Étude No. 3 in D-flat Major, S.144 from Trois études de concert (Three Concert Études), “Un sospiro (A Sigh)”
Here we stand or here we fall
History won’t care at all…
It was a typical July day. Or, well, it at least seemed like one to anyone who wasn’t Gob Bluth. To a young Gob Bluth, the day was…weird.
He supposed it was normal to feel a bit weird after having sex for the first time. All the after-school specials made it sound like a big deal and everything. At least it was for girls. Girls got all emotional and shit. Girls got weepy. Girls felt different.
But Gob wasn’t a girl, no matter how many jokes his dad had made like that. So, no, it didn’t make sense that he had been all…girly about it. After Stacey or whoever left his room the night before, he felt so jittery and shaky and so fucking weird. He wanted to cry at one point.
Why did he feel like that?
He knew that was the wrong reaction. It didn’t make sense. It was something he should’ve been proud of. Really proud of. Hell, even Michael seemed proud of him when he told him, or at least he was impressed, and Michael was, like, never impressed. At least not by his older brother, at least not when it was something besides his ability to play piano.
Gob’s head hurt as he kept trying to work out why he felt weird, why he felt wrong. It was making him exhausted—it probably didn’t help that he had barely slept that night—so he finally tried to shut up his brain by turning on the TV, even as Michael lectured him on how he should’ve been working on cleaning up from his party and blah blah blah, whatever. He could just hire some cleaning service or something. Stupid, responsible Michael would never think about that.
Gob idly flipped through the channels once Michael finally left him alone, not really finding anything interesting at first. Finally, he landed on a channel playing what looked like some concert. There was a crowd cheering as a man in a white tank top and jeans bounded around stage. Just how the man moved intrigued Gob in some way. And he was even more intrigued once the man sat at a piano.
It was stereotypical of him, of course, but Gob immediately put down his remote and leaned forward, tilting his head just a little bit as he watched. The guy looked familiar, but Gob had never been good at remembering celebrities’ faces past the cast of Dynasty and a few current pop singers like George Michael and Madonna.
After a few chords, the man started to play a familiar tune and Gob instantly realized who he was. Even Gob, who barely knew Reagan was president, knew who Queen was, and he definitely knew “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
It was a song he had played by ear for fun a few times since it was such a fun and famous (and kinda easy) piano part to play. And, yeah, he owned some of their singles on CD, but he really didn’t know their music that well. All he knew was that a lot of people said Freddie was flamboyant on stage and a homo, which was enough for Gob to avoid looking further into Queen’s music. Hell, he knew it had to be gay just because of that one confusing video for that catchy song where they all dressed as women. Gob listened to enough “gay” shit—you know, all of his classical music and stuff, and sometimes he hung out in Lindsay’s room just so he could listen to Madonna without playing her himself because, okay, that “Material Girl” song she had just released earlier that year was catchy as fuck—that he didn’t need to add anymore fuel to the fire.
Not that there was a fire or anything, because Gob was obviously straight—remember how he had just fucked a girl the night before?—but he didn’t need to give his friends any reason to make fun of him. He definitely didn’t need to give his father anymore chances to do that, either.
But despite all of that, Gob couldn’t take his eyes off the screen. During the entirely too short twenty-one minutes of their performance, Gob barely even blinked, even when he saw a clear shot of a cups full of what looked like beer on the fucking piano, something that normally made his skin crawl and his stomach tense up in anxiety. All he could do was stare in amazement as all these songs, songs he had no idea Queen had even written, were performed with such energy and passion. He could barely even think, let alone try to copy back Freddie’s adlibs like the crowd did at one point. By the time they ended with “We Are the Champions”—by the way, there was literally no better way to end any concert EVER—Gob had goosebumps up and down his arms and he let out a breath he didn’t even realize he had been holding once they made their way off stage, Freddie being sure to take multiple bows and work the crowd better than anyone Gob had ever seen.
Once they were finally completely offstage, Gob laid back against the couch as he tried to process what he had seen. That man was everything Gob wanted to be. He wanted to work a crowd like that. He wanted to play like that. He wanted to move people and give people goosebumps and maybe classical music wasn’t something that got people to scream and cheer, but maybe he could make them do that. After all, he had just started learning about this guy named Liszt who was apparently, like, Beatles level huge back in the 1800s. Maybe Gob could be like the new Franz Liszt.
Or maybe the Freddie Mercury of classical music.
God, it was all so fucking incredible. He couldn’t get over it; everything about the performance was electric. He had never seen someone with so much stage presence, with so much energy, so much life. And, really, he didn’t get why people thought he was gay, but if he was, what did it matter if he could perform like that? What did it matter if he could play piano like he did and play guitar and charm a crowd better than Gob ever could which was saying something, okay, since he was charming as fuck, but when Freddie had called the whole crowd beautiful, Gob found himself smiling even more and felt, well, flattered and charmed. He counted as part of the audience, right?
So, yeah, who cared if Freddie was gay? Gob, who ran to his piano to see if he could play “Bohemian Rhapsody” and sing it at the same time, certainly didn’t.
…It comes to you as to us all
We’re just waiting for the hammer to fall
I’d sit alone and watch your light
My only friend through teenage nights…
Gob always had an enthusiasm that, when channeled in the right direction, could be very contagious. It was hard not to smile when he was smiling and getting excited about the right things, you know, not like the joy he took in punching Buster in the stomach or breaking his toys or something. But things like movies he loved and music and stuff? Yeah, it was easy to catch his enthusiasm.
Well, to a degree. Michael never necessarily got classical music like Gob did, but he’d listen to it with him sometimes, and he let him rant about all those composers he learned about. He definitely never understood when Gob talked about theory and stuff, but it was nice hearing his brother excited about things like that.
Queen, however, turned out to be something Michael could easily catch onto. He already liked the songs he heard before Gob discovered them, and as Gob started to buy more of their albums and CDs and tapes, Michael started to love everything else he heard by them. Well, he wasn't too into that disco-y album besides that one song with David Bowie, but he liked most everything else.
The Queen obsession/enthusiasm also spread easily to Lindsay, which was something that never really happened with classical music. She appreciated that her brother could play like he did, of course, but she never really got why he loved it so much. After all, she quit piano even before Michael did, and she wasn't half as bad at it as Michael had been. She normally found herself inspecting her hair for split ends during Michael's lessons just to zone out enough in order to not hear her twin play so stiffly.
But Queen was different. Queen had fun songs and serious songs, songs that gave her chills and songs that made her want to dance. Normally they would hide out in her room to listen to pop music without judgment, since they knew their father wouldn't care if Lindsay was listening to Madonna, but he'd judge his sons for listening to her. However, with Queen, Gob had gotten bold enough to play it on his own boombox, so that meant the three of them found themselves hanging out in there a lot more often.
One day, nearly a year after Live Aid, the three of them sat in Gob's room as he played their newest album, A Kind of Magic. Michael was sitting on the floor leaning against a wall, Lindsay was on one end of Gob's bed, and Gob was on the other, his head resting on the wall behind him as he listened. He shuffled a deck of cards in his hands to keep them busy as he listened silently. He wanted to hear the whole thing, the first bit of new Queen music that had been released since he started listening to them, before making any comments.
His hands kept shuffling, shuffling, shuffling until he the sound of a synth and Brian May's voice turn into an orchestra backing Freddie's vocals during "Who Wants to Live Forever?". Gob never heard anything like it, something so powerful, the orchestra as passionate as Freddie's voice. The percussion seemed to rumble deep in his body, louder than his own heartbeat, and Gob couldn't stop himself from letting out a gasp after it ended.
"I know," Lindsay whispered, her first words since they started playing the album. Gob had told them they were forbidden from speaking as well until the album ended, but she couldn't help but agree with her brother.
"Wow," Michael whispered as well, leaving it there.
There were three more songs after that, which Gob couldn't believe. There was no way they could top that, right? How was that not their closer? But then "Princes of the Universe" started and Gob laughed quietly. Oh, yeah, that was a perfect album closer. It sounded like a harder, edgier version of earlier Queen, somehow virtuosic and bombastic and flashy and operatic all in one. He couldn't stop himself from nodding his head to the beat, a smile on his face.
Finally, the album ended and Gob reluctantly took the CD out of his boombox and put it back in its case.
"Wow," was all Gob could say at first. While, realistically, he knew it wasn't the best album they had written, it had still managed to give him chills, make him smile, and make him want to rock out. God, sometimes he really wished he had a guitar; he wasn't sure he could play like Brian or anything, but damn did he want to try.
"God I wish they'd tour here," Gob said, frowning down at the album cover. "I can't believe MTV banned their music video for 'I Want to Break Free'. It's the reason why they won't go here anymore, you know. I don't get why it's such a big deal that they were dressed as girls! I mean, it was obvious and definitely meant to be a joke!"
Michael nodded at first before asking, "Didn't you think the blond was actually a hot girl, though?"
"No!" Gob lied, though the slight blush on his cheeks was answer enough. Besides, he had told Michael he thought the girl was hot until Michael pointed out it was the drummer, Roger Taylor. That had been a major reason he avoided listening to Queen, honestly, so, okay, maybe the ban of the video made sense.
“Hey, I can’t blame you for thinking Roger Taylor looked like a girl,” Lindsay said. “Before he turned around, I thought he actually was a girl, too. He might even look hotter than I would in that outfit.”
“He definitely did,” Gob said with a scoff. Lindsay pushed him in retaliation. Gob pushed her back, but then Michael sighed and told them to stop in his stern, father-like voice.
“Lindsay, do you want Gob, your brother, to think you’re hot?” Michael asked.
After a moment, Lindsay rolled her eyes but nodded. “Okay, true.”
"Yeah, Linds. Stop being weird," Gob said, adjusting his shirt.
"Whatever," she said. "But, anyways, it was honestly super confusing how good he looked as a girl." Michael gave her a weird look and she gave him one back. "What? I can admit that. It doesn't make me gay or anything."
Gob shook his head and brought the discussion back to the album they had just listened to. He really didn't feel like talking about whether finding Roger Taylor attractive made someone gay or not.
…And everything I had to know
I heard it on my radio
If I could only reach you,
If I could make you smile…
Gob had never had the chance to talk to someone about music in depth. At least not classical music. None of his friends knew anything about classical music, and while Michael would nod along when Gob ranted about Bach or tell him how he was really intrigued by this new composer he started learning named “Liszt”, he had no idea what any of it really meant.
But it was only his first day at SAA and his roommate, this guy named Seth, was totally on his level. They talked for what felt like hours (in a good way) about Bach and Beethoven and how Gob didn’t really get the whole obsession with Mozart and how Seth really liked solo music but found playing in chamber music somehow even better. Gob was amazed at how much they had to talk about right away.
It wasn’t until they were back in their dorm after dinner that they even broached the subject of non-classical music. “What other music do you like? You know, like, radio stuff?” Seth asked.
