“Empty Apartment, Dance Naked”



George spins around, startled to be discovered. He lets out an embarrassed whoop, shields his crotch, and dashes by, near enough for Robin to reach out and slap his ass. Robin can feel the damp heat rising off George’s skin.

Through the bathroom door, George shouts, “I came out of the shower, and I heard this song, and I was, like — ”

“Empty apartment, dance naked.”

“You know I love me some Prince.”

“I’ll come in more quietly next time.” Robin affects this kind of flirtation with George sometimes, a little steam valve meant to release whatever tension might naturally build between gay friends sharing an apartment but not a bed. This tension wasn’t something he’d expected going into the summer, since he and George did not, it seemed, have any unresolved questions about who they were to each other. But George isn’t the diminutive science geek he was in high school. He’s been building up his body, dropping to the floor of the apartment once a day for push-ups and sit-ups in a tank top that reveals the sweet dusting of hair at the center of his developing chest. Robin has imagined running his fingers over those newly tight muscles, and he imagines more than that in this moment. But then George reemerges from the bathroom in his ugly plaid robe. Its indigo and turquoise stripes seem designed to make its wearer look as unattractive as possible.

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