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Edward Drummond was nervous. He had been called two days ago by his ancient economy and politics teacher Robert Peel. The man, who had been newly named headmaster at Worthington's, had offered him a job as an office assistant.

Worthington, which was situated on the Cornish countryside, definitively was a nice school. It was owned by the Coburg family and was attended by 800 children ranging from 4 to 13 years old. It was sincerely redeemed as prestigious to attend it (and a waiting list of 5 years was proving it) and to work for this highly reputable establishment was considered the crème de la crème of jobs.

Few things were asked of the employees: an irreproachable conduct, good references, no cellphones during the day and most importantly it was strictly prohibited to date between staff members.  

It seemed easy enough to follow…


 

A nice iron fence circled the school's ground and Drummond was amazed at seeing the infamous building for the first time. He had never ventured this far out of London and he was surprised by the woods surrounding it. It was as if this little parcel of land had been preserved in time. Surprisingly enough there was a very modern village only 15 minutes away where he rented a room in a bed and breakfast owned by a distant relative on his grand-mother’s side.

He rearranged his shirt collar to look as sharp as possible and cleared his throat.

He knocked on the school’s front door and soon enough a little buzzing sound indicated it had been unlocked. It was quiet in the halls and the children were in class. A short young woman with soft brown eyes, glasses and brown hair with blonde highlights went to greet him at the door.

“Hi! You must be Edward. My name is Wilhelmina (I know, what a horrible name), but everyone calls me Mina. I’m one of the school’s secretaries. I’ll take you to Mr. Peel.”

“I’m pleased to meet you. I believe we will be called to work together quite often, am I right? Mr. Peel told me my desk would be in the same room as yours.”

“Well actually there is a slight part of wall between us, but yes we are going to be pretty close. Here, I’ll just knock and leave you here. We are in a rather, eh…delicate situation at the office” she checked around them and whispered: “By which I mean there’s vomit everywhere on the floor.”

The brunet forced a smile “Oh, it sounds terribly nice, I can’t wait to be in there with you.”

She smiled and pushed him into the headmaster’s office. There sat Peel a multitude of papers lying around. His phone was ringing in the background and he seemed extremely busy. Nonetheless, he smiled at him.

“Ah Drummond my lad, at last!” The older man clapped him on the back “I’m so glad to see you. I’ve been trying to put all these papers in order and there is not five minutes where I’m not interrupted by misbehaving students, overly dramatic parents and exhausted teachers. I trust you will make yourself at ease quickly. I need your fantastic brain” The phone was still ringing in the background. The man sighed. “You signed your employment papers, right?”

“Yes sir, I’ve signed them. I’m glad you thought about me and asked me to come.”

The man smiled and looked at his watch. Peel wasn’t the kind of man to lose a lot of time in idle chat; he was a man of actions. “Now lad, I’ve already placed some urgent files on your desk back in the secretary’s office. Please have a look at them as quickly as possible.”


 

Luckily for him, the vomit had been cleaned up when he arrived in the office and the windows were opened. The brunet quickly spotted his desk. It was covered with a massive pile of folders with papers sticking everywhere at various angle.  He sighed. The day promised to be long.

Wilhelmina was on her computer and she smiled at him as he tried to move the folders. She had a cup of coffee, a small picture frame of a tabby cat and some plastic flowers on her desk. She put a finger on her mouth showing him to be silent while pointing with her other hand the other secretary who was busy talking on the phone at the desk next to her.

To the brunet's great surprise his new co-worker was not a woman. It was a blond haired and rather good looking young man. He was well dressed and had the longest eye-lashes Drummond had ever seen on a man.

Not that he was staring…

“I do understand Mrs. Johnson this is quite a regretful situation. I can assure you we will do everything to help your child as fast and as efficiently as we can with the shortest of delays.” The blond was rolling his eyes. It seemed the call had been going on for a long time. “Certainly. I’ll pass the message on to Mr. Peel as soon as possible. Have a nice day Mrs. Johnson. It is always a pleasure to speak with you. I’m already looking forward to our next conversation. Yes I agree.”He sighed and finally put the phone down.

“O-M-G! I thought she would never hang up. Mina my dear, I say it’s time we take our break before the recess hits us with its usual casualties and sorrowful little victims pouring blood everywhere.” He turned to Edward and flashed him a nice smile “I’m Alfred by the way. I'm pleased to meet you!”

He closed their office door and the blinds on their little window, hiding them from the sight of children on their way to the bathroom. When Alfred passed by Wilhelmina’s desk to return to his, she slapped him squarely on the ass.

“I do love those pants on you. You have such a nice arse, I can’t resist it.”

“I know honey, that’s why I wear them” He winked at her and she made a kissy face at him.

Drummond might have been staring at this point, but he quickly resumed his work. He was feeling a bit like a third wheel in the office. His contract said the staff shouldn’t be dating and Peel had been very adamant about it on the phone. He certainly wasn’t going to denounce them on his first day …

 

Chapter Text

 His first morning went okay. He tried to organise his desk, but he was always distracted by something.

If it wasn’t by kids coming in and out of the office, it was by the phone that kept on ringing on and on or by teachers who went into the office to talk about various stuff with Wilhelmina.

 If all of that wasn’t already distracting enough, his brain was also working against him.

It seemed he couldn’t stop himself from staring at his new co-worker.

Even worst, it seemed every time he looked at Alfred, Alfred was staring back at him with his bright blue eyes.

 

These pants should be illegal! How is one supposed to work with such a nice arse on display?!

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the bell finally rang for lunch. 800 hungry children poured over the school’s corridor and the brunet thought his eardrums would explode from all the noise.

“I’ll see you two in an hour.” Alfred flashed them a grin and left.

“I’ll get a sandwich from the coffee shop. Do you want to come with me?” Mina was already putting her coat on “Alfred works on Mondays and Wednesdays’ lunch hour. He is responsible of the kindergarteners.”

“It’s awfully nice of you Mina, but I think I’ll just check the staff room for now. Maybe some other day.”

 

Drummond finally found a way to cross over the children running around and entered the room Mina had told him was the staff room.

It was crowded.

There were three distinct tables in the room and most of them were full.

Crickey. He was about to retreat when a good looking brown-haired man gestured to him.

” You can sit next to me, if you like. There are three different cliques in here; you don’t want to be associated with the wrong ones. You would be making enemies on your first day and I’m pretty sure you don’t want this to happen.”

“Well thanks, my name is Edward Drummond.”

They shook hand.

“I’m Ernst Coburg. Yes, I know what you are thinking.  I’m part of the administrator’s family. I teach music here.”

He had a very greasy pizza, fries and a Coca-Cola for lunch.

When Ernst saw Edward was looking at his lunch he waved it off.“ We all have to die of something. Your mom made yours, I presume?”

“What gave it away the radishes cut into flowers or the fact that my sandwich is cut in four?”

Ernst laughed “She must have felt very distressed to see you leave? Are you a single child?”

“Absolutely! I’m also almost 29… She cried as if I was going abroad in America or Asia. But no, I’m just a couple of hours away from her. I’m pretty sure she’ll have called like 10 times on my phone by tonight.”

“Well, last time I went abroad I came back with an STD… ”

There was a pregnant pause. What could you even answer to that?

“On another trail of thoughts, we are missing a couple of teachers in here. Can you believe this? We are almost 30 teachers in all. Some of us eat in our classroom, Mr. Peel eats in his office and Coke and Paget often eat in theirs.”

Ernst looked around to see if anyone was looking at them. “You know, I’ve bedded my way around much of the good-looking ones. I could tell you which ones are worth it; if you’re interested.”

Edward almost choked on his sandwich. “I thought we weren’t allowed to date between staff members?”

“Who talked about dating? Sleeping with someone once or twice never killed anyone. Plus, you see that couch over there?“

Drummond looked at the said couch.

“Do I really want to know?”

“Well you probably don’t. I’ve never slept with Coke. She’s not really my type. She desperately tries to get me to, but I don’t know. She’s fun to hang out with, but you know... Paget and her are always up for a night out though.”

It was Edward’s turn to look around and to whisper. “They seem pretty close. Are they… you know…dating?”

“They are just good friends, that’s all. They live at Wilhelmina’s aunt’s house. They have a little flat on the second floor and that old lady is really something. Trust me, you don’t want to cross her. Plus, Paget is interested by members of his own team, if you get what I mean?”

“Oh, I see.” He cleared his throat. He was rather pleased about this information. “ Is it known or do I have to keep this a secret?”

“Oh no, he’s out. It’s not a secret. I’ve never seen him date anyone since he works here (it’s been about 4 or 5 years) but he says he’s not looking. When we go out at the bar next town he sometimes dances with other men, but that’s about all that I know.”

 Unwanted images of his petite co-worker dancing in a luscious way swarmed his brain.

Think about the bloody damned Word document you must edit. Cut and paste. Format. It seemed to do the trick for now.

Some teachers introduced themselves to Edward and by the time he had finished his lunch the staff room was almost empty. Ernst was checking his phone.

“You can check your phone during your lunch break, but you can’t use it during work hours. My brother is really berserk about this. He’ll fire you on the spot if he gets to learn about it.”

Drummond took his out and saw that his mom had already called six times. He also saw he had received an e-mail from Paget, A.

It was a list of every employee of the school with their phone numbers. It was supposed to be used in case of emergency.

He decided to enter Wilhelmina’s and Alfred’s phone number, just in case. He texted the latter.

I’ve just added you on my contact list, just in case. Drummond

Nice, I’ll save yours too. AP


Mina at 12h56:

So, did you add him?

AP at 12h57:

No. He did! 

 I wanted to save him under the nickname nice prospect, but I changed my mind, just in case.

Mina at 12h57:

Well I thought he would be your type.

Do you think he likes men?

He’s rather well dressed for a single man…

AP at 12h58:

Dark haired, broad shouldered, tall, nice smile…

He’s absolutely delicious. I guess time will tell.

Mina at 12h59:

:D See you in 5.


 

The afternoon looked a lot like his morning.

 Except with more staring and smiling.

“Al, I’ll go and get the attendance cards if that’s alright with you.”

“I’ll try to manage, but don’t be too long just to be sure. I can be very naughty.”

Drummond tried really hard to stay focused on his computer. He could feel a drop of sweat rolling down his back.

If concentration was an Olympic sport, he would have won gold. Or not.

Suddenly someone threw the office door open. It was one of the teachers he had met during lunch break.

“Alfred, please, can you come and help me? I’m about to wreck that wretched machine. I swear! That damned copy machine will be the death of me!”

“Don’t worry Harriet I’ll help you settle the matter. I’ll grab a club just in case, so we can wreck some sense into it if I fail. I'll even let you hit it first!”

She sighed " Alfred you really know how to talk to women".

 

With Alfred gone, Edward thought he might manage to finally get his work going when something or rather someone grabbed his arm.

It was a little boy.

“Excuse-me sir, my teacher sent me. I’m looking for Mr. Paget, but I can’t find him. ”

“He’s busy somewhere else. He’ll be back soon.”

The little boy ignored him.

“I have to give you this.” He handed him a rolled wet piece of something. It looked like a rag.

Edward didn’t knew what to do, so he grabbed it. He was looking at the kid (who looked as though he was waiting for something) and never saw Alfred return in the room.

“Oh Arthur! I’ve told you I can give you a bag, but don’t give your clothes to anyone! You have to put it in the bag yourself. Nobody wants to touch your clothes when you’ve had a little accident in them.“

What?!! It’s pee. Kid's pee. I can’t believe I’ve just touched this. On the inside, Edward was totally freaking out.He was taken by a sudden urge to wash his hands one or ten thousand times.

Arthur started to cry as if it was the end of the world. “I can’t help it... I forgot to go. My mom will be very mad about this. I don’t even have a spare underwear this time.”

“Oh don’t cry Arthur, here”Alfred dabbed the little boy’s nose with a tissue. “That’s better. Now, I've got a secret to tell you...Sometimes I don’t wear undies either.“ The blond winked in Drummond’s direction.

The later one gaped like a dead fish, blushed and quickly left the room, bumping into Mina on his way out.

Chapter Text

 “Is it working?”

Yes, mom.”

It was 8 o'clock on a Friday night and Drummond was talking to his mom on the phone. The problem was that she was struggling with hers and Edward’s patience was currently on the low side.

“Hello? Hello? Edward.”

“Mom! It’s working, I can see you.”

“Something probably is wrong. Edward? HELLO?”

“Mom, turn up the volume.”

“Edward? Now I think it’s working… How was your first week at work?

“It went fine.” I guess; I’ve been staring at my new co-worker for most it.

“How is the room where you stay?”

“It’s fine. The food is good. We can’t invite anyone over though, it’s very strict.”

“Why? Have you met someone?”

No, mom.” pause. “Why are you always asking me that? I’m definitively not seeing anyone.”

“Good, because there’s a nice girl who moved in with her parents yesterday. I’d like you to meet her she’s-”

“I’ve got to go mom. I’ll call you soon! Bye!“

He hung up the phone and sighed. It had been a difficult week.

He was struggling with the impossible amount of work Peel was asking him to do in the shortest amount of time.

He also found it hard to concentrate on his work with the constant interruptions in the office (Alfred shamelessly flirting with him, kids crying, Alfred looking at him, the ever ringing phone, Alfred breathing…).

He wasn’t in the best of shape and he definitively was mentally exhausted. Even talking to his mom (which usually cheered him up since he was such a mommy’s boy) had failed.

He was experiencing a real inner conflict. On one side, he wasn’t out to his parents yet (he had slept with other men, but had never dated anyone so he had never felt the urge to do so) and he had just signed a contract on which it was specified he wasn’t supposed to date any of his co-workers. On the other hand, Alfred definitively was attracting him both physically and mentally (which had never happened to him before) and might prove to be much more than just a one-time thing.

In fact, Alfred had a lot of major traits he was looking for in a boyfriend. He was cheerful, witty, kind-hearted, spoke like a dictionary, had a very nice smile, a great ass and so on.

Drummond was just laying there looking at the ceiling and -not- thinking about Alfred when he received a text.

AP at 22h15:

Excuse me, I know it’s a bit late.

Edward D. at 22h16:

It’s alright. I’m not sleeping. I’m certainly not thinking about us having hot steamy sex.

AP at 22h17:

Good.

Edward D. at 22h17:

Yeah!

AP at 22h20:

Tomorrow night we are going grocery shopping at a bulk store (it’s an hour drive from here). We do that once a month. Afterward we are going to grab a bite. Nancy (she teach the kindergartners), Ernst and Mina will be there. Would you like to come with us?

The brunet looked around in his room.

He had the smallest fridge ever.

He had a microwave and that was about it.

He wasn’t even good at boiling water.

Edward D. at 22h25:

Sure! Where are we meeting?

AP at 22h25:

The school at 15h00.

Edward D at 22h26.

I’ll be there

AP at 23:00:

 :)

Edward at 23:00:

 ;)


 

Alfred and Mina lived on the second floor of Mina’s aunt’s house. On one side, there was Mina’s bathroom and her bedroom. On the other, there was Alfred’s, and, in the middle, they shared a kitchen. There was a door on the outer kitchen wall, but the stairs to get to it were very sketchy so they rarely used it. It was to be used in case of emergency only and Alfred already said he’d felt safer by throwing himself from his bedroom window than by using it.

“Mina you’ve got to help me out.” Alfred knocked on his roommate’s door and turned the handle.

“What is it?”

Wilhelmina was reading. She had a pink pajama on. She moved a bit, so he could climb in bed with her.

“Drummond is coming with us tomorrow and I don’t know what I’m going to wear.”

“What? What do you mean you don’t know what  you are going to wear? We are grocery shopping and we will be five people in all Alfred; don't get your hopes up, it's not a date…”

“I know. I think I’m running a fever.”

She put her hand on his forehead.  “I think you literally are in heat.”

“I think I’ll die if everything stays this way. My whole body hurts when I look at him.”

He lay down next to her.

“Whole body is a code name for your dick, right?”

“I’m not joking for once! This is serious! Do you think I should be more forward with him?”

“How could you even be possibly more forward? By stripping in front of him? By putting your hands directly in his pants?”

“Good idea, I’ll keep it in mind, just in case.”

“I’m sure you will.”  She was still looking at her book. They had been living together for five years and she was used to his drama.

“ The thing is he’s sending me mixed signals. It’s not complicated. Either you are interested, either you are not.  I hate being in limbo.”

She sighed and finally closed her book.

“Maybe he doesn’t know what to do. Maybe he likes you too but he’s shyer than you.”

“Don’t get my hopes up. If nothing happens tomorrow, I’ll leave him alone and marry you instead.”

“I’m sure you will. Now, if I help you choose an outfit for tomorrow, you’ll do our laundry for the next two weeks. This deal includes folding it.”

He tried to look offended, but she wasn’t impressed. “Agreed, but I get to sit next to him in the car.”

“Deal.”


Alfred started prepping up for the grocery shopping at one o’clock. What he wasn’t aware of was that 4 blocks away Drummond was doing the same thing.

After trying on all of his clothes for the third time, the brunet finally deemed himself ready (he chose a fitted shirt with a cardigan to go over it so he wouldn’t have to wear a coat) and decided to walk to the school.

Never had he been in all his life as excited to go grocery shopping as he was now.

When Ernst finally arrived with his car, Edward was almost frozen solid. It probably wasn’t the best idea not to wear a coat in November, but beauty was pain after all.

He was about to open the door in order to sit next to Alfred (who flashed him a very lovely smile) when Nancy pushed him and took his place “Just take my seat up front Drummond, you are broader than I. It won’t be as crammed on the back seat that way.”

The one-hour drive seemed to last an eternity. Nancy kept talking about her boyfriend (who was away at a culinary school) with Alfred, Mina was reading her book and Ernst was singing off-key to every song that played on the radio. His only consolation was that when he looked in the car’s mirror he could appreciate how dashing Alfred was.

He was absolutely stunning with his dark skinny jeans, his red high-top converse shoes and his nice light blue shirt.

When they finally pulled up in front of the store, Nancy took matters in her own hands.

“Okay everyone, grab your list. Drummond you seem to have some strong arms, you’ll get a cart and Ernst will get one too.”

She had then snatched Alfred’s arm and had dragged him around which meant it was probably going to be extremely difficult for Drummond to talk to him alone.

Mina sighed, looked at Drummond and followed them.


 

In fact, it was rather difficult to have a conversation in a crowded store anyway. There were people everywhere and Nancy was leading them around as if grocery shopping had been a skill she was born with.

Ernst was happy to just follow them around, charming girls and exchanging phone numbers on various occasions.

Every time Alfred was getting closer to Drummond, one of the girls would snatch him back.

It was getting more and more frustrating by the minute.

Finally, after what felt like years, the girls left them to go in the fruit department and Ernst was busy chatting with another (nice looking) woman. In a blink Alfred was by his side.

“So Drummond, do you enjoy grocery shopping, then?”

His heart skipped a bit. He found it rather difficult to breathe every time Alfred was talking to him. The blonde’s eyes were glinting and it seemed as though he was batting his eyelashes at him (something Drummond thought  was surprisingly extremely seducing).

Stay calm, breathe, try to be cool…

“To be honest with you, I don’t know how to cook. I’m not one to shop either. I thought it would be nice to spend some time with-”

He was cut short by Ernst who had a smile plastered on his face (no doubt the woman had given him her phone number). The great seducer grabbed them both by the shoulders.

“Gentlemen, while the girls are away, I suggest we make a quick stop at the pharmacy. I need to buy one of those big boxes of condoms-they are cheaper here and since the STD drama, I prefer not to take any chances.”

“Good idea Ernst! Drummond, do you think I should get one too?”

That's it his brain had stopped working and his mouth went suddenly dry.

He was now sure of it, Alfred was definitively batting his eyelashes at him.

“Something’s wrong with your eyes Paget.I don’t know about you, but Drummond should absolutely get one. He’s got a couple of teachers who wouldn’t mind getting better acquainted with him” He winked.

Alfred just sighed and left them there to Drummond’s despair.


 

Back in the car Alfred wasn’t looking at him and he was pouting. Nancy was still sitting in between them, oblivious to the drama that was going on.

They stopped at a little Italian restaurant situated in the middle of the drive back home.

Edward tried to sit next to Alfred, but Ernst sat in between them.

This cetainly wasn't the day he had hoped for.


 

Alfred had barely eaten his food and wasn’t talking much, to Mina's dismay.

She decided to take matters in her own hands and cleared her throat.

“Nancy, can you come with me?”

”Eh sure, we’ll be back gentlemen.”

When they were out of sight, Mina asked her to get closer.

“Alfred’s got it hard (both literally and figuratively speaking) for Drummond.”

“Oh! That’s why he’s pouting. He should have told me. I've pushed him around all day. Poor thing.”

“Well he’s been all over the place since Drummond’s arrival at school. I’ve never seen him like that.”

“ I'll text him and try to make things better. Thanks for telling me!”


Alfred was moving his food around in his plate when he felt his phone buzz.

Nancy S. at 19h35:

Mina told me everything! I’m so sorry! Stop pouting!

AP at 19h36:

I’ll try, but Ernst is still rambling on.

Nancy S. at 19h37:

I’ll take care of him, you’ll see.

He quickly hid his phone and a couple of minutes later, both girls were back. Alfred gave Nancy a nice smile. She winked at him.

“Hey Ernst, stop rambling!”

“What? We were having a very nice manly discussion here.”

The truth of it was probably that Drummond was too polite to tell him to just shut up.

“Well, it's certainly not my business, but that girl over there keeps looking at you.”

“Really?  Ernst checked the said girl who flashed him a nice smile. “Yeah you are right, if you’ll excuse me.”


 

Finally free (at last), Drummond smiled at Alfred. The later one was just getting up in order to sit next to him when he accidentally hit the server that was standing behind him.

The poor sixteen year old dropped the bottle of wine he was holding, completely ruining Alfred’s shirt in the process.

“I’m so sorry sir!”

Mina tried to help Alfred wipe up his shirt with paper towels; saddly to no avail.

“It’s okay, I guess. I think it’s certainly not my day. We should all head back home.”

Nancy shook her head. “Ernst, are you coming?”

“No, just go, I'll grab a cab!” The girl was toying with his hair.

“It's your fucking car!”

He waved them off “Just get my keys! I'll come back for it later!”

Edward cleared his throat.

“Look I’ll lend you my cardigan.”

“It's awfully kind of you Drummond, but you’ll freeze outside. It’s alright.”

“Well, I insist; at least my shirt is not wet.”

He took his cardigan off and gave it to Alfred (who was staring at him with his mouth open). The shirt was a little large on his petite frame (a detail Drummond found entirely adorable).

They were staring at each other. Nancy cleared her throat, breaking the moment. “ Let's get in the car, shall we?”

 


 

The ride back home was definitively the best part of Alfred's day. He was wearing Drummond’s cardigan (which was deliciously smelling of him) over his ruined shirt and they both sat in confortable silence on the back seat of the car.  

Nancy and Mina were talking together and he was vaguely listening to them.

His hand rested on the seat just behind one of the grocery bags when he felt a light brush on his fingers. He thought he might be imagining things, but the brushing resumed. Then slowly he felt fingers creeping over his until both his and Drummond’s hand were firmly locked together. As if on cue, they briefly looked at each other then stared out of their respective window. A smile crept on his lips as he looked outside.

Chapter Text

On Monday morning, Drummond felt extremely happy. He had done a lot of thinking and he was now sure dating Alfred was what he was always meant to do.

He checked himself in the mirror twice before leaving for work.

Upon his arrival, he left his lunch in the staff room and went straight to his office, greeting Mr. Peel (who was still very busy) on his way.

When he entered into the small room, Mina was typing on her computer. Her hair was loosely tied, and she flashed him a quick smile. She then returned her gaze to her screen.

Alfred, busy at his desk, looked stunning; as always.

“I’ve spent the night with your shirt. Sadly, I’ve left it in my bed. I’m afraid you’ll have to come and get it yourself.”

“Is it a command or a wish?”  He flashed the blond a cocky smile.

“What? Are you going to make me beg?”

“No!No!No!” Wilhelmina quickly closed the office door. “We are at work and it’s certainly not the place to have that kind of conversation. We must get some work done. Might I remind you there are children around here.  Alfred, it’s your turn to get the attendance cards, calm your dirty mind and go.”

She pushed him out of the room while he stuck his tongue out at her.

Then, defiantly, she pointed her finger in his direction.  The brunet acted as if he was the picture of innocence.

You, get some work done. I swear, you’ll both be the death of me. Today is not a day to mess with me. It’s parent-teacher night for the next two nights and Alfred and I are going to work 40 hours in the span of 3 days. He has to think with the head he has on his shoulders, not the one he has in his pants.”


 

Mina at 12h00 :

Nancy, please come and save me; this is even worse than last week.

Nancy S. at 12h15:

I’ll come and rescue you during my free period.


 

It was the middle of the afternoon when Nancy finally came to Mina’s rescue. She wore a very nice dress to look her best when the parents of her pupils would come to meet her.

“Mina, can you come check something with me, please?”

“Sure! Alfred, stop staring and get some work done.”

She glared at the boys and followed Nancy in the corridor, closing the door behind her.

The teacher looked around to see if they could speak freely. “Wow, it’s hot in there. Is there a problem with the heating system?”

“ It’s not even on! And, before you ask, the window is open…. I think it’s caused by all the lusting going on in there.” She sighed “ Look, he’s doing it again.”

Nancy looked through the door’s window just in time to see Alfred chewing on his pen in a very inappropriate manner, while intently looking at his co-worker and talking on the phone.

Nancy whistled “ Well that’s what I call multitasking. I’ve never seen him like that, he’s got it bad. I can’t see Drummond, since he’s in the other corner, but he must find this is a rather challenging work environment.”

