I wake up just as the sun is beaming through the room, casting a soft light across the whole room. A serene room to wake up in, surely.
I hear a slight snore, and my eyes flicker back to the sleeping form next to me. Half-buried under sheets, all that is evident is a nose, an open mouth, and a mop of curly black hair. Paris Brien. My boyfriend. After a year and a half of saying that, it doesn't sound weird anymore, doesn't feel weird as the words form in my mouth. By now it is natural to me, said without a second thought. As it should be.
Paris lets out a sudden snort, and jumps, his brown eyes popping open to find my gaze fixed upon him. He shudders.
"Fuck, dude, why are you looking at me like that? What?" he demands, his voice raspy. One hand appears from under the sheets to rub at his eyes. When he removes his hand, I'm still looking at him. "What?"
I shrug. "Nothing. I'm allowed to look. You are my boyfriend, so I'm allowed to look."
He yawns, not bothering to cover his mouth. Even his yawns are loud. Everything Paris does is dramatic. "And you're allowed to appreciate. More than appreciate. You're allowed to fucking worship me," Paris says, lowering the sheet as he shapes his back into a graceful arch, letting the sheet fall with the curve of his body, from his taut stomach to his knees. He makes a show of stretching, fully aware that I'm watching his every move.
Sure enough, when he opens his eyes, evidently well-stretched, there is a mischievous glint that I know well.
"Enjoy the show?" he asks.
"I'd be crazy not to," I tell him, answering honestly.
For anyone that enjoys looking at the male gender, Paris is a fine example of one to look at. And as someone that fully appreciates the good looks of each gender, I have to say that Paris Brien is gorgeously, painfully good-looking.
I've known I was bisexual now since senior year of high school, about mid-way through. Not quite two years ago. In that time, I have fallen in love with a man for the first time ever, had sex with a man for the first time ever, and began university. Where I live with said man. Who also happens to be my childhood best friend. It's not a bad list of accomplishments, truth be told.
It is also a really weird list of accomplishments for me, Sebastian Étaîn. Throughout most of my high school experience, I was often assigned the describing term of "Braelyn Murphy's boyfriend." Okay, that wasn't all I was known for - I was also known for my tight group of friends, the eight of us - but it does go to show that I've changed a good deal, and those changes would not have been predicted for me two years ago. Two years ago, I would've already had suffered my break-up with Braelyn, and would probably have been known as "the guy who became emo when Braelyn Murphy broke up with him." Again, this is not the path one would have thought that I would have taken. But I did. And I am happy with that.
Paris stretches again, yawning. "Fuck. What time is it?" he asks, beginning the sentence with his favorite word.
I glance over my left shoulder. "It's ten after seven," I tell him.
"Fuck," he says again. "I fucking hate mornings," he says, scowling at the sun through the window.
I follow his gaze, smiling instead of scowling. "I kinda like mornings. Lazy ones, at least, where you can just lie in bed as the sun comes in. Did you ever realize that we never have much time to just lie in bed?" I point out, eyes not moving from the window, from the sight of the neighborhood starting to groggily wake up. "We always get up, get on with our lives. We ought to spend more time in bed."
Paris groans, and covers his face with a pillow. "I will never ever support you in taking another Philosophy course in our lives," he mumbles. "You think even more now. Because you didn't think enough before. Lying in bed when the sun comes up? Fuck, just get up when the sun's already up. Like, middle-of-the-sky-up, that's the shit."
"No, I'm serious, Paris," I say, rolling my eyes even though he can't see me. Maybe it's because I know he can't see me. "Whenever we're in bed, we're either sleeping together, be it literally or figuratively," I continue. "We never just lay here."
"What, you want to fucking cuddle now?" he asks me, not sounding all too excited about that prospect. If it isn't naked cuddling, Paris isn't interested. Crude, perhaps, but true.
"Not cuddle," I correct, smiling at the lump that is my boyfriend's head. Under a pillow. He risks at glance at me, peering out with a scowl still etched into his features.
"Just . . . lie here. Think. Just be," I clarify.
"Yeah, um, no thanks. Sorry?" Paris offers, the scowl off his face now, replaced with a skeptical expression.
I shrug, not bothered by this lack of enthusiasm at a not very Paris-like proposition. "I'll work on you. Just wait, before long you'll agree."
He shakes off his sheets, sticking his feet out from the tangles of blankets, and stands up beside the bed, glaring down at me. "Yeah, sure. I'm going to shower."
I can't help but point an accusatory finger at me. "See?" I crow. "That's exactly what I mean!"
