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Sweet, sweet life.

Chapter Text

Patroclus was lost. He was in another country with zero knowledge of the language (apart from “ciao” “grazie” and “scusa” that his father had included in a list that he named as “the most useful words" in order to find his way around Rome) and on top of that, he was trapped in Perugia, since there was a storm and now everyone had to wait until the bad weather passed, so they could all board on the ship. Patroclus was now swearing himself for the fact that he was scared shitless of the airplanes. And that was also the reason, he never travelled abroad. However, this time, he wanted to visit his sister, Briseis, who he hasn’t seen in such a long time, and when she had called him, telling him how much she had missed Patroclus and how nostalgic she had sounded, Patroclus just couldn’t say no to the invitation. All of that brought him to his current situation.

Briseis was so excited when she saw him. She just kept talking about life in Rome and her whereabouts. Her studies, which from what Patroclus had picked up from the way she talked - or rather not talked - about them, clearly weren’t going anywhere. The biggest news however, were the ones about her love life. She was having an affair with someone and according to her, she was very much in love. Patroclus was very happy for her; however, the sad thought about his own sad love life couldn’t help but make him a little sad.

He was trying to communicate with a guy at the lobby but he just couldn’t understand and his “useful words” of Italian were proven completely useless. “Useful words, my ass.” Patroclus had said through gritted teeth. How could no one understand English? He should have known better. He was always the unlucky one in every situation, so why that change now?

The lobby of the hotel they were stranded at was full of people with luggage, angry and tired, speaking a language that Patroclus could not understand. His anxiety was skyrocketing. He was walking among the crowd of people, trying to make someone understand him, but everyone was too busy, too angry and too tired, trying to squeeze through bodies in order to get a key to their rooms. They would spend their night stuck there, so everyone wanted to go to sleep. And quite frankly that's what he wanted for himself right now.

He was losing hope, when he bumped into someone.

“Scusa,” he heard someone say.

“Watch out! Are you blind?” Patroclus was irritated. He didn’t know what was happening and the noise of people rushing about was just too exhausting. He just wanted to go home. 

“I’m not. I’m so sorry.” The man said and Patroclus turned around full of hope that someone finally spoke his language. 

“You speak English?” Patroclus said full of hope to the man.

“As far as I know.” The man smirked.

Patroclus was now taking a good look on the man. He was young. Around 10 years younger than Patroclus. Possibly at around Briseis’ age. He was tall. Taller than he was. Blonde hair, kind of reaching almost to his shoulder, curling a bit at the end. Green eyes were staring back at his brown ones glistening, and now, a playful smirk was playing on his lips. 

“Thank God, I found someone that I can talk to.” Patroclus let out a sigh. “What happened? When are we going to be let go?” He asked. 

“There was a storm so I’m afraid we’re going to stay here for the night. Tomorrow morning they said, we’ll be good to go.” The man explained. 

Patroclus ran a hand through his curls which were all mingled from the air and the humidity outside. 

“Do you mind if we get a drink?” The man offered, with a smile. 

“I don’t really drink. I better go to my room.” 

“Come on, let’s have just one drink. You can have some juice or cacao or something. Then, I’ll go get our room keys. Is that a deal?” The man smiled at him and Patroclus couldn't deny that he was attractive. 

“Ok, fine.” Patroclus agreed.

***

Patroclus opened his eyes and shut them again quickly. His head was throbbing as he tried to stand up. When he finally took in to his surroundings he realized he was at his hotel room, tucked in his bed with just his underwear. For a moment he couldn’t remember how he ended up there, when he turned around and found a piece of paper along with a flower.

“The storm has passed. Good morning.”

Patroclus finally remembered. He started drinking with the man that had helped him and they both got drunk. Well, at least Patroclus was very drunk. Then, they went to his room. And then… And then it happened. He remembered the kissing, the touches in the dark. He didn’t even realize, but he had a smile on his face as he playing with the stem of the flower that was balancing between his fingers. A rose. So cliché but yet so romantic. Patroclus couldn’t even remember the last time he had received flowers. Let alone a red rose. And now, at his 33 years of age, he received one. By someone who didn’t even know his name after a passionate night. It felt like a dream.

Sober Patroclus back home would have been ashamed by his actions. He was out to everyone back home, so his sexuality was not a problem. He was just too shy and introverted to approach anyone, especially, when he didn’t know whether the guy he was attracted to was straight or gay. There was also his father. He never really approved of his choices, so their relationship was a bit rough. His father, Menoetes, was a strict, old man, who had grown up with different “values” as he was always explaining to everyone in the house. The poor nurse, Chiron, who was taking after his father and who was also helping around the house, had to endure hours listening to the stories of Menoetes and his nonsense, as Patroclus was always describing his long-ass speeches. He felt sorry for the poor guy.

So, let’s just say that getting drunk and having sex with a stranger was definitely something that he wouldn’t have dared to do or even think about doing. But the man was attractive. They both had a little too much and he wouldn’t have to see this man ever again, so he was ok with it.

After all, it was only one time.

And it would stay in Perugia.

Forever.

Chapter Text

“How was your trip?”

Patroclus had returned home after being in Rome for a week. He was exhausted, but as soon as he set foot into the house, he wanted to go back again. Everywhere was better than home.

“A little tiring.” Patroclus replied.

They were all sitting in the living room. Patroclus, Menoetes and Chiron.

“Of course, he’s tired. His fear over airplanes is the cause of it.” Menoetes flipped through his newspaper, not really interested in Patroclus’ trip.

“How is Briseis?” Menoetes asked. He always had a soft spot for his daughter.

“She’s fine.” Patroclus decided not to reveal anything about her studies situation. “She’s in love.”

Chiron smiled while Menoetes rolled his eyes, “She’s always in love.”

“What’s his name?” Chiron asked excited. He was always considerate – and a bit of a gossiper – according to Menoetes but Patroclus didn’t mind as much. Who wasn’t nowadays?

“She didn’t tell me a lot. She will be coming in a month. We would know then.”

“She’s bringing him with her?” Chiron asked surprised.

“This is what she said.” Patroclus shrugged.

“Let’s see who she brings this time.” Menoetes trailed.

The door bell rang. “Who is it?” Chiron asked.

“It’s Diomedes.” Patroclus answered. “He said he would come over to see me.” Chiron stood up to answer the door.

“Patroclus!” Diomedes exclaimed and walked over to Patroclus to give him a bone-crushing hug. Diomedes was one of his oldest and dearest friends. He was always the friend that he was leaning to.

“What a lovely image.” He gave a dirty look towards Diomedes. He never liked him, because he thought Diomedes was the reason Patroclus was gay since Diomedes himself was bi.

“Good afternoon to you too, Mr. Menoetes.” Diomedes said sarcastically.

“Chiron, help me over to my room. I would like to rest.” Chiron helped him to stand up and they both started climbing the stairs to his room.

“So lovely, your father is.” Diomedes scowled. “Now, tell me. How was la dolce vita?” He smirked and wiggled his eyebrows.

Patroclus rolled his eyes. “What are you drinking?” He stood up from the couch and walked over to the bar.

“The usual, you know.” Diomedes said. “Ok, I got it. Boring Patroclus as per usual. How is Briseis? I’m sure she’s having a better time that you.” Patroclus handed him his drink and took his spot on the couch.

“She’s fine. But from what I gathered she isn’t enjoying her studies that much.”

Diomedes took a sip, “Well, I don’t blame her. She must have her mind on other things.”

“She said she’s seeing someone. She said they’ll come together when she visits in a month.”

“She knows how to live life, unlike you, Patroclus.”

“Well…” Patroclus hesitated but he grabbed Diomedes’ attention.

“Patroclus…” Diomedes had a smirk, “Patroclus! You had sex?” He half-shouted.

Patroclus eyes widened. “Are you crazy? Don’t shout such things in this house.”

“Tell me, Patroclus.”

“Ok, fine.” Patroclus gave in. “Yes, I did.”

“Tell me how it happened.” Diomedes demanded, chugging down the rest of his drink.

“We were stranded in Perugia. I was trying to communicate with someone, to know what happened and when we were going to be leaving, and he bumped into me. I almost cursed at him, thinking he couldn’t understand, and when he replied in English, he explained to me that we were going to spend the night there. He offered me a drink – and you know that I don’t drink often – so I must have gotten drunk and we ended up in my room. The next morning I found a note that the storm had cleared and a flower. A rose.” Patroclus had a smile on his face, remembering the night.

“Wow” Diomedes was awestruck. “Pour me one more.” He handed his glass to Patroclus.

Patroclus took the glass and stood up to get him one more. “You didn’t expect that, did you?” He got a little cocky, but he deserved it. Patroclus didn’t even remember the last time he got laid and to his honest opinion, it felt really good.

“How was he?” Diomedes took the glass Patroclus offered him and took a gulp.

Patroclus sighed happily. “He was very attractive. Blonde hair, green eyes, tall with a toned body and…” Patroclus trailed.

“And…?” Diomedes cocked an eyebrow behind his glass.

“And, he was younger.” Patroclus admitted.

“Underage?!”

“No, no! Obviously not!” Patroclus objected but as he was thinking about it, he couldn’t be sure either. It’s not like he asked for an ID. He was pissed drunk. He didn’t even know the guy’s name. “At least I hope so. I don’t even know his name.” He had started panicking. He knew nothing about him and the guy knew nothing about Patroclus.

“Imagine how eager you were…”

“Diomedes!” Patroclus scolded him.

“Ok, ok. It doesn’t matter anyway. Since you don’t know each other and there’s no way of ever meeting again, why be so pressed about it?” Diomedes shrugged.

Diomedes was always the relaxed one. He knew how to live his life without giving a flying fuck about what anyone thought about him or his life style. He enjoyed love and intimacy, and drinks, and the plush lifestyle. He was the complete opposite of Patroclus. And although Patroclus may not share the same way of thinking, he kind of wished he did. He was becoming more and more fed up with always watching out over every single word or action. For tiptoeing around everything and everyone. For reaching 33 and still be so pressed about whatever everybody else thought about him. For having the “need” to hide his sexuality – in terms of not being seen with anyone since actually everyone knew he was gay. And that was the reason he was single. He almost craved love like a someone on a diet craves chocolate.

“I guess you’re right. This is forever staying in Perugia.” Patroclus was a little nostalgic knowing that whatever happened was only for one night and it wasn’t going to be repeated.

“Let’s drink to that, old friend.” Diomedes raised his glass and drank the rest of the drink.

***

“Good morning, Mr. Patroclus.” Deidameia, the PR, greeted him.

“Morning.” Patroclus replied coldly. “Bring me my coffee.” He went over to his office at the far back of the restaurant.

Patroclus was always grumpy in the morning. And it wasn’t because he wasn’t a morning person. On the contrary, he loved waking up in the morning. He just hated his job. He was running the biggest bar/restaurant in the city, but it was all due to his father. When his father grew older to the point his movement was restricted – and had to actually hire Chiron to help him around the house – the business was handed over to Patroclus. He was running it for the last 7 years and every day he hated it more and more.

He plopped on the chair behind his desk.

The door knocked.

“Good morning, Pat.” Penelope, his right hand and accountant, greeted him. She was holding a file in her hands.

“Good morning, Penny.” He opened the rest of the files on his desk. The numbers already giving him a headache.

“Not a very good morning, huh?” She smiled at him, taking a sheet out of the file and bringing it in front of Patroclus. “This needs to be signed. It’s the latest orders for the food supplies.”

Patroclus sighed and signed the papers. He was thankful for Penelope. She was the most working person he knew and always doing the legwork that Patroclus couldn’t bring himself doing.

“You coffee.” Deidameia entered the office and placed the coffee on the desk.

“Thank you, Dee.” Patroclus said. “Dee,” Patroclus called, while Deidameia was ready to leave the office. Deidameia turned around. “Sorry for earlier.” He gave her a small, tired smile.

She nodded, “No problem.” She exited the room.

“I see you’re finally becoming a decent human being. How did that happen?” Penelope smirked; her eyes were glued on the paperwork in front of her. The glasses on the bridge of her nose were getting lower.

Patroclus scolded at her.

“Did you get laid or something?” She mumbled but Patroclus heard and he froze on the spot.

“Penelope! I remind you that I’m the boss here.” Patroclus tried to hide his nervousness. Was it that obvious that he had gotten laid? Was it written on his forehead?

“Ok, ok, I’m sorry. I know you’re getting trained to be a priest.” She giggled and Patroclus glared at her.

“You’re in the mood today I see.” Patroclus scoffed and flipped another page on the file.

Penelope rolled her eyes, “Anyway, how’s Briseis?” She asked, ticking something off in the paper in front of her.

“She’s in love.” Patroclus replied a little more bitter than he intended.

“Aw...” Penelope cooed. She looked over at Patroclus. “I hope you’d me more like your sister.”

Patroclus snorted, “Have long hair and wear short skirts?”

“I meant being in love. Finding someone. Maybe your nerves would calm.”

Patroclus glared at her. “Thank you for your advice, Penny.” He stood up from his chair. “But I appreciate more your financial advice.”

Penelope sighed. “What’s his name?” Penelope knew better than argue with Patroclus for issues regarding his love life. He just never listened and although it pained her, she couldn’t really do much to change it. It was like Patroclus had decided to live the rest of his life by himself.

“You can ask her for yourself.” He replied taking a sip from his coffee. He went over to the bookcase to grab another pile of files.

“When is she coming?” Penelope asked.

“In a month.” He replied opening the file and going through the papers to find the food supplies orders from two months ago.

“Is she coming with him?” Patroclus nodded. “Is he Italian?” Patroclus shrugged. “Is he-”

“Look, Penny, we’re not going to talk about Briseis love life. There’s something fishy here with the orders. There’s a whole. Please look at it more thoroughly.” He handed her the paper and Penny looked at it.

“Ok, I will.” She stood up from the chair she was sitting opposite Patroclus, and tucked the files under her arm. She was ready to leave, but she turned around. “Pat,” she called and Patroclus hummed in reply, not looking up from where he was scribbling something on the paper, “would you like to go out tonight with me? For a drink? You know, at the place we’re going down the street.”

Patroclus looked up. “Yes, of course, Penny.” He smiled at her. “Under one condition.”

Penny looked confused. “What?”

“You’ll stop talking about love, relationships and all that jazz.”  

Penelope laughed rolling her eyes. “I can’t promise you that, Pat. I can’t.” She opened the door and left the office.

***

Patroclus took off his glasses and rubbed his temples. He was exhausted and the usual headache was forming in his head. He closed the files and rested his head on his hands.

The door opened and Diomedes appeared.

“You look rough.” Patroclus could hear the smirk in his voice.

“I’m tired as fuck.”

“Does that mean you’re not coming to the annual poker game?” Diomedes plopped on the seat opposite Patroclus. He was wearing black dressed pants, a white shirt that was purposely a little tighter on the chest area, showing off all the gym trips as Diomedes himself had said, with his hair perfectly swept on the side as always. Diomedes was always taking care of his appearance. Always dressed to impressed and in Patroclus opinion, he achieved just that.

“Who’s hosting it?” Patroclus asked curiously.

“Atrides brothers.”

Patroclus scrunched up his nose. “I’d rather not.”

“Oh come on, it’d be fun.”

“I’m sure of it.” Patroclus rolled his eyes. “But I can’t either way. Briseis is coming today.”

“Is it today?” Diomedes asked. “I forgot.”

“Menoetes wants all of us to have dinner. Plus, she’s bringing that boyfriend of hers.” Patroclus pointed out. Briseis made sure to call them and inform them – or rather remind them since she knew Patroclus would tell them about the boy she was to bring – that she’s not coming home. “She’s coming around 7.” He sighed.

“Why the long face?” Diomedes asked.

“You know how I feel about family gatherings. They never end well. Tonight it’s just another opportunity to ridicule ourselves in front of a stranger.” Patroclus pointed out.

“Or… it’s a unique opportunity to finally be a family in front of a stranger.”

Patroclus rolled his eyes. This family was as hopeless as his love life.

“So, you won’t come.”

The door opened and Deidameia entered, “I brought you the aspirin you asked.”

“Thank you, Dee.” Deidameia put the glass of water and the pill on his desk.

Diomedes eyes were trailing after her all the way until she reached the door. Deidameia winked subtly at him. She was tall with red hair that reached to her mid-back and bright blue eyes. She was a pretty girl and that was one of the reason she was in the PR position. Her youthfulness of being around 25 years old was also something very pleasant that attracted people.

“God… why do you have to be so embarrassing?” Patroclus chuckled.

“It’s not my fault. She’s very attractive. I was merely giving her a glimpse.” He tried to defend himself.

“You literally followed her with your eyes on her way out.” Patroclus popped the pill in his mouth and gulped the water.

“Didn’t even notice.” He shrugged his shoulders. “Anyway, how do you think this dude will be? Briseis’ boyfriend.”

Patroclus shrugged. “How would I know? Briseis’s very unpredictable.”

“You’re right.” Diomedes agreed.

The phone suddenly rang and Patroclus answered.

“Hello.” He answered. “Why? Don’t we have wine in the house?” He looked annoyed. “Fine.” He sighed. “I said fine. I’ll bring one with me on the way home.” He rubbed his eyes. “I won’t be late, Chiron. Bye!” He almost slammed the phone on the table.

“What happened?” Diomedes asked worried. Patroclus seemed upset.

“Chiron called me to remind me of the dinner and tell me to bring a Chardonnay on the way home. As if we don’t have wines home. We need specifically a Chardonnay! Who do we expect home for dinner anyway?! The pope?!” He was throwing his arms around in exasperation. “Why everyone is acting as if Briseis has never brought another boy home? Why everyone is making such a big deal of it?!”

Diomedes was silent for a few seconds, thinking. “Could it be perhaps something more than just Briseis’ boyfriend meeting you? The family I mean.”

Patroclus cocked an eyebrow. “Something more? Like what?”

“Maybe… a wedding?”

Patroclus felt silent then shook his head. “I highly doubt it. She’s too young. We’re talking about Briseis. It highly unlikely.”

Diomedes shrugged. “Then, I don’t know my friend.” He stood up from his chair. “I better go. You have a dinner to attend.” He smirked at him and Patroclus glared him.

“See you around, Pat.” He greeted him and left the office.

Patroclus molded over the thought. Could it be true? Briseis getting married? No, it couldn’t be. Briseis wasn’t even mature to finish her studies, let alone tie the knot. Whatever it was he was going to find it sooner or later.

He picked up the phone. “Dee, bring me a Chardonnay from the wine cellar. Yes, leave it at the bar. I’ll pick it up on my way out. Thank you.”

He put on his coat and he was out of the door not ready to have dinner.

***

“I brought the Chardonnay.” Patroclus called closing the door behind him.

“Let me take it.” Chiron said coming from the kitchen and taking the bottle from Patroclus.

He was wearing a cooking apron, and had a spoon on his left hand. The house smelled like delicious food which made Patroclus’ mouth water and his stomach grumble. He had the habit of not eating a good breakfast and at the office he preferred just having his coffee. Black. He liked the bitter taste in his mouth. It made him more awake.

Patroclus took of his coat. “What smells so delicious?” He asked.

“Roasted lamb with potatoes.” Chiron smiled, “Briseis’ favorite.”

