Honestly, I really didn’t know then whether I should go with Raymond to his house or not. Two mini-me’s appeared and argued as time stood still.
ANGEL: Remember, you promised your dad you will go home today because it’s Father’s Day!
DEVIL: Your dad is used to your breaking your promises. Raymond might be your “this is it”!
ANGEL: If he is your “this is it!” then he would understand why you can’t join!
DEMON: Remember you haven’t had sex for 9 days already?
ANGEL: And remember you still have a boil on your left butt!
DEVIL: If he’s your “this is it”, then he’ll understand.
Ok that was it! I am old enough to make my own decisions and I don’t need to rely on imaginary counsels.
I told Raymond I really wanted to join but I can’t. He looked at me with sad puppy eyes and he pouted his lips. I was about to join him again inside the tryke but thankfully, I was able to control myself. I bid my goodbye and turned my back and started to walk. I suddenly had this crazy urge to look back.
DEVIL: “If you look back, it’s a give-away that you like him!”
ANGEL: “That’s the point! Look back so that he knows you like him but you really can’t go to his place now!”
I slowly and dramatically looked back and prepared to give my best “seductive yet innocent smile ever”, but the tryke was already gone.
I tried not to text him as soon as I got to my room, but I failed. I told him that I enjoyed the night. He replied that he also enjoyed it and that he’d text me later that day because he was about to sleep already.
When I woke up and checked my phone, he already had a text and he asked if I can go to his place that night. I said yes without hesitation and my day went on like usual ... as boring as a bowl of rice without toppings.
When the night came and I was prepping, he texted me that I should go straight to his neighbor instead because his friend was having a birthday celebration.
When I read the message, my heart went ballistic. For straight people, meeting the parents is the most stressful part of a budding relationship. To gay people, meeting your new partner’s friends is as stressful if not more stressful. Why?
Most gay people treat their friends as their family. Most, if not all, out and closeted gays spend more time with their friends than their actual family. If you don't get along with your new partner’s friends, it’s usually a tell-tale sign that your relationship won’t last.
This was the reason why when he told me that I was about to go to a party where I’ll be the odd gay out (pun obviously intended), I was thought of canceling the “meeting”. But the thing was, I really thought Raymond was special, so I went on ahead.
Luckily, the night went on well. I still wasn’t supposed to drink any alcohol that time and MEL, the birthday girl, was so kind enough to tell me personally that I didn’t have to drink because Raymond already told them that I was on medication. When she told me this, my old counsels came back:
ANGEL: Don’t drink! She already told you that they know you can’t drink!
DEVIL: This is the first test! If you don’t drink, they’ll think you’re a party-pooper.
“I’m all good, I think I can drink a bottle or two” was what I told MEL.
It honestly felt weird being there as most of the people were straight. I’m so used to always being surrounded by gays (and gays who delude themselves of being bisexuals) that being in a straight crowd made me feel I’m back at work where I am a closet empress.
Raymond’s friends were really nice to me. I also felt that Raymond’s friends love him as much as he loves them.
The next day was my turn. Two of my “kids”, ROME and BOOTS were celebrating their birthday. I thought then, that my 1st-tier circle of friends are a bit difficult so introducing him to my younger friends would be better. Suffice to say, everything went well and I think Raymond and his friend Baby enjoyed my friends’ company.
After that was his turn again, but the pressure was still on as he was going to introduce me to his BFF (Best Friend Forever), IVORY. Now this girl was as intimidating as meeting a supermodel. She had a way of carrying herself that reminded me of Paris Hilton. She’s confident, beautiful, well-educated and articulate. Having one of the things I mentioned is already good, but this girl is the complete package.
Being with her was like standing on a needle point and being asked to juggle 2 elephants and one over-weight giraffe. The good thing though, was she was really nice and I THINK she thought I was OK for her BFF. I knew then that if I had to impress two of Raymond’s friends, it would be IVORY (since she is Raymond’s BFF) and BABY because she was always with Raymond.
The day came when I had to introduce him to my 1st-tier friends.
