Riley primped in front of his mirror, wondering if he looked good enough to go on a date with Keith. It was just…every time he saw the other man, Keith was immaculately well-dressed. And here he was, in the only jacket that he owned(a plain dark-grey one that he suspected he’d bought at a thrift store a few years ago) with a green dress shirt that his mother had picked out for him, no tie, and a clean pair of jeans(he had no dress slacks of any kind, he’d discovered). He just wasn’t a suit and tie kind of guy. The last time he’d worn a suit had been to his grandfather’s funeral, years ago. The suit had been rented. He’d seen no reason to buy one when he’d seldom wear it and it’d just take up space in his closet.
But now he felt inadequate. Here he was going to pick up Keith in less than an hour and take him to a nice restaurant on their first date, and he wasn’t well-dressed and immaculately groomed, like many of Keith’s boyfriends had probably been. He sighed as he gave up trying to look better than he actually did, and spritzed on a little cologne before he grabbed his keys and wallet and left his house.
He’d considered buying some flowers or something, but he’d worried that Keith might think that Riley was trying to treat him like a woman. He wasn’t, but at the same time his only experience with dating so far had been with women. He had no idea how to treat another guy on a date. Did he hold doors, take Keith’s arm, pull out his chair? Would doing any or all of that anger the other man? Riley just didn’t know, and that fact made him even more nervous.
He drove to Keith’s apartment building. God, did he know the way there already! He wanted to laugh at this thought, remembering his mad dash out of Keith’s apartment the morning after their night together. It was a wonder he’d actually managed to get his clothes on before bolting, he’d been so horrified and weirded out. Now here he was, taking the same man he’d drunkenly slept with on a date. How much more weird was that? It seemed surreal. He’d lost his mind, but had decided that it didn’t matter. He was just going to go with the flow from now on. Thinking was overrated anyway.
He pulled up in front of the building, stopping his truck at the curb. Taking a deep breath, he gout out and walked sown the path to Keith’s front door. He knocked on the green door, and heard a familiar voice call from within: “Coming!”
Then it swung open, revealing Keith standing there in the opening. As he’d suspected, the other man was impeccably well-dressed. He wore a slightly shiny blue suit that hugged his slim body, and a narrow darker blue tie with shiny silver threads woven in it. He looked prettier than ever(oh, man, was he supposed to think ’pretty’ with another guy?!), and he smiled when he saw Riley. “Hi,” he said. “Are you ready to go?”
Riley shrugged helplessly. “As ready as I’ll ever be,” he said. Gloomily he looked down at himself. “Sorry I’m not dressed better,” he added unhappily. “This is the best I could do.”
He heard Keith laugh softly, and slender fingers reached out to smooth down the front of his grey jacket. “You look fine, Riley,” Keith told him.
He looked up hopefully into those beautiful eyes. “Really?”
“Yeah. I don’t expect a rugged working man like you to be natty. Don’t really think I’d like you like that, anyway. I like you just as you are,” Keith said with a gentle smile.
Riley felt a surge of gratitude and happiness at Keith’s words. “Okay. Let’s get going, then,” he said aloud.
Keith nodded and stepped outside, shutting his front door behind him.
“Hey,” Riley remarked as they headed for his truck. “Can I ask you a question?”
“Sure,” Keith replied readily.
“Would it be okay if I like opened doors for you or pulled out your chair? I’m used to doing that for the women I’ve dated, and I wasn’t sure…you being a guy and all…” he continued.
Keith looked bemused. Then he smiled. “You’re such a gentleman, Riley,” he said, making Riley turn rather red. “I’ve never had a guy pull out my chair or open my door for me,” he went on, “Because I’m sure that they assumed I wouldn’t like it. But you know what? Let’s give it a try. Maybe I’ll like it after all.”
Riley felt relief at these words. He’d been afraid that he might do those things automatically anyway, and make Keith mad at him. He stepped forward to open the passenger’s side door for Keith, and the other man grinned at him and got into the truck. He closed the door and went around to the driver’s side. “Hmm, I think I like it after all,” Keith commented as he got in behind the wheel. “Sort of makes me feel like a pampered princess.”
“Well, it’s just what I’m used to doing,” Riley said as he started the engine.
“I can see it’s going to be interesting dating a straight boy,” Keith chuckled.
While the restaurant that he’d chosen was pretty nice, it wasn’t a two week advanced reservation, you have to wear a suit and tie kind of place. Riley couldn’t afford places like that, and besides he didn’t like them anyway. But Keith seemed perfectly fine with the place he’d chosen anyway, and settled into the chair that Riley had pulled out for him. The waiter handed them menus and departed.
“Mm, I’m hungry,” Keith commented as he read his menu.
