As I Am


Author’s Note: Many thanks and undying gratitude to Nelle1022 for proofreading, editing, providing invaluable feedback, and in general, putting up with my crap.


Sitting at the bar at my favorite watering hole on a Friday night, I was nursing the last of my drink and attempting to indulge in a little self-pity, but the argument going on at the table behind me and a little to my right was beginning to annoy me. I didn’t even know what it was about but I doubted that the couple fighting did either. The situation was escalating quickly and I couldn’t help thinking that someone was going to have to intervene. Neither the guy nor his girl was backing down, and unless I read the situation wrong, which was doubtful, it was about to become violent.

No sooner had the thought crossed my mind than her drink went flying into his face and the back of his hand met the side of hers in a resounding smack. I bolted off my barstool and was at their table before the screeching wail left her mouth. With the table upended, my body made an effective shield between his hands and her face. He wouldn’t hit her again, not in my presence, anyway.

“Come on, Buddy,” I said, my voice sounding deceptively calm, belying the adrenaline rushing through my veins, adroitly killing the nice buzz that I had going on mere moments before. “Let’s go take a walk. Calm down for a bit. Get some fresh air.”

I could hear a commotion behind me. Another patron had stepped up to administer whatever aide the girl needed.

“Mind your own fucking business!” The guy was beyond pissed. His face was red and veins were popping out at his neck and temples. He was ready and willing to take me on and anyone else standing between him and his girl, even though he couldn’t have possibly succeeded.

Well, fuck. This asshole was going to put the topping on the cake of my fabulously shitty week by landing my ass in jail or on a gurney. “Come on, Buddy,” I tried again. “Tempers got a little out of control. It happens to all of us. Look around you. Use your head.”

The guy decided to put whatever brain cells he had left to use. He glanced around and I took a breath, deducing that I wasn’t about to end up dead or incarcerated after all. This wasn’t some fancy wine bar or trendy nightclub. It was a dive in a low rent neighborhood. It was neutral ground and most of the clientele were old-school bikers, and one percenters at that. They weren’t going to sit by and watch him pummel his girl, and judging by his attire and demeanor, he knew it too. Neutral ground or not, the potential for any altercation to turn into a massacre was high.

“Let’s go take a walk,” I suggested again. “Let everybody have a chance to calm down. Don’t worry. She’ll still be here when we get back.” I hoped that I was lying through my teeth and that, for the girl’s sake, she was long gone before we even made it out the front door.

Glancing around again, the guy growled, “Fuck it. The whore’s not worth this shit.” Deciding that he wasn’t going anywhere alone with anyone in the bar, probably the only smart thing he’d ever done in his life, he turned his back to me and stormed his way out of the bar.

There was dead silence in the bar for almost a minute, with the exception of the median volume level of music, before everyone went back to enjoying their night out. I turned around to check on the girl just in time to see a couple of the other women in the bar leading her off toward the ladies’ room.

I settled back on my barstool to find a new drink in the place of my previously empty glass.

“That was pretty smooth,” the bartender complimented me. He indicated my refreshed glass. “That’s for not trashing my joint.”

I shrugged my thanks. “That’s my job.”

He chuckled. “What? Hostage negotiator?”

I smirked, “No. Bouncer. But they probably aren’t all that much different. Basically just trying to get everyone out of a nasty situation alive.”

His beer gut jiggled as he laughed loudly. “Well, I owe you one.”


The next morning, I added extra time to my workout routine in a valiant attempt to burn off the copious amounts of alcohol I had consumed the night before. People kept buying me drinks to reward me for my calm in the face of the storm. I, of course, drank them. It would have been rude not to. Then I woke up in the bed of some chick whose name I didn’t even know. Way to go, Moron. I couldn’t remember any of it, although I was pretty sure of what had happened. I hoped that she blamed my lack of enthusiasm on the whiskey and not the reality of the fact that she didn’t have the right equipment to keep my interest. Who knows? Maybe I actually fucked her. It wouldn’t have been the first time that I had stupidly stuck my dick someplace where it shouldn’t have been.

