Rotelli’s arrival home was announced by one half of a phone conversation in rapid Italian, growing sharply louder as the door opened and then slammed shut. His voice, expressive but usually cheerful, was shaded with a tone of mixed frustration and exasperation which sounded unnatural and uncomfortable on his tongue.
This had become a common scene over the last several days - certain aspects of his seemingly endless but close family had been less than pleased by the news that he had a boyfriend. With whom he had a very real and very gay relationship.
Professor watched him kick off his shoes from upside-down, his head hanging over the back of the couch. He frowned at Rotelli’s expression as he approached, gravitating towards his boyfriend almost as naturally and thoughtlessly as breathing, almost as unnoticed by the both of them.
They shared an upside-down kiss in greeting, close enough that Professor could hear the shrill rant of an angry aunt on the other end of the phone and pick out some of the sharp words she hurled down the phone. He wished in those moments that he could take the jagged edges of those words on Rotelli’s behalf, shield his kind and loyal heart from their sting as easily as he could touch him.
‘I love you’ he mouthed, shaping his lips deliberately around the words. Pleasure curled warm and thick in his stomach at the way Rotelli’s face lit up in response, smiling bright enough to make the sun dim in comparison.
Moments later, whilst Rotelli’s hand curled beneath his jaw to urge him into another kiss, the phone screamed at no-one from the safe distance of the couch cushion.