Riley squirmed in his seat. “Uh…is it okay if I pay the check?” he asked.
The menu came down. “Is that another one of the things that you’re used to doing when you date women?” he asked curiously.
Riley nodded. “Most of them expect it,” he explained.
Keith considered this. “All right. But next time I’LL pay the check,” he told Riley.
“Okay.” Riley was pleased about this, especially since Keith was saying that they’d have a second date. He’d sort of worried about that. What if Keith didn’t like dating a straight guy?
Keith nodded and went back to scanning the menu. Riley read his own, deciding on a beef dish that looked tasty. Keith ordered a chicken breast in a creamy sauce. After the waiter departed again, Keith sipped at the glass of water in front of him. “What should we talk about, Riley?” he asked.
Riley looked blank. “Uh…”
Keith grinned saucily at him. “That’s what people do on dates, even gay people,” he said with a sparkle in his eyes. “And we’re sort of hampered because we don’t have one big topic of conversation on a first date.”
“What do you mean?”
Keith shrugged. “Work. People always talk about their jobs on a first date, but since we work together we know everything about each other’s jobs.”
“Oh, yeah,” he said in understanding. “But there’s plenty of other stuff to talk about.”
“That’s true. We don’t really know that much about each other, do we? Even though we’ve slept together already.”
Riley shrugged uncomfortably. “I was drunk as a skunk that night,” he pointed out.
“Yes, I could tell. But you were so darn cute that I took you up on your offer anyway,” Keith said with a naughty little smile.
Riley’s face turned a bit red. “The next time we hop into bed together, I expect you to be stone cold sober,” Keith went on softly, his eyes gleaming.
Riley swallowed heavily. His whole body was suddenly throbbing, and he squirmed in his chair. Keith’s smile was truly evil. He sipped at his water glass again, and licked at a droplet of water that had escaped and was gleaming on his soft pink lips. Riley wondered dimly if his head was going to explode.
Keith leaned back in his chair and began to talk in a much different tone of voice, calm and easy. “We’ll talk about our hobbies instead,” he remarked. “I like to read, watch movies, take walks, and paint. What about you?”
Riley finally managed to get himself under control again. “Uh, I work on cars on the weekends,” he said hoarsely. “And I hang out with the guys and play football and stuff. We like to watch games and play poker sometimes, too.”
Keith laughed lightly. “You’re a properly masculine sort of man, aren’t you?” he said. When Riley looked uncertainly at him, he grinned. “Relax, I like it. It’s interesting to date a guy’s guy. It’s a change of pace for me. Most of my old boyfriends were…well…sort of like me.” he waved a slim hand at himself.
“Well, they do say opposites attract.”
“Yes, and for a good reason. I think it would be boring to date someone who was too much like me. A straight guy is a mystery to me. I can’t wait to try to figure out how your mind works.”
“I’m not that big of a mystery,” Riley assured him.
“True. I’ve already seen almost everything.” Keith murmured, turning wicked again.
Riley had to get used to Keith’s sometimes naughty teasing. The other man seemed to enjoy gently poking at him about their one night together. But between times, they talked about a lot of different things. He was surprised to find that Keith was passionate about politics, and was a fervent advocate of voting in every election. “It’s our government,” he told Riley sharply when he admitted that he seldom bothered to vote. “We hire and fire those who run it. If we don’t do our job, we get incompetent idiots in charge who don’t do THEIR jobs properly. And then this country doesn’t run well and everybody suffers. It’s only a few minutes out of your life to go to the polls, and it’s year of living in misery if somebody awful gets into office. It’s that simple. Every vote counts.”
Amazed at this passion, Riley agreed to try to get to the polls and vote. Keith’s smile was rueful as he gazed at Riley over the tabletop. “Sorry I’m so pushy about this, Riley, but this is important to me. Because let’s face it - while the Republicans were in charge for eight years, they put in all of those state bans on gay marriage as well as DOMA. With a Democrat in charge, we’ve seen the fall of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’, and the slow dismantling of those bans so that gay people can finally get married and have all of their full civil rights at last. This is important. Gay people are citizens of the United States, just like everybody else. We pay taxes and vote. Don’t we deserve all of the same rights as well?”
He’d never thought about it before, but he had to agree. “Do you want to get married?” he asked Keith.
A shrug. “I don’t know. Maybe some day if I meet the right guy and want to spend the rest of my life with him. For now, I’m just enjoying this date and seeing where it might go. I’m not going to think about the future right now.”
Riley nodded. “Me, either,” he agreed. He was definitely enjoying himself too much to care about the future. He’d let whatever happened, happened. For now, he was just happy to be out with Keith.
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