September 2005 | 17 years old
They are seventeen years old and Enjolras is sitting in the passenger seat, the wind throwing his curls against his face again and again.
Grantaire keeps stealing glances, like he’s not supposed to keep his eyes on the road.
The problem is that Enjolras is frowning and looking very serious as he examines the lyrics Grantaire printed out for him. He starts humming the chorus, then reaches out to rewind the song and tries his best to sing along with the first verse. All the while still looking extremely severe and concentrated.
Grantaire bites back a smile, in the split second he takes to glance at him. His eyes go back to the highway rolling past. The sky has turned to a beautiful shade of purple, and he loves the look of the orange-yellow lights against it.
“You’ve got another – ” Grantaire makes a show of checking the clock on the dashboard “ – two hours to learn the set list.”
Enjolras snorts, beside him. His fingers are tapping against his own thigh, in time with the music. Grantaire wants to reach out and hold them. He keeps his hands on the wheel, pining.
“Do you know how many statistics I had to memorize in the past two weeks? I’ve got this,” Enjolras says.
There is a smirk curling at the corner of his mouth, which Grantaire loves.
“Not arguing with that, man,” Grantaire replies, and this time he cannot bite back his giddy smile.
He has heard Enjolras rattle off demands and statistics at every journalist willing to listen to him, during the two weeks of occupation. They packed up and left just last weekend.
He’s really not about to doubt Enjolras’ memorization skills, is the point.
The occupation had rocked them to their core, from its inception, and Grantaire isn’t sure he’s processed the consequences of it just yet.
But Enjolras is resting red high-tops on the dashboard, and sometimes, when Grantaire glances at him, their eyes will meet. Like Enjolras can’t help but steal looks as well.
This stupid grin he’s got plastered on his face – he’ll probably get stuck this way.
Enjolras had done all of it, of course, because Enjolras isn’t one to leave things alone when he wants something. He’d done everything out of order, too, and had presented him with concert tickets and asked him out days after he’d kissed him. And he had blushed. A lot. His freckles had almost become invisible.
Not that Grantaire had fared much better.
“Right, think you’re ready?” Grantaire says, and skips ahead two songs. He can almost feel the first few notes light him up inside, making him bounce in the driver’s seat.
Enjolras rolls his eyes at him – he’s not really into this kind of music, Grantaire knows. He’s not quite sure what he is into, though Courfeyrac winks about it a lot, so for all he knows it could be Britney.
But Enjolras knows Grantaire likes it, mostly because of his mom. Hence, the tickets to the concert. And the three-hour road trip to D.C.
Hence, the date.
The only way to let out at least some of this absurd excitement is yelling, “Am I more than you bargained for yet?”
Enjolras smiles at some private joke. Then he joins in, “I’ve been dying to tell you anything you wanna hear.”
The wind messes up his blond hair. He is beautiful, and wonderfully out of tune.
At some point, Enjolras reaches out for his hand, and when Grantaire looks over he’s staring out the window, and the tips of his ears are pink. Grantaire is infinitely grateful that he isn’t driving stick.
Part of Grantaire wants to stay here forever, on the highway, with Enjolras’ red shoes on the dashboard and the wind rushing through the open windows, the music loud enough to reverberate through him. With Enjolras’ smooth fingers curling in his hand.
Part of him can’t wait for what comes next.
HOME // INTERVIEWS: Who Is Capital R? A Peek Into Elusive New Pop Punk Darling January 11, 2010
Following the release of his debut album “R”, Grantaire – whose nom d’art takes right after the record’s title – has been surprisingly hard to get ahold of. Not much more than a few promotional photoshoot, and press releases from R’s label – Ultime Records, run by U.J. Fauchelevent – can give us insight on this apparently uncharacteristically shy new punk rocker.
Before my interview, then, I resolve to ask the questions that have been buzzing among everyone who has been charmed by this brand new young artist’s sound.
But when he walks into the room, surprisingly, R’s image as a shy, wilting flower is almost immediately shattered. Wild black curls, ruggedly handsome, he is loud and boisterous in his replies, and possesses a surprisingly pungent sense of humor.
Here’s the real question, then: where has Fauchelevent been hiding him?
BSI: First of all, the question I think we’re all asking ourselves: why R?
R: Well, I figured, Ed Sheeran’s out there using Math, Adele’s using numbers too… I’ve always been shit at those [laughs] so I thought, letters, right? Is that presumptuous? But yeah, it’s supposed to be a pun on my name…. uh, in French. Actually that’s definitely presumptuous.
BSI: So you speak French?
Only enough not to be completely lost in Paris. It was my grandmother’s native language, and she taught me some. I’m nowhere near fluent, though.
BSI: Moving on, another question that’s hot with our readers… how’s your love life, R?
R: [laughs] Why did I know you would ask me that? You know, it’s still curious to me how, suddenly, everyone is interested in who I take to bed… or don’t. I think, just the other day, I found out I was dating Anna Kendrick. Which, don’t get me wrong, Anna is beautiful and she seems like she’d be a lot of fun. But we haven’t actually met before, so I’m not sure how we could ever be dating. It’s all so surreal, because I never actually turned heads before all this started.
BSI:You know you haven’t actually answered our question?
R: I really haven’t, have I?
May 2012 | 24 years old
It’s not his first interview and it certainly won’t be his last – but God help him, if he has any say at all in this, it’ll be the last he agrees to do before ten in the morning.
When he woke up, the room was half-dark. The sky was still soft pink and light blue, and grey shadows still lingered in the small space between the dresser and the bed.
Enjolras was warm and hidden, just a sprawl of golden hair on the pillow. Grantaire hadn’t had the heart to wake him, so he’d left him rolled up in the duvet and snoring softly.
Contrary to popular belief, Enjolras is not an early bird. It’d probably shock half of his classmates, who – according to Courfeyrac – think he rolls out of bed at 6 AM, fresh and ready to deliver an opening statement or feed the homeless, whichever comes first.
Grantaire knows better.
He comes home past eleven, and smells the warm smell of coffee, hears the happy bubbling sound of the machine.
Enjolras is in the kitchen, glaring at the coffee machine, offended at life. There’s still a mark from the pillow on his cheek, and the shirt he’s wearing probably belonged to Grantaire in a past life. The collar is too wide, the shoulders too broad, and it hangs limp on his stomach.
He doesn’t react, when Grantaire slams the door shut and drops the keys on the table by the door. He only seems to take notice of Grantaire at all when he finds himself pressed back against him, at which point he makes a sound.
Grantaire calls them sleepy Enjolras noises, usually, while Courfeyrac calls them zombie groans, and they are low, guttural complaints – all Enjolras seems able to express when he’s just woken up. Speaking of which.
Enjolras turns in Grantaire’s arms, and doesn’t even complain about the smell of cigarette smoke still clinging to him. He tucks unruly, matted curls under Grantaire’s chin and says, “Mmmmmh.”
Grantaire brushes Enjolras’ hair away from his mouth and targets the soft curve of his cheekbone, which is soft and smooth and still sleep-flushed. He drops a kiss there.
He says, “How many cups of coffee so far?”
“Ngh,” Enjolras whines softly, and reaches back blindly to pick up his mug. It was, in another life, Courfeyrac’s mug, and still bears a faded print of “Caffeine Queen.” He presses it against Grantaire’s chest, who sees that it is, in fact, completely empty and dry.
“Ugh,” Enjolras groans, low in his throat.
“Oh no,” Grantaire says, trying for deadpan, and probably failing. “Oh dear, oh no.”
Enjolras makes a grumbling sound of assent, and sticks his nose behind Grantaire’s ear.
Grantaire dutifully pours them both a cup of coffee, and knows to keep silent until Enjolras has chugged at least half of his – black, no sugar. He isn’t coherent enough to tell the difference, at this point.
The second will be doctored properly – just a dash of milk, one sugar, shot of caramel only if he makes it to a third cup – but by then Enjolras will be awake enough to open his eyes.
Grantaire is finally greeted by blue, though smiles are absolutely out of the question.
“Well, good morning,” he says. His cheerful tone seems to offend Enjolras even more.
“You weren’t there,” he says, voice still gravelly with sleep. “This morning. Woke up. Where did you go?”
His second cup is pressed into his hands, and Enjolras makes a tiny, pleased noise as he finally starts to taste the coffee.
“Interview, Apollo, remember?” Grantaire says, amused. “I told you last week. And then again two days ago. And again last night.”
“Is that today?” Enjolras asks. Halfway through cup number two, his brain is finally kicking in. “Oh. It’s Friday.”
“That it is, love. Welcome back to the world of the living,” Grantaire says.
Enjolras finally gives him a smile, if still sleepy. His hair is sticking out on one side, and plastered to his skull on the other. The morning is warm and golden, just like him.
Enjolras leans up to kiss him. He says, “Good morning.”
And it is.
subject: R Concert March 26 Refund
We are saddened to announce that the upcoming Norfolk concert will be canceled due to personal issues. A full refund will be issued to all within seven working days.
We apologize for any inconvenience caused, and the team at Ultime Records wish to communicate our deepest regrets.
This mailing is from Ultime Records Team to [redacted]
If you want to STOP receiving emails from Ultime Records, click here.
So give me a sign, a lifeline
When everything is screaming, baby
And I can’t hear my own heart
Just tell me there’s still a place left
A harbor in the storm
Tell me I’m home
“Don’t Tell Me It’s Over” – Grantaire (“Toads&Birds” 2013)
March 2010 | 22 years old
He didn’t think it would be like this.
Grantaire has been jumping from one hotel room to the next, and they have all started to look the same. All airports seem to blend into each other. He could recite the flight safety procedures backwards.
He has spent sleepless nights, in those rooms, the silence so loud he couldn’t get to sleep without music. It’s ridiculous. He never thought he’d be the kind of guy who couldn’t sleep without another body next to his, without a familiar rise and fall of breath.
He misses Enjolras, yes, but that’s only part of it – however big and overwhelming. Every time he gets up on stage it’s a rush, it’s adrenaline, and his throat is happy and sore afterwards, but. But.
It’s almost hard to keep the images in his brain, he can’t remember anything past a blur of lights and music and emotion – and then it’s gone. And after, with all of the parties, and the famous people, and the promotional shoots, he’s waiting to turn back and throw a knowing look to – somebody.
Except nobody is there.
It sounds so cheesy to his own ears – that none of this seems to be worth as much, or truly make him happy, because none of his friends are here to gasp, Oh my God is that Taylor Swift in his ear.
He’s lonely. It’s so stupid.
I’m supposed to be happy, he thinks. He thinks, I’ve made it. I’m even starting to make money, I’m doing all these things, I’m supposed to be happy.
He turns in the sheets and feels it like a weight in his chest – suddenly he is a thousand miles away from home, the distance so wide that panic sparks in his chest. There it is.