And that thought brought me right back to that emotional state that had put me in the bar in the first place. As I stood in the shower at the gym, washing the sweat off, I tried to figure out where I had illegal bahis mistakenly tattooed the word ‘Doormat’ on my body. I considered myself fairly intelligent, even if undereducated and unmotivated, career wise. But I was a train wreck when it came to my love life. Every guy that I had ever fallen for, in my short but colorful twenty-six years, had used me, cheated on me, or stolen from me, if not all three. My most recent disaster of a relationship had ended, spectacularly, days before, when I walked into my apartment to find my boyfriend happily bouncing on the cock of my best friend. Oh. And what a wonderful excuse they had too: They had lost track of time. Fucking fantastic. Good riddance to them both.

I couldn’t figure out what it was about me that screamed ‘Pushover.’ At 6’3 and 190lb of solid muscle, it certainly wasn’t my appearance. I was intimidating to most people at my friendliest. When I was in a pissy mood, like now for instance, I was downright scary. I could have easily done something to minimalize that fact, like stopped shaving my head or covered up the ink on my arms, but truthfully, I cultivated the impression. It cut down on the number of times I was forced to use violence to do my job.

Seriously. It had to just be me. I was a nice guy, despite my appearance. But, for some unknown reason, I always seemed to get involved with users. And it wasn’t as if I could narrow down the problem to just one type of guy. I didn’t really have a type. The only thing my relationships all had in common was me. If there was an asshole within a fifty mile radius, I was completely attracted to him. Okay. I didn’t mean it that way, but the unintentional double-entendre made me chuckle. I still had a silly smile on my face when I left the gym and walked down the block to the salon to have my body punished some more, this time with wax.

“Are you going out tonight, Nash?”

“No,” I replied through clenched teeth. I could never figure out why she insisted on talking to me while my feet were in stirrups. As soon as Alli yanked the strip off, I exhaled and continued, “I work tonight.”

“Oh yeah,” she responded. “You work every weekend.”

“Not last night,” I admitted. “I called in sick.”

Her head popped into my view. “Are you feeling okay?”

“I’m fine. I was just sick of my boyfriend cheating on me,” I explained.

Her eyebrows arched up in surprise. “Again?”

“Different boyfriend this time.”

She grimaced. “You need a better class of boyfriend.”

“Tell me about it,” I sighed.

I had been going to Alli to get waxed for years. She wasn’t very bright but she was damn good at her job. I had started going to her because she didn’t have a problem with working around my parts. In fact, most of her clients were gay men. Probably for the same reason that I went to her. I wanted a woman so that there’d be no chance of me getting aroused, and she was a lesbian so she wasn’t the slightest bit interested in me either. Her girlfriend was one of the hairdressers in the same salon, not that I had need of a hairdresser.

“I keep telling you that I know a great guy,” she mumbled as she went back to work on my nether region.

“Jesus, Gurl,” I huffed. “I’ve been single for three days. At least let me get the little prick’s stuff outta my place before you try to set me up with some new guy that’s going to fuck me over.”

“Well, just let me know when you’re ready,” she replied as she ripped another strip off. “I’ll set you guys up for a double date with me and Sarah. ‘Sides, Nick’s not going to fuck you over. He’s a keeper.”

“Nick?” I smirked. “That’s his name?”

“Yeah, why?”

“I could never date anyone named Nick. Think of how that would sound. Nick and Nash? That’s awful.” I laughed until she brutally ripped another strip off of a very sensitive area. I yelped and she gave me an evil smirk. Bitch.

After all was said and done, she left the room to let me dress. I always thought that was ridiculous. She’d been manhandling my bits for a while, and none too gently I might add. But somehow the act of dressing and undressing is more personal than spreading wide and letting her poke around in my privates. Anyway… I love slipping into my clothes when I’m freshly waxed. The sensation of anything brushing against my over-sensitized skin gives me a cheap thrill. It doesn’t matter if it’s denim, cotton, leather, or silk. Not that I own much silk. If given the opportunity, I’d rub my newly hairless body all over anything or anyone like a cat in heat. I’d probably be purring too.

On my way out, I passed Alli’s next client on his way in. Damn. He had to be a foot shorter than me, long, blonde hair, huge, blue eyes, pretty as a picture. Yum. I damn near put that cat in heat theory to the test. I guess three days was long enough to get over my cheating ex-boyfriend, whatever his name was.



I turned at the sound of my name to see Alli stalking me like I was her prey. She was dressed illegal bahis siteleri to kill, in a barely there, red-plaid kilt, knee high, black leather, platform boots, and a skin-tight, solid black, babydoll t-shirt. Her short, pixie cut was white-blonde instead of the cherry-red it had been when I had seen her earlier.

