Another week, another flash! I hope you enjoy it. Be sure and check out the other authors listed at the end of this chapter.
I was jolted awake the next morning when my head hit the floor and I found Eli standing over me. It took a minute for the fog of sleep to clear enough so I could recall how I’d ended up here. The minute I did, I tried to explain.
“Eli! Man! I—“
“Shut up! Get out of my door. I never want to see you again, or those other two either.”
I swallowed hard. I’d fell asleep at Eli’s door begging to talk with him. I swore I could hear the distant sobbing, and it tore me apart. I knew Eli had no reason to forgive me. I’d blown it. But I had to try.
Eli took the door and started smacking it against my head and shoulder. “Get out of my door! Get out of my life!”
I shielded my face while I tried to explain. “Eli. Please. Let me explain.”
The next time the door hit me it was with vicious force. “Explain? What are you going to fucking explain, Nate? Why you were french kissing Jamie? Why you were practically crawling into Michael’s arms? Michael? Abusive, asshole Michael?”
Eli took a deep breath and his voice came out in an almost sob. “Or were you going to explain to me that I’ve always been your second choice because Jamie was always the one you really loves? Was that what you were going to do Nate? Explain to me that second choice should still be good enough?”
My voice caught, Eli was far too close to the truth. At least to the truth before last night. Now, all I wanted was what I had with Eli.
“Eli, please. I just need to talk to you. I want to save our relationship.”
“Come on, short stuff. Give Nate a break. It was just fun that got outta hand.”
I looked down the hallway to see Michael coming from the apartment. The smirk on his face would have been enough to infuriate me on a good day. Today wasn’t a good day. Before I could reply, I felt a light breeze and the next thing I knew Eli was standing over a prone Michael.
Michael lay still, propped on one elbow as he looked at Eli and slowly rubbed his jaw. I rolled to my side to watch, knowing this was not a time to come to Eli’s defense. But also more than a little proud of him. He’d flattened Michael. His voice this time was far from fragile and emotional. It was cold, dangerous and void of anything recognizable as the Eli I knew.
“There’s no excuse for any of you,” Eli said through clenched teeth. “You and Jamie can have whatever kind of relationship you want. But I don’t want it to spill over onto me. This time you went too far. Don’t ever think you can fucking ask me a damn thing. If you’re on fire—I’ll be there with gas.”
The smirk was gone from Michael’s face, and he didn’t say anything as Eli walked back down the hallway toward me. Without breaking stride, he jumped over me and before I knew it he was in his bedroom slamming the door behind him.
I rolled over and crawled on all fours to his door. The effort to stand and walk the few feet seemed too much. I rapped softly.
“Eli. Please. I know you hate me right now, but I’d really want to talk. If you’ll listen, then I’ll go away and leave you alone.”
The silence filled the room as the minutes stretched out.
“I’m listening,” came the soft reply as I was about to give up.
My breath caught and my mind raced to find the right words. “I fucked up. I can’t blame you for hating me. But I’m begging for a second chance.”
“Why? Do you not want to be the third for Jamie and Michael so you go back to good old Eli?”
“No. I realized, too late, that Jamie wasn’t the person I want to be with, you are.”
“And what brought about this miraculous conversion?”
I paused for a minute, then asked, “Can we do this face to face?”
“No! I said I’d listen. I didn’t say I’d look at you.”
I took a deep breath and then slowly let it leak out. “I came to my senses when I realized that Jamie and Michael were just alike. They’re out for their own fun, and don’t care if they hurt someone else. I don’t want to be with someone like that. You aren’t like that, and that’s one of the things I love about you.”
There was a long pause, then Eli spoke. “Like, what else do you like.” There was a slight smirk to his tone as he continued. “And these had better be good.”
He’s starting to joke around, there’s hope. “You’re sexy as hell. That’s a big one. I love your hairy little muscular butt.”
“You stand up for people. You’d never do something that would hurt someone else. At least on purpose. That’s what I need in a boyfriend.”
After another pause, I heard the lock open and the door swung back to reveal Eli standing in front of me.
“Here’s the deal,” he began,”You’re on probation. You are not forgiven just because you’re good at sucking up. You have to earn your way back.”
I nodded vigorously. “Okay, whatever you say.”
“Yeah, we’ll see. Here’s your first test. You’re going home with me Thanksgiving to meet my family. I don’t care what it takes, you’re going with me.”
My throat dried like I’d stuffed it full of cotton and my stomach went into knots. Then, I nodded and smiled.
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