Gaspard looks up from his notebook and into the inquisitive face of Xavier de Rosnay, his new flatmate and, he's discovering, an endless source of curiosity. His first instinct is to cover what he's doing, long tired of classmates who won't take 'I don't know' as an answer.
"I'm sorry." Xavier shoves his hands into his pockets and turns to look out the window. Gaspard can't figure out if it's supposed to be a dramatic look; the side of his face, at least, is immediately covered in long shadows. "It reminded me of something."
"Of what?" Closing his notebook, Gaspard perks up. (He keeps his hand in, though, so as not to lose his place.)
"Well, nothing in particular," Xavier admits, sitting down. "Not that I can think of off the top of my head. It's just a bit…a bit like…" He scratches his chin and then sighs, defeated. "I don't know either."
"Well, I think it's simple." Gaspard reopens the notebook. The drawing in question is going to be of a car. Currently he's only sketched out two doors and the pattern on the side—gems with a skull and flames. "See?"
"Not the car. That!" Xavier laughs and points at the opposite page, where Gaspard has doodled in colored pen. It's just a meandering bunch of lines that converge and dart off across the page. "I love that. I wish I could have come up with it."
"It's nothing," says Gaspard, flushing and turning away.
"Shut up." Xavier pushes himself up off the floor and walks across the room. "I won't make you talk about it anymore." He leans against the window frame and puts a finger to his lips. Jesus! Him with his posing! Does he think he's being photographed every moment of his life? "One of these days I'll figure you out."
Laughing, Gaspard looks back to his notebook. As if he's the great mystery. He likes Metallica, video games, cars, girls, pissing away class with doodles. "You're the mystery!" he says.
"Am I? I'll answer anything you ask me. Put me to the test sometime." He glances out the window and then looks expectantly back over at Gaspard. "Anything."
"Sure. Later, though." And of course he will. Xavier will talk until physically suppressed from doing so. But getting him to actually say anything, that's the hard part.
One rainy night, they skulk down to the record store and stand under the awning, breathing heavily into the night air. Xavier lights a cigarette, holds it out wordlessly until Gaspard gets the picture and lights his own off it. If it's some sort of test, some sort of bonding ritual, or just Xavier being Xavier, he thinks he'll never know.
"I can use my lighter next time," Gaspard offers lamely. Xavier just shrugs and opens the door.
Under the buzzing white lights inside, Xavier is all animated, laughing and teasing the clerk for telling him to put out his cigarette. He's been here before, he says, and would anyone in their right mind really turn a customer away? Gaspard is completely unnoticed, free to browse the collection of Judas Priest vinyl he already has and then move onto the sale bin, cigarette in his hand the whole time. Xavier passes by him, quickly rifles through and, finding nothing of interest, moves on to investigate titles Gaspard has either never heard of or would never in his right mind listen to. He hums softly under his breath and then starts singing aloud.
"Are you singing?" Gaspard asks, raising an eyebrow.
"Yeah!" says Xavier. "How about ABBA? Dancing queen, feel the beat from the tambourine!" Surprisingly, Xavier's English accent when he's singing is much better than Gaspard has ever heard it before, like when he's giving directions to tourists or trying to get his ATM card sorted on the phone with people who know about ten words of French.
"What will I do with you?" Gaspard shakes his head and turns back to the record bin. Xavier slaps him lightly on the shoulder—what is it with Xavier and touching people all the time?—and then disappears.
Thirty minutes later they run home in the now-torrential rain, Gaspard with his jacket pulled up over his head and Xavier with the records stuffed up his shirt, laughing the whole way and falling onto the floor of the flat with unbreakable smiles.
Bertrand came home at some point while they were out buying records and is now having a sandwich and a laugh at them. "Anyone up for movies?" he asks when Gaspard and Xavier have suitably recovered and picked up the records that are now strewn about. "I just rented some DVDs."
"I think I'll pass," Gaspard says, shrugging. Where he really wants to be is in Xavier's tiny room, mixing; making music. He eyes Xavier, who looks at the stack of records.
"Let me make coffee for everyone," says Xavier. "I want to stay up all night. Does anybody disagree?"