“What are you doing here, Gurl?” I shouted over the loud thumping of the house music, giving her a brief hug.

“Sarah and I came to dance,” she explained, looking decidedly guilty.

I glanced around the nightclub. “Where’s Sarah?”

She waved her hand in the general direction of the front door. “She’s coming. Don’t be mad.”

“Mad? Mad about what?” I asked right before I caught sight of Alli’s girlfriend dragging a very uncomfortable looking guy by the hand behind her.

Sarah was a vision with her long, wheat-blonde hair contrasting sharply against her all black outfit. She had a knockout body completely on display. With the exception of her opaque, chiffon sleeves and boots similar to what her girlfriend was wearing, she basically looked like she was dressed for yoga, in painted-on tights and a skimpy sports bra. The guy she was manhandling was a different story.

I arched my eyebrow at Alli. “Is that who I think it is?”

She had the good sense to look embarrassed. “Well, if the mountain won’t come to Mohammad…”

“I think you have that backwards.” I patted her on the shoulder condescendingly while I attempted to school my features into something along the lines of friendly but not flirtatious.

“Nash, Nick. Nick, Nash.” Sarah shoved her reluctant burden in my direction then grabbed Alli’s hand and dragged her off toward the dance floor.

Nick ducked his head and shoved his hands in his front pockets. “Well this isn’t awkward at all,” he mumbled. Or that’s what it sounded like under the blaring music.

Okay. So I know that I’ve said that I didn’t really have a type, but, if I did, Nick would definitely not be it. He was about average height and weight, with raven-black hair cut into that typical primary school haircut for boys; something just this side of too squared to be considered a bowl cut. He was wearing comfortable jeans and tennis shoes, a green Marvin the Martian t-shirt, and an open red-plaid flannel over it. And he was wearing glasses. Bad tortoiseshell ones that appeared to be circa 1985. Contrary to popular belief, not all gay men have fashion sense, but come on. He was in the hottest gay nightclub in the city and he looked like he was dressed to be spending a lazy Sunday on the couch, reading a novel.

“Hey, Nick,” I shouted. “Good to meet you.”

He rolled his eyes. “I’m sorry about this. It wasn’t my idea.”

I smiled at him. It obviously wasn’t his idea. He clearly didn’t want to be there. “It’s fine. It’s not a problem. One can never have too many friends, right?”

He gave me a wry, lopsided grin. “Yeah.”

“Can I get you a drink?” I offered.

He shook his head. “Thanks but I don’t drink.”

Of course he didn’t. He had probably never partied or had casual sex either. Hell, he most likely still lived in his parent’s basement.

“Nash!” I turned my head to see the number one reason that I had called in sick the night before slinking his way over to me. He looked good. Damn good. But then, that was his job. He was a dancer at the club. I know that you’re not supposed to dip your pen in the company inkwell but that’s me. I’m an idiot. I couldn’t help but check him out. He was shirtless, his trim and defined body glistened, and his ultra-low-rise jeans were riding even lower than the manufacturer ever intended in order to give just enough of a peek of his well-groomed bush so that you knew his gorgeous, strawberry-blonde hair, artfully disarrayed, was his natural color.

“What do you want, Bry?” I asked, trying to appear as if I had absolutely no interest in the answer.

“I just wanted to know if it’s okay for me to pick up my stuff after work tonight.”

No apology. No nothing. Fucker. “What stuff?” I huffed.

He tilted his head at me in a pointless and disingenuous attempt to appear sympathetic. “Don’t be like that.”

“Like what?” I snarled. “Pissed off that I walked in on MY boyfriend fucking MY best friend on MY couch? I shouldn’t be pissed off about that?”

“Honestly, I didn’t think you’d care. It’s not like I was getting any from you. You hadn’t touched me in a week.”

A week? Was that true? Probably. I’d had to postpone my waxing appointment because I was short on funds until I got my check. I had a tendency to shut down sexually if I didn’t feel good about myself. But still… “You couldn’t go a week without getting your ass reamed?” I was getting out of control and I knew it. I was letting him get to me. I needed to step back and get a grip before we both got fired. “You know what?” I fished around in my pocket for the last of the spending money from my paycheck. “Here,” I said, shoving the canlı bahis siteleri hundred dollar bill down the front of his jeans. “Buy yourself a dildo so you can go fuck yourself.”

