|Adaptations (adaptations) wrote,|
@ 2009-05-13 13:23:00
|Entry tags:||justin kirk, pb|
Examples for andrewwhitman The Drew Whitman Archive (Bio)
I. No Line On the Horizon
I have spent the entire past weekend listening to the new U2, and I have to say that I miss the old U2. Don't get me wrong, U2 can do no wrong, but if I wanted to listen to a political chutzpah, I'd listen to myself on a drunken rant. Wow, did I just compare myself to Bono Vox? I think I did. Talk about chutzpah. I miss the poetry with the politics. But hey, at least they had a street temporarily named after them right here in Manhattan.
There was something else I wanted to share with all of you, but it's escaping my hazy, sleep-induced mind at the moment. O, I remember. It's a truly significant little factoid about my life. I'm sure you're all hanging on the edge of your seats at the moment, just waiting for me to spill my guts. And what is this life-altering piece of information? I, Andrew Robert Whitman, have a crush on Fareed Zakaria. O, I admit it. I admit it. Suck on that, motherfuckers!
Scenes for Drew:
WHO: Drew Whitman and Luke Daniels (lucasdaniels)
WHAT: Lunch on a snow day
WHEN: Monday afternoon
WHERE: Schiller's, Lower East Side
"As Much as a Foot of Snow Is Predicted for New York" read The New York Times headline the previous evening. It was rare that the city was ever dumped with this much snow, and when it did happen, it seemed like the city would let itself breathe for a few minutes before returning to its usual hustle and bustle the next day. Razorfish had announced a snow day earlier that morning, deciding that it would let its employees work from home if they really wanted to, though a picture of a group of kids sledding that was attached to the email suggested that the snow day was indeed meant to be a snow day and not a work-from-home day. It seemed that The Nation had a similar thing going on (either that or Drew just wasn't going into work on his own accord; Luke really wasn't sure which), and after somehow managing to make each other hungry over a five minute IM conversation, Luke found himself trudging through the snow and over to Schiller's just a few blocks away.
New York City winters were known for their cold more than for their snow, and Luke had yet to invest in a pair of winter boots that would keep his socks dry the five days out of each year that they would be necessary, nor did he really plan to. He grabbed a copy of The Village Voice before walking into the restaurant and was promptly seated though his friend had yet to arrive. Luke shrugged off his coat and scarf and hung it up on one of the hooks near the booth he had been led to and took a seat, rifling through the newspaper to pass the time until whenever Drew decided to show up.
When Drew woke up at seven in the morning to find the ground covered with snow, he had groaned aloud and pulled the covers back up over his head. The last thing he wanted was to trudge out into the dead of winter on a Monday morning. Not after a long night that was not filled with sleep. His bout of irresponsibility was well-timed, as his editor called to tell him not to bother coming in. It was nice to feel not needed. When he awoke for the second time that day, it was already afternoon.
He should have predicted the second Luke popped up on his computer screen that his stomach would start growling and his tongue salivating within minutes. Leave it to Luke to mention food when Drew had an empty stomach. Of course, the long trek to Schiller's was just as bad in the snow as going to the office could have been, but somehow, Drew could force himself to make it for Luke and food, just not The Nation. Forty-five minutes later, Drew ambled into the restaurant and plopped down across from his friend. "Dude, how long have you been sitting here? You look bored. Oh, it must be that Voice you've got. Why the hell didn't you grab another rag?"
Luke looked up from his paper and smirked at the site of his friend coming in from the snow. "Convenience, Drew," he began blandly. "I read The Times online this morning and there's a stack of this shit sitting by the door," he answered, gesticulating with the newspaper as he folded it closed. "I wasn't about to stoop down to The Post and those AM New York guys go away after noon, not that that's any better, anyway. What's with the sudden hate on The Voice?"
