“You don’t get it. My Abuela will grab me by the testiculos and threaten to deport me to the Lord’s Hell if I bring home a man.” Alex prepared his Abuela impression with a hand on his hip and his head cocked to the left. “Alejandro, ¿por qué no puedes ser como tu hermano Mateo y su esposa María? Vas a hacer bebés bonitos. Soy un viejo.” I got up from the leather bar stool and placed my hands on his shoulders. I looked down to stare directly into his hazel eyes.
“I’m here, and I accept you. You’re gonna get this date tonight. I’m on it.” His eyes rolled, but his shoulders lowered and his panting leveled to a slow, methodical breath. Alex deserves this date, and I’m going to be the one making sure he gets it.
“Yeah yeah I get that, and I appreciate it, I really do. But what am I supposed to do? Have a guy come back to the dorm and have our suitemates hear two gays kids getting it on?”
“One, please never say ‘getting it on’ ever again, and two, people our age would get it and it’ll be like normal to hear two guys in our room, because we’re two…guys.” I shrug my shoulders and turn to take a sip of my Coke. Alex doesn’t drink, but just in case, I’m the designated driver tonight.
“I know. I know, but I just can’t. I’m too awkward and bars aren’t my scene.” I gulp my last sip of Coke instead and turn to face my roommate.
“And you think they’re mine? I’m here for you. One, to drive you, but to also just be your wingman. The least you can do is appreciate my thoughtfulness, Alex.”
“You don’t have to care so much about my relationships with your track record.” Alex turned his neck to look over at the two men making out near the back corner of Cam’s, our local gay bar in the city.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” He looks back to me.
“I mean that all of your relationships are shit because you don’t want to tell anyone from back home that you changed your major, so instead, you blocked everyone out. That’s not something I want guiding me.”
“That’s different and you know that.”
“I know. I’m sorry. I’m just nervous, and I’m being an ass to you for no reason.”
“I get that. Look, I’ll make a deal with you.” I started to get out my wallet. We always bet money. If one of us doesn’t follow through with the bet, we get the money. We’ve done this since high school. Alex looked hesitant from the getgo of accepting my offer.
“No. No. I’m not taking a shot everytime I say ‘um’ again. I have homework to do tomorrow. I can’t be trashed in the morning.”
“We should totally do that tomorrow, but let me get back to my deal. If you get a date, or even a number at this point, I will tell my family that I’m not Pre-Law anymore.”
“I know you’re lying. You won’t do that.” I looked in my wallet from his comment and saw $40. I grabbed it and handed it to Alex.
“Well, if I don’t follow through, you get my $40. But, if you leave here without anything, you owe me $40. It’s a win-win for you. A date or $40.”
“Seriously?” His eyebrows furrowed.
“Seriously.” I think I sound convincing, but he stayed and glared at me. He stuck out his hand and presented me with his pinky finger.
“Pinky promise?” I roll my eyes and put my pinky out and interlock it with his.
“Yes! Now please go any work your cute ass gay magic and get a man for God’s sake.”
Alex shakes his head but turns and heads to the bar’s dance floor. The DJ is playing some remix of the new Cardi B song. I start to hum along as I sit back on my stool and face the bartender who seemed to be waiting for me.
“Are you really going to follow through on your little bet?” I chuckled. The bartender, who’s name tag said Santi, topped off my Coke as he waited for an answer. He had long dark hair that was tied together on the top of his head in a messy bun. He had a beard, clean shaven, but it definitely went with his tattoo sleeves.
“I mean, I should. That’s $40 I’m losing.”
“What’s your deal with him?” I’m not sure what Santi meant, but I assumed. He grabbed a rag and began to dry some beer glasses that came from the back.
“I’m not gay.”
“I didn’t even ask that.” He finished one beer glass and put it in the chiller.
“I’m sorry. I just get that a lot when I come here with Alex.”
We also got that everyday in high school. I even asked out the captain of the cheer squad, Penelope Amzak, just so someone would know that I at least liked girls. She rejected me.
“There’s a lot of herero boys who come here to experiment”
“I’m not.” Santi began to cut me off.
“I know. I’m just messin’ with you. I meant what your relationship is. How do you know each other?”
“We’re roommates, but we practically grew up together. He’s like my best friend and probably one of my only friends.” I turn to find Alex in the crowd. He was dancing with a few women but was also close enough to other men to keep my hopes up.
“I like that, man. That’s really cool. My best friend used to come to these places with me too, but then we started dating so.” Santi chuckled and put another glass in the chiller.
“Yeah, I don’t think I’ll have a boyfriend anytime soon.” Especially Alex. In high school, a lot of people assumed that we were doing it in the boys’ locker room before PE.
“Oh, my best friend was, well I guess is still, a woman.”
The song changes. Still fast, but the remix is still slower than the Cardi B song. I look for Alex. He is sitting at a high top off of the side of the dance floor. He is with another man.
“Looks like he’s doing fine.” Santi’s voice had me turned back to face him.
“Yeah, he’s a good guy. He really is.”
“Enough about him. Why are you so scared to tell your family anything?” Santi grabbed another rag after his original one got too wet.
“My family is just a bunch of doctors. My mom, dad, brother, sister. Even my younger sister is taking AP Bio in school. She’s only a sophomore. She’s on that track too.”
“If they enjoy that, cool, but you should do what you like. No matter what that is.” A hand hits my back. I turn, it’s Alex. He has a piece of paper in his hand.
“I got it. A number and a date.” His face is red from being nervous, but his smile is too big to ignore.
“Seriously?” I wouldn’t say I’m shocked, but I am a tad shocked it didn’t take long. Santi pours another Coke for Alex and gived him an affirming smirk. Alex sat next to me awaiting my end of the bet.
“Maybe I’ll tell my parents that I’ll go to Law School after getting a degree in English.” We clank out Cokes together.
“That’s a step, for sure. Will you actually do it?”
“Well, I want my $40 back.” We both laugh.
The money wasn’t even the most important part. I lied my whole time in high school about not wanting to be a doctor. I had to fight to even be a lawyer. Calling myself a writer feels most fitting. My family will not like this, especially not at first, but Alex and this bar and Santi and this night makes this unknown okay.