It wasn’t until the fourth time that they had sex that Tony noticed the deep scars on GOB’s inner thighs. Up until that point, GOB had insisted on having sex entirely in the dark. As someone in possession of only one testicle and a deep insecurity about this whole “actually being gay” thing, this was initially preferable to Tony as well. However, as their relationship progressed, Tony couldn’t help but well, wonder, about what his boyfriend looked like in the throes of passion.
“I think we should have sex with the light on tonight,” he said in between feverish kisses.
GOB, looking mussed and past the state of self-consciousness, mumbled, “Sure whatever. Get your pants off. Get my pants off. My five thousand dollar. . .”
He stopped trailing off when Tony began to unbutton his own shirt and squirm out of the lighter fluid mechanism beneath. Instead, he put his hands to work unzipping and removing Tony’s pants and underwear.
Once Tony was naked, he began disrobing GOB. This went pretty smoothly, especially because the dove inside GOB’s suit was actually alive this time. It perched itself on the dresser and cooed softly, like a love bird.
Because he had seen GOB’s Jesus illusion, he didn’t have to imagine what his upper body looked like. However, he was a little surprised by how it was even prettier up close. Rather than saying so, Tony leaned down and licked from his belly button to his sternum. Judging by the way he gasped, GOB got the message just fine.
When he moved downwards to blow GOB, the two long, thin scars revealed themselves, one on each thigh. Each extended from his crotch to his knee. GOB’s eyes were closed, so thankfully he didn’t see the fleeting horror on Tony’s face. What had happened to GOB?
He leaned down and kissed GOB behind the knee, right at the tip of the scar. GOB opened his eyes and looked down at Tony, alarmed.
“They’re from a magic accident. I used to do a lot of illusions with knives. Magic can really fuck up your body, huh?” said GOB. He laughed unconvincingly. “I know you’ve got the thing with your balls so we’re-”
It hadn’t occurred to Tony until this moment how “same” they might not be after all. But GOB was naked and beautiful and all his in this moment, so he said nothing. Instead, he put his lips around GOB’s dick and blew him until they both saw stars.
GOB and Tony were two and a half bottles of wine into their three month anniversary. The both of them were in pajamas and sitting across from each other on the couch in Tony’s apartment. GOB was laughing and smiling at whatever Tony had just said and damn he couldn’t ever remember being this stupidly, disgustingly happy.
“I don’t think I’ve ever felt better than I do right now,” Tony said.
Rather than laughing or agreeing, GOB squinted at him suspiciously.
Tony poured himself a little more wine. Reminding GOB that he was a legitimate object of affection happened a little too frequently for his taste, but the sex that usually followed more than made up for it.
“I haven’t felt this way about anyone before. I’ve told you that a hundred times, babe. Even if I had felt this way, I like you best right now. Take it as a compliment.” He rested his hand on GOB’s thigh. GOB took no notice.
“I’m not talking about that,” he said.
“What are you talking about?”
GOB’s eyes unfocused, like he was mentally leaving the conversation for a moment. This had only happened a few times since they had known each other, but every time it was disconcerting.
“. . .GOB?” Tony said, frowning.
His boyfriend closed his eyes, and when he opened them again Tony could tell he was back.
“It’s nothing. Never mind. Me too to whatever you said.” He flicked his eyes down to Tony’s hand, which was still on his thigh. His mouth curled into the crooked smile that Tony loved. “Let’s fuck.”
It had been two weeks, and Tony had seen neither hide nor hair of GOB. He wasn’t answering his phone (in fact, it seemed to be off which was bizarre), and visits to the model home had proved unfruitful as well. Tony was loathe to think it but he was beginning to suspect foul play.
Though GOB often espoused his frustration with his brother using . . . very creative insults . . . he was the only person who might know what was going on. He dialed Michael’s phone number with gritted teeth.
“Tony, why are you calling?” said Michael.
Tony sighed. “Hello to you too, future brother-in-law. Have you seen GOB lately?”
“Well, my life has been pretty quiet for the past few days. So I’d say no, I haven’t seen my hurricane of a brother at all. Why?”
“For a magic trick? Good for him.”
“This isn’t funny, Michael,” said Tony. “He’s not answering his phone and I can’t find him. He didn’t even tell me he was going anywhere.”
The other line was silent for long enough that Tony had to look at his phone to see if Michael was still there. Finally he heard Michael sigh as if he had had this conversation a hundred times before.
“Tony . . . sometimes nobody knows where GOB goes. Not me or our parents or his girlfriends. He shows up on his own eventually, except for when the police find him.”
Michael laughed softly. “GOB’s terrible record of reckless driving can only be matched by – well, our mother’s, actually. Set aside cash for bail. You’ll thank me later.”
Tony could barely believe how Michael was able to say these horrible things so casually. He felt his blood begin to boil, and tried to keep his voice from shaking as he said, “So your only answer is to hoard cash for his bail and to hope he’s not dead. No wonder GOB has such ‘wonderful’ things to say about you.”
He regretted not using speakerphone, because his inability to put “wonder” in his trademark “W” quotations was just making him angrier.
“Don’t talk to me that way,” said Michael, coldly. “I do my best. I’ve known GOB my whole life. How long have you been with him, five months?”
“. . . Seven.”
“Wow . . . that’s actually a pretty long time for GOB. He must really like you. Is that what you’re worried about?”
