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I Thought I Knew You

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I thought I knew you
But I guess I was wrong
You only see the things you convinced yourself you saw
But like you said, I guess, yeah
Maybe I'm blind
Why don’t you open your eyes you might like what you find

Cause I've been waiting for such a long time
Your love is still fresh in my mind
But oh my love, though I wait can't you see
I can't wait forever for you to say you love me
Oh My Love – by Sophia

 

 

Justin’s POV

I've been sitting here on the stairs like a pussy, listening to Brian rant at Michael and I'm so angry. At him! At myself! At everything! He's making me sound like a defector to the fucking cause. Maybe I didn’t explain myself when I told him I was leaving. Maybe I should have made sure he understood… why I was actually leaving… maybe…

Fuck second-guessing myself! Since when has he ever required a reason for anything? It's my call where I want to be... right? I put my head in my hands and wallow in my self-pity for a while longer.

Shit! He makes this so difficult. Why is he here bitching and moaning at Michael? Why now? Why didn’t he ask me? We could have shouted and fought about it, we could have had unbelievable angry fucking and then some great make up sex and we could have compromised on… something.

Everything’s so fucking difficult. Growing up is over-rated!! But I already knew that.

I take a deep breath and stand up. If he's here… that means something… somehow it means something… and somehow we are going to resolve this. I don’t know how or what that means… but resolution is going to happen. I start to descend the steps quietly.

I pause and frown. Shit, I'm so tired of fighting with such a pushover. Brian will queen out about the most insignificant shit and stand his ground till doomsday when it comes to any discussion, whether it's about politics or the type of bread we buy… but when it comes to something serious, something that matters he goes blank and… it's almost like I'm fighting by myself. He’ll turn his back and walk away.

Fuck it… we’re sorting this out. I need to interrupt this before it gets out of hand. So I call out to him, to get his attention.

“Brian, I'll take you home.”

He stiffens and then swings to face me but he doesn’t register any surprise. He's wearing one of his many masks and he seems to have sobered up instantly.

He turns to Michael, “He’s here… of course he's here. Ran straight into the arms of the initiative.” He says sarcastically. I close my eyes, breathe out, open them and decide to give as good as I get. After all we’re not together anymore so he can't kick me out, or dump me, or fuck me, or hurt me…

Who the fuck am I kidding?

But I'm still gonna give as good as I get… regardless. I'm going to get what I want this time. It's just that… I don’t know what it is that I want anymore. Okay… so what do I want? … Him. I really… God, I just really want him.

But no, that never works. Having him has never been a problem it's everything else… I… when I look at him my mind just tends to fixate on having him. This isn’t the time for wanting though.

“Shut up Brian, before you dig yourself into an even bigger hole and we end up never talking to each other again.”

“We talked?” Brian raises an eyebrow. Yes, he also does that when he's drunk. Actually he's a very coherent drunk. He's had a ton of practice. “We were planning on talking, were we? How ambitious of you.” His sardonic smile might frighten me but since I'm ignoring it, its effect is… there is no effect, because I am ignoring it.

“I meant you and Michael… but sure us too. Why after 4 years of my attempting to have a meaningful conversation you decide we should talk now, is beyond me but whatever.” I say sarcastically.

“We never followed conventional…” he can't seem to find the right word. I can feel for him for that. I could never find the right words when it came to anything regarding us either. He settles on “things.” He makes eye contact and I swear they soften briefly before turning cold again. It was probably the light.

“No… we never did.” I say.

Michael seems furious for some reason. Maybe Brian said something really bitchy before I interrupted… I wasn’t really paying attention but he seems offended that I'm here talking to Brian. He probably thinks that after one look we’ll toss our clothes off and fuck right here. Not that I blame him, if we were together it would generally go something along those lines, although we do have more self-control.

We would wait until we were locked in his bathroom.

“Justin, I'll drive him… actually fuck that I'll call him a taxi.” Michael is looking between us and he seems… ashamed or disgusted or something I really don’t like seeing on his face. I need to get out of here.

“Michael its fine I'll put him to bed.” I touch his arm and move towards Brian.

“But you’ve broken up it's not your problem anymore.” Michael says, surprised.

