Sitting at the bar, she idly nursed her vodka martini, spinning the olive around and around. Sliding onto the stool next to her, he asked, "Why so glum?"
She cast a disdainful eye over him. "Don't even try it," she responded coolly, clearly in no mood to be picked up.
He held up a placating hand. "Hey, relax. I'm gay."
"Of course you are," she gasped, suddenly doubled over with laughter.
He eyed her with concern, holding her up as she almost hit the bar, continuing in her hysteria.
"Um...are you okay?" he asked cautiously.
She kept on with her uncontrollable mirth, managing to force out, "Of course I am! Why wouldn't I be? You're gay, Phil's gay...what men aren't gay?"
"Far too many," he answered dryly, fully aware that she neither expected nor desired one.
She let out a choked sound that might have been a giggle or a sob before finally relaxing, letting out the occasional hiccup.
"So...who's Phil?" he asked, encouraged by her new calm.
She stared at him for a little while before icily asking, "Why do you care?"
He shrugged easily. "You looked upset. I wanted to make you feel better."
She deflated a bit, looking chagrined. "My ex-husband...Phil's my ex-husband."
Giving her a sympathetic look, he winced. "Been married long?"
"How long has he known?"
"Well he started suspecting about eleven years ago, but he thought he might be bi. Figured it out for sure maybe three years ago."
He was astonished. And you stayed with him? And he stayed with you?"
She gave a resigned sigh. "No. We got divorced three years ago. When he knew for sure."
Confusedly, he asked, "Well, then, what's the problem? Of course, I'm terribly sad for you, but it was a long time ago. Haven't you..." but she was shaking her head, so he trailed off.
"See, knowing that your husband likes guys is different from seeing him making out with his best man."
"Oh." He looked awkward for a moment, offering, "If it makes you feel any better, my boyfriend of four years just left me for his ex."
A grin took over her face for the first time, revealing just how attractive she was. "Horrible as it may be, that does make me feel better."
"It's not that horrible," he reassured her softly, "misery loves company."
Her grin grew a bit wider, if a bit more bitter, as she said, "Now, I thought that you were better than clichés like that. What's your name?"
"Adam," he told her, with a slight smile. "And you?"
"It's not like I have any problem with gays," Rachel rambled, causing Adam to interject, "I'd hope not," in what would have been his sardonic tone if it had not been for that last whiskey. She swayed a bit before continuing, "It's just that he was my husband, you know? He was supposed to love me, not anyone else. Especially not a man. 'Cause that's just not fair, it's like I never even had a chance with the man who was supposed to be with me forever. You know?"
"I mean, did I even ever count? Did he really care about me, ever?"
"It's best not to dwell on it. Course, it might not be entirely his fault."
"Doesn't mean it's any less of a bitch, though."
"True. Very true."
"Sometimes life just isn't fair, and people have to get hurt."
A few drinks later and Adam was loosened enough to spew, "I tried so hard! I gave that man everything that I could!"
"Of course you did. How could you not?"
"I did! I loved him more than anything and he loved me back, he did!"
"Honestly, Adam, who wouldn't love you? You're the best!"
"But he stopped caring about me and started thinking about his work and nothing but his work and then he reconnected with his ex and," he gasped, "he told me that he'd fallen out of love with me and back in love with his ex and that he was sorry! What good is that?"
"It isn't! Sorry doesn't change anything!"
"And I wish that I could hate him and I do, kind of, sort of, but I could never hate him, never ever, and I see where he's coming from, but I love him!"
"Love's the key. What would hurt, what would matter, what would exist without love?"
"And sure, he was always nice to me, but he never seemed to like me. And he didn't have to, and I always knew it, but I never would have guessed why." Rachel's wandering speech was making less and less sense, but Adam's thoughts were making less and less sense; he listened to her, nodding as if she were speaking the gospel, with a solemn expression on his face, adding, "Who could have ever known why?"
"And he'd always been polite and all, and Phil never seemed to prefer him or anything like that, but I should have figured it out, shouldn't I have? I mean, there must have been signs, times when Phil basically said, 'Sorry, Rachel, but fuck, Robert's hot.'"
"Ha, Robert's my boyfriend's name. Was my boyfriend's name. When I had one."
"Yeah, it's stra-wait. Stop there. My ex-boyfriend's ex-ex-boyfriend's name started with a P. But it made an "F" sound."
"Like Phil. Crazy coincidence, no?"
"Rachel...what does your Robert look like?"
"Apparently a lot better than me. Oh, don't you fall in love with dear Robert, too. Not you too."
"Rachel...was he short, with light brown hair, almost blond hair?"
"Yeah, yeah, and he had freckles everywhere, seriously, and...oh, fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck. Adam, either you're a mind reader, which would be scary, or your Robert's my Robert. Phil's Robert."
"Fuck...fucking crap. Your husband's sleeping with my boyfriend."
"...Adam! That was really really loud!"
"So...my ex-husband Philip Kensington used to date Robert Allens. Then he married me, presumably after they broke up, and Robert started dating you a year afterwards."
"Right. And four years after we started dating, you stopped dating...um, being married, because Phil realized that he was gay. And still in love with my Robert, I'd guess, though maybe he'd just realized his appreciation for the male gender in general."
"Maybe. I mean, he and Robert stopped seeing each other after he and I got married, so he might not have felt anything for Robert...but then again, maybe he and Robert stopped talking because they still loved each other. If they ever did, anyway."
"Right. And in any case, three years later, they ran into each other again, coinciding with a rocky patch between me and Robert...I mean Robert and me, pardon my French. Did I use that saying right? Maybe it should be pardon my English. And they fell for each other. Or re-fell for each other. Whatever. And so..."
"So we're left alone and drunk in this bar at one in the morning."
"Exactly. And why haven't we been cut off yet?"
"Um, speak for yourself. I am fine. Abslutely...asolutely...absute..."
Rachel fell off her stool, passing out, almost hitting the floor before being rescued by Adam's uncharacteristically slow reflexes. He held her slim frame in his arms for a moment, not realizing how creepy the situation looked, and murmured, "I think that this is going to be the start of a beautiful friendship, Rachel Scott-Kensington."
A/N: I really don't know about this, but it's somewhat cute, no? The inspiration really struck out of nowhere...I was running late for one of my classes a few weeks ago when I suddenly had a vision of a woman and a man, who weren't dating, at a bar, and the line, "Your husband's sleeping with my boyfriend." And obviously, I had to write about them.
And yes, Rachel tends to get a bit italic-happy when she gets drunk. It happens.
This is now continued in "Across the Universe."