I’ve been working on this story for a while, but I suddenly realized that it was perfect to post for Halloween, so I pushed myself to get it finished. I didn’t quite make it, but two days past isn’t bad.

This is a story of budding romance between two men. There aren’t any sex scenes, but there is some kissing, and some cussing. Hope you enjoy!


Cameron

Cameron had the perfect plan. After three years of planning, it should be perfect. No need to talk, check. He couldn’t screw this one up by choking on his own tongue. Unfortunately, that had actually happened on several previous attempts. Simple logistics, check. Nothing that could melt, burn, or otherwise required precise timing, which he had also learned from previous attempts. Easy escape if it failed, check. He was fairly sure he could pull off the “Oh, that was you? I totally thought you were someone else” excuse. Even if it wasn’t entirely believable, Enrique would probably let him get away with it. It would be awkward of course, but he doubted that kind of awkward would be any worse than the awkward he was currently suffering.

Cameron had officially realized that he was mad for Enrique during their first meeting when he was fourteen. Enrique was three years older, with an Argentinian accent, smooth golden-brown skin and almond-shaped but shockingly blue eyes. Cameron was still convinced he had never seen anyone more beautiful in his life. Enrique might have thought something nice about Cameron if Cameron had ever been able to act like anything other than an incoherent pile of adoring goo in his presence. It wasn’t as though Enrique had no idea who he was. Enrique was Cameron’s brother John’s best friend. Which was the reason Cameron had this golden opportunity to finally win Enrique over.

John and Enrique had moved on from being college roommates to renting a house together now that they had graduated, and they were throwing a Halloween party that was part masquerade ball. Everyone was required to wear a mask, so pretending he had confused Enrique with someone else would be plausible. He would find out what costume Enrique was wearing from John, then find Enrique, kiss him like his life depended on it (it was starting to feel like it might) and if Enrique kissed him back, he would know his plan had worked. Probably.

Okay, so it still wasn’t guaranteed to succeed, but it was the best plan he had ever come up with, and he had been officially trying to seduce Enrique for three years. And that was after more than two years of ogling him without actually doing anything about it. It was slowly driving him insane.

He had decided on an angel costume. He had bought the wings, but the mask he’d made himself. It was all filigree swirls of white and gold, reaching halfway down his face and up above his forehead, where a gold circle in the mask represented a halo.

Cameron was only half ready when he heard his roommate cursing on the other side of the bathroom door.

“Everything okay out there, Mike?” he called through the door. There was a thump and another curse before Mike answered.

“Yeah, my girlfriend is making me go to some party. Trying to come up with a costume at the last minute sucks.”

“Do you need my help?” Cameron offered. Mike had often asked him for fashion advice in the past, especially when he was going out with his girlfriend. Never anything as complicated as a Halloween costume, but Cameron didn’t mind helping out his roomie. Mike was a good guy, and had been really supportive from the day they met when they had moved into the dorm together at the start of their freshman year. This year they had moved into a tiny apartment off campus, mostly so Cameron could have a kitchen. Well, more of a kitchenette, really, but better for cooking than a dorm room.

“No, don’t worry about it. I know you’re trying to impress your man. I’ll figure something out. My girlfriend didn’t tell me ahead of time, she can just wait for me to get ready.” Cameron laughed at Mike’s grumbling.

“Okay, let me know if you change your mind.” He went back to working on his makeup. He styled his usually messy blond hair into neat waves, and surrounded his greeny-hazel eyes with various shades of brown, bronze and gold, making them seem to almost glow. The mask went perfectly with his outfit, and by the time he was ready, Cameron’s confidence had risen several notches. He looked good, and he was ready to make an impression.

Mike had already left by the time Cameron came out of the bathroom. He glanced at the clock and groaned. The party had started half an hour ago, and he needed to get moving. He didn’t have a car, so he had planned to walk. Fortunately, it wasn’t raining, but Cameron grabbed a rain jacket anyway. He’d probably be walking back.

The party was already getting loud when he arrived, and he spent some time ogling the various costumes as he wandered in search of his brother. Some of the costumes were pretty cheesy, but some were really detailed, either pretty, like his, or gruesome. His brother was wearing a giant teddy bear head and jeans, but no shirt. Cameron didn’t really understand what that was supposed to be, but decided not to ask. Instead, he casually asked after Enrique, and was told he was around somewhere, dressed as a ninja. Cameron managed not to go charging off to look for him, but it was difficult. Nervous as he was, he was also anxious to get it over with so that he would know, one way or the other. And now that he was here, he kept imagining that he was going to mess the whole thing up somehow.

