Pairing: James Lester / Will Andrews (o/c)
Word Count: Total: 12,375 / This chapter: 6,271
Summary: A chance meeting in a bar gives Lester’s life a new direction.
Notes: These are the o/c’s I’m using, and since I started writing this, I always pictured Will as looking like this
Lester stood by the bar, on the outskirts of the group, wondering how on earth they had talked him into coming to this dreadful place. The meal beforehand had been lovely, in a rather pleasant little restaurant nearby. He was impressed by Connor’s choice; at home, the young man’s idea of fine cuisine was adding Worcester sauce to his beans on toast and so Lester had been wary upon learning that he had chosen the restaurant.
Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, deciding that they weren’t ready to go home yet and moving on to the bar. He had attempted to say his goodbyes then, but his team had objected. For reasons he couldn’t fathom, they seemed to want him to come along. Why they wanted their boss to come with them he wasn’t sure but the fact was that they made him feel like part of the team. He found that he rather liked it. So, he followed them to the bar. He had been in here once or twice before and so was expecting a quiet drink but that was then. The bouncers on the door should have been a clue.
Inside, fit-inducing strobe lighting pulsed through the smoke that was constantly being pumped out of the wall-mounted smoke machines. The music was so loud that Lester could feel it vibrating through the floor. Not that he could call it music, not by any stretch of the imagination. Music had melodies and lyrics, he thought; this whatever-it-was had apparently been created by someone who thought that if the beat was loud enough it would drown out the fact that she could only remember the same six words throughout the entire song.
He watched the others, his team of civilians and soldiers, dancing and laughing and thought that they didn’t need him hanging around. He’d been here an hour- surely that was long enough? He must have looked as though he were contemplating an escape as Connor came bouncing up to him, Abby following closely. Sarah was just behind them, her eyes slightly unfocussed and a wide smile on her face. Lester sighed; three against one just wasn’t fair.
“You can’t go yet! It’s early,” Connor yelled over the top of the music.
Sarah downed the rest of the beer in the bottle she held and put it on the bar beside Lester, freeing her hand to grab at one of his.
“Come and dance,” she said, smiling and tugging at his hand.
Lester shook his head. I should have left when I first thought about it. “I don’t dance,” he told her, resorting to a glare when she didn’t take the hint. The three of them wandered away into the crowd and Lester turned back to the bar. If he was going to be here much longer, he really needed another drink.
“A beautiful woman asks you to dance and that was the best you could come up with?” an amused voice beside him asked.
Lester turned to the speaker, a man in his late thirties, and frowned at him. The stranger just smiled, not looking intimidated in the least.
“Not your kind of place, I take it?” the man observed.
Lester took his change from the bartender and picked up his whisky. The man didn’t seem to fit in here, much like himself he supposed. “Not in the slightest.”
The man said something else that was almost lost in the synthesised drums coming from the speakers above the bar and Lester missed it. He had found that even whilst ordering drinks, holding a conversation with someone in this place was half listening and half lip-reading. Unfortunately, having to focus on the man’s mouth had the side effect of Lester’s brain pointing out that he had a lovely smile. Lester shoved that little voice back, ignoring it as he asked the man to repeat what he had just said.
The man began to repeat himself and then thought better of it, leaning in closer so that Lester could hear him.
“Drink up and come with me.”
Lester sank down onto the faux-leather bench seat and heaved a sigh of relief. Peace and quiet at last, he thought; that dreadful music was no longer threatening to rattle the fillings out of his teeth. He felt slightly guilty about leaving the team but he didn’t think that they wouldn’t miss him, not really. They would have more fun without their boss there.
“Better?” the man asked as he sat down on the seat at the opposite side of the low table. “You looked so uncomfortable in there that I thought I’d rescue you.”
This small pub was just a two minute walk from the club but it seemed like a million miles away. It was slightly dingy and dark, the atmosphere subdued, and Lester was sure that the beer glasses would have fingerprints on them. When he got his pint, he discovered with distaste that he was right, discreetly polishing the smudge off with his shirt cuff.
“Well, thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” the man said. “I’m Will, by the way.”
“James,” Lester told him. “So, I feel compelled to ask, if you disliked that place so much, why-?”