He tossed the paper on the bench next to him and picked up one of the menus that had been sitting on the table and idly gave it a once-over, though he knew what he was getting. Schiller's had been such an old standby that Luke was recognizable at that restaurant; quite the feat for a nobody who was a regular at a joint so frequently mentioned in New York Magazine. He put his menu back on the table and pushed it aside. "What'd you do this weekend? You almost look hungover, man. On a Monday afternoon?"
Waving his arm dismissively, Drew said, "Don't mind me. It's not really a hate, per se, of The Voice, so much as a little competitive loathing, fueled by an underlying feeling of jealousy." He grinned as he picked up a menu to flip through. It was more for something to occupy his hands with than to actually read, as Drew knew exactly what he wanted. He needed a cheeseburger, or even two. After the night he'd had, he didn't think he could handle anything less or more.
He patted his stomach when it growled. "It looks like I got here right in the nick of time," he mused. In response to Luke's question, Drew just closed his eyes and shook his head dramatically (not that he was ever not dramatic). "I think the better question would be what didn't I do over the weekend, man. I don't even know where to start, it was so exciting. I think I went to at least five gay bars on Saturday night, and I didn't stop drinking until about 1 PM on Sunday afternoon. I would've invited you, but you would've cramped my style. I was cruising, and you're so boyishly hetero. How was your weekend? Please tell me it was better than mine."
"'Competitive loathing?'" Luke repeated with an eyebrow suspiciously raised. "I really don't think The Nation has to worry about The Voice. Did you apply to The Voice or something? Try to take over Michael Musto's column?" The paper wasn't quite quality journalism, but it was entertaining, at the least. "Wait, no. You wanted to write the horoscopes, didn't you?" he grinned, mostly joking about everything that he had just said.
Luke made a face as he tried to follow the Reader's Digest version of Drew's weekend escapades. The amount of energy that he invested in hedonism was almost awe-inspiring. "Some bender, man. Five bars? I can handle three at the most. Jesus." Luke paused as the waitress approached their table. He quickly placed his order, also a cheeseburger (Schiller's had the best in the neighborhood, he touted) with a bottle of Arrogant Bastard to go with it, and waited for Drew to place his before continuing. "Had to go to an engagement party on Saturday, that was pretty much the highlight of my weekend. Saw Ben Kweller last week, though. Got into a fight with Sara, but that's nothing new. And, uh...I think that's about it," he finished, handing his menu over to the waitress.
"Well, as a matter of fact, I did apply to The Voice. I thought I had found my second calling wanting to write those horoscopes. Scorpio: Find your twin today and tell him/her that you love her/him. Avoid cracks and black cats. Or wait...is Pisces the twin? No wonder they didn't hire me!" Drew cried. "But in all seriousness, they found me a bit too 'wishy-washy.' I told them I didn't think a liberal publication should be bandying around such criticism, but they were not moved."
Drew relinquished his menu before he even bothered to order. He decided to go with one cheeseburger, extra fries, and all the H20 he could guzzle. No, sadly, he wasn't in his twenties anymore. He needed to watch his weight now, or he'd end up looking like Donald Trump. "Yeah, five is my new record. I might try to beat it next month. We'll see how long the recovery time takes." He grimaced at the highlight of Luke's weekend. "Ugh. An engagement party? Shit. It's no one I know, right? Did I forget some lame obligation again?!" It wouldn't have been the first time.
Luke made a pained face as Drew explained his experience with the alterna-paper. "They called you wishy-washy? You know it's true when The Voice breaks that out, dude," Luke laughed, though he didn't really believe Drew had applied to write horoscopes. Then again, it wouldn't really have been that surprising if he actually had, he thought.
"High school friend," he replied, shaking his head. "Wait, yeah, you've met him a couple of times. Josh, the guy who's been dating the same girl for like eight years now or something like that. Wasn't anything too fancy," Luke shrugged. "Upper West Side cocktail party. Dress up in a monkey suit and soak up the martinis kind of thing." He nodded his thanks to the waitress as she brought out their drinks and waited a few moments until she moved on to the next table before picking up his beer. "That was pretty much my weekend. That, and trying to make more closet space. Why the bender? Just for fun? I thought you were trying to be all adult with the steady job and everything."