I turn to face him, “Well, since it looks like you guys have broken up too… I think I can make a sacrifice to a worthy cause.” I say sarcastically. You would think that just because we weren’t fucking we’re supposed to hate each other. Maybe that’s what Michael was expecting or hoping for but none of us are still in kindergarten. At least I'm not and Brian tends to be mature about most things, I'll give him some credit and say high school…

Brian steps back, “Fuck this! I don’t need help to get back to the loft, I do it everyday. And fuck if I ever become anyone’s fucking worthy cause. You all can go to hell.”

Okay 3rd grade.

“I'll take you Brian. Apparently we need to have a conversation.” I stand firm, because… well I… stand firm.

“You think because I showed up here to bitch at Michael…” he laughs, looking at Michael as if they’re about to share a secret. “The little twat thinks I care now.”

I blink! Fucker! I grab his hand and drag him out the door; wave to Mikey as I shut it before he can try to interfere.

“You’re an Idiot. You think I would have stuck by you for more than 4 fucking years if I didn’t think you cared for me? Come on, give me the keys to the Vette.” I tell him as I drag him towards the car.

“Okay,” it seems Brian might be a little drunker than I thought. He never willingly hands over the keys to the Vette without a fight first. But he's here… so I guess that’s already proof that his alcohol intake is playing with his natural intuition to not let anyone notice that he’s noticed that I'm no longer living at the loft.

The ride back home is silent. I spend it brooding and I expect Brian spends it trying to replenish the blood in his alcohol.

 

____________________

 

When we arrive I open the door for him. He's been silent so far and blank. It's his way of sulking. He walks in and starts to unbutton his black shirt but he stops halfway down and looks up at me.

“What are you still doing here? You got me home, I'm fine; you can go now.”

I hover by the doorway, “I thought maybe you’d want to talk or maybe ask me something?”

“Talk? What on earth gave you that impression? I don’t want to talk with you or anyone so you can go. Bu-bye.”

“Brian this is fucking ridiculous. Maybe what gave me the impression you wanted to talk was that you were banging on Michael’s door at fuck knows what time in the morning.”

He shrugs, “This is a waste of time you should go.”

“Brian! Please just stop! For one minute just stop!” he turns to look at me. For a long time he just stares and I can see flickers of different emotions passing through but he finally settles on the one he understands best, wanting me, lust and need.

He moves swiftly towards me and I move away from him… I'm pretty sure that I move away from him… I hope I'm moving away from him and that I'm not moving towards him because… that wouldn’t be good.

He kisses me. God, he kisses me with his whole body in that way only he can kiss me; where I lose all awareness of my surroundings, of my thoughts and feelings, of my body. If he touches me I'm pretty sure I wouldn’t know about it because every part of me is centred, possessed by him kissing me. The force of it has my head bent back as he supports all my weight. But maybe he keeps moving us backwards because suddenly I'm leaning against something but I don’t know what it is because I've lost my sense of orientation. That’s a lie… I've lost my senses. All of them!

He stops and pulls back watching me. He lets me regain my sanity and he seems triumphant, as if he’s made a point, proven it and driven it home, hard.

He thinks that he's shown me that I still want him but… I already knew that. I've always known it. What he doesn’t know is that this ‘point’… he's only proven it to himself because he’s the one that needed to know if he still had an effect on me.

My hand is on his head and I tighten my fingers on his scalp. “Brian, I know this.” I say softly, he looks at me blankly. He's still got his body pressed against mine and we’re pressed against… the door, I realise now. Only his head is pulling away from me as he looks down at me and waits for meet continue.

“You wanted to prove that I still want you?” I say quietly, looking at him directly as I stroke my fingers through his hair, as if to soften the blow of the knowledge I'm about to impart to him. “I don’t think I know how to stop. Don’t worry… if you need reassurance… you’re ability to make me weak… it’s still in good condition.”

He steps back from me and lets me go. It looks like he wants to say something to refute his need for any kind of assurance from me but he doesn’t. There’s nothing he could say that would make me believe him.

He turns and walks towards the bedroom.

“You can go now.” He says without turning to me. “As you can see, you brought me home safely and unless you want to undress me and tuck me in, you can leave.”

I stay where I am. “I thought that we could discuss some things. It seems that you need me to clarify some things… why you were at Michael’s…?” I trail off angry with myself for my lack of assertion. He turns back to look at me.

