Excerpt: Casual (Sex) Friday
Ben let out a great sigh of relief. His work obligations for the week were over, and the weekend spread out before him pure and limitless. He told his computer to shut down and stretched his back and arms, trying to touch the ceiling. He looked around his desk and collected his netbook, several papers, and a three-inch-thick book on server load balancing then dumped the items unceremoniously into his gym bag. He stared for a few moments at the book, lifted it out of his bag, and placed it back on his desk.
“Hey Ben.” A light rap sounded on the wall of his cubicle.
Ben inwardly groaned. He turned and gave Calvin a smile that he hoped passed for friendly but neutral. This was the twelfth week in a row Calvin had stopped by at the end of the Friday workday. When would he give up? They’d gone on one date—one. Ben had been bored to near tears and couldn’t escape fast enough. It had been a disaster, and there was no way Calvin felt differently. Yet he came back every Friday at 5 p.m., like clockwork.
“Calvin,” Ben said amiably. It was the start of the weekend, for Pete’s sake; why couldn’t Calvin vacate the building as fast as possible like normal people? And speaking of normal, the dress code was casual, yet he kept wearing those frumpy khakis and too-large polo shirts. Ben suspected that Calvin was actually well-built under the folds of fabric, but it was impossible to know for sure.
Calvin gave Ben a cocky smile. “Come get a drink with me.” He was all confidence, as though there was no way Ben would say no. As though he was gifting Ben with the opportunity to listen to him drone on about the same things that every other self-respecting Seattleite claimed to enjoy. As though Ben hadn’t said no eleven times before.
Ben leaned back against his desk and affected an apologetic smile. “Sorry Calvin, can’t.”
Calvin frowned. Damn Calvin, but that frown made Ben feel the same pang of guilt he had felt every week since their mediocre date. Calvin was tenacious, though, Ben had to give him that. But Ben would be just as tenacious in refusing—however many times it took for Calvin to get the message that Ben was not interested in any more dates. Calvin shrugged with an air of c’est la vie. “I’m going to keep asking.”
“I’ll keep saying no.” Guilt or no guilt, Ben was not subjecting himself to another evening with Calvin. No way, no how.
Calvin straightened and flicked one of the origami bow ties pinned to Ben’s cube wall. “One day you’ll say yes.” Calvin gave Ben another grin, a single wave, and walked away.
Why couldn’t Calvin at least ask him out on Mondays? Having to reject the guy every Friday made for a poor start to the weekend. Some weeks, Ben had almost been tempted to say yes just to avoid the guilt. And because he was lonely. He almost wanted to find out if it was possible to have a relationship with someone who wasn’t a lying S.O.B.
Maybe the first date was an anomaly, and the second date would be much more interesting. But why would a second date be any better than the first? That tedious evening of polite conversation about baseball, hiking, and how wonderful Seattle was. The same polite conversation that everyone seemed to cherish and repeat in lieu of what they really felt.
No. No second dates with Calvin. Ben wasn’t getting involved in another relationship only to find out it was all a lie. And during the only date they would ever go on, Calvin had shown all the signs of presenting a well-calculated facade.
Ben hoisted his gym bag onto his shoulder and walked through the aisle between the cubes toward the elevator. He gave a casual wave to Mary, who was fighting with the fax machine, and called a quick good-bye across the cube wall to Claire. The rest of the floor appeared to be vacant.
The elevator was a peculiar zone of inaction. Several other Friday stragglers stood there, silent, still, waiting. Ben wanted to be outside, moving, walking off the irritation that had gotten under his skin. Why did Calvin have to keep asking him out? Could the man not take a hint?
He rushed out of the building as quickly as possible. Ben’s mood had turned so sour he needed to take corrective action immediately before the weekend was ruined. He sent a text to Sarah, asking if she wanted to meet for drinks. While waiting for her response, he took a moment to absorb the heat of the summer afternoon. Airplanes drifted one after another across the cloudless blue sky. Despite the sun’s being blocked by one of downtown’s taller structures, light reflected in bright glares off the building’s glass exterior.