Gob thought about it. “Well…Bruce Springsteen for sure.”
“Oh, yeah, love him.”
“Right? The guy is how I lost my virginity,” Gob said excitedly. “I played ‘Thunder Road’ for this girl and she went wild for it. I guess her name must have been Mary…” He thought about it and then shrugged. “I don’t know, I got really drunk afterwards so I don’t really remember the specifics.” After a beat, he rushed out, “Except that it was hot, you know. Obviously.”
Seth looked a little confused, but he nodded. Gob figured he was probably a virgin, so that explained the confusion.
“What else…I love the Cars. They’re great. Michael Jackson, of course. Prince. Bowie. Oh, and definitely Europe. And, I mean, I’m a pianist, so I can’t not include Billy Joel, but that’s kind of a lame answer.”
“Nah, I love Billy Joel,” Seth said. “Those are all solid choices.”
Gob nodded. “Thanks.” After a moment, he admitted, “But, yeah, my absolute favorite band is Queen.”
Gob still hesitated to admit Queen was his favorite band, not because they weren’t, but because, you know, the whole Freddie being gay thing. Most of his friends loved Queen, but his dad had been a bit hard on him after he had dressed up as Freddie Mercury the Halloween after Live Aid, enough so that Gob did his best not to talk about the band or its lead singer in front of his father.
He didn’t know why he told this Seth guy that information so quickly, but, well, he felt like he could trust him with that information somehow. Like they had something like that in common.
And apparently he was right, because Seth’s face lit up. “I fucking love Queen.” He put a hand on his face and said, “Oh, god, sorry for swearing—”
“Why would you apologize for swearing?” Gob asked. That was such a foreign concept to him. His mom swore more than anyone he knew and she never apologized. He shook his head and said, “Anyways, they’re amazing, right?”
“Totally,” Seth agreed, apparently forgetting his embarrassment at swearing. “What’s your favorite album?”
“Oh, totally A Night at the Opera. It’s the best album of all time.”
“Definitely. I also love A Day at the Races. And, I know it’s kinda weird, but Hot Space is just so much fun.”
“It is!” Gob agreed excitedly. “God, no one understands that, though, you know? They just freak out about it being disco. It totally sucks. There’s no reason to hate disco—especially not when it’s Queen!”
“Right? And ‘Under Pressure’ is amazing!”
“I know! Bowie and Freddie on one track? It’s, like, too much. Too good,” Gob said. “I also think Jazz is very underrated. ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ is, like, my theme song.”
“Good to know,” Seth said with a laugh. “And you’ve seen the Live Aid performance, right?”
Gob scoffed. “Of course I have! What, do you think I’m a heathen or something?”
The two of them ended up talking about Queen for a long time, both of them beaming as they talked excitedly. Gob, though not the most observant, definitely noticed as they talked that this Seth guy had a nice smile. He weirdly hoped he got to see more of it.
…If I could only reach you,
That would really be a breakthru - oh yeah.
Spread your little wings and fly away
Fly away, far away
Pull yourself together…
The day after his senior prom, Gob blasted music from his stereo and laid back on his bed, staring up at the ceiling.
Okay, Gob had known he was gay for almost a year at that point. Like, at least nine months or something. But part of him had hoped he could be like Steven Carrington and still sleep with a girl. And, well, he did sleep with a girl, but he also cried afterwards and only got hard because he was thinking about Seth and all the times they had fucked over the summer so, yeah, he didn’t think that counted.
He sighed and ran his hands over his face. He knew he had to break up with Eve. He knew he had to accept the fact that he was gay, even with the threat of AIDS and everything. He knew he had to stop moping over a guy he’d never see again. But he didn’t want to do any of that—
“‘Cause all I wanna do is bicycle, bicycle, bicycle…”
“Ain’t that the truth, Freddie?” Gob muttered to himself. Not that he knew how to ride a bike or anything, but it felt very relatable at the moment. He’d always joked that the song was Michael’s song because the kid rode his bike all so much he might as well be called “Bichael” or “Micycle”, but the idea of escaping from everything at the moment sounded so great.
After he finished listening to all of Jazz, Gob looked through his CD collection to find something else to listen to. It was then that he found a CD single of Freddie’s that Buster of all people had gotten him as a Christmas present, something called “Barcelona”. It was very recent, some song featuring an opera singer Gob had vaguely heard of. Gob had been panicking so much about being gay that he didn’t dare listen to something that combined both opera and Freddie Mercury with his dad around. But, well, it seemed like the perfect time to give it a listen.
…And, of course, it was incredible. Once it finished, Gob just sat there for a moment, feeling the same sort of feelings he felt after sitting through Queen’s Live Aid performance. How did he do it? How did Freddie make a song that combined his rock aesthetic with a fucking opera singer and make it work?
After the shock faded, Gob found himself shaking his head to himself with a smile. Of course after years of wanting to be the Freddie Mercury of classical music, Freddie went ahead and beat him to it.
What a fucking show off.
…God, Gob loved him.
…'Cos you know you should do better
That’s because you’re a free man
Start of my holiday.
Freedom for just one week.
Feels good to get away…
Gob couldn't believe his luck. Of all the people to run into while visiting Juilliard, of all the people he got to stay with, of all the random coincidences that could've happened, he ran into Seth. You know, the guy he had spent a whole summer more or less dating in secret? The guy he couldn't stop thinking of? The guy who's contact information he had torn up in a stupid panic in front of his family?
Just to make matters even better for him, Seth had forgiven him. Seth had missed him, too. Seth was more than willing to get back to their favorite activities from the previous summer while they shared a Juilliard student's living room. And maybe they should've not done that stuff just a small walking distance from the guy's room, but, come on! How could they hold back after months away with no contact whatsoever?
And how lucky was he that Seth wanted to give him his contact information again? How lucky was he that said Juilliard student was also gay and willing to take them to the gay clubs in town? How lucky was he that he got into Juilliard in the first place and got a chance to experience life on the complete other side of the country, away from his family and his ex-girlfriend and all the bullshit that he had to deal with in Newport Beach?
God, he was lucky.
It was why he shouldn't have been surprised that his luck ran out and Seth was choosing Michigan. Over freaking Juilliard.
Gob understood, though. Sort of. He didn't understand the concept of having to save money or even think about a budget or whatever, but he knew other people did. He knew Seth was making a logical choice. He just wished there was a way for Gob to be at Michigan. Or for Juilliard to be a logical choice. For something, anything, that would make them work. But that wasn't going to happen, even though the last few days had been the happiest he had been since right before he left camp the summer before.
Gob didn't know exactly what he felt for Seth, but he had a feeling it was more than friendship.
"So, you're going to keep my contact info this time?" Seth asked, his voice light but still questioning.
"I'm not gonna make that mistake twice," Gob said as they sat in the food court of the airport. Another stroke of good luck was that they were flying out from the same airline at the same airport within an hour of each other, so they had some time to hang out some more before they'd be separated. Again. "And you have mine. But I'm writing you as soon as I get back, anyways."
"Good. I look forward to it."
The two of them fell silent, which was kind of odd seeing as they had been talking almost non-stop since they had been reunited. Catching up the other on their senior years, talking about the songs they had auditioned with, the places they had visited, the lessons they had taken. It had been a lot of fun. But they were about to seriously face the facts that they didn't know when they'd see the other again for real.
Finally, Gob fell back on a topic he knew they could both talk about endlessly. "Have you heard Freddie's doing a whole album with that opera singer?"
"You mean the one from 'Barcelona'?" Seth asked. "I hadn't actually, no." He frowned a little, "So, I guess there's no Queen album coming up for a while, huh?"
"Yeah…I guess," Gob said. "I don't know. I'm interested to see what he does with the classical stuff."
"Fair," Seth agreed. After a moment, he said, "I just think he's done his best stuff with Queen. All the band has; I'm not as interested in their solo work. But 'Barcelona' is a hell of a song."
"Yeah. I think Freddie does better collaborating with people on an album," Gob agreed. "I mean, he made 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by himself, but Brian wrote so many great songs on that album, too."
"And Deacy wrote 'You're My Best Friend,' which is such a great song," Seth pointed out. "They all just work so well together."
Gob nodded. After a moment, Gob shyly moved his hand forward and gently placed it on top of Seth's. "Hopefully they'll reunite soon." His heart was pounding from just touching Seth like that so casually, doing something so couple-y in public where anyone could see them, even if no one he knew would be there to catch him, even if no one was looking their way at the moment. It was still so risky, but he couldn't stop himself from doing it.
Seth smiled softly at him and turned his hand over in order to grasp Gob's back. "I'm sure they'll be seeing each other again soon."
…I never thought that this could happen to me
In only seven days.
It would take a hundred or more
For memories to fade.
I feel like dancing in the rain,
Can I have a volunteer?…
Gob was really glad he ended up transferring to USC. He also, surprisingly, was glad he had been forced to share a house with Michael and, even more surprisingly, he was glad that what he had feared happened and that Michael walked in on him with a guy.
Sure, Gob was less than thrilled with being caught and, yeah, it had led to one of the worst days of his life as he spent the whole day sure Michael, his closest family member, would hate him. But it ended up being a good thing. Michael, while confused and rather awkward about it, turned out to be accepting and it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders. If he hadn't been caught, who knows if he'd ever tell Michael the truth? He certainly didn't know.
And if he hadn't been caught, he definitely wouldn't have had the courage to make the guy he had been caught with his boyfriend.
Boyfriend. God, he loved that word. Did he love the boyfriend? Maybe not yet, but he was definitely headed that way. He was pretty sure said boyfriend was heading that way as well, if only because of how many nights he was staying over and how many days he spent hanging out with Gob, sometimes just reading or doing homework while Gob practiced. Michael was normally there, too, doing the same thing. Sometimes Tracey, his new girlfriend, would be there, too.
However, ever since performing his junior recital, Gob had less stuff to practice than usual. He spent a lot of time working on his collaborative piano class music and four-hand piano class pieces, but the nature of those pieces made practicing most of them by himself counter-productive. So, he spent a lot of time at home working on new pieces, some just for fun and some possible contenders for his senior recital. It was always good to plan ahead for those things, after all.
He had just finished running a possible piece for said recital when Dave said, "That one was gorgeous."
"It is, isn't it?" Gob replied.
"What's it called?"
"'On the Seashore'. It's by Smetana," Gob said. At Dave's blank look, Gob supplied, "Czech composer—not as well known as Dvořák, but he helped create the national sound, kinda like how Sibelius did for the Finnish people. We just started talking about him in music history." Dave nodded and left it at that. "I might do it for my recital next year, I don't know. Depends if I find other things that can fit into a set with it, since I'm not sure I'll like his other piano stuff. I just always love sea-themed pieces so much."
"You're such a Californian," Michael teased.
"So are you," Gob pointed out. "But, yeah, this one definitely ranks high up there, though, as long as sea-themed pieces are. Maybe even second to my number one sea-themed piece."
