drag meeting au part 41
communication is always sexy
“You know, even if you like men, you don’t have to date me out of – some type of moral obligation or whatever. It’s ok. I understand.” Edward sniffed and wiped the last of the tears from his eyes as he stepped back a little from the embrace, but not fully. Étienne still had his arms around his waist and the weight of them was soothing and grounding.
Étienne rolled his eyes, ever so fond, “Ok, but what if I did want to actually date you – and not out of some type of moral obligation or whatever,” He parroted back. Eventually, maybe, Edward would understand that he was actually interested in him.
“Please, don’t be cruel. You’re gonna realise that even though I’m the one who dressed up as Kate – she’s the more exciting one. I’m boring. I’m not – well, I’m not like her. I’m a homebody.”
Étienne seemed genuinely annoyed at the comment as though he was insulted on Edward’s behalf that he thought so little of himself. “Well, if it makes you feel any better, I’ll have you know that we sort of already met before today.”
If they were admitting to things and coming clean, he figured they might as well go all in.
Edward blinked and gave him a curious look. “What do you mean?”
“On the metro,” Étienne said a little sheepish, “I don’t know if you ever realised it – but we ran into each other a few times on the metro.”
This time, Edward snorted, “Yes. Yes, I did notice. Every single time, I noticed. And every time I wondered if you wouldn’t realise it was me – well Kate, but that I was her – or looked like her, or something. Anyways. Yes. Nearly gave me multiple heart attacks, by the way.” He scolded.
Étienne chuckled softly and took one of Edward’s hands, caressing it gently, “That was never my intention and I never knew it was you, however, I will add that from the first time I ran into you – Edward – in the metro, I was utterly captivated by you.”
Edward blinked again. Surely, Étienne was joking. “What?” He said intelligently.
“I was. I thought – wow, that guy over there is gorgeous. He’s very hot.” Étienne wasn’t even making this up to boost Edward’s confidence. He had thought that every single time from the very first time.
“What?!” Edward repeated, his cheeks going very, very red.
“I thought you had a very nice style and thought you were very handsome. Well – I still do, actually, but, every time I saw you in the metro, I was completely entranced. And I wanted to strike up a conversation, but – well, it’s the metro. There are enough creeps on it at times. Plus, I didn’t want you to feel caged up in case you weren’t interested or whatever. And then I started dating Kate, so I dropped whatever plans I had of trying to talk to you; indulged from afar and such – you know, eye candy but off limits, but I still thought – I still think you’re very good looking.”
Someone save him. Étienne was going to murder him with kindness at this rate, Edward thought. Even if he had made all of that up on the spot, it sounded very convincing and Edward’s entire body felt as though it was on fire from the inside. It wasn’t every day that one was told all these wonderful things. Especially not after coming clean over the biggest of misunderstandings and believing that they were going to lose their boyfriend.
Edward needed a moment. Maybe ten. Maybe an entire lifetime to get over all this – wonderfulness.
But Étienne was still holding him and still looking at him with the softest of expressions on his face as if he were a beloved and cherished person and – Edward couldn’t step away. Somehow or other this fool wanted to be with him and – maybe his frayed nerves and anxious thoughts would slowly ebb away if Étienne kept holding him like this and telling him such kind things.
“So you – you thought I was – all those things and you – you never knew? You never had a doubt? Maybe not that I was Kate but that Kate – well, that something was – different?” It still didn’t fully make sense to Edward. In his opinion, had the cards been reversed, he was convinced he would have noticed. Eventually, something would have clicked.
Or so he thought.
Étienne shrugged, didn’t let go of his hand, “You said your name was Kate, that was enough for me. If there ever was anything you wanted to add to that, I figured you would tell me when you were ready. Same with everything else.”
Edward was going to cry again. Étienne was entirely too sweet and kind and he didn’t deserve him, end of the story.
“So you’re okay with this? You’re not – you still want to go out with me?” He asked again, needing to hear Étienne reassure him one more time.
Étienne smiled softly at him and cradled his face in his hands, “Yeah, I really, really want to still go out with you. The way I see it – it’s like I won the lottery. The cute guy from the metro also happens to be my girlfriend; my girlfriend also happens to be – hopefully – my boyfriend?”
Edward’s insides did a funny thing at that – at hearing Étienne call him his boyfriend. Of all the ways he’d ever thought this would play out, this was not the conclusion he had imagined he would get. He still didn’t believe he was allowed to have this – to get to be with Étienne – to have Étienne.
He nodded, unable to find the words at the moment.
“Can I kiss you?” Étienne asked him and again he nodded, after hesitating for a moment. Not because he didn’t want to, but because some part of his mind still couldn’t wrap itself around the fact that Étienne wanted this – wanted him.
Étienne leaned in a little closer and ever so gently, ever so delicately, pressed careful lips to his own in the softest of feather light kisses. Edward sighed and closed his eyes, somehow comforted by this familiar thing. He made a little disappointed sound when Étienne started pulling back, but then his boyfriend (his boyfriend!) chuckled and leaned in again to kiss him once more.
This time, Edward was ready and met him halfway. He chased Étienne’s lips for a proper kiss and this, at least, was easy. This, at least, didn’t require thinking and over-analysing anything. The slotting of their lips together was something they were well versed in and he found comfort in the familiarity of the sensation and feeling of Étienne’s plush lips against his own.
“See, still the same,” Étienne murmured when they pulled away, “You’re still you, to me, regardless of how it is you decide to present yourself. I’ll support you, no matter what.”
Edward wrapped his arms around Étienne’s neck instead and held on to him tightly, not sure he had the right words to express all that it was he felt.
“I’d love to take you out to dinner, if you still want to go.” If Edward needed time, Étienne wouldn’t pressure him. This must have been taxing on him and he didn’t want Edward to have a terrible time if he didn’t feel up to it.
“I – yeah? You still want to take me out?” Edward asked to be sure.
“Absolutely. It’s still your birthday – well, unless you have a different birthday from Kate?” Edward shook his head at that. He’d given the same birthday for Kate, figuring it would be easier to remember. “Then, it’s still your birthday and I still want to take you out for it – whatever version of you that you feel comfortable with. I’m okay with it. Even if you want to be Kate more often than not. And if you want to go as Edward, that’s fine as well. Unless, you’re not comfortable being seen with a man?” For all that they had talked, Étienne realised he wasn’t sure just how out Edward was as himself.
“No – that’s – I’m okay with that. It’s – I’ve already – I’m out. I’m not saying we should make out on the table of the restaurant, but – it’s okay. I’m okay with going out with another man. I’ll – just give me a minute? To freshen up?”
Étienne nodded, pecked his cheek, and then let him go to give him some privacy. “I’ll wait for you in the living room.” He added and then headed back towards the other room.
Edward watched his retreating figure for a moment and then looked at himself in the mirror letting out a big, shuddering breath. Somehow, he felt as though a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.
He’d done it. He’d told Étienne and it had gone – better than expected.
Now, it was time to get ready for their date.