“I don’t need anything.” He states steadily.

I snort… unattractive I know. “That’s bull, Brian. You’re the most dependent person I know. You just tend to rely on the things that can't return the sentiment. Sex, drugs, alcohol…”

His arms are crossed, “Big words little boy but I already know that you know how to use them. You don’t have to prove that you know me anymore. You’ve left already so… Fuck! Off!”

“Brian,” I try to be gentle with him. I should know better. He roles his eyes and walks towards me.

“I don’t need explanations. I don’t need, want or have the desire to hear the ‘can we still be friends’ speech, so don’t worry! You’ve done all you can with your attempt at pacifying me.”

He's indulging me with that little sermon. He thinks he's taken away all the things I was going to say; that now that I don’t have to go through with it I'll leave him alone. I cross my arms and raise one of my eyebrows and look at him sardonically.

“You think I'm here to give you a friends speech and to make excuses?” his head is down and he's not looking at me but he's paying attention. “Friends I have and excuses… you told me I would never need them. Do you want them? The excuses? The reasons? Are you curious?”

“No!” his eyes flash he's uncomfortable. He hates that feeling.

“Because if you want them I can give them to you.”

“No! I am a grown up. I appreciate the ways of the world. I taught them to you and you learnt them well. There were never locks. You stayed until it wasn’t what you wanted anymore. So obviously, this wasn’t what you wanted anymore.”

“My leaving has nothing to do with me not loving you anymore.” He looks at me sharply. I move towards him then reconsider and stay put. I don’t want to touch him right now. That would make it too easy to forget the reason we’re here.

“That is not what I just said.” He says very deliberately, “Those are not words that were mentioned… in whatever it is that I just said.”

“It's just at some point I had to choose…” I continue looking at him beseechingly, hoping he can try and understand. “To decide… whether I loved myself more and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”

“My condolences.” His eyes are hard and he's turned cold. I feel so defeated, he wears me out and I'm tired. I shake my head and I sigh.

“Brian,” I wasn’t expecting that saying his name would garner me his attention but he seems to suddenly look directly at me and his words lose their cutting edge.

“You wanted marriage and commitment and I wasn’t going to give you that. I understand Justin, so you can leave.” He says matter-of-factly. As if he's accepted it and moved on… Liar!

“This was never about marriage and… commitment is totally subjective. I know that you were committed to what we were, I never doubted that.”

“Well, obviously what we were, wasn’t enough and you wanted a ‘what we are’ and ‘might be’. Proposition 14…”

I interrupt.

“…It’s not about me wanting marriage. It's about someone who doesn’t want to… even begin to know me or understand me, telling me I can't have it. That I'm not allowed to want it. That even if I did want it, maybe, some day, that I don’t deserve it.”

“Fine, but you were still expecting…”

“It wasn’t about monogamy, or marriage or anything...” I interrupt him again. I take a breath fortifying myself over what I know I'm going to say next but it still comes out small and sad and… I hate that. “You stopped caring it was me, Brian. You got used to it, having someone there, a person. A live in lover was convenient for you but… you stopped caring that it was me.”

“What? Justin…” he closes his eyes and ducks his head but doesn’t say anything else so I continue.

“Before LA when you asked me to move in… I know that you really meant that. You wouldn’t have asked me if you hadn’t meant it?” That came out as if it were a question… it wasn’t supposed to be a question… I hope it wasn’t a question that I was supposed to ask.

“Justin, you know…” he makes it so difficult for himself. I try to lighten the mood… just lighten something… but it comes out sounding frustrated.

“After I came back from LA you spent the first two months expecting me to leave again and… I was anticipating that… it's who you are… your defensive mechanisms, they kicked in and… but… you didn’t ever stop expecting me to leave… you usually stop…” I trail off but I look at him and it makes me pick up the thread again. “And I waited for you to notice that I was here. But you just kept waiting for me to go… until, finally you stopped caring and it was as if, in your head… I was already gone.”

“Justin…”

“The foursome…?” I say strongly, “You said we’d been together for 4 weeks.” He looks apologetic “…because 4 weeks was… is… 4 weeks… that’s insignificant. When 4-week-old relationships end, no one bats an eyelash, like Emmett, in and out of love again every week… we move on. You were already trying to move on from me and I was right in front of you… trying to keep you. Loving you hurts... No!” I shake my head “That’s a lie, loving anyone hurts. It's just that I was so tired.” I turn to face him and go towards him but not close enough to touch him. That would be too much temptation.

