Subject: “Electricity”, Chapter 3, Beginnings and Athletics Section Andrew wondered whether the other man could feel it too–the pulsating electricity between them, hitting him like a steady ten foot wave whenever Aubrey was around–or if he was completely losing his mind and imagining things. He felt the sensation so strongly that he assumed whatever was happening between them was obvious and impossible to miss, but then again he couldn’t be sure. For all he knew, the electricity could have just been a physical manifestation of Aubrey’s deep dislike of him. Yet…deep inside him, he was certain that it wasn’t. Despite Aubrey’s harsh words, Andrew was convinced that the man did not actually hate him. There was something unspoken between them, some current of emotion that exhibited itself through physical energy, and Andrew knew that he needed to get to the bottom of it and figure it out before it consumed him alive. This was problematic because for all intents and purposes, in the public eye Aubrey Miller was still his number one enemy. But “enemy” was not exactly the word that came to mind when Andrew saw the other man standing there in his doorway with a tiny hint of a smile playing on those epically beautiful lips. The writer looked just as good as he did back at the bar, if not better. Instead of a white top he was now wearing a light nude cashmere sweater, paired with blue jeans and red vans. He looked casual cool, and exceptionally sexy. The nude sweater brought out his golden brown skin hue even more. Andrew parted his lips, but no words came out. Someone had finally managed to make him speechless. Thankfully the other man spoke first. “Your doorman gave me a knowing wink and a smile when I was getting my parking pass. If he wasn’t bound by his contract, I would interview the crap out of him about all the men he’s witnessed come in and out of here in just the last few months. I bet I would get a great article out of that,” he stated, coming at Andrew with combative words right out of the gate. Andrew didn’t expect any less from him, especially after the performance he gave at the bar. He didn’t know what it was about Aubrey that made it acceptable for him to get away with all this trash talking without really pissing Andrew off. If these words came from any other man, he would have already been knocked out on the floor. But there was something about the way Aubrey said things, with such conviction and honesty, that made Andrew actually shut up and listen. “Charles? You wouldn’t get a word out of him, he’s as loyal as they come,” he said referring to the old man that worked at the gate of the building and patrolled the corridors at night. Charles looked like a vintage statue, yet he guarded the luxury building Andrew resided in with all his leftover stamina. Silently Andrew thanked God that Aubrey didn’t realize just how right he was about his assessment of things, because Charles had indeed seen more than a fair share of insane shenanigans caused by Andrew’s never ending supply of men. Not every threesome Andrew had ended in kisses and cuddles, some of them ended with the other two men having a naked cat fight in the hallway at three in the morning. Andrew internally cringed at the memory: the sight of Charles trying to break up the fight, putting clothes on the guys, and ushering them off to an Uber. But in all his years of witnessing the craziness, the old man never spilled one word to anyone. Charles would have been a great mobster, Andrew thought to himself, making a mental note to get the man a nice gift soon. “And you didn’t pussy out, I’m surprised. Come on in,” Andrew said changing the subject, and shooting Aubrey a charming smile. Per usual, his charm didn’t seem to work, as it didn’t even raise a smile from the other man. Aubrey just said “ha” and walked right past him and into Andrew’s spacious and empty home. “So this is the infamous condo,” he exclaimed, looking around and taking in the bare view. His expression was hard to read, but Andrew imagined that he was taking lengthy mental notes, probably with an angry red pen. Most likely already planning his hit piece number two, the final nail in Andrew’s coffin. He was ready to finish his assassination attempt on the quarterback. Andrew had already taken two to the body, now Aubrey was back to end it with another shot to the head. The thoughts were gruesome, but visualizing it mafioso style really drove the point home for Andrew. He was Sonny Corleone, and he had basically invited Don Barzini into his home. Andrew could have kicked himself for being this stupid. Suddenly, he felt really insecure about how bare and empty of life