“Hey Tom, thanks so much for this.” I say dragging my bags into his apartment.
“No problem mate. Let’s see the war wounds.” Tom says.
“How do you know about that?” I ask rubbing my jaw.
“Video of it on telly mate, you’ve gone viral and all that. Movie star boyfriend saves the day. Very macho, very hot.” Tom says.
“I took a punch and went down, total goober.” I say shaking my head.
“Seriously the slow-mo replay of you diving in the way has the women on their knees, guys too obviously. Well me.” Tom says.
“Stop it.” I say laughing.
“Okay, okay, I promise I won’t come on to you. So what’s happened to split the perfect couple?” Tom asks.
“It’s all your fault.” I say.
“How so?” Tom asks.
“When I was giving the police my statement your agent called and arranged to take A out for dinner.” I say.
“And he went even though you’d just taken a punch for him? Shit, I’d be pissed off too.” Tom says.
“When he was out I started over thinking everything about this trip and decided to go home and he didn’t care. He’s so over me.” I say sadly.
“No way, he is so into you. Mate you’ve really got it wrong.” Tom says.
“No he really didn’t care. Sometime this trip I stopped being his boyfriend and started being staff. I love, love to take care of him but he stopped even trying to do anything for himself and he’s been so selfish. Everything is about him. I’d had enough and just wanted to take a break, go home and do my own thing. He took that as breaking up and he seemed pretty happy about it.” I say.
“Brave face pal, he was hiding the hurt. There is no way, no way he wanted you to go. Do you want me to talk to him?” Tom asks.
“No, no. You’ve done enough letting me stay.” I say.
“It’s no trouble. I’m more than happy to have you hear even if it’s just as friends. Plus the paps will be camping at your hotel tonight. You’re big news.” Tom says.
“Oh please.” I say.
“It’s true, with the radio thing and the fight you two are going to be on every front page tomorrow.” Tom says.
“Shit so much has happened I forgot the radio thing. Do they make Alexander out to be a monster?” I ask still worried about him even if he doesn’t care for me.
“Uh no, sympathy is entirely on Alexander. I don’t think you can beat his backstory for the sympathy card. Record volume of complaints, people being fired, public apologies, and debates on magazine shows the works.” Tom says.
“Public apologies but no actual apology to Alexander.” I say.
“Yeah well we can’t expect actual sincerity.” Tom laughs.
“It’s funny because the guy who hit me called Alexander the most hated man in Hollywood or something.” I say.
“The guy who hit you was a total fake. Fake magazine, fake website, very real stalker.” Tom says.
“If he was a stalker why would he be so mean?” I ask.
“Fuck knows. Man you really don’t keep yourself in the loop do you?” Tom says shaking his head.
“I‘m just not interested in that gossip stuff. Unless its when guys are faking a relationship with Alexander.” I say.
“Ahh Max. I fucked him sooooo good once he was out.” Tom says laughing.
“Really? So did Alexander on spring break.” I say sadly.
“You two fully open?” Tom asks.
“No, we were broken up then. Only open together these days. We tried the other way before and it didn’t work out.” I say.
“You’re pretty intimidating as a pair. Can’t imagine it’s easy to pick up.” Tom says.
“You were the first since we got back together. How do you manage it, hooking up without worrying about becoming tabloid fodder?” I ask.
“It’s only a recent risk for me, since I’ve been doing the show in the US. Before that my shows and plays here were quite lower profile. London guys don’t tend to sell you out. Once you’re out you’re not a big payday unless you’re a footballer, soap star or reality muppet. The rest of us can fuck without worry.” Tom says.
“Alexander is pretty paranoid about it, and right to be after Max and others we knew, people at school sold stories.” I say.
“Well the Max thing isn’t usual. The rest I guess a few hundred means a lot to a teenager, not so much to a city guy on 100k.” Tom says.
“So you stick to rich guys with something to lose?” I ask,
“Without sounding patronising, I tend to fuck adults.” Tom says.
“We’re only 20.” I say.
“But there are still adults in your city, hot gay men with money who would be delighted to be with someone hot like Alexander.” Tom says.
“I guess. I suppose we are in a college bubble.” I say.
“So sofa or sharing?” Tom asks.
“I’m good with sharing if you don’t expect anything.” I say I know it’s dangerous but his sofa is way too short for me.
“I don’t expect anything. Not to say we couldn’t have fun but I don’t take advantage of vulnerable kids.” Tom says.
“Um thanks.” I say.
We both wear underwear to bed and leave a gap between us. I contemplate messaging Alexander but he hasn’t messaged me and I feel like he should make the first move. Childish I know but right now I feel like he should be the one to reach out. I know I’m getting to travel and see places but I am feeling more and more like I’ve given up my summer for Alexander and he isn’t appreciating me. I thought being in the same bed every nigh would be enough. But it isn’t. It just isn’t. I hate admitting that being loved by him is not enough.
I wake up alone. The apartment is empty. I help myself to a shower and get dressed. I’m lost, no idea what to do with myself. Stay or go.
Tom comes in with a pile of newspapers.
“Come on put the telly on.” Tom says.
“What? Why?” I ask.
Tom turns the TV on and I start looking through the papers. They all have some mention of Alexander and the radio show and several have the guy who hit me on the front page. Scary.
Tom pts the breakfast show Alexander was on earlier in the week. Harvey the host is talking about what a nice guy Alexander is and they replay part of the interview and part of one that was taped yesterday.
“That’s good for Alexander’s movie.” I say.
“Yeah première tomorrow?” Tom asks.
“Yeah, you still going to the party after your show?” I ask.