"Sure, but if I chew off all my fingers it's your fault!" says Bertrand. He steps aside so Xavier can walk into the cramped kitchen area and start brewing: coffee, strong and black as they come.
And here's what will happen the rest of the night: Gaspard will wait in Xavier's room. He will listen to a disco record. At first he won't understand it. In fact, he'll just laugh and sigh and shake his head at Xavier being Xavier. And then when Xavier comes in with two coffees, Gaspard will be doing a bit of nodding his head and tapping his feet, and he will see that look in Xavier's eyes that says: I have won. And Gaspard will wonder what else he doesn't know about Xavier.
They will sit on the floor remixing until approximately three-thirty, at which point Xavier will get up to go to the toilet and Gaspard, left to his own devices, will fall asleep.
While Bertrand throws a party in their flat the next day, Gaspard and Xavier camp out on the roof of the building where it's blissfully quiet save for the distant thumping of bass below them. A blessedly cool gust of wind blows across their ankles, sending a cigarette butt (not theirs) rolling across the concrete. It almost looks like a movie scene, Gaspard thinks. He can see it now: the camera soars, high above the city until the wind rocks it down to their humble rooftop. The music cuts. There they are in black and white, smoke curling around their heads. A sudden crack splits the air, and a pigeon flees. Gaspard twirls his revolver and slips it back into the holster. "I'm getting impatient. When did you say he would be here?" he asks Xavier, who takes a long drag in response and sighs, blowing smoke out his nostrils. The music comes back in, low and threatening. There's a storm brewing in Paris.
"What are you thinking about?" Xavier asks him. "You look so intense."
"Nothing," Gaspard says slowly and stubs out his cigarette; it's burning too close to his fingers. He eyes Xavier, a sudden boldness overtaking him. "What do you think is the best way to get to know somebody?" he says, feeling stupid the moment the words leave his lips.
"There are three," says Xavier cheerily. "The first is to be lost with him, the second is to wake up next to him, the third is to see him cry." Gaspard goes through this series of reactions: yes, you're right; Jesus I had better not think too hard about that one; oh. "And not only will you get to know him," Xavier continues, "You will understand him."
"You always have the right answer," Gaspard says with a laugh that feels tight in his chest.
"Not always. I always hope to satisfy whoever has asked the question." He shrugs.
"Maybe someday I'll think of a question you don't know the answer to," Gaspard says, but is drowned out midway by the door to the roof opening with a clang and a girl leaning over and vomiting. He is very, very glad to have missed out on this party.
She stumbles out onto the roof and looks at them, going a bit cross-eyed.
"Hey, you." Gaspard and Xavier stare. "Aren't you somebody important?" she asks, and the two of them, newly signed to a record label that's going to put out a tune of theirs in weeks' time, just laugh and laugh.
When the party is over and the moon is beginning to sink lower in the sky, they move back into Xavier's room and fiddle aimlessly with Cubase for about an hour. Xavier leans back on the bed then and announces, "I'm going to try to get some sleep." He yawns and pulls his shirt over his head before moving down under the comforter.
Gaspard walks over and stands next to him for a while. There are three ways…
He touches Xavier's arm. "Goodnight."
For a split second, a smile crosses Xavier's lips. "Goodnight."
The next day they're woken up in the harsh light of 2PM by someone buzzing their apartment. Apparently, it's movers.
"What are movers here for?" Bertrand asks into the intercom.
"Someone up there wanted a piano delivered," is the crackly response. "We can't get it up the stairs."
"Which one of you assholes had a piano delivered?" Gaspard wordlessly raises his hand. "Well," Bertrand continued, "We'd better go down and get it. I don't know how we're going to get it up here." He pales visibly and his eyes go wide. "It is an upright piano…isn't it?"
"Yes!" Gaspard reassures him. Bertrand wipes his forehead and calls out to Xavier to "put some clothes on and get out here, we have a piano to move." Xavier emerges sleepily from his room moments later wearing a T-shirt Gaspard has never seen before with a picture of Marilyn Monroe and a bandana around his head like he thinks he's Bruce fucking Lee or something. "Good morning," Gaspard says; Xavier tips his head and they're off down the stairs to haul Gaspard's piano up.
