EXCERPT: SHOW ME

Prologue: Jesse

FreshmanYear

 

I wasn’t going to make it. I tried, I really did. I loved nineteenth-century literature and all, but there was a specially-ordered precision-molded hunk of lifelike silicone singing a filthy siren song in my backpack, and the semi in my pants was quickly winning out over examining symbolism in Sense and Sensibility.

I wiggled impatiently at my desk as time moved like my grandma down a shuffleboard lane. When Prof. Carter turned back to the whiteboard, I bolted from my seat, ducked out of the lecture hall, and raced toward the dorms, my backpack hammering against the small of my back with the additional weight of the new toy I’d all but torn from its Amazon box at the student post office an hour ago.

I’d grown up in a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house with seven brothers and sisters and two extremely tired and overworked parents. I didn’t know what the fuck privacy was until I got to college. I’d heard jokes in high school about guys and socks that took me way too long to get because I didn’t have the luxury of a crusty sock tossed under a bed. I slept on the bottom bunk in a room I’d shared with three younger brothers, a hamster, and approximately nine billion unmatched socks that had only ever gone on feet. 

Since the day I’d figured out how my dick worked, I’d had 2.5 minutes in a lukewarm shower to jerk off before the water turned cold or Armageddon broke out in the hallway. I could knock one out in forty-five seconds if I had to, but it wasn’t pretty. I had to blow the smoke off my palm afterward, gunslinger-style. 

I’d had blue balls since puberty, basically. 

So a college dorm room, even with a roommate, felt like living in the lap of luxury. I swear I spent the first three weeks busting nuts in the room whenever my roommate Nate left for class just because I totally could. I wouldn’t even be horny, but I’d learned to live by hobo code of never wasting an opportunity. 

But I had something even better now. My very own personal teenage dream. And all the things I’d missed out on in high school? Well, I’d more than made up for lost time. I’d known college would be better than high school, even if the only improvement was privacy, but I never imagined that not even a full year in I’d be so…content. Not bad for a kid whose moments of triumph had previously included fixing six peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in under five minutes andcutting them into perfectly equilateral triangles. 

I sighed happily as I caught the door on the backswing and hoofed it up the stairs of Hamlin Hall. I waved to Chet, my boyfriend’s roommate, as he strode toward me from the opposite end of the hallway. I grinned shamelessly as he approached. “Yeah, I’m gonna need you to disappear for a while.”

“I know. I just got the text. I was going—”

“What text?” I frowned.

“From Reid, saying to steer clear.”

“Reid sent you a text saying to steer clear?”

Chet’s brows drew together. “I feel like we’re having communication error, and yet I literally can’t think of how to express myself any clearer. Reid messaged me and—”

Thunk. We both swiveled toward the door at the same time. A groan followed, then came another quiet sound that was definitely not someone in pain. 

“Well, shit,” Chet swore softly, and the sudden sympathy in his gaze made a muscle in my jaw flutter until I clenched it.

 

I lifted my chin resolutely. “Open the door.”

 

“Mm, nope. I don’t think that’s a good idea.” 

 

I narrowed my eyes at Chet, ignored my churning stomach and focused solely on the facts. “Did you know?”

 

He gave me an incredulous look. “What? No. I don’t know jack. I only see him with you.”

 

“When’s the last time you got another text like that one he just sent?”

 

Chet winced as he looked down at his messages. “Two days ago at 3:00. Monday at 1:00. Um…last Thursday at 4:00.” Reluctance was thick in his voice. “Should I keep going?”

I shook my head. My skin vibrated with electricity. I’d probably zap anything I touched. “Open the fucking door, or I’ll kick it in.” I wouldn’t, because I had weak ankles, but I’d cross that bridge when I got to it. I had other options. My shoulders were plenty strong.

“I think—” Chet began, and I reached for the keys in his hand.

He put his palms up in a sign of surrender before fitting the key in the door, turning it, and stepping back. He gestured with a pained flourish. 

I pushed the door open wordlessly. 

