A quiet night at home and a bottle of scotch was all Rafael usually needed to see him through. This evening was different, though. For some reason he decided to make the trek out to Forlini’s. He hadn’t visited the restaurant since he left the Manhattan ADA’s office. Maybe it was nostalgia, or maybe he was hoping to run into someone he knew. No matter the reason, he found himself at the familiar stool drinking alone.
The bar staff no longer knew him, and none of the faces looked familiar enough to be worth Rafael’s time. So he sat there, completing paperwork, marking his students assignments and nursing a glass of Lagavulin 16 year in hand.
“Rafael Barba,” A familiar voice pulled the man from his thoughts.
Rafael slowly turned around to see a familiar figure looming over him. He had a practically nonexistent history with the man. Though they had crossed paths at several functions they had never held anything more than a brief conversation and some casual flirting. Rafael usually spent these functions eyeing the man from across the room, longing for something he couldn’t quite put a name to.
Now the man was standing in front of him, tall and handsome, with soft grey eyes and a fond smile. Warmth stirred within Rafael as he smiled at the familiar face, he offered his hand. “Trevor Langan.”
“What brings you to Forlini’s?” The man queried as he firmly shook Rafael’s hand. “I heard rumours you had quit the DA’s office.”
“I can confirm those rumours are true,” Rafael muttered before taking a sip of the amber liquid in front of him.
Langan forced a smile. “Sorry to hear that.”
“Don’t be,” Rafael hummed. “It was a long time coming.”
The taller man looked so awkward, as though he was unsure of his next move. “Mind if I sit?”
“Sure.” Rafael gestured to the empty stool beside him before he went back to grading papers.
“What are you working on?” Trevor asked as he sat down, trying to force more conversation. “If you don’t mind me asking that is.”
“I’m currently guest lecturing at Columbia,” Rafael sighed as he put his pen down.
Trevor chuckled as he signalled the bartender. “Not enjoying it?”
“Not in the slightest,” a smirk twitched at Rafael’s mouth.
“I never imagined you as a professor,” the man’s voice sent an unexpected shiver down Rafael’s spine.
“Oh?” Rafael was surprised at how flirty he sounded. “What did you imagine me as?”
“Relaxing on a private beach,” Trevor’s brow quirked, his tone turned sultry. “Drink in hand, a flirty smile on your mouth.”
“I do like the beach,” Rafael turned his body towards the taller man and took another sip of his drink. The bartender returned with Trevor’s drink order, and another scotch for Rafael. “Trying to get me drunk, Trevor?”
“Not at all, Rafael,” Trevor fired back.
“What about you?” Rafael didn’t miss a beat as he finished off his original drink. “Where do you like to vacation?”
“It’s not the location for me,” Trevor leaned forward. “It’s the person I’m travelling with.”
“How would you like to get away with me, then,” Rafael asked boldly, a smirk tugging at his lips as he took a sip of his fresh scotch. “Miami, maybe Hawaii, maybe even further.”
The mild look of shock that flittered over Trevor’s face made Rafael’s statement worth it, but the man wasn’t phased for too long. “How does Saturday week sound?”
“Are you serious?” It was Rafael’s turn to be shocked, his heart pounding just a little harder, just a little faster at the prospect.
“Doesn’t Spring Recess start then?” Trevor hummed as he placed his hand next to Rafael’s. The touch felt like a jolt of electricity running through his veins. “You, me, on a beach in Hawaii?”
“You’re bolder than I expected.” Rafael couldn’t help the smirk that accompanied his chuckle.
Trevor cocked his brow and took a sip of his drink. “I don’t hear a no.”
“Why not?” Rafael raised his own glass in cheers before taking a sip. Trevor was a handsome man after all, and a week on a beach with a handsome man sounded like the perfect distraction. He felt alive again just at the thought.
As Rafael felt Trevor’s appreciative gaze roam his body he knew he made the right choice.
It felt like a dream. It felt too good to be true.
Rafael had gone from only speaking to Trevor at functions, from staring longingly at him from across the room, from flirting on occasion, to spending every night for a week wrapped up in Trevor’s arms, listening to the waves crash against their own private beach.