"Whatever," he calls over his shoulder as he walks into the bathroom that's right next to my room.
I follow him, leaning against the doorframe as he turns the taps on, instantly filling the room with steam. Paris likes his showers either really hot or really cold, either of the extremes. Like everything he does, really.
"Maybe if you didn't have to rapidly move around and really wake up, you would like mornings better," I suggest.
He makes a face. "Or, not so much."
"Well, I know that I like giving myself extra time to wake up, and lie around before I have to get up, and I like mornings, so," I say.
"Do you like morning breath?" he asks, smirking, as he pulls me to him. My mouth meets his, and a few seconds later, Paris pulls back until his face is about an inch from mine.
"Yummy," he states, a slight note of sarcasm evident in his voice.
"It's mutual," I reply.
"But you like mornings! You're a fucking ray of sunshine who likes the fucking sunshine in the mornings, and everything about mornings! And, by golly, 'morning breath' has the word 'morning' in it, so you damn well better like that too, right, Morning-boy?"
I shrug, grinning. "Meh. I'll let you shower." I turn to step out of the room before Paris' sultry.
"Or," he says, causing me to turn back to him. "You could join me." He wiggles his eyebrows at the very deviancy of this suggestion. If I hadn't lived with Paris for over a year, or grown up with him for nearly twenty years, I would probably see more deviancy in such a statement.
I smile ruefully. "As tempting as that may be, you will make it a longer shower than either of us can afford. I think I'll have to pass today. Redeem it later?" I add. Paris is known for his long showers as it is, and when we have classes to get to, I'm pretty sure we don't need any excuses for him to have to take even longer.
He nods, then pauses, a frown appearing on his face. "Hey, wait a second," he says. "Weren't you the guy that wanted to lay around today?"
I grin over my shoulder as I step out of the room. "Well, not today, per se, but yep. Have a good shower." I close the door behind me, leaving him in the rapidly steaming bathroom, but not before I can hear his final thoughts on the matter.
After our respective first classes, statistics for Paris, one of many Englishes for me, Paris meets me outside the Arts building, and we begin our tradition, for this term at least, of me walking Paris to one of his Commerce classes before beginning my two hour break.
We're barely across the campus bowl, a wide circular field in the middle of the campus that's surrounded by the various college buildings, when a mess of brown hair hurtles his way towards us.
"Oh, fuck, it's Moseley," Paris says loudly.
Caleb Moseley, one of my closest friends on campus, comes to a halt in front of us. He doesn't actually have that much hair, it's just the animated energy with which he moves makes everything appear more animated, and therefore larger, than it actually is. Please, no dirty comments.
"I'll manage the last twenty steps or so by myself, Seba," Paris announces. "Far be it for me to be seen with someone like Moseley for even that short of time." He pecks my cheek, and quickens his pace before Caleb has a chance to respond.
I should probably clarify that Paris and Caleb actually get along famously, almost. Ever since they discovered that they had a common disregard for clothing, and a common love for streaking at a party last year, there has been nary a problem between Caleb and Paris. Of course, Caleb is more my friend than Paris', but I'm a fan of my friends getting along with my boyfriend, and dealing with Paris not liking my other close friend, Dominic West, is bad enough. So, Paris and Caleb. Comrades.
"Let me guess. Paris didn't get any last night, did he?" Caleb asks me cheerfully, falling into step beside me. "He tends to tolerate me more when he's well-sexed."
I make a face. "Caleb. Have I ever been interested in discussing my sex life with you?"
He shrugs. "No. But it could change."
"Caleb," I say again. "You're a normal, straight guy. Most normal, straight guys I know really don't want to here about any non-straight sex. So I want to make sure that you, you know, get that if I told you about my sex life, it would be like listening to gay porn. And in the year and a half that I've known you, you've never expressed an interest in gay porn."
"I don't have an interest in gay porn. That's just, dude, that's just penis-on-penis action."
"And you think that either Paris or I is hiding a vagina somewhere?"
Caleb looks at me out of the corner of his eye. "Well, it would be easier to hide than a penis," he says. "Anyway, I'm not asking for details, like whose went where, but just simply commenting that Paris is in a better mood when he's well-sexed."
"And with my lack of discussing this, you would know this how, exactly?"
"Paris," he says simply. "It's not like he doesn't like to brag that he got some. Making his usual comments."
"His usual asinine comments," I add.
Caleb nods. "Right."
I sigh. "He is never going to stop bragging about his sexual conquests, even when they're just me."