“Why go there in the first place?” Will finished for him. “I could ask you the same thing. You weren’t exactly having fun.”
Lester took another sip of his beer. “It’s a work event. Somehow, I was persuaded to go with them after the meal.”
“And the beautiful woman…?”
“One of my employees.”
Will nodded. “Is that why you wouldn’t dance with her?” There was a gleam in his eye and a smile twitching at his lips as he continued. “Or maybe it was the asker. Would you have danced if I’d asked you?”
Lester stared at him for a moment, not sure how to respond. His first instinct was to say ‘I’m married’, ‘I’m straight’ or ‘I’m not interested’ but none of them would be strictly true, would they? He was separated, he and his wife living in separate counties for the past few months. As for the rest, he had noticed that this man was handsome, with his light brown hair and hazel eyes and lovely smile, and he did look good in that smart white shirt with the black leather jacket over the top. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d looked, either, would it? a little voice pointed out, demolishing his last two arguments.
“Hey, I was just teasing,” Will told him at Lester’s lack of response. “Sorry.”
It turned out that Will was an interesting man to talk to and Lester found himself enjoying his company. Their tastes in music and literature were fairly similar, with a few exceptions.
“You never did tell me why you were there,” Lester asked about an hour later.
“My brother; I’m staying with him temporarily until I can move into my new place, so he said to come and meet him here but I didn’t feel like interrupting. He’s with his mates. I’ve no choice but to hang around as he somehow conned me into driving him home, too,” Will said, indicating to the glass of orange juice he was drinking. “I can’t even have a proper drink.”
Some time later, the pub door opened letting in a cool draft from outside. The sound of laughter and voices grew closer, approaching their quiet little corner.
“There you are; I got your text- Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt.” There was a pause. “Lester?”
The two men looked up to see Mark, Becker, and Luke. The three soldiers looked between Lester and Will curiously.
“You know each other?” Mark asked.
Will turned to Lester. “This would be my brother.”
“We’ve met,” Lester said.
Mark smirked at his brother. “I hope you’re behaving yourself because Lester is my boss.”
Will rolled his eyes. “Of course I’m behaving. There’s only one person in our family likely to make a prat of himself, right, little brother?” He glanced at Lester and smiled. “I wish I’d known that you knew him, James. Oh, the stories I could have told you.”
Lester caught the horrified look on the soldier’s face and found himself intrigued.
“We’re heading home,” Mark told them in a desperate change of subject. “You still okay to drive me?” he asked his brother. “I could call a taxi instead.”
Will insisted he didn’t mind and the three men left to go and collect the others. Lester realised he should really go with them as he was supposed to be taking a taxi home with Connor. Taking his keys from his jacket pocket, Will smiled at Lester.
“It was nice meeting you,” he said. “Maybe we should do this again sometime.”
Lester just stared at him. He wanted to say yes; he had enjoyed talking to Will, finding him an interesting companion. What made him hesitate was the little voice in the back of his mind that told him that wasn’t exactly what Will had in mind.
“That would be nice,” he heard himself say.
Two weeks later, Lester left the ARC, absently hunting in his briefcase for his car keys as he crossed the car park, when he heard his name being called. Will was leaning casually against the front of a red Jeep, three spaces away from where his car was parked.
“What are you doing here?”
Will rolled his eyes. “Waiting for Mark. I moved into my new flat today I borrowed his Jeep since it’s bigger than my car. Now I have to give him a ride home. I’ve been waiting out here for the last hour, though. I’m starting to think he’s forgotten.”
“We had a bit of an emergency,” Lester told him. An anomaly had opened in the middle of a shopping street but luckily no one had been injured and the creatures had been rounded up quickly. The last time Lester had seen Mark Andrews, just after they got back to the ARC, he and Becker had been unloading the equipment back into the armoury before going to do the hand-over to the night team. “He could be some time yet.”
“Wonderful,” Will sighed. “Is there a bus stop near here? I’ll just leave the car for him and go home.”
Lester had no idea. He wasn’t the kind of person who ever used buses.
“Where do you live? I’ll leave the keys with security for him to collect and I’ll give you a lift home.”