“Well to put this simply, I think it’s best he’s behind a desk because I’m pretty sure with the kind of pants he’s wearing I would be seeing things I don’t necessarily want to. “

Nancy laughed.“Something will have to happen soon or one of them will spontaneously combust.”

Mina shook her head, “I better get back in there before Al finishes his phone call.”


 

Nancy S. at 21h00:

Al, Charles will be back for the break. We should hit the dancefloor on Wednesday night. You could invite Drummond! It could be nice, since Thursday is pedagogical, and we have Friday off. Are you in?

AP at 22h00:

I’ve just left work with Mina.

Sounds like a plan.

 We are going to get some extremely unhealthy food; do you want something?


 

Drummond was failing to sleep when his phone buzzed.

He had just received a picture of a bed with untucked blue sheets. In the middle of it was his cardigan.

AP at 22h45:

Your poor shirt is still my prisoner.

Edward D. at 22h46:

I thought you were sending me a naked pic.

I must say I’m a bit disappointed…

AP at 22h46:

Really? Well you’ll have to see me naked in the flesh first.

Do you want to go out on Wednesday night? We are going to hit the dancefloor :). Would you like to join us?

What! Dancing?! He’d never particularly enjoyed it and he certainly was horrible at it. 

He could think of a thousand things he’d like to do more than dancing..

Edward D. at 22h48:

I'll be there. Send me the coordinates

God, the things he would do just to be with that man...


 

Tuesday was worst than Monday and Mina and Alfred spent their day running around the school.

While some parents were glad to meet their children’s teacher, others weren’t; and since Alfred and Mina were at the front of the school, they were yelled at for no reason on various occasions during the day.

Wednesday had been even worse (if that could even be possible). The kids were extremely agitated since they had a couple of days off and the sound they made in the corridors was enough to cause blistering headaches to the members of the staff.

It was almost the end of the day, when a young girl came into the office, carrying suspicious looking cupcakes in her hands.

The icing on some of them clearly looked as though it had been licked off.

She wanted to give one to Mina, but the secretary kindly declined her offer, stating she was allergic to sugar (?!).

She then went to Alfred’s desk.

“Mr. Paget, I’ve brought cupcakes for everyone in my class. I’ve even brought one for you.”

“Oh thank you Clara, it’s just what I needed to get me through the day.” And without further ceremony the blond bit into the cake.

The little girl beamed. “ I’ve done the icing myself!”

“I can see that! It’s delicious!”

She wiped her nose with her left hand and walked to Drummond’s desk. “I’ve a cupcake for you too, Mr. Drummond!”

He didn't seem too thrilled about it.

As she was giving him the cake, she accidentally dropped it on the floor. 

Naturally, it fell on it’s icing. Without hesitation, she picked the cupcake and handed it back to him.

He sighed.

Clara was looking at him with expectation in her eyes.

Behind her, Mina was making a face as though she was about to be sick.

He inhaled deeply and took the smallest bite possible. He tried not to make a face.

The little girl smiled from ear to ear, as was Alfred behind her.

Needless to say, the later's smile was worth every bacteria he had just eaten.


 

The day had finally come to an end and Drummond was finally ready to go meet everyone at the club ( what are you supposed to wear to dance, really?). He was running short on time when his phone rang.

It was his mom. It was the third time that day she had tried to call him and he couldn’t really put off talking to her indefinitely.

“Hi mom!”

“Edward! What are you doing? You’re not answering your phone and it’s been days since we’ve talked. What’s going on?”

“Not much mom, I’m busy. In fact, I’m going out and I’m already running late.”

“Oh really, where are you going?”

“Erhm…Dancing.”

“What?! You!? dancing!?” He could hear the surprise in her voice.

“Erhm…yes…”

“What’s her name?”

“Erhm…I’m not seeing anyone mom.”

“There certainly is a girl behind this. Don’t lie to me, Edward! What’s her name?”

“You know what; I’ll call you later mom! I’m already late...”

“EDWARD DRUMMOND, you won’t get away that easily! I insist you give me her name. I’d like to see the girl!”

“Sorry mom, something’s wrong with my phone.”

He sighed and hung up. One day, he would have to come out to his mom and thinking about that was stressing the hell out of him.


 

 Charles Francatelli was Nancy’s boyfriend. He was a very decent bloke and he was almost done with his culinary studies. It was only a matter of months before he would open a bakery of his own in town.

He was talking with Ernst when Drummond finally arrived. He had run all the way.

Charles pulled him a chair. They shook hands.

“I see you are not dancing?”

The music was loud, and the dancefloor was crammed. Drummond tried to spot Alfred, Nancy and Mina but he failed to do so. Charles ordered him a drink.

“I’m not really into dancing. I need a couple of shots in order to do so. Nancy is enjoying herself down there. I’ll meet her later.”  He showed him the three empty glasses that were on the table.

“Where are they, I can’t see them?”

“Just there.” Ernst pointed them.

Sure enough, there was Alfred dancing (in a very inapropriate way, to say the least) with Nancy and Mina.

God, that man was going to be the death of him. His drink arrived, and he decided to sip it very slowly, just to keep his mind from straying from the conversation.

“Alfred is a real chick magnet. They all want to dance with him. It’s the perfect way to catch some girls.” Ernst ordered another drink. “You’ll see Drummond, we’ll find some nice ones later on this evening.”

Charles, who was smarter than Ernst, looked carefully at Drummond.“ Or not. See that guy over there? He seems to have set his sight on our little Alfred there.”

Drummond quickly put his drink down, almost spilling it in panic, mumbled and apology and made his way through the dancing crowd.

Ernst shrugged. “I guess he saw a nice-looking chick. Do you think he’ll mind if I finish his drink?” Without waiting for an answer, Ernst grabbed Edward’s glass.

Charles laughed “You are quite the observer, Ernst!”


 

When Drummond finally reached Mina, Nancy and Alfred, the guy was still trying to get Alfred to dance with him.

The brunet touched him on the shoulder, clearing his throat. “Excuse-me, I’m with him.”

“Oh, sorry! Lucky guy!”

Without further ado, the guy left and Alfred was finally right in front of him, smiling (as always).

“I’m your property now, am I? I’m glad you showed up. I thought dancing wasn’t your thing.”

“No, but you are.”

Alfred beamed at him and his heart started to beat faster.


 

At first, they danced with the girls, but as the evening went on, Drummond started to feel more confident with his dancing skills.

Charles had then joined them and had started to dance with Nancy. Mina, feeling as though she was a third wheel, excused herself and left the dancefloor.

They watched her leave and as simply as that, Alfred had taken his hand and led him in various dances.

The music got louder (if that was even possible), the room went darker and Alfred grew more and more daring, closing the distance between them with every new song.

His co-worker was now dangerously close to him, and there was only so much a man could endure without reaching his breaking point.

 “I need some air; let’s go outside!”

He grabbed a smiling, sweating and breathless Alfred by the hand and dragged him out of the dancefloor.


 Mina who now sat at a table with Nancy and Charles saw them leave.

“Alfred and Drummond have just left the dance floor. Do you think I should go and tell them where we are?”

Nancy shook her head.

“Mina, you should just let them be. I’m sure they will easily find us if they want to.”


 

The air was cool against their  damp skin.

“What a nice night! I’m really enjoying my-”

The brunet pulled Alfred by the shoulder and kissed him briefly on the mouth.

He looked slightly dazed as Drummond closed in for a second kiss.

They  broke apart and looked at each other. For how long, no one really knew; but it was at that precise moment that everything changed between them.


 

It was now Alfred’s turn to kiss him.

He thought his heart was about to explode.

He pushed the blond against the wall and their kissing grew more and more passionate by the second; their hands grasping at every inch of skin possible as they were clinging at each other.

They weren’t aware of where they were until someone yelled loudly at them.

HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEY! YOUnTHERE! GET A ROOM! BLOODY HELL!

Shocked, they broke their embrace.

 They were a complete mess. Their lips were swollen, their hair had been pulled in weird places, Alfred’s trousers were unzipped and somehow Drummond’s shirt was missing some buttons.

They were quite a sight.

“I think we should go to my place.”

“Yes.”

It was usually a 15 minutes walk to get there, but Alfred was sure they had made it in less then 10. They walked in silence, barely looking at each other, their blood boiling in their veins.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, they stopped in front of a small house.

Alfred looked at him for the first time since they had left the club’s parking lot, warning him. “Don’t make any sound! Mina’s aunt is horrible; if she catches us it’ll put a damper on our night.”

As silently as possible they made their way up the stairs, their shoulders brushing on the way up. Alfred got his keys out and unlocked the door.

As soon as the door was closed, their frantic kissing resumed. They started to undress in the kitchen and Edward was sure his heart (if nothing else) had bursted.

Alfred managed to say in between kisses his room was the one on the left. They bumped into a chair (which fell with a loud thud on the floor) and somehow, the blond ended up half naked into his arms, while he was already fully naked.

It had been a real miracle they had even made it to Alfred’s room, since the kitchen table had suddenly seemed extremely tempting.

Chapter Text

It was almost midnight when Charles and Nancy had dropped Mina in front of her aunt’s house.

She took her keys out and silently made her way upstairs.

She wasn’t sure if Alfred was back. She had texted him a couple of times, but she hadn’t received an answer. She was a little worried and Charles had laughed at her, stating Alfred was probably too busy with something-or rather someone- to answer.

 As she opened her flat’s door, she saw the clothes on the kitchen floor, the chair that had fallen in the middle of the room and the table that had been moved from it’s usual spot.

She shook her head, tidied the room a bit and picked the discarded clothes up.

While doing so, she heard whispers coming from her roommate’s bedroom.

 She smiled, grabbed something to eat from the pantry and tiptoed to her room.

 


 

Their first time had been quite rushed, and they didn’t really manage to do a lot.

But, the feeling of all that built up tension finally leaving their bodies after all those days of lusting at work had seemed to calm them down. Nonetheless, it had been a very enjoyable experience if not completely satisfying.  

Out of breath, they had then taken their time to look at each other’s bodies, discovering every inch of one another, kissing and stroking.

When the teasing and touching had been too much, laying side by side they had looked into each others’ eyes, speeding things up as they had reached their pleasure at the same time, muffling their panting and moaning into each other’s neck as they could hear Mina in the kitchen.

Sweaty, happy and exhausted they fell asleep curled against each other.


 

Mina at 00h15:

Alfred has not been kidnaped.

He’s in his room.

He’s not alone.

Nancy S. at 00h20:

I’ve told you so!

 


 

It was around 4 in the morning when Drummond woke up for the first time. He couldn’t feel his arm but he didn’t dare to move. Alfred was still curled against him, sleeping like an angel.

He tried to get back to sleep, but a specific part of his anatomy wasn’t interested in doing so.

He tried to distract his mind by thinking of work, but his thoughts kept returning to Alfred and what they had done earlier that night.

Needless to say it only made matters worse…

He forced himself to close his eyes and to count to 10.

Nope,  it still wasn’t working.

“How long have you been awake?”

He opened his eyes just in time to see Alfred stretch in the loveliest of manner. 

His heart started to beat faster. “You. Are. Driving. Me. Absolutely. Crazy, Alfred.”

The blond smiled. “Am I now? I could say the same about you.”

They kissed.

“You know I’m not always like that.”

“Like what?”

Alfred’s head was tilted on the side and as he ran his finger on his chest, Drummond found he could scarcely breathe. He was pretty sure the blood flow to his brain had decreased dramatically, favoring another part of his body (which he thought was already well supplied).

“You know, shamelessly making inappropriate advances to my new co-worker. Having sex on the first date…”

Really, he was at a loss for words, his eyes getting wide as Alfred rolled on top of him and bit his lips.

“You know Drummond, I usually wake up around 6. It would be a shame to go back to sleep now.”  The blond was now kissing his neck in the most delectable of manner. “I wonder…what could we do to pass the time?”

God, you are such a tease.” Drummond rolled him over to get back on top, Alfred letting out a little groan in the process. “ Play a game of chess?“

They kissed with passion as Alfred pulled him closer.

“I might have a little idea.”

 


 

Mina wiped her eyes, looked at her clock, saw it was not even 5 in the morning and sighed. She didn’t know why she had been woken up, brushed it off and tried to go back to sleep when she heard a loud thud. She thought something might have fallen in the kitchen, but on hearing it a second time she realised the banging kept on repeating itself and had an unmistakable rhythm to it.

She cursed when she realised all that ruckus was caused by her roommate’s headboard banging on the kitchen wall. She put her pillow on her head to tone down the noise, when her roommate’s voice loudly rose over all the banging.

“ALFRED PAGET, YOU ARE SUCH A NOISY SLUT!”

She cursed and swore she would wring his neck, when finally, it all came to a stop and the flat went back to silence.

Sadly, it was to be short lived.

 


 

“I think I’ve just died and woke up in heaven. That was amazing!”

They were a complete mess, dishevelled and out of breath, holding hands and looking at each other, giddy with love.

“Edward, I love you.”

They were smiling at each other when a series of three loud knocks could be heard coming from the floor.

Suddenly, a loud voice coming from downstairs could clearly be heard.

“ALFRED PAGET, YOU BETTER NOT BE DOING WHAT I THINK YOU ARE DOING OR I’LL KICK YOU OUT OF HERE SO FAST YOU WON’T KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING TO YOU.”

Alfred sat bolt upright in bed.

“FUCK! It’s Mina’s aunt. You’ll have to run for it. She can’t catch you here or I’m dead and she’ll kill you too. ”

Needless to say, it destroyed the mood in a flash.

Both in panic mode, they tried to dress as fast as they could.

Soon enough, the determined footsteps of the old lady could be heard coming up the stairs.

 In a flash, Edward was out of the back door (lightly dressed) and flashing his lover a grin.

Alfred closed his bedroom door and quickly opened the flat’s door.

“Hi Auntie!”

Don’t you dare auntie me! What have you been doing?

Alfred tried to look as normal as usual. “ I was jumping on the bed; that’s all.”

She looked at him suspiciously.“ At 5 in the morning? Your hair is sticking in weird places, your eyes are bright, your lips are swollen, there is a suspicious mark on your neck and I can smell it on you. I may be old, but I’m not blind I…

“Is there a problem, Alfred? Auntie?” Mina was just coming out from her own bedroom.

Her aunt squinted at her. She clearly wasn’t in a good mood.

“Alfred brought someone here. I’ve told you, you are not allowed to do so.” She pointed an accusing finger at his face.

“ I wouldn’t do anything you prohibited.”

Mina glared at him and turned her attention to her aunt.

“Alfred was alone auntie. You know we never bring dates here.”

The old hag looked at them suspiciously.

“Mina, you’ll come downstairs with me while Alfred get his things in order. We won’t get any more sleep this morning.“

 


 

Mina at 6h15:

So…?

AP at 6h15:

Third time was the charm… Best sex EVER!

Mina at 6h16:

What?! 3 times on a Wednesday night? I think Drummond will soon realise you are very high maintenance…

By the way, you are lucky aunt Buccleuch missed your performance. She only heard some thudding.  

I can’t say the same for me, you woke me up and I heard you two go at it.

AP at 6h16:

What?

Surely, you didn’t!?!

Mina at 6h16:

Really?

It went like this: Oh oh oooooh! EdwaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaard! Yes, YES YEESSSSSSSS.

It was all very high-pitched, and I swear you stressed the a for like 10 minutes.

AP at 6h18:

I certainly did not

Mina at 6h19:

ALFRED! You are such a noisy slut!

You should take example on your new boyfriend. He didn’t make a sound.  If it hadn’t been of your headboard knocking against the damn wall, I might have thought you were alone in there.

AP at 6h20:

I’ll move the bed away from the kitchen wall.

Mina at 6h22:

Or you might just tone it down a bit.

AP at 6h25:

Or not.

Mina at 6h27:

-LOUD AND AGRESSIVE EYE-ROLL-


 

Nancy S at 7h50:

I’ve seen your face this morning. Looks like someone got an extra helping of sausage for breakfast.

AP at 7h55:

I don’t know what you are talking about, Nancy.

Plus, I’m too tired to argue with you. I was up almost all-night long. ;)

Nancy S at 8h00

You poor thing.  


 

When Mina entered the office with Alfred, Drummond was already working on his computer.

“Hi Drummond! Nice hair. I trust you slept well?” She winked at him.

“It was rather a short night.  Surprisingly enough, I couldn’t sleep. I was a bit distracted.”

He blew a kiss in Alfred’s direction. The blond blushed a little and got some folders out from his desk’s drawer, when Mr. Peel entered in the office. He greeted him and Mina and then went straight to Drummond’s desk.

“Ah, Drummond, my lad! Distracted is exactly the word I was about to use. I’ve discovered some minor issues in your work document.”

The brunet looked at his boss with anxiety.

“Oh, my apologies sir!”

“Do not worry yourself, we are going to look at that together.” The older man pulled himself a chair. “And you know, I’ve been young too. You probably are thinking too much about that fiancée of yours, Florence.”

Alfred dropped the folders he was holding, sprang from his chair and quickly left the office, mumbling an apology on his way out.

Chapter Text

Mina was wide-eyed , and she felt as though her heart had skipped a beat. She couldn’t believe what Mr. Peel had just said.

Slowly, so as not to draw attention to herself, she got up and left the office, grabbing her bag on her way out.

The school was unusually quiet as she ran straight to the staff’s restroom , quickly guessing Alfred probably was hidden in there.

She looked to her left and her right and knocked on the door.

“Alfred, it’s me! Open  up.”

She didn’t get a response, so she knocked again  with more force.

“Alfred, come on! I know you’re  in there.”

A few minutes later, the door finally opened , revealing a devastated Alfred.

“I’m fine, really. Don’t worry.” His voice cracked a little while saying so. He was trying really hard to keep a straight face.

“God, Alfred. I’m so sorry… Now breathe . That’s it. Good. Now, another one.  Try to calm down while I go and tell Nancy we are leaving.”

 “But I’ve got-”

No buts; we are going home. You’re  going to put your PJs on, we’ll eat ice cream, you’ll sleep a couple of hours and then it’ll all be gone!” She tried to sound cheerful, but she wasn’t extremely convincing.

The blond shook his head and just stayed there. She hugged him and closed the door behind her.

She felt as though her heart had just crumbled in a thousand pieces.

 


 

Loud music was coming from Nancy’s classroom. She was getting her things done quickly and was looking forward to the nice evening she was going to spend with her boyfriend.

She heard a faint knock on her door and lifted her eyes from her work just in time to see Mina enter in her classroom.

“Nancy, I’m sorry to bother you.”

“Hey Mina. I thought it was Alfred coming in to tell me all about his night of debauchery.”

Her friend’s face quickly changed. Worried, Nancy turned down her music and shut her door.

“What’s wrong?”

“Mr. Peel said Drummond had a fiancée.”

“No!” She put her hand over her mouth in shock.

“Yes!”

“God, poor Alfred! He was completely besotted...How is he?”

“Worse than I’ve ever seen him. I’m taking him home. Could you please go in our office and turn our computers off? Tell Mr. Peel Alfred has come up with gastroenteritis or something.”

Nancy shook her head in disbelief. “It’s the least I can do.  I’ll come to check on you later today.”

 


 

Drummond tried really hard to stay focused on what his boss was saying, but his heart was beating extremely fast. He was good in hiding his emotions and it turned out to be extremely handy in that situation.

It was true he had once been engaged to a girl named Florence (he barely knew her, and he had done it because his mom seemed to really like her, and it was the thing to do in that case, really), but a couple of months into his engagement he had had an epiphany.

He was in fact attracted by men and thus had broken up with her, saying it wasn’t her fault, it was his, and all that crap. In fact, his mom had been more heart-broken than he by all of this.

The fact was that he couldn’t really run after Alfred, could he? Not when his boss was sitting next to him and it was stated everywhere you couldn’t date other staff members.

He was anxiously waiting the return of his (ex?) boyfriend when Nancy entered the room.

“I’m sorry to bother you, Mr. Peel, but Alfred was suddenly taken ill with you-know-what. Wilhelmina has taken him back home. She thinks she’ll probably come down with it, too…“

The older man shuddered at the mention of the illness and looked at his office assistant. “Drummond, my lad, may I suggest you to be extremely careful? Gastroenteritis is highly contagious. We are extremely lucky to have some days off . It’ll prevent it from spreading too much.” He cleared his throat and rose from his chair.“ Thank you Nancy. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go back to my office. I’ve no doubt my voicemail will be full.”

Nancy smiled at her boss and waited for him to leave. She was just closing Mina’s computer when Drummond cleared his throat in order to catch her attention.

“Has he really left?” 

“He certainly did!”

The brunet felt his heart sink even deeper.

Angrily, she pointed a finger to his face. “You, you better stay away from him.”

“But-”

Don’t you dare! I have a mind to call his six  big brothers. They’ll beat you into a pulp in a matter of seconds.” With that said, she left the office, shutting the door with a loud bang.

 


 

 

Aunt Buccleuch was working in her garden when she saw her two tenants making their way back home. She was surprised to see them come back so early from work, and she quickly saw something was wrong with Alfred (who was doing an extremely bad job of hiding his feelings). He wasn’t smiling, his eyes were puffy, and it seemed the spring he usually had in his step was gone.

When they arrived at the house, Mina gave her aunt a pleading look, but the old lady wasn’t of a mind to listen to her .

She shook her head in Alfred’s direction and made a disapproving sound. “Are you still going to tell me nothing happened last night?”

The blond sighed and looked at the ground.

I knew it! That’s what happens when you sleep with a stranger! At least prostitutes get money for it. What did you get out of this? A sore arse and a broken heart and that’s about it!”

Mina tried her best to get past her aunt, pushing her gently to the side. “Auntie…it may not be the best of time for this kind of discussion.”

“I’m not done yet, Wilhelmina! You should be ashamed of yourself, my boy! In my times we waited until after the wedding to do anything at all. The only positive thing about this is at least we don’t have to worry about you getting knocked-up…”

Alfred rolled his eyes. “It certainly is a relief…”

Luckily, the old lady was done with what she wanted to say, and they finally managed to get past her.

As soon as they had closed their door , Alfred let down his façade and let out a loud wail. Mina sighed. It was going to be a very long day.

 


 

Mina at 11h22:

We are back home.

It’s Nancy, baby! At 11h35:

How is he?

Mina at 11h37:

You can’t even imagine how bad he is…

It’s Nancy, baby! at 11h45:

Bloody hell! I told Drummond what I thought of him.

Mina at 11h50:

And, what did he say?

It’s Nancy, baby! at 11h52:

Nothing. He just stared at me and blanched.

I might have threatened him a bit though…

 


 

Mina, ever the good friend, had run her grief-stricken roommate a hot bath with bubbles in her own bathroom; he wasn’t quite ready to face the mess of his bedroom. She had then gone in to the room to grab his PJs, had thrown his bed sheets in the wash and opened his windows to air out the room.

She was contemplating her work with satisfaction when she heard Alfred’s phone buzz from the pocket of his discarded trousers.  She retrieved it and while doing so, saw he had received 15 calls and various texts from Drummond. She took the time to send him a reply, erased the missed calls history, and closed the phone.

 


 

Back at school, Drummond was pacing back and forth in his office, trying for the umpteenth time to reach Alfred. He was getting more and more desperate with every failed attempt.  Suddenly, he felt his phone buzz, as if answering his prayers. Quickly, he got it out and with the faintest of hope saw he had just received a text from Alfred.

AP at 11h45:

Stop texting me. I don’t play second fiddle. I don’t care a bit about you.

Edward D at 11h47 :

Alfred! I swear it’s been ages since I’ve broken up with her.

Mr. Peel got his facts mixed-up.

There is only you. I swear, I love you. Please.

But the text never got through. Alfred had probably blocked his number.

 


 

At noon, Drummond sat like a zombie in the staff room. If he was being honest with himself, he was as close to crying as he had ever been. (The last time had been when his pet turtle, Mr. Turtleworth, had died in it’s sleep when he was 8 years old).  He put his head on the table, closing his eyes (and pushing back tears in doing so).

“Did you catch it, too?”

He looked up just in time to see Ernst waiting at a careful distance.

“No, I didn’t.”

“Good, then.” The seducer sat in front of him. “ You still look like shit, though.”

“I don’t just look like it. I feel like it, too.”

Ernst smiled and patted his shoulder. “Right, you shouldn’t get yourself this worked up over a girl. There are plenty of fish in the sea. You can trust me, seeing as I’m a seasoned fisherman.”

“Right.”

Needless to say, the brunet wasn’t really convinced.

 


 

It was the end of the afternoon when Nancy knocked on her co-worker’s door. Mina’s aunt glared at her from behind her blinds, but opened the door anyway.

The teacher climbed the stairs, and Mina quickly opened her flat’s door.

“How is he?”

“He’s sleeping in my room. Not much to do but let the time pass. He’s ashamed of what he did. He said he thought Drummond was his soulmate .”

Nancy rolled her eyes.

“You know how he is with all that romantic nonsense.”

She handed Mina a small box.

“Here, Charles baked this especially for him. He was surprised when I told him what happened ; he thought Drummond was a nice bloke.”

“We all did.”

 


 

Back in his room, Drummond was still feeling extremely miserable.  It was barely 6:00 p.m., and  yet all he wanted to do was to crawl back in his bed and do nothing. 

His phone started to ring. It was his mom. He sighed and answered the call.

“Hi mom!” He tried to sound cheerful, but it clearly failed.

 “What’s wrong with you, Edward?”

His mom seemed suspicious.

“A big misunderstanding at work. No need to worry. How are you?”

“Is it about the girl you met at the dance?”

He sighed. “There’s no girl, Mom .”

Edward, I know perfectly well you are hiding something from me. Stop lying and tell me what’s going on.”

He groaned. Would she ever let go?

“You know what you could do to make things right with your new girlfriend?”

“NO, MOM, THERE IS- What would you do?”

“Just send her flowers and a nice note to make amends. It always did the trick for me…”

“Thanks mom.”  He hung up.

