The dixie cup stopped an inch away from his lips. “What are you guys talking about?” Tyler asked, lowering his drink and squinting down the couch. “I’m straight.”
Everyone pulled a different expression all at once, like a funhouse painting that changed when you walked by. Big E was fighting laughter, delighted; Xavier was still smiling, but it had gone from a casual good-time smile to one of slight panic; Fandango, perching on the arm of the couch right next to him, looked suckerpunched by the surprise. Tyler looked back and forth between all of them. Indignation rose up in his chest with the same prickling, nauseous sensation as heartburn.
“What, so a guy looks in a mirror once and suddenly he’s gay?”
“I promise that’s not the only reason someone might get the idea,” Xavier defended, though by the look on Tyler’s face it obviously hadn’t helped his case.
Sensing the mood, Fandango put his hand on Tyler’s shoulder, only to be swatted away. Xavier continued to dig his hole deeper. “You do spend a lot of time talking about, like–”
Tyler cut him off, seething, “Ever heard of a little place called Ancient Greece? Grandfathers of capital-B ‘Beauty.’ And they were all about the perfection of the male form, and– and wrestling, too!”
“The Greeks was gay as hell, Charles!” People could hear his booming voice from the other side of the room and glanced over curiously.
“Stay out of this!”
Tyler tried to get a grip on himself- his face was flushing almost painfully, and he was pointing viciously at E like he was trying to set a curse on him. His voice had risen an entire horrible octave. Acting like this would only solidify their belief. He closed his eyes and sat back, working his mouth around the words rolling over in his head.
“Whatever,” he said with clipped finality. “I’m attracted to women. I’ve slept with women.”
“What? No, none of them had beards. I don’t understand--”
“What do you like about them?” Xavier’s expression had settled down into something more similar to E’s, handsome mouth quirked, his intentions- to take the piss out of Tyler- scrawled over his face.
Tyler sneered. “I don’t know, legs? Faces?”
“If you can’t think of the stuff you like in a girl, how do you know you like them?”
His mouth clicked shut. Now he remembered why he hadn’t let this subject come up in a few years. He opened and closed his mouth a couple times before a gilded thought flew into his head. Something nobody could argue against. He relaxed against the cushions, smug. His lips formed the trademark self-satisfied slant he had perfected in his selfies.
“I know that if I met a girl version of myself,” he said, feeling himself glow, “I’d definitely sleep with her.”
They couldn’t hold back laughter at that. Xavier looked like he was going to cry. The flush crawled back up Tyler’s neck and dragged the smile off his face.
“That doesn’t make you straight, dude!” Xavier said between gasps. “It just means you want to have sex with yourself.”
“And everybody already knew that.”
“The man said he’s straight.”
Tyler looked over his shoulder with a startled blink. He had almost forgotten his tag team partner was there. Fandango had assumed the sexy, guttural register he used when he was threatening or showboating, and he had a closed, no-nonsense look on his face. Tyler raised his eyebrows. They made eye contact for a second, long enough for an understanding to pass between them. Time to talk.
Xavier put his hands up inoffensively, still shaking with barely restrained laughter. “Alright, alright.”
Climbing to his feet, Tyler reached up to tie his hair back. “As though I have to prove anything to you uggos. Dango, let’s go.”
They ended up in Tyler’s car, sitting quietly in the dark parking garage. Now and then someone would walk by, or their echoing voice could be heard among the concrete pillars. Coward that he was, he didn’t have the courage to turn on the music. He didn’t even have the guts to check his phone.
The first time Tyler had put his feet up on the dashboard of Fandango’s car- what felt like ages ago now- Fandango had tensed up and gotten this halfway dangerous look for a few seconds before letting it go. This felt sort of like that. Like Tyler had accidentally crossed some kind of boundary. Fandango even had the precise expression, the muscles visibly taut around his jawline and his hooded eyes smoky with frustration. Not for the first time, he thought fondly about what a specimen Fandango was.
“You’re going to get wrinkles if you stay that tense,” he remarked lightly, looking away when Fandango looked at him.
Fandango exhaled through the nose. “I’m not mad at you, B. They were being real assholes.”
