Sixsmith had his hot whiskey, and then another, as he sat by the fire and thought about Frobisher. He hadn't wanted to; there was some detail niggling at the back of his mind about the experiment he'd been working on that day, something not quite right with the data - but then there was Frobisher in the front of his mind, standing there with that maddening smile, gazing into Sixsmith's eyes, and so...
Frobisher. Sixsmith wasn't really one for gossip, but he had heard the whispers. 'Frobisher's sure to be sent down this time; there's no way they can ignore -' 'Frobisher? Keep your hand on your wallet when he's around.' 'Don't let him near your sister. Or your brother, or your mother, for that matter.' And even Sixsmith had noticed the glances that followed Frobisher as he walked by - some scornful, some wistful, some so fraught with heat that Sixsmith had turned away, shocked. He understood that heat much better now. Those eyes, that sensuous mouth...
Sixsmith sighed. No point in dwelling on all this now; Frobisher would be back or he wouldn't. Of more immediate concern was the problem with his data. Should he recalibrate the equipment? He went over the experimental design step by step in his head. Finally he gave up and went to bed.
When he awoke the next morning, Frobisher was curled up next to him, reeking of chypre and whiskey and cigarette smoke. He smelled delicious. Sixsmith closed his eyes again and took a deep breath. When he opened them, Frobisher was smiling at him.
"Hello," Frobisher said.
Without stopping to think, Sixsmith reached for him, seizing his mouth in a long, consuming kiss.
"You've kissed boys before!" Frobisher said delightedly when they finally came up for air. "Thank goodness. I thought I would have to waste time convincing- "
"Shut up," Sixsmith said, and kissed him again.
Frobisher's mouth. His mouth, dear God, and his throat, collarbones nipples belly, the hollows beneath his hipbones. Soft dark curls, and that lovely, delicious prick nestled amidst them. His low-slung bottom, with the unusual birthmark, so delightful to kiss. The scent and taste of him, his tender, secret places. Sixsmith wanted to revel in it, drown in it, possess it all, this dark elfin boy, the object of such universal contempt and desire. He knew Frobisher had had a handful, a dozen, a hundred lovers before him. Sixsmith wanted to be the one Frobisher would remember.
Afterwards they lay together, gasping, bedazzled. Then they slept, and awoke to make love again, slowly. After that they talked: about their work, their families, the books they had loved as children. Places they had traveled, and others they hoped to visit one day. Their dreams for the future. In that quiet warmth, Sixsmith fell in love.
When Sixsmith awoke, it was midafternoon. The spot next to him was cold; Frobisher had been gone for some time. He folded his arms behind his head and tried not to think about what had happened - he'd think instead about the problem with his experiment. He got up, hung up the waistcoat that he found lying on the floor, bathed and dressed, drank coffee. Had he perhaps miscalculated the probability density? He looked around for his slide rule, and found the letter sitting on his desk.
This morning was magnificent, it began. I know that sounds like something from a schoolgirl's novel but - The letter went on for three and half pages. There was something about the conjunction of the stars, which contained a few errors about their actual locations, and some obscure philosophical references, a bit of Latin and Greek and Shakespeare, and ended with a promise to return again that evening.
What a ninny, Sixsmith thought. He could have said that in six words. 'Gone to Library. Back for supper.' He smiled and stuck the letter in his pocket, taking it out several times to reread it, feeling that quiet warmth again each time he did.