The guitar was the kicker.
There were the little things about Henry, over the past few days, that had enraptured Darryl. It’s hard to resist a birkenstock-rocking man that spills iodine in your car (it was charming that he didn’t stop apologizing), and also he could turn into, insofar, a wolf and a bear, so there’s that
The little things were enough. The bigger things were increasingly harder to deal with. Henry, when he lost his temper and started cursing people out, was undeniably hot. Henry, when he kept kissing Darryl, went down smoother than any beer Darryl had been able to find, and was twice as pretty. Henry, when he turned into a fucking bear holy fuck he can turn into a BEAR, was more thrilling than any other heart stopping moment Darryl had lived through; every shooting star, every jumpscare, every (there had only ever been and would only ever be one) zipline, paled in comparison.
But, cloaked and onstage in front of an audience of bandits (a week ago, Darryl spent his days fixing toaster ovens, how the times change), Henry was stunning. While everybody was transfixed on Ron doing what Stamplers are wont to do, Darryl couldn’t take his eyes off of Henry, slowly playing the guitarlute.
Darryl’s own drum playing was suffering for it, but he didn’t hear lizard boy taunting him, so maybe it wasn’t that bad. It was worth the cost of a poor performance. Henry was graceful in a way he had never been before (Darryl, who recently started spending a lot of time paying attention to Henry, could vouch). Once he got into the groove, Henry played a good four chords with some semblance of confidence, the barest of grins on his face, the slightest edge of tension settling around his shoulders. His fingers glided over the strings, and the music he made was out of tune and warbling and so, so perfect.
There’s something attractive about having a skill, and the fact that Henry could shyly play guitarlute, on stage and next to rockstars with amazing hair like MPAA and Ron, made Darryl’s chest warm up. Darryl was proud, he was animated, he was hopelessly allured by the light strands of hair brushing into Henry’s eyes.
Darryl definitely wasn’t drumming at this point. Since the crowd was wailing, he assumed their performance was pretty bad. Everything was going exactly according to plan.
Henry being hot was not in the plan, and Darryl had always been bad at improvising, it was why he was never let onto the improv team in high school. There was absolutely no way to deal with this. How do people deal with it when confronted with hot geologist dads? There had to be a library book on this, or something.
Henry started tapping his foot to the beat, and Darryl didn’t have any words left, thoughts left. Guitar was just hot. Henry was just hot. Henry playing guitar was just really, unbearably, frustratingly, exquisitely hot.
Would it be this hot when Glenn played guitar? That would most assuredly make twice as many problems. Why had never Darryl paid attention to guitar players before?
The audience was cheering, crying, chanting, square dancing, some combination of all four, so Darryl figured the performance was finished.
Henry paused for a moment after easing a final chord from the guitarlute, gazing down airily and suspending the feeling of performance, just for himself. That was it. That was the final straw.
Literally everybody was enamored with Ron (for some reason, when clearly the only person on stage was Henry), so Darryl could take a moment and get Henry for himself.
Henry was carefully putting down the guitarlute when Darryl aced a dexterity roll and lightly grabbed his wrist, effectively getting his attention.
“Oh! Darryl, I have to admit I’m a little worried that our performance was a bit too on the nose, what with the sabotaging plan and all-“ Henry was saying, and Darryl was already dragging him into the nearest shadowy corner.
Considering they both had wives and children, neither Darryl nor Henry were surprised enough when they were kissing. Maybe they were used to it, but Darryl didn’t know if this was something people got used to, not under the din of the cheering crowd, not with the cool shadows draping around them, not when he was kissing Henry Oak.
His wife would have a lot more to yell about than just the fact that he lost their son, next time he called her. Maybe he shouldn’t call her at all. Maybe he should delete Carol’s contact from his phone. Anything that meant he could keep kissing Henry, here, like this.
“I’m into it,” one of the tied up band players said, because there was really only one shadowy corner next to the stage.
“Darryl-” Henry huffed, his voice as lovely as the shade of red brushing his cheeks. The sound of Henry saying his name made Darryl want to kiss him again, so he did. Henry seemed to hesitate a moment, but then kissed back in earnest. He started using his tongue, which Darryl thought only actors did, because Carol certainly avoided it.
He didn’t want to think about Carol right now. He wanted his every thought to be consumed in the fire that was Henry (and his tongue, because holy shit).
Darryl’s vague (manly) inexperience must’ve been evident, because Henry stopped with the deep kissing after a minute, going back to the regular kissing that was enchanting and not out of Darryl’s depth. But, then Henry smiled something conniving against Darryl’s mouth and moved, starting to kiss down Darryl’s jaw, and oh- oh.
Darryl pulled Henry closer, realized Henry smelled like granola, shuddered at the feeling of Henry’s lips.
If he wasn’t before, Darryl was ready to sign into the church of Henry Oak, ready to change the world for him, ready to name every star in the sky after him. He knew this with a lovely certainty, and it made his motions a little more confident when he pulled Henry’s face back up to his and started kissing him again. Henry’s breath stuttered, and that was it. That was a wrap on everything Darryl thought he knew about love, because it had been redefined in the image of Henry.
The sound of the Odyssey engine shook both of them out of their stupor. The crowd parted as tires tore through the grass, and Darryl realized sourly what was happening.
“The library books,” Darryl said like a curse.
“The Glenn Close,” Henry added. “Wait, people don’t put articles in front of their names, do they? No. No, no I don’t think they do, not unless they’re wrestlers.”
“I, for one, am confused,” the still bound bassist said, but Darryl and Henry were already walking back onstage to deal with the mess.