his place was. He could already see the next sarcastic headline, “Andrew Thompson’s Life: Empty and Devoid Of Anything, Just Like His Condo.” But now that Aubrey was here, walking around the first floor of the condo and seemingly judging everything, Andrew noticed something he missed before. He realized that perhaps Aubrey’s mean and frosty demeanor didn’t exactly suggest outright dislike, but something else entirely. Aubrey actually seemed to be quite nervous. Andrew could tell because he spotted a common nervous tick: Aubrey repeatedly dragged his ring finger across his thumb as he walked around. Andrew was a master at picking out nervous ticks, it was something that served him well on the field and as he was studying his opponents on video. He would pick out their tell tale signs of distress, anything from hand movements or foot taps, and use it to his advantage during the game. He also did his best to try to hide his own: rapid blinking. His family and close friends knew that once he started to blink rapidly in succession, he was either extremely pissed off or nervous. So perhaps Aubrey just hid the nervousness behind that grumpy exterior of his. Maybe that was his self defense mechanism. This was positive news to Andrew; he could work with nervous. “This is it. This is where all the magic happens,” he replied, getting a little too close in Aubrey’s personal space and making the other man visibly uncomfortable as he backed away in the other direction. “Right, do I also get one of your famous drinks?” he asked. He clearly wasn’t the flirty kind. “Wow, you really did do your research. Sure, I’ll make you a drink,” Andrew said, walking into the kitchen with confidence. This was his turf, and he knew how to treat the men that entered it. Aubrey sat on one of the barstools, on the other side of the kitchen island. “Let’s see, you were drinking vodka the other night, so probably watching your calories, huh? How about a low cal seabreeze, I’ve got some grapefruit and cranberry juice.” Andrew silently thanked his mom for restocking the fridge. Aubrey laughed for the very first time and Andrew couldn’t wait to make him laugh again, it was a sweet sound. “The endless sea of men that rolled through this kitchen hasn’t been for nothing, I see. You really do know your drinks. Easy on the cranberry juice, please.” Andrew smiled and started making the concoction. He enjoyed the way Aubrey said “please”. He could already envision it happening in multiple different scenarios (all of them involved Aubrey being naked) and that raspy voice saying, “I need your cock, please.” “Cum inside me, please.” “Don’t ever stop fucking me, please.” Focus, Andrew! He reminded himself. This was just the start of the night, and he was getting way ahead of himself. “So why are you watching your calories? You look good to me,” he said, trying to get to know the other man a little. “There’s nothing in a five hundred mile radius with an ass and a hole that doesn’t look good to you,” Aubrey replied rather harshly. Andrew playfully winced at the burn. “Jesus, can’t I ever give you a compliment without you turning it around and using it to insult me?” he asked, amused. “I’m just saying, a compliment from you about appearances doesn’t count for very much.” “Why? I have excellent taste in men. Only 9s and 10s rolling through here. Sometimes a 6, if I picked them up after one too many drinks,” Andrew replied jokingly. Aubrey rolled his eyes. “God, I feel like I need a shower bursa escort already. Are all the Instagram models on vacation in Greece, is that why you had me come over?” Andrew laughed. “No, I had you come over because I wanted to see you. I don’t keep up with Instagram models.” Aubrey scoffed at the answer. “The algorithm showing the span of your thirsty likes on various accounts on any given day determined that was a lie,” Aubrey stated in a comical voice. “I didn’t say I don’t use Instagram, I just said I’m not particularly aware of what trends might be going on at the moment,” Andrew replied, trying to dig himself out of this hole. “But back to my question about your low calorie diet, which you seem to be avoiding,” he said, steering the conversation back into safe territory. Aubrey looked like he was debating whether to share something or not. Andrew wondered why, did he not deem him trustworthy enough? But at last, he decided to share it. “I was pretty overweight in high school and college, hence watching my weight,” he confessed, and Andrew could tell that for the first time since he met him, Aubrey Miller was being vulnerable with him. “And you know how gay men can be, not exactly the least superficial bunch. You