Section 3: Mystery Unravelled
Alex stared at the flowers for quite some time after he got out of the shower that he felt obliged to take after pleasuring himself in the middle of the day. The note looked familiar. He must have seen that handwriting before. Frowning, he went over to Eric’s desk and stared at the scrawled notes scattered there. Could it possibly be the same? He took the note from the flowers and laid it next to one of Eric’s papers. It was the same. The swooping, scribbled letters were identical. But why would Eric have written the note? Did perhaps someone pay Eric to write the note to increase the secrecy? That seemed an unnecessary step to take.
He lifted the flowers and inhaled deeply. They were his favorites, carnations, even though roses were the traditional Valentine’s Day flowers. Someone either guessed well or knew him well. He had once told Eric that these were his favorite. Maybe Eric was in league with whoever his secret admirer was. Maybe Eric was helping her woo Alex by giving her help with what he liked. He felt a little betrayed that Eric would sell him out like that, even though he knew he shouldn’t. After all, Eric was just trying to help. Eric often asked about his social life, and probably thought he should be going out more so helping a girl romance Alex was something he might consider. But if Eric really cared about him, he would accept Alex for who he was and not try to force him into a relationship.
The door unlocked and Eric came in with an oddly hopeful look on his face. Maybe he thought Alex would have decided to date whoever the mystery girl was and he was hoping his interference went unnoticed. Well, he wasn’t that lucky.
“How’s the secret admirer going?” Eric asked in a nervous voice, no doubt noticing that Alex was over by his desk holding the note from the flowers.
“I’ve learned a few things,” Alex said, trying to hold back his anger at Eric for so obviously trying to set him up with a girl. Of course, Eric didn’t know he was gay, but still, trying to force a relationship was not something a friend should do.
“Who are you helping?” Alex asked, unable to keep the accusation out of his voice.
“What?” Eric sounded genuinely surprised.
“This note is in your handwriting, and the flowers are my favorite. Who are you helping? Do you think that by writing the note you can hide her identity, and by telling her things like my favorite flowers you can help her win my favor? Because it’s not going to work. I don’t want a relationship right now, and I’m not getting into one just because you think I should be with some girl who won’t even identify herself.”
Eric’s mouth hung open and he seemed shocked, and disappointed too. Well, let him be disappointed. His plan had failed; Alex had seen right through it. Maybe if Eric hadn’t left such obvious hints he wouldn’t have failed and the girl would have caught Alex’s attention, but he didn’t think so. No girl could catch his attention when he was so enthralled with Joey.
“I didn’t – I mean, I didn’t help anyone,” Eric said slowly.
“But this note, it’s your handwriting,” Alex pointed out.
“Yeah, it is,” Eric said, and his cheeks turned red as Alex had never seen them do before.
Alex took a mental step back. If the note was in Eric’s handwriting but Eric hadn’t helped anyone, then what could it possibly mean?
“I don’t understand,” Alex said.
Eric grew more red. “Never mind,” he said. “Let’s just pretend this didn’t happen. You don’t want a relationship anyway.”
Alex stared at him as the pieces began to slip together. Eric had written the note. Eric had known which flowers to send. Eric had sent the flowers. But why would Eric send the flowers, unless Eric were interested? But how did Eric know that Alex was interested in men? Was he just guessing and hoping? Alex remembered the hopeful look on Eric’s face when he entered the room. He must have been hoping, and Alex had ruined it with his spiel on not wanting a relationship. Because he did want a relationship, just not one with a woman.
Alex considered his roommate seriously for the first time as a potential boyfriend. He hadn’t realized Eric was gay, but it made sense. Eric went out a lot, but he never had any girlfriends even though he had a lot of friends who were girls. He wasn’t out, at least not to Alex, but perhaps he was in the closet like Alex. If they did get involved, they would have to tell the world they were gay, Alex thought with a start. That would be a huge change in his life, and would bring some negative consequences in addition to the positive effect of finally having someone in his life who understood him and cared for him.
