When Stefon wakes up, the digital alarm clock on his night stand switches from 9:20 to 9:21. Sunlight filters through the edges of his burgundy blackout curtains and into his Chelsea studio, the symphony of morning traffic rumbling outside his three-story walk-up. He pulls his sheets up to his chin, intending to sleep off the rest of last night, and his plan may have worked had he not rolled over and discovered a snoozing, drooling Seth Meyers taking up half his bed.
Stefon blinks. Oh. So he didn’t dream that part? He checks under the covers to ensure that, yep, Seth Meyers is nay-ked. Delicious. He almost nudges him awake, but then he notices the red Sharpied words on the dry-erase calendar board by Seth’s head.
It’s Sunday, Stefon. Sunday.
Stefon launches himself out of bed, murmuring a rundown of the day’s errands under his breath. Groceries, laundry, hitting the gym, stopping by his friend Trexie’s apartment to check on her cat, dry cleaning his chiffon scarves, finally tracking the source of that onion scent in his closet, ordering a cake from the vegan bakery on Ninth for Trannie Oakley’s surprise party--oh god, so much to do and only 12.5 hours before the soft opening of Hills, Gayson Priestley’s newest California hot spot.
But first: shower.
Stefon likes showers because they’re a respite from the Ralph Bakshi cartoon he calls his life. He breathes in the steam from the hot water, and as he washes his hair with the homemade soy shampoo he bought at the farmer’s market in Stuyvesant, he collects his thoughts, starting from the moment he found his very adorable (and very heterosexual, or so he thought) news anchor friend in his bed. It began with a song.
Actually, wait. It really began last week, when Seth e-mailed him and asked if he wanted to do a Weekend Update spot after the winter hiatus. Stefon said he would do it on the condition that Seth met him at Push on Saturday. They e-tagged back and forth until finally, hesitantly, Seth agreed to go.
Stefon’s connections helped them breeze past the Ralph Macchio lookalikes guarding the entrance. Seth was reluctant to engage other people in conversation, but after Stefon used the secret Gaelic password at the bar to buy Seth a bottomless pint of Guinness, he loosened up. By the third glass, Stefon didn’t even have to goad Seth into socializing; on his own, Seth chatted with the Furkels, hung out with a well-behaved dalmatian, and even danced to some upchuck music with Queentin Tranantino.
Then Furkel Number Three’s lesbian cousin from Pensacola asked Stefon if he knew of any good girly bars in Manhattan. He was too happy to tell her about Swirl, nightlife guru Dyke Turner’s gynocentric paradise. One step through the muffin-shaped doors, and you’ll come face-to-face with skanks, radfems, lawn flamingos, an old Chinese lady dressed like Amelia Earhart, and on Wednesday nights, DJ Sunchoke plays an Incepsounds mix that finally answers the question, “Can I do that?”
Seth, who was leaning against him for balance at that point, asked what he meant by an ‘Incepsounds mix,’ so Stefon enlightened him. “It’s that thing, where like the score from Inception is mashed up with the Beach Boys’ ‘Pet Sounds’.” Stefon sipped his mojito, cleared his throat, and sang. “God only knows what I’d be without BRRRRRRRRRRM.”
Seth laughed so hard, it caused a chain reaction of bodily uh-ohs: he doubled over, threw up a little, then lost his footing and fell on his ass. Stefon, used to this sort of thing, helped him up and, before he could stop himself, used the napkin that came with his mojito to wipe Seth’s mouth. He still had his thumb on the corner of Seth’s mouth when their eyes met, the contact lingering a few seconds beyond casual. MC George Costanza’s dungeon remix of Alphaville’s “Forever Young” thumped through the speakers, pink and blue lights spiraling overhead. Stefon was about to say something, but Seth beat him to it: “Let’s call it a night.”
It began with a song.
Stefon steps out of his shower, drying off with one of the Turkish bath towels that Black George Washington got him for Christmas. He thinks about what encouraged him to ask Seth to come over for a nightcap, and he wonders why Seth agreed. Seth kept babbling about his straightness, that he was only coming over for a drink and nothing was going to happen.
With freshly showered clarity, Stefon emerges from the bathroom and notes the evidence of last night strewn around his apartment. The two flutes of chocolate wine on his black oak dresser, never tasted because Seth kissed him, puke breath and all, before they could drink any of it. Their clothes on the floor in a crumpled trail toward the bed. The bottle of Wet on his nightstand. When he tiptoes past Seth to rifle through his underwear drawer, he almost steps on a used condom.