"And so I will always know when he got some," Caleb confirms. "Whether I want to or not."
"That is a not," I say, sidestepping someone sitting on the floor, a textbook open across his knees.
"Pretty much," Caleb agrees. "So, how was your Christmas?"
I shrug. "Oh, you know," I say vaguely. "Nothing special. Spent some family time, saw some old friends, came back here."
"Wasn't it like your baby sister's first Christmas?" Caleb asks as we walk into one of the many campus cafeterias. He grabs a tray and passes me one, picking up a sandwich as he talks. "Because that's gotta make it a little bit special."
I shrug once more. "It was her second," I correct him. "She was only a few weeks old for her first one though. My mom and step-father made a pretty big deal out of this year, yeah, but I'm really not that close to my family so it wasn't so much of a big deal for me. I know you've heard me say that I'm not very close to my family, but I don't think you get how little I'm exaggerating."
Now it's Caleb's turn to shrug. "It's the kid's second Christmas. That always calls for some pretty cute celebrations, right? You can't tell me that your heart didn't grow at least two sizes this year," he says, grinning ruefully.
"Maybe half a size," I relent. "But that's it. Enough of my stories of Christmas joy. How was your Christmas?" I ask as we walk away from the till, heading towards one of the few empty tables.
Caleb grins widely, sprawling across his seat. "Oh, awesome. Man, I love Christmas," he says wistfully.
I can't help but grin as I set my tray down in front of me. "Did Santa bring you everything you asked for?"
"Well, if I start dating some total knock-out this week, then yeah, he will've. Until then, I can't answer that question."
I laugh at that. "Maybe you'll find her at that party this weekend."
"That's what I'm hoping. You going?"
"Maybe, I don't know. Paris is, I know. He thinks some of his moronic stoner friends will have gotten some Christmas presents they'll want to share, and he's not going to pass on that opportunity," I say, frowning.
"Didn't you tell him that as long as there's no needles involved then you won't get involved?"
I nod. "Yeah, I told him that. That was last year, and he's still hanging out with those morons. God, I don't understand that. I don't think they ever talk to one another, not unless it's to say 'Dude, pass the weed,' or some shit like that."
"I have to say that you definitely won at getting better university friends," Caleb says, grinning.
I grin back at him. "I like to think so."
"Did you even tell your mom about you and Paris yet?" Caleb, for some insane reason, is absolutely aghast that I haven't felt the need to tell my mother about my relationship just yet. He has obviously had the picture perfect childhood with his family, and anything else sounds just plain wrong to him, freak that he is.
"Because I hadn't before, you think that a mundane Christmas would be the right time?"
Caleb shrugs. "Well, sure, why not? She's gotta suspect something anyway."
I outright laugh at this suggestion. "Yeah, right. She is completely wrapped up in her little world, especially now with Samantha. It's like the first time didn't work out so she's starting over with the whole family thing. I might even do that if I had the chance. But I have the family that I have, and that's my childhood so I guess I can't quite redo my life so easily."
"But how can't she suspect?" Caleb asks, coming back to the original point. "Paris isn't really shy or anything, at least not around here."
"My mom only sees what she wants to see. Paris has been my best friend for years, so if she wants to see our interaction as best friends, then that's what she sees. Besides, we don't really spend much time there. It definitely doesn't feel like home to me now, after moving out. Honestly, Caleb, my mom not knowing isn't a big deal. At all."
"I just always thought that if you're out, then why not let people know? If you're out, you have no reason to hide your relationship, am I right? I'm so right," Caleb answers himself.
"I'm not hiding my relationship. I'm just not outright telling her about it. There's a big difference."
"Paris' parents know," Caleb points out.
"Paris' parents also care about him. That is a key difference."
"So what, you just hang out at his house the entire time you're home? That sounds like a fun family Christmas."
"I don't do fun family Christmases," I tell Caleb. "Remember?"
He cocks his head at me. "You're weird."
I laugh. "It took you this long to figure that one out? Not the brightest bulb."
"Also, not too bright for thinking I'd be spending all my time at the Briens. I'm sure I filled you in on my little soap opera regarding that family."
Caleb starts laughing into his Coke. "Oh, right, you dated Paris' sister! That would make an awkward conversation for Christmas Eve dinner."
I smile. "Probably," I agree. "Which is why I've never brought it up."
"His sister is so hot," Caleb comments. He knows this from seeing a picture of the Brien family in mine and Paris' apartment. Upon commenting on Hero Brien's good looks, Paris had wasted no time in gleefully informing Caleb of my sordid past. The past where I dated Hero, and then cheated on her with her own brother. That little soap opera.
