I don't know what made me send the first note. I'd only come out to my parents in the last year, and they were cool with it to an extent. Basically, "We understand that this is who you are, but for chrissakes, don't bring any boyfriends or adopted Chinese babies home until we deal with this in our own way."

My dad had this old-school swishy homosexual stereotype in mind, so he thought that because I played basketball and football in high school, I'd be exempt. Fuck it. I like sports, I like all that 'manly' stuff… but.. I'm not gonna lie, I beat off to the Old Spice commercials a couple times. They were all just different parts of me. And I hate bringing race into it, but I think it's harder being a double-minority. I mean, even on TV, all the gay characters are almost all white, yeah? We don't get the representation that white gay kids do, so growing up, I was all kinds of fucked up about it.

Doesn't help that the first guy I dated treated me like I was a fetish. I was supposed to be a gangsta type because that was his image of what a black man should be. Fuck that. I'm more Taye Diggs than Kanye West. Kind of look like him, too.

I'm not gonna tone it down or try and seem modest, here. I'm a pretty good-looking man. So I shouldn't have a problem with dating. I just… have bad luck, that's all. It's like looking for steak and not finding any, but you're cool to have a burger or two on the way. And in this analogy, in case you didn't catch on, 'burger' is 'casual sex'.

I went into Chris' shop for the first time when I guess he was still seeing his boyfriend, because the asshole was there talking with him. And fuck, it makes me feel like such a dick, but I wanted to go over and ask him out right there. Whatever he says about himself is a lie. He's cute as fuck. Tall, kind of.. somewhere between slender and chubby, I guess… dark hair, big blue eyes.. and when he laughs, I just want to pin him down and kiss him.

"Oh, fuck off. Valentine's not for three more months," he snorted. "We have plenty of time to make reservations for dinner."

His ex nodded, and kissed his cheek. "I'll see you at home, Chris." He left, but gave me this really weird look on the way out.

Chris came to the counter and smiled at me. I felt my heart skip a beat. I know that's really lame, but it happened. Fuck, I feel like a creepy stalker even thinking about it. "Hey, what can I help you with?"

"Uh, I need some flowers for my parents' anniversary. Bout.. fifty bucks?" What I knew about flowers could fill a goddamned pamphlet, but he seemed to know what he was doing. "Did.. I walk in on something here? Your boyfriend was giving me the eye."

He rolled his eyes. "He's kind of … well… he just thinks black people are all going to mug him, or …pull a gun on him or whatever. "

I couldn't help but roll my own eyes at that. "Dumbass." I looked back up at Chris. "What d'you think?"

"I think those jeans are too tight to hide a gun. But if I weren't taken, I wouldn't mind giving you a pat down to find out," he smirked, and I felt my cheeks heat up. "If you want, you can go grab a coffee next door. I'll just be a few minutes."

Normally, I would've stayed and watched, but a coffee sounded perfect. "How do you take it?" I asked him, receiving a raised eyebrow and a smirk in response. "The coffee, man," I clarified with a laugh.

"Dark and sweet," he said, looking me in the eye.

I was so glad he couldn't see me blushing, because holy shit. I'd never had someone flirt with me like that before, and knowing he had a boyfriend made it worse. I was absolutely terrible at flirting, so I just went to get a coffee for myself, and ordered one for Chris as well. When I returned, he was almost done, and I set his coffee on the counter.

"You never told me how you take your coffee," he said, picking the cup and sipping at it.

"Same way I like my men. Hot, sweet, and full of cream," I said, taking a sip and feeling a little pleased that he sputtered a bit.

"… well played." Chris wiped his mouth and laughed, thanking me for the coffee and finishing it up. He had (has?) a great eye. I could tell that without knowing much about flowers, even. A girl came out of the back, and headed for the register.

"Chris, can you finish off those corsages? I'll take the front for a bit."

"Sure thing, Ame. Thanks again for the coffee, man." And he was gone.

I gave the girl my credit card, and cleared my throat. "..so, um. That thing with his boyfriend. Is it .. serious?" I asked, feeling awkward as hell. She huffed.

"I fucking hate that asshole. I can't shake the feeling that he's gonna do something, and just break Chris' heart," she muttered, swiping the card and looking up at me. "Why? You like him?"

"… Um. Well, I .. " I was suddenly struck with an idea. "Look, could.. you do something small? Something he likes, and just.. put a card with it? " I gave her my credit card back, and she beamed at me, giving me a little card to write on. I stared at it, not sure what to say. Finally, I wrote 'From your secret admirer' and left it at that, writing my number down on a piece of paper and handing it to her. "Text me if he likes it.. I'll .. just .. keep doing that until something happens one way or another."

"Consider me your romantic comedy sidekick in your journey of love," she said, grinning at me and taking the card and my number. "If it's to get that douchebag out of his life, I'm all for it."

I took the flowers for my parents and left, and every week or so, after I called in a flower order, I'd get a text from Amy saying that he loved the flowers, and that he was getting curious about the sender, but I didn't want to break up a relationship.

A few months later, I got another text from Amy telling me what happened, and as much as I wanted to swoop in and make him feel better and punch his ex in the face, I backed off for a couple weeks to give him time.

For the record, if that's your thing, to be with a bunch of people, that's fine, if everyone's in on it. Cheating, and then using that as an excuse? That makes you an asshole.

I saw him through the window shortly after the breakup, and the urge to go in and hug him was even stronger. He just looked broken. Tired.

Even when I finally got the balls to ask him out – which, thankfully, happened around my mom's birthday, so I had an excuse – he still didn't look as happy as he had before.

We met at the bar, and had a few drinks, and after the first couple, he started opening up and laughing, and he was flirting with me pretty hard, which I didn't mind. After all, I'd been nursing a crush on this guy for months. I took a deep breath, and put my hand on his leg, watching him for his reaction.

"I .. I just got out of a relationship.. we were together a while, and.. we lived together, and.. uh.. it was a really shitty breakup. So I .. um, I don't know if I can do a relationship for a while. " Chris downed the rest of his drink. "… I hate the term 'friends with benefits', but… well, it's better than 'fuckbuddies'."

I didn't really want to be either, but he looked so sad, I didn't have the heart to tell him I was his secret admirer, and I wanted to boyfriend the hell out of him. I forced myself to smile, and I nodded. "Yeah. You want to come back to my place, you can crash on my couch? I live nearby, and you're .. you're pretty drunk."

"I am, aren't I?" He laughed, and let me help him up. "Fuck, you're strong.. you remind me of the Old Spice guy… and you smell so fucking good. " Chris breathed in against my neck, and licked it, making my knees buckle a little. It'd been so long since I'd had sex, as much as I wanted to hold back, it was going to be tough.

I walked him back to my place, and he craned his neck down the hallway. "Bedroom?"

"Uh, it's down the hall, but –" He was already on his way there, and I swallowed, locking the front door and following him. "Chris, I.. " Fuck, he was on the bed already, and as soon as I got under the covers, he was right up against me, kissing me hard. "Fuck, mn.. I.. maybe we should wait until you're less drunk.. . I'll feel like an asshole if I make you do something you don't want to do sober."

He protested, and so did my body, but I stuck to my guns, so we made out for a little while (compromise!) and then he snuggled against me and rested his head on my chest. A few minutes later, he was out like a light, and I lay in my room, listening to him breathing and feeling his warm body against my own. I wasn't used to sleeping with someone else, but I had to admit, it was nice.

I wrapped an arm around him and fell asleep. Tomorrow, things would be different.