Summary: Chad and Ryan have a crisis. (Sequel to Café Mozart; part of the Only in New York trilogy.)
"This was such a good idea, coming to my parent's suite at the Plaza," Ryan said as he passed the bottle of champagne to Chad and laid back. Chad's chest made a slightly uncomfortable pillow, but there was nowhere else on earth he'd rather rest his head. "Much better digs, more champagne--should we need it--and best of all, room service in the morning."
"And no nosy roommates," Chad agreed. He took a swig from the bottle and set it on the nightstand. "Those guys were a bit too curious about me."
"That's because I'd just told them that you were in Albuquerque," Ryan said with a smile. "They came back less than two hours later and found you standing there in our suite. If I hadn’t shown them your picture before they left they would never have believed you were my boyfriend."
"I don't care what they believed. They weren't about to give us a minute of privacy."
"Yuri and Alexei were just being sociable. It's in their nature."
"Sociable? The last thing I needed after flying across the country to see you is two Russian guys who want to be social."
"They're from Ukraine."
"Whatever," Chad said, reaching for the bottle again. He squinted into it; there was just a drop left. He shifted a bit so that he could pour it into the hollow of Ryan's clavicle and quickly slurp it up. Ryan giggled and pushed his head away. "Hey, you did it to me!"
"And you said it tickled so I stopped."
"Well, it tasted good," Ryan said unrepentantly, "although your navel doesn't hold a decent mouthful." Chad yanked gently on his hair, pulling his mouth near enough to kiss. "Do we need more champagne?" Ryan asked, licking his lips.
"I think the sheets are messy enough for now," Chad concluded. "And that's one thing you left off your list," he said, lying back. "The Plaza has much bigger and better beds than any college dorm room."
"Amen to that," Ryan agreed.
"Long twin beds are a major impediment to good sex."
"And you know this how?" Ryan asked turning his head to frown at Chad.
"The simple fact that a twin bed is designed to sleep one," he explained. "Good sex, in my humble opinion, requires two people--preferably these two," Chad added, gesturing between Ryan and himself. Ryan stared at him for a long moment. "What?"
"Nothing." Ryan turned his face away and stared at the far wall.
"You think I cheated on you," Chad surmised after a minute.
"Yes you do. You think I know about sex in twin beds because I slept with someone at school."
"No I don't."
"The hell you don't!" Chad replied, shifting to sit up and look Ryan in the eye. "That's exactly what you think."
"Chad," Ryan shook his head dismissively, but it was clear that he was still troubled. Chad sighed and licked his lips.
"All right," he confessed. "I actually did sleep with someone at school once." Ryan sat up and glared at him. "Oh, lie down! It wasn't like that," Chad insisted, rolling his eyes. Ryan raised his eyebrows. "There wasn't any sex involved."
"You slept with another guy but it's all right because there wasn't any sex involved? Oh, I feel so much better," Ryan spat as he slid off the bed and stormed out of the room.
"Ryan!" Chad swore under his breath as he scrambled off the bed and followed him. "Me and my big mouth," he grumbled, pausing to grab the robe hanging on the back of the door and put it on as he rushed out to the living room. He found Ryan standing at the window staring out at the view. "What are you doing, flashing Central Park?" he quipped. The joke fell flat and Chad ran his hands over his face before he reached out to touch Ryan, who pulled away.
"I trusted you!" Ryan shouted, hurt evident in his voice. Chad reached out again and Ryan dodged him.
"It's been barely a month, Chad! A month!"
"Ryan, I didn't--." Chad stopped and moderated his tone. "Will you let me explain?" he asked in a gentler tone.
"What's there to explain? You cheated on me! On us! Then you come here like everything's all right, like nothing happened."
"Nothing happened! Believe me," Chad pleaded. "I'd never do anything to--." He shook his head. "I can't believe that you'd think me capable of that."
"Hey, you're the one who eagerly volunteered the information," Ryan said petulantly. "I didn't make it up."