"It was not my brightest shining moment, this is true," Drew acknowledged, shrugging his shoulders. "Oh well, bygones." He raised his glass of water in mock toast to the alterna-paper and took a big chug of the cool liquid. Then, he cringed. He was well into hangover headache territory and one large swig of water was not going to cut it.
He nodded slowly. He remembered Josh. "That actually sounds pretty good. Martinis and swank. Bring it on! But he's already been with this girl for eight years?" Drew asked loudly, mouth agape. The most he'd managed to commit to someone was eight weeks, if even that. "I can't even imagine it. But that's what the bender was for man. I'm trying to be an adult and find someone to date for eight years. It's the search that's keeping me out at all hours. Five clubs in one night, and I didn't find a life partner, just some dances and a good time." He shook his head. Then, what Luke had just said sunk in. "You were cleaning out your closet this weekend? Is it time for the big merge?"
Luke watched as his friend grimaced after chugging some water and held back a laugh. Not that manners really counted for much within this circle of friends, but it wasn't polite to laugh at people who were hungover. It hurt their heads, for starters. "Hair of the dog that bit you, man," Luke said, glancing at Schiller's liquor menu. "You act like you got hit by a truck last night or something." The tried and true cure to a hangover was supposedly more alcohol, but Luke himself had never had any success with it, so really, who was he to egg Drew on?
"Eight years," he nodded. "Marriage is just a formality at that point. And you really thought you'd find your life partner at one of those meat markets this weekend?" Luke couldn't fathom being with someone for that long without some sort of formal commitment, even if he was politically opposed to the idea of marriage itself. Eight years just seemed...well, it seemed like a while. He looked up and gave Drew a curious look before bursting out into laughter. Forget the guy's hangover. "Wow, dude. You've gotten pretty fucked up the last couple of weeks, haven't you? Rivka moved in a couple of weekends ago, remember? You were there to help, and we waged a war between my front door and the couch. It was almost as bad as moving your Barcalounger, I don't know how you could've forgotten."
Drew had also heard of that method for curing a hangover. In fact, he wasn't entirely convinced he hadn't written the book on it in a past life. He eyed Luke's beer suspiciously and a bit longingly but finally let out a resigned sigh. "Don't tempt me, man. I'm trying to be good. Isn't that what you and the old folks have been wanting for years now?"
He stared at Luke blankly, mouth agape, wheels spinning 90 miles an hour in his brain after his friend dropped that bombshell. "What the fuck?!" he shouted in disbelief. Shaking his head at his own stupidity, he then banged it down on the table a couple of times for added effect. It wasn't the best move considering his headache, but Drew was in shock. "I don't know what I was thinking either! Maybe I have been partying too hard. I don't BELIEVE this! Why the hell are you cleaning the closet already? Shopping spree?" he asked, perking up at that thought.
Luke tipped his beer bottle towards Drew in response. "Just order one. Give it up, man. Five bars in one night doesn't really fall under the category of 'trying to be good,'" he smirked, taking a drink of his beer before setting it back down. "Who'd want to hang out with a grown-up version of you, anyway? That'd be boring as hell." He grabbed the beer and liquor menu that was wedged between a salt and pepper shaker on their table and slid it in the other man's direction - not that either of them needed to see the menu. They'd been to this restaurant so many times that menus were just for show. "You know you want to..."
He continued to laugh as Drew threw his dramatic fit in the middle of the busy restaurant. A few people turned to look, but who cared? Schiller's Liquor Bar wasn't exactly a family place. Luke's laughter quickly stopped at the mention of 'shopping spree.' "No. No shopping spree. Never again, and definitely not with you," he said, maybe a little too adamantly. Dramatic? Not at all. That was Drew's territory. "I don't need a repeat of the time I fell asleep in the middle of Water Tower Place, waiting for you to finish up at fucking...French Connection or whatever the hell that was," he tried to recall. He didn't remember much from that part of the trip to Chicago, nor did he really care to since it was apparently boring enough to have put him to sleep. "Just trying to make more room for her stuff, that's all. It's like spring cleaning or something."