He kept wandering and casually looking, and eventually spotted a ninja costume. Surprisingly it looked homemade. The ninja was wearing black jeans and a long-sleeved black shirt, but the black scarf wrapped around his head was done well. That scarf gave Cameron pause though. How was he supposed to go in for a kiss when Enrique’s mouth was covered? He couldn’t help noticing that Enrique looked particularly good in the outfit. He hadn’t realized that Enrique was so muscular, but perhaps he’d been working out more in the last year. The tight black clothes really showed him off to perfection. Just then, Enrique pulled the bottom fold of the scarf down off his mouth so that he could take a sip of the drink he held. Perfect. Before Cameron could talk himself out of it, he walked up to Enrique and leaned in to press his mouth to Enrique’s.

Enrique’s lips were soft and full. Cameron felt little tingles race across his skin all over. Enrique was frozen in surprise at first, but just as Cameron was about to pull away the lips parted gently and Enrique’s head tipped to the side ever so slightly, and Cameron sank back into the kiss. When Enrique’s tongue slipped into his mouth, Cameron whimpered a little, and suckled on it. Enrique tasted amazing. Cameron had never imagined that the kiss would be this good.

Then something bumped into their shoulders, breaking the kiss. Cameron almost fell over, feeling as though Enrique’s lips had been one of his legs that had been knocked out from under him. Enrique gripped his shoulder to steady him, and Cameron suddenly remembered that they were at a party, and there was actually a plan that he was following. For a moment, he had forgotten everything other than Enrique’s lips. The music was loud, so he saw more than heard Enrique’s whispered “wow.” Cameron grinned at him.

“Best. Kiss. Ever.” He replied, feeling giddy. It was perfect. This close, he could see the black makeup around Enrique’s eyes, eyes which looked different with black makeup and the low lighting, and half his face being covered.

Suddenly Enrique looked past him and frowned.

“Later,” he said, barely making himself heard over the music. “We’ll talk.” Cameron just nodded happily as Enrique gently pushed past him and disappeared into the crowd. He wandered dreamily among the dancing party guests. He could probably go home now, since he had accomplished his mission, but he wasn’t ready to leave yet.

It took several hours for his happy glow to wear off enough for him to leave, but he and Enrique didn’t cross paths again. Of course, there were a lot of people at the party, so Cameron wasn’t worried about it exactly. It would have been nice, especially if there was more kissing, but Enrique had said they would talk, and Cameron held onto that promise, feeling his lips curl into a smile every time he thought of it.

When he finally got home, he was surprised to see Mike sitting on the couch. His hair was damp and he was wearing sweats and a T-shirt, no sign of whatever he’d worn for his Halloween costume. For some reason, he looked a little stressed, but he smiled at Cameron.

“Hey,” Mike said, and Cameron couldn’t resist sharing.

“I did it! Oh my god, Mike, it was amazing!” Cameron gushed. Mike smiled at him.

“Yeah?” Cameron flopped next to him on the couch and tipped his head back to grin at the ceiling.

“I can’t believe I actually kissed Enrique. After all these years, I really did it. And it was…” he drew a deep breath as he sank into the memory of their tongues sliding against each other. “…perfect. Seriously, I think it was the best kiss ever, as in, I didn’t know kissing could be that good.”

“Oh.” Mike sounded kind of flat, which was odd, because he’d been very supportive while Cameron was making his plans. He’d taken to discussing his plans for Enrique with Mike over the two years that they’d lived in the dorms together, and continued when they moved into their tiny off campus apartment this year. Mike had occasionally shot down some of his crazier plans, but he’s always been encouraging.

Cameron turned to look at Mike, and saw him staring at the floor. For the first time he wondered how Mike’s evening had gone.

“Are you okay?” Cameron asked, concerned.

“Angela and I broke up.” Mike said. His voice sounded odd, and Cameron suddenly felt like a really shitty friend for gloating about his success with Enrique when Mike’s relationship had just ended.

“Oh, shit. Are you…um…is there anything I can do to help? Or make you feel better?” Mike shook his head.

“I’m going to bed. I just… I wanted to talk to you first.” Mike heaved himself off the couch and started to walk toward his bedroom, but stopped after a couple of steps. “Congratulations, by the way. I hope you’re really happy with Enrique.”

“I hope so too.” Cameron replied as Mike started toward his room again. “I’m not sure he realized it was me. I mean, I think he recognized me, but he didn’t call me by name or anything. It was kind of hard to read his expression, because he was dressed as a ninja and his face was covered.”

Mike stopped with his door only half open.

“A ninja?” Mike asked sounding surprised.

