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Subject: “Electricity”, Chapter 4, Beginnings and Athletics Section “Okay, eyes to the left now Andrew, look alive! Nate, a little more spray on the biceps please,” the photographer called out in an agitated tone of voice, waking Andrew up from his daydream about a certain good looking writer with curly brown hair. He was in the middle of shooting the cover of “Men’s Health”, but so far he was having a difficult time following directions and focusing. Hence the now very agitated photographer who was looking to capture the “IT” shot that would stop people dead in their tracks at the newsstand, but kept getting closed-eyed throwaways instead. Andrew felt bad, he didn’t like to make people work harder than they had to, but at the same time he couldn’t help that today his mind was in complete disarray. The few days after Aubrey left, all he was able to think about was finding a way to see the him again. The gorgeous, sun kissed writer had made a permanent residence inside of his head, rent-free. Andrew had never felt this way about anyone before. Even with Joel, whom he loved and cared about, he was never this obsessive. Sure, he would think about Joel and feel the usual excitement and happiness inside of his chest that people felt when thinking about those they liked or were attracted to. But right now it was as if he was feeling everything all at once. The emotions collided all over the place: excitement, dread, sexual arousal, fear, want, need, lust, insecurity, happiness, longing. It was a soup of feelings, and Andrew wasn’t particularly fond of soups. He wondered if for some strange reason he was reverting back to being a teenager and acting like he was experiencing his first ever crush. Maybe the lack of serious relationships and the multitude of random hookups had taken their toll, and now he was stuck in the romantic mindset of a teenage boy forever. The thought was sad. How could he have everything he ever wanted–money, fame, career–yet still feel so empty all the time? The only thing he knew for sure was that he wanted to be around Aubrey, to hear his voice, see his face, to smell him, to touch him and to feel that electric current run through his body all over again. Was that really too much to ask for? “Where’s your head at?” Joel asked concerned, as he pretended to adjust Andrew’s black sweatpants. Joel came to most of Andrew’s photoshoots with him in the official capacity of an “assistant”, but mostly because Andrew enjoyed having a familiar face around on long days. Joel also had a way of making him focus on the task at hand when Andrew’s mind wondered in a hundred different directions, like today. It had been a long morning already, with Andrew doing the interview for the magazine right before the photoshoot. It’s not that it was difficult, he just gave a simple rundown of his workout routine, his diet and some anecdotes from his personal life. But it was draining having to do press when all he truly wanted to do was to drive over to the headquarters of “Pride” magazine and steal their most prized writer away for lunch. “I don’t know, just having a hard time focusing,” Andrew replied. He didn’t know how he could make this situation play out in his favor. After all, Aubrey had a long term boyfriend. Not only that, Aubrey very publicly expressed a deep dislike for Andrew. How would it make any sense to pursue the man under these strange circumstances? Andrew would have to be completely nuts. And no matter how hard he thought about it, he couldn’t think of a good enough reason to reach out and invite him over again so quickly without looking crazy or like a desperate lunatic. Plus, with how quickly he left, Andrew forgot to get his phone number, which meant he’d need to DM him again. And what if Aubrey Miller didn’t want to see him? He was the one who left so abruptly, after all. He was the one who wrote a nasty article blasting Andrew. Maybe what Andrew considered as a nice night of two men getting to know each other and bonding, for Aubrey only solidified all of his feelings about Andrew being a terrible human being. “Oh wow, your muscles are crazy big,” Nate commented as he spritzed the quarterback with more liquid, making his biceps shine like he had just finished working out and was dripping in glorious sweat. Nate was the official assistant on the shoot, but he seemed to be interested in a bit more than just doing his job, as he kept looking at Andrew with his doe eyes and idly letting his hands roam over Andrew’s muscles well after he finished the task of oiling him up. This wasn’t anything unusual to Andrew, and another reason why he brought Joel along, so that he would keep him in line and away from trouble that pretty guys like Nate always brought into his life. “Thanks,” Andrew replied while Joel gave Nate the side-eye. The boy was pretty, and his hands definitely felt