being the prime example.” “Me? I don’t discriminate! I like guys all sizes.” “Ha, right. That’s why you’re only ever seen with actors, porn stars and models.” “I mean, that’s just who the paps follow. But I’ve been with guys all sizes.” “Is that so?” “Yep, what’s that saying: more cushion for the pushin.” “Wow, it all boils down to what feels good for Andrew in bed, doesn’t it?” he asked, sarcastically. “No, no, I was just joking. I wish you’d give me more credit.” “Anyway, you probably can’t relate, you’ve been in shape all your life haven’t you?” Aubrey asked, ignoring Andrew’s statement. “Pretty much,” Andrew admitted truthfully. “I don’t really care about appearances though.” Aubrey laughed so hard at this one he almost fell off of the stool. “Suuuure, that’s why you date average nerdy guys and not IG models. Oh wait…you don’t. Don’t bullshit yourself, you most certainly care about appearances. Everyone does, in some way.” “I mean, there’s things I’m attracted to, but character is definitely the biggest turn on.” “I’ve literally never seen anyone spew more garbage than you, honestly,” Aubrey began another attack. “Well I’ve literally never seen anyone more angry than you. Do you ever take a day off to be nice?” Andrew asked, smirking. “No days off, not all of us get paid millions to throw a ball around.” Andrew raised his eyebrows, Aubrey was really testing his patience today. “Anyway, I’m surprised you invited me here,” he continued talking. “It seems a bit…dangerous for you.” Now it was Andrew’s turn to laugh. “Dangerous? You? No, you seem sweet enough.” “Don’t sweet talk me Thompson, I’m not one of your hookup boys. You don’t impress me.” Andrew tipped the bottle and poured way more vodka into Aubrey’s drink than he first intended, the guy needed to loosen the hell up. None of this was going according to plan so far, and Aubrey was making it anything other than easy. “Not even a little bit?” “Nope,” he replied. “You must not like sports then. You think football is just ‘throwing a ball around’ and you’re not impressed by the best quarterback in the NFL.” “Oh, I like sports. Tom Brady is cool.” Andrew snickered. “Two words: bad taste. Brady is as boring as a bag of rocks. In fact, he is the antithesis of ‘cool'” “You sound…jealous. Must be frustrating that he has six rings, a beautiful wife and a stable family life meanwhile you…troll bars for impressionable 19-year-olds who fawn over you,” Andrew smiled, Aubrey really did enjoy pushing all his buttons. But he wasn’t going to fall for it. He would be the perfect host, and he would let Aubrey punch himself out. And then, when he was tired, Andrew would make his move. He handed him the perfectly mixed drink. “I’m younger, give me some time and I’ll catch up,” he replied, not taking the bait. “And I’ll have you know, I’m not ageist, I have gone as far as 38. Speaking of which, how old are you again?” Aubrey smiled and ignored the question. He had a pretty smile. It was genuine. Andrew grabbed a beer and sat on the other side of him. “So these ‘inside sources’ you mentioned, I’d like to know more about them,” he said, changing the subject. Aubrey studied him carefully. “I don’t give out my sources, ever. That’s like rule number one of journalism,” he replied, taking a sip of his drink. Andrew could have sat and watched him drink like that forever. The pretty full lips meeting the glass slowly, then swallowing with gentle ease. He also noted Aubrey’s shapely long fingers, imagining them holding something quite different. He needed to snap out of it and focus on what was going on at hand. “But you are saying that I have a rat in my circle,” Andrew stated and Aubrey laughed. Once again the sound of his laugh was lovely to Andrew’s ears. “This isn’t the Mafia, and you’re not the Don, so, no. You just have someone who’s a little loose lipped.” He took another sip of the drink, pleased with himself. “You know, I should be pretty pissed with you,” Andrew said, making the other man arch his brow. “But you’re not?” “No, even though your article was bullshit, I am finding it difficult to actually dislike you in person.” Andrew wasn’t trying to sweet talk him, he actually felt this way. “You know what’s sad?” Aubrey asked, leaning in over the kitchen island towards Andrew. Perhaps he was warming up to him after all. Andrew leaned in as well, meeting him halfway. Their faces were inches away now. He could smell the sweet cranberry juice on Aubrey’s breath, and he was dying to taste it. He was so close to those lovely lips now, one small move and he could kiss them. “What?” he asked, staring into Aubrey’s eyes. “That these low effort flirty lines of yours