“Nash?” Nick stepped up beside me and snaked his arm around the back of my waist. “Aren’t you going to introduce me to your… friend?” The heavy sarcastic drawl on the word friend effectively turned the word into an insult.

I was speechless. One because I had totally forgotten that he was even there, and two because I had no clue what the hell he was doing.

“I’m Nick,” he continued when I obviously wasn’t going to say anything. “I’m Nash’s boyfriend. And you are?”


“Oh,” Nick drawled. He scanned Bryce’s body with a look of such distain that I was actually surprised Nick didn’t vomit on Bry’s shoes. I doubt that Bryce had ever been so degraded in his life.

Bryce dug around in the front of his jeans for the bill I had stuffed there. “Here,” he snapped, shoving the money into my hand. “You’re obviously not as injured as you’re pretending to be. I’ll be by after work to get my things.”

I was both confused and amused, watching Bryce flounce off toward the dancer’s locker room. The second that he was out of sight, Nick released the grip he had on my hip and stepped away from me.

“Sorry,” he slipped his hands in his pockets and hunched in on himself, back to his original persona. “I couldn’t resist. I can’t stand cheaters.”

“Holy shit,” I laughed. “Don’t apologize. That was classic. Thank you.”

“Yeah?” He shot me that lopsided grin again.

“You realize what you’ve done though? Now you have to come home with me tonight. He’ll know it was all bullshit if you’re not there when he shows up.”

He shrugged. “Okay. I don’t have any other pressing engagements.”

I smiled at him. “Okay. Let’s get you situated somewhere with a coke or something. I need to get back to work before they start screaming at me.”


Nick looked around at my living room when we walked in the door. My apartment wasn’t anything to write home about. It was a standard, one bedroom, urban box, but I had lived there for years and liked it. The furniture was half-decent and all matched, I had a nice, mid-range entertainment system, and the complex had some good amenities, like a fully equipped weight room, pool, and laundry rooms. There was also a box on the coffee table full of Bryce’s shit.

“Would you like a coke or something?” I asked, pouring myself a glass of whiskey.

“Whatever you have is fine,” he replied. “So this is it, huh? The scene of the crime? Is that his?”

I glanced at Nick and he was pointing at the box. I nodded.

“That’s a nice box,” he said.

I squinted at him. It was an old, battered, Smirnoff case that I had found lying around, repurposed from work for one reason or another.

“Got any trash bags?” he smirked.

I chuckled, “Yeah.”

He picked up the box and followed me into the kitchen where I grabbed a bottle of coke out of the fridge for him and a trash bag. He held the bag open while I unceremoniously dumped all of Bryce’s left-behind clothes and toiletries in it. I watched as he tied it off and set it on the floor. We made our way back to the living room and sat on either ends of the couch.

“Did you clean this?” he asked, running his hand over the leather of the couch cushion.

“Yes,” I laughed. I had actually scrubbed the entire apartment on Friday when I had gathered up his stuff to get rid of any reminders of Bryce, including the scent of him.

“Good,” he grinned at me. “This is a nice place.”

“Thanks. I like it. The walls are thick and the neighbors are quiet.”

“Can’t beat that,” he gifted me with a real smile for the first time and I realized that he was kinda cute.

“So how do you know Alli?” I asked.

He leaned back, draped one arm over the back of the couch, and crossed his legs. “Sarah’s my sister.”

I admit that I was shocked. “You don’t look anything alike.”

He shook his head and took a drink of his coke. “No. Half-sister. We have different mothers.”

“And you’re both gay,” I pondered out loud.

He nodded. “But there are five others that are all straight. Our father was a bit of a man whore. Seven kids with five different women. He only married three of them. My mother wasn’t one of the lucky ones. Or maybe she was, depending on your viewpoint. How about you? Any siblings?”

I nodded. “A brother and a sister but I don’t speak to them. I was disowned when I came out.”

He frowned. “That’s rough. I’m sorry.”


“Nah. I was fifteen when I told my mother that I was gay. She just looked at me like, ‘No shit, Sherlock.’ Then she told me to go clean my room.”

I laughed. “That’s awesome. I love hearing about good coming-out stories. It’s a little hard for me to fathom, considering where I came from, but it’s nice to know that there are some good parents out there. What do you do for a living?”

He smirked at me. “I play video games.”

“Seriously?” I chuckled. “You get paid for that?”

He nodded. “I alpha test,” he elaborated. “It’s my job to try to break the game.”

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