"What's number one?"
Gob gave Dave a pointed look before playing a familiar piano introduction. Well, it was familiar to him. Dave knew it, too—it would be hard to be Gob's boyfriend and not know that song—and shook his head as Gob kept playing and started to sing, "Seaside whenever you stroll along with me—"
"Don't you have other things to practice, Freddie?" Dave asked with a raised eyebrow. "Including stuff you're actually going to be graded on singing and playing at the same time?"
That was part of the final for his collab class.
"Sometimes you really are no fun," Gob said with a roll of his eyes. Dave just laughed and Gob flipped through his music to find the Schumann piece he was working on for that assignment. "But you did call me Freddie, and I can't resist when people do that."
"I know," Dave said simply.
Michael looked at his brother for a moment and then slowly laughed. "You know, the Freddie thing makes so much more sense now that I know you're gay."
Gob looked over at Michael, who had gone back to his homework, and found himself smiling a little as a warmth spread through his chest. Michael being so casual about it, like it really wasn't a big deal, was something he never expected.
Yeah, he was really glad he had transferred to USC.
…Just keep right on dancing
What a damn jolly good idea!
Save me, save me, save me
I can't face this life alone…
Coming out to his sister during a mental breakdown after getting dumped by his first boyfriend was an interesting way to go about things. No doubt about that. But Gob was never one to keep things dull, so it seemed oddly fitting.
What he found even odder was just how supportive Lindsay was. It wasn’t like he thought she was some kind of homophobe or something, but she was being so nice about the whole thing. She actually didn’t mind hearing more of the details of the relationship, stuff he felt weird talking to Michael about. Despite how supportive Michael had been, and despite how Michael had even let him rave about Dave before they dated, it was still harder to talk to him about that stuff. Michael didn't get what it was like to feel that way for a guy, and while he could sympathize, he couldn't empathize like Lindsay could. Was that the right order? Gob was never sure what the difference between sympathy and empathy was. Regardless, he knew Michael was okay with listening, but it was easier for Gob to talk to Lindsay, or even Tracey, who'd sometimes join them for sessions like that, to talk about some of the specifics of their relationship. Like how tender Dave could be and how handsome he was and how he felt so lucky to have him.
And Lindsay would just listen.
But, eventually, after a couple of weekends of similar talks, Lindsay said enough was enough. "It is time for you to move on from the sad, woe-is-me break-up phase to the 'fuck him and his fucking face' break-up phase," she declared.
"How do I get there?" Gob asked. He had tried that first night they had talked about Dave to find his faults, but he felt like he just couldn't. "I was happy, but Dave wasn't. That means it was my fault, right?'
"Gob," Lindsay said kindly, "Don't be a dumbass."
"Thanks, that helps so much, Linds," Gob said sarcastically.
Lindsay rolled her eyes. "It's tough love, Gob, come on." She cleared her throat and said, "What I mean is that it takes more than one person to 'ruin' a relationship. And, yes, you may have been happy, but that doesn't mean he was perfect."
While Gob wasn't quite convinced, he knew that made sense. "…Okay."
Lindsay smiled at him. "Okay. So. Come on. Think about it. You know he wasn't perfect. Tell me all the dirt." Gob made a face and stayed silent. "You know he wasn't perfect, Gob." When he remained silent still, Lindsay, trying to make him smile, said, "Search your feelings—you know it to be true!"
Okay, a good Star Wars reference was always going to make Gob laugh. Lindsay laughed, too, and Gob relaxed. "Okay…well, like we talked about, he's not really my type. Physically."
"Yeah, totally not your type," Lindsay said with a nod.
"Yeah," Gob said. "And…and he always was trying to make me do homework and telling me to go to class and stuff."
"Yeah, he really could be," Gob said, gaining momentum. "And he could be a real know-it-all."
"Really? Those people are the worst."
"Totally! He was just such a buzz-kill sometimes."
"Who wants to date someone like that?"
"You're right," Gob said. "And it barely even counted as dating since he was so afraid to let, like, anyone know. Like, he wouldn't even sit next to met at the movies just in case someone saw us."
"What?" Lindsay asked. "You deserve better than that. And then he just goes and dumps you in the middle of nowhere? Talk about heartless!"
"Yeah! Yeah, he was," Gob said, nodding to himself. It felt kinda good to say all of that stuff.
After a moment, Lindsay's face lit up. She ran to Gob's stereo and said, "I know exactly what we need to listen to—I can't believe I hadn't thought about it until now. Are your CDs in alphabetical order by band?"
"Okay, Queen…" Lindsay muttered to herself as she searched for that section of music.
"I thought I wasn't allowed to listen to them anymore," Gob said, crossing his arms.
"I'm only insisting on that for 'Don't Stop Me Now' and only in my presence, because that performance you gave was disturbing," Lindsay said, waving her hand in dismissal. "I'd never deny you Queen forever."
"Oh…" Gob nodded. "I mean, I'd been listening anyways. Mostly to 'Save Me', though."
"Yeah, and, like I said, we're moving on to the 'fuck you and your fucking face' part of the break-up," Lindsay replied simply. She pulled out one of the CDs and placed it in the stereo. As soon as she pressed play, Gob snorted.
"I seriously cannot believe I didn't think about this one sooner," she said as the piano introduction played. She pulled Gob off the couch and said, "You're gonna sing this and mean every single word. Got it? Even if we have to repeat it, like, twenty times."
It only took to three listens and a few shots for Gob and Lindsay to both be singing loudly and passionately to the lyrics of the most hateful song ever recorded, "Death on Two Legs".
"Death on two legs, you're tearing me apart! Death on two legs, you never had a heart of your own!" They sang together. "Kill-joy, bad guy, big-talking, small fry! You're just an old barrow boy! Have you found a new toy to replace me? Can you face me?"
Gob, singing the line alone, continued, "But now you can kiss my ass goodbye!" He laughed and said, "You know, I have another thing to add to the list of bad things! He'd never try that! The ass kissing! Even when I asked!"
As Gob took another swig of tequila, Lindsay made a face. She really wasn't sure she wanted to know that part about her brother's sex life. But, well, at least he was admitting his ex had flaws. And, hey, that Dave guy should've at least tried that before knocking it.
"Told you he wasn't perfect!" Lindsay said proudly.
"You were right," Gob admitted. He smiled as Lindsay started singing along to the next verse and, soon enough, Michael was out there with them, because he couldn't resist a Bluth sing-along to Queen.
Gob had really always thought he'd go through his life alone, especially once he realized he was gay. He had felt so isolated and alone. But he realized then that he really did have people to turn to, and he didn't have to go through life alone.
…The slate will soon be clean
I'll erase the memories,
To start again with somebody new
When I hear that rock and roll,
It gets down to my soul,
When it's real rock and roll, oh rock and roll …
Gob had been enjoying having Seth at his and Michael’s place over spring break. He had enjoyed showing him some of his favorite places in southern California, he enjoyed introducing him to Lindsay and Michael and Tracey, and he definitely enjoyed spending time in his bed with him. Maybe Seth hadn’t slept with as many people as Gob had, but he had learned to do some amazing things while they had been apart, especially with his tongue. It was enough that Gob really didn’t want to leave said bed unless completely necessary. But Seth declared, much to Gob’s annoyance, that seeing this one movie was completely necessary.
“Why are we seeing this, again?” Gob asked as he carried a tub of popcorn into the dark theater. “Is it a make-out kinda movie?” He never got to do that with Dave, but maybe Seth would be interested. Not that they were dating or anything, but, you know. They had been fucking every night since he had gotten there.
“Not really,” Seth said. “But it’s really funny; you’re gonna crack up. I was dying throughout all of it when I saw it.”
“Wait, you’ve seen it?” Gob asked. Seth nodded and Gob asked, “Then why the hell are we here?”
“It’s culturally important,” Seth said. “Besides, don’t you watch SNL? They’re hilarious on it.”
“I haven’t really followed a TV show since Dynasty,” Gob said with a shrug. Seth rolled his eyes as Gob sat down. He was a bit surprised when Seth sat in the seat right next to him; Dave always kept a seat in between them.
Okay, maybe he could give this movie date a chance.
“I promise, you are going to love the first, like, ten minutes of this movie more than any other movie you’ve ever seen.”
“More than Star Wars?” Gob asked doubtfully.
Seth thought about it. “…It’ll be up there.”
Gob doubted it, but he sat back as the opening of Wayne’s World started.
At first, Gob thought Seth said he’d like it because Rob Lowe was in it. That made sense, because Rob was cute and Gob did have an obsession with The Outsiders. He smirked and had some popcorn as he sat back. At least he had something nice to watch.
But then, after it switched over to being that Wayne guy and his friends getting into a car, Seth excitedly nudged Gob and whispered, “It’s coming!”
“I think we’ll go with a little ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, gentlemen.”
Gob’s mouth dropped into a large smile. He hit Seth’s arm as the movie started to play the interlude leading up to the operatic section of “Bohemian Rhapsody”. “Dude!! Queen!!” Gob whispered excitedly.
“I know! I know!”
When Freddie died that past November, Gob had been devastated. Obviously. He was comforted by a day of drinking and listening to Queen and some of Freddie’s solo work with Lindsay and Michael, and it had been cathartic and, in a way, a great day. It was nice to just have a chance to sit and drink and talk to some of his favorite people in the world. But, of course, it had been beyond depressing, too, and, ever since, he hadn’t been able to listen to Queen. He busied himself with preparing for his senior recital and doing things with his music fraternity and just avoided listening to Queen or Freddie at all costs. He wasn’t sure he’d be able to handle hearing any of the music again. He was afraid he’d hear it and no longer feel the joy he once had when listening to it.
But as he watched Wayne and Garth and their friends sing along to “Bohemian Rhapsody” like he always did with his siblings, he couldn’t stop smiling. And when the song built to its rock climax, Gob made a noise between a laugh and a cheer as the whole car started to headbang violently to the beat. It was the most accurate thing he had ever seen in a movie, like it could’ve been filmed in his own car just months ago. It seemed like one of the most joyous yet simple moments ever caught on camera.
Gob really couldn’t care less what happened after that scene ended. All he knew was that scene alone made Wayne’s World one of the best films ever made.
… Hey, c'mon baby said it's alright
To rock and roll on a Saturday night.
I'm all through with ties
I'm all tired of tears…
“Hello?” A sleepy woman answered the phone.
“H-hi Mrs. Evans. Is Seth there?”
“Who is this?”
“Don’t you think it’s a little late to be calling?”
Gob hadn’t even thought of that. He hadn’t thought about how it was already late in California, so of course it was even later in Michigan. “I-I’m sorry,” Gob said, afraid she was going to hang up on him. “I-I wasn’t thinking. But, please, I need to talk to him.” After another beat, Gob added another, “Please?”
