Fab Filippo and Eliza: Fab pickles himself and his parents aren't stupid (and Eliza wants a nap).
[current, the day after this]
Fab knows better than this, somewhere at the back of his brain, but he's determined to pickle that along with the rest of himself. He'd stopped off back at the hotel room for a short, restless nap, and now he's back in the bar and taking advantage of the kind of happy hour you only find at kind of shitty hotels.
But the thoughts still follow him. They appear slowly, but they're there: I should tell Eliza where I am, and I need to be sober to visit my parents, and I should be stronger than this. Then, more painfully, making him wonder if he should just go to the liquor store and buy a whole fucking bottle - he told me not to come back. It hurts more than it should. More than he thought it would hurt. After all, he only dated the guy for a little while. Fuck, he spent less time with Chris than he had with all of the other guys he's had quote-unquote, "relationships" with in the past few years. Why is this different?
Another shot, yeah.
Still logy from a heavy nap and feeling out of sorts (must have eaten too much rich food), Eliza wanders into the bar, figuring that has to be where Fab is and there he is, bellied up to the bar. Even from the door, he looks rough. Really rough. And that's when she realizes that yeah, he kinda loves Chris and he can talk all the shit he wants, but she knows.
Slipping onto the barstool, she rests her elbows on the bar. "Aren't we supposed to be going to see your parents?" Tapping on his glass (ugh, even that doesn't sound--or look--good), she asks, "How much have you had to drink?"
Fab blinks a few times, then glances over at Eliza with a shrug. "Fuck if I know. Ask the bartender, he might know." She said something else, but he doesn't pay attention, just takes the shot and gestures for another one. One after another - drink machine, yeah. Stare straight ahead, don't think, take one after the other. That's the kind of job description he could go for. Don't think.
Eliza catches the bartender's gaze and shakes her head. "Bitch. Answer me. Aren't we supposed to go see your parents and be all smitten? I'm so not 'pecking' you. You reek."
"Wait, okay. Parents." He gives Eliza a blurry, irritated look. It's one thing to tell him he smells, and another to cut off the drinks. Doesn't she know how dangerous sobriety can be? "I'll shower. Shut up."
"Dude, how the fuck are you going to pull this off, huh?" She sighs. "I should go and say you're sick or something. Fuck. The things I do for you."
"Maybe'a good idea," Fab agrees, tracing his fingertip along the bar. Once she leaves, he can order some more. It's been a long fucking time since he's gotten drunk for the sheer sake of getting drunk, but it's the only option right now. Some thoughts are unbearable, and you have to fight them off with whatever's at hand.
"Come upstairs. Sleep it off." She tugs at his elbow.
Batting at her hand, he shakes his head. "Later, right." Eventually he'll be able to forget about Chris, because Chris doesn't matter. It will only take a few more shots.
Frowning, she stares at him. "The fuck, dude. Fuck it. If you want to fuck yourself up, go for it. I get to play the good girlfriend. Don't die while I'm gone." Shaking her head, she turns on her heel and heads out the way she came. "Man," she mutters to herself. "I need a nap."
"So Fabrizio's just not feeling that well?" Her voice is sweet, but when she looks over at Eliza - and then at her husband - there's a good dollop of disbelief in her eyes.
"Uh, yeah--yes. He... maybe he ate too much?" Fuck, Eliza is so out of her element with this shit. "You know how much he loves your food, which is totally great, by the way." By this time, Eliza's thinking another piece of that lasagna would go down well.
Sighing, Elena looks over at her husband again and then gestures for Eliza to sit down. Sweet girl, but for an actress, she doesn't seem to be very good at acting. "May we ask you something?"
Oh, shit. Eliza slowly sinks into a stiff arm chair. "Uh... sure." She has a very bad feeling about this.
The poor girl looks terrified, so Elena reaches over to take her hand and give it a squeeze. See? Everything is just fine, dear. "We know that you and Fabrizio aren't an... item." She looks up and gestures for her husband to leave. Easier if it's just the girls.
Watching Fab's dad leave as if on cue, Eliza turns back to his mom. "What was your first clue?"
Elena smiles. "Oh, we know that he likes men, that would have been the clue. Parents aren't entirely blind to what their children are like - we've just been waiting to see if he told us on his own time."
Cue Eliza's jaw drop. "No sh--kidding! Holy--." She shakes her head. "That loser. He needs to tell you! He's been terrified that you'd hate him or something!"
"I don't know why," she says quietly, watching Eliza. "We've always tried to be as accepting as we're able. We thought he'd tell us... oh, years ago. Once we figured it out, we were just waiting. We wanted him to tell us on his own terms. But it's gone on long enough."
"No sh--kidding." Leaning forward onto her elbows, Eliza confides, "he's back at the hotel totally drinking away a broken heart. He had a big fight with his boyfriend about this; I think they broke up. Nuts."
Elena's forehead creases, and for a moment Fab's resemblance to her is uncanny. "Oh, dear. I knew he wasn't quite himself, but I chalked it up to him thinking that..." She sighs and rubs her forehead. "We made a mistake not telling him we knew. I know that now. I tried to encourage him to tell us, provide openings, but he always just started talking about a girl. And we went along with it."
"He didn't give you enough credit. That much is f--is clear. You guys rock." Of this, Eliza is sure.
Waving that away with a little gesture, she shakes her head. "He's drinking? How long had he and his boyfriend been dating? I've missed all of these things." There's a momentary wave of sadness across her face, but she smiles and then it's gone.
Ooh. Minefield ahead. Eliza runs a hand through his hair. "A couple months, on and off," she finally offers, figuring it prudent not to go into the 'off' part of the relationship. "I met him, he seems nice enough. He's a musician. Guess he had some hits? His name is Chris. Not my type, but cute."
Elena smiles. "Well, maybe you ought to go back and tell Fabrizio about what his father and I know, so that he doesn't ruin his liver or heart. He and I can have a long talk about it tomorrow."
"I guess I will." Eliza smiles at her, duly impressed. "Any chance I can have some more lasagna before I go? I totally wasn't feeding you a line; you are a great cook."
"Lasagna coming up, then." After patting Eliza's knee, Elena gets to her feet. Even fake girlfriends of her boy have to be fed.
Fab can't remember when he left the pub, but it can't have been too long ago. Still, he can't sleep, and he's afraid that if he waits too much longer he'll start to get sober. Which can't happen, so he needs to sleep.
Except that he can't. It's kind of a vicious cycle. The worry doesn't help him get to sleep, but really, the thing keeping him awake is mostly just the need to say something to Chris, even if it's just 'fuck you'. He knows he won't be able to pass out until he does, but the danger is that Chris might actually pick up the call; Fab doesn't want to say anything if Chris is actually on the other line. He just wants to leave a message.
After warring with himself for God knows how long, he finally swears sharply and reaches over for his cell, hitting the speed-dial for Chris that he hasn't changed yet. Please don't answer.
When the phone goes, Chris picks it up, almost as if one would a snake that might bite him. And he drops it when he sees the name on the caller ID. DON'T COME BACK!. But, god, how his body aches. Snatching it up at the last minute before voicemail takes it, he clicks it on and presses it to his ear, not saying a word, not even breathing.
Without Chris saying anything, Fab drunkenly assumes the voicemail picked up, and sighs with relief. "Don't know why I'm phoning you. Drunk in Toronto, you bastard. Your fault. You told me to go. Dunno why. Bastard. Keep thinking about you. Can't stop. Why did you tell me to go?" And with that, he clicks off and falls back against his pillow, eyes closing.
Ohhhhh. Chris presses his phone to his ear. "Come back," he whispers, just as the dial tone clicks on.
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