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Dancing on My Own

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Ian moves to the beat of the music, feeling the hot, sweaty bodies press against him, the strong bass of the song thumping in his chest.

He watches from across the dance floor, but no one’s watching him.

The moment Ian had entered the club he had felt the stares of the other men on him, looking, wanting, but he ignored them as he walked further inside.

A few weeks back he’d shown up to have some fun and let loose, but when he’d struck up a conversation with Tommy, the bartender that he’d known since back when they worked together at The Fairytale, everything had changed

“Mickey came in a few days ago,” Tommy had said hesitantly.

Ian had perked up at the mention of his ex’s name. “You saw him? He was here?”

Tommy nodded slowly, “Yeah, but… he wasn’t alone.”

“He… he what?” Ian asked, his face falling at the news.

Tommy had looked apologetic as he spoke, “He was here with another guy.”

Ian felt a ball of anger and jealousy and hurt in his stomach, but he knew it didn’t matter, because Mickey had moved on.

He had given Tommy his number and asked him to call if he saw Mickey again. Two weeks later, he called, and Ian rushed to the club, desperate to see Mickey one more time.

He made his way towards the bar where Tommy was working that night, while still looking around, searching for the man he hadn’t seen in months.

They had broken up in March after the worst fight they’d ever had. Ian had refused to accept it, kept insisting to Lip that it was just a fight. But after days and days of Mickey ignoring all of his calls, and hiding out at Mandy’s, Mickey had finally relented and invited Ian over.

And they had talked. And they had yelled. And they had broken things.

And at the end of the night, when Ian left, they were no longer Ian and Mickey, they were just Ian and Mickey.

Tommy pointed through the crowd of writhing bodies, and Ian’s eyes immediately fell on the back of Mickey’s head. Even from this distance he could still pick him out amongst the droves of people in the club. Mickey had his eyes trained on the tall, beautiful man in front of him. The man had dark olive skin, with medium length dark hair-something you could grab onto-and the kind of body any man would kill to have. He towered over Mickey, just as Ian had, back then, before.

He skirted his way around the dance floor, keeping as many people between them as possible. He found an empty spot near a corner of the club, watching the couple.

Even after so many months, his heart still seized just from seeing his face. He looked on as Mickey listened to the other man talk, and at one particular moment, gave a smile that lit up his entire face. And in that moment Ian hurt. Hurt because that smile was no longer his. Hurt because it was somebody else’s.

He made his way closer, still keeping a wide berth, but now amongst the thrashing bodies on the dance floor. He watched them dance, the other man placed his arms around Mickey’s waist, and Mickey wrapped his own across the man's shoulders, pressing his body tight against his.

Holding each other tight, they moved their bodies, not swaying in time to the music, like they were in their own little bubble, dancing to music only the two of them could hear. He watched as Mickey tilted his head up to catch the other man’s lips in his own.

And yet Ian looked on, needing to watch this, needing to see it for himself. Because it’s one thing to know that it’s over, and it's another to see that it’s over. He ignored the thoughts in his head, screaming at him, That’s my kiss! Those are my lips! Because they’re not anymore.

He begins to move his body to the song playing around him, still watching them, burning the image into his memory, because this is Mickey now. This is Mickey that isn’t his. The Mickey he doesn’t know anymore. The Mickey that doesn’t bother to assess his surroundings before giving another man a kiss.

Ian feels someone behind him grind up against his ass, their hands on his hips, but still he looks on as Mickey brings his hands up to cradle the man’s face, deepening their kiss. Ian pushes the stranger away, not bothering to turn around; because that’s not the reason he’s here.

Look over here! he wants to yell. But he doesn’t. He doesn’t have the right to do that anymore.

In the back of his mind, a little part of him thinks that maybe, just maybe, if he continues his movements, he might catch Mickey’s eye, but he knows that won’t matter, because he’s not the one Mickey’s taking home tonight.

Instead he closes his eyes, feeling the music flow through his body, the bass rattling his bones, ignoring everything and everyone around him.

Swaying to the beat, he moves his arms over his head.

The tears are coming now, slow and hot and stinging against his cheeks, but that’s okay, the song would be over soon and so would everything else.

He moves his body, as Mickey moves his own on the other side of the dance floor, his arms wrapped around another. He pictures Mickey standing only a few inches away, moving alongside him, imagining it's him that Mickey is holding onto.

But he's not, so instead he moves alone, using his body to say what he can’t say anymore.

He moves his body in one last dance.

One last goodbye.