Facebook was kind enough to alert me of Jack’s updated relationship status one Sunday morning: In a Relationship with Rob Finnegan. Through my occasional cyber stalkings, I had noticed the two of them hanging out, suspecting it was a more-than-friends thing, and now I had proof. Rob was handsome, though it looked like he should have had braces but never did, or that he shopped exclusively from J. Crew Factory. Generic, if you ask me. But otherwise he seemed fine. Well, actually, he looked a lot like me, with worse teeth and a lessened sense of individualism. I “liked” the status update just so Jack knew I knew. So he would think “Oh, the person who recently rejected me is noticing my consolation prize.”
Just two minutes after my acknowledgment, Jack messaged me: “Ha, I figured you would see that I changed my relationship status. Hope you’re well, and that you’re sharing your company with some sweet and very lucky man.” I contemplated, then replied: “All is well, thanks. Yeah, seeing a great guy. Works in music too. Rob looks cute. How’d you meet?” “OK Cupid,” he typed. “I really wanted a boyfriend after we ended things. Was sad it didn’t work with us, but Rob is really awesome. So funny, and smart. He does cancer research.” I didn’t actually care to know this much about Rob—though he sounded like a catch—, but mostly felt an odd satisfaction about Jack disclosing it all to me. The messaging app told me he was typing something, and I watched the notification come and go, as if he was drafting it but then deleting it, over and over. Then finally: “Maybe I’ll get to see you around, Eric. I’ve changed, I hope you know that.”
I went out with Omar and his friends, making a conscious effort to intertwine our lives and perhaps finally pin him down. It seemed like the best way to “work on the relationship” seeing as we had both expressed interest in growing it. This was the first time I was meeting his closest buddies Nathan and Raj—his idea to do so—and they were very inclusive all evening. Their trio was getting a little tipsy, and I asked Omar to slow down since I knew it would save me the pain of watching after him. Three beers later, he sprawled backwards across my lap in our cab home. He started mumbling something as he fell asleep: “Isn’t Eric nice? He’s nice.” It was cute. I chuckled: “Yeah, Eric’s a nice guy. Do you want to be his boyfriend?” He smirked: “Maybe. He’s nice. And I like having sex with him. But I like having sex with you more.” My ears perked. “Who, me?” “Yes you, Nathan. Silly. Like before dinner tonight. Silly Nathan.”
“How many chances do I give him?” I practically yelled at Peter over breakfast. “He’s clearly sleeping around. And so am I, but half the reason I’m still doing it is because I know he’s doing it, and I’m not about to cuckold myself like I did with Jack.” “Well, maybe it’s time to give him an ultimatum?” Peter said. Omar was away for work, and Peter proposed bringing it up upon his return. “For your peace of mind, if nothing else,” he added. “Honestly, it sounds like you’d be fine without him. Which is a good sign, I think. You were crazy about him, but you gave it time and energy and kept dating other guys and you’re slowly arriving at the conclusion that he may not be ready. No need to chase him then, right? I don’t think he’s going to change for you.” Maybe he wouldn’t, but I knew someone who would. Someone who had, in fact.
Jack opened his door slowly, the same adorable way he always had when we dated. There was the familiar, slow creaking noise, and he peeked his face through the opening, raising one eyebrow as if to say “I’ve been expecting you, my concubine.” He seemed different, though, once I was inside. Nervous, even. “I never thought you’d come back here,” he said. “Me either, Jack.” We talked for a few minutes, about work, about family, and about his boyfriend Rob. After the topic had simmered, I pinned him on the bed, looked him in the eyes, and asked him if Rob was a top or a bottom. Jack stared back, panicked and thrilled. “He’s a bottom,” Jack said. “Then I hope he won’t mind what I’m about to do,” I replied.
“Cheating on someone who has committed himself to you,” I said to Jack as we dressed. “You haven’t changed at all. You were never loyal to me either, although, to be fair, you never promised to be.” Jack sat on the bed quietly. I could tell he was very upset with himself once the coital high was gone. “Why would you say that? You’re the one who contacted me. This meant a lot to me, and now suddenly it feels like it was for nothing but to risk my relationship. Maybe I haven’t changed, Eric. But you’ve changed a lot. Only not in a good way.”