Tyler bit down on the inside of his cheek. “You thought I was gay?”
“I don’t know, I guess. I never saw you with any ladies and you never really brought it up. And then with the way you dress and stuff, I thought it made sense.”
“I’m straight,” he said unconvincingly. It had not been a topic he applied much of his precious energies to- because, of course he was straight. Nearly everyone was. He was loveliness in human form and he didn’t do weird stuff. Over the years, he’d put more effort into not thinking about it, at all costs. “The only reason I don’t date is because nobody could possibly meet my standards. Besides, I’ve been busy for the last– forever.”
He bit down again on the inside of his cheek, wincing when he accidentally broke the fragile skin. This was stupid. There was no reason to be shaken, to act like anyone else’s opinions on the subject were relevant. And now he was going to get a canker sore from worrying at his own mouth over nothing.
Fandango huffed. “I don’t know. I’ve been with a lot of women, you know, but I don’t really care that much anymore. Like, the idea is just kind of boring.”
Tyler got the sense that the conversation wasn’t about him anymore. Normally he would let Fandango (and only Fandango) get away with that, but tonight Tyler was trying to conspicuously not care about his own uninvited sexual turmoil, and he resented the attempt to steal his thunder. This was supposed to be his crisis.
He hadn’t tied his hair back high enough, he realized, and it was escaping messily around his face. He tucked the loose strands behind his ears.
“Yeah, I know what you mean. As though I even want some girl in my life. They’re so needy.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Fandango smile with the corners of his mouth, face defrosting, and he forgot to be upset that they weren’t talking entirely about him. “When I was with Summer– ugh, yeah, I know,” he said when Tyler expressed his distaste, “looking back on it, it feels like a huge waste of time. And not just because it was Summer, even though that’s definitely a reason. But that’s the thing, ‘cause a lot of girls just hang off of you, and they aren’t on your level at all. Like, why am I spending all this time with someone who’s over here on, on Venus, when I’m trying to be on Mars?”
“They’re not even in the same galaxy as us!”
“And you’re straight,” Tyler concluded, satisfied. “So it’s normal. That’s a normal feeling to have.”
Fandango’s smile flickered a little. Tyler whipped his head around to squint at him, like he could puzzle him out with a hard enough look. “What, so you’re not?”
“No, of course I love women. But it’s more complicated than that.”
Tyler bit down on his thumbnail and grimaced. He didn’t do complicated. This topic was starting to sweat him out.
“It can’t be that complicated,” he insisted for the sake of both of them. “You’re either attracted to them or you aren’t. And you always have been, right?”
Fandango nodded. “Yeah, but that’s not my--”
“So what do you like,” Tyler waved his hand vaguely, “ like about them? That’s how you know.”
Fandango shot him a look, saying, “Isn’t that what Xander--”
“No, this is totally different. I’m not testing you or anything, I’m helping you.”
“Oh. Uh, yeah, obviously. Thanks.”
Fandango was straight- forget the glitter and rhinestones and flared pants. He was raw sexual energy brought to life and he danced with women or he danced alone. He danced around Tyler at an intimate but respectful distance. If he was gay, and he thought Tyler was gay, there would be no need for distance, for the slim barriers of modesty they kept with each other. There had to be some keyword that would make this make sense. Tyler bit down on his thumb again.
After a minute of silence, Fandango groaned, “There are so many girls on earth, Breezy, where am I supposed to start?”
Fandango made a noise like Tyler had given him homework. “I guess she was blonde, which I like. Blondes are always kinda perky and cute to look at.” He paused for a second and said, “Blonde girls,” in this careful way, looking over at Tyler to make sure he hadn’t been misconstrued.
“Yeah, I know you meant girls.”
“I’m not saying you’re not good to look at though. I’d have to be blind and stupid to not recognize that you’re delicious.”
In a sudden bout of nervous energy, Tyler began bouncing his leg. “I know that, too.”
He heard Fandango stretching, rolling his shoulders and trying to get comfortable in the passenger seat. “I don’t think this is helping like we thought it would.”
“No shit. You keep talking about me and not the girls.”
“I never thought you’d have a problem with that.”
“I don’t, but that’s not the point. You’re supposed to like them.”