“Yeah. I thought it was an odd choice too, but it looked good on him. I never realized before how much muscle he has.” Cameron sighed and stood up too.

“Well, I’ll let you get to bed. Goodnight Mike. Sorry you didn’t have a better time tonight. Let me know if you need to talk. Or kill computer-generated monsters.” Cameron rarely played on Mikes Xbox with him and generally sucked at it, but he thought it might cheer Mike up. “Anything you need, I’m here, okay?”

“Yeah, okay,” Mike said. “Thanks Cameron.”

Mike

Mike had had a really shitty Halloween. It started with his girlfriend changing their plans at the last minute and dragging him to a party. He’d managed to pull together a costume despite the short notice, but he’d been pretty annoyed about having to in the first place. He and Angela had been arguing a lot lately, and this definitely didn’t make him feel any friendlier. He hadn’t realized until they arrived that the party was at Cameron’s brother’s house, but the joke was on Angela in the end. She had assumed that because the guy who invited her was older that there would be alcohol, but John and Enrique had known they were inviting minors, and had elected not to serve any, just in case. Mike didn’t particularly care, since he didn’t really like drinking anyway, but Angela had practically had a fit, and Mike had only just resisted pointing out that if she had actually talked to him about her plans, he could have told her the party would be alcohol free. It would only have started another fight he didn’t want to have, especially not in a crowd.

Just when he was starting to get into a more celebratory mood and was starting to forget Angela’s attitude, he rounded a corner and saw her locking lips with the guy who’d invited her to the party. The two of them were practically wrapped around each other, wriggling like eels. As he watched, numbly, he wondered vaguely why he didn’t feel more hurt. Maybe that would come later, but aside from numb, he only felt irritated that she had put him through so much grief in the last few weeks. She could have just dumped him and saved them both the trouble.

He tapped her on the shoulder, and she tried to wave his hand away, as if he was just a minor annoyance. That pissed him off, but he persisted until she looked up. When she saw him, her eyes widened and she started to push herself away from the guy whose tonsils she’d been trying to taste.

“Don’t bother,” Mike said curtly. “I just wanted to let you know that we’re done, and I’ll find my own way home. You can pick up any of your shit you want from my place on Monday.”

“Mike—” she protested weakly, but he ignored her and walked away while she was still trying to untangle herself from Mr. Eel.

He found the bowl of punch and got himself a cup. He was tired and wanted to go home, but he knew Cameron would be around somewhere, and he wanted to check on him. Mike highly doubted Cameron would follow through with his plans to kiss Enrique. He’d heard about enough of Cameron’s failed attempts to be convinced that it was never going to happen, but he wanted to be supportive. Cameron was a good friend, and even though Mike thought his crush was bordering on ridiculous after so many years and failed attempts to get Enrique’s attention, he liked the way Cameron practically glowed when he talked about Enrique. He wanted Cameron to know he had his back when the latest attempt crashed and burned like the others. Maybe they could commiserate about their relationship failures together. He pulled the cloth of his mask away from his mouth to drink his punch, and had barely taken his first sip when he was being kissed. At first he stiffened, thinking Angela was trying to placate him, but in an instant he realized it wasn’t Angela, because the lips felt different. And then he didn’t really care because it actually felt really good, and he wasn’t with Angela anymore, so he could kiss someone else if he wanted. He was just getting really into it, despite the fact that they weren’t even touching anywhere but their mouths, when someone bumped into his shoulder, jarring him back to reality. When he pulled back, he realized for the first time that it was Cameron who had been kissing him. It didn’t make any sense, but he’d had too weird of a day for it to freak him out much. He was about to ask Cameron what happened to his plan to kiss Enrique, when a movement different from the dancing caught his eye, and he looked up to see Angela pushing determinedly toward him through the crowd. This was not the time to have a chat with Cameron about his sudden change of heart, so he told him they would talk later and went to head Angela off. Cameron didn’t need to be in the middle of her drama.

Angela, though, appeared perfectly happy to be in the middle of some drama. She apologized and pleaded and blamed and tried to bargain, but Mike wasn’t interested in hearing it. He’d known she wasn’t the love of his life or anything, but he’d thought they had something good, at least in the beginning, and he had damn sure thought that they were exclusive. Angela hadn’t even bothered to hide in one of the bedrooms or a closet before making out with Mr. Eel, so she couldn’t have been overly worried about being caught, and Mike was fast losing all respect for her. He couldn’t remember why he’d started dating her in the first place.

By the time he escaped her, he didn’t even have the energy to go looking for Cameron. He knew he’d see him at their apartment, so he just went home, showered, put on some sweat pants and a shirt, and settled on the couch to wait.

