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Ch. 01: Mixed drinks and mixed feelings
Ryan looked around the crowded room, desperately trying to spot a familiar face in the sea of college kids. He hated going to parties where he didn’t know anyone- a pet peeve compounded by the fact that it would be like this for a few weeks. After minutes of searching, he saw only a few people he recognized from his classes. Some were nice enough to wave, while others either pretended not to notice or genuinely didn’t recognize him. He sighed, wondering why he even bothered to come out tonight.
School had started four weeks ago and he still hadn’t managed to find a group of friends he really clicked with. He had dozens of friends back home, all of whom ended up at the nearby University while still trying to convince him that he should join them. But the idea of breaking away and working to be more independent sounded like too good of an opportunity to pass up. So he decided to take a chance on a school where he wouldn’t know anybody. Unfortunately for him, it meant many nights like this. He really tried those first couple weeks, even forcing himself to strike up conversations with new people everyday like it was some quota to fill. All of it was in an effort that one of those random elevator conversations would turn into a real friendship- or at least people he could hang out with. After weeks of that, he finally gave up- knowing that it would happen naturally at some point.
Ryan looked down at the drink he’d been nursing for the past twenty minutes- a hardcore mix of liquor that Lawrence, a guy who lived down the hall from him, had whipped up. He was the one who invited him here, after being invited by someone else. Still Ryan agreed, only because he couldn’t take another night in his single dorm, texting his friends. Lawrence was chill enough- sparking a conversation when Ryan had his door open one night, but really, the dude seemed like too much of a poser for him to want to get close. He tended to jump between friend groups- almost like he was weighing his options of who he’d rather spend his nights with. Ryan laughed to himself at the fact that even though he didn’t want to come with Lawrence, he still managed to lose him in the crowd. Regardless of wanting to come with him in the first place, he was alone at a party with a shitty drink and playing a game of chicken as to when he’d give up and go home.
Ryan looked around again, doing another lap around the crowded living room when he saw a face that made him stop in his tracks. Out past a crowd of drunk freshmen girls was a guy who leaned against the wall, wearing a brightly colored button-up shirt that was more open than it was closed. A pair of khaki shorts and classic Vans completed what Ryan considered to be the typical frat boy attire. He looked back up at the boy’s sculpted face and dark features, accentuated only by the string of Christmas lights that hung across every wall of the place.
The freshman daydreamed a little too long, getting caught up in what was underneath the boy’s clothes- not that he left much to question. The pink colored shirt hung low on the boy’s chest, giving Ryan a peek at the sculpted pecs and two pink nipples. He cursed himself for falling for the stereotype- knowing better than to get his hopes up for another painfully straight and presumably borderline homophobic guy straight out of a cliched college movie. He eventually snapped out of it, only to see the boy looking straight at him- noticing that he’d been staring. Ryan blushed redder than the solo cup he was holding, wishing the cheap lights could conceal the look of embarrassment that swept over him as he took a sip of his drink and tried to act normal. He looked again, too curious to see if maybe the boy hadn’t really noticed. But still, the stranger managed to catch him at the right time, matching Ryan’s stare with his own. He turned to his friends, mouthing out some excuse to leave the group and started walking his way.
“Are you interested in joining?” The mystery dude asked when he was close enough. He clutched a near empty bottle in hand, backing Ryan into a corner.
“I’m sorry, what?” The boy stammered.
The mystery dude curled his face into a smile, “The Fraternity.” He turned his head to the blue flag of Greek alphabets hanging just above the mantle, “This is a rush party after all- most dudes here are either brothers or are looking to pledge.”
“Oh.” Ryan said, looking back at the boy, oblivious that he’d ended up at a frat party. “No, I just came here with a friend.”
The other guy looked around, seeing that Ryan was alone and that his supposed friend was nowhere to be seen. Mystery dude just smiled. “Piece of advice?” The boy asked, finishing his beer and setting it on a table.
The frat boy leaned in, standing dangerously close enough that Ryan could smell the alcohol on his breath.
“Be a little more subtle when you stare at the dudes here.” He pulled off a little, giving Ryan a wink. “Most guys are here to check out the fraternity- casino oyna not the frat boys.”
