Welcome back to Your Imaginary Boyfriend/Girlfriend, Jezebel's series in which we explore the wild and entirely fabricated world of dating a famous person. As is the risk with most fan fiction, things might get weird and things might get creepy, but the important thing is that we all have a good time.
Today's Imaginary Boyfriend is Nick Carraway of "The Great Gatsby."
"I'd like to go some place more quiet where we can talk," you shout over the blaring horns of the jazz band and delighted, drunken shrieks of revelers.
You had told Nick Carraway that you wanted to meet and discuss the two of you, to talk about how you had been paired together so haplessly this summer and that maybe it wasn't for the best. You weren't surprised he then suggested that you come out to West Egg and meet him at another one of Jay Gatsby's parties because everything always had to come back to Gatsby. That's just the way it is.
"You aren't having a good time? Impossible," Nick shouts back. You can barely hear him over the bang bang bang of the fireworks that have suddenly erupted in the sky. "Here, have another martini and then we'll go find Jay!"
Jay, Jay, Jay. Always Jay.
"No," you say firmly. "I would like to speak with you privately."
"Well, can Gatsby come along?"
Nick is looking panicked and desperate, but you don't feel sorry for him. In fact, you feel nothing but frustration.
"Gatsby is busy," you snap. "See?"
You point into the crowd where he and Daisy Buchanan are slow dancing even though the band is playing a fast number. Too bad you know them. Otherwise it would be romantic.
"Oh." Nick's face falls. "Well, perhaps I should ask him along anyway."
You grasp him by the sleeve of his tuxedo and drag him into the splendorous mansion. Somehow you end up in Gatsby's bedroom with his walls and walls of shirts. They're beautiful, surely, but they don't make you weep.
"Perhaps this isn't such a good idea. You've been drinking"
Nick Carraway, pale and frantically batting a strand of errant hair off his sweaty forehead, looks as though he might faint.
"I didn't bring you here to have sex, idiot."
The color rushes back to his face and he collapses into a pile of Gatsby's sweaters, inhaling their scent and practically crying with relief.
He straightens, but continues to clutch at one of the sweaters — it's the cream one that you saw Gatsby wearing the day he and Nick took out the hydroplane.
"I mean — pity. I would have liked to finally make love to you."
The effect of his forced cocksure tone is ruined when he retches on "make love."
"Do you need a bucket?"
He might actually vomit.
"No, I'm fine. Let's get back to the party. Gatsby is probably looking for me. He's always looking for me, you know. Because we're friends. Best friends. No one knows Jay more than I do. Did you know that he's a war hero? He told me that when we were driving once because he's always telling me private things about himself. That's what best friends do. Goodness, I'm sure he's bored out of his wits —" Nick's features darken momentarily. " — seeing as he's with her."
He starts to the door with a determined stride.
"Nick," you say as he reaches for the opulent doorknob. He ignores you. "CARRAWAY."
Startled, he turns to look at you, finally listening.
"Sit down, please?" you ask gently. Hesitantly he lowers himself onto an ottoman.
"I was a theater kid in high school," you say. "So I get it..."
He stares back blankly.
"What I mean is that you are not the first questioning person who I've dated and I'm not judging you, but I can't be your beard anymore."
"I'm afraid I don't understand," he replies with a nervous laugh.
You'll have to be more direct with him even though it breaks your heart to be so blunt to someone who's clearly struggling.
"Of course, I am! How could you not be gay at one of Jay's parties?" His cheek jumps when he says Gatsby's name.
"No, Nick. You're a homosexual. And that's fine. It's fine to be a homosexual."
"You're mad," he says, standing up angrily. "And I'm returning to the festivities."
"You're still holding Gatsby's sweater."
"That doesn't prove anything."
"The sleeve is in your mouth."
He quickly spits out the fabric, but doesn't drop the sweater to the floor.
"Fine," he whispers. "How did you know?"
"Are you fucking kidding me?"
Nick winces at your words and you immediately feel terrible.
"Sorry, sorry," you soothe.
Truth is that you couldn't help but be surprised that Nick didn't know that you knew. The way he goes on an on about Gatsby, the way he was rejected by his family in the Middle West for mysterious reasons, the way that you've never seen him look at a girl in the way that he looks at the men of the Eggs — how could anyone not know?
"I'm intuitive," you lie. He couldn't handle the truth, not now anyway. "And like I said, I've dated gay guys before."
"You won't tell anyone?"
"Not if you don't want me to."
Nick slumps into a nearby chair, looking both nervous and relieved.
"Do you...do you think that Gatsby is gay, too?" he asks timidly, rolling the cream colored cashmere between his fingertips. "It can't be real between him and Daisy."
"I think it is."
You actually think it isn't, but not for any of Nick's reasons.
"But she is terrible, isn't she?"
"Yes," you tell him. But so is Gatsby.
"I hate her. She's ugly."
"No." You know it's pointless to argue, but you argue on anyway. "You're just jealous."
"I am not jealous. It's just Gatsby —" This old lecture again, " — he understands you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believes in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assures you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey..."
You've heard this speech what feels like a hundred times now and you don't want to hear it again. Luckily, Nick has buried his face back in Gatsby's sweater so he doesn't hear you when you slip out the door, leaving him to soliloquize in private. There's a bottle of gin with your name on it back at the party where you swear you noticed a handsome trumpet player giving you the eye. This is the Jazz Age, baby, and you'll be damned if you let Nick and Jay Gatsby's beautiful shirts steal away your fun.