Well, Alfred definitively  wasn’t a girl so he wasn’t sure it would work, but desperate as he was, he was willing to give it a try. Looking at his watch, he cursed and saw the town’s florist was about to close. It would surely cost him a kidney to buy a bouquet and get it delivered by the end of the day, but it seemed a fair price if it meant he would get his heart back.

 


 

 Back at the flat, Alfred, Nancy, and Mina were sitting in the latter’s room.

“You know what, I almost feel fine now,” he said, his voice still shaking while taking a bite out of another one of Charles’s homemade cookies. “ I can’t say  the same of my waistline after tonight, though.”

Nancy playfully slapped him on the leg. “Shut up, AP, you’ll manage.”

Suddenly, a knock could be hear at the  door. Mina went to get it while the two others trailed behind her.

Upon opening the door, she came face to face with an elderly woman in uniform, holding a nice bouquet of flowers in her hands.

Mina thanked the lady and closed the door.

The bouquet was huge , and was composed of ivies, lilies, and stars of Bethlehem. All the flowers were white, making it look very simple and elegant.

“I believe this is for you, Nancy! Charles probably sent it to you since you’ve missed your night out.” She handed the smiling teacher the bouquet.

“Ooooh! I’m so glad! He never gets me flowers.”

Mina got a vase from her cabinet, while Alfred grabbed another cookie.

“There’s a note attached to it! How about you read it to us?“

Nancy, blushing, quickly opened the envelope and proceeded to read the note:

Roses are red, violets are blue

I swear I’m not lying to you.

Alfred, I’ll tell you everything if you just let me, please.

I love you and I miss you being a tease.

Yours,

Edward

Chapter Text

“Well, that was awkward.” Mina looked at her feet while Alfred blinked repeatedly, clearly taken by surprise. 

“And unexpected.” Nancy was a bit disappointed as she handed Alfred the note and the bouquet.

Alfred cleared his throat.

“I know I’ve been crying my eyes out for most of the day, but I’m still not so sure I’m over him. Is that a bad thing?”

“ Well, it’s awfully nice of him to send you flowers with a poem that seems to have been written by a  seven-year-old, but what if this is just a plan to get you back and have some fun with you while his girlfriend is away?”

The blond scratched his head and decided to get another cookie, but Charles’ box was empty. He cursed and grabbed the first thing he could reach in the pantry.

Nancy looked at him weirdly, seeing him popping uncooked pasta into his mouth. Mina gave her a look and shrugged.

 “ Well, it’s a bit weird he’s sending you flowers instead of giving you a call. “

Mina seemed uncomfortable and was fidgeting with her sleeve.

“I might have turned your phone off and possibly have sent him a text on your behalf.” She avoided her roommate’s eyes.“ But hey, it was all done with your best interests at heart, I can assure you!”

For a moment, all that could be heard in the room was Alfred’s stress-induced eating.

“You mean he texted me and tried to call me? God, I feel better already.” He sighed with relief.

Alfred, don’t get your hopes up!”

 


 

Drummond thought time was going by twice as slowly as usual. It was almost 9 p.m., and the flower shop lady had assured him his bouquet would be delivered before 8 p.m. Yet he still hadn’t received any news.

When his phone had buzzed 15 minutes earlier, he had almost dropped it in his haste, thinking it was Alfred texting him. But no, it turned out it was his mom sending him pictures of her friend Danielle’s grandchildren with the following message: Can’t wait to have mine! I hope the flowers worked! Love, Mom.”

Why was his life filled with so much drama?

He had then proceeded to throw his phone in rage across the room (without answering his mom, let it be said), and now it was stuck behind a bookcase. 

 His mind was a mess, his life was a mess, hell--he was a mess.

He thought at this point it would be extremely appropriate to change his middle name: Edward I’m-a-Complete-Mess Drummond, was what he should be named from this day forward.

Agnes, the kind old lady who rented him the room, had told him his plate was waiting on the table downstairs, yet he couldn’t bring himself to eat.

He needed to get Alfred back. It was a certainty.

He couldn’t imagine a life without him; which when you stopped and thought about it, was bonkers since a couple of days ago he had no idea who Alfred was.

What was happening to him?

It was then something clicked in his mind: he would go visit Alfred at his flat.

 


 

 

AP at 20h48:

I’ve received your flowers.

AP at 20h50:

I might be crazy, but I think we should talk.

AP at 21h00:

Mina was the one who sent you that text earlier

 


 

Mina and Nancy were watching a movie when Alfred emerged from his room.

They looked at each other, seeing him run straight back to the pantry. His phone call probably had not gone too well.

“Do you think I should eat ice cream, or sugar directly from the bag?”

“So, I take it your call didn’t go as expected?”

 “Nope! He’s not answering. I’ve texted him and called him twice. Nothing.” He sat in between them, putting his feet on the coffee table.

Nancy saw he had chosen the ice cream, which meant it wasn’t time to mess with him.

Mina felt even worse than earlier (if that was possible), since she felt responsible for the miscommunication between the boys. She pressed her hands to her eyes and sighed.

 


 

Upon his arrival at the house, Drummond wondered if he should knock at the front door, or if he should just go straight up by using the backyard’s staircase.

 It was sketchy and seemed a bit life-threatening, but he had managed to use it this morning without killing himself.

He jumped over the little white fence that circled aunt Buccleuch’s house and proceeded to climb the stairs.

He was about halfway up, when one of the steps broke under his foot, making him fall backward onto the grass and hitting both his elbows and head on the way.

He cursed loudly. He was in pain and pretty sure he looked like a complete idiot.

As if that wasn’t already enough, the backyard light lit up, revealing Mina’s aunt.

She was clad in a frilly nightgown and had a baseball bat in her hands.

“Who the hell are you and what are you doing on my lawn?” In a flash, she was next to him, pointing the club to his face.

He was in so much pain he couldn’t bring himself to answer.

“I’ll call the police if you don’t answer, young man. I’ve a mind to hit you first and ask questions later…”

 


 

Elizabeth Bennet and Darcy were dancing together at the ball for the first time, when they heard some loud cursing and a boom.

Nancy pressed pause on the movie as Mina and Alfred got up quickly from the couch.

Mina opened the back door, and her friends followed her to the balcony.

They were surprised to see the figure of a man lying on his back in the grass at the bottom of the stairs. Mina’s aunt was looming over him.

“Drummond!” exclaimed Alfred at once. He pushed Nancy and quickly went out the back of the flat.

In all the fuzz that was his brain, Drummond clearly saw Alfred’s face as the blond knelt next to him. He was like an angel in the night, the backyard light creating a halo around his head.

He might have bumped his head harder then he thought.

“Edward, are you alright? “

“Now I am!”

Nancy rolled her eyes as she watched the scene from the balcony. She had grabbed the half empty ice cream container on her way out and ate two spoonfuls at once.

“Who the hell is that boy?” Mina’s aunt still wasn’t satisfied and was looking suspiciously at Drummond.

Alfred helped him to sit up. “Those wretched stairs! I knew they were dangerous.”

Drummond--finally regaining his wit--grabbed him desperately, pulling at his shirt. ”Alfred, I’m so sorry. Mr. Peel got his facts wrong! I swear I’m not with Florence anymore. I can explain it all.”

Mina, who had followed Alfred downstairs, looked at Nancy who just shrugged and continued to eat.

“Oh, he’s your punter then!” the old lady loudly exclaimed in the background, as Alfred was helping the brunet to get up.

“I’m sorry if I’ve disrupted you or your garden, Mrs., but desperate times call for desperate measures, and I needed to talk to Alfred as soon as possible.”

The old lady grunted as Mina pointedly looked at her. “ We should get inside before you catch a cold, Auntie. Here, I’ll help you get back inside.”

“Drummond, you should come upstairs. We’ll warm you up and give you a cup of tea.”

Drummond felt extremely relieved. They were holding hands and smiling at each other, as if nothing had happened that day. Well,  that is until Alfred remembered he was supposed to be mad at him and let go of his hand, gesturing him to go into the flat first.

 


 

The two girls resumed their movie as the two boys sat in the kitchen. Alfred had poured him a simmering cup of tea and they sat close to each other, their knees brushing under the table.

“I swear I’ve got no girlfriend back home. It was all a horrible misunderstanding. Mr. Peel knew I was dating her back at school, but I ended that relationship a good while ago.”

“I see.” The blond took a sip of his own tea. “ I guess I might have freaked out a little bit too quickly. I’ve been a bit forward with this relationship and I think we should just slow things down. It’ll probably be best if we get to know each other better before we go back to a more physical side of things.” He was blushing a little. “Well, if there ever is one.”

“Oh, I agree.” Drummond took a sip of his tea to maintain his countenance, as he remembered how Alfred had looked while he had called his name in pleasure earlier that day. “May I suggest we go out for dinner tomorrow night?”

“On a date? Seems lovely.” The blond was tilting his head looking at him from the corner of his eyes. He was such a flirt…

“Why don’t we go at Ciro’s? We could meet there at six.” While saying so, the brunet got up and pushed his chair to the table.

Alfred stood up and accompanied him to the door, though that was barely a meter away. 

“Right, so tomorrow at 6 p.m.” Drummond was now on the landing and Alfred leaned on the door frame. “ Oh, and Edward, thanks for the flowers. I rather enjoyed your little poem.”

The brunet turned around and flashed him a grin before he left the house.

He felt butterflies fluttering in his stomach as he walked back to Agnes’ bed and breakfast.

 


 

When it appeared Drummond had really left the house, Alfred closed the door, looked at the girls to see if they were still entranced in their movie and did a little victory dance. 

Then, as casually as possible, he went back to the living room.

Nancy looked at him.  “So, what’s going on? Are you going to grab something to eat? I’ve finished the ice cream if that’s what you wanted.”

“No, I’m good for now. Thank you both for your support; I appreciate it.” He smiled at them. He was lucky to have such friends.

Mina slapped him playfully on the arm as he walked past her to get to his room.

“I know you would do the same for us. I hope you’ll be more cautious next time. It might be a good idea to take your time before you go all out with a new crush, if you get my meaning.”

“I do, I do. But hey, hear me out ladies: we are now starting this relationship the proper way. I can assure you he won’t be back into my bed for a long time. I’ve learned my lesson.”

With all the dignity he could muster, the blond entered in his bedroom and closed his door.

 The girls looked at each other and tried to stifle their laughter, as they couldn’t pretend to keep a straight face anymore.

“Well, he seemed determined.” The teacher drank a sip of her tea. “I bet you 20 bucks they’ll be back in bed before the end of the month, so that leaves them roughly two weeks.”

Mina looked at her and grinned. “You have more faith in him than I. I’m pretty sure it’ll be before the end of the week.”

 

Chapter Text

The next morning, a Thursday, Wilhelmina was brushing her hair in her bathroom while listening to music when she heard something fall on the ground with a loud bang and some cursing.

She left her room and quickly went to her roommate’s, guessing the commotion was coming from there.

Without knocking, she opened the door.

Alfred was on the floor picking up the pieces of something he had broken. In one glance, she saw he was in the middle of shuffling his furniture around.

Alfred, are you really moving your bed? I thought you said you would wait! You know, start your relationship the proper way and all. Have you already lost your resolve?”

He pulled a face at her.

“Who’s talking about bringing anyone over? I just needed some changes around here. I think I would sleep much better with my headboard on the other wall. You know, feng shui and such.

Right… ” She wasn’t really convinced.

 She saw he had placed his bouquet on his nightstand and that Drummond’s poem was taped on the vase.

 “Anyway, if there is someone who should have something to feel bad about, it’s you! You didn’t even knock before entering! I could have been naked or something...” He tried to look outraged, but it seemed more likely he was just trying to change the subject.

“Right, as if you had anything I have not seen before.” She kneeled and helped him pick up the shards.  “Might I remind you Christmas 2015?  Me, you, one bathroom, and food poisoning?”

“Oh, right! Fun times. That was a bonding experience, to say the least.”

They laughed, clearly remembering a glamorous part of their communal past.

“ Well, since you are here, you could always help me by grabbing the other side of my bed, can’t you?”


 

Mina at 9h35:

You should get your 20$ ready.

 Alfred moved his bed from the kitchen wall.

Nancy at 9h45:

I have faith in him

Nancy at 9h47:

Alfred, don’t forget what you told us yesterday

AP at 9h52:

Why? Do you doubt me?

AP at 10:00:

*sending a picture of his bouquet* Mamaaaaaaaa!!!

Charlie P at 10:05:

OMG! We clearly have some catching up to do!!!

Call me later today, I’m at work!

AP at 10:06:

I can’t… I’M GOING ON A DATE!!!

 


 

Drummond was distracted as he headed to Ciro’s. He was thinking about how the date would go, what Alfred would wear, if they would kiss, if…

Suddenly, a car drove past him at a crossing, almost hitting him in the process.

As the angry driver made a very rude gesture in his direction, his heart skipped a beat and he felt short of breath.

Gosh, I must be more careful, he thought. That would be stupid of me to die just minutes before my date. Poor Alfred would think I stood him up.  

Needless to say, he was extremely careful the rest of the way.

 

Upon his arrival at the restaurant, he saw Alfred was sitting with his back to him. The blond was looking out a window.

The brunet’s heart started to beat faster as he approached the table. He put his hand on Alfred’s shoulder, startling him a little. 

“Oh, Drummond! I’m glad to see you!” The blond smiled. He looked ravishing, as always.

“As am I. Seems like a nice restaurant; do you often come here?” He took his coat off and sat on the chair across from his co-worker.

“As in do I often go on dates, or…?”

There was an uncomfortable silence as Drummond rubbed his neck. Soft music was playing in the background.

“Eh… No.”

“Well, I don’t. It seems I have the ability to find the worst boyfriends to have ever graced the earth, and every time I end up having my heart crushed within a two-week span. Mina could tell you all about it. My parents bring me here when they come to visit.” He unfolded the serviette that was on his plate and carefully placed it on his knees.

“I see… Well, I’ve never actually dated a man before. I’ve been with Florence, as you know. But it wasn’t a warm relationship. I don’t know how to say it.” He racked his brain. “My mom can be a bit pushy and I might have done it to please her…”

“Well I’m glad you figured out you liked men better.”  Alfred smiled with a mischievous glint in his eyes.

“Trust me, I do, too.”

A server called Françis came and took their order. Alfred ordered oysters and champagne.

Since both were aphrodisiacs, the brunet thought the evening might be heading to a nice ending.

 The fact that Alfred’s foot was playfully touching his under the table was also a good sign.

“What do you do except work?”

“Well I like music. I play the piano, I love to dance, I do horse-riding. I like to party and hang out with my friends…”  The blond drank a sip from his glass. “I’m pretty outgoing, as you can see. What about you, Edward?”

He laughed. “ I can assure you I am of the most boring kind.” Alfred quirked an eyebrow at him. “ I used to think reading and watching politics on tv was the coolest thing ever.”

Alfred laughed. “ Do you still think it’s the coolest thing ever?”

“I’d say spending time with you might be even better.” He smirked as their eyes locked, and both drank a sip of champagne at the same time.

Their conversation continued pleasantly as the evening went on ,and the candle on their table created a very romantic atmosphere.

Alfred talked about his friendship with Mina and with his friend Victoria (who was now extremely busy since she got married), about growing up in a very large family, and about how he had decided to quit his hometown and move here to work at Worthington’s.

Drummond spoke about university and getting to grow up with only his mom (his dad had passed away when he was young) in Scotland.

When their plates were finished, the conversation grew sparser as their stares grew in intensity. The tension between them was almost palpable.

Alfred’s foot was now brushing higher and higher on his thigh, making it hard for the brunet to concentrate on their conversation.

The blond had ordered a chocolate cake for desert, which he felt he couldn’t eat anymore. For a petite-framed man, Alfred had quite an appetite.

 “You should taste this! This is heavenly!”

Alfred made such a lovely face upon tasting his dessert for the first time that Drummond had to use all the self-restraint he could manage not to just jump on him.

 “I can tell by the look on your face,”  he smirked.  “You’ve got something on the corner of your mouth, let me just-” He brought his right hand closer to Alfred’s face, brushing the chocolate off with his thumb. Their eyes locked. Alfred closed his beautiful blue eyes, and as they lent forward to kiss-

“Drummond, Paget. What a nice surprise! ”

They sprung apart so fast, Alfred almost fell from his chair.

“Mr. Peel!” they both exclaimed in unison.

Drummond was sure he was about to pass out from stress, and Alfred was looking everywhere, a weird smile plastered on his face.

The older man seemed oblivious to the situation that was unfolding in front of him, but his wife had a very curious expression on her face.

“This is my wife, Julia. I’m glad to see you are feeling better, Paget.”

“Better? Was I…?” The blond tried to rack his brain. “Oh yes! I’m done with throwing up and such.” He shook his head to emphasize his words. “Sadly, it’s Wilhelmina who has it now. She was supposed to come with us.” Now it was Edward’s turn to shake his head.

“Poor girl! Well, I’ll leave you be, then. It’s already 9:30, and we are a little late.”

Once their boss had left the table, they let out the breath they’d been unconsciously holding and burst into laughter.

“I’d say this is our cue to leave.” Drummond gestured to the server, who quickly brought them their bill. 

He insisted on paying, but Alfred wouldn’t let him, so they split it in two. They grabbed their coats, waved in the Peels’ direction, and left.


 

“Don’t you have a no-dating policy at work?” Julia Peel was eyeing her husband’s employees as the two men got up and left the restaurant.

“Yes, why?”

“It looked as though they were about to kiss.”

The older man snorted and shook his head.

“No, no, my dear. Drummond has a lovely fiancée back home. Now, what would you like to eat tonight?”

Julia seemed to highly doubt her husband’s words. She decided to drop the matter for the moment and continued to browse her menu.

 


 

“It was a lovely evening. Well, aside from meeting the Peels.” They were walking close together, their arms brushing every now and then. The night was a bit cold and they could see their breath as they spoke.

After a short walk, they stopped at a corner where they were supposed to split, since Drummond’s room was a few streets down on the left, while Alfred’s was a few streets up on the right.

Drummond scratched his neck.

“You know what, I think it would be better if I walked you home.”

Alfred smirked. “If you insist…”  They resumed their walking as their hands intertwined.

Upon arriving at Aunt Buccleuch’s house, Alfred let his hand go and turned to face him.

“I’ve really enjoyed my evening.” He smiled, and Drummond thought a smiling Alfred was by far the best thing he had ever seen.

They kissed once, then twice. They pulled apart, smiling at each other. Alfred was still in his arms and did not seemed to be in a hurry to leave.

“I know I said we were supposed to wait before going back to a more physical side of things.” The blond playfully toyed with the hem of his coat. “Would it be a bad thing if I told you I might have changed my mind. ” He bit his lip.

“I dare say we already waited long enough.” They kissed slowly, smirking at each other.

As silently as possible, Alfred turned his key in the lock and opened his door.

The lights were off, and Mina seemed to be her room.

It was a good thing, since Alfred wasn’t sure he wanted her to confront him about the fact he was bringing Drummond over.

Still holding hands, they tiptoed to Alfred’s room, quickly closing the bedroom door behind them.

Chapter Text

The morning after the date, Mina was painting her nails in a beautiful shade of pink as she waited for her roommate to exit his room. She glanced at the clock on the kitchen wall every once in a while.


 

Mina at 11h00:

Alfred might be dead. He’s usually up early.

Nancy S. at 11h15:

The suspense is killing me. Just open the door, take a quick glance, mumble an apology and leave.

Do you want me to come over? I don’t mind checking.

Charles says we are crazy.

Mina at 11h30:

If he’s not out by two, I might.

Nancy S. at 12h00:

Don’t forget to snap some pictures.


 

Around one, as Mina was preparing herself something to eat, Alfred finally came out of his room.

He was wearing a t-shirt she had never seen on him and his underwear. He looked as though a bomb had exploded in his usually carefully combed hair.  Drummond, clearly wearing last night’s date clothes, was in tow.

 “Well well, look who’s here. If it’s not Mr. I’ll-wait-because-I’ve-learned-my- lesson.“

She arched an eyebrow and took a sip of her tea.

“I get it, I’m a slut.“ Alfred just shrugged and checked what she was cooking. “Is there enough food for two well-shagged but hungry men?“ He tried to grab something from her plate but she slapped his hand, gesturing with her chin food that for them was on the counter.

Drummond was awkwardly standing in the middle of the living room.

“Drums- can I call you that now, since I think I might see you around here a lot?- you can come and sit with me. You shouldn’t be so shy about this. It’s not as though I’ve seen anything.“ She took a bite. “Heard it, absolutely. Seen it, nope.”

He pulled the chair across from her and weirdly smiled as Alfred shoved an indecent amount of food onto a plate and grabbed two forks on his way back to the table.

“Thanks, Mina. I owe you my life, as always.”  He dropped the plate in front of his new boyfriend, who blushed and pulled him onto his lap.

“You’ve got only two chairs, so…” mumbled the brunet has he snaked one arm around him and grabbed a fork with the other.

Alfred seemed absolutely thrilled and winked at his best friend, who rolled her eyes.

“You’re lucky I’ve not kept a list.“ She took her phone out.


 

Nancy was walking hand in hand with her boyfriend when she felt her phone buzz.

She grinned as she checked the text and photo Mina had sent her.

It was a picture of Alfred siting on Drummond’s lap in Mina’s kitchen. They were kissing.

Domestic bliss at it’s best. Can’t wait to get my 20$ ; )

Nancy S. at 14h10:

Alright, you won! This is the cutest thing ever. #Squee #eyecandy

Mina at 14h15:

I know, right? :  )

 

Facebook alert at 14h20:

Alfred Paget changed his Facebook status from single to in a relationship.


 

Keeping their relationship a secret at work had been a very hard thing at first. The fact Alfred had changed his Facebook status had got rumors going.

The new couple thought rightfully that the less people knew about it the more they had a chance of keeping it a secret from their boss.

Some congratulated the secretary about it, while others tried to pressure him into revealing who his boyfriend was.

The blond, always at ease while in the hot seat, would always playfully find a way to dodge the pushy questions of his co-workers, as Mina would smile in Drummond’s direction.

The latter always tried to seem extremely focussed on his work.

He found he could concentrate on the tasks at hand with more ease, knowing he would be able to shag Alfred senseless at the end of the day.

Since the date at Ciro’s, he had spent almost every night at his co-workers’ flat.

He found himself more and more entranced by his boyfriend as each day passed; a fact that was both exhilarating and extremely frightening at once.

Agnes, the Bed and Breakfast lady, had even almost called the cops a few days ago, thinking he had been kidnapped or something, since he hadn’t slept there for a week.

Mina seemed to be okay with the fact that she had inherited a new roommate.

At first, Drummond had been a bit nervous about the fact she was always around them and would wait before going to the bedroom with his boyfriend before she would leave for hers.

Two weeks into their relationship, Mina had cleared her throat and told them that if they wanted to bang they had her blessing. She was happy for them and assured them she had already heard them go at it so many times that she wasn’t even minding it anymore.

 Alfred had shrugged and laughed about it, while Drummond on the other hand, had felt extremely self-conscious.

The feeling had vanished quickly, though, since an hour after Mina’s speech, he was holding a moaning Alfred in his arms and he swore he hadn’t been happier in his life than now.

Still, he hadn’t come out to his mom, and that lie was lurking over him like a time bomb. He had carefully avoided her calls, only answering once in a while and staying vague about his whereabouts.

Twice he had answered her calls while Alfred was sitting on his lap, and still he couldn’t really manage to tell her he spent every night except Tuesdays and Thursdays with him.

He was still renting a room at the bed and breakfast and had invented a lie as to explain why he was sleeping there only two nights a week. Agnes seemed to think something was fishy, but since he paid his room even though he wasn’t there, she waved it off.

 


 

 They were watching tv with Mina-or rather they were making out in front of the tv while Mina was trying to watch her series- when Alfred’s phone started to ring.

He retrieved it from his back pocket and checked who the caller was-which to Mina’s amazement was quite a feat, since he hadn’t stopped kissing his boyfriend while doing so.  

The brunet groaned as he pulled away to get the call.

“Hi ,Mama! You are on speakerphone. Mina and Edward are listening.”

“Hi, Charlie!” Exclaimed Mina, clearly happy to hear the voice of Alfred’s mom.

“Hello, honey! Baby, it’s getting quite difficult to reach you!  Seems every time I call, you don’t answer. Your new boyfriend is keeping you busy, then?”

“Absolutely! We’re going at it like rabbits.” He winked at said boyfriend, who blushed and grabbed his glass of water, quickly taking a sip to hide his embarrassment. “ I’m sorry, Mama, I should have returned your calls.”

“You sound happy.”  They heard something fall on the other side of the line and his mom stopped talking. A man was complaining in the background, but they couldn’t make out what he said.

 Mina stifled a laugh as Alfred’s mom cursed loudly.

 “Your dad is being your dad.” Charlie sighed loudly and seemed aggravated. “Will you come and visit us next weekend? I’ve not seen you for so long and I would be delighted to meet your new boyfriend. Mina dear, I hope you’ll join us, too?”

Alfred looked questioningly at his boyfriend, who shook his head in agreement.

The brunet took another sip of his drink as he tried to understand what was happening in Mina’s series- he had clearly missed more of it than he had thought.

“I’d be delighted, Charlie!” exclaimed Mina.

“We will be there, Mama! I can’t wait to see you!”

“ Now, let’s get to the point of my call before your dad manages to wreck the house. Sexually speaking, is he a 7 or an 8 out of 10?”

Drummond spat his drink-clearly, it was way too much for him.

Mina, hardly containing her laughter at this point, closed the tv and put both hands over her mouth.

“What, Mom!!?? Really?” Alfred seemed offended by his mother’s question. He got up and started pacing the room.

They seemed to have reached the end of that awkward conversation, and Edward started to breathe more easily.