probably work on 75% of gay guys.” Nope, still ice cold. Aubrey pulled away, chuckling to himself. He was all too aware of the fact that he just won that round. Andrew smiled, pulled back and took a good long sip of his beer. “I feel like you’re lowballing it, I’d say it’s more like 95%, with you making up the other 5%.” “That frustrates you, doesn’t it? That you can’t just wink at me and put a drink in my hand and have me like you?” “Frustrate? No. Pleasantly challenge? Yes.” “I’m not a challenge for you to conquer, Thompson. Let’s start with the fact that I don’t like you, and I probably never will. I’m only here to hang out and get to know you better so that in my next article I can say ‘He’s worse than I thought.'” Andrew laughed and Aubrey took another sip of his drink. “How can you dislike someone you don’t even know?” he asked, genuinely curious. “It’s not you per se, it’s what you stand for, what you represent. The fact that you tell people you’re looking for a genuine guy, but then you cheat, lie, and hookup with Instagram models. You’re a guy with zero moral convictions. The fact that you get to be celebrated as the first gay quarterback, yet you don’t do anything for your community, besides dick contributions. It’s the fact that you don’t really stand for anything important or care about anyone else besides yourself.” Andrew sat there and listened patiently. A large part of him was enraged at these bold accusations, thrown at him inside of his very own home. All he wanted to do was put his dick inside of Aubrey Miller, but here he was having to intellectually defend the way he chose to live his own damn life. “Not everyone is a bleeding activist like you. My charitable donations have probably helped save way more gay youth than your loud mouth. Me being the first openly gay quarterback in the NFL has probably inspired many more gays kids to come out and parents to accept them, than your angry little articles that reach like what, 8% of the population?” “Oh, so your solution is to throw money at the problem instead of donating your time? Gotcha. You know I volunteer at a shelter for at-risk gay youth. A man like you, coming in there, talking to these kids once in a while, giving them advice, that bursa escort bayan would be life changing for them. Not your money.” Andrew sighed, there was no winning with this guy. He grabbed his now empty glass and went to make him another drink. “I bet you were super popular at school,” Andrew mumbled sarcastically from the kitchen. Aubrey looked offended, and Andrew quickly realized he hit a sore spot. “Not everyone cares about being popular,” he retorted. “Relax, I was joking.” “I didn’t ask for a second drink.” “You didn’t have to, I’m a good host.” “Not what I heard,” now it was Aubrey’s turn to mumble. “Really? Well do tell, now that you started it. I want to know what you’ve heard,” Andrew said, curious about the rumors. Did guys really swap stories about what he was like in bed? “Do you really?” “Sure,” Andrew replied. “I’ve heard that you’re pushy, rude, selfish, and lazy in bed.” Andrew almost dropped the glass. These gossiping bottoms. Did they really go around spreading this type of horrible stuff about him? Then again… he did just admit the same things to himself a while ago about being selfish and lazy and not trying to please his partners…maybe they were onto something. Andrew handed Aubrey the drink and grabbed another beer for himself. “I mean, I could take you upstairs and prove you wrong right now, but that might not sit right with your little boyfriend.” Aubrey was taken aback for a second. “Did some online stalking, did you?” he asked. “Not really stalking, I just looked at your Gram,” Andrew said nonchalantly, omitting the hours that he spent looking up all relevant information on Aubrey Miller. “And…what’s your verdict?” “Your boyfriend looks like a douche.” “Takes one to know one,” Aubrey replied. “Oh, so you admit he’s a douche?” “Let’s leave my partner out of this,” Aubrey said shortly. Andrew decided not to push. “How about we move somewhere a bit more comfortable,” he stated, and Aubrey followed him to the living room couch where he sat at a respectable distance from Andrew. Even though he wasn’t close, Andrew still enjoyed the sight of Aubrey on his couch. He imagined all the things they could do on there, if only Aubrey got over himself and his sanctimonious ways, and just got under him. Literally. But he knew muscles weren’t going to win this one over, so he went for the sentimental. There was a key to Aubrey, just like there was a key to every man, he just needed to find it and then he’d be able to unlock him and