PLEASE READ: Okay, so this story is probably written in a different format than you're used to. There are two general storylines, one that is PruHun, one that is USUK. Both are main storylines (there are also side storylines i mentioned in the description). The story begins with PruHun and the second chapter will be USUK, and so on until both storylines intertwine. I BESEECH YOU to read both pairings because you won't be able to fully understand the story if you don't! That aside...enjoiiii~~~~
"Order 20's ready!"
Elizabeta rushed over to retrieve the hot soup, setting it down carefully on the tray. The smell of onions and cheese wafted into her nose. God, that Francis. He was too good. This was what she thought every time she carried a bowl of French onion soup briskly across the bustling restaurant. The place was always full. Its stylish square tables filled, black stone floors lit by the modern, hanging lights from the ceiling. The sound of clinking glasses and constant conversation projected across the spacious room. Young people from all over London, university girls, bachelors, people in their twenties. The Hub (as it was called) was practically on-campus of the Imperial College London. Well, almost on-campus. But it was quite shocking how many students from all around town come down just to have a few drinks.
The Hub was a masterpiece in itself. Somehow their genius owner and manager got together a group of undergraduate and postgraduate students of whom none are British except for himself, and then created a hotspot hub for young Londoners, only open for dinner and supper. Of course, it was kind of like a non-drug, non-disc jockey club between the two meals and after supper. In fact, some people came early for dinner and stayed all the way until 12:30 am, when the restaurant closed. During this long stretch of time, they would spend hundreds on food and drinks at the bar. Leave it to Arthur to reel in the cash.
"Liz! Hey, Liz!" Two girls waved to her from a table. She recognised one of them all too well. Flora, her name was. Bleach blonde hair, low-cut top, and tight miniskirt. She was here pretty often. More like every day. Elizabeta smiled and walked over. Be professional, Elizabeta, keep your cool.
"Good evening. What can I get you?" she asked in her best waitress voice. But she had a feeling what was coming.
"Hey, you think you could drop a note to Gilbert for me?" she asked, batting her over-mascara-ed eyelashes as she glanced obsequiously over at the bar.
Do it yourself, you bitch! "Alright. What is it this time?" Elizabeta sighed.
"You know what it is..." Flora answered in a sickeningly sweet tone.
"Oh! And Alfred for me!" her friend piped up. The two girls giggled not so discreetly. But then again, the Hub was full of these giggles each and every night. It was all Kirkland's fault, but then again this was what made the store run. The employees, that was.
Elizabeta stalked over to the bar with her now-empty tray and, after pushing through a large circle of girls, kicked open the little hinged door separating the counter and the outside. "Hey! You two idiots!" she roared at the two bartenders.
"Excuse us, ladies. It'll only be a moment. Meanwhile, we'll let you decide on the next drink you want to order," Gilbert smiled at the crowd of girls with his abnormal but seductive ruby-red eyes, sharply contrasted by silver-white hair.
"Hey, Eliza, what's up?" Gilbert asked with a devious smile as he sidled to the side. Great, he's in smooth-talk mode.
Elizabeta rolled her large, green eyes at him. She's known Gil for ages. Lived in the same neighbourhood as he and his brother in Berlin when her family left Hungary for Germany. She was nine at the time. The Beilschmidt brothers were something between family and friend to her. And somehow all three of them ended up in London for university. Both she and Gilbert were postgraduates now, Gilbert continuing his study of nuclear engineering at Imperial and she delving deeper into journalism at UCL (University College London). Ludwig, who Elizabeta could hear in the distance taking a phone call for reservations, was an undergraduate majoring in petroleum engineering, also at Imperial.
"Yo, Liz!" Alfred greeted with a grin. The young American joined Gilbert's side with an empty glass in his hands. Ash blonde hair, lively blue eyes, dashing, and only twenty years old, Elizabeta first got to know Alfred at work, but it turned out that he also went to UCL as a film major.
"Hey, Alfred," she smiled back.
"What? No hello for me?"Gil complained, "What sort of attitude is that?"
"You're one to lecture me on attitude. Anyhow, see those two over there?" she jabbed a finger at the two girls' table on the other side of the room.
"Looking for a good shag, probably. Your choice," she shrugged.
Gilbert shrugged as he and Alfred shared a nonchalant glance. "What do you think?" Gilbert asked.
"I dunno. Kinda thought there were a few better ones back there we could score."
"Ja, like that strawberry blonde. Nice legs," Gilbert agreed.
"Whatever. Just don't get anyone pregnant. Arthur will murder you," Elizabeta warned, then turned on her heels to return to the kitchen.
