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I don't remember the first time I ever saw him, but then again, I never do. I know, of course, why he caught my eye: the clothes. He dressed so beautifully, so uniquely, that it couldn't help but set him apart from the guys in this town. I don't know if it's the proximity to Key West or the fact that it's sweltering most of the year, but the most the men here can usually be bothered with are those godawful flowered shirts with knee-length Dockers and some kind of tragic man sandal that makes me want to blind myself on the nearest faux-vintage wrought iron fence spike. But not him. He was immaculately put-together, perfectly pressed, and completely insouciant about it. Even his goddamned gym bag was elegant; of course I noticed him. I never counted on him noticing me, though.

I wanted to touch him so badly that it made my fingertips burn. I won't try to present the situation as entirely refined or purely romantic, either: did I fantasize about some vaguely defined scene in which he confessed his affection for me while a light summer rain drizzled wistfully in the background? Of course. Did I also fantasize about frenziedly removing his perfectly pressed trousers so he could fuck me like our lives depended on it? Of course. Beneath his fashion plate exterior beat the heart of a red-blooded man with a compact, sinewy body that should have been chiseled out of stone. How do I know this? Well...

It all started with the cigarette breaks. I'm not even a smoker, but I started joining him every time he came downstairs for a cigarette, just for the chance to talk to him again. Against my better judgment, I fell for this beautiful prince hard and fast. He was smart, he was witty; we shared the same dark, deviant sense of humor, and every time he stabbed his cigarette out, I craved more time with him. And I knew just how to get it.

I'm not known for being a shrinking violet. During one of our smoke break conversations, I very nonchalantly propositioned him. He was, of course, a little stunned, rendered speechless. It was a very tempting offer, he explained, but he couldn't. I nodded, waiting. He was quiet for a second, then excused himself so he could purchase some condoms. While I may be bold, I'm not usually quite so impulsive, but a short while later there I was, kneeling on my chair, balanced precariously over the desk in my office, getting nailed by the man whose name I hadn't even known not so long ago. His body was even more beautiful than I imagined it would be, covered in a smattering of secret tattoos.

After we were finished, reality began to seep in, and what should have been smoldering pillow talk turned into a crushing revelation: my golden boy already had a girl. We had not just consummated some passionate courtship in the most X-rated way possible; he had merely cheated on his significant other with me. I wasn't his soulmate, his equal, the one he'd been searching for; I was only a plaything, a fuck toy, a mindless distraction. I clenched my jaw to kill the rage that threatened to steal over me.

Unrequited love has broken me before; too often, it seems, but somehow, I knew that this time was different, that he had left a hollow longing in me that would last. Bitterly, I vowed not to let this happen again, to fall in love unwisely; when I was younger, it had been easier to get past the disappointments and dashed hopes, but lately it seemed that much more dangerous to allow yet another piece of myself to get stolen away, as though I might just lose some integral part this time.

It's one thing to tell myself that it's only love, that at the end of the day, there are still thunderstorms and sunsets. It's another to make myself believe it.

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