He decided to take a new sip and literally choked on it as Alfred loudly exclaimed “I can’t believe it! I told you it’s bloody amazing and you score it at 8?! More like 12 out of 10!”

 “Oh, really? I can’t wait to know more about it.“ Charlotte had a conspiratorial tone and seemed delighted by her son’s answer.“ I’ll let you go now; your dad is looking at me as if he’s having an aneurysm again.” She hung up.

Mina patted the brunet’s back as he loudly coughed.

 “Wait until you meet them at dinner; you might as well pass out.”


 

Drummond was awaiting with dread the Pagets’ family dinner.

As if meeting your lover’s parents wasn’t already stressful enough, Mina had told him the Pagets were very outspoken and loved to talk about everything at the table, something he was extremely uncomfortable with.

But tonight was not the time to dwell on that matter.

 It was a Tuesday, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays he spent the evening with Ernst at the gym.

The mustached man was still unaware Drummond was dating Alfred and was glad to spend some quality time with his new best friend.

Hitting the gym was Ernst’s idea. He swore they would be so ripped by the end of winter that sexy girls would swoon upon seeing their muscular bodies.

Drummond was highly doubtful about it, since it seemed Ernst spent more time chatting with him and staring at girls working out than doing the actual exercises….

Also, he couldn’t really tell him he was exercising mostly for two reasons, and making ladies swoon wasn’t one of them.

First, he was doing it to spend time away from the flat, since Mina had asked him to leave her some alone time with Alfred.

And second, his boyfriend had told him he had always fantasised being carried upstairs, thrown savagely on his bed, and then be properly ravished.

Alfred was a lightweight, but he still had some work to do if he wanted to achieve it.

If he was honest with himself, he was only doing it for the second reason.

But Ernst was just sitting on a weight bench while he was tying his shoes.

 “Alfred told me he had received a call from Charlie!”

“We’re supposed to go visit her next weekend,” he sighed. “With Mina, of course.”

“I knoooow! Charlie called me. If I could I would go with you all, but I’m going to my brother’s. I hope she’ll send me food. She usually does. She is a goddess amongst woman!”

The brunet was about to tell him he was anxious about that particular dinner, when a tall guy interrupted them.

“Excuze-me gentlemen. If you don’t mind, I would like to uze zhis apareil to train.”

He was taller than the two of them, was very dark-haired, and had chiseled features.

Drummond wasn’t sure why, but he disliked the man automatically.

 Ernst shrugged. “We were done anyway, right, Drums?”

The guy snickered. “Right, I can see zat. Amateurs.


 

Finally, Saturday afternoon crept by, and since the Pagets’ house was located three hours away from their youngest son’s flat, the parents had sent their chauffeur to pick them up.

During the trip, Alfred had slept most of the way. He was tired since flu season had picked up at school and he had to cover every lunch for the kindergartners since everyone was getting sick all around.

Drummond had looked outside his window, his face blank and his jaw clenched as he dreadfully awaited meeting his potential future in-laws for the first time.

Mina had read her book in peace, while fidgeting with her bracelet. She seemed a bit nervous, but the brunet was oblivious to it.


 

Upon seeing the Pagets’ mansion, Drummond’s jaw had dropped. He knew Alfred’s family was wealthy, but he never thought they were THAT wealthy.

The house was enormous. It had three floors and windows everywhere. There was also a gigantic garage adjoined; In it were a  dozen extremely costly cars. Alfred told him he had no interest in cars, but his dad would probably be delighted to show him his collection the next day, if he asked.

Since his brother, Henry Jr., had crashed both the Bentley and the Rolls Royce on the same night, the Paget brothers tended to stay away from the garage.

The grounds around the house seemed boundless. 

Richard, one of Alfred’s brother, had honked at them while passing them upon their arrival.

He lived in a guest house that was located so far away from the main house he had to drive a golf cart to go from one place to the other.

“He lives there since he doesn’t have a job as of now. He’s too busy playing Pokémon Go on his phone to find something,” Alfred shrugged. “ The guest house is near the stables, which is my favorite place. Oh, and also-”

The brunet cut him short You mean there is more?

The blond was about to answer, when a very beautiful middle-aged woman came to join them outside.

Charlotte Paget was a small woman of 4’ 10”. She had Alfred’s blue eyes with brown hair. She was impeccably dressed and seemed to be kindness incarnate.

Something told Drummond she might be a tougher cookie than she seemed, though. She quickly grabbed Mina in her arms and kissed her on both cheeks.

“I’m so happy to see you! Mina, you are absolutely beautiful, as always. “

Then she turned to face the brunet.

“You must be Dumdum. You are absolutely handsome. No wonder my son has been babbling on about you for the last weeks.” She stood on the tip of her toes and pinched his cheeks.

“I’m pleased to meet you Mrs. Paget. You can call me Edward, if you please.”

“Just call me Charlie, Dumdum, everyone does around here.” She turned to her son who was beaming. “And at last, Plumpy, my baby. ”

“Mama!” Mother and son hugged and kissed, as the brunet tried to hide his laughter.

Mina whispered to him, “You can laugh; I used to. She has horrible pet names for all of her boys. Alfred had massive cheeks when he was a baby, thus the nickname.”

Henry, who had followed his wife outside, shook hands with Drummond.

Inside, the house was decorated with taste. Pictures of the Pagets’ seven sons were plastered on the walls.

Everywhere Drummond looked everything seemed expansive, rare, and fragile.

The Pagets quickly invited their guests to sit in the dining room, as their personal cook, Mme Rosalina, brought an outrageous amount of food to the table.

Henry, in a very festive mood, opened a bottle of champagne and served everyone around the table.

Mina sat next to Charlotte and Henry, as Alfred and Drummond sat across from them.

The brunet nervously glanced around the table, wondering if Alfred’s numerous brothers would join them.

Charlotte seemed to understand what he was thinking.

”George will join us later. Richard said he was too busy to come eat with us.” She shrugged.  “Junior is away at university. Arthur has been deployed with the army, and Septimus is lost somewhere in the far end of Brazil. He’s there doing humanitarian work…That reminds me Mina, he sent me letters and a parcel for you. They don’t have phone signals there, as I understand it, so he was not able to join you. “

Charlotte got up from her chair and left the room, bringing back a bag with a giant pile of letters and a little parcel in it. Mina blushed while taking the bag, as Alfred smiled at her knowingly.

They were just starting to eat when Charlotte, after taking a sip of champagne, smiled at her son.

“So, you told me the other day you judged Dumdum to be a twelve. Why don’t you tell me more about it?”

Drummond stopped chewing his food. He certainly was having problems with his hearing.

“A twelve, really?” Asked Henry, as he was cutting his meat.

No, it seemed he had not misheard.

 Mina buttered a piece of bread and started to eat it as fast as possible, eyeing Drummond in the process. He was clearly paler then earlier.

”Might even be a 13 as of now. Been bottoming a lot lately, so I can’t really compare with my exes. Can you pass me the salt, Papa?“ Answered Alfred, conversationally.

Drummond dropped his fork at this point, but did not seem to make any move in order to retrieve it.

”Here, son.“

Charlotte looked quizzically at her son. “I thought you liked to top better, Plumpy?” She raised an eyebrow at him.

He shrugged and drank a sip of champagne, as Henry smiled and continued to eat.

Mina chimed in, seeing the brunet was turning a bright shade of crimson. “Let me tell you he’s a bossy one, at that! All I hear every night is ‘Edward, right there, harder, don’t stop,’ and such…”

Alfred arched an eyebrow at her and grinned as his mom started to laugh.

Was it possible to die of shame? our poor Drummond wondered, as he tried without success to gulp the bite he had taken earlier. His throat was dry and he was sweating.

The Pagets seemed to be oblivious to his discomfort.

“He always was a noisy thing.” Added Charlotte, wiping a tear from her left eye.

“Well the apple didn’t fell far from the tree. You’re one to talk, Charlotte!”

The Pagets and Mina laughed at this, clearly sharing a memory that Drummond wasn’t aware of-and honestly, he didn’t want to know about it either.

”How does he fare compared to Brandon Templeton?” Asked Charlotte, winking at her son.

Mina spat some of her drink and started to laugh heartily.

Alfred glanced at his boyfriend for the first time since the dinner had started, and cleared his throat before answering.

”I’m pretty sure this is making Edward uncomfortable.”  His dad quickly refilled his glass as the blond leant forward and whispered loudly “ I can assure you he’s well-equipped, Mama.”

The Pagets all laughed to tears.

Drummond was pretty sure he was experiencing the symptoms of a heart failure.

Mina tried to calm down, as she was almost certain she was about to wet herself with laughter if that discussion carried on.

“Nonsense! Nothing to be ashamed of; we’re family.”  Henry clapped Drummond loudly on the back, still laughing.

“Oh, god! I almost forgot about Brandon Templeton,” added Mina, as an afterthought.

Alfred had probably drunk too much champagne, because he loudly exclaimed: ”Poor Brandon. I swear his thing was both a blessing and a curse. Took so much work to get him hard, then it would barely last more than-”

”Who? You talking about massive dick again?”

It was George, joining them for dinner.

He was a taller and broader version of Alfred, and had his dad’s brown eyes.

”Poor guy. I saw him at work the other day. I couldn’t stop laughing. “ His dad poured him a glass of Champagne too, as he filled his plate. He winked in Drummond’s direction. “Al only needs a glass of champagne and he’s yours for the night.”

The brunet tried to smile in George’s direction, but clearly, he seemed to fail.

He was getting downright angry by now. Not only was Alfred sharing personal information about them, he was now also divulging things from his past relationships.

“A glass? More like half of it. He can’t deal with alcohol,” added Charlotte, still laughing.

Alfred sensed something was wrong with him, and patted him on the shoulder.

“Don’t let them fool you. I’ve had three boyfriends in all and that was about it.”

It was supposed to help, but it clearly didn’t. Three boyfriends were not what he wanted to think about, being a jealous type.

George tried to change the subject as he felt the tension in the air.

”Mom used to call us the seven Ds when we were little.  People thought is was cute because of Snow White and the seven dwarves, but if they only knew,“ added George, as he and Alfred clapped hands.

“There’s nothing I’ve not seen, having a husband and seven sons. I would have loved to see Brandon’s, though,” added Charlotte as laughter spread around the table.

Drummond pushed his plate. He had barely eaten, yet felt he was not hungry anymore.

The conversation went on, as George spoke of his work.

He wasn’t listening at this point, clenching his jaw as he got lost in thought.

Suddenly, he was brought back to reality as Henry tried to talk to him.

“So did you get a taste of Al’s inheritance?”

He cleared his throat. ”I beg your pardon?”

Alfred, George, and Mina started to snort and laugh.

”It’s a swirl done with the tip of the tongue, sweetie,” added Charlotte, sensing he was not understanding the question.

“I bless my wife everyday for that tongue trick. Would have been a shame if it had not been passed down to the next generation,” added the patriarch as he raised his glass.

Mina, who had probably drunk too much, cut him short.

“Pretty sure he had a taste of it a couple of nights ago. See, those two go to bed early now and I watch tv or I read in the living room, which is next door. Drums never makes a sound, but let me tell you he was vocal that night.”

George laughed heartily as Alfred scratched his head. ”Oh, you are absolutely right, Mina!”


 

Finally, after what had felt like days, they had left the table, and everyone went to bed.

He was supposed to sleep with Alfred in one of the multiple guest bedrooms of the house.

Drummond had a lot on his heart, and while Alfred was brushing his teeth in the bathroom he got under the covers and turned off the light. He quickly turned to face the wall, brooding.

The blond undressed, humming a song while doing so, and joined him under the covers.

“Since when are you wearing pyjamas to bed?”

“I don’t know. Maybe you should ask your parents?” he answered coldly.

“What? Really? Can I get a goodnight kiss if it’s not too much to ask, Mr. I’m-an-offended-virgin-even-though-I’ve-been-banging-you-every-night-for-the-last-three-weeks?” He tried to kiss him and to tickle him, but the brunet just pushed him away, still angrily facing the wall.

“That supper was horrible. I can’t believe your parents asked all those stupid questions, and you answered them all. Anyway, seems Mina bloody hears everything we do because you can’t keep your voice down. Don’t need your parents or your brother to hear it, too. Why don’t you call Brandon Templeton while you’re at it?”

“Oh, right…“ He felt Alfred move away from him.

He was absolutely pissed and, still facing the wall, he pretended he was asleep.

A couple of minutes later, someone knocked on the door. It was George.

”Sorry, I’m not looking!” he had a flashlight in his hand and he pointed it on the bed anyway.  “Oh, I thought you would be making out or something. I know Mom and Dad are.” He snickered. “I forgot my bag in your restroom. Do you mind if I get it?”

”I’ll get it,” said Alfred, as he got out of bed. “Edward is sleeping anyway.”

Damn well I am, thought the brunet.

George pointed the light at him, concern on his face “ Have you been crying? Your face is weird,“ he groaned. “Is he beating you like the other ones? I swear, Alfred, you always end up with violent men!”

“Nooooo! Why would I? Clearly everything is fine here! One of my lashes poked my eye and I had to rub it to get it out, that’s it.”

Edward was starting to feel bad and hoped George would just leave.

George didn’t seem completely convinced, but pointed his flashlight at his brother, who was picking his clothes up off the floor.

“Those lashes of yours could be registered weapons in the U.S. I swear, you have the longest and thickest ones I have ever seen on either men or women.” He whistled. “Wait, do you really have a heart tattooed on you arse?”

Alfred shook his head affirmatively as both brothers tried to stifle their laughter. After all, Drummond was supposed to be asleep.

They left the room and closed the door behind them, leaving Drummond behind.

 He was feeling like a stupid mess once again.

Chapter Text

Mina had just finished reading her letters when Alfred barged into her room.

She turned her head to look at him and arched an eyebrow.

“Well, look who’s here. Why am I not surprised to see you come to my bed?”

She moved to allow him some room in the double bed.

 He climbed in, pulled the covers over his shoulders, and turned to face her, his head resting on his arm.

“Edward’s pissed. ” He sighed. “ Seems I might have revealed a bit too much information over dinner. He’s also angry about Brandon.” 

She groaned. “You broke up with Templeton years ago. Just give him some time to cool down. Drummond is a good guy.” Doubt seemed to seize her. “Or is he?”

He sighed and rolled his eyes. “Why are you all thinking that? Just because it happened twice in my life doesn’t mean it’ll happen again.

 “Well, I remember how it was with Benjamin, and I don’t want to relive that situation ever again.”

She turned off the light and joined her roommate under the covers.

“How were your letters?”

 “Septimus says Brazil is peculiar. He says it’s complete chaos-”

“So he’s thrilled and he’s managing everything all by himself.”

She smiled in a simple answer.

“Does he say when he’ll be back?”  The blond scratched his nose.

“Probably for summer. He asked me if he could take me on a date when he’s back.”

The blond whistled.

“Really? What did I tell you!” He slapped her playfully on the arm.  “I hope you’ll tell him we are already engaged!”

She laughed. “That’s exactly what I’ll say: Sorry, Sep, but I’m already engaged to your baby brother.”

“Don’t forget to tell him that I’m better looking and that I have better taste in clothing, too.”

She grinned at him, then kissed his cheek. “I will. Now stop worrying about Drums. It’ll be better tomorrow.” She yawned.  “Now I suggest we catch up on our beauty sleep.” 

 


 

 

It was almost two in the morning, and Alfred still had not come back to the guest room.

Naturally, the brunet hadn’t been able to catch any sleep since he had been replaying their argument in his head for the last couple of hours.

He still was angry about what Alfred had revealed over dinner, but he guessed the worst had probably been said by now.

What made him feel even worse was the fact Alfred had told him on their first date he had had the worst of exes, but he had never imagined in a thousand years that some of them were physically abusive to him.

Just thinking about it made his blood boil, and he involuntarily curled his fist into a ball.

He decided to send a text to his boyfriend, since it seemed a logical step in solving the matter.

I’m sorry. Where are you?

 He had just sent the text when he heard a whistling sound coming from the restroom.

He groaned because it meant Alfred did not have his phone on him, and that meant he would have to get up and find him.

Wandering alone through the Pagets’ giant house was now mandatory, whether he liked it or not. 

 


 

The brunet tried to be as silent as possible as he tiptoed through the corridors. He remembered vaguely Alfred had said Mina was supposed to sleep on the second floor, but he couldn’t remember where the stairs were.

Since it was pitch black, he used the flashlight app on his phone.

There were trinkets on literally every possible surface of every piece of furniture he encountered.

He had just located the stairs after finding out the Pagets also had a lift (to what purpose, he couldn’t say) when he came face to face with Henry Paget, clad only in his underwear, a bottle of champagne and a can of whipped cream in his hands.

If he had thought the evening was already awkward, it had now peaked.

“Oh…Drummond.”

“Mr. Paget, sir. Ehm…”

The older man scratched his head as the brunet tried to look everywhere except at his possible future father-in-law.

There are things in life you don’t want to know or imagine, and that certainly was one of them.

After an eternity-well it felt like it anyway- the older man cleared his throat.

“Let’s both agree we have seen nothing here, and continue on with whatever we were doing.”

“Done.”


 

 

Finally, after making his way upstairs and looking in three different rooms-which to his relief were empty- he found the guest room where Mina slept. As he suspected, Alfred was in there, too.

He turned off the light on his phone and just stood in the doorway, wondering what exactly he was going to do, when Alfred coughed.

“Are you planning on awkwardly staring at me for the next hour, or…?”

He could hear the blond was cross by his tone of voice.

“I thought you were sleeping,” he answered with hesitation.

“I was, but Mina snored just seconds before you entered the room.”

“Right.”

They both stared at each other in silence, as they listened to Mina’s regular respiration.

“What do you want, anyway?” The blond asked rather coolly.

“Emh…” He scratched his head, still awkwardly standing there.

“Gosh, Edward, just come and sit.”

The brunet did as he was told and sat on the bed. Alfred moved a bit and got closer to Mina to allow him some space.

“I’m sorry if I’ve been a bit harsh. I’ll simply say I’m not used to having my private life displayed and discussed like that.”

“Guess I might have been a bit blunt about it. I saw you were a bit uncomfortable during dinner, but I guess the champagne went to my head.”.

The brunet scratched his nose, avoiding his boyfriend’s stare.

“I might have been a bit aggravated about your exes, too. Is it true what George said?”

The blond winked at him.

“About what? The tattoo on my ass? I think you saw it plenty of times already.”

He rolled his eyes, a grin spreading on his face.“Hahaha! I’m being serious here. Is it true your ex lay a hand on you?”

Alfred pouted. It was his turn to avoid his stare.

“I don’t usually go around talking about it, but yes it’s true. Stayed six months with him. I was stupid and I thought he loved me”.

“I’m so sorry about that. I just can’t imagine anyone being able to do that to you. It made me feel so stupid. I don’t want to hurt you again, after what happened because of Mr. Peel. I really like you and-”

“Listen to you, Mr. Feels! Aren’t you sentimental tonight?” He pulled him close, their faces almost touching. “ I can forgive you if you can get over the fact my parents-and my family as a whole, really- are curious and that I’m always happy to comply.”

Mina made a sound in her sleep that sounded suspiciously like a snort.

“I still hope you’ll learn to be a little more secretive.”  He smirked. “Oh, and before I forget about it, I did not mean what I said earlier. I really like it when you get loud.”

Alfred snorted “Really? I thought you said, and I quote, everyone bloody hears everything we do because you can’t keep your voice down. Can’t you tone it down a bit?”

“Well, I’m a bloody idiot. I can tell you I rather enjoy it.”

Alfred pulled him closer, so their foreheads were pressed together. The brunet could feel the other smile in the dark.

“I’ll be happy to resume the practice of my vocals daily, then.”

 “I think you’ll have to postpone your practice for tonight. If you move a bit closer to Wilhelmina, I’ll be able to lie down, too.” He winked. ”After all, I can’t leave my little Mr. Snuggles all to himself.”

“Oh no, you can’t,” Alfred snickered as they kissed.

Mina, who they thought had been asleep all along, burst out laughing. “I just can’t! I literally just can’t! I think I’ve just died. Please write on my tombstone ‘Here lies Wilhelmina Coke, first woman known to die because of cringeyness.’”

Drummond blushed a very bright shade of red.   He was sure it was showing in the dark. “I ehm… didn’t knew you were awake.”

Alfred chimed in. “That’s private stuff, Mina. I would appreciate it if you could just go back to sleep.” With that said, he kissed his boyfriend firmly on the mouth, pulling him over him and into the bed.         

“I see you’ve learned your lesson about private stuff, which is a nice thing.” She doubted it very much. “With that said, I don’t want to be a cockblock or anything, but might I remind you I’m trying to sleep here. Either you shut up and sleep, or you go back to your room.” She pinched Alfred’s butt as she felt he might not be listening to her. “Whatever your choice is, you better make it quickly or I won’t be held responsible for my actions.” She readjusted her pillow and pushed her best friend with her back.


 

A buzzing sound woke them in the morning.  Mina sat up quickly in the bed and hit the snooze button of the alarm clock that was on her nightstand, kicking Alfred in the shin in the process.

The latter groaned and tried to put his pillow over his head.

Edward, who had spent the night spooning his boyfriend on the edge of the bed since Mina had slept sprawled like a starfish, felt his back wasn’t in the best of shape.

“Gosh it’s 10! We might as well be dead.” She pushed Alfred, who mumbled an incomprehensible protest, turned around, and buried his face in his boyfriend’s chest.

Mina tied her hair and stretched.

“Time to get up, Mr. Snuggles.”

The blond turned his head and looked at her grouchily. “Don’t you dare!”

She was about to reply when George barged into the room.

“Hey, why wasn’t I invited to your slumber party?” He yanked the covers as Alfred cursed, his face still buried in Drummond’s chest.

“Sorry George, it was a bit last minute. Your invite must have gotten lost in the mail.” Mina smiled at him as Drummond wiped his eyes.

“Time to get up, Plumpy, or Mama is going to be really pissed.” With that said, he grabbed his brother’s ankles and yanked him out of bed.

 


 

 

Upon their arrival in the kitchen, Charlotte seemed slightly aggravated since Mme Rosalina, the family’s private chef, was nowhere to be found.

Mina offered to cook the family some pancakes and enlisted Alfred’s help to do so.

Henry was reading his journal in his chair in the corner of the room, as Richard was playing on his phone.

The latter was broader than George and had his dad’s brown hair.

Drummond tried to smile in his direction, but Richard didn’t seem impressed and merely raised an eyebrow at him.

“Might I help you with anything, Mrs Paget?”

She smiled and pinched his cheek. “ Thank you, sweetie, you can help me put on the silverware.”

 


 

 

Soon enough the pancakes were cooked, and everyone sat down around the table to eat them.

The conversation was flowing and was decent-to the brunet’s relief- compared to last night’s dinner.

Richard and George were eyeing with envy the last pancake that was left on the table, when Alfred dived for it and decided to give it to his older brother, sticking his tongue out at Richard while doing so.

Richard gaped at his siblings as the two sneered at him.

He loudly exclaimed, “Mama, Al has a tattoo on his butt!”

Mina snorted as Charlotte glared at her youngest.

Alfred looked at his older brother with shock on his face. “George, you dumbass, you were supposed to keep that a secret.”

George just shrugged, still chomping down on his pancake.

Charlotte got up and pulled down her son’s pyjama pants to get a glance at said tattoo.

“Why did you do that?”

“I lost a bet with Nancy Skerrett.  She got to choose what I was supposed to get and where it was supposed to go.”

Mina thought it was probably not the time to mention that Alfred was, in fact, the one who chose where the heart would go in the first place, so she remained silent.

“ALFRED PAGET! I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU DID THAT.” Charlotte yelled loudly as she rubbed her forehead. “I swear I have a mind to put you in time out. Henry, don’t you have anything to say about this?”

Henry took a sip of his coffee and shrugged. “He’s an adult, Charlotte.”

Her husband’s answer seemed to make her cross.

She looked at her three sons who  tried to avoid her stare. “George, when someone asks you to keep a secret, you keep it.  And Richard, I told you many times not to rat on your brothers.” 


 

 

The rest of the day was pleasant. Drummond visited the garage with Henry-who proudly showed his grand and expensive collection of cars- while Alfred spent his time racing horses at high speed against George, recklessly winning every time.

Finally, the afternoon came to an end and the three had to head home to be back in time for work the next morning.

Charlotte was teary-eyed as she bid them goodbye. “We are planning on going south for Christmas! Will you all join us?”

Mina jumped excitedly with Alfred.

Drummond scratched his head, clearly embarrassed. “I would love to, but I have to visit my mom.”

Alfred beamed at him. “Oh! I could come and visit her with you!”

“Or you could bring your mom with us?” exclaimed Charlotte excitedly.

The brunet gulped “Erh…We’ll see!”

Henry and Charlotte kissed them all, as they took their places in the Pagets’ car.

The chauffeur rolled the windows down as Charlotte bid them her last farewells.

“Don’t forget to give Ernst all that food, and tell him I miss him! Please tell Nancy she chose a nice tattoo, but I don’t approve of it.”

She blew them kisses, and so did Henry, as the chauffeur pulled off.

Chapter Text

On Monday morning, the epidemic of gastroenteritis that was severely affecting the staff working with the kindergartners had reached its critical phase. Substitute teachers were all booked and Alfred had to spend the day watching one of the classes.

There were only two weeks left before Christmas, and the staff was eager to go on holiday.

Well, everyone except our poor Drummond, since he wasn’t sure what he was going to do about the Paget’s family trip over the Christmas holidays.

He still had not come out to his mom and was still unsure about how he would do so. She was regularly sending him pictures of their neighbor’s daughter and her sister’s grandchildren, to his growing horror.

With Alfred away from the office, Mr. Peel had enlisted the brunet’s help to put up the Christmas tree at the front of the school. The two secretaries were usually the ones to do that job, but with the both of them over their head in work, Mr. Peel had no other choice than to put him on the task.