"You're jealous, aren't you? Just admit it!" she heard Gilbert's distinctly raspy voice shouting at her from behind.
She scoffed. It was like this every day. She was actually surprised none of the staff got anyone pregnant so far. Well, from work at least. She personally suspected that Francis had already fathered a few children on the side.
"Hey, you look arsed." It was Bella, her Belgian friend, roommate, and fellow waitress, who introduced her to the staff just so she wouldn't have to be the only female working in the Hub. Bella was currently balancing a tray of empty dishes in one hand as she joined up with Elizabeta. The two ignored rude stares by guys as they walked past. It was skill they had both mastered, holding a normal conversation in this hostile environment.
"I'm sorta hungry. You think Yao would let me sneak in a bowl of noodles or something? Or at least some soup," Bella said with a tired sigh. It wasn't easy working at the Hub, this they all acknowledged. In fact, the guys usually complained that the girls got the easy end of the job. After all, Arthur gave specific instructions for the men to sell their looks to bring in customers while he had no such requirements for the girls.
"Probably, if he has some handy," Elizabeta replied as they slid through the door to the kitchen. The powerful smell of intermixed Asian and Western food filled their nostrils immediately, followed by deafening noises only found in a kitchen. "Hey, Yao! Any food left? We're starving!"
"Oh, sorry, I've got nothing!" the Chinese man answered, his pony-tail bobbing slightly as he raised his head. "Ask Lovino, he's got spare bread!"
"Cool, thanks!" Elizabeta yelled back over the loud hissing of the wok on the stove, Lovino's 100 mph chopping, and the hum of Francis's oven. This was where the other specialty of the Hub centred on. The food. Besides Francis and Yao being uncannily professional at cooking though they were both only in their early twenties and neither majored in the culinary arts (Francis was an apprentice in the fashion design industry while Yao majored in computer science at Imperial), the Hub was literally a collection of international foods. It mostly changed between French and Asian, depending on what day of the week, and on some days like today, both versions of the menu are in play. Sometimes, they would also offer an array of Italian foods, but it was rare since the Vargas brothers were a bit slow and easily-distracted whereas neither Yao nor Francis could make top-notch Italian food. So normally, Lovino, the elder twin, was usually assisting in the kitchen while Feliciano, the younger twin, was outside "advertising" with Antonio. It was sort of a shame, since their food was so good.
"Hey, Lovi! Get us some spare bread!" Bella shouted to Lovino, who was attacking some cabbage like a madman. He chopped and diced very well, Elizabeta had to admit, into perfect little pieces that she could never manage to create herself. But sometimes she worried about him. It always felt like he was taking out his anger on the vegetables and meat.
"Go get it yourself! It's over there on the counter!" he yelled back in his usual annoyed tone.
"The one with the bread on it!"
Ok, so maybe his temper management skills weren't so good. And it was hard to believe that he was even less tolerant of men, or so she was told. He and his brother were practically polar opposites. Elizabeta had never seen two brothers, let alone twins, so different. Feliciano was a cheerful airhead, while Lovino was a potentially-murderous and sulky pessimist. They both went to Central Saint Martin's (University of the Arts London) together, Feli majoring in fine arts and Lovi in architecture.
"Here you go." The girls were suddenly handed a basket of baguettes by Horace, the expressionless marketing major from Hong Kong, and also Yao's cousin.
"Oh, thanks, Horace," Bella answered with a polite smile as she took the basket from him. Neither Elizabeta nor Bella knew him well, because of his lack of...socialising in general, though they'd worked together for over a year now.
Horace shrugged, and returned to Yao's side to fold dumplings.
"Isn't he adorable?" Bella giggled. Somehow, Horace's silence was endearing in a strange way. He would say such bold things abruptly, though, and catch you by surprise.
"Yeah, I really think he's got a head full of mischief behind all that composure," Elizabeta agreed as she ripped up some bread.
"Definitely. He's cute, too. I wonder how he would handle being a waiter in front. We should make Arthur try him out for a day or two just for the fun of it," Bella giggled.
"So, what are we plotting this time, ma chéries*?" came a thick, familiar French accent from behind.
"Francis!" The two of them jumped, spinning around swiftly to face the French man. He smiled down at them, with his fine, blonde locks tucked neatly under the chef's hat, vivid blue eyes, and a small stubble on his chin. Even a bigger player than the two bartenders, Francis always complained that being in the kitchen meant he couldn't be outside with the ladies. But somehow, he still managed. Especially after supper rush, he usually had a swell time going around in front wooing all his customers. Sometimes, Gil and Al would demand that Francis come outside just to give them a break. Elizabeta couldn't help but admit that he was attractive, but she had no intention of getting involved with a man who only played around. With men and women alike so she heard. Bella, on the other hand, did not object, and have gladly slept with him around five times. Apparently he was "skilled."