He must have sounded broken and desperate enough, because, though she sighed, she agreed to get her son. Gob thanked her and waited silently, his right hand twisting around the neck of the bottle of tequila he had been drinking from. The same hand he had just used to do something he never, ever thought he’d do.
“Gob?” Seth asked sleepily moments later. “What’s wrong?”
“I punched my dad.”
“I punched my dad.”
He heard the rustling sound of Seth sitting up. “Just a minute,” he murmured. Gob could hear him telling his mom he needed some privacy to talk to him, something about how this was important, and he’d bring the phone back later. Once the door to his room closed, Seth asked, “What happened?”
Gob told him the whole story, about how he had worked with his dad to give Michael a perfect bachelor party, how everything seemed to be going so well, how he had started flirting with a cute bartender, how his dad saw it and tried to force him to get a lap dance.
“A-and I just panicked, you know?” Gob said. “I realized I was so tired of having to pretend and I felt like I couldn’t breathe, so I ran out of there, right? Then my dad…my dad followed me out of there. And he started asking all these questions. He knew. Like, he said he always knew, but he didn’t, not until then. A-and h-he hates me now, he thinks I’m disgusting, like I’m s-some kind of freak, and he started pushing me and calling me names a-and I just couldn’t take it anymore, I couldn’t, and I didn’t even know what was happening until I just punched him right in the face.”
Seth was silent, not sure what to even say to any of that. It didn’t matter, since Gob found himself talking some more. “God, I can’t believe I’m so gay I can’t even handle a fucking lap dance. If I had just sat there, I would’ve been fine. I could still be helping Michael celebrate and I could be having fun. If I hadn’t fucking flirted with that bartender, if I just fucking thought for once in my fucking life—”
“Gob, don’t say that,” Seth said suddenly. “It’s not your fault this happened.”
“But if I hadn’t—”
“It’s your dad’s fault for being a complete asshole about this,” Seth said firmly, firmly enough that Gob really stopped talking. “It’s not your fault that your dad’s so hateful. He deserved that punch. Anyone who treats their kid like that deserves that and then some.”
“…I guess,” Gob muttered. He had to admit, “It felt good.”
"I bet it did. I know how badly he’s treated you,” Seth said softly. “And I’m proud of you.”
“Of course,” Seth said simply. “Gob…I know how much you’ve struggled with keeping this a secret. And, yeah, maybe there are better ways to come out, but you did it and you didn’t back down and I’m really proud of you. And now you’re free, you know? You don’t have to keep hiding from him. I know how that feels and…and it’s a great feeling.”
“…Yeah, that part’s nice,” Gob admitted.
Knowing the best way to comfort his friend, Seth added, “I’m sure Freddie’s proud, too.”
It took a moment, but Gob let out a soft laugh. “I guess he probably would be, huh?”
“Being honest with yourself and your family and punching a homophobe? Yeah, Freddie would love that.”
They both laughed softly for a moment. Then, Seth asked, “Is it okay if we keep talking about this tomorrow? I really want to help, but I’m exhausted.”
“Yeah…yeah, we can. J-just one more question,” Gob said. He had another sip of tequila to steady his nerves and then, with a deep breath, he said, “I…I know I shouldn’t hide, but…but I d-don’t—I c-can’t…” He took another deep breath and asked, “Do you still want a roommate in San Francisco?”
Seth was silent for a little while. Then Gob could practically hear his smile through the phone. “Yeah. Yeah, I’d really love that.”
…I'm a happy man
Don't it look that way?
I can dim the lights and sing you songs full of sad things
We can do the tango just for two…
Since it took Seth and Gob a while to find a place to move into, Seth basically started orientation and classes for grad school as soon as they got a bed. And Gob started applying for all the jobs he could, eventually taking on some bartending jobs at nights. He may have lied a bit on his résumé by saying he had previous professional bar experience, but, come on, if he could make mixed drinks that satisfied his mother, there was no way he could disappoint anyone in a run-of-the-mill bar. In fact, the only trouble he got in at work when he started was making his drinks too strong. Once he stopped using Bluth size servings, things went swimmingly.
But, with their opposing schedules, it seemed like Sundays were about their only time together. They usually tried to spend the day relaxing together, full A Night at the Opera style. Often times they'd play the song for that very reason, or Gob would play the piano part and they'd sing it. It was cheesy and they knew it, but it was still fun. Regardless, it was always nice to do something together after a long week, even if their apartment still had boxes of decorations and books and such to unpack. Because, again, opposing schedules meant they hadn't really found time to decorate.
Thankfully, however, Seth's school took a full week off for Thanksgiving. While Seth was sad to spend his first Thanksgiving away from his family, it meant he and Gob got to finally decorate their place and make it a real home.
"Okay, so, I have this idea," Gob said as they started making their decorating plans on the Sunday before the break started. "I have all these vinyls, right?"
"But I don't need to keep the covers on them. Like, okay, when I graduated high school, Lindsay and Michael got me the vinyl for the single of 'Bohemian Rhapsody', and I hung that up in my dorm room at Juilliard," Gob explained. "So, I was thinking, I could do that with the album covers now and store the albums themselves elsewhere." He gestured to the wall next to the keyboard he had set up. "I was thinking they could go there. And! I saw a sign that this church was getting rid of an upright for free! It needs tuning, but as long as we pay for moving, it's free! And then it could go there, too! It'll be, like, a wall of music."
Seth looked thoughtful. "I love the idea of the albums for sure," he said slowly. "The piano, though…can we afford moving it and getting it re-tuned?"
"Well, I'd be tuning it, and I'm not gonna charge myself?" Gob said, honestly confused at the question.
"…You can tune pianos?"
Gob nodded. "Yeah?"
"When did you learn that?"
"I don't know. It's not like it's hard," Gob said with a shrug.
Seth stared at him for a moment. He slowly smiled and said, "You know, the more I learn about you, the more you amaze me."
Gob wanted to play it smoothly, but he ended up grinning like an idiot at that line.
"Well, what do we do with the keyboard, then?" Seth asked. His eyes lit up and he exclaimed, "Oh! We could do the Freddie Mercury thing and make it our headboard! We don't have a headboard, anyways."
Gob's eyes lit up as well. "And then you go around and amaze me, too. That's the perfect idea."
"I thought so." Seth looked at the wall and then back at Gob. "You know, we have a whole week to put this together. And it's been a while since we've been home together at the same time, so if you wanted to take a break from planning our decorations…" Seth raised an eyebrow, sure that Gob would get where he was going.
Gob raised an eyebrow back and said, "I could use a break."
With that, Seth pushed Gob down on the couch and climbed over him, their lips soon pressing together. Maybe they weren't exactly lazing on a Sunday afternoon, but Gob preferred these kinds of Sunday afternoons, anyways.
"God, I love you," Gob panted when they pulled apart for air.
"I love you, too."
…I can serenade and gently play on your heart strings
Be your Valentino just for you
Let me welcome you ladies and gentlemen
I would like to say hello
Are you ready for some entertainment?
Are you ready for a show…
Most of the friends Seth made were, of course, from the conservatory. And, as Seth’s boyfriend, that meant Gob was kind of their friend, too. Gob actually got along well with a lot of them, not just because he could talk about music and stuff with them, but because, well, he was Gob. He was charming and fun and people naturally gravitated towards him, especially when partying was involved.
During Seth’s second year at the conservatory, Gob was finally able to actually unleash his partying self a bit more. He had started working as a stripper which, while not Seth’s favorite thing in the world, made him a lot more money than bartending ever did. There were a lot of tips that came his way since he was, after all, a natural showman. He’d just channel Freddie up on that stage and make massive tips.
But, anyways, that job meant he had to work less hours to make the same amount of money. And while he was still working mostly nights, he still had some time off where he could just hang out with Seth and/or his friends.
One night during one of the conservatory’s breaks, Seth and Gob went out with some of Seth’s/their friends to a local karaoke bar that apparently had some great drinks. At first, Gob assumed the bar would just use some machine or something. But then he saw a live pianist with a book of standards and he saw some people who brought sheet music and his eyes widened. He had a job like that back home, but this place was a lot classier with a tip jar included and everything.
“I need a job here,” Gob told Seth immediately.
Seth, who, again, was definitely not into Gob working as a stripper, thought that was a great idea. “You should ask if there’s an opening.”
Gob shook his head. “Nah. I’m not gonna ask. I’m gonna get it.”
After a few shots for extra confidence, Gob went up to the stage. He looked at the pianist and gestured for him to move. “I accompany myself,” he said, maybe a bit disdainfully, and definitely with a cocky attitude. The pianist raised an eyebrow at him and Gob said, “Come on, go take a break. You’ve been playing long enough.”
Finally, the guy got up and Gob took his place, adjusting his chair and the mic he had set up. “Hey. My name’s Gob,” he said as a test. “And I’m not doing ‘Piano Man’, so don’t even think that—unless I get about five more tequila shots in me.”
He played a few chords just to settle himself and then, after a moment of thought, started to sing and play, in a lower key that better suited his range, “Tonight I’m gonna have myself a real good time, I feel alive…”
Hey, Lindsay and Michael may have forbidden him to so much as play the recording of that ever since his party meltdown, but what they didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them.
And, no, Gob knew his voice wasn’t anywhere up to Freddie’s standard, and he didn’t have a full band to support him, but he gave it his all. He clapped his right hand on the keyboard during the chanting section and then went on to play the guitar solo with his right hand. And, just to make it even more virtuosic, he added in a dramatic key change with a glissando leading into the final chorus.
After he was done, he got a lot of applause, especially from Seth and his friends. He winked at the audience and, before anyone could stop him (pun not intended), he said into the mic, “If anyone wants to sing something they don’t have music for that isn’t in this book, as long as I’ve heard it, I can play it by ear. Just sayin’.” He winked again before getting off stage, giving the usual pianist a grin as he did so.
That night, a few strangers came up to him and asked him to accompany them on songs they didn’t have music for, and Gob even persuaded some of Seth's/his friends to sing. He even got Seth to sing “Seven Seas of Rhye”, just so Gob could show himself playing something a bit more off the beaten path.
It didn’t take much longer for the manager of the bar to take his phone number and hand Gob a business card. As Gob left with Seth and his friends later, he brandished the business card and said, “And that’s how you get a job; no one can resist a Queen classic.”
“Or a showman up to Freddie’s level,” Seth said, raising an eyebrow at Gob and smirking in a flirtatious manner.
Gob looked back at him with intrigue. “Now you just need to compare me to Liszt and you will get so lucky when we get home.”
In a quieter voice, Seth teased, “Like I’m not getting lucky no matter what.”
Okay, he had a point.
…Gonna rock gonna roll you
Get you dancing in the aisles
Jazz and a razzmatazz you
With a little bit of style
Now you tell me you’re leaving
And I just can’t believe it’s true…
It seemed like only yesterday that Gob was putting up all his album covers for the first time. It seemed like the last four years had gone by so quickly, like a blink of an eye. So, how come if time could go so quickly back then, why did things have to go so slowly now that he was packing up the last of his belongings?