Patroclus chuckled. “Of course.”

“But,” Chiron continued, “I made your favorite desert. Apple pie.”

Patroclus smiled at Chiron. He always made sure to please everyone. Especially after noticing how Patroclus was treated by his father. “Thank you, Chiron.”

“Now, go to your room and get dressed.” He shooed him.

“Ok, I’m going. I’m going.” Patroclus put his hand in surrender. He was walking up the stairs when he stopped midway. “Is Menoetes ready?”

“Yes, all cleaned up and ready to welcome his daughter.” His voice was laced with sarcasm.

Patroclus chuckled. “Chiron,” Patroclus furrowed his brows, “why is he so eager and made so many preparations for Briseis’ return? Is it because she’s bringing her boyfriend over?”

Chiron waited a little before answering. “Yes, yes. Why else?”

Patroclus wasn’t convinced, so he pressed the matter a little more. “But she has brought boys before in the house.” He stated. “In fact, Briseis had been bringing boys in the house since she was 16.”

Chiron was looking at the Chardonnay that was still holding. “Well…” he begun, “it may be for the fact that she’s older now, more mature. She’s not sneaking around the house with boys.” He tried to sound confident but he seemed nervous. “I better go back to the kitchen. I need to set the table.” And he quickly disappeared.

Patroclus wasn’t convinced, but rather more troubled with the unconvincing answer Chiron had given him. Why everyone was being so coy about it? Why was it so incredible that they were coming back?

He sighed and decided that whatever it was, he would find out eventually. Patience is a virtue after all. 

He climbed the rest of the stairs to his room.

***

Patroclus had gotten all dressed up. He had a shower, tried to tame his wild curls that were all always sticking around after being dried up, he shaved the small stubble on his chin. Chiron had laid him out on the bed the clothes he was going to wear. Another sign for getting all worked up for Briseis’ return. The black suit and crimson shirt along with the black tie that was decorated with thin layers of what seemed like golden lines, were all freshly iron and carefully laid out on the bed for Patroclus to find.

He was putting his watch on his wrist. “6:43”. They would arrive in a while.

Patroclus sighed. “Let’s see why everyone is so hyped about.”

It wasn’t that Patroclus wasn’t happy that he would see his sister. Quite the opposite. He loved Briseis more than anything in this world. She was his little sister. When Patroclus came out, she was the first person Patroclus went to tell. And she was supportive. She’s always been there for Patroclus and he was always there for her. Helping her with her homework, backing her up in arguments with their father – although she was always getting away with everything since she was Menoetes’ favorite – as well as covering up for her when she brought boys in the house (however Patroclus was always giving them the talk “you hurt her, I hurt you”. He thought he was looking more intimidating that he actually was.)

Patroclus took a last glimpse of himself in the mirror and left the room making his way downstairs.

Climbing down the stairs, he saw Chiron decorating the house with vases of flower. His father was sitting on the couch, smoking, all dressed up. He was wearing one of his most expensive suits and his moustache had been freshly trimmed. He even had the handkerchief that Patroclus had brought him as a gift from London 3 years ago. He never used it.

“Patroclus, you look great.” Chiron smiled at him, while he placed another bouquet of white tulips in the vase that was on the small table under the mirror next to the front door. “Look how handsome Patroclus is.” Chiron called to Menoetes who turned around and took a good look of his older son.

“He looks clean.” He nodded towards Patroclus.

And that was the best compliment Patroclus could fish out from his father. “Clean”. He didn’t even know what he meant by that. “Thanks, father.” Patroclus tried not to sound sarcastic but he just couldn’t. Menoetes brought this side of him on the surface. Bitter, sarcastic and irritated.

“I think he looks very handsome.” Chiron argued.

Patroclus smiled at him.

Chiron took a look at the window on the other wall opposite the door. “They’re here!” he cried out excitedly.

Menoetes stood up, as much as he could on his own. Chiron opened the front door so they could come through easier with their suitcases and other stuff they may have brought with them.

Patroclus fixed his tie looking on the mirror next to the wall.

“I’m going to the kitchen. I have the desert ready in the oven! I’m coming right up.” Chiron almost ran to the kitchen.

Patroclus suddenly felt nervous. A little bit guilty. Maybe the big deal that everyone was running around and about was because they hadn’t seen Briseis in like almost 6-7 months. He was even so eager to see Briseis again even though he saw her last month. Everyone must have missed her. 

Patroclus heard footsteps and voices.

“I forgot my glasses.” Menoetes commented.

“Why do you need them?” Patroclus asked. Menoetes made it over to the stairs.

“I can’t see clearly without my glasses.” Menoetes said and climbed the stairs. Maybe he wanted to inspect more clearly the guy Briseis was bringing. Poor guy. The comments he would get and the interrogation he would have to go through… Patroclus could already picture it.

Suddenly Briseis was standing on the door. “Fratellino!” She called and had her arms extended for a hug.

Patroclus’ face lit up. He almost ran into her arms. “Briseis!” He said and hugged her so tight he didn’t even understand how suffocating it was until Briseis spoke.

“A little too tight, Pat.” She laughed and Patroclus let loose.

“I didn’t know you missed me that much, fratellino mio.” She ruffled his curls. Patroclus would have been angry for taking so long to take care for his curls and Briseis ruining them, but right now all he felt was pure joy for having his sister back.

He took a few steps back and looked at Briseis. The same long, voluminous, curly hair. Big brown eyes that were very similar to Patroclus. Briseis and Patroclus were so alike. When they were younger, everyone was commenting on how similar they looked. However, over the years, Patroclus features became rougher. He had become a man after all. Briseis was still a young girl. At least to Patroclus’ eyes.

“Where’s the guy? Did he already run away?” Patroclus joked since Briseis was alone.

“Very funny, Pat.” She scoffed playfully though. “He’s outside. He’s unloading the suitcases from the car.” She explained. “Where’s papa? And Chiron?” She asked looking around.

“Father went to get his glasses. He’s coming. And Chiron’s in the kitchen.” Patroclus answered.

Briseis looked outside the front door. “Achilles!” She called.

A man walked through the door carrying a big box that was covering his face. He was rather tall and well-built from what Patroclus could gather.

“Fratellino, this is Achilles.” Briseis spoke. “Achilles, this is fratellino mio. Patroclus.”

The man put down the box and extended his arm to greet Patroclus, the same gesture that Patroclus did, when they both looked at each other and froze on the spot.

Blonde hair. Green eyes glistening and the same smirk that was now frozen.

It was the man from Perugia.

The man who had spend a passionate night with. The nameless man. He was standing in front of him now.

And it was Briseis’ boyfriend.

Chapter Text

They were frozen for a few seconds more, until Achilles finally spoke.

“Nice to meet you, Patroclus.” He shook Patroclus’ hand.

Patroclus swore that the voice he heard was not human. And the name was rolling of his tongue like a melody. “You too, Achilles.” He finally shook his hand as well.

“Briseis!” Chiron called and ran to hug her.

“Chiron! How I missed you.” Briseis hugged him back.

Menoetes climbed down the stairs. “Briseis, my daughter.” He said and Briseis turned over to him.

“Papa!” She helped him down the stairs and embraced him.

“Papa, Chiron,” Briseis looked over at Achilles who was still a bit numb but not as much as Patroclus would have thought, “this is Achilles.”

Menoetes walked over to him and shook his hand. “Nice to meet you, young man.”

“Nice to meet you, sir.” Achilles said.

“Menoetes.” His father replied.

Briseis went over to Chiron. “And this is Chiron. He takes care of papa and the house.”

“Nice to meet you.” Achilles smiled over at him.

“You too, Achilles.” Chiron smiled. “Now, shall we proceed to the table? Everything is ready. You can let the luggage over there. We’ll get them later to Briseis’ room.”

“Briseis’ room?” Menoetes exclaimed. “Briseis will remain in her old room and Achilles can stay at the guest room.” He turned over to Achilles. "I hope you don't mind staying at the guest room." Achilles shook his head slightly.

“Papa, we can both sleep at my room.” Briseis insisted.

“Oh no, no, darling. It’s not proper.” Menoetes argued and Patroclus rolled his eyes at Menoetes' prudence.

“Let’s eat first and then we’ll see.” Chiron gestured over to the table. He was always trying to prevent arguments when he sensed them.

***

They were all sitting at the table. Menoetes at the one head of the table with Chiron at his right side and Patroclus on the other end of the table opposite Menoetes while on the left side Briseis and Achilles were sitting. Patroclus tried to avoid any eye contact with Achilles, however, he could see from the corner of his eye Achilles looking at him from time to time.

“So, Achilles, then.” Menoetes started.

“Yes, sir.” Achilles replied, taking a sip from his wine.

“And what are you studying, Achilles?” The interrogation has started, Patroclus thought.

“Architecture.” Achilles replied.

“And in which year are you?”

“On the last one.”

“Papa, did you start the questions again?” Briseis interjected.

“It’s fine, Briseis.” Achilles replied calmly. “You’re father’s right wanting to know more about me.” He smiled.

Menoetes smiled at Achilles. “Very wise, young man.” He looked over at Patroclus. “You see, Patroclus?

“What did I do?”

“That’s an example of a man.” He looked proudly at Achilles.

“I didn’t oppose to anything.” He replied sarcastically.

“Let him be, papa.” Briseis said.

“I think Patroclus looks like a wise man.” Achilles spoke and looked over at Patroclus. “He looks like a decent man.” Patroclus felt his cheeks heating up.

“I’m not the subject of conversation here.” Patroclus tried to shift the attention away from him.

“You’re right.” Menoetes spoke.

The rest of the dinner went by with Menoetes questioning Achilles on where he's from, his family history, more on his studies, his work, etc. And Patroclus felt like this was a dream. A bad dream. A nightmare to be exact. He wished he could wake up any time.

“I’ll bring the desert now.” Chiron announced, breaking him out of his thought. “Apple pie. Patroclus’ favorite.”

It wasn’t a dream.

***

The dinner had ended and Patroclus was sitting on the couch in the living room, pouring himself a drink. He needed one tonight. Menoetes went to his room to rest as he was getting sleepy after eating. Chiron was in the kitchen, taking care of the aftermath of the dinner, with Briseis helping him and catching up with him for the months she’s been away. Thankfully, for Patroclus’ sake, Achilles had disappeared on the garden. He said he used to take a walk after dinner. Whether it was an excuse to leave or the truth, Patroclus didn’t know and didn’t care as long as he didn’t see him in the house.

Patroclus took a sip of his drink.

“I’m going upstairs to say good night to papa.” Briseis told Patroclus. “When Achilles comes, tell him to come over to my room first.” She said. “Good night, Pat.” She waved at him and climbed the stairs.

“Good night, Bri.” He tried to smile, but it must have looked very awkward.

They had agreed for Achilles to sleep in the guest room, not wanting to argue with Menoetes, so, Chiron had carried along with Achilles the suitcases to the guest room.

He closed his eyes and let his head fall back in exhaustion. Emotional exhaustion.

“Did everyone go to bed?” A voice spoke close to his ear which made him jump.

Achilles giggled. “Relax, it’s just me. Achilles.”

Patroclus stiffened. He was way too close, so Patroclus scooted over to add more space between them. “Bri said to go to her room.” Patroclus cleared his throat.

Achilles scooted closer to Patroclus. He hummed. “Maybe after, I can come over to your room?” Patroclus could hear the smirk in his voice although he wasn’t looking at him. His eyes widened at his words.

“Achilles, your sense of humor could be misunderstood in this house.” Patroclus tried to keep the conversation light. “I’d better go to bed. It’s quite late. I need to wake up early.” He stood quickly from the couch.

Achilles touched his arm. “You snore a little when you sleep from what I remember.” Achilles laid back on the couch. “But maybe this was because you were drunk and tired from-”

“I don’t understand what you’re saying.” Patroclus decided to play dumb.

Achilles looked at him mischievously. “Oh, I think you understand. You know, Perugia. The storm. The hotel. The night we spend together.”

Patroclus was trying to stay calm. He had to deny everything. “Perugia? I’ve never been there. You must be mistaken.”

Achilles stood up from the couch abruptly. “You know what I’m talking about, Patroclus. Back then, of course I didn’t know your name. What a coincidence to be Briseis’ brother.”

“I still don’t understand. Maybe Chardonnay was a bit too much. Anyway, I’m going to bed. As I said, I’m too tired.” Patroclus made it over to the stairs.

“You can’t not remember!” Achilles argued.

“Good night, Achilles.” Patroclus greeted him and almost ran up the stairs and locked himself in his room.

What the hell just happened?

***

Patroclus woke up the next morning very early in order to avoid Achilles and Briseis but from what Briseis had told him, they never really woke up before 12pm. It's not like they had anything to do. They were jobless.

He climbed down the stairs. “Good morning, Pat.” Chiron greeted him almost making him jump. He was getting scared easily after last night.

“Good morning, Chiron.”

“An early bird today I see.” Chiron commented.

“Why? Is that bad?” Patroclus answered a bit too quick and nervous.

“No, of course not. I was just commenting on it.” Chiron replied. “Do you want breakfast?” He smiled at him.

“No, I’m fine. I’ll just drink some coffee at the office.”

The door bell rang and Patroclus almost jumped again. Chiron walked over to answer the door. “Are you ok, Pat?” Chiron asked confused by Patroclus’ behavior.

“Yes, yes, I’m fine.” He tried to be calm.

Chiron answered the door. “Good morning, Diomedes.”

“Good morning, Chiron. How are you, my boy?” Diomedes said cheerfully. How could this man be so cheerful at 7am?

Diomedesnoticed Patroclus. “Pat! You’re awake early.” He chuckled.

“Yes, because… you said you’d come.” Patroclus lied so any suspicion for the reason he was awoke earlier than usual, to be cleared.

Diomedes was confused but he saw Patroclus looking at him weirdly, so he went along.

“Of course!” He exclaimed. “Sorry my friend for making you wake up this early.”

Chiron looked at them confused. “Where are you going this early?”

“We…” Diomedes started.

“We’re going to the doctor. Diomedes feels a slight discomfort and we’re seeing a doctor. He’s kind of scared going on his own. Grown man, he says.” Patroclus tried to sound casual.

Chiron looked sympathetically at Diomedes. “I’m sure it’s nothing.” He said to Diomedes.

Diomedes nodded. “Thank you, Chiron, for your comforting words.”

“Come on, let’s go now.” He almost dragged Diomedes out of the door.

“Bye Chiron.”

“Bye, bye. I wish you the best with the results.” Chiron said before the door was almost slammed in his face.

***

“What happened?” Diomedes exclaimed as soon as they entered the office.

“Nothing. Why do you think something happened?” Patroclus asked casually, taking a seat at this office.

“Why did we lie to Chiron? And you seem upset.” Diomedes pointed out.

“I’m not upset.” Patroclus stated. “We lied because Chiron became very suspicious about everything. He just kept asking me why I woke up early. As if I have never woken up early!”

Diomedes looked confused. “Chiron? Really?”

“You don’t believe me?!” Patroclus asked incredulously.

“I believe you. I believe you.” Diomedes said. “Now, tell me.” He smirked. “How is Briseis’ boyfriend?”

Patroclus shifted nervously. “Normal. He seems normal.”

“Normal? That’s all you have to say?” Diomedes asked curiously.

Patroclus shrugged.

“Oh I get it.” Diomedes said and Patroclus looked at him. “He must be ugly. Is Briseis blind? This girl and her taste…” Diomedes spoke.

Patroclus didn’t speak.

“Oh I know. He has some drug addiction. Is he alcoholic? He’s someone well-known?” Diomedes kept making more assumptions.

“He’s the man from Perugia.” Patroclus finally confessed. He couldn’t keep listening to Diomedes assumptions and he couldn’t keep this any longer. He wanted to confess it to someone.

“What?!” Diomedes almost flung off the chair.

“Exactly. Can you imagine how I felt when I saw him in front of me?”

“The mysterious man who you had sex with in Perugia is Briseis’ boyfriend… Wow.” Diomedes repeated.

“Shhhhh…. Are you crazy? Don’t say stuff like that in here. Do you want someone to find out?” Patroclus said worried.

“You’re the most unlucky man I know, Pat.” Diomedes chuckled. “You finally had sex after…” he looked at Patroclus and Patroclus glared at him, “after some time and turns out it was your sister’s boyfriend.” Diomedes laughed.

“It’s not funny!”

“Ok, ok, I’m sorry. But tell me this, is Achilles bi?”

“How would I know? I knew nothing about him 24 hours ago!”

“I’m just saying since he’s in a relationship with Briseis and he fuck-” Patroclus glared him, “he spent a night with you.”

“This is the last thing I care about now.”

“But if you think about it, he cheated on Briseis with you. Won’t you tell Briseis?” Diomedes made a point.

“What?! Have you lost your mind? Tell her what? That her boyfriend cheated on her with me?! I’d rather die!”

“And what are you going to do?” Diomedes asked.

“I’ll pretend it never happened. I’ll play dumb until they return back to Rome.” Patroclus said. “It was just an one-time thing that’s all. No harm done. We were both drunk.” Patroclus explained.

“What did he… what’s his name by the way?”

“Achilles.”

“What did Achilles say? Did he remember you?”

Patroclus sighed. “He did, unfortunately. And not only that, he even flirted with me last night!”

Diomedes widened his eyes in surprise. “Whoa, Pat. You mean not only he remembered you but you made quite an impression on him.”

“Shut up.” Patroclus said annoyed.

“What if he says something?”

Patroclus eyes widened in horror. “You think?”

“Now that I think about it… I don’t think he will say anything. Did you deny the confrontation?”

Patroclus nodded. “Obviously.”

“Maybe if you hadn’t you could just tell him to keep his mouth closed. Next time, just tell him.”

Patroclus’ head started to hurt. He felt like his whole life was turning upside down.

The door knocked and Penelope made her way over.

“Good morning, gentlemen.” She flashed them a smile.

“Good morning, Penny. How are you?” Diomedes offered her a smile.

“Very well, thank you.” She turned to Patroclus and left a piece of paper to sign. “So…” she started, “how are Briseis and her boyfriend?”

Patroclus stiffened a bit. “They’re both fine. Does this need signing?”

Penelope nodded. “A bird told me this guy is quite the sight.” She trailed off.

“Which bird was that? Did that bird happens to be a short, brunette man who also happens to be my father’s nurse?” Patroclus said irritated.

“I can’t reveal my sources” Penelope said.

“I see. The papers are ready. You can go now.” He handed her the paper.

“Someone’s woke up on the wrong side of the bed.” She said under her breath but Patroclus heard her.

“If I’m not mistaken you have work to do.” Patroclus tried to get her to leave.

She left the room shaking her head.

“Why did you speak to her like that?” Diomedes scolded him.

“Because I don’t like gossip. And because I can’t start talking about Achilles.”

“Can you imagine if Achilles and Briseis actually get married?! He would be your brother-in-law!” Diomedes was laughing but Patroclus was ready to have a stroke.

“Shut up. It’s just another boyfriend. They’ll stay here for a while, and then they’ll go back to Rome. End of story.” Patroclus was frantic by now. He tried to convince himself.

“Then why do you worry that much? Just be patient until they leave.” Diomedes shrugged.

“If I haven’t died until then.” Patroclus sighed.

