One in the Same
Are the writer Desmond enjoys and his boyfriend different people?
Virgil enjoyed writing ever since he was a teenager. Looking back at his works, it was easy for him to acknowledge that he was trying too hard to be edgy and that there were improvements in his work that were needed ever since he took enough college classes worthy of an English major. He considered keeping his writing as a hobby since he realized there weren't too many jobs he could get without the risk of sensory overload or being on the ecstasy end of the Yerkes–Dodson curve. However, while scrolling through Tumblr, he came across something that almost made him believe something must've been watching him from above: There were posts about a website where he could post his stories and poetry and earn a profit. It would start as a small income due to a small audience, but being a YouTuber had a similar start. After looking over the website for extra certainty, he decided on a pen name (Richard Wenso), made a profile picture that didn't connect to him, included other bits of information, and that wasn't all he wrote.
As well as making new stories, poetry, and opinion pieces, he made improvements on his old stories that were enough to make them unrecognizable. Much to his surprise, his posts were becoming popular enough for him to make a significant improvement in his finances. He kept his online "fame" and his real life separate, though, so no one he knew in real life knew he was Richard Wenso, not even his boyfriend, Desmond. They lived in an apartment together after a year and a half of dating, but Desmond's job left Virgil alone most of the time, so the only one who really knew that he wrote was Desmond's snake, Pasty. Desmond wasn't too concerned about Virgil's finances since they split the costs and Virgil only really splurged on the Tim Burton merchandise and dark films like Return to Oz, The Dark Crystal, and Ringing Bell (meanwhile, Desmond added to the collection). Both of them saw good systems in their relationship from different perspectives.
Unbeknownst to Virgil, though, ever since one slow day at the law firm that caused Desmond to scroll through social media, he found a link to a poem about a rainy day by Richard Wenso and found himself unable to stop reading his works, clicking "like" on them, and tipping. Desmond wasn't sure how Virgil would feel about him taking interest in the online literature, so he decided to save his fascination until it became evident that Virgil might or might not consider it embarrassing. However, the more he read, the more he considered bring it up sooner than planned; he noticed some details within the writing that Virgil shared with the lawyer during their tired cuddle sessions and lazy days and he thought nobody else would know such intimate details that Virgil shared. He didn't know if it was the cases he took or his own insecurities, but Desmond couldn't help but wonder if Virgil and Wenso were close enough to the point of Virgil sharing ideas with him. Not only that, a past relationship Desmond was in was with a guy who could keep it in his pants as well as he keep his mouth shut, yet the poor snake owner lied to himself about the existence of many red flags surrounding the filterless man, so he didn't want to feel betrayed again.
There were a few days where Desmond took time off without Virgil's knowledge. On some of those days, he saw Virgil leave the house with a notebook or a laptop. However, instead of finding him in the arms of another man, he just saw him on a distant park bench or a nearly empty coffee house. There were even days where Virgil stayed at their apartment and Desmond checked with the neighbors on if there were any from their apartment throughout the day just for extra certainty. Even when everything seemed innocent, Desmond couldn't shake the feeling that Virgil was hiding something. After some thinking and texting Virgil once his shift ended, he thought of another way to get some answers: There were guilty parties who would accidentally reveal information when they think the interrogator knew the information, so he thought he could use that to his advantage.
That night, after an Italian dinner, Virgil was lying on Desmond's lap and he was petting the former's hair as they were watching The Secret of NIMH. He decided to bring it up at a random point.
"So, about Richard Wenso..."
Virgil tensed up as he heard the name from Desmond's mouth. He was silent for a while before he gave a defeated sigh before turning his body to look up at Desmond.
"How did you find out?"
"It's hard to lie to me."
"Well, in that case..." Virgil sat up and grabbed the laptop from the kitchen counter and brought it over to a confused Desmond. Virgil opened the laptop and opened the website he was posting his stories on and clicked on a draft he had yet to submit, "...would you like to provide feedback? I'm open for criticism."
Desmond's eyes widened as he witnessed the truth differing from his suspicions. Virgil looked at his boyfriend's shocked expression and noticed he hadn't scrolled down on the draft.
"Alright, is my writing not what you expected? I mean, it couldn't be the alternative since you knew," he questioned.
"Actually, it is like your other pieces, but I didn't really know that you were the writer I was hooked on," Desmond admitted.
"Well... what did you expect when you mentioned my pen name?" Virgil asked.
"I... thought, maybe... you were... having an affair..." Desmond admitted with growing shame in his voice.
As Virgil was hearing Desmond's explanation, he was in disbelief. All throughout the year and a half, what had he done to seem like the kind of person not worry of his Desmond's trust? They were open about everything else and had great systems and agreements in their relationship, but he actually thought Virgil would be dumb and bold enough to actually think about doing something like that? Virgil closed the laptop and pulled away from Desmond. He stomped into their room and locked the door. While watching the actions take place, Desmond felt incredibly stupid and guilty. He knew Virgil had emotional reasons for not talking about certain topics, so why would writing be any different? He knew Virgil was different from his ex-boyfriend, so why did he think their relationship would end the same way?
Virgil didn't know or care how long he had been lying on the bed contemplating on where to stay since he was worried the end of their relationship was nigh. He heard the familiar picking of the lock and growled. He was upset at Desmond and didn't want to lose him, so his head was hurting from the internal conflict. He felt a weight push down the other side of the bed, but didn't say anything. As soon as he felt a hand approach his head, he grumbled "You might not want to touch the adulterous whore." He heard a sigh from behind him.
"Alright, I deserved that, but you're not a whore."
"Why would I cheat on you during a year and a half? I was anxious about going to our first date before we were officially boyfriends."
"I know, I know. Combining my cases and my ex-boyfriend, I have no excuse, but I didn't know what else to think."
"What made you think I cheated on you with my pen name, anyway?"
"Well, I was getting hooked on reading Richard Wenso's works and saw descriptions and phrases that sounded like things you would say. Writing never came up in our conversations, so I thought there was an intimate relationship going on between you two."
Virgil sat up on the edge of the bed, but didn't look at Desmond.
"Well, I guess it wasn't entirely your fault. Maybe briefly mentioning that I write online using a pen name would've made things easier for both of us."
They were both silent for a while and looked around the room in the same directions together without much thought.
"We're both idiots, aren't we?" Desmond broke the silence.
Virgil looked at his scarred boyfriend and failed to hold back a smile.
"We're each other's idiots," he answered.
They played footsie on the couch as they finished their movie until they fell asleep. Once Desmond woke up, he saw Virgil was no longer on the couch, but he noticed one of the tabs on his phone revealing a new piece by Richard Wenso called Idiots in Love.