Patroclus was lost. He was in another country with zero knowledge of the language (apart from “ciao” “grazie” and “scusa” that his father had included in a list that he named as “the most useful words" in order to find his way around Rome) and on top of that, he was trapped in Perugia, since there was a storm and now everyone had to wait until the bad weather passed, so they could all board on the ship. Patroclus was now swearing himself for the fact that he was scared shitless of the airplanes. And that was also the reason, he never travelled abroad. However, this time, he wanted to visit his sister, Briseis, who he hasn’t seen in such a long time, and when she had called him, telling him how much she had missed Patroclus and how nostalgic she had sounded, Patroclus just couldn’t say no to the invitation. All of that brought him to his current situation.
Briseis was so excited when she saw him. She just kept talking about life in Rome and her whereabouts. Her studies, which from what Patroclus had picked up from the way she talked - or rather not talked - about them, clearly weren’t going anywhere. The biggest news however, were the ones about her love life. She was having an affair with someone and according to her, she was very much in love. Patroclus was very happy for her; however, the sad thought about his own sad love life couldn’t help but make him a little sad.
He was trying to communicate with a guy at the lobby but he just couldn’t understand and his “useful words” of Italian were proven completely useless. “Useful words, my ass.” Patroclus had said through gritted teeth. How could no one understand English? He should have known better. He was always the unlucky one in every situation, so why that change now?
The lobby of the hotel they were stranded at was full of people with luggage, angry and tired, speaking a language that Patroclus could not understand. His anxiety was skyrocketing. He was walking among the crowd of people, trying to make someone understand him, but everyone was too busy, too angry and too tired, trying to squeeze through bodies in order to get a key to their rooms. They would spend their night stuck there, so everyone wanted to go to sleep. And quite frankly that's what he wanted for himself right now.
He was losing hope, when he bumped into someone.
“Scusa,” he heard someone say.
“Watch out! Are you blind?” Patroclus was irritated. He didn’t know what was happening and the noise of people rushing about was just too exhausting. He just wanted to go home.
“I’m not. I’m so sorry.” The man said and Patroclus turned around full of hope that someone finally spoke his language.
“You speak English?” Patroclus said full of hope to the man.
“As far as I know.” The man smirked.
Patroclus was now taking a good look on the man. He was young. Around 10 years younger than Patroclus. Possibly at around Briseis’ age. He was tall. Taller than he was. Blonde hair, kind of reaching almost to his shoulder, curling a bit at the end. Green eyes were staring back at his brown ones glistening, and now, a playful smirk was playing on his lips.
“Thank God, I found someone that I can talk to.” Patroclus let out a sigh. “What happened? When are we going to be let go?” He asked.
“There was a storm so I’m afraid we’re going to stay here for the night. Tomorrow morning they said, we’ll be good to go.” The man explained.
Patroclus ran a hand through his curls which were all mingled from the air and the humidity outside.
“Do you mind if we get a drink?” The man offered, with a smile.
“I don’t really drink. I better go to my room.”
“Come on, let’s have just one drink. You can have some juice or cacao or something. Then, I’ll go get our room keys. Is that a deal?” The man smiled at him and Patroclus couldn't deny that he was attractive.
“Ok, fine.” Patroclus agreed.
Patroclus opened his eyes and shut them again quickly. His head was throbbing as he tried to stand up. When he finally took in to his surroundings he realized he was at his hotel room, tucked in his bed with just his underwear. For a moment he couldn’t remember how he ended up there, when he turned around and found a piece of paper along with a flower.
“The storm has passed. Good morning.”
Patroclus finally remembered. He started drinking with the man that had helped him and they both got drunk. Well, at least Patroclus was very drunk. Then, they went to his room. And then… And then it happened. He remembered the kissing, the touches in the dark. He didn’t even realize, but he had a smile on his face as he playing with the stem of the flower that was balancing between his fingers. A rose. So cliché but yet so romantic. Patroclus couldn’t even remember the last time he had received flowers. Let alone a red rose. And now, at his 33 years of age, he received one. By someone who didn’t even know his name after a passionate night. It felt like a dream.
Sober Patroclus back home would have been ashamed by his actions. He was out to everyone back home, so his sexuality was not a problem. He was just too shy and introverted to approach anyone, especially, when he didn’t know whether the guy he was attracted to was straight or gay. There was also his father. He never really approved of his choices, so their relationship was a bit rough. His father, Menoetes, was a strict, old man, who had grown up with different “values” as he was always explaining to everyone in the house. The poor nurse, Chiron, who was taking after his father and who was also helping around the house, had to endure hours listening to the stories of Menoetes and his nonsense, as Patroclus was always describing his long-ass speeches. He felt sorry for the poor guy.
So, let’s just say that getting drunk and having sex with a stranger was definitely something that he wouldn’t have dared to do or even think about doing. But the man was attractive. They both had a little too much and he wouldn’t have to see this man ever again, so he was ok with it.
After all, it was only one time.
And it would stay in Perugia.