Charlie was still breathing heavily. Mike went out of bed, almost running to the bathroom. From there, came the sound of running water. Charlie wasn’t really listening, still trying to catch his breath. He had this stupid smile on his face and he knew it but had no idea of how to get rid of it. Anyway, who cared? He was happy and wanted to feel that way for as long as he could. It wasn’t that often he felt fulfilled in life.
His boss had recently promised him a promotion, then Mike had moved in with him and they were planning a trip around Europe to celebrate their first year together. It was all going great and he had no reason to stop smiling. When Mike came back to bed, he told Charlie he was very thirsty and had to drink water from the tap. Charlie kept smiling at him and kissed him without saying a word. Just as they were, they fell asleep until the day was new.
They had breakfast and a nice conversation before separating to get to their jobs. Then, Charlie’s happiness ended. He had been notified that someone else had landed the promotion instead of him. All morning, he was too embarrassed by this new development to ask anything but, after lunch, he decided to talk to his boss about it. After all, he liked him and new that he would be honest and would properly explain what had happened.
As it happens, the guy who had landed the promotion was not even a long time employee but a new staff member and the boss told Charlie he had been obligated to give him that post as he was the company’s owner son. Charlie tried to understand how a person that had been working there for four years, working hard to be precise, was not going to get the job and a kid who had no idea of the business just landed the gig because he was related to someone.
Unknown to him, Charlie had asked this enraged, screaming a bit and visibly annoyed. The boss asked him to calm down but he didn’t. He had no idea what came over him but he just started grabbing things and throwing them all around the room. He was about to go for his boss when two security guards subdued him. He was in such a state; it was hard for them to pull him out of there. He was not a tall guy but he was apparently really strong and would go without further fighting. But the two guys were stronger and they threw him out the front door. They left but returned shortly, telling him he needed to ask someone to empty his desk. He called his only friend in the office and she put everything worth something in a box and gave it to him in the parking lot. They parted, saying nothing.
He walked to a coffee shop with his box and tried calling Mike from his cellphone several times but he wasn’t picking up. The last time he tried, the call went straight to voice mail. Then something came over him. It wasn’t the rage he had felt before but rather a sense of worry, that something wasn’t completely fine. He decided to go back to his house and call Mike from there. Maybe his cellphone had just died or maybe something else was going on. It was certainly not the best day to be Charlie and, as he walked to the train station with his box, he hoped for everything to be ok and for this to be just a normal day or a dream.
When he stepped off the train, he received a call from the bank, telling him why he had his bank account blocked. He hung up immediately. It made no sense that his account was blocked and he knew those calls were just pranks or ways to get his data in order to rob him. He wasn’t going to fall for that. He walked fast from the station to his building. He was helped by a lady to open the front door and took the stairs as the elevator took too long to arrive at the ground floor. When he finally made it to the sixth floor, he looked for the keys in the box and open the door.
The place was empty and he had hoped to see Mike there. But he was obviously at work. He just wanted to know right away that he was ok but apparently that was a lot to ask for. He decided to take the phone and call him again but the cellphone number he was calling was dead. Voice mail time and again. Then he sat in his sofa and started thinking where he might be. He could go to Mike’s work, but he said they didn’t know he was gay so maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. Maybe…
And then he heard it. It was a sound coming from somewhere, like the one of someone complaining but soft. It was just as if someone tried to be silent but couldn’t really mask their own voice. It was then when Charlie realized the sound was not coming from outside or from another apartment. It was coming from one of the rooms, from the bedroom to be precise. He forgot all about his search for Mike, about his dismissal and his little box filled with shitty things. He just walked down the hall and opened the door, without even thinking much about it.
The bedroom door was never closed but it had been this time and he now knew why. Mike was there all right. But he wasn’t wearing any clothes and wasn’t hurt at all except a few nail marks in his back. Trying to cover himself up, Mike fell from the bed and Charlie saw the person who had been moaning. Different than he might think, the person was a woman. Charlie had never seen her before and that really didn’t matter.
- Get out of my house…
The woman looked at Mike and then at Charlie and then at Mike again, who was putting up his underwear and walking slowly to Charlie.
- Get the fuck out of my house! And you…
He said nothing. The woman picked up her things and ran past Charlie, still naked. She took his bed sheet but he didn’t care. He just wanted her out of his home. Once she was out, he stood in front of the door, still shocked. There was no way of crying, of going through another episode of crazy rage. He was too overwhelmed and too hurt to cry, scream or yell. Mike came out of the bedroom and was about to touch him but Charlie slapped his arm to one side and told him to go fuck himself. He told him he had been the best person in the world to him for a whole year. How could he be like this to him?
He shouldn’t have asked. Mike told him, caressing his arm, that he had liked at first and that he was a nice fuck but that was it. He got boring both in bed and in the rest but he didn’t let him go because of how well positioned he was. But now, Mike said, he had enough of that and wanted to leave him. Charlie followed him back to the room and told him that he wasn’t just leaving. He was throwing him out. He wasn’t going to be the victim, he told Mike, not when he was clearly the one that was losing more.
Mike didn’t listen to anything he said. He just put some clothes, grabbed a small bag and started packing. He packed all the clothes that Mike had given him. He had to take out another bag, a bigger one, and by then Charlie decided he had to breath and count to ten, so he went to the living room and tried to calm himself down. He finally started crying profusely and didn’t heard when Mike left with two big bags full of everything Charlie had bought him
He had been alone for at least an hour when the phone rang and he had to answer because the sound annoyed him. It was the bank again. They were sorry to tell him Internet pirates had targeted his account and that he had lost of the savings in there. He laughed like a crazy person right then, and the lady talking to him thought he had gone insane or something. She was careful to say it may take a while but that the bank would reinstate all his savings, as he had paid the insurance they sold.
Charlie just said thanks and hung up. He cleaned up his tears and, as painful as it was, he tried to think what he had done wrong. Although he saw nothing at the time and decided it was best to take a nap, Charlie had been not that great at his job and had been promised a promotion he didn’t deserve. The owner’s boss was not the stupid kid he thought he was. The man was actually an expert in advertising and would make the company double its earning in a single year.
As for Mike, he had met him in a bar and, been drunk, had taken him to his apartment and had sex with him. The first three months, it was all about sex, not minding anything else. It was Charlie who asked Mike to be his boyfriend and the one that insisted on Mike leaving with him. All of this happened in a matter of months, including the expensive gifts and the planning of the trip that, unknown to him, Mike was still going to have. Charlie had left him in control of one of his credit cards and Mike had recently bought the tickets for both his female friend and him. Charlie would realize about this in the future, a bit too late.
And the pirates. That looks random but it isn’t. Mike had paid for porn and clothes in many websites and that’s where the pirates always take their information from.
In conclusion, Charlie had all the answers in front of him but he wasn’t acknowledging any of them, anything that he had done. He blinded himself into thinking certain things and rushed into liking somebody because he thought he would never find someone. His sunken self-esteem had been the one to blame and it would take him still a lot of life to learn the necessary to stop blaming others for his mistakes.