All of his problems felt so far away. It seemed so easy to forget he’d left the DA’s office and had somehow got himself stuck lecturing at Columbia. It seemed easy to forget how strained things were between himself and everyone else he knew back in New York. It seemed so easy to forget how weighed down he felt every day at home while he was sitting on a beach with Trevor Langan, sipping cocktails, laughing, and feeling light for the first time in years.
It somehow didn’t matter that things seemed to have changed overnight. It didn’t matter that they’d gone from awkwardly discussing who would have which room to making out on the lounge before falling into bed together.
Rafael supposed that people would call this a whirlwind romance. It had all the hallmarks. They spent every day together, every night together, every minute together, and they couldn’t be happier.
But like all whirlwind romances, like all good dreams, Rafael knew this would come to an end, too. He knew they would go back to New York, to their separate lives and their separate jobs, and only bump into each other once in a blue moon.
He let out a soft sigh as he watched the moonlight dance on the water’s surface. Even now, even knowing reality was only a plane ride away, it still looked impossibly romantic.
An overwhelming sense of sadness filled him up, burning at his eyes, his chest, his soul. He’d kept it at bay, quashed down every thought of this ending so he could be in the moment. But this was it. His last night on this balcony with the water just a stone throw away. His last night in bed with Trevor Langan, who may very well be the love of his life. His last night in paradise, before the real world sucked him dry again.
“Penny for your thoughts?” Trevor’s voice shook him from his mind as he stepped onto the balcony, a margarita in each hand.
“Where’d you get those from?” He asked quietly, lips twitching up in a smile despite everything.
“I know how to make a drink,” Trevor said with a laugh, setting the glasses down on the table before taking a seat beside Rafael. “You okay?”
“Why wouldn’t I be?”
Trevor smiled, taking Rafael’s hand in his own. It struck him then, that this might be the last time he felt that tenderness. This could be the last time he got to do something as simple as hold Trevor’s hand.
“What’s wrong?” Trevor whispered, brushing his lips across Rafael’s cheek.
Rafael shook his head, not trusting his voice. He could feel the wetness in his eyes as he looked away, resting his head on Trevor’s shoulder.
Trevor pressed a kiss to the top of his head before wrapping his arm around Rafael, pulling him close. “Talk to me.”
“This ends tomorrow,” Rafael whispered.
Trevor laughed, causing Rafael’s head to bop up and down. “I never took you for much of the extended-holiday type. Your mind’s too active.”
Rafael shook his head again. “I don’t mean the holiday. I mean this.” He gestured lazily between them.
“We live in the same city, Rafael,” Trevor said quietly, resting his head on top of Rafael’s, tightening his grip just a bit. “This doesn’t have to end.”
Rafael scoffed. “Yes, because a disgraced ex-ADA working in a job he hates is so appealing.”
Trevor shifted, lifting Rafael’s head so they were looking at each other. He swallowed hard against the lump in his throat, trying not to appear quite as upset as he honestly was. He very rarely allowed himself to really, really want something good, and nice, and pure in his life. But right now, after the week they’d spent together, all he wanted was this. It hurt to contemplate letting it go.
“I don’t care what you do for a living, Rafael,” Trevor said softly, face so earnest it made his heart clench. “I care about you, about who you are. You have a big heart, and a beautiful brain, and I’m sure I fell for you a long time ago, but…” Trevor broke off with a sigh. “I’m not someone who does things by half. I invited you here because I meant it, because you mean something to me. It could have all gone terribly wrong, but it didn’t. I think we’re great together, Rafael. I think we could be great together for a very long time.”
Rafael could feel his heart pounding against his chest, could feel his stomach swooping. This wasn’t just a fling, this meant something to Trevor, too.
“So,” Trevor continued, smiling nervously as he ducked his head a little, looking at Rafael through his lashes. “If you’ll have me, I’d love to continue seeing you back home.”
Rafael blinked, unable to stop the grin that was engulfing his face. “Dinner, Monday night.”
“Monday night,” Trevor agreed before leaning in to press a gentle kiss to Rafael’s lips.