It feels like my whole body is buzzing as I lead Luke to the only gay bar I know in Glasgow.
There’s a drag queen standing outside the pub who gasps when he sees me and puts his arms out. “You’re back!” he squeals. I sort of remember him from last time? Clearly he remembers me. I have to say it’s a pretty nice welcome anyway.
He squeezes me and calls me gorgeous. All the time Luke’s giving me this surprised smirk.
“Who’s your cute friend?” the drag queen asks, looking Luke up and down. He suddenly looks all nervous.
“This is Luke!” I say, my insides fluttering.
“Nope!” I reply for Luke, my chest expanding at the thought. Because Luke is gay. He’s actually gay!
The drag queen embraces Luke and kisses him on the cheek. As we go inside the bar I hear him exclaiming, “He’s GORGEOUS!” to someone. Luke looks at me wide eyed with this knowing smirk.
“How many times have you been here?”
“Once! Like, months ago!”
“Well you obviously made an impression!”
I pull a face and shrug. It’s kind of funny. Normally I’d have replied to something like that with a cocky remark, but I just don’t feel like being that guy at the moment. Maybe it’s because I’m slightly out of my comfort zone here. Not that I feel uncomfortable in gay pubs and clubs, but it’s never really felt like my world. Bodybuilding. Pumped up muscle freaks in shiny posers. That’s my world. This is more just a fun place to visit every now and then.
We head to the bar and Jesus, we’re getting so many looks. I don’t feel like they’re just looking at me though. There’s no denying that Luke’s a fucking catch. Whether he actually knows that or not I have no idea. He doesn’t seem to. He’s acting exactly the same as he acts everywhere else. His lovely, sweet, kinda shy but confident self.
We buy a round of drinks and the rather hot barman gives me this look. He definitely fucking fancies me. If I wasn’t with Luke, or if I was with Emily in Bristol, I might end up pulling him. Maybe even going back to his. And he’d probably be just as keen and eager as pretty much all of the guys I pull are. Texting me the next day. Wanting to see me again. And, as usual, I’d probably feel next to nothing towards him.
“You’re definitely causing a bit of a stir! AGAIN!” Luke tells me as we find a table to sit at. People around us are twisting their heads to look at the big bodybuilder guy and his smaller but cute mate. Even so more than in the straight pub we just went to. Which I guess kinda figures. No matter how many times it happens, getting attention because of my body and my muscles never stops becoming a rush. It’s almost like my drug of choice.
“No wonder you’re starved for attention back at campus!” Luke says, smirking.
“You know it’s not just me they’re looking at?”
He suddenly looks uncomfortable. And a little embarrassed. He looks down and but then his mouth curls into me this coy, little grin. Maybe Luke actually does know what a catch he is.
“So … I gotta ask. Did you know? About me?”
“I had a suspicion!” he says, with this big mischievous smirk.
“How? I mean … what was it?”
Luke shrugs. “Hmmm. Just ... certain traits, I guess!”
“Like what?” I ask, grinning.
“Hmmm. Well, for a start, you’re kinda mean spirited!”
I laugh. “What?! How am I … mean spirited?”
Luke folds his arms and pulls an animated face. “So what’s the deal? You being here. Did you win a competition or something?” he says, imitating what I said to him the first day we met.
I howl. “That is the worst impression of me I’ve ever seen!”
Luke giggles. That cute, goofy one he does when we’re watching that stupid cartoon he loves.
“Anyway that’s not mean spirited. That’s just … giving someone a witty put down!”
He raises one eyebrow. “If you say so!” he says with a teasing smirk. “No - I just … kinda had a sense I guess!”
He gives me a coy smirk and I feel an odd pinch of excitement.
“Plus … you know, you have a LOT of posing trunks!”
I let out a shocked laugh. I can’t believe he just said that. He’s just looking at me with this teasing smirk. “I … like posing trunks!” I say with a casual shrug. But he’s got me. And he knows it. Oh God. Has Luke seen the way I look at him when he’s only wearing his shiny posers? Noticed me checking out his arse even? Wait - does Luke suspect I like him? Fuck. No - surely I’m not that obvious?
