Fabian Edmundson lay huddled under the covers. He couldn’t bring himself to climb out of the bed in his hotel room despite the fact that he should have been at his latest appointment ten minutes ago. He ignored his phone as it buzzed away on the bedside table; wanting everything and everybody to go away.
On the face of it, Fabian had a pretty good life. He was a successful freelance food artist and photographer. You know those pristine photos of food you see on menus? Fabian specialised in that. He could make an artery-clogging slab of meat look like a dish fit for a king. People paid handsomely for his work.
Aside from the well-paying job he was also married to a beautiful woman named Amanda and lived with her in a swanky apartment on the outskirts of Leicester. She was a model and paid just as well as he was. Money was something neither of them had to worry too much about. They were a young, attractive, and well-off couple; the envy of most everyone out there. People close to them would often refer to them as Posh & Becks.
Aesthetics, as was so often the case, masked what was actually a less than satisfying situation. The couple rarely saw each other and spoke only slightly more often than that. Their Leicester home was often empty as they both travelled the country due to their respective jobs. That hardly mattered. While they’d certainly been good friends prior to marriage, as well as physically attracted to one another, there was never any real love between them. They naively believed that a marriage of convenience would trigger a loving connection. It hadn’t worked.
Fabian was in turmoil as he felt happier when staying away from home in hotels. He felt awkward when in the company of Amanda; as though they were trying to force fun and happiness into their situation a lot of the time. The sex was unfulfilling on the infrequent occasions they had it. When they went out anywhere it seemed they were only doing so to show off in some way. He couldn’t deal with how artificial everything was. At least when he was alone he could relax and be himself.
The reason for his mental anguish at this particular moment was because he was questioning who ‘himself’ really was. Events had taken an unexpected turn in his latest job to such an extent that he no longer knew what to make of himself. The person that he’d done the job for was somebody he knew reasonably well; somebody who’d acquired his services a few times over the last couple of years. The job went as usual. He arranged the food and took his photos like any other time.
It was after that when things went off the beaten track. His client insisted that he join them for drinks and Fabian wasn’t going to decline. They had great fun together; talking, joking, and laughing. Fabian felt extremely comfortable in their presence. As the alcohol continued to flow, the comfort grew into an attraction. The talking became flirtatious and grew further into suggestive touches. It was Fabian who ultimately acted on the impulses he felt as he leaned in and kissed his client. They were in Fabian’s hotel room shortly after where a night of passionate sex ensued.
It was bad enough that Fabian had cheated on Amanda. What made it worse, however, was that the client was male. It made absolutely no sense. Fabian had never had gay tendencies before in his life; not so much as a passing attraction. Last night had been an explosion of lust like he’d never encountered before. To go alongside the crippling guilt, he yearned to experience that lust again. It combined to leave him only confused by everything. Was he gay? Was it just the dissatisfaction of his marriage that had driven him to act completely impulsively? Where did this leave him? They were all questions he couldn’t answer.
He wanted to go for a shower. That would mean getting out of bed. He didn’t want to do that—at least not until he thought of exactly what had taken place in the bed. That gave him the impetus to rise and make his way to the bathroom. He allowed the faucet to run for a while in order to reach a clement temperature while he looked at himself in the mirror. Physically, all was as it should be aside from his bed-head. What he saw though was the person residing beneath. It was a person he didn’t much care for right now.
The room was filled with steam before he eventually stepped into the shower. He didn’t even want to think about the slight pain he felt in certain parts of his anatomy as the water drenched him. He stood there with his head resting against the wall and eyes closed for what felt like an hour. It probably was an hour. Fabian had no idea what time it had been when he entered the bathroom as he still hadn’t looked at his phone. The shower didn’t help him feel better. He was still as mentally tormented as earlier; just wet now as well.
Fabian wrapped a towel around his waist and stepped out into the hotel room. His clothes were strewn across the room. His t-shirt hung off the back of a chair, his jeans were on the floor, and his socks and underwear were dotted about in various places. He began to use another towel to rid his hair of the majority of the moisture in it and was distracted by a knock on the door. He spun his head around and looked at the door for a second or two. “Just a minute,” he called as he quickly put on his t-shirt and jeans. He opened the door to a pretty woman wearing a pinafore; obviously a maid.
“Good morning, sir,” she said in a friendly fashion.
“Can I help you?”
“Checkout is in half an hour so I was just making sure you were up.”
“Half an hour?! Jesus! I didn’t realise it was so late.”
She smiled knowingly. “Overslept have we?”
Fabian wondered if she knew what he’d been up to but how could she? “Yeah, something like that. I’ll get myself sorted and be out of your hair shortly.”
The maid walked away and Fabian closed the door. He retrieved his overnight bag and set about getting his things together. There was another knock at the door a couple of minutes later and he looked towards it with annoyance. He stomped over and opened it with a purpose; expecting to see the maid again. It wasn’t!
“Stephen! What are you doing here?” Fabian asked with shock.
“When you didn’t pick up your phone earlier I wanted to check that you were okay.”
“Well… uhm, I am.” Fabian rubbed the back of his head; unable to look at Stephen properly. What made it worse was that Stephen appeared to be enjoying his discomfort.
