One warm, summer day, while the sun was just beginning to set, I spotted Gatsby staring after the familiar blinking green light at the end of Daisy's dock, his hand outstretched but fingers curled back, as if he were finally realizing that the light was something he could not reach. I continued to walk past my neighbor's home when I heard him call out to me.
"Hey there, old sport! How's your evening been?" Gatsby came down from his perch and hurried toward me, as if he were on some important business errand and I was his client.
"Oh, please Nick, call me Jay. I think we know one another well enough to call each other by our first names," the watchman said kindly, that wonderful smile gracing his lips again. My words caught in my throat and I could only nod in acknowledgement. Without another word, Gatsby- or Jay, put a hand on my shoulder and guided me up the steps of his mansion and brought me into the parlor. He hadn't said a word as he walked through but there was something different in the way he held onto me. It seemed closer, more personal than before. Jay has me sit on one of the sofas and rather than sitting in the chair opposite me he sat at my side, turning his body to face mine.
"Is something the matter?" I asked my rather unexpected host. Gatsby regarded me for a moment, his eyes roaming over me thoughtfully as my heart slowly beat and crawled up into my throat.
"I don't think that Daisy is the only person I'm in love with, old sport," Gatsby finally said after a moment of silence, tilting his head as he looked at me. My fingers dug into the cushions of the sofa and I had to remind myself that I was in decent company. Gatsby would never be someone like me.
"Well, who is it? Jordan? One of your guests? I could-" Jay cut me off with a side glance. He re-positioned himself, swinging one leg over the other and leaning back against the sofa like a cat stretching out in the sun.
"No. It's someone else. Someone much better. I think they love me too. I've felt their eyes on me," Jay murmured, his eyes brightening slightly. It crossed through my mind that Gatsby May very well be talking about me, but compared to all the glamour of his other friends I was a dim, unexciting specimen. Besides, people of my kind weren't exactly accepted. No one as good and warm-hearted as Jay Gatsby would ever be someone like me. I asked him who it was and he laughed, that irresistible smile on his lips again. He came closer to me, so close that our noses could've touched if he came even an inch closer to me. Jay said nothing, but he didn't really have to. As I gazed into the deepness of his eyes, I saw past the facade of a rich man chasing after the girl of his dreams. I saw unbridled desire, a passion as vibrant as the lights of Jay's house whenever he threw a party. His eyes had never been like that before.
"Surely you don't mean…" My voice trickled off before I could finish. The light faded and became softer as Jay took his hand in mine, unashamed, uncaring, and pressed a soft kiss against my fingers.
"Who else would l mean, old sport? You're the only person who's bothered enough to become my friend in a very long time. I guess that just made me realize how fond I was of you." Jay was gentle as he spoke to me, not at all forceful in any way. I realized that while he finally understood he was in love with me, he was too blind to see my feelings for him. When I stayed silent for too long Jay began to let go of my hand, but I tightened my grip, intertwining our fingers. Jay's eyes, once downcast, looked up at me with a new hope. With a sense of newfound courage I leaned close to Gatsby, my eyes fluttering shut as I gently pressed a kiss to his cheek. I lingered for a moment, holding his hand and listening to him breathe as I sat close to him. It felt like some sort of dream. And then I was kissing him, actually kissing him, our lips fitting together perfectly as we held each other in our arms. As we pulled away Gatsby looked at me through half-lidded eyes, a grin on his face so childish and gay it made me laugh.
"I can't say I was expecting this, but I do love you too, Jay," I admitted softly, pulling away but keeping my arms wrapped loosely around Jay's shoulders. Jay smiled and pulled me close again, resting his forehead against mine and brushing a hesitant hand across my jaw, eyes searching for any sign of discomfort from me. He hummed softly and leaned down to press a kiss to my jaw, peppering me with ticklish but welcomed affection. My hands moved to his chest and I breathed deeply, my heart pounding and roaring in my ears as it quickened.
"I'm glad, Nick. But- if you don't mind me asking- what did you expect?"
"I thought you would see me as some vile creature. That's all most people see," I whispered, closing my eyes and digging my hands into Jay's shoulders. He let out a breath and I shivered as it tickled across my neck.