“I will never be over you… you were my first…” I catch a glint in his eye as if he's remembering “I'm not talking about sex… I’m your first too.” Hesitantly I look up at him and he looks disbelieving and apprehensive. “If I leave and you never see me again… I… I don’t think you’d let anyone in, ever again. I showed you all the weaknesses in that wall of yours while I was cutting through. So now that you know where they are you’re going to reinforce them and move on. You don’t want a second. It will always just be me.”

He looks resigned but I know I just made myself more important than he wants to think I am.

____________________

 

Brian’s POV

Fuck!

The little… he was always… just… if I wasn’t pretty much sober by now my lack of coherence… well… it would be JB’s fault. I really want to lie down, get a back rub, stretch, fuck and then come back for another round of this. It's more tiring than I thought it would be. But he just says things and they sound so lucid and they seem to make sense but he's making a mistake. He's assuming that he knows who I am and he shouldn’t do that. Fuck… he always thought he knew who I was. It's one of the reasons he's still here is that… well… sometimes he was right. But he's left again so obviously something went down the drain. Once he leaves he's not allowed to know me anymore. It seems to give me this sense of loss and I never lose. I hate losing anything that I may possibly want to keep.

“You have given yourself a lot of credit haven't you?”

“Don’t Brian. Please don’t.” He all but begs me. I can tell that everything’s getting to him and that he’ll be a wreck. He always was one of those emotional fags. He was always my favourite one and the most beautiful and the fag I wanted to fuck most often too. Fuck I hate this.

“Don’t what, Justin?” He's becoming aggravated.

“You pull at me and you push and I just can't do it anymore. I feel like a fucking yo-yo most days and nothing seems to affect you. I can't get you to react and sometimes I just need you to show me something, give me something.” He's angry but his voice is breaking.

“I thought you realized that you’d never get anything from me.” I say.

“You are a liar.” That surprises me and annoys me I'm always honest. I raise me eyebrows and dare him to continue and he does, “A liar. If you had never given me anything, ever, I would have left you years ago. But what you do is worse. You give me everything, everything and then try and discredit it, or undermine me for wanting it, or take half of it away. I feel like an addict, totally reliant on you for my daily fix. And you know what’s worse, when I get the courage to finally quit, you hate me for it. You look down at me for having faith and then blame me when I lose it, when it eludes me. I just… I just… sometimes it so hard and…” I can tell that all he wants to do is sit down and cry but he's being so strong. He takes a deep breath.

“You fight and fight me and I know you won’t stop until you win. So I give up, I let you win and you hate me.” He's so quiet and he says, “Sometimes I think that there’s no way I can win this. That I can keep you, because the only way you’ll forgive me is if during all this, I break. It feels like you want me broken.”

He's... I… he's got tears running down his face as if they’re just spilling out of his eyes and he hasn’t even noticed them… but it makes them glow, so fucking blue. So fucking beautiful. My breath catches and I am filled with this feeling that I just… I don’t know what to do with it and God I want him! So fucking much right now. I need him under me, making me feel… touching, making everything else go away, this confusion… making everything stop so that the only thing I know is that I'm drowning in him. His scent and the touch of his skin, his hair, the heat that radiates from him, a total hunger that consumes and…

I move towards him and I kiss him and I feel him gasp against me as I breathe him in. God I want him, I love the taste of him. I can only ever remember his taste, his scent, no matter who I'm with, I crave him. It makes coming home to him seem so much more valuable. I'm coming home and everything’s perfect. Kissing him, I could do it forever but I want to feel more of his skin, need to feel his heat.

My hand slides in to the back of his pants and the muscles in his ass tense when he feels my touch. I run it back up, under his shirt so that I can feel all that skin. I can feel his tears against my cheek, the warm wetness and I need to make sure they’re not still falling. I let go of his mouth to kiss up his cheekbone and he begins to pant, to try and recoup some of his breath. He's completely weak in my arms I'm the only thing holding him up and against me.

