I can’t do it. I can’t keep chasing Jamie. After hearing he and Michael that night I’d avoided him. What could I do? Obviously a relationship is never going to work out for us. My mid-term grades sucked, I’d been so busy feeling sorry for myself that I didn’t study. Now, I had to kick it in the butt to get my grades up.
Then there was Eli. How in the hell an I going to handle Eli. The kiss was sweet, but then the stuff happened with Jamie and Michael. I don’t want to hurt him. I really like Eli. He’s a great friend. The kiss, I can still feel his touch, and sweet kiss. The warm feeling it created lasted for awhile. It wasn’t fair to string Eli along.
Looks like I’m going to go through college celibate.
I sat back from my desk and looked at my room. This is a pit. First thing, clean this shit up. With a goal I dragged myself up, and started. First the clothes were gathered and tossed into the laundry basket. Once the first layer of crap was gone, my energy returned.
The odds and ends of junk mail, newspapers and other debris was tossed. Cleaning had a cathartic effect on me, my mood was lightening. Vacuum, I needed to vacuum the carpet.
Without thinking it through, I was knocking at Eli’s apartment door. He opened the door and his face froze in a neutral mask.
“Hey Nate. What’s up?”
“Yeah. Hey, Eli. I’m cleaning my room. Can I borrow your vacuum?”
Eli cocked an eyebrow and a tiny smirk formed on his lips. “I guess.” He paused for a few minutes then his eyes twinkled. “If you’ll clean my room too.”
I studied his room for a second. There wasn’t much to clean. Playing along with Eli’s teasing might help our friendship. I’d almost avoided Eli as much as I had Jamie. Eli hadn’t done anything wrong and I’d acted like a jerk.
I grinned at Eli, then my mouth got me in trouble again. “Sure! And when I finish, you can take me out to eat.”
Crap. Now I’d stepped in it. We stood in silence. Eli’s gaze met mine until my eyes slid to the floor. The time had stretched out endlessly when Eli spoke. “Okay. I can do that. Pizza. My treat.”
I lifted my eyes back to Eli, surprised to find a grin.
Eli continued, “Of course, that means you clean the bathroom, too.”
I’d been played, and Eli damn well knew it. I scowled at him and crossed my arms over my chest. “I call bullshit. It’s not even your bathroom.”
“Sure it is. I just share it with Ryan. So technically it’s my bathroom.”
“Why do I feel like I’ve been had?”
Eli lifted his hands and shrugged. “You can say no. There is always the option to say no to a proposal.”
My lip twitched, and Eli mimicked me. A moment passed, and he made his eyebrows dance across his forehead. Damn it, Eli. I’m trying to be serious.
He stuck his tongue out at me, and curled it like a cigar.
A snicker slipped out. I snapped my frown back in place.
Eli stuck his thumbs in his ears, stuck out his tongue and gave me a razzberry.
“Damn it, Eli!”
“Damn it, Nate!”
I couldn’t hold out any longer, I started laughing. Once I had my laughter back under control, I answered him. “Ok. Fine! I’ll clean for you.”
“Das right, you’ll be my cleaning bitch.”
The word hit a dissentant cord. “What did you call me?”
Eli stared at me for a moment before answering. “Sorry. Just kidding. I didn’t mean anything.”
“Don’t call me that again. Please”
Eli nodded, all humor drained from the moment.
I settled into the seat, enjoying the aroma of fresh baked bread and oregano. I’d been here before. Eli might have even known it was a favorite of mine. It was a stereotypical college pizza place. The decor dated back to the 60’s when it was built. The same family had owned the place since then too. Probably why the food tasted so good.
Eli sat down opposite me in the booth, drying his hands with the paper towel. He glanced up and frowned. “What?”
“I was just wondering if you hit the toilet in there. Cause from the pee on the floor of your bathroom, you never hit the toilet.”
Eli chuckled and tossed the rumbled paper towel onto the table. “Not me. That’s Ryan. He can’t aim worth shit.”
“Nasty. Both of you. Just freakin’ nasty.”
Eli chuckled again and all conversation about dorm bathrooms stopped when the waiter took our order. The relaxed conversation helped our connection begin to reform. In what felt like seconds, the pizza arrived and we were devouring it like hungry beasts.
Both of us had almost finished our second piece when we heard. “Brian. Brian! Oh, God! He’s choking!
I spun my head and found a kid holding his throat, his face crimson. My mind struggled to encompass the emergency. I turned back to Eli, and realized he was gone.
“Hold still. Quit fighting me!”
My focus spun back to the emergency and found Eli. He had his arms locked around the kid, who was starting to sag. Eli yanked his hands into the boys stomach. The boy flopped like a rag doll. No response. The result didn’t change the second or third time. With a huge tug, Eli tried again while the entire restaurant held their breath. This time the child coughed.
A crush of people descended on Eli and the kid. Eli returned to our booth after much back slapping and congratulations. He sat down, his face red and his eyes dancing.
“That was freaking amazing. I didn’t know what to do,” I said.
Eli grinned at me. “Boy scouts. I did pretty well on the life saving stuff.”
“Well, you were phenomenal. Good work with the scouts.”
Eli gave me a bright smile, which dimmed. “Yeah. Scouts. They were great until I came out, and they threw me out.”
If you’d like to see a snippet from the other Wednesday Briefs authors you can go to the groups website. Or click on the name listed below to go directly to the story.
- Jon Keys
- Tali Spencer
- A.R. Von
- Grace Duncan
- Raine O’Tierney
- MA Church
- Chris T. Kat
- Lily Sawyer
- Shelly Schulz
- JC Wallace
- Victoria Adams
- Michael Mandrake
- Cia Nordwell
- Lily Velden
- Elyzabeth VaLey
- Renee Stevens
- Andrew Q. Gordon
- Julie Lynn Hayes