Also on today’s list: clean apartment.
Stefon pulls on some black Calvins, then goes to his hallway closet. After a minute of staring, he grabs and slips into a pair of navy blue skinny jeans, a brick red Henley, and a Threadless t-shirt (the baby blue one with 99 luftballoons). He re-enters the bathroom, brushes his teeth, combs his signature sideswept bangs into place, adds some styling gel, and voila! Stefon is ready for the day.
Stefon likes lists as much as he likes showers because his compulsive organization demands it. He takes the magnetic pen and pad off his fridge door, leans against his kitchen counter, and jots down what he knows is missing.
Almond milk, unsweetened. Pumpernickel. Whole-grain rotini. Newman’s Own pasta sauce.
Produce! Always important. Green bell peppers. White baby mushrooms. Tomatoes. Bananas. Strawberries. There’s an amazing strawberry shortcake recipe in Ina Garten’s new book that he hasn’t tried out yet. What else?
Stefon is so focused on his list that he doesn’t realize Seth is awake until he hears footsteps approach the kitchen, and even then, he doesn’t look up. Seth can find his way around without help. What else does he need?
Eggs! Eggs never go out of style. He could use them in cakes, cookies, breads, omelets – hey, there’s a breakfast idea. A veggie omelet. Or, oooh, he could go Latin and make it a tortilla con chorizo. Perfect.
Stefon turns, and he sees Seth standing barefoot and in his polka-dot boxers, bleary-eyed and messy-haired. He’d be so cute if he didn’t look like a deer staring down the barrel of a shotgun. Not scared, but confused, and definitely tense. As much as he wants to jump Seth’s bones again, he knows it’s best to play this cucumber-style. “Hi.”
“Uh.” Seth scratches his stomach, his eyes narrowed and uncertain. “Did we?”
Stefon wants to say ‘yes, and after, you asked me why more men weren’t gay,’ but instead he says, “What do you think?”
Seth props his elbow over his head and against the wall. He scratches his forehead with his thumbnail in a parody of heavy thinking, and Stefon almost laughs when Seth makes it clear that the reality of last night has dawned on him: his body freezes, his eyes uncrinkling as every sweaty, salty detail floods his memory. When he finally looks up, his expression is neither approving nor disapproving. Damn it. “We did.”
“Yeah.” Stefon returns to his list, a little frustrated and sort of nervous. Straight boys can be hard to read, especially Seth. He’s just so… normal. But that’s not Seth’s fault, so he tries to be glib. “I’m pretty busy today, though, so I don’t have time for another round.”
“Oh? Whatcha got planned?”
“Well, I haven’t eaten breakfast yet, but I don’t have food, so I’m going to get groceries first. There’s this nice bodega around the corner, and it has everything. Plantains, tamales, Goya red beans, a Jack Russell terrier dressed like the Nicaraguan flag—”
This catches Stefon by surprise. He glances over at Seth, left brow raised. “You wanna come?” Seth nods, and Stefon drills a hole into his list with the tip of his pen. “All right. You can use my shower if you want. Towels are under the sink.” Even though it might be too much to hope for, Stefon adds, “I guess you’ll want breakfast, too.”
“Yeah. I’ll have whatever you’re having.”
Stefon takes a moment before he answers, “Okay, but after breakfast, I really gotta get my errands done.”
“No problem.” Seth smiles, and, ohmygod, he’s so cute. “I’ll be out of your hair by noon.”
Stefon doesn’t even acknowledge his comment; he just goes back to his list, pretending not to notice that Seth hasn’t budged from his spot. He feels comfortable around freaks, morlocks, pigeons on roller skates, but regular people are a complete mystery. Especially Seth, with his small-town, Midwest-casserole ideas of entertainment. Fancy restaurant dinners, walks in the park, visiting tourist traps? In the words of British Hulk Hogan, how droll, brother.
But Stefon feels, then sees a hand on his forearm, and he feels, only feels, a kiss on his cheek. He doesn’t have to look, but he will because he wants to, and when he sees that Seth is smiling, he draws in a deep breath and smiles back.
Wait until Black George Washington hears about this.