“So … there must be other gay guys at Montgomery!” Luke says.
I know it’s ridiculous but something about that comment stings. I know there’s probably nothing behind it, but there’s a voice in my head that’s asking, “Why do you need to meet other gay guys? Am I not enough?”
“I’m honestly not sure if there is!” I reply. “I mean, gay bodybuilders aren’t really a common breed are they?” And now I’m thinking about Deano and Shaun’s comments. Their warning about flirting with gay dudes on Instagram. And the suggestion that it might hinder my career. And Mike Hancox’s instructions to remove my flirtatious comments. And his comment. “Creepy little gay dudes!” And the face he pulled when he said it. Ugh. That fucking face.
“Have you met any? Gay bodybuilders?” Luke asks, biting his lip.
“Ahem … is this a fourth question now? I’m not obliged to answer this one!” I tease. Luke grins at me. But he’s got this hopeful look on his face.
“I’ve only met one!” I confess. “That I knew for sure was gay!”
I can tell Luke’s curious and eager to know more. I feel a rush of excitement at the thought of telling him the story.
“Who was he?” he asks, his voice unable to mask his nerves, which makes me smile even more.
“James Newman. This little Welsh pocket rocket!” Fuck. I feel a pang of nerves that I’m telling Luke this. But I’m excited too.
“We competed at the NABBA Mr Britain together last summer. I was in the juniors obviously. He was a class 4 guy. Class 4 are the short, stacked guys like Deano!”
Luke gives me a little smile and nods. Like he already knows. Because of course he does. His dad competed in NABBA shows for a start.
“He added me to Instagram about a week before the show and sent me a few messages. Just saying he was competing too. He said to say hello if I saw him backstage. I didn’t really think anything of it. I just thought he was being friendly, you know?”
“And then, when I was backstage, this short wide bull of a bodybuilder in these super shiny golden posers comes up to me and says hello like I knew him. And then it clicked who he was! He looked so much bigger in the flesh. Proper fucking shredded too!”
Luke’s listening so intently. I can tell he’s really interested. And now I’m wondering whether Luke gets turned on by shredded muscle and bodybuilders the same way I do. I mean, he did choose Johnny Hoxton as his someone who was his type.
“Got a picture?”
I smirk and get my phone out of my pocket without saying anything. Luke’s mouth curls into an excited little grin. I load up Instagram and gets James Newman’s profile up and hand my phone to Luke.
His eyes comically bulge as he looks at the screen. “Wow!”
“He’s pretty awesome, isn't he?”
Luke smiles and nods and then his expression drops a little and I don’t know really know why. He hands my phone back and it’s like he’s bothered about something. Maybe he fears that he’ll never get that big or shredded? I feel a sharp tug in my chest seeing that expression on Luke’s face.
“That’ll be you one day! Only … taller obviously!” I say, smiling at him and taking my phone back. His face lights up almost immediately and he gives me this adorably coy grin. Jesus. This boy.
“So how did you know he was gay?”
I smirk. “Well, I didn’t at first. He asked me where I was staying. Which, hmmm, I thought was slightly odd. Anyway, turns out we were staying at the same hotel. He asked if I’d be up for filming a video for his Instagram.”
Fuck. Luke is so interested. He’s biting his lip. It’s like he’s hanging on every word. I’ve only ever told Emily this story before.
“That’s when the alarm bells started ringing. I was thinking, is this guy coming on to me? I couldn’t really tell for sure, but I was definitely picking up a vibe.”
Luke nods and I pause and just look at him before continuing. Almost like I’m teasing him. He looks kind of nervous. He looks at his glass of vodka and coke and picks it up. “So what happened?” he says, not making eye contact.
I smirk and when he looks up at me, he gives me a little smirk back before burying his face in his glass.
I shrug. “Went to his room and filmed a video of him posing in his trunks!”
“And then he said, by the way I’m a massive gay?”
I howl and Luke has the same cute expression he always has whenever he makes me laugh. Like he’s all proud of himself.
“Not … exactly!” I tell him, still grinning like mad from his joke. I take a deep breath and I feel a rush of excitement at what I’m about to divulge.
