Sebastian Smythe was on top of the world.
The world had always been pretty kind to Sebastian. He formed a band straight out of college with a bunch of his friends, and although it didn’t last very long, he got his feet wet in the music industry. This resulted in him writing a Christmas song that completely took off (literally, the song was called “Runaway Sleigh”). As much as he hated the song, he kind of had to love it, because even years after it had debuted, Sebastian was receiving hefty royalty checks on a monthly basis. So now, thanks to his financial comfort, Sebastian was living the dream. He had no job to speak of, plenty of money, great friends, and a comfortable apartment in New York City, decked out with everything he could ever want.
So overall, life was pretty good.
Sebastian tried to remind himself of this whenever he was stuck anywhere with Quinn, his supposed best friend, for any amount of time.
“I was up all night trying to get the baby to sleep,” Quinn mumbled, tilting her head forward so her forehead pressed up against the cold metal pole holding her upright on the subway. “He’s much more colicky than the twins were. And of course, Puck was absolutely no help. Neither of us could get him to stop crying.”
“Did you try drugging it?”
“Its name is Mason,” Quinn said, matter-of-factly, looking up to glare at Sebastian, who wasn't even looking at her, focusing on something on his phone.
“Whatever,” he grumbled, content to ignore her.
It was silent for all of thirty seconds before Quinn began talking again.
“I’m so tired. I don’t think I’ve slept at all for the past six years. I’m pretty sure this is what death feels like,” she groaned.
Sebastian had heard this exact sentence at least twice every day for the past six years.
“You should have thought about that before you decided to reproduce,” Sebastian replied, not even looking up from his phone. It was the same response he had given at least twice every day for the past six years.
“I’ll have you know that caring for a child is the greatest honor a person can have.”
“I don’t know, Q. Can’t really get a Nobel Prize for parenting, try as you might.”
“Can it with the sass, Sebastian. I’ve had enough.”
“And I’ve had enough of your complaining, Fabray,” Sebastian retorted, looking up as the subway screeched and slowed down. It wasn’t their stop, but Sebastian stood up to grab a railing in case someone else needed his seat. Quinn, predictably, stayed put.
“Honestly, you don’t know how much our Sunday lunches mean to me. I swear, our time together is such a relief after -”
“Oh my God, Quinn,” Sebastian interrupted, clearly ignoring everything Quinn was saying. He pointed out the window of the train at a figure at the station, waiting at the bottom of an elevator. “Look.”
“I swear to God, Sebastian. If this is another cute guy, I’m married with kids. You know I can’t look.”
It was a cute guy. Of course it was a cute guy. But this guy wasn’t just cute. He was hot. This guy was tall, dressed in layers of black, but still short sleeved enough to see his arms, which were covered in tattoos. He was clearly fit, and his face looked like he was from a magazine. And that wasn’t even the best part...
“He’s carrying a cello,” Sebastian whispered loudly. “A cello, Quinn. This is game changing.”
“I don’t get how the fact that he plays the cello is game changing.”
“You don’t understand. A hot guy with a cello. This is every fantasy of mine beginning to come true.”
“You have fantasies about guys with cellos?” Quinn looked exasperated. This wasn’t the first time something of this nature has happened. Not at all. “Sebastian, I don’t -”
“That is one sexy cello,” Sebastian sighed. Quinn rolled her eyes at him.
“You know, I might be impressed if I had any idea what the hell you were talking about.”
“I have to go.”
“What about lunch?”
“We’ll do it next week.”
“Of course,” Quinn mumbled, mostly to herself, as she watched Sebastian just barely make it out of the train before the door closed.
Sebastian shoved his way unapologetically through the crowd of busy New Yorkers to reach the elevator, reaching the man just in time. Sebastian stepped into the elevator with him, grateful that no one else was there.
“Cello,” Sebastian said loudly once the doors had closed, cleverly in lieu of hello. The man turned around at the noise, letting out an amused breath when he saw Sebastian standing in front of him, panting slightly from rushing over.
“Oh, wow. Great, was that supposed to be a pick up line?” the man scoffed, turning away from Sebastian. “Real original, pal.”
“I’m going to be honest with you now,” Sebastian said. “I’m a cello freak, okay? I’m obsessed with cellos. So it’s one thing to be like, the hottest guy ever, but to be dragging a cello around…”
The elevator stopped and the doors opened, and the man stepped out of it and began to walk outside to the busy streets of Manhattan. “That’s really nice, but I’m kind of-”
“Oh, you don’t believe me,” Sebastian interrupted. The man shrugged and kept walking, eyes fixed on the pavement in front of him. Sebastian followed and continued talking. “Okay, I can prove it to you. My favorite cello pieces ever. Kabalevsky’s #2 in “G” Major. It’s dark, it’s brooding, and it’s virtuosic. D’albert, “C”, opus 96, lyrical, mellow, haunting. But the greatest of all is the Dvorak Concerto-”
“-in B minor,” they finished, in unison. The man stopped in his tracks. His demeanor had completely changed; he was now staring at Sebastian in awe.
