Rory and Sebastian Ch. 15bysebastiando©
-- Everyone is over the age of 18 and in their final year of high school in England --
"Did you have sex with Michael Suzette?"
The question was flung at me as soon as I walked into Rory's bedroom, one sunny afternoon in April. He was staring at me, hands on his hips and he was shaking slightly, as if he'd been waiting for hours to ask me this. Well, there was no point in denying it, since a) it was true and b) he'd clearly already found out from somebody else. Still, I was blindsided for a moment and I mentally stumbled. An idiotic phrase fell out of my mouth, which only riled him further.
"Eh... how did you find out?"
His eyebrows shot up in livid disbelief. "Seriously?" he snapped. "That's your response?"
I held my hands out in a calming gesture. He was very attractive when he was this angry but, right now, that was definitely, definitely not the point to make.
"Okay, baby, that was a dumb thing to say. You just surprised me a little with the question. Yes, I did hook up with him. Months ago. Before he came-out and long, long before you and I got together. Long before. It was before I'd even started hooking-up with Josh Peterly..."
"Oh, well, hearing his name just makes this day so much better, doesn't it?"
Now I was beginning to get annoyed. He had a right to be upset, yes, but he didn't need to be so childish about it.
"Oh, you're right, Rory. I mention Joshua Peterly all the time and I definitely haven't done enough to prove to you that I think he's garbage."
His mouth hung open for a minute - like he'd gone to speak, before realizing he'd nothing to rebut with.
"You should've told me," he said after a minute's pause.
"Yes, I should. But he hadn't come-out yet, Rory, and I didn't think it was fair. Or relevant."
"Not relevant? He's in our year at school. We see him every day. And I remember sitting with you, in here, in my room, on the day he did come-out and talking to you about it. Why didn't you say then?"
There was no way I was going to tell Rory that the reason I'd withheld the information was because I worried it'd exacerbate his insecurities again. Michael Suzette was extraordinarily good-looking. By general consensus, in fact, pretty much the most 'beautiful' man in our grade. I'd known then, just like I knew now, that Rory would react badly to the idea that I'd slept with him.
"Because it was irrelevant by that point," I reasoned, lamely. "It meant nothing to me. The sex was shit and I find Michael pretty full of himself for someone who's shit in bed. I really did not want to re-live it, or talk about it. And, not to sound like a dick, but it happened before you and I got together, which means you're not automatically entitled to that information, Rory. No, I'm sorry, don't interrupt – you're not. Okay? Especially since you and I have never had that conversation about our exes. Have I ever asked you about Stefan? No. Have you ever offered me any information about him? No. Have I ever asked you, or have you ever asked me, in all seriousness, about who we hooked-up with before each other? No. No, we haven't. So I have absolutely no idea why you're flinging accusations at me the second I walk through the door because I didn't choose to share an insignificant part of my life that, up until today, you yourself have shown absolutely no interest in!"
I was pleased to see he looked embarrassed after that. But the moment of pleasure soon gave way to a feeling of discomfiture. I hated seeing him sad, so I crossed over and put my arms around him.
"I'm sorry if this has upset you," I whispered, "but it meant nothing. And I never think about it, or him."
He nuzzled into me and breathed; his anger evaporating into me.
"Virginia told me," he said, answering the question I hadn't even asked yet. I felt annoyed. Of course she had; of course it was his Regina George-a-like BFF who'd told him. "She heard it from one of Michael's friends in her Italian class this morning. She thought I should... she thought I had a right to know."
Now was not the time to start a rant about Virginia, especially since we'd just made up. I kissed his neck and then kept myself there, in stasis, once I'd stopped.
"I'm sorry," I repeated, quietly. "Don't be mad. It meant nothing. You didn't need to yell at me."
He nodded. "I'm sorry," he replied. "I shouldn't have. It just surprised me. I looked stupid when Virginia told me and I didn't already know."
"I know, love," I said. "But there isn't anyone but you who's ever really mattered to me."
He smiled into my chest and he said, coyly, "I wish my parents weren't in right now."
On Monday, I found Virginia sitting alone in the library during fourth period. It was rare to find her alone, without at least one of her acolytes faithfully orbiting her. Her Italian A-Level textbook was open in front of her and she looked only vaguely interested in it.