Which was the reason he was standing on a chair in the hallway, fighting with a string of lights at 9:00 on a Monday morning with Mr. Penge, the school’s grumpy janitor, as his helper.

The older man was mumbling under his breath as he was putting ornaments on the tree and seemed aggravated. He had a good reason for being so, since he had already been called three times since the beginning of the day to clean up vomit in three different classrooms.

Drummond had finally managed to put the lights on the tree when the dark-haired guy he had seen the other day at the gym entered the school.

The guy was wearing a nice coat and seemed to recognize him at once. He sneered in his direction as Mina came to greet him at the door.

Upon seeing him, she blushed a little and tried to adjust her hair which was tied in a bun.

“You must be the new French teacher. My name is Wilhelmina; I’m one of the school’s secretaries. If you don’t mind following me, I’ll show you to Mr. Peel."

He smiled charmingly and kissed her hand “Enchanté! My name is Vincent Leclerc.”

She laughed as Drummond rolled his eyes. Such a player, he thought.

Mr. Penge groaned.

“Are you done with those wretched lights, lad? I’d like to be finished with this stupid task before the end of the year.”

 


 

Mina was pleasantly talking with Leclerc (who she thought was very handsome) and waiting for Mr. Peel to open his office door when Alfred passed them, followed by the kindergartners as they were on their way to the library. The kids were all in line and acting as if they were fishes in the sea, moving their arms as though they were swimming and opening their mouths as if they were breathing underwater.

Alfred winked at his best friend and tilted his head to greet the man who was speaking with her, as the kids followed him to the end of the corridor.

Joli petit cul! exclaimed Vincent in an undertone.

Mina smiled.

“I’m sorry, I don’t speak French. What did you just say?”

Vincent shrugged. “Oh, I was just saying zhose students seemed to like zheir teacher.”

“Oh, he’s substituting today. He usually works with me in-” As she was saying this, Mr. Peel opened his door and gestured to Leclerc to come in.

“ Interesting,” the black-haired man answered simply, as Peel greeted him.

 


 

The tree was finished-to the children’s delight- and Drummond was finally back at his desk and working on his beloved Excel spreadsheets when the bell rang for lunch.

“Mina, who was that guy who came in earlier?”

She sighed dreamily. “He’s so handsome, right?”

Drummond shrugged as a simple answer.  

“He’ll be working with the 5th graders after Christmas since Mrs. Dufort is going on maternity leave. He seems very competent, and he’s friendly, too.  I’m sure you’ll like him.”

“Right...” He still could not say why, but he did not like that guy. Not one bit.

 


 

 

On Monday night, Alfred was absolutely knackered by his day spent with the kindergarteners and decided to go and lie down right after supper.

The brunet was wondering if he should just leave to get back to the Bed and Breakfast-and pretend he was independent and wasn’t completely smitten with his boyfriend- or if he should stay, as he usually did on Monday nights, when Mina gestured to him to come and sit next to her on the couch.

“Which one do you think would suit me best?”

She was shopping on her phone for a swimsuit for the Pagets’ trip.

She showed him two pictures. The first swimsuit looked like a dress and was purple, and the second one was a blue tankini with a weird pattern.

He scratched his nose .“I don’t know. They both seem personable, I guess.”

She sighed. “Right…Alfred is better than you with this. It’s a pity he’s asleep.” She put her phone down. “I’m glad, though, because I wanted to talk to you about something in private.”

He looked at her questioningly.

“So, you guys have been dating for-” She grabbed Alfred’s phone from the coffee table and unlocked it within seconds. “27 days, 22 hours, 15 minutes, and 36 seconds, according to that damn app he put on his phone.”

He grinned and took his phone out to check if he had received any e-mails, looking at her while doing so.

She put Alfred’s phone down and started to nervously fidget with her bracelets. “Are you going to move out with him?”

“I don’t know. Why?” He shrugged.

“I don’t want to seem weird or anything. I’m not scared of being a spinster and all; it’s just Alfred is the only person I consider family and I don’t want to lose him.“ She scratched her head, avoiding his stare. ”My parents died when I was a teenager and I moved here with my aunt-and let me tell you she’s not fun to live with. But then I started to work at Worthington’s, and Alfred arrived just months after me. I liked Ernst a lot at that time and he did not return my feelings. Alfred was there to help me cope with it and we basically became best friends. We moved in together and have been inseparable since then.”

She cleared her throat and wiped a tear.

“Listen to me being all melodramatic. What I want to say is, why don’t you just move in?”

“I’m not sure Alfred would-”

“Would what? He’s always ranting on about you and how you are his soulmate and all that junk. I mean he has a folder on his phone he named Bae heart, which is full of pictures of you. Plus, he spends his Tuesday and Thursday nights crying about the fact you aren’t here.” She rolled her eyes.

“I don’t mind moving in, but aren’t you tired of us always making out around here?” Or not being able to? he added mentally.

 Since Mina was often there, they had only managed to have sex on the sofa twice, and that kitchen table had been nagging at his brain since their first time.

“I guess I’m used to it by now. I’ve even learned to tune Alfred out. Soooo, when are you moving in?” She smiled, playfully slapped him on the shoulder and resumed her swimsuit shopping, sending pictures of the ones she liked to Alfred.

“I’ll ask him if he would like me to, and if he says yes, I’ll talk to Agnes about leaving my room.” A grin was creeping on his face. It was the first time he was moving in with someone since he had almost moved in with Florence, and that was something.

”Perfect! Count this as your Christmas gift from me to you, because I’ll have to deal with my aunt about this, and let me tell you it’s not going to be a piece of cake.”

 


 

An hour after his talk with Mina, the brunet decided to go check on Alfred.

The latter was sleeping, curled up in his bed.

The brunet turned off the light and got into his boyfriend’s bed.

“What time is it?” the blond groggily asked as he rolled over and dropped his head on Drummond’s chest. The latter circled him with his arms and held him tightly.

“It’s 9:00.”

 “I thought you would have gone back to your room.  I’m sorry to be this boring tonight.” He yawned.    “ What did you do?”

“Spent some time looking at random stuff on my phone. Mina tried to ask my advice on swimsuits, but I’m bad at it. She sent you 10,000 pictures on your phone.” The brunet kissed the top of his head.

 “Usual stuff.”

“She asked me if I wanted to move in because she doesn’t want you to move out.“

There was a pause.

”Are you going to?” Alfred tentatively asked.

“What do you think?“

“I would like it very much.“

“That settles the matter, then.” Drummond felt a smile creep on his face and butterflies in his stomach. There was no doubt about it, he was done for.

“If I wasn’t that tired, I’d do you.”

“Would you, now?” His question stayed unanswered, since the blond had already drifted back to sleep.

 


 

The next morning, upon waking up, Drummond saw his boyfriend wasn’t curled up in his arms, as he usually was.

The blond was lying on his belly with his head under his pillow on the edge of the bed.

Mina knocked on the door impatiently. “If I have to, I’ll come in and drag you out just like your brother does, Al! We are running late, and I certainly don’t want Mr. Peel to be mad at me because you two lovebirds can’t seem to fall asleep at appropriate hours.”

Alfred groaned as she entered the bedroom, as Drummond looked at him puzzlingly.

“I feel awful. It’s like I’m hot and I’m cold at the same time and I’m not talking about that Katy Perry song.”

Mina shared a look with Drummond. “I think he’s bonkers. Well, more than usual.”

She put a hand on her roommate’s forehead.  “I’m pretty sure you are down with a fever, Al.”

The blond groaned miserably.

“Work with the kindergarteners, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.”

Drummond kissed the top of his head. ”I’ll check on you later. Just try to sleep it off.”

“If you ever get bored, I’ve sent you pictures I’d like you to look at!” called Mina over her shoulder, as she followed the brunet out of the room.

As he closed the door behind them, the secretary turned to him and pointed a finger in his face.

 “I hope you don’t get down with it, because I don’t think I can deal with two sick men at once.”

 


 

 

Over the recess, Mina left the office and brought her phone to the bathroom to see how her roommate was doing. She was feeling a bit weird, too, but she tried to shrug it off.

Mina at 10h15:

How are you?

AP at 10h17:

I’ve been throwing up as if my life was depending on it for the last hour.

Think I’ll die.

Mina at 10h20:

I’m not feeling at my best either. I’ll come and check on you at lunch.

 


 

 

Bae at 12h03:

How are you babe?

AP at 12h05:

Still alive.

I’ve been laying stone cold dead on the bathroom floor in my underwear for the last 2 hours.

Wait Mina just arrived to save me.

AP at 12h45:

Mina is going down with it too.

It’s her turn to throw up now. I’m holding her hair up as I gag reflex.

Bae at 12h46:

Sounds fun.

Do you need anything? I won’t come over tonight.

AP at 12h48:

Obviously

Bae   at 12h50:

If you need anything, text me. Love you Xxxxx

AP at 12h52:

I will if I survive. Love you more Xxxxxxxxxxxxx

 


 

 

“I heard Coke and Paget caught the kindergartners’ stomach bug?”

“Yep, they did. Alfred is done throwing up now. He managed to eat something. Mina is still throwing up, though.”

Since it was Tuesday night, Drummond was exercising with Ernst at the gym.

For once, they really managed to do something, since the gym was almost empty and Ernst had stayed focused on exercising instead of checking out girls.

Leclerc was there, too, at the far side of the gym, chaining push-ups as if there was no tomorrow.

“Nice!” the womanizer sarcastically replied as he wiped the sweat that was dripping down his face with a towel. “I heard from Nancy you’re supposed to move in with them?”

“Hum, yes. News gets around fast.” He tried to avoid the other man’s gaze.“ I am.”

Ernst smiled.

“I guess by moving in with them, you’ll be able to see who Alfred’s boyfriend is? I’ve bet some good money on this and I hope I’ll win.“

The brunet took a sharp intake of breath before answering.

“Ehm…Well, in fact, I am his emh… boyfriend.”

Chapter Text

“You are kidding me, right?”

Drummond could feel his heart beating through his chest as Ernst looked at him weirdly.

“No.”

Ernst groaned angrily and knocked on the treadmill’s board with his fist.

“I can’t believe I’ve just lost £500 to Francatelli! That bastard always wins!” The womanizer shook his head. “Now I understand why you guys often have the same lunch at work.”

“Yes, that we do.” There was a pause in their conversation. “So are you cool with this?”

“Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?” Ernst grabbed his shoulder in a friendly gesture.

Drummond shrugged. ”Let’s say I’ve not disclosed that information to a lot of people so far.“

 “It only means more girls for me. I can tell you I had absolutely no clue you were, shall we say, not on my team. ” As Ernst got down from the treadmill, he added as an afterthought, “Oh and don’t worry, I’ll keep this to myself. I’m pretty sure you don’t want Peel to be aware of it.”

“Indeed. I would like to keep both Alfred’s and my job if that’s possible.”

The brunet drank a gulp of water as Leclerc came near, not even sparing them a glance as he took Ernst’s place on the treadmill.


 

A week had gone by since Mina and Alfred had been sick, and Drummond was officially moving in the next day.

The roommates were supposed to leave for Puerto Vallarta with the Pagets in three days.

Drummond had declined his potential future in-laws’ invitation, stating he had to visit his mom. Being an only son, he wasn’t too keen on leaving her alone for the holidays.

He had also lied and told the Pagets she was too sick to go on the trip with them. 

He certainly wasn’t prepared to have them meet each other yet.

Finally, he had carefully convinced a pouting Alfred to go with his parents and have some fun in the sun, using Mina -who wanted to go on the trip very badly- as a scapegoat.

She had managed to convince her aunt it was a good thing to let Drummond move in-which had been a feat close to a miracle. Saying the couple owed her big time was an understatement. 

The brunet was getting fed-up with his web of lies, but figured he would set everything right over the next week.

At the moment, he was out with Ernst at the pub, while the two secretaries were packing their suitcases.

Stuff was laying everywhere in the living room.

Sun lotion, hats, and flip-flops were lined in front of Alfred’s suitcase, as Mina was still struggling to choose which garments she was going to bring.

 “Do you think I should bring this dress or that one?”

Alfred shrugged “Why don’t you bring them both? We’re supposed to be there 12 days. You know my saying: the more clothes, the merrier. ”

She smiled in his direction and was about to put the dresses in her suitcase when Nancy barged into their apartment.

“Stop what you are doing and come sit with me. This is an emergency”  exclaimed the blonde as she sat excitedly on the couch.

The two best friends looked at each other with surprise and sat on either side of her.

“Hold on to your butts!” She paused. “I’m almost 100% sure Charles is going to propose over the holidays!”

“What makes you say that?” Mina asked cautiously, as Alfred scratched his chin.

”Harriet said she saw him shopping for a ring the other day.” She clearly was very excited by the news. Her voice climbed a few octaves, dangerously reaching the frequency that could make glass shatter, “I’d say it’s time we looked at wedding dresses.”

As she was saying this, she pulled a pile of magazines out of her purse. Mina excitedly grabbed one as Alfred rolled his eyes.

“Such a stereotype! Do you really think I want to look at this? I’ve never really cared about weddings in the first- O-M-G have you seen that suit? AND THAT ONE!” he exclaimed loudly as he pulled the magazine out of Mina’s hands while Nancy giggled uncontrollably.


 

On Wednesday night, Alfred was as excited as a five-year-old on Christmas morning. He had barely been able to get through his normal day at school as he kept reminding himself Edward was moving in with him that very night. 

He had dragged his boyfriend to the mall the previous weekend, and they had spent an afternoon looking for a new duvet cover.

The blond had insisted that since they were going to share a room, they needed to buy stuff together.

He had woken up extra early that morning just to put it on the bed.

He had also arranged his clothes in his wardrobe in order to allow the brunet some room for his.

When the clock had finally struck six and Edward had knocked at the door, he had jumped with excitement from the sofa and almost slipped twice on his way to the door. Mina had rolled her eyes at him so much she was almost certain she had permanently damaged her optic nerves.

After an hour of talking and unpacking –really, Edward had very few belongings since most of his stuff what still at his mom’s-they were cuddling under the covers.

“I would have loved it if you could have come with us on the trip.” said Alfred regretfully for the fifth time, his head snuggled on his beau’s chest.

”I know, but I can’t. Not this year.” Alfred sighed. The brunet kissed his head. “We could maybe go together next year? Just the two of us?”

“Ooooh, sounds like a plan. We could skinny-dip in the ocean, take long romantic walks on the beach, make love in the sand…”

“Well, it’s true we don’t have sand, but...”  said Drummond, as he grabbed Alfred-who giggled and wriggled- and pulled him under him. “Eh…why is there a giant pile of wedding magazines on your nightstand?”

“Oh…that’s Nancy’s. I was supposed to look at things for her,” the blond laughed nervously.

“Right.” For a moment there, he had a flashback of Florence and how things could have turned out if he had not broken his engagement with her. He shivered.

“Look, Edward, I didn’t know you had commitment issues.“  Alfred pulled the covers up and turned his back on him.

“I don’t! I just had a traumatic experience, that’s all!”

“Oh yes, Florence.” The blond rolled his eyes.

“Are you jealous?”

“No, you are the jealous one. I’m just a bit disappointed.”

“I thought you said it was for Nancy?”

“It is.” Alfred yawned and nestled in his boyfriend’s arms.

“Right.”

It took a while for Drummond to fall asleep as he replayed that awkward discussion in his head repeatedly.  Was he misunderstanding something?


 

Mina at 18h37:

We have just arrived at the resort. Alfred’s phone is dead.  He’ll call you later.

Drums at 18h45:

There was a snowstorm and your aunt woke me at five, so I could shovel her way out.

She watched me and critiqued my shoveling the whole time.

When I was done, she went back inside and said she decided she did not need to get out after all.

Mina at 18h50:

Sounds like something she would do. She’ll probably make your life a living hell for the next 10 years. It’ll get better afterwards.


 

Alfred had just sent him some pictures, and the worst thing was that he was on a bus on his way to his mom’s house.

Just by opening the first one- a simple picture Mina had taken while they were out in the middle of the ocean on a boat-  he had been turned on. 

Alfred was lying on his belly, looking at the camera ardently with his hair slicked back, his body still wet from the ocean as the sun made his skin shine. George was laying next to him, pulling a very ugly kissy face at the camera.

He wanted to check the other pictures, but knowing who his boyfriend really was behind his angelic face, there certainly would be inappropriate ones in the lot.

That thought started to nag at his brain as he nervously tapped against the window sill.

Five minutes later, he decided he was done with waiting, and since it seemed the little old lady that was sitting next to him seemed to be asleep, he looked at his phone again.

Obviously, Alfred had sent him naked pictures of him on the beach.

He was looking at a very nice view of his boyfriend’s rear end-on which there seemed to be a sunburn- when he heard the lady sitting next to him whistle.

He quickly closed his phone, almost dropping it in his hurry.

He wanted to die right there.

She grinned at him as a drop of sweat ran down on the side of his forehead.

“That’s one hot boy you got there, laddie.  Is he your boyfriend?” The old lady winked.  “You can act as if I wasn’t here. I wouldn’t mind looking at those pictures again.” The brunet smiled awkwardly at her, mentally swearing he would never check his stuff while on public transportation ever again.


 

His mom had asked him to meet her at a local restaurant where she would often go right after work.

Since he was a good son, he had stopped on his way to get some flowers.  

He was looking at his phone –mostly pictures (a family photo of the Pagets, the Paget brothers fighting on the beach, Henry and Charlotte kissing under the stars, a picture of Mina pulling a weird face since she discovered there was a naked beach on the resort, Charlotte and Alfred dancing on a table in a club)-when someone touched him on his shoulder.

 It was a girl around his age with short brown hair and very dark eyes.

“Are you Edward?”

“Yes. Why?“ He asked puzzlingly.

“My name is Carolina. I was supposed to meet you at six, but I’m a little late.” She pulled up a chair and sat in front of him.

“I don’t know you. I’m waiting for my mom.” He raised his eyebrows, clearly wondering what was going on.

“Well, she set us up.” Carolina started to browse her menu, clearly indifferent to him.

“That’s awkward.” He scratched his head.

“Look, I’ll be honest with you.” She started to tap on the table as she looked at her watch. “ I have a girlfriend and-”

“What? Really?” He snorted.

“So sorry, you seem like a nice guy, but…” She sighed and rolled her eyes.

“No wait, you don’t get it. I have a boyfriend.”

Carolina put a hand over her mouth, supressing a laugh. “Now that’s what I call fate. I take it your mom doesn’t know?”

“Nope.”

“Mine either.”

The server came and took their order. Carolina ordered a plate of pasta, and he chose a burger with fries.

They grinned at each other. “Are you planning on telling your mom?”

“I don’t think I have a choice, since I moved in with my boyfriend. I still don’t know how I’ll manage to do it, though.” He sighed.

“Well, you are braver than me, then. I’m not planning on coming out for a while.”

He shrugged as the server brought them their plates.

Carolina opened her phone and showed him a picture of a red-haired girl. “Here’s  a picture of my girlfriend. Her name is Brianna.”

“She seems very nice,” he said, as he pulled his own phone out. “ Here’s my boyfriend.”

Carolina grabbed the phone. “Wow! He’s a real cutie.  He has a very lovely smile and his eyes!”  She started to scroll through the pictures. “That one is hot. Love the fact he took the time to write This might give you a boner on it.“

He almost choked and quickly snatched his phone back. “We’re lucky you didn’t scroll any further, because that would have been awkward.”

She laughed. “Seems he might be quite a handful under the sheets. Would you mind if we took some pictures and sent them to my mom? She’s growing extremely suspicious about me and it might help. ”

The brunet shrugged, clearly not thinking enough about this.

They snapped three pictures with his phone.

In one of the pictures, Carolina was smiling as he kissed her cheek.

In  another one, she blew him a kiss as he handed her the flowers that were meant for his mom.

In the last one, she was feeding him some of her food with her fork as they looked entranced by each other.

They laughed about the pictures, as Edward sent them to her phone, saving her number at the same time.

They spent a nice evening together and soon enough, Edward’s phone started to ring. It was his mom telling him she was waiting for him in the parking lot.

“I’ll have to go. My mom has come to pick me up. Would you guess I’m almost 30 by the way she acts?”

Carolina snorted. “I’m glad to have met you then, Edward. Good luck with your cute boyfriend and your mom.”

“Same for you and your girlfriend, Carolina.”

 


 

 

The drive home with his mom had been pleasant. They were happy to see each other. Alfred had tried to call him twice, but he had closed his phone.

 It certainly wasn’t the time to talk while his mom was standing a mere meter away from him.

“So, did you had fun with Carolina?“

”It was a real surprise to meet her instead of you, Mom, but yes, I did.”

Mrs. Drummond smiled and hugged her son. “I’m glad you did. I love you so much, honey. You are so precious to me.”

“Me too, Mom.” He was starting to feel very nervous again. “Mom, would you mind sitting down? I have something very important to tell you.”

“Are you already engaged to Carolina?” She gushed excitedly.

“Eh…no.”

“I kept Florence’s ring just in case, and my sister gave me baby clothes she knitted herself. Of course, I’ll knit some, too. But just listen to me, ranting again. I’m all ears now, what do you want to tell me?”

Chapter Text

Drummond gulped loudly as his mom looked at him earnestly.

“I’m… What I want to say is I’m…” He cleared his throat and started to bite his lip as he felt his anxiety build-up. “I’m… not staying at the Bed and Breakfast anymore!”

“Oh, really?”

“I moved in with two of my co-workers.”

“How lovely! You already have friends! You were so discreet as a young boy, I’m so happy to hear you are finally coming out of your shell.”

Coming out-and not only from his shell-was exactly what he was supposed to do, but felt he could not bring himself to do it.

“Absolutely.” He was so stressed out, he was almost sure he was about to faint.

“Is this what you wanted to tell me?”

He shook his head affirmatively.

“Well, I did not need to sit down to hear that. You always make everything sound so dramatic.” Frances laughed, unaware of the inner turmoil his son was experiencing.

He laughed nervously. “That I do, Mom. That I do.”

He spent the next two days at his childhood home, spending quality time with his mother.

The fear of her finding out about his homosexuality had multiplied by ten since his arrival.

She had started to turn his room into a nursery and the thought of breaking her most cherished dream was making him apprehensive to the point where he barely answered Alfred’s texts and had not called him for the last three days, which had been the longest period of time he had spent not talking to him since the two had started dating.

He felt so uneasy he showed his mom the pictures he had taken with Carolina on their date before leaving.

Needless to say she was very happy to see those.

 


 

 

“Edward has not answered my texts again. I wonder if he’s doing alright.”

“Maybe he found a nice girl and forgot all about you.” Said George as he drank a can of soda in one big gulp- burping loudly seconds after finishing it.

Mina glared at George as she applied a large amount of sun lotion on Alfred’s already very sunburnt back. The blond winced as she did so.

“Maybe his mom is at the hospital or something. He did say she was very sick. If so, they might have asked him to shut his phone.”

George shrugged. He was as red as a lobster and had decided to stay under the shade of their parasol until the sun went down, resulting in him being bored and looking for various ways to entertain himself.

Teasing his youngest sibling had become one of his favorite activities.

It seemed the Pagets, with their porcelain skin, were very sensible to sun exposure.

Charlie and Henry had decided to stay indoors for the day, as well as Richard (who without any doubts was playing on his phone), and Junior.

They could see William in the distance, scuba diving along the coastline, as he was searching for a very rare crustacean. 

“Or he’s sleeping with another man. Hotter and hornier than you,” added George.

“George, I hate you.”

“I’m older, which means I hate you more.”  He kicked some sand in his little brother’s direction. In response, Alfred threw Mina’s bottle of lotion at his face, almost getting him on the nose.

Mina sighed, clearly tired of being solely in the company of men. “It’s no wonder none of you are married or in a steady relationship.”

 At this point, she did not know how Charlie had managed to raise seven boys without sinking into madness.

Excuse-me, I’m in a steady relationship. I’ve been dating Edward for 1 month, 13 days, 7 hours, 26 minutes and 16 seconds as of now, thank you very much,” Alfred replied sassily as he put his sunglasses back on.

George groaned. “Edward this, Edward that. We have been here more than a week and It seems you can’t talk about anything else. You are clearly obsessed, Plumpy.”

Alfred looked at him over his sunglasses, clearly annoyed.

“I’m not. It’s called being in love, George. You might experience it one day if you stop being such a dick, which I doubt.”

“I’m a dick now, am I? Guess that explains why I’m your favorite brother, then.”  

Alfred lunged at his brother as George decided to run for it, pushing Mina-who grabbed his ankle-in the process.

A tussle ensued, ending in laughter and with sand getting stuck in weird places.

 


 

 

It was New Year’s Eve, and Drummond was back at the flat.

He had not managed to tell his mom he was dating Alfred and he had profusely lied to make sure she would not find out. He had even stated he might see Carolina again.

He had just turned the tv on and was flipping through the channels, waiting for the clock to strike midnight, when Mina and Alfred, covered with snow, and their luggage in tow, entered the flat.

“What are you both doing here? Weren’t you supposed to be back at the end of the week?” exclaimed the brunet, as he jumped from the couch in surprise.

“I was missing you too much and I’ve had enough sunburns for now. Plus, I wanted to be there to kiss you at midnight,” exclaimed the blond excitedly, as Drummond eagerly kissed him.

“And I was too tired of dealing with them all. I’ve missed you and your quietness, Drums,” said Mina as she kissed her roommate’s cheek.

 

All three of them decided to sit on the couch as Mina told the brunet funny stuff that had happened during the trip.

The latter was vaguely listening to Mina’s retelling of how George had been burned by a jellyfish on his chest, seeing he was more interested in thoroughly kissing his boyfriend-whom he had missed very much.

