They met at a party- one of those dangerous ones Elizabeta threw, where Roderich stayed in the kitchen and attempted to at least keep that bit of the house in order. Arthur always came, simply because he had nothing better to do and he had perfected the art of slowly destroying himself with cigarettes and alcohol and knives.
The life of a businessman was usually an unhappy one- and Arthur did not ‘dare disturb the universe,’ so they say, and he simply did his best to roll with the headaches and the overwhelming paperwork.
The cigarettes and the alcohol and the knives was how he rolled with his life.
That night, though, he was tired, just a wan, pale corpse with a drawn face and dark eyes, and so he’d curled up in the laundry room with his cigarettes, the knife, and the dryer sheets, prepared to have a jolly old lonely time.
And then he walked in, all curious cerulean eyes and blonde hair pulled back (ohgod is that a ribbon?), peering around the door into the hideaway Arthur had made for himself.
The man probably could’ve said a myriad of things, and Arthur ran through them in his head- why are you sitting on top of a washing machine or my god you look dead or thought the depressing emo kid look was for the teenagers or you’re wearing a waistcoat to a party or-
“Could you spare a cigarette?”
Arthur hadn’t been expecting that one.
He raised an eyebrow, expression curious as he slid out a cigarette from the pack and tossed it at the newcomer. The blonde caught it with nimble fingers before he walked over and climbed onto the washing machine next to Arthur, who was still quite speechless and perturbed as to the sudden turn of events. The man used his own lighter (which he’d dug from his pocket with what Arthur noted was a perfectly manicured hand) and the two sat in the laundry room, smoking in silence.
“Francis Bonnefoy,” he eventually said, grey smoke curling from between his lips.
“Ah- the one who recites Shakespeare over martini glasses?”
Arthur squinted at him from behind the walls of corporeal asphyxiation. “Elizabeta told you that, didn’t she?”
“She may have mentioned it. Why Shakespeare?”
“Do you even need to ask that question? Because the man was a downright genius.”
“Would you like to go out to dinner?”
It was an abrupt question, the rare kind of abrupt question that threw Arthur for an absolute loop.
“You. I. Dinner. I think it sounds like a remarkably lovely idea.”
“Er-” Arthur looked down at his watch. “It’s one-thirty in the morning, you know.”
“Much too early.”
“Come now. There is a very lovely cafe around the corner. We can go and drown our sorrows in coffee.”
“Oh, and I thought you were alright. Really, truly I did. Tea. You do not look like a tea lover.”
“Yes, well, you don’t look like a downright git. Appearances are deceiving, are they not?”
“….how about we go back to the whole dinner idea and leave it at that?”
And Arthur looked at him- really looked at him- and took in the too-bright eyes and the too-fine blonde hair that smelled of expensive shampoo, swept back with that ribbon, and the too-perfect clothes and the realization dawned on him that this couldn’t have been happening, because gorgeous encounters with gorgeous men didn’t happen to washed-out businessmen like himself.
But it was one thirty-five in the morning now, and Arthur was kicking himself for even trying to debate between spending the rest of his night in a dim-lit laundry room with cigarettes and knives or this- this-
And there were no words for Francis Bonnefoy, really- no words besides yes.
“You’re paying, you know.”