Drew shook his head vigorously. Covering his mouth with one hand, he looked away from the menu that was slowly coming across the table towards him. "You are not helping! In fact, you are actively thwarting my attempts at improving." He closed his eyes, then quickly opened them, squinting at the menu now in front of him. "You make a good point though. At least I didn't go clubbing on a work night, though I will admit that I wouldn't have made it into the office today before two had I been required to be there! Oh hell, I guess a Rolling Rock couldn't hurt. It's a girl's beer. It won't be any stronger than this hideous glass of water." Drew had never been one who could say no for long. His will power was very weak - very, very weak.
At Luke's overreaction to the mention of shopping, he tried not to be a little offended. It hadn't been that long. "Ouch," he said out loud. "You fell asleep in the Water Tower because you didn't get any shut-eye the night before, not because I took an unusual amount of time in FCUK!" He puffed out his chest in a manly sort of way. "I never get distracted by all the pretty clothes and male sales people fawning all over me. Never. Not I." He couldn't keep up the ruse for long though before breaking down and laughing. The intense gaiety of the action was yet another thing that his head could not handle well in its condition. Glancing out the window, Drew laughed again in spite of himself. "Spring cleaning with all of this going on! Isn't that wishful thinking?"
Luke grinned triumphantly; he knew it wouldn't take much to get his friend to break down. For as long as he had known him, hedonism and gluttony went hand in hand, and that was twofold when it involved Drew. He stared at his friend when he announced his beer of choice, silently judging his decision. "Damn straight that's a girl's beer. A wimpy girl's beer at that, dude. Might as well stick to your water. What's the point?" He kept the alcohol menu in front of him and refused to budge until Drew took another look. "Come on, man. It's Schiller's. If you're going to do something wrong, do it right," Luke egged on, though he didn't really make it a point to judge people by their alcohol choices. Not too harshly, at least. He saved that for his close friends.
He smirked and tried not to roll his eyes as Drew defended his shopping antics. Never a dull moment with Whitman around - except for shopping, that is. "I said it was like spring cleaning, not that it actually is. I don't do that unless I have to," he said with a frown and for no reason at all. "I haven't used some of that stuff in a while, and there are a ton of art supplies that I need to get rid of or bring back to Brooklyn or something." Luke stopped talking as their waitress came over with their order. "You getting that beer?"
"Since when did you become so elitist?" Drew asked, a puzzled look momentarily crossing his face. "Oh wait, when did I stop?" he wondered aloud with a laugh. It was true. Drew was known for being a bit of a snob in his circle of friends. He preferred to think of it as having standards, though he made it a point never to impose his standards on others. Giving his shoulders a shrug, he grabbed the menu, perusing it seriously this time. "Do they have Oberon?"
Drew looked up in faux shock when Luke mentioned having too many unused art supplies. "Imagine that, a closet full of art items that you bought and haven't used yet. And you say that I shop to excess," he said, clucking his tongue in disapproval. With the approach of the waitress, he nodded, resigning himself to the fact that he would have to be a bad boy.
Luke stared at his friend for a moment, confused when asked about his elitism. Drew of all people would have known of Luke's feelings about beer; he'd been known as the resident beer snob since college. "When have I ever not been picky about beer? And when have you ever complained about it?" he laughed. Luke didn't need to skim the menu to answer Drew's question. It was one of his favorite beers as well, but practically impossible to get on the East Coast. "Nah, dude, they don't. It's a summer ale, anyway. We should get a case shipped out here once it launches in a few months."
He made a face at being reprimanded by his friend. "They've been used!" Luke said defensively. "Just not since grad school. I don't have studio space anymore," he explained, referring the old studio he shared with Michael several years ago. "Can't exactly screenprint in my apartment. I need to get all of the paint and chemicals out of there before the cats figure out where all of that stuff is, anyway." Luke held up his beer with a grin when Drew signaled that he wanted one of his own. "Peer pressure always wins. Arrogant Bastard?" he asked, tipping his own bottle of the ale towards his friend.
