As They Like It
“Brian, it’s okay. If you want to cancel, I can get someone else to take the ticket. It’s no biggie.”
Justin did his best to sound convincing. It wasn’t a big deal about the ticket. Hell! it had only cost a few bucks, anyway. It wasn’t the price of the ticket.
And it wasn’t the thought of going on his own. It was at the GLC, for chrissakes, there’d be a lot of people he knew there.
He stifled a sigh. That was the problem. There would be people he knew there; and he’d really wanted to walk in with Brian. Let everyone see that he might have been tossed out of PIFA on his ear, and Brian might have lost his job at Vangard and be shit deep in debt, but they were doing okay. They were better than okay, because things between them were better than they’d ever been.
But it looked like it wasn’t going to happen, so he might as well get over it.
Brian looked at him intently. “Look, it’s just not …”
“Your thing. I know.”
Brian sighed. “Justin you know what I think about those hetero-wannabes.”
“Add,” he picked up the brochure and read in an affected British accent, “the Bard of Avon’s tale of love - fulfilled and unrequited.”
“Shit!” he added in his own voice.
Justin grinned suddenly and gave him a gentle punch on the arm on his way past him to the kitchen. “Twat!”
“I know I said I’d think about it.”
“Brian. It’s okay. Really. It’s not like it was a promise. We didn’t hold a commitment ceremony over it. Just forget it.”
Brian by now was reading the brochure. “All male cast, huh?”
“Yeah. They’re a gay theatre group from California. They’ve just started touring this production around the eastern states.”
“Well, at least that’s authentic.”
“Shit, Justin. Didn’t they teach you anything at that fancy school of yours?”
Justin waved the coffee pot at him enquiringly and he nodded and came to sit on one of the coffee stools they’d found in a garage sale. He sighed as he contemplated how low he’d fallen, but then Justin’s voice brought him back to the subject under discussion.
“Gay theory wasn’t high on the curriculum, Bri.”
Brian grinned at him. “No, but I thought maybe there’d at least be some theatre history in there while you were studying your Shakespeare.”
Justin shrugged, and Brian went on, “In Will’s day, all the female roles would have been played by boys. Women weren’t allowed to perform on stage.”
Justin met his eyes and they both grinned.
“So all those fabulous love scenes were actually two guys?”
Brian took a sip of coffee. “And when you consider that half the fucking plays had women characters disguising themselves as men - which meant boys pretending to be girls pretending to be boys … You’d have to say that old Will knew a thing or two about gender bending.”
Justin grinned. “There’s a bit of that in this play. I remember studying it at school. The main female character, what’s her name?”
Brian checked the brochure. “Rosalynd.”
“Right. She disguises herself as a boy and goes off into the forest.”
Brian, checking the brochure for confirmation, nodded. “Apparently. And she meets the guy she’s in love with.”
Justin came to peer at the brochure over his shoulder. “Right, Orlando.”
Brian, easily distracted, touched his lips to the cheek so close to his.
Justin turned, and giving him a smile, rubbed his hip against his lover’s while he went on, “Orlando’s in love with someone else. So Rosalynd, who’s pretending to be a boy named … something from mythology that I can’t remember …”
“Ganymede,” Brian said a little hoarsely, stroking his hand up Justin’s thigh and across his buttock. “The beautiful boy Zeus fell in love with.”
Their eyes met, and thoughts of Shakespeare disappeared in the familiar stirrings of love and lust.
“What does Rosalynd do?” Lazily stretched on his back, relaxed and contented, Brian continued their conversation.
Justin, curled satedly against his side, screwed his eyes up in puzzlement. “What?”
“Rosalynd, the one who’s calling herself Ganymede, what does she do?”
“Oh, she says that she’ll help him learn what to say to court a woman, so she … only Orlando thinks she’s a he … pretends to be a girl, and makes him try out his lines on her … um, him.”
Brian lay looking at the ceiling.
“So now you’ve got the boy actor playing a girl character who’s pretending to be a boy who’s playing at being a girl so that his/her boyfriend can practice making love to her/him?”
After a moment to work it out, Justin said, “Um, yeah. That’s about it.”
“Sounds, kinky,” Brian said approvingly. “Count me in.”
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