Virgil carried a curse.
He looked at a stranger and saw the future flash before his eyes. He could see every interaction he would have with the stranger that would hurt him the most, but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't change anything about it.
To catch a glimpse of the future, that was a gift. But to be unable to change it? That was torture.
So when Virgil walked down the street of Fifth Avenue and caught a glimpse of the tall man in the wine red pants and fine fitting shirt, he saw the future flash in a second. He looked at the man and a single thought conjured up in his mind: You are going to hurt me some day.
He plastered a smile on his face and introduced himself to Roman Alvarez.
Four months and multiple six hour long conversations over the phone later, Virgil was proud to announce he and Roman Alvarez were romantically together.
Roman had introduced him to the plump baker down Fifth Avenue who went by the name Patton Beyer. Virgil took one look at Patton and tried not to tear up. He thought loudly, I'm sorry, as if Patton would be able to hear his thoughts. By the way Patton Beyer's baby blue eyes softened, Virgil almost thought he had.
Virgil, in return, had introduced the ecstatic theater actor to his best friend, a college professor who went by the name Logan Sharpe. Virgil knew the two men would befriend each other later that night during dinner. He made no move to stop Logan and Roman's friendship from blossoming, although a small part of him wished he had. Would have saved some sadness.
"Hey, Virgil?" Roman's melodic voice snapped Virgil out of his reverie. "You good there, sweetheart?"
Virgil smiled at Roman's poorly hidden worry. He placed his pale hand on Roman's freckled cheeks and did his best to make his nod believable. "I'm fine, love." Roman returned the smile.
Virgil waited for the door bell to ring. A minute later, it did. He opened the door and let himself beam at the man in front of him, dressed in a golden yellow shirt and bright white cuffed jeans. Roman offered Virgil a bouquet of yellow flowers. Virgil grinned. He'd seen this exact moment maybe a hundred times now, and he'd enjoyed them every time.
"Can you get any more perfect?" He asked Roman, laughing like a lovesick fool.
"Was that a challenge?" Roman retorted, pressing a kiss on Virgil's lips.
For a moment, Virgil forgot about the future, and for a moment, he lived fully in the present. The moment didn't last long, but what mattered was the moment was there.
"I love you," Virgil whispered it like it was his lifeline. He wanted to say so much more, but for now, that was enough.
"I love you too."
He wished they could have stayed that way forever. He wanted to hold Roman in an embrace for eternity, he wanted to scream "Don't leave me" and he wanted to shout "Don't go," but the embrace couldn't last for long. He had to let go some time.
And no matter how hard he tried to scream, Virgil never felt the words escape his throat.
Two years later, when Roman announced proudly he had been invited to a callback in a major theatrical show, Virgil wanted nothing more than to shout. He wanted to throw his dinner plate down, to cause a scene, to beg Roman not to go until he'd relented.
He wanted to look Roman in the eyes and make a lie up to keep the man from driving to the callback. Instead, against his will, he beamed, proud of his now-fiancé. "That's wonderful!" He praised. It wasn't like he could say anything else.
"There's a problem though," Roman sighed, taking a sip from his champagne glass. "I'd already promised Lee and Mary Lee I'd go to their wedding on that day."
Yes! Go to the wedding! Don't go to the callback!
"I think you should go to the callback," Virgil replied despite his thoughts screaming at Roman not to. He couldn't change his words. "I know how iffy you get at weddings."
Roman smiled, and then he frowned. "Sure, but Patton's been on my butt about it since I told him. Said a promise was a promise or something. Dee says I should do what I want. Remus says I should go to the callback just to spite Patton. So it seems you're the tie breaker."
Don't go don't go don't go
"I'm voting callback," he laughed sincerely. He didn't feel like laughing.
"I don't know what to do about Patton, though. He seems so disappointed to learn I don't want to go to the wedding." Roman frowned at his plate.