“I know what I’m about, Breezy.”
Tyler pursed his lips, not even sure what that was supposed to mean.
“Well, I don’t. I can think about it objectively, what beautiful girls are supposed to look like,” Tyler said, feeling the car rock from the way he was jiggling his leg. “I just don’t care about it. It’s such a nothing to me. I’ve always thought it was because, I mean, how could they measure up?”
“They couldn’t,” Fandango said, serious and thoughtful, “but that doesn’t mean you’re gay.”
“It’s more complicated than that.”
Tyler sneered, crossing one leg over the other to stop his fidgeting. “Nothing is that complicated.”
“When have I ever been wrong?” Fandango’s face at that moment would put the faith back into any cynic. “All this stuff is exactly like dancing. Anyone can learn how to shake their hips and move their feet the right way, but if you don’t have the passion deep in your guts, the feelings that the dance is supposed to be about, you’re just going through the motions. It sucks the beauty out of it.”
When Tyler stayed vacant, Fandango turned to sit sideways in his seat, facing him. “It’s not an on-off switch. It isn’t enough just to not want to be with ladies. If you’re gay, you have to want to be with guys. It happens. There’s nothing wrong with it”
A chorus of voices, the thousand times he had said the words, ‘there’s nothing wrong with it, but ,’ echoed and rattled in his skull. Why had that qualifier, that excuse, ‘ but I am not ,’ and ‘ but I couldn’t imagine, ’ and ‘ but I am normal, ’ been trained to roll off his tongue? Fandango had such clear eyes. The smoke had cleared out of them.
Fandango leaned closer like he was going to share a secret and when Tyler felt his heartbeat pick up he remembered that his excuses were the same for this as for everything else.
He slipped into a familiar Tyler, a meaner one. Looked sidelong at Fandango with condescension. “Are you trying to get in my pants now, Fandango? Is that what you meant by ‘bored?’”
Fandango flinched, which was satisfying in a way, but also… bad. A mistake. He wrenched the passenger side door open. The lights clicked on, illuminating Fandango’s face and the uncharacteristic creases that had appeared there. Tyler’s stomach dropped out from under him.
Scrambling halfway into the passenger seat after him, he hissed, “Wait-- Dango, wait.”
A thickly tense moment passed before Fandango swung his legs back into the car and shut the door. Overhead, the lights dimmed and went out. Tyler hovered in the space just next to his elbow, bent awkwardly between the arms of the seats, acutely feeling. Fandango aimed his face directly forwards. Still, he couldn’t completely deprive Tyler of attention- his eyes were pinned to Tyler’s face.
“I’m not as smart as you,” he said, hating and meaning the words. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.”
Turning by degrees, Fandango faced him directly. He moved his hand slowly up. For a few seconds, Tyler worried he was going to try to touch his face, cup his cheek. Instead, he reached behind Tyler’s head and, just as slowly, pulled the elastic out of his ponytail. Hair fell about his jaw. He became suddenly aware of the warm, dark smell of Fandango’s cologne.
He wondered if anyone but Fandango would know when he was apologizing.
“You’re too beautiful to be scared of something so small.”
“Maybe it’s small to you.”
Fandango shrugged. “Yeah, maybe.”
When he didn’t make a move, forwards or back, Tyler realized that this was being left up to him. Like some kind of responsibility. His palms started to sweat. How could it be so complicated to take what he wanted? He was Tyler Breeze. That was pretty much what he was about.
Some icky words zipped through his brain. Feelsy words that he had never considered himself to have a place for. He wanted them so badly that his stomach hurt with the emptiness.
“Are you going to make me say it?”
Fandango smiled all the way to his eyes. He shook his head ‘no.’
He didn’t quite close his eyes when he kissed Fandango. It was halting, hardly enough to be considered a kiss, but it was still lips and the tips of their noses, and it was still warm. It was good. On the second go, their faces met in perfect harmony. And Fandango did cup his cheek- that was also good.
Fandango’s fingers weaved into his hair covetously. They glutted themselves on kissing one another, lips a bit dry, sticking whenever they pulled apart. Tyler couldn’t believe he had settled for so long with not doing this.