”-And then William just peed on him. It was hilarious! But what about you, Drums? How was it at your mom’s?” asked Mina, as she opened a bag of chips and popped some into her mouth. “Alfred, let the guy breathe; seriously!”

Alfred sighed. Clearly his best friend did not know when she was not needed in a room. “Don’t you have anything else to do, Mina? You could take a walk to your room or get lost on your way to the restroom, for example.”

“How about you get lost?” She pushed his feet which were now touching her thighs since he was sitting sideways on his boyfriend’s lap.

Drummond scratched his head as Alfred toyed with the buttons of his shirt. “Yes, everything went fine with my mom. She was very pleased to learn I moved in with you two.”

“She seems very nice! You should ask her to come visit us when she gets better!” said Mina, as she grabbed the remote and chose one of her series to watch.

“I can’t wait to meet her!” Alfred joined in, smiling at him.

“Yeah, she’s impatient, too,” fibbed our dear Drummond, as he decided to get back to kissing his boyfriend to avoid further questioning.

 


 

Nancy S. at 23:45:

ALFRED! WHY ARE YOU NOT ANSWERING ME? I’ve texted you 15 times during the last hour. What are you doing?

 


 

 

It was scarcely two minutes after midnight when Alfred came out of his room and plopped down next to his best friend on the couch.

Mina arched her eyebrows at him “Well, I’m surprised to see you’ve decided to come and sit with me.”

“What kind of friend would I be if I left you all alone on the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve?” They exchanged kisses and good wishes. “I’ve postponed the rest of my evening.”

“Will the rest of your evening come and join us or-?”

“Let’s say he is slightly dazed and will join us in a minute.” He winked at her and increased the tone of his voice “But this is private stuff, Mina! I won’t tell you anymore about it!”

He winked and gestured exactly what he had been up to, as Mina stifled a laugh and mouthed I bet you did!

The two fists bumped as Mina’s phone started to ring. She checked who was calling and answered. It was Nancy video calling her.

“Oh hey, Nancy!” She turned her camera on, as Alfred got closer to her so Nancy could see both of them on her screen.

“Alfred, why are you not answering my calls, you bastard?”

Alfred rolled his eyes at her, as a flushing Drummond exited his bedroom and sat next to Mina on the couch.

Nancy pulled her tongue at him.

“I can’t talk too long because I’m with Charles’ extended familia, but look at this.” She showed them her hand where a nice golden ring was glinting on her fourth finger.

Mina gasped, as Alfred’s face broke into a grin.

“That’s right guys, I’m engaged! Guess who’s going to go wedding dress shopping next week? THIS GIRL!” The teacher loudly exclaimed as our three roommates congratulated her.

It seemed the new year was going to be auspicious.

 


 

 

January came and went without any hitches.  Mina was still single and was still brilliantly dealing with Alfred and Edward’s over-exposure of love.

The two men were still madly in love with each other as their relationship grew richer and deeper with each passing day.

In February, Mrs. Dufort went on her maternity leave, and Vincent Leclerc became a new member of the staff at Worthington’s, to Drummond’s growing annoyance.

The fact Leclerc was visiting the secretary’s office under every little pretense was getting on his nerve.

The worst of it was since Vincent had discovered Alfred could speak French, the two of them were having long discussions in it over lunch, and Drummond could not even understand a single word of it.

The only thing he could do during those moments was glare at the black-haired man, as he in turn would give Drummond the stink eye.

 

The two men’s enmity took a turn for the worse around mid-February.

On that particular morning, Alfred and Mina had left extra early for work since they had a meeting with Mr. Peel before the school’s regular hours.

Upon his arrival at work, Drummond wondered why everyone-staff and students alike- were wearing pink or red garments. He thought he might have missed a memo or something. Upon seeing the big heart poster that was plastered on Mr. Peel’s office door, he was hit by the realisation that it was Valentine’s day and he had completely forgotten about it.

He had to work in his boss’ office all morning, checking the school’s finances and reflecting on what a bad boyfriend he was. Alfred, coming by on his usual coffee run, had smiled expressively at him while handing Mr. Peel his cup of coffee.

The brunet was still wondering an hour later what had put his boyfriend in such a good mood as he sat down for lunch in the staff room.

He was taking a bite of his meal absently when he heard the two teachers sitting next to him mention Alfred’s name.

“Did you see that? Alfred received a box of chocolates and a dozen roses this morning. Lucky guy. I’m so jealous. I wish Tony would do the same for me.”

“Yes, his boyfriend is so romantic. I wonder who he is?”

Drummond swallowed his mouthful with difficulty. He certainly had not sent the blond roses.

“Do you think it might be the new guy? Vincent? They look so cute together!”

Drummond groaned, grabbed his lunch in a hurry, and rushed to Ernst’s classroom.

 


 

 

Three minutes later, he rushed into the classroom-to the music teacher’s surprise- and closed the door behind him.

“Ernst, do you know if that Leclerc guy might be interested in men?”

The latter, who was busy tuning his piano, shrugged.

“Are you really asking me that question?”

Drummond sighed. “I had not thought this through.”

“Aren’t you supposed to come equipped with a gaydar or something?” wondered the music teacher.

“Mine’s clearly out of order. I think he’s trying to steal Alfred from me. I’m pretty sure he was the one who sent him flowers this morning.”

“Oh, I thought you did. I see you forgot about that stupid day too.”  He cocked an eyebrow at him.  “Why don’t you ask Leclerc if he did?”

“So he’ll know I’m dating Alfred and he can tell Peel?! No way!”

Ernst scratched his chin, clearly trying to find a solution for his friend. His face broke into a grin as an answer dawned on him.

“Just lie and pretend you sent those. Just take credit for it and beat the guy at his own game.”

“You know what, Ernst, I think I’ll do that.” Drummond smacked him on the shoulder in a friendly manner.

“I shall be known as the official agony aunt of Worthington’s from this day forth!” proudly exclaimed Ernst, as the brunet was already leaving his classroom.

 


 

Mina at 12h05:

Thank you for the flowers. Love the card too!

AP at 12h45:

What flowers?

Mina at 12h50:

You are the only one who would think of me on this wretched day. I love you too. If you ever get tired of Drums, we could still get married :)

AP at 12h55:

You are the first one on my list! XxX

 


 

 

As soon as the door of their flat was closed, Mina went to her bathroom to wash her hands, as Alfred quickly hugged his boyfriend.

“Thank you for the flowers. I feel spoiled.” He kissed him sweetly on the lips.

“Yeah. Did you get a card with it?”

Alfred pulled back, his cheek resting on his beau’s shoulder.

“No. Did you write me another poem?”

Drummond grinned. “I did, but it must’ve gotten lost.” He would have to tell Ernst he was a genius and that his plan had worked without any problems.

Mina, back from her restroom, asked the boys to help her prep dinner. Alfred agreed to help her in a minute, kissing his boyfriend first.

 “Well, since you’ve been a very good boyfriend, I’ve arranged a little surprise for you.” He pulled back and smiled saucily, before whispering into his ear. “ I told Mina we were going on a date on Saturday. She kindly agreed to spend the night at Nancy’s, which means we’ll have the flat all to ourselves.”

Chapter Text

“You are on fire tonight! What’s gotten into you?” asked Ernst, out of breath, as he looked at his training partner who had been chaining crunches for the last 20 minutes without showing any sign of getting tired.

Drummond chained five more, then stopped and grabbed his water bottle.

“I can’t tell you a lot about it, but I have plans for Saturday night which might involve some lifting.”

Ernst wiped his mouth and looked at him.

“What are you planning on moving? I can help you if you want.”

“Erhm…I won’t need help with that particular task. Thanks for the offer anyway.”

Ernst furrowed his brow. Suddenly, realisation dawned on him.

“Wait; does it have something to do with Paget?”  He looked at the brunet weirdly.

Drummond grinned. “Who else?”

Ernst just shook his head. “You are whipped, Drums; I’m telling you. Next thing you know, you’ll end up in front of the altar with Paget on your arm.”

The brunet smiled at him. “You know what? I might just do that, Ernst.”

 


 

Since he was further along in his training compared to the womanizer, Drummond offered to go fill their empty bottles with fresh cold water.

He was filling Ernst’s bottle at the tap when he saw Leclerc-who seemed to be living at the gym since he was always there- appear behind him in the mirror.

The dark-haired man cleared his throat noisily to get his attention.

“I don’t like you, Drummond. Do you know what happened to zhe flowers I sent at the office? Did you have zhe impudence to take credit for them?”

Drummond stared blankly at him in the mirror. “I don’t know what you are talking about, Leclerc. Surely you are mislead”

Leclerc closed the distance between them, stopping only inches from the brunet.

“Are you the one dating him?”

“I don’t know what you are talking about, Leclerc. You must have hurt your brain while doing all those push-ups.”

Leclerc sneered at him, towering over him with his height.

“He’s out of your league.  Paget needs a real man to handle him, not just a little mommy’s boy like you.”

“Alfred is a grown man. He’s old enough to choose who he wants to be with, and it seems it’s not you. Seems he prefers mommy’s boys to douchebags like you.” He turned around to face the French man, a victorious smile on his face.

“So he’s dating you, then! What did you do with my card?”

“What card?”

 “The card I sent with my flowers, you dumbass. You’ll pay for zhis, I’m telling you. I know your secrets, Drummond. It’s only a matter of time before Paget will learn the truth about you.”

Leclerc pushed him roughly, and for a moment, Drummond wondered if he should punch him.  

The two men glared at each other, neither one of them wanting the other to think he had won their argument.

“Eh…. Excuse-me lads, but I would like to get a sip of water… If that’s not too much to ask.”   Said an elderly man, clearly scared of being caught in between them as he tried to get to the tap.

As Drummond moved to let the older man pass, Leclerc grunted, turned around, and left the room angrily.

Drummond apologized, grabbed the water bottles, and went back into the gym to find Ernst.


 

 

When the brunet got back to the apartment after his work-out, Alfred and Mina were already asleep. He undressed and got under the covers, spooning his boyfriend-who mumbled in his sleep- before setting his pillow under his head.

Around three in the morning, he realised he still had not slept a wink as he looked crossly at the numbers on his alarm clock.

He kept thinking about the argument he had had with Leclerc earlier at the gym, and somehow it was making him uneasy.

What did Leclerc mean by “I know your secrets?”

What about that card? Had Alfred seen the card?

If so, why did he not tell him he knew he had lied?

He sighed. He would have to make things right and sort out his lies, because he was clearly going down the wrong path. He was now sure of it: something bad was about to happen.

 


 

 

Mina at 12h45:

There is snow to shovel and my aunt would like you to get to it as soon as school is over.

Drums at 12h50:

Isn’t it supposed to be Alfred’s turn to do it? I did it last time!

Mina at 12h52:

Nope! Last time it was Alfred’s turn and you traded it off or something. Now it’s really yours.

The shovel is already downstairs, waiting for you!

 

Edward D. at 16h53:

Next time, it’s your turn to shovel all that snow! I won’t take anything in exchange for it.

YOU WON’T BUY ME WITH THE PROMISE OF A BLOWJOB THIS TIME AND I’M STICKING TO MY WORDS.

AP ˂3 at 16h54:

Really?! How about two?

Edward D. at 16h56:

DEAL!

 


 

It was Thursday, and Mina was tired of her week at work. She needed to find an important document for Mr. Peel-her boss was adamant he needed the document NOW!- and it was nowhere to be found.

 It was supposed to be on Alfred’s desk, but since the latter had been substituting a lot in the last few days, his usually clean desk was now looking like a complete mess as documents were piled everywhere, waiting to be handled.

She sighed. As she was moving things around on her co-worker’s desk, an unopened small red envelope fell to the ground. She picked it up and looked at it with curiosity.

There was no name on it.

Curiosity got the best of her, and she decided to open it.

The envelope contained a simple piece of paper, folded in two.

She looked around the office and, seeing Drummond was absorbed in his work, decided to unfold it.

 

Pretty flowers for a pretty man. I hope that someday I can make you mine- V L.

 

Mina frowned in confusion. Wasn’t it Drums who had sent his boyfriend those flowers?

 Was it possible he had lied, and the sender of those roses had been Vincent Leclerc, that cute French teacher?

Drummond stared at her from the top of his computer screen. She smiled at him and placed the card in her coat pocket.

She would have to show this to Alfred later, because something fishy was definitely going on.

 


 

 Finally, their work week came to an end, and Saturday morning crept by.  

A heavy snowstorm was raging outside, and it made the perfect excuse for sleepy, toe-curling sex under the covers-or so thought our dear Drummond, who had decided to get an early start on their date day.

It was barely six, and Alfred usually protested at being woken up early on the weekend, but Edward had been looking at his sleeping form for the last half hour and had decided he could not deal with his lusty thoughts-and his erection- any longer without taking action.

Slowly he moved closer to his boyfriend, gently nibbling and kissing the back of his neck until Alfred’s sleepy protestations were replaced by little sighs, which Edward decided were his cues to carefully and slowly slide into him.

Then, propped up on his elbow, he started to slowly thrust into him, as Alfred turned his head to look at him with sleepy eyes.

Slowly, their mouths found each other in the dark, and they started to kiss, modeling the pace of their deliberately slow love-making.

It was not long before their kisses grew longer and deeper, as every new thrust brought them closer to ecstasy.

The sun had just started to rise when Edward’s thrusting became more frantic. He was panting, and Alfred was now getting very noisy, which usually meant he was beginning to greatly enjoy what they were doing.

Edward closed his eyes, trying to make this delicious moment last a while longer. He felt Alfred’s hand clumsily grab his hair, pulling his face closer to his.  He stopped his movement as they shared a look full of lust and desire.

Alfred looked at him as he resumed his thrusting.

Seeing on his lover’s face what his action was doing to him was a bit too much for Edward. He bent down to resume their kissing, and it only took two last deep thrusts before he was done for. He tensed, pleasure washing over him as he reached his release, his moans muffled against his boyfriend’s mouth.

That drove Alfred over the edge, too, as the blond turned his head and climaxed moments later, screaming his lover’s name with pleasure.

No doubt Mina would mutter about this at breakfast later this morning…

Edward, out of breath, kissed his boyfriend one last time, before he let himself fall back on the mattress.

He quickly grabbed his lover and held him close, kissing the delicate skin at the base of his neck.

After what seemed like an eternity, Alfred turned to face him, a ray of sunshine lighting his face and making his hair glow.

Edward was sure his heart would burst, as his lover looked at him with a small smile on his face, his eyes half closed as he was still enjoying post-coital bliss.

The brunet sighed, feeling slightly dazed as he turned to rest on his back.

Alfred rolled toward him and laid his head on his chest, clutching him tightly around his torso.

 

 Outside, the snowstorm had subsided, but they could still hear the cold wind howl. Edward pulled the covers up to their face, protecting them from the cold.

 As he held his lover tightly, his chin resting on the top of his head, he wished they could spend their day like this.

Sadly, Wilhelmina was now up and about in the kitchen, and without any doubts, she would soon be knocking at their door, asking them to help her with their usual weekend chores.

 

Alfred sighed languorously. “I wish we could always wake up like this.”

“Hm…” Agreed Drummond, as he was simply enjoying the moment.

”How much do you love me?”

Edward paused, thinking a moment about his answer.


“I love you so much that my love for you isn’t something I can measure or compare to the size or breadth of something tangible.”

Alfred snorted “Jeez, it’s too early for that type of language.” He snuggled closer. “But keep talking nerdy to me.”

Drummond grinned and kissed his head. “Why are you asking? Are you worried about something?”

“No. I was just checking whether you would be on board with our life plan.”

“Our life plan?! You mean you have actually planned our future life together?” asked the brunet with amusement.

“Mm hmm,” agreed the blond. “First, we will buy a house. No more Mina third-wheeling around. She’ll buy the house next to ours, you see.”

“Will she, then?”

 “Yes, she will. And she’ll move into that house with my brother, Septimus,” Alfred yawned,  “but we will get married before them. That’s very important, because I want to rub the fact into her face as much as possible.”

“I see.”

The blond turned on his belly, his chin resting on his boyfriend’s chest.

With his hair sticking up and his face still flushed from their earlier activity, Drummond thought he really looked like the wicked angel he was.

“And then, we will have a cat or a dog. I’m not sure which one it’ll be. I might let you choose. I’ll see.”

“How gracious of you.” They kissed, and then Alfred stared at him with seriousness.

“And then I want a baby.”

The brunet  stared back, a bit puzzled by the last part of his boyfriend’s carefully devised plan. He was wondering what he would answer to this, when Mina broke into the room, startling them both.   

Drummond quickly checked that the covers were covering his naked body, as Alfred groaned with annoyance.

“ALFRED! You’ve got laundry to do! If you don’t get a move on, I won’t have my stuff ready on time, and I won’t be able to sleep over at Nancy’s. You’ve been warned!” She glared at her best friend, then looked apologetically at her new roommate.  “Sorry, Drums. I’m not looking.”

Needless to say, it burst their little bubble of intimacy.

Alfred grumpily got up and started to work on his tasks- mumbling about his roommate as he did so- as Edward sighed, got dressed, and prepared himself to go outside to shovel some more snow.

 


 

One of the best part of going on a date, thought Edward, was to watch Alfred get ready for it.

Let’s be honest, Alfred Paget was always handsome and always made sure he looked his best on every occasion, but when he was going out on a date, he put a little extra effort into it and went all out.

It was the reason why our favorite office assistant had grabbed a book and pretended he was reading for a good part of the early afternoon, when in fact he was just watching his boyfriend getting ready, as the latter had carefully chosen which clothes to wear, fixed his hair with care, and selected a cologne to complete his look.

Edward sighed as a grin crept to his face, his heart swelling with love and pride.

Was there ever a luckier man on Earth than him?

Suddenly, what Leclerc had said earlier that week came back to haunt him.

Alfred was definitely worth everything he had ever possessed in his life, and he simply could not risk losing him over stupid lies.

He was now sure of it: he would have to set everything to right before the end of the weekend. He certainly could not let that Frenchman ruin his perfect relationship.

 


 

 

Frances Drummond was sitting on a coach bus that was going from Scotland to Cornwall.

 She looked at her watch and sighed.

She had wanted to arrive earlier, but a misunderstanding of the bus schedule had forced her to leave an hour later than what she had envisioned.

She had decided she would surprise her son-whom she was missing dearly- by visiting him at his new flat.

It was with a smile that she got a cab at the bus terminal.

 She was impatient to meet her son’s co-workers, particularly that Alfred, whom she had heard so much about.

 


 

Around three, our favorite couple had left their flat and walked together to the cinema. A new movie had just come out, and Charles had highly praised it.

Upon their arrival, they both turned off their phones.

The room was crowded, and Drummond feared some of their co-workers could be there, too, but as soon as the lights had been turned off, Alfred had grabbed his hand over their popcorn bag.

The blond was very easy to entertain, and was one of those people who liked every movie, whatever the genre, while on the contrary, Drummond was rarely impressed by movies in general.

 He just enjoyed going to see Alfred’s reactions to what happened on screen. As he looked distractedly at the movie- a thriller-he began to think of how he was going to broach the subject of his mom and of Valentine’s day to his boyfriend.

 


 

 

Wilhelmina was about to leave her flat to go to Nancy’s place, when she heard the bell of the downstairs door ring. Her aunt was visiting a relative in London, so she went downstairs to answer the door.

 A lady in her sixties, well dressed and with a small suitcase, smiled at her as she opened the door.

“Hi! I’m Frances Drummond, Edward’s mom. I came here to surprise my son.”

A smile spread on Mina’s face. “ I’m so pleased to meet you! I’m Wilhelmina Coke, one of his roommates. Please, do come in. He’s currently out, but you can come upstairs and I’ll try to contact him.”

Frances smiled and followed her swiftly. She looked around the flat as soon as she got in -probably thinking it wasn’t clean enough- and sat on the couch, as Mina texted her roommates. She had no doubt about it: the boys would be a bit shocked upon hearing Edward’s mom had showed up as she was heading out.

 She knew first hand what Alfred had in mind for tonight-since he was always telling her everything, really- and having Drums’ mom around would definitely put a damper on the steamy night he had envisioned.

 

Mina at 17h15 :

Drums’ mom is here. I’ll show her around.

Mina at 17h30:

Nancy, I might be delayed a bit. Wait for me.

Nancy at 17h45:

Good thing you told me, I was about to prep our drinks! Send me news as soon as you leave!

 


 

“Aren’t you cold without a hat on?” asked Drummond, as he arranged his own on his head and made sure it covered both his ears.

 When their movie had ended, they had decided to go for a stroll in the park. Edward had made a reservation for dinner later that evening, and they still had some time to kill before getting there.

 The wind had lessened compared to that morning, but the air was still growing cold, as the sun was beginning to set.

“Don’t you know-beauty is pain? I like my hair better without a hat on,” answered Alfred, as he winked at him. “Plus, I have you to keep me warm.”

Drummond grinned. “That you do.”

Alfred pulled him by his scarf, and stood on his toes to kiss him passionately on the mouth.

The blond was a very talented kisser and by their third kiss, Edward’s brain was starting to have some difficulty working properly.

Alfred pulled back and grinned.

“You know what? Screw dinner. I think we should order in instead. We could eat in bed…”

Edward’s eyes grew wide as a smile broke onto his face. “Sounds like nice a plan. You know you are far too cute for your own good, right?”

Alfred cocked an eyebrow at him, tilting his head to the side, a grin on his face.

“Am I in trouble, then? I hope you won’t be too hard on me…“


 

“It’s quite cozy in here. It’s very lovely,” said Frances, as she moved around the living room and kitchen.

Mina smiled politely in her direction. Her texts remained unanswered, but she figured the boys’ movie might not be over yet.

“But where does my son sleep? I see there are only two bedrooms here? Are you his girlfriend?”

Frances was looking at her questioningly.

Clearly, she was not aware her son was dating Alfred, and Mina, clearly thinking ahead, feared she might not even know he was into men.

The secretary exhaled loudly and tried to smile to keep her countenance. “Would you like a cup of tea?”

 

Mina at 18h15:

ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! Alfred, seems Drums’mom is not aware you two are dating.

AVOID BEING IN HIS FACE / ARMS / PANTS LIKE YOU ALWAYS DO UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE!

 


 

“I’m not guaranteeing anything, but I think I can manage to carry you in my arms upstairs.”

Alfred looked at his boyfriend with a grin on his face as they both stood in front of Aunt Buccleuch’s house.

After two different tries, Edward finally managed to get a solid grip on him and lifted his boyfriend up, as the latter wrapped his arms around his neck.

“I’m impressed!” exclaimed the blond, as he gave his boyfriend a very steamy kiss in reward.

Edward pulled back and shook his head.

“You’ll have to stop kissing me like that, or my brain is going to shut down and I’ll have to ravish you on the landing.”

“Well, we do have the place to ourselves…”

Chuckling all along, they had to stop at three different places during their climb before they finally made it to the door.

Alfred pulled their flat’s keys from his boyfriend’s back pocket and unlocked their door.

 


 

Frances had finished her cup of tea, and Mina had still not received an answer from Al.

“Would you mind if I used the restroom, dear?” asked Mrs. Drummond, as she got up from the couch and walked in the direction of the boys’ bedroom.

Mina quickly followed her and put a gentle hand on her shoulder.

“Why don’t you use mine? You know how men are! Mine’s probably cleaner.”

She looked at her phone while Frances was using the restroom, and groaned when she saw she was still not getting any replies.

As Frances left the restroom, her gaze lingered on some drawings and crafts children had given the secretary at school.

They were looking at those as Mina told her the funny stories that were linked to them when they heard the door open with a loud thud and some giggling.

Frances smiled. “Sounds like my son is back. ”

Mina cleared her throat. “Just wait here, I‘ll go and check on them. It’ll make a bigger surprise.” And warn Alfred, she added mentally.

Frances brushed it off. “Nonsense, I’ll come with you! I can’t wait to see my son’s face when he sees me.”

I’m not sure I’m prepared for this, thought Mina, as she slowly walked to her door and turned the handle.

 


 

 

 “Dinner’s served,” exclaimed the brunet as he dropped his giggling boyfriend on the kitchen table. “I can’t tell you how many times this table has nagged at my brain.”

“Why don’t you turn your desires into reality, then?” Alfred answered simply as he pulled him closer by his scarf and kissed him hungrily.

The brunet pushed his boyfriend down on the table as the latter wrapped his legs around his torso and tried to pull him down with him.

“You are wearing too much clothes for my taste.”

“Then undress me and make me beg for more.”  The blond cocked an eyebrow suggestively at him.

“Alfred Paget, you are such a minx. You’ll be the death of me! ”

Drummond started to kiss his boyfriend’s collarbone-the blond already sighing loudly as he did so- as he tried to unfasten the zipper of his jeans, while Alfred’s hands worked to unfasten the buttons of his shirt.

 They were so engrossed by each other that they did not heard Mina’s door open, as Mrs. Drummond and Mina walked in on them.

“EDWARD CHARLES DRUMMOND!

The brunet’s heart stopped as he froze, paralysed by his mom’s voice. He looked at her, his face blanching more with every passing  second. What was going on?!

Chapter Text

Edward just gaped at his mother as if he was about to faint. Alfred, still laying on the table, slowly got his legs off Edward’s torso, got up, and tried to tidy his appearance.

It certainly wasn’t how the blond had envisioned his first meeting with his potential mother-in-law would go.

Frances was looking intently at her son, her face getting more red by the minute. Her lips were moving, but no sounds were coming out of her mouth.

Mina, glued to the spot, just wanted to disappear and wondered if she should call an ambulance now, because she was almost sure one of the Drummonds would soon need medical attention.

The air was thick with tension.

Alfred scratched the back of his neck.

