Angela sighs, "Fine. So, we'll just hang. You and me." She flops down on the king sized bed that takes up most of the middle of the far side of the room. "So what do you want to do?"
Shawn clears his throat, "Well… umm. Looks like you've got a Jacuzzi in the bathroom."
"Yes I do," she smiled, "I think I've got some little work out shorts in my suitcase if you want."
Shawn shrugs, with carefully calculated exaggerated nonchalance, "I don't have anything you haven't seen before."
Angela rolls her eyes, "Let's not get too bohemian here. Have you eaten?"
Shawn shakes his head and sets his fingers against his stomach. "Uh… can't."
"Right. I'd forgotten you do that," Angela sighed. "Well, I'm starving and I'm guessing that dinner with Cory and Topanga is off the table."
Shawn looked up at her briefly. She didn't look distraught over the prospect. "If you want to see them you can go. I can hang out here. Watch some cable. Whatever."
"It's fine. Topanga and I were already planning a coffee thing before we both leave. So that we can talk about Cory, I'm sure." Angela rubs her finger tip against her temple the way she does when she's not sure she should have said something. "Maybe we can all do something tomorrow night. I'm hanging out until Monday, and I think Topanga is too."
"Yay," Shawn sighs, utterly without enthusiasm.
"I'm going to order Chinese. Do you want to order something in case you're hungry later?"
"Fine. Toss some egg rolls in there for me. You mind if I take a shower?"
"Go for it," Angela answers as she grabs her phone and dials. Shawn pads into the bathroom and sees himself in the mirror. He's shocked at how tired he looks. He swore he felt good when he woke up this morning.
He pulls his shirt off and drops it onto the tile, then drops his pants on top of it, trying to ignore the bite mark on his shoulder, the hickey above his nipple and the nail scratches along his side, even though he can practically hear the throaty type of howl tearing out of Peter's throat, muffled by his own skin.
A shiver runs down his spine.
Peter's cologne in his lungs. Peter's hair tickling against his neck. Peter's arms wrapped around him, his nails and teeth digging into him, Peter's moan vibrating along his shoulder as he empties himself onto Shawn's stomach.
Anthony's knowing smirk and perfect body slinking past them.
His eyes sting again. He bites the inside of his cheek and turns the shower on, stepping into the hot water with a sigh of defeat.
Peter's lazy chuckle as he traces soap bubbles across Shawn's skin. His fingers massaging Shawn's scalp while he teases him about his expensive shampoo.
This is not where he'd wanted to wind up tonight.
And he probably only had a couple of hours before he had to deal with Cory.
He stood in the shower much, much longer than necessary, trying to let the warm sink through him. Toying with the details of how he would lie to Cory and Topanga. He'd just pretend to be sick while he recovered. Cory might just be so relieved about Peter he wouldn't even ask why he wasn't around.
He turned the water off and stepped out of the shower, his skin flushed to a deep burning pink, nearly red next to the white of the towel he patted himself dry with. He wrapped the towel around his waist, picked his shirt up off the floor, pressed it to his face and breathed. No. Still smelled too strongly.
There's a soft knock at the door.
Angela steps inside, holding a nice looking robe with the hotel logo embroidered on the lapel. She holds it out to him with a shrug, and he sees her eyes flick over his body, clearly taking in the marks.
"Thank you," he says quietly.
"Yeah," She replies, "So the Chinese place is actually around the corner, and they said it'll be ready for pick up in like 10 minutes. So I'm just going to go get it. You, stay here, relax, and pick out a movie on pay-per-view and when I get back, we'll eat Chinese and take a little mental vacation from our lives. Good plan?
Angela leans in and kisses him on the cheek before turning and leaving. Shawn wraps himself in the robe, which just smells like bleach, goes out in the room and throws himself back onto Angela's bed. He flips through the pay per view menu, looking for anything that isn't a romantic comedy, which he can't handle on any level. An action movie that looks like it's going to demand too much emotional investment, and a buddy comedy that doesn't look too gross. He doesn't select it, just sits and waits for Angela to come back.
When she returns she comes back with both hands full. Despite Shawn's claim that he won't eat she hands him a container of house fried rice and a fork.
Shawn hits play and they settle back the utter inanity of the movie washing over them. Angela expertly scarfs down her low-mein with her chopsticks, grinning at Shawn in victory when he starts picking the shrimp out of his fried rice and manages to eat about a quarter of the container before setting it on the nightstand. Angela hands him her own empty container to get out of the way as well.