"All I said was that I'd slept with someone in a twin bed. I never said that I'd cheated on you."
"You said you'd slept with someone!" Ryan cried.
"Yes! Slept! Slept, Ryan! Not 'kissed,' not 'had sex with,' not--."
"Why did you sleep with him?" Ryan demanded.
"It wasn't--." Chad averted his eyes and Ryan's anger flared again.
"I can't, Ryan," Chad said softly, flopping onto the sofa. "I promised I wouldn't tell anyone."
"What?" Ryan spat incredulously.
"I'd be betraying a confidence," Chad said regretfully. Ryan stared at him for a moment, and then headed back to the bedroom. He started to get dressed.
"What are you doing?" Chad asked when he caught up with him.
"I'm going back to school. You can stay here tonight. Order room service, whatever you want. You can stay here until Sunday if you have to. That's when your flight is, right?"
"Just don't come back to Juilliard. I don't want to see you again. I never want to see you again," he said, sobbing. Chad grabbed hold of him and pulled him into his arms. Ryan vainly fought to free himself, weakly pushing at Chad's chest. He eventually gave up, sobbing in his lover's arms. "It hurts too much. I never imagined it would hurt so much," he said miserably. Chad held him tighter. "How could you do this to me?"
Chad held him until he quieted. He pulled away the shirt in Ryan's hand and tossed it on the floor before sitting him down. Chad sat beside him, his arms wrapped around him as though he was afraid that Ryan might run away if he didn't. It was several minutes before he found his voice and was able to speak.
"I'll tell you what happened, but you have to promise me that you'll never speak of this to anyone," he said. Ryan didn't react and Chad turned his face so he could look into Ryan's eyes. "Promise me, Ryan."
"Why should I promise you anything?" he asked dully.
"Because if you don't I won't tell you and you'll walk out of here and end our relationship for nothing," Chad said firmly. "And if I tell you what happened and you speak of it to anyone, you'll hurt someone very dear to both of us and that'll probably hurt our relationship, too."
Ryan frowned at Chad, a growing sense of dread rising in his gut. He swallowed hard and said one word, the only one that made sense in the context of Chad's plea.
Chad nodded solemnly.
"I promise," Ryan said hoarsely. Chad sighed in relief and drew Ryan onto the bed. Chad settled beside him and pulled him into his arms.
"Sharpay showed up at my room one night," Chad began. "It was well after midnight, and she'd clearly been drinking. She'd been to some party at a frat house. She told me that there was some guy after her. He'd been coming on to her all night and she was afraid he might have spiked her drink. She didn't want to end up a statistic so she snuck out of the party and found her way back to the dorm. She came up to my room because her roommate was out and she said she didn't feel safe in her own room alone. She was really scared." Ryan shut his eyes tightly and squeezed Chad's hand. "I offered her the bed, but she insisted that she should sleep on the floor. My roommate was dead to the world but he gets up pretty early and I didn't want him to trample her. She finally climbed into bed with me and promised not to ruin my virtue. She was fine when she woke in the morning and that's when she made me promise to never tell anyone about what had happened."
"Why not?" Ryan frowned. Chad rolled his eyes.
"I think she was afraid that your parents would be upset and that your father would do something rash if he found out. And she didn't want you or your folks worrying about her or thinking that she couldn't take care of herself." Chad smiled. "She said she was glad I was there for her and that she'd probably do a lot better job of taking care of herself if I was around."
"Is she all right?"
"She's fine," Chad assured him. "We don't know if her drink was actually spiked, but the guy apparently was caught trying to drug someone else that night. There were witnesses and her father took action. The loser was arrested and expelled from the school. Sharpay's been very careful since then. She met a nice guy and they've been dating."
"Yeah and he's been good for her. He was a bit put out when Princess brought him to me for my approval," Chad said with an impish grin. "And he was definitely not a happy camper when she introduced me as her best friend. He apparently doesn't believe I'm gay."