Clammy hands, cold sweat blooming on his skin, breath coming short. His heart, trying to take flight.
Everyone is so far away and he is so, so alone.
He pulls out his headphones, but the silence is thick around him, and so his fingers scramble for his phone before he even registers the thought.
And before he knows it, the dial tone is in his ear already, and he regrets it.
He’s about to hang up, when a half-muffled, sleep-rough voice mutters, “Hello?”
Grantaire doesn’t speak. His breath rattles the receiver.
“R? R, it’s you, isn’t it – ” a pause, as if Enjolras were checking his phone for the caller ID again. His voice, when it comes back, is still gravelly but marginally more awake. “Grantaire?”
Grantaire exhales, and says nothing. It’s 3 AM, he realizes. He just woke Enjolras in the middle of the night. Fuck. Can he ever get anything right?
“Grantaire, what’s going on?” Enjolras seems to be even more awake now, his brain catching up to the hour, and Grantaire’s silence. “R? You’re scaring me.”
“I’m sorry,” Grantaire says, and it comes out all wrong. Choked and breathless and just every bit as not okay as possible.
“It’s alright,” Enjolras says, and clears his throat, gets rid of the last of his sleep fog. Apparently, adrenaline can do it better than coffee. “Grantaire? It’s okay. I’m glad you called me.”
Grantaire makes another choked sound, an excuse for a laugh. “It’s 3 AM.”
“Yes, exactly,” Enjolras says. “I always want you to call me when you need me at 3 AM.”
Grantaire’s next sound comes out watery. Just great.
“I miss you,” he says, which is only part of the problem.
“I know. I miss you too, love,” Enjolras says. He rarely uses terms of endearment, which makes this all the worse. “That’s not it, though, is it?”
Grantaire manages to smile, because of course Enjolras would know. Yes, missing him is like a physical ache sometimes, but it’s nothing they haven’t done before. In the long months while Enjolras was at college, and Grantaire was working three jobs and waiting to be discovered, they’d done it. Despite their stumbles, they’d done it.
It’s not the whole story, this time.
“It wasn’t supposed to be this way,” Grantaire says. “It’s just – it’s so much, E. And I’m – ”
He doesn’t want to say, I’m lonely. He doesn’t want to say, I can’t do this alone.
Enjolras hesitates, on the other side. Then he says, “It all happened so fast, R. It’s okay to be overwhelmed.”
So yes, he’s crying. Enjolras can probably hear him sniffle, because he murmurs, “Hey. Hey. It’s okay.”
It doesn’t really fix anything, but now knows why, so long ago, in another life, kind words had only made Enjolras cry harder. Gentleness is so much harder to bear.
“I don’t know when it stopped being – I don’t know when I stopped liking it,” he says. “I don’t know when it stopped being a good thing.”
“Grantaire,” Enjolras says. Then pauses. “You’ve been on the road non-stop for what? Two months? And you had two weeks off before that. And a tour before that.”
He sighs, over the line, and Grantaire can almost see the way his brow is furrowing, eyes closing. Suddenly, he can just picture him – the slope of his back in the dim light of the phone, his ruffled curls. God, he wants to be home.
“You need to come home,” Enjolras says, as if reading his mind.
“I’ve got – there’s another concert in Norfolk in a week, and then one more week of promotion, Enj, I can’t – ”
“Yes, you can,” Enjolras says. His voice is still rough, but he sounds like himself – that tone that makes most people shut up and listen, and makes Grantaire want to argue back. “God help him, I’ll call Fauchelevent myself. You’re burning out. I won’t let them run you into the ground like this.”
It draws another watery chuckle from Grantaire. He can just picture Enjolras, striding up to the Ultime Records headquarters, sending strongly worded letters to whoever is in charge of Grantaire’s calendar. He’s quite sure Enjolras is terrifying enough to shout them all into submission.
“My hero,” he says, only half-joking.
“You’re coming home,” Enjolras says. He doesn’t say, to me. He doesn’t have to. “I’ll come get you at the airport.”
Grantaire isn’t sure that’s going to fix it. He isn’t sure he won’t go home and never want to leave again, and then he’s not sure he’s not going to regret it.
He doesn’t know anything, really.
He says, “Okay.”
BSI: So this was all a bit sudden, wasn’t it? Only a year ago you were bartending in New York, we’re told, and now here you are. How does that feel?
R: Fuck, it’s absolutely nuts, isn’t it? Wait, can I swear? I guess you can just edit that out, right? Anyways, I was bartending, and also I was a barista for a while, and I picked up shifts at this catering company… so yeah, it didn’t really feel like this would ever get anywhere, you know? I didn’t really think… Well, it just looked kinda hopeless. I guess I was really lucky, but also, I don’t really wanna lie about what it was like before I got here. Hell, for all I know this could all be temporary and I’ll be back bussing tables in two years [laughs] No, what I mean is, that if knowing where I came from - dropped out of high school, got a GED and no degree… if it gives hope to other kids out there that are going through some of the same stuff, then I guess my work’s done.
BSI: You talk about mental illness a lot in your songs. Is that part of the reason?
R: Oh yeah. And also, you know, what you see is what you get. People can’t say I didn’t warn them that my brain is fucked up, you know? Anxiety and depression can be so lonely, and I can’t have been the only kid that found music way more helpful than guidance counsellors. I mean, songs are not gonna judge you, you know? At the very least, I want my fans to know I sure as hell won’t.
It’s funny, or maybe tragic
That fear exists without words
Like the stillness of startled deer,
Like screaming when nothing else is left
Like being quiet, like holding on
I am running on a promise, a promise
The promise that one day, oh maybe one day
I can stop fighting.
“Worse For Wear” – Grantaire (“R”)
February 2013| 25 years old
It’s not a good day. He still has those, he realized a long time ago.
He realized that his brain doesn’t stop being fucked up just because he has a boyfriend, and he has money, and he is relatively successful.
Some days, the duvet clings to him and he to it, and the thought of getting out is simply an impossibility. Some days, he craves a drink – some days it’s like he’s a teenager all over again, sneaking his mother’s cooking wine.
He doesn’t tell Enjolras that, because he can’t really stand the soft, worried look in his eyes, and because he doesn’t want to go look for disappointment in it. And he’ll be tempted.
But Enjolras is not stupid.
He knew when Grantaire didn’t get up for breakfast – not even when he heard the sound of the coffee machine beeping. And Grantaire knows Enjolras is trying extra hard, because he turned on the radio and played cheery pop music. Usually, Grantaire will crawl out of bed just to make a quip and pretend to be a musical elitist.
So Enjolras came back with coffee around 11 AM, and stroked his hair for a bit, and tried to talk about it.
But Enjolras has also been here for the past seven years, so he knows not to push the issue.
Let me be, but don’t leave me alone, Grantaire remembers telling him, which didn’t make much sense to him at the time, but Enjolras has been doing okay with the instruction most of the time.
So he leaves Grantaire to brood, but makes sure he eats, and drinks water, and spends a good hour tidying up their room around him, humming gently. One of Grantaire’s first songs, which is incidentally about Enjolras. Most songs are, really.
By evening Grantaire is eyeing the pile of discarded papers on the desk by the window, and the guitar propped on the wall.
So part of this, he knows, was triggered by the third album, and that one song that just won’t come. He’s been trying to beat it into submission for a while, and every failure just seems to encourage the old intrusive thoughts.
How did you even make it this far, they say, and, this is it, you’ve reached your limit, everyone will know you’re a fraud now.
By 7 PM, he doesn’t necessarily feel better, with the weight of a whole wasted day making him feel worthless, but Enjolras is making something that smells suspiciously like carbonara, and Grantaire is considering possibly getting up and joining him in at the table.
He’s still pondering this when he hears the doorbell, followed by the shuffling of Enjolras’ slipper-clad feet, followed by –
“Here they come!” Bossuet’s voice booms.
“Where’s my ruggedly handsome frontman?”
Joly, when he bursts in, is a vision of sunflower print and denim. Bossuet follows suit, still unwrapping himself from his oversized purple scarf.
“Ah!” Joly says, and lies down at Grantaire’s side. “Here’s my handsome boy burrito.”
Grantaire’s voice is scratchy, barely used, when he says, “You’re never gonna let that go, are you? Handsome?”
“At least according to that journalist back in – what was it? Twenty-ten?”
Getting sucked into their banter is almost involuntary. “Yes, but I was younger, then.”
“I think you’re handsome,” Enjolras says, coming to perch by R’s head. His fingers find Grantaire’s curls at once. Grantaire looks up to meet his eyes, which are very carefully gentle.
Enjolras must have been really worried, Grantaire realizes. Which is understandable; days this bad hadn’t come in a while.
So he’d called the cavalry.
Grantaire looks at him very seriously and says, “We’ve established in twelfth grade that you’re full of shit on that front, babe.”
Enjolras smiles a pretty, relieved smile.
“Objectively speaking – objectively, Joly – I’m not handsome.”
“Dude, you’re sexy as hell,” Bossuet says.
“That’s subjective, though, isn’t it?”
They bicker in that fashion some more, and then somehow get onto the subject of his songs.
“Listen, dude, I looked at it, okay? And I figured out what’s wrong – Joly, if you please…”
“Yeah, so you’re trying to go la-dee-dah, right, instead it should be la-dah-dah, you hear?”
Grantaire hums it to himself, then huffs. Of course.
“I see. Very professional, both of you.”
“We have no musical integrity,” Joly agrees. “La-dah-dah.”
“Also,” Bossuet says, “neither of us wants to get up and grab a guitar.”
That’s when the timer for Enjolras’ pasta goes off, and he swears and runs to it.
When he’s gone, Joly burrows a bit closer, and nuzzles Grantaire’s cheek.
“Listen, bumblebee,” he says, “we don’t want to overwhelm you, yeah? We just love you very much.”
“Yeah, so if you really need us to, we’ll fuck off, just say the word,” Bossuet chimes in. “If not, we’ll have some of your lovely boyfriend’s pasta, and then we can all snuggle and watch one of those Earth documentaries. It’s your call.”
Grantaire is not going to cry. He’s determined. He’s also going to need a second to deliberate. Just a second.
“Yeah, I guess you can stay,” he says, trying for flippant. “But only if we watch the one on caves.”
“Ew, God, that’s the one with the disgusting critters,” Joly whines. Then his face becomes determined, and his voice drops to a growl. “Let’s do it.”
Grantaire thinks he might even make it to the living room.
[The picture, tinted with a soft yellow filter, shows R and his band. Grantaire is in the foreground, grinning from ear to ear. There is a red lipstick mark on his left cheekbone. He is happily crammed between Joly, to his right, with his tongue out and about to lick his face, and Musichetta, to his left, their cheeks squished together tightly. Bossuet peeks above through R’s curls, smiling brightly, and his dark, muscular forearm is visible, wrapped around Grantaire’s neck and just short of choking him]
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May 2010 | 22 years old
His hands are shaking a bit, but he can’t say it’s going so bad. He’s had much worse.