"So… what about your love life?" Shawn asks.
"My love life?"
"Yeah. All I ever do is bitch about my whole… orientation conundrum. What about your relationship?"
Angela sighs and shifts down on the bed. "Oh right. That. I don't know. I'm not…not dating Clint."
"His name was Clint?"
"It still is. We're still dating. Mostly."
"We haven't broken up yet, but it's coming."
"No. Just… it's getting boring. Dying a slow boring death. I don't think I've even talked to him in the last week."
"Doesn't avoiding someone for that long count as breaking up?" Shawn asks.
"When was the last time you talked to Cory?" Angela counters.
"This last semester has actually made me really uncomfortable with talking about mine and Cory's friendship as though it's a romantic relationship."
"Well. How much difference is there, really?"
"Cory and I don't have sex?" Shawn scoffs, "Thank God."
"Did you and Peter-"
"I don't know. Maybe? I'm not totally sure what counts as sex when it's two guys. I read somewhere that oral counts, in which case yeah, all kinds of sex, but I don't think we were counting it… so not really," Shawn sighs."It was… it was on the table, but," he clears his throat. "What happened to not talking about this?"
"You brought it up."
Shawn turns his head away from her, but she continues.
"So, what happened?"
Shawn swallows deeply, rolls back over to face her, and tells her everything. Telling Eric and Jack. The fight with Cory, telling Peter that he was in love with him. The weekend. Peter's family. Peter touching him in the car. Peter wanting to go home early so they could have some privacy. Telling Peter he was ready to talk about having sex. Anthony.
"So yeah," Shawn mutters, "I screwed up my life, I switched teams for him, I love him, I told him things I've never told anyone, let him in in ways… I read him a poem I'd written for him. And he cheated on me."
"Is it really cheating?"
Shawn glares at her. "He kissed me, then fucked Anthony. Cheating."
"You weren't dating. He thought you were straight."
"It wasn't like we had a few drinks and then got a little frisky. It was intense. I told you about it. We had this whole, deep thing and then made out."
"You used to just make out with girls all the time. In public places."
"I used to suck face with girls in Chubbies. This was different. This was like… this wasn't like a first anxious hormonal make out….this was like…this was like you and me before we broke up. Like a comfortable dating making out. It wasn't that much different than how Peter and I make out now. And then he left and spent the entire weekend plowing Anthony. Who is… even I know this guy is good looking. Like crazy good looking. He's got arms like a well fed python."
"And we're still running on the assumption that you're straight?" Angela asks, with a little bit of gentle snark to her tone. She tucks her feet against his, sets her hand over his elbow.
"Does it really matter anymore?" Shawn asks, annoyed. He's sick of this discussion. He doesn't even care what he is at this point. The person he loves lied to him and he can't figure out if he wants to hit him or hold him.
He shifts closer to her. She sighs.
"I don't know… I mean sure, people experiment in college it just seems like… You're in a relationship that is… harder than your other relationships. You're hiding and you're nervous and you're having to re-examine all these things about yourself. Doesn't that have to-"
"Yeah," Shawn cuts her off and wriggles closer again, setting his arm around her waist. "It is harder. "And who knows me like you do Angela? I'm not really prepared to be in the "advanced class" for relationships anyway. Right?"
He starts tracing his hand up and down her arm and moves his face closer to hers.
"I miss… when things were… fathomable. Comfortable. You know?"
Angela hmms in response and Shawn nudges his face just that little bit further forward and kisses her.
"So. You take Shawn here? Cory asks. He sounds accusatory. He can hear it. But this isn't Shawn. It's all vaulted ceilings and big stain glass windows and very serious looking girls with big glasses hunched over books.
"Actually Jeremy loves this place and we meet him here for tutoring every once in a while. But yeah. Shawn loves it here. It's peaceful and it's beautiful."
"So. Where do we look for him? Poetry section or just find a group of high school girls hanging out looking for college studs?"
Peter gives him a look of entirely unveiled disdain and starts walking, "Just keep an eye out okay? We'll check the fountain, the study cove and you'll just shut the fuck up so that he doesn't just hide in the stacks when he hears you coming."
"When he hears me coming? He's upset with you."
"He's upset with both of us," Peter sighs.