Will’s flat was a mess of boxes and crates, all still to be unpacked. He directed Lester to the living room. That room was almost tidy and looking normal, mostly unpacked apart from a couple of boxes that had been pushed behind the sofa out of sight.
“There’s still a lot to do,” Will said. “Mark and a few of the lads were going to come over and give me a hand but they had to work. I was hoping that he’d come later but you said he might be stuck at work for a while.”
Still unsure of why he was doing this, Lester put his briefcase down and took off his jacket.
“I’ll bet that if I gave you a hand, we could have a couple more rooms liveable,” he said, cutting off Will’s protests that he really didn’t need to do that. “Nonsense; consider it a thank you for rescuing me from the club the other night.”
Will smiled. “It would be nice to get this place sorted out. And I’ll order us some dinner, to say thank you.”
They worked for a few hours, enough time to get the kitchen and a bedroom useable. Even if there were still a lot of things left to put away in each, Will would at least be able to use the rooms tonight. From the times that Lester had moved house before, he remembered it being a lot worse than this, but he actually enjoyed himself. After spending all of his days sitting behind a desk or in meetings, it was rather pleasant to do a couple of hours of physical work. That said, he was grateful to be able to stop when the doorbell rang to signal the arrival of their Thai takeaway food. Will made them mugs of tea in his newly tidied kitchen, carrying them through to the living room.
“I don’t know how long this place will stay tidy,” Will commented, looking around, before explaining for Lester’s benefit, “I have a dog, Ruby; she’s a ruby coloured Cavalier King Charles Spaniel- Mark has her at the moment. I couldn’t bring her until I was settled as she had puppies just over a week ago and I didn’t want to move her just yet. It would stress her and the pups out with being in the middle of this mess.”
Lester must have made some kind of expression of interest as Will laughed. “I can give you a call when I bring them over, if you want to come and see them. Oh, come on- I saw that look on your face when I mentioned puppies.”
Lester felt his cheeks flush slightly.
The following weekend, Lester sat on Will’s sofa with a mug of tea, Will next to him and the empty pizza box on the table in front of them. He had spent most of the past week at Will’s flat, helping him to get it in order, along with Mark, Becker and Danny. The three of them had hurried away each evening, leaving him and Will to talk over a takeaway or just a cup of tea.
He told himself that he was just being friendly, offering some company to a man who obviously didn’t know anyone nearby aside from his brother. In reality it was nice to talk to someone who was closer to his own age and who held many of the same interests.
Ruby had been brought over by Mark yesterday, along with her seven tiny puppies. Their eyes were still closed, little wriggling pink-bellied ginger puppies, all fidgeting around in their basket, cuddling up to their mother. Lester had to admit that he was more excited about it than he had expected but they were adorable. Unfortunately, they weren’t old enough yet to leave Ruby and go exploring outside the safety of their basket. Now that part, he was looking forward to even more, when they would be old enough to play with.
“James, do you have a tuxedo?” Will asked, somewhat out of the blue, as they drank their tea.
Lester frowned. “Yes, why?”
“There is a black-tie dinner next Friday and I wondered if you would like to come with me. It’s a work event; we have one of these every year-” He paused, looking over as though to gauge Lester’s reaction. “It sounds dull, I know- dinner with a load of financial advisors- but it’s at a five star hotel where the food is fantastic and there’s a never ending supply of Champagne. And, best of all, they’re footing the bill.”
It did sound tempting; it had been a long time since Lester had attended an event such as that. After he accepted leadership of the ARC project, such invitations from his political and social contacts had dwindled.
“Don’t you have someone else you’d rather take? You’ve only known me for a short time.”
Will shook his head. “Unfortunately, most of my friends were also Julian’s,” he said, adding, only half-jokingly, “and he got custody of them after we broke up.”
Lester wasn’t really sure what to say to that. “How long were you together?”
“Two and a half years. Then I found out he’d been fucking around behind my back and so I packed up my things and left. Hence my sleeping on Mark’s sofa until this place was available to move into.”
“I’ve been married to my wife for thirteen years in October,” Lester told him, sympathising.
Will looked surprised and Lester saw his eyes flick briefly to Lester’s ring finger, frowning when he saw nothing there.
