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an excerpt from

He's The One



 

Adam Wilson has come from Wisconsin to Manhattan to do some work, and his new friend Blythe takes him to the Big Cup, a coffee shop. As he ponders what's missing from his life, he spies a handsome man and eavesdrops on his conversation...

  Some days it seemed like the entire city was in heat. The gyms I went to, the subway, the sidewalks, were all packed with men who evaluated me as I evaluated them. I saw approval in their eyes and knew with only a little effort, I could have whatever I wanted—a half-hour, a night, a weekend.

    What stopped me was the dread of what came later, when everyone zipped up and moved on. I wanted conversation. Some intimacy. As my mother had said, and I agreed, I wanted someone to know me. Someone to get past the layer of jock, then past the layer of geek, to find me and like what he found. Maybe not a boyfriend, which would only complicate things, since New York was only an interlude. But—

    "Jeremy, my god, how are you? It's been forever since I saw you. You look fabulous," came an intrusive squeal from a nearby table.

    I glanced over to see a somewhat chunky man enthusiastically embrace a real beauty.

    "Andy," the beauty breathed, extricating himself, "it's only been a few weeks. I saw you at Ken's memorial service."

    Their next words were lost as I contemplated—what had his friend shrieked? Jeremy? He was the kind of man who would always get a second look. Blond hair, brown eyes, beautiful skin, slim but good body, but it was something more that made him so striking. A certain confidence. He looked like a celebrity. For all I knew, judging by the other glances directed his way, he was a celebrity. He seemed very much at ease with the attention he drew, accepting it as his due without making too much of it.

    By now they were both sitting down. I stared into my latte while I eavesdropped.

    "—even see Daniel," the squealer was saying, "and as for poor Martin—"

    "Poor Martin? Hardly, Andy. Not after inheriting Ken's money," the beautiful Jeremy said in a caustic tone.

    "Yes, dear, but didn't you hear? Ken put it in some kind of trust. Martin can only get wee bits out at a time."

    "Which was really smart of Ken," Jeremy answered, seeming bored by the whole topic.

    "No doubt Martin would have just run through all that money," Andy agreed with a sigh. "I mean, I'd have put it right back into Club Chaos, had Ken left it to me. The place that made him famous!"

    "According to Daniel, that's exactly why Ken left it in a trust. So people wouldn't take advantage of what Daniel sees as Martin's generous nature."

    "Do you mean me?" Andy demanded. "I would consider using it for the club as an investment for Martin if he gave me any of the money."

    "Moot point," Jeremy said, sounding as if, for him, the subject was closed.

    "So how is Daniel?" Andy asked. "Do you see him often? Are you still carrying a torch for him?"

    "We're friends, Andy," Jeremy said. "He has a boyfriend. I'm seeing someone, too."

    Figures, I thought. Anyone with Jeremy's looks couldn't be single.

    I glanced at Blythe to see if she was listening, too.

    "What a dreadful little man," she said. "I gather he owns Club Chaos. Have you ever been there?"

    "No," I said. "It's a nightclub?"

    "It's wonderful," she said. "They have the best drag shows there. And the drinks are good. Not watered down. All the bartenders are beautiful. We should go sometime." She flipped through her copy of HX, then handed it to me so I could see the ad for Club Chaos.

    "Looks like fun," I said.

    As she opened her mouth to say something else, I shook my head, trying to hear why Andy was squealing again.

    "—can't believe you would go to his party! You know how I feel about him."

    "I'm not going because it's his party," Jeremy said. "I'm going because a friend invited me. Do you always have to see everything as if it affects you in some way?"

    "Wade Van Atterson is the most vile creature who ever slithered out from under a rock," Andy snapped. "You know he's been trying to destroy me for twenty—er, ten years."

    "Since you were practically in kindergarten, right?" Jeremy asked, his eyes dancing at Andy's attempt to shave years off his age.

    Before Andy could reply, they were joined by a guy who stared at Jeremy with open adoration. My first thought was that he was too young to be Jeremy's boyfriend, then I realized he was timidly handing Jeremy a napkin and a pen.

    "I'm sorry to interrupt, but I was wondering. Could I have your autograph?"

    Andy rolled his eyes and turned his head away, but Jeremy's expression was friendly as he said, "Of course. What's your name?"

    "Eric. I love your work. I think you're great."

    "Thank you," Jeremy said, giving him a glacier-melting smile. "What is it that you do, Eric?"

    "I'm just a student. At NYU."

    "What's your major?"

    "Anthropology. I know that sounds boring," Eric said apologetically.

    "It's not boring if you love it," Jeremy said. "Do you love it?"

    "Yeah."

    "Then you're exactly where you should be," Jeremy said with another smile as he handed Eric his pen and the signed napkin. As Eric backed away, Jeremy turned to Andy and said, "Sorry to cut this short, but I have to run."

    He stood and headed toward the door, with a still-complaining Andy and the wistful gazes of a few dozen men trailing in his wake. I watched with regret as he disappeared into the embrace of the night—and probably a waiting date.
 

    After weeks of unsuccessfully trying to connect with Jeremy or arrange a real introduction, Adam is coerced by his friend Daniel into going to a weekend metaphysical retreat. There, he finally gets to spend time with the object of his affection.

    It was a dreary Saturday, cold with the promise of rain, but I felt like the sun was shining down on me when I discovered Jeremy in my chakra balancing workshop. He smiled when he saw me come in and gestured for me to sit next to him.

    "How'd you sleep?" he asked.

    "Like a quartz crystal," I said.

    "Vibrating?"

    "No, we didn't have any quarters," I said. "What about you?"

    "I've got plenty of quarters."

    "Maybe I should sleep in your bed tonight."

    His eyes widened for a second, then he burst out laughing. Several people, apparently in the throes of morning meditation, turned to frown at him.

    "Wouldn't you think the means to enlightenment would be to lighten up?" I whispered.

    "I personally think the means to enlightenment is watching a Simpsons marathon on TV," Jeremy said.

    It was my turn to be frowned at as I released a most unseemly guffaw. We settled down like two chastened schoolboys as our facilitator turned an eye on us.

    I wasn't sure what Jeremy got out of the ensuing discussion of energy centers in the body, but I definitely felt a shift in the charge between us, especially when Jeremy lay down and I positioned crystals on him as directed by our facilitator, Phil. When I placed a rose quartz on Jeremy's heart, his eyes fluttered open. I wondered why I'd never realized how rich and deep brown eyes could be. Our gazes locked for a moment.

    "Adam," he said softly.

    "Jeremy?"

    "Stop."

    "Stop what?"

    "You know what."

    I put a turquoise on his throat and said, "That's for communication. Stop what?"

    "Stop looking at me like you're going to devour me."

    I gently placed a piece of lapis on his forehead and said, "That one is for awareness." "I'm not having a problem with awareness," he said.

    "Good."

    "Are you two focusing on your chakra colors?" Phil asked, appearing next to me and moving the lapis between Jeremy's eyebrows.

    "I'm very focused," I said, still looking into Jeremy's eyes. An actual blush crept over his cheeks as he stared back at me.

    When Phil moved away, Jeremy closed his eyes. I could feel him shutting himself off, but I wasn't worried. He had definitely felt the electricity between us, and he would remember it long after he forgot what color corresponded to his root chakra.

   

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