Gob finally detached his vinyl cover of Innuendo and put the record back in its sleeve. Even though the vinyl was a newer addition to his collection, just the picture over the cover took him back to nearly five years earlier. He thought back on how heartbroken he felt listening to that album the day Freddie had died, how he felt sick to his stomach and like the world was bleak and over as "The Show Must Go On" played. He was sure nothing would hurt more than that day.
Well, as usual, he had been proven wrong.
Gob carefully stored it in his box and taped it shut. He wrote his name but with Michael and Tracey's address underneath it. That was one of a few things he'd ship to himself; he already had all his copies of A Night at the Opera with him, and that one had the song he kept hearing in his head since all the conversations came to an end.
Finally, Gob stood up and looked over at Seth. He had no idea what to say. He wasn't sure there was anything left to be said, not after all the talking they had done for the last few weeks.
"So…so I'll mail you," Gob said slowly. "You know, my half of the rent. I can afford that for…for a couple of months."
Seth nodded. "Yeah. Yeah. Just let me know your…your new phone number, you know, whenever you get to Vegas. So I can tell you if I find someone willing to, you know, sleep in the living room before that. Or if I find a new place."
"Yeah. Of course." Gob added, "And, you know, I'll tell Michael and Tracey and Lindsay hello from you."
"Yeah…yeah, thanks," Seth said quietly. "I'm not sure they'll really want to hear from me, though."
"They will," Gob said. "They're going to miss you…maybe not as much as I'm going to."
"I'll miss them, too. Definitely not as much as I'm going to miss you, though," Seth replied.
"…It was a good run."
"It really was," Seth agreed.
Both of them looked anywhere but each other, both of them trying not to cry yet again. There had been a lot of that. A lot of talking, a lot of crying, a lot of final kisses and touches and thrusts and everything they could try to get out of each other since they reached their end.
Finally, Gob shook his head. "This is…this is stupid. Getting upset. It's not like we'll never see each other again."
"Right. It'll just be different," Seth said.
Seth looked around his apartment. Without the albums up and some of the pictures Gob had, it looked so…empty. But he figured it was going to feel empty regardless, what with one person leaving. What with Gob leaving, someone so full of life and energy, someone so over-the-top and larger-than-life. He really did have that Freddie Mercury trait if nothing else.
"You sure you don't want the Freddie print?" Seth asked. It was something he had gotten Gob as a birthday present a couple years back, a gift he knew Gob cherished.
Gob shook his head. "It won't travel well. And, besides, you should have something…something to remember me by."
"Like I could ever forget you," Seth said with a watery laugh. Gob laughed as well, nodding in agreement.
After another moment of silence, Gob slowly said, "…You know, I read that…that Freddie wrote 'Love of My Life' for Mary Austin." Seth nodded; he had read that as well. After all, he and Gob were on the same level of Queen knowledge for the most part. "And, you know, he was her child's godfather. And, like, the platonic love of his life. They were…they were always there for each other…"
Gob trailed off, but Seth knew what he was talking about. Of course he did.
"…I'd be honored to be your Mary Austin some day," Seth said. He knew it couldn't happen right then. As good of a break-up as it was, he was still hurt, still torn up, still wanting to both wrap his arms around Gob and push him away before he hurt him even more. But one day, the pain would hopefully fade away and they could be just friends.
"I'd like that," Gob said softly.
Finally, Gob looked at the time and sighed to himself. "I have a Greyhound to catch."
"Right." Seth looked down at the packages Gob had addressed to Tracey and Michael's and said, "I'll get these in the mail to you. Hopefully the holidays won't slow it down too much."
"Yeah. Hopefully." He wiped his eyes and put on his jacket. Trying to be lighthearted, he said, "Soon I can pack up this jacket and unpack my flip-flops, huh?"
Seth tried to laugh. "Yeah, that'll be perfect for you."
The two of them looked at each other for a long while. Eventually, Gob walked over and, needing to do it one last time, he cupped Seth's face in his hands and kissed him on the lips. It still felt as electric as the first time, enough that he almost didn't pull away.
But, somehow, he did. He slung his backpack on his shoulder and grabbed his large suitcase as well. "I'll see you around, Evans."
"See you around, California."
Somehow Gob managed to stop himself from crying again until he was on his bus down to Newport Beach, "Love of My Life" blasting on the headphones of his walkman. Apparently that was really going to be their song.
…Oh, you made me love you
Don’t tell me that we’re through
I can see it in your stars
Life is so exciting,
Acting so bizarre
Your world is so inviting…
"I'm so excited to have you on the east coast," Lindsay gushed.
"Well, I always knew I'd end up back out here someday," Gob said. Really, he knew he was a Californian deep down, but having a whole continent between him and his dad was great. Not to mention there were even more opportunities in New York. "I'm already in talks with an agent up in the city and everything."
"That's great!" Lindsay said. "Look at you, living the artist lifestyle. Studio apartment and everything."
Gob raised an eyebrow. "Wow. You're starting to sound a bit like mom there, Linds."
Lindsay gasped. "I do not sound like her! I was serious! I think it's cool that you're rocking this lifestyle. I totally wish I could, too."
"Sure," Gob said with a snort. He knew his sister loved the big, fancy house she had in Boston. Gob loved the big, fancy house, which was why he was more than willing to spend Thanksgiving with her. Hell, he wouldn't mind a big, fancy house, either; he was a Bluth, after all. But he was happy to have his own place that was somewhat affordable in a city that was so much more gentrified than it had been when he first tried living there. After about two years since he left San Francisco, it seemed like things were finally working out for him.
And, okay, New York City was much too uptight and much too cold in the winter for his taste, but at least he had a family member close by again. Actually, he had two close by, so he could actually get to know his niece better, too. And Tobias, technically. But, thankfully, Tobias was out of town for some conference or something for the holiday, so it was just his sister and his niece for that visit.
He was sure his brother-in-law wasn't gay, but he knew Lindsay wondered if he was. He felt like he couldn't be himself around Tobias for that reason, which just made him uncomfortable and tense around the guy, so he was more than happy for the times he was gone.
"So. Mae," Gob started.
"Maeby," his niece corrected.
Gob looked at his sister and Lindsay shrugged. "It's a nickname she came up with; she'll probably outgrow it someday."
Her daughter glared, honestly looking much more intimidating than a six year old should. "I won't!"
While Lindsay smiled as if to humor her, Gob said, "You never know, Linds. I never outgrew Gob. I still prefer going by that, even if my programs say 'George'."
Maeby grinned. "I like your name, Uncle Gob. Your name is cool."
"Well, I like your name, too, Maeby," Gob said. Maeby grinned, showing off a missing front tooth. She really was adorable somehow, despite her father being her father. And despite the awful birth announcement her parents had chosen.
"So, Maeby, I doubt you remember, but years ago, I gave you your first piano lesson. And now that I'm in the area, I think we should start working on that again. What do you say?"
Maeby grinned even wider. "Yeah! I wanna play like you!"
"I've told her how good you are, like how you can play most anything by ear," Lindsay said with a proud smile. As annoying as it could be, it was impressive that he could play so well by ear or pick up instruments so easily, and she was immensely proud of him for finding that ability.
"It's true," Gob said, much to his niece's delight.
"Can you play something for us?" Maeby asked eagerly.
After dinner, Gob did just that on the baby grand Lindsay had in her living room. Maeby watched with wide eyes as he played a fancy song she had never heard before. "What was that song?"
"That was a piece by Franz Liszt—"
"Typical," Lindsay said with a small laugh.
Gob ignored her. "He wrote nineteen Hungarian Rhapsodies, since he was Hungarian. That was 'Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C-sharp minor', which is the most famous of them all."
"Ohh," Maeby said, tilting her head. Then she looked at her mom. "Isn't that what you said your favorite song was, mom? But that one had words, too."
"That song is 'Bohemian Rhapsody', not Hungarian," Lindsay said. She looked at Gob and said, "I had to explain the classics to her, you know."
"I'm so proud," Gob said honestly. He looked down at his niece and said, "Here, come sit with me." Maeby eagerly jumped up on the piano bench and Gob settled her on his lap. "Okay, so the song your mom loves is one of the most famous songs of all time and it also has piano in it." Gob played the famous piano part for Maeby and she gasped excitedly; she could recognize that part.
"Can you teach me that?"
Gob hesitated. There was no way her hands were big enough to play all of it. But, after a moment, he said, "How about we play it together?"
Slowly, Gob played the low note in the left hand and then moved her right hand to the correct higher notes he'd normally play on the left hand, just for the first few measures. After he did that a few times, she started to be able to play that part herself.
"Way to go, Maebs!" Gob told her, offering her a high five. "We'll make a Clara Schumann of you yet."
While Maeby had no idea what that meant, she knew it was obviously something good. She beamed at her uncle and Gob beamed back. Lindsay beamed as well; it really was nice having her brother near her again.
After they put Maeby to bed, Lindsay and Gob sat in the living room with a bottle of wine. "You're seriously so good with kids," Lindsay said with a sigh and a shake of her head. "Are you sure you don't want them?"
"I'm sure," Gob said. "I love doing the fun stuff like that with them, but I can't imagine cleaning them or watching them all the time or having to discipline them or anything." He really didn't see the appeal of having children outside of being an uncle.
"I'm just saying, if Seth saw what I did, he'd be swooning all over again," Lindsay said, neither of the two Bluths aware that Maeby had crept out of her bed and was listening in.
"Linds…" Gob said with a sigh. "You know I wish he was the Jim to my Freddie, but he's not." After a sip of wine, he added, "I mean, don't get me wrong, we sleepover at each other's place every time we see each other, but…it's just not going to happen. I'm not changing my mind and he's not changing his."
"I know. I just wish you two could work it out. You were both so happy," Lindsay said.
"Yeah. Well…sometimes things don't work out," Gob said with a simple shrug.
…Playing really cool
And looking so mysterious
Your every day is full of sunshine
But into every life a little rain must fall.
It's so easy now
'Cause you got friends you can trust…
“She’s adorable,” Gob said.
“Isn’t she?” Seth said softly. Though his daughter wasn’t asleep, it felt weird to speak too loudly around her, even when she was sitting up by herself and playing the toy piano Gob had gotten her.
It had already been a great first meeting. Just like Seth suspected, Gob was great with Aria, even though she was just a baby. His energetic nature and, well, childlike enthusiasm and curiosity always seemed like a perfect fit for having kids of his own. It was why he had been surprised so many years ago when Gob had insisted he didn’t want them.
Then again, he wasn’t sure Gob would be the best at any of the less-so-fun sides of parenting. He was prone to pouting and throwing the occasional tantrum himself, after all.
