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Words, Words, Words

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Peter sighs in frustration, staring up to the ceiling and away from his laptop. His final portfolio for his Advanced Poetry Writing class is still only half-finished, and it’s due in two days. Having such strict deadlines is tough for him; he’s a slow writer and a perfectionist, a deadly combination. He can’t turn in shitty drafts for a final project, he’s a better poet than that.

Costa’s no help, either. His revision strategy is to loudly perform the problem scenes from his latest play ad nauseum, until he figures out what about the plot isn’t making sense. It seems to work for Costa- but it’s extremely distracting for anyone else who happens to be in his vicinity.

“Babe,” Peter sighs as his boyfriend leaps across the living room like a… fairy? Water spirit? Something like that. Costa’s a fan of fantasy. Peter can take it or leave it, to be honest. “Is there any way you could— I mean, don’t take this the wrong way, but— tone it down a bit?”

“It’s just that I have to figure out this character’s motivations, Peter! Is he trying to win back his immortal soul? Does he have a family to support? Does he even subscribe to human concepts of gender roles? No, definitely not- but why is Ariel working for Prospero? What’s his backstory? I need to know!” Costa exclaims, twirling and miming his ideas for the water spirit’s blocking onstage.

“Shouldn’t you focus on getting the shipwrecked nobles off the deserted island, first?” Peter points out.

“The deserted island is what’s so genius about the piece! I’m thinking we should perform it on the actual beach, for authenticity’s sake, what do you think?”

“No one will be able to hear anything over the sound of the ocean, genius,” says a familiar and exasperated voice, and Peter hears the door opening behind him. He sets his laptop on the coffee table and turns around to grin and wave hello to his and Costa’s girlfriend and third flatmate, who is peeling off her raincoat and tossing her bag to the floor haphazardly.

“Jaquie!” Costa cries happily. “We’ve missed you! How was your audition?”

Jaquie makes a face, tromping over to the couch and falling into the spot next to Peter. “Can we just… not talk about it?”

“Ah, no! You didn’t get it?” Peter asks, slipping a comforting arm around her. “Those casting directors don’t know what they’re missing.”

“Then why can I only get parts in Costa’s shows? No offense,” she clarifies, as Costa looks scandalized.

“I simply appreciate your dazzling theatrical talent, darling,” he says, holding out a hand. “Want to run lines with me? Would that make you feel better?”

“Sure, whatever,” Jaquie says, but it’s Peter who grabs Costa’s hand, pulling him onto the couch on top of them both.

“I have a better idea,” Peter takes charge, kissing first Costa’s stubbly cheek, then Jaquie’s soft, smooth one. “I’ve been working and revising all day, and so have both of you. What do you say we take a break? It’ll be fun, and that way we’ll be refreshed when we start working again. Yeah?”

“Fine,” Jaquie concedes. “I’m tired, anyway. I could use some cuddles and a cheesy sitcom or two.”

“But I was just getting to the good part of this scene,” Costa protests. “I have too many ideas, I can’t just sit here and not explore them!”

“Yes, you can,” Peter and Jaquie say in unison, each grabbing hold of one of Costa’s arms.

“Fine, but you have to help me with the readthrough, after we rest!”

“The hell we do,” Jaquie snorts.

Costa laughs and pretends to struggle as Jaquie tries to tickle him, running her fingers along his side, but quickly gives in. None of the three of them can resist a good cuddle pile.

Peter sighs, and listens to Jaquie and Costa teasing each other affectionately. Costa’s hand in his, Jaquie’s hair tickling his ear, the warmth of his partners’ bodies calming him already— he can sense their poetry, humming within him, and he longs to reach for his laptop again and write this feeling down.

Just another moment of respite, here in this warm living room, and then he’ll ace this portfolio, no problem. He has the best inspirations he could ask for.