“Overdramatic as always, Pat. Everything will be alright.” Diomedes rolled his eyes.

“Yeah right.”

***

“Bri, can I ask you something?” Patroclus asked Briseis. It’s been three days since Briseis and Achilles had come to the house. Luckily, the interaction with Achilles was non-existent since Patroclus was making an effort to avoid him at all costs. He would wake up at the crack of dawn to go to the office saying that the he had lots of work to do and he would arrive after dinner so he wouldn’t have to face him.

Now, they were sitting on the couch waiting for dinner to be ready. Achilles was nowhere to be found and Patroclus was very glad for that.

“Of course, fratellino.” Briseis smiled while turning the page of the book she was reading.

“When are you leaving?” It must have sounded very desperate because Briseis looked up at him almost instantly.

“Why? You want me to leave?” She seemed hurt and Patroclus regretted it immediately.

“No! No! Of course not, Bri.” He reassured her. “I just wanted to buy you something as a gift and I want to know.” Lying must have become his second nature.

“You can buy it now.” Briseis shrugged but she seemed nervous as well.

“Yes, but I want to know how much time I have to search for something special.” He pressured.

“I don’t need anything special.”

“Special as my sister.”

“I’m not special.”

“Why won’t you just tell me Briseis?” Patroclus was losing his patience.

“Why do you want to know so bad?” Briseis argued standing up from the couch.

Patroclus stood up as well. “Is it so bad that I want to know?” He raised his voice.

“So you want to get rid of me!” Briseis accused him loudly.

“I didn’t say that!” Patroclus shouted as well.

“What’s all that shouting for?” Menoetes’ voice was heard as he was making his way over to the living room with Chiron on his tail.

“Papa, he wants to get rid of me!” Briseis accused.

“I never said that!” Patroclus defended.

“He keeps asking me when we’re leaving.” She informed Menoetes.

Menoetes nodded. “Patroclus,” he announced, “Briseis and Achilles will not return back to Rome.”

Patroclus felt dizzy. “What? They have their studies.”

“They will stay here and find a job because they’re getting married.”

The room was spinning suddenly. Patroclus sat down on the couch. He didn’t trust himself on his own feet.

“The dinner is ready.” Chiron said nervously.

“And, Patroclus,” Menoetes said, “you need to get Achilles to the business. He doesn’t have a job, and since he’s family now, he needs to know the family business.”

Patroclus gulped. “Ok, tell him to come over on Monday.”

“Don’t give him any office work or something. He needs to start from the bottom.”

“Bottom? Like what? A waiter?” Patroclus asked.

“Yes, why not?” Menoetes said.

“Fine.” Patroclus agreed.

“Now, let’s go eat. Where is Achilles?” Menoetes asked.

“He’s upstairs.” Briseis said casually.

“Tell him that dinner is ready.” Menoetes said.

“If he’s hungry, he’ll come. Let’s go eat.” She shrugged and made her way to the table.

Menoetes looked at her incredulously and sighed. “Let’s go.”

“Patroclus won’t you come?” Chiron asked.

Patroclus nodded. “Yeah, I’m coming.”

Now, it was game over.

***

“It’s your fault!” Patroclus accused Diomedes.

“My fault?” Diomedes asked confused.

Diomedes had come over to the house for a visit and they were sitting in the living room. Chiron, Menoetes and Briseis had gone for a visit to one of Menoetes’ many cousins and Achilles had gone to the gym. They were on their own.

“You jinx it! You were the one who thought about marriage!” Patroclus was getting paranoid.

“Pat, you’re getting ridiculous. I just merely proposed it because of the preparations. And I was right at the end. If anything, you should be grateful for actually warning you.” He took a sip of his drink.

“Well, thank you for warning me even though it wouldn’t change anything.” A migraine was starting to form.

“What did Achilles say?” Diomedes asked.

“How would I know? I barely see him. I couldn’t deal with it right now.”

“I want to see him. I want to see the guy that got the Menoetiades siblings crazy.” He joked.

“I can’t listen to you anymore. I’m going to take a pill for my migraines. They’re getting out of control since…”

“Since, dearest Achilles came to the house.” Diomedes smirked.

Patroclus glared him and went over to the kitchen to get some water and a tablet.

Diomedes was sipping his drink when he heard a voice.

“Good afternoon.” He turned around and saw a tall, blonde guy, with his gym wear walking past him and climbing the stairs. Before he could speak back, he was gone.

“Thank God the pill is super strong ans it's already kicking in.” Patroclus made his way to Diomedes.

“I saw him!” Diomedes said excitedly.

“Who?”

“The great Achilles!”

“Oh…” Patroclus said. He didn’t really know what to say.

“He’s like a Greek God. I can see why you’re panicking.” Diomedes pointed out.

Patroclus snorted. “I think it’s time for you to go.”

“Oh, so you want to be left alone with him, huh?” Diomedes wiggled his eyebrows.

“Were you leaving?” Patroclus smiled sarcastically at him.

“Yes, I have a date tonight anyway. I need to get prepared, you know. If you remember. Where was the last time you got on a date?”

“Bye, Diomedes.”

Diomedes laughed as he got his coat. “Bye, Patroclus. Have fun.” He waved at him and left the house.

Patroclus sighed. What was the last time he got on a day, indeed? He couldn’t recall.

He made his way over to his room.

Another Saturday night that would be spend reading his favorite book – that he’d probably read 100 times – until he fell asleep. Great. His life was just great, he thought.

He was ready to get undressed when he heard a knock on his door. Before he could reply, Achilles was inside his room.

“Are you looking for something?” Patroclus tried to be calm.

Achilles looked like a Greek God as Diomedes had described him. His hair was in a low bun, he was wearing sweatpants and a tight T-shirt. He looked better than ever and Patroclus couldn’t bear looking at the sight he was offering him.

“Yes. You.” Achilles replied and Patroclus shuddered by his raspy voice.

“Achilles,” Patroclus took a step back, “I think you have misunderstood. You probably confuse me with someone else.”

“Someone that looked like the exact copy of you?” Achilles cocked an eyebrow and took a step closer.

“Yes, why not? I have very common features.” Patroclus gulped.

“Really?” Achilles licked his lips. “Because I remember every inch of your body. Even the scar you have in-”

“Achilles. I think it’s better if you go. It’s not proper for anyone to find you in my room.”

“I’ll go only if you admit that you remember everything that happened in Perugia.”

Patroclus gulped. He heard the door from the garage. They were back.

“Ok, fine.” Patroclus admitted. “It was me. And now, we need to pretend that nothing ever happened. You are my sister’s boyfriend. You’re going to be my brother-in-law. There’s no need to ruin everything for something that happened only one night when we were both completely wasted. We didn’t even know each other’s names-”

“I wasn’t wasted.” Achilles interrupted him. “Yes, I was tipsy, but I wasn’t wasted. I felt everything. I remember everything and since that night, I can’t stop thinking about you.” Achilles confessed and Patroclus was shocked. “I came back with Briseis and agreed to get married because I thought I was never going to see you again. I didn’t even know your name. And now, I found you.” He said hopeful.

“I’m Briseis’ brother. I’m older than you. And I would never hurt Briseis like that. She loves you.” Patroclus could have cried but he needed to stay calm, however hard it was listening to that confession. Patroclus heard the front door. “You should leave. Now.”

Achilles’ eyes lingered a bit longer on Patroclus, before he finally left the room defeated. Patroclus could finally breathe again.

He collapsed on the bed. He felt dizzy. Achilles, the Greek God Achilles, the nameless man, who has a name now, the man who had sex with, just confessed that he couldn’t stop thinking about him. This must be a dream. He must have fallen asleep.

If it were a dream, it was the sweetest dream he ever had.

“Patroclus!” Menoetes shouted.

Patroclus groaned. It wasn’t a dream. It was actually a nightmare. A living nightmare.

***

“So he’ll come over today?” Penelope asked. “Will he be in the office with me?”

It was Monday. Patroclus spent the rest of the weekend in his room, excusing himself for catching the flu or something. He had to avoid him at all costs. Well, until today. Menoetes had told him to get Achilles to work at the restaurant, so, he would have to face him after all.

“Get these checked again.” Patroclus handed her the papers. “No, he will be working as a waiter.” Patroclus said nonchalantly.

“As a waiter?” Penelope raised an eyebrow.

“Yes. We agreed he should start from the bottom and climb his way up.”

The door opened and Deidameia with Achilles appeared.

“Your brother-in-law is here.” Deidameia said nodding over to Achilles with a smile.

“He’s not my brother-in-law!” Patroclus interjected.

“Oh, sorry." She said startled. "I heard-”

“You heard wrong.” Patroclus said sternly.

Achilles was looking at Patroclus with a mischievous look, smiling slightly.

“This is Penelope. My right hand and accountant.” Patroclus gestured towards Penelope who extended her arm towards Achilles. “This is Achilles, Briseis’ boyfriend.” Achilles shook lightly her hand and smiled. Patroclus cleared his throat. “And of course you met Deidameia. She’s the PR of the restaurant.” Deidameia was looking Achilles like he was a chocolate cake. “Dee, can you please show Achilles the restaurant? And give him his working suit. He will be working on the service.”

“Service?” Deidameia asked surprised.

“Yes,” Patroclus said irritated, “is that ok with you?”

“Yes, yes.” Deidameia said defendant. “Come on, Achilles.”

They exited the room with Achilles giving one last look on Patroclus before following Deidameia outside.

***

“I think that’s enough for today. Even the restaurant and bar have closed.” Deidameia closed the file and took of her glasses.

They had been updating the tax files for God knows how many hours. Even the restaurant stuff must have left by now. Patroclus’ eyes were hurting from looking at numbers for so long.

“You’re right. Enough for today.”

Penelope stood up from the chair and stretched. “I’m going straight to bed when I go home.”

Patroclus chuckled. “Same here.”

“Let’s clear this mess.” Penelope gestured over the paper piles on the desk.

“No, Penny, you can go. I’ll clean it up.” Patroclus said.

“Are you sure? I can help you.”

Patroclus shook his head. “It’s fine. Go home. I tired you a lot today. We have more work for tomorrow. Get some rest.” He smiled at her.

Penelope grabbed her bag and coat. “I would argue with you on that but I’m completely knackered.” She sighed.

“I was betting on that. I couldn’t handle arguing with you right now.” Patroclus smirked.

Penelope chuckled. “Goodnight, Pat. See you tomorrow.”

“Goodnight, Penny.”

Penelope left the office and Patroclus could see when the door opened how quite and dark it was outside. Everyone must have left. It was past midnight anyway.

He stood up from the chair and started cleaning the mess of papers that were covering the whole surface of his desk. He didn’t even feel hungry even if the last thing he had was a sandwich for lunch.

He was too caught up cleaning that he didn’t even hear when someone entered the room.

“Late night shift, boss?”

Patroclus jumped and turned around to find Achilles looking over at him, relaxed, with a smirk on his face. The same smirk he remembered back in Perugia.

“Why are you still here? Hasn’t everyone left?” He shifted nervously.

“They have. I just wanted to talk to you.” He closed the door behind him.

“Talk to me about what?”

Achilles approached him and Patroclus was now trapped between Achilles and the desk.

“Patroclus, why have you been avoiding me?” His eyes showed hurt.

Patroclus gulped. “I haven’t been avoiding you.” He lied.

“You have. Is it because of the other night? Of what I said?”

Patroclus escaped from Achilles. He felt like he was getting suffocated. “Look, Achilles, you are my brother-in-law. There is nothing else we can do about it. You are Achilles, Briseis’ fiancé and I’m Patroclus, your fiancé’s brother.” Patroclus explained.

“Is that all you want us to be?” Achilles asked and Patroclus froze. It wasn’t.

“It’s not about what I want. It’s about what it is and it what it should be.” Patroclus had his back turned to him so he wouldn’t look at him. It was like giving in to a sin.

He felt Achilles presence behind him. “Patroclus.” His voice was steady and almost boomed through the empty room. “I know it isn’t just me feeling like this.” He felt Achilles’ fingers tracing his back.

“Achilles.” Patroclus tried to sound stern but it must have sounded more like a plea. Like a cry for help.

“What…” Achilles voice was low in Patroclus’ ear. He could almost feel Achilles’ lips on his ear.

Patroclus turned around. “Achilles, this is wrong. I can’t do this to Briseis.”

Achilles was just a breath away from Patroclus’ face. His breath was fanning his face. “I can’t keep you off my mind. Your face, your body, your sounds.” He was tracing his fingers through Patroclus curls and Patroclus automatically closed his eyes.

“Achilles-”

He was cut off by Achilles’ lips crushing into his own. Their lips were moving in sync. Achilles’ arms snuck around Patroclus’ waist bringing him closer to his body while Patroclus’ hands were tangled in Achilles' blonde locks. They broke apart to catch their breaths.

“Achilles, this can’t happen.” Patroclus tried to argue.

“I want you.” Achilles connected their lips once more. He found his way to the desk where he laid Patroclus on.

It was like Patroclus’ mind went numb. He wasn’t thinking. He couldn’t focus on anything else other than Achilles who was in front of him.

The sounds, the words, the touches were filling the room. The atmosphere was heavy and Patroclus felt drunk. It was like reliving that night in Perugia. Only now they knew each other. They had names, and people who were waiting for them back at home.

But for now, everything had slipped Patroclus’ mind.

***

Patroclus tiptoed around the house. Thankfully, everyone was asleep and the lights were out. Without making any noise he climbed the stairs and made his way to his room. They had agreed with Achilles to come with an half-hour difference so if anyone was still awake they wouldn’t suspect that were together. However, Achilles had told Briseis that he would go get a drink with a co-worker so she would know why he would be late.

Patroclus made it to his room and as soon as he entered, he let out a long sigh. He collapsed on the bed. The guilt was eating him out alive. How could he do this to Briseis?

Why the only man that was attracted to him after years of being alone and made him feel like he had butterflies in his stomach had to be his sister’s boyfriend and soon-to-be husband?

Diomedes was right. He was the most unlucky man that he knew. Out of all the people in this world he could stumble in Perugia, he stumbled upon Achilles.

It was unfair.

The clock showed 2am. He didn’t even bother undressing. All these thoughts made him dizzy that he eventually fell asleep.

Chapter Text

“Where were you last night, fratellino?”

They were all eating breakfast in the kitchen since now Achilles was working at the restaurant, Menoetes told him that he needed to wake up early as well and help wherever he could. No laziness around his household.

Patroclus almost choked on his coffee. “Too much work around the office. We were updating the taxes files with Penelope.” He answered.

“How was your night amore?” Briseis turned to Achilles and gave him a peck on the lips.

Achilles was munching on his croissant. “It was a fun night.” He said and gave a small wink to Patroclus and Patroclus almost choked up. Thank God, no one noticed. His heart fluttered.

Patroclus looked at his watch; he was going to be late. “I better get going.” He stood up.

Briseis stood up as well. “Pat, can I talk to you?” Patroclus heart stopped. Has she understood anything? He was going to die.

“I’m… I’m going to be late.” He tried to sound calm, even though his heart was going to burst any minute.

“Please…” She touched his arm.

Patroclus gave in and he followed her to the living room.

“What is it, Bri?” He was trying so hard to keep his voice steady.

Briseis took a few seconds that seemed like eons to Patroclus. “Did you like Achilles?” She finally asked and looked at him.

Patroclus tensed at the question. “In what way?”

“Come on, Pat, did you like him? Like, for me? You’re the older brother here.” She smiled at him and Patroclus could feel all the guilt that was building up that last few days hitting him hard in the face.

Patroclus sighed, “Look, Bri, you know I don’t really have a say in your personal life and I never intervened, but if you want my opinion, I’m not really sure about him.” Lies, lies, lies.

Briseis looked away. “I knew you didn’t really like him.” Patroclus sighed in relief. Maybe if he showed signs of not liking him, then no one would be suspicious after all.

“I didn’t want to upset you.” Patroclus said.

“I really like him, Pat.” She said sincerely. “Please, promise me that you would get along with him.”

“Bri, I can’t promise you that. The dude doesn’t really give me a good vibe.”

“Promise me that you’ll at least try.”

Patroclus sighed. “Ok. Ok, I promise.” Briseis hugged him.

“Thank you, fratellino.” She smiled at him. “Dismissed.” She said and went back to the kitchen.

He was in deep shit.

***

“You did what?” Diomedes almost spilled his drink.

A week has passed since the night with Achilles in his office and he didn’t have the courage to even confess it to Diomedes, now that they were at Diomedes’ house and he could take freely. They had met other times, stealing kisses whenever they could around the house or in the office. Always being cautious not anyone to see them, which although it was very exhausting, it was also very arousing. He had tried to suppress all the feelings and the attraction he had for Achilles, but seeing how persistent Achilles was, he just couldn’t say no. On top of that all, after Briseis promise of trying to get along with Achilles, he did exact the opposite. They would show how much they disliked each other whichever occasion they could, so as to make everyone believe that they hated each other. It was more on Patroclus part showing his dislike, but their fights had everyone talking on how they couldn’t get along.

“I tried to hold back. But, Diomedes, I just can’t. He’s just too good. It was like a dream.” Patroclus confessed.

“Be careful not to turn into a nightmare.” Diomedes warned. “And all these days you’ve been sneaking around with him?”

Patroclus sipped his drink. He was going to end up a drinker with this story. “Whenever we could. Just a few kisses here and there. Nothing more.”

“And you pretend that you hate each other?” Patroclus nodded. “And they believe that?”

“Yes. We are convincing.” Patroclus said.

“And…” Diomedes trailed, “what about Briseis?”

Patroclus face fell and he sighed. “I have so much guilt for sneaking around behind her back. Why did it have to be like this?” He chugged down the whole drink.

“Take it easy with the drinking.” Diomedes warned him. Patroclus gave him his glass and nodded for a refill. Diomedes hesitated but he poured him one more. “To be honest,” he handed him the glass, “pretty much everyone – at least everyone that I know – would have given in.”

Patroclus looked at him confused.

“I mean, how many opportunities would you be given to find someone young, handsome and crazy in love with you?”

“You say it, like no one would ever look at me.” Patroclus said offended.

“I say it like, you never go out of the house and you never give anyone an opportunity to look at you.” Diomedes corrected him. “And now you have found him.”

“Yes, but it’s my sister’s boyfriend. Not mine.”

Diomedes snorted. “Briseis is young, she’ll find a way.”

“Are you crazy?! I can’t do that to my sister!” Patroclus defended, even though he already did that to his sister. “And what do you mean with “young”. What am I? Old?”

“You’re older than Briseis. And if you let that opportunity pass, you’ll get old period.”

Diomedes was making a point. Patroclus, ever since he came out, he rarely went out of the house, especially when he started working at the family business. They had money and a name around the city and Menoetes did not want that to get lost or have Patroclus get their names “dirty”.

Patroclus chuckled darkly. He drank the rest of his drink. “Imagine what would happen in the Menoetiades household if they found out.”

Diomedes giggled. They were both tipsy at this point. “I think you’d be dead.”

They both started laughing.

Suddenly, Patroclus sobered up. “Diomedes,” He furrowed his eyebrows, “what am I going to do?”

Diomedes sighed. “I don’t know, Pat. I don’t know.”

