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I snuck out first thing the next morning before Jay got up and put the envelope with the new ad and the payment in the paper office’s drop box, which was on the corner of Rosewood and 11th, a few blocks from home and on the way to work.

It was the longest morning I’ve ever had to sit through; the anticipation kept me so hard I could barely concentrate.  I avoided the phone because I was afraid I’d accidentally let something slip—a silly fear, I know, but one I’ve had for ages.

I escaped for lunch fifteen minutes early and got to my usual coffee shop just as the new papers were arriving.  I picked up a copy, a croissant and an espresso and sat down to read.

There was the ad, just as I’d written it.  My imagination was running away with itself at this point—I saw I might have to make a show of dropping coffee on myself to cover the spreading stain of precum in my khakis.  In my mind’s ear I was hearing—

“Hey there, big fellah, any chance you might wanna hook up later today?”

Only it wasn’t my mind’s ear.  I turned and saw a thin man in black and gray sitting behind me, talking into a large cellular phone.  Could he be talking to Jay?  I felt a slight disappointment that if he was, I wasn’t there to see the change.  But I was already so worked up that when he hung up, saying “Excellent, I’ll see you at four,” I actually shot my load in my pants.

I didn’t even have to fake dropping coffee; my fingers lost their grip on the cup all by themselves, and I yelped as it landed in my lap—out of surprise rather than pain, as by good fortune the coffee was iced.

I cleaned up and headed back to work, feeling somewhat regretful that I couldn’t get off work till five.  Every minute the obsession grew stronger, and very shortly I was entirely failing to focus on work.  I skipped out at 4:30 with the one thought filling my mind:

I need to see Jay.