear,) “Last time I was here, your sister tried to kill me.” And after giving a moment’s thought to my response, I told him, much quieter, “I can’t imagine she didn’t have a good reason. Besides, if there’re such bad memories here, then why’d you wanna meet me here?”
He didn’t seem to care that anybody was staring, or that anyone could hear any part of our conversation, and I wondered momentarily if he was a closet exhibitionist or something.
He leaned forward, tapping ash off the end of his cigarette into the ashtray and smiling. “This is my favourite coffeeshop in town.” I roll my eyes. Tim lives across town, and I can’t imagine him finding many reasons to come into my neighborhood. I chose the Boho/Queer neighborhood of our city to establish myself, and other than some gay bars and tons of art galleries, there isn’t much here. “And your sister and I breaking off our engagement here is not going to taint this place if I can help it.” I look at him when he says that. They broke it off here? Well shit.
He smiles. “You seem nervous suddenly, Jake. What’s wrong? Worried what Krissy would say?”
I shake my head at his daring, and turn my head to observe the sidewalk across the street, all the people coming and going. Avoiding the subject, I ask, “Why do you say it’s your favourite? I can’t see you spending a huge amount of time here, to be completely honest..” He observes me a moment as he takes a drag of his cigarette, and then he smiles and points with two fingers across the way. But not at the people, I notice. At my building.
I look where he’s pointing, and I notice that from this table, you can see inside my apartment. I rarely draw the curtains facing street side, because the window opens into my office, and I like being able to see the city while I work. Which means you would be able to perfectly observe me working in my office for hours from this table. And I frown, confused, looking now at Tim. “What the hell?”
He considers me, leaning back in his chair and slowly smiles. “Krissy didn’t tell you anything about the breakup, did she?”
“No, of course not. It’s her business.” I tell him. Krissy never really talks much about personal relationships with anyone, and although she will often share more with me than the rest of the family, she still keeps a lot of it to herself, which is often for the best.
“Wow. I’d have expected some disclosure, considering the circumstances…”
“Is that why she wanted to kill you?” I ask, rolling my eyes as I lift my coffee mug. His eyes twinkle with humour.
“Well, somewhat..” He gives it a moment before continuing. “Jake, I’d like to tell you something rather important. But I’d like you to keep it between us, and I would feel great if you would not make fun of me, or laugh. Just as I would appreciate it greatly if you not interrupt me.”
I frown, but after a moment, nod. “Okay.”
“Alright.” He looks out at the street again, and when he finally speaks, it’s much quieter than the rest of the conversation has been. I lean in to hear his words. “So as you know, I was with your sister for the better part of four years. And we are no longer dating or engaged. But uhm, the reasons for that are pretty complicated.” I nod again, but stop myself short of saying, “No duh.” He pauses again to take a sip of coffee, a drag of his cigarette. And then he fixes his eyes on me.
“Jake, I really don’t know how to say this, because I have never been in this kind of a position before. So I am just going to say it, and then move on and explain…” Pause, breath, continue. “Jake, I made the mistake of falling in love with you in the middle of dating your sister. And I have really never done this before, so I am really not sure how to proceed with any of it. I kind of kept it to myself for a while but eventually I got to the point where it felt terrible to be with Krissy and I couldn’t keep lying to her about it. So I told her the honest truth, and it was kind of terrible.”
I am so stunned that before I can stop myself, I blurt out, “Wait, you mean you’re gay?” And as he goes wide-eyed and looks at me, I come back to myself, and clap both hands over my mouth as if that can take those words back and make them have never happened. He considers me another moment and then shakes his head, smiling slightly. “No, actually. I’m not gay. Not really.”
Now I’m more confused than ever, as he sits back, letting me process this. My head whirls with questions and I just sit there soaking it in for a few minutes. Finally, I get to the point I think I can control myself, and I ask simply, “Would you mind actually explaining what the hell this all means?”
He smiles somberly. “This is why your sister wanted to kill me. She knew already about my orientation, but when I told her about my feelings for you, she was understandably upset.” I nod at that, and I prompt him to continue when he doesn’t. “So I just sort of explained that I had been so sure it hadn’t actually been the case, so I’d ignored it and denied it for a long time but I couldn’t anymore because I didn’t want her to get hurt later because of it. So I told her that I loved you too much to marry her, or even continue dating her. And she cooled off and agreed that continuing to date and eventually marrying each other would be manifestly unfair to both of us.
“Jake, I didn’t say this to confuse or offend or upset you. I just thought you ought to know. And since it’s been months since I’ve spoken to Krissy, I thought now would be a good time because we’ve both had time to recover and move on completely. But I don’t actually expect anything. I just wanted to clear the air because it was important to me to get this out in the open.”
I look at him, and he must understand that I’m confused, because he opens his mouth to say something, but I say “Why’d you think I’d get offended?”
He frowns. “Because I’m a guy, who was dating your sister for almost 4 years, and just told you I love you.”
“Yes, I understand.” I frown. “But which part of that is offensive?”
“It doesn’t…bother you that I’m a guy?”
All of a sudden it hits me. Like a fucking freight train. He doesn’t know. And just like that, I’m laughing. And he frowns, looking a little upset. “Bother me? I think it would bother me a lot more if you were a girl.” I say, quelling my laughter. “I’m about as straight as a circle, Tim.” And he blinks, processing that.
“Oh.” He squeaks. Actually squeaks. It’s the cutest thing, and all of a sudden it hits me all at once. The guy I’ve been in love with for at least 3 years has just told me that he loves me. And he was dead serious doing it. And he’s also the cutest fucking thing I’ve ever had the privilege of being near. He squeaks when he’s overwhelmed. What could be sweeter or more endearing?
“So….” I murmur, looking at him. He finally meets my gaze, and smiles. And then he asks, “So then….do you…maybe wanna..go out with me sometime?”
I smile. “Uhm, perhaps. But I’m still a little lost. If you aren’t gay…”
And it’s his turn to laugh. Except it isn’t a laugh. It’s a giggle. Goddamn, he’s adorable. He’s grinning, once again, that cute little lopsided smile, and it’s so infectious. “I’m asexual.” He says, sobering. “And romantically, gender is unimportant.”
And I think about that for a second. Tilt my head, considering him. “Oh,” I say, understanding suddenly.
He’s suddenly quiet, cautious again. “Uhm, Jake?”
“Is…is that a no?”
I wrinkle my nose, confused. “I didn’t say no. Why’re you assuming that’s a no?”
“Well, you’re just very quiet. And I…the last few people I explained that part to weren’t really…they weren’t up for it..”
I nod. And I give him just a moment’s pause, to make him nervous ‘cause he’s just so cute when he’s nervous.
And then I smile.
“So how does Friday night work?” I ask him, grinning widely.
Originally published at stella-g1rl.deviantart.com.