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Needing Seth

By Shawn Lane


Published by JMS Books LLC at Smashwords

Visit jms-books.com for more information.


Copyright 2017 Shawn Lane

ISBN 9781634864107

* * * *

Cover Design: Written Ink Designs | written-ink.com

Image(s) used under a Standard Royalty-Free License.

All rights reserved.


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This book is for ADULT AUDIENCES ONLY. It may contain sexually explicit scenes and graphic language which might be considered offensive by some readers. Please store your files where they cannot be accessed by minors.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are solely the product of the author’s imagination and/or are used fictitiously, though reference may be made to actual historical events or existing locations. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Published in the United States of America.

NOTE: This book was previously published by Amber Quill Press.

* * * *

Needing Seth

By Shawn Lane

Chapter 1

I’d always known I was a geek. Well, since a pretty young age. I loved science fiction, collected action figures, loved cool science facts. The usual.

And as I reached puberty I also realized I was gay. So, yeah, I was a gay geek. With glasses and long stringy hair. I went through a phase for a while where I didn’t want to shower, which, thankfully, didn’t last. But a gay, greasy geek.

Plus, I was shy. So, needless to say I went through my high school years without even my first kiss. By college, I had at least decided bathing was preferable so I rid myself of one strike against me. I’d made a few friends during my normal school years and I still had them when I got to college. That was good. But two of my friends, Ruby and Victor, were straight and a couple. My other friend, Jesse, was gay but way too cute and perky to notice me. I don’t think we were each other’s types, really. Though I wasn’t sure I had a type since I’d never been with a guy.

Then Jesse got himself a boyfriend, his roommate, Gilbert, and I was seething with jealousy. Not over Jesse. But the plain fact the only gay guy I actually knew had a boyfriend, and I had nothing.

“Maybe I need a do over,” I said to Ruby one night when she was over having cappuccino with me. I had a small, tiny, studio apartment. I struggled to pay for that, let alone any bigger place. I was barely making over minimum wage at the doctor’s office I’d gotten a job at as an appointment and file clerk recently. Most of my college courses I was taking now were night classes.

“A do over?” Ruby scrunched up her face. She was painting her fingernails purple, her cup of cappuccino sitting next to her at the dining room table. “Do you mean a makeover?”

I waved my hand. “Yeah, whatever. There has to be something I am doing wrong. No one will even look at me.”

Ruby eyed me critically. “No offense, Landers, but you’re kind of um…”

Landers. Everyone called me by my last name. It started when we were kids and they never grew out of it. I found myself even introducing myself that way now. It had gotten to the point where sometimes I had to stop and think when someone asked me my first name. Seth, oh yeah.

“Ugly?” I offered with a wince. Because honestly, that is exactly what I feared. That the reason I couldn’t get a single person to notice me was because I was as ugly as sin.

“No, no,” Ruby said quickly. She had the grace to look shocked I had even suggested it. “I was going to say nondescript.”

And that was better? “So in other words, I’m invisible.”

“I think you’ve lived your life trying to be invisible and now you don’t know how to stop.”

Did I mention Ruby was a psych major? One of her quirks was analyzing all of us.

“Even if that is true, how do I become visible again?”

Ruby reached for my long straight hair. “You could get a haircut. This look dates back to 1970s stoner dude. And maybe contacts.”

I shook my head. “I could probably stomach the hair chop, but I scratched my retina badly as a kid and they’ve always told me I can’t wear contacts.”

“How about the operation then?”

“Oh, hell no. No one’s slicing my eyeballs.”

She rolled her eyes. “Oh, the drama. Well, then better glasses than those. You look like that old singer, um, Bobby Holly.”

“Buddy Holly.”

“Whatever, that was years and years ago. They make modern eyewear now.”

“I can’t afford designer stuff on my pay,” I said glumly.

“Don’t you have insurance or something at that place you work?”

“Not vision.”

“Well, we’ll go to one of those eye doctors who are in the department stores. See what we can get you.” She leaned back in her chair and stared at me in an assessing manner. “What do you think of having brown hair?”

I frowned. “I have brown hair.”

“Yeah but it’s like mousy. I’m talking something richer, deeper. Like mocha or dark chocolate.”

“That sounds like food, not hair,” I said.

She rolled her eyes. “They all have names like that. I think a dark chocolate would go great with your coloring. Your eyes are gray.”

I’ll be damned if she didn’t say that in an accusing tone. Like I could help the color of my eyes, so I ignored her.

“How about an earring?”

“No way,” I objected. “I’m not doing holes in any part of me.”

Ruby laughed and grabbed her own ear to show me she had earrings all up and down her appendage, at least half a dozen. “It doesn’t hurt, you know.”

“Bullshit. Any time someone puts a damn hole in your body part, it hurts.”

“Don’t be such a baby.”