get everything he wanted. “So you volunteer with kids?” he asked, figuring this was a good start. Let him talk about the things he feels passionate about. Feign interest. Soften him up a bit. “I do. On a scale of 1-10, how bored are you at the thought?” Aubrey asked cheekily, reading through Andrew with ease. Maybe he was as transparent as Aubrey had previously stated. “Not at all, I think it’s amazing,” Andrew replied, actually feeling about 10 on the bored scale. Maybe Aubrey and Drew were correct, maybe he was a selfish asshole who only cared about himself. “There is a kid there who tried to commit suicide twice already. He’s only 16-years-old.” “Wow,” Andrew replied, truly shocked. “The parents will probably never accept him. Our only goal is to help him accept himself at this point. Make him realize he’s normal, and that there’s nothing wrong with him. That would be more easily accomplished if straight people didn’t think we were all sex maniacs incapable of loving or having normal relationships.” “And I’m your scapegoat for that?” Andrew asked, mildly irritated. “You’re one of the most prominent gay men in America right now. What you do has an impact, whether you want to admit it or not,” Aubrey said plainly, no more sarcasm. He was serious now. “So I can’t live my life the way I want to because I need to think about how it impacts an imaginary community? That makes no sense.” “The way you’re living your life is frivolous and selfish and empty. And it doesn’t lead to long lasting happiness.” “Hugh Hefner seemed pretty happy to me,” Andrew replied, annoyed. Aubrey didn’t seem convinced. “Look, there are many other prominent gay men who live their lives in the way you deem acceptable and respectable. Elton John is married and has a family, that other guy from that show and his chef husband are all wholesome and have a nice family. You really don’t need me to showcase that it’s possible to be gay, married, have kids and a stable life.” “No, but as a younger man you would be a great advocate to this generation. Not all of them can relate to the older famous gay men. But they can relate to you.” “I’m an NFL athlete, there is a very select group of people in this world that can truly relate to me, Aubrey.” “Don’t act like you’re unaware of your reach. You saw everyone at that bar, they live for your every move.” “But your article said my community hates me,” Andrew stated. “No, I just pointed out some of us are tired of being thrown in the same category as you by simply being gay. That isn’t what we stand for.” “Well then why aren’t you and prince charming married and having babies yet?” “You’re doing it again, talking about my personal life,” Aubrey warned. “It’s only fair. You’ve dissected my personal life on a worldwide platform,” Andrew was enraged at the man’s hypocrisy. “I thought you said I only reached like 8% of the population? And besides, that’s not true, I discussed your hookups, I didn’t talk about the people close to you or your family. I respected those boundaries.” “This is feeling pretty one sided. Why don’t we play a game?” Andrew interjected and Aubrey arched his eyebrows. “You ask me a question, and I will answer truthfully, but then I get to ask you a question in return, about any topic of my choosing, and you have to answer truthfully as well.” “Is this…on record?” “What do you think? Of course not.” “So, what’s the advantage of doing this for me?” “You get to know me better. You’ll have a more clear view for your encore hit piece.” Aubrey rolled his eyes at the phrase “hit piece” but didn’t comment. “Fine, I go first.” “Shoot,” Andrew replied, taking another swig of the beer. “When was the last time you thought about someone else’s feelings?” Andrew didn’t have to think far. “A few hours ago, my mom came by and gave me a lecture about my life–eerily similar to all that you’re saying. I felt bad about the fact that she worries about me.” “You felt bad, but it didn’t motivate you to change, did it?” “That’s two questions, my turn,” Andrew replied and Aubrey nodded. “How old were you when you lost your virginity?” Aubrey laughed with disdain, he was clearly expecting Andrew to take it to this sordid level. “Wow. Classy, Thompson, real classy. I was 25.” “Really?” “Yep, late bloomer. And I was overweight, remember? Not exactly a man magnet.” Andrew didn’t know what to say. He knew that complimenting Aubrey would end in more insults coming his way, so he decided to stay quiet. But he was really curious to see pictures of Aubrey from before. He was certain the man was stunning either way. He just couldn’t believe that Aubrey didn’t get any serious action until 25. Meanwhile