Nodding his head vigorously, Drew agreed. "We must! Leave it to you to know the seasons of the beers." Yes, Luke was a beer connoisseur while Drew knew absolutely nothing about beer, obviously. It was a bit too crass for his delicate palette. He had a hankering for liquor. Tequila was his faithful mistress, vodka his old standby, and he might as well have run off to marry gin and tonic. Still, every now and then, mostly when he was with his friend, he would deign to flirt with beer.
"Don't you mean that you always win?" Drew asked slyly. "I'll have what he's having," he told the waitress with a smirk. Turning to Luke, he added, "Now I don't want to see any gloating over there. It's so unattractive on you."
"I don't always win," Luke shot back with a look short of a scowl, though it quickly turned into a smirk. "Just...a lot. And if it's not me, then it's Mav or Michael or whoever else you're drinking with." He grabbed the napkin next to his plate and unfolded it onto his lap; he did have manners, after all. Well, usually. "We probably should've called the two of them and bugged them to meet up with us or something, but whatever." He shrugged the thought aside and chose to dig into his french fries instead.
"Have you seen either of those fools lately, anyway? OH!" Luke yelped with a mouthful of potatoes. So much for manners. He swallowed before continuing to speak. "What's the story with this Julian dude that you wanted to set my sister up with? He's kind of a dick, man. Hate to say it, but it's true."
"I've only seen Mav on the blogs, and Michael, it's been awhile. He called the other day, but I was too sleepy to pick up. You know me," Drew said with a sheepish grin. "We need to get the brat pack together soon though to cause more trouble on these streets and make your sisters frown."
At the mention of Julian, Drew looked up quizzically from shoveling some fries into his mouth. "Why?" he asked, wiping his greasy fingers on his napkin. "Since when have you been so sensitive about manners, anyway? Julian and I have always had a good time together. I guess he can take a little warming up to, but who doesn't? I still think he would be great with your sister. You'd like him if you ever met him. What's not to like? He's smart, cute, sophisticated."
"We really do," Luke nodded in agreement. "Someone, I can't remember who, said that I wasn't raising enough hell and that I'd become boring." He stopped talking to take a bite out of his cheeseburger. Meat. Yum. Who was it that had accused him of all of that, anyway? Not that it mattered much. One person saying it was enough to make Luke wonder if it was true. "Something about mellowing out in my old age," he joked.
Luke looked up with one eyebrow raised when Drew questioned his sudden interest in manners. "I was trying not to spit potato all over you, douche," he said before taking another bite. "You threw a tantrum the last time food went flying here." He took a swig of his beer. Burgers and beer. It was impossible to go wrong with that combination. "He's just...I don't know. He seemed really arrogant on the blogs," he shrugged, brushing away the thought. "Rachel was pissed that Sara and I tried to set her up, so it doesn't matter, anyway."
"Who was it? I'll beat the living daylights out of them. Shit. It wasn't me, was it?" Drew wouldn't put it past himself to throw something like that out there in jest, but there was no way Luke was in any real danger of becoming boring. Sure, he had a girlfriend and was getting older, but not as old as Drew himself was. And Rivka, well, Rivka could hardly count as boring material. What a crock of shit. As much as Drew enjoyed badmouthing his friends to their faces, he wouldn't stand for an outsider doing so. The brat pack stuck together. All for one and one for all.
"Rachel, Rachel, Rachel. Where's her sense of spontaneity?" Drew asked before scarfing down his own burger. It felt so good to have beef in his stomach. All the grease, meat, and carbs were soaking up the alcohol and helping his mind focus on the matter at hand, which was Julian. "He's not arrogant. I mean, sure, we did first meet when he decided to correct what he thought was an error in one of my articles and wasn't, but it was nothing. He fixed it. Besides, I don't think either one of us is allowed to pass judgment on arrogance. We wrote the book on that one - you, me, Mav, and Michael," he pointed out, raising an eyebrow and taking a swig of his beer as he did so.
