Barfly: Chapter Sixteen

“I do not want to go to this cook out,” Roman said as he stomped around my apartment like pouting a five year old.  He collapsed onto the couch in huff, crossed his arms over his chest, and stuck out his bottom lip.
“Are you finished?” I asked.
“Why do I have to go?”
“Because my circle of friends and Stellan’s circle of friends are meeting each other for the first time.”
“You don’t have a circle.  You have two dots.  Two dots that don’t even form a line if you tried to connect them because they don’t fucking connect.  Why?  Mika and I don’t hang out together with you, just separately.  Actually, make that three dots that don’t connect because I don’t hang out with your brother either.”
I ran my hand through my hair with a sigh.  “Please Roman, this is very important to me.”  I looked up at him, clasping my hands together.  “I’m begging you.”
“How long has it been since you guys have been seeing each other?”
“About a month or so now.  This is a big step for us.”
“Has he met Walsh?”
I shook my head.
“Then it’s not a big step.  He’s met me.  He’s met Mika.”
“God damnit Roman, you owe me this.  We picked you up on the night you got your ass beat by Robert.”  It was the only ammunition I had and I knew it wasn’t kind ammunition but my arsenal was low.  “I’ve kept your sordid little secret a secret.  I’ve lied to cover your ass.  You’re going to this cook out.”
Roman glared at me.  “Then you will never make mention of Robert or me being gay again.”
“I promise.”
“I’m not staying long.”
“That’s fine.  You can follow me to Stellan’s.”
“Why do you care if his friends meet me?”
I leaned back in my chair and sighed.  “Um, to show them that I actually have friends.”
“But you don’t.”
“I have you and that’s all that counts.”
Roman rolled his eyes at me and sunk deeper into the couch.  “Has it really been a month since you first laid eyes on the most beautiful person on the planet?”
I nodded.  “Can you believe it?”
“No,” Roman answered.  “I was positive you would fuck things up the first time you spoke to him after he knocked you on your ass.”
“Wow, thanks for the vote of confidence.  Why are we friends again?”
“Because we drink together.  Well, you drink and I normally serve.”
I smacked my forehead with my hand.  “How could I forget?”
“Well, it’s been easy since you never come into the bar anymore.”
Sighing, I looked at him.  “I told you the deal I made with Walsh.”
“Doesn’t mean you can’t come see me.”
“Doesn’t mean you support me.”
“I love you and you know it.”
I shrugged my shoulders.  “If you say so.”  Over the last few weeks, as Stellan and I grew closer, Roman seemed to grow further away.  It wasn’t for my lack of trying either.  I reached out to him but after he made a promise to do anything with me, at the last minute he’d back.  I didn’t give up on Roman though.  We were friends and we had made a promise not to let our friendship get loss in the shuffle.
“So, I’m going to follow you?”
I nodded.  “You know I already have plans to stay over with Stellan tonight.”
“How often do you guys stay at each other’s?”
“Three or four nights,” I answered.
“So it’s serious?”
I looked at Roman.  “I’m not seeing anyone else.”
“Is he?”
I shrugged my shoulders.  “I don’t think so.”
“So you’re not in a monogamous relationship?”
“I am.”
“But he’s not.”
“I didn’t say that.”
“But you don’t know.”
“No, I don’t, but I know Stellan.”
“You’ve said you’ve only know him for a month or so.”
“You have a point, but not one that’s going to win this battle you want to pick.”
“But there’s a chance he could be seeing someone else.”
“And there’s a chance of me kicking you in the balls too.”
“I’m just saying.”
I closed my eyes and rubbed the bridge of my nose.  “You’re not saying anything.  You’re just spewing poison and I don’t need that.  I’ve done everything to keep this friendship floating and you are punching holes in the boat.  I know you don’t like that I’m dating someone.  I’m trying hard to balance things, but you don’t make it easy for me Roman.”
“I’m jealous.”
“Of what?  Of Stellan?”
Roman shook his head.  “Of you dating.  You’re not suppose to date.  You’re suppose to mock me and be my wing person.  That’s what we do.  I choose badly, you get inspired by it.”
“Is that why you’ve been bailing on me?”
“Pretty much.  I’d rather not hear how well your dating life is going.  I’d rather just spew poison to make myself feel better.”
“Well you’re a jackass, do you know that?”
“Of course I do,” Roman answered.  “I’m not sure why you are surprised by that fact.”
“Neither am I.”
This page copyright © 2009 Shelia Taylor
All rights reserved | This is an excerpt of the rough draft and not the final version