Twenty minutes later, he was definitely freaking out a little bit. He’d never kissed a man before, and while he’d known for a while he wasn’t one hundred percent straight, he’d always found women more attractive than men. The kiss with Cameron had been practically magical, but as he thought about it, he couldn’t remember ever having had sexual thoughts about Cameron before. Partly because he’d been dating women almost the whole time he’d known Cameron, and Mike was really a one person at a time kind of guy. Even when things had gotten rocky with Angela, he’d never really looked at anyone else because even fantasizing about anyone else had felt wrong. Too bad Angela hadn’t seen it that way.

The kiss was delicious enough to start all kinds of crazy fantasies, and Mike was pretty sure their chemistry would be electric. He was more worried about the other consequences of the kiss. Whether they started dating or not, if things got awkward after that kiss, they were living together in a tiny apartment that had both their names on the lease. It would be even worse if they got together and then broke up in a month or two. Would one of them have to move out? He was still friends with two of his exes, but he wouldn’t want to live with either of them. He also worried about telling his family if they got serious. He was pretty sure they would be okay with it, but he dreaded the questions, and having to explain that he was bi. How had Cameron known anyway? Did he ping everyone’s gaydar? Or had Cameron just been hoping? Or joking? Oh shit, no. Please don’t let that have been a joke.

By the time Cameron got home, Mike was a ball of nerves, on top of his already stressful Halloween. He just wanted a few answers, and maybe some reassurance from Cameron, and then he wanted to sleep for a week. But the conversation didn’t go at all the way he’d hoped.

“I did it! Oh my god, Mike, it was amazing!” It was amazing, Mike thought. I don’t remember when I’ve had a kiss that good.

“Yeah?” Mike asked as Cameron flopped next to him on the couch and tipped his head back to grin at the ceiling.

“I can’t believe I actually kissed Enrique.” Mike’s brain tripped over itself. He had had that half-baked worry that Cameron was joking when he kissed him, but the sinking in his stomach told him he hadn’t really believed Cameron would do that to him.

“After all these years, I really did it. And it was…” Cameron sighed dramatically “…perfect. Seriously, I think it was the best kiss ever, as in, I didn’t know kissing could be that good.” Mike didn’t know what to say to that. Hadn’t Cameron said their kiss was the best ever? And then he just went off and kissed Enrique, which apparently was even better. How was that fair?

“Oh,” was all Mike came up with. He felt Cameron shift on the couch next to him

“Are you okay?” Cameron asked. Mike wanted to call him out for kissing him and then ignoring it, but he just didn’t have it in him tonight. There had been too many ups and downs already, and he just wanted to go lick his wounds in private.

“Angela and I broke up.” Mike said, and immediately wondered why he hadn’t just said he was fine and gone to bed.

“Oh, shit. Are you…um…is there anything I can do to help? Or make you feel better?” Cameron sounded genuinely upset on his behalf, but Mike couldn’t even look at him just then.

“I’m going to bed. I just… I wanted to talk to you first.” Mike heaved himself off the couch and started to walk toward his bedroom, but reminded himself he wanted to be supportive, even if he wasn’t feeling very supportive at the moment.

“Congratulations, by the way,” he said, feeling queasy but forcing himself to say it anyway. “I hope you’re really happy with Enrique.”

“I hope so too.” Cameron replied as Mike started toward his room again. “I’m not sure he realized it was me. I mean, I think he recognized me, but he didn’t call me by name or anything. It was kind of hard to read his expression, because he was dressed as a ninja and his face was covered.”

Mike froze with his door only half open, his hand on the doorknob. That couldn’t be right, why would Enrique have the same costume as him?

“A ninja?” Mike asked.

“Yeah. I thought it was an odd choice too, but it looked good on him. I never realized before how much muscle he has.” Cameron sighed and stood up too.

“Well, I’ll let you get to bed. Goodnight Mike. Sorry you didn’t have a better time tonight. Let me know if you need to talk. Or kill computer-generated monsters.” Cameron sucked at killing computer-generated monsters, and didn’t enjoy it much. Even though he was mad at him, it struck Mike as kind of sweet that Cameron would offer to play in an effort to cheer him up. “Anything you need, I’m here, okay?”

“Yeah, okay,” Mike said, still trying to figure out what about this conversation didn’t quite make sense. “Thanks Cameron.”