Even I, who was gay and actually quite disliked Virginia, had to concede that she was a strikingly pretty girl. She had long light brown hair, that she always kept perfectly styled; she had a trim figure, beautiful brown eyes, a bit like Rory's, and a spot-free, tanned complexion. She was a good-dresser and even in her school uniform, you could tell she knew how to wear clothes. She looked up as I approached and she sighed as I sat down; she knew what I was here to talk to her about.
"Hello, Sebastian," she said, in that clipped English upper-class drawl that was so, so, so like Rory's.
"Hello, Virginia. Guessing you know why I'm here?"
"The mysterious affair of Michael Suzette?" she joked. It was a catty joke; one that said I should feel ashamed, not her.
"No, actually. The mysterious affair of Rory Masterton," I rejoined. "I don't give a fuck if people know that I slept with Michael, but you had no right to go to Rory and tell him first. That should have come from me."
"You're right," she said. "It should have. But it didn't. You two have been dating for – how long, Sebastian? – six months? ..."
"Seven," I corrected.
She waved her hand in the air dismissively. "Right, seven. You've had seven months to tell him and you didn't. Once Michael Suzette came-out, you should have told him because you must have realized that, at some point, Michael was going to tell his friends and then it would only be a matter of time before the school's rumor mill made sure it got back to Rory."
"You should have at least given me the opportunity to tell him, once you knew that other people knew. You knew it would have sounded better coming from me."
"No, Sebastian, I know it would have been better for you. That's not the same thing."
She was annoying me and she wasn't backing down.
"Seb," she continued, "I know that most people cave in when you come storming over and read them the riot act. I know that when you lay on your full, strong, determined, overprotective American boyfriend routine, people cower before you. But I'm not Joshua Peterly. And I don't mean to sound like a total bitch, but you need to step back for a moment and realize that I have absolutely no responsibility to you. I have loyalty to Rory, who has been my friend for years. I found out that his current boyfriend had slept with another member of our year. I also knew that the rumor was going around school. And I also knew, or assumed, that you hadn't told him yet. I'm sorry if the way Rory found out was personally inconvenient for you, Sebastian, but you really only have yourself to blame. You had seven months to tell him – and you didn't. So I did instead. And, if I had to, I'd do exactly the same thing all over again. Now, if you don't mind, I have to get on with this work and if you were to take a moment to think about what you're saying to me, you'd realize that you're being completely ridiculous in asking me to put your agenda above Rory's. Have a nice day."
I stared at her for a second; she held my gaze. She was smug, imperious and arrogant. But she was also absolutely right. I'd made a fool of myself coming over here. I nodded, got up and left the table. She went back to her homework, without giving me a second glance.
The weeks after Virginia's revelation about Michael Suzette actually passed quietly enough. I knew, or guessed, that at some point Virginia would have told Rory about our little run-in in the library, but if she did, he didn't mention it to me. Rory and I clicked along like we always had. We still had – incredible – sex whenever we could find the time and a safe location. (Often my car, particularly for blowjobs.)
At the start of May, our school broke-up for study leave; a British thing when you get a few weeks off to study at home before your senior year exams, the A-Levels. The day before study leave starts is usually taken as the last day of school, so Rory and I meandered down to the ridge overlooking the playing fields – where, back in September, we'd first noticed each other properly. And all this had started. It was a warm day, like it had been then, but without a breeze.
"Do you ever what would have happened if you hadn't had that nose bleed that day?" I asked.
"And if you hadn't hurt your ankle?"
"First time we joked about sex," I laughed. "With my fucked-up ankle."
He smiled and sighed, happily. "I don't ever really think about it, no," he admitted. "I can't really conceive of this year without you."
"Or next year," I added.
He looked at me and smiled. "I didn't mean not next year, just because I left it out. I was thinking back. Isn't that why we came down here?"
I took his hand. "Do you always have to have an answer for everything?"
"Yes," he said, with the faux arrogance I loved so much. "Isn't that why you love me?"
I stayed silent. And he looked over at me a minute later, then nudged me with his arm.
"Sorry," I said. "I got lost in the moment. I'm still so unbelievably obsessed with you, buddy. I know it's only been a year and every dumb shit says this at the end of high school but, honestly Rory, I really believe you're the one. You're the love of my life."
Anyone else's eyes would have filled with tears, but Rory was made of sterner stuff. It took a lot more to make him cry, particularly when he was sober, happy and in public. His eyes didn't tear up, but they did sparkle. In the way only his could. He leaned over and kissed me on the lips.