“Oh my god,” the man breathed. Sebastian smirked.
“So, as I said. Cello.”
“...Cello,” the man replied slowly, with a growing smile.
Sebastian stuck out his hand for the man to shake. “I’m Sebastian.”
“I’m Elliott,” the man said, shaking Sebastian’s hand. His expression was bright, until it shifted into a wince as he motioned to the building they were standing next to. “And I’m running late.”
“Me, too!” Sebastian said quickly, thinking on his toes just to keep conversation going with Elliott. Elliott’s eyes widened with surprise.
“Oh- oh, you’re a single dad?”
“A single dad?” Sebastian asked, taken aback. Well, he was caught up in his lie now. He might as well continue it. “Yeah, yeah.”
“Wow, well hi,” Elliott beamed at Sebastian, turning to walk into the building. “Great. We’re both late, we can go together.”
Sebastian nodded dumbly, clearly having no idea what he was about to get himself into, literally. Apparently Elliott thought he was a single dad now. Sebastian shuddered at the thought, following Elliott up a flight of stairs.
Totally worth it, Sebastian reminded himself as he enjoyed the view.
Sebastian was barely surviving. He’d been in this single parent support group for all of twenty minutes, and he could already feel his brain caving in. He was sitting on a plastic chair, facing a bunch of other plastic chairs, in a circle. A fucking circle. He was in a group therapy meeting for single parents. Predominantly single mothers, with the exception of Elliott and another terrified looking father in the circle.
The were talking about parenting techniques, the best brands of baby food, and how to deal with sick children. This was Sebastian’s own personal hell.
The looks he was exchanging with Elliott made it almost worth it. Elliott was an active member of the discussions, piping up every now and again to mention something about his daughter: Lacey, eight years old. That’s really all Sebastian picked up, despite the fact that Elliott spoke several times, at great length. Honestly, Sebastian zoned out and took to staring. He prided himself in his ability to woo men with just his eyes, and that was his task now. A few times, Elliott would meet his eyes and lose track of his words, which meant Sebastian was getting quite close to victory.
“How about you, Sebastian?” the woman running the group said, interrupting Sebastian from eye fucking Elliott. Sebastian cursed under his breath. “You haven’t said anything so far. Tell us about your child. What’s your child’s name?”
“My -- my little guy?” Sebastian asked, looking shocked. He was sort of hoping to get through this meeting without talking to anyone, but it looked as if he was fresh out of luck. The woman nodded, and Sebastian worked quickly to come up with a name, any name, for his fake son. He spoke, the words sounding more like a question than an answer. “Mason.”
Sebastian was surprised to see all the faces in the room light up with delight, aww-ing at the name. He looked over to Elliott, who was smiling as well. Okay, so this clearly wasn’t the worst lie he ever told.
“And what’s your relationship like? What do you two do together?” the woman questioned.
“What don’t we do? Um…” Sebastian paused, trying to think. What do parents normally do with their kids? Honestly, he had no idea. His upbringing wasn’t exactly the picturesque American Dream family he assumed everybody else in this room was living. He saw very little of his parents growing up, and he didn’t have much of a relationship with his father that he could speak of. So Sebastian was going to have to get creative here.
“We talk. Yeah, we hang," Sebastian trailed. He looked around to survey the room, and they were starting to look skeptical. He had to step it up and ditch the vague answers. "We do all sorts of activities together. Skiing, surfing, skydiving.”
“You let your child jump out of an airplane?” one mother gasped, looking at Sebastian with absolute terror. Fuck. Yeah, kids don’t do that.
“Oh, well, we were -- we were low. It was a very low flight. You know, we were barely aviated.” Sebastian glanced around the room again. They were not buying it. Sebastian was running out of options, so he just said the next thing that came to mind, hoping that it wouldn’t be any more of a complete disaster. “He was sick. Sickly. So I was trying to cheer him up.”
“Oh, what does he have?” a mother sitting across from Sebastian asked, her voice sympathetic and her face clearly concerned. The rest of the room seemed to wear a similar expression.
“Leukemia,” Sebastian answered, without thinking.
The group had an audible reaction of gasps and various sympathetic noises. Sebastian cringed as he realized that he picked the wrong lie.
“Is he okay?”
Well, it was too late to go back now.
“Well, they said that Western medicine, you know, couldn’t save him. So, um. So I took him to Africa. To a healer. Yeah. Sweat lodges, voodoo dolls, animal sacrifices. The works. And it worked. Yeah, the cancer is gone. It was a lot of work,” Sebastian said, looking up to catch Elliott’s gaze. “But caring for a child is the greatest honor a person can have.”
The room let out a myriad of awws. Sebastian flashed Elliott a smile, and Sebastian knew that Elliott was his. Hook, line, and sinker.
“Mmm, god, Sebastian… Right there.”
