Once Friends

by Natty Soltesz

This is an excerpt from my 2017 novel My Sister’s Boyfriend, available from Go Deeper Press.

I met Nick at a bar in town called the Silver-Tongued Devil. I’m not much of a drinker, and the bars in my hometown scare me, but I was feeling adventurous. They had Mardi Gras streamers everywhere, I guess cause they liked the colors (it was June). Three girls were kicking up their heels on a dance floor about the square footage of a refrigerator box, and five guys sat along the bar and turned back occasionally to look at them.

I sidled up to the bar and ordered a beer. Nick came in a few minutes later. He was still a sexy guy—tall, dark, and handsome, a bit thicker around the middle than he’d been in high school. His tan looked good on him. We slapped palms and he sat down.

“Just got back from the beach, yeah?” I said.

“Yeah,” he said. Ordered a shot and a beer. I watched him down the shot. It made me feel lonely, like I should be doing one, too. But things were different between us. They’d never really been the same after he dated Trish.

“Who’d you go with?”

“Amy’s family.” Amy was his girlfriend, I reminded myself. They lived together. “They got a house ocean side. It was nice.” Nick is a man of few words. It could be why we became friends. We’re both the quiet type. “I got a tan,” he said.

“I noticed,” I said and sucked on my beer. Nick turned around to watch the girls dance, turned back to me.

I took another gulp of beer. “Did you draw anything down there?” I said.

“No. I haven’t been drawing in a while, really.”

“You’re working?”

“Yeah, I just got a new job. At the sewing machine factory?”

“Oh yeah. I’ve always wondered about that place.” It’s a factory on the edge of town, a big rectangular building, with tons of little windows. It’s just down the tracks from my mom’s house. “I used to imagine I could hear it at night from my bedroom window,” I continued. Nick regarded me. “It was probably just the sound of trucks on the highway.”

“It’s an okay job,” Nick said. “Congratulations, by the way. On graduating.”

“Thanks, man,” I said and started to feel really awkward, like I’d succeeded where he failed.

“Are you just here for the summer?”

“Yeah. I’m planning to move to New York,” I said.

“Right on,” Nick said, and I instantly felt stupid for saying that I was going to New York City, like I was rubbing it in his face.

We kept up the conversation, superficial as it was. He had a weed hookup. I told him I’d probably need to use that sooner than later. We didn’t order a second beer.


Nick and I, we’d once been close. Closer than close, in some important ways. We had our sophomore art class together. We realized that we both liked to draw, and then our junior year, we started hanging out and drawing together, which was nice because we didn’t have to talk a lot. But we would end up talking, as if working side by side released some social tension and anxiety. That was how I ended up telling Nick that I was gay.

“I figured you were into something different. You’re just that kind of guy,” he said, and that was that.

Nick was on the football team his first two years of high school and was good at it, but then he tore a tendon in his foot and couldn’t play anymore. So, we’d hang out in his attic bedroom, or sometimes we’d drive around and see movies. Once I came out to Nick, he found it easier to talk to me about girls, with whom he’d never had a lot of luck. Soon he was talking to me about nothing but girls. And I was as horny as he was, but for guys. The more we hung out, the more I began to realize that it was mainly him I was horny for.

Once he told me that he had a big dick, that guys on the football team had called him “Tripod.” That stuck, but the idea of messing around with him was too complex and messy to ponder.

Until it happened. It was the spring of our junior year, and we were up in Nick’s attic, drawing like we usually were, him at his desk and me in the beanbag chair at his feet, music on the stereo. I was doing these little pop art pieces, drawing things around Nick’s room like his tube of deodorant and his bottle of eye drops.

“Courtney Selnick doesn’t wear a sports bra,” he said, eyes on his drawing. “I see her in gym class, bouncing around. It’s criminal. I start getting hard while we’re playing volleyball. I had to go to the bathroom the other day.”

“Did you jack off in the stall?” I said.

“Yeah.” Nick laughed.