Fauchelevent was more understanding that R expected, about pulling the plug on the last dates of the European tour. They’d released a statement, something about him being ill.
Grantaire, on his brand-new, official YouTube channel – disaffiliated from his old one, with all the terrible-quality videos and covers and fledgling songs – had made a video explaining exactly what kind of ill he’d been. Enjolras had held his hand while he uploaded it, and kept holding it when the response from his fans had started to come through.
He isn’t quite sure how he got to be this lucky, and he’s also not quite sure he deserves it.
Grantaire’s just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Namely, he’s doing so while waiting for the new band on one of the couches in the recording studio. Cosette Fauchelevent left him in there with a promise to be back very soon, and an instruction to make himself comfortable.
Which he has done, because Cosette is a literal ray of sunshine in the shape of a 5-foot-nothing dimpled Korean girl, and disappointing her is simply unthinkable.
So his leg jiggles, like it does when he’s anxious, and his sweaty arm keeps sticking to the leather couch, but he’s making himself comfortable.
They’re supposed to start working on the new album this month, and Grantaire does have a few proposals, but right now just about nothing sounds good enough to him.
Which, honestly, is pretty normal.
He’s still mulling this over – arms crossed now, he’s way too nervous for leather couches – when he hears laughter on the other side of the door.
The band spills into the room.
The woman in the center wears a bright red-lipstick smile and a swishy skirt, fly-away dark curls framing her sun-tanned, freckled cheeks. She is flanked by one tall dark-skinned man, whose bald head shines under the industrial neon lights, nose scrunching up with his smile, and one smaller, pale, black-haired man, who’s brandishing his walking cane to punctuate his words. He can barely finish his sentences for how hard he’s giggling.
“And then – I swear, she hasn’t even finished – telling us – h-how much her dress cost, and her poodle just – trips him. And he was still holding his coffee,” the smaller man says. His taller companion laughs, again.
“She asked me to pay her dry cleaning, you know,” he says. He doesn’t seem particularly put out. “I was just worried – the dog made such a sad sound.”
That’s when the woman notices Grantaire, and her dark eyes widen. “Oh, hello!”
The two men turn to him together, completely in sync, and Grantaire didn’t think it was possible for their smiles to widen. They do.
“Oh my God,” the smaller man says. He walks over to Grantaire and extends a long-fingered hand. “Ooooh my God, hello, my name’s Joly! We’re such fans. Oh my God!”
“Babe, you’ve said that three times,” the taller man says. Then, just as Grantaire is done speechlessly shaking Joly’s hand, he slides in in his place. “I’m Laigle, but they call me Bossuet.”
“Bossuet?” Grantaire says, then, because he tends to run his mouth when he’s nervous, “You mean that Bossuet, bane of all poodles everywhere?”
Joly brightens. “You’ve heard of him! Darling, he’s heard of you.”
“And we’ve heard of you,” the woman comes forth, finally. “Leave some of him for the rest of us. I’m Musichetta.
“Actually,” Joly interrupts. “That’s her nom d’art. But no one really calls her Cecilia anymore.”
Musichetta smiles kindly and rests a hand on his head as if to quiet him.
She continues, “I’m your new lead guitarist. Bossuet’s rhythm guitar, or bass, or strings, depending what we need. Joly is drums.”
“But he also writes,” Bossuet whispers. “Sometimes we even play our own music, imagine that!”
“Sshhh,” Joly says, visibly blushing. “Oh my God.”
“Oh wow,” Grantaire manages to butt in. “Would I have heard of you? What’s your band’s name?”
The three of them look at each other, then Joly giggles nervously, and Bossuet scratches the back of his neck.
“You see,” Musichetta says, with a grin that’s clearly up to no good. “We might be… indecisive.”
“When Chetta and I met, back in London,” Bossuet says. “We were just a duet, mostly doing covers. She sang, played the keyboard, and I was guitar.”
“They called themselves The Magnificent Mangoes,” Joly bursts out, his eyes lost and faraway. “One hundred percent the reason why I went to their first gig.”
“Yeah, and when we saw this little guy,” Bossuet says, wrapping an arm around Joly’s shoulders. “We fell in love.”
Joly’s cheeks are still red. He looks immensely pleased.
Musichetta says, “But then, we didn’t feel like the Mangoes anymore, with Joly.”
“So we became The Runaway Aubergines,” Bossuet concludes.
“But then that didn’t really match our sound after a while,” Joly says. “Growing, evolving, you know?”
“Which is why we called ourselves Landscaping Maze for a while,” Musichetta chimes in. “That is, until we started playing for solo artists to, you know… make some money.”
“Which is when we decided on Space Kid,” Bossuet concludes. “And that’s what we’ve got right now.”
Grantaire’s head has been pinballing back and forth between one or the other of them throughout the whole of this, and he feels kind of overwhelmed in a wonderful way.
“Love it,” he says. He’s met with three wide grins. Then, Cosette and her father walk in.
Fauchelevent is a broad-shouldered black man in his sixties, with a head of white curls and a kind smile. In the same way one doesn’t want to disappoint Cosette, letting down Fauchelevent is unthinkable.
“Ah, I see you’ve already met,” he says, in his deep, sweet baritone. He smiles, “I just wanted to check that everything was alright. Cosette has been taking good care of you, I hope?”
“Good morning, Mr. Jean,” Musichetta says, smiling back. “Cosette’s been excellent. As usual.”
Cosette preens only the slightest bit, then pats her father’s arm and comes forward, in a flurry of practical clipboards, dimples and floral skirts.
“We’ve got a bit of a busy schedule today, so we should probably get going,” she says, impeccably professional. “If you’ll excuse us, Mr. Fauchelevent.”
Faucheleven nods genially and bids them farewell, offering them his best wishes.
Half an hour later sees them huddled in one of the free rooms used for rehearsals. Musichetta has commandeered the keyboard, and plays chords as Joly bids her. Grantaire and Bossuet are deep in lyrics conversation.
“I like this one,” Bossuet says, and Grantaire winces only a little, when Bossuet sings it, “But girl, wild-eyed girl...”
“Ah,” Grantaire says, and quickly takes that particular paper back. Bossuet’s gentle eyes track the movement, but he blessedly says nothing.
The truth is, that’s not how the song goes, but he doesn’t think he’s ready for the lyrics as they should be. And yet, singing this song any other way than the true one feels like betraying it.
“That one’s not ready,” he proclaims. “Maybe next album, yeah?”
Bossuet looks at him evenly, then smiles. “Sure thing. What about this other one?”
The other songs are very carefully yous, no gender specified, whenever they’re about Enjolras. A few of the ones about girls are actually about girls – like the one about the thing he had with Florèal, brief and intense, while they were both pining after other people back in the summer before senior year. That doesn’t feel like lying.
He likes Space Kid, Grantaire has decided. Like he does, often, he starts to ponder whether they’ll be around in the long run. He lets himself think that, maybe, if they hang with him for the next few tours, he might actually not burn out.
That’s about when Bossuet looks up and sighs, “Babe, you might wanna hydrate.”
Joly does look a bit flustered, from where he’s been getting worked up about harmonies. He nods, and walks towards them and then smoothly slides into Bossuet’s lap and steals his drink.
Grantaire barely blinks. If he thinks about it, he can’t say he didn’t see that coming.
“So there’s a thing we need to discuss before we go on working together,” Musichetta says, perching on the arm of Grantaire’s chair. She’s smiling, but somehow he has a feeling it could turn on a dime.
“We’re in a relationship,” she says. “The boys and I.”
“All three of us,” Joly says, maybe just a tad too brightly.
“Like a threesome,” Grantaire says, which he does recognize probably isn’t the best response.
“Like a polyamorous triad,” Bossuet says.
Grantaire is only quiet for a beat, feeling in his skin the need to give the proper response.
“Congratulations,” he says. Then, because trust him to come out accidentally, he says, “I’m bi.”
Which. Is probably the most reckless thing he’s done to date, it feels like. And he once raced Jean Prouvaire at 2 AM on his scooter.
He hasn’t even told Fauchelevent yet, for Christ’s sake.
Joly beams, then extends a fist to bump. “Samesies,” he says. “Now we’re even. These two are pan.”
“I’m also demi, though,” Bossuet chimes in.
Grantaire bumps Joly’s fist, only the slightest bit dazed. He feels Musichetta pat him gently on the head.
“I have a feeling this is gonna be good, amore,” she says.
NEWS REVIEWS TRACKS FEATURES TV RADIO NEW RELEASES ARTISTS FESTIVALS CONTACTS
FEATURED| R Announces New Album
By Hélène Louison on October 17, 2014 at 12:07 p.m. EDT
New York-based rock artist Grantaire – better known as R – has released details of his fourth album, Ten Years, to be released March 13, 2015.
The album will be recorded with R’s long-time label Ultime Records, producer U.J. Fauchelevent, in NYC. The single “Unhooking The Stars” – first song to be released from the album, will premiere on December 6th.
A North American tour has also been announced for Spring 2015, check out the dates below, along with the video for “Protest Blues,” a single from R’s third album Toads&Birds.
TAGGED: New Releases
September 2011 | 23 years old
Grantaire comes home from his European tour, and barely makes it through the door.
He finds himself pushed back against it instead. It slams shut behind him, and there is a very warm, very enthusiastic Enjolras pressed against his chest.
His hands are fisted in Grantaire’s jacket, his hair is pulled back in a bun, and he looks royally pissed off. Except Grantaire has known him for five years, and can read the tell-tale twitch of his mouth, the heat in his blue eyes.
“Hello,” Grantaire says, meeting Enjolras’ frown head-on.
“You made me so mad,” Enjolras declares, and belies his words by pressing flush against him, against the door. “Asshole.”
They had a fight, over the phone – lots of shouting, though Grantaire barely remembers what it was about. Something something Marxism.
The roadies – new ones, the old ones would have known to expect this – had looked wary and worried, until Joly had come barging in, in his bright yellow pants, and laughed about it.
“So what is it this time, the wage gap? Capitalism? I bet capitalism is involved. No need to worry, this is just how it goes, it’ll blow over soon enough.”
Enjolras hadn’t called for the following week, but he’d sent a good luck text before Grantaire’s concert, an email that was in fact an essay detailing exactly why Grantaire’s arguments were shit, and two sneaky snapchats from his lecture – one of his signature selfies with his face half-hidden by his hand, and one six-second video of Courfeyrac attempting to balance a pencil on his nose.
And now – he is staring Grantaire down in that intense, severe way of his, and it’s entirely too hot, and Grantaire is already hard and not a bit ashamed of it. So maybe an angry Enjolras turns him on. Sue him.
Pressed together like this, he can feel that Enjolras is in a very similar predicament, anyway.