Abruptly I feel his body tense and his eyes fly open as his eyelashes brush against my cheek. He tries to hold himself up on his own and I'm whispering soothing nothings in his ear as I suck on his ear lobe, so good. My hand strokes his back trying to quiet him and I dip it in to his crack again, to rub at the spot just above his hole because that always seems to calm him, feeling me so close to the core of him it always gives him this feeling of stillness… of serenity.

But he's fighting me suddenly, trying to bring his arms up against my chest to push me away and suddenly it registers that he's mumbling ‘No’s’ against my neck and I let him go and take a step backwards in astonishment. He follows me so angry, furious and with tears falling again in rivulets down the smooth plane of his cheeks.

“Make me want it Brian… to get fucked Brian. Do it! Seduce me, fuck me and fuck everything better…”

He's looking up at me and he looks broken and scared and he… he can't be scared, I've never made him scared… not ever before and… my heart breaks and my chest hurts as he beats his hands against it. I grab hold of his arms to make him stop.

“I beg you… fuck me… so that in the morning when we realise that this was a big fucking mistake and you kick me out, instead of hating myself for giving in to you… I can hate you. God you make me hate you, Brian.”

He looks at me his eyes big and… so sad, tears spilling. I take a step back from him and I'm probably looking at him, shocked but he keeps going.

“I am perfectly aware of the effect that you have on me Brian. That you can make me forget everything just for wanting you so goddamned much, that you can seduce me and make me mindless for you. Don’t worry you don’t need to reassert that power over me. I know… I will always know that you can have me whenever you feel like it.”

Despair spills into his voice and… Power? I… that was not what this was about…

“Justin?” I say trying to make him stop. He makes it sound dirty and I don’t like feeling like that… not with him, not now.

“You wouldn’t know it…” he whispers, he's calmer. He leans against me and it's as if all his muscles have gone, the fight in him is gone and I hold him as he breathes heavily against me and I want to stroke him and tell him that everything is going to be ok. “You don’t know but my hating you, that’s what makes me know that I'll never love anyone the way I love you.”

I… I… don’t know what to say. There is nothing I can say to that. I feel… so… I let him go and I turn, he must think I'm going to walk away again.

“You don’t get to… to make things happen and walk away from me without facing the fucking consequences, Brian.” He sobs out after me as his fury starts to regenerate itself.

I turn back to him. “Be grateful that you’ll love people differently then, better.”

He stares at me. He runs the back of his hand across his face to wipe the tears away and seems to start to move away from me.

“No, Brian, never better.” He sounds so defeated, “I'll love differently and probably many other men but it’ll never be better. And I'll be happy and satisfied and content. I'll be successful and have other people that’ll love me back. But no matter how much I love them back… they’ll always just be second best. For me or for them it’ll just be second best… because they’ll never be you.” I take a step forward trying to make this easier for him to…

“Justin, that’s a fucking good thing. It won’t be so difficult…” he stops moving away from me as if it's his anger that draws him back.

“You’re an asshole Brian. You think I'd be with you if you just ‘weren’t as difficult?’” he's shouting, “Loving you is every weakness I have but it's every fucking strength too. I will never be as strong or as weak with anyone else as I am with you.”

“You hate me, Justin…”

“Because I love you so fucking much it hurts. It hurts so fucking much and I love it and I want it, I depend on it and crave it.”

“Then what the fuck’s the fucking problem?” I throw back at him my own regret and frustration welling up to confront his anger.

“The pain that I don’t want. Of knowing that you love me just as much as I love you and that you hate that you do. Loving me - that’s what hurts you the most and it hurts me that you don’t want it. That if you knew how to… you would stop!” He's looking down at his hands and the last words he says are almost a whisper as if he's afraid to say them to loud.

“Justin! I don’t know what the fuck you want anymore.” I exclaim, “Do you want me to ask you to stay?” He shuts his eyes and he looks so fucking small. I go towards him, and put my hands on his shoulder and my thumb under his jaw and make him look up at me.

“Stay!”

“No, Brian.” He tries to fight off my grip.

“Justin! Please! I need you to stay.” I let him go and he takes a step backwards and turns away from me.

“And I need you to want me to stay,” he says. “You can need it… but I need you to want it… and not to think yourself weak for wanting it… for wanting me.”

“I can't win with you.” He's fucking pissing me off. He fucking wants… so I give… “All my fucking rules -- I broke them for you Justin and you keep pushing me, I…”

“Brian. Shut up!” he interrupts turning back towards me and he's… incensed again.

