It was Nick’s birthday, and Warrick and Greg had got together to arrange a friendly poker game with some of the guys from work to celebrate, having given Nick little choice in the matter. They decided to hold it at Nick’s place, Greg claiming his apartment was too small, Warrick claiming that Tina would be home and would spoil all the fun. After some cajoling, he finally agreed to holding it in his house.|
He made sure he had plenty of beers in the fridge and also chips and snacks, and made a small show of tidying up the place before the others arrived.
Warrick and Greg arrived first, then came Bobby, David and Archie, and then finally Hodges, Henry and Neil. Grissom had said a polite thanks but no thanks.
Warrick set the poker table up, sorting out the plastic chips. Each $100 chip, for the purpose of this game, was now worth only $1, it was only a friendly game after all.
Beer and other drinks were brought in in a cooler and the food set up on a separate table. Archie decided not to play as he was saving up for a new hi-fi and offered to deal the cards. After a few games Henry, Neil and David were all out, so they moved towards the TV and chatted amongst themselves.
A new game started, Greg put in two $100 chips as the small blind, only worth $2 in reality but still, it was real money, his hard earned money. Bobby, who was seated to his left and therefore in the big blind position, threw in his $400 chips. Archie dealt each remaining player two cards, then stood back to watch the action. Nick carefully turned the edges of his cards up to take a look. Queen of Diamonds, Queen of Clubs, not a bad hand. He forced his face to remain frozen as to not give anything away.
Greg picked up his cards and kept them behind his cupped palms so the other players couldn’t see them. Ace of Hearts, Ace of Spades. Biting the inside of his lip to keep a smirk at bay, he watched as the action moved around the table.
Warrick, in the under the gun position at Bobby‘s left side, took a quick look at his cards, threw in his chips and sat back. He was cool and unfazed, ever the watchful gambler. Nick, in the Cut-off position, took a careful look at his opponents’ faces before throwing his chips into the middle of the table, raising the bet to $1200. Hodges, in the button position, immediately folded, the game too rich for his blood. Greg called Nick’s raise.
Warrick and Bobby folded at this point, Warrick knowing that his King/Queen hand wasn’t up to the mark for this game and figuring from Nick‘s body language that his friend had a strong hand. Bobby blushed at his Ten of Spades/Three of Hearts hand and moved his chair back slightly, leaving just Nick and Greg in the game. Archie carefully turned over the three flop cards. Four of Hearts, Nine of Clubs and Queen of Spades.
Nick looked down at his hand and his remaining chips, focusing on showing no emotion even though his heart had started beating a little faster when the Queen had been turned over. He flicked his eyes towards Greg’s face, trying to read him, but the other man was giving nothing away. He checked to Greg, tapping the table. Archie laid out the burn card, face down.
Greg looked at the flop cards. He was sitting with a pair of Aces, Queen high. Although he didn’t really know much about Poker, he knew that was a pretty good position. He bet $1500, making sure that his voice remained steady as he spoke.
“Come on then birthday boy.” Greg nodded to Nick. Nick called, figuring Greg was holding Ace/Queen or King/Queen. Archie laid out the turn card, a Seven of Clubs, no help to either player.
All eyes were on Nick and Greg, even David, Neil and Henry had left the TV and come back to the table to watch.
Nick looked back down at his cards and then across to Greg again, trying to read his face. “All in.” he said suddenly, pushing all of his remaining chips into the middle of the table.
Greg called, quietly confident in his pocket aces but wondering just what Nick’s hand might be. He pushed his own chips into the pile, swallowing down the nerves at possibly losing his money.
Greg slowly turned his cards over, revealing his aces. Nick laughed with relief as he turned over his pair of Queens. With the Queen on the table, he had three of a kind, beating Greg’s pair.
Greg chewed on his thumbnail, waiting to see what the river card would reveal.
“Get ready to lose your money, Sanders.” Nick smirked and Archie dealt the River card face down on the table, building the tension. As he started to flip it over, Greg closed his eyes, ready for disappointment.
“Man, I don’t believe it!” Warrick’s voice boomed through, and Greg risked opening his eyes. An Ace of Diamonds lay on the table, giving Greg a winning hand. Greg thought he’d never seen anything more beautiful than that playing card.