“When he was done posing he came over to me to look at the video I’d just filmed on his phone. And he was standing really close to me. Like, unusually close! And we watched the video together and he was commenting on it, saying things like, ‘God I look crazy. So jacked!’ and it was like the atmosphere kinda changed.”
It’s kind of funny. Because, as I’m telling this story, the atmosphere here is changing right now. There’s this sort of tension. Luke looks more interested than ever. And I’m also starting to swell in my jeans under the bloody table.
“Then he said something like, ‘I can hit some more poses for you if you like!’ And he was just giving me this look!” I tell Luke, who’s biting his lip. “So I said yeah!” Fuck, my heart starts beating faster. “And he’s still standing, like, right next to me. In nothing but his golden posers. And then … he curled his fist and just, like, flexed his bicep!” I say. Fuuuuck. What a rush to tell this to Luke. And now I’ve got a full on fucking hard on.
“He’s just standing there flexing his bicep for me. And it’s, like, huge and bulging!”
Luke’s blushing a little. And now I’m wondering whether he’s got a hard on too. Jesus. What a thought. “Then what?” he asks, looking nervous.
I smirk and shrug. “I said, “Hmmm. Pretty impressive bicep. Mine’s bigger though!”
Luke’s mouth curls into this big grin and he rolls his eyes playfully. “I can just imagine you saying that!”
I grin back at Luke. I could go on. I could tell him how insanely horny it was to wrap my fingers around James Newman’s flexed biceps. How my dick juddered as he flexed and squeezed and cheekily grunted in my ear. How he reached over and started to feel my own biceps, this look of awe and pleasure on his face. And how good it felt to flex for someone who was clearly turned on by my muscles. I could tell Luke about the rush I experienced as James squeezed my thick pecs, felt my shredded abs and slapped my bronzed quads. I could even tell him that the image of short, stacked, pocket rocket James bent over on all fours, tanned and shredded from the show as I fucked his huge muscled arse is still ingrained in my memory like it only happened yesterday.
“Did you see him again?” Luke asks.
“Nah! But we’ve messaged each a few times on Instagram. I would though! It was … pretty fucking hot!” I confess, my stomach clenching and my hard on juddering in my jeans as I confess that to Luke.
I can’t believe I’m talking to him like this. That I’m telling him stories about having sex with bodybuilders.
“So what about you? Ever bagged yourself a bodybuilder?”
Luke pulls a face. “NO!” he scoffs.
I laugh. “It’s not that unlikely of a scenario is it? I mean, it happened to me!”
Luke shakes his head. “I couldn’t pull a bodybuilder!”
“What?!” I cry, “why not?!”
He pulls a face at me like the answer is obvious. “Trust me, Woody, a gay bodybuilder would not be interested in me!”
Oh my God! A part of me wants to laugh out loud. Because a gay bodybuilder already is interested in him. A gay bodybuilder who’s been continuously thinking about how cute his arse looks in his shiny posers for weeks. And has had multiple thoughts about kissing him. Amongst other things. A gay bodybuilder who’s sitting opposite him right now.
I try and act casual so I shrug. “Don’t see why not!” I say, looking into my glass instead of at Luke before burying my face in it.
“I’m pretty sure a bodybuilder would only be interested in other bodybuilders!” Luke says, firmly. He seems so fucking convinced. Which means he obviously doesn’t suspect I like him after all. And that I’m clearly doing a very good bloody job of covering up my feelings for him.
“Well, that problem will be solved soon!” I tell him. “Mr Geek to Freak!” And then I smile at him and he grins back.
I need to get away from this topic and fast. I look around. The pub’s getting pretty busy. People are still glancing in our direction. “Shall we go mingle a bit?”
Luke’s expression drops a little. Like he doesn’t want to. I’m guessing maybe he’s not very comfortable with talking to strangers? “Sure!” he says, giving me a slightly forced smile.