*****

Mike spent a very restless night alternating between trying to understand his conversation with Cameron, and a series of dreams in which Angela and Cameron morphed into each other, laughed like hyenas at him, and occasionally made out with brightly painted clowns. None of the dreams held the sweaty, breathless terror of full on nightmares, but they were certainly disturbing, and by the time Mike dragged himself out of bed the next morning, he had come to a decision of sorts. He was over Angela, and had been even before he caught her making out with someone else, but he was tired of being everyone’s second choice, and if Cameron would rather be with Enrique, Mike didn’t want to put himself through the heartache of chasing after a man who didn’t want him. On the other hand, he wasn’t above rubbing Cameron’s face in what he was missing.

Cameron

When Cameron finally managed to get to sleep, he relived that perfect kiss several times in his dreams. He woke up later than usual and wandered blearily into the kitchenette, only to stop short when his brain registered what he was seeing.

Mike stood at the counter, wearing only a pair of tight, black boxer briefs. Cameron was startled to realize that in just over two years of living together, he had never seen so much of Mike. How was that even possible? Mike had never once acted like the homophobic jerks that assumed that all gay men would jump them at the first opportunity, but Cameron couldn’t ever remember seeing even his bare chest before. Now that he was seeing it, he realized that Mike was really hot. Different from Enrique, and Cameron had been comparing everyone else to Enrique for so long that he was in the habit of thinking no one else could compare, but those muscles were sexier than he’d been giving them credit for, especially without clothes. He swallowed hard, and tried to focus on anything else, because lusting after his straight roommate was wrong on soooooo many levels. Mike had been very supportive, but everyone had limits.

Mike moved and Cameron glanced up, and realized for the first time that Mike was drinking his morning coffee out of Cameron’s cow-print mug, another thing Cameron had never seen in the time they’d lived together. For a moment, Cameron wondered if he was still dreaming because none of this felt real. He surreptitiously pinched his thigh, and decided he was definitely awake. Somehow, that made him feel worse.

“Morning,” he said awkwardly as he walked over to get some coffee for himself. Not having his regular mug felt a lot like walking off a curb he hadn’t noticed, and he stared at all the other mugs trying to make a decision. They had plenty of mugs, but that was just making the decision more difficult. Mike started to laugh.

“I didn’t realize you were so stuck in your routine. Here.” Mike handed Cameron the mug and grabbed a fresh one out of the cabinet. Cameron stared at it for a moment, then gave up trying to understand and took a tentative sip. Maybe this would all make more sense when the caffeine hit his system.

He had only taken a few sips when his phone jingled his text alert.

“Who’s that?” Mike asked casually as Cameron unlocked his phone.

“It’s John. Oh! He posted some photos from the party on Facebook.” Desperate to recapture the feeling of everything being right with the world that he’d gone to bed with, he rushed to his laptop which he had left on the table and opened Facebook. On the fifth picture, he barely managed to turn his head far enough to clear his computer before he sprayed coffee everywhere. He coughed and gasped a couple of times before he turned back to the screen, and felt his stomach go icy. That was definitely Enrique, and he was indeed dressed as a ninja, but his costume looked nothing like the ninja that Cameron had kissed.

“What’s the matter?” Mike asked, walking up behind him. Cameron gestured wildly at the screen.

“That’s Enrique.”

“I can see that,” Mike replied, sounding confused.

“That’s not the ninja I kissed.”

“Ooooh.” Mike managed to put a lot of feeling into that one syllable.

“Exactly! Who the fuck did I kiss? Oh god, I should have known I was going to fuck this up some how.”

“Breathe, Cameron. I thought the kiss was good.”

“It was freaking perfect! That’s the point! It was the best kiss ever, and I have no idea who he was! What if he was the love of my life and I never see him again? I’m never going to find this guy. There were way too many people at that party.”

“I thought Enrique was the love of your life.”

“Oh god, you’re right! I’m fickle! I’m fickle and shallow and…” Cameron tried to bury his face in his hands, and barely escaped splashing the rest of his coffee in his lap. He set his mug down and thumped his head against the table next to his laptop.

“Hey, hey,” Mike placed a gentle hand on the back of Cameron’s neck so that he had to stop banging his head. “I wouldn’t call you fickle, exactly, and you’re definitely not shallow. You need to calm down.”

“Calm down he says,” Cameron joked, although Mike’s acceptance was making him feel better already. “As if my world isn’t ending.” He turned with his head still on the table to peer up at Mike. “It was a really good kiss.”

“So, you’re serious about finding this guy?” Mike asked.