“I-I wasn’t-” he tried to muster, but he got caught on his own tongue. He should have played it cool and brushed it off, but somehow the boy made him nervous. It’d been a while since he’d been so flustered- with the muscled boy turning him into an incoherent mess. Ryan was like a deer caught in front of a freight train with nowhere to go. He was sure no amount of dim lighting could hide his embarrassment.
He opened his mouth to mutter an apology but the other boy stopped him. “Take it easy, man. I’m not gonna out you or anything. Ryan didn’t even bother to load the “I’m not gay” ammunition that most other guys would have. He let go of that trigger years ago.
The older boy shrugged, “Though I can’t say that all of my brothers here would be as cool if they caught you checking them out.” Ryan wanted to wipe the cocky grin away from the boy’s face. Why did he have to look so good anyway?
“Yeah.” Ryan managed. He was desperate at this point to leave the conversation, and this house, for good. “I’ll just see myself out.” He mumbled as he turned towards the door.
He must have looked pretty ashamed because the other boy softened his voice and turned his head towards the large french doors leading out to the backyard. “Wait.”
“Come outside with me.”
He said, not even bothering to ask. “It’s quieter out there, so we can chat without people overhearing.”
Initially, the boy wanted to leave and forget that he’d come here in the first place. “Don’t come back to the Pi Kappa house” he reminded himself in big, bold letters. But yet somehow he wanted to see what it was the frat boy wanted.
He softly nodded his head as he was led outside, weaving through the sea of college kids as he headed to the large glass doors. The mystery dude disappeared for a few seconds, dipping into the kitchen, and coming back with two beers in hand.
“You’re gonna need this,” he insisted as he walked Ryan over to a bench at the edge of the backyard, shrouded in trees and not very well lit.
Ryan looked around, hearing a few conversations from people who’d congregated out there for a smoke. He couldn’t make anything out, though, giving him a sense that he could talk freely.
“I’m Levi, by the way.” The frat boy said as he undid the cap on the iron edge.
“Ryan” he replied, giving him a weird look.
“Doesn’t seem to match, does it?” Levi chuckled, like he’d felt that reaction all his life. He took a swig of his beer, which was like water compared to all the other shit he drank before.
“No” Ryan said, wishing he could hide his face better, “Just not what I expected…”
“From an Asian dude.” Levi added, finishing the thought. Ryan cursed himself as the other boy smiled again, “My parents were so obsessed with everything American when they first moved here from Vietnam.” He listed off: “Coca Cola, Chevrolet, Tom Cruise…”
“What’s more American than blue jeans?” He said, like he’d been repeating that punchline since the day he could talk.
Ryan laughed, feeling a little more at ease the more they talked. “I kinda know what you mean.” He shrugged, “My folks are as patriotic as they come.”
Levi nodded, “They named my older brother Tanner.” He said with a chuckle, “You should hear my Vietnamese grandparents who barely speak a lick of English try and address us as Levi and Tanner.”
The younger boy continued to laugh as he took a sip of the beer he was given. Levi added, “When I was older, I overheard my mom telling my grandma that she wanted to give us American names so we’d fit in better.”
Ryan nodded, knowing the feeling as a minority himself. “If they don’t colonize you, we colonize ourselves.” He said, getting a laugh from the brown boy.
Levi raised an eyebrow, “What are you, by the way?” He asked, nonchalant. “I know that’s probably some red flag for political correctness but who gives a shit?”
“I’m from Guam.” He said, not used to people being so forward. Ryan was ready for the twenty questions, typically consisting of what language they spoke, whether he was an American or if everyone there lived in huts. At least, those are the ones he got the past few weeks.
“Ah” he said, handing the boy the other beer. “Can’t say I know much about it, but cheers to being my first Guam friend.”
Ryan took a sip of the beer, thankful that he didn’t have to pretend to like his mixed drink anymore. “So you really came to a rush party to try and get lucky with one of the brothers?” Levi asked, causing the other boy to nearly spit out his drink.
“No!” The boy protested as Levi laughed. He shook his head, needing to get used to the frat boy’s carefree comments. “I didn’t know it was a frat party until we got here. I came with a friend.”
Levi nodded as he took a sip of the cliche red solo cup. To his credit, the boy didn’t wince at the nasty concoction. “A friend who clearly doesn’t know how to slot oyna mix drinks. You sure he’s not trying to get you fucked up?” He asked, pouring the mix on the grass.