"It's not a plot, Francis. Not everyone thinks like you," Elizabeta snapped at him.
He ripped off half a baguette for himself as he answered. "Isn't it? To get that red-eyed beauty to fall in love with you?" he laughed.
"What're you talking about? That's ridiculous!" Elizabeta shouted back, extremely irritated.
"Why, I'm talking about you, ma chéri! It's obvious enough that you want him. Why else are you so cold to the poor man?" he teased once again.
"No, I do not! He is the last man in the world I would go out with! What do you know anyway? Go bake your stupid cake!"
"Ah, Blanche is doing the decorating right now, and it seems that supper rush is slowing, so I'll take a few minutes break outside." Blanche* was his little sister, who was studying anthropology at UCL. In fact, she was one of the top students. In the one month that Elizabeta had known her, she seemed a studious and practical kind of girl, not like Francis at all. She was hired a month ago, after Francis had been bothering Arthur for half a year to hire another chef's assistant. Elizabeta looked over at the counter next to the ovens. Blanche was making an expert flower with the cream.
"See? I did not lie. I will be back in ten minutes. Tell Yao for me, ma chéris," Francis said with a meaningful smile. "Oh, and, Elizabeta. About your little love affair. We'll see." He winked. She stuck out her tongue.
"Oh, God, he is so sexy," Bella purred, staring after his retreating figure.
"Yes, yes, you remind me every day. Don't fall too hard for him, Bells. It's not safe, a guy like that. No, actually that goes for Al and Gil, too."
"Don't worry, Liz. I know my limits," she smiled back mischievously, "You, on the other hand, need to get yourself a boyfriend."
"Why do you say that? I'm perfectly fine the way I am right now."
"Because, ma chéri," she laughed as she imitated Francis, "your 'unintentional' desperate glances over to the bar are killing me."
"Ó Istenem*, not you, too!" she groaned as they finished up the last of the baguette they split. "Why won't you people just listen? Gil's a lot of things to me, including annoying bastard and good friend, but I don't want anything more than that!"
"Sure, Liz. Because that's why you're so arsed every time you have to pass the group of girls around the bar," she snickered.
"I told you, those slags annoy the hell out of me!" she growled through gritted teeth.
"Yeah, well, they're your paycheques," an annoyed but distinctly high-class Queen's English snapped from behind them.
The two girls squeaked and whirled around to find their boss standing behind them with arms crossed over his chest. His thick, golden eyebrows pressed down on his bright, green eyes, forming a disapproving scowl with a sarcastic curl of the lip. It actually would be an adorable expression—he was good-looking enough to join the two idiots at the bar—but for the fact that Arthur was their boss. "I'm not paying you to sit around to eat bread! Now get your pretty little arses back out there!"
"Oh, c'mon, Artie!"Bella whined. "We've been out there since five in the afternoon. Plus, Antonio, Feli, and Ludwig are doing just fine. Antonio and Feliciano should be back in the restaurant by now, right? People are here to stare at the guys anyway."
"Well, 'people' aren't all girls. At least 40% are blokes who come here are here to stare at you two."
"No, they're not. You know all the guys who come here are gay."
"Nope, nope, get out there. Go, now!" He pushed them toward the door.
"Arthuuurrrrr," Bella whined again. She'd known Arthur since secondary school, so she had the privilege of acting a little spoiled even if he was their boss. Arthur may seem like an evil autocrat at first, but as far as managers go, he was actually relatively creative and open-minded. Plus, he had a soft spot for desperate puppy-dog eyes. Elizabeta wondered how it was possible for a graduate student to manage an entire restaurant and still keep up with his studies at Imperial as a major in business and economics, but go figure. Arthur Kirkland could pull it off. Somehow.
After they were cruelly shoved out of the kitchen, Elizabeta immediately went to collect empty plates. She always had a notion to keep herself busy and occupied.
"Eliza!" a male voice from a few tables away called. Startled, she automatically turned around and found herself staring straight at-
"Roderich!" she exclaimed, pleasantly surprised. The raven-haired and spectacled Roderich Edelstein, her ex-boyfriend from secondary school, and also Gilbert and Ludwig's relative from Austria. "What're you doing here?"
She strode over, happy to see an old friend after so long. She and Roderich hadn't contacted each other since she left for university in London.
"I'm here for six months to study with the London Symphony Orchestra. I heard about this place from a friend, someone I know from a while ago who's here for a year at Imperial. He said to meet me here, but he's quite late." Oh, and Roderich was also a piano prodigy.