Taylor Swift’s voice poured out of a Bluetooth speaker, disconcertingly peppy. Reid’s back was to me, bare ass pistoning as he swiveled his hips in time to the beat. Or attempted to. Until five seconds ago, I’d found his lack of rhythm endearing. I caught a flash of wavy blond hair and the pink gleam of manicured nails as the girl on her knees in front of him smacked his ass abruptly.

“Fuck yeah,” he growled enthusiastically. 

“Reid!”She and I both shouted over the music in awkward unison. 

I glared at her for the unwanted solidarity. 

Reid looked over his shoulder at me, the glazed cast to his eyes sobering. “Shit,” he muttered. “But you have class right now!” As if I was the one who’d fucked up.

For a second it worked, and I was thrown into confusion that cleared when the girl looked between us, her eyes narrowing. “Is this your—”

“My tutor!” Reid covered his junk and shot me a pointed look as Chet groaned behind me. 

I mustered my sweetest, most patient smile, honed over too many years of siblings’ birthday parties, the countless number of times I’d been sneezed or vomited upon, the numerous repetitive birthday and Christmas gifts from extended family who couldn’t keep me and my siblings straight, and the single time I’d lied for my brother Jack when he’d come home hammered after junior prom. 

I nodded as the girl looked at me for confirmation. “We’ve been working together for a few months. I’m so sorry about his rhythm. We’re still workshopping that, but it looks like he gets a gold star for sneaking in extra practice. Mind your eyes. His aim’s not exactly on point either, which is kind of funny given his accuracy with a football.”

“Jesse.” The resigned plea in Reid’s expression was worse than walking in on him had been.

I put up my hand. “Nope. You’ve found another study partner. It’s cool.” I flinched at the touch on my elbow but allowed Chet to steer me from the room. 

“That was a dick move. He’s a dick,” he grumbled, guiding me down the hallway. “C’mon, I’ll walk you to…wherever.”

 

“I’m fine,” I insisted, shaking free of Chet’s grasp. “Really. I’ll see you around.” I jetted toward the stairwell before he could say anything else. 

I’d always hoped that if I found myself in this situation, I would be smooth and impervious. That I would simply cock a brow, then turn around and walk out, haughty and confident, cool as David Gandy in a Dolce and Gabbana commercial. Except I looked nothing like David Gandy. People seemed to want to ruffle my hair a lot, and I had suffered excessive cheek pinching as a kid. But I liked to think that over the last year, I’d really outgrown my extended gawky phase and blossomed into the kind of stylish twink I’d always wanted to be.

Eyes stinging, I raced across the quad to my dorm, saying a silent prayer that Nate would be gone so I could fling myself dramatically onto my bed and sob into my pillow. Then I’d regroup and immediately begin formulating my phoenix moment. I would definitely need hair dye. 

Possibly scissors. 

But of course I wasn’t that lucky. When I opened the door, Nate was sitting at his computer chuckling at something on the screen. A vaguely recognizable blond hunk stood next to him tossing a football in the air. 

God, even the sight of that pigskin made my stomach lurch. How the fuck did people manage this with finesse? Be Meryl Streep, I told myself. Calm, cool, and with that badass bitch swoopy hairdo she’d owned in The Devil Wears Prada. Hmm, maybe I should go for that kind of coif. Would it look good with my cheekbones? Did the attitude come with it?

Strangely, as Nate and Blondie’s gazes swung in my direction, it was then that the heat in my cheeks rose to my eyes and spilled over. 

Nate’s half-smile slid from his face. “Whoa. Jesse. Everything okay, man?”

I nodded rapidly. “Totally fine. It was just a little hot outside and…and I walked in on my boyfriend’s cock so far down a girl’s throat he could charge an endoscopy fee. She had really nice boobs.” Somehow that was the thing that burned the most. As a gay guy, I knew I wasn’t supposed to judge my brethren, that bisexuals were just as valid as I was and not a damn one of us could help who we were attracted to, but damn, I kept hearing Reid’s voice in my ear the week prior. Nothing else feels as good as you. Nothing.

“Oh shit, that blows. Errr, sucks.“ Nate winced. “I mean, that’s awful. I’m sorry, dude.”

