by Shanyn Hosier
September 23 of each year is Bisexuality Visibility Day, the culmination of Bisexual Awareness Week. “Co-founded by GLAAD, Bisexual Awareness Week seeks to accelerate acceptance of the bi+ community. #BiWeek draws attention to the public policy concerns, while also celebrating the resiliency of, the bisexual community.”
- Bisexuality is the capacity for emotional, romantic, and/or physical attraction to more than one sex or gender. A bisexual orientation speaks to the potential for, but not requirement of, involvement with more than one sex/gender.
- Bisexuals experience high rates of being ignored, discriminated against, demonized, or rendered invisible by both the heterosexual world and the lesbian and gay communities. Often, the entire sexual orientation is branded as invalid, immoral, or irrelevant.
- While bisexuality has often been considered merely a “phase” en route to a stable gay or lesbian orientation, it is also a stable sexual orientation in itself.
To learn more, please visit these excellent online resources:
Initiating their usual small talk, John complained again about his current work project, and Beth commiserated. They lamented over the typical sixth-inning defensive debacle and utter lack of a bullpen on behalf of the Diamondbacks, picking the bones of the game that had aired the night before. He ate a prepackaged sandwich and cold pasta salad from a local market—she’d noticed before how he never ate leftovers or anything homemade—while she lunched on crackers and spinach salad she’d assembled that morning.
“So, how’s our hot date going so far?” His playful smile and the brightness of the day caused him to squint most adorably.
“Very hot. Literally,” she giggled and pretended to flick sweat from her brow.
He chuckled as well. “Good enough to maybe say yes to another one? Saturday night?”
Beth choked, nearly spitting yogurt all over herself, and he laughed. “Very funny,” she grumbled. “It’s not nice to tease a poor girl with no social life.”
“I wasn’t teasing.” His expression suddenly turned very serious.
Beth swallowed hard. What was he playing at? She told herself it was probably yet another generous gesture on his part motivated by pity. “It’s a very nice offer, but I’m not sure it’s a good idea.”
John’s brow furrowed slightly. “You have a rule against office romances?”
Office romances? Beth snorted, shaking her head. At least now she definitely knew he was teasing, but the dig stung anyway. “Come on, John. Don’t make me say it.”
“You’ve lost me.”
She looked down at the ground. Hadn’t she known this was a bad idea the moment he’d suggested a lunch date?
“Look… you’re a very sweet guy. I really value our friendship, and I hope what I’m about to say won’t change that. But I’m not sure I can handle spending time with you outside the office, because it won’t mean the same thing to you as it would to me. And I forgive you for failing to notice I’ve been nursing a little crush on you.”
She forced a chuckle, trying to lighten the heavy confession with a stab at humor, despite the fact it was the naked truth. She held her breath during the several seconds of silence that followed, unable to bring herself to look directly at him.
“And you don’t think I could feel the same way about you?”
“How could you?” Her patience began to wear thin. There really was no reason to rub her nose in it now, was there?
“Are you seriously asking me how could I feel attracted to a beautiful, smart, funny woman I’ve come to know over the past few months? Haven’t I made that obvious?”
Beth didn’t appreciate being toyed with. How could she have been so off base in her estimation of him? He’d always seemed like a decent guy rather than the sort of conceited jerk who didn’t know when to drop a joke at someone else’s expense.
“What would your boyfriend think of all this?” she countered.
John’s jaw dropped slightly. “My boyfriend?”
“Boyfriend, life partner, significant other… my apologies if I’m not using the politically correct term here.” She regretted sounding a tad bitchy at the moment, but considering she felt incredibly bitchy, she reckoned the fact she’d toned it down ought to count for something.
He mumbled as if thinking aloud, “How do you know about—”
“I saw you kiss him one morning.” She hung her head, feeling a little ashamed for outing him so indelicately. “I didn’t mean to spy on you. And you can trust me not to gossip about it. It’s your private business, and I respect that,” she assured him.
He was silent for several moments, staring at the ground. She gathered her things and stood, assuming he would prefer to be alone. Her own heart felt rather heavy at the moment; she predicted this was likely their last lunch together.
“So, you think I’m… pretending to like you… for what reason, exactly?” His tone turned sharp.
His reaction startled her.
“I may not broadcast my sexuality around the office, but that’s because it’s professionally inappropriate, not to mention nobody’s business. I’ve never lied about it.”
“I never said you did,” Beth argued.
His ocean blue eyes stared hard into hers. “I’m not ashamed of who I am.”
“You have no reason to be,” she insisted, confounded by the direction this was heading. They’d discussed all sorts of political hot-button issues before, including the treatment of gay people, lamenting the dearth of tolerance and understanding in the world today. The conversation happened before she’d learned his orientation, but her opinion remained unchanged, having been formed long before she’d ever met him.
“Yet you think I’m only pretending to be attracted to you? That I’m trying to use you for a beard?”