We go to the bar and God, so many people are looking. I glance over at Luke and he’s giving me this knowing smirk. He’s standing really close to me. There’s a mirror behind the bar and I catch our reflection in it. I have to say, we look pretty fucking good together. The big, hunky bodybuilder and the smaller, cute geek. We lock eyes and he gives me this adorable little smile and my chest feels like it’s about to explode.
I notice a group of three pretty beefy looking lads as I wait for our drinks standing at a little distance from the bar. They’re the most muscular guys in here after me and they’ve clearly noticed me. They’re all pretty good looking too. I’m kind of interested in talking to them, but I don’t know how comfortable Luke would be with that. And I wouldn’t want to do anything to make him feel uncomfortable. I’m kind of surprised at just how much I don’t want that.
Once we’ve been served we make our way through the crowd of people waiting to be served with Luke in front of me when someone nudges my elbow. I turn around and it’s one of the three muscle guys. God he’s fit. Light brown skin, big pretty eyes, kinda boyish but handsome looks.
“What’s your name?” he asks me.
He gives me that look of surprise and amusement that I’ve received a dozen times before when I tell people that that’s my name and now I’m wondering why I didn’t just say Sebastian or Seb. But now he’s smiling at me and God, he really is gorgeous.
I look back at Luke and he’s just standing there watching us and oh my fucking God. His face. He looks like a puppy that’s just been given a hard kick. I can’t say for sure that it’s because he’s jealous but my head is fucking spinning at the thought that it is.
“I’m Adam!” the beautiful man says to me. I lean in, put my arm on his shoulder and give him a kiss on the cheek. I give him a kind smile before I turn and head towards Luke.
His face seems to light up when he sees me approaching. I fully expect him to make a comment about Adam. “Oooh, you’ve pulled!” or something similar. But he doesn’t say anything. And I can’t help thinking that maybe that means something?
“Worth the Uber fare and train journey?” I ask him. He rolls his eyes and then gives me a defeated nod.
Ten minutes later and some guys stop to talk to us as they walk past. “Oooh, hasn’t he got gorgeous eyes?” one says to me, referring to Luke.
My tummy flutters. Because yes, he really fucking has. Obviously I can’t say that though. I just smile at Luke and give him this teasing look at the fact he has a new admirer.
The guy walks off and I get my phone out of my pocket. “Right, selfie time!”
Luke groans. “Do we have to?”
“Yes! Come on!” I order.
I scoot closer to Luke and hold my phone out in front of us. I bring my face closer to his to get in the frame. His cheek is so close to mine and fuck, I feel like my whole body’s on fire. Luke’s got this happy smile on his face. I do a big, cheesy grin and take the picture. And then I feel a stab of disappointment as I back away from Luke.
I look at the picture. Fuck. We look so good together. Luke’s little face next to mine. Those piercing blue eyes. Adorable cheek dimples. He looks so happy.
I suddenly feel an arm around me. This older guy is looking at us with this warm, affectionate grin. “Very cute couple!” he says.
Fuck. I’m almost scared to look at Luke. “Oh, errr … we’re not together!” I say to the stranger. And I feel a pull in my stomach as I say it. The man looks confused. “Why the fuck not?!” he exclaims, before walking away with his friends.
Oh my God. I can not fucking believe he just said that. Things suddenly feel really awkward. Luke’s got this weird look on his face. Like he’s uncomfortable with what the guy said.
“Just need the toilet!” I announce. As I walk away, I’m thinking about the “cute couple” comment. And how much I would love that to be true. For us to be together. But does Luke want that too? And if he doesn’t now, could he? Would nice, sweet, geeky Luke ever fall for a cocky, sarcastic, smart mouthed twat like me?
When I reach the gents, I start to feel a bit weird. My hearts beating faster. My head’s started to spin. I go into one of the cubicles, sit down and cup my hands to my face. I know what’s happening to me. I’m totally freaking out about Luke again. Just like I did that day when we were sat on my bed and I suddenly wanted to kiss him. I'm freaking out about the fact that, for the first time ever, I actually really like someone. And it feels … fucking huge. And scary. And like I’m not in control of my feelings. And there’s this whole uncertainty over what’s gonna happen between us. If anything even could happen.
