Some Updates on the Christmas Eve Drama
I wrote the Christmas Eve drama (finally), and it ended up going much worse than in my original plans. And the reason that it did is that I have written some additional scenes into this story that would reasonably make Arthur more suspicious about Romerica than he was before and more fed-up with their (in his view) nonsense. He was also steadily getting more annoyed with Alfred throughout the entire day because from his POV, Alfred is just acting really weird. First, when he’s giving Alfred his suit Arthur sees that something very bizarre happened to his pillow, and Alfred’s excuse about a “raccoon” is ridiculous and an obvious lie. Then, he sees Alfred blatantly staring at Savino in church during morning Mass and notices their over-affectionate behavior during the Sign of Peace thing. Right after Mass, it feels a little weird to him that Antonio is clearly trying to get them out of the house, and while they’re on their jaunt to the Ponte Milvio for the luchetti d’amore, he takes a circuitous route that is avoiding the hotel. Arthur doesn’t know Rome well, but he can tell that Antonio is taking them on a much longer trip than required. (Francis is enthusiastic about the luchetti d’amore and a romantic Christmas Eve walk, but he probably also think Antonio is behaving a little oddly). They get back, and Romerica might get back to the house later than just a quick trip to the hotel and back should take if they left right before FrUKSpa returned to the house. It seems like they actually weren’t at the house much, because neither of them removed their ties, and pretty much all the guys did after Mass when they were just hanging around the house for hours. (Alfred says he’s trying to avoid inconveniencing Savino since he doesn’t know how to tie a tie on his own, but there’s no reason for Savino to still be wearing his tie.) Alfred claims he wanted to get a camera to take pictures of the Christmas tree, but he takes three pictures very quickly and doesn’t bother to use it again. To Arthur, it seems like Romerica went on a secret date and Antonio helped arrange it for them (or unwittingly got used as a pawn), and it’s pissing him off. Arthur wasn’t paying enough attention to Alfred to notice that he was acting worried and antsy while Savino was upstairs, but he does notice that once Savino comes downstairs, Alfred is super clingy to him, and they’re cuddling in a way that’s even more affectionate than what they typically do back home even though Arthur explicitly told Alfred not to do this a few days ago.
Right before dinner, Alfred figures out that Savino isn’t wearing a scarf so his hickeys are visible, which could cause a problem. They try to manage the situation by sitting at a table without FrUKSpa, but their table is right next to theirs, and it includes Chiara and her little sisters, plus some people Alfred doesn’t know. They get through the appetizers okay, but then while they’re eating spaghetti con vongole, Alice (basically nyo Veneziano) notices the hickeys (there’s now two of them, because Alfred was that dumb). Savino is so terrified of people finding out about this that he drops the wine glass he was holding. It makes a loud crashing noise because it falls to the travertine floor, and everybody stops eating briefly and looks over at that table. Savino is silently freaking out about more than just the wine, but Mr. Vargas gets up to clean the glass from the floor so Savino won’t hurt himself by stepping on the glass in his socks and goes to get him more wine, and everyone pretty much goes back to whatever they were doing. Except that now Arthur is paying more attention to Savino and Alfred’s table. One of Savino’s cousins playfully teases him about the hickeys and his reaction, Savino says they’re not hickeys, Bianca (nyo Seborga) says they look just like hickeys, Chiara whispers at her to not give Savino shit today, and Savino comes up with the lie about ranting at a stronzo in his sleep and accidentally punching himself in the throat.
