I woke up in a cocoon of contentment and warmth that was made especially more delicious by the chill that snaked its way around the room from the Sunday morning rain falling outside. My eyes glided lazily to the body a few centimetres away from me on the bed, and I felt a catch in my breath when my gaze fell on Bryson. He wasn’t one for cuddles, and so, lay on his back, one arm flung out, and the other placed on a chest that rose and fell with the steady rhythm of his slumberous breathing. His face was slightly tilted in my direction, and his sooty lashes lay like shadows above the fullness of his lips, which begged to be kissed.

Staring at him, I began to feel a stirring in my groin. It surprised me that after spending half the night making love to him, the mere sight of him sleeping could still arouse me.

Following the sensation of desire was a suffusion of warmth in my chest. And as I looked at him, I realized with a sinking feeling that I was beginning to fall in love with Bryson.

I received this realization with mixed feelings. I knew I should be ecstatic, but in the two weeks that had passed since the Alfie Esang Fashion Show, I’d observed Bryson blossoming into something akin to the consummate gay Lothario. For some reason, that night became the precursor for my boyfriend’s coming out into the gaybourhood. His phone began to buzz more frequently with more calls and texts than usual, and the nights we spent together were no longer about just the two of us. They became more about me, him and all those acquaintances on his social media contact lists. He’d be more engrossed with his chats, chuckling and typing away at his keypad, than with my company. That stung.

To add insult to the injury, during the couple of times I accompanied him to functions that were somewhat linked to his career, those events which crawled with gay men, I’d had to stand on my own, enduring the sight of these vultures flirting unabashedly with my boyfriend, attention which he seemed to bask in.

The observance of all this began to awaken something in me, a sensation that was alien to me, a nibbling on my fraying emotions by something cold and ugly. Icy gusts of this sensation fanned across my heart last Saturday, causing me to clench my fists in an effort to curb the desire to stalk over to the guy who kept laughing and tapping Bryson’s bicep every chance he got, wrench him around, and strike the simpering amorousness from his face.

“It’s just your jealousy rearing its head, because for the first time in your life, you have something and your possession of it is threatened,” Yinka counseled when I lamented my woes to him and Ekene. “Jealousy is good for relationships. It means you care.”

“How would you know what is good for relationships,” Ekene interjected, “seeing as you aren’t even in a proper one. I disagree.” Turning to me, he said, “Jealousy is only good in small doses, and when your partner is worth the hassle. Bryson doesn’t seem to be. He’s clearly taking you for granted.”

“No, I don’t … I just think he doesn’t know how to handle the attention…” I said, feeling the need to defend my boyfriend, even though I wasn’t sure if I believed what I was saying.

“He doesn’t know how to handle the attention? What is he, a knight in distress?” Ekene scoffed.

Yinka laughed.

I scowled.

He kept on laughing. “What? It’s funny,” he protested in his mirth.

“It’s not funny,” I bit out. “I don’t like feeling the way I’m feeling, and yet, I find myself helpless to stop it.”

“Are you in love with him?” Ekene queried concernedly.

“Yes – No…I mean, I don’t know…”

Now, I knew. As I watched him sleep, I knew I was halfway in love with him. And in spite of the turbulence I’d battled with these past couple of weeks, I still couldn’t bring myself to resent him for being the reason for it. I was crazy about him, and right at the moment, I was horny for his loving.

Knowing it wouldn’t take much to wake him, I ran a finger between his pecs, slowly tracing it to a nipple and circling the teat. I smiled as he began to stir.

He opened one eye and grinned. “After last night? You’ve got to be kidding me.”

I moved my body so he could catch a glimpse of my erection pressed against the sheets. “A morning wood is not a joking matter, dear.”

Amidst chuckles, he pulled into his sleep-warm embrace, and was already flipping me over, when his phone rang. My arms, which were wrapped around his neck, tightened. He made to move away, but I wouldn’t budge.

“Dee, the phone…”

“Let it ring.” I arched my hip upward to grind my groin enticingly against his.

He groaned and closed his eyes momentarily. “Stop, Dee, you’re killing me.”

I lifted my head and sought for his mouth. “Let’s just finish what we’ve started.”

The damned phone kept on ringing.

He sighed. “I have to get that. It could be Rome.”

I deflated and dropped back on the bed, away from him. Of course. Romesh. That queen had been dangling the promise of what he could do for Bryson’s career like a carrot ever since that fashion show. If I thought all those Lagos skanks were a threat to my relationship, then I believed Romesh was the tsunami looming to wreck everything. And the sad realization that sat like a nagging toothache in my mouth was that I didn’t even know how to fight him off.

I watched Bryson move quickly to answer the call before it would ring out.

“Hey, Rome, happy Sunday,” he greeted.

The contentment I felt upon my wakening withered when I heard that name, as my heart began a slow burn. The burn gradually intensified as I listened to Bryson’s side of the conversation. The phone call was short, and by the end of it, I gathered that Bryson was supposed to meet Romesh someplace fancy for a late lunch. Career prospects would be discussed.