“Aren’t you going to invite me in? You were quick enough to last night.”
Fabian didn’t respond to Stephen’s suggestive joke and walked back into the room. Stephen followed him in, closing the door behind him. Fabian continued to pack his overnight bag and tried his best to suppress the rising aggravation he felt. Why was he here? What did he want?
“Well… things certainly weren’t this awkward about twelve hours ago.”
“I made a mistake, Stephen! I’m a married man. I’m a married straight man. I don’t know what came over me last night.”
“I know exactly what came over—”
“Stop with the suggestive jokes! It isn’t funny and I’m not in the mood.”
“I’m sorry, but you seemed to know exactly what you were doing last night and, if my memory serves me right, you came onto me.”
“I know! I know! I apologise for that. Things… things haven’t been great at home and you… you were…” Fabian trailed off.
“You explained while we were in the bar. However, you don’t suddenly have a gay fling if you don’t at least have gay tendencies. And you were,” Stephen cleared his throat, “very gay last night!”
“I was a lot of things last night, including very drunk! That doesn’t mean I’m those things all the time. You need to get it into your head that it was a moment of madness. For whatever reason, I felt an attraction towards you and acted on it. I enjoyed the feeling, don’t get me wrong, but the attraction isn’t there now I’m of sound mind.”
Stephen dropped the cocksure front. He could see his attitude was rubbing Fabian up the wrong way and he had no intention of alienating him. He sat on the bed and looked at Fabian with warm and genuine eyes. “I get it. I do. How can you possibly be gay? You’ve never so much as looked at another man amorously before, let alone slept with one. Right?”
“So how and why did it happen?”
“I told you. It was a moment of madness. I’d had a lot to drink and was feeling adventurous.”
“Come on! Even as drunk as you were, you had to know what you were doing on some level.”
Fabian hesitated. He looked at Stephen. His blonde hair was stylishly combed over and his blue eyes piercing. He was clean and maintained himself meticulously. There was no denying that he was a very handsome man. Despite a slightly effeminate quality about him, he was one hundred percent male; from his slightly squared jaw to his broad shoulders. Fabian tried to find that lust that he’d experienced last night. It wasn’t happening. Stephen was a good-looking guy, yet there was nothing more to it than appreciating he was good-looking. Fabian spread his hands. “I can genuinely tell you here and now that I am not attracted to you in a sexual way.”
Stephen looked Fabian over for any kind of hint that he might be withholding the truth. There was none. The look of passion in his eyes from the previous night was nowhere to be seen. Stephen’s heart sank. “I guess it must have just been drunken irrationality then.”
“I regret what we did. I don’t know what to make of myself. Seeing you now has at least confirmed to me that I’m not on the turn. I should be relieved about that I guess.”
“At least one of us is relieved then. We’ll just ignore my feelings!” Stephen blurted angrily.
“What do you mean ‘feelings’?”
“I don’t sleep with people I don’t like, Fabian. Last night never would have happened had I not felt something for you.”
“What are you talking about? You know I’m married—to a woman! Surely you were aware that I was drunk. Now you’re acting like I took advantage of you. There was only one of us taking advantage of that situation!”
“You think I took advantage of you? You were practically begging me to—”
“Enough! Don’t even continue.” Fabian sighed aloud and screwed up his face. “I’m sorry if I led you on at all, Stephen. I’m messed up at the moment and you were saying all the right things to me. The simple fact is that I’m not gay. We need to forget last night ever happened and move on.”
Stephen stood and slowly walked towards the door. “You might be able to forget about it. I’m not the kind of guy who can do that. I will, however, do as you say and move on.” He opened the door and turned his head again just as he was about to head out. “I think it’d be best if we concluded our business relationship at this point too. Goodbye, Fabian.”
The door slammed and Fabian jumped slightly at the noise. He buried his face in his hands and shook his head. Not only had he had a gay fling but he’d also lost one of his regular clients. “Fuck! What a fucking shambles!”
His phone rang again and he picked it up to see who was calling. It was the client whose session he was presently missing. He sighed before answering. “Warren! Hi. There have been a few issues this morning and—” Fabian went quiet while Warren went on a tirade. “I understand that Warren, and I’d have contacted you if I’d been able. Unfort—” Another tirade from Warren. “Well thank you for trying to understand my point of view. Good luck in the future. It’d be a shame if you were to get hit by a fucking bus!” Fabian threw his phone across the room and growled with anger. Two clients lost in as many minutes.
How had this all happened? Twenty-four hours ago his life was in order. Sure, he may not have been happy about things at home. At least everything else was running smoothly. Now he was losing business as well as having to get his head around the fact that he’d cheated on his wife with a man! How was he supposed to get his head around this?
There was one thing that Fabian knew he simply must do straightaway. It was only fair. He ran across the room to where his phone lay on the ground and went to use it. He couldn’t. He’d thrown it so hard that the screen had completely broken. Fabian laughed ironically. “Anything else? Seriously! Anything else want to go wrong?”
He hastily got his things together and left the room. He spotted the maid as he walked down the corridor and she offered him a friendly grin.
“Thank you, sir. I hope you have a nice day.”
“Unfortunately, I can’t see that happening!”