I laughed with him. “I’ve jacked off in the faculty restroom on the second floor. The one that locks,” I said.

“I jack off so much,” Nick said. He’d had a girlfriend his sophomore year, so he wasn’t a virgin, unlike me. What’s more, he’d had sex a bunch with his ex—or at least a few times—and she’d sucked his dick. I never plied him for details cause it made me jealous, like he was part of the non-virgin club.

“Me, too,” I said. We kept drawing, but the weirdest feeling came over the room: I was getting turned on, and it felt like I could tell he was getting turned on, too.

“I have porn,” he said finally.

“Like, movies?” I said.

“Magazines. They were my brother’s. I found them in his closet.”

“What are they like?” I said, and Nick laughed.

“You might like them,” he said. “They have big dicks in them.”

“Where are they?”

Nick got up and his dick was tenting out the front of his shorts. My heart started beating like crazy. He rooted around in the bottom drawer of his dresser and came out with a couple of magazines, handing two to me and taking one back to his bed. He laid back and flipped through it. I did the same.

They were hardcore. Most of the pictorials were of two guys fucking one girl, which was a delightful surprise. “You’re right,” I said. “I do like them.”

“I thought you might. Are the dicks big enough for you?” he said.

“Some of them,” I said. I was so hard in my jeans. “Like, look at this guy’s.” I held up the magazine, and Nick leaned over to see.

“That’s not that big,” he said.

“You’ve seen bigger?” I said.

“I like her,” he said, holding a magazine for me to see. I nodded noncommittally. “Anyway, my dick’s bigger than that one.” Nick’s erection was totally apparent, lying like a pipe in his lap, and I wasn’t trying to hide mine either.

“Is it?” I looked right at his lap.

He followed my gaze. “Yeah,” he said. He pulled the waistband of his shorts down. He wasn’t wearing underwear. “See?” His hard dick lolled up and out and hung there like a dog’s tongue. It was huge.

“Wow,” I said.

“I told you,” he said, laughing a little. He tucked it back inside his shorts.

“Mine isn’t anywhere near that.”

“Lemme see.”

I stood up. The metal chinked as I unbuckled my belt, then I held out my cock.

“It’s a nice cock,” Nick said diplomatically.

“Thanks. Yours is really nice.”

Nick stood and took out his cock again. “We’re both horny,” he said.


“Would it be weird if we did something right now?” he said. I answered by reaching out and taking his cock in the palm of my hand, the first cock I’d ever touched besides my own. It felt so good, heavy and hot. Nick took hold of mine, and we stood there for a minute, stroking each other. Nick looked in my eyes. “Just this one time, okay?” he said. I nodded, as if I could have said no. I would have agreed to murder if it meant we could keep doing what we were doing.

Nick knelt. He gulped, then he put his lips around my cock. He sucked on the head. He took it deeper, slathering his tongue along the underside as he got it part of the way into his throat. It was toothy, I remember, not that I cared. He gave it a few passes, then stood up and wiped his mouth.

“Sorry if that was bad. I never did it before.”

“I never have either.”

“I’ll help you,” he said, and he did. I started on my knees. That big hairy dick was right in my face. I took a deep breath and kissed it, right on the head. There was a drop of pre-come there and it smeared on my lips. I licked it and the taste, plus the smell of his crotch, was all so different, but good. I sucked on the head, and it was like sucking on a plum. I chanced taking it past my throat.

“Watch your teeth,” Nick said in a kind way. “Here.” He lay back on the bed. I got in between his legs and we found a comfortable position. I went back to work, curling my lips around my teeth and managing to take more of him in. “That’s good,” Nick said after a few passes of my mouth. “Oh damn, that’s good.” I got a rhythm going. It was hard work, actually. I’ve never been able to breathe through my nose too well, so I kept backing off to catch my breath. Nick was a cool customer, totally into whatever I was doing, just laying back and enjoying himself.

“Lick my balls,” he instructed.

I lapped them up and Nick groaned. I could tell he was tentative about telling me what to do. It was not in his personality to be commanding. But maybe it got easier for him when he saw how much it turned me on.