nice as they bursa escort rubbed Andrew’s arms, but for the first time ever Andrew learned to differentiate between a regular touch and a touch that sent electric waves down his spine. Nate’s touch didn’t do much for him, besides feel good on a very basic physical level. Aubrey’s touch–Aubrey’s touch was magic. “You must workout like…everyday, huh?” Nate asked, eyeing Andrew like he was a piece of delicious looking bacon. “Pretty much, that’s my job,” Andrew replied, smiling at the younger guy. “Wow, how much can you lift?” “Well, I can lift you no problem,” Andrew said, winking and making Nate giggle. He couldn’t help but flirt with other men. Seeing them light up as he made a corny remark made him happy. “Alright, he’s oiled up enough, back to the shoot,” said Joel, stepping in and looking mildly annoyed. Andrew laughed it off. He knew Joel wasn’t jealous, he just had enough of Andrew’s playboy lifestyle. He wanted him to have someone good in his life, someone stable. Not this 20-year-old kid. Andrew wondered what Joel would say if he confided in him that he was having all these confusing thoughts about Aubrey Miller. Suddenly the photographer began snapping again, and Andrew did his best to focus for the remainder of the shoot. He was used to this. The cameras, the fans, the fast-paced lifestyle. But although many people would have killed to trade lives with him, he knew that something was missing. He loved his job, but he wasn’t entirely fulfilled. He was searching for something, and his gut was telling him that he was very close to finding it. “Perfect, that’s it right there, that’s the money shot. We got it,” the photographer said after about another thirty more minutes of shooting. “Great, thanks so much for your hard work,” Andrew replied and shook the man’s hand. He then turned to gooey-eyed Nate. “Thank you for making me look decent,” he said, shaking his hand and smiling generously. Nate giggled. “I didn’t even have to try,” he replied and Joel rolled his eyes, exhausted. “Okay, time to go. I’m hungry,” he said to Andrew. “Oh, you’re going to lunch?” Nate asked hopefully, fishing for an invite. Usually Andrew would be happy to oblige, especially for a cute face like his. He would take him along to lunch, playfully flirt while letting him order whatever he wanted off the menu, then bring him home for a quickie, after which he would respectfully get him an Uber home, and be ready to go out with his bros by nighttime. But today was different. Today his urge to sleep with a cute new guy was overshadowed by all his thoughts of Aubrey. And today, he wanted to discuss some things with Joel one-on-one at lunch. “Yeah, gotta keep those muscles well-fed. See you around, kid,” Andrew said playfully as he walked off with Joel. “Did you secretly get his number or something?” Joel asked, “I’ve never seen you this well behaved around a cute twink.” “Nah, I’m turning a new page. This is the new me,” Andrew replied, and Joel arched his eyebrows in disbelief like he thought Andrew was on drugs or something. They drove to their favorite Chinese place for lunch in Andrew’s Lambo, with Joel commenting on how the sick interior of the car could never got boring. Andrew agreed. Money couldn’t buy him happiness, but it did get him some very dope vehicles. After they ordered way more than they could eat, Andrew tried to think of a way to bring up the subject of Aubrey without raising Joel’s suspicions. Thankfully, the other man did it for him. “Okay, so tell me everything about your meeting with Aubrey-Stick-Up-His-Ass-Miller,” Joel said in between bites of broccoli with beef. Andrew took a long sip of his coke and wondered how exactly he should convey what he wanted to say without Joel blasting him for making more bad romantic decisions. He wanted to get the man’s input, but he wanted to keep his own feelings regarding Aubrey somewhat private for now. After all, he was still in the process of working through them himself. “It went…well,” he began carefully, “he’s an interesting guy.” Joel almost choked on his food. He put the chopsticks down and stared at Andrew, trying to read his face. “An interesting guy? Really? I figured you’d get into a fist fight with him. I can’t even read his articles, they’re so sanctimonious.” “He doesn’t have the easiest personality, that’s true. But I think at the core, he means well.” Joel looked at him curiously once again, as if trying to decipher and unwritten message on Andrew’s face. “Hold the fuck up…you’re not….you’re not trying to sleep with Aubrey Miller, are you?” he asked, astounded. Andrew immediately started to shake his head no, but it was too late. His face had betrayed him, and Joel could always read him like a book. “Oh God, you dumb ass. I can’t, I really can’t even this time. Are you…have you completely bursa escort bayan lost your mind? Do you have to screw every gay guy that walks?” he asked in good