"So, did you say hello to Ludwig and Gilbert?"
"Oh, my, Gilbert's here, too? When I saw Antonio, I was surprised enough, but who knew that the first man would see when I walked in was Ludwig!"
"You know Antonio?"
"In fact, yes. He performed with me a few times around Austria and Germany."
"Performed?" Elizabeta asked with a curious tilt of the head.
Roderich gave her a questioning look. "You didn't know? Antonio won a Europe-wide dance competition when he was sixteen. He performed a lot after that, but it seems that now he's studying choreography at London International School of Performing Arts."
"Really? That's amazing!" She was shocked. Antonio seemed like such a nice, modest guy, she never would have guessed...
"Yes, he is very good. You need to make him perform for you someday."
"Hey, hey! Roderich!" came a loud rasp. Gilbert was suddenly standing behind her with cocktail in his hand. "Compliments of yours truly," he said in German as he placed the glass down on the table. But Elizabeta knew that the two didn't get along. They were as alike as a fish and a monkey.
Roderich smiled politely at his cousin. Roderich was a neat, proper, old-fashioned sort of person. He highly-disapproved of Gilbert's indulgence of alcohol, women, and, well, everything else.
"Sorry to interrupt (in German)," came a low voice, "But get to work. We can save family reunions for later." It was Ludwig, wearing an expression of all seriousness on his hard, masculine face. Of course, he, too, was strikingly handsome, but unlike his brother, his neatly-groomed blonde hair slicked back out of his eyes and light, sapphire eyes gave off another aura altogether.
"Awn, but-" Gil started. Gilbert had never gotten used to the idea of his younger brother being the headwaiter, meaning being in charge of him.
"Nein. Get back to your work, Bruder," Ludwig told him.
"He's right, Gilbert. It seems that you have an entire brothel waiting for you," Roderich said calmly. Elizabeta snickered.
"Tch. Jealous?" Gilbert teased with a raise of his silver eyebrow. "But anyway, drop by the bar if you want a pull or something. I can have that arranged." And with that, Gilbert disappeared back into the swarm of girls around the bar counter.
"I see nothing has changed," Roderich sighed. "Doesn't he ever get tired with doing that kind of debauched thing with his life?"
"No. But the funny thing is he's never had a proper girlfriend before. I bet he can't hold one down for long," Elizabeta laughed a little uncomfortably under Ludwig's domineering stare. "Anyway, I've got to get back to work. Or Arthur will surely behead me. Oh, right, do you want anything?"
"No, I'm fine for now. I'll wait until my friend gets here. Danke."
It turned out that Roderich's friend from a while back was a solemn, Swiss student, who also happened to know Arthur. He studied international trade, so the two had quite a few classes together. Elizabeta smiled to herself as she watched Arthur sit down with the two, engaged probably in some fascinating conversation about current events. It was so funny how small the world was.
And so the night dragged on as usual, with things getting a little hazy and out of hand by closing time. That was when Arthur, with the help of Ludwig, Yao, and Lovino, shooed everyone out of the restaurant, after which most people proceeded to nightclubs. As she helped clean up the tables as the customers gradually dispersed, she caught glimpses of Francis and Alfred both leaving with girls clinging to their arms. After all the bustling had settled and only the employees remained, she found Antonio was taking some white wine at the empty bar with an exhausted look on his face. Bella was slumped on the stool next to him with a glass of scotch. Both the Vargas brothers were sweeping the floor, Lovi muttering in irritation under his breath. Basch— the Swiss student— and Arthur were still engaged in a heated conversation (something about banking and inflation) while Basch tried to wake the passed-out Roderich at the same time. How in hell did that happen?
After finishing with her share of table-clearing, Elizabeta walked over to join the Swiss and Englishman with a concerned look on her face.
"What happened?" she asked with a deep frown on her face. "I'm Elizabeta by the way. Roderich's friend." She smiled at Basch, who took her hand a little coldly. He seemed like the type to never crack a smile, she thought.
"I see. He's told me about you." His reply was equally stiff. "As to what happened...he had one cocktail."
Elizabeta's frown deepened, then suddenly-
She grabbed the glass and gave it a good, long whiff. "Gilbert..." she growled under her breath.
"Oh, God," Arthur frowned. "I'm so sorry," he apologised to Basch, "Our bartender is a bit of a practical joker."
"Gilbert Beilschmidt, right? I know the man. He's quite famous on-campus," Basch said as he and Arthur managed to pick up Roderich, carrying him towards the door.