It does take all three of them to get Gaspard's beloved Yamaha up to their flat and figure out where to install it. By then, the summer heat has gotten to all of them: Bertrand's shirt is clinging to his back, and Marilyn Monroe is bunched up about halfway up Xavier's stomach. Not that Gaspard is looking or anything. He just has a bit of a healthy appreciation for—well, he just sometimes kind of looks at—well, to be honest, he's just a little bit gay like that sometimes.
They put the piano down in Gaspard's room; it makes logical sense after all. Gaspard sits down on a box and tries to knead the knots out of his own back. And, while Bertrand pours some glasses of ice water for all three of them, Xavier has decided to start hounding him.
"What do you play?" he asks, dusting the keys off with his hands. "Can you show us something?" Gaspard fidgets nervously and Xavier shoots him a Look. "We did help you drag this up here after all."
"That's true, but I…" Well, he could explain about how he used to spend hours practicing back in secondary, when everyone else was at dances or parties or out in the city. He could, but he's not going to. Besides, he probably doesn't even remember half of what he practiced. "I really just use it to hear how things are going to sound."
"Well that's sad, it's a waste of a piano," Xavier laments. "Still, maybe you have had better things to do."
"Maybe I can learn." Xavier sits down at the seat and with a flourish plunks out a few chords, far too harshly, his fingers smacking flat against the keys. Gaspard tries not to cringe. "You see, I will be the next Mozart."
"You'll need a lot of practice," Gaspard says under his breath.
"Agreed," says Bertrand. He's always had a knack for reappearing at opportune times, that one. "Don't quit your day job, Xavier."
"No, I won't," Xavier agrees. "I'll starve." He whistles. "This is a nice piano, though. Especially for someone who just wants to hear how things are going to sound." With a shrug, he leaves the piano bench to grab a glass of water from Bertrand and drink almost the entire thing in one go. "But have it your way. I personally am going to go get clean." He stretches and pulls off his shirt (God damn him!) before disappearing down the hallway.
Now that Xavier is conveniently in the shower, Bertrand sits down next to Gaspard for what Gaspard fears may be a heart-to-heart.
"You know," he says, his hand on Gaspard's shoulder, "You shouldn't feel so intimidated by Xavier."
"Intimidated?" Preposterous, Gaspard thinks, but then a moment later he realizes that, yes, he has been worrying a little bit about what Xavier may think of him. "All right, maybe a bit."
"I know he can seem a bit difficult to impress, but what impresses him most is just being whoever it is that you are. He thinks confidence is sexy." Sexy? Gaspard feels himself flush from head to toe.
"I don't know about that. I'm just not the sort of person to show off."
"He won't think of it as showing off." Bertrand laughs. "And you can't think of us as cool, anyway. We're a couple of losers who sit in our house playing video games and drawing instead of getting outside and doing exciting things."
"I don't think you're—"
"Hey, faggot!" Bertrand shouts as Xavier emerges from the bathroom in nothing but a robe (closed, thankfully—Gaspard is flustered enough).
"You have sex with farm animals!" Xavier shouts back, scrubbing his head with a towel.
"By now you may be thinking, I have moved into a madhouse," Bertrand says. "You would be, of course, completely right."
Later, after Bertrand and Gaspard have gotten themselves washed and the flat is full of long shadows, Gaspard finds a book of sheet music buried in one of the many boxes he's been too lazy to unpack. He sits down at the piano and stares at the keys.
Then he gets up and paces around the room. He sits down again. He stands back up. He says 'Oh, fuck it' and opens up the book to something he vaguely remembers playing.
And once he starts, it's so easy, it's like he never stopped. The notes flow naturally from his hands, and the keys feel familiar. There are several tiny mistakes and a few that are less than tiny, but the anxiety is gone.
"You can play piano," says Xavier matter-of-factly, sitting on his bed while Gaspard looks at shoes on the internet.
"Yes," Gaspard says quietly. "I would never buy a piano just to hear how things sound. That was bullshit."
"I'm glad." The springs of the bed creak as Xavier rolls off to look over Gaspard's shoulder. "We need to talk sometime." Gaspard's stomach does a flip before diving out his navel.