Needing a distraction from their sympathetic stares, I tossed my backpack onto the floor by my desk and squatted, unzipping it and yanking out my books and laptop. The silence that descended was pregnant with the awkwardness of three people who didn’t know what to say—two of whom were probably desperately trying to figure out how to politely extricate themselves. Too bad. Usually I was accommodating like that. I picked up on that shit. I liked people to feel comfortable. Not today. They could figure it out for themselves. 

I pulled out the giant rubber dildo from my bag and looked up when Blondie made a choked noise. He wasn’t smiling, thank fuck, or I might’ve heave beaned him with the thing, but his eyes were wide as saucers as I waved it around. “Any takers? Clearly I won’t be needing it.” I’d intended to sound joking, but it came out forlorn. 

 

Surprise, no takers. I winged it toward the wall next to my bed, where it smacked into the plaster with a satisfyingly heavy—but also depressing—thud.

“I have that one actually.” 

“What? Really?” I swerved my head sharply toward Nate. He’d never struck me as anything but straight heterosexual vanilla, and he sucked as an impromptu grief counselor, but I latched onto the distraction for the lifesaver it was.

“Well, maybe not that exact one. But they look similar. In size, I mean. Big.” His expression turned sheepish. “I got it for a costume party and umm…” He gestured awkwardly. “That sounds dumb now.”

“Yeah, well, I’d hoped to actually use mine for its intended purpose.” I sighed at my glum tone. Perhaps I could also add in how quickly global warming was going to kill the human race.

“You still could, technically speaking.” 

Nate and I both stared at Blondie for a beat; then Nate gave an aggrieved shake of his head.

“It’s tainted now, obviously,” I told him.

“Did you smack him in the side of the face with it?” Blondie added. “Also a good use of it.”

I sighed again. “I wish I’d thought of that.”

“It’s never too late.” The impassioned words came accompanied by such an emphatic sword fighting gesture that I cracked a tiny smile in spite of myself. 

Through the haze of my humiliation and sadness, I could almostappreciate the sincerity I detected in the furrow of the guy’s brow. He was cute. The kind of cute I’d thought Reid was, too. The kind of cute that would disappoint you by cheating on you or being straight in the first place. God, I was truly spiraling now. “Thank you both for trying to make me feel better, but could you maybe just go?”

“You sure?” 

I nodded, and apparently Nate read the deep plea in my eyes and took pity on me. “C’mon, bro,” he said to Blondie as he hitched his backpack on his shoulder. 

“Side of the face,” Blondie reiterated with another gesture. “It’d leave a mark for sure.”

Nate groaned. “You’re making it worse.” 

“I have that habit. Sorry your boyfriend is an idiot,” Blondie said to me, then fist-bumped Nate. “Catch you after Chem.” He bolted from the room like his ass was on fire. Who could blame him? 

Nate lingered in the doorway. He was a great roommate, and considering some of the stories I’d heard from my other friends, I’d gotten lucky. He was considerate and easy to talk to and not judgy at all, especially for a preppy guy rushing one of the bigger frats on campus. 

But I hated the pitying expression he’d aimed at me. 

“Unless you’re about to offer to make out with me, please stop looking at me like that,” I joked half-heartedly.

“Shit. Sorry. I’m not always good at knowing what to say. That dude is an asshole for real, though. Fuck him.”

“I’ll be fine.” I nodded woodenly. “Who’s the blonde?”

“Sam. Pledge brother. He means well, he’s just a dope sometimes.”

Actually, I’d preferred his cluelessness to Nate’s pity. I forced a wan smile. “It’s cool.”

“A bunch of us are gonna go to this keg party at Kappa tonight. Why don’t you come?”

“Meh.” I wrinkled my nose. “Maybe.”

But I did.

I went and got absolutely blitzed at that party, made out with some rando whose name and face I never, in three years, ever recovered, aside from a vague impression of soft lips. But what I didvaguely remember, through the haze of tequila shots, was stumbling into Reid’s dorm at three in the morning and duct-taping the dildo to his door, along with a strongly worded message that Chet told me later consisted primarily of gibberish and the word “fuck” written over and over.

What could I say? It’d been satisfying at the time. 