"I don't get why you picked Paris over her, Seb," Caleb continues.
"I'd hope you don't get that, because that would make you, my friend, a little bit gay."
"Yeah, I guess."
My phone vibrates in my pocket, and I reach down, flipping it open. "One new text," the screen notifies me. And the sender? Gabe Laken.
I smile as I read it: "Tell your boyfriend to stop getting mad when I don't respond to the 20 texts he sends me while I'm in class. Also, kick him." Whereas Paris' messages often read things like "fuck u" and "go choke bitch," Gabe's are actually punctuated, a welcome change. And also nice.
"Who's that?" Caleb asks, craning his neck. "Is it Erika? 'Cause if she wants to meet us, I'm completely down with that."
I choke back a laugh. Caleb has had a thing for Erika Breton, a high school friend of mine, since the moment he met her. No, wait, make that the moment he saw her. His not-so-subtle hints that he would like to see her do nothing to hide his true eagerness.
"Not quite," I tell him. "It's Gabe, actually." Caleb's met Gabe on several occasions, and gets along well with him, as most people do. "You do have about the same chance with him as you do with Erika, though."
Caleb makes a face. "Funny, Seb." He glances at his watch. "Oh, shit, I've gotta go," he says, haphazardly piling his garbage onto his tray and quickly standing.
I stand too. "Why the hurry?"
"I've got to meet Dom before his class," Caleb explains. "I have to pay him some money that I owe him."
"Oh yeah?" I say, dumping the remnants of my lunch into the garbage bin and heading out of the cafeteria with Caleb. "What for?"
"We made a bet. I lost."
"No kidding. What did you bet on?"
An embarrassed look comes across Caleb's face, and he mumbles his reply. "Whether Paris would convince you to stay home in bed with him today. Or to just maybe make you late? That kind of thing."
I've got to be hearing things, and I let out a huff of disbelief. "Seriously? You bet on whether Paris and I would have sex today?"
"Well, I thought that he would also convince you to stay home for at least part of the day. So you can imagine my unhappiness when I saw you guys outside."
"What would possess you to bet on that? Of all things?"
Caleb shrugs. "It sounded funny?"
I shake my head. "I can't believe you actually bet on that. Well, you, I can believe, but Dom?"
"It was my idea," Caleb adds helpfully. "Obviously it turned out to be a bad one, asnd backfired on me, but what can you do?"
"Not make bets on your friends' sex lives?" I suggest. "Although both you and Dom would be surprisingly easy to bet on."
"That's why it wouldn't be much fun. Only, it would be a bit less creepy to have a straight friend that I could bet on. So if you could work on that for me, maybe?" Caleb jokes.
I laugh. "Yeah, I'll try."
Caleb stops as he reaches the doors to the Studio Art Department. "Okay, well, I'm off to part with some money. See you."
"Bye," I saw, watching him walk down the hallway lined with photographs and paintings.
Upon graduating from high school and finding myself a young bisexual male, I had not thought that I could have a normal, out-of-a-movie university experience. Not that I had ever wanted to get drunk and sleep with equally drunk co-eds, but I just saw my sexuality as some kind of barrier between me and a "normal" life. I said then, and I still stand by it, that I wasn't going to hide my relationship with Paris. Sure, maybe I wasn't telling my mom about it, but I wasn't hiding it. And with that in mind, I had stupidly thought that my obvious orientation would serve as a dividing point between me and everybody else. That I was destined to make friends only with girls looking for the fag to their hag. That no straight male would believe that all I wanted was friendship, and that there would always be an awkward shadow in the room.
Obviously I had been very wrong. Here I was, a year and a half older, maybe not wiser, and I had Caleb and Dominic, two very straight males. Caleb even came from the most stereotypical suburban childhood anyone could imagine, and here he was, making bets about my sex life. I hadn't been the victim of any obvious discrimination, which I had naively thought was going to happen in some form, even in just a leer across a keg at some party. Gabe, having long been at peace with his own homosexuality, had assured me that life generally wasn't like that, that I probably wouldn't be treated any differently than if these people thought I was straight.
Of course I didn't believe him. I made like I didn't care if I didn't believe him, but after I announced to Paris that I was going for drinks with a guy from my English class, Caleb, he had immediately asked me if Caleb was gay. Once I replied no, Paris had breathed a sigh of relief and said, "Oh, good, now maybe you'll stop being all emo about 'I'm never going to make friends because I fuck a man!' Thank God." I'm still getting used to the idea that people won't care, that I can still be me. I'm still getting used to the idea that I can be accepted as normal. But there I am, barely more than an average college student. Significantly insignificant.