"What did I do?" Cory demands.
One of the intense girls in the glasses shushes them and Peter whips down an aisle as though he's trying to ditch Cory. Cory catches him up.
"What did he tell you I did?" Cory demands again. Another shush comes from somewhere behind the stack of books and Peter jerks his head toward the exit.
"For the record," Peter huff, as they step outside, "In these big fancy buildings full of books, people don't appreciate people loudly bitching about stuff that they should already know, not least of all because I just told them. You know what you did, Cory. Now come on. There's this godawful dive malt shop across the street that he loves."
"No! I know what you did!" Cory replies.
Peter freezes and turns back around, taking a couple of steps into Cory's personal space, looming over him.
"And what is that?"
"You swept in with your stupid, college-y sophomore, ultra-liberal poetry weirdness."
"News flash, Brillo-head," Peter snaps, "Your boy already liked poetry. It's something we bonded over while he was lonely because you were ignoring him."
"I would have known if Shawn liked poetry," Cory replies. Why were they arguing about this? Did it matter? Would Peter really be getting into this argument with him about Shawn liking the Counting Crows in high school? "This is something that you got him into, that you think I'm too stupid to follow along with."
One of the girls with glasses shushes them. Peter's jaw clenches and he starts back for the door. Cory follows and Peter ducks back into a little alcove near the dumpsters.
"Did you know that Shawn can recite the Wasteland?"
"The Wasteland. TS Elliot. It's a post modern masterpiece. He read it after his mom left the first time. He's read it so many times that he has it memorized. He quotes it all the time."
"And you think that because you know that and I don't, that he's outgrowing me? That just because we don't sit around talking about old dudes writing emo crap, because we have actual stuff in common, that he's outgrowing me?"
"No. He's outgrowing you because you won't grow."
"He's not outgrowing me, he's being drug along behind you. You changed him with your creepy coffee shop going and your scarf wearing and your poetry reading."
Peter, who has been getting redder as this conversation goes on, begins to tinge purple. "Are you saying that you can't be Shawn's friend anymore, because I," his fingers snap into air quotes like claws, "made him like poetry"?"
"You just said he already liked poetry," Cory manages, beginning to realize that he may have pushed Peter too far. He's shaking with rage, and Cory's not sure when he pushed this far.
"Let's drop the metaphor, or for you probably euphemism- don't worry I'll explain both of those to you later- did you just accuse me of turning Shawn gay?"
Cory sets his shoulders back. "So are you finally admitting that you're dating him?"
"You know, you are incredibly obsessed with who Shawn is dating. Maybe you're a little jealous."
"What?" Cory demands.
"Girlfriend you've been with for almost five years, never slept with her, no urge to stray with her a couple states over, wholly dependent on your best friend, and you hate me," Peter shoves him up against the wall for punctuation, "… are you in love with Shawn?"
"No!" Cory spits, "No! I'm in love with Topanga. I haven't slept with her because I respect her. When she says no I respect that. And she always says no."
"Right," Peter sneers. "And you're constantly pissing and moaning about Shawn because-"
"He's my best friend. Are you in love with Jeremy?"
Peter scoffs, "No. But I don't flip out over every fucking thing Beth does either. And I am in love with Shawn. I am so, so in love with Shawn." Peter lets go of the front of his shirt. Cory tries to straighten himself out.
"So you and Shawn are dating?"
"I didn't say that. But you've been saying this whole time that you think I spread "the gay" to Shawn like it's a disease that he caught from me."
Cory doesn't care anymore. "Didn't he?"
The side of Cory's face blossoms in pain, and Peter slowly comes back into focus just before Cory finds himself thrown into the rough brick of the library wall.
Angela's mouth is warm and familiar, and slightly salty with Chinese food.
And it makes Shawn sad. He's done questionable things, but he's never cheated, and he's never consciously used someone like this. He moves further into the kiss, and Angela kisses him back.
Shit. Shit. Shit.
"Mmmhmmm, hey," Angela pulls back. "Come on. You're a better guy than this. You care about me too much to do this. You love Peter too much to do this."
"I know… I just… God, Angela, you have no idea how much I wish I could start this year over sometimes."
"Yeah. I know what you mean." Angela sits up, and puts a respectable distance between them. "Come on. Let's watch a shitty move, pretend we are normal happy people. You can stay here to night." She shoulder checks him. "But no funny business.