Arthur is listening, and when he hears a story that’s clearly bullshit, he says that’s one of the worst lies he’s ever heard, and it’s right up there with that unbelievable story Alfred told him about a raccoon this morning. Savino is extremely fragile today, so Arthur being snippy with him puts him on the verge of tears. Alfred tries to help him out by saying Savino muttered about a stronzo in his sleep while they were on the plane and does talk with his hands a lot when he’s awake, so he could have easily hurt himself that way. He also admits that he got his wildlife mixed up and maybe it could have been a cat or a squirrel, but he wouldn’t know because it got into the room while he was at the hotel. Antonio is extremely confused about the raccoon thing because this is the first he’s hearing of this, but he does say that Savino talks a lot in his sleep and always has. (He thinks the throat punching story is weird and at this point, he probably does think it’s Alfred, but he doesn’t want to make an issue of it during this trip, especially today.) Arthur gets pissed at Antonio for being “bloody oblivious” because Savino allegedly “punched himself” in the throat twice in a way that looks exactly like hickeys, and then he says it’s obvious what’s going on and glares directly at Alfred and Savino. (In Alfred’s POV, he thinks he’s being way more hateful than it is, but for Arthur, he’s just fed up of this bullshit he’s dealt with from them for nearly a month.) Alfred puts an arm around Savino because he’s whimpering and looking scared, and Alfred is scared too. Some cousin (Giorgio, but Alfred doesn’t know it’s him because he can’t look away from Savino) says “Savino has a secret girlfriend he didn’t tell us about?” and then Arthur says, “No. He has a secret boyfriend. Look at how they’re sitting right now.”
Savino bursts into tears, and Antonio loses it on him because all he wanted was a nice Christmas with the Vargas family and Arthur keeps ruining it with his ridiculous suspicions. He says Arthur already fought with Alfred about this (on Thursday, when Arthur and Francis told Alfred not to do stuff like play footsie with his stepbrother in Rome), and now he’s upsetting Savino too. Francis tries to get Arthur to calm down by saying they shouldn’t make a huge scene about this right now on Christmas Eve and can discuss this another time. By this point, Savino is crying really hard from all the fighting, and Alfred is crying too because his boyfriend is upset and because this stuff is starting to affect him too (and he is dreading the “discussion” Francis mentions). Arthur snaps at Francis and brings up some of the stuff that had been bugging him today (his suspicion that Antonio helped Romerica arrange a “secret rendezvous” at the hotel because Antonio was clearly trying to get them out of the house, Alfred and Savino were acting antsy, and Alfred barely used the camera he allegedly needed to get from the hotel).
Chiara gets incredibly pissed off, stands up out of her chair and tells Arthur that it wasn’t a “fucking rendezvous,” but that Alfred was taking Savino to see his parents and his nonna at the cemetery where they’re buried. Arthur is stunned and apologetic, though he does get a little irritated at her repeatedly calling him an eyebrow bastard. The rant she goes on is very similar to how I imagined it before, except she’s more insulting and tells Arthur he’s lucky he didn’t get murdered after making Savino cry over something stupid like a hickey after he visited his parents and grandmother. She explains that he was definitely too miserable and exhausted to have a hotel rendezvous with anyone and that Alfred had to take him to the cemetery because Savino is too traumatized to go on his own. Vinny repeats the excuse he gave Antonio about how he didn’t want to hurt Antonio anymore by making him watch Savino lose his mind over his dead sister and that it would be too cruel to do that to his nonno when his wife hasn’t even been gone for two years and he’d have to watch Savino grieving his dead son too. He gets upset, because he is genuinely guilty about it, Alfred tries to comfort him, and then Chiara points out that Alfred was obviously comforting Savino as a friend when Arthur was upsetting him (with more insults of course). Chiara explains in detail why Savino goes on Christmas Eve, and how he actually appeared to be doing better this year before Arthur ruined it for him. Arthur apologizes to both Savino and Alfred, Alfred explains that he didn’t tell his parents where he was going because he knew they’d never allow him to go and explains how he made a plan to do this that would keep them both safe, and Antonio apologizes for deliberately concealing Alfred’s whereabouts from his partners and explains that he didn’t tell them about Savino’s annual cemetery visit earlier because it’s a very private thing for him and he wasn’t sure if Savino would be okay with them knowing. Arthur again apologizes for being a “bloody wanker” to Savino, and now that he’s apologized Chiara tells him to sit down, shut the fuck up, eat his food, and then be “quiet as a fucking church mouse” when they go to Mass later, because it’s the only way he can begin to redeem himself. Everybody slowly gets back to eating, and Mr. Vargas (who wasn’t there the entire time but was watching the worst of it and was about ready to intervene before Chiara told Arthur off), gives Savino his new wine glass.