'What would you rather I say?!'
Sebastian sat in bed, after another evening of "consuming the wine" though thankfully not so extensively. Still, enough to loosen his facade of cheery charm, and bring out his less than favourable topic of choice; questioning me, in a fit of true doubt, pessimism, and depression, on the matter of my loyalties and love.
In that moment, I couldn't take another aching word.
If my friend had been insensible with drink then perhaps I would have just held him, borne him to sleep, and buried each shred of my heart somewhere deep I am convinced all English men have, but do not dare to peek at.
However, he was quite lucid that night.
'You- you say such things sometimes, and I- They are such hurtful things to say.'
Sebastian had fallen completely autonomous since my first shout. No longer bumbling along poorly masked conspiracies, no longer speaking, moving, looking - indeed his gaze beheld nothing I could see about the room.
'Would you like me to get angry? Would you like me to play turnabout and say them in return? I am your- You are my dearest friend, and I hate that you would think such things of me. I know, I know you must know differently.'
'You are my dearest friend Charles,' he said with very little accent at all.
I had never spoken so loud on matters so serious in all my life.
'I care a great deal for you, and the only good feeling I have for your family, despite all of this, is that you came from them.'
'Yes!' I rubbed my eyes in frustration, and I can see now how wildly I must have looked swinging my hands about the room. 'The only reason I wanted to meet them in the first place was to find out more about you!'
At Sebastian’s silence I felt the energetic upset leave me, a painful lurch that jammed in my throat all that was remaining.
'Just- Please, don't say anything like that again. If you want me to go, I'll leave, but I am not a spy, I am on your side, and nothing can turn me against you-'
'Anthony Blanche almost did. You said so,' he moped. Self-doubt was still an odd coat to see on him, but I was resolute.
'That was a long time ago. Even then- I just hadn't known you very well. Nothing could turn me against you now.'
Perhaps the earnestness of my plea struck a chord within him for Sebastian finally looked at me then.
'I should be mad to care for a character such as mine.'
The moment held.
'I care for you.'
What else could I say to that long ago endearment.
'Not much in disproving me are you?'
I couldn't contain the grin on my face then, I was still sore from my friend's accusations, but that would never change the happiness that lifted my being when Sebastian turned his attentions on me.
He smiled only a little in return, turning sombre again within moments. He still held my gaze as he gestured to the bed.
'Come on then. Aloysius is put to bed already, there's space.'
Even so - a whole teddy bear width empty - he shuffled over to make still more room for me. He had his eyes averted to the sheets again.
I went, as I always did when he called.
I slipped in under already warm covers, and found my back to the head board, my shoulder pressured to his.
It was more than comfortable.
I felt ill at ease.
Apparently noticeably so.
'Oh Charles really, I'm sorry, I- I-'
My eyes snapped round to he who never stumbled at words as I did - not mildly sober at the very least. Sebastian was still looking at linen, though he glanced sideways here and there.
'Do sleep. It's late, and I would feel most aggrieved if you didn't. Aloysius would never forgive me. He's quite fond of you you know.'
I continued to watch him long after he'd finished speaking, but eventually turned away as his fingers maintained a steady interest in the blankets stitching; my eyes sore from the want to close them.
I had such a need to be happy then, to sleep and be at peace with my loved ones, I felt nauseous with it. I sat, and was, and imagined my will to be less worn and weary, more pursuant of my own desires for the future. All the while Sebastian's many cutting blows of words and accusations fluttering about my mind.
My eyes were taking their time in opening, and the body at my side was so welcoming.
Eventually I relented.
I let my head drift sideways, to rest on friendly pyjamas. Sebastian's shoulder less taught with wakeful tension then I would have guessed.
I took a breath and caught merlot, detergent, and summer sunshine.
'I just can't listen to these things from you anymore,' I whispered to the pinstripes, almost too low to catch.
'... I don’t suppose you could. I don't suppose I could either.'
Sebastian sloped down in the bed a little and I let myself follow. I turned my tired face completely to the sought after relief of a warm long familiar shoulder. Summer sunshine all that I could find there in the cosy, collared, crook.
The dayflowers swayed as a voice came drifting in my ear.
'Don't ever leave Charles.'