Caller IDMature

The subway had been busy, fast and too crowded for Dario to think. But having gotten off at his station to transfer onto a bus, because the subway didn't yet reach far enough north, Diego found himself alone enough to think.

In his right pocket, though it was usually in his left, Diego's iPod was on shuffle. At that moment, it was just beginning an instrumental piano cover of Lady Gaga's Telephone.

There were three other people waiting at the bus stop.

He hummed along to the familiar melody, enjoying his solitude. His pierced lips began to move about, lip-syncing to lyrics heard only in his mind, for the track was entirely instrumental. Diego relished the emphasis on not being disturbed, after having been in a noisy subway car and trying to answer his cellphone.

One of the people on the bus was dressed in a Bohemian way, like a metropolitan Gypsy. And something about the person's effeminate bone structure, peach fuzz goatee, garnish of make-up  and long hair made Diego wonder whether he was looking at a man or, in fact, a woman.

And that question made him turn away, as his mind whispered a unisex name to him which he did not want to hear. And he forced himself to focus on the immediate present. He counted the marks on the back of the chair in front of him as the bus pulled away with him inside. He read the graffiti carved there, just to stay grounded.

Finally, his mind took the forced divergence willingly, and he settled on recalling the phone call he'd received on the subway just minutes before. It had been Virginia calling to wish him good luck. He could hardly hear her, even after raising the volume of his cell. But that was okay, because she was being distracted by Jeff who was trying to kiss her in several places at once while she talked on the phone.

Diego, however, did not feel like such a horndog as Jeff did towards Virginia. And it wasn't because the boy he was on his way to visit did not attract him. Rather, it was because his new boyfriend attracted him so much, and he didn't want to mess it up. So, they had both resolved to take things slow. A cautious, wary pace.

However, Diego thought to himself, what is said and what is done are two very different things.

His eyes settled on the other two people on the bus. They were a young, heterosexual couple. Early twenty-somethings. She had rosary beads around her neck, and rested her head on his shoulder. He was holding her hand between them, not upon anyone's lap.

His foot tapped to the sound of the piano cover of Telephone.

That was what Diego wanted. Sweet innocence. But when it came down to it, he was rushing head first towards his first sleep-over, his first night spent together with his new boyfriend. And it was only a week into their relationship.

Diego was not planning to have sex. However, he knew it was an option. He knew James wasn't a virgin like him. And then there was the small packet containing a pre-lubed condom Dario had made his brother promise to keep on hand in case the situation ever arose, stashed in the secret spot between some discrete layers of leather in his wallet.

However, Diego knew that temptation would inevitably be encountered. After all, they were going to literally sleep together. In the same bed. Likely with arms wrapped around each other in a warm, half-naked cuddle. And that would inevitably be arousing. And so, he had to prepare himself to maintain the beautiful pace he'd sworn to uphold.

The track he was listening to faded out, the piano keys twinkling brightly to a slow finish, nothing like the original version of the song.

Diego looked the time on his phone. He realized he wasn't even halfway through his bus ride, assuming it was on schedule.

And his iPod began to play another track. The sound of a soft, acoustic guitar began to play in his ears, dancing through arpeggiated chords and then abruptly jumping around by larger intervals for the sake of bold dissonance.

Diego smiled. He was pretty sure he could guess the artist, but hadn't heard the track before. But he cringed a bit, when he remembered who had recommended the artist to him in December. It was that same name he did not want to hear himself think.

A male's singing voice, a tenor smooth like velvet, began to sing.

Stacy, he thought when he heard the first syllables. They forced it out of him.

"I don't know where we're going,
But I know we've gone too far,
And, I hope it isn't showing,
But I think I love you,
And, I can't believe you're leaving,
Just when I let you in.
And, when you had be believing,
I could feel againnn..."

He knew it was the voice of Jay Brennan, but he couldn't help but think it was a message from him. Him? No - from her...

The chords climbed through the arpeggios and then, once again, jumped around with spirited grace.

"I could give a million reasons,
Why we should not be friends.
Our moods change like the seasons;
My mood ends, your mood begins.
And, you're a tease,
You're a cock-blocker,
You're a loudmouth b'tch and a big talker.
But that's okayyy,
You'll grow up sommme dayyy!"

The chorus then began immediately, full of metaphors that brought out the guilt in Diego's heart.

"You're the pill I never wanted to take,
An anti-misaaanthrrro-o-ope!
Mine was the heart I never thought you would break.
Myyy onnne hope was...
That I'd survive youuu!"

The instrumental break between the chorus and the next verse did what it always did, even arpeggiated steps and then great, bold leaps.

"I've shown up for you in ways I know that boy never would,
But, I know you'll go back to him,
And, maybe you should.
But I hope you don't go backwards,
Because I'm going on ahead,
And one day you'll wish that you - had stuck with me instead."

The arpeggios had now become a familiar melody to Diego's ears, and were now a harbinger of that repeating chorus.

"You're the pill I never wanted to take,
An anti-misaaanthrrro-o-ope!
Mine was the heart I never thought you would break.
Myyy onnne hope was...
That I'd survive youuu!"

Another instrumental break was met, but the arpeggios never came and Diego was hoping the song was coming to an end. It was beautiful and enchanting, and he could not bring himself to turn it off, but it made him feel quite disgusted with himself.

It just kept going, painting a familiar scene that hit too close to home for his eyes to remain dry.

"As I wander throouugh Union Squarrre,
I remember when youuu followed meee there,
You were the staalkerr I kinda wanted to ha-aaave,
Being your half-boyfriend was - only half-baaa-aaa-aaad..."

"You're the pill I never wanted to take,
An anti-misaaanthrrro-o-ope!
Mine was the heart I never thought you would break.
Myyy onnne hope - was...
That I'd survive youuu!"

Then came the all too familiar arpeggiated chords. Yet when the leaps came, the dissonance of the music finally sounded right.

That was when his cellphone rang. Diego reached into his right pocket, and pulled out a device and looked down at its tiny, bright screen.

He was expecting to see the word, "Boyfriend", which was what he had entered in his contact list as a display name in place of James Deacon. However, it read "Half-Boyfriend". He frowned at it. And it took Diego a moment to realize that he was looking at his iPod screen displaying the name of the song instead of his cellphone displaying the name of whomever was calling him. He had put them both in the same pocket to balance out jamming his wallet into his other pocket, since he didn't like sitting down with stuff in his back pockets.

So, he paused his iPod and answered the phone as hastily as he could, "Hey there, boyfriend!"

"Stop screwing with my love-life!" yelled the angry, girlish voice on the other end of the phone. It was most certainly not the voice of James Deacon.

The End

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