I’d have to say that during “our days” in the Olongapo Gimick scene .. there was no scene when we weren’t there. It isn’t because we were all rich (my friends are, not me), but people say that we exude an intimidating presence that even bouncers would gladly kiss the earth we tread on.
Most of them were not available, CASSEY, STAR and FRANCHESCA were in Manila. GWEN on the other hand, has been hiding in Laguna for 2 years now and nobody knows what has happened to him. HEART, was still in USA and won’t be in the Philippines for vacation ‘till I leave on the 9th of July.
I wasn’t really planing on introducing Raymond to my 1st-tier friends just yet, but MULCH texted me that he was in Olongapo because he heard that I was about to leave the Philippines soon and he wanted to see me before I go .... and my new partner.
This scared the shit out of me.
Of all my friends, MULCH is basically the most unpredictable. His mood swings are so fast that you’ll never know if he would slap you in the face as soon as he’s done laughing his heart out. Aside from this, he can be considered as a sadist. He believes in the saying “Truth Hurts” and he doesn’t shy away from hurting people. He’ll tell you the truth whether you like to hear it or not. That’s why a lot of people don’t get him, and when they don’t get him .... well ... they don’t like him. And there lies the problem, MULCH doesn’t care whether people like him or not.
I really was considering to send him a rain check when KIARA confirmed that he was also coming. That lightened my burden of “MULCH might gut Raymond on the Spot” a little.
In our group, KIARA has always been the most supportive. He doesn’t speak much, though when he does, you better listen because it would be something really important. KIARA is the type who’ll listen to whatever you have to say, and if he doesn’t like it, will wait for the proper time to tell you in a very gentle manner what he thinks. He also has this calming presence (kinda like Jasper in Meyer’s Twilight). This fact made me confident that somebody will be able stop MULCH if he goes into a Super-Biatch-Rampage.
When we got to our meeting place, the first thing I asked MULCH was not to give Raymond a difficult time. What he said shocked me:
MULCH: I don’t think so. I think I’ll be a little harsh on your date for a change.
ME: Huh? Why are you going to do that? When you guys have a date or in a relationship, I have always been short of bringing pompoms to show my support.
MULCH: Look, your last relationship sucked big time and you got hurt. We were supportive with your last one who turned out to be a disaster for you. This time, I’ll try to do the interrogation since you always forget to investigate who you're dating. You might already be dating a psycho-killer and you’ll never notice.
... I looked at Kiara for some back-up but he was busy with choosing a song to sing from the song book.
When Raymond and Baby came, the disaster followed them.
Mulch only waited 5 minutes after Raymond and Baby had taken their seats when he started bludgeoning him with questions. Raymond looked like a deer caught in Optimus-Prime’s headlights. I tried diverting the topic but Mulch kept on going like he was on an Eveready battery marinated in RedBull.
Magic happened when KIARA started singing. Mulch suddenly stopped asking questions and looked at the videoke monitor. I think he found it difficult to decide which was more important - singing or harassing my date.
Lady Luck smiled upon me as Mulch decided singing “I'm Yours” by Jason Mraz was more important than asking Raymond what was his GPA during his last year in College.
The night went on pretty well as Mulch softened up and showed that he liked Raymond and Baby. They were enjoying so much, in fact, that I even had to make a scene so that we could leave. I wanted to go home as it was already 7 in the morning and we were still in a bar drinking. Raymond, Baby and I went ahead as Kiara and Mulch stayed in the Videoka bar with all it's couch-bugs and mosquitoes.
I thought then that Raymond really is special. He has put up with my already difficult friend trying to be even more difficult. Aside from that, I like his friends and they have been really kind to me.
It was then I decided I didn’t want to hold back anymore. I have wanted to tell him this right after our 3rd date, but I didn’t want to be the first one to say it as I might not get the reply I wanted to.
I crossed myself and typed away ...
I texted Raymond: “I love you.”
It felt like forever until my phone beeped that I had a message.
My ear-to-ear smile evaporated into oblivion.
His reply wasn’t the one I was expecting ....
(To be concluded.)
(Rome and Boots' Birthday with "my kids")