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"Hey A, I brought some beers. I know your stomach hurt last night and beer might not be the best for you but fuck it, you don't have class tomorrow and neither do I."
"Oh, hey, Sebastian," I stood between the door and deliberated on whether or not to let him in. I was about to make up an excuse when I looked into his hazel eyes and lost that argument. "Yeah," I moved aside, "Come in, come in."
"Thanks, A. Nice place by the way," he said as he looked at my recently cleaned apartment.
"Yeah, thanks dude." I looked around at my nicely furbished apartment. "I had to decorate it myself, but Kass says I have good taste."
"Yeah," Sebastian walked past me and put two 6-packs of beer on my counter and sat on my couch, "you do, A."
I noticed as he passed me that he had a scratch on the left side of his face. I decided not to ask and instead asked the question that was in my mind, "Hey, you said I didn't have class tomorrow, how'd you know that?"
"Oh," He looked at me as he raised his eyebrows and cocked his head. "You mentioned it a few weeks ago in class with Carol and me."
I thought back to a conversation when I might have mentioned that and remembered that it was actually more than a few weeks ago- it was the second day I had met them. Part of me was happy he remembered such a trivial thing I had said. The other part of me knew better than to overthink anything with Sebastian.
"Oh, right. Yeah, I remember now."
"Yeah, so listen dude," he draped his hand over my couch and looked at me, "about last night, you ok?"
"Uh, yeah, it was just my stomach" shit, "why do you- why do you ask?"
"Just, you left pretty quickly. Those shrimp must have gone right through you, huh?"
"Ha-ha, yeah. Guess so."
Sebastian looked at me for a few more seconds but I couldn't read his expression. I held his gaze so he wouldn't think I was lying when he turned away and faced my TV.
"So, where's the remote, A?"
Nothing good was on this Sunday night but it didn't stop Sebastian and me from channel surfing.
"So," Sebastian took a sip from his second beer. "How are you and Kass doing, dude?"
"Oh," I subconsciously mimicked Sebastian and took a long sip of my beer. "Yeah, we're doing- we're doing well. We had a brunch date around noon today and now she's spending the rest of her day with her family."
"Ok, cool." Sebastian took another drink from his beer as he took the remote and changed the channel again. "She was pretty cool last night. Carol wouldn't shut the fuck up about how cute you and her looked together."
I couldn't help myself, I smiled. "Did we?"
"Did you what?" Sebastian turned to look at me.
"Did we look cute together?"
"Oh, yeah. You looked really happy last night up until your stomach started to hurt, A. Then you looked all fucked up ha-ha."
Well, yeah, I thought, I was happy to be out with you up until I found out you had a girl and a daughter.
"Well, it's good to know you think I'm cute, Sebastian," I joked.
"Ha-ha fuck you, you know what I meant, A."
Unfortunately, I do, I thought.
We were through the first six pack by 9:30PM when the alcohol started to hit me. I could feel my head begin to get fuzzy, my words starting to slur, and my verbal filter going out the window.
"So, Seb, last night you mentioned a girl. Never heard you talk of her before. What's her name?"
There it was. No taking it back now. It's like I wanted to mess this night up.
"Who- Oh, my girlfriend. Yeah, her name is Emma. We've been together for a year and a half now. We've had our ups and downs. Why you ask?"
Girlfriend. Year and a half.
"Oh, no, no reason. Just curious is all. Hey, have you seen this show on ABC yet, How To Get Away With Murder? I recorded it if you want to watch an episode since there is nothing else on."
"Sure man, sounds good."
"Ok, yeah," Sebastian raised his hand and pointed at the television, "that's a good show."
"I know right!" I leaned forward, a little too fast, and felt dizzy. "It's great. You should really watch the rest of it, Seb."
"Yeah, whenever Emma feels up for it. I'm sure she'd like this show."
"Yeah, I'm sure she would, Sebastian." We had finished the six packs Sebastian had brought and had moved on to the beers I had stored in my fridge.
"Listen, Seb. Can I ask you something?"
"Uh, yeah man." Sebastian looked away from the television towards me. "Go for it."
"Well, when you came in, I saw that you had a scratch on the left side of your face. Where's that from?"
"Oh, this?" He raised his hand and touched the scratch, "Yeah. I'd rather not talk about it, A."
"Uff, what? Come on, dude. Did you get in a fight or what?"
"Sort of. I- I really rather not talk about it though, dude. Please."
I could sense that the topic was out of bounds for Sebastian, so I decided to let it go for now. "Ok, sure, no worries." I looked back at the television and changed the channel again.
"Hey, can I ask you a question though, A?"
I looked away from the television and at Sebastian.
"Of course, Sebastian. What's up?"
"I don't know. It might sound weird but, like, I really like the way you performed that time at El Vaso. I was wondering-"
My drunk brain put two and two together quite fast. "You want me to play you something?"
"Well, more than that really, but yeah. I know it's stupid ha-ha, but I- I wanted to learn how to play guitar. You don't have to do it if you don't have time. We're having a good time just drinking- I just- I just thought it'd be something cool to learn how to do or at least hear you again."
"Hey, no, for sure I can teach you. Not tonight though, I think we're both too drunk for that but I can play you something. Give me a minute." I stood up and walked towards my room where I kept my guitar. My steps felt heavy as the alcohol flowed through my system.
He wants me to sing for him, I thought. I couldn't help the stupid smile forming on my face as I entered my room. I grabbed my guitar from next to my bed and headed back to my living room. I sat on the floor in front of Sebastian and looked up at him.
"What do you want me to play?"
"Oh, I don't know dude. I listen to rap mostly, so don't think the songs we listen to overlap ha-ha."