"Honey, I'm home!" Paris calls out, slamming the door of our apartment behind him. Our apartment is actually in a converted house, so the door is at the bottom of some stairs, with the whole of the apartment located at the top of those stairs, making a climb that Paris rarely fails to complain about.
"Hey," I greet him, looking up from my book as he walks over to the chair I'm sitting in and leans down to lightly kiss me. "How was the rest of your first day back?" We may start at the same time in the morning, but Paris ends a few hours later than me so he usually just finds his own way home, be it a friend or simply the bus.
Paris frowns, throwing his body onto the couch. "Shitty. I hate that introduction shit. I mean, I hate doing all the work too, but the introduction shit is just . . . Shitty," he finishes. "So I texted Gabe, telling him that."
"Oh, about that, I'm supposed to tell you not to text him when he's in class. And to kick you."
Paris gets up, looming over me with a mischievous grin on his face. "You sure it didn't say to kiss me? I could imagine Gabe getting his jollies off by imagining us following his sexual suggestions, the twisted fuck."
"I'm pretty positive that it said to kick you. Maybe he's just kinky?" I suggest.
"Yeah, that's a given. Can we pretend it said to kiss me? Actually, scratch that, pretend it said to fuck me. To fuck me hard."
"Yes, because when I think of Gabe, I think of him telling me to fuck you hard," I reply sarcastically.
"Well, you did make out with the guy. I can see why you think dirty talk when you think of Gabe."
"God, that was two years ago, and you can't just bring that up for whatever reason you feel like."
Paris shrugs. "Hey, you're the fucker that kissed him."
"And may I add that I wasn't doing anything wrong at the time? So it shouldn't be continually brought up as if I was."
"I never said it was wrong. I just said that it happened. And also, that Gabe told you to fuck me hard. That's all I said."
"Fuck you," I say. "Did I have a hard enough edge to my voice?"
Paris reaches down into my lap, causing me to drop my book onto the floor. So long, Don Quixote. "I think we need to work on the hardness a bit."
"Paris," I say, but he cuts me off by kissing me.
"No," he says, pulling back. "By the time we're done, it'll be supper time, and we'll be ravenous. So I'll be doing us both a favor if I pull you into the bedroom or onto the coffee table or wherever right now."
"Are those my only options?" I ask, grinning. "The bedroom and the coffee table?"
"I'm fucking partial to the coffee table."
I gently take Paris' hands off of me as I stand up. "If it's gotta happen, I'd prefer a bedroom. I don't think the proper back to school welcoming should be on the coffee table."
"What school are you going to?" Paris asks, drawing a laugh from me.
I start to walk down the hall. "C'mon," I call over my shoulder. "Let's do the pre-dinner thing."
Paris catches up to me as I reach the bedroom door. "Damn right we're doing the pre-dinner thing. And by 'thing,' you do mean fuck, right?"
"I guess I do."
"Good," Paris says, his breath hot on my ear. "Because that's what I told Gabe we'd be doing when I texted him. We don't want to let our creepy friend down."
"I'm pretty sure it's you that's the creep."
Paris shrugs, his chest moving against my shoulder blades as he reaches his arms around my waist to undo my belt. "Details. Fucking details."
"Let's move this party to the bed," he says, successfully unzipping my fly and pulling my jeans so that they hang around my knees.
It doesn't take long before I'm pinned under him, naked save for my underwear. Paris is likewise attired, and we're both breathing heavily, his dark curls sticking to his forehead. He reaches a hand up to his forehead, pushing his hair away, and then suddenly reaches down, his hand on the side of my face as he pulls me into a passionate kiss.
"Tell me, Seba," he says. "Is there anywhere you rather be right now?"
I don't have to think. "No," I tell him. "Just here." Because I don't need normal, whatever it is. This is enough. We are enough.----------
Here we go again! This is, quite obviously, the sequel to The Eiffel Tower. If you haven't read that story, this chapter serves as an introductory one, so it may not be necessary to read The Eiffel Tower, but it would probably help. And for those who have read The Eiffel Tower, welcome back! Thanks for waiting it out – I know it wasn't a fun one, and I'm so, so sorry about that. As I said, this is a pretty introductory chapter, but the action and plot will actually pick up pretty quickly, certainly within the next chapter or two. So, thank you everyone for reading, and if you review, it would be great if you could sign in so I can actually use the Review Reply feature. Thanks, all!