“We have been separated for the past eight months,” he continued. “Our lawyer is drafting the divorce papers as we speak.”
“Wow. Thirteen years is a long time just to end it like that.”
Lester shrugged his shoulders. “Actually, I think it was for the best. Don’t get me wrong, I still care deeply for her but we’re better off as friends. It’s certainly easier on the children not to have us either fighting or ignoring each other all of the time.”
“You have kids?”
“A girl and a boy, aged twelve and nine,” Lester told him.
They both sat in silence for a few moments, musing on their failed love lives, before Will laughed. “A fine pair we make, sitting here moping. So, how about it? The invitation is still open, if you want it; I think we both could use a night out.”
In a spur of the moment decision, Lester said yes.
By the following morning, Lester had begun to wonder if maybe that hadn’t been such a good idea. He wasn’t stupid; he knew that even though Will hadn’t said it explicitly, the invitation for it to be something more than friends was there, just below the surface. Lester wasn’t sure what he thought about that. It wouldn’t the first time he’d been attracted to a man but he discounted youthful experimentation as just that. His main concern was in what others would think. Will was Lieutenant Andrews’s brother. Would that make things awkward at the ARC? And would it diminish his authority when they began to speculate, as he just knew that they would do?
It was this internal debate that found him sitting in the kitchen that morning with Connor. He wondered how exactly it had come to this: He was discussing his potential love life with Connor Temple, of all people.
“Well, I reckon you should go,” Connor told him, waving his breakfast spoon to emphasise his point.
Lester ducked the droplet of milk that flicked from Connor’s spoon, frowning and making Connor hurriedly put the spoon back into his cereal bowl.
“Sorry. I still think you should go, though. I mean, it sounds fun! Posh clobber, swanky hotel, food, drink…”
“But what are people going to think?” Lester asked. “I do not wish to be the subject of gossip in the break room, or the topic of Becker’s men’s tawdry locker room speculation.”
Connor rolled his eyes. “Why would you be? Because you’re still legally married, or because Will is a bloke? ‘Cos let me tell you, no one could care less that he’s a he, and you’re practically divorced anyway. Or you will be in a few weeks when the papers come though.”
Lester couldn’t believe that someone such as Connor, the man who had taken three years just to work up the courage to confess his feelings to Abby, was so astute when it came to other people’s problems.
“They are likely to find it strange after I was married to my wife for so long that I suddenly begin to date a man.”
Connor smiled. “So it’s the fact he’s a bloke that’s bothering you. Lester, they really won’t care about that. You don’t see them having a problem with the fact that Danny and Becker are at it like bunnies, do you?”
“Why thank you, Connor, for putting that image into my head,” Lester told him sarcastically.
Connor just grinned at him and took his cereal bowl to the sink.
“All I’m trying to say is that it won’t make a difference what you decide, not to us.”
On Friday evening, Lester waited impatiently for Connor, fussing with his tie as he did so. They had decided that it would be easier for Lester to drive over to Will’s and then they could take a taxi to the dinner rather than one of them driving, leaving them both free to have a drink. It also meant that Lester could deliver Will a puppy-sitter as well. Connor had volunteered as soon as he heard that Will didn’t want to leave Ruby on her own. Or rather, as soon as he’d heard the word ‘puppies’.
“Stop fiddling with your tie,” Connor told him, batting Lester’s hand away and straightening it again. “You look fine.”
Lester glared at him, more for something to do than having any real annoyance.
“Oh, and if you want me to make myself scarce later on, just text me and I can stay out of the way tonight, give you two the place to yourselves,” Connor added with a smirk. This time, Lester’s glare was intentional.
Lester opened his mouth to tell him that this wasn’t a date, but he couldn’t. He spent almost half of his evenings and weekends with Will, either helping him at his flat or going for a drink or some food but, as yet, that was it. Tonight, he’d known for a while, was different. It had started out as just a night out, but it wasn’t. This was a date or as near as could be without either of them actually calling it one.
A glance at his watch told him that they needed to be on their way and he shooed Connor out of the door, locking it behind him.
It didn’t take long to get to Will’s flat and Will was waiting for them, looking quite dashing in his tux, Lester thought. Connor must have seen the smile on his face because he grinned, waggling his eyebrows suggestively.
