Carl sat at his computer staring at the screen. He thought about what Tom had said in the pub. He had thought about Allan all the way home. Allan was online. Carl quickly looked at his watch and subtracted five hours from the 11.37 his watch read and clicked on the IM button. Instantly he was given a window in which to type his message and he took a deep breath and simply typed the word, "Hello."
There was no response and Carl tried again: "Hello, Allan. Are you there?"
Still no response was forthcoming. Pressing the Control and G keys together the word "buzz" appeared in the window, accompanied by a doorbell sound and Carl re-typed, "Hello, Allan. It's Carl."
Allan heard his computer buzz and rushed as fast as he could from the kitchen where he had been in the process of making a sandwich and a broad smile spread across his face as he quickly typed a response.
Allan: CARL???? Hey, Carl. I'm here
Carl smiled, nervously as the message appeared on his computer, quickly followed by another.
Allan: Oh, man! Hey, babe. Where the hell have you been? What you been doing? Everything okay?
Carl: Whoa, slow down.
Allan: I've been worried about you.
Allan: Why? You have to ask? You left so abruptly after we last talked and haven't been back.
Carl: Sorry about that.
Allan: Is everything okay?
Carl: I guess so.
Allan: It sure is good to be chatting to you. I've missed you.
Carl: I missed you, too.
Allan: Yeah? Cool.
Allan: So, you okay to chat now, or is this a flying visit?
Carl: No, I can chat.
Carl: Not sure what to say, though. I guess sorry is the first thing.
Allan: Don't worry about it, so long as you're okay, that's all that matters.
Carl: Well, yeah, I'm okay, but I feel like a prat.
Allan: A prat?
Carl: A jerk.
Allan: LOL! I know what prat means; I just meant why do you feel like one?
Carl: Because I've been a - how do you American's say it? Dumb Ass?
Allan: LMAO. Don't worry about it, babe. It's cool.
Carl: No, it isn't. I've been a total dumb ass and I have no excuse.
Allan: Hey, you don't need an excuse. I mean it's not like we're joined at the hip, right?
Carl: I guess.
Allan: Well, okay, then.
Allan: So, what you been up to?
Carl: Nothing much. Mostly trying to figure out what I was gonna say to you if I ever came online again.
Carl: Well, I guess I did leave in a hurry after last time.
Allan: Yeah, you did.
Carl: You remember what I said?
Allan: Every word.
Allan: Really. I read it often enough this past month as the archive stored it.
Carl: LOL! Well, I meant it.
Allan: You did?
Carl: I love you.
Allan: Awesome I love you, too.
Carl: I dunno why, I've just been an asshole.
Allan: LMAO. Will you quit already with the self-reprobation?
Allan: Okay. You want to talk about it?
Carl: About what?
Allan: Whatever it is bothering you about this?
Carl: I dunno. I'm not exactly sure what it is. Just thoughts, you know.
Allan: What kind of thoughts?
Carl: Well, I talked with Tom. He says hi, by the way.
Allan: Cool. Hi Tom. Is he there?
Carl: No! I left him in the pub so I could get home and see if you were online.
Allan: So, what did you talk to Tom about?
Carl: The Internet.
Allan: The Internet?
Carl: I think, though I may be wrong, I got scared because of the Internet.
Allan: You mean because that's how we met?
Carl: Yeah. I guess.
Allan: I can appreciate that.
Carl: You can?
Allan: Sure. It's a big deal falling in love with someone you only ever chat to in a little box on your computer screen.
Allan: I didn't set out to fall in love, you know.
Carl: I know.
Allan: I mean it was really the last thing I expected to happen. Hell, I didn't even expect you to have any feelings for me at all.
Carl: Neither did I. LOL!
Allan: All we've done is chat online. I have your picture, so I know what you look like and, if I'm honest, I really like what I see.
Carl: I like your picture, too.
Allan: Well, unlike you, I'm no oil painting.
Carl: You are to me.
Allan: I shall blush.
Carl: Go ahead, because it's true. I fell in love with you big time, but I got scared. It's hard to explain, but I just thought maybe meeting someone on the Internet was a little scary.
Allan: I understand completely.
Carl: Apart from that, I'm not sure what to do.
Allan: What do you mean?
Carl: I'm gay. I know that. But, to be honest, no one other that Tom knows that.
Carl: That's the point, Allan - it isn't okay.
Allan: Explain it to me.
Carl: I've never told anyone before, so don't you see - I've never had a boyfriend.
Allan: Ah, okay.
Carl: And being gay, I've never had a girlfriend, either.
Allan: LOL! I should hope not.
Carl: I'm serious.
Allan: I know. I'm sorry. But that doesn't matter.
Carl: Of course it does. You don't get it, so you?
Allan: Get what?
Carl: I'm a virgin.
Allan: That's nothing to be ashamed about.
Carl: Yeah, right.
Allan: Honestly. I think it's cute.
Carl: Puppy dogs are cute, 20 year old men who are virgins are not cute.
Allan: Well, my guy is.
Carl: Your guy?
Carl: Oh! I didn't know you had one. I'm sorry. I guess I'm talking way out of turn.
Allan: I'm talking about you, you dummy.
Allan: That's if you'll have me as your boyfriend.
Carl: Wow! I never thought of having a boyfriend so far away.
Allan: Well, it won't always be that way.
Carl: What do you mean?
Allan: I know this Internet thing freaks you out, but we can do what you wanted to do - you know, get to know each other, talk about the things that matter and then, who knows, if we still like each other maybe we could meet up one day.
Allan: I'm sorry.
Carl; What for?
Allan: Guess I'm freaking you out even more.
Carl: No, it's okay, just a lot to get my head around.
Allan: I know.
Carl: I still feel dumb about being a you-know-what.
Allan: Don't. Please. To me, it doesn't matter.
Carl: Well, I dunno.
Allan: Okay, so maybe us being boyfriends was a stupid idea. Maybe you want to go find a guy you can have sex with and get over this virgin thing. I mean, after all, you came out to me and to Tom, so this new found freedom may make you want to live a little.
Carl: Are you mad at me?
Allan: No, I'm not mad at you. I just realised that being boyfriends would be like committing and us being so far apart that would be stupid.
Carl: In a way, yes it would, but for that reason, not because I wanna go find another guy and get laid.
Carl: Can't we just continue chatting as we do? As friends? No commitment to each other as boyfriends?
Allan: Sure we can. I'd like that.
Carl: I do love you. I just have too much going on in my head right now for anything more.
Allan: I understand. I just didn't want you to log off again for another month.
Carl: I won't.
Carl: I promise. Except for now.
Carl: It's getting kinda late here and I need to go to bed.
Allan: I guess it is. Okay, but we can talk again soon?
Carl: You bet. How does tomorrow sound?
Allan: Sounds good to me.
Carl: Okay, it's a date.
Allan: LOL! Okay, now you go sleep. Sweet dreams.
Carl: Thanks, Allan.
Allan: I love you.
Carl: I love you, too. Goodnight, Allan.
Allan: Goodnight, babe.
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