"I'm going to the store. You need anything?" asked Mick as he left his apartment, grabbing the keys off the kitchen counter as he did so.

John sat on the couch and looked up at Mick. He shook his head slowly, a depression reaching deep down in his eyes for some unknown reason. Mick stared at his best friend and roommate for another minute. John waited for Mick to leave, but it wasn't going to happen. Not yet, at least.

"Are you okay, John?" Mick asked slowly and quietly.

John shook his head again. He cleared his throat and stood up, pulling his jeans up to his bare belly button as he did so. He came closer to his best friend. "You're a faggot."

Mick's green eyes looked into John's icy blue ones. He looked away and bit his thumbnail, then sat down in one of chairs set under the table. Mick played out in his head how he thought this next moment would go. Something close to this...

Without warning, John punched the side of Mick's face hard, causing him to fall out of the chair onto the floor. "You're a fucking faggot!"

Mick got up off the floor and returned the favor. John held the side of his face. He pointed to the door. "Get your shit and get out of my apartment!"

But the next moment actually went more like this...

Mick looked up at John. He swallowed and sighed. "I'm not a faggot. I'm gay. There's a difference, John. How the hell did you find out?"

"He called!" yelled John.

Mick sighed again. "So David told you."

John nodded his head slowly. "I know what you're going to say. You're going to defend yourself and ask me why I can't be your friend and I can be David's, when you're both gay. The reason for that is, you've been the same as me forever. Into women. Really into women. Now you're suddenly going queer on me. That's why I can handle David, but I can't handle you."

Mick, who was nineteen, the same age as John, stood up. They were exactly the same height, but Mick was much heavier. He was what David called "soft". Mick got close to John's face. "If you're going to be friends with David, you have to be friends with me. We come as a package now. Both of us or neither of us."

"I'll be fine with neither of you." John glared at Mick.

Mick laughed airily. "No you won't be. The only other friend you have is Patrick. And you don't even like being with Patrick. At least, that's what you told me."

"I never told you that."

"Bullshit! You did so and you know it. Now, you're going to be friends with David and me. That's just the way it's going to go. Don't be an asshole," explained Mick.

Mick punched John's shoulder playfully and walked out the door of the apartment.