“Shit.” Nick groaned.
Everyone came over to Greg, slapping him on the back and laughing at his luck. Nick stood watching as Greg’s whole face lit up as he began laughing in disbelief. Even though he’d just lost fifty bucks, it was almost worth it to see that look on Greg’s face.
“Well done man.” he conceded, leaning across the table to shake Greg’s hand. Greg took it and grinned at him.
“Got lucky, that’s all. Pot should have been yours.”
“I think that’s enough poker for today.” Archie called, pulling a bottle of tequila out of his bag. “You guys ever played ‘I never’?”
Greg nodded, but everyone else shook their heads. “It’s easy.” he explained to them. “I say something that I’ve never done, and if you have done it, you have to drink a shot. So if I say….. I’ve never been married, Warrick has to take a drink because he has. Got it?”
“I don’t know if this is such a good idea, we’ve got work tonight remember.” Nick warned, but everybody groaned and Warrick threw a cushion at him. “OK, OK.” he laughed, holding up his hands.
Archie poured everyone a shot and set the bottle in the middle of the table, and they all took their seats around it. “Everything that is said in this room, stays in this room, no repercussions, no judgements, OK?”
“OK.” everyone agreed.
“I’ll start.” Bobby smiled, a twinkle in his eye. “I’ve never…. slept with a woman.”
Everyone else took a drink and then refreshed their glasses.
“My turn.” Greg said. “I’ve never….. cheated on an exam.”
Warrick drank down his shot. “Once, in high school.” he explained. “I hadn’t studied. OK, my turn… I‘ve never had a threesome.”
Archie took a drink, grinning behind his glass. “In college.” he offered.
Nick looked around the table and then downed his own drink. “Long time ago now.”
Hodges went next. “I’ve never streaked.”
Greg and Archie both lifted their glasses and downed their shots in one.
“Very drunk at the time!” Archie claimed with a laugh. Greg just grinned but offered no information about his.
David came next. “I’ve never been to a strip club. As a customer that is.”
Warrick, Nick, Archie and Greg all took a drink.
Neil spoke up. “I’ve never watched a porno movie.”
“Seriously?” Greg squeaked before downing his shot along with every other person at the table.
“Seriously.” Neil shrugged. “It just doesn’t do anything for me. I prefer the real thing.” Greg thought he saw Neil’s eyes flick towards Henry for a second and wondered if there was something going on there.
“OK.” Archie laughed. “I…. um…. I’ve never had a girl ask me out. I‘ve always done the asking.”
Greg, Nick and Warrick all downed a shot. Nick felt his head start to swim slightly, he’d never been good with tequila and the beers he’d had earlier weren’t helping.
Henry blushed and then spoke up. “I’ve never….. I’ve never had sex outdoors.”
Greg, Nick, Archie, Warrick and Bobby all downed their shots. Everything was taking on a fuzzy edge and Nick found himself start to grin a little.
“My turn?” he asked when everyone looked towards him. “OK…..” he tried to think of something he’d never done. “I’ve never….. kissed a guy.”
Much to his surprise, everyone took a drink. “What?” he choked. “When? OK, Bobby’s pretty self explanatory, but you other guys?”
Everyone shrugged and sort of mumbled their answers. Nick made out the words ‘high school’, ‘drunk’, ‘bet’, and other excuses. He saw Neil and Henry look at each other and blush. His eyes then trained on Greg, who was staring into the bottom of his empty glass.
“OK, I think that’s enough booze.” Warrick said, sensing the discomfort in the room and screwing the top back on the bottle. “I should get going anyway.” he sighed, checking his watch.
He collected his poker chips and put them back in their case and then called for a cab on his cell-phone. “I’ll pick up my car later, OK? I think I‘ve drank too much to be driving home.”
The general consensus seemed to be that the party was over, everyone feeling a little awkward about what had been revealed during the drinking game. Even though Archie had claimed no repercussions, Nick wondered if the discomfort would last.
“I’ll stay and help you clean up.” Greg offered after everyone else had left, looking at the beer bottles and chip bags laying all over the living room.