"She should bring him to New York when she comes to visit," Ryan said dazedly.
"By the way, Troy's not exactly a happy camper about it, either," Chad said, toying with Ryan's fingers. That roused Ryan from his thoughts and he frowned at Chad. "It freaks him out that Princess goes around telling anyone and everyone that I'm her best friend."
"What is he, twelve?"
"Really," Chad said, raising Ryan's hand to kiss.
"I'm sorry," Ryan said, staring at their joined hands.
"I know," Chad replied. "And I'm sorry if I made it sound as though--." Ryan covered his mouth with a finger.
"It's my fault, Chad. I completely flew off the handle," he admitted.
"You sure did," Chad said archly, holding him closer. "See what drinking champagne from my navel will do to you? It made you completely delusional."
"Maybe if you took a shower every now and then," Ryan teased. "What have you got in there, anyway?"
"Oh, so now it's my fault?" Chad asked as Ryan rose from the bed and led him to the bathroom.
"If drinking from your navel made me delusional it sure as hell is your fault," Ryan said with a smile. "Let's go wash you up and then break open that second bottle of champagne."
"Let's skip the champagne," Chad suggested. "I need you to be perfectly sober when I convince you that I love you, utterly and completely," he said, pressing Ryan to the wall and nuzzling his ear. Ryan lifted his head to give Chad better access to his throat as he pushed the robe off of Chad's shoulders. After several minutes of heated kissing in the bathroom's entrance, Ryan took hold of Chad's face and looked into his eyes.
"I should never have doubted you, Chad," he said softly. "I'm sorry for thinking you would do something so--. I can't even say it. I don't even want to think it."
"Shh," Chad said, drawing Ryan back to the bed.
"I thought we were taking a shower," Ryan said, though he made no protest when Chad pushed him onto the bed and straddled him.
"You can wash my navel in the morning," Chad promised.
But early the next morning, Chad's navel was the farthest thing from Ryan's mind when he snuck out of bed, checking to make sure that Chad was still asleep before putting on the robe and making his way to the living room. He called room service and ordered breakfast for two and then settled into a chair near the window that afforded him a good view of the bedroom, should Chad awaken and come looking for him. It was eight o'clock, which meant that it was just six o'clock back in Albuquerque, but Ryan pulled his phone out of his backpack and called Sharpay.
"Do you have any idea what time it is?" she said groggily.
"Yeah, I do," Ryan said, smiling unrepentantly. "I just wanted to hear your voice."
"Why?" she asked suspiciously. "Did Chad have too much sense to answer his phone at this hour?"
"I didn't have to call him," Ryan replied smugly. "He's here."
"Here? As in New York here?" she replied, suddenly wide awake.
"Yeah," Ryan said smugly. "He just showed up last night, Shar. Right as I was feeling miserably lonely and longing to see him."
"He didn't tell me he was going to New York!"
"Well, it was kind of spur of the moment," he said. "He was talking to his dad on the phone about coming to visit me next month and his roommate overheard the conversation. Terry's mom works for an airline; he called her and she found a cancellation on a flight to Newark; Chad just had time to throw a few things in a bag and get to the airport. He didn't even call his parents before he got on the plane. Anyway, he did manage to call Kelsi to make sure I'd be around, so imagine this: I was sitting in a restaurant last night and when I looked up he was standing there, big as life and looking just as gorgeous as the last time I saw him."
"I can guess why he didn't call once he got into town. You two probably spent the night rutting like--."
"Shar…" Ryan smiled.
"And Chad's asleep now because he's too sated to lift his head from the pillow," Sharpay said, rolling her eyes. Ryan giggled madly even as tears rose in his eyes.
"You'd better believe it. I was barely able to crawl out here to the living room to call you."
"Spare me the details," Sharpay said, smiling.
"I miss you, too, you know," he said emotionally.
"It's good to hear your voice, Ryan."
On to Williamsburg