"Well, I've been working on one that I wanted to do at El Vaso sometime it doesn't have all the "fucks" and "pussy" that you normally hear in rap, I'll try that."
"Ha-ha, fuck you man. Some songs are good. You just need to really listen to them."
"Hm, I'll keep that in mind then, Seb."
I set my guitar on my lap and got ready to play.
"I'm sure you've heard it, song's called Like I'm Gonna Lose You by Meghan Trainor. It's a duet, but whatever ha-ha."
I began to strum the intro to the song and looked away, trying to forget that Sebastian was sitting in front of me.
"I found myself dreaming,
In silver and gold.
Like a scene from a movie
That every broken heart knows.
Split second then you disappeared-
I was all alone.
I looked up to see Sebastian staring intently at me. I gave him a small smile and looked down at my crossed feet.
"In the blink of an eye,
Like a whisper of smoke,
You can lose everything,
The truth is you never know."
I made eye contact with him again, holding it long enough to see something in Sebastian's eyes. Something must be troubling him; the devilish gleam I was used to seeing in his hazel eyes was absent.
"So I'm gonna love you,
Like I'm gonna lose you.
I'm gonna hold you
From saying goodbye."
I could feel my voice quiver. For weeks I've been craving alone time with Sebastian and, tonight, I was finally getting it. The best part was that he wanted to hang out with me tonight-alone. He wanted me to sing to him. He chose me tonight.
"Wherever we're standing
I won't take you for granted.
'Cause we never know when we'll run out of time."
I looked back up at Sebastian and saw that same look in his eyes. He was clearly thinking about something- so was I. I was thinking about every decision I made in my first years of college that led to me taking Environmental Science this semester with him. I was thinking about every decision I made that Tuesday morning that led to me sitting right next to Sebastian and Carol.
"So I'm gonna love you,
Like I'm gonna lose you.
I'm gonna love you,
Like I'm gonna lose you."
I finished the outro to the song and Sebastian and I were left in a weird, yet oddly satisfying silence.
"Why do you do that?"
His voice was the first to break the silence that had developed in my suddenly too small apartment.
"Why do I do what?" My voice was way too loud for this tiny apartment.
"Why do you sound so ... sad when you sing? I mean, don't get me wrong- you sound great, but what is it that you think of when you sing that makes your voice sound so... heartbroken."
His surprisingly deep assessment of my singing startled me. I hadn't expected him to be able to analyze anything considering how drunk we were both getting.
"Oh, uh, I don't- I don't know. I guess I just- for the longest time I was so sad and I guess that feeling went deeper than I thought."
"What were you sad about?"
This was getting dangerously close to something I wasn't ready to talk to Sebastian about. Doesn't matter how good friends I became with guys, I was always scared they'd find out about my feelings, freak out, and leave. I couldn't risk that with Sebastian. I couldn't lose his friendship.
"Oh, I- I rather not talk about it man. Please don't make me."
I tend to avoid sounding weak around people. I had been so unhappy and self-conscious my whole life with my body and my sexual preferences that I wanted to just forget and block out all that time. I could hear a sliver of the old me in my voice right now.
"Is this because I wouldn't tell you how I got this scratch?"
"What? No, it's just- I don't like talking about it, Seb."
"Ok, sure, I get it. It's getting late anyways. I should probably head out."
He stood up and I immediately noticed how hard it was for him to stand still. There was no way in hell I was having him drive in that condition.
"No way. You can barely fucking walk, Seb. There's no way in hell I'm letting you drive like that. I'll drive you."
I put my guitar aside and tried to stand. Mistake. I instantly got dizzy and nearly fell back down on my ass.
"Ok, you know what, scratch that. I can't drive either."
"Fine, I'll walk home then."
"Dude, it's almost midnight. I'm not letting you walk home drunk in the middle of the night either."
"I'm not going far. I was actually planning on staying on a motel nearby tonight."
"Motel? Wait- why?"
"It's nothing. Just can't be at home tonight."
Sebastian turned his head and faced away from me- his scratch being visible to me again. All of a sudden, it clicked. Sebastian wasn't going home tonight because of that scratch on his cheek. He must have gotten in a fight with Emma and that's probably why he was so eager to come over tonight. That would explain why he was planning on sleeping at a motel and the weird look he had in his eyes when I was singing.
"Hey dude," He clearly wasn't about to talk to me about his and Emma's relationship troubles. I decided not to poke the issue and instead said, "You can stay here tonight if you want. My sofa is pretty comfortable."
"What? Nah, man. You've been a great host tonight, can't ask that from you."
"No, Sebastian, I'm serious. You're staying here tonight. There's no need for you to pay for a fucking motel. Sit your ass down while I get you some pillows and sheets."
I left Sebastian mid-sentence while I began my drunken walk to my room to get him a pillows and sheets from my bed.
I returned to see him sitting on my couch, crouched and looking at his phone.
"Listen Sebastian," I couldn't explain why it hurt seeing him like this. Well, I guess I could. "Is there anything you want to talk about?"
Sebastian looked up from his phone, turned around, met my eyes, and then looked back to his phone.
"Nah, A. I'm fine." He yawned and reached back for the sheets and pillows I was holding. Taking them into his hands, he stood up and arranged them on the couch. He laid down facing away from me. "These sheets smell like you, Alex." I could hear something in his voice- he was tired.
"Oh, sorry man. I got those from my bed because I don't have any clean, extra ones."
"It's fine. You smell good."
I didn't know how to respond to that, instead I smiled to myself and looked down at his back covered by my sheets. I leaned down and patted his shoulder.
I walked back to my room, stripped off everything but my boxers and socks, turned the lights off, and fell asleep.