IT began online.

They were looking for something exciting. OK, OK. For the bedroom. Summer and the Mardi Gras season were done, so it was time to stay in. So after looking at all the different temptations in cyber world, they made the choice that would bring me into their home. Me? I’m unassuming. You’ll have seen me around and not even noticed.

“This is perfect,” said the one with shaggy, dark hair. He looked a little bit like Henry Cavill, like he had the strength of Superman. I looked forward to feeling his tight grip. “I think we’ve made the right choice,” said his partner, who was more Eddie Redmayne. Quieter. Red-blonde hair. Reserved. I wanted to put him at ease right away.

“We just want something new, we’re sick of the same old same old,” they both said, at different times, with slightly different emphases. Henry was all about the new, Eddie said sick with punch. I didn’t particularly care. I am always happy to be useful. And they had a nice home. Minimal decor, but you could see some personality. A framed Brief Encounter poster was particularly spot on, I thought.

Well, things got off to a great start. They were keen, and they worked as a team. Henry was very tactile. I liked how tenderly he would caress Eddie, and say soothing, comforting, sexy words. They played Beyoncé in the background, and lit incense. I have to admit, they were very ordered and methodical, which I liked. It meant that this would all play out as it should. They passed me back and forth, with care. My assumptions proved correct, Henry’s big mitts were like soft leather around me, while Eddie’s svelte digits were delicate, tantalising. After an hour, we took a slight break to gather ourselves. “Would you like a glass of wine,” said Henry at one point. “Don’t mind if I do,” replied Eddie, smiling. Oh, there was such promise.

Things got rougher, and tougher, and while I don’t like to be vulgar, there was a fair amount of grunting involved. And sweat. I, as always, kept my cool, but I could see that these guys were really exerting themselves. They had their eyes on the prize. It was all about the coming together. “This is so great,” Henry said, breathlessly. “It’s exactly what we thought it would be like, sometimes you can never be sure.”

“Do you think?” said Eddie, panting a little. He was flagging, I could tell.

“Aw, fuck!” yelled one of them. And that started it. It got nasty then. I rolled with it. I’ve seen it all before. There was much profanity, and name calling, even towards me. At times they felt I wasn’t working the way they wanted, which was a bit much. You really shouldn’t blame the third party. They had such set ideas as to how this would all happen. I wanted them to calm down.

Eventually, sadly, they gave up. They shoved me away. I felt a bit deflated after Henry let me go, his beautiful, caressing hands no longer around me.

I’m sure I heard him call me “useless” under his breath, which wasn’t fair. Eddie came to my defence. “You always do this,” he said to Henry, a fire flashing in his eyes which flared when things had started to go wrong. “You take things over and try to make them all go your way. You discount other people’s feelings. Have you never noticed that?” Henry grunted, but not in a good, sexy way. The music stopped, the incense burned down, down and out. The air cooled.

“You wrecked this,” said Eddie. “You took over, and you wrecked this.”

“I don’t think you should be so quick to judge,” hissed Henry, who gathered himself together and left the room. A door slammed. Eddie ran after. I was left alone for a long time, a very long time. I know I’m the outsider, but I don’t expect to be treated like rubbish.

However, rubbish I was. And so that fancy sideboard, black teak finish, metallic handles, never did get completed. It always had a faint wobble, and one of the doors never closed properly. When they split up, it was put on eBay. I, the trusty Allen key, thrown among the detritus of their domestic life, went with Eddie. But he only ever bought readymade furniture from that time on.

This story first appeared in the OutStanding Short Story Competition, and was the 2013 winner. The competition will be on again later this year. To keep updated, become a fan on Facebook: facebook.com/OutstandingLGBTQIShortStoryCompetition

Do you have a short story you’d like to tell? Email it to editor@starobserver.com.au (1000 word limit) and we will consider it for publication in the next monthly edition.

© Star Observer 2014 | Pick up the next Star Observer monthly magazine Thursday, July 17 or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.