“Connor, I really appreciate this,” Will told him as the younger man looked into the puppies’ pen, where their basket was, with a huge smile on his face. “I’ve left my mobile number and the hotel number next to the phone just in case.”
Connor waved his hands at them. “We’ll be fine- I’ve got some books to read and Return of the Jedi on DVD. Now you two kids go on and have fun,” he told them with a mischievous grin, calling after them as they went out to the waiting taxi, “And don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!”
Lester turned to glare at him but he’d already shut the door. “Tell me again why I let him live with me?”
Will laughed. “He’s just teasing. Besides, it was good of him to watch the pups tonight.”
“You might not be saying that when you see what a mess he can make if left unsupervised,” Lester informed him as they got into the taxi.
Twenty minutes later, they got out in front of the Park Plaza Hotel, following the directions to the function room where the dinner was being held. Before they went in, Will put a hand on Lester’s arm to stop him, leading him away from the other people for a moment.
“I was meaning to ask before this,” he began, “but how do you want me to introduce you when we go in? Friend? Date? Plus-one?”
Lester had been wondering that exact same thing all the way over here. “If it’s alright with you, how about we try ‘date’ and see how it feels?”
Will nodded, smiling. “Date it is, then. I meant to say earlier… you look very handsome in that tux.”
“I was thinking the same about you,” Lester replied as they walked into the function room side by side.
A hostess met them at the door, offering them a glass of champagne from the tray that the man next to her held, before asking for their names so that she could show them to their table. They sat for a few minutes, chatting to the other people at their table before Will looked across the room and smiled at someone in the group standing near to the bar.
“If you want to go and say hello, I can entertain myself for a while,” Lester told him. “I really don’t mind.”
“Actually, I was hoping you’d come with me,” Will said, pointing out a woman in a red satin evening dress and long blonde hair. “Amanda is dying to meet you.”
Lester couldn’t help but smile as he teased, “So, you’ve been talking about me?”
“Maybe a little,” Will admitted, looking embarrassed. “Amanda kept trying to set me up with her friends and so I told her I was seeing someone. I hope you don’t mind.”
“So, according to Amanda’s viewpoint, how long have we been dating?”
The pink tinge to Will’s cheeks darkened slightly. “About a month. I told her about meeting you in the club and didn’t bother to correct her when she assumed that it was more than it was.”
“And if you tell her now, she’s going to be annoyed that you lied to her.” When Will nodded, Lester smiled at him. “Well we can’t have that, can we?” he said, slipping his arm around Will, he allowed his hand to settle at the small of Will’s back to urge him to start moving through the crowd.
Lester felt like a teenager, sneaking out of the party with his date with the excuse of going for a bit of fresh air, but he really did need some. He’d had a little too much Champagne and it had gone straight to his head, which meant that when Will suggested escaping for a while, he’d agreed. Luckily, it wasn’t just him; Will seemed to be a bit tipsy as well.
“Are you enjoying yourself?” Will asked as they made their way out to the hotel gardens, following the path through the flowerbeds and trees.
It was getting dark out here, but there were outdoor lights positioned around the grounds, making it bright enough to see clearly. Lester looked over at Will, seeing his slightly flushed cheeks and happy smile, leaning over impulsively and kissing him.
“I am,” he said. “Thank you.”
Will studied him for a moment, as though assessing him, before crowding Lester back against the tree behind him and kissing him again. His hands rested on Lester’s sides, under his jacket, and he could feel the heat of them through his shirt. Lester’s arms circled Will’s waist, desire overriding his sensibilities as he slid his hands down onto Will’s arse, pulling him closer. The tree was rough against his back but he didn’t care as Will pressed against him in all the right places.
When Will finally pulled back from him he rested his forehead against Lester’s, catching his breath.
“We should stop this before we get carried away,” he said, sounding reluctant.
As much as he wanted to argue and to go back to what they were doing, Lester agreed. If they were caught doing what he knew they both wanted to do next out here, both of them would be in trouble. Will’s boss and colleagues were just inside, and if Lester’s superiors at the Home Office heard about it, he could kiss his position at the ARC goodbye.