“I just…” Cameron sat up, dislodging Mike’s hand, and his neck suddenly felt cold. “I’ve been trying to get with Enrique forever, you know that, but it’s not like I never kissed anyone else. And some of those kisses were actually good, but this guy… if he does anything else as well as he kisses…” Cameron trailed off in a full body shiver. “I have to at least try. Enrique is… well, he’s a fantasy, you know? I mean, he’s a real person, but let’s face it, crushing on him is kind of like crushing on a movie star or something. He’s not interested in me, and I’ve spent so long trying to make him see me that way, and I deserve someone, I don’t know, someone who actually wants me. I deserve someone I don’t have to convince, you know? This guy kissed me like he meant it.” He heaved a sigh. “What am I going to do, Mike?”

“What if… what if the kiss only felt good because you thought it was Enrique?” Mike asked hesitantly. “I know you thought it was really amazing, but you were expecting Enrique to be a good kisser, and you had the ambiance of the party… maybe that’s what made it seem so good.”

Cameron weighed that thought rather uncomfortably. He had thought he was kissing Enrique, and he had been building up the ideal of what being with Enrique would be like for years. The party had felt almost magical too, and he’d felt so confident wearing his costume. His makeup had been perfect, which almost never happened and all of that had made him feel bold in a way he’d never experienced before. And yet, he’d been surprised by how good it felt, by how sweet the man tasted, and by his own body’s response.

“Don’t think so. At least, it wasn’t only that. I had tingles, Mike, that’s never happened to me before.” Mike studied Cameron’s face for a moment, then smiled softly.

“If it’s meant to be, you’ll find him, Cameron. I think you’ll find him.” His smile changed as he reached for Cameron’s face. “Hang on, you’ve got some…” He wiped a spot just over Cameron’s eye with his thumb, and Cameron fought not to lean into the touch. This was so wrong! They’d just been talking about a guy who was possibly the love of his life, and all he could focus on was the feel of Mike’s hand on him and Mike’s naked chest in front of him. Why had he never noticed how attractive Mike was before? No, he shouldn’t think like that. Mike was straight, as in not attracted to men. Ever.

“Just some coffee,” Mike said as he pulled back. He walked toward the sink. “Probably should clean that up before you get it on anything else.” He returned with a rag from the sink, which Cameron took from him. See, he mentally scolded himself as he wiped up the coffee he had spit all over the table, he was just trying to clean up your mess. Straight guys don’t come on to their gay roommates.

Mike

Mike wasn’t quite sure why he hadn’t told Cameron the truth about the kiss as soon as he realized that Cameron hadn’t kissed Enrique, but he hadn’t, and now he wasn’t sure how to bring it up. He wanted Cameron to know the truth, but he wasn’t sure Cameron would believe him, and even worse, if Cameron did believe him but regretted kissing him, Mike wasn’t sure their friendship would survive. At the moment, however he had a more immediate problem.

“Can you be here around six tonight?” Mike asked as Cameron was getting ready for class on Monday morning.

“I think so. Why?”

“Angela’s coming over to get her stuff, and I don’t want to be the only one here when she does,” Mike replied. He braced himself, knowing he needed to tell Cameron the rest.

“Do you think she’s going to get violent or something?” Cameron teased, still packing books into his school bag.

“No, of course not,” Mike said, “But…” He took a deep breath, and forced himself to spit it out. “I caught her making out with a guy at the party, and not just a kiss, really, full-on, trying to taste his tonsils. She tried to apologize, but—”

“She cheated on you?” Cameron had turned around, books forgotten to gape at Mike. “But… that…that… what a bitch! That really…just…that sucks. I am so sorry.”

“It’s okay. I was about ready to break up with her anyway for other reasons, but I wasn’t expecting that. And I have no idea if that was the first time, or how far she went.” Impulsively, he reached out and gripped Cameron’s arm. “But, you know what you said, about needing to be wanted? To not have to convince them? I really get it. I want to be someone’s first choice too, I just need a little recovery time.” He knew Cameron wouldn’t understand what he was really referring to, but he couldn’t help wanting to reassure him.

“Anyway, I don’t think she’ll get violent or anything like that, but I do think she’ll cause a scene, and it will just be easier to deal with her if you’re here. So, can you be here at six?”

“I’ll be here, Mike. Whatever you need, just let me know, okay?”

*****

Dealing with Angela was as unpleasant as Mike had expected, but the way Cameron stood with his arms crossed and shoulders hunched, moving to stay between Mike and Angela whenever possible, and practically growled any time she tried to get close, kept Mike on the verge of laughing, and, as he’d hoped, Cameron’s presence kept Angela’s dramatics from getting out of hand. Mike was tired by the time Angela left, but instead of wanting to crawl into his bed and hide from the world, he actually wanted to hang out with Cameron.

