In his Levantine exile, at first Sebastian chooses blond men who are not English, videlicet Kurt; men who remind him as little as possible of Charles. Charles is Oxford, and England, and laughter both innocent and wicked, and most of all he is Brideshead and his irritating family.
But then Charles finds him, and he can no longer forget that Charles exists. It reminds him of who he is, who they were, what he has lost.
Eventually his increasingly less subtle hints do their work, and Kurt is gone. There is no shortage of young and aimless men who vaguely resemble Charles, even in Tunisia. The resemblance is stronger through the lens of drink, whatever he can get, poured into a crystal decanter, then into a stemmed wineglass, then into his throat. He pretends that it's fine claret from the Brideshead cellar. What's one more fiction added to the rest?
Charles sprawled on his stomach naked on his bed. Charles's dark head bent over Sebastian's prick. Charles behind him, those slender artist's fingers drawing patterns on his back, grasping his hips, pulling him close. Charles gasping in his ear.
Afterward, his head aches and his arse aches and the broken pieces of the wineglass lie among the ruin of the bedclothes. The young man, thankfully, is gone. So is the wine. The desire, the regret, the wistful longing – these remain.