"Yeah...he's...rather loose," Arthur agreed.
"I'll take care of this," Basch said, and thanked Arthur at the glass double doors.
Meanwhile, Elizabeta felt rage flaring up from the pit of her stomach. "Ludwig...where's Gil?"
The tall, well-built blonde looked up from his table-busting. "I'm not sure. Probably out the back."
"Thanks," she said, and barged out from the back door.
There was no one there, the alley dark with a large rubbish dump to her left. She looked to the right, which fed out to the busy London streets, shining in orange city lights and whizzing shades of every colour. There, parked under a tall lamppost, was Gilbert's one of a kind Mercedes-Benz, which he had modified so much that it only held subtle traces of its old self. But right now, Elizabeta only cared about the fact that Gilbert was currently in the backseat...with his tongue down some girl's throat.
Her hands clenched into tight fists, fingernails digging into her palms. She suddenly had the violent notion to smash his precious car to pieces smaller than Lovino's cut-up vegetables. With him in it, too. She took a few harried steps towards the car, but then stopped, frozen in place. Somehow, she could only stand there, staring with gritted teeth and feeling nothing but fury and revulsion.
"Liz?" Bella came up from behind her, sounding a little worried. Bella followed her friend's line of sight and spotted the car. "C'mon, Liz. Let's go." She took Elizabeta's arm and began to pull her away. Elizabeta's legs moved on their own, stumbling after Bella's rapid footsteps. Her mind was rewinding the images she wanted so much to un-see.
Bella led her back into the restaurant, to the locker room in the back. She sat her friend down on a bench then began to change out of her uniform.
"Liz, are you alright?"
"He...does that all the time, you know?"
"Yeah...I know...but I've never really seen it before. It's funny isn't it. I've known him for so long."
"No. I don't care about him. I don't care. Yeah, what do I care?" She suddenly sprang to her feet.
Bella sighed. She didn't know whether to be glad or not that Elizabeta could suddenly bounce back like a spring. Sometimes, a little too much.
"Gil!" came the angry voice as Gilbert Beilschmidt strolled through the door. Everyone was just about finished cleaning up.
"What's up, Arthur?" he greeted with a sly smile. He knew exactly what was up.
"I cannot allow you to ambush our customers!" Arthur warned, glaring at the German with a dangerous flame in his green eyes.
"What ambush? I have no idea what you're talking about." Gilbert feigned innocence with a nonchalant shrug while he held back his laughter.
"I'm talking about this." Arthur held up the cocktail glass.
"What? I mixed him a cocktail, he drank it. For old time's sake," Gilbert snickered.
"Really? Because I smell way too much Everclear*!" Arthur slammed the glass down on the table.
Well, it's a cocktail," Gilbert snorted.
"Gilbert, just remember that if this happens again, I'm firing you!"
"Yeah, yeah. You'll lose like half your customers if you do that." He waved Arthur off as he yelled to Lovi and Feli in the kitchen for food. He knew that Arthur wasn't serious. Arthur knew exactly the type of guy he was, and hired him despite of all that. Arthur, Antonio, Francis, and him. They rented a flat together during their undergrad days, but Arthur moved out just the previous summer. He and the other two still lived in the same place, except the hygiene level of their living environment had greatly decreased since Arthur had left.
"Gilbert," Ludwig suddenly stopped him on his trek towards the kitchen. "Elizabeta was looking for you."
Gilbert raised his silver eyebrows. "Well, well, well," he chuckled.
"She didn't look happy. It was about the cocktail," Ludwig sighed, in exasperation. He frequently complained to Gilbert that despite Gilbert's logic-based brain, things like this just failed to get through to him with reason. "What were you doing until now?"
Gilbert snorted again at his seriousness."What do you think I was doing?"
Ludwig heaved another sigh. What else would he be expecting? "What happened to the girl then?" he asked.
"She left," his brother shrugged.
"How irresponsible," Ludwig frowned disapprovingly.
"No, I'm not. I told her beforehand that it was going to be a one-time thing and that she needed to leave after we were done. And you know what, she went on with it, so...not my problem," he explained matter-of-factly as he occupied himself with wiping down the bar counter.
"You-" Ludwig started.
"Don't even try to reason with him, Ludwig. That's his 'policy' as he calls it. You didn't know?" Antonio cut in, his head on the counter. He turned his head slightly to face the younger Beilschmidt. The handsome Spanish dancer had olive-coloured skin, with dark, wavy brown hair and two pleasant, green eyes. The perfect bait for attracting customers. Which was quite a taxing position, since he had to stand outside the store for hours, talking and smiling to girls in a good-natured and gentlemanly fashion. It wasn't until supper rush that he and Feliciano—who did the same job— would usually come back inside to help with serving.