“Missed you too,” Grantaire says, and grins. Because he knows the way it’ll make Enjolras growl and shove him back harder.
He knows the way it’ll make Enjolras rear up to kiss him hard.
He can’t help the small gasp that escapes him when Enjolras bites down on his lip, but at least he makes sure to give as good as he gets.
Missed you might have been a teasing jab, but it’s also the truth.
He feels Enjolras hum, pleased, when Grantaire’s tongue slips into his mouth. Grantaire’s hands slide down his body, waste no time settling on his ass to pull Enjolras harder against him.
They let out unsynchronized moans, and it makes Grantaire laugh.
“You can tell me all about how wrong I am,” Grantaire says, “In the bedroom. Can there be a bedroom? A bed, even.”
“Aren’t we demanding?” Enjolras says, and his wicked grins are rare and therefore absolutely devastating.
“I’m a famous rock star, didn’t you know?” Grantaire replies, and pushes against him to drive him back. Enjolras offers no resistance. “Spoiled rotten, that’s me.”
“Unbearable,” Enjolras agrees, and kisses him.
Stopping is not an option, but it’s also very much impractical. They knock into the bookcase, and into a stray chair, and also into the door frame. Enjolras complains that his side will surely bruise, so Grantaire volunteers to kiss it better.
It’s a vicious cycle – Enjolras pinches his side, which will also bruise, of course, which will also require kissing. It takes them all the way to bed.
Who will be on top is usually a surprise – sometimes they wrestle for it, even. But generally, as a rule, Enjolras makes the call. Grantaire really doesn’t mind.
When he finds himself pushed onto his back, he thinks he knows how tonight is gonna go, and he really isn’t about to complain. In fact, he’s about to spread his legs, when Enjolras straddles his hips instead.
Enjolras is as single-minded in undressing Grantaire as he is in everything else. In the spirit of equality, he removes his own shirt when he’s done with Grantaire’s, then smiles.
“So,” he says, kissing Grantaire lightly, moving away when Grantaire gives chase. “I heard you’re dating uh… Wait, what’s her name?”
“Who?” Grantaire huffs, still trying to catch Enjolras’ lips.
“Red-head. In a – ah – bar?” Enjolras replies, breaks off when Grantaire gives up on his quest and starts to suck a mark in his neck.
“Oh yeah, talked to her for like, half an hour? Then she left. I didn’t catch a name,” Grantaire replies, and applies teeth. “But I guess, next thing I know, we’re gonna be married.”
Enjolras hums, pleased, then gets to work on Grantaire’s belt.
Soon, he’s naked too, all smooth skin against Grantaire’s, and he’s missed this, missed him close and warm and here, right under his hands.
Enjolras grins, and says, “Welcome home.”
Grantaire hands him the lube.
Every time, right after he’s come back, when he hasn’t seen Enjolras in a while, it’s like the first time all over again. Like this is the first time he sees the way Enjolras bites his lip as he slips one, then two, then three fingers inside himself. The way his eyes go wide when he brushes against his own prostate, like he’s surprised.
His hair has already half slipped out of its tie, and soft blond locks brush against his flushed cheeks. Grantaire grabs a handful to finally pull him into a kiss, and makes it as filthy and thorough as possible.
The muffled keen Enjolras lets out against his mouth might be from Grantaire’s tongue, or Grantaire’s finger slipping inside along with his own. Either way.
“Please,” Grantaire says, when he breaks away, because he knows it’s what Enjolras likes to hear. He punctuates it with a lighter, dry kiss, and feels Enjolras smile against it.
He doesn’t say anything, as he removes his fingers and shifts to position himself over Grantaire. The glint in his eye, however, is all victory and smugness. Spoiled rotten, that’s you.
He lets out a lovely sigh, as he sinks down – slow, so slow – on Grantaire’s cock.
Enjolras doesn’t ride him often, but when he does – God, he does not fuck around, or go slow. He rides him until his thighs burn, which Grantaire knows, because he’ll complain about the ache all day the next day.
For now, he’s panting, and throwing his head back, and bouncing on Grantaire’s cock.
He gasps, “Harder.”
Grantaire groans where he’s buried his face in Enjolras’ neck, mouthing more marks.
“R – ah. Oh. Grantaire.”
“I’m – fuck – I’m trying!”
Grantaire snaps his hips up, trying to keep up with Enjolras’ punishing pace. He reaches out to wrap a hand around his dick, just lightly, stroking upwards and rubbing his thumb gently up and down, then around the head. Slow. Barely there.
It’s almost like it’s the gentleness that gets to Enjolras, or maybe just a shifting angle, hitting just right – he cries out, high and breathless, and comes.
This he missed too – the way Enjolras’ red mouth goes slack when he tumbles over the edge, the noises that escape him.
Grantaire groans, then takes advantage of the way Enjolras goes boneless against him to flip them over and thrust into Enjolras in earnest.
He knows Enjolras is oversensitive after an orgasm, and also that he loves it – his eyes roll back, and his fingers clench, clawing marks in Grantaire’s shoulders.
In the morning, he can complain about the scratches, while Enjolras complains about his thighs.
Enjolras’ hand comes up to tangle in Grantaire’s curls, and he whispers somethings, nothings, Grantaire thinks one of them might be, Come on, love, come on.
He doesn’t know what sorts of sounds he makes, if he even replies, before the heat builds up to its inevitable crest, and he comes inside Enjolras.
Enjolras makes soft, humming sounds, not very much unlike a purring cat. He stretches his legs out, then tightens his knees around Grantaire’s hips. Grantaire half-unknowingly keeps mouthing gentle kisses against the bruises blooming on his shoulder. There’s a fresh bite mark too. He forgets putting it there.
“So,” Enjolras says. His voice is gravelly and warm. “When are you introducing me to your new girlfriend?”
Grantaire laughs, then slips out and rolls them over to the side. He keeps Enjolras close to his chest, but far enough that he can look at his face and see the pleased, fucked-out look of him.
“What’s that? Are you jealous?” Grantaire says. “She was really not my type, you know?”
“Oh?” Enjolras asks, and tries a smile. He’s almost too tired for it. “What’s your type, then?”
Grantaire can’t believe he’s being given an opening like this, honestly. It’s a testament to how tired Enjolras is. Or maybe a testament to how, really, he’s a huge sap.
“Well, let’s see,” Grantaire says, and gathers him closer. “Blond hair, blue eyes, entirely too self-righteous. Has terrible taste in coffee, is currently lying in my bed –”
Enjolras rolls his eyes, and pinches his side.
It’s a dangerous vicious cycle started.
[The footage has the grainy and shaky quality of a bootleg. The high-pitched whoops of the girl behind the camera are the loudest in the screaming crowd. She has clearly given up on taking a good-quality video, because she is visibly jumping up and down along with ‘Unhooking The Stars.’ She stops jumping only when the song ends, and Grantaire starts speaking. His curls are tangled and have mostly escaped an attempt at pulling them back in a bun. Slightly breathless, he shouts, “Who’s having a good time?” The crowd roars back. Grantaire grins, and the girl behind the camera shrieks. “So this one’s for someone special, and he’s in the crowd tonight,” Grantaire says, still panting. The crowd gets impossibly higher, deafening. “I knew you were trouble from the start, E, when I saw you in that jail cell, I knew we were in for a wild ride!”]
Ten Years Concert Washington DC part 8
Subscribe | 777.124
Published 30 jul 2015
07/27/15 Concert -Srry about quality, you guys, but I couldn’t stop jumping up and down. But diD YOU HEAR WHAT HE SAID I SHIP IT E/R 10YRS OTP!!!!!
P.S. DID THEY MEET IN JAIL WTF?!
December 2003 | 15 years old
Grantaire has only been living in Virginia for six months and already he thinks he knows exactly what shape this life is going to have. It had all turned out to be not-what-he-expected, but he thinks things have settled down.
He hadn’t quite expected, when he moved, Jean Prouvaire’s intrepid, soft-spoken presence in the seat next to his, every fourth period study hall. Or Eponine Thenardier’s sullen silence by his side during lunches. And then, even those had turned into other things.
Namely, Eponine’s silence has become a non-stop snarky commentary on high school wildlife, and Jehan’s presence has turned to long rants about Greek mythology and Charles Dickens. Which, who even reads Dickens for fun? At least, Eponine’s sneering at ‘other girls’ is something to be expected. She in, in fact, not like ‘other girls’.
Grantaire had even thought he might fall in love with her, at first – she was smart, and cool, and pretty, with thick, dark red hair and brown eyes that always seemed to hang at half-mast. Her smile implied that she cared very little about everything in general.
That last bit turned out to be painfully untrue, and Grantaire hadn’t fallen in love with her after all. Not in a romantic way, anyway.
And Jean Prouvaire – well, Jehan had turned out to have a boyfriend.
He’d been too good to Grantaire, really – running out on your supposed best friend, with a very poor excuse, right after he’s come out to you, would be grounds for a ‘fuck you’ at the very least.
But Jehan hadn’t really said anything, and waited for his apology. Which had come – when Grantaire finally got his shit together, and got over the ridiculous, unexplainable terror that had seized him right then. Which had been solved with something along the lines of, it’s alright it’s just Jehan it’s not really my business it has nothing to do with me.
Jehan is gentle, tall and willowy, with freckled cheeks, bright black eyes and neatly trimmed black hair.
“Only straight thing about me,” he said, once Grantaire had stopped being a dick. He said it with a soft, uncertain smile that had broken Grantaire’s heart.
So he’d ruffled Jehan’s hair until it stood on end, hopelessly tangled, then said, “Now you match.”
He’ll probably never forget Jehan’s relieved laughter.
The apology, of course, had been followed with a request to see the mysterious boyfriend, which had manifested in a splotchy blush on Jehan’s cheeks.
And a flood of information on the boyfriend, as well. Gushing, even.
When he’d met Courfeyrac, the boy actually managed to live up to the legend: he was almost ridiculously handsome, with shiny dark curls, brown-green eyes, and a single dimple on one cheek. His smile could probably cure cancer, Grantaire concluded, and his previous terror flared very briefly.
Courfeyrac was also a people-person, and he’d gotten Grantaire’s life story within ten minutes of knowing him – only child of a single mother, who was half-French and from New York, moved here because they couldn’t afford it, yes, just down the street of the AMC Theatre – and offered his own in return – two older sisters, Puerto Rican parents who were Catholic and also quite tolerant of an almost outrageously queer son, lived in VA his whole life, went to the same middle school as Jehan, actually.You could trust Courfeyrac that way.
The thing was, Courfeyrac had swiftly pulled Jehan into a very recently formed GSA – and they had in turn dragged Grantaire along.
“It’s for allies too, it’s in the name,” Jehan had said. His black eyes still challenged Grantaire to actually follow through on his stated support of him, and so Grantaire had gone. Which had been the latest mistake, because Courfeyrac’s childhood best friend was the president of the GSA.