Andrew had been hooking up since he was in high school. Aubrey quickly changed the subject, “My turn. Why do you think you’re incapable of sustaining a long-lasting relationship?” “I get bored quickly.” “Come on, that’s a shitty answer. Do better.” Andrew thought about it. “I guess I…I’m not good…there’s just so much temptation in this lifestyle. It’s difficult to stay committed. And I truly just don’t think I’ve met the right person. I needed some time to mature and grow to be ready for a long term thing. Domestic life can get a little…repetitive. Don’t you think?” “No, I love domestic life. I actually find it very exciting.” “What about it is exciting?” Andrew asked, curious. Aubrey took a little while to reply, as if he was wondering whether Andrew was really worthy of the answer. “I don’t enjoy superficial things. Whether it’s conversations, friendships, bodies, or relationships. I like the real thing, I like depth. There’s nothing exciting to me about waking up next escort bursa to a different guy every morning. But I find a lot of excitement in getting to know new things about a guy that I already think I know pretty well. I find it thrilling to really be seen by someone else, for who I truly am, not the facade that we all put up everyday. Not my best self, but my real self. For someone to see that and to declare ‘I love that, I love the real you, the real you is worthy of my love’. There’s something insanely thrilling about that, and being able to sustain that over time. To sustain someone’s love and affection and attention, when they have other choices. To know that they’re choosing you over and over again, even though they can afford to try the 50 other flavors, that you’re essentially their favorite flavor. It’s the type of intimacy you can’t get from a one night stand. That’s the type of building I’m interested in, with every relationship. The surface is nice, but the interior is what really gets me going.” Andrew wanted to make a wise crack about a few other things that could get him going, but he kept it to himself. He knew better than to spoil this moment they were experiencing together. Aubrey had confessed something intimate, something special. This was building rapport. In the delicate dance of courtship, they were now one step closer than before. Andrew was hopeful once again, the night had been salvaged. “My turn,” he said, it was time to lighten up the mood with a less serious subject, “What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?” “Really, you’re wasting your question on actually getting to know me better? You are full of surprises, Thompson. Strawberry, hands down. What’s yours?” “Chocolate chip cookie dough, it’s the obvious choice.” Aubrey chuckled. “What’s the wildest thing you’ve done?” Andrew asked. Aubrey took a minute to think. “I’ll tell you, but if you ever tell anyone else I will deny it.” Andrew was intrigued. “This one time I was doing an article about a vegan gay man who was part of this hardcore animal rights organization. They are a secret group that go around liberating animals from testing centers, farms and so forth. Of course he was going to remain anonymous in the article. As I was getting to know him more, he asked if I wanted to go on one of their missions with him. Apparently he had told their leader that I was trustworthy and that I would bring good attention to the cause, and the guy had cleared me for joining them. Everything inside me said not to go. I mean not only was this illegal and dangerous, but if I got caught the repercussions could be fatal. I could have went to prison! And I’m not usually one for doing wild, irresponsible things like this. But some weird urge in me just made me agree. So there we are, in the middle of the night, sneaking into a University animal testing laboratory with rabbits. I was just supposed to be there to watch and report on it later. But man, when I saw those poor rabbits, in their cages, and I imagined what they probably went through everyday, being given all these strange substances, tested, hurt with needles, blinded, I just felt this fury rise within me. And I started working alongside of everyone, helping them transport the rabbits to their van, helping to free them. It was one of the most thrilling and reckless nights of my life. I woke up feeling like a badass the next day. I guess criminal activity comes along with that feeling of rush.” Aubrey was in his element now, and Andrew really enjoyed seeing this side of him. The man was so passionate about the things he cared about, it was really inspiring. And it was cool to see him be actually nice for a few minutes. “So you do care about other