Taylor Holmes's story is a romance cliché: a boy who was secretly in love with his best friend but didn't have the guts to confess how he truly felt. Until the day a genius transfer student enters his life, making a devious bet that turns everything upside down. Now nothing is as it seems, and Taylor will have to risk it all to win the boy of his dreams...
Age Rating: 18+
“So I just left. I couldn’t take one more second of her nagging,” I heard Matt saying before I drifted off again into daydreaming land.
I could barely pay attention to what he was saying anyway, since my thoughts were fully occupied by the glory that was his body, lying on the floor of my bedroom like an art sculpture on display
…his strong legs and muscled arms flexing from time to time, those abs that could make anyone salivate, the athletic broad shoulders and a chest so wide you could sprawl all over it and die of happiness while you were at it…
All the while, Matt continued yapping away, completely oblivious to my thirsty ogling.
But it wasn’t my fault that I wasn’t listening. His body was very distracting.
I know, I’m the worst friend ever. I should be more supportive. He was upset about some girl, but I couldn’t stop myself from daydreaming about his perfect, perfect body.
I shifted uncomfortably in my bed, put a pillow surreptitiously over my lap, and forced my eyes away from him.
I didn’t want Matt to notice how much he was affecting me. I was supposed to be listening to his problems, being supportive and all, definitely not fantasizing about my best friend’s body.
He asked something and I looked back at him, nodding in agreement. He seemed pleased with my answer and went right back to complaining about what’s-her-name.
I sighed quietly, half relieved that he didn’t catch me not paying attention, and half anguished because I was back at drooling over his body again.
I felt as if my blood was slowly boiling inside; it was pure torture!
The weather wasn’t helping one bit either. It had been so hot lately that Matt decided to put on the least possible clothing he could get away with.
The whole week he’d been prancing around town barely dressed like that. My eyes were delighted by so much skin at plain sight. So were my pants.
But couldn’t he be a little more benevolent to my poor gay heart?
I mean, those sports shorts of his were showing all kinds of knees and ankles! And the white tank top he’d been wearing was discarded and left in a corner as soon as he’d entered my room.
Yes. You’ve read that right. Right now, he had No. Shirt. On. He was half-naked on the floor of my bedroom, all sweaty and flustered, leaving very little to the imagination.
I was dipped in hell fire. I was going to die before summer was over, I swear to God.
So, you see my point here. It was very hot, and very hard, to pay attention to what he was saying. Couldn’t he at least cover ~something~ up?
Wear a damn jacket, man, a turtleneck, or a scarf? For the sake of my happy pants here!
Lucky for me, Matt didn’t seem to notice anything, he just lay on the floor, tossing and catching a football while he complained about what’s-her-face and I ravished his body with my eyes.
Matt asked something again and I agreed profusely, not even listening to the question. “What?” he turned his face to me, confused. “You think I should give her another chance, then?”
“Oh. I mean, noooooo,” I backpedaled.
He arched an eyebrow and peered suspiciously at me. “You’re not listening to a word I’m saying, are you?” he deadpanned.
I sank down on the bed. Damn. He knew me so well.
“Of course I’m listening, Matt!” I lied shamelessly. “I think you are very much right in everything you’ve said! Indeed you are, sir, totally, for sure.”
He stared at me in silence for a moment and then resumed talking and tossing the football into the air.
Where the hell did that ball come from anyway? I didn’t see him arriving with it, and I sure as hell never had a football in my house.
Or did I? Maybe it was an old piece of memorabilia left from the ghastly age when I tried to pretend to my parents that I was straight… I shivered at the memory. I did not miss those days.
Matt was talking about relationship stuff and I sighed quietly to myself, watching his arms bend up and down, up and down, the muscles moving under the sweaty skin, his strong, firm hands grabbing the ball…
I should probably start listening to what he’s blabbering on about so I can support him better…yeah, I can support him any time he wants, that’s for sure…
A vivid image of me supporting Matt in my bed flashed in my head.
Soon it was going to be literally too hard to hide my excitement. I glanced down at the pillow on my lap, wondering if things were beginning to look too obvious, when a football smacked me right in the face.
I yelped, startled, glancing at an annoyed-looking Matt fuming on the floor.
“Hey, quit spacing out on me while I’m talking here!” he grunted, upset.
“Ouch! That hurt! You’re mean.” I pouted, rubbing at the side of my face.
“Oh, come on, Tay! You’re not going to cry, are you?” he said, half amused, half worried, watching me tear up on the bed.
“I’m not crying, ~dumbass~! The ball hit my nose,” I snapped, irritated.
“Sure, sure,” he said with an incredulous smirk as he leaned back on his elbows. “What were you spacing out about anyway? You were making a weird face for over a minute there.”
“I-I—I was just thinking about, um, Harry Styles,” I lied, feeling my face heat up with all shades of red.
“Oh, geez, thanks so much for spacing out on a boy band dude when I’m pouring my guts out here!” he said with an indignant glare.
“Aw! Are you jealous? If you want, I can space out thinking about you next time!” I teased, winking at him.
“How about you don’t space at all and actually listen to what I’m saying?” he grumbled and looked quickly away so I wouldn’t notice the light blush on his cheeks.