Luke shook his head in response. "I think it was Sara or something, no big deal." It really wasn't a big deal, and even if whoever had said it honestly thought it was true, it still didn't matter. He still had a lot of fun with Rivka and still hung out with the brat pack as often as he could, even if they weren't raising as much hell these days. Easily remedied. "Yeah, I think it was my sister," he repeated, grabbing a few more fries. "No ass-kicking needed...especially since she'd fight back and win," Luke grinned.
He chewed on his fries as Drew talked about Julian. Sure, he had never actually met the guy, and maybe it was true that he really had no room to call someone out on their arrogance, but still. "First impression, that's all," Luke announced. "It was on his blog, though. You know, that post where he decided to call everyone idiots." He decided that he was willing to give the guy a chance if they were ever to run into each other; after all, if he was a friend of Drew's, he couldn't be that bad, right?
I'm in the drink for love and want to drink your love...
Who: Julian (juliankirby) & Drew
What: Julian tries to pretend he doesn't have a crush.
Where: One of Julian's favorite bars
When: Monday, after work
Snow or no snow, City College was open for business as usual all day on Monday, and Julian, who was typically pretty miserable already, was forced to walk around the campus in the wet and cold weather, going from his office, to class, to the library, to another class, and back to his office again, all in the space of 5 hours. By the time he actually left and had a chance to sit down with a Cosmopolitan in one of his favorite bars, he was all but exhausted, and he wasn't sure he had the energy even to walk outside and hail a cab.
As it turned out, though, when the door swung open a few moments later, Drew Whitman walked through it, and despite the struggle to remain fully conscious, Julian suddenly had no interest in leaving this bar. He didn't know what it was about that man, why he always stood out in a crowd, why Julian was always so aware of him, so interested in his every move, why he frequented bars where he might find Drew, but it was a fact. Julian had a crush on Drew, and though it scared the living hell out of him, that didn't stop him from wishing now and again that the man would pay him some attention. And it didn't stop him from turning and waving to Drew, hoping he might join him for a drink.
After his lunch with Luke, Drew was bound and determined not to go home and nurse his hangover or into the office on a day in which he wasn't required to grace it with his presence. In an effort to avoid both Brooklyn and Manhattan, he decided to ride out to Harlem for another drink. After all, there was nothing like biting the dog that bit you, or whatever that old cliche was. The best way to get over a hangover was to get drunk again, and Drew was in the mood for a drink.
"Never fear, Drew is here," he announced to the whole floor upon his entrance, spreading his arms wide before noticing a hand waving at him from a table near the bar. It was none other than Julian Kirby, the cute little coder turned professor. Waving back, Drew headed over to Julian, making himself comfortable at the seat across from him. "Julian Kirby, as I live and breathe. You exist in the flesh! I was beginning to think you were going to hide yourself away for another what...three months? Where have you been? Shagging up with some beautiful woman? You're going to make me jealous, you know."
Julian couldn't help it. As Drew approached, a little smile tugged at his lips, and by the time Drew was in the seat across from him, he almost looked happy to see him. That kind of pleasure, of being in another person's presence, was a rarity for a guy like Julian, who found reasons to dislike everyone, and he did his best to conceal the feeling before Drew could comment on it and thereby ruin it.
"Working," he said flatly, shaking his head at the suggestion that he might be sleeping with women, or that such behavior could ever make Drew jealous. "Always working. And what would you care if I was shagging some woman? You don't even like women." He gestured toward the bar. "Buy you a drink?" he offered, making the only overture he ever made toward Drew, wishing that this would be the time it was interpreted as more than just a social nicety, but knowing it was insignificant outside of Julian's own imagination.
Drew laughed and shook his head. "Oh, you're not shagging anyone? That's too bad. You, my friend, need to get out more. Out of the office, out of your work, out in the city, out everywhere. You know what they say about all work and no play...fuck, I seem to be thinking and speaking in all kinds of cliches today." He rolled his eyes at himself. "And of course I care what you've been up to. I'm nosy."
