It was absolutely stupid. A passing joke, nothing else. So why, then, had Zoe’s words instantly left me feeling off-kilter? There was no question about my attraction towards women; just looking at Zoe, with or without clothes, made my mind go fuzzy. The physical reaction was most definitely there.
And yet I felt…off.
Then he walked into the classroom. Felix. My stomach did not just do a little flippy thing. God, why did Zoe have to make that stupid joke and somehow short-circuit my entire brain?
“Took back your spot, I see,” Felix said as he sat down in the chair I’d occupied the previous day.
“What? Oh, yeah. Habit.”
I looked at him—really, really looked at him. He was definitely attractive. Clear skin—teach me your secrets–, nice lips—not too thin, not too full–, pretty green eyes, and freckles that, if they were on a girl, I’d call adorable. These were all things I’d noticed in passing before now. I always had. Now…Now I wondered.
Was I, a straight guy, not supposed to notice if another guy was good looking or not? Was I not supposed to notice how soft and thick his hair looked? It wasn’t like I ever really thought about it…although…Thinking back, I could remember a few times when I’d thought to myself wow, he’s hot about some guy or another. I’d always thought that everyone, male or female, was like that. You see a physically gifted person and you recognize it.
Was that not normal?
I blinked, focusing on Felix’s face. His—yes—cute face. “Sorry, did you say something? I totally spaced.”
The other boy laughed softly, a rich honey-like sound. “I think I should be insulted.” He looked at me teasingly—and was there something…more in his expression?
Shut up shut up shut up! I mentally yelled at the voice in the back of my head.
“Oh, shut up,” I said aloud to Felix. “Like your mind’s never wandered.” Oh, was it wandering. It needed to wander the hell back.
After school, I walked up to the Tudor-style house and rang the bell. Immediately, I froze. Shit, you weren’t supposed to do that with babies in the house. I had a very vivid memory of my sleep-deprived mother going off on a very confused German-speaking religious pamphlet pusher when my little sister was a baby.
“Hi, Logan,” Mrs. Klein said kindly as she opened the door. “Tobi is in the living room.”
“Hi, Mrs. Klein. I hope I didn’t wake the babies.” There were three of them in the house, one belonging to Mrs. Klein and her husband and the other two belonging to my friend, Tobi.
Tobi’s mom laughed softly. “Well, since I don’t hear crying, I think you’re good.”
I went down the hall and dropped onto the couch next to Tobi, who seemed to have dozed off in front of the television. “So, what are we watching?” I asked loudly.
He jumped, turning a startled look on me. “Logan? When did you get here?”
I snorted. “Just now. The twins still running you and Colette ragged?” Back when I’d first met Tobi, he’d talked often about the French girl that he only got to see at summer camp. Well, last summer, he’d done a lot more than see her.
“You said it yourself—twins.” He smiled and shook his head. “They’re amazing, though.”
“Oh, I know,” I said, heading him off before he could go on about just how amazing they were. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to hear about Joce and Luc, but I’d learned from experience that he and Colette both could go on forever about their kids. “I figured I’d come and save you from fatherhood for a few hours. You look like you could use a break.”
“Doesn’t sound like a bad idea.” We rose to our feet, Tobi standing several inches taller than me. “I need to check with Lettie and my parents.”
A few minutes later, we left the house and headed to the nearest place that sold delightfully greasy burgers.
We sat and talked for a bit after we’d eaten, and I took the opportunity to look at him, much like I had Felix earlier. There was no denying that Tobias Rosebrook was a hot guy. You’d have to literally be blind not to notice the perfectly tousled blond hair, big brown eyes, and the mountains of muscle on him.
The thing was, I definitely felt a difference when I looked at Felix than right now when I was looking at Tobi. Tobi was my best friend—the first one I’d made at my current school. He was damn near like a brother to me. Felix, on the other hand…I shied away from applying a label to him.
“Hey, Tobi, can I ask you something?”
He arched one platinum blond brow. “Sure.”
“Do you ever, like, see other guys and, I guess, recognize how attractive they are, but not, like, actually want them or anything? Same way you see a girl and think she’s hot but not want to actually do anything about it, you know? It’s just a thing that you know.” If that made any sense, I’d be fucking amazed.
Tobi looked at me like I’d grown a second head. “No,” he said slowly, drawing the word out. “I don’t look at other guys. Why?”
I shrugged, shifting in my seat. “No reason. A friend and I were just having a conversation earlier.” It was a hollow excuse and I knew it, but, fortunately, Tobi didn’t press.
I wasn’t surprised by his response. I’d thought that I was normal. That it was just a typical way of looking at people. I’d been wrong.
Felix, again, came to my mind, and, unbidden, I felt a warmth in my stomach. That was crazy, though, because I was straight. I was straight, and I always had been.
All this time, I couldn’t have been living a lie.