The alarm went off at 6:30.
Jacob instinctively swatted at the nightstand to his right and pegged his
funny bone against a wall. He lifted his head, confused and banged his knee
on a windowsill while he rubbed the life back into his right arm.
The dim morning came through unfamiliar curtains.
Someone to his left smacked the shrill alarm silent.
"Sorry about that." A voice murmured from beneath soft gray sheets. "I keep
forgetting to turn that goddamn thing off. It always goes off this early on
Saturday morning. I'm a fucking idiot."
Jacob was horrified; he didn't know where he was.
He tried to trace back to the last thing he did remember? He
remembered going to dinner with Olin and Pete, remembered walking up to Axis
with them and going inside. He remembered ordering a few beers, drinking with
Olin and wandering. He remembered some guy... Scotch, yes, he
remembered that piece of shit. He remembered drinking with Scotch and then it started to
get sketchy. He thought he recalled walking back to the apartment and reading...
or did he read? No. He started to read and then decided to go out. He vaguely
remembered walking into Union Station to drink more.
It seemed to end with more booze.
He looked sidelong at the form beneath the stone colored sheets.
He'd gone home with someone he'd met at Union Station... and had, from his
lack of clothes and the presence of lubricant and condoms on the nightstand, had
sex with him but he didn't remember any of it.
What the FUCK did I do?
He tried to remember something about who the
guy was or what they'd done. He leaned toward the man under the sheet to see
something of his face and he realized that he didn't even know what he looked
SHIT! Please do not let this be Scotch!
He reached forward and carefully drew the sheet.
The man's face was plain and attractive. He looked in his late
twenties, had short, bed-mussed, brown hair. His nose seemed to turn a hair to the left as if it had been broken at one time. He looked normally clean-shaven although, at the moment, his face had a fine, dark shadow.
This was not Scotch. Thank God! But who the hell is it?
Jacob pulled the sheet past the guy's chin. He had deeply tanned skin
and a thin blue cross tattooed on his throat, near his collarbone, below the
line where a shirt would show.
Jacob leaned back against the wall and broke contact with the stranger's warm
skin on his thighs. He searched looked for some way of escape.
The room was small and had unimpressive, worn furniture; it reminded Jacob of
the room he and Ryan had shared for the last year. The bed was a double, pressed
tightly against the wall beneath the window. At its foot was a narrow chest of
drawers with barely enough room to open them. A nightstand sat just to the side
of the bed, a computer desk and chair sat against the right wall and a scarred
dresser, scattered with pictures in frames, against the left near the
nightstand. The door lay on the far side of the room, in a direct line with Jacob
and the stranger's tangle of clothes.
It seemed to Jacob as if the best path out would be down the foot of the bed,
past the chest and collect his clothes to the door.
He gave another look to the stranger, extracted himself carefully from the
sheet, tucked it under the guy and then slid to the end and stood beside
the chest of drawers.
The figure didn't move.
Good. He hoped he would get out before he woke anyone. He hoped this guy
didn't have any roommates fond of fixing breakfast at 6:30.
The floor creaked mercilessly and he stopped in mid-step. The figure was
still. He braved it again, this time he spread out his weight to minimize the
noise. He shifted his weight and tested the floor, slowly stalked around the
room and located his clothes piece by piece.
He put on a sock then his underwear and looked around for the other sock.
It was on the dresser, draped over a blown-up photograph.
Jacob picked up the photo. In it, the guy lying in bed- who looked rather
handsome, actually- held his arm around a beautiful blond woman. He held onto
her hand that rested on her shoulder. She looked familiar.
He sat down the frame and looked casually back at the sleeping figure. From
this angle he could see that the guy was awake and watching him.
Jacob snatched his sock from the dresser and pulled it on in an attempt to
act as if he wasn't snooping.
"How are you feeling?" The man asked.
Jacob hadn't really thought about it but he felt like shit. That usually
happened when he stopped drinking water between drinks.
"I'm OK." He lied and looked for his jeans.
The guy stretched and propped up on one arm in the bed. His face looked more like the handsome guy in the photo
now. He slid his hand over his wild hair in an attempt to tame it and the movement made Jacob notice the small silver bar
through his left nipple.
"You don't have to leave so early." He said, "I'm sorry about the alarm, I
have to get up early weekdays and I always forget about it. I always forget to
turn it back on for Monday, too." He chuckled. "Double edge sword."
"Mmm... hmmm." Jacob mumbled while he pulled up his pants. He zipped them
quickly then found his shirt.
The man's eyes narrowed. "Jacob."
"Uh huh?" Jacob pulled on his t-shirt and found the blue button-up he'd worn
over it. He was interested in nothing more than getting dressed and retreating
back to Olin's place. He wasn't paying attention.
"Hey!" The guy's voice was stern. "Jacob."
Jacob turned to face him; he was annoyed at the insistence in his voice.
"Umm... My name is Kelly." He smiled. "I didn't think you would remember it
from last night."
Jacob stared at him then nodded. "Sorry. I guess... I got a little drunk last
night." He collected his shoes and sat at the computer desk to tie them. "It was
fun." He concentrated too hard on his laces. "I need to go home."
Kelly raised his eyebrows and sat up more.
"Umm... you don't...?" he started as if he were asking a question but stopped
and corrected himself. "Maybe I should let you should know that we didn't fuck
last night." Kelly held up a connected line of unopened condoms with a dry
smirk. "You passed out shortly after we got naked. I was only a little less
drunk but I went out shortly after you."
Jacob exhaled loudly and then smiled back at him, relieved, embarrassed.
"Would it be insulting to you if I told you that I was glad we didn't?"
"I guess it depends on the reason." Kelly replied and then laughed. "And
don't act so relieved - I think a lot of guys wouldn't mind waking up naked next to me."
