“I think you know.”
“You travel with him, then?”
Crap. She was back to Jake again. “Yes.”
“That’s got to be exciting.”
“Um… yeah, it’s a nice gig if you can get it.”
“Have you ever had to guard his body, like, for real?”
“All the time,” I nodded. “Usually just overzealous groupies, though.”
“What would happen if someone was really threatening him? Would you throw yourself in front of a bullet for him?”
Without hesitation, I replied, “Yes.”
“Really?” She grinned, putting her hands on her hips like she thought I was joking.
I stopped and stared down at her. My jaw cramped as I ground my teeth in irritation. I never joked about Jake’s life. Ever. “I would die for him,” I replied.
Sarah’s expression softened as if she were realizing, for the first time, that I was more than just Jake’s stupid sidekick. “Well now that’s interesting.”
I rolled off Sarah. It had taken about five minutes to finish our emotionless tryst. It was fun, don’t get me wrong, but there was definitely no spark. Not like I expected one, or even wanted one, for that matter. Sarah was just a hook up… one of many.
Afterward, we made uncomfortable small talk. Really, I just wanted out of there.
“Do you live in LA?”
“Just outside. Why?”
“You know, I’m going to be there in a couple of days for work. Maybe we can hook up again.”
“I’m actually leaving for the Cook Islands next week.”
“Must be nice. On vacation?”
“No, I’m gonna be on Marooned.”
“The reality show?” Sarah bolted upright, her attention piqued. “No way!”
“Yes way,” I mimicked, grinning.
“Why didn’t you tell me that?”
“I just did.”
“Kyle, that’s so cool.”
I shrugged. “Yeah, I guess.”
“I’ve auditioned for a bunch of reality shows but haven’t gotten anything yet. When are you leaving for filming?”
“I’m coming to LA on Wednesday. Let’s get together. I’m staying in Santa Monica for the shoot.”
“I don’t know. I’m not sure if I’ll have time.”
Sarah crawled onto her knees, her hands snaking up my body. I shuddered involuntarily. “Come on. You know you liked it.”
Regardless of the fact that I saw right through her newfound interest in me, I couldn’t deny that she turned me on, and one more romp in the sack with a smoking hot model wouldn’t be the worst thing ever. I could swallow my pride for one more night.
Kyle: Someone For Everyone
The next morning I awoke to “Mom-gate”. After Jake had failed to return from his evening with Casey and subsequently missed brunch, Mom went on a rampage. I frantically texted my brother, but he was not answering. Mom’s initial irritation quickly turned to worry. A missing Jake was obviously not something our family took lightly. I tried to reassure her that he was fine, but Mom was pacing the floor by the time Jake’s text finally came in.
“He’s fine,” I announced with a heavy sigh of relief. “Just overslept.”
“How do you know?” she answered in a frazzled-sounding voice.
I showed her his text. Mom’s posture instantly relaxed.
“Thank god. Now that I know he’s safe, I’m going to kill him!”
Jake sat perched on the edge of the bed, rambling on and on about his night with Casey. He was like a kid at Christmas, his face flushed with excitement.
“And you were gone all night, but you didn’t have sex?”
“I told you it wasn’t in her rulebook. It didn’t matter, though. Last night was so hot. She’s just…” Jake didn’t finish his sentence. He was looking off somewhere, a slight smile on his face. He often spaced out during conversations, but normally he was remembering something unpleasant and his lips were curved in a frown. Today was the opposite. The memory filling his head clearly made him happy, and he was relaxed, as if a weight had been lifted off him. I felt that treacherous hope rising up inside me once more.
“It’s weird,” Jake finally continued. “I’ve only known her a day, but it feels like I’ve known her forever. Have you ever felt that way?”
“You’re going to think I’m crazy, but I actually think I really like her, and I want to see her again.”
I stood there transfixed, just staring at this stranger before me. I couldn’t remember the last time Jake had talked to me like this – his voice so full of positivity and excitement. As kids, he and I used to talk non-stop about all kinds of things, but our main topic of discussion as we got older was girls and sex. What I had done. What he had done. What we both wanted to do. But it was all talk. Neither one of us had gotten past first base. Of the two of us, I was the more experienced, having once convinced a girl to touch my dick through my shorts in a game of truth or dare. It had lasted about two seconds before she squealed, “Eew, it’s squishy.” Yeah, that had done wonders for my self-esteem.
After the kidnapping, we didn’t talk about girls and sex anymore. Honestly, we didn’t talk about much at all. Jake had been so traumatized by the experience that anything more than a superficial conversation with him was a major victory. In those early years, pushing him beyond his comfort zone was never a good idea. Jake had triggers, and if one of us accidently stumbled onto one of them, he would blow up. We all learned to tread lightly, never knowing exactly what was acceptable to say or do.
Gradually, a revised version of the old Jake returned to us. It was as if he’d decided to accept his fate and move on. But that closeness we’d once shared, the one where we would lie on our beds at night and confess everything to each other… that had never returned.
“So what did you do last night after I left?” he asked.
It took a second for my response to register with Jake. When it did, he threw his head back and laughed. Damn, he was in a good mood.