His name was Enjolras and he was absolutely terrifying. In a number of different ways.
He was beautiful, which was the first. He was Michelangelo’s David come to life, except his blue eyes could probably strip paint off walls with a glare.
It wasn’t that Enjolras was unkind, generally, but it still took very little to blow his metaphorical fuse. And Grantaire had a particular knack for finding exactly the right way to do that.
And now, six months later, they’ve settled in a routine of sorts. They yell at each other a lot – it has something to do with the fact that Grantaire can be a massive dick when he wants, and the fact that Enjolras is way too idealistic for his own good.
Enjolras also thinks that Grantaire is straight, which he’s not so sure about anymore.
He didn’t end up falling in love with Eponine after all, but he’s not sure he can name whatever it is that he feels for Enjolras. It’s too confusing, and terrible, and frightening. It makes him do incredibly stupid things, just to make Enjolras’ eyes turn to him. It turns him so very small, under Enjolras’ beauty and self-righteousness.
You can’t really touch Michelangelo’s David – you’re just going to leave ugly greasy prints on him, and in the long run it’ll wear the marble down.
But he’s gotten used to it, he thinks.
Here’s how things are gonna go: Enjolras is going to be beautiful and righteous, and Grantaire is going to have a stupid maybe-crush, and egg him on, and they’ll fight, and it’ll all blow over in a couple of days. Courf and Jehan are going to be one of those cute-gross affectionate couples forever, get married, and have beautiful adopted babies. And at some point they’ll all get out of high school and forget about each other. And Grantaire, hopefully, will get over it.
They’re off to a great start, anyway.
To begin with, they’re in a jail cell.
What happened was that someone made a rude comment about Jehan and Courfeyrac, who were over at the till to order their drinks. Enjolras, sat at their table, had heard.
Grantaire just happened to be around.
So it just happened that Enjolras had had to be held back. By Grantaire. Who was reluctant to touch him at all for reasons, and so had failed to do it in time.
Then the guy had punched Enjolras, and Grantaire had been the one needing to be held back. Except no one had been quick enough.
The guy has a broken collarbone. Grantaire maintains he tripped.
Enjolras is pacing their jail cell.
“Settle down, Apollo,” Grantaire says, feigning nonchalance. The truth is, he’s slightly dreading the arrival of his mother. Not because she’ll yell, or anything of the sort – but because she’ll give him that tired and disappointed and sad look, and Grantaire will feel like a literal shit for adding to her griefs.
Still, it’s once again the exact wrong thing to say to Enjolras. He turns around, eyes alight and cries out, “God, just shut up, just – ”
He turns back, towards the wall, away from Grantaire. Suddenly, he lifts a hand and punches it, once.
Grantaire stays stock-still, sat down on the floor with his knees pulled close to his chest. Enjolras lets out an uncharacteristic sound of frustration.
“Enjolras – ”
“I know,Grantaire,” he shouts. “I fucked up, okay? You don’t have to remind me.”
When he turns around, his eyes aren’t just alight – they are wet. The bruise on his cheek is already starting to turn from red to sickly blue. Grantaire is frozen. He never thought Enjolras could do something as human as crying.
But he is – sniffling, and wiping at his cheeks angrily, as if he could pretend it isn’t happening after all.
“That’s not – ” Grantaire starts, then thinks better of it. “Listen, won’t you come sit down? Who knows when they’ll even come for us just – just sit down, Enjolras.”
Enjolras eyes the patch of hard floor by Grantaire as if it were on fire. His eyes are still shiny, and electric blue, and undeniably puffy.
He sits down gingerly, not looking at Grantaire. That’s about when Grantaire himself runs out of things to say.
Tough. They’re stuck here for who knows how long.
“Are you scared?” he asks, at length, into the overbearing silence. More just to say anything, really, because he doesn’t expect Enjolras to.
“Yeah,” Enjolras mutters. An impossibility. “God, my dad is going to kill me.”
“Yeah,” Grantaire says. “Wait – he isn’t actually, is he? Like – ”
“No, not literally,” Enjolras sighs. He sounds put out, and irritated, and still scared. Like a kid. “He’ll just – well, he shouts a lot. He’s just going to go on, and on, and on…”
He pauses, then swallows and looks hard at the wall. His voice is unsteady when he goes on, “I just don’t think I can listen to that right now.”
Grantaire says nothing, because he doesn’t think he can tell Enjolras that they’ll be okay. He doesn’t know that. Truthfully, he’s not sure whether they’ve got them here just to scare them, or if they’ll need bail to get out. If he thinks too hard about it, he’ll freak out too, and he’s starting to think this cell is too small to handle two crying teenagers.
The thing is, he wants to be able to tell Enjolras – this crying, human Enjolras – that it’ll be okay.
Instead, he takes his hand, and finds it made of shockingly warm bone and skin. The knuckles are bruised and bleeding.
“Well, you did make a mess,” Grantaire concedes. It lacks his usual sarcasm. “What did you do that for?”
“Why did you tackle that guy?” Enjolras offers back.
Grantaire looks up at him, eyebrows up to his hairline. What the fuck.
“Did you miss the bit where he punched you in the face?”
That has to be a crime to, like, art or something. For starters. And seeing Enjolras go down had made him see red.
Enjolras shrugs. “Figured you wouldn’t mind doing that yourself.”
“What? Dude!” Grantaire snaps. “No way. Who do you take me for? I mean sure, you’re so naïve it’s kind of irritating, and you could spend some time toning down the judgey eyes. But man, we’re still friends, I don’t want to punch you. The fuck.”
Enjolras’ mouth opens and closes. His bafflement is entirely too pretty. Grantaire is in deep shit.
“We’re friends?” Enjolras questions.
It’s like a bucket of ice dumped on Grantaire. Of course. He’s a massive idiot.
“I mean…” he says. Then says nothing else.
“No! Yeah, I mean, of course,” Enjolras fumbles. Then, miraculously, blushes. “Of course. I mean, if that’s alright with you. As I said, I was under the impression that you didn’t like me much.”
Grantaire realizes he’s still sort-of holding Enjolras’ hand. Even more ridiculous, he still hasn’t let it go. Absolutely unbelievable, Enjolras hasn’t said anything about it.
“I don’t – ” Grantaire says. “I don’t not like you.”
Enjolras nods. “Well, um, I don’t not like you too.”
Grantaire looks up, narrowing his eyes, and it makes Enjolras throw his free hand up.
“No, honest! Listen, sometimes you’re a dick,” Enjolras admits. “Actually, you’re a dick very often. But then, you know, I can see why you’re friends with Jehan. And Courfeyrac is always telling stories about you. And you don’t always not have a point…”
“Maybe we should cut down on the double negatives here, just a thought…”
Enjolras, of all things, chuckles. There are still tears in his eyes. “Yeah. Okay. So anyway, you’re not always a dick. Sometimes you punch homophobes for us. So maybe we can be friends?”
Grantaire shrugs. “Yeah, okay. We can try?”
“I’d like that.”
Enjolras’ knuckles are still pale and bruised and bloody against Grantaire’s. He says, “I’d like that too.”
They sit in silence for another few minutes, and meanwhile Grantaire feels it building in his chest. It’s something about the way Enjolras said, Sometimes you punch homophobes for us.
Well, what the hell, he thinks. Today is already fucking terrifying.
“I don’t think I’m straight.”
Enjolras’ hand stills perceptibly in his hold. Grantaire lets it go. He feels Enjolras’ eyes right at his temple.
“Oh,” Enjolras says. Then, “I – ”
Grantaire says nothing.
“I, um,” Enjolras says, eloquently. “I had no idea.”
“You talk about girls all the time,” Enjolras observes. Which. A+ for noticing Grantaire’s desperate and obvious overcompensation.
“Yeah, well,” Grantaire says. “Notice how I didn’t say hey, Enjolras, I think I’m gay.”
“Ah,” says Enjolras.
After another, absolutely excruciating moment of silence, Grantaire feels Enjolras’ shoulder bump softly into his.
He looks up. Enjolras has the tiniest, most hesitant smile on his lips.
“Well, you’re in good company,” Enjolras says, painfully awkward.
It actually startles a manic little giggle out of Grantaire.
“Sure, dude,” Grantaire says. “It just means we don’t have a token straight friend anymore.”
“We never had one apparently,” Enjolras says. His tiny smile has grown a bit. It’s ridiculous and miraculous and terrifying.
They stay there, with their shoulder pressed together, until they are set free.
And there was always too much of you for anyone
Maybe I’ve got too much heart, or not enough
To hold you in all at once. I’m never quite right,
But I don’t let go neatly and you, you shine too bright
And ten years is a long time to love someone, baby
Oh, ten years is a long time.
“Ten Years” – Grantaire (“Ten Years”)
December 2007 | 18 years old
The worst part is that Grantaire has stopped checking his phone.
Somewhere between the morning shift at the café and his evening shift at the bar, not to mention the catering shifts he picks up here and there, he manages to write.
Not a lot, and not often – he sits with a guitar in front of a camera and some days it feels like singing to no one, despite the views and subscriptions steadily rising on this new YouTube thing. It was Courfeyrac who had suggested it, initially, something about getting himself out there.
Grantaire finds, some days, that it’s the only thing left to look forward to, since Enjolras doesn’t really call anymore.
They haven’t spoken in two months.
They haven’t fought – that’s the bit that hurts. The last message Enjolras sent him, 11:32 PM on a Thursday, reads, sorry deadline coming up I love you.
The lack of punctuation had thrown him, at first. But not quite as much as the complete lack of any response to Grantaire’s following message – which, granted, had come almost two days later. He’d barely had time to shower and collapse back into bed, in his defense.
But Enjolras had not replied. He had sort of disappeared into nothing. Because he was still waging a silent war against Facebook, Grantaire had no updates apart from brief updates from Courfeyrac, who was pre-Law like him.
Updates which usually amounted to, He’s working very hard, you should call him.
Which, Grantaire should. He shouldn’t be giving up so easily, because of one unanswered text, should he?
Except, when one week without response goes by, some self-flagellating part of him wants to see, how long can he go on forgetting me?
So he waits.
He’s still waiting two months later.
This is the bit that hurts: that nothing happened, that when he expected this to end he’d always thought he would fuck up in some way, that it’d be screaming and crying and storming out of rooms, because this was them. They didn’t do anything halfway or not passionately.
But no – it seems it’s not going to end. It’s just going to sputter and die.
That’s the bit that hurts, the bit that says that it wasn’t even important enough to merit a statement, a grand gesture. And so maybe that’s the bit that makes him get in the car, on a chilly December evening.
Maybe that’s the bit that makes him drive across states.
He thinks, at least I am allowed a fight. He thinks, at least I will know this is over.