“No earrings.”

“Okay, fine. Let me see your teeth.”

“My what?”

“Teeth.” She grinned like a horse to show me hers. “Teeth are important. Show me your choppers.”

I showed her. I’d had braces so I knew that my teeth were straight and likely my best feature.

She nodded her approval. “But we’re changing your wardrobe for sure.”

“Wardrobe?” I arched a brow.

“Your clothes. Seriously the graphic T-shirts that are about three times too big for you have got to go. And those baggy jeans. No one can see your cute ass in those.”

“I don’t have a cute ass.”

“I’ll be the judge of that. Let me see you naked.”

“What? You’re nuts. I’m not taking my clothes off for you.”

She pouted. “Come on, it’s for the makeover. I have to see what I’m working with.”

“Fuck you, Ruby.”

“You are such a punk.” She went back to painting her nails. “You need to start lifting weights.”

My stomach twisted at all these changes. Was I really that bad? “Weights, too?”

“Landers, you are really skinny. You need to build some muscle or something. No hunk is going to want a guy with arms the size of rubber bands.”

“Rubber bands?” Now I was affronted. I didn’t exactly have beefcake arms but they were hardly as thin as rubber bands.

“Now I already know you’re going to tell me that you can’t afford to join a gym, but my brother has some weights he’s not using so we’ll bring them over for you to use here. Maybe do some abs crunches or something. Guys are going to want a six pack.”

I opened my mouth to protest, then closed it.

“What are you doing tomorrow?”

“Working. I get off at two.”

She nodded. “Perfect. We’ll go right to the mall and get your hair done, find you glasses, and maybe even start shopping for new clothes.”

I was feeling more and more depressed by the minute. Maybe dying a virgin wouldn’t be so bad after all. There were definitely worse fates. Like putting my makeover in the hands of Ruby.

* * * *

“You’re hardly recognizable,” Ruby declared. She was sitting next to me at the eye doctor while I tried on different frames.

We’d already visited one of the cheaper, chain haircut places. They’d chopped off the majority of my hair, spiked it like an anime character, which I kind of liked, and died it dark chocolate brown. I had to admit, she was right. I didn’t look at all like Seth Landers anymore. Ruby had paid for the hair.

“The hair’s nice,” I admitted. “But I still think my old glasses are suitable.”

She made a sort of tsking noise and removed the frames I had been trying on and replaced them with a new pair that had thin gold wire frames and the shape of the lenses were sort of oblong round.

“You know, Landers, you’re not half bad,” she said, smiling like she’d just given me the most stupendous compliment.

“Sure, sure, don’t think I’m going to call you Professor Higgins or anything,” I said, referring to Rex Harrison’s character in My Fair Lady. Which we’d watched the night before at Ruby’s insistence.

“You’re no fun at all. Hmm, now that I think about it, we could work on your speech, too.”

“What? There is nothing wrong with the way I talk.”

She waved her hand. “No, but we could make you sound more sophisticated.”

“Forget it.”

“Spoilsport.” She tilted her head this way and that and then grabbed my chin and turned my face to the mirror. “What do you think of these?”

“Well, what I can see of them, they look all right. But without my real glasses I can hardly see.”

“I think they look the best. Let’s tell them we’ll go with these.”

I stopped her when she went to stand. “Wait a minute, sister. How much are those?”

Ruby peered at the frames. “One twenty five.”

I huffed. “This is going to cost me a fortune.”

“Beauty is expensive.”

“I’m not trying to be beautiful, just get a date.”

“Shut up and come here,” Ruby said, reaching down to yank me out of the chair.

Our next stop was a department store where I tried on more jeans than I cared to count while she decided if they hugged my ass enough. Kind of creepy. She also made me get a few plain shirts. By the time the ordeal was over I was exhausted and couldn’t wait for her to drop me off at my apartment.

When I got inside I made the mistake of walking past my land line’s answering machine instead of going straight to the Murphy bed I’d left unmade this morning when I’d been running a little late. The message light blinked and even without pressing the button I knew who left it. The only person I knew who ever called my regular phone was my mother. Everyone else called my cell phone.

“Seth, call your mother.”

I could have ignored it but knowing my luck she would call me again just as I drifted off to sleep. It was hard to ignore the woman for long.

I punched in her number and waited through four rings before she finally picked up.

“Hello.”

“It’s me.”

“Oh, so you remembered my existence.”

I rolled my eyes. “Well, your message kind of forced me to remember.”

“That’s not very nice, Seth,” she said sharply. “Children are supposed to revere their mother.”

“Right.” I turned on the electric teakettle in my tiny kitchen and then went to the cabinet for a green teabag. “I don’t actually qualify as a child, though.”

“You are my child.”

“That much is true.” I couldn’t deny it. I was her spitting image.