Matt was cool about me being gay, but he always got a bit flustered when I openly flirted with him like that—which I almost never did.
I had a rule not to, since he was my best friend and most importantly, a very straight best friend.
Jessica, girl extraordinaire and my second best friend in line, was the only one who knew about my secret crush.
She had connected those sparkly dots and figured out on her own that I was secretly in love with Matt, but she swore to never tell a soul.
She had this delusional idea that Matt liked me back and that all I needed to do was confess that I was madly in love with him, so he could finally declare his undying love for me too.
I could never dare to even think about telling him, though. The idea alone was unbearable to me because the risk was too high.
I could lose him forever, and that terrified me more than anything in the world, even if the prize at the end was the possibility of winning the boy of my dreams.
This was also the reason why I had never been able to find the courage to tell Matt that I liked boys. I was getting very good at hiding things from him, but having all these secrets started to weigh on me, perhaps more than I cared to admit.
Then, one day, when I couldn’t bear lying to him any longer, it slipped and I ended up blurting out about how hot I thought a boy in my class was.
Jesse said it was an unconscious decision, a Freudian slip sort of thing, and that I probably wanted to tell him all along; I just didn’t know how. This was the best my subconscious could do at the time, I suppose.
Matt thought I was joking at first, but he saw the look on my face and realized it was true.
He was slightly shocked, but after the surprise wore off, he got very upset, and for a very different reason from what I’d imagined.
He couldn’t believe that I had kept this a secret from him, that I didn’t trust him enough to tell him.
Only after he made me promise that I wouldn’t keep secrets from him anymore did he forgive me. And that was the end of it. He was totally cool about me liking boys.
There was no mad love declaration though. Jesse had been way off about that part.
Well, I had only confessed to being gay. To be fair to her prediction skills, the part where I had been crushing on him was never truly revealed.
Life went on. Matt and I resumed our friendship as if nothing had happened, except for the fact that I didn’t have to pretend that I liked girls anymore.
I came out to everyone at school soon after that. Of course, it wasn’t just unicorns and rainbows for me. There were name callings and threats, but nobody really acted on it, because they feared Matt’s retaliation.
Thank God for my best friend, the most popular guy in school, bless his beautiful popular soul.
All in all, it was a fairly safe walk-out-of-the-closet for me. Soon afterward, I began dating Kyle, my first boyfriend.
Kyle was a real cutie and the kindest person I’d ever known. But I still nurtured my secret crush on Matt deep inside during the entire time Kyle and I were dating.
It was hard to disguise that my heart belonged to someone else until we both couldn’t keep up pretending anymore.
When Kyle broke up with me, Matt was there, helping me pick up the pieces. When Matt was breaking up with one of his girls, I was there for him too. That’s what best friends do, right? Be there for each other.
It became a sort of tradition of ours. Every time one of us broke up, we would spend the entire weekend together, eating junk food, playing video games, and talking trash about our exes.
And now it seemed it was about time for another breakup weekend bonanza.
“I’ve been talking here for ages and you aren’t listening to a word I’m saying. What a friend you are,” Matt accused overdramatically.
“All right, all right. Sorry, Matt. Go ahead. You were saying you’re breaking up with her then, is that it?” I hazarded a guess since I really hadn’t been listening to him.
But I knew the drill well enough. When Matt showed up trash-talking a girl for more than an hour, it meant he wanted to end things.
He had been going at it for a couple of hours now. It wasn’t rocket science; you do the math.
“Maybe. As I was saying,” he paused and glared at me accusingly before he continued, “I’m just sick of her. She’s too high maintenance and clingy. It’s not really worth the hassle anymore.”
“Tell me about it,” I said with a loud snort, because I knew damn well how Matt’s girls could be. He had a nose for picking them, I tell ya.
“I know, right?” he huffed out. “So I think I should break up with her. Yeah, I’ll break up with her. It’s settled.”
“Hey, if that’s what you think you gotta do, ” I said, trying to hide the happiness bursting out of me. “I’m sorry things didn’t work out, Matt.”
“Try to say that without the gigantic grin on your face there, would you?” he asked with a smirk.
Crap. I guess I was really ~the worst~ at hiding things from him.
“I’m truly, really, sorry, Matt,” I tried again.
“Nope, still have the grin there.”
“I’m sooooorry, Matty!!” I wailed dramatically, as I tried to channel all the gods of theater to come and help me convincingly fake my sorrows.
He laughed and wrinkles showed at the corner of his beautiful baby blue eyes. I loved hearing his laugh. It made my heart go warm and my tummy flip inside with butterflies.
“Well, I’ll call her now, tell her we need to talk,” he stated, standing up with the cellphone in his hand. “I’m going to talk in the living room, be right back.”
“Hey, you know what this means, right?” I asked before he walked out of the room.
He grinned like there was no tomorrow.
“Weekend breakup hangout!” he replied, giving me a thumbs up.
“That’s right!” I tossed him the football and he picked it up with only one hand. Show-off.
He smiled and gave me a quick wink before walking out of the room. Then he shouted from the hallway.
“You know, this is actually the first time we’re both single at the same time?”
Huh. I guess he’s right.
But what really mattered was that I had a whole weekend with Matt all to myself.
Two whole days with him!
Pity I was stuck in the best friend zone.