Cameron waved off Mike’s suggestion that they order out and made his mac-and-cheese with bacon and herbs that Mike could never get enough of. When Mike insisted that Cameron should pick a movie for them to watch together, Cameron chose one of Mike’s favorite action flicks, rather than any of the romantic comedies or intellectual movies from his own collection. When Cameron began to slowly tip sideways to lean against him halfway through the movie, Mike was in such a happy, relaxed space that he almost leaned over to kiss Cameron without thinking about it. He pulled back before he’d truly begun to move, but he decided he couldn’t wait to tell Cameron the second thing he needed to get off his chest before he told him about the kiss. He was distracted through the rest of the movie, but since he’d seen it at least ten times before, it didn’t matter.

The credits rolled, Cameron stretched lazily, and Mike absent-mindedly placed a hand on Cameron’s thigh to keep him seated. He felt Cameron freeze at the touch and pulled his hand back, mentally cursing himself.

“Just a sec, Cameron. I wanted to talk to you about something.”

“Uh oh.” Cameron turned on the couch to face him, pulling his legs up and sitting cross-legged.

“What?” Mike asked, alarmed.

“That just sounds serious. Like the start of a breakup speech or something.”

“Seriously? Are there any safe conversation openers left?”

“Probably not. What did you want to talk about?” Mike copied Cameron, turning to face him on the couch.

“It’s not a big deal, it’s just… I probably should have told you this before, but…” Mike paused to take a breath, and Cameron rolled his eyes.

“Just spit it out! You’re stressing me out, man.”

“I’m bi.” There were several seconds of silence as Cameron stared at Mike, then opened and closed his mouth several times.

“What?”

“I’m bi. I know I probably should have said something before, but it just never seemed like the right time.”

“The right time, Mike, would have been when I told you I was gay! What the hell?” Cameron seemed genuinely pissed off, and Mike was starting to regret starting this conversation after the pleasant evening they’d had.

“It wasn’t relevant back then, Cameron. I was dating Jessica.”

“How the fuck does that make it not relevant?”

“I wasn’t interested in anyone else.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“I just…” Mike growled and buried his face in his hands. “Fuck, this is gonna make me sound like such a chick.”

“Mike,” Cameron said fiercely, “I know I’m not a flamer or anything, but I still hate gender stereotypes like that.”

“Sorry,” Mike replied. “I just meant, I know most guys, well probably most people, but especially guys, can be in a relationship and still be attracted to other people. Not like they want to cheat or anything, just, you know, in general. I can’t do that. I know it’s weird, and I don’t know why I can’t, but it’s the way I am. As soon as I get serious about someone, it’s like the blinders go on and I can only be attracted to whoever I’m with. When we met, and when you told me you were gay, I was already serious about Jessica, so I couldn’t see anyone else as attractive. So, at the time, I was basically straight, because the only person I was attracted to was female. That’s why it wasn’t relevant. And then right after Jessica had to move back to New York and we decided to break up, we were on winter break and I didn’t talk to you much, and then you did that trip to France, and by the time you got back I was dating Angela, and the blinders were back on. This is just the first time you’re around when I haven’t been in a relationship, so I felt like I should tell you.”

Cameron

Cameron studied Mike’s face, trying to understand what Mike had just told him. When Mike had first said that his sexuality wasn’t relevant, Cameron had thought it sounded like a copout, but Mike’s explanation actually made a weird kind of sense. Cameron knew a guy in the GSA at their university who had fiercely identified as bisexual for years, but after he had started dating a man, he’d stopped correcting people who called him gay. When Cameron teased him about it, the guy had said that insisting on being called bi instead of gay had felt like saying his boyfriend was temporary, and anyway the label didn’t matter as much when he wasn’t on the market anymore. As much as Cameron would have liked the support of knowing that his roommate understood his attraction to men, he realized that Mike had been at least as supportive as anyone else in his life, including the members of the GSA. All of a sudden, he wondered if he would have started crushing on Mike from the start if Mike had come out to him when they first met. Granted, he hadn’t seen him mostly naked before the past weekend, but that wasn’t the only thing he found attractive about Mike. Now that he had noticed how hot Mike was, he was noticing all kinds of other things, like the shape of his lips, the sound of his voice and the way he smelled, all of which Cameron found irritatingly attractive. Maybe it was better that Mike hadn’t told him before today. If Cameron had spent the whole first year crushing on Mike, he probably wouldn’t have been able to form a real friendship with him, and their friendship was one of the best things in his life.

“Okay,” Cameron said, nodding.

“Okay what?” Mike asked.