***

 “Look, Achilles,” Menoetes started speaking, he had gathered Briseis, Achilles and Chiron at the living room, “this can’t go on.”

“What do you mean, Mr. Menoetiades?” Achilles asked. He was casually sitting on the couch.

Briseis spoke. “He refers to your fights with Pat.”

“You can’t hate each other. You and Briseis are going to get married. We’re going to be family.” Menoetes explained.

Achilles nodded. “What can I do? He just doesn’t like me. From day one he never liked me.”

Menoetes stopped and thought for a moment. “You have to approach him and show him that you’re actually a good man for Briseis. He’s the older brother it’s understandable to be careful with his sister. But this has gotten out of hand.”

“So, we thought,” Briseis continued, “to let you have a night on your own.”

Achilles was trying to hide his smug smile that was threatening to break into his face.

“You’re going to have dinner, and then, you’ll explain that you have good intentions for Briseis. He will understand how genuine you are. You’ll give him your honor.” Menoetes explained.

“You can cook your signature dish, amore. Spaghetti alla chitarra.” Briseis smiled excitedly.

“We will be gone for the night. We’re going to visit one of Briseis’ cousins. You’ll have a couple of hours, so make use of it.” Menoetes said.

“I’ll buy you the ingredients for your recipe, so you’ll be ready.” Chiron spoke for the first time. “I will be visiting a friend of mine, so I’ll make sure to return later.”

“Then it’s settled. Tomorrow night. You’ll get the day off from work.” Menoetes announced.

“And will this work?” Achilles asked innocently. “What if he throws my spaghetti on my face?”

“You’ll make it work.” Menoetes said sternly. “This can’t go on.”

“Si, amore. Try. I want my brother and my boyfriend to get along.” Briseis scooted over and hugged Achilles.

“I’ll do my best.” He smirked.

***

Patroclus unlocked the front door. The lights were out and no one seemed to be in the house. Achilles hadn’t come at work, saying that he wanted a day off to help Briseis with something that he didn’t even make the effort to remember and quite frankly he had missed him. Sometimes catching a glimpse of him during service time, when Patroclus would take a trip to the bathroom or would go grab something to eat from the kitchen.

“Briseis?” He called. “Chiron?” No one answered.

He walked into the living room and found a piece of paper.

Fratellino, me and papa went to visit our cousin Alex. Chiron is visiting a friend. We’ll be gone for a few hours. Bacci, Bri.”

“Right.” He sighed and hanged his coat.

“Good afternoon.” Achilles called and Patroclus spun around.

“What are you doing here?” Patroclus asked.

“Everyone is gone because they wanted us to be alone.” He was walking closer and closer to Patroclus. “They wanted us to get along. Work out our differences through a dinner date.” He was now inches apart from Patroclus’ face and Patroclus’ breath was caught in his throat. “We have their blessings.” His voice was low and his lips almost touching Patroclus.

Patroclus put some distance between them to Achilles’ unlikeness.

“I have cooked spaghetti alla chittara.” Achilles said. “Let’s have a dinner first and then…”

Patroclus eyes widened. “Yes, let’s have dinner. The spaghetti alla… alla… this will get cold.”

He was nervous even with no one in the house. He just couldn’t function properly in this house. Especially romantically or sexually. It was like Menoetes was haunting him.

They walked over to the table. Achilles had put flowers on the table and lit up candles. It was proper romantic. They were sitting next to each and Achilles was getting closer and closer. Patroclus tried to put some distance between them, but Achilles was approaching him.

Patroclus took a bite although he couldn’t really eat. He hummed. “They’re delicious.” He couldn’t taste much, but he just wanted to shift the attention towards something else since the atmosphere was loaded sexually.

“I find something else delicious.” Achilles smirked and traced his finger along Patroclus’ arm.

Patroclus was mastering up a lot of will power not to give in right then and there.

“What does the sauce have in it?” Patroclus pointed towards the plate.

“Who cares about the food now…” Achilles whined. “We have the whole house to ourselves.” He was purring out the words like a cat.

“Achilles-”

“Don’t start again, Patroclus.” He was stern. “We’ve been sneaking around for a month now. And tonight we have the whole house to ourselves and you talk about the fucking food!” He sounded frustrated.

“What if someone comes suddenly?” Patroclus furrowed his brows worried.

Achilles sighed. “No one will. They have left on purpose and they gave us a few hours for ourselves.”

Patroclus was still worried but gave in. “Ok, fine…”

“Just relax.” Achilles tried to calm his nerves. “Here have some wine.” He handed him the glass.

“Cheers.” They clicked their glasses and sipped the dirnk.

“Are you a bit better?” He asked Patroclus and Patroclus nodded unsure.

Achilles leaned in to give him a kiss and Patroclus was ready to give in when he caught with the corner of his eye Chiron walking from the kitchen.

He quickly grabbed the glass of wine and poured it over Achilles. “You are ridiculous!” Patroclus shouted.

Achilles jumped from the spot he was sitting. “Are you crazy?!” He shouted.

“What’s going on, guys? Calm down.” Chiron quickly approached them when he saw the fight that was going to unfold.

“This guy is out of his mind!” Achilles accused.

“You’re the one who’s out of your mind. I wonder how Briseis is still going out with you!”

“Patroclus!” Chiron tried to calm him down. He was standing between the two, afraid they would get physical. “Please, guys, try to relax. I’m going to bring a mop to wipe the wine from the floor. Please try to stay calm.”

“How can I stay calm when I look at him?!” Patroclus gestured over to Achilles.

“Then don’t look at me!” Achilles barked back.

“Peace out. You’re going to be brothers-in-law. You shouldn’t be talking like that to each other.” Chiron tried to calm them down by bringing up their soon-to-be relation.

“Just bring the mop, Chiron.” Patroclus said.

“Promise me that you’ll both be calm. I’m afraid to leave you two alone.”

“It’s fine, Chiron. I’m not wasting my time.” Achilles spat.

Chiron waited a bit unsure but when he saw that they weren’t going to keep fighting he went over to the kitchen.

They watched him disappear and when the coast was clear, they looked at each other giggling.

“How did you see him?” Achilles whispered, smiling.

“I saw him with the corner of my eye. Thank God.”

Achilles gave him a small peck on the lips. “I love you.” He whispered. Patroclus was frozen for a few seconds.

“What?” He whispered.

Achilles smirked. “I love you.” He whispered again.

Patroclus was now sure that he heard correctly. “I love you too.” He found himself saying and he really meant it. It was like a moment of realization.

Patroclus heard footsteps. “If you love me, slap me in the face.” He said to Achilles.

“What?”

“Slap me.”

Achilles was confused and then he felt a light tap on his cheek. Patroclus “slapped” him on the face since he saw Chiron making his way over. Achilles responded with a “slap” and they started fighting again.

The front door was slammed, and now everyone had returned back home.

***

“We almost got caught!” Patroclus was still shaking at the thought that Chiron could have gotten them caught kissing with Achilles.

After last night, Patroclus was lucky he was still alive and breathing. How he didn’t just faint right there and then, he still didn’t know. Not only did they almost get caught by Chiron, but Achilles decided that it was the perfect time to tell him he loved him. How many emotions can a man take in one night?

“Yes, but you didn’t.” Diomedes pointed out and took a sip of his coffee. He had to wake up.

As soon as Patroclus woke up this morning, he phoned Diomedes to meet him at his office. Diomedes could hardly keep his eyes open. He could hardly understand what Patroclus was yapping at him on the phone, but he managed to make at the office 2 hours later, which Patroclus scolded him for.

“How can you be so apathetic?” Patroclus said in exasperation. “I just told you that Chiron could have seen me and Achilles kissing!”

“But everything’s fine now.”

“Fine?” Patroclus looked at him in disbelief. “Fine? In what sense everything is fine?”

Diomedes winced at the tone of his voice.

“You can still sneak around alive.”

Patroclus sighed and collapsed to the chair. He had been pacing back and forth in the office.

“Since when though?” His eyes were sad. “Do you know, Diomedes, what he told me?”

“Menoetes?” Diomedes asked.

“No, you fool. Achilles.” Patroclus scolded. “He told me he loves me.” He smiled at the thought. These three words sounded so strange and unfamiliar to Patroclus. He never heard those words let alone felt them that intensively.

“Whoa…” Diomedes spoke. “Things are escalating.” He cocked an eyebrow. “And… and what did you say?”

Patroclus rubbed his temples. “I couldn’t speak in the beginning. He took me by surprise. The adrenaline was kicking in because Chiron was in the other room.”

“Patroclus.”

“Ok, yes, I told him I love him. And I do. I don’t know how this happened.”

Diomedes’ face could have split from how big his smile was. “Thank God! Finally!”

Patroclus was looking at him weird. “What do you mean?”

“You’ve finally fallen in love!” Diomedes announced.

“You’re rushing my friend. Because you forget something.”

“What?”

“It’s Briseis’ boyfriend!”

Diomedes rolled his eyes. “Details.”

Patroclus looked defeated. “Sometimes I wonder why I still keep talking to you.”

***

“Why does love have to be so hard?” Achilles said.

He was taking his break, having something to drink along with his co-worker, Odysseus, that over the almost 2 months he’s been working at the restaurant they have come closer. He could call him his friend.

“How so?” Odysseus took a sip from his coffee.

“One day the person you love is crazy about you, the next he acts like you’re merely a stranger.” Achilles admitted but made sure not to mention any names.

“Love is a complicated feeling, my friend.” He sighed as he understood. “But how come it troubles you? You’re getting married.” He cocked an eyebrow. “Everything’s ok with Briseis?”

“Briseis?” Achilles forgot for a second. “Yes, yes. Everything’s fine. I was just generally wondering.” He tried to save it as much as he could.

The reason Achilles had become so philosophical about love, was because of Patroclus’ behavior. It’s been almost a month since that night that were almost caught by Chiron and Achilles confessing his love for Patroclus and ever since Patroclus had been very cold and distant with him. Achilles was confused. He remembered correctly how Patroclus had said it back. Had said that he loved him as well. And after that, nothing. He was always avoiding him, telling him that they were going to get caught, or excusing himself for having too much work at the office. Achilles was dying.

Odysseus looked at his watch. “Alright, my little lovestruck Shakespeare,” Odysseus stood up from the chair and smiled at him, “we need to get back to work.”

Achilles groaned but stood up as well and tied his apron around his waist.

“Back to work then.” Achilles said under his breath.

***

Diomedes was waiting at Patroclus’ office. He was smoking a cigarette waiting for him, since Patroclus was called to check the latest wine orders. He was aimlessly walking around the office, inspecting the dusty files and the cramped desk.

“Oh, sorry, I was looking for…” Diomedes turned around and saw Achilles. “Isn’t Patroclus here?” He asked looking around the office a little nervous.

Diomedes smirked. He was very handsome even with his working suit on. “He’s in the wine cellar. He won’t be long. You can come inside and wait.” Diomedes offered.

Achilles hesitated a little but came in.

“I’m Patroclus’ best friend. Diomedes. We’ve met.” Diomedes said. “Briefly.”

Achilles thought for a moment. “Oh, yes, I remember.”

Achilles had taken a seat on the chair that was opposite Patroclus’ one.

Diomedes sat down on Patroclus’ seat. “So, Achilles,” He started, “you were also studying in Rome with Briseis?”

Achilles started to relax even though Diomedes was asking questions. He could sense how flirtatious he was. “Yes, I was studying in Rome but in a different University.”

“Oh.” Diomedes said. “You know, Briseis is a little immature, so have patience with her.” He smirked.

Achilles smirked back. “She’ll grow up.”

“What’s going on here?” Patroclus entered the room looking frantic.

“Nothing. I was just getting to know your brother-in-law.” Diomedes answered calmly.

Achilles stood up. “I wanted to talk to you.”

“You can talk to me another time. Now I have too much work.” Patroclus said quickly and he almost pushed Achilles out of the door.

“Fine.” Achilles said sternly and Patroclus shut the door.

“Why did you talk to him like that?” Diomedes felt back for Achilles.

“Are you crazy?” Patroclus pointed at him. “Do you want anyone to see him in my office? What would they think?”

“That you’re his boss and his future brother-in-law?” Diomedes said confused.

“I have to put some distance between me and him.” He gestured for Diomedes to stand up from his seat. Diomedes obeyed. “After that night that we almost got caught, I thought about it. I can’t keep sneaking around with him. He’s going to marry Briseis. And that’s the end.”

Diomedes sighed. “So you have decided to kick this opportunity to the gutter.”

Patroclus looked at him. “If they found out-”

“Yes, yes, I get it. But I still think it’s a mistake.”

“But-”

“I’m going. I can’t keep listening to your stupidities.” Diomedes waved him off. “Plus, I need tonight I have another date. I need to get the car washed.” He winked at Patroclus. He put on his coat. “Ciao, Casanova.” He smirked and left the room without Patroclus having any chance to say anything.

***

“Patroclus, please, let’s leave this house. Go somewhere else. Away from here. Away from everyone. Just the two of us.” Achilles was practically begging him at this point. He was on his knees while Patroclus was sitting on his bed.

He hadn’t even realized how Achilles sneaked into his room. His heart was going to burst from both the image in front of him and the fear of someone bursting into his room and seeing the two of them ala Rome and Juliet scene.

“Achilles, stand up.” Patroclus sounded desperate. “What if someone comes into the room?”

Achilles stood up but he was holding Patroclus’ hands in his. “I don’t care. They can see us.”

Patroclus withdrew his hands away from Achilles’ and they immediately lost their warmth coming from Achilles’ callously ones. He could practically hear his heart in his ears at this point. How careless was Achilles and how bold it was from him to just ask him to leave everything and everyone behind. Patroclus would have done it if it weren’t for Briseis. He couldn’t just leave like that. For her sake.

Achilles paced around the room, irritated. “I love you and you love me.” He stopped in his tracks and looked at him. “Isn’t that enough to just leave? We can’t keep hiding. I can’t keep hiding and not showing everyone how I feel.” His eyes were pleading and it made Patroclus’ heart break seeing him like this.

“Achilles-”

Achilles in almost an instance was in front of Patroclus. Their faces were so close that their noses were touching. “Patroclus. Just say yes.” He whispered and before Patroclus could say anything the door burst open.

“Pat…” Briseis’ voice sounded like thunder to Patroclus’ ears.

Both Patroclus and Achilles turned around to see a shocked Briseis staring at them.

Patroclus abruptly stood up, pushing Achilles away on his way. “Bri, let me explain.”

“Explain to me, what Patroclus?!” She shouted which made Patroclus flinch. Briseis rarely shouted. Let alone to Patroclus.

Achilles walked in between them. “It’s better that way, Patroclus. It’s time she finally knows the truth. The truth about us.” He said stern and calm.

Patroclus couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Achilles! Are you out of your mind?!”

“What’s all this yapping about?” Menoetes had now reached Patroclus doorstep.

It couldn’t get any worse. Now he was dead.

“Patroclus and Achilles are having an affair!” Briseis said incredulously. “My own brother stole my boyfriend!” She accused.

Menoetes was silent but his eyes were murderous. He walked out of the room and for a few seconds everyone was confused when he saw him return with a gun.

“Jesus Christ!” Chiron cried out.

Menoetes was pointing the gun over to Achilles and Patroclus’ direction.

“You shamed our name and our family.” He barked.

Achilles and Patroclus had put their arms up in defense. “I didn’t want to.” Patroclus tried to defend. He was scared. These were his last moments.

“Silence!” He barked. “I always knew you’ll embarrass me someday. And you proved me right!” Patroclus couldn’t even cry. He was frozen on the spot.

“Goodbye, Patroclus.”

The gun fired.

Patroclus fell out of the bed. “No!” Patroclus screamed. He took a look to his surroundings. He was in his room but no one was there. He felt his abdomen and no scar could be found.

He sighed in relief and checked the clock on his nightstand. 3am.

He stood up from the floor and plopped down on the bed.

It was a dream. A nightmare. But what if something like this happened in real life?

What was the most plausible scenario if Briseis found out about him and Achilles?

How would Menoetes react? Probably similar to Menoetes in his dream reacted, Patroclus thought.

There was a knock on his door that interrupted his worrisome thoughts.

“Fratellino?” Briseis said lowly entering the room.

“Bri?” Patroclus asked confused.

She closed the door behind her and took a seat on the bed opposite Patroclus. “I heard noise from your room and came to check on you.” She said. “Are you ok?” She asked worried.

Patroclus felt something in his gut rising. “Yes, yes, I’m fine, Bri.” He answered. “How come you’re not asleep? It’s 3am.”

She fiddled with the hem of her night shirt. “I can’t sleep.” She looked at Patroclus. She looked troubled. “I keep thinking about everything. My future, the wedding. I think everything is too much. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because everything happened too fast. Maybe in the morning I’ll be ok.” Briseis tried to shrug it off. “Pat,” she continued, “do you think my decision was a rushed one?”

Patroclus gulped. What was he supposed to say? “Look, Bri,” he started carefully, “I think you’re just overwhelmed. You can’t keep thinking about these stuff at night. We can talk about in the morning with a clear mind.”  

Briseis smiled at him. “Thank you, Pat. You always know what to say.” She leaned in and gave him a peck on his cheek.

Patroclus smiled awkwardly. Briseis stood from the bed. “Goodnight, fratellino.” She said and closed the door behind her after exiting the room.

As soon as Briseis was out of the room Patroclus’ smile had vanished from his face. The awkward feeling in his stomach had burst through his chest.

It was guilt.

He collapsed onto his pillow rubbing his face with his hands.

On top of that all, as soon as he closed his eyes, the image of Achilles when he told him “I love you” kept replaying into his mind. He groaned. Why everything had to be so complicated?

He had to make up his mind. In the morning. When his mind was clear of Achilles’ image and his chest was not tight from the guilt he felt for Briseis. Maybe tomorrow everything would be different. Or at least he wished it would be that way.

His mind had too many thoughts. It was too suffocating being into his mind right now. Everything felt like they were spinning. He shut his eyes closed tightly and tried to calm his breathing. It was a habit he had ever since he was a child and he couldn’t fall asleep.

Finally, after a few more minutes, he felt himself slowly drifting back to sleep.

No more dreams.

Chapter Text

“Kind of a gruesome dream, may I add.” Diomedes yawned.

Patroclus had woken up and called Diomedes to tell him about his dream. He was still in his room and didn’t dare to go downstairs to have breakfast with the rest of the Adams family. He had to tell someone about his dream where he died. Which would also be his real-life consequences if he continued this hide and seek game with Achilles.

“Let’s just say I’m glad it was a dream.” Patroclus sighed.

“How did you sleep afterwards?”

“I couldn’t stop replaying the image of Achilles telling me ‘I love you’.” He sighed once more in melancholy.

“And what have you decided to do?”

“Truth is, I can’t get him out of my mind.” Patroclus spoke. “But I’m still torn.”

It was true. Patroclus was torn between hurting his sister and hurting himself. He was never selfish and he was always putting everyone above himself, but this time, it was something that he couldn’t control. Whenever he tried to resist and fight with his feelings, he always ended up defeated.

“I think you should talk to him. It’s not fair for him either to avoid him.”

“I guess you’re right.”

Then a thought came into his mind. If they were to talk, they needed to find a place where no one would see them. A secluded place where they wouldn’t get caught.