He thinks of the way Enjolras’ face will light up with fury like it used to in club meetings, before he decided to move away for college. He thinks of the look he hasn’t seen on Enjolras’ face in a long while – anger and disapproval and distaste. He thinks of the exact, sharp, ugly words that Enjolras will throw at him and they hurt, but God, it’s almost cathartic. Anything better than this silence.
He rehearses it in his mind, every scenario in which they break up. Sometimes Enjolras makes it easy – he’s cruel. It gives Grantaire a reason to leave. Sometimes he makes it hard, and it’s like tearing off a limb.
He gets there just as dawn breaks – pink, and light blue, and cold as hell. He remembers Enjolras’ campus, his dorms, the way to his room. He helped move him in, back in September.
It’s hard not to think about Enjolras’ giddy smile, and the single-mindedness with which he’d started to decorate his half of the room. About the determined, smug look in his eye when he’d stuck a picture of the two of them over his desk. About his laughter when Grantaire had kissed him, and they’d made love on the terribly narrow twin-bed, and fallen off when Enjolras’ new roommate had walked in on them.
The hallway is the same, the door is the same, and Enjolras’ roommate is the same, when he bursts out, red-faced and disheveled.
They stare at each other for a second, he and Grantaire.
“Uh,” Grantaire says. “Hi, Marius.”
“Oh, God,” Marius says, and it sounds suspiciously like a sob. “Thank God you’re here. I just – I don’t know what to do. Please help.”
This – okay, Grantaire can admit that this was in none of his rehearsals.
He is so stunned that he forgets to be afraid to open Enjolras’ door.
See, the thing is, people think Enjolras is neat. Just as precise with his things as he is in his actions, just as determined.
The truth is that when he gets lost in his own mind, everything else falls away, and tidying up is the first thing to go.
All this to say that the room is a mess, that Enjolras’ desk is overflowing with papers, and that there are open books across the floor, spilling into Marius’ side of the room.
And Enjolras is also on the floor, like the eye of the storm, except he is not calm.
He’s thinner than Grantaire remembers, the skin underneath his eyes purplish and paper-thin. His hair is messy, like he’s been running his hands through it, his eyes glassy and wide and – suddenly, settling on Grantaire. Going wider, gasping.
“R?” he asks. Like it might be a hallucination.
“Enjolras,” Grantaire calls back, the name unused for so long and yet easy. He doesn’t think it could ever not be – the hard part, sometimes, is keeping it in. “Enjolras, what’s going on?”
“What are you doing here?” Enjolras asks, then stumbles upright, to his feet.
He stands there, looks at Grantaire, and then suddenly – breaks.
Enjolras crying was never in Grantaire’s rehearsals either.
“I’m sorry,” Enjolras says. “I just – I don’t think I can do it all.”
Suddenly – they are fifteen years old, in a jail cell, waiting for their parents to pick them up. Enjolras is crying, saying, I fucked up, okay? You don’t have to remind me.
Grantaire is across the room before he can remember taking the first step.
His arms still know exactly how to slip around Enjolras waist and come up to cradle the back of his head. He can feel the curls not as soft as usual – Enjolras hasn’t showered, Grantaire realizes.
He is also shuddering against him. There are clothes thrown haphazardly around, empty take out boxes, and Enjolras is shaking, and wetting Grantaire’s shoulder with tears.
He says half-broken things like, I’m sorry and I can’t do this.
“Don’t,” Grantaire says. “Hey. Don’t say that. I forgive you, okay? Sshh, I forgive you.”
Apparently, this only makes him cry harder.
It takes a while for him to calm down, and in the end they find themselves sitting side by side on Enjolras’ narrow bed. His head is on Grantaire’s shoulder, his eyes red and puffy.
Not even Enjolras can make this kind of crying look pretty. He looks human, like he is.
“I should have called,” Enjolras says. “I just. It got so hard, and I was struggling to catch up, and the longer I went the more I knew, and then – you never checked back, and I thought you must hate me, but I was so worried about everything here, it feels like I can never stop.”
Grantaire holds his hand. “You can’t keep doing this to yourself, E. Nevermind we haven’t talked in two months – I think – ”
He sighs, and takes a moment to think. His own hands are shaking from seeing Enjolras like this, and because everything he believed has to be rearranged in the wake of it.
“I think we both need to do better,” Grantaire says. “And it’s not like I don’t know what it’s like, I’ve barely time to sleep, sometimes it’ll take me days to answer. But we can’t – I just – ”
“I don’t want to break up,” Enjolras says. His voice seems impossibly small.
“Yeah,” Grantaire says, and can’t keep his voice from breaking. “Me neither.”
Enjolras’ shoulders slump in relief, and Grantaire bends to kiss his forehead. Because it’s unthinkable that Enjolras might not know.
“So,” Enjolras says, finally surer. It’s so relieving Grantaire might cry. “We do better.”
Enjolras’ fingers squeeze his. It’s way too scary to think they might go back to silence after he leaves, but then he thinks that if there’s something worth trying for, it’s this.
So Grantaire nods, and squeezes back. Enjolras tilts his head to press his lips where Grantaire’s jaw meets his neck.
“We will do better,” he says. Believes it.
So Grantaire believes it too.
HOME // INTERVIEWS: R Is Back… And He Is Out May 18, 2015
BSI: So it’s been over five years since our last meeting, I have to say it’s a pleasure to have you back at BSI, R.
R: Wow, fuck, has it been five? I swear time is flying, I must be getting old. But hey, remember what you asked me last time I was here? Are you gonna ask me again this time?
BSI: You mean the question you never properly answered for us, don’t you?
R: I knew you were smart. It’s why we’re doing this interview, mainly. So go on, ask me the question.
BSI: Alright, so, here’s a question that’s hot with our readers… how’s your love life, R?
R: Splendid! Actually, quite fantastic. And if you’re wondering, it was also fantastic back when you asked and I didn’t answer.
BSI: Am I right to believe you’re still with the same person you were with back then?
R: Bingo, you would be correct. And because I can see you thinking it right now, don’t think I don’t, you are also right to believe that that person is, in fact, a guy.
BSI: Well, it’s not really a question, since you announced it quite clearly in your very recent video. We were really just wondering if this was the same man.
R: See, you say clearly and yet I’m pretty sure I saw at least three separate tabloids shouting “R Comes Out As Gay” …. Which isn’t what I did, actually. That was just on the way over, by the way. So yeah, I came out, I’m pretty sure I said the word ‘bisexual’ more than anyone’s ever said anything. Ever. And yet, you know, apparently, I wasn’t clear. Michelle, did you know, if it wasn’t clear, I am bi. As in, liking more than one gender.
BSI: I think you’ve made it pretty clear, yes.
R: Ok good, just checking, it seems sometimes I believe that’s what I’m saying but, apparently, it’s not, right? Because, of course, I’m dating a man. Oh, speaking of which, yes he is the same man I was dating in 2010. Actually, he’s the same man I’ve been dating since 2005.
BSI: That’s quite a long time, how did it work out?
R: See, now you’re asking me the good questions. That is, you’re asking me to talk about him, and trust me the past years have been torture, not being able to wax poetic. So the way it worked is: with plenty of bumps in the road. Keeping us – and him, especially – out of the public eye has been both a help and a hindrance. Being in the closet isn’t fun, in general, but it’s also kept us from having to deal with media attention, in that sense. It’s probably always going to be a work in progress. We grew up in the same general direction, which is pretty lucky, considered that we got together in high school. It’s been amazing, and terrible, and sometimes miserable, but we learned to cope with long distances pretty early on. Messed it up once or twice. But we’ve loved each other quite well, I think.
BSI: We know your single ‘Ten Years’ had a lot to do with your coming out, as it’s the first of your songs which is explicitly about a man. My question is: is the song about him?
R: Oh, yes. That one is his.
November 2005 | 17 years old
You don’t really do these things in Virginia. Like, occupations don’t really happen. Not in high schools for sure. Which is what Grantaire had told them about a thousand times already.
Enjolras hadn’t really listened. His eyes had been shining when he’d said, “Well maybe it’s about time we do!”
It’s about – well, Grantaire knows what it’s about, but it’s kind of hard to put into words. Enjolras knows how to rattle them out in perfect, televisable sound bites, but Grantaire ends up making a vague gesture that says, have you fucking seen this place, of course we’re revolting.
Firstly: Jehan had been given a dress code violation for wearing a skirt. Which reached the tops of his fingers when he held his arms against his body, and thus was the appropriate dress code length, thank you very much.
Secondly: the art electives had been cut completely, the drama department had been hurt severely, and mysterious extra funds had been given to the football team.
Thirdly: half the support to disabled students had been cut as well. Which, really, was their headline.
Well, it had been, when Enjolras and the rest of the GSA-theatre-and-art-kids gang had taken over Building B, which housed both the band and locker rooms.
All the while, Grantaire had been soundly asleep.
Apparently this hadn’t been the day to sleep in, wake up late, and decide that skipping would be less trouble than getting a tardy slip.
Because these things didn’t happen – not here – it had been all over the news. So much so that Grantaire’s mother had heard of it, on some half-functioning TV in the staff room at the public library.
His flip phone had blared out Dance Dance around 9 AM, and he’d answered before checking the caller ID, still not quite awake.
His muttered answer had been met with, “R? What’s going on? I just saw the news!”
“Huh?” had been Grantaire’s intelligent answer.
“Sweetheart, the school! It’s on the news. Wait, is that your friend Jehan they’re interviewing?”
That had been a bucket of cold water on him. He’d sat up, gaze sweeping the mess of his room, criss-crossed by the mid-morning light peeking through the blinds.
“What?” he’d said.
“Honey, you’re there, aren’t you? At the occupation? Oh, R…”
It clicked in his head, finally – they’d done it. They’d gone and fucking occupied.
Well, he couldn’t very well tell his mother that he’d ignored her wake-up call before she had left for the morning shift at the library. He couldn’t tell her he had fully intended to cut class.
“Oh,” he’d said, his voice still scratchy. He got up and started fishing for a halfway passable shirt. “Yeah, I’m there. Sorry, mom.”
“R, just be careful, okay? We don’t know if the police will be involved…”
“Mom, I promise,” he’d said, balancing on one foot, phone hooked between his jaw and shoulder, while he attempted to pull his boots on. Without socks. “I’m sorry, okay? I’ll be careful.”
She’d sighed, long and weary. “Okay, honey.”
He hates making her worry – you wouldn’t know from his behavior, but he does.
And now it’s 11 AM and he’s trying to find a spot in the senior parking lot.
A news crew and a police car are surrounding Building B, by the time he’s there. He knows he won’t be able to pass by them unnoticed, so he takes the longer route – around Building C, and underneath the bleachers. He passes through a hole in the fence that every student knows about, which the news crew blessedly hasn’t caught wind of yet.