"No, Nick. Never. I would never think of you like that," Jay murmured breathlessly to me. I sighed and wrapped my arms around his neck as he kissed my jaw before bringing our lips together once more. I'd always thought the thing I liked most about Jay was his smile. But his kiss was so much more than that. It stole my breath away but gave me life all at the same time. It sent me into a daze yet cleared my mind of anything else but this moment. My mind was clouded as Jay swept me off the sofa and carried me up his spectacular staircase, his lips never leaving mine as he made his way to the bedroom.
Everything else was a blur after that. I vaguely recall Gatsby taking me to bed, his fingers running gently across my skin like a silent prayer. He called me his angel as our bodies became intertwined as one and I became lost in him. I only felt Jay, only saw Jay, nothing else mattered to me in that moment. Every time we kissed I was swallowed up again in the idea that the impossible could be possible, that someone like me could have a happy ending. I should have known better. When the night was over, Jay laid on the bed next to me, breathing softly and smiling up at his expansive ceiling. He still held my hand and had it pressed against his bare chest as he collected his wits once again. My own eyes were closed as I relished in the moment, feeling our bodies pressed together as we slowly came back down to the real world.
"You are just as marvelous as I thought you would be," Jay said with a smile as he turned on his side to face me, wrapping his arm carefully around my waist and pulling me closer. I nestled my head into the crook of his neck, smiling as he pressed a chaste kiss to the top of my head, letting out a sigh before staying there. I could feel my face burning at Jay's constant love and praise, and I was embarrassed to admit to myself that I hadn't compensated very well in bed, but Jay was there to reassure me that I'd done enough. I just wanted him to hold me forever, to be in his arms and feel him and be surrounded by him until the day I died. But I knew that couldn't be.
"I can only assume that this will never happen again?" Jay looked at me sympathetically before shaking his head.
"No, my dear. It can't happen again. I couldn't risk losing you if anyone ever found out." I don't think Gatsby knew what those words would come to mean to me, but my head was clouded with such impenetrable darkness that I didn't really care either. I sat up and began to dress when Gatsby grabbed my hand.
"What is it, Jay?" The tremor in my voice could not have been missed.
"You're a great man, Nick Carraway. I hope I haven't made you feel lesser than you are by what happened tonight." Gatsby's voice was sincere, and as he sat up to sit beside me and pressed my knuckles against his lips, I almost believed him.
"You didn't," I replied, lying through my teeth. The gentle care in Jay's eyes made me want to be sick, but I couldn't find it in me to pull away. I leaned against Gatsby, closing my eyes again and resting my head on his shoulder as he carded gentle, work-worn fingers through my hair. All I could think about was how much I loved him, and how impossible it was for us to be together. Tom, With his rantings about the plague of intermarriage would surely scoff at such relations, and nearly everyone in the country was like him. Gatsby wasn't, and I wasn't but that wasn't enough to keep our love burning. We both could go to prison, or even be killed just for loving each other. Eventually the night had to come to an end, and I moved out of Gatsby's arms, slipping on my shoes and getting ready to leave. Gatsby stood and walked me out to the door, but stopped me just as I was about to leave. His hand on my wrist made me freeze and I wanted to pull away, but the tears in his eyes made me stop for a moment.
"I love you, Nick. Please remember that," Gatsby said softly as tears slowly fell down his face. I said nothing, but stepped towards him with the timidness of a young child and wiped his tears away with my thumb, the world around me becoming blurred and wet as my own tears joined his. He grabbed the front of my suit jacket and kissed me earnestly, his tears wet and hot against my face as he kissed me with what I could only assume was every inch of passion in his body. I returned the kiss in kind, tangling my fingers in his hair and trying to contain sobs as we held each other for the last time. When we pulled away we wept together, until the hour had grown so late that I could barely see my own house in the dark. When I did find my way I collapsed onto the floor and cried like a baby, until I became so exhausted that I fell asleep right there where I'd laid.
I wished that I could have been born a beautiful little fool, like Daisy's girl. I wished that I'd been born in a simpler time where love wasn't defined by what other people forced you to do. But I wasn't a beautiful little fool, I was just a plain old fool swept up in an impossible dream.