The knock came four times — tap tap pause tap pause tap. Roberto da Costa got slowly up from his bed, pulling with him the heavy blue comforter to cover himself. He wore it like a toga while crossing the room, the moon’s rays piercing through the window. Though he was moving at a snail’s pace, he did recognize the urgency of the matter.
It was Sam. And for him to be calling on him at this hour — a quick glance over his shoulder indicated it was just after three in the morning — meant that something was wrong.
He turned the handle, squinting as the light of the hallway blinded him despite it only being opened a crack. ‘Berto saw Sam’s face, mouth pulled in a thin line. He looked either desperate or upset, he couldn’t tell which. “Can I come in?” he mumbled.
Without protest, Roberto stepped back, pulling the door with him. Sam Guthrie stepped in and closed the door again. “D’you want the light on?” asked Sunspot, turning away from the door to cross the room once again.
“S’up to you,” Sam shot back. His voice had lost its usual sure-footedness. He sounded nervous.
“Turn it on, then,” ‘Berto answered, and instantly the switch was flipped and light permeated the room. It took Sunspot a moment to adjust to the sudden brightness, but before long he had managed. The entire time, ‘Berto struggled to think of how to bring up the topic. This wasn’t his area of expertise, nor was it Sam’s. They were best friends, sure, but neither of them ever really had talked about their feelings in the years they’d known each other.
Both of them knew why Sam was there — but this was unknown territory for them. Roberto glanced back over his shoulder, noticing how stiffly his friend stood, how out of place he seemed. “Everything alright, man?” he asked, an air of nonchalance in his voice, trying to keep things on the level.
“Yeah,” Sam replied, though it was clear he wasn’t. He was cloying for the opportunity to let it all out, but there was something stopping him.
They were in for a long night of give and take, trying to have a conversation they were too proud and set in their masculinity to hold. As he reached his bed, Roberto tossed aside the blanket draping his shoulders, exposing his rear to his best friend. Without shame, he crouched down to open a drawer, pulling out a pair of briefs to slip on.
Sam pointedly looked away, waiting for his friend to dress before continuing the conversation. Only when he heard the movement stop did he glance back, lips forming the words before he could stop himself. “I mean, I’ve been—been weighin’ this whole break-up thing for the pas’ few days. Cyke or Wolverine, y’know?”
“Dani said we’d be staying here. Makes sense, doesn’t it? He’s the bossman.” Roberto sank back on his bed, pulling his legs cross beneath him as he perched on the edge.
Finally, Sam came to join him, sitting a few feet away. He angled himself to face Roberto, but kept his eyes fixed on his lap. “Yeah, but—we had a talk. Me ’n Paige.” The deathknell came before Roberto could protest it. “We’re thinkin’ a change o’ scenery might do us some good.” Though Sam tried to sound positive, it was clear he wasn’t.
The Brazilian boy’s face fell, but he quickly tried to stifle the signs. “You’re going back to Westchester?” he asked. Roberto’s natural instincts were to yell and kick and scream, but something held him back, an invisible hand holding him down against the bed as he stared at the person who had become his best friend. “What about Dani?”
What about me? was left unanswered.