“That excuse was a great one four fucking years ago. But get over it. So you broke your fucking rules. Good - they sucked and they were stupid rules!” He tones down, “And it was hard to throw them out and I'm proud of you for doing it and I love that you did it for me but… you can't keep using that as an excuse to stay stuck in this place without moving forward, without moving anywhere.”

“Justin?” if ever we decide to replay this conversation and someone mentions that I sound surprised at his uncharacteristic anger… just don’t mention it.

“So you want me to tell you something, I'll tell you something.” He continues, “What I think… is that when you were nine, fifteen, eighteen, you decided that you were gonna go to college and you were never going back home. You were going to graduate and be the best at whatever you did, until you got to the top and you were never going to let anyone hurt you like your parents did. Now, you own your own company, your loft, you can help the people you love financially if ever they need you to. You can fuck whomever you want, you’re healthy and you’re beautiful, people want you, and people want to be you.”

“Justin…” I try with a warning tone but he just keeps going.

“You have every single thing that boy you were wanted. And now… you don’t know what to want anymore. You give your friends money when they need it but they never really need anything else from you other than your attention now and again. I am not like all your other friends. Maybe its because I haven't known you since you were twenty or thirteen so I'm not confining you to your past. Maybe it's because I'm not as jaded and failing again and again doesn’t discourage me like it should or make me quit. Maybe it’s because I'm young and naïve; or maybe it's that I believe in love or that I have faith in you. I have no idea what it is but fuck this. You just being there and…”

My eyebrows are raised and I might be staring at him in amazement but he seems to have lost some of his momentum so I try and say something but he interrupts me softly.

“And just so you know. I will never stop pushing you. Not ever, Brian. Letting you believe that you could never change that it wasn’t even expected of you … was the biggest fucking disservice Michael or Linds or Debbie ever did for you. I could tell you that it was all your parents fault and it fucking was but they never claimed to love you unconditionally in a way where you actually believed them. Debbie, Michael and Linds they told you they were your friends, your family, and they let you become successful and they catered to your ego and they accepted you for all your faults. They made excuses for you and allowances when they should have told you that you were acting like a fucking, arrogant, spoilt child…” he shakes his head and sighs but continues.

“I'm infantilizing you and I'm sorry… but other people’s expectations - are how we grow as people. And you Brian… you’re beautiful and you are perfect and I expect more from you. I expect everything from you. And I'm not sorry no one ever expected anything from you because you managed to surpass all they ever thought you could be and you fulfilled your own expectations. And that’s something to be proud of. But the minute you got to where you wanted to go… you stopped. I will never stop expecting things from you Brian. With me you’re never done.”

God, I love him too much.

If I weren’t so terrified it would be funny. He lectures me and I announce to myself… because it seems I'm the only one who hasn’t heard it said out loud. I think I've felt it but that doesn’t mean I’ve articulated it. Not even in my head.

He's watching me apprehensively, expectant, the trace of tears visible but forgotten. He looks beautiful to me… this is strange. Generally speaking the only time I'm allowed to have these thoughts is when I'm a drink too close to passing out. Either my previous alcohol consumption is having a latent effect or I need a drink so that my drunkenness can catch up to my heart. It can't be the first one though; I used the word consumption... and the words latent effect… twice.

I go over to him and I kiss him gently, holding his head firmly in my hand. His mouth is open but he's not being very responsive. I'm not sure if it's stubbornness or perplexity but I kiss him anyway, tasting him, I flick my tongue over his lips, dip into his mouth. I can feel him breathing, feel his breath against my lips as I rest my forehead against his and his big eyes are glowing but his brow is furrowed with mystified curiosity. I kiss him again quickly and push him towards the door. He has no idea what’s going on, or I'm sure he’d be putting up more of a fight.

He needs to go. I need… I have no idea what I need. All I know is that while I'm figuring it out he can't be here.

“I'll call you later, Justin.”

“What?”

“Later?” I shut the door and lean against it. I hear a muffled ‘what the fuck’ and I feel him kick the door. He's going to be really angry until he cools down.

I walk towards the whiskey, pick up the bottle and a glass and stare at them. I put the glass down, open the bottle and swallow.