by Phun Saa (พรรษา)
Probably, Sean would reflect later on, after it had turned into a whole thing, if he hadn’t whiffed so badly the very first time then he wouldn’t have had to compensate and it never would’ve become a thing at all. Maybe. He knew at least some of his faults, and he had to concede, he might’ve done something similar just for the fun of it.
Rafael was intently admiring Mike’s light-up shoes when Sean’s mother slipped an arm around Sean’s waist and laid her head on his shoulder, looking out over the entire Hanrahan family picnic with a benevolent gaze. “I’m so glad you brought Rafael, everyone loves him,” she said, “and he’s really good with the kids!” That he was; he and Mike had moved on and seemed to be recruiting Lin and Samiyah into some sort of game that could possibly be hot potato with pinecones.
“Yeah,” Sean said, not even trying to hide the dopey grin on his face. He’d waffled over inviting Rafael for days — was three months too soon to bring the boyfriend around to meet the family? Did it mean too much? For that matter, was the entire picnic — aunts, uncles, cousins, children of cousins, other significant others, no less than eight dogs — too much all on its own? But Rafael had been delighted to be asked, had insisted on making a pan of chipotle mac and cheese that had met with even Aunt Judy’s approval, and had charmed everyone he met within minutes. He just had that effect on Hanrahans, it seemed.
“So how did you two get together, anyway?” his mother thoroughly crashed into Sean’s train of thought, and what came out of his mouth was a very eloquent, “Oh, I, um, er.” And then five full seconds of horrible silence as, he read in her eyes, she quickly came to the conclusion of, something you can’t tell your mother.
Oh no, she thought it was a sex thing. “Uh, we met at work!” He blurted out in a panic, just as she said, “Nevermind!” and her embarrassment turned into confusion, and then suspicion. Sean hastily reviewed what he’d just said and tried not to wince. Sure, at work. That definitely sounded true, since Rafael was the only doctor in the world whose clinic doubled as a recording booth for session musicians, apparently.
Oh god, she definitely thought it was a sex thing.
She gave him a rueful smile and a couple of brisk pats on the arm. “You know what, you two obviously care about each other a lot, he makes you happy, and that’s what matters. All I want is for you to be happy… and, you know, safe.” She gave him as much of a meaningful look as she could while he was desperately avoiding her eyes, and wandered off to catch up with one of her cousins.
Wow. That… could never, ever happen again. Next time, he’d better be prepared.
“I’d spent like a week talking to this hottie on Grindr and he finally invited me over,” Sean began in response to his best friend’s question. “But it was, you know, last March, and people were starting to worry about the epidemic. But he was so hot, and so interesting and funny and fun to talk to! I knew it was dumb but I said fuck it and went over anyway. So of course the next morning his entire apartment building was shut down for a two-week quarantine and we wound up getting to know each other very well. Thank god he’s such a good conversationalist.”
“No way,” Dustin breathed, “you are shitting me.”
“I would never,” Sean promised, “and you know, I would’ve been able to get out before the building was closed and go home if we’d just gone to brunch like we were planning! But we wound up, heh, sleeping in” –he clicked his tongue and shot Dustin a meaningful fingergun– “which just goes to show, always take brunch seriously!”
“But if you had gone to brunch, you wouldn’t have wound up spending all that time with him,” Dustin said.
“Uh, good point. So… don’t take brunch seriously? No, no, you know what, maybe there isn’t a moral to the story.”
“I was hired to play at his wedding,” Sean said to Emily as they were breaking down the stage. “He was marrying this perfectly nice woman, but they just didn’t have that spark, you know? We didn’t actually meet until the reception afterwards; I was trying to get a drink, and he kept blocking my way for some reason. Well, it turned out he’d lost his wedding ring in the punch bowl and didn’t want anyone to know–”
“Sean, this is the plot of Imagine Me & You,” Emily interrupted, rolling her eyes.
“Oh my god, they stole my meet-cute! I’m going to sue the pants off of them!”
Babe <3 <3 <3: Hey hon, how’s it going so far?
>Good! Set-up went as smoothly as it ever does, the acoustics in the venue are great, and I actually got my OWN room for the night!