Beth gasped at the leap he’d taken. “No! That’s not what I meant!” She sank back down onto the bench beside him, feeling wretched for offending him so callously. “I didn’t realize how insulting that must have sounded. I never meant to fault your integrity. I was only…. I’m just… really… confused,” she stammered, her shoulders sinking in defeat.
John took her hand once more. “You understand people come in more flavors than just gay or straight, don’t you, Beth?”
Understanding began to dawn on her, and Beth felt her mouth gape open into a silent Oh. The heaviness in her heart began to lift. He really does like me?
“Yes, I have a boyfriend,” he admitted. “But I’m falling like crazy for you.”
Her heart crashed back to the ground. “But you have a boyfriend,” she groaned, burying her face in her hands.
“I thought we established this already,” he replied coolly.
“You don’t seem like the cheating type,” she said, sounding somewhat snappish, “and neither am I.” Something about this day, this conversation, was persistently slippery. She couldn’t seem to find any firm ground to stand upon.
“You’re right. I’m not. I would never betray Paul. I love him.”
Beth huffed in frustration. “I must be the stupidest, most unsophisticated bumpkin because I don’t understand a goddamn thing you’re trying to say.”
John chuckled softly, gently. “Who do you think encouraged me to finally grow a pair and ask you out?”
Beth sat perfectly still, just trying to breathe, let alone think. She tried very hard to calm her mind and coax a logical thought out of it. But her brain blindly flailed about, hoping to bang into something solid it could hold on to. John is gay… or he was… no, not gay. He is… bisexual? I guess that’s the word for it. He has a boyfriend. Loves his boyfriend. But feels attracted to… me?
More facts were needed. Because this still didn’t make a damn bit of sense.
“Tell me about him.”
She nodded. Oxygen. Information. Time. Clarity. These are what I need. In that order.
John took a deep breath. “What do you want to know?”
Beth shrugged, waving her fingers in a come-hither gesture. “Anything. Just keep the facts coming.”
A small, private smile broke over John’s features. “He’s tall. Beautiful brown eyes and sandy blond hair. Smart as hell. Athletic. Selfless. One of the bravest men I know, actually.”
“He sounds like a perfect match for you.” She tried to picture the man he described so lovingly, to picture them together. And what more could you possibly want? she wondered.
“How did you meet?”
“Freshman year. In the universe’s infinite wisdom, the random dorm lottery made us roommates. Can you believe it? We’ve sort of been together ever since. It’s been a little over ten years, now.”
Ten years!? Beth gulped. I’d say that qualifies as an established relationship. “How lucky can you get?” she joked weakly.
John’s smirk was tinged with guilt. “I know.”
“What does he do?”
“He’s an orthopedic surgeon.”
Beth laughed in disbelief. It was just too much. “Nice catch! A doctor, no less… Well done, buddy.”
John laughed with her, a little surprised by her reaction. “Thanks.”
“Sorry if this seems flippant, but… if your hot doctor boyfriend isn’t enough for you, then what the hell chance do I have?”
John sighed expansively before answering. “Believe me, I wasn’t looking for anything else. I was perfectly happy with the way things were. And then…” John paused for a moment. “Then you came along, Beth. Sweet and friendly and genuine and beautiful.” He shook his head. “I was blindsided by this. By you.”
This, I can relate to. Ditto, buddy. “What… exactly… is it you want from me?” She braced herself, not entirely sure she was ready for his answer.
“I’m not exactly sure,” he confessed. “All I know is that something is drawing me to you.”
It was some small consolation he felt confused by this, too. Well, as long as we’re being honest…
“It’s not as if the feeling isn’t mutual,” Beth admitted. “But I’m not interested in an affair, John. I’m not looking for a fling that has no chance of going anywhere, no matter how open your relationship with your boyfriend might be. That’s a recipe for a broken heart, and I’ve had my fill of those. I refuse to break up a long-term relationship like yours.”
Beth sighed, reckoning this next bit was going to hurt like a bitch. She slowly rose to her feet once more, taking one long, last look at him. He was achingly beautiful, staring at the concrete path before him, his brow furrowed. Swallowing down the urge to throw away every scrap of decency and dignity she possessed, she forced herself to turn away.
She took one step, but he didn’t let go of her hand. She looked back over her shoulder, silently demanding her release with her gaze.
“What if… what if it didn’t have to be a choice?” He pierced her with those deep blue eyes.
Beth was getting tired of the rug being yanked out from under her that day. The joke simply wasn’t funny anymore. “I don’t see how—”
“I think that maybe… you… and he… might be compatible, too,” he whispered as if afraid of a jealous universe overhearing.
Beth couldn’t help her dumbfounded reaction. “Are you saying what I think you’re saying?” she stammered.
“Paul and I have a lot in common, Beth,” he said pointedly. “I’m proposing… if you’re open to the idea, that is… that we all just get to know each other a bit better.”
Shanyn Hosier adores reading and writing in the same way she loves breathing and eating, deriving a similar nourishment from each. Her next two novels, An Experimental Phase and Theory Versus Practice, are slated for release in September 2016. For more information about current and upcoming releases, please visit her website, www.shanynhosier.com. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.