Jacob held his hands before him. "No, no." He laughed. "It’s not that at
all... I just wasn't planning on meeting anyone last night, let alone go home
with someone." Jacob sat back in the chair and relaxed a little. "I just don't
normally do that. It's just not my usual thing."
Kelly shrugged and shifted to sit up in bed; the sheets covered the tops of
his legs and waist. He had a thin, muscular frame and his hands seemed stained
with dark ink or paint. "Well, I wasn't expecting guests either - as you'll see
when you walk back though my apartment." He stretched; his left arm had a wide,
pink scar that ran from his wrist to the fold of his elbow. He pulled his arm back
and ran his hand back into his hair. "Damn I hate waking up this early on a
The scar on Kelly's arm distracted Jacob and he forced himself to not look at
it. Almost any type of scar reminded him of Ryan and this particular one looked
dangerously familiar. There were certain protocols Jacob had learned when it
came to such things and, while he wanted to ask Kelly how he had gotten this
one, he knew that it was one of those questions that would remain unasked - for
He finished dressing and looked at himself in the dresser's mirror.
"You look like shit." Kelly said and Jacob agreed with him. "I think you
probably had more to drink than the entire table last night."
Jacob looked back to Kelly. "The entire table?"
Kelly laughed. "Jesus Christ. Were you that drunk when you met
"I don’t remember much..." He paused. "Umm... anything." His mouth was
terribly dry. His lack of memory for the night before - save the unfortunate
run-in with Scotch - made him feel uneasy about the entire night. His head felt
strange and unlike a hangover in some way.
Kelly smiled wide and adjusted the shifting sheet as he moved.
Jacob saw Kelly's dark tan end abruptly below his waist and start again near
his upper thighs; it was treacherously appealing. "I guess I may have drank too
fast last night at Axis before going over to Union Station... did I seem really
"A little, but not that bad." Kelly leaned forward to grab a pair of
red flannel boxers from the floor. "You met us around 11." He paused. "Me, Jan
and Aaron." He gave Jacob a dubious look. "You did seem a lot friendlier
Jacob smiled and opened his hands towards the clothes on the floor.
"Apparently." He checked instinctively for his wallet and keys.
"I'd noticed when you walked in and sat by yourself by the bar. Jan's the one
who invited you over." He motioned to the photo that Jacob had been holding
earlier. "She said you looked like you could use some company. It was fun, we
were glad you decided to sit with us."
Jacob glanced over at the photo. "Oh! Okay." He understood now why she seemed
familiar. "Yeah. Actually, I think I do remember a little of that." He thought
of the first question that had come to mind from the photo. "But she isn't your
girlfriend, is she?" He was certain, in the haze from last night, the third man,
Aaron, was with her.
"No." Kelly replied, amused. "But that photo does makes us look like
the happy couple, doesn't it? She's one of my best friends." He said. "I've
known her and Aaron for several years. She's with Aaron. Do you remember him?"
"Vaguely." Jacob replied. "I'm sure more will come back to me as I'm
reminded." He started to feel anxious to leave again and checked for the key to
Kelly hid behind the sheet while he pulled up his boxers and then stood out
and collected his other clothes. He removed some cash and his wallet from his
pants and set them on the dresser. "Look," he said. "I can tell you're kind of
freaked out by this. I understand." He stood before Jacob and held out his hand
for Jacob to shake it. "I'm Kelly Lehman."
Jacob smiled and shook Kelly's hand. "You obviously know my name." He was
keenly aware of Kelly's bare skin. He forced himself to look away and yawned.
"You know, I wasn't lying when I said you didn't have to leave yet." He
thumbed toward the bed. "I promise that I'll let you sleep- I'll even go sleep
on the couch."
"No." Jacob shook his head. "I should get back to the apartment." He paused
and imagined the look on Olin's face if he walked in during breakfast. "My
cousin has an overactive maternal instinct and he will either skin or throw me a
surprise 'got laid' party when I get home."
"OK. I understand." Kelly opened his dresser drawer and grabbed a pair of
cut-off shorts and pulled them on. He looked up at Jacob as he buttoned the fly
and grinned. "It still feels like a one-night stand, doesn't it?"
Jacob nodded. "Yea, it does."
"I'm telling you the truth when I said we didn't do anything last night."
Kelly blushed and rolled his eyes a little. "Well, we made out pretty heavy
and of course we got naked so there was a little of this and that... but...
nothing else OK?"
"OK" Jacob motioned to the unopened condoms. "I trust you."
"Good..." Kelly reached up his hand and cautiously pulled Jacob's face to
his. He kissed him softly on the mouth. "Do." And he let go.
A smile crept across Jacob's face and he actually blushed. He wasn't
expecting that at all.
"I tell you what," Kelly rubbed his hands together and looked across the
computer desk for something. "Why don't you come with me to Comfest next
weekend. It's all pointless, hippy-trippy garbage, but you might have fun. Or
hell, just come out and sit by the lake and we can people watch. My friends and
I don't really do much, other than just hang out, but we throw the Aerobe some
afternoons as well." He pointed to a fluorescent yellow ring that sat on the
chest of drawers. "We play on the north side of Goodale Park. You should join
Unsure of how to respond and still buzzing a little from the kiss, Jacob
"Well, think about it." Kelly laughed. He found what he was looking for: a
pad of hot pink post-it notes and a pen. He wrote his number and something else
on the top sheet then pulled it off and folded it. He handed it to Jacob.
"Here." He said. "This is my number. If you feel like it, just call me, alright?
Or Hell, if you feel like it, just go out there and find us sometime, we go out
there all summer."
Jacob picked the slip of paper from Kelly's fingers and tucked it in his
pocket. He wasn't at all sure of how to react; but for some reason it felt good.
"OK." He gave into it. "I'll call."