Lefou saw the blood first, splattered grotesquely across the stone pavilion and yet, a part of his heart still whispered that there was no way Gaston could be dead. Not Gaston!
He took a moment to steel himself before continuing but nothing could prepare him for the sight to come. There, in the centre of the pavilion lay Gaston, his broken body surrounded by a puddle of steadily increasing blood. Lefou dropped to his knees before crawling towards him, hands shaking as he reached out, still hoping to find some trace of life in his friend.
Pressing an ear against Gaston’s broad back, Lefou listened desperately for a heartbeat, tears falling steadily down his face. There was nothing, no heartbeat, no sound at all......
It was at this moment that Lefou finally realised that Gaston, the man he’d held up as a God, the man who for the last five years had been his everything was dead. Lefou's head dropped ,his body wracked with sobs as he buried his face in Gaston’s back, relishing the soft, familiar feel of Gaston’s jacket against his cheek. The lack of the familiar warmth that haunted his dreams however sent him into another fit of sobbing, the heat of Gaston’s body had been replaced with an icy coolness.
Slowly Lefou came back to himself, finally looking down at the mess that had once been his friend. Lefou became aware of the grotesque twisting of his body, noting how his legs and arms bent at unnatural angles. Lefou looked down at himself and realised to his own horror that he was now covered, from the waist down in Gaston’s blood, thick and red and warm. With shaking hands, Lefou brushed the hair that covered the visible portion of Gaston face away and almost passed out.
Lefou scrambled backwards, scooting until his back hit a wall leaving him breathless. He brought his knees up to his chest and sobbed into his hands, trying to dispel the image of Gaston’s face smashed into the stone from his mind but to no avail.
He couldn’t breathe, no mattered how hard he inhaled it was as if someone had his chest, in a vice squeezing all the oxygen from his lungs. It was then that Lefou became aware of the blood that now stained his hands and had dried under his nails. Lefou turned to the side to heave before the world tilted on its axis and went black.
Lefou woke up with a shout, heart racing with adrenaline. He was desperately trying to calm himself down, remembering how annoyed Gaston would get whenever he got emotional, when he felt a hand gently rub his shoulder.
“You okay darling”?
Love is supposed to hurt, right?
A year ago, that would’ve seemed like a simple question with an equally simple answer
Now, gazing down into the eyes of another man, with a gentle smile and kind eyes……. Lefou wasn’t so sure. He had loved Gaston, through thick and thin he had loved that man. Loved him even when It hurt him to do so, loved him even when it was the wrong thing to do and he had known not to expect anything in return. Eventually he had just accepted the fact that any romantic feelings would not be reciprocated and yet he had clung on, following around Gaston like a lap dog. Eventually the idea of being loved by another became some absurd dream to him.
But here he was, lying in bed beside another man, whose eyes had not left him since the day they had met at the ball. Stanley’s hand tightened around his and Lefou’s eyes snapped back up to him, realising he’d become lost in a memory.
“Sorry”, he mumbled, cheeks red, “Just another nightmare”.
Stanley’s brow creased with worry and instead of pushing him away like Gaston would have, he wrapped him up in his arms like a child,
“Are you going to be okay”?
Lefou looked up into Stanley’s eyes which were filled with such a genuine look of concern that his heart skipped a beat. No one had ever looked at him with such care before, looked at him as if he were important. He was just silly old Lefou…. Gaston’s lackey…worthless and yet here he was, with arguably the most handsome man in France.
Lefou closed his eyes, listening to the comforting steady beat of his lover’s heart, and looked up.
“You know, for the first time ever. I think I will be”!