The Lies We Tell Ourselves

The Lies We Tell Ourselves

Wren Emerson

Zane Littlebury spent months tracking down a man who could make authentic looking fake IDs, but there wasn’t much need since the bouncers could never tear their gazes from his electric blue eyes. It had become routine, the way they licked their lips and gave him secret, hopeful smiles. And always he responded with a lifted eyebrow and a shrug. His body language offered false hope while his thoughts were occupied by the desire to disappear into the anonymous crush of bodies.

Zane had been coming to the club for the past three months. He always came alone and found a spot against a wall where he could watch the beautiful young men, most with their form fitting shirts off and tucked into the waist bands of their pants, dancing with each other. Sometimes he ordered a beer, but most times he wanted to feel the keen edge of his jealousy. They were so comfortable with each other and with themselves.

A tan arm snaked around his shoulders from behind him. It was a man barely older than Zane’s own 17 years who called himself Apollo. For the past few weeks they’d been talking. Zane sensed that soon talking wouldn’t be enough to keep Apollo interested, but he was ambivalent about the idea of sex. To have sex with anyone would force him to face some hard truths about himself he’d been avoiding. But there was no denying the response he felt whenever Apollo was near; his heart pounded a tempo that nearly matched the bass throbbing through the soles of his shoes.

"Hello, Zane. You look amazing tonight. But then you always do." Apollo’s teeth glowed bluish in the ambient black lights.

"Hi, yourself." He shouted over the pounding music.

Apollo handed Zane a drink and answered his unasked question, “It’s a Slow Comfortable Screw on the Beach.”

Zane tried and rejected several responses. He couldn’t even manage a flirty, “Sounds nice.” Instead he took the drink and muttered his thanks.

They stood in the pulsing light of the strobes for a few minutes, while Zane sipped the drink and Apollo bobbed his head to the beat. Finally Apollo asked, “Do you think you’d like to dance tonight?”

Zane shook his head. “Naw, I’m just not feeling it tonight.”

Apollo sneered, “You never feel like dancing. Every time you come here, you lean against the wall like you’re the only thing holding it up. Even a drink can’t loosen you up.”

Zane shoved the drink at Apollo, who spread his hands and refused to take it. “Is this what the drink is about? You’re trying to get me drunk so I’ll go along with whatever you want? I’m sorry, but it’s going to take a lot more than one drink to get me to do your bidding.”

“We’ve been doing this for almost two months now, Zane. You knew it was leading to something. Why are you resisting it? I know you want me.”

Zane tried to shove past Apollo, but he grabbed Zane’s arm and pushed him back against the wall, his muscular arms forming a cage around him. “Talk to me, dammit!”

“This isn’t leading anywhere. It can’t.” Zane said.

Apollo leaned close, invading Zane’s space. “Take me home with you tonight. Let’s see where this thing takes us.”

Zane laughed in disbelief. “You’re kidding, right?”

Apollo’s face darkened with rage. Zane thought maybe he’d hit him, but instead he leaned in closer and locked his lips over Zane’s.

Zane had kissed a few girls since he started high school, it was necessary to his charade, but it hadn’t felt like much to him. Usually he realized after some time had passed that he was thinking about mundane chores. This was different. He was fully absorbed by the feel of Apollo’s soft lips brushing over his. His mouth tasted like mint, a mojito maybe?

Apollo slid his hands down Zane’s back until he cupped his butt and then he pulled him tight in an intimate embrace. Zane felt himself responding enthusiastically and, for the first time, the idea of taking things further seemed appealing. Consequences, be damned. Instead he pulled away.

He stalked out of the club, leaving his drink on the bar as he walked past. Apollo yelled something after him, but he didn’t attempt to follow. Zane walked the blocks to where he’d parked his car and concentrated on blanking his mind.

He made it out of the city and drove down the long empty road back to his hometown, Desire. His thoughts were carefully harmless. The closest he came to acknowledging what happened was cursing at the fact that now he’d have to find another club to visit. It would be the third time in six months. At the rate he was going, he was going to exhaust all the bars in the city before the year was up. This would be the time he either decided not to engage with anybody or else finally committed to taking the relationship to the next level.

He drove home with a full tank of gas, his fake ID, and the hope that someday soon things would be different. That HE would be different. And as it often happens, the only person he lied to was himself.


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