The daily serial fictional based on Chicago's Boystown neighborhood: Boystown series by Danny Bernardo

Follow us    Twitter Twitter

14. Then Never

Charlie rushed into the crowded Wakemono and found Tim at the sushi bar. "I am so sorry I'm late," Charlie said. "It's all good," said Tim, putting his phone down, looking even cuter in the restaurant than he did when he kissed Charlie on the street in front of Roscoe's on his first night out.

14. Then Never
Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Digg Gmail Addthis Printer Friendly
Charlie rushed into the crowded Wakemono and found Tim at the sushi bar.

"I am so sorry I'm late," Charlie said.

"It's all good," said Tim, putting his phone down, looking even cuter in the restaurant than he did when he kissed Charlie on the street in front of Roscoe's on his first night out. "Sorry it was full, so it had to be the sushi bar."

"No that's ok. It works." Charlie sat down and ordered a Sapporo when the waitress came by.

"So how's the strike going?" asked Tim.

"Strike?" asked Charlie, picking at the edamame

"You're a teacher right? I mean, that's what you texted. For CPS?"

"Right. Well, um, I've been sort of out of commission, so... "

"Oh right. Coma."

"Yeah. Not too glamourous, eh?"

"What can you do?" Tim laughed.

They talked about their work over edamame and a couple rounds of Sapporo. Tim's talk of a semester in Beijing and the westernization of Asian gave Charlie pause. He let the third round of Saporro put him at ease but the summation of Tim's doctorate in Asian Studies made Charlie worry even more. At another part of the restaurant, Charlie heard the distinct cicada sound of Grindr. He turned and saw a cute Asian American guy sitting by himself, doodling on a napkin, and checking his phone. He smiled, having done it himself when at a restaurant by himself. He turned back to Tim, who he caught gazing at the doodler.

"Fucking Grindr, huh?" Charlie laughed, hoping that this would detract the path of discussion from anything Asian.

"Yeah," Tim laughed sheepishly. Charlie heard it again but realized it was much closer this time. This time, it was coming from Tim's pocket. Tim tried to play it off but he couldn't suppress the sheepishness in his smile.

"Omigod," said Charlie. "Are you seriously Grinding that other Asian guy while you're on a date with me?"

"You were late. I was killing time." Tim shrugged.

"Or coming up with Plan B!"


Charlie found Eddy at The Pitstop chatting some cute brunette up over cosmos.

"Don't you have another life in another city to get back to?" he asked with brotherly snark.

"I've got some meetings for prospective business here," Eddy replied, brushing her cheek against the cute brunette. "Which means I can have some fun while I'm here, right cutie?" The brunette giggled. Charlie rolled his eyes.

"How do you do that? How is it so easy for you?"

Eddy finished her drink and glared at Charlie. "Hey cutie, do you mind getting us a refill?" she asked the brunette sweetly, never taking her glare off of Charlie.

"Sure," said cute brunette and went up to the bar.

"Alright, what happened?"

"Nothing. He was just Grinding another Asian guy right in front of me."


"He turned out to be a total rice queen."

"Is that so bad?"

"How do you like being fetishized?"

"As long as it gets me laid, right?"

"And seriously... how do you do THAT? At what point in our adult lives did we pull this bizarro freaky Friday? I'm the gay guy and you're the lesbian. How can you just sleep with whomever and not even like care about it?"

"Really? You care about every trick? Every single one of them?"

Charlie sipped at the remnants of cute brunette's drink and sat down. "In my own way."

"Oh yeah, how about that one?" she said, motioning subtly to Hunter working bar. "Cuz he sure cares a fuck load about you. You're just too neurotic and self-absorbed to see it."

"Yeah, I guess, but it's complicated... "

"It's not that fuckin' complicated. Here's a guy who was with you almost every moment when you were in the hospital. He cares about you. So stop obsessing over exes that don't deserve your time and these random guys with boyfriends. Charlie, take a fuckin' chance. Try liking someone who actually likes you back."

Charlie hated it when Eddy was right. Maybe he was just drunk enough. Maybe this is what his bizarre near death experience meant, with that ethereal napkin doodle of a phoenix almost matching Hunter's tattoo. Maybe the universe was pointing him there. He took a breath, got up, and hoped that he'd grow a pair between the table and the bar. Cute brunette was on her way back with drinks as Charlie sidled up to the bar. Face to face with Hunter.


"Hey Charlie, good to see you up. Can you do a shot or is that against doctor's orders?"

"Sure." Charlie watched as Hunter poured, allowing himself for the first time to see everything good about him. Hunter's kind eyes, his adorable smile. How annoyed he could be at Charlie or Tyler one minute and going to bat, kicking ass in their name in the next. Maybe the go-go boy thing scared him off at first but standing before him was a man who'd been there for him when no one else was, who just happened to be devastatingly handsome and kind. What the fuck was Charlie's problem?

"To your speedy recovery," Hunter said, putting down shots for the both of them. They both pounded them and Hunter poured them a beer chaser.

"Hey, um, Hunter. Can we talk?"

"Sure dude. It's not like I'm going anywhere."

Charlie took a breath. "Listen, I've been thinking about... " Out of nowhere, Scott ran up to the bar, knocking Charlie aside.

"Hey handsome," said Scott.

"Hey man," said Hunter.

"Still up for hanging out after your shift?"

"For sure!"

"Cool, I'll be back around two then." And he was gone. Hunter was grinning like a damn schoolboy, there was no hiding it. Hunter realized that the beer was spilling and stopped the tap.

"Shit," he said, licking beer off his fingers. Having snapped out of it, he turned to Charlie. "Sorry, what were you saying?"


So what do think? Be the first to comment!

As a part of our commitment to upholding a high standard of transparency, we wanted to let you know that uses cookies to improve your user experience. We've updated our cookie policy to reflect changes in website tracking laws. By continuing, you agree to our terms and provide your consent to our use of cookies.