“Okay, I understand where you’re coming from. And thanks for telling me, I’m glad you did, even if it took you a while to get around to it.”

“Cameron, you’re my best friend. Of course I told you. Eventually.” Mike laughed and dodged when Cameron swiped at him playfully, and they mock battled for a few minutes, releasing the last of their tension.

By the time Cameron went to bed, he was feeling much better. There was a part of his brain that was trying to convince him that Mike’s no-longer-straight status meant he finally had a chance to be with him, but he ignored it as best he could. He would be a supportive friend, not a lust-crazed stalker roommate. That was what Mike needed from him now.

*****

On Friday, Cameron came home from class to find a note taped to the door.

Cameron,
Please meet me at the fountain on campus
∼Your Ninja

Cameron stared at it, heart pounding for almost half a minute before taking it down to check the back. The back was blank, and the note was printed from a computer, so he couldn’t tell anything about the sender except that whoever it was knew where he lived, was familiar with the college campus, and knew about the ninja he’d kissed at the Halloween party. Hopefully the sender was the ninja, but why had it taken a week for his ninja to contact him? “Your Ninja” the note said. Did he know that there had been more than one ninja at that party?

Mind still whirling with questions, Cameron made is way back to campus in a daze. When he got to the fountain, he saw his ninja sitting on the edge of it. It had been dark at the Halloween party, and the costume looked a little more worn and homemade in the light of day, even if the light was starting to fade, but Cameron was sure it was the same man. He walked slowly up to the ninja, almost afraid he would melt or disappear. For the second time that week, Cameron pinched his own thigh to make sure he wasn’t dreaming, and this time he was relieved to find that he wasn’t. He was finally going to find out who his ninja was.

The ninja grinned at him in a way that seemed familiar, though Cameron couldn’t quite place where he’d seen that grin before, and lifted his hand to curl a finger at Cameron, beckoning him closer. Cameron noticed that his eyes were green, not blue like Enrique’s. When Cameron stepped closer the ninja put his hand on the back of Cameron’s neck and gently, slowly drew him in for a kiss. Cameron didn’t even think of resisting. He wanted to taste that kiss again and see if it was good as he remembered. Somehow, it was even better, and Cameron groaned quietly into the kiss, all concerns about the ninja’s identity temporarily drowned out by the flavor and feel of the lips he’d been so desperate to taste again. After a minute the ninja pulled back, and Cameron chased his lips with his own, still lost in the passion of the kiss, until the ninja gently placed a finger against Cameron’s lips, and reached with the other hand to untie the scarf that covered most of his face.

Mike

Mike couldn’t remember ever being so nervous in his life, but he knew the risk would be worth it if Cameron could accept him. Waiting at the fountain had been agony, but now that Cameron was here, Mike was somehow both calmer and more nervous. Every nerve ending buzzed with awareness as he untied the scarf he had tied over his face, and waited for Cameron’s reaction. Cameron’s mouth hung open, and Mike held his breath, hoping.

“Mike?” Cameron’s voice came out somewhere between a whisper and a squeak, but he didn’t sound horrified. Mike finally took a breath.

“Oh my god, it’s… you’re… oh my god.” Cameron babbled, still staring at him.

“Are you disappointed?” Mike asked softly, still trying to read his reaction.

“Disappointed? Mike, oh my god!” Cameron started laughing. “You…I can’t believe it!” And then he threw his arms around Mike’s neck and kissed him thoroughly.

Some time later, when they finally came up for air, they sat together on the edge of the fountain and Cameron took one of Mike’s hands, lacing their fingers together.

“Why didn’t you tell me it was you, at the party?” Cameron asked.

“At first because I had to deal with Angela. She didn’t see us kissing, but she spotted me right afterwards and decided to make a scene again, so I went to deal with her. And as soon as you got home, you started telling me about Enrique, and it wasn’t until the next day that I realized you hadn’t actually kissed him. And after that, I just wanted to make sure you were over him before I tried anything.”

“I am over him, completely. I promise.” Cameron said seriously.

“I believe you.” Mike squeezed Cameron’s hand. “Just so you know, the blinders are back on. You’re the only one I see right now.” Cameron grinned and bit his lip. Then he bumped his shoulder against Mike’s.

“Just so you know,” Cameron mimicked teasingly, “I’m really glad I screwed up my plan to kiss Enrique. I think it turned out better this way.”

“And if I have my way, he’ll never find out what he missed out on. You’re all mine now, Cameron,” Mike said as he lifted their joined hands to kiss Cameron’s knuckles.

“I can live with that,” Cameron replied, as he leaned in to kiss Mike on the mouth again.

The End

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