things besides gay rights?” “Sure, I care about a lot of things. Gay rights is just what I’m most known for. What about you?” “My wildest thing?” “Yeah, let’s hear it. Let me guess, it involves a lot of sex.” Andrew thought about it. “No, it’s probably my coming out story. Everyone told me not to do it, that it would ruin my career.” “So why did you?” Aubrey asked thoughtfully. “I don’t know, I’m just not good at hiding things. That’s why I get caught with all the guys and every time I do anything stupid. You can accuse me of a lot of stuff, but I’m a pretty honest person and I don’t enjoy holding secrets.” Aubrey nodded wistfully. “My turn, and I hope this doesn’t offend you, but exactly what race are you?” Andrew asked. Aubrey smiled. “I’m biracial. My mom is white, my dad is black. She met him when she was twenty, on a girls trip to the Bahamas. They fell in love, had my sister, moved back to the States, got married, then had me. Real love story.” “Still married?” “Still married, I don’t know how they do it. How about your folks?” “Met in college, got married right after graduating, had my brother then me. My dad always wanted my brother to be an athlete, because he was pretty buff when he was younger meanwhile I was the scrawny one. But my brother Ben was terrible at every sport, so finally my dad gave up. I was jealous of all the time and attention my dad spent on Ben, not realizing of course that my brother was miserable and just wanted to stay home and play some xbox, so that’s when I asked dad if he could put me in sports. He put me in baseball first, and I was really good actually. But when I started playing football is when it all clicked. This was it for me, this was what I excelled at. It made him really happy too, which eased the blow for when I finally came out to him.” When Andrew finished, he was actually shocked at how much he had said. He usually wasn’t this open about his family situation with anyone except a select group of people he trusted, like Joel. “And how did he react when you came out?” “Took him a while to accept it. He’s okay with it now. We don’t really discuss my dating life or anything, although I’m sure he hears about it from my mom. How did yours take it?” “My mom was good about it from day one. I think she knew before I even knew. She said I was always really sensitive, more so than other boys my age. Dad wasn’t thrilled. But like yours he got over it. We’re okay now, but he prefers not to hang out with or see my partner when he can avoid it.” Andrew stopped himself from saying he wouldn’t want to hang out with that douche either. “My turn. How are you going to contribute to the gay community in the upcoming years?” Aubrey asked, very serious now. “Back to the tough questions. I’m actually in talks with my brother Ben about starting the Thompson foundation. The details haven’t been ironed out yet, but a big part of it would go to helping out the LGBT community. Please don’t report on this though, not until I finalize it.” Aubrey nodded earnestly. “I won’t, and that’s a good start,” he replied. Andrew figured he’d lighten the mood. “My turn. Have you ever been in love?” he asked, looking him right in the eyes. Aubrey stared at him for a while, seemingly confused. “That’s…really personal. I think we’re done for tonight, it’s getting late.” “Late? It’s 9’o clock,” Andrew replied flabbergasted. This is not at all how he expected his night with Aubrey Miller to end. It was supposed to involve his bed and a lot of naked time. But Aubrey was already getting up. “I appreciate you inviting me to your home and chatting with me, off the record of course. Maybe I will be able to write a positive article on you one of these days,” he added. Andrew didn’t want him to leave, but didn’t know how to make him stay either. “Same. Listen, you seem like a cool dude, you’re always welcome to swing by. I’d be happy to hang out again,” he replied hopefully. Aubrey nodded, then stuck out his hand. “We’re not at the hug level yet?” Andrew asked disappointed, and Aubrey chuckled and rolled his eyes. “In your dreams Thomspon. Take care,” he said. He was a tough one, but Andrew decided to respect his boundaries. He grabbed and shook his hand, and both men almost jumped when their fingers touched. Now Andrew was completely positive that they both felt the electric jolt. It wasn’t just his imagination. The feeling was absolutely thrilling. Like being plugged into an outlet and coming alive from a subdued state. Like awakening from being half asleep. Aubrey removed his hand and before Andrew could say or do anything he made his way to the door and like a current, he was gone in an instant.