“Lick real slow up the shaft and kind of suck on the head like you were doing earlier. God, fuck, yes.” He whispered all of this, and I knew his family was downstairs with no idea of what we were doing. “Suck it as deep as you can.” I managed to get the whole thing down my throat that first time. What can I say? I’m a natural. I choked after a few seconds, but I still did it. “Holy fuck. I can’t believe you can do that.”

“I can’t believe it either.”

“It felt amazing. Do it again.” I did it again. I ran my hands up under Nick’s shirt, feeling his hairy stomach, his softly muscled tits. I felt his thighs, too, which were thick and strong. “Suck my balls some more before I…oh fuck, I’m gonna come. Take it all the way.” I took it down deep and came back up, and he started shooting in my mouth. I’d been uncertain as to where I wanted him to come up to that point, but it happened, so I went with it. I even swallowed. It was pretty strange, but not bad.

Nick thanked me profusely, like he felt guilty for taking advantage of me. “That was a seriously amazing blowjob,” he said.

I felt proud, and even though I hadn’t gotten off, I had jack-off material for the rest of my life.

But it wasn’t just that one time. We started doing it every time we hung out. Nick still got guilty afterward. He apologized for not sucking me again after that first time.

“It’s okay. I get off on getting you off,” I said.

“I know I’m not gay. You just give great head,” he said.

The thing was, I believed him. Our friendship didn’t change in any negative way. We were still buddies. We got together as much as we ever did, but we had this secret sex life.

After a few weeks, though, I found myself just wanting it more and feeling weird when he would have plans other than hanging out with me.

Then one night right before the end of the school year, we were in his room, drawing quietly, which was normal, but I had this sense that something had changed. Things felt tense.

“Wanna look at porn?” I finally said, which was also pretty normal, except Nick usually brought it up, and brought it up a lot sooner than I had.

“Nah,” he said, and my heart sank. But it hadn’t throttled through the earth’s crust. Not yet.

“What’s up?” I said.

“I think we might need to take a break,” he said, glancing at me, pen still in hand, scratching away at his drawing pad.

“Any reason?”

“You know that party at Todd’s this past weekend?”

“No,” I said.

“Well, there was one,” he said. “Your sister was there.”

“Okay,” I said, but my heart was beginning its rapid descent.

“We kinda hooked up.”

That sinking feeling became nausea. “Hooked up?” I asked.

“Yeah, we made out. We ended up fooling around.”

I put down my drawing and stared at the open window. It was dark outside. The tree branches had fresh leaves on them and the sodium streetlight gave it all a sickly glow.

“Are you upset?”

I didn’t say anything.

“I’m sorry.”

I just got up and left. Nick let me go, which made it even worse.


“I’m hanging out with Nick tonight,” Trisha said the next day. “I like him.”

“Good for you,” I said.

“What, are you mad?”

“No,” I said and steeled myself. I would not, could not, reveal how torn up I was inside, partly because I wasn’t out to her (I didn’t come out to my family until I went to college), and partly because I was embarrassed that I’d fallen into something with a straight guy, and a straight guy who liked my sister, no less.

I walked around a lot that summer. It was like the only thing I knew how to do. The worst thing about it was that there wasn’t anybody to blame. Nobody had any loyalty to me or reason to think of me. I had no doubt that Nick and Trish were going to live happily ever after and I wanted to kill both of them, but that was exclusively my problem.

It was something that ended before it really even started. Trish dumped him, apparently. By then it seemed clear that Nick had betrayed me more than my sister had. No matter that our relationship was avowedly just a friendship, we’d both known it was a little bit more. But I’d expended so much mental energy on it that when Trish told me it ended, I couldn’t muster any schaudenfreude.

Nick and I made amends a few weeks into our senior year, but things were never really the same.

Did Trish know that Nick and I had been more than friends? She never let on, but over the years, she would mention seeing him around town, and I swear she did it just to needle me.