London. Life.

“Do anything last night?” asked Marc, as he and Charlie walked across to Columbia Road Flower Market.

“Yes…” nodded Charlie. “I watched TV and ate pizza.”

“Then you mean - no…” corrected Marc. “That’s the definition of doing nothing, not doing something. Why were you watching TV and eating pizza on a Saturday night?”

“I quite liked it, actually…” shrugged Charlie. “Oliver had his work Christmas party, it was cold out, so there was no reason to leave the flat.”

“What do you mean, he had his Christmas party?” asked Marc. “It’s the middle of January!”

“They always have it in January…” explained Charlie. “Because they’re an events company, they’re always super-busy over Christmas, so they delay their staff party until things have quietened down a bit.”

“I guess that makes sense…” agreed Marc. “Where did you get the pizza from? Delivery?”

“Papa John’s…” replied Charlie.

“Are you kidding me!” exclaimed Marc. “That’s such shit pizza! You’d have been better off with a frozen pizza from Iceland!”

“Don’t judge me!” protested Charlie. “Papa John’s is literally across the road from the flat. What am I supposed to do? But you’re right, it was pretty ordinary. Have you seen that show Greatest Dancer?”

“I don’t know what that is…” replied Marc.

“It’s a reality talent show…” explained Charlie. “People dance and the audience votes.”

“Sounds stupid…” dismissed Marc.

“It’s really good!” insisted Charlie. “I cried so much. It’s hosted by Alesha Dixon and Jordan Banjo, and the judges are Cheryl, Matthew Morrison, and Oti Mabuse.”

“Who are these people?” laughed Marc. “Why is this making you cry?”

“It’s just good trash TV…” shrugged Charlie. “It doesn’t take much to make me cry. When you see a young gay boy just dancing his heart out and doing really well, I don’t know - it’ just gets me.”

“You’re being emotionally manipulated…” dismissed Marc. “It’s emotional porn.”

“I guess…” acknowledged Charlie. “Anyway, what did you get up to?”

“I had a date!” grinned Marc.

“What do you mean - a date?” asked Charlie. “You mean a hook-up?”

“No, it was an actual date!” insisted Marc. “We went out for dinner. We talked. We laughed.”

“You had sex?” asked Charlie.

“Obviously…” nodded Marc. “We’re two gay men.”

“Who did you go on a date with?” asked Charlie.

“Stephen…” replied Marc.

“Stephen who? asked Charlie. “Who’s Stephen?”

“Stephen Yao…” explained Marc.

“Your ex?” asked Charlie. “Stephen Yao, your ex? Are you kidding me? What are you doing going on a date with Stephen? What are you doing having sex with Stephen?”

“I think we might get back together…” shrugged Marc.

“What the actual fuck!” exclaimed Charlie. “Have you had a stroke? This is crazy! Have you forgotten what he did to you? You’re the one who’s being emotionally manipulated!”