>I’ll try not to let it get to my head
Babe <3 <3 <3: When I make my big research breakthrough I’ll use it to keep you in the style to which you’ve become accustomed
Babe <3 <3 <3: Forget red roof, we’re talking holiday inn express money
>I can see it now, name-brand jam in the complimentary continental breakfast
>A key card without a pizza delivery number printed on it
>The opulence will go straight to my head
Babe <3 <3 <3: You know you’re worth it
>So how’s your day been?
Babe <3 <3 <3: Hm, it’s been.
Babe <3 <3 <3: It’s ok, I’m home now at least
>Anything I can do?
Babe <3 <3 <3: You’re talking with me, I feel better already
Babe <3 <3 <3: …though
>You want a story, don’t you :D :D :D
Babe <3 <3 <3: …it’s been a long day and yeah, I really do
>You got it <3
>Any story prompts?
Babe <3 <3 <3: lol, why don’t you tell me how we met
>Oh yeah, good one! I remember it like it was yesterday
>I was opening for a punk band that was opening for a midnight showing of the Room
Babe <3 <3 <3: Yeah, and I loved your Britney Spears cover
>Right, so you actually snuck backstage to tell me so
>Not that you needed to do much sneaking, or that there was much of a backstage either
>But you found me behind a curtain that was basically all that separated the stage from backstage
Babe <3 <3 <3: I tried to say, “Your ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ was so good” and somehow you misconstrued
>Well the Rat Nest Rejects go pretty hard when they play
>All I really heard over the screaming was “hit me” and “so good”
>And really, a clean-cut, beautiful Latino man comes up behind me and says that through a smile, what am I supposed to think?
>Well actually the football you were carrying baffled me
Babe <3 <3 <3: Oh so I guess I was in a tux too
>Right, which looked excellent on you btw
>But other than the tux and the football I figured I knew what was up
Babe <3 <3 <3: I basically caught up when you kissed me
>It was a great kiss too
>A personal best if I say so myself
Babe <3 <3 <3: You know, I’d have to agree
>You fit in my mouth like you belonged there <3
>And I really really had to check if your dick did too
Babe <3 <3 <3: Wait, how far out of sight were we?
>Milkboy’s upstairs is tiny
>Like I said, there was a curtain
>But I knew we’d have to be quick if we didn’t want someone to find us
>And if we were REALLY unlucky we’d get caught by the whole audience like in Love Actually
>So I pushed you up against a giant speaker and got on my knees
Babe <3 <3 <3: God, you look so good like that
>You do seem to like it :D
Babe <3 <3 <3: I get so fucking hard just thinking about you in front of me like that
Babe <3 <3 <3: I mean, got so fucking hard, you know, backstage
>So there I was, kneeling on the floor, looking at your cock for the first time
>All put together above the waist, all undone and dripping below
>My mouth was watering already
>(and now too, ftr)
>I could have looked at you all damn night, but otoh, someone was gonna come by eventually and then I wouldn’t get to taste you
>And we couldn’t have that
Babe <3 <3 <3: Good thing the Rat guys were so loud, because I’m pretty sure I shouted when you just leaned in and swallowed my cock whole
>Heehee, I think you did
>Though I wasn’t exactly paying attention, I was too busy losing my mind over how good you tasted
>That and deepthroating you till you saw stars
Babe <3 <3 <3: I definitely did
>I think you liked that speaker I pushed you up against too, remember that?
>It was pounding out this deep bass beat, I could feel the vibrations going through you, down your cock, right to my lips
Babe <3 <3 <3: (omg)
>Your hips were twitching, I could tell you were close
>So I ran the tip of my tongue all around the head of your cock
Babe <3 <3 <3: yup that would do iy
>(iy? Having a little trouble there? :D )
>held you there and felt you come down my throat
>lips wrapped around you, hands on your ass
>I was having myself a party really
>Wow ok, I know we shouldn’t but I kinda want to try that one for real
>Oh shit the tissues are all the way in the bathroom goddamnit
>Sooooo, was that good for you too?
>Are you still there? Or did you already fall asleep?
>Ok tomorrow I’m gonna ask how long your shift was
>But for now I’m calling this a win
“I’d always wanted to go sky-diving, but I needed someone to teach me” Sean said to the woman ahead of them in line, as Rafael struggled to keep a straight face. “And Rafael is the best in the business, he’s won several sky-diving competitions– “ at which point the sky-diving champ bent over their cart and started fussing with the oranges to cover up his grin.
