“Frances really is a remarkable woman,” George says, contemplatively.
It’s not the sort of thing one usually says about one’s wife whilst pillowed on the bosom of one’s lover, but then their relationship is anything but usual.
Peter laughs, a small soft sound that reverberates under George’s ear. His fingers continue to card through George’s hair. “What has she done this time?” His voice is fond, and far from alarmed.
George sits up, turning his head so as to catch Peter’s eye. “Have I ever told you about the first time I realised I was attracted to you?”
The amused arch in Peter’s eyebrow invites him to continue.
George feels the flush begin to rise in his cheeks, as it always does when he recalls embarrassing memories, but it’s only Peter here now, and he forces the flush back down again. “I realised it because she told me.”
“She told you,” Peter repeats, and presses a finger against his lips, as if to hold back a smile.
“Yes,” George says, and drops his gaze to the duvet. “She’d seen us together, and then that night she announced that we’d had an heir and a spare and it was really time I faced up to the fact that I was bisexual. And that I was half in love with you already.”
Peter says nothing. His eyes say everything, when George dares to look up and check.
“I blame Chris Bryant,” George says resentfully, when no verbal reaction is forthcoming from Peter. “With his ‘my girlfriend told me I was gay’ story. I’m sure that’s where Frances got the idea.”
“Was it so bad?” Peter asks, mildly.
George reaches out, instinctively, to slide his hand around the closest part of Peter he can reach, which happens to be his ankle. “Not the part about being attracted to you, although that was a surprise. Just…the whole thing was rather sprung on me at once.”
He remembers Frances’s surprised look when he first vehemently denied it, then stormed off for a midnight walk. She has always been so optimistic, so sure that if everyone is honest and open, everything will work out for the best. Her ancestors lived gloriously untypical lives – why can’t they? And yet life isn’t always that easy; allowing oneself to unpick the blind spots of a lifetime is not the work of a single night.
But she had been right, in the end. And if she hadn’t dared to throw her blithe grenade into his idea of himself, would he be here today, with the man he loves?
“Have you adjusted to the idea now?” Peter asks.
George runs his finger along the inside of Peter’s ankle, just to watch the shiver go up Peter’s spine, just to watch the way Peter’s eyes fall shut involuntarily.
“Yes,” he says simply.
And as he crawls up Peter’s body to kiss those beloved lips, he makes a mental note to send Frances flowers tomorrow.