“I guess he’s more of an acquaintance, really.” Ryan admitted. He looked over at Levi, still trying to figure the boy out. Most dudes would have ditched him by now, yet the boy was still here, making conversation.
“So what’s your angle here? Or do you enjoy cornering the gay kids at parties?” Ryan asked, as his liquid courage seeped into the soil.
Levi laughed aloud, shaking his head, “In your defense, you don’t actually look gay.”
Ryan rolled his eyes, “Were you expecting some rainbow outfit and a sticker that reads ‘I suck dick’?” That last part came out a little louder than he intended, like it was his body’s way of preparing him for the worst.
The other boy shook his head with a smile as he patted the boy on the shoulder, “You’re a trip, dude.” Levi said, bypassing Ryan’s annoyance.
“Really though, I wasn’t trying to make you uncomfortable.” He smiled again, “If anything, you looked like you were having a shitty time and I was hoping to make it a little better.”
Ryan’s mind went wild, wondering if the boy meant for his comment to come off like that. He could already see this conversation as the precursor to some poorly directed gay porn video, complete with the sterotypical straight dude looking to get some action behind closed doors.
Ryan looked over at the boy, “So is this the part where you take me up to your room and convince me to suck your dick?” He asked, feeling more comfortable at this point.
Without skipping a beat, Levi responded, “Nah. The house is too crowded, so there’s no way we could sneak in there without anyone noticing.”
He tried to find a smirk on the boy’s face but couldn’t. Levi was straight faced- and much to Ryan’s disdain, incredibly sexy.
Ryan’s face turned serious, “You’re fucking with me, aren’t you?” He put the bottle down, and turned over his palms.
“Not unless that’s what you want.” He teased, ignoring the boy’s accusations.
Ryan looked at him, squinting as if there was some way to tell whether or not he was serious. “What is this, Levi? Some game you frat boys play on new blood? Is one of your brothers in the bushes recording this so you can post it on your Instagram story later?”
“No games.” The asian boy shook his head, “And no recording” he tilted his face, “unless that’s something you’re into cause I hear you can make so much cash on Onlyfans…”
Ryan growled loudly as he glared at the boy, curling his fist out of instinct, though he knew he could never actually punch someone.
Levi couldn’t help but laugh, enjoying himself a little too much at the boy’s expense. He raised an eyebrow and changed his tone, “I saw you checking me out inside and wanted to see if you were actually gay.”
He shrugged his shoulders, “I’ve been pretty damn curious at what it would be like to mess around with another dude.” He flashed him that same smile that Ryan started to hate,
“I actually think you’re pretty cute.”
“I’m not cute.” Ryan said, not wanting to be some little pet.
Ryan slumped back into the bench. “I’m the first dude who’s shown an interest in you and now you expect me to just get on my knees?”
Levi smiled, “Well I was picturing us lying down, but standing up works too.” Ryan rolled his eyes again, ready to walk off.
“Wait.” Levi said as he grabbed the boy’s wrist and pulled him back. His face may not have looked too intimidating, but the boy had one hell of a grip.
“I’m sorry for all the joking, it’s kinda my personality. I’m not one for being serious all the time.” He saw the boy’s face soften as he retook his seat.
“You’re not the first person to take interest, but you are the first dude that I find attractive and would actually like to have sex with.”
Ryan let that sit in his head for a second- knowing the other boy thought he was hot. He shook it away soon after, turning back, “I don’t get how you can be so casual about all this.”
“Come on, dude.” Levi said, “We’re in college now. If you want to have sex with someone, then you just ask them.”
Ryan wrestled with that for a few seconds. He wasn’t a stranger to hook-up culture- having not had many successful relationships in high school. Still, something about this seemed foreign.
“But you’re straight!” He eventually reasoned, despite everything leading up to this point.
“Straight-ish.” Levi corrected as he leaned into the timid boy. “I’ll bet most straight dudes wouldn’t be staring at your pouted lips, dying to know what they taste like.”
Ryan brought his face up to Levi’s and the two of them started a game of chicken to see who’d move first. He gathered together the last of his courage and brought his lips up to Levi’s and kissed him. The other boy couldn’t hide his shock when he felt them touch- almost like he was sure he’d have to string canlı casino siteleri Ryan along with every request. He soon kissed back in an effort to prove that he wasn’t bullshitting.