“You’re right. Though I think a walk around the garden before we go back inside would be a good idea,” he observed as he tugged his jacket over the tenting of his trousers, noticing that Will was having similar problems.
Will glanced down at himself and laughed. “Good idea. And maybe when we get home, we could pick up where we left off?”
Lester smiled, straightening Will’s jacket collar for him. “Count on it.”
A couple of hours later the party began to wind down, guests starting to head for home. Lester and Will said goodbye to a few people before going out to meet their taxi.
“Thank you for tonight,” Lester told him. “I had a lovely time.”
Will nodded his head in the direction of the shadows at the side of the building backing up and waiting for Lester to follow him before drawing him in for a kiss.
A car horn made them both jump, hastily moving apart. The taxi driver leaned out of his window, smirking at them both, as he asked, “Taxi for Will Andrews.”
As they both got in, Will giving his address to the driver, the man flashed them both an amused smile. “’Thought I’d better get your attention before you fellas got too busy.”
When they got back to Will’s flat they found Connor asleep on the sofa, stretched out on his back, his feet overhanging the armrest and debris scattered on the floor next to him.
“I told you so,” Lester pointed out as he stepped over a couple of magazines to wake Connor.
As he shook Connor’s shoulder, the young man woke suddenly. In his haste to scramble upright, he rolled off the sofa and landed on the floor with a curse. While he was sitting on the floor he quickly scraped the assorted magazines, books, pens, notepads and DVD’s into a pile and stuffed them into his backpack.
“Sorry; I didn’t mean to fall asleep. I have been checking on the puppies, though,” he said. “They’re so cute! Can I come back to see them when they’re big enough to play with? Lester, can I get a puppy?”
“I don’t know if Sid and Nancy would appreciate a new playmate, do you?” Lester asked in an attempt to put him off and saw Connor’s smile fade a little. It returned when Will promised to call him when the pups were a few weeks older and ready to start exploring, thanking him for watching them tonight.
Will and Connor talked for a little while before Connor started looking to Lester, trying to see if he was ready to go home again. Lester took his car keys from the counter where he’d left them rather than keeping them in his pocket all night.
“Here.” He handed them to Connor. “I think you need to get home and get some sleep.”
Connor’s eyes widened in surprise. “You’re going to let me drive the Mercedes? Really? Oh, of course, you’ve probably had a drink so I’ll have to drive us.”
“Not us, just you.”
“So how will you get home?” Connor glanced at Will and then grinned at him. “You’re not planning on coming home, are you?” His grin widened as he scolded playfully, “You dirty stop-out!”
Lester glared. “You could walk home…”
Connor grabbed the keys and picked up his bag, hurrying out of the door before Lester could change his mind about the Mercedes.
“And be careful,” Lester called after him. “If I get a speeding ticket, you’ll be walking to work for the next year!”
As the car drove away, Connor waving from the driver’s seat, Lester sighed. Will just laughed.
“You never did tell me how you ended up with him living with you,” Will commented as he took off his jacket, hanging it over the back of a chair.
“I found him in his office in his underwear one morning; he’d been sleeping there after Abby, the last person he’d insinuated himself into the home of, asked him to move out.”
Will smiled. “And so you took him in? That was kind of you, James.”
“Nonsense. I just was trying to avoid the administrative nightmare he would have caused had anyone discovered that he was living at the ARC. And especially as he was keeping those damn pets of his there too.”
Will’s smile grew wider. “Of course you were. No matter what you say, James, I’ve seen you around him and Mark and the others. You like them, really.”
“Scandalous accusations,” Lester grumbled, not willing to admit that maybe Will was correct.
“So would Sid and Nancy be his pets?” Will asked. “You mentioned them earlier to deter him from asking for a puppy. They aren’t friendly?”
Lester opened his mouth to answer and closed it again. How could he accurately describe Sid and Nancy? They were destructive, ate anything in sight whether it was edible or not, they squeaked all night long, drooled in his shoes (when they weren’t chewing on them), constantly tried to climb onto the bed when he was sleeping… He had woken up to find Nancy sitting on his bed, staring at him, waiting for him to wake up an pay her some attention yesterday morning.
