It was actually Brandon who invited the Ultimate Frisbee team over to celebrate after our victory during the championships. We’re all acting goofy and Anya, the girl with the perfect breasts, suggests we play a party game that nobody has played since middle school.
“Seven Minutes in Heaven,” Brandon volunteers. I don’t know what that means, but a lot of people laugh and make kissing noises.
“Spin the Bottle,” someone else suggests. I’ve never heard of that one, either.
“Truth or Dare,” says Camden. That one I know.
“Never Have I Ever,” says Anya. That one I don’t know.
“Hear, hear!” Brandon laughs, raising his beer.
It is decided that we play a rousing game of Never Have I Ever, so we put the pizza on the coffee table and sit in a circle around the room. After the group drinks an opening shot of something sweet and burning the glasses are refilled. Camden is sitting next to me, so I lean over and asked him what the heck is going on.
“Are you serious?”
I blush. “I was homeschooled,” I say by way of explanation, silently apologizing to all the normal homeschooled children who didn’t grow up to be such nutjobs.
As Camden explains the rules to me I suddenly feel the need for something stronger than beer. This is the first time I’ve had alcohol without being ordered to imbibe, and I’m pretty sure that I’m doing it for all the wrong reasons. It would be awkward to excuse myself, because I’d practically be admitting that I have something to hide, but telling the truth…I down a beer and grab another one, feeling like I’m going to need it.
“Since I suggested the game,” Anya announces, “I’ll start. We’re not going to hold up fingers, we’re going to swig our drinks. If you’re getting drunk and you have to drive, fimme your keys and call a cab. Agreed?”
Everyone nods. Camden told me this activity always ends up with revealing sex questions, but at first the game is fairly tame.
“Never have I ever gone to the movies by myself.”
“Never have I ever dyed my hair.”
It goes once around the circle like that, but when it’s Anya’s turn again she raises the bar.
“Never have I ever slept in the nude.” I take a drink, but nobody notices, so I feel okay.
“Never have I ever worn a thong,” Brandon says during his turn. I’m not the only guy who takes a drink, so I don’t get ribbed to badly.
The third time around I start rationalizing my answers. Well, I’ve never used a dildo without being told to first, so I won’t take a drink. They already know that I’m gay, so I’ll drink to kissing someone of the same sex. That time on the hotel balcony doesn’t count as sex in public, because it was at night and we were on the top floor, so no one could have figured out what we were doing, anyway. All those times in front of an audience don’t count either because it was in the privacy of someone’s home. I try to recall a time when I’ve had more than a sip of alcohol and fail. I’m on my fifth beer when I decide to be more honest, because I don’t give a damn.
“Never have I ever been handcuffed during sex,” Camden says loudly, casting a sly glance at Anya. She flips him off before taking a drink, so everyone iss paying too much attention to that exchange to watch me. Except for Brandon. He’s staring at me, his expression an odd mixture of curiosity and surprise, though about what I don’t know. I think I’m getting drunk.
“Never have I ever been spanked during sex.” I wonder if I should take two swallows. My insides are burning.
“Ooh, Tucker,” teases Anya. I shrug, nonchalant. A chorus of laughter and “holy shit!” runs through the group.
“Dear Cradle Robbers,” I say during my turn, “Never have I ever had sex with a partner more than two years my junior.” Or within a decade of my age, but they don’t need to know that. I get some laughs, and the spotlight isn’t on me anymore.
My respite is short.
“Alright, alright, we’re getting a little too revealing,” Camden says finally. “Never have I ever wrestled alligators.”
“Never have I ever ridden a unicycle.”
“Never have I ever been targeted by the Russian mafia.”
“Never have I ever been a sex slave.”
I take a drink before I think about it, and still don’t think about it until I look up to find everyone staring at me. “What?”
“Oh my god, Tucker,” Camden exclaims, wide-eyed. “Seriously? Like, whips and chains?”
“That lifestyle isn’t just whips and chains,” I explained uncomfortably. “There are a lot of variations on the relationship between a sub and a Master.”
“You know the terminology,” Anya says excitedly. “You’ve really been a sex slave?”
I try to play it off. “Yeah, it wasn’t for me, though.” And now that I know it’s not for me, I have to figure out how to get out of it. “Dammit, I should have lied,” I try to joke.
It’s Brandon who saves me. “Never have I ever been on a boat,” he says loudly.
“No joke?” I ask, incredulous. “Not even a canoe?” My tone says thank you, his nod tells me I’m welcome.
“Even I’ve been on a boat, loser,” adds Anya. “And I’m from Oklahoma, which is landlocked. I can friggin wakeboard.”
Brandon flips her off, and aside from the odd looks he gives me now and again, the rest of the party goes smoothly. I try desperately to appear sober, but I think I’m talking more loudly than I should, and laugh riotously at the most simple jokes. My fellow teammates seem to enjoy my company, so although I stopped drinking the moment the game was called off (for my sake, I think), I haven’t stopped talking since, mostly about my inability to feel my lips.
When the hour approaches midnight, Brandon begins ushering his guests out of his apartment, calling cabs for those who need them, making sure that no one is driving home. He’s such a great host, so kind and caring. I should tell him, and should remind him how well he played during the game, since I told him a couple of times already, but I’m not sure that he really understands just how wonderful he is, and he should know, so I’ll tell him.
“Hey, Brandon,” I say, my tongue unusually large in my mouth.
He turns from the door, where he was saying goodbye to some of his guests. His roommates and the few people remaining are in the kitchen, throwing cups in the trash. “Hey, Tucker,” he replies, shutting the door. “Do you need me to call you a cab, or is Mr. Hale going to pick you up, or should I take you home?”