"You too," he said. "I love you Sebastian Carson. Even though you're so fucking annoying, sometimes."
I laughed and pulled him in for a proper kiss. "You too, Masterton."
Rory and I were both taking four subjects for our final exams, but only one subject together: History. His other three were Religion, French and English Literature. Mine were Physics, Mathematics and Latin. It meant that we didn't have the same exam timetable and Rory also ruled out studying together, since we inevitably ended up in bed – especially with a free house in the middle of the day. So, over the following three weeks, we actually saw very little of each other, particularly as Rory's desire to get in to Saint Andrew's university slowly took over his life.
My final exam – a Physics paper – was three days before Rory's, which was a religious studies paper. Me and Rory's childhood best friend, Robbie, had both finished and both moseyed over to see Rory, who was wearing sweatpants and holed-up in his room, pouring over a book about Saint Thomas Aquinas.
"He had an opinion on everything," he groaned, hardly looking at us. "Apparently, ten years before he died, the Virgin Mary appeared to him and told him he didn't need to write anymore."
"Lucky for you," I joked.
"And seven hundred years of Religion students," Rory muttered, crossing himself. "That was a very useful vision for all concerned."
I laughed. "Oh, you Catholics."
"Hey!" interjected Robbie good-naturedly. "We don't all believe the Mother of God appeared in the sky to ask some dude to stop writing."
"I'm telling you, if you'd read his stuff, you know she did it as an errand of mercy," replied Rory. "I am never going to remember all of this."
I stood behind him and massaged his shoulders, then leant over to kiss his forehead. "You'll be fine," I said, "and then, we can party."
"Is party your code for fucking?" joked Robbie.
"Yeah. Party in my boxers," I laughed.
"Fuck off, you two. Your happiness makes me ill. Are you going to Dominic's tonight?"
"Yeah," answered Robbie. "Quite a few of the guys from the team are going, so it should be really good fun. Although Daniel won't be going, because he's to do the Religion exam with you on Thursday."
"I'll call you in the morning?" I asked, kissing him again.
"Please," he whispered, ruefully. "Have fun you two. Well, kind of. Not too much. I hate Religion so much right now."
As Robbie and I walked out, I picked up one of Rory's textbooks and tossed at him. "Hey, Rory? Dietrich Bonhoeffer thinks you're sexy!"
Robbie and I exited, laughing, with Rory flipping us off from his desk.
Dominic's party that night turned out to be probably one of the biggest ragers of the whole academic calendar. With the exception of people who'd chosen to study Religion or Media Studies, pretty much every subject had finished either that day or on the Friday before. It wasn't just our school that was there, but people from final year in Saint Thomas á Becket's, King Edward VI's, Our Lady of Mercy's, Tonbridge and the Weald Academy. Luckily, Dominic's house was pretty huge but with the amount of people, even it was absolutely packed.
Without Rory there, I was subjected to a full barrage of abuse from my team-mates. Well, me and another guy on the team called Will, who'd also been in a long-term relationship - with his girlfriend, Julia. 'The old married men,' 'sell outs,' 'dull fuckers,' 'over the hill,' all of it was flung at us. Obviously, we took it in good part, but when the drinking games started, Will and I were targeted pretty savagely. By about twelve-thirty, I could honestly and truly say I'd never been that drunk in my entire life. Talking about it later, Robbie would swear blind that I'd had at least as much as a full bottle of vodka, coupled with seven or eight beers.
Fearing that I was going to vomit, I staggered away during an interlude in the drinking games and weaved my way through the party guests, exchanging slurred inanities with people I didn't really know. I gazed down at my phone; there was no message from Rory and I knew he'd be working, so I didn't want to call him in case I woke him up. I considered it though, swaying on my feet. But then I figured that if he hadn't texted me, he didn't want to hear from me tonight, and I stumbled on up the stairs to a free bathroom.
I took a giant piss with the door open, but nobody seemed to be around. In my state, I probably wouldn't have cared if the bathroom had been full of people, to be honest. When I was done, I splashed my face with water and struggled a bit. My head was spinning and my legs felt weird. I turned round and a guy was standing in the doorway. I didn't recognize him. Or at least, I was pretty sure I didn't.
"Hey. Are you done in here?" he asked.