"I don't know! Just everything." He sighs out his nose. "I have a feeling there are still a lot of things I could learn about you."
"Well, let's talk tonight then." Gaspard figures he should go ahead and be brave while he still can. "But first I have to choose a pair of shoes. Do you like these Vans?"
"They're all right, but I like the black and white ones better. But really…" He grabs the mouse and is typing and clicking away too fast for Gaspard to protest. "See this?" He points at the screen as a different site loads. "These would be perfect for you."
"That's a bit frightening." Gaspard does like the shoes. They're black and white—what is it with Xavier and black and white?—and he thinks he might draw in the whitespace if he gets them. In fact—! He quickly doodles one of the shoes on a piece of scrap paper with a pen that's on the desk. "How is this?" He adds a pattern of keyholes. It's a good image—suggesting of mystery, treasure, childhood adventures. He's been drawing them everywhere recently, and he doesn't want to stop.
"I love it," says Xavier, shaking his head and smiling. "You are so talented. I am lucky to be working with you."
Gaspard orders the shoes and then the two of them sit down on Xavier's bed.
"Hi," says Xavier.
Gaspard waves back.
And three hours later they're deep in conversation, Xavier intently describing the design he's working on for 'the greatest guitar that could ever possibly exist'.
"And the inlays in the twelfth fret would be made out of mother-of-pearl, and they would be in the shape of two eagles," he finishes, gesturing with his hands.
"It needs to have flames on the body," Gaspard adds.
"Definitely. There would be a red flame and a blue flame, one on either side, and they would be battling each other."
"Epic," says Gaspard.
"Yeah. Epic. So…" Xavier flips over and stares at the ceiling. "I guess I should apologize for the fact that I stole you away from your girlfriend." At first Gaspard is confused, but then he remembers that particular incident and laughs.
"Oh, she's not my girlfriend, we were just going to go out to the shops. I was hoping something would come from it, but…" He sighs, and then smiles. "You were more interesting anyway."
Xavier grins. "I'm also prettier."
Gaspard chooses to ignore that comment and goes on, "I haven't really had a proper girlfriend at all during art school, to tell the truth."
"Me neither," Xavier admits. "I had a boyfriend the first year but we broke up. It was all right though, I think he was only using me for sex. Although, the sex was good." Gaspard isn't sure he's hearing right. But Xavier did say (on the roof) that he would answer any question, didn't he?
"You had a boyfriend? You're gay, then?" he says, feeling himself grow hot. He disguises wiping sweat off the back of his neck by pretending to be scratching an itch.
"I guess I am bisexual?" He shrugs. "I try not to think about it too much. If I don't pay attention to others' opinions of who I should like, that leaves me free to do whatever I want." Remembering the Marilyn Monroe shirt, Gaspard has to agree that Xavier is doing whatever he wants. "I'm sorry if that makes you uncomfortable. You should probably know that also—"
"No, no, no! Never!" Gaspard covers his eyes with the back of his hand. "That doesn't bother me at all. After all, if I had a problem with it, I would be stupid to stay in Paris."
"Good point." Xavier lets out a blissful sigh. "I love that about Paris. Here I can go to a club, kiss a boy—no one cares! To think that there could be such a place—and that out of it, I could be born! Here I am. I'm here to stay."
"And I'm so glad that no one minds us being artists here. How lucky I am that I get to choose between being a graphic designer and being a DJ. If I were somewhere else I would have no excuse when my mom told me I needed to do something respectable. Here I just open the window and point out and say, 'I am respectable'!" He narrows his eyes and glances at Gaspard. "And then, before I get to feeling too respectable, I go upstairs and dance to Gloria Gaynor in my underwear."
"That's reassuring," Gaspard says, half-seriously.
"You know, all your metal is great—it's some of my favorite music, too, but I think you should listen to more disco. It's healthy for a growing boy. Besides, you fit the part perfectly. You might need a better moustache though." Xavier reaches out his fingers and traces the shape of a moustache on Gaspard's face, while Gaspard does his best not to laugh or hit him or something. "Oh, I'm sorry!" He withdraws his hands. "Bertrand always says I touch people too much. I think I'm too used to having three siblings, and we're always arm-wrestling or shoving each other around."