Patroclus was a little hesitant but he finally asked Diomedes, “Diomedes, um…, when you go on dates, and you want to… you know…, where you get them?”

“You mean when I want to have sex with them?” Diomedes always being so subtle.

Patroclus was thankful Diomedes couldn’t see him through his phone since he was turning red. “Diomedes!” He cleared his throat. “We’re just going to be talking. That’s all. I just want a quite place. Somewhere secluded. You know… so no one can see us.”

“Yeah right.” He could hear the sarcasm in his voice. “I’ll text you the address of a place I know.” He continued and Patroclus couldn’t help but smile. “It’s the perfect place for… conversations.”

“Thanks, Diomedes. I have to go now. I don’t want them to get suspicious or anything.”

They said their goodbyes and hanged up.

He put on his shoes and left the room to go downstairs.

***

Patroclus’ nose was stuck in the papers scattered in front of him. He wished he’d be somewhere else, anywhere else, apart from here.

“Am I interrupting anything?”

Patroclus looked up to see Achilles staring at him. He had closed the door to which he was thankful for. Patroclus’ eyes were widened. “What are you doing here?” He stood up from the chair.

Achilles approached him, “Why have you been avoiding me?” He was getting angry. “Tell me, Patroclus or I’ll shout what we have been doing for the past 2 months so everyone can listen.”

Patroclus’ pulse had picked up its pace, but he tried to stay calm. “I was scared after what happened that night with Chiron. Getting caught.”

Achilles touched his arm. “Patroclus, I need to see you.”

“You see me now.” He decided to play dumb.

“Why are you acting like you don’t understand!” He hit his hand on the desk which made Patroclus jump.

“This is my office so you better watch out.” Patroclus warned him but Achilles didn’t seem to notice.

“Tell me we’re going to meet tonight.” Achilles pressed.

Patroclus was getting nervous for anyone coming into the office. Achilles approached him slowly and places his hands on either side of Patroclus arms.

Patroclus gave in. “Fine. We’ll meet tonight.”

Achilles smiled so wide which made Patroclus heart swell. “Where are we going?” He said excitedly.

“I’ll text you the address.” He said. “Now go before someone notices.”

Achilles gave him a quick peck on the lips before vanishing from the office, almost skipping his way out.

Patroclus could breathe again.

Tonight, he thought.

The problem was however, what was he going to say at home? He rarely went out of the house. Especially on a week day.

He had to think of something.

***

“And all of your old friends will be gathered?”

Briseis was aimlessly leafing through the magazine she had in front of her.

Achilles put on his T-shirt. They were in Briseis’ room, since Briseis had told Achilles to sneak into her room. They were a couple after all. They had slept together. It wasn’t a big deal. They were just sleeping in separate rooms for the sake of Menoetes.

Achilles had come up with the excuse that he was going to be going out with his old friends before he left for Rome, in order to go out with Patroclus. Briseis didn’t really mind. The past month, she’s been busy with her activism. After going to a documentary screening, she became vegan and got signed up in a local organization to help with animal rights. She was more frequently seeing the rest of the members of the organizations and the police – since a lot of times their activism took extremes – than Achilles.

“Yes. We caught up a bit over chatting on Facebook and we decided to go out for a drink. Catch up and everything.” He took a look of his face in the mirror and tried to fix his hair. He put them on a low bun.

He was very calm compared to Patroclus when he tried to come up with an excuse. He was just too nervous whenever someone was around and he lied to their faces. Patroclus thought that they could see right through him. That his lying and what he was hiding was visible and that any moment someone would just spat it out on his face. However, contrary to his belief, no one suspected anything. Sometimes Achilles thought that maybe if they got caught, they could finally be free to do whatever they wanted. Then, he thought of the consequences Patroclus always made sure to remind him with.

Briseis stood up from the bed she was laying on and grabbed her coat. “I gotta dash.” She said and before leaving the room she gave a smile to Achilles. “Have fun, babe.”

Achilles just smiled at her and quickly checked his phone. Patroclus had texted him the address. The smile on Achilles’ face grew wider.  

***

Patroclus’ hands were shaking while he was typing the message. One side of him wanted so desperately to see Achilles again, have a night just for themselves since he had missed him after all these days that he didn’t even dare get a good glimpse on him, but the other side of him was terrified. What if someone actually saw them at the hotel? What would happen then? He knew a lot of people in his circle – the “well-respected”, rich people that had make a name and money out of their parents hard work that were actually quite frequent visitors of such places. One of them was obviously Diomedes, and that was the reason he asked him to find him such a place. However, he made Diomedes swear to everyone dead and alive that no one from the people they knew, had visited this place. Diomedes swore that no one knew which made Patroclus’ heart start beating in a normal pace although the hint of fear was deep into his bones.

Patroclus made sure to text Achilles with additional instructions. Patroclus were to leave the house first and then around half an hour later Achilles, so they wouldn’t give signs of suspicion. He had come up with the excuse that he would be visiting an old friend of his, Ajax, who was in hospital, since he had requested some of his closer friends to visit him there before he was in for a surgery the next morning.

He buttoned his shirt and flattened out his curls, before taking a deep breath to calm his nerves. He had to act casual in order not to think anything strange.

He walked down the stairs and he could see the back of Chiron sitting on the armchair and the side of Menoetes on the couch. They were watching the news. Good sign. Everything was so normal. And so boring.

“Good evening.” Patroclus spoke.

Chiron turned over to look at him. “Where are you going?” He was smiling, perhaps because he saw that Patroclus was getting out of the house finally.

At the sound of that Menoetes turned his head as well. “I’m visiting Ajax.” He said slowly. The look of Menoetes already giving him anxiety.

“Ajax?” Menoetes questioned. “How so? You rarely visit anyone.”

He had a point unfortunately. That was why he had come up with such the extreme excuse of the hospital. Something major must have happened in order for Patroclus to leave the house without raising any eyebrows.

“He’s in the hospital. He’s in tomorrow for a surgery and he had asked for his close friends.” The lies were rolling off his tongue very quickly.

“I hope he gets well.” Chiron said sympathetically. “Give him our greetings.”

Patroclus was starting to relax when Menoetes spoke again. “What he’s in for?”

Fuck. Patroclus hadn’t thought of that. He hesitated a bit. “Um…” He gulped. “Knee surgery.” This was the only excuse he came up this quickly. He was mentally cursing himself. He was screwed.

“Knee? And why he’s making such a big deal by gathering his friends in prior? It’s not as serious.” Menoetes looked confused.

“No, I disagree. It is serious. A cousin of mine went in for a knee surgery. They were some difficulties during the surgery and had to get in a second time. He spent a whole year in bed.” Chiron described vividly and Menoetes looked at him surprised. Patroclus was very thankful for Chiron right now.

“Yes! Chiron is right. It’s a very dangerous surgery.” Patroclus tried to enhance it more.

Menoetes looked confused, “I’m sorry I didn’t know it was that difficult.” Patroclus was surprised by Menoetes’ admitting he was wrong. “Anyway, send him our wishes. We hope he gets better soon.”

Both Menoetes and Chiron shifted their attention back to the TV. Patroclus couldn’t believe that he actually got away with this so easily.

“Good night if I don’t see you.” He said faintly and Chiron waved at him without taking his eyes off the screen.

Patroclus walked out of the door and he could finally breathe normally.

***

Achilles waited thirty minutes before he made his way downstairs. He knew he wouldn’t have to tell them anything since Briseis already knew where he was going, but in case they asked him, he had to explain.

He walked downstairs and found Chiron upset.

“What happened?” Achilles asked him.

“Menoetes, he isn’t feeling very well. I don’t know, we might need to get him to a hospital.” Chiron explained.

“Where is he now?” He looked around and the living room was empty.

“I got him to lay down. I’m making some tea and I gave him his pill. He might feel better.”

Achilles patted Chiron on the shoulders. “I’m sure he’ll be fine. He’s tougher than we think.” He tried to comfort him.

“We’ll see.” Chiron sighed. He took a look on Achilles’ appearance. “Where are you going?”

Achilles rubbed the back of his neck with his left one while on his right was his leather jacket. “A gathering of all the old friends I have here from before I left for Rome.” 

Chiron nodded. “Have fun, young man.” He said. “I have to get Menoetes his tea.” He started walking back to the kitchen.

“Good night, Chiron.” Achilles called and he heard a “good night” from the kitchen.

He felt quite bad for Menoetes but the guilt was quickly replaced by excitement when he saw the screen of his phone flashing.

A message from Patroclus.

***

Patroclus was in the hotel. He had made Diomedes book a room under his name and not Patroclus’ since he was embarrassed and scared. Patroclus even asked Diomedes his ID for the check in and Diomedes was happy to give it to him.

When he entered the hotel it was like a Christian boy entering a brothel. He was ashamed to say the least. When he was asked for the ID, he hesitated but gave it to the person at the reception.

“Diomedes Tydides.” He said. “Here’s your key Mr. Tydides.” The man handed him his key and Patroclus quickly took it and disappeared with a faint “thank you” leaving his lips.

He could feel the man’s eyes burning holes into his back. He must have known what he was here for, since everyone who was visiting this hotel had something specific in mind. And it wasn’t a quiet conversation.

He finally made it to the room and sent a message to Achilles as he was pacing the room nervously.

***

Achilles entered the hotel excited to be finally alone with Patroclus.

“Good evening.” The man at the reception greeted him with a smile.

“Good evening.” Achilles replied. “They’ve been waiting for me. Tydides.” He said to the man so he could hand him the key.

The man looked at him weirdly which made Achilles confused, but he handed him the key. “Here, sir.”

Achilles nodded at him taking the key and speeding to the room.

***

“The man at the reception is quite a strange bloke.” Achilles said. He was now in the room, a being a couple of minutes since he arrived and now he was laying on bed. They hadn’t done anything since Patroclus was still keeping his distance.

“Obviously.” Patroclus snorted. “What he would be thinking…” He trailed. “I’m thankful for the fact it wasn’t my name on the ID.” He was sitting on the edge of the bed.

Achilles was on his knees on the bed approaching Achilles from the back. “Who cares…” He said in a low voice. He placed his hands on Patroclus shoulders. His lips were mere inches from Patroclus’ neck and Patroclus felt his whole body relaxed, closing his eyes. “We’re here all alone. No Briseis. No Chiron. No Menoetes. No one. Just you and me.” Achilles was trailing his fingers up and down Patroclus arms, which were only covered by the thin layer of his shirt.

Patroclus muscles were relaxed but as soon as he heard the names he immediately stood up from the bed which made Achilles almost lose his balance and fall face flat on the bed.

“Did they ask you were you were going? Did you tell them? What did you tell them?” He became nervous again, pacing in front of the bed.

Achilles sighed exhausted and took his place back where he had been laying with his back pressed to the chest of the bed. “I told Chiron that I was going to an old friends gathering. Don’t worry.”

“Did Menoetes ask you anything else?” He wanted to be sure since he knew how Menoetes could turn even the simplest conversation into an interrogation.

“Don’t worry. Chiron said Menoetes didn’t feel too well and he was in bed. He said he might have to be hospitalized but I think he’s a tough-” Patroclus eyes were widened and he grabbed his coat ready to leave. “Where are you going?” Achilles jumped out of bed.

“Are you crazy?!” Patroclus exclaimed. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier? They would be searching for me!” He slid the phone out of his pocket and he saw two missed calls. He had his phone on silence while he was texting Achilles so as to no one notice in case they heard the sound and saw Achilles texting and make the connection they were texting each other. He was that paranoid. “I need to go home.”

“I’m coming with you.” Achilles said and went for his own jacket.

“No. No!” He shook his head frantically. “We can’t return at the same time.” He was making a point. “Wait until Briseis text you or something. Don’t come immediately. They will suspect something.”

“But-”

Before Achilles could say anything Patroclus was out of the door.

Achilles plopped on the bed defeated. “Fun night.”

***

Patroclus almost ran out of the hotel. He barely noticed the man at the reception looking at him confused and wishing him “good night”.

He didn’t even know how he made it back home in one piece, but here he was almost bursting through the front door.

“What happened?” He said out of breath.

He found Menoetes sitting on the couch looking rather tired and clutching his chest; Chiron was close next to him holding a glass of water and a pill from what Patroclus assumed must have been the pill for his heart disease; Briseis was also sitting very close holding Menoetes’ hand comfortingly.

Briseis turned to look at him and offered him a small, sad smile. “Papa wasn’t feeling too well so we called a doctor.”

Patroclus took off his coat and took a seat on the couch opposite them. “His heart?”

Briseis nodded. “The doctor said he just needs to take his pill and rest for a while. No surprises or emotional outbursts. He needs to be calm and he’ll be fine.” He turned to him and smiled caressing his cheek. “Right, papa? You’re going to be fine.” Menoetes placed his hand on hers and nodded slowly. “I’m sorry if I got you worried.” Briseis reached over and caressed the back of his palm.

That familiar feeling was tightening his stomach again. “It’s fine, Bri. Sorry I didn’t see your calls earlier. I forgot it on silence.”

Briseis nodded understandingly. “How is Ajax?” She asked.

Patroclus was thinking and he almost forgot. “Who?”

Briseis furrowed her brows. “Chiron told me you were visiting Ajax at the hospital.”

Patroclus mentally face-palmed. “Oh, yes, Ajax.” He tried to act casual. “He’ll live. He was just nervous that’s all.” He said looking around hoping she couldn’t sense how nervous he was starting to get.

“When Chiron called me and told me that no one else was home, I almost flew here. I abandoned the signs and the preparation for tomorrow’s strike and came home.” She giggled. “I thought you’d be here so when I asked Chiron where you were, he told me about Ajax.”

“It was very sudden.” Patroclus scratched the place above his eyebrow. “I mean Ajax’s surgery.”

“I thought of texting Achilles,” at the mention of his name Patroclus cleared his throat, “but then I thought I’d let him have some fun tonight. You know,” Briseis was getting more serious, “the past few days he’s been rather sad. Something upsets him but when I ask him he says he’s fine – just tired.” Patroclus could feel his throat tightening. “Maybe it’s because he’s mostly at home.” She looked at Patroclus in the eyes and Patroclus stopped breathing. “It’s the thing with you two as well,” Patroclus held his breath and prepared for the worst, “you keep fighting when you could be best friends. You know, go out sometimes, you two men, and have a drink or something.” Patroclus let out the breath he was holding, “I don’t understand why you don’t like each other. But I’m not mad at you. You’re very different. You just don’t click.” Briseis smiled at him. “Sorry,” she chuckled, “I got carried out.”

Patroclus shook his head playfully, “No, Bri, it’s fine. You’re just under pressure. It’s good to talk when you need to.”

Briseis was tired. Patroclus could tell by her eyes. She leaned in and hugged him. “Thank you, fratellino.” She whispered. “I love you.”

Patroclus winced at the last sentence. Not because it wasn’t true or that he didn’t feel the same for his sister, but because he did and he felt guilty.

“Is everything ok?” Patroclus heard the low, raspy voice of Achilles.

Patroclus and Briseis broke apart and Patroclus avoided looking at him.

Briseis stood up and walked over to him. “Sorry for ruining your night, amore.” She gave him a peck on the lips. She turned to Patroclus. “I decided to text him eventually since you were not replying and I honestly freaked out over here.” She giggled nervously.

The whole time Achilles hadn’t taken his eyes off Patroclus. Patroclus only merely gave him a glimpse only to find Achilles staring at him.

“It’s fine, Bri.” He said. “The night wasn’t that fun after all.” He looked straight at Patroclus.

Briseis furrowed her brows. “Why not?”

Achilles chuckled dryly. “They ran away.”

Patroclus winced at the venom his voice was carrying.

Briseis was ready to say something, but Chiron interrupted her. “I gave him the pill and checked his pulse.” Menoetes looked calmer and he was clutching his heart anymore. Chiron turned to Patroclus. “Patroclus, help me get him to his bed.” He ordered taking one of Menoetes arms in his hands in order to lift him up.

Patroclus nodded and went to take his other to lift him up. They pulled him up to his feet and Briseis motioned for Patroclus to leave it at her. “I want to say good night to him as well.” Patroclus didn’t try to fight her and helped her steady him to her side.

He watched them as they were climbing the stairs and he was ready to follow when he felt Achilles’ hand grabbing his arm.

He turned around and looked at him. Achilles’ face was stiff, angry almost but his eyes were showing hurt.

“Why are you doing this to me?” He grunted and Patroclus gulped.

“I don’t understand you. Menoetes was-”

Achilles let go of Patroclus’ arms, “Menoetes.” He chuckled dryly. “There’s always going to be someone. Tonight it was Menoetes. Tomorrow Briseis. Chiron next week.” He was sarcastic pacing aimlessly around the room. “When will it be me?” He asked and looked him in the eyes. These green orbs that enchanted him back in Rome where now looking at him desperately.

Patroclus sighed. He watched over his shoulder towards the stairs to make sure no one was there listening and he took a seat on the couch. Achilles sat opposite him.

“I feel guilty. This is my sister. And I’m lying to her.” Patroclus admitted.

Achilles nodded and reached over to Patroclus’ hands. “This is why we should just tell me and end the sneaking around since we can’t suppress our feelings any longer.”

Patroclus chuckled humorless. “I won’t end out sneaking around. It would end our lives.” Achilles looked at him confused. “Menoetes would kill us. You don’t know him. He’s very strict. Can you imagine telling him that I, his son that he would rather not have, stole the boyfriend from his beloved daughter?” Patroclus emphasized the word “beloved”.

Achilles sighed. “Then what do you propose to do?” He smiled softly at Patroclus and caressed his left cheek. “I want to be with you. I need you.”

Patroclus closed his eyes and leaned to his touch. Finally, he spoke. “We’ll meet tomorrow. I promise.” He looked at him in the eyes and Achilles toothy grin made him go weak on his knees.

“Really?” He was talking low.

Patroclus nodded. “Yes. I’ll text you the details.” He stood up. “I’ll go to bed. I wake up early.”

Achilles stood up as well. “Good night, Patroclus.” He said.

“Good night, Achilles.”

***

“You’re gonna say I’m repeating myself, but I’m going to say it again. You’re the most unlucky person that I know.” Diomedes exclaimed with humor in his voice.

Patroclus groaned. “I know…”

“I mean,” Diomedes giggled, “Menoetes, this man….” He shook his head, “he’s such a cock blocker.” He burst out laughing.

Patroclus couldn’t help but chuckle as well. “Always torturing me. Even when he doesn’t know.” He sighed. “Now, what do I do? I promised Achilles that we would go out. No more hotels.” He looked sternly at Diomedes and Diomedes nodded innocently. “I want something a bit more romantic but secluded as well. Maybe have dinner or something like that.” He explained.

“Romantic Pat has been activated.” Diomedes grinned and Patroclus glared at him. “Ok, ok, fine. I know a place by the way.” He pointed out.

Patroclus snorted. “You know a romantic, quiet place for dinner? I thought-”

Diomedes cocked an eyebrow. “How misunderstood I am…” He said dramatically. “There is a new restaurant at the other end of the city. Brand new! No one from our circle knows about it.” Patroclus perked up. “I’ll text you the name. You two lovebirds should be fine.” He winked at Patroclus.