"Eh... yeah, yeah, I am, buddy. Work away."
"I'm Ross," he said, proffering his hand.
I took it and shook. As I shook, I can remember actually wondering if the movement would cause me to topple over. This was not good.
"Seb," I answered.
"Seb Carson?" the guy asked, excitedly.
"Eh, yeah. Sor.... sorry, do I, uh, know you?"
"No," he laughed. "No, sorry, you don't. I go to Edward VI's. You go to Saint Edmund's, right, with Dominic?"
I nodded. My head felt heavy and I felt horny. Like I'd like to be buried in Rory's crotch right now. The bathroom light was too bright for me. "Right," was all I could really manage.
"You're the gay one?"
"There's more than one."
"Sorry, right, yeah. It's just you were one of the first guys to come out around here. You know, in our year."
"I thought you didn't go to my school."
"I didn't," he explained, patiently. "But I'm in your year. I'm in upper sixth. I just finished today."
"That's awesome, dude."
"Thanks! How did your exams go?"
I shrugged, but still struggled to be polite. "Okay, I guess. Yeah, Physics was a motherfucker. But, yeah, good. I think. I don't, uh, I don't want to be cocky. Hey – how were yours?"
"Good," he replied, enthusiastically. In my head, this guy in front of me was completely sober, but I assume now he was probably pretty drunk, as well. I just couldn't tell at the time. "So, are you dating anyone right now?"
I nodded. "Yeah, seven months. His name's Rory."
"Is he here with you?"
"No," I shook my head. God, it felt heavy. "He does Re... he's not done yet."
"Oh, that's a shame. I just broke up with my boyfriend," Ross explained.
I put my hand on his shoulder, in the kind of instant solidarity that only the drunk can appreciate. "I'm sorry to hear that, bro! You're gay, too?"
"Yes. Yes, I am."
"That's awesome," I said, passionately. "I really fucking love being gay."
"Well, I don't. Not right now, anyway."
"What did the asshole do to you?"
"He just ... we just went on a break because he's so messed up and he won't introduce me to any of his friends or family."
"That is messed up," I commiserated. "So fucking messed up. But hey, listen, Ross, don't let it, don't let that, is what I'm saying, don't let that or it get you down. Y'know? You'll find someone. Seriously. Being gay, it's just so fucking awesome, because men are, right? They're just great."
And that's when he kissed me. He had his lips pressed to mine and his tongue parting through my lips in less than a nanosecond. I wish I could say I resisted; I wish I could tell you that I pushed him off. Even that I hit him. But my memory is so poor that I can't even be sure how much – or if – I resisted Ross's kiss. I know, though, that I didn't hit him and that I didn't push him off. All I can distinctly remember is the room swirling around me, my legs shaking and the smell of Ross being somehow incredible. Exhilarating, even. Part of me wonders if the reason why I grabbed onto him and returned his kiss was in some fucked up way balance-related; that my drunken logic was so shocked by what he'd done that I wobbled and figured that at least by grabbing on to him, I wouldn't fall. I don't know. I honestly just don't know. I can't remember. All I do know, for certain, is that I returned his kiss for a minute – maybe less, maybe a little longer. I can't remember. But eventually, from somewhere, too late but loud, that tiny, weird, sober part of your brain began to scream. It was like my whole mind had gone into shock at what I had done. For one split second, I was sober again and I pushed Ross off me.
"I have a boyfriend."
"He's not here."
"Fuck you. Look, I'm not ... I love him."
"It's the end of year," Ross reasoned. "We're alone. It was just a bit of fun. Calm down, dude."
"No, listen, I'm not... I'm sorry. I shouldn't be here. Please – I love him. I didn't. I'm sorry. I shouldn't be here."
I moved quickly out of the bathroom and down the stairs. No-one had seen us. No-one would need to know. But ticking over and over in my head was a dull, vicious, hysterical voice, asking, on repeat, "What have you done?"
-- This part of the story is told from the point of view of Virginia Reilly --
The day after Claudia's end of year party, I was out having brunch with my sister, Rachel, when she got up to go to the bathroom and I was approached from the other side of the restaurant by an old pony club friend of mine called Diane, who went to King Edward VI's – a school quite near to ours.
"Diane, hi!" I gasped. Obviously, I had to rise to hug her, which was irritating because I actually found her slightly annoying. "How are you?"