Even after orchestrating this whole meeting, Levi seemed to be taken aback as he pulled away from the younger boy. “Easy there dude, we can’t get too hot and heavy out here.” He said casually while catching his breath.
“Scared one of your frat brothers would see?” Ryan asked with a smirk.
“Well yeah.” The other boy responded, “It wouldn’t look good for either of us if we were caught.” Levi tried to regain his cool.
“You got a place we could go that’s not full of drunk college kids?”
Ryan nodded, “Yeah I’m in a single back on campus.”
A smile crept across the older boy’s face as if he’d struck gold. “Lead the way, freshman.” He said, finishing both of their drinks. On the outside, he acted like he was calm and collected, but inside, Levi knew he’d need the alcohol.
Ryan followed as he was led out of the frat house, stopping a few times whenever Levi ran into someone he knew. He played it cool and somehow, no one seemed to question why the frat boy was leaving their own party with some random dude. In those short greetings, he could tell that the older boy was well liked. Somehow that put him at ease.
Once outside, they walked down the suburban streets back to campus which was only a few blocks away. The boys chatted easily, getting to know each other a little better. Levi was a Sophomore who’d joined the Pi Kaps last year. It was a no brainer for him- having been social and into the party scene all throughout high school. Ryan figured that he must have followed in his parents’ footsteps, wanting a slice of the American dream. I mean, what’s more American than fraternities and draft beer?
“I never thought of it that way.” Levi admitted as the freshman led them back to his room.
Ryan shared a bit about himself too- though was careful not to get too deep. They were, after all, going to hook-up and he didn’t want the slightest inconvenient detail to ruin that. It had been a while since he’d had sex- still getting used to his new life here. He had a steady stream of hook-ups back in his hometown, but hadn’t managed to break the ice once he moved. It was tricky trying to get guys who weren’t students here into his dorm. And the fact that he was still trying to get his bearings around town and work the bus system made hook-ups in the city a little unnerving. He’d be lying if he said he didn’t agree to go with Lawrence on the off chance he’d find someone to hook-up with.
Even when the conversation started to trail, Levi was ready with a pair of defibrillators- ready to shock it back to life. The boy wouldn’t stop talking: whether it was about the campus life, or some prodding into Ryan’s clustered mind. The other boy found it refreshing- not having to extract information from other people like he was a bother. Sex or not, it seemed like Levi would be a cool person to hang out with- apart from the flashes of cockiness that made him all the more desirable.
They eventually made it to Ryan’s dorm and walked right up to the front desk. To no one’s surprise, Levi knew the girl working there, who blushed red at the right of him. Ryan rolled his eyes, but then again, who could blame her. He watched as Levi put on his cool facade, leaning into the desk and doing his little playful banter. Ryan stood behind, watching it unfold as the girl gushed before them.
“Why aren’t you over at the Pi Kap party?” She asked in a high pitched voice. Ryan rolled his eyes, knowing that if Levi were to extend an invitation, she’d leave the desk right now and go with him.
He smiled, “We actually just came from there.” He leaned into the cheap countertop, “I wanted to make sure my good friend Ryan here got back okay.” He gestured toward me, “It’s his first year.”
The girl did a cursory turn to him but didn’t even bother to look. “Well I guess I could let you go up without signing in.” She smiled at him, “Being that you’re such a sweet friend.”
Levi gave her a wink as Ryan tried his hardest to keep himself from audibly gagging. The girl was trying way too hard, and Ryan could tell that this was all some game Levi was used to playing. And the boy was good at it.
“Thanks again-” He looked over at the nameplate, “Melody.”
The girl blushed red, twirling her hair as she buzzed them in. “See you at the next party” she said as Levi closed the door and they got into the elevator.
“One of your fuck buddies?” Ryan dared to ask.
Levi shook his head, “I’ve never seen that girl before in my life.”
Ryan sighed, “Must be nice to be handsome and charming.”
Levi got up in the boy’s face, able to smell the faint scent of beer coming out of Ryan’s pursed lips. “You’d be surprised what a smile and some nice words can do, freshman.”
Ryan stood his ground, looking into the boy’s eyes, “Like get a straight frat boy to come back to your dorm room?” He asked.
Levi cracked, forming a smile on his face as the elevator buzzed and the doors opened. “You’re not so timid after all.” He said as they exited and the boy led them to his room.
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