 

 

Chapter 1: Jesse

Present Day

 

“Whoa…” I froze in the doorway of the kitchen in the off-campus house I shared with three other guys, gaze bouncing between my roommate Mark and my semi-sorta friend Chet while I tried to mentally assemble the extremely confounding variables of this equation. Math wasn’t my strong suit to begin with unless we were talking cups, quarts, and teaspoons, but I registered the bare chests and how Chet was glued to Mark’s side. “What the fuck? Chet?” This could not be the correct answer. What kind of math was this? Was it too late to drop the class?

Chet lifted a hand in my direction with a droll smile that was only the slightest bit sheepish. “Hi.”

Oh my god, they were together. Wait. Were they together? How could that be? 

I whirled in Mark’s direction. “But you…I thought…Fuck me fucking sideways,” I spluttered. When Mark had come to me a month ago asking me vague questions about a guy potentially asking him out, I’d thought he’d meant someone at his summer internship. Not Chet-fucking-Pynchon who, yes, I’d had a teeny tiny rebound crush on since breaking up with Reid freshman year. Just like I’d had a minuscule, momentary crush on my former roommate Eric before he fell head over fucking balls for Nate. There’d also been the nanosecond crush I’d had on Nate after he brought me chicken soup once when I was sick, even if it’d been an awful store-bought brand. “It’s just…I don’t understand why all the hot ones keep picking these baby bi’s.” I really didn’t. It happened that I was prone to crushes the way some people were prone to heartburn after eating onions. It was also true that my crush-to-sexual-partner ratio was weighted on the side of crushes by…plenty lately, but there was nothing wrong with me. I was a little neurotic, but I was also an out-and-proud ginger who could actually tan rather than burn. That factor alone should’ve conferred unicorn status upon me. I nudged Chet aside and opened the fridge with a huff. “You friend-zoned me in, like, two seconds flat. True or untrue?”

“True,” Chet replied with a grin. “But that’s only because—”

I put a hand up. “I swear to fuck, if one more person says I’m too sweet, or something about boyish charm, I’m going to lose my shit. Yes, I had a boyfriend freshman year. Yes, I very much enjoyed holding hands with him and…and, cuddling in the quad and giving him heart eyes or whatever.” I’d had many of them after Reid. One every two weeks that I’d done all of these things with, and when it inevitably fizzled, I mourned briefly and then moved on to the next like a fiend. I’d gone through boyfriends the way some people went through Lay’s potato chips—because you truly couldn’t eat just one. “But Jesus, a guy’s allowed to change. I’m not about that life anymore. I just want the hard-core action now, thank you very much. No relationships, no strings. I just want a guy with a big dick—because yes I’m a size queen and—”

“I have a big dick.” Sam wandered in and inserted himself effortlessly into the conversation with a shameless grin. He was our newest roommate and one of Nate and Mark’s fraternity brothers. Once I’d gotten past the embarrassment of him bearing witness to my dildo-flinging meltdown freshman year, I’d decided I liked him. Not right now, though.

“Anyone who has a big dick doesn’t walk around claiming it, you know.”

Sam shrugged, attention shifting to Mark and Chet. “I know you.” He narrowed his eyes at Chet, taking in his naked torso, then gestured between them. “Wasn’t he the guy who—”

“Yes,” Mark answered resignedly. 

A couple of months back, Chet and Mark had gotten into a fistfight at our friend Nate’s party, which made it all the more annoying that they were bare-chested canoodling in the kitchen right now. I mean, I couldn’t even move out of the friend zone with anyone lately, and these guys had legitimate beef with each other and still ended up suckered to each other’s sides like barnacles on a pier.

“Why’s he in our kitchen?”

“He slept over.”

“He slept—” I threw my hands up in exasperation. “Does anyone else want to come out? First Nate. Now Mark. Is someone running some fucking crazy effective psy-ops experiment in that frat? Sam?” Though, when I thought about it, that was the only possible enticement I could think of about a frat. I’d never been tempted to join one and knew little about them. I suspected they were a little different from the vids I’d jacked off to on Pornhub with a twinky little pledge being taken by a big oafish dude. Now that was something I could actually get behind. The reverse, too, because size differences were fun. But when I’d once asked Mark what went on during the chapter meetings, he’d said, “Well, we vote on various things and plan mixers and community service projects.” What a waste. I’d lost interest immediately.