“Yup. What about you? You’ll still be on all the guest lists.” Tom says.
“I don’t know. I might just head home.” I say.
“Ahh come on, free booze, wall to wall zelebs. My amazing moves.” Tom says dancing ridiculously.
“I did all that, minus your dancing in New York.” I say.
“My moves give it the edge. What will you do today? You can hang out here if you need to lay low.” Tom says.
“I dunno, I was thinking of doing some more sightseeing before I go. No one will recognize me without Alexander.” I say.
“Seriously man no hope of that. Have you spoken to Alexander? Do you know if he’s had any more hassle?” Tom asks.
“He won’t have needed to go outside. He’s doing interviews in the hotel all day and then taping a chat show later.” I say.
“And he didn’t call?” Tom asks gently.
I shake my head trying not to get emotional.
“He’s busy. This is a shitty career to make room for someone else.” Tom says.
“We were doing great. We agreed better together than apart, we spent last summer apart and it sucked we stumbled on after but it broke us. This time we knew we had to spend more time together but it still didn’t work.” I say.
“You had a minor tiff after a crazily stressful day. You’re not over. If you want him let him know.” Tom says.
“He needs to do the work this time.” I say.
“Don’t lose him to stubbornness.” Tom says.
“Oh I won’t wait forever but there is nothing I can do today.” I say.
“He’ll check his phone between sets.” Tom says.
“Doubtful. He’s shit like that.” I say.
“You two are hard work.” Tom says.
“Sorry for being a bore. Is your gym nearby? Could you get me in as a guest?” I ask.
“Sure thing. Want to go now?” Tom asks.
“It’s not far but we’ll get a cab, the last thing you need is to be pictured with me. Especially if there is a risk Alexander will spill that you’ve split in an interview today.” Tom says.
“Okay, you know best.” I say.
The gym is a welcome diversion. It has been too long and I feel kind of useless to begin with but soon find a rhythm, once I accept I accept my current level. It is a pretty fancy place and quite quiet.
In the locker room after I sit on a bench for a few minutes contemplating the shower.
“You do look very sexy all sweaty like that.” Tom says pulling his damp t-shirt off.
“You look mighty fine too.” I say.
Tom makes a show of flexing. I shake my head laughing, strip off and hit the showers.
We get a cab back to his place, no hassle.
“I have to go soon. I have a meeting before the show. You want to come to the theater tonight?” Tom asks.
“Yeah sure, that would be great.” I say.
“I will pop out for some food now so you can get a cab straight to the theater. The box office will have a ticket for you.” Tom says.
“Thanks so much. You’ve been amazing.” I say.
“I expect full hospitality whenever I’m inyour part of the world.” Tom says.
“Always a bed for you.” I say.
Of course I don’t have anywhere to live if Alexander is through with me.
While Tom is out my Mom calls.
“Where the hell are you?” Mom asks.
“In London, you know that.” I say.
“I spoke to Alexander and he said you were over and had come home.” Mom says.
“I’m staying with a friend trying to sort my head out.” I say.
“Don’t throw this away son. You two have something special.” Mom says.
“Look it’s complicated. I’m in the news today, I have a painful jaw and a boyfriend who hasn’t even checked if I’m okay. SO right now it isn’t feeling very special.” I say.
“What are you talking about?” Mom asks.
I hold up the newspapers and tell her to look for the video of me.
“Well that is unexpected but I don’t see how it was his fault. You call him.” Mom says.
“Mom believe it or not this time Alexander owes me the apology. Look at my face, he went out last night leaving me alone. He needs to check that I’m okay for once.” I say.
“Let me see that. Are your teeth okay?” Mom asks.
“I’m fine, just sore. I have to go, lunch is arriving. Go back to sleep and don’t worry. I’ll let you know when I’m coming home.” I say.
“Okay love you.” Mom says.
“Food is here>” Tom says carrying a couple of grocery bags. I help him unpack in his tiny kitchen.
“Got you some salad, bread and stuff. Help yourself. See you later.” Tom says briefly kissing me goodbye.
“See you tonight. Thanks for everything.” I say.
I make lunch and clear away, taking my time. I wander round the apartment and find some books to read.
I try and relax and pretend it’s a normal rainy day at home. I message Eric, Brian and Jamie, not expecting a response but I know I’ve neglected them a bit recently. It’s awkward with Brian and Jamie not being friends with Alexander, or rather Alexander’s rejection of them.
I start to worry, Alexander cut those guys off so easily. I know in the past he has relented with Jay and Eric but it took effort. I know it’s different this time, Alexander doesn’t feel any regret or guilt. I wonder where I am in his thoughts, am I cut off for good or is he hoping we’ll reconcile. Will he apologise soon or is he waiting for me to make a move?
I don’t want to fall into the trap that Alexander was in with Jay, he always felt he had to make the first move whether he was in the right or wrong. That first breakup with Jay weighed so heavily on him for so long even though Jay wasn’t exactly blameless.
I can’t believe after that I still went there with Jay, twice. I must have had a bang on the head the day I suggested the trio. I was so desperate to hang on to Alexander I pushed him into Siberia, I sucked as a boyfriend.
I have changed. I’ve grown, matured. I understand exactly how important Alexander is to me and how rare our relationship is. I need to be completely sure that he feels the same way. I need to know he truly values me.
I have written the outcome already so the poll won’t influence it. I’m just curious how you guys would react. Are you with Peter or is he making a mountain out of a molehill? Peter knew the trip would mostly be about Alexander’s work so is he being childish or was Alexander taking him for granted?