Sean seemed thoughtful, now, silently studying the Victorian-built buildings of main street that loomed down on them from all sides. “The priest,” he started, and briefly looked embarrassed to have even mentioned it, “does he harass you because you’re...”
Cormac stopped up on the sidewalk and crossed his arms expectantly. Sean looked vaguely uncomfortable for about a second, looked over both shoulders, and then said it: “Gay, I mean?”
Cormac’s mouth cracked open in a smile. He wasn’t sure what it said about him that he expected that sentence to end in “druid” before “gay”. Maybe under different circumstances he’d be offended that Sean would even think to bring it up like that, but he looked so damn earnest, no tone of challenge in it at all.
“What makes you even think I am?” he countered, knowing it was cruel. Answering Sean’s questions with other questions -- that was starting to become a habit, and he wasn’t sure why.
Sean resumed his pace down the sidewalk, then, and Cormac had to shuffle to catch up, trying not to sound out of breath. He thought maybe he’d pissed him off again, but Sean just looked over his shoulder with a breathless smile. “So what, you were doing ‘consulting’ with Yanto-with-a-Y then, too?”
Cormac laughed. When he’d pulled that stunt, he never could have predicted that it would have turned out quite like this. He had a feeling Sean wasn’t ever going to let him live it down. Somehow that thought didn’t bother him at all.
“Nope,” he replied, going for broke, “That was definitely a one-night-stand.”
The candid approach seemed to work wonders on breaking down Sean’s prickly defenses, much better than torturing him with more questions, because in reply to that he just smiled again, a little teasing, and said, “I know. Guy was practically pissing on his territory.”
“Honestly, though, if the priest disapproves of anything, it’s my choice of career. I don’t think my sex life even registers in comparison to my practicing... well.” He let that one trail off. Even doing what he did, and knowing what he did, saying the “m”-word aloud by light of day, in English, seemed silly.
This didn’t seem to satisfy Sean, who pressed on, “Those guys in the pub, too. They seemed okay with it. I feel like I’m in some kind of mirror world-- I thought Ireland was like, ninety-nine percent Catholic or something.”
“I don’t fit into a few of the usual categories. I think by now everyone kind of expects me to be a little... unconventional. Anyway, I’m not public about it, but I don’t apologize, either. Maybe when I was younger.” Owen, especially, hadn’t been the most understanding when he’d first brought Michael home. Michael had always been the one who wanted to march in parades, get confrontational as a matter of principle. Without him, Cormac probably could have stayed in the closet his whole life, the type to make sure his ‘roommates’ always had their own bed even if it never got used. He sighed. “But it’s been a few years since then. I think anyone who still has a problem with it now knows better than to try saying anything to my face.”
“Because you’d hex them, right?” Sean joked. Something tight in Cormac’s chest seemed to unknot, at that: Sean’s easy acceptance. Stupid that he’d be standing here, waiting for Sean’s go ahead on his own damn life. He certainly hadn’t been looking for that from anyone else. “You know, do a little druid...ing?”
From my novel co-written with Violetta Vane, working title The Hollow Hill, currently out on submission to Carina Press and Samhain Publishing. In which our heroes try to determine which aspect of Cormac's identity is more taboo.