“There’s no need….” Nick began, but Greg held his hand up to quieten him.
“I insist. Besides, you owe me fifty dollars, I need to make sure you don’t skip town.” Greg’s eyes glinted with mirth.
“OK, you can make a start in here, I’ll do the kitchen.” Nick threw him some garbage bags and disappeared into the other room, trying to get the thoughts of Greg kissing another man out of his head. Knowing this fact bothered him more than finding out all of his friends had had an experience he’d never had. Even though part of him wanted to have it.
Greg switched the CD player on and found a compilation album with a mix of tracks to suit both of their musical tastes as they worked. He stopped his clear-up for a moment to look at Nick through the doorway of the kitchen. He was stretching up to reach something in a high cupboard, his T-Shirt riding up and revealing a flash of tanned skin above the waistband of his jeans. Greg shivered and tried to focus on his task, but Nick’s answers from the game kept replaying through his head. Plus, he was still feeling pretty woozy from the alcohol.
Finally Nick’s place looked like normal again. Greg picked up the discarded tequila bottle, still with about a glass-worth left in the bottom. He had a sudden brainwave and grabbed a clean glass, pouring the remaining liquid into it.
He carried the glass into the kitchen and set it on the counter. Taking a deep breath, he strode forward and took Nick’s face in his hands, bringing their lips together chastely. Nick’s mouth stayed tightly closed, his lips locked shut, more from the shock than from anything else. As quickly as Greg had brought their lips together he pulled away again.
“Take a drink.” he said, his voice husky.
“Excuse me?” Nick asked, wondering what the hell had just happened. Why had Greg kissed him? And more importantly, why was he now regretting keeping his mouth closed?
“You’ve kissed another guy, you’re no longer the odd one out. Now you can take a drink.”
“Oh. Right.” Nick felt slightly disappointed. The kiss was only a joke, that‘s all, a way to make him feel less left out. He swallowed the drink and put the glass into the dishwasher. “I could have done without the drink though, I think I’ve had enough, don‘t you? I‘m seeing double as it is.”
“Not if you’ve still got that stick up your ass, then no I don’t.” Greg quipped, turning his head to the side and watching Nick closely. “Are you pissed that I beat you at poker, is that why you‘re so quiet? It‘s only fifty bucks, we can call it off if you want.”
An awkward silence hung in the air between them. There was so many things Nick wanted to say to Greg, but he couldn’t find the right words.
“It’s not the poker.” he finally sighed. “I’m just…. Oh fuck it. “ He closed the space between them and pinned Greg up against the counter, seeking out his mouth once again, this time keeping his lips soft and moist. Greg made a whimper of shock into his open mouth and then sank into the kiss, slipping just the merest tip of his tongue over Nick’s own tongue. The kiss was hot and wet, and tasted of tequila and nachos.
After a few moments, they pulled apart, panting. “What was that?” Greg asked, surprised. He hadn’t expected that, had only kissed Nick as a bit of a drunken joke, never once thinking that the other man would reciprocate.
“A kiss.” Nick shrugged. “A real one. Something I should have done a long time ago.”
“In general… or with me?” Greg pressed, needing to know what this meant. He’d never dreamed that Nick would ever want to kiss him. Well, that wasn’t true, he’d dreamed it many times, he just never expected it to come true.
“Only with you Greg. I haven’t been interested in anyone else, male or female, for a long time.” Nick admitted, curling Greg‘s soft hair around his finger. “I just didn’t think you were into guys. Until today.”
“I lied.” Greg blurted out suddenly. “In the game. Until five minutes ago I’d never kissed a guy either. I just wanted to see how you would react if you thought I had. I am into guys but I‘ve never…. It‘s always been about you.”
Nick laughed at how ridiculous they’d both been. “Good, because I was kinda jealous.” he admitted. “Oh, and I don’t have fifty bucks on me, can I pay you back in kind?” he smirked before claiming Greg’s mouth again.
“There’s going to be interest added, I’ll warn you now.” Greg mumbled against Nick’s lips.
“Well, since you didn’t get me a birthday present we can call it even.” Nick chuckled as he led a very willing Greg towards the bedroom.
*The boys were playing Texas Hold-em*