"Yeah." There really isn't anything else to say.
"Well, I'll be more careful. Anyway, as I was saying you need to listen to disco. And you should get one of those jackets, as they wear. You could be like 'Saturday Night Fever'." He makes a face. "Avoid the high platforms, though. Once I put on a pair of platform heels, and I fell over on my face. And so that was the last time I wore high platforms."
Gaspard leans back and exhales. Sometimes he wonders if he isn't the crazy one, and everyone else around him is sane.
"Fuck you!" Xavier shouts from the other room as he runs off the track yet again in F-Zero and gets his car burnt up. "Little bastards in your little bastard cars!" Gaspard watches in amusement as Xavier throws the controller across the room.
"Violent child," he remarks to Bertrand.
"He is, you know. Once he shot me." Gaspard must be doing a face like, what the hell? because Bertrand is quick to laugh and reassure Gaspard, with a hand on his arm, that "I was only kidding!"
"I didn't think he was the type," Gaspard mutters. "Should I tell him not to destroy the TV?"
"Xavier, control yourself!" Bertrand shouts across the room. "I don't want to have to replace any of that."
"Yes sir!" Xavier salutes cheerfully and restarts his level, whistling along to the tinny 8-bit music.
"But you know," Bertrand says thoughtfully, fiddling with his scarf, "He does like to get violent sometimes. He likes to be smacked around a bit, did you know that? I mean in the bedroom."
Gaspard is not exactly sure what to do with this information. If this is Bertrand's version of idle gossip, you can count him out. On the other hand, there are now images in his head that he must admit he's not entirely opposed to. "Um," is his response.
"Once he told me he likes to be tied up."
"Why are you telling me these things?" Gaspard says, a bit bewildered. He shakes his head.
Bertrand shrugs. "Well, he's an odd one, Xavier is. Anyway, I'm going out," he says, punctuated by a loud expletive from Xavier, who turns off the Nintendo. "I have a lunch to go to. I'll be back at six, all right?"
"All right," says Gaspard. Xavier walks into the room and rubs both Gaspard and Bertrand on the head affectionately.
"I'm going out. You two have fun, right?" Bertrand says.
"Oh, fuck you," Xavier says, pouting. "I'm already bored out of my mind, and now you won't even be here to entertain me." Gaspard flushes because he's imagining the kind of entertainment that Bertrand was alluding to earlier. "Well, I'll entertain myself by poking Gaspard and watching him make funny noises." Xavier pokes Gaspard in the arm and, unintentionally, Gaspard does make a little squeaky noise. Bertrand smiles, waves, and exits, messenger bag slung over his shoulder.
The other night must really be having an effect on Gaspard. Because he feels his arm and his head tingling a little bit wherever Xavier touched him. He kind of wishes Xavier would touch him more often, even though he's not sure whether he would go into overdrive or something if Xavier did. But, well, he's in deep water now, that's all he saying.
"I'm going to take a nap," says Xavier. He plops himself down onto the sofa and curls up, his eyes fluttering shut. Gaspard, left alone with his thoughts racing in all sorts of uncomfortable directions, leaves to find his sketchbook.
Unfortunately, there's only so long he can spend drawing, especially when Xavier awakens from his nap, stretches and walks across the room. Do something, go talk to him or something, Gaspard's brain is shouting. But what? Well, that's the question, isn't it?
After all, what to do when you think you might like a boy who likes boys was never in the instruction book. Liking boys who like girls—that's completely ordinary and the obvious solution consists of stolen glances in gym locker rooms and pats on the back that mean so much more to you than you can say. Doing your damnedest to hide it is par for the course. Trying to repress your feelings until you're alone in the bedroom is a prime directive.
But what is Gaspard supposed to do now, with this whole Xavier thing? He keeps finding himself wanting to kiss Xavier on the face and, oddly enough, the arms. So what is he supposed to say: "Xavier, I keep finding myself wanting to kiss you on the face or maybe on the arms, because you have gorgeous arms." Clearly that could only result in disaster? Or could it? Is this another of those situations like Bertrand was talking about where you're supposed to be honest and true to yourself?
