2: Yousef Karsh

142 6 13

He is petrichor.

He is the smell after the rain, and William revels in it - he can smell it on the stranger, on the bedsheets, on himself. It is everywhere, and he loves it.

He loves the stranger.

God, he really loves Gabe - loves the way he kisses his neck, the way his hand feels on William's thigh, the noises he makes.

William feels as though he could live for all the strangled groans and half-hearted hair pulling.

They lay in bed, Bill on top of the bedsheets, the stranger underneath. It seems to be an unwritten rule that they can't lay next to each other, as if both are still completely clueless about the other.

And they are - but at the same time, they're not. William knows all about what gets him off by now - c'mon, they've had sex twice now, that's serious - and yet he has no idea what the name of Gabe's first pet was, let alone his family heritage (he's not dumb, he knows there's something tropical in there).

The one-night stand turned into a one-morning stand, both parties deciding that the other looked amazing even whilst the smell of morning sickness and sweat lingered. It was a luxury, a way to remove the hangover.


His head was banging as his hands gripped the sheets. The air in the apartment was warm, hazed with distinct aromas and inky coloured thoughts. William stared up and watched his thoughts swirl, mixing with the brighter ideas that were Gabe's. The notion of the two merging made him sick.

The curtains were pulled, creating a sharp contrast with the bright light from his bathroom. William could never be bothered to turn off the damn light - what was little more to his energy bill, anyway? He was hard pressed to find money whether it was on or not.

Besides, he liked the dark. Something from an old book his mother used to read floated into his head - 'Character, like a photograph, develops in darkness'.

It was surprising to find out that Gabe had fallen back asleep. The soft snores were calming, running through the tendons in William's back and over the bump of his shoulders. It was lethargic, to have someone lay next to him. It was a new experience.

Maybe it wasn't so calming.

William was never good with new experiences; they were too bright, too sharp, too overwhelming. But he had a feeling he could get used to having a man next to him. He doubted he'd ever have the chance - and if he did, who's to say he wouldn't absolutely fuck up? He could take them to all the most beautiful places in the world, kiss them in all the corners and have their hearts wrapped around his little finger. And then, he would snap them. Break the heartstrings, play sweet pieces of melancholy on them. Dance to the music.

It was probably his laughter that woke Gabe up.

That, or the flip phone buzzing about on his desk.

After a few more moments of loose-fitting silence, an explosion of noise jumped through the air. It landed directly on William's chest, pulsing and flashing with indistinguishable noises. He reached over and switched the phone onto voicemail, allowing a few minutes before he granted the machine with a luxury of speaking to him.

'William, we're all here at the studio, where are you? What's wrong with you lately? For God's sakes, we're try'na get this record done! We've got the show tomorrow, we need to try and think today o -'

William sighed as he got up, leaving the bed to be occupied by a single body. He smoothed down the bed-sheets where he'd been laying, symbolically cleaning off their earlier actions. Gabe had been fun, sure, but had outstayed his welcome. Maybe the doors would open to him again sometime soon.

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