humor but with an undertone of frustration. “Even the guy who publicly hates your guts. Or wait, is that the turn on? He blasted you so now you wanna get in his pants and make yourself feel better?” “First of all, you’re tripping,” Andrew replied, trying to get out of this mess. He took a large bite of the Kung Pao chicken, buying himself some time to think of what to say next. “Second of all, I’m trying to do no such thing. I just wanted to meet with him to see what I could do for the community. Besides, he has a boyfriend,” Andrew added in, casually. “I know, that douche bag,” Joel replied. “Wait, you know him?” “Unfortunately. I dated him, a long time ago.” “Seriously?” Andrew asked, fascinated. He loved that his theory about the guy being a douche was now fully confirmed by a reliable source. “Yep, Tom is an ass.” “How so?” “He just really thinks he’s way cooler and smarter than he actually is. He’s pretentious, a total know-it-all. And he has a wandering eye, but not in the very obvious way you do. He’s sneaky and secretive about it. And at one point, he asked for an open relationship, so we split up.” “So what’s Aubrey doing with him?” “Are you kidding? They’re a perfect match. Both self-righteous and annoying.” “What’s he…uh…what’s he working with down there?” Andrew asked and Joel shook his head and laughed. “You’re really going to try to seduce Aubrey Miller by telling him your pecker is bigger than his boyfriend’s? Wow. You honestly have no shame.” “I’m just curious,” Andrew replied, trying to sound casual. “Well, I’ll just say…you definitely win in that department.” Andrew smiled, pleased. It was childish, but it still made him happy to know he outdid his opponent in some way. “Honestly though, it is not a good idea for you to get involved with him, Andrew. If anything goes wrong, he will blast you ten times harder than he already has. He’s not going to hold back. Why are you giving him an invite into your life? It really makes no sense.” Joel was starting in on one of his rants, so Andrew sat back and just listened in silence. He knew better than to argue back. Joel had to say his piece, in peace, just like Andrew’s mom. So the quarterback let him rant away. “Just let me introduce you to this guy I recently met. I think he could honestly be perfect for you. His name is Jake and he’s an interior designer. He’s a standup guy, looks wise he’s just your type, he’s trustworthy, has his own career and is looking for something serious.” Andrew wanted to say yes. Jake sounded lovely, by all accounts. But how could he give anyone a fair chance, when his entire brain was focused on one person at the moment. It wouldn’t be fair to Jake. “Soon, I think I need to get my shit together a little more before I go back to dating,” he lied. Joel was visibly disappointed, but he decided to let it go. “How’s Drew? Is marriage everything you were hoping it would be?” “Drew is good. Marriage isn’t easy, but it is rewarding. We have our little traditions now, we know each other well, it’s really nice. It’s comforting knowing you have someone who loves you and has your back.” Andrew nodded. He had never really sought out that type of comfort, and he felt sad knowing he had probably never given it to any of his ex’s either. Joel deserved that type of love. And Andrew really wanted to become Mr. Marriage Material one day, but he wasn’t sure how he was ever going to achieve it. For the next few days, Andrew couldn’t get out of his own head. He had never had to question himself before. Everyone that he had liked had always been into him as well, and usually even more than he was into them. There was never a question in his mind. But now, doubt was all he felt. However conflicted he was, he had to focus on work, which was his priority at the moment. Work, and staying out of trouble. Keeping a low profile from the spotlight. And today he had to get through the family barbecue as well, which meant he would be getting another well-meaning lecture from mom. He sighed at the thought. He loved his family, but lately it was a struggle to spend time with them because he constantly felt like he was under fire for his life choices. He got dressed in his usual sweatpants and nice fitting tee combination, and drove the Lambo to his brothers house. He was close to his brother, but they were very different people. Ben’s brain operated on different frequencies. He was calm, he was quiet, he was mellow. Andrew was energetic, life of the party, loud and boisterous. As much as they got along, they didn’t always understand the other person’s decisions. Everyone was already inside and he realized that once again he forgot to bring anything. Maybe he was a selfish escort bursa prick after all, he certainly felt like one right now. “Andrew!” his brother exclaimed upon seeing him. “Yo,” Andrew replied giving his big bro a hug, then greeting the rest of the family. He had to admit