Xavier is sitting on the windowsill now, precariously balanced on one ass-cheek and staring out into the street. Gaspard wonders what he thinks about when he's not talking. It's probably just the same postmodernist babbling that comes out when he opens his mouth. It's probably completely brilliant.
Gaspard briefly fantasizes another movie scene: In a nineteenth-century parlor, Xavier sits in a big armchair, leafing idly through a book, a cat purring in his lap. (Due to the whole nineteenth-century thing,) he wears a chiffon dress that bunches around his shoulders. Gaspard sits at the piano in his crisp jacket, a flower tucked into his lapel.
"Play that one I love again for me," Xavier says, lifting his eyes demurely from the book. The cat looks up too, and Gaspard lays his fingers on the keys and prepares to play…
Good God! He's gone soft!
"Ow," says Xavier, pushing up off the windowsill and rubbing his tailbone. "Remind me never to do that again."
"Okay," says Gaspard. He opens his mouth like he's going to say something else, because for a second he was, but now he can't for the life of him say what it was going to be. So he just stares a little. He's sure it looks incredibly attractive.
"What?" A cheeky smile tugs at the corners of Xavier's lips.
"Um, nothing," says Gaspard.
"If you say so." Xavier makes for the kitchen, pushing past Gaspard on the way. Gaspard keeps watching Xavier's mouth, and then all of a sudden that's it, he's just had enough, so he grabs Xavier by the shoulder. "What do you want?"
"I just wanted to tell you something," he says, and then he's confused again, not knowing what to do or even really how to do it. He's never kissed a boy on the mouth before! What if it's…somehow…different? And it's like the whole world is moving in fast-forward for a moment, he's grabbing Xavier by the hand—
And then it's slow motion and he's brushing his lips against Xavier's knuckles: just lightly, but enough to count.
"Don't—don't do that," says Xavier, looking stunned. "I might cry."
"Why not?" Gaspard feels like the whole building will collapse around him. And it's just so absurd. "Don't cry!"
"It's too good." What's that supposed to mean? Xavier pulls back his hand and wipes his forehead. "You…" He shakes his head.
"That was all." Gaspard shrugs and starts to turn away.
"I'm sorry. You just…" Xavier smiles weakly. "Took me by surprise." And then he grins. "I like surprises. Maybe you should surprise me again sometime." Giving Gaspard a playful look, he continues for the kitchen.
Trying to smile, Gaspard walks over to sit back down on the couch. He isn't sure how he feels—but he does kind of want to find out what Xavier's lips feel like one of these days.
Their song goes out not long after, and the kind people at Musclorvision Records throw them a gigantic party, the likes of which neither Gaspard nor, as he confesses, Xavier, has ever attended. After just an hour of pounding basslines, the club is filled with smoke and sweaty bodies. Through the confusion, Bertrand is grabbing Gaspard by the shoulder and shouting a scarcely intelligible question into his ear.
Gaspard takes a chance and assumes it's "Are you having a good time?", so he answers "Yes, absolutely!" Xavier, next to him, is nodding enthusiastically and then grabbing him by the arm.
By the time they're standing behind the turntables and Xavier is looking through records to put on, it occurs to Gaspard that he might have accidentally just agreed to DJ this party. But by the time they've actually put on a record and are bouncing around grinning at each other behind the deck, Gaspard hardly even cares. He lets the music fill his ears and has gradually more and more fun as drinks are passed over the table and their record selection gets continuously more creative.
Who would have thought that all these Paris scenesters would know just as well as Xavier does how to get down to disco? Apparently they do, because the dancing just gets wilder when Xavier starts slapping on records with soulful women's voices singing over funky bass and then scratching the hell out of them. Gaspard's love for disco is increasing exponentially now that he's watching Xavier shake his hips to it. And then when Gaspard pushes in so he can throw down some Black Sabbath, the assembled crowd goes completely wild, coaxing him to lean down over the deck so they can slap him high fives. Their set melts into a competition for who can find the hardest track, and the floor turns into a mosh pit for the next forty-five minutes.
Things cool down a bit afterward, and the party lasts until one AM when it's abruptly cut off because it's better, as was the consensus, to burn out than to fade away. In the middle of the last song (he and Xavier have been back into the crowd and are now back behind the turntables), Xavier grabs Gaspard's arm and ducks below the table.