She sniffed. “What are you doing?”

“I just got home and am fixing myself a cup of tea,” I said.

“Oh, you didn’t go on a date, did you? What’s her name?”

I took a mug out from the cabinet and put the teabag inside. “Mother, we’ve been through this. I am gay.”

“I keep hoping you’ll come to your senses.”

“I came to them when I came out as gay.”

“How do you know though? You’ve never actually tried a girl.”

Pinching the bridge of my nose, I held on to my patience with a gigantic amount of effort as I poured the boiled water into the mug.

“I’ve never tried cyanide either, yet I still know it’s poison.”

She made some sort of shrill noise. “I hardly think girls can be compared to poison.”

“The point is you don’t have to try something to know it isn’t for you. Boys make me hard, girls don’t.”

“Don’t be so crude.”

I sighed.

“All right, have it your way. What’s his name?”

Frowning, I discarded the teabag and took a sip. “Who?”

“Your date.”

“I didn’t go on a date. I went out with Ruby.”

That got me a long heavy silence. I walked out of the little kitchenette area toward the bed.

“I don’t know what you see in that girl,” she finally said. “Her and that boyfriend of hers are nothing but trouble.”

“They’re my friends.” We’d had this conversation before. She thought they were a terrible influence over me and encouraged my gayness or some such thing.

“One day I’m going to see them on Dateline for some murder spree, mark my words.”

I gritted my teeth and set my tea down so I could get into my pajamas. I generally wore pajama bottoms and a tank top to bed.

“You know what I think?” she asked.

“No.”

“You should move back home and stop paying for that apartment. It’s a sty anyway.”

“I’m not moving back there to live with Ira.”

She huffed. “He is your father, you should call him that. Calling him by his name is disrespectful. I didn’t raise you to be like that.”

“Why should I respect him? He doesn’t respect me. He’s a hateful bigot and I’m not living under his roof anymore.” I was paying for my own college with scholarships, money I’d saved, and my job. Sure things were tight and I sometimes ate nothing but peanut butter sandwiches, but it was better than the alternative. I didn’t need anything from them.

“You’re impossible to talk to when you’re like this.”

I agreed. “Yes, so I’ll say goodnight. I want to go to bed anyway.”

“Seth—”

I hung up the phone.

* * * *

Chapter 2

I debuted my new look at work the next morning. I worked nine to two and I walked in at ten minutes until nine, newly coiffed hair hidden by a blood-red hoodie. As usual none of the ladies I worked with looked at me as I passed them on the way to the back room that served as a break room. After taking off the hoodie, I hung it on a hook in the room and made my way over to the coffeemaker to pour myself a cup.

“You must be new.”

I almost sloshed hot coffee on my hand, barely missing, and instead sloshing it on to the warmer of the coffeemaker. I turned to see who had snuck up on me and quickly recognized the doctor I’d interviewed with, Casey Logan.

“Um, morning, Dr. Logan.”

He flashed me a bright, winning smile. The man was gorgeous, no lie. Tall. I’d guess maybe two inches over six feet. Dark brown hair, nearly black, curly. In fact one lock of his hair fell onto his forehead in a sort of ringlet just over his right eye. And his eyes. They were a deep forest green. Swoon worthy is what he was. All the women at the office as well as several female patients had big time crushes on Dr. Logan.

I didn’t, of course.

He tilted his head at me and reached for the coffeepot which I had set back down on the burner. In his hand he held a mug with some sort of medical symbol on it. “First day?”

“No.” I shook my head. “I’m Landers.”

“Who?”

“Landers. You hired me. Or interviewed me. So did Mary.” Mary was the office manager. I’d had to meet with her and one of the three doctors in the practice and Dr. Logan had been available that day.

Dr. Logan smiled uncertainly. “Hmm. Okay. Well, I don’t remember you. How long have you been here?”

Ouch.

“Four weeks. Well, yesterday was the start of the fourth week.”

He frowned. “Landers, did you say? What’s your full name?”

I turned away to add creamer to my coffee. I felt myself blushing under his stare. “Seth. Seth Landers.”

“Well, Seth, I’m sorry for not remembering you. I guess I’ve had more on my mind lately than I thought. I usually don’t forget faces that easily.”

“I have changed my appearance a little,” I offered, then wondered why I thought to mention it. Why did it matter to the straight, hot doctor anyway?

Dr. Logan stared at me intently, clearly trying to place me and figure out what I looked like before. Then he nodded, smiling. “Yes, now I recall. You have changed a lot. You had lighter, longer hair, didn’t you?”

“Yeah.”

“I like this look on you. Very nice.”

I blushed a darker shade of red, or I guessed I had, based on the heat coming off my face. I lifted my coffee mug to my lips, hoping to hide my awkwardness. “Th-thanks.”

“Glasses different, too?”

