I opened the door and sure enough, it was Downstairs Neighbor. Tall, wearing Dickey shorts and some kind of heavy metal band t-shirt. “Hy!” he boomed and scooped me up in a big hug. “What the fuck is going on??” He put me down a few feet inside the apartment and sees The Neighbor lounging in only his shorts on the couch. “TN! How the fuck are you, man??” He quickly closed the distance and gave him a bear hug, as well.
“We’re drinking Sidecars,” TN answered.
“Want one?” I asked and set off to making us all another round. I didn’t even wait for DN to reply. Of course he wants another fucking drink.
We all retire back in my living room. TN moved off the couch to sit on the ottoman to put some distance between us, DN is on the leather club chair, I’m on the couch. “Yeah, um, so,” TN stammered unnecessarily, “the reason I’m in only my shorts is we went swimming earlier.”
“Oh, that’s cool,” DN says taking a slurp of his drink. “Wow, man! This is fucking good!” We all laughed and caught up with each other. It was easy and relaxed. We moved out to the balcony where I took a seat between the two men, Downstairs Neighbor to my right, TN in front of me. We lit our cigarettes and pulled on them between laughter, jabs, and jokes when suddenly, DN had a light go off. It was like I was watching a train wreck, it was all so clear.
“Hy,” he said to me and put his hand on my arm. He squeezed it warmly. “I think you should tell TN about your troubles.”
I froze. I knew exactly what he was talking about: my broken heart, my unrequited love, my situation with The Neighbor. “NO, DN. Absolutely not. TN doesn’t need to be bothered with that, it’s silly and stupid!”
“No, Hy, seriously, TN’s a great guy! I bet he could really help you with this situation!”
The Neighbor, obviously aware it was about him asked slyly, “What are you talking about, DN?”
“Oh, Hy’s sorta hung up on some guy. She –” and I slapped my hand over his mouth.
“DN!! DON’T YOU DARE! Shut the fuck up, you mule!” I’m laughing and desperate and wanting to crawl under a rock. He wrapped his arms around me in a friendly embrace.
“But you need support! And we love you! TN might be able to give you some new perspective!”
“No! I said no, no, no!” I kept burying my head in my hands, writhing in emotional embarrassment.
And then, before I could stop him, DN says, “See, TN, Hy is in love with this guy.”
I saw only the insides of my palms for seconds after, my knees drawn up as I wished for a small dark hole to crawl into. “This is the worst goddamned night of my fucking life, you asshole,” I said to DN and punched him repeatedly for good measure. I must have felt like an ant biting an elephant’s ankle for all he reacted to that.
“TN,” Downstairs Neighbor says, “What do you think she should do??”
TN took a breath and put his elbows on his knees in thoughtful introspection, “Well, Hy, are you guys in a relationship?”
“No,” I moaned from behind my hands.
“Do you like him?”
“Then what’s the problem? This is good for you to be able to feel this way, right? It just means the next one will be that much better for the both of you.”
“What the fuck,” I said and look up from my hands, stare at the night sky and the stars twinkling at me with mirth. “Yeah, ok, sure. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing and, ” I turn to DN, “you weren’t supposed to say anything! I like to have some fucking secrets, for Christ’s sake!” I turn back to The Neighbor who seems to be handling this quite well, if not enjoying it a little too much for my liking. “I like that I feel this way, you’re right. I also don’t think I’ll die when it ends. When I leave him I will survive. Don’t forget I left a man I loved deeply once before and that was devastating. Leaving this guy won’t devastate me like that. I’ll be really fucking sad, but I’ll be fine. Also, I still want to fucking die. Can we talk about something else now??”
I stood up and stalked out, called them both assholes to their laughter following me inside. Alone in my bedroom I panicked when I realized I’d just left them alone. What if DN said more stupid shit?? I rushed back out and they laughed some more at my impotent anger. I was so embarrassed even I was laughing as I raged at the two of them.
We kept drinking after that and TN started to secretly stroke my calf under the table, out of DN’s line of sight. I stood up and leaned against the railing, TN slightly behind me in his chair. While DN drunkenly told some tale, The Neighbor snaked his hand up my skirt to my bare pussy and slipped his fingers in. I clasped the railing and tried not to move as he made me climax 3 feet from our friend. My juices slipped down to my ankles.
DN got up to pee and TN and I made plans for me to join him in his apartment after DN left. We agreed we’d start taking advantage of unlocked doors whenever possible. When Downstairs Neighbor came back out, the men said their goodbyes, but I had more railing to do at DN. He apologized profusely, confused as fuck as to why I would care so much that TN knew about my unrequited love. I finally gave up and asked him if he’d like some cheesy-bread. It was 4 am and I was hungry again.
I fed us both and eventually he left. I laid down on the couch to rest and I was down for the count. I woke up a couple of hours later and staggered into my bed, stripped, and curled up under my down comforter. When the sun broke through the blinds I stretched and decided to see if TN’s door was, indeed, unlocked.