“Diomedes, you’re a life saver!”

“I know, I know…”

Tonight then, Patroclus thought.

***

“We have a reservation.” Patroclus said. They had come to the restaurant Diomedes told them about and he even made the reservation under his name. Again.

“Your company is here?” The person at the front desk smiled at him.

“Um… yes. They’re outside.” He said nervously. “Give me a second.”

Achilles was waiting outside and Patroclus motioned for him to come inside. His paranoia was getting a bit out of hand. They had decided when they left the house for Achilles to wait for him down the street since Patroclus would leave the house 30 minutes later.

Achilles joined Patroclus inside the restaurant and he nervously smiled at the person holding the reservations.

“Name please?” He looked through the reservations book.

“Tydides.” Patroclus said quickly. The man nodded and a woman showed them the table, which was as he had ordered Diomedes to request during his reservation call, at the far back of the restaurant.

The woman left the menus on the table. “Let me know when you’re ready.”

Patroclus smiled nervously at her.

Achilles was flipping through the menu. “What are we getting, love?” He smiled.

“Let’s get something to eat and get the hell out of here.” Patroclus was looking around the restaurant nervously.

Achilles reached over and caressed his hand. “Relax, love. We came to spend a nice night out.”

Patroclus withdrew his hand. “Are you crazy? No holding hands in public. Someone could see us.” He hissed and Achilles sighed.

“I think I’m gonna have the risotto.” Achilles said. “What are you having?”

“Spaghetti.”

Achilles motioned to the waitress to get their order when Patroclus’ eyes widened and his breath was caught in his throat.

“What happened?” Achilles asked.

“Atrides.” Patroclus whispered. “Menelaus Atrides.” He gasped when he saw Menelaus noticing him and waved at him. He was now approaching their table and Patroclus wanted to crawl somewhere and die.

“Patroclus. Long time no see, my friend.” Menelaus exclaimed.

Patroclus smiled nervously. “How are you, Menelaus?”

Menelaus smiled at him. “I’m good. I’m here with my wife, Helen, Agamemnon and his wife are waiting for me at the table and I just called to see whether the Trojans brothers will make an appearance.” While Menelaus was listing everyone Patroclus wouldn’t want to stumble upon, he was mentally cursing Diomedes and his great recommendation.

“So, Cassandra is here and you’re also expecting Paris and Hector?” Patroclus asked just to be sure he heard correctly.

Menelaus nodded. “We’ll see if these two turn up eventually.” He turned towards Achilles who didn’t dare speak as of now. “You must be Achilles. Briseis’ boyfriend.” He extended his arm and Achilles shook it, smiling at him. “Everyone around here’s been talking about the handsome man who’s going to marry our little Bri.”

Patroclus scoffed. “So, this is what everyone’s been talking about?” He said sarcastically.

Menelaus chuckled. “Come on, Pat, you know how we love Briseis. We were surprised she settled down so early.” Patroclus tried not to show his annoyance. “It’s very nice to see you two out together.” Patroclus’ eyes widened. “It’s been said that you don’t get along which is such a shame since you could be best buds. Brothers-in-law.”

“We don’t get along!” Patroclus cut him off.

“Yes, yes we don’t.” Achilles tried to back him up.

Menelaus furrowed his eyebrows. “We just try for Briseis’ sake.” Patroclus explained.

“So is Briseis here?” Menelaus asked.

“Yes.” “No.” Patroclus and Achilles said at the same time.

“Yes or no?” Menelaus questioned.

“Yes, she’s here in the restaurant. No, not here right now.” Patroclus tried to cover it up.

“Where is she?”

“She’s in the bathroom. Something must have given her a bad stomach.” Patroclus gestured to the bathroom.

Menelaus looked at him sympathetically. “Poor girl…”

“I wouldn’t come to the restaurant with Achilles and not Bri.” Patroclus wanted to make sure that any suspicion was cleared.

“Why not? I think it would be wonderful.” Menelaus exclaimed.

Achilles smiled at that but quickly covered it up when he saw Patroclus’ glare. “I must leave you now. I need to get back to my table. We’ll arrange one night for a poker game. My house. Achilles, you’re very much welcomed.” Menelaus patted his shoulder.

“Sure.” Achilles grinned at him and Patroclus kicked him under the table. Achilles’ smile vanished.

“See you, lads.” Menelaus said and Patroclus could breathe again.

Patroclus followed him with his eyes until the coast was clear. “Come on, we’re leaving.” He said hurriedly, standing up.

“Where are we going?” Achilles tried to stop him.

“Didn’t you see? Everyone is here. We can’t stay.”

“There can be another way.” Achilles offered.

“Yes, if Briseis comes out of the bathroom.” Patroclus said sarcastically.

Achilles sighed. “Ok, fine. Let’s go.”

Patroclus stopped. “Where are you going?”

“You said we’re leaving.” Achilles said as a matter of fact.

“We can’t leave together.” Patroclus hissed. “I’ll leave first and then you.”

Achilles sighed but nodded.

“Good night.” Patroclus said and made his way towards the exit of the restaurant.

“Are you ready to order?” The waitress asked Achilles.

Achilles was standing up from his seat nervously smiling at the girl in front of him. “What’s the dish of the day?”

“Spaghetti alla Genovese.” The girl replied.

“I’ll get that.” He said.

“And the gentleman?”

“What gentleman?” Achilles asked.

“The gentleman you were with.”

“Uh… the gentleman. He left.” Achilles answered. “So, as you can see, he’s not a gentleman at all.” Achilles tried to act irritated.

“So, you’re all alone?”

“Yes. I’m left all alone.”

“So, should I bring you the spaghetti?”

“Um… better not. I’m on my own. So… I better head out.” He gestured towards the door. “What should I do? Eat on my own?” He giggled nervously.

“Sure…” The waitress said confused.

Achilles nodded. “Good night, then.” He waved at her nervously as he was taking a few steps back. “And I wish you the best with the restaurant.” He said and quickly vanished.

The waitress was left confused and irritated. “If we have customers like you, they’re gonna close us down.”

***

The next morning Patroclus was furious with Diomedes as he was narrating to him the events of last night.

“Another night, another fail.” Patroclus collapsed onto his chair. “When will this stop?”

Diomedes felt bad for his friend. “It’s hard, I know. I didn’t even know where these assholes knew about the restaurant. I didn’t even go to the restaurant. It’s very brand new.” Diomedes exclaimed.

“Well, they did.” Patroclus said under his breath.

“We’ll think of something.” Diomedes offered but Patroclus was starting to lose faith. Always something happened that would just ruin their night.

“Yeah right…” Patroclus rolled his eyes.

He just wanted a night with Achilles. Although he was acting very nervous and was pushing Achilles away whenever Achilles was being affectionate towards him, he loved when Achilles was holding his hand, touching his hair and called him love. It was the reason he kept doing this. But on the other hand, his anxiety of getting caught was always there, haunting him.

He had to think of something.

He needed to even he wanted a night with Achilles.

All alone. By themselves.

***

Achilles had his day off today, so he slept in until noon. Briseis left him a note telling him that she would visit the organization’s office since they were preparing some new flyers to hand out to people around the city. Part of Achilles was kind of thankful that Briseis had something new to be preoccupied with so he could be freer seeing Patroclus, but another part of him thought all these hours he spent on the organization, he was feeling left out, as her boyfriend.

But that was Briseis. She was always experiencing things without caring what anyone else said or thought. This is why when she decided to study in Rome no one was surprised. That was also the reason when she said she’ll drop out and move permanently back home no one was surprised either. The wedding part was what everyone was mostly surprised with. Briseis was a free spirit. They never thought she would actually settle down. Let alone marry at such a young age. That was the reason everyone was hyped about Achilles and the wedding situation. They never saw that coming and now they were getting excited she proved them wrong.

Achilles was walking down the stairs. He yawned and stretched, when he heard the door bell ring. He took a look around the living room and when he called Chiron’s name and no reply came, he decided to open the door.

As soon as he opened the door, his mouth dropped open.

A tall woman with thick, long hair and piercing blue eyes was staring at him.

“Mom?” He stuttered in disbelief.

“I came for the wedding.” She smirked at him.

Achilles was standing frozen.

Chapter Text

“I like this one.” Patroclus was tasting some samples of cheese that they had brought him in the kitchen.

“Yeah, I like that one as well. Has a spicy kick to it.” Penelope took another bite from the sample.

Patroclus was at the restaurant, tasting samples, making orders and checking food supplies. Christmas was just around the corner, and the restaurant required a lot of things to be taken care of, since during this period, many people were visiting the restaurant and had a lot of demands to be met. Patroclus couldn’t care less about the customers’ demands, but Penelope was always right by him, making sure not to let him sidetrack and making sure everything was ready for Christmas time. The rest of the stuff had even decorated the dining area and they made an attempt to surprise Patroclus, but the only reaction they got was a flat “Very nice guys. Merry Christmas. Dee, where’s my coffee?” Penelope tried to cheer them up and excuse Patroclus’ behavior but it was useless. They all knew how grumpy Patroclus was getting as the years passed, compared to when they had firstly met him. At least the oldest ones that have been working there since the first few years Patroclus took over the restaurant.

Patroclus nodded in agreement. “This one.” He pointed. “Are we done here?” he asked and Penelope could already tell that he was done with everything.

“Yes, that is all.” Penelope informed the rest of them and made a summary of what they would order.

“Thank God.” Patroclus mattered. “I’m going back to the office.” He gestured towards his office and Penelope nodded.

The rest of the day Patroclus spent it in his office and couldn’t wait to go home and rest.

***

“So you said that Achilles, right here is an artist as well.” Menoetes sipped his tea.

Menoetes, Thetis, Achilles and Chiron had been sitting in the living room, having some tea. Thetis was reminiscing Achilles’ childhood, with Achilles being overly embarrassed and uncomfortable, while Menoetes seemed to be interested in whatever Thetis was saying. They seemed to agree in a lot of things as well which didn’t really surprise Achilles, but part of him thought that Thetis was doing it on purpose since he hasn’t visited her as soon as he returned and only phoned her to tell her about the wedding.

Thetis looked over at Achilles and smiled. “Oh, yes. My little boy played guitar since he was very, very young. He was even writing songs!”

Achilles blushed a little, thinking about the era when he was writing lame love songs about his crush in his room. This also brought memories of the period of confusion. Did he like his teacher, Mrs. Woods or his classmate, Ares? That period of his life was the most confusing, difficult, yet the most exciting one since he came to a realization that he didn’t care who he liked after all. Boys, girls… it didn’t matter as long as he enjoyed the process. Enjoyed being who he is and having people that also enjoyed being around him. So, this was the reason he never really had any official “coming out”. He was just Achilles. One day having ice-cream with Athena, the girl he was having Physics with and the next laying on his bed with Ares listening to his favorite band. No one ever questioned. Achilles was a free spirit and he never felt obliged to fit within rules. He bends the rules and if the circumstances need it, he reforms the rules himself.

“Mother, please.” Achilles eyed her, “You’re embarrassing me. That was such a long time ago.”

Thetis left a throaty laugh. “Oh come on, Achilles. You were great.” She tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear.

Thetis was a ravishing woman. Tall, with big blue eyes and thick brown hair that reached just above her waist. She was always wearing expensive, designer clothes with bright colors that flattered the strong parts of her body which made her stand out in a crowd. Her and Achilles had always had a love/hate relationship with each other. Ever since she and Achilles’ father, Peleus, broke up – a very rough break up – Achilles was torn between living in two houses. Thetis was always overprotective over him so Achilles never brought anyone in the house. She knew how to scare everyone off. He always wanted the best for him, even when Achilles didn’t want the best university nor study but rather live off by writing songs and playing music with his guitar on local pubs, and that also included finding the best partner, which according to Thetis was someone rich, with a name of themselves and most preferred a girl, because she wanted grandchildren like crazy. Achilles never promised her any of that because he himself never was the parent-like kind of guy.

Achilles was ready to argue when they heard the door close and everyone turned around to find an irritated Briseis.

“Who put up the tree?!” She almost screamed taking everyone by surprise.

Achilles with Chiron had decided to surprise Briseis by putting up the Christmas tree and decorate it, while Thetis was talking with Menoetes. After they finished, to Achilles dislike, they joined them in the living room.

Achilles stood up from the couch and flashed her with a confident smile gesturing over the tree. “Chiron and I decided to surprise you. Do you like it, babe?”

“Like it? Like it?!” She was fuming which took everyone by surprise. Even Thetis who never really showed any emotions that couldn’t handle. “This is dead! It takes 20 years for a tree to grow! I can’t believe you committed such a crime!” She accused and stomped her feet. She grunted and took off to the stairs.

When she had disappeared, there were a few minutes of silence before Thetis speaking, “Is that… Briseis?” She asked a little taken aback.

Chiron nodded and cleared his throat. “That’s our… little girl.”

Thetis smiled awkwardly. “Lovely girl.”

“I’m going for a walk.” Achilles said irritated, grabbing his jacket and leaving the house slamming the door on his way out.

***

Patroclus was dragging his feet. He was in no mood for anything and all he wanted to do was hole up into his room and not come back until he was emotionally and physically ready to interact with people again. He was exhausted for being around people for so long. He wanted to just shut off and have some time for himself. Just him and his bed.

He opened the door, barely hung his coat and made his way to the stairs when he heard someone clearing their throats. He turned around and found a very attractive woman staring at him with a smirk. She must have been older than him, possibly around her late 40s. Patroclus didn’t even have the power to utter a word so he just nodded at her and went straight to his room.

He kicked off his shoes, threw his bag somewhere in the room and collapsed onto the bed. As soon as his aching body hit the soft mattress he let out a hum of content. He smiled at himself with his eyes closed. He could fall asleep like that; with his feet hanging out of the bed and his clothes on. He didn’t mind. He was ready to make his wish come true when he heard the door open and close.

He groaned.

“Pat,” he heard Briseis’ voice though he didn’t open his eyes, “fratellino!” Briseis was now shaking him which made Patroclus groan louder.

“What…” He trailed off.

“Did you see her?” Briseis asked and Patroclus could tell that she was sounding nervous.

Patroclus furrowed his brows. He had opened up by eyes by now. He rose into a sitting position. “Who?” He asked confused.

“Achilles’ mother.” Briseis stated and Patroclus looked at her horrified.

“That…” he gestured downstairs, “that woman is Achilles’ mother?”

Briseis nodded frantically. “I came home and I didn’t notice her because I was furious about the Christmas tree. I mean, what crime can someone commit against the environment! Did you know that it takes 20 years for a tree to-”

“Bri.” Patroclus cut her off.

“Yes, sorry. Well, I was furious about it so I almost screamed to their faces and called them criminals and just ran off to my room without even introducing myself or anything.” She concluded and Patroclus chuckled. That was such a Briseis thing to do. Emotions over anything. “By the way did you know about it?” Briseis crossed her arms on her chest.

“What? That Achilles’ mother was coming? How should I know about it?” He acted offended.

“No. I’m talking about the tree. Pat, did you know about the Christmas tree?” She was serious and Patroclus would have laughed at her face if he wasn’t feeling tired from work and nervous because basically she blew Achilles’ mother off. The Menoetides’ siblings will not have a good reputation after that.

“When did I ever care about Christmas decoration, Bri?” He said. “The thing now is that I kind of blew Achilles’ mother as well. I was tired so I didn’t even greet her. I just came straight to my room.” Patroclus stood up. “Come on,” she motioned for her to get up as well, “we need to introduce ourselves properly. Father will be furious.”

Briseis agreed and stood up as well.

***

They were having dinner all of the together, apart from Achilles who hadn’t come back from the walk he took after Briseis’ outburst. Briseis didn’t seem to mind as she was munching on her food without actually participating in the conversation, not that Patroclus was particularly interested since they were talking business and money. Patroclus hated both, so he stayed quiet slowly nodding his head when he was being addressed. He was mostly interested, and worried on Achilles’ whereabouts. He wanted to ask Briseis whether he had sent her any messages but he decided against it not wanting to target himself.

“So, Patroclus,” Thetis started and Patroclus was startled by the steadiness of her voice, “what about you?” She asked and Patroclus took a bite of his roasted potato.

“What about me?” He shrugged and popped the piece of vegetable into his mouth.

“Are you in a relationship?” She tucked her hands under her chin watching him intensely.

Patroclus chocked on his food and Briseis handed him his glass of water.

The front door was heard, and Patroclus was thankful for saving him. Achilles walked into the room where everyone was having dinner. He was wearing black skinny jeans, a grey T-shirt and he had his leather jacket on. His hair was a bit tangled possible from the wind outside. His outfit made Patroclus wonder how come he didn’t get cold since it was December and the weather was getting cold, though the winters here weren’t as tough.

“Good evening.” He greeted.

“Where were you, amore?” Briseis asked in guilt.

“For a walk.” He combed his hair with his fingers.

“Took you some time.” Thetis mumbled, cutting the meat with her fork and knife, not looking at him.

Chiron quickly stood up, “I’ll bring a plate to eat with us.”

Achilles stopped him. “No, it’s fine. I’m not hungry. Thank you, Chiron.” He smiled at him. “I’m gonna take a shower.” He was out of the room as soon as he said it.

Patroclus wanted to follow him, hug him and tell him how much he missed him. Tonight, he wanted him more than ever, but he knew it was his fault if Achilles would take his distance with him. It was, after all, Patroclus’ fault. He was always pushing him away. Not because he didn’t love him or wanted to be with. But exactly the opposite. He loved and wanted him but he was someone else’s.

“Excuse me.” Briseis said and stood up from the chair as well following Achilles.

Thetis cocked an eyebrow. “Kids. They get excited and then they fall off face flat.” She shrugged her shoulder, her hair moving along with the movement. “Love at this age is like fireworks. It kicks off hard, makes an explosion, a mess, and then it does out as soon as it came and it leaves.”

Menoetes and Chiron looked at her curiously. Patroclus was confused. Before anyone could say anything she continued, “But that they’re own stuff. They’ll grow up eventually. You need to have patience, especially with people like Achilles. He’s a hard one to tame. He just needs someone a little more mindful. Someone who can balance him out.” She turned to look over at Patroclus. “Right, Patroclus?” She smirked.

Patroclus was stunned. He was listening to her, and for an instance he swore it was like talking to him though he never addressed him directly until now. “I guess.” He stuttered.

“You mean someone like Briseis.” Menoetes stated but he seemed unsure as well.

“Why not…” She smiled and turned to Chiron. “So what’s for dessert?”

Menoetes didn’t seem as satisfied with the answer but he didn’t question it much. Patroclus on the other hand was left as confused as ever.

***

Patroclus woke up the next day and found a message on his phone.

“I miss you. Please, I need to see you.”

Patroclus smiled at the screen. He wanted to see him as well.

“Ok, tonight. I know a quite bar. I’ll text you later the address.”

He sent and after a second he added. “I miss you too.”

He was smiling to himself and it was like his mood had completely changed from yesterday.

He dressed up and made his way down the stairs whistling a song to himself.

“Good morning, Patroclus.” Patroclus stopped dead in his tracks.

Thetis was standing in the middle of the living room with a cup of what must have been coffee, smiling at him. Even as early as it was, she was looking like a literal goddess. Patroclus guessed this was where Achilles took his genes from.

