“Oh my god!” Auyb says loudly, and the room stops. Simon turns to look at his friend. His mouth is open in shock, a phone lighting up his face in the otherwise dim room.
“What is it?” Simon asks, already leaning closer to see the phone.
“The Crown Prince says, ‘It is me in the video’,” Auyb reads out loud, and Simon snatches the phone off his hands. The Crown Prince admits to the rumors surrounding a video gone viral in the past week, the headline says. Under it, there’s a video of an interview - Wilhelm, looking straight at the camera with his head held high.
Simon’s heart is pounding off his chest when he clicks the video open.
Wilhelm sits like a statue, but his eyes are wandering the room. He looks anxious, yet determined and then he speaks.
At first, it feels like he’s reading a script - he probably is: “I believe in love, and that everyone should be allowed to live as gay or straight, or however and with whoever they want.” There is a pause, then, where Wilhelm’s eyes focus on the camera. He takes a deep breath. “The video, it’s -” Wilhelm’s voice cracks, and it looks like he decides differently and meets the eyes of someone out of the shot, “It is me in the video.”
Simon hears his mom let out a quiet sob. He feels like throwing up, maybe from relief, maybe from fear that’s not for himself but for Wilhelm. A big part of him was ready to be disappointed, scared Wilhelm wouldn’t do it. The worst part is, he would’ve understood. But he is glad he doesn’t have to.
Simon keeps his eyes on the screen, watching every move Wilhelm makes - from the slightest tap of his finger to the small twitch of his lips. It’s not a smile, exactly, but something resembling one.
“The video was filmed and posted without my, nor my,” a pause, “my partner’s permission. I am not ashamed of who I love, and I don’t understand why I should deny this. The only person that should be held accountable is the one leaking the video. I, nor my partner, will not be answering any more questions about the matter. Thank you.”
The video cuts off, then, but Simon is already scrambling for his own phone. He finds it between the cushions, but there’s no new messages, nothing.
Strangely, he's not disappointed.
He holds the phone tightly in his hands for the rest of the day, just in case.
It’s already dark out when there’s a knock on the door. Simon meets his mom’s eyes, tilts his head like asking, are we expecting anyone? His mother shakes her head briefly.
Simon is out of the room before anyone else can even think of getting up. He hurries to the door, almost tripping on the shoes left lying around and smoothening the shirt he has on. For a moment he thinks he’s hoping for nothing, that maybe it is another paparazzi asking questions he doesn’t want to answer, but he is proven wrong the second he opens the door to Wilhelm’s face.
And Wilhelm, he manages to look self conscious. The smile on his face is awkward, hopeful, and there’s his bodyguard standing a few steps behind him with a weirdly approving look on hers.
“Hi,” Wilhelm breathes out, “I knew I said I’d call but -”
Simon hugs him. Usually, it’s Wilhelm initiating the hugs. Wilhelm is the cuddler, the one showing his affection with touch, when they’re alone at least. Simon, Simon for some reason feels self conscious, like he isn’t quite allowed to do it.
“I really like you,” Simon says, because he feels like he needs to.
Wilhelm’s laugh is shaky. “I really like you, too.”
“I know,” Simon mumbles against his neck, “God, I know.”
They part, and Simon’s face hurts from smiling. Things are far from okay, but at the moment they feel like it.
“I feel like I’m going to throw up,” Wilhelm admits, then, with a choked chuckle. “Can I, uh, can I come in?” Simon nods and stands out of the way to let Wilhelm and his bodyguard inside the house. His mother is standing in the doorway to the kitchen.
“We weren’t expecting you,” she says, but lays a comforting hand on Wilhelm’s shoulder when he’s close enough. Simon smiles at the interaction.
“Yeah, uh,” Wilhelm says, “I felt like I needed to -”
“What you did was brave,” Simon’s mother says, squeezes Wilhelm’s shoulder and then steps out of the way.
Wilhelm looks awkward, standing in the middle of the hallway, so Simon leads him to his room without a word. He closes the door behind him, and Wilhelm relaxes in the eyes. He takes off his jacket and the scarf, drops them on the backrest of Simon’s chair, turns around to face Simon.
“I needed to see you,” Wilhelm finally says. “I’m sorry I didn’t call, I couldn’t dare to open my phone.”
Simon steps closer and takes Wilhelm’s hand in his. “You’re always welcome here.”
Wilhelm smiles. It’s bright, and proud, and Simon feels it’s warmth all over his body.
“My mother, she isn’t happy,” Wilhelm says, then, and Simon squeezes his hand. “But she said she understands my choice, even if she doesn’t support it. I-, I don’t know what happens next.” The way Wilhelm says it isn’t helpless - he’s just stating a fact. But his eyes wander in the room, like they do when he’s anxious.
“What happens next,” Simon starts, and steps even closer so their chests are touching, looking up to Wilhelm’s eyes, “is that I kiss you. And then, if you’ll let me, I’d like to hold you.”
“Yeah?” Wilhelm whispers.
“Yeah,” Simon says, “if that’s okay with you.”
Wilhelm answers with a kiss.