It took barely a second of thought for Drew to agree to a drink. He was used to having drinks thrown at him, being the outgoing character that he was. It was second nature for him. "Oh, why not? Make it a gin and tonic - my faithful old lover!" he exclaimed, as if he were talking about a person instead of a drink. Drew's flare for personification and extravagance was never discreet. He got to his feet and moved toward the bar ahead of Julian. "What brings you out on a Monday afternoon? I thought you would want to avoid all this ridiculousness outside and stay in where it's warm. That's what all the smart people do, I hear!"
Julian felt himself blush. "I'm busy," he said, as if this would explain away his complete lack of a life and make him look somehow more interesting to Drew, who was nothing but interesting. He blushed more deeply when he heard Drew calling out nonsense about old lovers, and he really hoped the man couldn't tell what he was thinking, because all of it was embarrassing.
"I was teaching," he said, following Drew eagerly, struggling to keep pace with him as other patrons mingled around them carrying their drinks. He felt like an idiot, wanting to linger over every word that left Drew's mouth, but he couldn't help it. Drew made Julian do silly things. "City College apparently isn't that smart. I had a full schedule today. And hey, it's warm in here. I didn't think I'd make it all the way home without warming up first."
"You're busy. I envy you that. I am perpetually unbusy, not that I can really complain. Discipline and I are like oil and water. And there I go again with the pat sayings. No wonder my editor didn't want me around today," Drew mused. He placed his drink order as if he were telephoning a long lost friend when it had barely been 24 hours since his last drink.
Drew was a bit too self-involved to pay particularly close attention to Julian's facial expressions. It wasn't that he didn't notice certain looks, per se. He wasn't an unobservant baffoon. Well, he wasn't unobservant. But, Drew saw Julian as a friend. He wasn't going to over-analyze every look, or every word the man uttered because that would make him wonder things he shouldn't wonder and possibly feel things that friends weren't supposed to feel. It was easier not to go there. At least, not any further than his general flirty gregariousness took him. "Well, those stodgy academics were smart enough to hire you. They must have used up their entire reservoir of knowledge coming to that decision. You've sucked the bastards dry! Let's drink to that!" Drew cried, as his gin and tonic was set in front of him.
Julian ordered another Cosmopolitan for himself, then paid for both drinks, feeling almost like he was on a date, which was a notion he rarely, if ever, considered. But if he was to consider it, he knew that Drew would be the person he'd like to have that experience with. That didn't mean he was gay, he told himself - it didn't mean anything because it was never going to happen. And somehow, that fact was comforting, the knowledge that he'd never have to explore his sexuality because no one would ever show even the slightest interest in him.
"I don't even think I was their first choice," Julian pointed out, unable to accept a compliment from anyone, on anything. "But yeah." He held his drink up, clinking their glasses together, then swallowing it down. "We can drink to whatever you want," he said, and he actually almost smiled, his version of flirting, something he would only ever do after a drink or two, and something he would deny doing later on.
Raising his drink in salute and completely ignoring Julian's self-deprecating comments, Drew went on with the toast. Once he got an idea into his head, he tended to latch onto it with all of his might. At least until he got bored, which in Drew's case, didn't take much.
He knocked back a good portion of his drink in one fell swoop, letting out a burp afterwards and daintily covering his mouth. "Well, excuse me, darling. But we have got to work on your ego, my friend," he said, as if the two of them being part of a 'we' was a given. He gave Julian's shoulder a little pat with his free hand and nudged him back towards the table. "Men are supposed to puff out our chests and beat the drums or something equally as boisterous when we're complimented. It's part of the rules for being manly men, you know." Drew puffed out his own chest as he spoke, illustrating the movement for Julian to copy.