After watching her play on the toy piano for a while, Seth eventually took Aria back into his arms. "She has to have a nap soon," he explained. "We need to wind her down."
Gob said, “Oh, wait! One more thing!” He popped up and ran to the room he was staying in while he visited. When he came back, Seth didn’t hold back a groan.
“I really hoped after that summer we were done with the ukulele,” Seth said. One summer during their relationship, Gob would not. stop. playing. it. And Seth loved the guy and was definitely in love with him back then, but, god, if he didn’t feel like murdering him during those few months. He swore he still had some PTSD like reactions to hearing that Hawaiian version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.
“Come on!” Gob whined. “I’ve been practicing something for her. You’ll like it! It works as a lullaby!”
Seth had his suspicions, but, after a moment, he sighed and nodded. He rocked Aria a little as Gob tuned the ukulele, and then, after clearing his throat, Gob started to strum and sing soft Ahs to a song Seth almost instantly recognized. Gob had to play it a bit slower than if he tried to play and sing it on the piano, but it was still instantly recognizable, and Seth smiled as he kept rocking Aria and Gob started the first verse.
Of course, Seth couldn't stop himself from lightly singing the chorus along with Gob. "Don't you hear my call though you're many years away? Don't you hear me calling you? Write your letters in the sand for the day I take your hand in the land that our grandchildren knew…"
By the time they finished singing, Aria had indeed drifted off to sleep. Seth gently got up and put her in her crib before joining Gob back out in the living room. Christopher, Seth's partner, was also back out there, shaking his head just a little. "That's such a sad song to play on ukulele. And to use as a lullaby," Christopher said.
"Not all lullabies have to be happy, Christopher," Gob said. He always replied to Christopher in that manner, even though Seth knew he didn't hate the man like he tried to claim.
"He has a point," Seth told Christopher with a shrug. "Besides, it's not like she knows what any of those words mean; she just hears the pretty melody."
"Exactly! I didn't realize how sad it was until I was, like, eighteen or something. Maybe older."
"I'm just amazed you chose a Brain-led song of all the ones possible," Seth said.
"Well, I was channeling the live versions," Gob said with a slight laugh.
"Oh, of course."
Christopher looked confused and Gob rolled his eyes. "Have you really gotten with someone who doesn't know that Freddie sang the live version of ''39'?" Gob asked. "I'm disappointed, Evans."
"He knows plenty about Queen and he loves them," Seth said calmly. "And, don't worry, he's slowly learning more. He'll be up to speed soon." Gob nodded, even as he gave Christopher a suspicious look. "Trust me; I'd never be with someone who didn't love Queen. But that was Aria's first introduction to Queen."
For a moment, Gob was incredulous. But, after thinking about it, he smiled and nodded. "It seems right that, as the Freddie Mercury to her Mary Austin's son, I was the one to introduce her to it. Good call."
"Why do you think we waited?" Christopher asked. Gob looked back over at him and, after a moment of consideration, he gave him a nod. Maybe the guy wasn't so bad after all.
…Friends will be friends
When you're in need of love they give you care and attention
Oh, oh children of the land
Quicken to the new life
Take my hand…
When Gob’s cell phone rang, he smiled at the caller ID that read Agent Anna. Ever since he switched over to her a few years back, he had been growing quite a name for himself, and she seemed to always be calling with good news. He eagerly answered the phone with a quick, “Hey, Anna.”
“Hey, Gob! Nice to hear that you’re awake,” Anna said.
“I get up at normal times occasionally,” Gob responded.
“Sure,” Anna teased. “Anyways, how’s my favorite client doing?”
Gob knew that while it sounded like her just sucking up, he actually was her favorite client, so he couldn’t stop himself from grinning. “Doing good. Even better now that I’m hearing from you,” he said. “I just found out you can buy, like, little miniature songs on your phone and make it so your phone makes that noise when people call! Did you know about that?”
“Yes, I knew about that,” Anna said. But apparently she was in full business mode, since she quickly continued, “Anyways, I wanted to tell you about this new gig I’m working on for you for your official West Coast Debut.”
“Wait, did you secure the LA Phil already?” Gob asked excitedly. Anna had slowly been working on getting him in for a performance there, which would be the biggest jump start his career could ever get.
Anna sighed. “Not yet, Gob. That one’s going to take some time.”
Gob sighed as well but nodded. Then he remembered, oh, phone. “Okay. So, what’s this other gig?”
“Well, this place reached out to me—well, reached out to you, but through me—since they really want you there. They want to do Stravinsky’s Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments but they also want you to do your own set of whatever you want for the first half.”
“Wow,” Gob said. Normally only the big names got concerts like that, something with a whole ensemble and a full recital. “That’s huge. Hell, yeah, I’ll do that.”
"I thought you’d be interested,” Anna said, her voice a little hesitant. “But I wanted to run the venue by you first.”
There was a pause and, for a moment, Gob thought his cell phone might have dropped the call. Finally, Anna said, “They’re offering this as a Homecoming concert. It’s from Newport Beach.”
“Oh.” Gob really had no idea what to say. On one hand, it’d be cool to play for the orchestra he grew up watching. On the other hand, going home for that meant having to see his dad. Michael always tried to make them see each other in hopes that they’d get along, so he was sure he wouldn’t be able to avoid him.
“Why don’t you think on it, okay?” Anna suggested. “I’ll call you back in a few hours and we can discuss it some more.”
Gob agreed and they ended the call. He sighed and sat down on the couch of his studio apartment, kicking his feet up on one of the arms as he thought. He tried to think over the idea, but he found it too eerily quiet in his place to really do so.
So, of course, he had to put on the music he thought to best: Queen’s A Night at the Opera. It was his favorite album of all time, after all, and it always inspired him in one way or another.
As it played on his record player, Gob laid back down on the couch with the white, stuffed dove Lindsay had given him years ago in his hands. He ran his hand over its head as he tried to think over his options. He hadn’t been home in quite a while; nowadays he only went home when Lindsay and her family did, and for whatever reason, Lindsay hadn’t even spoken to Michael in months. It probably had something to do with Tobias losing his job.
Well, for a big Homecoming concert, Lindsay would probably make the trip down, right? Maeby would come, too, and she was always so much fun to perform for. And, hey, maybe Tobias would stay in Boston. One could dream.
And Gob always missed California. He missed the constant sun, the dry air, the light fabrics, and, god, open-toe shoes. While he had managed to acquire loafers with Gs on them to go with his belt, he hated wearing loafers and dress shoes. It made him feel claustrophobic or something. He missed the beach and the Pacific Ocean and being able to just sit in the sand and watch the sunset after a long day. He missed the California lifestyle in general. It was why Seth still called him “California”, after all.
And, of course, Gob missed Michael. He talked to Michael a lot, but it felt harder to talk to him just over the phone after Tracey’s death. And Gob wanted to get to know his nephew more, too.
Of course, George Michael didn’t really know the real him. That was the problem. That was why Gob didn’t like going home. Even being within fifty feet of his father turned him to this tense, agitated, depressed person he didn’t want to be, a person he really wasn’t. That didn’t even get into the whole mess of how George Michael most definitely didn’t know he was gay—neither did Maeby or Buster or probably even Tobias, that dumbass.
Gob sighed and, after flipping the record over, flipped over himself to his stomach. His eyes landed on his wall of album covers. Along the silly ones and the sprinkling of Springsteen and Billy Joel there was, of course, almost every Queen album put onto vinyl. Gob’s eyes scanned through all of them a few times, eventually stopping on the cover for Queen II. He always loved that cover so much. Not only did the pose go on to be the famous one from the “Bohemian Rhapsody” video, but it was so dramatic. for a and Brian and Roger were all staring, grim-faced into the camera. But Freddie was leaning back, his arms crossed over his chest, rings on his fingers. Honestly, with the black clothing and hair and the long fingers, he reminded Gob of some sort of Paganini or something.
Gob liked to think of Freddie as more of a Liszt figure than Paganini, but he figured that also worked since Paganini inspired Liszt and all.
Whatever. The point was, Freddie leaned into that dramatic shit. He always did. He never backed down, even when people found him controversial, even when MTV got all pissy about him and his bandmates doing drag for a music video, even when he got criticized for being over-the-top. Freddie owned who he was. Freddie wouldn’t back down from a challenge.
When Anna called an hour later, Gob simply told her, “Let’s do it.”
…Fly and find the new green bough
Return like the white dove!
Joyful the sound, the word goes around
From father to son, to son…
Gob wasn’t really sure what to say anymore. It was hard to come up with conversation topics when you first met someone, but it was even harder when the person you were meeting was your own son you only just found out about less than a week ago.
It was weird, because Gob could sorta see the similarities between him and Steve. And not just looks-wise, either, but Steve seemed to have that easy-going nature Gob normally had—you know, when he wasn’t trying to understand how in the hell he was supposed to be a father all of a sudden. He definitely had the same sort of charm and popularity, apparently, seeing as he was president of his school like Gob had been and a lady killer, again, like Gob had been. But Steve was a jock, which Gob almost sort of was at one point, until life took another turn for him. Steve didn’t play an instrument. He wasn’t sure what else they could really talk about.
Finally, Gob lamely said, “Steve’s a cool name. I mean, my name’s just letters, you know. G-O-B. Gob.”
“Yeah. George Oscar Bluth II. That’s my full name,” Gob said. “But Steve goes well with your mom’s and everything.”
“…Oh, yeah, they rhyme. That's pretty cool,” Steve said, smiling.
“Right.” After a minute, Gob laughed a little and said, “Plus, Steve is the name of the guy in one of my favorite songs.” At Steve’s blank look, Gob half-sang, “Steve walks warily down the street with the brim pulled way down low.” Steve still didn’t seem to know what he was talking about and Gob said, “It’s ‘Another One Bites the Dust’. By Queen.” Surely kids Steve's age knew about Queen, right?
“Ohh,” Steve said. He smiled in recognition and said, “Yeah, I’ve heard that song before.”
“Queen’s, like, my all-time favorite band,” Gob said.
“Yeah, they’re pretty cool,” Steve agreed. “I don’t really know that many songs by them, though.”
Seconds later, Gob was running up the stairs and past Eve in a flash. Eve looked confused and concerned; she was certain for a moment Gob was literally running away from his son. But less than a minute later, once Steve came up from the basement looking confused and concerned himself, Gob was back inside with a stack of CDs in his hands.
“I always have at least three of their albums in my car at all times,” Gob said seriously. “Well, I’ve done that every time I’ve owned a car.” He looked through the albums he had and then back at Steve. “You have a CD player, right? No son of mine is going on without hearing the entirety of A Night at the Opera and Jazz. They’re my two favorites.”
Steve looked confused for a second, but then, realizing Gob had called him his son, he burst into a smile and nodded. Eve watched as Steve took him into the living room to play the CDs and smiled herself. Her son was so happy she didn’t even mind that Gob was giving a running commentary on every single track he played.