“Good morning.” Patroclus said shyly. He didn’t know, but this woman was startling him.

“I see you’re in a rather good mood today.” She smiled. “I hope my arriving here wasn’t much of a discomfort. Yesterday you seemed rather tired, so I apologize.”

Patroclus was stunned. She was apologizing where Patroclus was the one who was initially rude to her. Patroclus shook his head. “It’s ok.”

“I had to come. I hadn’t seen Achilles in months.” She explained. Why was she explaining herself to Patroclus, though? That was what Patroclus found weird.

Patroclus nodded. “I understand.”

“Then, it’s the wedding.” She took a sip of her coffee and looked towards the window. “God, knows what he had in his mind.” She muttered but Patroclus heard her. “Do you think it’s happening?” She turned around, now looking at him directly in his eyes.

“The wedding?” Patroclus asked. “I mean, that’s what they say.” Patroclus looked over Thetis shoulder.

Thetis laughed and Patroclus looked at her weirdly. When she sobered up, her face was changed completely. She was staring right in his eyes with a serious expression. “Would you like that wedding to happen?”

She had caught him off guard and Patroclus shifted in his seat.

“Patroclus.” Chiron came from the kitchen and Patroclus let out a small breath. “Good morning. I have your breakfast ready in the kitchen.”

Thetis gave Chiron a small smile, though Patroclus could see that she was rather disappointed with Chiron entering the room and not getting her answer.

“Thank you, Chiron, but I need to dash.” He said and walked towards the hanger to get his coat. “Bye.” He greeted them and left the house as quickly as he could.

What the hell had just happened? Why Thetis was so weird with Patroclus? Asking him whether he would like the wedding to happen? Yes, Patroclus was the big brother after all, but he rarely had any saying in what happened in the house. Let alone in what Briseis does in her personal life.

The thoughts and a weird feeling couldn’t leave his body but he forgot about it when he felt his phone vibrating in his pocket.

He quickly fetched it and looked at the screen.

“I’ll wait. I love you.”

***

They were sitting at the bar, their drinks on their table. Patroclus tried to calm his nerves and decided to be relaxed. He was sick and tired of watching his every step, but as soon as he entered the bar, he felt relieved. There weren’t many people there and the lights were low with soft music playing on the background. He felt much better. However, he had made sure to let Achilles go first and then for him to come with a couple of minutes delay so as not get targeted.

“You know, your mom, was a bit…” Patroclus tried to pinpoint exactly what it was.

Achilles shook his head. “She can be weird sometimes. Don’t mind her too much. She always wants to mingle into everything.”

Patroclus looked at him. “She’s not bad. It’s… she keeps talking weird to me. But maybe it’s just me.” He shrugged it off.

Achilles got closer and placed one hand on Patroclus’ thigh. It was like the touch sent electricity up and down his spine. “I missed you so much.” He whispered.

Patroclus was frozen for a few seconds, but nodded. “I missed you too.”

Achilles leaned in to give him a kiss but Patroclus cut him off. “Not here. Someone could see us.”

“Where then?” Achilles whined.

Patroclus sighed. “I don’t know. I don’t want a hotel. I keep thinking of what happened last time.”

Achilles rubbed his hands together and then, he smiled cheekily. “I know. You have the car, so we could…”

Patroclus looked at his mischievous grin. “Achilles…”

“Come on, babe, we’ll drive somewhere secluded. No one will see us. I promise.” He kept insisting.

Maybe it was the alcohol. Maybe it was Achilles pleading eyes or the way he looked super hot tonight. Or maybe it was Patroclus’ own desire over Achilles that he actually agreed to it. Achilles almost jumped out of joy and after a few minutes they were out of the bar and driving with Patroclus car.

And as he was watching the side of Achilles’ face as Achilles was driving, he wished it would always be that way as they were driving into the night.

***

“I would like to give him the name Zeus.” Thetis smiled, holding the mug of steaming hot tea in her cold hands. “I always liked that name.” She expressed.

Thetis and Menoetes were sitting in the kitchen while Chiron was washing the dishes and Briseis had come a couple of minutes ago, looking for something to snack on before leaving again for another activist march, and she stumbled upon the discussion between Thetis and Menoetes about future grandchildren.

Briseis rolled her eyes at that. “What if it’s a girl?” She asked.

“Well, then, I’d like for her to have my name. Thetis.” Thetis blew on her tea and took a sip.

“I agree. It’s more proper. The first newborn should take the name after the man’s mother.” Menoetes agreed.

“What are we even talking about?” Briseis took a bite from her apple. “We don’t even know if I can have children.”

Thetis was taken aback by this and Menoetes looked at her sternly. “Of course you can have children. Don’t be silly, Briseis.” Menoetes exclaimed which calmed Thetis but she was still eying Briseis.

Patroclus entered the kitchen to grab some water.

“Patroclus, do you like the name Zeus?” Chiron asked wiping a plate.

“What?” Patroclus looked confused.

“We’re talking about baby names.” Briseis rolled her eyes.

“Why? Are you pregnant?” Patroclus asked a little nervous.

“No.” Menoetes said. “But for when she will be.”

Patroclus let out a shaky breath. “It’s fine, I guess.”

“What if we named it Patroclus?” Briseis said excitedly and Patroclus rolled her eyes.

“Briseis, I don’t appreciate your humor today.” Menoetes scolded her but Briseis didn’t mind to care.

“I think we just have to wait first for Briseis to get pregnant.” Thetis spoke and looked at Patroclus. There it was again. The stares. “If that happens of course.”

“Oh it will! They’re getting married so after that a pregnancy is to be expected.” Menoetes interjected.

Patroclus nodded gulping his water. “While you wait, I’m going to my room. When it’s born, please let me know.” He gave them a tight-lipped smile and exited the room.

Thetis smirked.

“This boy…” Menoetes shook his head. “Excuse his behavior, Thetis.” Menoetes tried to excuse Patroclus’ behavior.

Thetis sat back on the chair and crossed her arms. “I quite like him.” She said and everyone looked at her.

***

“So, are we going to meet tonight?” Achilles asked; a small smile playing on his lips.

He was currently talking on the phone with Patroclus. He had a shift at the restaurant and he was taking his break so he decided to call Patroclus. He wanted to hear his voice and more importantly he wanted to see him again. Three days had passed since their last date at the bar that ended into a passionate night in Patroclus’ car and Achilles couldn’t wait any longer. However, there was the problem that, now, his mom was also in the house so they had to be extra careful.

Patroclus was weighing his options in his head. Say no because he was too afraid of sneaking around especially now that Thetis, who still kept looking at him like something was off, was in the house, or obey to his heart and say “fuck you” to everything and everyone and yes to Achilles?  

He was ready to reply, when there was a knock on the door. He quickly sobered up.

“Pat…” Penelope started but seeing that Patroclus was on the phone she didn’t finish her sentence.

“Yes, yes, we’ll talk again later. Now I have some work to do. Good afternoon to you too, Mr.” Patroclus said formally and ended the call.

“Who was it?” Penelope asked taking a seat on the chair opposite Patroclus.

“Some new supplier for vegetables.” He waved his hand. “What’s the matter?” he asked her so as to take the attention away from him.

“Nothing. I was just wondering, would you like to have dinner tonight?”

Patroclus wasn’t really sure what to answer. If he said yes, then he would have to ditch Achilles. If he said no, however, he had to find an excuse why he was declining her offer since Patroclus rarely had any other offerings to go out.

He wasn’t speaking for a while and Penelope decided to break his silence. “Oh, I get it.” She said. “Achilles’ mother is in the house so you all probably want to talk about the wedding and stuff.”

Patroclus nodded and gave her an apologetic smile. Thank God, Patroclus thought.

“How’s that going by the way?” Penelope cocked her head on the side.

Patroclus shrugged. “Eh, you know, talking about baby name.”

“Baby names?” She looked surprised. “Is Briseis pregnant?”

“No.” Patroclus pointed out.

Penelope chuckled. “I get it. Parents planning ahead.”

“That’s how it is.” He muttered.

Penelope stood up from the chair. “Anyway, I’m going. Need to do some paperwork before I leave.” She said and Patroclus waved at her before she exited the room.

***

“Sorry, pal. I can’t tonight.” Achilles patted Odysseus shoulder. “My mom is visiting as you know, so she can be a little pissy if I don’t spend the days she’s here with her.”

Odysseus had asked to go out for a drink after work, but Achilles was thinking about Patroclus and how he wanted to see him tonight, so he declined. Since Achilles had made sure to inform him upon his mother’s arrival, he also took this as a perfect excuse to decline to Odysseus invitation. Under other circumstances, he would have said yes. Odysseus had become his best friend and he enjoyed his company, but just tonight wasn’t the night for that.

Odysseus nodded in understanding. “No worries, mate. Another time.” He said and looked over to where Penelope was standing outside Patroclus’ office, making her way to the bar.

Achilles, over the months that he was working along with Odysseus, had picked up on Odysseus’ crush on Penelope and he would sometimes tease him about it, which led to Odysseus always waving him off with “whatever, man”.

Achilles raised his eyebrows at the sight of Odysseus’ eyes following Penelope’s every move. “Come on, go ahead and ask her out. You just found your company tonight.” Achilles crossed his arms over his chest. His biceps becoming more visible underneath the thin material of the shirt he was wearing.

Odysseus looked at him nervous. “You think?” He looked over at where Penelope was drinking her beverage. “What if she says no?”

Achilles gripped his shoulder to get his attention. “You’ll never know if you don’t ask her.”

Odysseus gulped but nodded. “Ok.” He said and took a step further.

“Go tiger!” Achilles cheered which earned him a glare and a smile afterwards.

As he was watching Odysseus talking with Penelope, he looked over to Patroclus’ office. He had 5 more minutes before his break was over so after checking around and making sure no one was looking at him, he found himself knocking on the door as a faint “come in” was heard from the other side.

***

Patroclus was in his room getting ready for his date with Achilles. Achilles was still at the restaurant, it was late afternoon and the excuse that he would say is that tonight he would be taking over the night shift as well, as Odysseus felt a little sick. Patroclus, on the other hand, would say that he would be having dinner with Penelope. They had mastered the art of lying Patroclus was thinking and although that made him sad and sighing, he also couldn’t find another way of doing things without hurting anyone.

He was going through his wardrobe to decide what to wear when he heard a knock on his door.

“Come in.” He said without looking.

“Good afternoon, Patroclus.” Patroclus looked up hearing the voice.

Thetis was standing in his room, looking more ravishing as ever and Patroclus was taken aback.

“Good afternoon.” He said nervously. “Has anything happened?”

Thetis closed the door and took a seat on the small armchair Patroclus had on the corner of his room. “Tomorrow morning, I’m leaving.” She stated.

“So soon?” Patroclus asked confused.

Thetis nodded. “I’ve done my part.” She said which left Patroclus more confused. “I wanted to talk to you before I leave. I figured since tomorrow morning you’d be at work, and everyone else will be here, now, it’d be the perfect time. I wanted as to be alone. Chiron is doing some work at the garden and your father is resting.” She informed him.

“What’s the matter?” Patroclus was alarmed.

“Take a seat, Patroclus.” She gestured towards the bed. “And don’t look so nervous all the time. You’ll make everyone wondering.”

Patroclus took a seat and gulped. “What…”

Thetis chuckled. “Patroclus, whatever you might have heard from Achilles about me, yes, it’s true. I might be a controlling, strict woman, but above everything I am a mother. And as a mother, I know my child.” She started. Patroclus wanted to ask what this had to do with anything and object over the fact that Achilles would ever say to him anything so personal since (supposedly) they were not getting along, so the chances of having any conversation of that kind was highly unlikely. Which was a total lie obviously. Achilles had told him how his mother was always interfering with anything that had to do with his personal life. But that had to be left aside. “I know everything, Patroclus.” She said and Patroclus looked elsewhere.

“What do-”

Thetis cut him off. “Don’t even try, Patroclus. As I said I know my boy. And I know what type of people he likes. How he acts when he’s in love and I’m also very observant…” She smiled. “So I knew from the first minute that I saw you at the dinner table who Achilles loved, and believe me, it’s not your sister.”

“Please, don’t say anything.” Patroclus pleaded her. There was no point in denying anything. He knew that Thetis was not a person that you could argue with, especially when she was right.

Thetis placed her hands on his. “Patroclus. I’m not going to say anything. All I want to say to you is take care of him. Achilles is very impulsive and let his emotions drive him. But you need to be careful. That’s all I’m saying.” Thetis had taken her motherly figure and Patroclus wanted to hug her. She stood up and Patroclus mimicked her. “Also, you need to stop sneaking around. You’re getting too obvious. At least for people who actually have eyes and actually care to see what’s going on around them.” She looked over the door.

“Thank you.” Patroclus said. It was the only thing he could actually utter. He was stunned with this confrontation.

Thetis smiled at him and hugged him.

They broke apart and Thetis made it to the door. “Goodbye, Patroclus.” She took a last look on him and smiled before exiting the room.

“Goodbye.” Patroclus whispered but she was already gone.

Chapter Text

“So, how did the date go?” Achilles raised his eyebrows with a smirk on his face.

Odysseus sipped on his drink. “Alright, I guess.” He shrugged and Achilles furrowed his brows.

It had been two days since Thetis had left and Achilles had his day off, so he didn’t have the time to catch up with Odysseus on his date with Penelope. But from the look on Odysseus’ face, it wasn’t as expected.

“Why? Did anything happen?” Achilles asked curious.

Odysseus sighed. “I think she has someone on her mind.”

“Why do you think that?”

“The way she was talking to me, it was like she kept her distance you know…” He seemed kind of upset and Achilles felt bad for his friend.

“Do you know who he is?”

Odysseus shook his head. “I’ve no idea. Do you think it’s someone from work?” He asked.

Achilles thought. “Seems very likely. She spends too much time at the restaurant.”

Odysseus sighed. “I’m screwed. How are we going to find out who this dude is?” He whined.

Achilles patted Odysseus on the shoulder. “We’ll find him, man. Don’t worry.”

Odysseus nodded and he finally smirked having an idea. “Why don’t you ask Patroclus? He must know. They’re friends. They spend too much time together.”

Achilles looked kind of uncomfortable. “How should I ask him? Man, we’re not at good terms, you know it.”

Odysseus ran a hand through his hand. “I still don’t get why you don’t get along. You actually look like a type of guy, Patroclus would be fond of.”

Achilles almost choked, but he tried to keep his cool. “How so?”

“Well, I just assumed based on a rumor of his past boyfriend.” He shrugged. “I don’t know. You seem like you could be best mates.”

“Yeah?” Achilles was getting curious to know about Patroclus ex. “How was this dude?”

Odysseus didn’t really suspect anything so kept talking. “Tall, slender, brunette, kind of cheeky dude. He’s pretty known around here. His family runs the luxury hotel at the end of the street.”

Achilles cocked an eyebrow. “What’s his name?”

“Paris.”

Wait. He knew this name. He had heard it before.

“I’m good. I’m here with my wife, Helen, Agamemnon and his wife are waiting for me at the table and I just called to see whether the Trojans brothers will make an appearance.” While Menelaus was listing everyone Patroclus wouldn’t want to stumble upon, he was mentally cursing Diomedes and his great recommendation.

“So, Cassandra is here and you’re also expecting Paris and Hector?” Patroclus asked just to be sure he heard correctly.

Menelaus nodded. “We’ll see if these two turn up eventually.”

That night at the restaurant where they had met Menelaus, Patroclus had mentioned Paris’ name. That time he didn’t really notice it but Patroclus’ expression changed and the way he pronounced his name was a bit off, however, Achilles never questioned it. Everything happened so quickly that night, and they were – well at least Patroclus was – very anxious to leave the restaurant, so he never really asked anything. But now that Achilles thought about it, Patroclus seemed upset.

“So, do you know him?” Odysseus asked clueless, breaking him out of his thought.

“No.” Achilles said. “Never seen this dude in my life.”

“Well, then, you’re a lucky dude!” Odysseus exclaimed and Achilles looked at him confused. “Every year, here in the restaurant, on Christmas Eve, they are organizing a fundraiser. There’s a big dinner taking place with all of the “respected” and “wealthy” people from around the town, gathering and raising money for the less-fortunate.” He explained.

“And he’ll be coming?”

“Of course! He and his brother, Hector, are crazy rich and they love such events. Especially Hector. He just wants another occasion to flaunt his money and wife to the rest of the world.” Odysseus rolled his eyes. He took a sip from his drink.

“You will be there?” Achilles nodded at him.

“Well, obviously. It gets super busy. I don’t assume you’ll be working that day. You’ll be invited joining the Menoetiades family.” Odysseus chuckled.

Achilles shook his head and chuckled as well. “Right.”

They stayed at the bar for a little while until it was too late and Odysseus had a bit too much and he needed to get home. The events with Penelope was getting to him and although he wanted to help him there was not much he could do. Probably he would ask Patroclus, but Patroclus being Patroclus probably wouldn’t know either whom Penelope was in love with.

On his way home, Achilles couldn’t shake the thought of Patroclus with another man. He wanted to know more about what had happened between the two of them. Obviously Patroclus wouldn’t tell him, but he needed to know. He wanted to see this Paris guy. And more importantly what went down between the two. Maybe that was the reason Patroclus was more guarded and uneasy and it didn’t only have to do with the fact that Achilles was his sister’s fiancé. He wanted to know and he was determined to find out.

***

“So… what are you doing for Christmas Eve?” Achilles asked.

It has been a week ever since the conversation he had with Odysseus. Patroclus and Achilles were still sneaking around and today after a week of Achilles dying to get his hands on Patroclus, as if a great miracle happened, Menoetes with Chiron were visiting his cousin that was not doing great in a village that Achilles didn’t care to remember and Briseis would be spending the night at a shelter to take care of animals and do some volunteering work before Christmas.

“And what are you going to do without me?” Briseis had asked him smiling at him as she was packing her backpack.

Achilles just shrugged casually scrolling on his phone. “Probably ring Odysseus and go out. Maybe stay at his place for the night.”

“Yes, do that, amore. I’ll be back probably tomorrow afternoon.” She pecked his lips and left after saying their goodbyes.

Achilles was laying on the bed with Patroclus’ head on his chest. They were both naked with only a sheet covering them from the waist down. Patroclus curls were tickling his chest but he enjoyed the sensation. His soft curls were intertwined with his fingers, playing aimlessly. He missed that.

“Unfortunately we have this stupid annual dinner at the restaurant. The only reason I’m going is the fundraiser. Apart from that, I have no interest in being around fake, rich people who get even more pretentious during that time of the year.” Patroclus answered. His voice was low and kind of muffled from the half of his face been pressed to Achilles’ chest.

Achilles was playing with a strand of Patroclus’ hair. “Too bad. I had many dreams for that night. For us. Just us.”

Patroclus chuckled which vibrated through Achilles’ body. “Sorry, love.”

Achilles smiled at the sound of “love”. “So will I have to come as well?”

“Probably yes.” He sighed.

They were a few minutes of silence before Achilles decided to speak again. “So, I’ll meet Paris then.”

He felt Patroclus tense at the sound of Paris’ name. He lifted his head from Achilles’ chest and looked at him. “How do you know Paris?”