“They’re friendly, if a little too boisterous,” Lester told him. “The damn things cost me a fortune in shoes; they seem rather partial to Italian leather.”
“He can’t cage them when he’s out, or confine them to a room?”
Lester laughed. “We tried, but they chewed through the wire of their cage.” He saw Will’s surprise, adding, “Wire doesn’t really present them with much of a challenge; they can eat through a plaster wall if they feel so inclined.”
“You’ll have to introduce me sometime.”
Lester nodded, falling silent as he tried to think of something else to say. He knew what he was doing, talking about the critters and Connor more as a way of putting off the real conversation, namely what had begun back at the hotel. It wasn’t that he regretted it, or that he wanted to avoid a repeat of it, but he was completely out of practice at this whole dating game. He hadn’t been on a date, except tonight, since before he and his ex had got engaged and that had been a lot of years ago. Added to that the fact that despite his dalliances with men whilst at University, he had never gone out on a date with any of them.
They both looked at each other, stopping, before adding together, “You go first.”
Will held up his hand to stop Lester. “James, I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable. What happened earlier was lovely, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want a repeat, but if you don’t-”
Lester cut him off in mid sentence, moving closer to pull Will into a kiss. Parting, he smiled.
“Now, where were we?”
Will slid an arm around Lester’s waist, his fingers hot on Lester’s skin even though his shirt, and pulled him closer.
“Right about here, I think,” Will replied, kissing him again.
Lester’s best attempts to get back into his flat unnoticed for a change of clothes were thwarted rather noisily by Sid and Nancy. As he let himself in, closing the door quietly behind him, he heard the pattering of clawed feet and the insistent squeaking of hungry Diictodons. Of course, usually, whoever got up first gave them their breakfast, mainly to sidetrack them and keep them out of the way while he and Connor got ready and had their own breakfast.
Now the little buggers were dancing around his feet in the hope that he had food with him, their squeaks getting louder.
“If you shut up, I’ll feed you,” he whispered to them, waving a hand vaguely toward the kitchen and emphasising, “Dinner,” making them scamper away happily. They weren’t any quieter, but at least they weren’t under his feet any more.
“Did you just try to bribe Sid and Nancy?” Connor’s amused voice asked, causing Lester to look up sharply. The young man was leaning against his bedroom doorframe in just his pyjama bottoms, his hair stuck up in all directions and a huge smile on his face. “Just so I wouldn’t see you doing the walk of shame.”
Connor pushed away from the doorframe and came out into the hallway as he continued.
“Sneaking back in while wearing last night’s clothes, creased as though they’ve been on a bedroom floor all night. All you’re missing is your underwear stuffed into a pocket somewhere…” Connor looked him over again and Lester rolled his eyes.
“I do not have my underwear in my pocket!” Well, actually, he did- along with his tie and cufflinks- but he wasn’t telling Connor that. This encounter was embarrassing enough without giving him any more ammunition to work with. With whatever dignity he had left, he held his head high and walked past Connor to his bedroom. “Now, I suggest you go and deal with those pets of yours and get ready for work. Unless you don’t want a lift, of course…”
To his relief, Connor went off to feed Sid and Nancy, before hurrying back to his room to get dressed as Lester went into his own room and shut the door. Leaning back against it, he smiled. No matter how irritating Connor was likely to be after this, teasing him, it didn’t change the fact that he’d had a fantastic time last night. Over the years, his marriage had become more of a live-in friendship than a romantic attachment. Dates, romantic dinners, even spending time together had become a chore. He’d forgotten how much fun going out on a date could be and, despite his concerns that he was decidedly out of practice with the dating game, Will seemed to enjoy it as much as he did.
“So, you had a good time, then?” Connor asked in between mouthfuls of cereal when they both sat down to breakfast.
“Yes, thank you.”
Connor stopped eating when he heard Lester’s tone. “I’m sorry about taking the piss earlier,” he said. “He’s a nice bloke.”
Lester nodded. Connor really did sound sincere in his apology, and he had helped Lester to make up his mind whether to go last night or not.
“Are you going out again? You should; you’ve been loads happier since you started spending time with him.”
As Connor went back to shovelling cereal into his mouth, Lester smiled. He was happy