I nodded.

“You’re working here part-time,” he said, though he said it more like a statement than a question.

“Yes. I’m going to school at night.”

“What are you going for?”

“Well, to be honest, I was thinking a doctor. I’m-I’m not really good with people, though, so, um, maybe like a research doctor.” I wasn’t sure why I felt the need to yammer on to him about my plans. A simple doctor or even undecided would probably have been fine. “I should get to work.”

“Okay, see you around, Seth.”

“See you, Dr. Logan.”

* * * *

I ended up seeing Dr. Logan again the next day when I went to grab a very quick lunch at a soup and salad place two doors down from the doctors’ office. I had just taken my small salad and French onion soup to a table in the corner when I saw him step up to the counter. I only had about fifteen minutes to eat before I had to be back, so I dug into my salad while pretending to myself I wasn’t really watching Dr. Logan.

He’d removed the lab coat he always wore in the office and was wearing jeans that hugged his ass and a red polo shirt. His biceps and forearms were lightly tanned. I vaguely wondered if he had a wife and kids or if he was a playboy.

I had turned to my soup by the time he got his food and stood in front of me at my table.

“Hi, Seth. Mind if I join you?” he asked.

I glanced around the shop and noticed many vacant tables around us. But I shrugged and gestured to the chair across from me. “I won’t be here long. Have to get back in ten minutes.”

“Same here.” He sat and started right in on what appeared to be a turkey wrap. “Lots of people think because the office is closed for two hours at lunch I must be taking my time at some luxury restaurant, but I use that time to return patient calls.”

Not sure what to say to that, I simply nodded. I wasn’t much of a conversationalist on a good day, and eating lunch with one of my bosses made me feel pretty uncomfortable.

“What do you do for fun?” he asked.

I blinked. “Excuse me?”

“Fun. When you aren’t working or going to school.”

“Oh.” I shrugged. “I guess watch science fiction movies, mostly. I own several. Sometimes I play computer games, but not as much as I used to.”

“How come?”

“Don’t really have the time.”

“What’s your girlfriend think of you becoming a doctor?”

“My…my what?” My blush was back, I could tell. I wanted to toss the remainder of my lunch in the trash and hightail it back to the doctor’s office.

“Girlfriend?”

“I don’t have a girlfriend.” I ducked my chin, staring at my soup.

“Boyfriend then?”

“What?” I looked up sharply, my mouth hanging open, catching flies.

He smiled then, somewhat sheepishly. “Sorry. Don’t mean to get too personal. I guess because I get that question all the time about having a girlfriend.”

Wait, what?

“Are…are you saying you’re gay?” I asked, doubting my own question.

Dr. Logan nodded. “Yep. I’ve been faced with people asking me about girlfriends and wives most of my life. So, sorry, I did the same thing to you. Your life is your own.”

“I’m gay, too,” I blurted out, though I instantly wished I could take it back, because it wasn’t something I just told anyone. I wasn’t hiding it or anything, though. Not anymore.

“Then you probably get those questions all the time yourself.”

“No.”

He looked dumbfounded. “No? No one ever asks you about girlfriends or boyfriends?”

I shook my head. “No, neither. Pretty much everyone figures I’m a geek and don’t have anyone.”

Careful, Landers, you’re starting to feel sorry for yourself again.

“First, there’s nothing wrong with being a geek, and second, I don’t think being one is any reason for you or anyone not to have a significant other.”

“Come on. Most people barely notice I’m alive, let alone want to date me.” I surprised myself by saying that to him, but really, it was my life and I’d lived it.

Dr. Logan opened his mouth to say something, but I cut him off.

“You didn’t even remember me until I reminded you who I was.”

“You changed your look.”

“But not my name. And when I looked like that, I was invisible to you. To everyone. A guy who looks like you can have his pick of anyone he wants. Male or female. The entire staff at the office goes crazy over you. So please, don’t try to tell me you know or can even guess what it’s like to be a geek like me.”

He reached into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet. After opening it, he took out a wallet-sized photograph and tossed it at me without a word.

“What’s this?” I asked.

“Look at it.”

So I glanced down at what appeared to be a high school senior picture. A high school boy wearing a suit gazed back at me and he had pimples, braces, and glasses. And an earring, I noticed.

“Who is this?”

He smirked. “Can’t you guess? It’s me.”

I blinked at him and then studied the photo again. I shook my head, not seeing much resemblance. “I don’t believe it.”

“It’s me, trust me. My point here, Seth, is I do know what it’s like to be a geek or a nerd or whatever you want to call it. I wasn’t a popular stud in high school.”

Numbly, I handed him back the picture, which he returned to his wallet. “Sorry.”

Dr. Logan shrugged. “No big deal. Just don’t assume, you know? I’m not the same kid I was then, but who is the same as they were back in high school?”


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