Ludwig's eyebrows wrinkled a little. "I knew he was...frivolous. I had no idea he had a rule in place."
"Well, he does things by procedure. As always," Antonio yawned.
"You, my friend, are drunk," Gilbert said as he pushed the Spaniard's head off the counter so he could properly wipe the white marble.
"Huuuh...where's Lovi..." Antonio's words came out slurred.
"I wonder if Yao still has some of that magical Chinese herb medicine that rudely jolts you out from a drunken stupor," Gilbert said as he wiped down all the beer glasses with expert speed. He'd been wiping beer glasses since he was 15, back in the good old Vaterland*. He used to work at a pub, since his rich family insisted he worked for his pocket money. It was wearisome at first having to serve people beer on the week days and fix cars on the weekend for pocket money, but eventually, he found ways to enjoy his new freedom.
"Ay, dios mio, that medicine was horrible..."Antonio mumbled, slumped once again on the counter. Sometimes, there was a downside to unlimited liquor after work hours. But Gilbert had to admit that the clever incentive did work. After all, Arthur didn't care how drunk they got after work as long as they dragged their arses back sober the next night.
"It wakes you up properly," Ludwig said.
"I'll wake him up properly." Lovino had suddenly materialised behind them with a broom raised above Antonio's head.
"Whoa, whoa there! No violence, tiger," Gilbert quickly raised both hands in the air in defence. He stopped Lovino just in time before the broom hit the back of Antonio's head.
"Lazy arse," the Italian swore under his breath, "If you have enough time to get yourself drunk, go wipe the floors in the kitchen or something." Lovino stomped away, grumbling under his breath. Gilbert knew that he probably would have smacked Antonio silly if it weren't for the fact that Arthur was nearby. Both the Vargas brothers had an irrational fear of the manager.
"Loviiiii...why are you so cruel..." Antonio whined in his semi-conscious state.
Gilbert sighed and, setting down the last glass on the shelf behind him, turned around and smacked Antonio hard on his head.
"Oooowwww..." The Spaniard swayed dangerously on the stool, liable to fall off any moment.
"Get up. We're going home." Gilbert went around to the other side of the counter and dragged his drunken friend to his feet by the back of his collar. "Come on. No...! Don't...ugh...how much wine did you drink?" Antonio had his arm around Gilbert's shoulder, too drunk to walk on his own.
"Wine?" -hic- "No, no...it was vodka."
"What? Are you stupid?"
"Si...I thought it was white wine...but it turned out...it was vodka..." he slurred.
"And you drank it anyway? The hell is wrong with you, Dummkopf!"
"Alright, alright..." Gilbert grumbled. He hated lovesick bastards. And unfortunately for him, that was exactly what Antonio had become. A lovesick bastard. He'd known the guy for something like four years, and he'd always been a confused airhead, but never like this before. No, it wasn't until three months when the Vargas brothers, family friends from Italy, came to London that he slowly descended into what Gilbert kindly dubbed 'infatuation schizophrenia.' But it was no wonder he'd never shown any interest in girls before this, despite his obvious popularity. Somehow, Gilbert always subconsciously acknowledged the fact that he was gay.
"Hey! Arthur! Me and Antonio are leaving!" he shouted to their boss, who was lecturing Feliciano on how he needed to stop getting distracted by food and girls. There's the other gay one, Gilbert thought as Arthur waved back for them to leave. Arthur had only declared his sexuality to his three former roommates, but it wasn't that hard to tell just by looking at the guy. He fit the stereotypes all too well. He was neat and extremely particular about clothes. His features were distinctly youthful, though undeniably handsome, and his skin was too pale and perfect. But of course, that could be partly from his upbringing. He came from a supremely rich British family. But what really indicated his homosexuality was that he never showed any interest in women, much like Antonio, though he seemed to always know the right and gentlemanly thing to say.
As he started up the car, Gilbert began to wonder at the fact that he was technically the only straight one who had lived in that flat of theirs. Both Antonio and Arthur were gay, and Francis couldn't care less whether it was a man or woman he slept with. What were the chances? He'd never really been conscious of it until now, as he listened to Antonio's whines of infatuation schizophrenia from the back seat. People really were hopeless, Gilbert concluded. Making so many assumptions about life. What gave them the right to make random assumptions? What're we all doing with our lives anyway? We go school, fill our heads with rubbish about how the world works, go out into the world, and none of us has a clue how the world works. It was all bitterly ironic in a way that made him not know whether to laugh or cry.