"What?" says Gaspard, but Xavier doesn't talk, just kisses him. (It's not that different after all.)
Maybe it's better that they don't talk, in the end, because there are a lot of questions that could be asked that Gaspard doesn't want to hear the answers to. Because they don't need words—not when they've come home to an empty flat (Bertrand has gone off to another club), still riding on the high of DJing at the party, and now that they can tell there's some sort of agreement established between them. It's the kind of agreement that means Gaspard doesn't mind that he's on the floor and Xavier is climbing on top of him, one hand on either side of him, pinning his arms to his chest.
And maybe it's better not to talk, because if Xavier were talking, that would distract him from being able to kiss Gaspard again, and again, and again. It would distract him, Gaspard thinks, from swiftly unbuttoning Gaspard's sweater and pushing up his T-shirt. And it would definitely keep him from pressing his lips about two inches above Gaspard's navel.
"Is this okay?" he says softly. All right, so sometimes words are needed.
"Please," Gaspard says, ignoring the fact that it was a yes or no question. Xavier smiles and brushes his hair out of his eyes, which are glittering with the thoughts of what's presumably to come. "Everything," Gaspard adds, to clarify.
"You're funny." Xavier shakes his head. "But you make me feel great." Just hearing that makes Gaspard, in turn, feel pretty damn great. He grabs Xavier by the collar of his jacket.
"Come here," he says, and a spark ignites in him somewhere. He can play rough. He kisses Xavier briskly, thinking, I could get used to this. Just doing this, all the time.
Xavier makes a little noise in the back of his throat and ducks his head down to kiss Gaspard right under his ear.
"Hsst," Xavier whispers.
"I am going to go down on you."
Gaspard swallows, feeling himself blush. Xavier just laughs and rubs the back of his hand against Gaspard's groin and, oh—wow.
Gaspard grabs Xavier's arm and kisses him on the wrist. Which, he finds, isn't enough—so he has to run his tongue all the way up to the inside of Xavier's elbow, leaving the taste of sweat in his mouth. Xavier swears under his breath and starts to work his hand into Gaspard's jeans, making Gaspard shiver and squirm with anticipation.
While Gaspard kisses Xavier's neck, Xavier's hand wraps around his dick and Gaspard momentarily worries that he's going to lose control of his senses. He wonders why he's never noticed before how soft Xavier's fingers are. He buries his face into Xavier's neck and fills his nostrils with the way Xavier smells.
Xavier smiles against Gaspard's lips and starts to unzip his jeans, but it's not enough—Gaspard pushes open Xavier's mouth and kisses him deeply. And, he thinks, why the hell not, so he unbuttons Xavier's own pants. Laughing, Xavier tries to pull them down and it actually takes the both of them, in their drunken state, to get them off.
And there's just something about being on the floor half-naked with someone when it's been long past due. Gaspard rolls over and pushes Xavier onto the floor so he can run his hands up Xavier's shirt and kiss his slightly stubbly cheek. He feels Xavier's erection against his leg and that's not anywhere as weird as it should be—in fact, it's wonderful. Xavier is hard, and flushed, and short of breath, and it's for him.
Gaspard wants more of it. His teeth find the side of Xavier's neck, and Xavier makes a funny little noise in his throat. Gaspard removes his hands from Xavier's shirt and runs them through Xavier's sweat-soaked hair instead. Again he lays his face against the side of Xavier's, feels Xavier's lips move near his ear but no words come out. Gaspard grabs Xavier's cock, obeying a sudden impulse, and hears Xavier's sharp intake of breath. It's not much different from masturbation except that unlike when he's just by himself he doesn't have a hot, panting body underneath him. Not to mention, Xavier's responses are faster—Gaspard already feels his fingers getting slick with precome as he runs them over the head of Xavier's cock. It's making him crazy. He remembers Xavier's avowal from before and now he feels a little impatient.
Luckily, he and Xavier are in sync, and no sooner does he have the thought than Xavier's fingers are pushing Gaspard's own off of his dick, his body shaking with laughter. He gets up onto his knees and Gaspard rolls onto his back, bending his legs so Xavier can crawl between them.