Because Eric did care for him. Alex had always thought it was because they were roommates, but Eric always looked out for him, dragged him to parties and then let him stick to his side the whole time rather than abandoning him, and he always listened when Alex needed to talk. They were great friends, and the thought of being more was certainly enticing.
Eric was hot, for one thing. When Alex first met Eric, he had been instantly attracted but he had buried that attraction because he assumed Eric was straight and it would be awkward to room with someone he was attracted to. But if he were free to look, he had to admit that Eric was exactly his type. Not as many muscles as Joey, but far more friendly and approachable and with eyes that constantly glittered with amusement, though they were dull now.
“You sent me the flowers?” Alex said. “I- thank you.”
“I’m sorry,” Eric said.
“Don’t be,” Alex said. “I’m glad you did.”
He hesitated, then reached out to take Eric’s hand. Eric squeezed it as if in apology, but Alex pulled him closer. He wanted to kiss Eric, his first kiss, and see if all the rumors of kissing were true. He brought Eric close until they were face to face. Eric looked nervous, and Alex knew he looked nervous too but he shut his eyes and puckered his lips anyway, moving to close the final inches. His lips landed on Eric’s and he felt Eric’s hand card through his hair as he other man held him in place.
At first it was a chaste kiss, no tongue, just lips, but the feeling of Eric’s lips against his was so incredible that Alex wanted more, and opened his mouth against Eric. Eric seemed surprised, but followed suit and soon their tongues were dancing together and it felt as though little sparks of lightning were shooting between them. Alex soon ran out of breath and pulled away. Eric was similarly out of breath, and he leaned his forehead against Alex’s.
“That was incredible,” Eric whispered. “Thank you.”
Alex grinned, excitement building in his chest. “Thank you, for sending the flowers. I don’t think I ever would have had the courage to do that otherwise, and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”
“Can we do it again sometime?”
“Are you asking to be my boyfriend?” Alex asked, wondering if Eric was serious in his affection or just after some free love. He would be crushed if Eric was just using him and had no long term plans for their relationship.
“I would love to be your boyfriend,” Eric said with a grin of his own. “Best flowers I ever bought.”
“How often have you done this?” Alex asked, suddenly suspicious.
“This is my first,” Eric admitted. “I’ve kissed a man before, but he was just using me. I’ve never been in a serious relationship before, but that’s what I want with you. I want all of you, and I want to care for you. I’ve felt this way for so long, and to finally know that you care about me too is incredible.”
“Yeah,” Alex said. “I do care for you. And I feel the same. I can’t believe I never noticed before.”
“You’re pretty good at ignoring things when you want.”
“Well, if I do it again, make sure to point out the obvious to me.”
Eric smiled, and pulled him close into another kiss. Their lips locked and their tongues caressed each other. A slow, steady heat began building in Alex’s loin and he felt himself growing hard. Pressed against Eric’s body as he was, he could feel a similar hardening in Eric’s pants. It was extremely hot to know that he was turning on the other man, and he chased Eric’s tongue playfully with his and tried different tricks to arouse the man more. Eric broke away with a laugh.
“You’re doing that on purpose,” he accused in a teasing voice.
“You bet I am,” Alex replied, trying to sound sexy. “But we’ll have to wait. I don’t think I’m ready for more just yet.”
“Of course not,” Eric said. “We just started dating, after all. But on that third date,” and he leaned close to Alex’s ear, “prepare to be ravished.”
Alex knew he turned bright red and his penis twitched. Eric felt it and laughed a smoky laugh.
“Can I take you out to dinner tonight? Our first official date for Valentine’s Day?”
Alex smiled slowly, feeling the red recede from his cheeks. Eric was so sweet, and he wanted nothing more than to go on a date with his new boyfriend. He didn’t care that the world would find out he was gay, because he knew Eric would always be there to protect him and comfort him. He squeezed Eric’s hand and laid his head against Eric’s chest.
“That would make me very happy.”
Eric cradled him in his arms, kissing the top of his head and stroking his hair, then his back, in a possessive yet reassuring way. Alex melted into the embrace and felt all of his fears vanish. With Eric, he had the strength to do anything. It was the perfect Valentine’s gift.