Tom lay on his front, face buried in his duvet to hide the tears.
Finally he had got what he had deserved.
John had dumped him.
John had arrived at the mansion in the evening, some time after Dominic had left. As per usual, the first person he had sought to see had been Tom. On finding him in the games room, he had given his boyfriend a massive hug. But Tom had gently pushed him away, sighing discontentedly.
“What’s up, Tom?” John had asked, frowning.
Tom had cast his eyes to the floor, ashamed of his actions now that he was face to face with the guy he loved.
“It... happened again.”
“What happened again?” John had asked, confused.
Tom had pawed the ground with one foot, unsure if he really wanted to tell John.
“Tom, tell me.”
“I ... I kissed that guy again.”
“You what?” John’s tone had been like ice.
Tom had winced.
“I cheated... again.”
“Tom, you jerk! How could you do that to me? Did you think I was a pushover just because I forgave you last time? Is this how I deserve to be treated? Why are you treating me like slime?”
Tom hadn’t tried to respond until John had finished.
“I’m sorry,” he had whispered. “I think I’m like slime. You’ve never done anything wrong. You love me...”
“I thought you loved me too,” John had murmured.
Tom had sighed. “I’m not going to try to tell you that I do, because none of my actions support that. But I’m sorry, John. I really hate myself.”
“Yeah, you should. You were the first guy I ever dated. And now I’m not sure if I can ever trust one again.”
“Don’t say that,” Tom had whispered, shocked. “There’s always hope. There are better guys out there than me.”
John had shrugged.
“You always seemed like you were a great guy. I don’t think I’m a good judge of character.”
And with that he had walked off, without a backward glance, ignoring Tom’s protests.
Tom had retreated to his room and closed the door.
And so now, here he was, hating himself, feeling guilty and sorry for John, knowing that River would never forgive him either and wishing that he hadn’t been so weak.
John felt alone. More alone than he had when his parents had thrown him out of the house and told him never to cross the threshold again, calling him a disgusting creature.
Was he a disgusting creature?
He had always been so sure that he had a right to fancy guys. But perhaps Tom’s treatment of him was a sign that no guy was supposed to be gay: that every single person on the planet was supposed to be straight.
He sighed as he wandered to the kitchen to make himself dinner. There he found River making herself hot chocolate. Seeing his face, she rushed up to him and hugged him tightly.
“You know?” he asked, puzzled.
River nodded but didn’t say anything.
Slowly he put his arms around her. While he had no idea of how Tom’s sister could know that Tom had cheated, he welcomed the comfort. He found himself burying his head in her warm, soft shoulder and nearly failing as he attempted to suppress his tears.
“It’ll be okay,” River promised, her voice like music in his ear. “Everything’s going to be all right.”
“How can it?” he asked hopelessly. “My heart is broken.”