It wasn't until he parked the car inside the brightly-lit garage that he was boorishly awakened from this circle of contemplation. Across the side of his black Mercedes, all the way along the car doors, was a large gash carved in with some sharp object, probably a key. Under the gash was written in crude and pitiless letters "Bastard," in handwriting he'd recognise anywhere.
"FUCK YOU, ELIZABETA!"
Thump, thump, thump. The entire room shook with the force. "OPEN UP, MISTSTÜCK*!" the raspy voice boomed, followed by a string of profanity in German.
Elizabeta knew this was coming. She regretted nothing.
"Liz..." Bella groaned groggily from inside her own bedroom, voice muffled by the walls between them. "I told you...not to mess with him..."
"I'll deal with this," Elizabeta said, and stomped assertively across the sitting room to the front door. She wrenched the door open and found herself face to face with an enraged Gilbert with fist raised in midair.
"What?" She put on her best air of condescension.
"What do you mean WHAT? DON'T FUCK WITH ME!" When Gil was mad, everything flowed out his mouth in German. The last time Elizabeta had seen him as angry as this was when some very foolish and unfortunate older kids decided to pick on his brother. Gil was only 15 at the time, but he beat the living daylights out of those guys.
Elizabeta was not scared though. She knew that he wouldn't do anything drastic like that. Not to her.
"Oh, yeah? So what if I did?" she challenged.
"You-" he lost his words in his rage. Then, he took a deep breath and said, "You will pay for damages, Eliza. Have you any idea how much that car cost me?"
She knew perfectly well that the car meant more to him than anything else he owned. She shrugged, leaning against the door frame, holding his ferocious, bloody glare steadily.
"What the fuck is wrong with you anyway?" he seethed. "What did I ever do to you? Don't tell me this is about the stupid cocktail! That was a joke! All it was, Eliza! But this is too far!"
Deep down, she knew he was right. He hadn't done anything to her at all. He just shagged some girl in the back of his car. Which he probably did twice per day.
"I don't understand you at all!" he yelled, ready to rip his own hair out.
"No! You don't! Because you're a big Dummkopf! That's all you are!" she screamed back, and slammed the door in his face.
"HEY!" He began to bang on the door again, coupled with muffled cries of German vulgarity. After about ten whole minutes, the noise died down and his footsteps echoed farther and farther down the hallway.
Elizabeta was no longer in the mood for sleeping. She sat on the couch, staring with half-lidded eyes at the black television screen. It was then that she realised that she was a big idiot as well. She didn't understand herself any better than Gilbert.
"Liz..." Bella trailed out from her room in a large T-shirt and shorts, yawning. "Why'd you have to go and make him angry...He's even angrier than he is in bed..."
"...Wait...in bed?" Her chest suddenly squeezed and clenched like a fist.
"Yeah...he's like a wild animal...not that I'm complaining..." she yawned, falling onto the sofa next to her. She was still only half-awake, it seemed. But Elizabeta was fully conscious. She was more than conscious. The sensation of falling. That's what it felt like. There was a vacuum inside her chest. Her palms grew clammy with cold sweat, fingernails digging into her thighs.
"You...slept with him..."
And Bella jolted awake. "Oh...my God...I...I'm so sorry, Liz. I never should've brought that up...It was stupid! I was stupid! Liz!"
Elizabeta rose stiffly to her feet. "Why are you apologising? What does it have to do with me?" But her voice was cracking. She sped into her room and promptly slammed the door behind her. She could hear Bella's muffled cries on the other side. "Liz! Lizzy! Elizabeta...I'm sorry..."
She blocked it out. All of it. Gilbert could fuck the whole city for all she cared. She hated him. He was just a gigolo.
Gilbert awoke to the piercing sun streaming through window. He groaned, his back aching from sleeping on the floor the entire night, as he crawled over to the coffee table and felt around for his phone. He knocked down an empty bottle of whiskey instead. Oh, Gott...did I drink all that? Why was I drinking again? He finally found his phone, and checked the time. It was around nine in the morning.
He sat himself up and, noticing the tremendously long list of text messages he had, began to scroll through his mobile. All of them were from Ludwig.
Where are you? You're five minutes late.
Ten minutes, now.
Wake up, idiot! If you invite me out for breakfast, so at least be there!
Oh...right...I was supposed to meet Ludwig for breakfast this morning. He had to talk to his brother about the will... But now that he was two hours late and it was obvious Ludwig had left by now, he was kind of glad he didn't have to talk about it anymore. Perhaps it was best to just leave the matter to fate.
But I should call him or he'll hold a grudge forever...
The dial tone beeped for a few seconds until the call was picked up.