…Kings will be crowned, the word goes around
From father to son, to son
This thing called love
I just can't handle it
This thing called love
I must get round to it
I ain't ready
Crazy little thing called love…
One day he was hanging out at Tony’s place, doing his best to act casual around his friend. You know, no need to make it obvious that he was completely and totally in love with the guy, even though he was.
But, okay, that was hard to fucking do when, after the subject of Tony’s old band came up, Tony brought out his guitar. Gob was in love with the guy enough to find him sexy just when he fucking played the violin; how was it fair that Tony was volunteering to play guitar for him?
“So, what am I gonna hear?” Gob asked. “Some Bowie? Zeppelin? What’s in your arsenal?”
Tony laughed. “I mean, I could play ‘Stairway’, obviously, but I feel like doing that would betray my love of Wayne’s World too much.”
“Fair point,” Gob said. “God, I love that movie.”
“It’s the best, right?” Tony strummed a few chords on his guitar and adjusted a few strings to tune them better. "Well, what do you want to hear?"
"Whatever you want," Gob said quickly. After a moment, he added, "I mean, I'll never say no to a Queen song."
Tony let out a small laugh. "We did cover one song by them, but I doubt it's your favorite."
"Hey, I love Hot Space; there's no such thing as a bad Queen song to me."
"Okaaaaay," Tony said, "But don't say I didn't warn you."
As soon as he played the riff, Gob laughed and brought his hands to his face. "Okay, you were right," he laughed as Tony kept playing. He actually did like the song, because it was catchy and irresistible, but it was definitely far from his favorite.
"I tired to warn you!" Tony laughed as he kept playing. "Now you have to hear the whole thing since you didn't listen to me!" After a moment he added, "Come on, sing with me!"
"I don't want to sing by myself!"
"It won't make you any less gay, come on!"
Gob rolled his eyes, but, again, it was catchy. So, when the chorus came up, he reluctantly but loudly sang, "Ah, won't you take me home tonight? Ah, down beside your red fire light! Ah, and you give it all you got, fat bottomed girls you make the rocking world go round. Fat bottomed girls you make the rocking world go round!"
Fucking Brian May writing a song that just seemed to double down on Tony's straight-ness.
"Sorry," Tony said, still laughing a little once he finished. "It's the only Queen song I know from memory." He took off his guitar and handed it to Gob, causing Gob to raise an eyebrow. "I assume you know something, too."
Gob would never claim to be amazing at guitar—okay, no, that was a fucking lie. He’d definitely claim to be really good at it because, well, he was definitely better than average. Definitely better than Michael, not that that was saying much, but, anyways, he knew his real strength was in piano over anything else. Still, he picked up instruments easily, and whenever he had access to guitar, he could play simple chords if given a lead sheet. If not, he always had a standby of one piece he had memorized.
So, after a moment, Gob took the guitar and said, "I'm really better at ukulele—tenor, obviously, because soprano is much too small for my hands. And the baritone one is weird, I don't get it." He shrugged and put the strap around his shoulder. "I've taught myself exactly one thing on guitar. One. Because it's easy."
After taking a moment to review the fingerings in his mind, Gob started on the song and Tony laughed. Of course it was "Crazy Little Thing Called Love". He knew Freddie wrote it and he wasn't the best guitarist ever.
Gob only played one verse before stopping. "Aw, you were doing a good job; why end there?" Tony asked.
"It hurts my fingers," Gob mumbled. Plus, you know, playing a love song in front of the guy you were in love with wasn't exactly what he wanted to be doing with his night.
"Fair," Tony said, taking the guitar back. "I guess you don't really get the same kind of calluses string players get."
"Nope," Gob said waving his fingers for proof. "Maybe you should compare war injuries with Anna sometimes. She did pointe so apparently her feet are all fucked up." After a moment he shrugged and said, "That's what she says; I've never seen them. I think Michael finally has now, so I guess that's a big deal for them since it's an item on her checklist."
"I think pointe calluses are a bit different," Tony said. Still, he laid his left hand out and said, "So, what do you think? Ugly?"
Gob, he maybe sorta needed some glasses, took Tony's hand and brought it closer to his face. "These aren't so bad," Gob said. After a moment, unable to stop himself, he added, "Calluses are pretty sexy. I mean, I always liked when Seth used his left hand to finger me."
The room suddenly got very quiet as Gob realized what he had actually just said in front of Tony. He slowly lowered Tony's hand and said, "…Yeah you don't wanna hear that."
"…It's fine," Tony said as he pulled his hand back. "I mean…good to know, I guess?" He quickly added, "Because I guess that means Sally maybe likes it, too."
Gob nodded, doing his best not to tense his jaw. "Right. Sally's a lucky girl."
…I gotta be cool, relax, get hip
Get on my tracks
Take a back seat, hitch-hike
And take a long ride on my motorbike
Until I'm ready
Crazy little thing called love
Music is playing in the darkness
And a lantern goes swinging by…
"You're so much fun to dance with," Gob murmured, resting his chin on Tony's head. He grinned to himself and said, "My tiny dancer."
"Do you want me to leave?" Tony asked, already jokingly pulling away.
"No!" Gob said, pulling Tony in tighter. "Come on, I was just teasing."
"Yeah, yeah," Tony huffed, but he let Gob hold him tightly. He wasn't about to leave his boyfriend's birthday party just because he made a dumb height joke.
"I really do love dancing with you, though," Gob said. It was weird doing a slow dance with anyone, let alone Tony with all their weird, confused history. It was still hard to believe they were dating after everything they'd been through, honestly. But Gob was loving every minute of it. "I've never cared about slow dancing, but you make it fun."
"Yeah? Same here." After a beat, Tony added, "I love you, you know."
"I love you, too," Gob said, smiling even brighter. He loved when Tony said that.
"Just wanted to make sure you knew," Tony said. Gob made a content noise and the two kept dancing.
"…Slow dancing's kinda weird, don't you think? It's, like, just an extended hug."
"True," Tony said, "but it's also kinda weird to slow dance to 'Bohemian Rhapsody'."
"Shhh," Gob hushed. "We'll pick things up when Freddie does."
"I know. We always do whatever Freddie does," Tony teased, pulling back to look into Gob's eyes.
Despite himself, Gob's heart skipped a beat as he looked into his boyfriend's eyes. God, he loved him. "Hey, following Freddie's advice has never steered me wrong before."
My heart’s jittering
Just you and I
Is this the real life?…
Gob wasn’t a good sleeper and everyone knew that. Tony definitely got to know that fact first hand over the years. Thankfully, Gob had learned to play on his keyboard with headphones in when he woke up before Tony or was still up when Tony went to bed, but even years into their relationship, Gob hadn’t learned to shut up when Tony was trying to sleep or to not wake him up in the middle of the night unless it was an emergency.
It was why when Gob shook him awake one night, Tony immediately said, “Gob, go the fuck to sleep.” He didn’t even have to see what time it was to know it was ridiculously late. Or early. Whatever.
“You say I can wake you up if it’s an emergency and it is,” Gob claimed, a slight whine to his voice.
Maybe some people would’ve been worried by that, but last time Gob had declared it was an emergency, the emergency was that they were almost out of cat food. Almost. As in they still had enough to last the night.
Come to think of it, the cats would often try to wake up Tony over the same sort of “emergencies”.
Anyways, Tony started by asking, “Is someone we know in the hospital or dead?”
"Is there a fire or natural disaster nearby?”
“Are we being robbed?”
“Then it’s not an emergency,” Tony said, snuggling back into his pillow. “Now go to sleep.”
“Okay, it’s not an emergency, but it’s exciting!” Gob said. Tony didn’t respond, so Gob poked him in the side. “Tony! Tony! Toooonyyyyyy!” After a few more pokes and whines of his name, Tony finally rolled back over to face Gob and opened his eyes. Gob had his phone out and had obviously been scrolling through some social media site or another; it was about the only thing he knew how to do on that phone besides texting and making calls. Tony hated to admit it, but it was sweet seeing him with his cute little reading glasses on his face excited face, even if it was way too late to deal with him. Or early. Whatever.
“Fine. What is it?”
“They’re making a Queen movie!”
Tony blinked a few times. Yes, he loved Queen, and almost to the extent that Gob did. There was a reason their wedding had so many Queen songs involved, and it wasn't just because of Gob. But he couldn’t get excited about a movie that, one, hadn’t even been made yet and, two, he was told about in the middle of the night. But Gob was looking at him expectantly and, okay, Tony loved the guy.
“That’s great, babe,” Tony said before closing his eyes again. “Now go to sleep.”
Of course, Gob didn’t listen to that. He just huffed and grumbled something or another before going into his contacts to call a certain number.
After a couple of rings, a voice answered with, “California, don’t you have a husband you can wake up at four in the morning?”
Gob had the volume up loud enough that Tony could hear and he called back, “He already did!” He kicked Gob and said, “Go to the living room if you wanna talk to Seth.”
“He just doesn’t get it, Seth,” Gob grumbled as he did what was told and went to the living room.
“What doesn’t he get? If this is another call about the reboot of Queer Eye, I swear to god—”
“They’re making a Queen movie!”
There was a small pause on the phone. “…Really?”
“Yeah! I saw an article and I actually read it and everything! They’ve casted it and they actually got, like, a not-white dude to play Freddie and it’s gonna focus on him and apparently Mary’s a big part of it, too! So, obviously we’re seeing it together as soon as it comes out and I needed you to know that.”
There was another pause and then suddenly he heard Seth telling his husband to wake up. Christopher groggily asked, “Wha? What’s the matter?”
“Christopher, they’re making a Freddie Mercury biopic!”
After another pause, Gob heard Christopher say, “Jesus fucking Christ, Seth, go back to bed.”
Gob sighed. “Why don’t our husbands understand?”
“No one ever does,” Seth sighed back.
…Is this just fantasy?
Listen all you people, come gather round
I gotta get me a game plan, gotta shake you to the ground
Just give me what I know is mine,
People do you hear me, just give me the sign…
Normally whenever Tony and Gob had a double date with Seth and Christopher, the latter couple had to be the “adults”. While Seth was always up for goofing around with Gob when they hung out, it was normally Tony and Gob who wanted to order more drinks or stay out later or came up with plans to try to steal pies even though they were all adults and had more than enough money to pay for a few fucking pies, thank you very much.
But it was clear within seconds of meeting each other at the movie theater that Tony and Christopher were going to have to be the calm ones that time around. It probably should've been obvious ever since the movie had been announced. Not only had they both been woken up by their husbands to get told the news, but Gob and Seth had been constantly sending each other updates about the project. When the teaser trailer came out, the two of them immediately called to gush over the chills they got, and they both insisted the official trailer deserved an Oscar for the sound mixing alone. Hell, the fact that Tony and Gob actually had to fly up to San Francisco just so they could all see it together was proof enough that Tony and Christopher were going to be the responsible parties that night. The two of them made eye contact as their husbands eagerly talked about everything they wanted to happen in the movie and, after a moment, they both laughed.