Bryson was ending the call when someone called out his name from outside the room.

“Yes?” he called back.

“Mummy wants to see you!” his younger brother, Jimi, hollered.

He dropped his phone on the nightstand, pulled on a T-shirt and boxers, tossed at me a ‘Baby, I’ll be right back’, and left the room.

For a few moments, I lay in bed, my gaze riveted on the phone. All I could hear was the soft thrumming of the rain on the roof, the smooth whirring of the standing fan positioned a ways from the bed, and the rapid tattoo of my heartbeat.

Don’t even think about it, Mr. Conscience admonished.

Go ahead, you know you want to do it, the Voice urged.

No, I shouldn’t. I have to have a little faith, I countered.

In him, yes. In those thirsty hoes, hell no! You need to know exactly what you’re dealing with.

But Bryson –

Need never know! Just check quickly for what you need to know, and be done with it!

The Voice won this round. I threw back the covers and scooted across the bed to the nightstand. I picked up Bryson’s phone and tapped on the keypad. The screen revealed the phone’s demand for the unlock code. I’d espied Bryson typing out the digits sometime ago, and involuntarily filed away my knowledge of the security code. Now, I dug out the digits from my memory banks, and typed, hoping he hadn’t changed the code. He hadn’t. The phone accepted the code, and I had access.

You don’t have to do this, Mr. Conscience reasoned.

Shut up! the Voice thundered. He needs to know! Declan, don’t stop now.

Filled with purpose, I navigated my way to the Blackberry Messenger. And soon, I was scrolling through Bryson’s read chats. Some of them were harmless. And then, there were the messages that restarted the burning in my heart.

CHUKYSWITS: You’re so fine that I just want to eat you up…

BELEMA: I bet your joystick can give all sorts of joy…

HORLATOONDAY: Those your lips, I could kiss them from Sunday to Sunday…

FLAMING G: Can I have a picture of your dick? I’d really love to see that thing I hope to grind one day soon.

CHYZY: I hope that guy you brought to the Orient on Thursday is not your boyfriend, because I don’t need any clingy madams to interfere with what I have planned for you and I. <wink smiley>

I stared numbly at these messages, my eyes widening with the prurience exhibited in digital print. I did not move. I could not hear above the roaring of my blood. I was almost startled when the phone began to ring in my hand. My eyes narrowed on the Caller ID.

Romesh!

That bitch again!

Without thinking, I depressed the answer button and placed the phone against my ear. “Calling back so soon, are we, Romey darling?” I said in a sneering snarl. “You just seem to be panting for it, aren’t you?”

Momentary silence met my belligerence from the other end. Then the familiar accented voice said coldly, “Who the hell is this?”

“The person whose presence you should take note of every time you plot your takeover.”

There was another pause, then he said simply, “Declan.”

“Yes, Rome,” I said, spitting out the name like it had a bad taste. “Declan. The boyfriend.”

“Not for very long when Bryson finds out you’ve been playing Sir Snoops-a-lot with his phone.” He followed the barb with a chuckle.

“Fuck you, Romesh,” I said acidly.

“No thanks, darling. It’s Bryson I’m interested in. Be a good boy and tell him I’ll call him back later.” And he hung up.

A rictus of fury darted across my face as I stood there, my fist clenched over the phone, my mind stumbling over choice expletives to hurl at Romesh.

“Declan?”

My head snapped around, and my stormy gaze fell on Bryson. He’d just stepped into the room, and his body was dewed with a sprinkling of the rain. He stared warily at me, and his brow furrowed when I held out his phone to him.

“Rome called,” I said hoarsely. “Said to say hi.”

His frown deepened. “You answered my call?”

“And went through your BBM chats too.”

He snatched the phone from my hand. “What the fuck Declan –!”

“I had no idea you had become so popular with the boys.”

“You had no right –!”

“Have you fucked anyone of them yet? I’m just wondering.”

“What sort of stupid question is that!” he blazed.

“Is it? Is it really?” I flared too. “Because after reading how half your BBM contacts wants to suck your dick, and how the other half wants to finish up by bouncing up and down the same dick, I have to wonder who and who you’ve given the pleasure.”

“You’re crazy, you know that?”

“Yes! Crazy enough to think that because you used to be straight, I’d be spared all the heartache that comes from dating a gay man who has been around the block! And now, I’m wondering which one is crazier – the fact that I ever believed such nonsense, or the fact that you were ever really straight!”

His eyes narrowed into slits. “What the hell is that supposed to mean? And be very careful how you answer that, because if –”

“Oh, go to hell with your threats!” I flung back, as I felt the sharp sting of tears in the back of my eyes. “I’ve said all I have to say. I think it’s time for me to be getting on back to my place.”

“But Declan, the rain –”

The rest of his words were snuffed out when I stalked into the bathroom and banged the door shut behind me. Then I turned on the shower, stepped under the spray, and began to shake as my tears broke free and joined the cascade of hot water streaming down my body.

Written by Pink Panther

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