“Well, it’s something to know your son is dating a man, but getting to see the actual thing is always, shall we say…surprising, to say the least! Two of my brothers had some difficulty with me being gay at first, but they got used to it very quickly.” He paused to see if he had managed to lighten the mood, but neither Drummond seemed to be in a better state, and Mina kept glaring at him so he kept babbling on. “I’m sorry if I’ve shocked you. I’m the infamous Alfred Paget your son’s been dating for the last 3 months. I’m absolutely pleased to meet you!”  The blond smiled charmingly, as he outstretched his hand at the older woman, who ignored him completely.

Mina simply said in a small voice, “I guess I’ll make some tea,“ as she went to her room instead of actually going to the kitchen to do what she said.

 


 

Mina at 18h20:

Nancy, I don’t know if I’ll come.

Drama is unravelling here.

So much awkwardness, I just can’t!

Nancy S. at 18h22:

What’s wrong? Do you want me to come over?

Nancy S. at 18h30:

I tried to call Al, but his phone is off. What’s going on?

Nancy S. at 18h35:

?????


 

 

“Edward, is this a joke? If so, I really don’t know why you’re doing this to me!? This is so bad on my nerves!” Frances was trying to understand what was going on, but clearly she was not reaching the right conclusions.

Edward, who finally seemed to get some of his senses back, groaned and facepalmed. “Why does this have to always happen to me?”

Mina came back from her room since she had regained her composure, and began to prep tea and coffee. Very strong coffee.

Alfred looked at his boyfriend, feeling a bit annoyed. “What exactly have you told your mom?”

Drummond shrugged, clearly avoiding his stare. “Nothing. She knows nothing.”

“What should he have told me?” Frances looked at both men, her brow furrowed with incomprehension.

Alfred cursed and shook his head in disbelief. “Wow, Edward! I don’t know what to say! I can’t believe this.”

The brunet sighed and started to scratch his arm nervously.

“I’m sorry, Mom, you had to find out this way, but I’m dating Alfred. I should have told you earlier, but I chickened out.”

Frances did not seem to take the news very well. Her eyes started to water, and her face reddened once more, as she was overcome by emotion. “But you can’t!”

“Here’s a nice cup of tea, Mrs. Drummond.” Mina handed the cup over to the older woman, but the latter’s hands were shaking so much she could not hold her cup still.

“I don’t want tea. What I want is my son to tell me the truth!” Sadness and incomprehension were now being replaced by anger, and Frances’ tone of voice changed. “What about Carolina?”

Edward groaned. It seemed he was absolutely doomed tonight.

Alfred looked at his boyfriend suspiciously. “Who’s Carolina?”

“She’s a friend, that’s all.” He tried to grab his boyfriend’s hand, but Alfred pulled away from him.

Mrs. Drummond suddenly got up and pointed a finger in her son’s face. “It’s not what you’ve told me! You said you were thinking of dat-”

Edward shook his head vehemently. “Mom, don’t! Alfred, I can explain!”

Mina looked at everyone. Then, suddenly, she remembered something.

She ran to her room and came back with a red envelope in her hand. “I’m not sure he’s to be trusted; look at this, Al.”

Drummond’s eyes grew wide. It probably was the note Leclerc had spoken about.

Crickey, it certainly was not his night! Could it be worse?!

Mina handed the note to Alfred, who grabbed it, read it, and sighed.

The brunet saw his boyfriend was getting more aggravated by the minute. His porcelain skin was turning red and his eyebrows were squeezed together.

“I…I can explain!” stuttered our poor Edward.

Frances was now very angry and walked up to her son, as Alfred tore the note he was holding into pieces. “But what about those pictures of your date?”

“What date?”

Now both Alfred AND his mom were looking at him angrily.

It just kept getting better and better, really!

“I’ll explain everything later, Al. Mom, just calm down, okay. I don’t want to upset you.”

“Well, I can tell you, son, you’ve completely failed! I’VE NEVER BEEN THIS ANGRY IN MY WHOLE LIFE,” yelled Frances, as she went past her son and to the door.

“Anyone want some cake or something?” asked Mina in a little voice.

She hated arguments, and she was already having second thoughts from having shown the note to her best friend.

“WE’LL TALK WHEN YOU’VE FIGURED OUT YOUR LIFE, EDWARD!” exclaimed Frances, as she slammed the door behind her.

The brunet looked apologetically at his boyfriend and was about to go after his mom, when Alfred got in his way. “What pictures?”

“No, wait! I’ve got to go after my mom. I-.”

But the blond was not having any of it. He grabbed his boyfriend’s phone, quickly unlocked it, and started to scroll through his Facebook conversations.

Sure enough, Alfred quickly found Edward’s conversation with Carolina.

She had recently sent him some pictures with a simple “Hello boyfriend!” as a message.

On the first picture, he could see Carolina-or so  he thought-wearing a very tiny swimsuit with a red-headed girl on her arm (probably her best friend or something).

Then, as the blond scrolled down, he found the pictures Carolina and Edward had taken on their fake date. The ones they had taken for her mother.

The brunet cursed his stupidity under his breath.

How come he had not thought of showing these to his boyfriend before?

It seemed fate really had something against him tonight…

Slowly, Alfred gave his boyfriend his phone back without looking at him.

“You know I’ve never checked your stuff. I have always trusted you entirely. Now I don’t know what to think anymore.” His voice was as cold as ice.

“Alfred, babe, I can explain!”

The blond just sighed, turned his back on him, and walked to their room.

The brunet, who had been in a state of panic for the last half hour, was now feeling his anxiety had reached completely new levels.

“ALFRED, IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK!”

 “IT’S DAMN WELL WHAT I THINK! First, you fail to tell me your mom is not aware of us dating, then there is that fishy Valentine’s day thing, and then this girlfriend of yours!? I should have been more careful after that Florence incident, but nope! I’m such a dumbass!”

“No, you are not! I know there are lots of things against me here, but- What are you doing?”

Alfred had pulled out a bag from his wardrobe and was now actively grabbing his boyfriend’s clothes and shoving them in it. He then threw the bag at the brunet’s feet. “Go! I don’t care where you go, but you are going right now!”

Drummond shook his head vigorously as he tried to gently put his hand on the blond’s shoulder, but Alfred just backed away from his touch once more.  “No, I’m not going!  Just listen to me first.” He could hear the underlying desperation in his own voice now.

“FINE! I’ll go then, and don’t you dare follow me!” In five strides Alfred was at the flat’s door and slammed it shut on his way out.


 

The brunet just stood there in the middle of the room, his mouth hanging open, his heart beating strongly in his chest. He was overwhelmed by so many emotions he had some difficulty standing and thought he was about to throw up.

Mina was at the table, pouring herself a third cup of coffee, when Nancy entered the flat unannounced.

She clearly was aggravated and had undoubtedly met Alfred on her way up.

In three strides, she was in the boys’ room, which was a real feat since she had very short legs.

She quickly walked up to the brunet, who was sitting on the floor, stunned.

“ I saw Alfred on my way up!” Nancy pushed the office assistant in the chest. “ YOU GET OUT OR I WILL THROW YOU OUT MYSELF IF I NEED TO.”

Edward was not so sure how he should react anymore, and slowly got up.

“Why don’t you mind your own business?”  

Nancy looked at him, her mouth slightly open and daggers in her eyes. “Not my business? NOT MY BUSINESS?”

 He quickly backed out of the room, as she had begun to grab his things one by one and throw them at him.

“IF YOU DON’T GET OUT QUICKLY, I’LL THROW EVERYTHING OUT THE WINDOW! YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!”

Mina, still in the kitchen, sighed and started to drink her fifth cup of coffee. What a night…

 


 

 

Twenty minutes later, Drummond had ended up at Ernst’s place. As he was laying on Ernst’s passably clean couch, he reflected upon the horrible night he was living through. The very damn night he had initially intended to reveal everything to Alfred, and he had thought they would spend doing each other instead of fighting and yelling at each other.

He was staring around the room, his thoughts a complete mess, waiting for Ernst to come back from his latest date.

There were dirty clothes and dust everywhere. The music teacher was clearly living the real bachelor life, unhealthy food, beer and all that jazz.

After he was done looking around, he had no other choice but to get back to his dark thoughts.

Not only had he messed things up with the love of his life, his other half, his soul-mate; he had messed things up with his mom, too, and he would have to call her tomorrow to make amends.

Real tears were rolling down his cheeks when Ernst finally came back from his date and sat next to him on the couch.

He quickly wiped his eyes with his sleeve and cleared his throat.

Seeing how red the brunet’s eyes were, the music teacher felt overwhelmed.

Dealing with feelings and emotions wasn’t one of his strong points.  He scratched the back of his head as Edward told him what had happened earlier that night.

 “-and then Nancy showed up and threw my stuff everywhere…I can’t believe how my life has been turned into complete chaos in such a short amount of time. Sometimes I feel as though I am the main character of a poorly written fiction or something.” He sighed, as he secretly tried to wipe a couple of new tears.

“Bah, nonsense! Who would want to write a story about you?”  Said Ernst grinning, but clearly his friend was not in the mood for this. “Just joking there. Just let things cool down and I’m pretty sure it’ll turn out f-”

He was interrupted by both of their phones buzzing at the same time. The two men looked at each other as Ernst grabbed his phone to check the message that had just popped on his screen. He read it aloud:

Alfred Paget has changed his Facebook status from In a relationship to Single.

Edward groaned and buried his face in his pillow. The music teacher was pretty sure he heard the other man sob, but decided to ignore it and cleared his throat. “Well, it might take a little more time than expected, but still…”

Chapter Text

On Monday morning, Drummond simply looked like a complete wreck when he arrived at work. His clothes were all rumpled and he had dark circles under his eyes. He had not had the energy to shave for a while, and as a result he was starting to have some serious stubble on his face.

He had spent the last two nights at Ernst’s place. The latter’s couch wasn’t the best place to sleep, and if he compared it to Alfred’s bed, where he had grown accustomed to sleep curled against the warm form of his boyfriend, he just wanted to cry like a baby.

He had done as Ernst had suggested and had let Alfred breathe and calm down, even though it had taken all his willpower not to grab his phone and call the blond for all of Sunday.

He had also tried to settle things up with his mom. After he had tried to call her for the third time, she had finally answered her phone.

 She had taken a coach bus back home first thing Sunday morning, and she was not pleased with him-to say the least. She told him she needed some time to think and that she would eventually (when, she couldn’t say) come around to the fact he was into men.

She expressively told him she did not like Alfred, though, which was a shame, because Alfred was the cutest and most lovable person Edward had ever met in his entire life.

He needed to find a way to get his boyfriend back, and he was ready to do anything in order to do so.

 


 

 

The brunet  had been sitting at his desk for the last 30 minutes, anxiously waiting for Alfred to get into the office so he would finally get a chance to talk to him, when Mina entered the room first. She cleared her throat and smiled shyly at her co-worker.

After all, she felt a bit responsible for what had happened, since her timing for showing the note might not have been the best.

Edward tried to smile back, but did not manage to do so, as his mouth fell open when Alfred followed her into the office.

The blond  looked absolutely stunning. He was well-dressed, his hair was impeccable, and he was radiating confidence and joy. He did not even spare Edward a glance as he sat behind his desk and started to get to work.

Clearly, Alfred did not seem half as affected by their break-up as he was.

It was complete torture, really, to work in the same room as him, without being able to talk to him, to hold him, to kiss him, or to contemplate the thought that he would be able to do so after work.

 


 

Around ten’o clock, Alfred told Mina he was going outside to take a break and left without having uttered a single word to him.

Drummond sighed and rubbed his eyes. He was not going to cry again.

“I’m sorry, Drums, that I showed the note to Al,” said Mina in a small voice as soon as Alfred had turned around the corner of the corridor.

The brunet glanced at her and sighed. “The only person to blame here is me. I just hope I can get him to listen to me. I-”

He was cut short by Nancy and Ms. Cleary coming into the office. The two women were giggling uncontrollably.

“Hello Mina. Drummond.“ Nancy smiled warmly at her friend and barely acknowledged the office assistant. “I was taking a stroll through the school with Ms. Cleary when we stumbled upon a very dreamy sight outside.”

Cleary giggled again, as Mina got up and made a small pensive noise as she looked outside through the window. Drummond, curious to know what was so interesting to look at, got up and looked outside, too.

He groaned when he saw Alfred standing next to the bicycle parking rack with Leclerc at his side.

Both seemed to be greatly enjoying their conversation.  

“Are you alright, Mr. Drummond? You don’t look well,” said Cleary with concern.

“I think I caught a cold or something.” He smiled at her-or at least he tried to. “Since when has Alfred taken up smoking?”

“He goes back to it when he doesn’t feel good at all. It’s one of his coping mechanisms-a very bad one if you ask me. Charlie would be very angry if she learned about it.”  Mina stopped talking as it seemed she was contemplating the idea of calling her best friend’s mom to rat him out. She put a hand on the brunet’s shoulder. “It doesn’t show a lot if you look at him, but his heart is broken to pieces right now.”

“Oh yes, I saw he had changed his facebook status.” Cleary chimed in.

“Yes, his boyfriend was such an idiot,” Nancy joined in, as she looked Edward in the eyes. “That’s what happens when you lie and you’re not faithful…”

“I heard first-hand his boyfriend was absoluetely faithful to him,” Edward replied. It was all a big misunderstanding.”

Nancy shrugged, but Mina looked at him intently. 

Cleary did not seem to be interested in the conversation and continued to look outside. “O-M-G! Girls, just look at this! Do you see how cute those two are together?”

Outside, Leclerc had just pulled out his lighter from his pocket and was lighting Alfred’s cigarette with it.

“Cute?! I’d say hot as the fires of hell! I told Al he should sleep with that guy and get over his ex. Leclerc is all muscles: he’s got large, strong hands, broad shoulders.... Plus, he clearly looks like he wouldn’t mind taking Alfred on a long, hard ride, if you know what I mean….”

Both teachers laughed, as Drummond felt absolutely horrified. He was starting to get very graphic images of Leclerc touching his boyfriend intimately and it made him want to punch a hole in the wall.

Mina pushed him  gently away from the window. “Alfred is not like that. He doesn’t sleep around.”

Nancy snorted. “We all know he had sex with his last boyfriend on his first date.” She looked pointedly at Edward.

“Well, if they do sleep together, they should tape it. I would die to watch this on loop,” added Cleary as she sighed dreamily.

Their fangirling was interrupted by their new favorite ship coming back into the office.

The two men were chatting animatedly in fluent French as they entered.

Leclerc glanced at Drummond as he went to Alfred’s desk to get a document. He smiled in a very condescending manner as Drummond forced himself to sip a gulp of his coffee to prevent himself from getting into an argument with the French man.

“I didn’t know you were a smoker, Alfred,”  said Cleary, as she looked covetously at Leclerc.

“We all have our little secrets, don’t we, Drummond?” replied the blond. “ If you’ll excuse me, I have to show these to Mr. Peel.”  He got up and showed them a pile of folders as he walked slowly to the door and left.

As soon as Alfred was out, Nancy grabbed Leclerc’s shoulder in a friendly manner. “Leclerc, you should ask Alfred out. You two would make such a hot couple.”

“It is true I am a collector of pretty little things...” the French man said simply as he glanced victoriously one last time at Drummond-who literally growled- and left the office with Cleary and Nancy in tow.

Mina shivered and shook her head disapprovingly. “He’s just like Benjamin, but version 2.0. Nothing good will come of this.”

 


 

 

“He didn’t even say a word to me all day. I opened the door for him, gave him the last cookie from the staff room, brought him a nice cup of coffee…” The brunet sighed. “Nothing worked. He just acts as though I’m invisible.”

“He liked your flowers a lot last time, get him some more. It might work, no?”sugested Ernst.  

They were eating soggy ramen noodles directly from the plastic container as they watched tv in the music teacher’s flat.

“I’ll try.” The office assistant did not seem convinced but still he was willing to try anything if it meant Alfred could be back in his arms and not into Leclerc’s.

“I mean, you could still find another man, though. I don’t see why you’re clinging that much to Paget. Is he that good in bed?”

Drummond opened his mouth to answer, but Ernst cut him short. “You know what-I don’t want to know. There are things that are better left unsaid.” He burped loudly, as if he needed to reaffirm his masculinity. “Now the real question I’ve been dying to ask is: should we watch rugby or cricket tonight?”

 


 

The next morning on his way to work, the brunet had stopped at the florist and bought a very expensive bouquet of blue roses.   

He had left it on Alfred’s desk with a simple note of apology attached to it.

He felt pretty confident his plan would work, since Mina had given him the thumbs up when she had spotted the flowers on her arrival -which seemed like a good sign, right?

When Alfred arrived later on that morning, he rolled his eyes upon seeing the bouquet on his desk.  He  sighed, grabbed the note, crumbled it, and threw it in the trash. Mina, who had stopped her typing, looked at him crossly.

“I get so many flowers these days, I don’t seem to know who’s sent them to me anymore,” the blond said simply as he had handed her the flowers. Drummond’s heart crumbled some more as Alfred left the office to collect the attendance cards.

Mina put the bouquet into the vase she always kept on her desk and smiled compassionately at her co-worker. “How about you write him another poem? I remember that last time he liked it very much. Get nerdy with him and you’ll sweep him off his feet in no time.”

 


 

Obsessed with Mina’s idea, Edward had skipped lunch and spent three hours writing a goddamn poem, which had been a real task, since he had all the difficulty in the world finding rhymes with the words idiot and mate.

The brunet had even gone to the length of buying special stationery and a nice pen to write it with.

He was finally done when a first-grader named James O’Sullivan entered the office carrying a big jar full of muddy water.

Upon entering, the little boy went to the secretary’s desk first. “Do you want to see my toad, Ms. Coke?”

As soon as she saw James approaching her, Mina put her hands in front of her and gestured to the boy to stay away from her.

Saying she did not like amphibians was an understatement.

”No, no, James, just stay where you are! Just show it to Mr. Drummond there, will you? Or even better, wait for Mr. Paget; he will probably be delighted by it!”

The little boy smiled and trotted to Drummond’s desk. The latter had just folded his perfect poem-which, without any doubt, would make Alfred realize the brunet was the best boyfriend on the surface of  the Earth that one could ever have - and smiled at him.

He saw, as James inclined his giant bottle, that a very fat and ugly toad was swimming in the middle of the jar. 

“What a nice toad you’ve got there, James! What’s its name?”

James grinned from ear to ear and jumped with joy at the interest Drummond was showing.

Sadly, it proved too much for James and the little boy lost his balance. With a loud bang, his jar fell onto the office assistant’s desk.

Everything then seemed to happen in slow motion. As Drummond grabbed his computer and quickly lifted it off his desk in order to save it, the dirty muddy water spoiled his latest attempt at poetry, while the toad flew into the air and landed in the middle of the floor.

Mina immediately started to scream and climbed on top of her desk, as the evil toad jumped closer to her.

Alfred-who was back from debugging the photocopier once again- ran into the office, alerted by Mina’s scream, and quickly grabbed the murky toad, as James ran to him.

The crisis was over as Mina got down from her desk and tried to gain her dignity back. She drank her tea in a gulp, while Drummond, cursing, tried to sponge the water off his poem.

Sadly, it was to no avail.

”Now my toad has no water left in it’s jar! Is it going to die?” asked James to no one in particular, as he was getting more worried by the minute.

“We’ll go and fill its jar up with water from the tap. I’m sure it’ll like it!” Alfred paused and tightened his grip on the toad. “Or, I could kiss it! I wonder if it might turn into my Prince Charming?”

“You mean a princess?”

“No, a prince.”

“Oh.” The little boy wiped his nose. “That’s a good thing, then. If it’s a princess, I can keep her, and if it’s a prince you can keep him.”

“Sounds like a plan, James!” said the blond, still firmly holding the toad, who croaked as James followed him out of the office.

Drummond groaned and bumped his head on his desk- getting some mud in his hair as he did so.

Mina cleared her throat, left her desk, and patted him softly on the shoulder.

 “What we need here is the help of a real professional. I’ll calll him, and trust me, Drums, with his help, you two will get back to making out and getting on my nerves in no time.”

Chapter Text

Mina at 18h15:

Pleeeeeeeeease, we really really need your help with this! It’s a matter of life and death, I swear.

Francatelli at 18h20:

I think you might be exaggerating things here.

Mina at 18h22:

Slightly.

But think of them as soulmates! You wouldn’t want soulmates to be forever separated, would you?

Francatelli at 18h25:

Such a sad prospect; but still, I can’t. Nancy doesn’t want me to.

If I don’t listen to her, it’s going to be me that’ll need help!

Mina at 18h35:

I hate you so much right now!

But I’ll still be at your wedding with Al.

Without Drums, probably…


 

On Thursday morning, when Mina first walked in the office, Drummond gazed at her expectantly. He looked a tad bit better and had shaved, which was a nice improvement. He seemed very confident about the fact that today was going to be the day he would finally get his boyfriend back.

After all, the secretary had almost sworn on her own life that everything would turn out for the best and get back to normal in no time with the precious help of her relationship expert.

It was what she had planned. Sadly, reality doesn’t always go the way you want it to.

She started to fidget with her bracelets as soon as she sat down in her chair, and immediately avoided her co-worker’s gaze. “Well, the good thing is I spoke with my relationship professional last evening.” She took a sip of her tea, as Drummond looked intently at her, eager to know more.  “The bad thing is he said he won’t be able to help us out, since Nancy is pretty pissed at you. You see, he doesn’t want to get in trouble a mere six months before his wedding day.”

Drummond groaned. “Are you telling me Francatelli was the love expert you were relying on? I could have told you yesterday he would say no.”

The secretary smiled sheepishly at him. “We’ll figure something out. After all, Alfred can’t pout for the rest of his life now, can he?”

Mina was certainly right about this. The blond probably would not pout for the rest of his life, but he still spent the rest of the week without talking to the brunet once.

 


 

It seemed the weather was as glum as Drummond was feeling and it rained for days on end.  The snow that was covering the town melted as February passed by and March came rolling in. Spring seemed like it had arrived early, as the weather grew warmer and the new hot topic at work turned out to be all about what the school’s fundraising campaign would be.

This year’s goal was to raise money to buy new schoolyard games and Mr. Peel had called a staff meeting after work on Tuesday evening, in order to collect everyone’s ideas on the subject.

Drummond was barely listening, as he sat next to Ernst, who had started to doze off only minutes after the meeting had started.

Alfred was sitting two chairs across from him and Leclerc’s arm was resting on the back of his chair.

“We could do a scavenger hunt,” proposed Harriet.

Some teachers sighed loudly because it meant a lot of preparation and work would be needed .

“We could sell handmade cards,” suggested Nancy.

Some shrugged, while others looked at their watches. The meeting was dragging on and everyone just wanted to leave.

“I think I speak for everyone here. We want to have the smallest amount of work, but still get the most money out of it, right? I’ll be honest, I’m not sure the cards are going to sell,”  said Gabriella, a sixth-grade teacher.

The majority agreed on it, as Mr. Peel looked at each of his employees in turn. He stratched his head.

Alfred, who had been doodling in his planner, looked up and smiled. “How about we host a Zumbathon or something? One of my ancient dance partners has her own class and she owes me one. I could call her and ask her to come for free.”

It seemed to interest everyone and some teachers started to talk animatedly.

“We could sell tickets for£5 and some refreshments through the night!” chimed in Nancy, thrilled by her friend’s idea.

Mr. Peel looked at his employees over the top of his glasses. “Who’s in favor of a Zumbathon?” The vast majority of the staff raised their hands. Mina shook Ernst in order to wake him up so he could vote, too. The latter, slightly drowsy, blinked twice and raised both hands.

“We’ll go with Paget’s idea, then. We’ll need some members of the staff to show up and to help plan this event. Who’s going to come?” asked the headmaster, glad his meeting finally seemed to go somewhere.

Mina raised her hand timidly. “I can sell the tickets and the refreshment throughout the evening.”

Ten other members of the staff seemed interested in the idea of working out and dancing at the same time. They were all females, including Nancy and Cleary among them. With Alfred and Mina, almost half of the staff of Worthingtons would be present at the event, which seemed to bode well.

Peel looked seriously at the three men that were part of his staff. “I hope some of you will come, too. If men showed up-except Paget, of course- we could get fathers to come to the event and make more profits.”  

Leclerc sneered as he got up and quickly mumbled a never in a thousand years to his neighbor.

Ernst shook his head negatively and Drummond tried to avoid his boss’ stare. It was Alfred’s idea, but dancing was not his thing and there was absolutely no way he was going to dance in a crowded room full of parents.  

“I hope some of you will change their minds.” The headmaster took off his glasses. “It’s a pity my heart condition is preventing me from joining you. I have no doubt this will be a very fun evening,” he quickly added, before someone asked him to be present at the event, too.

 


 

Two days before the infamous Zumbathon, Mina and Alfred had a ton of work to do, because the registrations for the next  school year had already started. They had appointments with parents all through the week and they were working extra hours to accommodate everyone.

It had been two weeks since our favorite couple had broken up and the brunet still wasn’t over it. He felt more desperate with each passing day, but Alfred kept on ignoring him.

It was barely 8:00, and Mina was already at work with appointments.

Mrs. Chadwick, a mom of four, had just pulled up a chair in front of her as they were exchanging pleasantries,  when they had to stop talking because they couldn’t hear each other over the loud tumult that was coming from outside.

“What’s all that noise? Who could be crazy enough to get their motorcycle out when the snow has barely melted?” said the outraged mother, as Mina got up from her chair to look outside. She made a small surprised noise and quickly closed the window blind.

“I know, right? ” She laughed nervously as she sat down.

Drummond groaned. “Don’t tell me it’s Leclerc.“

Mina took a sip of her tea as Alfred made his remarkable entrance into the office.

 He was wearing his sunglasses, a white shirt with a leather coat over it, his red converse shoes, and skinny leather pants so fitted they were probably deemed indecent in half the countries of the world.