His phone buzzed, and he hoped Sarah had agreed. But she hadn’t—busy until nine, she said. He tried not to feel too let down, but he didn’t have any other friends he could invite out at the drop of a hat.
Having nowhere to go, Ben started walking north. The sun played hide and seek as he passed by taller, then shorter buildings. As he left the tourist-laden streets of downtown, the businesses transitioned from clothing stores and specialty shops to smaller neighborhood hangouts. The bars and restaurants were filling with the after work crowd. He wished he were there with one of the laughing groups of people huddled around a small table.
He turned west, heading toward the waterfront and then went into the park. He had an inkling of a plan now. When he was especially down, few things could cheer him up more than watching other men in pleasure. He normally waited until he was in the privacy of his own home, but sometimes being in public was nice.
The sun, now unimpeded by buildings, reflected off the bright blue surface of Puget Sound. He passed a playground teeming with toddlers and kids; they screamed and shouted as they ran around in circles and clambered over slides and swings. He walked along the park path, the sounds of children dimming and then fading away completely, until he found a clean, empty bench. The grassy area across the path was filled with small groups of people sitting around soaking up the sun. He fell into the seat and angled his bag so that it took up the rest of the bench.
All sorts of people passed in front of him. An elderly man jogged slowly, his wrinkled skin trying to keep up with him and stay on his bones. Two young women, slightly overweight, power walked and chatted as they flew past. Dads ran with jogging strollers, pushing sleeping infants while keeping their bodies toned. Four dogs of varying colors and breeds pulled their walker along behind them.
None of them noticed Ben sitting alone on the bench. They passed by anonymously, never to be seen again. He would never know them; they would never know him. There was beauty in that anonymity. He was in their world, yet he wasn’t. He imagined his little bubble of existence on this bench like a one-way glass: he could see through it, but no one could see him inside.
A pair of men walked by holding hands; Ben smiled at the sight. Someday he wanted to find that again. If he could just find someone interesting. And honest. His mind flashed momentarily to his ex, and his hand tensed and clenched. No. Think happy thoughts. Ben looked back at the couple. They leaned in toward one another as they walked, talking quietly in their own little world. He wondered if they felt like he did—like they were in their own little bubble invisible to outsiders.
Ben looked around, trying to spot any man who looked like a potential Mr. Right. He didn’t see one. Never saw one. There would probably never be another Mr. Right. Although, ‘another’ wasn’t the right word, since that implied there had already been a Mr. Right in his life.
Letting his head fall back so the sun warmed his face, Ben closed his eyes. He focused on the perfect feeling of the summer afternoon and tried to purge the negative thoughts. He needed to see something real. Something true. Be reassured that some people were exactly what they seemed.
He took out his phone, and with a tap and slide on the screen, told it to wake up. He tapped on the little green icon with a 66 on it. The app took half a minute to fully load, and already he was giddy with anticipation.
His phone’s front camera turned on, and a little picture of him appeared in the corner of the screen. His picture was small, but he could see his face and the skyline in the background. Anyone listening would pick up on the sounds of people calling to each other, bursts of laughter, or dogs barking.
On the screen, the loading symbol spun and spun until another picture finally appeared. The woman’s face was off-screen, but two large, naked breasts swayed back and forth. He tapped the “next” button to move on to another person. Eventually, after going through several people in various states of dress and activity, an attractive middle-aged man showed up. Just his type: male, hard, and half-naked. Ben hoped the man let him stay. The man on the screen quirked his lips into a crooked smile then proceeded to unzip his pants and extract his erection.
Ben looked around, checking to make sure that no one was watching him. He adjusted his position on the bench. A man ran by, a strap on his arm and ear buds in his ears, completely oblivious to Ben’s existence. Ben looked back at his phone. The man had moved the camera position so it was level with his crotch and pointing up—filling most of the screen with his cock and just a small portion with his face.
