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Same Time Tomorrow

by The Scholar

Part 12: Sorry.

Allan: Hello, Carl. Am I disturbing you at all?

Carl: Hey, Allan. smile No, of course not. You're online early.

Allan: Didn't go in to work today.

Carl: Oh, you're not ill, or anything, are you?

Allan: No, I'm not ill. I have a presentation to work on, so I'm doing it here rather than in the office.

Carl: Oh, I see. Cool.

Allan: Needed a break from it and saw you online.

Carl: smile

Allan: So, you collected any more of Tom's clothing? LOL!

Carl: What?

Allan: You said you got his shirt.

Carl: Oh!

Allan: You told me a coupe of nights ago.

Carl: I did? I forgot.

Allan: Sorry, I didn't mean to embarrass you.

Carl: No, it's okay. I must have been drinking when I told you.

Allan: Yes, you had been.

Carl: Well, in answer to your question, no I haven't.

Allan: Probably just as well, or he'd be going to work naked.

Carl: Oh! LOL. I never thought of that.

Allan: So, did he get a new one?

Carl: Shirt? Yeah.

Allan: Maybe he can get some new shorts, too.

Carl: Very likely, but I didn't get his shorts.

Allan: Oh, well, plenty of time. LOL!

Carl: For what?

Allan: To get his shorts.

Carl: Why would I want his shorts? I'm not gay, you know.

Allan: Okay.

Carl: I'm not. What makes you think that I am?

Allan: I couldn't think of any other reason you would tell me with such glee that you got his shirt.

Carl: I was drunk. It was just a prank.

Allan: Okay.

There were no words appearing on either Allan's or Carl's screen. Allan couldn't think of anything to say. Carl was trying hard to dig himself out of what could turn into a mess. He had forgotten all about telling Allan about Tom's shirt. The shirt he had, that night, worn to bed, just to feel it against his skin and to smell Tom's aroma on it and which had sent him into a dreamy sleep with a smile on his face.

Allan: I'm sorry.

Carl: It's okay, just a misunderstanding.

Allan: I guess so. My fault.

Carl: I should be careful what I say, I guess.

Allan: So should I. None of my business anyway, I jumped to the wrong conclusion and I apologize.

Carl: It's okay.

Allan: Thanks.

More silence. Carl was angry. Not at Allan, but at himself. He had never told anyone that he was gay. He'd never had a boyfriend, sex or anything like that, so as far he was concerned the question of his sexuality meant nothing.

Carl: Can I ask you something?

Allan: Sure.

Carl: If I had been gay what would you have thought?

Allan: I'd have thought that you were lucky to have found Tom.

Carl: Oh?

Allan: But then, I'd be assuming that Tom was gay, too.

Carl: Yeah, I guess.

Allan: But as you're not and if it turns out he is, how about you send him to me?

Carl: What?

Allan: You may not be gay, but I am.

Carl: Oh!

Allan: Guess that wasn't a subtle way of telling you, was it?

Carl: LOL! I never knew.

Allan: Not a lot of people do.

Carl: Oh?

Allan: But as the subject came up, I saw no point in keeping it from you. I mean, we've been chatting a while now and the opportunity to mention it arose.

There was no response from Carl.

Allan: Carl?

There was still no response.

Allan: You still there?

Allan waited.

Carl: yeah, I'm here.

Allan: Okay. I thought you must have disappeared in disgust, or something.

Carl: Disgust?

Allan: I don't know how you feel about gay people. Maybe I should have kept quiet. I'm sorry.

Carl: You have nothing to apologise for. I have nothing against gay people.

Allan: Okay.

Carl: Honestly, it makes no difference to me what you are.

Allan: I guess I should have told you earlier, or not at all.

Carl: Don't see it's any of my business.

Allan: Not the point.

Carl: Hey, honestly, you're still the same person I've been chatting with, right?

Allan: Yeah, I guess.

Carl: Well, okay then. No problem.

Allan: Really?

Carl: Of course, really. What kind of person do you think I am?

Allan: I'm gay. Maybe I just hoped you were, too.

Carl: Why?

Allan: I don't know how to answer that.

Carl: Be honest.

Allan: Hmm.

Carl: What kind of answer is that?

Allan: Sorry.

Carl: There you go apologising for nothing again.

Allan: LOL!

Carl: What do you mean, you don't know how to answer?

Allan: It doesn't matter.

Carl: It does to me.

Allan: Why?

Carl: Because people don't say things like that without a reason.

Allan: Oh.

Carl: So?

Allan: I don't know.

There was another silence.

Carl: Okay, forget it.

Allan: I just don't know what you want me to say.

Carl: I was just wondering why you said that. I didn't think it was a difficult question, but I was obviously wrong. Sorry.

Allan: Oh.

Carl: LOL! Is that the best you can do?

Allan: Sorry.

Carl: LOL!

Allan: I guess, I was just thinking that maybe if you had been gay and so had Tom then the two of you might have got together.

Carl: Why?

Allan: Well, it would have been nice that you did.

Carl: Okay. I still don't see how Tom and I getting together is an answer to you saying: "I'm gay. Maybe I just hoped you were, too."

Allan: Well, maybe I just meant that one of us would at least be happy.

Carl: So, why didn't you say that in the first place?

Allan: I just thought of it.

Carl: LOL! So, there's another reason?

Allan: Look, can we just forget this?

Carl: Okay. Sorry.

Allan: Thanks.

Carl: I didn't mean to push it.

Allan: It's okay.

Carl: Sorry.

Allan: Now you're apologizing.

Carl: smile Guess I am.

Allan: LOL!

Carl: Okay, changing the subject, what's the presentation about?

Allan: Oh, it's all rather dull, just some corporate database that needs tweaking.

Carl: And you can't just do it?

Allan: Not that simple.

Carl: Why?

Allan: Needs to be practically taken apart and I need to show the best way to do that and the best way to reassemble it with the new components to make it work better.

Carl: Sounds like fun.

Allan: No! Getting to swim with cute boys is fun.

Carl: LOL! I don't get to swim with cute boys.

Allan: You get the pool to yourself?

Carl: No, but Tom's a lifeguard. He doesn't go in the water unless he has too.

Allan: Guess not, but there must be other cute boys about.

Carl: Wouldn't know about that, would I?

Allan: No, I don't suppose you would.

Carl: LOL!

Allan: I better get back to work on my presentation.

Carl: Okay.

Allan: See you online sometime.

Carl: I hope so.

Allan: smile

Carl: You working tomorrow at home?

Allan: Probably.

Carl: Okay. Take another break same time tomorrow.

Allan: I can do that.

Carl: Cool. Bye, Allan.

Allan: Bye, Carl and thanks.

Carl: For what?

Allan: Accepting me.

Carl: No problem.

Allan: smile Later, Carl.

Carl: smile

Carl logged off. He stared at the screen for a few minutes and then began to close down his computer. As he did so, he sighed heavily.

"Carl David Mitchell," he said aloud. "You are a fucked up shit!"

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