Sam reached around me, one big-ass bicep that probably came from lifting Mini Coopers brushing my shoulder as he grabbed a juice from the fridge and twisted off the cap. “I’m all set. I sucked a guy’s dick once on a dare,” he said as amiably as if he was sharing that his favorite color was yellow. “Haven’t been inclined to do it again.” We all stared at Sam as he chugged his juice and then wiped the back of his mouth. “What, did I fuck up? Break some sort of code?”

“You sucked a guy’s dick on a dare?” No fucking way. Sam looked like the kind of guy who’d fist-bump his bro after he banged a hot girl and probably took pride in the decibel level of his burps. But shit, I had to ask out of professional curiosity. “To completion?”

“Rimshot!” Sam pumped a fist in the air as his empty juice bottle arced into the trash can, and then he turned back to me, nodding guilelessly. “Yeah, turned me into a manscaping convert. And I also make sure to eat a lot of pineapple now, too, if I know I’m gonna get some action.” He leaned back against the counter and eyed me. “So are you making breakfast today?”

Unbelievable.

 

“Not for you. Not for any of you. Ugh!” If I’d had a cooking utensil handy, I’d have thrown it at him.

“So these are my roommates,” Mark said to Chet with a mock flourish, continuing their get-to-know-you lovefest. I wished they’d just disappear back into Mark’s room with their sexy naked chests and palpable…feelings for each other. Gross.

 

Mark bumped me to one side. “Move over. I’m making eggs.”

Now we were talking. I scooted to one side, gladly ceding the stove to him. I was usually the one cooking because I was actually good at it, opposed to the other guys who thought stir-fry qualified as a feat of cuisine. And, okay, secretly I didn’t actually mind being the resident chef. I took pride in seeing my roomies’ eyes roll back in their head when I made something tasty. I could elevate a fucking grilled cheese to art. I could make hipster avocado toast with goat cheese that’d put stars in your eyes. And my roommates appreciated it. Except maybe Sam. The way he wolfed things down, I wasn’t sure he tasted anything. 

 

“That’s what I’m talking about.” Sam grinned. “I’ve got practice in an hour. Make enough for me?”

“And me, too.” I batted my lashes at Mark. “I’m grabbing a shower.” Otherwise I’d have taken over, because Mark always did his eggs a little too runny for my tastes. But beggars and choosers and all. I needed the shower more; all that true love unfolding in the kitchen clung to my skin like stink. 

I kept pondering Sam’s confession as I undressed and stepped in the shower. I mean, was it even true, and if so, who the hell sucked a dick on a dare? Even I would hesitate at that. For at least a handful of seconds. 

I shampooed my hair, scrubbed it vigorously, then soaped up my shoulders. 

Objectively speaking, Sam was pretty cute. Sexy, even. But if I was being soul-deep-level honest—the kind of honest that made me feel a little shitty—I’d always pegged him as a bit of an airhead. No one that happy-go-lucky was sparing a brain cell for global warming or the difference between an adverb and adjective.

So I was a little perturbed to find myself with a boner and my sudsy hand gliding over it absently as his name floated around my head. 

Go away, I told it silently as I shifted gears and washed between my toes. I was done with crushes in general, but especially on anyone who was my roommate. Or straight. Anyone would agree that was a doomed combo, far worse than Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber. And no way was Sam crush material anyway. He was a straight football player, after all, pretty much the antithesis of me.

My dick was responding purely to stimulus. To the vision of beefy pecs and big round shoulders. Shoulder blades that could crush beer cans. Quads like sequoias that would cinch around me and an ass that would—goddammit. I growled in frustration and sucked in a breath. Okay, if I was going to do this, I’d keep it general. Big guy fantasy. It could be any dude. 

I thought of a random meathead I’d spotted in the gym a week ago when I was doing cardio and focused on him as hard as I could while I poured more body wash on my hand and lathered up my cock.