his brother Ben had built a beautiful family environment in his home, and he understood why his mother wanted him to have the same thing. It was joyful to be in the presence of a happy family. But Andrew wasn’t sure if it could ever really be for him. Could he become a one man, man? Could he be satisfied with this type of life? After all the escapades he’d experienced, would he be happy in bed with the same guy after the new relationship energy wore off? And more importantly, could he be a good father to a child? He wasn’t sure. He could barely deal with his niece Claire long enough, even though he loved and spoiled her to pieces. As his brother and dad were grilling meat, Andrew tried his best to avoid alone time with his mom, not wanting to hear all the things he didn’t want to deal with today about his career, his love life, his reputation. He played with Claire until it was time to eat. Twenty minutes later, he was just serving himself another heap of corn and mashed potatoes, Claire in his lap, when his brother’s wife Liz said something. “That article was completely out of hand by the way. Who is that asshole writer?” Andrew shoved a forkful of food into his mouth, wanting to avoid this conversation. He shrugged and made an unbothered face, but she kept on. “I mean, who does he think he is? Why does he feel compelled to tell you how you should live your life. It’s completely outrageous.” His brother nodded, meanwhile his mom remained suspiciously silent. She sat there with pursed lips, and Andrew got the feeling that aside from himself, Aubrey had another secret fan in the room. “I agree, he’s way out of order,” Ben said. “He’s a writer, he’s just doing his job, getting the most clicks, views and comments that he can,” Andrew stated. “He’s acting holier-than-thou,” Liz stated. “You’re shockingly calm about this bro,” Ben added, suspicious. “I’m tired of fighting the press man, let them say what they wanna say. I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do,” he replied and his mom scoffed quietly. His dad avoided the conversation altogether, which wasn’t unusual. Anything that involved Andrew’s love life or the discussion of it remained a matter of no interest to his father. Sometimes this irked Andrew, but mostly he was grateful that he didn’t have another parent like his mother who questioned all of his dating choices. His answer seemed to shut everyone up on the subject, and they moved on to discuss Ben and Liz’s baby plans, which Claire was not happy to hear. Andrew understood, it wasn’t always easy sharing the spotlight. After he left, he began thinking about the very important matter of the “inside source” which has been bugging him ever since he learned about it. Sooner or later, he would need to figure out who was spilling the beans about him all over town, whether Aubrey wanted to tell him or not. He wondered how a mob boss would conduct such an investigation amongst his own people. He decided that he would only tell a handful of people big news in regards to his life, then he would wait and see if it would leak to the press. If it did, he would have narrowed down his pool of suspects. He sent out a text message to 15 contacts, letting them know that he would be renewing his contract with his team for an incredibly lucrative deal. The press didn’t know anything about this yet. He was curious to see if the information would leak. After he ran a couple errands, he came back home, alone. This was unusual for him. He would typically fill up his free time with good looking men. But he was trying, he was trying really hard to be good. Hew knew he couldn’t go to a bar, or he wouldn’t make it home alone. But being at the condo and having nothing and nobody to do was a brand new experience for him. He puttered around, trying to clean something here and there. He watched a movie, he washed the dishes, he did his laundry. But in his head he was constantly wondering what Aubrey Miller was up to. Was he having a romantic dinner date with the douche boyfriend? The idea irked Andrew. He looked at his phone, his DM’s were full of choices. He could have a sexy model here within the next hour, all he had to do was act on it. It might not even be in the press next morning, if he did it the discreet way. Nobody would know. But instead, he clicked “Aubrey Miller” and wrote, “I didn’t get your number.” Then put his phone away and ran a hand through his hair, frustrated with himself. What exactly did he think was he doing? He needed to really rethink his life and the choices he was making. He was a grown ass man but he was acting really foolish. But not too long after, he saw a new IG notification. The reply was simple, it contained a phone number as well as a message. It read, “No calls after midnight.” Andrew smiled. It looked like he had another shot at feeling the sparks fly again.

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