“You know, I love Queen,” Tony told Christopher, “But these two take it to another level.”
“I know. It's the same thing for me,” Christopher agreed.
“I had to stop Gob from dressing up as Freddie to go see this,” Tony said, both Seth and Gob blissfully unaware that their husbands were talking about them. “I’m still not convinced he left the fake mustache at home.”
“I think the only reason Seth didn't try was because he thought Gob might be angry if he tried to be Freddie instead of him.” Tony laughed a little at that. Christopher continued, “You know, I’ve read some reviews and, honestly, I’m worried they’re going to hate it."
“Yeah. People are saying they tamed down his sexuality or that they put it in a bad light or something. And they changed some facts and twisted around timelines and stuff.” Christopher looked warily over at Seth and Gob before looking back at Tony. “I tried telling Seth that, but he insisted he’d love it anyways.”
“Yeah, I don’t think Gob will listen to anything negative until he sees it,” Tony said. “But I did tell him if he gets too emotional, I will pretend I don’t know him and move to a different seat.”
Christopher nodded, “Same promise here.”
The two of them got in the concessions line, their husbands soon joining them. "Look, I know you've claimed Freddie and I'm Mary and Tony's Jim and all of that, but who do you think we'd be if the four of us were all just the members of Queen?" After a beat he said, "I think you're probably the closest to Freddie, still."
"Thank you," Gob said. But he admitted, "Tony could fit that well, too…so, if I'm Freddie, I guess he's Roger. That's the next most dramatic one."
"Fair," Seth said.
Gob smirked and added, "Roger's also the next sexiest one." Tony gave him a smile at that; at least his husband knew how to suck up to him.
Still, Tony had to clarify, "I wouldn't have sex with a car, though."
Both Gob and Seth laughed loudly at that and Tony offered Christopher a shrug. He knew the kind of jokes that got big Queen fans going.
"I think you're Brian," Gob told Seth. "If you weren't Mary Austin in my full life Queen world, you'd be Brian in mine. You're smart, responsible, and you'd totally come up with a way to write a song that got a whole crowd involved."
Seth nodded. "I'm flattered." He looked at his husband and said, "I guess that makes Christopher Deacy, then."
"It's fitting," Gob said. "Sarcastic, analytical, and a family man."
"You're so right," Seth said. He also added, "With a goofy side not many people get to see."
"Oooo, a goofy side? Christopher?" Gob asked, raising an eyebrow with a grin. "Where's this side of you been hiding for so long?" Christopher just rolled his eyes and went up to order some popcorn.
"Like I said, not many people get to see it," Seth said with a shrug.
Soon they were in the theater, Gob and Seth in the middle with their husbands on either side of them. Honestly, Tony had kind of hoped for a seating arrangement that would give him and Christopher space to run out and find other seats if need be, but, well, he was stuck where he was for the moment at least. Hopefully Gob wouldn't make a scene.
"If they make even one reference to Hungarian Rhapsody, I will lose it," Gob said. Ever since they released Queen's performance in Budapest on DVD, Gob had been obsessed with it. He still couldn't believe the fuckers went and named a concert DVD after a Liszt piece. He still couldn't believed they had performed in the same city that hosted the Liszt Memorial Museum and the Franz Liszt Academy of Music and probably where Liszt should've been buried, except he was buried in Bayreuth against his wishes. Fucking Wagner.
"Honestly, as soon as I saw that come out, I swore it was aimed just at you," Seth said with a nod. "Okay, what song, besides the obvious hits, do you hope they include? Like, the one you know they won't, but you hope they do."
Gob thought on it. "There are so many."
"I know. It's a hard choice."
"…Anything from Jazz. That one is so unfairly hated," Gob said after a moment. "Imagine if they brought out 'Mustapha'. It'd confuse the fuck out of all the kids in here." Gob looked around at the kids for emphasis.
"That's a good one," Seth agreed before having a bite of popcorn. "For my off-beat one, I'll go with 'Dragon Attack'."
"Nice one!" Gob said, giving Seth a high-five.
"Thanks. That bass line is killer, right?" Seth said. He looked on his other side to Christopher. "What about you?"
Christopher raised his eyebrows as both Seth and Gob looked at him expectantly. He felt like he was getting tested despite having been with Seth for over a decade at that point. He sighed and said, "Maybe 'The March of the Black Queen'?"
Gob looked impressed. "Sweet." Then he and Seth turned to Tony. "And you?"
Tony thought about it. "I mean, if I'm Roger, I guess I'd have to put my vote in for 'Drowse' or something."
"God, I love you for knowing that," Gob said.
"Hey, I grew up loving Queen, too. I'm excited for this, too!" Tony insisted. "I just know Hollywood has a tendency to fuck things over. The Magic Show still deserves a better theatrical version than it got. And don't get me started on the fact that they're making a movie of Cats—I can't believe I'm seeing that mess opening day."
"…You don't have to see it opening day, do you?" Seth asked.
"No, I have to see it opening day."
Gob sighed. "I can't believe I'll be seeing it opening day." Seth and Christopher laughed. Still, Gob wrapped an arm around Tony and continued with their earlier conversation, "I mean, I'd hope for them to play 'Barcelona', but it ends at Live Aid, right? That's two years before the single came out and three before the album."
Seth nodded. "Yeah, I know it ends there. Which means they're moving up the AIDS diagnosis by a couple of years."
"Yeah…" Gob wasn't a fan of them changing that, but he had accepted some changes were going to be made.
…But that didn't mean that once the movie started he didn't immediately point out to Tony that Roger and Freddie were friends before they formed Queen and that the audition scene was completely inaccurate.
"Babe, if you're gonna point out every inaccuracy, you'll never shut up," Tony told him quietly. Gob pouted but nodded. He'd do his best to just enjoy the movie despite any inaccuracies he found.
…It ain't much I'm asking, if you want the truth
Here's to the future for the dreams of youth
I've paid my dues
Time after time.
I've done my sentence
But committed no crime
And bad mistakes‒
I've made a few.
I've had my share of sand kicked in my face
But I've come through…
“So, what did you guys think?”
Seth and Gob looked at each other silently. The two of them had been oddly quiet after the credits—complete with “Don’t Stop Me Now” (which Gob had cheered for) and “The Show Must Go On” playing—ended. The four of them had found a place to eat and the two of them still hadn’t said anything. It seemed they had been digesting it.
They hadn't been completely silent during the movie, though. Gob had been angered by a few more inaccuracies, as had Seth. Gob had gotten ridiculously emotional during the "Love of My Life" scene where Freddie and Mary broke-up, and Tony had looked over to see him and Seth holding hands at that. He had been angry about that for a second until he reminded himself that, no, that was just their weird friendship thing with that song and that story and, yeah, it was weirdly fitting for the two of them. Thankfully, most of Gob's emotions were quieter, and he held Tony's hand from when Freddie got tested all the way through until the end.
Seth finally said, “…Well, it wasn’t accurate. Like, at all.”
“Yeah! I can’t believe they acted like Freddie and Roger didn’t know each other until he joined.”
“Right? And ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’ didn’t come out until after all of A Night of the Opera. Like, it was years later!”
“I know!” Gob said. He didn’t know why, but that inaccuracy had particularly pissed him off.
“I think some of the changes were good form a movie purpose, though,” Seth said. “Like Freddie getting diagnosed with AIDS before Live Aid made it pretty powerful. Like, him singing the words, 'I don't want to die'? That was even more powerful with that thought in mind." Gob nodded in agreement. "The Jim stuff was cute, too.”
Gob nodded. “They emphasized Mary a lot more than necessary.” While he knew Mary was important, there were so many conflicting stories over how much of an influence she was on Freddie’s life that it was confusing. “More accurate to my life, I guess,” Gob said, nudging Seth.
Seth rolled his eyes but smiled all the same. “True.” After a beat, he said, “The guy who played Brian looked scarily like him.”
“I know, right?” Gob said. “I swear it looked just like him. Like, it was like they went back in time and got Brian back.”
“They did a good job with casting,” Christopher said with a nod. “I was really impressed. Especially that Rami kid—the guy who played Freddie? I see why all the reviews were praising him.”
“He was great,” Tony agreed. Seth nodded in agreement as well.
“…He’s as good as anyone could be trying to live up to Freddie,” Gob said with a nod. And from a guy who had spend most of his life trying to do just that, it was high praise indeed.
Tony smiled at Gob and squeezed his knee under the table. He looked back towards Seth and Christopher and said, “That Live Aid scene was amazing, though, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah. Definitely the perfect ending,” Seth said.
“They did a great job recreating that,” Gob agreed. “It was almost as magical as watching that performance for the first time. And there's no better way to end a movie than 'We Are the Champions'. Until the credits, of course.”
“Yeah…wasn’t Live Aid how you really discovered them?” Seth asked Gob.
“Yeah…” Gob laughed softly. “July 13, 1985. The day I discovered Queen. And the day after I lost my virginity.” His eyebrows pressed together as he thought out loud, “I think her name was…Lacey?”
“You know, that name changes every time you tell this story,” Seth said.
Tony snorted. “I don’t know what’s gayer; the fact you drank so much you don’t remember her name or the fact that you remember the day you lost your virginity because of a Queen performance.”
“I think it’s about equal,” Seth teased. He changed the subject by saying, “I loved how they referenced Wayne’s World, though. That was hilarious. And how they made fun of ‘I’m in Love With My Car’? Also complete gold.”
As the rest of them kept talking about the funny moments, Gob smiled to himself. He knew his love of Freddie Mercury and Queen was a bit exaggerated. He knew it came across as ridiculous to people, some over-the-top obsession he should've outgrown years ago. And, yeah, maybe it was over-the-top and something he should've gotten over.
But he really didn't think he needed to do that. Seeing Queen that day, that day he was struggling with questions his mind was refusing to answer, really changed his life. And throughout all of his life, or at least since he was that lonely soon-to-be-sophomore, Freddie's music and his life and his band inspired Gob whenever he needed it most. Freddie gave him courage, helped him accept himself, and inspired him as a performer and a person.
And as he thought back to that July day, he had to laugh. If that confused, depressed, lonely kid could see where he was so many years later, he’d never believe it. And not just because he wouldn't believe he was gay—he still was sure if he hadn't met Seth, he wouldn't know. He just wouldn't believe how full his life was and how happy he was. Close friends, a family who loved him, a successful career, and a loving, legally-wedded husband…Gob Bluth of 1985 would be so confused, true, but he’d be happy all the same. He’d be proud of himself. Hell, Gob of 2018 was proud of himself for how far he had come.
And he had a feeling that Freddie would be proud, too.
…And I need to go on and on, and on, and on.
We are the champions, my friends.
And we'll keep on fighting 'til the end.
We are the champions.
We are the champions.
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions of the world.