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Excerpt: An Almost-Successful Night Out
The air outside cooled him down at first, even though it was the beginning of September and the evenings were still warm. Jesse squinted, his eyes readjusting after the flashing strobe lights inside the club, and immediately he saw Lau, leaning against the wall of the store next door, smoking a cigarette.
“Hey,” he said. He took a few hesitant steps towards Lau, who seemed indifferent but was watching him intently.
“So my roommate let you have it, huh,” he said. It wasn’t a question.
Jesse winced. “She is sweet but can be a little overbearing sometimes.”
“Tell me about it. Good old Holly, always trying to play team mom.” He paused, exhaling a puff of smoke. “Am I so horrible you can’t even talk to me?”
“That’s what I said,” he ventured, and immediately bit his tongue. Lau laughed. His laughter was melodic, almost girlish. He stubbed out the cigarette and tossed it on the concrete at his feet. “So did she fill you in on all the grisly details?”
Jesse chuckled uneasily. “No.”
“I told her I didn’t care.”
“Now I’m even more surprised.”
Jesse wasn’t sure how it happened. One moment there were a few feet separating them, and the next, Lau’s lips found his. It was like a jolt of electricity, like suddenly he was weightless. Lau’s kiss intoxicated him. He tasted mint and cigarettes and Lau’s own flavor, unidentifiable, sweet, salty, addictive. He closed his eyes and lost himself to it. Lau bit down playfully on his lower lip, sending another jolt of sensation radiating through him, and Jesse was suddenly aware that he was throbbing hard.
Lau, apparently, was aware of it too. He spun Jesse around and had him up against the wall in a heartbeat. He reached down, pressing his palm onto the bulge in Jesse’s pants. Through the vinyl, Jesse could feel the heat of Lau’s hand with such intensity it made him gasp.
Lau softly laughed into his mouth. He started working on the buttons nimbly with one hand when something fell out of Jesse’s pocket onto the ground. Jesse glanced down and saw, mortified, the flashy gold wrappers of the Trojans Holly had forced on him.
Lau raised his slender red eyebrows.
Jesse’s face grew hot, and he was certain he’d die of embarrassment. “It was Holly,” he muttered, feeling like a big baby and a bigger moron.
Lau laughed. “Well, I knew she didn’t trust me, but to this point….”
“So she did tell you I’m a whore,” he said with a grin.
Jesse faltered. “What?”
“It’s not really a secret.” Lau shrugged. “I got what it takes to pay the bills, y’know?”
Jesse shook his head vigorously. “Whoa, whoa. Slow down.”
“I’m clean,” Lau said, rolling his eyes. “Every whore worth his salt knows how to take care of his shit.”
Jesse squeezed his eyes shut. “Stop it! Don’t….”
“Stop saying that word!”
“What word? Whore? Why?”
“Just stop it, dammit!”
Lau laughed. “Oh, I’m sorry. Am I traumatizing you?”
“There’s no need to be condescending.”
“You know what, kid?” Lau handed him back the condoms with a flourish. “Run along, go play with your friends.”
He got up and started down the deserted street.
“Wait!” yelled Jesse after him.
“There you are.” Jesse heard Holly’s voice and turned around to see her and Jeff emerging from the club.
“Where’s the….” Holly began but trailed off as soon as she saw Lau, who had had the time to get across the street, traffic be damned.
“He’s all yours!” Lau called over his shoulder, his derisive laughter making Jesse want to fall through a crack in the asphalt.
Holly put a hand on his shoulder. “All the better,” she said.
“I hope you’re happy,” he muttered.
“One day you’ll thank me for this.”