“We’re both pro wrestlers,” Sean said to his niece as WWE played in the background. “Indie, of course, not the big leagues, but I wrestle as The Big Cheese and he goes by Rafael the Ripper– maybe you’ve heard of us?”
Samiyah gave him a look of forbearing patience. “Uncle Sean, you’re making this up,” she said, with all of the gravitas of a nine-year-old.
“Oh, it was a blind date, and it turned out we both wanted the chocolate mousse for dessert,” Sean explained to his sister’s husband, voice slightly raised. “So he suggested that we split it, and I agreed, but then he ate the entire middle–”
“OH MY GOD,” Amanda yelled from the kitchen.
“Leaving me with nothing but the smears around the cup–”
“I WAS ELEVEN, IT’S BEEN LITERALLY THIRTY YEARS, THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS IS UP!”
Sean had a card, but he didn’t even bother to pull it out of his pocket. He knew what to say.
“Rafael, I’ve loved you from the minute you crash-landed out of Heaven directly on to my second-best electric piano, feathers everywhere–” What? They were his vows. And his — husband, wow, his husband — was now snort-laughing even as he cried, so, totally worth it.
“Mmwhr m’I?” Sean muttered as he swam back to consciousness. He was propped up in a hospital bed, his head was pounding, and Dr. Flores had a sheepish, contrite look on his face from where he sat next to Sean’s bed.
“You’re still at the hospital. I really am so sorry; you had a bad reaction to the shot that we completely didn’t anticipate. Honestly, we’re not yet sure why, but we’ll get to the bottom of it. What’s the last thing you remember?”
“Ummm.” Sean squinted and thought back. “Wrapping up a recording session and driving over here for my appointment.”
“Hmm, okay.” Dr. Flores made a note of that on a clipboard. “You’ve lost a couple of hours, it sounds like. That is concerning, but I can answer your questions first, and then we’ll bring in a neurologist to do a thorough evaluation.”
“Oh,” Sean said blearily, unable to summon up any particular amount of worry. “Uhh… what did it do? Knock me out?”
“Not at first,” Dr. Flores said, with a wince. “The first noticeable effects were to your mood and behavior. Euphoria, a bit of babbling, lowered inhibitions…”
“Oh,” Sean repeated in a very different tone, waking up a good deal more. “I didn’t uh, do anything inappropriate, did I?” Oh god, please let him not have embarrassed himself in front of the cute doctor. He’d totally embarrassed himself in front of the cute doctor.
“No, no!” Dr. Flores exclaimed, “No, you were fine! Just very friendly, and effusive. And you rambled a bit.” He smiled, and apparently Sean could only focus on one thing at a time right now, because he jumped off the ‘panic’ train of thought and landed squarely on ‘help, he’s so cute.’
“In that case, um” –and hey, what the hell, Sean wasn’t above exploiting the sympathy vote– “do you want to get coffee with me sometime?”
The smile dropped off of Dr. Flores’ face and was immediately replaced with a look of intense concern. “Sean? Are you still feeling the effects? We thought we’d flushed it out of your system–”
“No,” Sean broke in, “no, pretty sure this is all me.” He gave a hapless shrug. “I really have wanted to ask you out since we met, basically. Or, uh,” he floundered as he finally remembered why he’d never made a move, “or maybe after the study is over? To be, you know, ethical?”
Dr. Flores looked at him for a long moment, eyes wide. “This is definitely a conversation that has to wait until the study is over. And I’m going to have to transfer you to one of the other doctors. But, well” –he covered a growing smile with his hand as a blush crept over his cheeks– “well, let’s talk later.”
“Awesome,” Sean leaned back and gave him two wobbly thumbs-up. “Sounds awesome.”
Hours later, after Sean was cleared to go home, he flipped through the sheaf of discharge papers to find a handwritten note on the last page:
***-453-9102. Call me if you need anything, anything at all. -Rafael
“I do think it’s sweet, you know,” Rafael said as they lay tangled together in bed. “How determined you are to never tell anyone that I accidentally roofied you.”
“What are you talking about? I mourned that piano, it died before its time,” Sean muttered into his husband’s shoulder, snuggled in, and promptly dropped off to sleep.