The next few days were quite a challenge for both of them. Will remained icy cold even as Joby moved back in. Joby made it a point to be home early and to cook for him. Will would still remain unmoved, sometimes even going home late at night, with no explanations . Joby knew that was his way of getting back at him. And though it would upset it, he would not express it. He was just going to roll with the punches.
"I'm having some of boys over this Friday." Will casually mentioned.
"Ah yeah? Ok. What do you want me to prepare?"
"Just your Pasta Putanesca. They love that. I'll pick up some roasted chicken and dessert along the way."
"Just three of them - George, Steve and Allan."
Joby recalled that George and Steve are Will's friends from college, and Allan is Steve's partner.
"Ok. Great." He was happy that there would be this dinner. It was a way of thawing the ice between them. This only meant that Will was starting to 'normalize' relations.
The dinner was turning out well. When George, Steve and Will get together, one could expect lots of animated discussions, and laughter. And the range of topics they cover was so broad. Allan was his usual quiet self, being a decade younger than the three. Though he would find it hard to relate to all topics, whenever he would be familiar with a subject, he would contribute. And Will has way of making him feel part of the group, by bringing him in the conversation.
That same facility worked in reverse, too. Will was still quite cold with Joby, and not even bothering to acknowledge the food, the preparations, or even during conversation. But he knew it was part of the healing process. So he just stayed in the background and made sure they were all comfortable, and the wine was free flowing.
Maybe wine was too free flowing. Joby was shocked when Will suddenly injected a new topic.
"What would you do if you caught your lover cheating?"
"As in 'caught in the act' kind of cheating?"
"Well, not necessarily with dick in mouth! But you caught them dating. Or having this sweet, cheesy chat."
"Oh my! Those cybersex things?"
"hahaha no, just maintaining an online and offline affair."
Joby started to feel very uncomfortable. He wanted to stand up and grab something, but everything they need was all there. He just sat there and listened.
Allan spoke first. "If I caught you having an affair.." looking straight at Steve's eye. "I cut your dick off!"
Uproarious laughter followed. "How harsh, Allan! Can't you just maim it a bit?" countered George.
Steve teased the boyfriend "Well you'll never catch me. I'm just too smart for that."
"That's what you think!" Will butt in and winked at Allan. "Nobody's ever THAT smart he can't be found out." And his eyes darted towards Joby. Joby felt his face turning red.
"Seriously, would you break up with him, Allan?" asked George.
"Wait, let me clarify. Is there solid evidence of cheating?" asked Allan.
Will answered quite calmly. "Is admission evidence enough?"
There was this loud reaction of all the guests saying "Oh my God."
George replied. "That's so stupid. I would never admit to anything. Even if I am caught with his dick up my ass!"
Joby wanted to jump in and defend himself. But he knew better. So he bit his lip and just kept quiet.
Steve countered. "I would appreciate the honesty. At least he stopped lying." Joby felt relieved that someone was on his side, without meaning to be.
Will asked "So you wouldn't break up with him? You'd just forgive and forget?"
"If I love him enough, of course."
"That's BS." Allan interjected.
"Whoa!' George reacted. "Why would that be bullshit?"
"I mean, look, the guy just cheated and lied. You will just accept it like that??"
Steve replied "What else would you do? By nature, we are still men, still polygamous. So the sooner you accept, the better it would be for you." Joby wanted to hug Steve.
"And that's the reason we continue to perpetuate the stereotype that we can't hold on to relationships. That we justify our promiscuity with 'being biologically male'!"
"OMG the idealism of youth!" remarked Steve.
Will quickly butt in, before the discussion goes to another direction. "So I take it, Allan, that you would break up with a cheating boyfriend."
"Breaking up would be letting him off easy! I'd cut his dick first." Allan proudly answered.
"How about you, George? What would you do if you caught your boyfriend cheating on you?"
"I haven't had a boyfriend in so long! (laughs) I wouldn't even complain anymore! Just give me a boyfriend!"
"Come on. Just consider the situation."
"Ok, fine. I'd get the facts first. I'd want to know how deep the affair has gotten. For all I know, it's just an extended one night stand."
Will asked "You mean there would be levels of cheating?"
"Well, yes. Now that you put it that way. I would distinguish a full-blown covert affair from a repeating sexual thing. And everything else in between. Because if my boyfriend tells me and assures me that it is just something casual, I'd probably ask him to just stop it. But a full-blown affair threatens my relationship. And that is what I can't live with. I might as well be the one to go."
"How about you?" George asked Will. Joby began squirming in his seat.
"I wouldn't have thought twice and just break up." Joby looked at Will dejectedly.
"I would be imagining the betrayal over and over again. And I wouldn't know how to trust again." Joby was wondering if Will was trying to tell him something at this point. Is it over?
"But then again, I would not be so quick anymore. If I had time to weigh things."
"Like what things?" asked Steve.
"Well, just like George, I guess. And I need to be re-assured again and again and again." Joby got it. Will was telling him something. And it would be up to him to make sure that Will is reassured again and again and again.
"How about you, Joby?" George suddenly turned around to face Joby. "You've been too quiet there."
He felt his face turn red. But he could always blame the wine for it. He cleared his throat "Uhmm, I believe everybody deserves a second chance. If he sincerely tells me that the affair is over, I would have to believe him. I would think that the relationship is worth saving."
"Really?" Will answered with a tone of sarcasm.
Joby could feel the sting of that remark, just like a million little arrows hitting his heart bullseye. "Yes. People make mistakes. We should be forgiving."
Allan butt in. "But how do you trust him again? How could you?"
Joby paused before answering. "I know it would be very very hard to earn trust back once broken. But I don't think it's impossible. And maybe, that's up to the person to make sure he could be worth that trust." He felt like he was being grilled.
"I don't know. Honesty. Trust. These are big things for me. Deal breakers." Allan opined.
Will countered. "Allan, I used to be like that, too. But maybe, reality would just force you to not be brash and to think things through. Maybe the relationship is worth saving."
Joby almost jumped up with that response. He wanted to hug and kiss Will for saying that. And luckily, a new topic emerged and that issue on infidelity was closed.
When the guests all left, Joby was clearing up the table, his heart a bit lighter now. Will entered the dining area, bringing some of the wine glasses left from the living room.
"You will have to work very hard to make me trust you again."
Joby stopped what he was doing and went up to Will. He looked straight into his eyes and just said
"Yes, Babe. I'll do whatever it takes. I can never take away the pain you felt. But I know I can convince you that I am worth keeping, Babe. What we have is worth it all. I was so stupid to have laid it on the line. But never again, Babe. Never again." He kissed Will on the lips. At first, Will's lips wouldn't part. But slowly, it opened again. And he felt the warm moistness of his tongue.
The passion well up inside of him, of them. And he knew, slowly, that everything would be getting back to normal. To routine.
And he loved it.