"Where in hell were you? I waited for an hour and you still didn't show up!" the thick voice boomed from the other end in an I-will-slaughter-you tone.
"I'm sorry! I was...ugh...it hurts to talk..." he muttered back.
"Gott, don't tell me you have a hangover," Ludwig sighed.
"Ugh...I wish I could..."
"You were fine last night when you walked out. What happened after that?" He sounded concerned rather than mad now.
"Ummm...wait lemme think this through...I got in the car with Antonio...drove home...and then..." And it hit him like lightning. "FUCK, ELIZA!"
"You fucked Elizabeta?"
"No! No, that was...never mind. She destroyed my car!"Though he was slightly offended his brother was so appalled at the thought of him sleeping with Elizabeta.
"Destroyed? How'd she do that?"
"Slashed the side with something. Now it's all fucked up because of her!"
"What? Just for the cocktail thing?"
"I don't know! I have no idea what that woman is thinking! It's like she's mad or something! She doesn't think with logic! I went to her apartment and she just rolled her eyes at me like nothing happened! Wouldn't even pay for damages!"
"There has to be an explanation. You know she's not like that."
"Well, I'm starting to think that I don't know her! It's been killing me, it's like ever since a year ago she's been giving me the cold shoulder and recently she's been intentionally sabotaging everything that I do! And now this! At first I thought she was PMS-ing but this is WAY too much for that!"
"Uh huh...So are you skipping class?"
"Ja, I'm not going in hung over. Nuclear fission just makes my head hurt more."
"I'll see you tonight. I've got to...bathe..."
Beep. The phone disconnected. Gilbert groaned again and flopped back down on the ground. He felt like the sky was weighing down on his cranium.
Click. The door swung open, and a bedraggled Francis walked, in humming a French tune. Seeing Gilbert on the floor, he stopped and frowned a little.
"What happened to you?"
"Ugh..." And now he had to tell the entire story over again.
"I'll tell you when Antonio wakes up so I don't have to repeat myself..." he said as he finally stood up and slumped down on the couch next to Francis.
"Where is Antonio anyway?"
"In his room probably passed out or something."
"Oh, my, the both of you?"
"Well, I drove him back when I was sober and he was already passed out. You know his problem."
"Ah, yes, the beauty of amour," Francis chuckled.
"It's an illness," Gilbert grumbled, "Why do people fall in love anyway? It's not like the human race can't reproduce without it."
"You are just envious, mon bon ami*."
"Pffft. Why would I be? I told you, it's an illness people get in their twenties. Then they realise how stupid they are after getting married and it's too late."
There was suddenly a loud crash from inside Antonio's room, followed by a distinct moan of pain.
"He just fell off his bed didn't he..."
The answer was yes. Antonio soon stumbled out from his bedroom, hair standing up in random tufts, white collared shirt wrinkled and halfway unbuttoned.
"I think...I broke my alarm clock..." he grumbled.
Gilbert laughed spitefully, glad that there would be somebody to skip classes with him today. "So, ya lovesick bastard. How does it feel like to be chronically ill?"
"Stop it, Gil...not first thing in the morning." He trailed over to the kitchen cabinet and poured some stale cereal into a cup. "Want some?" he offered.
"No thanks," Francis replied. "Already had breakfast."
"Me neither. Not hungry." Gilbert stood up and began to unbutton his shirt as he entered the washroom. The door closed with a bang behind him and soon, the muffled sound of running water could be heard emanating from the inside.
Antonio shrugged and swallowed a mouthful of cereal. It did not taste very good.
1 Ma cheries- My dears (plural) in French
2 Blanche- I am taking the liberty and naming Monaco Blanche. Because it fits her.
3 Ó Istenem- Oh, my God in Hungarian.
4 Everclear- a brand of alcohol that's nearly pure grain alcohol (95%). It's used in small doses in some cocktails.
5 Vaterland- Fatherland. It's what German people call their country. Kind of like Mother Russia.
6 Miststück- bitch in German. Sorry if this offends you.
7 Mon bon ami- my good friend in French.
Disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real peoples, places, or events is unintentional. Hetalia belongs to Himaruya Hidekaz. He's awesome like Prussia.
Alright, I'm glad I got to upload the first chapter today. A few things first: PLEASE DO NOT do any of the things they do in this story at home. They do many borderline illegal, illegal, and relatively immoral things. Be good, children! I would like to thank and credit my bestest friend The Strawberry for much of the inspiration and also for her help in evaluating the material. And if you've read anything else I've written before, yes i realise this is a very different style. PLEASE comment via reviews! I have to know how I did on this one! It's one hell of a big project!