The backdoor of Building B is barred, but Grantaire knocks loudly all the same.
A fake, falsetto voice asks, “Password?”
“Open the fucking door, Prouvaire!” Grantaire says.
Jehan opens the fucking door, and beams. In his natural voice, he says, “I knew you’d come!”
“You did? I didn’t! I had no idea…”
Jehan ushers him inside, and says, “I know, I know! We weren’t expecting it either, but it all just kind of happened. Enjolras and Courfeyrac managed to get a meeting with the principal, and he was such a dick, R, he just completely dismissed them.”
“We knew that was going to happen, though. I said this was gonna happen.”
“Yeah! That’s why we had measures in place, didn’t we?”
Jehan’s big eyes look apologetic, and it’s almost impossible to resist him. “C’mon R, we had no way to know you wouldn’t be here today, did we?”
“Fair enough,” Grantaire says. “Neither did I, honestly. It was kind of a last-minute decision.”
Jehan leads him through the halls, past rows of thin blue lockers. On their way, they meet several cheerful art kids carrying a large banner, which yells “NO CUTS!” in red. The theatre kids are, according to Matelote from his Chemistry class, on the roof, leading chants and yelling profanity at the police.
They head towards the band room, which famously has a TV. The thing is huge, and was probably purchased in the 90s, and the GSA is currently watching the news on it.
On screen Courfeyrac is saying, “Yes, I’m on the track team and yes, I think there’s other places our funding could go. Honestly, Mr. Myriel has been there for me through a lot, and I don’t think I would have even thought to try for the team if the counselors hadn’t helped me through some stuff… So yeah, I think the cuts are shit, thanks.”
Then, it cuts to Enjolras.
Of course, it’s been two years and yet nothing has changed. Grantaire hasn’t gotten over it, not a bit. That he’s out to his friends as bi, now, and that he and Florèal have been on-and-off again since last summer – and currently off – hasn’t really changed that.
If anything, being friends for two years – seeing Enjolras when he’s unguarded and drowsy at sleepover parties, hearing his whispered jokes in crowded movie theatres, watching him smile like an absolute dork at terrible puns – has only made it worse.
“We tried to talk to the principal, we’ve even tried to get in touch with the board. We’ve collected signatures, written articles, letters – now we’ve had it,” Enjolras says, on the TV. “At least, this time, they have to acknowledge something is going on. They can’t ignore us.”
Grantaire loves him.
Enjolras is onscreen, but Enjolras is also in front of the TV, now engulfed in Courfeyrac’s bear-hug. The kids are cheering loudly around them. Then Enjolras turns around, and finally notices him.
“Grantaire!” he yells. “You came!”
Grantaire doesn’t feel particularly deserving of his smile, and yet can’t help but returning it. Enjolras is coming towards him, now, leaving the cheering kids behind. Jehan skips ahead towards them – out of consideration, or to tackle his boyfriend. Either. Both.
“Yeah, sure thing, Apollo,” Grantaire says. He has his hands in the pockets of his jeans, and feels kind of a tool for it. “Sorry I was late.”
Enjolras is so near, now, still smiling, and bright, and beautiful, and he crashes into Grantaire, locking arms around his shoulders.
Grantaire’s hands, completely of their own accord, come out of his pockets to wrap around Enjolras’ waist. He is so warm, and solid, and real.
Enjolras says, right by his ear, “You’re here now.”
He pulls back enough that Grantaire can see his eyes, and they are so bright, and he’s still smiling. At Grantaire. He’s so close.
The riff comes to him unbidden, a few notes, nothing solid enough yet, just a wisp of something. And the words that can’t help but stick: boy, wild-eyed boy, you’re like a walking song.
And then he’s not thinking about anything anymore, because Enjolras is kissing him.
It’s nothing like Grantaire imagined it – Enjolras’ lips are way warmer, and softer, and they’re also chapped. He presses a bit too hard, then pulls back slightly, slots their lips together. Better. Softer.
Grantaire makes a truly embarrassing sound, and his fingers clench in Enjolras’ shirt. Kiss him back, for the love of God, kiss him back.
Enjolras pulls back, too soon. His cheeks are flushed, and the fledgling song applies to him even better, for how his eyes are shining.
“I’m sorry – ”
“Don’t be,” Grantaire babbles. “Please don’t be sorry.”
Enjolras exhales, sharp, like relief. He’s still smiling, looking only slightly unsure. He ducks to bury his face in Grantaire’s shoulder, and Grantaire is hopelessly charmed.
“I’ve been thinking about doing that for a while,” he confesses, somewhere in the vicinity of Grantaire’s collarbone.
Grantaire shivers. “Yeah?”
Enjolras nods, then pulls himself back up. He’s still red, but his smile is impossible to contain. Or to withstand. He bites his lip and says, “Yeah.”
Grantaire’s dying. Courfeyrac wolf-whistles, and Jehan shushes him, and it all sounds very, very far away.
“Maybe you should, um – maybe you should do that again, then,” says Grantaire.
Enjolras’ smile widens to show his teeth, before he leans in again.
This time, Grantaire definitely kisses him back.
no but hear me out ok is2g i had no idea if i’d even see him, but it was a smaller venue so i guess he had time to show up and like, sign some autographs, and my cousin worked on the lights so he said hey katie u wanna maybe meet R and i'm like ????? SIGN ME THE FUCK UP
so u guys. i met him??? he is so cute??? like genuinely so lovely he stopped to take pictures with every. single. one of us. and then he saw my cousin and knew him BY NAME ok imagine how many ppl even work on a show but he REMEMBERED HIM
and like ok i'm not abt to tell u he’s like a hunk or anything, like we all know his belly is squishy and his nose was like broken twice, but his smile is just literally sunshine??? how??? like do u remember when softtaire was all over him and i used to make fun of them bc i was like ‘he’s not even attractive’ now i'm literally like ‘let me kiss ur face’ even tho i still dont think he’s attractive by like the heteropatriarchy’s beauty standards
so i met him and he signed my ticket and then i told him his coming out as bi had meant a lot to me bc i'm also bi and it’s just so important to have role models and he was SO LOVELY he said “I’m honored you think so, though I don’t know if I’m a role model”
and then i asked if E was gonna be mad he was gonna come home so late and he said “E’s probably sleeping but you bet he’s gonna be grumpy as hell when I wake him up with my cold feet, it’s happened before.”
THE CUTEST FUCKING IMAGE I’M SUCH E/R TRASH
OK THAT’S ALL BYE (FROM THE GRAVE)
LMAO I’M SO GLAD I CONVERTED U TO THE GLORIOUSNESS THAT’S GRANTAIRE (AND E/R) KATIE BUT I CANT BELIEVE YOU SAW HIM AND I DIDN’T FUCK THIS
July 2014 | 26 years old
The door clicks closed behind Grantaire, loud in the soft, dark hush of the apartment. It’s some ungodly hour of the night, and Grantaire smells like smoke, and someone else’s beer, and sweat, and the mix of about a hundred fans’ fruity perfumes.
He smells like a gig just finished. One of his smaller ones, advertised only to his website’s mailing list, in a smaller bar in the city. Just about an hour’s drive away from their apartment. He’s exhausted down to his bones, but there’s still a thrill of adrenaline just under the surface of his skin.
The apartment is quiet, though. Enjolras’ coat is abandoned on the couch, his shoes scattered across the floor, and Robi – Enjolras’ exceptionally fat cat – is asleep in a ball on the window sill. She opens one yellow eye and yawns at him, then goes back to sleep.
Enjolras left the desk light on, whether on purpose or because he was too absorbed in his ongoing case. Grantaire switches it off, then wanders to their bedroom like a restless ghost, still high on the music, and the shouts, and the sound of stomping feet.
Enjolras, it turns out, is a small huddled shape underneath white sheets. The night is warm, and Grantaire doesn’t understand how he sleeps like that, but he still strips off his clothes and slides under the sheets with him.
“Your feet are cold,” Enjolras mutters. Grantaire wraps an arm around his waist and pulls him back against his chest.
“Sorry,” he says, kissing his shoulder. Then the hollow of his neck. Enjolras makes a half-annoyed, half pleased sound, and arches back against him. “Did I wake you?”
“Nah,” Enjolras says. He bares his neck to Grantaire’s wandering mouth, which is answer enough. “I’d just gone to bed.”
“It’s 2 AM,” Grantaire observes, sliding a mischievous hand down across Enjolras’ belly. Pressing closer, he makes an interesting discovery. “And you’re not wearing underwear.”
“I was reading,” Enjolras says. It’s dark, and Grantaire can’t see him smile, but his mouth on Enjolras’ cheek can feel the movement. “It’s quite an interesting case.”
He offers no explanation for his nakedness, because none is needed. Grantaire hums, only half-interested. There’s a more pressing question. “What time do you have to be up tomorrow?”
Enjolras turns around in his arms. His hands come up to wrap around Grantaire’s shoulders, his thumb stroking a long line from the tip of his chin to the knob of his jaw.
“I have a day off,” Enjolras says, then kisses him.
Enjolras is usually soft, at first, testing gently with his tongue, making Grantaire give chase. Not always – not after all these years. Grantaire likes the times when Enjolras let’s go and takes just as much. But he used to be so hesitant when they first started – tongue shy, lips soft and questioning. He’s not so innocent now – his teeth nip at Grantaire’s lower lip, then suck it into his mouth, making him shudder – but Grantaire is still glad he has retained some of that gentleness.
It’s still Enjolras he is kissing – nine years later.
Grantaire licks into his mouth, swallows up the small moan that Enjolras lets out. Then he rolls them over.
He will never quite get over the feeling of Enjolras’ legs spreading underneath him, cradling his hips.
They don’t say anything, only speak in soft gasps and pants, and a particularly sharp sound when Grantaire sucks at Enjolras’ nipple on his journey down, down, down.
Not until –
“I was thinking about this the whole time while I sang,” he confesses, pressed into Enjolras’ thigh. He stops to bite, and feel the way Enjolras twitches and gasps. “Pretty sure Wild was even more obscene than usual.”
“Pretty sure,” Enjolras says – breathes, more like, “that’s impossible.”
Wild is definitely his filthiest song, and not the one with his most high-brow lyrics. Enjolras has a point. Grantaire, however, was this close to fellating the mic tonight, and he’s pretty sure everyone noticed.
Which is exactly why Grantaire sings it into Enjolras’ hipbones, low and hoarse, “Oh take me, take me, baby.” He hears Enjolras above him, all breathless laughter. “I am wi-i-i-ld for you.”
He lingers on the ah-ah-ah’s, then bites down on the place where Enjolras’ leg meets his groin. Enjolras lets out the exact sound that inspired that particular lyric. Grantaire is so very transparent.
Sometimes he’s baffled by the realization that no one has noticed how completely and ridiculously smitten he is – with this man right here. This man whose fingers clench in Grantaire’s hair, as Grantaire swallows him down.
