The Swiss Experiment #3
The Swiss Experiment #3
Prequel to The Layover #3
Jamie closed his mouth and opened it again staring at the man in front of him. No words came out. But then, there was no need to speak. No talk, the guy had said. Even if they could hear each other without puncturing their eardrums, they wouldn’t understand each other. Jamie’s knowledge of German was barely on a beginner’s level. And these people spoke Swiss German which was a nightmare. The man’s lips twitched at Jamie’s obvious discomfort, and he leaned in once more.
“I like you! Dance?” he shouted, and Jamie winced at the volume.
Oh hell. Whatever. Step four of the Experiment on his mind, Jamie downed the rest of his rum and coke, coughing discreetly at the freezing temperature of the drink. He put the glass on the bar counter and followed Bearded Swiss Guy to the dancefloor.
At the edge of the small space distinguished by light fixtures in the flooring, Bearded Swiss Guy turned and reached for Jamie’s waist immediately. Before Jamie could even catch the rhythm, a large palm landed on his ass and kneaded. Jamie’s spine grew stiff, his muscles locked.
He couldn’t do it.
Jamie felt vaguely ashamed for his hasty exit. The cold seeped under his parka, the tiredness settled in his bones, and the disappointment curled his lips into a sneer. The Experiment had failed.
He knew how to appear like he was having a good time. On a rational level, he was fully capable of letting loose. He knew how other people enjoyed being young and single. He could mimic them perfectly in actions and reactions. Except he felt nothing that could come close to genuine enjoyment.
He could dress up, go out, have a drink, meet people, talk to them, laugh at their jokes and make some of his own. He could do the dating app thing. He could touch and be touched. But it was all…alien. Forced.
It wasn’t that he never felt sad or lonely. He did, quite often. But what was the point in not being alone physically when in his head, he was still the last man on Earth?
Thanks to his exhaustion, he couldn’t overthink the failure of the Experiment. As soon as he arrived in his hotel room, he rushed through his evening routine. Finally in bed, he fell into blissful oblivion within minutes.
The next day, though, on the afternoon train to Basel, Jamie had all the time in the world to analyze his situation in mood-killing detail. David moved out almost a year ago. It took Jamie maybe a week to get over him. Cold? Maybe. Smart? Definitely. No reason to dwell on something that had felt empty and meaningless long before David’s inept request to open up their relationship.
It was Ginny’s idea. A week ago, she’d tossed the purple hat and the small tote with condoms, lube and (seriously?!) a turquoise butt plug on Jamie’s kitchen table. She ordered him to try, go out and possibly, get laid. “This way, you won’t bump into someone you know. It’s perfect!” she’d said. Well, it had been very imperfect. With the first brush of the guy’s beard on Jamie’s neck, he’d been stepping back, palms in the air in an apologetic gesture, and he’d been out of the club within seconds.
First published by Divine Magazine.
The Swiss Experiment #4 coming July 20 via Alpha Book Reviews.