"Your shoes are still on," says Xavier with a shaky laugh. He wipes his forehead and blinks at Gaspard. "You really did draw the keyholes!" Gaspard looks down. Huh, so he is wearing his new shoes, the ones Xavier picked out. There's something perfect about that, he thinks.
Until he's distracted by Xavier's mouth slipping over his cock, Xavier's tongue pressing up against the head and one hand wrapping around the base. He more or less loses himself to the feeling that's making him loose and shaky as Xavier does his work below. What's surprising is that he hasn't come yet—it must be, he thinks, the desire he has that this last forever. And then he thinks about the fact that after this, there will be other times—other fucks and other, stronger feelings between them. They could keep on doing this endlessly.
He thinks about waking up next to a naked Xavier and then he thinks about the Xavier that's pressing against him right now, his shirt riding up and chafing the insides of Gaspard's legs. Gaspard grabs at Xavier's hair and, being careful not to pull him too hard, comes in his mouth, so hard his eyes momentarily tear up.
Xavier swallows and grabs handfuls of Gaspard's shirt, looking needily into his eyes. What can Gaspard do but take hold again of his erection and jerk him until he thinks Xavier is on the edge of finishing. Suddenly he misses words, words are wonderful, he wants Xavier just to talk to him, damn it!
"Say something," he pleads, and Xavier looks pained for a moment as he tries to find something. "Say something in Vietnamese," he tries, because he remembers Xavier mentioning his mother is Vietnamese at one point, and he wants to know what the language sounds like.
"Gaspard, I don't know!" Xavier flicks his eyes up, and then they connect. "Um, er…" Gaspard can actually see the blush spread over his cheeks and the bridge of his nose. "Em yêu anh," he says, and Gaspard can feel Xavier's orgasm move through him, making him shudder against Gaspard and finally come into his hand.
They lie there for a moment, trying to catch their breath. And then they're both laughing, just laughing, because there is something fantastically funny about the fact that it took a record release for them to get in bed—well, in floor—together. And the fact that Gaspard still has his shoes on.
Xavier is the first to stand up, and he leans his head to the side, eyes at a devious slant. "Come sleep in my bed," he says, and Gaspard may never have heard five sweeter words. Of course, first there's the floor to clean up, which doesn't take long and is much more fun in the nude than it could possibly be otherwise. Even though Gaspard is completely burnt out from the sex, he's still conscious enough of his sexuality that watching Xavier's bare ass while he's throwing away wet paper towels is incredibly hot as well as being just plain entertaining.
Then, wrinkled clothes under their arms, the two head back to Xavier's room and the promise of a warm bed. Once under the covers, they kiss more—Gaspard can't imagine this ever going out of favor with him—and laugh into the sides of each other's faces, again at a loss for words.
"What did you say in Vietnamese?" Gaspard asks after a while.
"Oh, uh, that?" Xavier laughs and rubs his eyes. "It was…nothing." But his smile gives him away, and Gaspard thinks he has a pretty good idea what 'nothing' means in this context.
Xavier turns on the radio.
"Do you think someday every song could be about us?" Gaspard asks, even though the song itself is something American about waiting at a bus stop in the rain. For a second he thinks Xavier is going to laugh at him or just be confused, but then he realizes that's just ridiculous because Xavier looks back at him earnestly.
"They already are," he says.
And here's what will happen the rest of the night:
Gaspard and Xavier will stay up much later than is good for them, talking about things they're fairly sure no one else could possibly understand (as all new lovers do). They wonder about what it really means to be called 'Justice', and it's like it's taken wings—they aren't just a couple of geeky kids making silly music anymore, they're prophets, they're priests, they're calling in some sort of new era. They will both fall asleep somewhere in the middle of a conversation that dissolves to meaningless nonsense.
At eight AM, Bertrand will come in and he'll smile knowingly when he sees Xavier's socks on the floor and again when he finds his two flatmates are lying in Xavier's bed with the bedroom door wide open, curled up against each other and naked as the day they were born. He might even allow himself a little laugh that time, and that laugh might make two pairs of eyes flick lazily open. But neither Xavier nor Gaspard will notice Bertrand: their entire world, for the time being, exists only between them.