The man’s eyes were closed and a small smile played on his lips as he fisted his impressive erection. Ben could see not only a prominent vein along its length, but all the smaller blood vessels as well. The man took his fist away, and after a minute the hand came back shiny with lube. The man’s lips moved. Ben pointed to his ear and shook his hand, indicating that he couldn’t hear. The man raised an eyebrow.
Ben desperately needed to adjust himself, but he didn’t dare in such a public place. The last thing he wanted was to draw the attention of the other park occupants.
Since he wasn’t wearing headphones, he couldn’t hear if the man was making any noise, so he imagined small humming sounds as the man worked his shaft faster. The picture was crisp and, despite being outdoors in the ambient light of the full sun, Ben could make out the gradient of reds on the man’s cock and chest. The man opened his eyes from far above and looked straight at the camera. Ben was hard as granite, but because of how his legs were arranged, nobody could tell. The man was getting close. Ben could tell from the strain in his body, the speed of his hand. The man closed his eyes and leaned his head back. Almost there. Ben bit his bottom lip in anticipation. The man’s face told Ben it was coming a split second before come shot out of the man’s cock. Some even landed on the camera—a sign of much practice with 66 Fac—
“Wow. That’s some cock.”
Ben jumped, and a strong hand landed on his shoulder. His eyes widened, he locked his phone to hide the screen, and his body braced for flight. He whipped his head around, and—Calvin? Calvin’s hand gripped his shoulder tightly and held him in place. Ben’s heart thumped so hard and so fast, Calvin must have been able to hear it.
Calvin smirked. “There’s a vein in your neck pulsing wildly—much like the vein on that guy’s dick.” Calvin didn’t move his hand, and Ben could only stare at him. “Calm down, Ben,” Calvin said conversationally. “Don’t want people to stare.”
Ben slowly turned his head back to face the park. Calvin. It was Calvin. Ben closed his eyes, savoring the relief. Thank God. It could have been any number of people who would be offended by a man watching porn in a park and who promptly called the cops, but it was just Calvin. That didn’t make the situation any less embarrassing, but Ben was pretty sure Calvin wouldn’t have him arrested.
He opened his eyes and watched the path in front of him. Two women walked by, pushing strollers and chatting. Five men approached from the opposite direction, running. They were fast and heavily muscled. They weren’t strangers anymore; they were enemies. If they happened to look at him, see what he had been doing, Ben could be in trouble. He tried to look harmless. Unthreatening. His one-way bubble had popped, and just as he could see the world, the world could very clearly see him.
A body, Calvin’s, passed within touching distance in front of him. Calvin moved Ben’s gym bag and sat so close to Ben that their legs touched. Ben didn’t move. He didn’t talk. He only took a breath when it was absolutely necessary.
“You were so fucking aroused.” Calvin put his hand on Ben’s leg. “I could have knelt in front of you, unzipped your pants, taken your cock out and blown you in front of the entire park, and you wouldn’t have cared. Have enjoyed it even.”
Ben turned his head and stared wide-eyed at Calvin. He wouldn’t. He couldn’t. Ben was very sure men who exposed themselves in public were taken to court and then jail. He shook his head slightly.
“Oh yes. I bet you wouldn’t have lasted two minutes before shooting down my throat.”
Ben shook his head again.
Calvin put his arm around Ben’s shoulders and leaned back against the bench. “I get it now,” he said, the tone contemplative. “Why you keep saying no to me.”
Ben doubted that, but remained silent. Calvin didn’t say anything for several minutes. Then he gave Ben’s shoulder a squeeze and looked at him. “We’re going for a drink tonight. No arguments.”
Emotions other than fear were starting to re-enter Ben’s universe. Who did Calvin think he was? Telling Ben what he was going to do? But on the other hand, why did Calvin think he could tell Ben what to do? Was it because he now had something to hold over Ben’s head? Was he going to call the police? The HR department? His coworkers?
“Come on, Ben. This little … kink of yours can be our secret—if you get a drink with me.”
Ben nodded. Blackmail—right. That settled things. Calvin stood and Ben followed, slinging his bag over his shoulder and putting his phone in his pocket before glaring at Calvin.