That…wasn’t too shabby. I tugged on my balls, imagining sitting on the edge of a weight bench, nameless Big Boy towering over me with a sexy smile before he dropped to his knees and pulled down my shorts. 

Fuck yeah, this would do nicely. I’d always been told I’d had a vivid imagination. My teachers probably hadn’t anticipated what I’d use it for most frequently.

I bit my lower lip, and fantasy dude stared up at me from beneath hooded eyes as he slowly sucked me into his mouth, the bulge in his gym shorts hinting at a sizable cock. 

I jerked faster, close to orgasm, big fantasy dude working me like a champ, eager and slurpy, his head bobbing wildly. Sliding my fingers in his hair, I tugged his head back just as I was about to come.

In that inconvenient moment, Sam’s face flickered into view in place of Big Gym Boy, his brown eyes hot and earnest, cheeks flushed, lips swollen and shiny from sucking me.

I growled with a mixture of frustration and pleasure as I shot.

A minute later, I stumbled out of the shower, wobbly and defeated. I was gonna have to work on my willpower. Stealth face exchanges in the midst of a jerk session weren’t cool. Hmm. Maybe I should start going back to yoga to clear my mind, find my center again. 

Knotting the towel around my waist, I flung open the door and stepped into a massive wall of firm flesh. 

“Oof.” Sam jumped back with a laugh. “Sorry. Maybe we need one of those blind-spot mirrors in the hallway. “

 

I stared at him, irrationally annoyed that he’d interrupted my fantasy. He wore an unperturbed grin that my brain had supplied a pretty perfect rendition of mere moments ago in the shower, which made me wonder how often I’d stared at him before without noticing I was doing so. I thought I’d mastered not paying attention to the straight boys at least a year ago. 

Okay, that was a total lie. I’d registered Sam and dismissed him in the same breath because I didn’t mess with straight guys or curious types. They weren’t worth the orgasm or potential drama when watching them on Pornhub served just fine.

“Mirrors?” I blinked, and then it gelled. “Oh. Yeah. Or we could both just be more aware of where we’re going. Fancy that.”

I focused very hard on his face and not the front of his boxers, because I was absolutely not going to attempt to verify his earlier claim by scoping out his dick print. Stepping to one side, I gestured into the bathroom. “All yours.”

“Um.” Sam flicked a finger toward the Dopp kit under my arm. “Looks like you’re about to lose something important.”

I knew without looking what it was—because that was always my luck—and sure enough, I glanced down to see the fleshy head of my favorite shower dildo had popped out.

 

I patted his plump crown and grinned. “Not to worry. The real thing is still firmly attached. This is Mike. He’s a bit of a wanderer, but he always comes back.” I canted my head, observing the delightful and surprisingly flattering shade of pink blooming in Sam’s cheeks. “Wow. You actually blush. Who knew?” 

“That answers my curiosity about the rings on the shower wall I’ve noticed before.” Sam tilted his head in perfect mimicry of me as heat flooded my face. “Wow. You blush, too.” He grinned, and the piquant wink he flashed me hit me like a fucking stun gun, mentally knocking me back a few paces. It should’ve come with a warning.

He squinted down at the dildo. “Is his last name…Hawk, by chance?”

I groaned. “C’mon, gimme more credit than that. No last name.” Its last name was totally Hawk.

“Is that the same one from…?”

“Oh god no.” I flapped my hand. “I got rid of that one. It was unused!” I tacked on for his horrified expression, then patted him lightly on the chest and stepped around him.

I floated to my bedroom in a stupor, then pulled on some shorts and a tee and stuffed my laptop and books into my backpack. There were two weeks left of summer, and I’d decided to take a few summer courses just so I could have a lighter course load come fall. All part of my grand plan to make senior year the best one. To go out with a bang. Or many bangs, if I had my way.

I hitched my backpack over my shoulder, tossed my towel onto the back of my chair, and closed the bedroom door behind me. 

 

“Jesse? Jessseeeeeeeeeee. Jesse, yo, that you?”

I stopped at the top of the stairs. I could’ve keep going. Sam wouldn’t know the difference. I should’ve kept going.

Then I sighed. I still hadn’t mastered being a total asshole, but I kept trying. “Yeah?” I hollered toward the bathroom.