"Why don't you just call Lee and Mary Lee?" Virgil suggested, putting a hand over Roman's hand in consolation. "I'm sure they'll understand. They're great people."
Roman gave Virgil a lovely grin, toying with the rim of his champagne glass. "You really think I should go to the callback?"
No no no no no don't go please no
"Of course. I want to best for you, and if it's the callback that's making you happy, I think you should go for it."
"All right, then!" No no no no no! "The callback it is!"
It was early in the morning when Virgil was awoken by Roman kissing his forehead tenderly. "I'm going to head out now," Roman informed him with a soft smile. "I'll tell you how it goes over dinner."
Virgil wished he could shoot up to his feet. He wished he could get on his knees and beg and beg and beg Roman not to leave. He wished he could take Roman's car keys and throw them out the window. He wished he could keep Roman with him for just a minute longer.
Instead, he gave Roman a brief kiss and whispered, "I love you," before he turned over to get more sleep. Just as the door to their bedroom closed, Virgil could hear Roman reply with a soft, "I'll be thinking of you, my love."
No matter how hard he tried to stay awake and will his feet to run after Roman, Virgil drifted back to sleep.
Roman never made it to the callback.
It was an accident on the intersection. Roman had stopped on the red light. The truck kept on going. Getting the call was no longer a surprise to Virgil who had lived through it a million times, but it had left him in pieces every time.
Like the moment Roman had delivered Virgil lively yellow flowers, Virgil had also lived through this moment more than he'd have liked to. Each one of the times had him crying. He wished he could do more.
When Patton found out, the baker had started sobbing. "I told him not to go," he'd say. Patton didn't mean for his words to be accusatory but nevertheless, Virgil felt the need to apologize.
"I'm sorry," he'd say tearfully. And he'd repeat it until his throat was raw and Patton was holding him in his arms, telling him "It's okay, it's okay, it's okay."
He wished he could believe that.
Logan shut down when he heard. His face would show no emotion but tears would exit his eyes and his nose would grow red. He'd stutter out an "I- I see- I'm s-sorry to h-hear that" before launching out into heart breaking sobs and Virgil would regret letting the two meet because that would have saved Logan the sadness of one of his best friends dying.
He wished nothing more than to be able to change what had happened. He wanted nothing more than to be able to bring Roman back, to hear Roman's loving words and joking quips. But no matter how hard he tried, he couldn't.
"Virgil?" Logan's voice snapped Virgil from his memories. "You with us?"
Virgil, now two years older, blinked. "Huh? Oh, uhm, yeah."
Patton's worried expression scanned his face. "Are you okay there, kiddo?" He asked sincerely, not bothering to hide the concern from his voice.
Virgil offered a weak smile. "I'm fine," he answered, voice tired.
Logan's eyebrows furrowed together. He let a silence stretch out to gather his thoughts before he carefully questioned, "Did you go back there again? To the memories?"
A loud silence overtook the conversation. Virgil looked at the floor. "I miss him," he confessed, breaking the silence. He didn't have to say the name. "I keep revisiting the past, trying to fix it but all I do is end up reminding myself of everything I could have done."
Patton frowned, offering Virgil a sympathetic expression. "You didn't do anything wrong," he assured, taking Virgil's hand gently. "You did what you thought was right in the moment and that's a good thing."
Logan nodded in agreement. "Yes. You shouldn't keep beating yourself up for it. Roman's- " he struggled to find the right word "-... passing was something none of us could predicted, much less prevented. You did nothing wrong."
Virgil let himself smile. Logan and Patton began a new conversation, something about clothes and colors, but Virgil had already begun to drift off.
Before he knew it, Virgil was back. He saw a man in wine red jeans and a fine fitting shirt in the bustling crowds Fifth Avenue. He couldn't change fate.
As he walked towards the tall man, a single thought conjured up in his mind: You are going to hurt me some day.
Virgil plastered a smile on his face and introduced himself to Roman Alvarez.