I smile at his thoughtfulness. “That’s very nice,” I answer, “but I can call the chauffeur’s pager.”
Brandon laughs aloud, and I grin back, wondering what is so funny. “I only understood about two words of that sentence,” he chuckles, pulling his cell phone out of his pocket. “How much did you have to drink?”
I squint my eyes, thinking. “I don’t know. That game was a doozy.”
“A doozy, huh?” Brandon laughs. “Well, tell me what number to call and we’ll get you home.”
I give him the number, and make sure he knows that it’s just a pager number, and the driver will know what it means, so will pick me up in thirty minutes, so don’t worry if he doesn’t pick up the phone, because it isn’t a phone, it’s a pager. Brandon herds me back to the living room, nodding to make sure I know he understands.
“You’re great,” I tell him. “You are really good at Ultimate, and you are a very good host. You’re very nice.”
“Thank you, again” Brandon says, smiling.
Because I’m feeling bold and uninhibited, I add, “And you’re really funny, and you have a nice smile.”
“Yes, yes you do,” I nod emphatically. “And you have pretty eyes. Really pretty.”
Brandon laughs. “You would never be telling me this if you were sober.”
“I’m serious,” I say, patting his shoulder sloppily. “You are a very attractive boy, like a Labrador puppy.”
“Oh my god, Tucker,” Brandon laughs uproariously. “I’m going to assume that you do not find dogs attractive.”
“You know, not like I like them,” I explain earnestly, not seeing what he finds so amusing, but glad that I can make him laugh. “But puppies are cute, and have big brown eyes, and soft fur.”
“You’ve never felt my hair,” Brandon points out.
“It looks soft. I don’t like dogs like that. I’m not in love with a dog.”
“Ah,” he grins. “Point taken.”
Brandon’s phone rings, and a little after he answers it he rises from the couch to peer out the window. “You’re ride’s here.”
I scowl. I wanted to talk to Brandon some more. “Damn speeding driver,” I mumble as I stand. It’s harder to remain upright than it was a couple of hours ago, and I would have fallen if Brandon hadn’t grabbed the collar of my pullover and jerked me back onto my feet.
“You’re a good friend,” I inform him.
“Thank you,” he says. “I’ll walk you to the car.”
“I need my jacket,” I remember, turning to find it. Brandon takes the opportunity to sling my arm over his shoulder and direct me to the door.
“Here you go buddy,” he coaxes. It isn’t that cold out after all, especially because my whole inside is burning. “Watch the steps.”
Brandon pats my chest. “You’re wearing it, Tucker.”
I look down, and almost tumble down the stairs. “You are absolutely right,” I giggle. “I am a nincompoop.”
The chauffeur, to whom I have never spoken because I’m ashamed that he has to know what I do in his backseat, asks Brandon, “Would you like some help, sir?”
“I got him, thank you,” Brandon responds. It’s so easy to lean on him, and feel his arm around me, and how warm he is as we stumble toward the car. “Where’s your hat, Tucker?”
Leaning against the car I fumble at my pocket. “My ears are cold,” I tell the driver. “Sorry I never talk to you.”
He replies that it’s perfectly understandable, and I’m not sure to which part of my statement he’s referring. Brandon finds my hat in my other pocket and pulls it over my hair. His fingers are already cold, and his face is close enough that it isn’t blurry like the rest of the world, and I want to kiss him, so I do. I see his eyes go wide right before my lips connect with his, and it’s sweet and savory and soft, and I can tell that he wants to do more because his lips move against mine before he pulls away.
“You are absolutely shitfaced,” he says, grinning from ear to ear. “I refuse to take advantage of a drunk man, no matter how badly I want to.” I open my mouth to tell him that he should do it anyway, but he turns to the driver, who has been standing there the whole time. “Will you get him home safely?”
The driver smiles back at Brandon. “It’s my job.”
Brandon lightly shoves me into the car and closes the door before I can lay a really good one on him, one with plenty of tongue and some groping. Damn. He waves at me as the car pulls away, and I wave back even though I know he can’t see me.
The driver, I don’t even know his name, puts the partition down. “Are you feeling alright, Master Jones?”
“Incredible,” I say drowsily. “That was my first real party, ever. Nobody called me Bunny.”
“If you need to throw up, let me know and I’ll pull over.”
I shake my head. “Nah.” I ride in silence the rest of the way home, reveling in the feel of Brandon’s lips on mine, and the way his fingers tightened ever-so-slightly on my hat, and how he smiled when he raised his head. I’m glad I’m drunk, otherwise I never would have done that. Drunk, drunk, drunk.
The driver pulls around to the back entrance, which means I can get up to my room without passing Mr. Hale’s bedroom or study. Awfully thoughtful of the man, I dare say. He lets me out of the car, and I inhale the bracing night air.
“Would you like help getting to your room, Master Jones?” he asks when I stumble over the stoop.
“No, thank you,” I respond. “I’ll manage.” When I open the door and see the yawning black of the sleeping house, a chilling thought occurs to me, and I turn back to the driver. “Are you going to tell Mr. Hale that I got drunk and kissed Brandon? Please don’t say merfing.”
He pauses by the car door and looks at me, and I can’t see his expression in the shadows. “Would you do it again, even if Mr. Hale knew?”
I smile happily, remembering again how it felt to press my lips to those that were yielding and fresh. “Mabsolutely I would. I have a humongous crush on him. Mr. Hale is a el stupido.”
“Then no, Master Jones, I will not. Good night.”
I haven’t slept so well since my parents were alive.