With a sound from low in his chest, Fandango kissed him deeper, like he wanted to eat him or smother him. Broad hands stroked his thighs, his arms, his back. He sighed and fell into it, letting Fandango wash over him, manhandle him. Fandango started to climb into the driver’s seat, to straddle him; it occurred to Tyler that Fandango had been settling for nearly as long.
The horn blared for a second and they both jumped. Fandango had bumped into it ass-first. Snickering, Tyler pulled the lever on his seat to shift it back, giving them slightly more room. Fandango’s knees ended up on either side of his legs, so close that he couldn’t imagine anything existed but the two of them. He ran his hands under the back of Fandango’s tank top, familiar skin in a brand new context.
“Hate these stupid seats,” Fandango growled.
“Yeah,” Tyler breathed, not only because he agreed, but more so because Fandango had begun to kiss his neck. Warm skin. Warm breath.
He gasped, teeth stinging at his pulse. “There’s more space in the back.” Thank god for bench seats.
They maneuvered themselves towards the backseat, Tyler cursing as he bumped his head on the roof of the car. Fandango whispered an apology, but didn’t wait for all of their limbs to clear the front seats before he dappled Tyler’s neck with hungry love bites. One of his legs hooked around Fandango’s hips. The pressure of their hard-ons together as Fandango rocked down and he rocked up made him want to cry.
“Fuck me,” he whined, which made Fandango laugh against the corner of his jaw. To prove he was serious, he tried to slide his hands below the waist of Fandango’s pants, hindered by his nuisance of a belt.
“If you decide you like this, I’ll bang you later.”
The buttons on his shirt were all suddenly undone- Fandango must have been working on them while he was distracted. They finally situated themselves, Tyler with his back against the cushions. He let his head fall back. Hopefully he looked more alluring than he felt, too breathless to be sultry.
“But I want it now .” Fandango mouthed at his nipple, apparently resolved to ignore him. “Dango, come on .”
Fandango kissed lushly down his stomach, which twitched and fluttered under the attention, sensitive, with the feeling of nervous butterflies. He hitched one of Tyler’s legs over his shoulder and nibbled at the final inch of skin above the edge of his pants. His chin bumped against Tyler’s hard dick. Tyler shivered.
“You’re so gorgeous. I want to watch you cream yourself for me,” Fandango murmured, dropping his baritone voice into that visceral, gravelly register.
Tyler gawked stupidly up at the ceiling of the car, with no idea how to answer that. What did Fandango want him to say? ‘Yes please?’
Too embarrassed to ask for it, Tyler reached down and ran his fingers through that wavy hair, just slightly stiff with gel. Fandango unbuttoned his pants and shimmied them down just enough that Tyler’s erection could spring out. If he had to guess, Tyler would say Fandango had done this before. At least once. He had too much hungry confidence to be acting.
He admired it first, running a finger up the curvature of it, a tease. The tip of his tongue insinuated itself along his shaft, circling the crown before his mouth closed around it. Fandango moaned, muffled, like he was the one enjoying this.
Tyler’s breath came heavy and shuddering. He was on fire, the pleasure twisting up so deeply in his guts that it was almost overwhelming. He hadn’t gotten his rocks off in a while- too long. Between his legs, Fandango rocked his head, pushing his tip up against the gate of his throat.
Fandango’s stubble was scratchy against his thigh as he bobbed up and down. The bliss of his hot mouth, tightly sealed lips, brilliant tongue, frayed the rope hitched to the last anchor that would keep him from soaring. He’d always been a quick shot. He broke between one instant and the next, hips jerking without rhythm and his muscles straining taut. Pleasure like a poisoned dart throbbed in his body.
He relaxed, coming off of the electric shock. Boneless, breathless. He could feel Fandango’s mouth working around him, drinking him down. There was a wet smack as he departed.
Propping himself up on his elbows, he was just starting to catch the wind back in his lungs when Fandango tucked his dick back into his pants. He felt lazy, radiant, even more so than usual, and grinned at him under low lids. Fandango smiled back. He crawled over Tyler’s body, still visibly tenting his own pants, and kissed him open-mouthed. His mouth was still full of cum. Tyler made a disgruntled noise but didn’t pull away, swallowing when Fandango pushed the thick, bitter fluid into his mouth.