“No! I’m worried about his safety. It’s making my hair go grey.”
Michael paused for a moment, as if deliberating what to say next.
“Look . . . GOB is just different than most people. He’s driven by a logic that I don’t get at all. But he’s a big boy, and he can take care of himself-”
Unable to handle any more, Tony hung up the phone and threw it onto the nearest pillow. Then he kicked a wall with impotent rage.
How dare Michael sound so unconvinced of what he was saying.
GOB was curled up on the couch in their now communal apartment. He was facing the crack and hadn’t moved all day. Normally GOB didn’t seem to ever stop moving (and had, in fact, been more active than usual over the course of the past several days), so this was a disconcerting departure from the norm. Tony sat down next to him, and tentatively put a hand on his ankle.
“You ok, Gobie?”
GOB lifted his face out of the crack to look at Tony. He didn’t answer, but instead gave Tony a confused, pitiful look. Something clicked into place in Tony’s brain.
He had seen that look on his own late brother’s face too many times to count.
Tony stood up, bent over, and kissed GOB on the forehead. Then he went to his room and grabbed a blanket. He popped The Magic Show into the DVD player, and sat down next to GOB again. Patting his lap, he said, “Come here, babe.”
It took a few minutes for GOB to process the information and navigate his lanky body around the contours of the couch. His head finally came to rest on Tony’s thighs. Tony ran his fingers through GOB’s hair, humming along to “Up to His Old Tricks.” He kissed GOB’s forehead again. GOB closed his eyes.
“I’m fine you know,” he said slowly. “Happens all the time.”
Tony wasn’t good at dealing with messy things like other people’s feelings. He had spent most of his life trying to avoid them by treating people like money wells and business deals. And yet of all people, GOB Bluth had cracked the shell on his heart. The man he loved spilled emotions everywhere like an overflowing bathtub and definitely needed professional help.
Maybe Tony needed to get his own head checked while they were at it.
Not wanting to overwhelm GOB with any of these realizations, Tony simply replied, “I know babe. I know.”
GOB and Tony were spooning naked in bed, arms and legs tangled together. GOB shifted his chin so it laid on Tony’s shoulder.
“Can I tell you something?” asked GOB.
Tony turned around so he was facing his boyfriend, and grabbed his hand.
“Sure, babe. Anything. Unless you’re saying you’re leaving me. If you are, wait for a time when we’re both dressed.”
“No. . .no. I’m not leaving you. At least, I think I’m not.” He touched Tony’s forehead to his own.
“What is it then?”
The two of them breathed each other’s air in silence for a moment.
“The scars on my legs weren’t an accident. Well – I mean they were depending on how you look at it.”
GOB’s jaw was tight, so Tony ran his thumb over it soothingly.
“What do you mean?” asked Tony, afraid to hear the answer he knew was coming.
“I wasn’t supposed to be here to have them,” said GOB. He smiled in a bitter way. “It was my greatest failed illusion. I was trying to disappear.”
“Disappear? You mean die? GOB, why would you do that?” Tony said. His chest hurt at the very idea that GOB at one point had almost stopped existing. Tony’s brother was one too many suicides for one lifetime, thank you very much.
GOB took a moment, seeming to search for answers in his mind.
“Everything hurt,” he said. “Almost dying hurt worse though. Especially because afterwards they locked me up in a stupid white room filled with crazy people and gave me pills that made me feel weird.”
“The psych ward?”
“Yeah I guess. The only good thing there was that nobody has anything to do but watch your card tricks. Anyway, I wasn’t there for very long, and I threw out the pills, so you don’t have to worry that I’m crazy or whatever.”
Tony couldn’t help it; he burst out laughing at this statement.
“You think the only thing standing between me thinking you’re crazy is how long you spent in the psych ward?”
“Uh. . .” Tony could see him start to mentally leave the room. He squeezed his hand tight on GOB’s.
“Stay with me, Gobie,” he said.
GOB nodded in reply.
“Listen. Before you told me this story, I already thought you were crazy,” said Tony.
“Your crazy is about as subtle as my goatee, GOB. Aliens could spot it from space. I am not surprised you’ve been to the hospital. It just makes me disappointed that you didn’t try to get help sooner. That you’re not getting help right now.”
GOB cast his eyes downward.
“I don’t feel bad right now.”
“That’s not how it works. Three days ago you couldn’t even move.”
Tony sighed. “There’s a lot of places you can go where you can get help that won’t lock you up. I’ve just been thinking that maybe you should try to go to one of them. Maybe get the kind of pills that make it so that you feel good most of the time, talk to someone about your problems with your brother. Have a place to stop you if you want to disappear again.”
GOB thought about what Tony had said for a moment. “I do like the sound of that.” His face broke into a genuine smile.
Tony kissed him soft on the mouth.
“As crazy as you are, I don’t know if I could keep living in a world where there wasn’t a GOB Bluth.”
GOB’s eyes watered as he kissed him back, deeply, passionately.
“I love you, Tony Wonder,” he said into Tony’s neck. Tony kissed the top of his head.
“I love you too, GOB.”
As GOB’s breathing slowed and his body became heavy with sleep, Tony felt every inch of his boyfriend press against his skin. As though he were melting into Tony, as though they were as same as he had thought they were on their earliest dates. He couldn’t help but marvel at how wonderful it was that they weren’t same but had come to love each other so much anyway.