In truth, Julian didn't need to work on his ego at all. This display of humility had nothing to do with being humble at all; this was about Julian changing his behavior when he was around someone he found attractive. Most of the time, Julian didn't really experience attraction at all - women, with their lipstick and their high heels, and their giant purses and Botox injections, didn't appeal to him in the least, and men, though often muscular and handsome could also be sweaty, unkempt, and smelly, and Julian had a thing about messes.
But Drew was an exception, and pretty much always had been. He was good-looking, in Julian's opinion, he was obviously smart, and for some strange reason, he put up with Julian's grumpy behavior, which gave Julian hope that perhaps someday he would find himself in a relationship that was not contingent on his job or his living arrangements. "I think you wrote those rules," he told the other man, attempting to tease him. "Besides, I'm a shorty,pudgy, computer science professor, Drew. I think I'm supposed to blend in and hate myself."
"Au contraire. These rules have existed since we lived in caves where they were written in hieroglyphics to be passed on down through the ages, and I am simply one of many messengers," Drew informed Julian as they reached the table. He was feeling the gin and tonic already. The alcohol was rushing to his head after drinking that elitist beer with Luke at lunch and now this. What was the saying: beer before liquor never sicker, liquor before beer in the clear? That did not bode well for Drew.
He looked Julian up and down as if seeing him for the first time, making sure to go over every inch of the man before he plopped down into his chair. "Short, yes. But pudgy, not in the slightest. I don't know what you're talking about. You're a stud. Accept it, embrace it, and move on. No hating and no blending. That's so bourgeois."
"There's a reason we don't live in caves anymore," Julian pointed out, playing devil's advocate just for the sake of it now, to see the reaction. He liked watching Drew react to things because he was so animated, and so dramatic. Julian sulked and brooded and contemplated, but Drew reacted and argued and got loud, and Julian enjoyed watching it, and observing the many differences between himself and the other man.
"And love handles definitely count as pudgy, you can't argue with that. I'm 35, it was bound to happen." Julian shrugged. He'd never been a gym rat, or the kind of guy to want a rock-hard body. In fact, he rarely thought of his body as anything other than an exterior shell to house his brain in. But when he did occasionally think of it, he preferred to liken himself to a teddy bear, and he was okay with that. It wasn't as though anyone else ever had to look at him naked anyway. "And don't call me a stud," he added, blushing slightly as he repeated the words, unsure if he was affected by what Drew said, or by the alcohol in his Cosmos. "That's a stupid word, and it describes like, big, buff guys."
Bringing both of his elbows up onto the table to rest his hands on his chin, Drew struck his serious pose. He fixed Julian with his most serious gaze, or at least as serious as he could muster given the topic of conversation, and with him being tipsy already. "We may not be living in caves per se, but you should come over and see my loft. You might think you were back in the stone age. It's about the size of a small cavern! I shit you not."
Drew nodded his head to emphasize his seriousness. He tried to hold back his laughter, but he was never very good at controlling his emotions. He felt compelled to express himself in every possible way. He was an excessive men. And Julian's denial of being a stud was the last straw. He couldn't keep it in any longer. He was about to burst, so he let out a laugh loud enough to make heads turn toward them. "Okay, Stud. As you wish," he said.
"Oh, you're making fun of me," Julian said, as though the thought had only just occurred to him now and he was reaching some great epiphany. "Gotcha." He shifted uncomfortably in his seat, sipping his bright red drink, then turning bright red himself.
This was why he didn't do socializing. He always managed to find himself in this kind of awkward situation, where he'd mistake good-natured joking, possibly even flirting of a sort, with someone poking fun at him. So what if he wasn't some gorgeous underwear model? So what if Drew Whitman didn't think he was cute? That was fine, wasn't it? Julian wasn't gay anyway. He'd just finish his drink and be on his way then. It was all the same to him.
Except it wasn't. And he wanted to hear Drew say he wasn't making fun. Right now, he was wishing more than anything that he was actually worthy of a compliment like being called a stud because it would mean that maybe there was still a chance that Drew liked him, instead of no chance in hell, even if pigs suddenly flew.
The Drew Whitman Archive (Bio)