He broke away, making a show of being repulsed. Fandango put their foreheads together so that their noses touched. “I always wanted to try that.”
“Dango, that was disgusting. I cannot believe you would do that to me.” Tyler tilted his head forwards for a quick kiss. A punishment kiss, he told himself, so that Fandango would know better than to try it again.
Fandango looked at him like the world sat in the palm of his hand. “I kinda liked it. They say it’s good for your teeth.”
Tyler laughed, throwing an arm over his shoulders and palming his crotch with the other. Fandango’s breath ruffled his loose hair, ghosted over his ear. He spared a hand to help Tyler undo his belt.
“I hope I don’t have the same stupid, sappy look on my face that you do,” Tyler murmured, even though he knew he definitely did.
Fandango kicked his pants off. Unlike Tyler, he wore underwear, which he bypassed carelessly to seek out his cock. If he could get turned on again so soon, he probably would have. Fandango parted his lips, giving noisy approval to every stroke. Tyler couldn’t focus on one part of him, taking a sample platter of the ridges and slopes of his skin. He could taste the cologne on his neck, acrid and perfumey, and the light sweat on his collarbones.
He was bigger. Not enough so to make him feel inadequate, because Tyler had always thought of his dick as being especially nice anyway, but enough to incite curiosity. In every touch, he learned something new. He thought jealously about all the mystery people who unknowingly shared this intimate knowledge with him. Now and then though, Fandango would open his eyes and give him such a look that Tyler felt justified in telling himself that he knew something none of them ever had.
If he had been good-looking before (he had been), then at the very edge Fandango was an Adonis. Tyler would work him down to the wire and back off to savor the desperate stitch in his brow, the hitch in his moans. He could feel the cock in his hand throb with Fandango’s rapid heartbeat.
“Please,” Fandango finally begged, rolling his hips into nothing as he was denied a third time. “You’re killing me.”
And then it was over, too quickly. Fandango shut his eyes tightly. Tyler kept his open to watch. The air inside the car was sweltering, and smelled thoroughly of pheromone and semen.
Fandango put his head in the crook of Tyler’s neck, ready to slump down and sleep. Tyler grimaced at the slick mess coating his palm.
“There’s a box of tissues somewhere…”
He made a half-assed effort at wiping them both off, then threw the soiled tissue somewhere around the front seat. The need for a post-sex nap was creeping into his bones; he would worry about cleaning up later. Better, he would rope Fandango into doing it.
There was just enough room on the bench seat for the both of them to lie down on their sides, so Tyler deigned to let Fandango spoon him, still sans pants. He reached down to pat his own front pocket, making sure he still had his phone. He ought to take a picture.
Tyler fumbled with his phone, cursing under his breath when it slipped out of his hand and onto the floor. He pawed for it in the dark, and when he unlocked it the light had both of them wincing. The first thing he did, raking a hand through his hair and across the 5-o’clock shadow on his cheeks, was open snapchat. Fandango intuitively reached up, without putting in the full effort of sitting up, and just barely clicked the car light on.
He looked at himself in the reflection, the camera image. The hickey on his neck was obscene, and he experienced a moment of plummeting awe when he saw how stunning he looked. Better than usual- apparently possible, if he were to believe his eyes now. He wet his lips. He could see the bottom half of Fandango’s face on the screen, smiling.
“You recording?” Fandango’s toe ran over the arch of his foot, playful.
Tyler smirked at the camera, looking one more time at his own face surrounded by messy hair lit like a halo under the dim yellow glow. “No. Just checking something.”
He reclined back and Fandango pinned an arm around his waist like he would fall off otherwise. He didn’t have to be told to pose- when he saw the phone getting into position, he put his face next to Tyler’s. At the last second he broke character and kissed his cheek, and made Tyler laugh. He had to bargain with him for five minutes for Tyler not to delete the blurry, accidental candid. He saved it. Then they took a better picture.
Tyler opened up his messenger and sent the picture- the good one- to Xavier, with a simple caption.
‘ Yeah u were right i’m super gay lol ’