Turns out that Elliott had a thing for Sebastian being a dad. Sebastian had a thing for Elliott. Particularly when he was shirtless and squirming underneath Sebastian.
“You like that?” Sebastian purred as he nipped at Elliott’s neck. As predicted, Elliott was jelly in Sebastian’s hands.
Elliott paused mid-sentence and froze. Rock music was playing. Why was rock music playing?
“Fuck, that’s my phone. Shit.” Elliott scrambled up from Sebastian’s bed to grab his phone, which was buried under a pile of forgotten clothes on the floor. “It’s my daughter’s school. Fuck.”
Elliott answered his phone, and Sebastian noticed his expression became increasingly frustrated as he talked.
“What was that about?” Sebastian asked when Elliott hung up.
“I guess Lacey got into some sort of fight in school. I have to go and get her.”
“Wha- hey, we were-”
Elliott shrugged, scrambling to throw his shirt on and make himself look a little less riled up. “We can pick up where we left off some other time.”
“Promise?” Sebastian asked, sitting up on his bed as he watched Elliott gather his things.
“Yeah, yeah. Just call me. I gotta go,” Elliott waved to Sebastian with his free hand (the other one was holding his cello). Sebastian sighed as he waved back, thoroughly disappointed. “Bye, Sebastian.”
It wasn’t until he heard his apartment door close that he remembered that Elliott never gave him his number.
Sebastian sprung out of bed, not even bothering to put clothes on, and scrambled down the two flights of stairs to the city sidewalk. He managed to get there just in time to catch Elliott climbing into a taxi.
“Wait! Elliott, hey! I didn’t get your number.”
“Oh, yeah, yeah,” Elliott’s eyes lit up. He hurriedly fished through his bag to find a pen and scribbled his number on a gum wrapper. He then reached out of the taxi window to hand it to Sebastian.
“Hey, Sebastian. I owe you one,” Elliott winked as the taxi drove away.
“And by one, you mean an orgasm, right?” Sebastian yelled back, but Elliott was too far away at that point to hear him.
Sebastian looked down at the number in his hand and smiled. Someone like Elliott was normally guaranteed to sleep with Sebastian about three times before things would get weird. So, Sebastian had about three incredible nights to look forward to.
Yup, Sebastian was on top of the world.
Entirely too pleased with himself, Sebastian turned around to head back to his apartment, only to be greeted by two figures standing outside the door, staring at him. It looked like a father and son. Probably tourists, judging by the suitcases they were dragging behind them. The father wasn’t terrible looking. He looked young considering the age of his son, who was probably ten or eleven. He wasn’t “cancel dinner plans with Quinn” good looking, but Sebastian had definitely slept with worse. He stood up with weirdly good posture, resting his hand on his son’s shoulder, holding him close. They both looked completely shocked, and given what they just witnessed, Sebastian couldn’t blame him. It took him an immense amount of self control on Sebastian’s part not to burst out laughing at the situation.
“Hey. Welcome to the neighborhood. We’re very friendly here,” Sebastian said. The father eyed Sebastian up and down, and gave Sebastian a judgmental glare. Sebastian glanced down at his current attire. His shirt was completely unbuttoned, and his pants were dangling around his ankles. He shrugged. “Casual dress code.”
“Do you live here?” the man asked.
Sebastian nodded. “Yeah, yup.”
“Great,” the father sighed, looking thoroughly upset.
A quick glance at the U-Haul parked next to the building sparked realization in Sebastian.
“You’re the new neighbors. Fuck.”
“Do you not see that there is a child present?” the man hissed, reaching out to cover the boy’s ears. “He’s literally standing right here.”
“This is New York. He better get used to it.”
The man sneered at Sebastian, letting go of the boy’s head. Sebastian stuck out his hand to introduce himself.
The man narrowed his eyes. “I don’t know. I feel like we should do introductions when there’s a lot less of you flopping around.”
“I’m Sebastian,” Sebastian repeated, unrelenting. The father gave him a long, steady glare before giving him a quick and firm handshake.
“I’m Kurt, and this is my son, Alex.”
“Uh. Hi,” Sebastian managed, taking a second to look at the kid, who looked a lot similar to his father, except shorter and a bit rounder. He hadn’t made so much as a peep the entire time he and his father had been talking. He supposed that would be a good thing, in the grand scheme of things. The last thing he needed was a loud prepubescent boy running around next door.
Kurt sighed. “I have to say, when I pictured us meeting our neighbors, I expected there to be a lot more clothing involved.”
“Well,” Sebastian shrugged. “Welcome to New York.”
“Oh, and for the future…” Kurt said suddenly. Sebastian turned on his heel to face him again. “My son is at a very impressionable age, so if you could keep your semi-nude sexual exploits inside your own apartment, I would really appreciate it.”
“Just out of curiosity. In the past year, have you had any exploits?” Sebastian raised an eyebrow, and let out a loud bark of laughter when Kurt rolled his eyes and stormed off, his son following his footsteps. “Yeah, I didn’t think so.”