 

“Got a new bottle of conditioner and forgot to bring it with. Can you grab it for me? It’s on top of the Target bag on my desk.”

 

“Sure,” I grumbled, then repeated it louder and dropped my backpack to the floor.

 

Sam had taken over Eric’s room when he and Nate had moved out at the beginning of summer so they could shack up together. Read: have their own apartment to bone in without worrying about how noisy they were being. I’d had the misfortune of sharing a wall with Eric previously. I knew way more about Eric and Nate’s sexual preferences than I should have. And okay, fine, I may have jerked off to the noises a couple of times because I was a perv for a good sex soundtrack and, wow, were they vocal. 

I toed the bedroom door open, spotted the bag on Sam’s desk, and headed toward it. I bent to read some scrawl on a postcard peeking from beneath the shopping bag, then tried to angle it toward me so I didn’t have to look at it sideways, because I was a nosey ass and I didn’t even know people still sent postcards. 

In the process, I knocked into the bottle of conditioner and blurted out a curse as it in turn fell like a domino against an uncapped water bottle.

Shitshitshit.” I flailed and managed to snag the water bottle before it tipped, but at the expense of the conditioner, which rolled off the desk and dropped onto my big toe. Water sloshed all over the front of my shirt as I hopped back with another vicious curse and bumped into the bed. I wanted to throw that damn water bottle across the room—who the hell left an open container next to their computer? 

Composing myself, I rubbed my foot and then hobbled back over to the desk, wiping up a few stray drops of water. 

Crisis averted, though; nothing had landed on his keyboard. 

Then I froze, my mouth dropping open. In the midst of all that commotion, Sam’s laptop had woken up. 

I recognized the site immediately. It was one I visited frequently, myself. I started to back away, because taking a peek at a postcard was one thing, but checking out someone’s open spank bank account and staring at all their deposits felt a little intrusive. 

That was my intention, at least. 

Except I couldn’t help what I’d already glimpsed, and since I’d already accidentally seen it anyway…shouldn’t I just verify?

Because Sam had a Pornhub page opened to what looked like a bunch of videos of solo jacking sessions by some dude named spankit4u. Interesting. I wasn’t actually sure what to make of that. Did straight dudes typically watch other guys jerk off? I sure as shit couldn’t ask Sam. Who did that leave among my coterie? 

“Jesse? Did you find it?” Sam hollered.

I nearly dropped the conditioner on my foot again. I tapped the trackpad to put the computer to sleep again, reluctantly returned the water bottle to the danger zone, and rushed into the bathroom.

“Sorry,” I said breathlessly. “I couldn’t find any shampoo, just the conditioner.”

“I said just conditioner.”

“Oh, right.”

Sam pulled back the shower curtain, extending his hand and giving me a peek of…skin. Lots and lots of skin and very solid, very wet gleaming muscle. 

 

I almost dropped the conditioner for a third fucking time due to sudden loss of coordination. 

 

I all but flung the bottle at his extended hand. “Who buys conditioner only, though, really?” I joked. 

 

Sam pulled the shower curtain wider, his face popping into view, delightfully wet, dappled with drops of water, and garnished with a charming smile. He looked like a happy Viking. “I still have plenty of shampoo.”

 

“Wait, you actually run out of conditioner first? That’s, like…anathema to accepted hair product wisdom. I’m pretty sure it defies at least one law of physics.” I’d never met a human on earth who didn’t have to replace shampoo before conditioner. “It’s not like you’ve got a huge mane of hair.” 

 

Sam’s grin widened.

 

“Oh my god.” I was an idiot. 

 

“Conditioner is a little silkier and…”

 

“Yep. Got it. Okay. Bye. I have to go.” I needed to find somewhere quiet to die, which would definitely make me late for class.

 

“I feel like we’ve reached a new level of intimacy in our friendship.” Sam’s laughter chased me out. 

 

I hitched my backpack over my shoulders and thundered down the stairs. In a span of minutes, I’d learned more about my new roommate’s sexual habits than…actually, no, I knew way too fucking much about allof my former and current roommates’ sexual habits, because all of them were fucking heathens.