Jesus, Woody. Get it together. In a few weeks time you’ll probably be over this whole Luke thing. You’ll probably look back at this moment and laugh. Maybe I just need to go back out there and pull a hot guy? That Adam dude? And Luke will roll his eyes and smirk at me and while I’m kissing hot boy Adam I’ll realise how utterly absurd it was that I ever thought I had feelings for a guy who wears Harry Potter boxer shorts and fucking Batman t-shirts.
I pull myself together and head back out to the bar, expecting Luke to be stood there waiting for me. Except I’m walking back to something else. A sight which makes my stomach lurch. Luke is there alright, but he’s not alone. There’s another guy standing next to him. A pretty fucking hot guy, in fact, with his hand on Luke’s shoulder whispering into his ear. Fuck. I’m suddenly filled with an intense dislike for this guy. And I don’t even know who he is.
Luke’s eyes widen as I approach him. “We need to go!” I say, flatly. His face drops. He looks surprised. And totally confused. “Oh!” he says.
The guy looks at me and smiles and I now recognise him as one of Adam’s friends. I give him a fake smile back. I don’t give a shit if it comes across as rude. “Ready?” I ask a still confused looking Luke.
“Woody - are you okay?” he asks as he follows me out of the pub. This look of concern on his face.
“Mmmm!” I reply.
“Oh-kayy!” he says, clearly not convinced.
Now we’re outside and walking away from the pub, I’m starting to calm down a little. I’m starting to realise how utterly fucking ridiculous I’m being. And how much I just completely overreacted.
“Have I done something wrong?” he asks.
Fuck. I feel a sharp stab of guilt. “No!” I say, shrugging. “Just had enough! I can only take being in those places for so long!” Which is a complete fucking lie.
Luke nods. “That guy was asking me about you, by the way! He wanted to know … well, if you were single!”
So he wasn’t trying to pull Luke after all. It was me he liked. Jesus. I’m such a fucking twat.
I shrug. “I guessed as much!” I say, matter of factly.
We’re pretty silent for most of the train journey back to Little Hatton. Things aren’t necessarily awkward but it’s like there’s this unspoken thing between us. And a sense that the night has pretty much been killed. Which it was. By me acting like a complete dick.
The more I think about it, the more I’m surprised at how I acted back in the pub. Maybe it was the alcohol. I dunno. Just seeing Luke with that guy. The thought that someone else could have him instead of me. It just did something to me that I can’t explain.
Luke doesn’t question me again or ask if I’m okay. Maybe he doesn’t really care. Maybe he’s just thinking that, despite the way it ended, he still had a good night. Or maybe he’s thinking that he’s definitely not going to go out with me again if I’m just gonna go from being fine and happy and talking selfies to suddenly being rude and pissed off for no reason and demanding we leave the pub.
Our Uber’s waiting for us when we get to the Little Hatton train station. It’s a different driver than before. This one’s not as friendly. Or as happy. We both climb in the back. It’s late and I’m tired. I just want to get back to my bed. I hope things will be okay between me and Luke tomorrow. I hope they’ll be back to normal. I have a feeling I might need to give him a better explanation for my sudden change of mood though and for dragging him out of the bar. I have no idea what I’m going to say.
Half way through the journey I look over at Luke. He’s fallen asleep, his head cocked down, his little chin resting on his chest and his eyes closed. My insides start to melt. He looks so cute. I can't help smiling as I take him in. Luke in his skinny jeans and bright blue downs jacket. I can’t believe I fucked up the night. I wish I could rewind time and just go back to the moment where my face was close to his and I was taking a selfie of us with my phone.
I suddenly have this image of me lifting a still sleeping Luke out of the Uber and carrying him back to our dorm room. His sleepy head resting on my chest as I do. Then gently putting him into bed when we get to the room. Pulling his duvet over him, careful not to wake him. I have no idea whether that’s creepy, cute or just plain fucking weird.
Watching him sleeping, it hits me just how much I actually do like Luke. And it’s funny. Because, for the moment at least, I no longer feel scared or freaked out. The way I feel about Luke. It feels big. And special. Maybe even kind of beautiful.