Achilles shrugged. He missed Patroclus’ body warmth already. “I don’t. I just heard you say his name the other night at the restaurant with that dude Menelaus, was it? You seemed pretty upset.”

Patroclus gulped. “I just don’t like him that much that’s all.”

“Really? How so?” Achilles pressed.

“I just don’t.” Patroclus huffed. “How come you mention Paris right now?”

Achilles decided not to say anything. He didn’t want to drag Odysseus’ name into it. Patroclus could get irrational and Achilles wouldn’t want his best friend losing his job for this, so he decided to drop it.

“You mentioned the dinner party and I just thought these people would be there.”

Patroclus calmed down a little bit and took his spot laying on Achilles’ chest again. “I told you, fake, pretentious, rich people. All of them will be there.”

Achilles was stroking Patroclus’ hair and Patroclus was getting very relaxed. “Can I ask you something?” Achilles said and Patroclus hummed. “Do you know, by any chance, if Penelope is seeing someone or just, you know, she has a crush or something?”

He had promised Odysseus that he would try to help him, so the first step was ask Patroclus whether he knew if Penelope was involved with someone or not.

“Not that I know of. Why?” Patroclus’ eyes were slowly closing.

“Nothing. Just asking for a friend.”

Patroclus was already half-asleep by now, so when the first soft snores could be heard, Achilles switched off the lights and shifted on the bed so he could be hugging Patroclus’ body properly.

***

Patroclus was working at the office already missing the night he had spent with Achilles. His head on his chest and his fingers twirling his curls. And he knew tonight wouldn’t be the same as he would sleep alone in his bed as always.

Penelope walked into the office with a smile on her face. “Good morning, Pat.” She greeted him and he did the same.

She was looking for something in the bookcase they had all the files and binders stacked. He remembered about Achilles asking him about Penelope and her love life though he was on the verge of sleep to even think properly. But the thing was, he didn’t know. He didn’t know if Penelope was indeed dating someone or had a crush or anything romantic related in her life. That made him feel guilty, because after all, Penelope had become one of his best friends over the years they’ve been working together in the restaurant.

“Penny?”  Penelope wasn’t looking at him, still searching for whatever it was she had been looking for but she nodded. “Are you seeing anyone?”

As soon as Patroclus said it, Penelope froze and turned around to look at him. “Why are you asking me that?”

“I don’t know. I just… I never asked you about it and I feel like I should know since you’re my friend.” Patroclus explained. “Don’t feel pressured to tell me anything if you don’t want to.” He added quickly.

“So you’re asking me because you’re my friend?”

Patroclus nodded. “Yes. And I want to know if you are happy. Why else?”

Penelope’s face fell a little bit. “No. I’m not seeing anyone. Thanks for your concern.” She said and picked up the binders she was looking for. “Now, if you excuse me, I have work to do.” She picked up her things and vanished.

Patroclus was confused thinking that maybe he shouldn’t have asked and that he was just getting too personal. But it was just a harmless question. He saw Penelope as one of his dearest friends and he should be able to know whether she was happy in her personal life.

Her behavior was kind of weird so Patroclus thought that maybe she did hide something or more specifically, someone. The thing was though, why was she hiding them from Patroclus.

***

“She’s not seeing anyone.” Patroclus said.

Achilles raised an eyebrow. “Really? No one?”

Patroclus shrugged. “That’s what she told me at least.”

Patroclus decided to take a break and go to the front bar and grab something to eat. He knew Achilles’ break was about this time, so he thought maybe they could get a couple minutes to catch up. They were at work after all, both taking a break.

“And you believe her, I assume.”

Patroclus was a little hesitant. “Well… she did seem kind off. Like I told her that I asked her about since we’re friends and I care whether she’s happy in her personal life and stuff and she seemed kind of mad.”

“Kinda sketchy.” Achilles commented. “There must be something else.”

Patroclus looked at his watch. “Well, for now, that’s all I have. And I need to get back to work.”

Achilles looked at him longingly “I wish I could kiss you right now.”

“You know you can’t.” Patroclus said. “Save it for another time.” Patroclus looked around to see if anyone was looking at them and he gave him a wink before disappearing.

Achilles stayed and finished his coffee. He was thinking of what Patroclus had told him about Penelope. Something didn’t feel right. Odysseus said that Penelope must have had a crush on someone else and judging from his character, he seemed kind of a clever guy. Not so easy to be fooled. Well, except from his relationship with Patroclus. And he was thankful for that.

He had to speak with Penelope.

***

Achilles was done with work, so he was about to leave. He took a glimpse around towards Patroclus’ office to see if anyone was around, so he would just pop into the office and give him the kiss he was holding on from lunch break. He was smiling making his way to the office and just when he was about to knock he noticed Penelope in the corner walking towards the office as well. She wasn’t looking in front of her since she was busy looking down at her phone, so Achilles quickly entered the office, closing the door behind him.

Patroclus was surprised but before he could say anything Achilles spoke quickly. “Penelope is coming.”

Patroclus’ eyes widened. “Quick, come here.” He was pointing underneath the desk.

Achilles quickly ducked under the desk, just at the time Penelope knocked on the door.

Patroclus readjusted in his seat, trying to fit his legs since the space was occupied by Achilles’ body.

“Hey.” Patroclus said casual.

“Hey, um…” Penelope seemed hesitant. “I just wanted to apologize about, you know… previously when you asked me if I’m dating anyone.”

Patroclus nodded. “It’s alright. I get it. It’s personal stuff.”

Penelope was rocking back and forth and seemed kind of nervous. “Pat…” she started, “would you… would you like to have dinner tonight?” She asked.

Patroclus took a few seconds to answer. He had missed going out with Penelope because she was a really nice person to talk to and have a good time and it was also the fact that he had blown her off quite frequently ever since Achilles had entered his life. Something that it could have been highly suspicious if there wasn’t this spread-out rumor that he and Achilles didn’t get along.

“I’ll get it if you’re busy.” Penelope added seeing Patroclus was taking too long to answer.

“Yes. I’d love to have dinner.” He smiled at her.

Penelope’s face lit up at the sound of it. “Great! I’ll see you tonight then. At our usual spot.” She said and exited the office.

Patroclus let out a long sigh. “You can come out now.”

Achilles came out of under the desk, looking rather irritated. “What was that about?” He asked.

“What do you mean?” Patroclus furrowed his brows.

“You’re going out with her? At your ‘usual spot’?” He air-quoted the words.

“I don’t understand. She’s my friend. We have had dinner lots of times together.” Patroclus shrugged still not understanding Achilles’ reaction.

“You really don’t see it, huh?” Achilles said. “She’s been flirting with you! You are the one she has a crush on!” He exclaimed pointing a finger towards Patroclus.

Patroclus snorted. “You’re getting ridiculous. I know Penelope for years and let me tell you she’s not flirting with me. It’s also the fact that she knows that I’m gay.” Patroclus defended.

“I tell you what I heard. She has a big, old crush on you. And I don’t want you to go out with her.” Achilles crossed his arms standing still in front of him.

“And what makes you think that you can tell me what to do? Also, I have already said yes. Backing down know makes me looks like an asshole. Besides, I have blown her a lot of times ever since you came home!” He accused him.

“Oh really? So am I ruining your dates now?” The atmosphere was getting tensed.

“You’re ridiculous. Conversation is over. You can go now.” He waved him off.

Achilles huffed. “This is not over.” He said and walked towards the door.

Patroclus let out a breath. He started molding the thought of Penelope liking him over in his head. It couldn’t be true. He knew Penelope for years and he never sensed anything else rather than co-worker/friend vibes. Besides, she knew he was gay. Was it possible?

He wanted to know.

***

Achilles was angry. He stomped his feet all the way out of the restaurant. Penelope had a crush, or even worse, was in love with Patroclus and Patroclus was clueless. And on top of that, Odysseus was torturing himself over her. Everything was messed up.

As soon as he stepped out of the restaurant, he sent a message to Odysseus.

“hey, can i come over?”

The reply was almost instant.

“sure.”

Odysseus had his day off, so Achilles thought he would pay him a visit over at his house and he also had an idea of how they would spend their own night.

***

“Are you ready to order?” The young man responsible for their table asked them smiling.

“Yes.” Patroclus answered. “I would like the lasagna, please.” He handed the menu to the waiter who noted down the order.

“And the lady?” He looked at Penelope.

“I’ll have the Caesar’s salad, please.” She smiled at him.

“Thank you very much.” The waiter smiled at them collecting the menus and left their table.

Penelope took a sip from her wine. “I was surprised that you actually said yes to dinner.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Well, the past couple of times you said you’re busy with the stuff at home.” She pointed out.

Patroclus felt a little uncomfortable. “Yes, I told you. Achilles’ mother came and it was all a bit… hectic.” He added.

“Talking about Achilles,” Penelope started, “how are he and Briseis doing? With the wedding I mean.”

Patroclus shrugged. “Briseis is sort of caught up with her activism and I don’t really pay attention to what’s happening with wedding preparations and stuff. You know me,” He chuckled, “I was never the type to get involved into family business.”

Penelope rolled her eyes but she was still smiling. “I know.” She took another sip. “So… what about you? Are you seeing anyone?”

Patroclus tensed at the question. “No. No one.”

 “Ever since Paris-”

“Penny, please, I wouldn’t like to talk about that now.” He cut her off.

Penelope nodded in understanding.

She was ready to say something, when she heard someone speaking.

“Oh, hello there.” Achilles was now leaning on their table with Odysseus behind him.

Patroclus’ color was drained from him and Penelope looked a bit awkward. “Oh, hey.” She said.

“What are you doing here?” Patroclus asked.

“Myself and Odysseus were looking for a nice place and someone recommended this place. We thought, why not? What a coincidence you’re here as well!” Achilles smirk was full of irony and Patroclus knew it was all on purpose.

“Is Briseis with you?” Penelope asked.

“Oh no. She called me and said she’ll come later tonight. Something about some birds and broken wings… I didn’t really understand.” Achilles waved her off.

The waiter was now bringing Patroclus and Penelope’s food. “Are the gentlemen with you?” The waiter asked placing the plates in front of them.

“No.” “Yes.” They all replied at the same time.

Penelope looked a bit uneasy. “Well, I guess you can sit with us. Is that alright, Pat?”

Achilles snorted at the sound of Patroclus name shortened.

“I guess so.” He couldn’t say anything else. The night was destined to be a disaster.

“Great!” Achilles exclaimed. “Come on, Ody. Take a seat.” He motioned towards Odysseus to take a seat next to Penelope while he got a seat next to Patroclus.

Achilles made himself comfortable. The smirk never leaving his face while Odysseus had a smug face on. When Achilles knocked on his door and told him who Penelope was crushing on, Odysseus was a bit taken aback at the beginning. However, the more he thought about it, the more everything was clicking together. So when Achilles proposed they crushed their night out, Odysseus was down. Thankfully, he knew what their usual spot was from Deidameia. She was always the one who knew everything.

Achilles took a sip from Patroclus’ wine. “So,” he tucked his arms under his chin, “what were we talking about?”

It would be a long night, Patroclus thought.

***

“What on earth was that about?!” Patroclus exclaimed. He was angry with Achilles and his behavior crushing the dinner with Penelope.

“I was just helping my friend.” Achilles stated.

They were going back home in his car. He wasn’t that worried of being seen together since both Penelope and Odysseus had been with them at the restaurant, so they would just say the truth if anyone questioned it.

“Helping a friend?”

“Yeah. Odysseus was the friend who’s interested in Penelope.”

Patroclus calmed down a bit; his eyes on the road. “Are you sure it was only for Odysseus?”

Achilles sighed. “No, of course not. I just got jealous, ok?” He didn’t seem as embarrassed admitting it. “I got jealous because I know she has feelings for you. And you, being always so polite and cute you’d never turned her down that easily.”

Patroclus was speechless for a moment. “You know I like guys right?” He chuckled. “And yes, things would be very awkward if I turned her down, which obviously I would, but Penelope knows that there is no chance of us getting together. And I think, even though you may think that I’m clueless and an idiot at catching love signs, that Penelope has feelings for Odysseus.”

Achilles cocked an eyebrow. “How so?”

Patroclus smirked. “There was one big clue that gave everything away.”

“Really? What was it?”

“Penelope was lost for words. She always has something to say. Always talking and commenting on everything. And as soon as Odysseus sat next to her she went quiet.” Patroclus explained with a satisfied smile on his lips.

It was true. As soon as Odysseus and Achilles settled themselves down on the table, Penelope looked nervous, fiddling with the silverware, the napkins, her glass of wine. She didn’t talk much and she was sneaking glances towards Odysseus. She wasn’t subtle at all that even Patroclus picked up on it.

“I noticed that too.” Achilles pointed out.

The conversation seemed to be over, until Achilles spoke again. “So, the Christmas dinner is next week…”

Patroclus hummed. “Yeah, I know.”

“You’re going right?”

Patroclus rolled his eyes. “I must to. You know, I’m the oldest Menoetes son, I ran the business. Everyone will be there. Even Menoetes, with Chiron obviously.”

Achilles didn’t say anything.

“Why are you asking so much about that Christmas dinner? You’ll obviously be there as well.” Patroclus took a glimpse over at him.

“Nothing. Just curious, I guess.” He replied.

The rest of the ride home was quiet.

***

“Everything’s ready for tomorrow?” Patroclus asked Penelope for the tenth time this morning.

Penelope nodded. “Yes, Pat. Calm down.” She tried to calm him down.

Every year this time around that they were hosting the dinner party he was going over the top. Every pretentious rich person in this city would just pick up on the most insignificant detail just so they can point out how bad Patroclus was at running the restaurant. They were supposedly all “friends” but they were competing with each other every chance they found. That was the reason Patroclus rarely went to any events hosted by anyone else. Thank God, Diomedes would be by his side all night long so he would at least have some emotional support.

“I’m gonna finish these reports so we won’t have anything pending during Christmas.” Penelope said and excused herself from the office.

A couple of minutes later the door opened again to reveal Diomedes with a bright smile on his face.

“How are you sunshine?” He smirked sarcastically at him, seeing his sour face expression.

“Dandy. Just dandy.” Patroclus groaned.

Diomedes took the seat opposite him. “Everything’s ready for tomorrow?”

“Yes.” Patroclus sighed.

“Great! I hope this year the champagne is of better quality.” He pointed outside. “I saw the decoration was improved as well. Nice, nice…”

Patroclus was getting irritated. “Thank God you approve. I couldn’t sleep at night.”

Diomedes smirked at him. “Someone’s a little moody.”

Patroclus shrugged. “You know how I feel about this annual event.”

“Yeah, yeah Grinch we all know.” Diomedes waved him off. “I missed your grumpy ass though…” He cocked an eyebrow.

Diomedes had gone on a short trip with a girl, which obviously Patroclus didn’t remember the name of since he couldn’t really have the mental capacity of storing every girl – or boy – Diomedes ever dated. He’d be gone for a week or so but of course Patroclus didn’t miss any chance of keeping up with his love life.  

“How was the trip?” Patroclus asked.

Diomedes made a face. “Eh… it could’ve been better, but who cares.”

Patroclus snorted at that. The dates never lasted for more than a month. If that actually.

Patroclus snorted. “Yeah right.”

Diomedes leaned towards Patroclus. “Now, tell me about tomorrow. What are you going to wear? What Achilles is going to wear? What would you two be doing afterwards?” He wiggled his eyebrows.

“Shut up.” Patroclus chuckled. “I have no idea what to wear. Probably Chiron would have something ready for me waiting. Achilles doesn’t really dress up for all I know. And nothing is going to happen afterwards. I will be too mentally drained from all these people to actually stress about getting caught with Achilles as well.” He finished, looking exhausted just by thinking of how tomorrow would go.

“You’re no fun.” Diomedes pouted. “Oh, by the way,” He continued, “I saw Paris the other day. I was in the store buying… something… and I ran into him. I hadn’t seen him in a while so at first I didn’t really recognize him. Last time at Atrides’ house where I went for the annual poker game, he was a no show. He glowed up.” Diomedes concluded.

Patroclus shrugged his shoulders looking at his hands. “Why would I care?”

Diomedes got serious, which was not very common. “You know that he’d be here tomorrow.”

“I know.”

“So, are you going to ignore him?”

“I don’t have to do anything. There will be plenty of people here tomorrow. I don’t really have to interact with him.”

“You know that I don’t like him either, but the best thing you can is just show him how much better you are from him. So no need for any pettiness.”

Patroclus stood up from his chair. “Pettiness?!” He exclaimed. “This fucking guy cheated on me!”

Diomedes leaned back on his chair and sighed. “I know. And I also happen to know that he regretted it as soon as it happened. I’ve talked to his brother. You know that Hector is an honest guy despite the douche outlook and his pretentious attitude.” Diomedes tone of voice was calm. “You being polite and civil would be the best ‘fuck you’ to every gossip around town and of course to Paris himself.”

Patroclus pinched the bridge of his nose. All the build-up anger was hitting him back.

“Besides, you kind of keep sneaking around with your sister’s boyfriend…” Diomedes pointed out.

“And you think that I’m ok with this either? I feel like a piece of shit every single day. You know, the other day I almost went to her room in order to tell her everything. But I just couldn’t. The minute the words would leave my mouth and actually look her in the eyes I would be dead inside.” It was true.

Patroclus did try to attempt to confess to Briseis but at the last minute he changed his mind.

“Anyway…” Diomedes said. “Speaking of Achilles,” he started, “does he know about Paris? The history between the two of you?”

“No. Thank God.” Patroclus said relived. “However he did ask me about him the last time we… we were alone.” Diomedes smirked at that because he knew how uncomfortable Patroclus was naming the act. “But he told me he heard the name that time at the restaurant when Menelaus came to our table. So I think he was just generally asking. Maybe the stuff was dropping names while working of who is going to be attending the dinner party. You know, cause he’s the newbie here.”

Diomedes was skeptical for a while. “The stuff? Isn’t it possible someone told him about you and Paris dating in the past?” Diomedes questioned. “I mean, everyone knew. The gossiping is a favorite sport around here.”

“I don’t think so. Achilles would have definitely brought it to conversation. I’ve told you how crazy he went over Penelope.”

Diomedes chuckled. He remembered Patroclus calling him, and interrupting his date with that girl, to tell him how Achilles had crushed their dinner. As he also remembered the “I was fucking right!” when Patroclus told him that Penelope had a crush on him. Diomedes knew it and had pointed out in the past. Patroclus just refused to acknowledge it.

“I guess we’ll find it out in the party.” He said and stood up from the chair. “He’ll be there right?”

Patroclus nodded. “Obviously. He’s part of the family now.” He said sarcastically.

“Well, I need to go. Gonna do some last minute shopping and rummage through my closet on what to wear for tomorrow.” He winked at him and greeted him before leaving the room.

Patroclus sat back on his chair. What did Diomedes mean by “we’ll find out tomorrow”? Was there any chance Achilles knew? No, Patroclus thought. If he knew he would definitely confront Patroclus. He was very hot headed so he wouldn’t wait at all.

Patroclus thoughts were interrupted by the telephone.

“Hello?” Patroclus answered.

“Mr Patroclus, the guy from the wine cellar brought the orders. Would you like to come and check?” Deidameia’s voice was heard from the other side.

Patroclus groaned.