It’s a small regret that it’s dark, and he can’t see Enjolras’ face – it’s all so close, and warm. Could be a dream, could be any one of the dozens of times they’ve done this. The feeling and taste of Enjolras in his mouth is still the same. Grantaire knows how to curl his tongue just right, how to alternate relentless rhythm and long, hard sucks.
He might write another song about the harsh, sinful sounds of Enjolras above him. One about the way he comes shuddering and calling for Grantaire. One about the heat in his eyes, lit up fleetingly by a pair of passing headlights, outside.
One about the low, hungry way he says, “Grantaire.” Then reaches out to pull him up.
Grantaire slips between his thighs again, covers his body. They kiss, slow and lingering, and Enjolras’ hands are still in his hair.
He doesn’t wait for Enjolras to get out of his drowsy, tender afterglow, and reaches for himself.
“There’s my love,” Enjolras says, making him whine. He drops soft kisses over Grantaire’s face, and only reaches to help when Grantaire is practically on the brink.
They’re holding on to each other, as Grantaire spills over.
Grantaire should probably clean up – it’s his mess, all over Enjorlas’ stomach. But to do that, he’d have to move away, and Enjolras is clinging to him. He seems determined not to let go.
The apartment is quiet. It’s soft, and dark, and over-warm from the summer heat. Robi silently slides into their room and curls up somewhere in the vicinity of their feet, like a massive, grumpy, ginger furnace.
And if humans can’t love gods, then you know
I’ll just be here with my Greek tragedies, making love out of words
And I’ll watch you make war with your tongue, one more time
Oh baby, I don’t mind.
“Toads&Birds” – Grantaire (“Toads&Birds”)
August 2011 | 23 years old
Jean Prouvaire is at the door, their cheeks scattered with about a thousand more freckles than previously accounted for, and a light tan that makes them glow. Grantaire hasn’t seen them in two months, while they dallied happily in the tiny Japanese seaside town their grandparents are from.
The summer heat is stifling, making them crank up the AC, and yet not a red-dyed hair on Jehan’s pretty head is sweaty – they’re wearing Docs underneath their summer dress. They gave a cheerful middle-finger to the gender binary years ago.
“Hello, stranger,” they say, with a bright, toothy smile. Grantaire is actually shorter than them, but that doesn’t really keep him from wrapping his arms around their waist and lifting them off the floor in a hug.
Jehan shrieks. Then they palm Grantaire’s shoulders and say, “Oh wow, R, what the fuck. Have you been working out?”
“Kickboxing, mostly,” Grantaire says. “Label hooked me up with this trainer – actually, you need to meet him. His name’s Bahorel, and I swear he’s got twice the shoulders I got.”
Something lights up in Jehan’s eyes, heated. “You don’t say.”
Grantaire smirks back. “Thought you might be interested. You need to meet his datemate too, by the way. Ze’s got some opinions on Orientalism and Impressionism you’ve got to hear. I mean, separate opinions. Though I’m sure you can find a way to bring them together.”
“Uh, duh,” Jehan says. That’s when Courfeyrac, Enjolras and Combeferre walk in, from the kitchen.
Jehan’s eyes go soft, and they say, “Hi, darlings.”
Courfeyrac is the first to come forward and hug them, over-earnest. The two of them are a study in how to break up explosively, and then pick up the remains to piece together a fierce if overly gentle friendship. It had happened sometime in the summer after senior year – some passionate arguments, and tears, and way-too-loud Avril Lavigne, all churning out of a pit of college-anxiety, differing life plans, and Jehan’s first questioning on gender and romanticism – or aromanticism, more like.
Combeferre is almost shy, behind Courfeyrac, though Jehan makes a point to hug him enthusiastically, and comment on how he seems to get more handsome by the day.
Which is true. Grantaire had almost been jealous, at first. Combeferre is, apparently, Enjolras and Courfeyrac’s soulmate – their Third, as Courfeyrac introduced him, their sophomore year of college.
He’s tall, wears glasses, and has a jaw-line to die for, and sleeves of surprisingly nerdy tattoos snaking up dark brown arms. My boyfriend, the doctor, Courfeyrac tends to introduce him, with a thoroughly smug, devastating smile.
Enjolras comes up to him while the others catch up – and sneaks an arm around his waist.
“Dinner’s almost ready,” he whispers. “Do you realize how many dishes we’ll have to wash after tonight, yeah?”
Grantaire groans. “This is why you don’t do dinner parties. What the fuck. We’re twenty-three. Aren’t we still allowed to order pizza and eat it off the floor?”
“Excuse me,” Enjolras laughs. “I seem to remember you wanted to give Jehan a welcome-home party.”
The bell rings. Enjolras kisses Grantaire’s cheek and goes to open it, letting in Eponine and Cosette.
Grantaire watches them walk in hand-in-hand with a smug smile. Which earns him Eponine’s middle finger.
“See?” he says, catching Jehan around the waist and pulling them in. “I am so great at matchmaking. You should trust me!”
Jehan rolls their eyes, elbows him, and goes envelop Eponine in a hug.
“Love what you did with the hair,” they say, reaching out a hand to brush against Eponine’s now-black undercut.
“Same,” Cosette says, delighted. She and Eponine share a look.
“Get a room,” Grantaire says.
Next to file in, in order: Marius, Enjolras’ ex-roommate and Cosette’s ex-boyfriend, which makes the room decidedly uncomfortable for as long as it takes for Courfeyrac to get him in a head-lock and call him a nerd, the JMB collective, who are soon engaged in the longest round of cheek-kissing in history – and finally, Bahorel and Feuilly. Introducing them to Jehan is entirely Grantaire’s pleasure.
Bahorel is just as broad-shouldered as Grantaire promised, and sports a dark beard and a bun, in contrast with the smaller, thin Feuilly, whose curls are almost as riotous as Grantaire’s.
“Oh yeah, I’ve been teaching for, what, ten years now? I started back on Oʻahu, with boxing, but the more I learned, the more I wanted to…”
“And also, he just fancied being ripped af,” Feuilly says, actually pronouncing the separate letters in ‘af’. Jehan giggles, and Feuilly looks pleased. Bahorel shoots hir a betrayed look.
“Babe,” he says.
“Is that not the truth?”
“Are you complaining?”
“Oh no,” ze replies. Then ze winks at Jehan. “There’s perks in upper body strength.”
“Tell me more,” Jehan says.
Grantaire is so, so smug.
“Young love,” Joly says, coming up beside him. He attempts to prop an elbow on Grantaire’s shoulder, awkwardly, since he’s a few inches shorter. “Beautiful.”
“Not romantic love, I don’t think,” Grantaire says. “Love your dungarees, though. Passionately.”
“Aw, shush,” Joly says, and kisses his nose.
They end up having entirely too much food, between what Combeferre, Cosette, and Jehan have brought – all family recipes, thanks – and what Enjolras managed to piece together.
“Can you believe this is the guy who could barely heat store-bought mac and cheese in college?” Courfeyrac says, around a piece of chicken.
Combeferre smiles into his glass, then says, “No, the mac and cheese wasn’t the problem. Now, if we want to talk about pop tarts…”
“That was one time,” Enjolras snaps, going deliciously red.
“Enjolras’ mac and cheese is phenomenal,” Grantaire agrees. “And Taylor Swift thinks so too.”
Enjolras’ freckles disappear in his blush. “You might have mentioned you were bringing her to dinner, God, I wouldn’t have made that.”
“It was so cute, he could barely string a sentence together,” Grantaire says, bending towards Bahorel to stage-whisper. “She loved it, though. It was made from scratch! And she was completely charmed by Robespierre.”
“Don’t bring Robi into this,” Enjolras says. There’s a twitch at the corner of his mouth, a barely restrained smile.
Laughter explodes around the table at regular intervals – they barely fit into the room, all thirteen of them. They have to squeeze around the table. Eponine declares loudly that they might have had more space, if Grantaire weren’t so determined not to live like a rock star.
He replies to her as if he’s affronted. They argue. They laugh, again.
Enjolras’ ankle is pressed against his across the table, and Jehan is leaning into him from his side, laughing at some joke Combeferre made. Joly is struggling to catch his breath – it must have been a science joke. Or a pun. Or possibly both.
Grantaire knows it’s an illusion, because he knows he can’t keep the gloom, and intrusive thoughts, and doubt away forever. And yet.
And yet, around this table, unhappiness seems far away, unlikely.
Grantaire (Capital_R), 07/10/2015
@ER_10YRS No, we’re not getting married. He objects to the institution. Too capitalist ykno #talkmarxismtomebaby”
June 2015 | 27 years old
The sky is purple, and it’s been ten years.
The three-hour drive to D.C. is always the same, down to the rest stops, except this time the tour is Grantaire’s.
He’s playing one night in the city and then they’re shipping off to Europe. Enjolras is gonna love it, he knows.
He’s got his feet on the dashboard again, but they’re bare. The June heat has already stolen all will to wear shoes.
He’s singing along, with no aid, “Do you, do, do you remember when we drove, we drove, drove through the night?”
Grantaire yawns, sleepy in the early-morning light, and yet sings back, “And we danced, we danced, to Rancid and we danced, we danced.”
“We’re not leaving this early next time,” Enjolras says. There are four abandoned travel mugs in the cup holders, and only one of them is Grantaire’s.
“Listen, I didn’t make this schedule, okay?” Grantaire sighs.
“I know, which is why I’m telling Cosette,” Enjolras replies. He pokes Grantaire’s thigh. “She’s the one in charge.”
Grantaire attempts to catch his fingers, and fails. Enjolras laughs. Patrick Stump yells, And I’ll spin for you like your favorite records used to.
Jehan is backpacking somewhere in Southern Europe, with Bahorel and Feuilly, and Grantaire has already talked to them to see if they might all meet up, maybe during his Italian dates. Jehan is already gushing about Florence, and Grantaire is more than a little worried they’ll just decide to up and move there.
There’s time enough to worry about that, though.
Enjolras’ fingers wander to his thigh again, and this time Grantaire catches them.
He brings his hand up to kiss, and says, “Take a nap, Sleeping Beauty, we’ve still got two hours to go.”
Enjolras’ hand makes a run for his hair, running through it twice, before he lets go, and curls up to sleep.
Grantaire doesn’t look over at his sleeping face instead of keeping his eyes on the road. Much.
The sun rises, turning the air golden as it goes. They make it to the airport with plenty of time to spare.
Ten years, ten years have gone by
And I swear it’s been the blink of an eye,
And I swear time stands still for each one of your smiles
But boy, wild-eyed boy, you’re like a walking song
Like the song I’ve been trying to write all this time.
And ten years is not enough time to love you, baby
Oh, give me ten more.
“Ten Years” – Grantaire (“Ten Years”)