Drummond just gaped over his computer screen-his brain immediately shutting down upon seing his ex- while Mrs. Chadwick ogled Alfred and fanned herself with her hand.

Mina rolled her eyes. “I thought you had thrown those out when you broke up with Benjamin?”

“I thought I had too, but it seems I did not after all.” The blond turned around as he took his coat and sunglasess off.  “I found them behind my desk when I cleaned my room after I kicked you-know-who out.” He looked directly at Edward for the first time in two weeks.

Mina sighed, but made him turn around another time as both Drummond and Mrs. Chadwick stared at him. “They do look good on you, though.”

“ You make it sound as though I don’t always look good!” the blond said cockily , before blowing  a kiss to his roommate. “The best thing is they still fit after three years of not wearing them. The bad thing is I don’t think I can eat anything before I’ve taken them off, because I’m pretty sure they are going to rip.”

“Is it just me or it just got hotter in here?”  said Mrs. Chadwick, her cheeks flushed, as she pulled some papers out of her handbag.

 


 

The three co-workers were working in amiable silence. Drummond was working on the school’s finances once again, Mina was scribbling notes down, and Alfred was busy sorting papers, when Mr. Peel entered the office.

“Ah Paget, I’m glad to see you! I just wanted to tell you I saw you arrive on the back of Leclerc’s motorcycle this morning.”

Alfred smiled pleasantly at his boss. “Ah yes, he picked me up this morning.”

Drummond groaned from behind his computer screen and Mr. Peel looked in his direction,before shrugging and returning his attention to his secretary.

“Well, I don’t want to play Cupid, but if you two ever wanted to date, I wanted you to know the rules of non-dating don’t apply to him, since he’s not a permanent employee.”

“That’s a good thing to know. Thank you, Mr. Peel.” the blond answered simply, as he got back to work. Drummond felt he had finally hit rock bottom.

Mina scratched her head. She would have to come up with something-and quickly-before things seriously started to get ugly.

 


 

Ernst was just hanging up his phone after ordering a pizza when someone knocked at the door of his apartment.

Drummond, still looking glum, was sitting on his couch and was busy reassessing the events of the day, so the music teacher decided to leave him to his thoughts and got the door himself.

The seducer was happily surprised to be faced with George Paget, a smile plastered on his face and three large boxes in his hands.

“It’s Captain George to the rescue! I’m off of work for a week, and Mom’s sending you food, as always! I’m supposed to check on my baby bro, too, because he’s not answering his phone and mama is getting worried.”

“Food at last! Have I already told you how much I love your mom? I’ve been eating junk for the last few weeks and it’s starting to show. ”Ernst slapped George on the shoulder and moved aside to let him in. “Come in and join our wild party!”

George dropped the boxes on the floor and saw Edward sitting on the couch. “Hey, Drums, what are you doing here?”

“I’m staying here for the moment,” the brunet replied simply as he tried to smile in his direction.

George frowned upon hearing the underlying despair in his potential brother-in-law’s voice.

“They’ve broken up,” said Ernst, as he quickly opened one of the boxes, eager to see the delicious homemade food it contained.

“Oh, really? I take it my brother was too much? He can be so bossy at times.”

“No, it was all my fault,” Drummond simply answered, as he quickly narrated all the events surrounding his break-up to the oldest Paget son. When he was done, George whistled, impressed.

“I think you could be nicknamed Bad Luck Drums at this point. I don’t see why Alfred is pissed at you, though. Have you told him that?”

The brunet sighed.“He doesn’t want to talk to me.”

“Alfred can be a little bitch, alright. When we were kids once he pouted and refused to talk to Junior for two whole months. My mom thought she would go crazy, but it eventually passed. ”He patted the other man on the shoulder. “You are lucky I’m here to help. I’ll figure something out in no time, you’ll see!”

Drummond wanted to smile at him, but since George was the third person to tell him just that in the last two weeks, he found it pretty hard to believe.

Time would tell, he guessed.

 


 

“Alfred, your favorite brother’s here,” exclaimed Mina, as she opened the flat’s door and gestured to George to come in.

The blond ran up to the door and hugged his older brother, as Mina kissed the tall brunet on his cheek.

“I just dropped by Ernst’s place to drop off food and I saw Drums was there.”

Alfred rolled his eyes. “I bet he is.”

“You could at least listen to what he has to say. ”

“I won’t. Not in a thousand years. I’m done with his lies,” Alfred sighed, while his brother pulled up a chair and sat down.

“I thought he was the love of your life or something along those lines. At least it’s what you kept rambling on about while we were in Puerto Vallarta.”

“Guess I was wrong,” the blond said, as he poured his brother a large glass of water and handed it to him.

George stratched his nose. “Do you mind if I hog your covers for a couple of days before I get back to the parents’ place? I need some distraction before I get back to my boring bachelor life.”

“You absolutely can! There’s going to be a Zumbathon at school tomorrow night. We’ve decided with the kindergartners the theme is going to be Rainbow Party. George snorted, and so did Mina. “We could all wear matching outfits or something.”

 “Good idea. Sounds like fun. I’ve never been much of a dancer, but I’m pretty sure there will be girls everywhere, so you can count me in.“ George smiled.

The older Paget had just been struck by inspiration. He knew how he would help Drummond and his brother get back together.

 

Gege P at 21h30:

Prepare yourself Drums, cause you are going to wiggle your bony arse on wild beats at the Zumbathon tomorrow night!

Chapter Text

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Drums at 20h10:

Dancing is not my cup of tea. Are you sure there’s no other way?

Gege P. at 20h15:

Nope.

Plus, even if my plan fails, you’ll get to watch my brother twerk for two hours straight.

Trust me, he can shake his butt like there’s no tomorrow.

We’ll meet at the school’s entry for 18h30. I’m going to wear a pair of pink leggings.

Drums at 20h18:

What’s your plan exactly?

Gege P. at 20h20:

Just be there and have some faith!

 


 

George had done all he could to reassure Drummond about the next night. He was proud of his brilliant idea, but had barely had time to tell everything to Mina before the evening ended.

He had to wait for his little brother to go take his shower to finally talk to her alone.

She had gladly agreed to help him, feeling relieved that she could at least do something since she felt a bit responsible for the break up.

George had asked her to be discreet about his plan, which was something the secretary was not good at.

In order to keep her mouth shut, she had quickly stated she had to go to bed early.

The two brothers had soon decided to do the same, since Alfred was supposed to have a very busy day.

He had various apointments for the registration, had to cover lunch for someone, and needed to stay after school to prep the gym for the Zumbathon, which he also needed to dance through, since it was his idea after all.

All this explained why it was barely 9:00 and George was already rolling around in his brother’s bed.

 Alfred simply layed down on his right side and turned off his light.

 “You’re not going to snuggle against me, right?”  George sniggered and winced when Alfred poked him with his cold feet. “Did you wash your sheets? Seems like they smell funny to me…”

 “You are an idiot, George, did you know that? I hate you. I’ve a mind to throw you out of my bed and just let you sleep on the couch.” He stuck out his tongue out at his brother, who pushed him to the edge of the bed.

“Would you like me better if I told you I will pack and bring your bag for tomorrow night to you at work and bring you dinner too? I’ll even stay after the Zumbathon to help you clean the place. I’m sure you’ll have things to move and stuff to pick up, right?”

“Sounds like a plan. You may stay in my bed, then, but don’t push your luck.” The younger Paget yawned.

George smiled in the dark.

 His plan would definitely work; he was absolutely sure of it.


 

It was finally Friday, and everyone in the school-children and staff included- was talking only about the Zumbathon.

 Every class had participated in decorating the gym for the occasion, and there was rainbow everything hanging from the walls and ceiling.

Sixth-graders had even tied rainbow ribbons from the two basketball nets that were on either side of the gym.

Drummond felt anxious the whole day, since he had absolutely no clue what George had in mind. 

He was also both annoyed and stressed by the fact Mr. Peel had asked Leclerc to help Alfred shuffle things around the gym, which meant the Frenchman had spent most of the day alone in the blond’s company.

Finally, when the bell rang to signal the day was over, he got back to Ernst’s place in order to eat something and get dressed for the evening.

What were you supposed to wear for a Zumba party, anyway? 

He decided to put on his gray sweatpants and a black t-shirt.

He sighed as he looked himself in the mirror.

 Why was he doing this, again? Was Alfred worth all of this?

The answer popped clearly into his mind: He bloody was.

He would need to man up and live through this wretched evening, even if it meant he might have to pull some weird dance moves in front of some of his colleagues.

As he left the restroom, Ernst looked at him doubtfully.

“I thought the theme was rainbow party? Black and Gray don’t look very festive to me.”

The brunet grinned at the other man as he pulled the leg of his pants a little over his ankles, revealing the rainbow socks he was wearing.

Ernst snorted and gave him the thumbs up as Drummond opened the door and walked to the school.

 


 

 

Baby bro at 17:15

WHY IS THERE LUBE IN MY BAG? I dropped it on the floor when I took out my outfit to change and now everyone is looking at me oddly…

They probably think I’m a pervert or something. IT’S ALL THANKS TO YOU!

Gege P. at 17h17:

By everyone, who are you referring to?

Baby bro at 17h20:

Nancy, Cleary, Harriet, Mina…

Gege P. at 17h22:

No big deal, then. They already know how depraved you are.

 I thought your boss had seen it or something crazy like that.

Baby bro at 17h25:

You would have already been dead by now if that had been the case.

WAIT, I’M NOT DONE!

Why did you put two changes of clothes in my bag? AND JUNK FOOD? Chocolate bars, candies, chips- you name it, it’s all in there!

Also, a blanket?!

DON’T YOU THINK I HAVE A REPUTATION TO UPHOLD?

Gege P. at 17h30:

I know! I was surprised to see it all fitted in your purse!

They’ll finally know you for who you truly are: a very horny junk food addict.

I’ll be there shortly. I’m struggling with my leggings.

Baby bro at 17h42:

It’s a man bag, by the way.

I bet you do, if you keep eating all that junk! One last thing, Cleary keeps telling me to “tape it.”

TAPE WHAT EXACTLY?

Gege P. at 17h45:

I have no idea, but I’m having very disturbing images in my head.  I’ll be there in 10.

 


 

When Drummond arrived at Worthingtons, Mina was already sitting at a table, busy selling tickets at the gym’s entrance.  

When she spotted the brunet, she smiled reassuringly at him as she handed a water bottle to Harriet.

She had told him earlier she was not going to dance through the event, and he was having serious thoughts about doing the same.

The hall quickly got crowded.  All of the people who had turned up for the Zumba party were, as was expected, women, and many had brought their overly-excited children along.

Edward quickly started to feel a bit out of place as he looked around. That was, until he finally spotted George, who had shamelessly decided to wear pink leggings, a black t-shirt, and a rainbow headband.

The tall blond waved at him, and in four strides he was standing next to him.

 They were the only men in sight, except Alfred, who was animatedly talking to his friend, Angelina, at the front of the gym.

He was wearing black leggings with a small pair of blue athletic shorts over them (which was a good idea, because the more Drummond looked at George, the more he thought leggings were a crime against fashion) and a blue t-shirt.

To say the latter had decided to fully embrace the rainbow theme was an understatement, since he was wearing rainbow socks, had rainbow bracelets on both wrists, and even had rainbow shoelaces on his shoes.

Needless to say his ex looked good in his outfit.

Really good.

Women were already ogling him, and he had not even started to dance.

The brunet was ogling him, too, when Alfred suddenly turned around and smiled at him.

His heart stopped. Had George already set everything right?

He just gaped as Alfred waved at him and winked. A smile broke on his lips, just as Leclerc pushed past him to wave back at Alfred. “Sorry, Drummond, you are in zhe way.”

George pushed Leclerc in turn. “Watch where you’re going, dude!”

Leclerc raised an eyebrow at him, emitted an undignified noise, and just pushed forward through the crowd to exchange some words with Alfred.  

When the Frenchman was done, he walked straight to the gym’s entrance and left, which was a good thing, thought both Edward and George.

Excited students were everywhere, and when 7 o’clock struck, the music started.

It was very loud, and Angelina waved around as she explained how the night would go.

“I’m so happy to be here with you tonight! I just want to thank my good friend Alfred Paget for inviting me here!” The crowd cheered as she smiled and resumed her speech. “Zumba can be difficult, but just do your best.  Carefully watch my moves, follow the beat and, most importantly, enjoy yourselves!” With that said, she started to dance around slowly with a big smile plastered on her face.

George snorted.“How can this be hard? Pretty sure this will turn out as easy as pie.”

 


 

It seemed pretty easy at first, and George gave Drummond the thumbs up as he started to pull some moves, but soon, the two men were quickly overwhelmed by Angelina’s choreography.

She was chaining leg movements while waving her arms in the opposite direction and moving her hips in time with the rhythm of the music.

It turned out pretty impossible for Drummond to follow the beat, since he had the grace and flexibility of a wood board, and he quickly decided to stop making an idiot of himself and to just sit on a bench, next to a crying toddler and his mom.

George was a bit more persistent. His brow was furrowed in concentration and he certainly was not looking great as he tried to mimick Angelina’s dance moves.  

After  another 10 minutes of  Zumba, he decided to call it quits and joined the brunet on the bench.

George cleared his throat and looked around the gym as he sat down. “It’s not that difficult. I’ve just hurt my leg a bit. I’ll just take a small break for now. ”

“Right,” answered Edward, as he watched Alfred dance next to Angelina.

The blond was absolutely in his element.

He was smiling and chaining every movement as if it was nothing.

 His skin was glowing with sweat already, and his eyes were half-closed as he moved around in sync with the music; a nice combo of grace, cuteness, and hotness all in one.

Edward was glad he was not wearing George’s leggings.

“Close your mouth, Drums! I swear you are drooling, and Harriet is staring at you. ”

Drummond tried to keep his compusure and took a gulp from his water bottle, though frankly all he wanted to do was to pour it over his head to help him get his senses back.

George clapped him on the shoulder, as a new rythmic song started, and Alfred and Angelina started to shake their hips wildly.

“Told you shaking his butt around was his signature move.”

The brunet answered something that sounded like “Asmnnsbl” and George stopped talking to him for a while.

 


 

 

When the evening came to an end, the cheerful crowd of parents and students quickly left the gym, since it was getting late. Some of the children were crying out of tiredness, exhausted by their day at school and all the physical activity they had been doing for the last two hours.

All in all, the Zumbathon had been a real success, and many thanked Angelina on their way out.

The tall brunette stayed to talk a bit with Alfred and told him that if he ever wanted to teach class with her, she would absolutely love his help.

 She then checked her watch, commented on the lateness of the hour, kissed both Pagets on the cheek, and left.

 

Soon,  Mina, Alfred, Edward, and George were the only ones left in the gym.

Mina deposited the money they had earned in Mr. Peel’s office, and quickly decided to put her coat on, as Alfred, still avoiding Drummond’s stare, asked George to help him pick up the gym mats in order to put them back in the gym’s storage room.

“Sorry, Plumpy, my arms are hurting from all that crazy dancing. Guess Drums will have to help you pick these up.” The older Paget shrugged and sat on the floor with his water bottle.

Alfred groaned and rolled his eyes at Edward. The latter shrugged and picked up one side of a mat, as Alfred picked up its other end.

As the two were in the storage room to put the mat back on the top of the pile where it belonged,  George swiftly closed the door and ran to the gym’s entrance.

He then quickly gave Mina a thumbs up, which was her cue to activate the school’s alarm system.

 

Back in the storage room, Alfred sighed as Edward helped him place the mat back in its place.  As he turned around, he saw George had closed the storage room door.

He rolled his eyes and yelled: “You are dumb, George! The storage room is connected to the gym teacher’s office, and the door is unlocked, my bag is in th- ”He was cut short by the a series of bips signaling someone was activating the school’s alarm system.

He groaned. “OH NO, HE DIDN’T!“  He ran to the door, but it was too late.  

Both men clearly heard the last warning bip that meant the alarm system was on.

The blond sighed and looked moodily at his ex. “Now we’re stuck here for the night, because you can be sure Mr. Peel is going to be pissed off if we get the alarm going. Did you ask George to do that?”

The brunet shook his head. “No, but at least you’re talking to me, which is an improvement!”

“Why would I want to talk to a damn liar?”

“I know I messed up, but if you could just listen to what I have to say, you would understand it’s probably not as bad as you’ve imagined it to be.” The brunet scratched the back of his head.

“Really? Please tell me how I’m making things up! The first time I met your mom you were on the verge of banging me on the kitchen table.”

“True, that was awful! I should have warned you she did not know anything, but I freaked out. Not everyone is as confortable as you are to talk about these things.”

Alfred groaned and started to pace around the room. “And your girlfriend? Am I imagining her, too?”

“The date with Carolina wasn’t real. We just took pictures for her mom. She has a girlfriend.” Drummond sighed as his eyes followed the other man around the room. “ Anyway, you are one to talk ! You’re all over Leclerc!”

“All over Leclerc? ME?!” The blond stopped his pacing and looked at him crossly.

“Oh yes, you are. YOU ARE! You always dress nicely for him. You always talk with him. I MEAN, HE ACTS AS IF HE OWNS YOU ALREADY!”  Edward started to lose his cool as he remembered the way Alfred had been acting around Leclerc for the past two weeks.

“Owns me? OWNS ME? I’M NOT ANYONE’S PROPERTY BUT MINE, EDWARD CHARLES DRUMMOND, A.K.A ., MR. JEALOUSY.”

“Jealous? ME? IT’S GOT NOTHING TO DO WITH JEALOUSY! I’M TALKING ABOUT RESPECT!”

Alfred mocked him. “RESPECT? That’s rich coming from you, Mr. I-used-someone-else’s-present-to-make-up-for-my-mistake.”

“It was a mistake, OK! A MISTAKE!” He could feel his blood pumping in his head as he got more and more caught up in their argument.

The two men stopped talking and just stared at each other, their faces only inches apart.

Alfred was looking at him with daggers in his eyes now.

His hair was sticking in weird places since it had been drenched with sweat from all the dancing he had done during the Zumbathon, and somehow Drummond’s brain decided he could not take it anymore.

 On an impulse, he quickly pulled the blond into his arms and kissed him roughly on the mouth.

Alfred quickly pulled off and pushed him away. His cheeks were flushed with anger, and he opened his mouth to protest, but Edward just stared at him and kissed him again.

The blond tried to break away again from his embrace and to push him out of his way at first, but soon he answered feverishly to his kiss as his lips started to move against Edward’s.

Soon his tongue was in his mouth desperately searching for his and their angry kissing turned into a full blown make-out session, with moans and hands pulling at clothes and searching urgently for skin as Edward gently  pushed his lover down on the pile of gym mats.

 


 

Mina was a bit worried, as she could hear Alfred and  Edward arguing loudly from the gym.

“You sure it’s a good idea, George? I should maybe tell them the alarm is on, but that I’ve not activated it in the gym and the hallway. ”

“I’ll text them later.” George shrugged and stopped talking. They couldn’t hear any more sounds coming from the gym, which was a bit suspicious.  “Do you think one of them killed the other? My bet is on Alfred killing Drums, but we could be surprised.”

They heard a loud bang, and Mina looked frightfully at George.

She was about to go into the gym to see what was going on, when they clearly heard Alfred’s voice echo through the hall.

“OH GOD EDWARD, I MISSED YOU SO MUCH! ”

George and Mina looked blankly at each other.

“Oh yessss Edwaaaaaaard ILOVEYOUILOVEYOUILOVEYOU!”

George cleared his throat. “Guess you were right; my brother is way too loud! How do you even manage to live with those two?”

“I LIED, I’M YOURS… I’M YOOOOURS,  JUST TAKE ME NOW!”

Mina shrugged and rolled her eyes. “I know, right? Guess I’m just a saint or something. I think it’s safe to say your plan was a success. We can leave them be and head back home.”

They clapped hands and walked to the door in order to leave, while various moans and unintelligible cries could  still be heard coming from the gym.

 

 


 

Outside, Leclerc was waiting close to the school’s entry.

Upon seeing Mina, he smiled at her. “Paget is not with you?“

“I’m here,” replied George, as he cocked an eyebrow at the Frenchman.

“I meant Alfred.” Leclerc looked at him from head to toe. “I didn’t knew you were related.”

“I’m one of his 6 older brothers. He already left.”  George tried to look menacing. He was a tad bit taller than Leclerc, which helped because the Frenchman was larger than him.

“But-”

“He already left. Good night!”

Leclerc hesitated, then turned around and left. Mina glanced at George as the both of them walked silently back to her flat.

 


 

 

Alfred never thought he would spend a night at work, in the  gym’s storage room, on a smelly mat, with his boyfriend, and yet, there he was and he would not trade it for anything in the world.

He was laying against Edward, his face against his lover’s neck, with the blanket they had retrieved from his bag draped over them.

“I think you ripped my shirt.” He snuggled closer. “Feel free to rip any of my clothes in the future, because that definitely turned me on.”

The brunet turned his head and looked at him from the corner of his eyes. “That is duly noted. Now, you’ll have to explain something. I’m naked, but I’m still wearing my shoes. How did you manage to get my pants and underwear off?”

The blond shrugged. “I’m an expert. Plus, your socks surprised me there. I never would have imagined you’d own a pair that wasn’t just plain black.”  He streched his arm and grabbed a chocolate bar from the messy heap he had formed with all the contents of his bag. “I might need to get down there to look at them more attentively.”

The blond tried to look thoughtful as he took a bite of his candy bar.

He had already burned a lot of calories this evening and he felt as though he might need some extra energy in the near future.

George had really thought of everything, hadn’t he?

“As far as I’m concerned, you can get down there and check everything to your heart’s content.” Edward shrugged nonchalantly. “You may even touch, kiss, or lick anything you might find suspicious while you’re at it. I can assure you I won’t mind.”

The blond snorted as he quickly shoved the rest of his chocolate bar in his mouth. ”How selfless of you...”

He gave his boyfriend some very rewarding kisses before he pulled back and grabbed another chocolate bar-to the brunet’s disapointment.

“Were you seriously that jealous of Leclerc?” Alfred cocked an eyebrow at him.

Edward sighed. ”Well yes! You were always with him. Even Mr. Peel was pushing you into his arms!” He was momentarily at a loss for words and just gaped, as Alfred had randomly bent down and had just started to lick his chest.

The blond quickly pulled back and shrugged. ”Sorry, I’d dropped some chocolate on you. You were saying?”

Edward breathed deeply. His boyfriend was such a tease. How did he even live through these two weeks, really?

 “Might I add that how you dressed these whole two weeks was pure torture!? Gosh, I thought I would be the first person in the world to die because of loss of blood to the brain caused by a permanent state of arousal.”

Alfred propped himself up on his elbow and looked at him suggestively.“I might have done all of that on purpose. Just to anger you. Trust me, Leclerc has nothing that compares to you down there.”

The brunet felt a sudden rush of anger.“WHAT? Did he touch you or anything? I’ll kill him!” He tried to get up, but Alfred pushed him back down.

“Wait, calm down, Romeo! I can take care of myself, thank you very much.  I just have eyes and I happen to know where and when to look to get my anwers, that’s all.  I can tell you, these two weeks were painful for me, too. I was starting to get serious withdrawal symptoms from all that awesome sex I’ve been used to getting.”

Edward snorted, before they kissed languorously.

“So you can fend for yourself and you don’t belong to anyone, right? It’s weird because I’m pretty sure I heard you say otherwise earlier.”

Alfred smiled and winked at him.” I’m yours. I’m only yours. Never break my heart again, or else. “

“I swear, I’ve learned my lesson! There will be no more lies between us, never.”

“And I’ll make sure you stick to your words.” Alfred scratched his chin in a distracted manner. ”There’s only one problem, though…”

The brunet looked at him puzzlingly. ”What?”

“I don’t know if I can fix my app. It says we’ve been dating for 4 months, 10 days, 8 hours, 22 minutes, and 56 seconds, but we broke up for two weeks. Its count is rubbish now.”

Drummond laughed. “Do you know I love you very, very much?”  Alfred rolled his eyes and smiled as they pressed their nose against each others.

“I don’t mind you telling me that many times every day.” They kissed before Alfred pulled back and turned around in order to get up.  

Edward was having none of this, though, and quickly grabbed him by the waist to pull his boyfriend back down, pinning him under him.

“Wait, where do you think you are going like that, Mr. Snuggles?”

 


 

 

Gege P. at 8h30:

Are you dead? We thought you’d be back by now!

Drums at 8h43:

My whole body is aching from the Zumbathon and the fact that I slept on a gym mat, but other than that, I’m fine.

Gege P. at 8h44:

You slept on the gym mat. Really?

Drums at 8h45:

Yes. Why?

 


 

Big bro#1 at 8h45:

So, I heard from Drums you had a good night’s sleep?

AP at  8h47:

What sleep?! WE BANGED THE WHOLE NIGHT! On the floor, on the pile of gym mats,  up against the wall, on the gym teacher’s desk… E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E.

Big bro at 8h50:

Sounds more like it!

 I hope you’ll remember it was all thanks to my brilliance that you two are back together.

I expect your endless love and gratitude from now on.

You can also build me an altar and worship me for eternity.

 


 

 

It was close to 10 in the morning when Mr. Penge, the school’s janitor arrived to work. Seconds after he had disarmed the school’s alarm system, he was surprised to see both Paget and Drummond emerge from the gym.

The blond smiled at the old man. “Good morning, Mr. Penge! I had forgotten something from last night’s event and Drummond here accompanied me in order to retrieve it!”

Both men seemed to be in an excellent mood, and the janitor grumbled an incoherent response as the two walked past him to get to the school’s front door.

 Paget had such a spring in his stride it seemed as though he was about to take flight.

 It was too much joy to take in so early in the morning, and the janitor spat on the floor.

 After all, he was the one cleaning it, so he might as well dirty it.

He was halfway done with his cleaning when a thought crept into his mind.

He was pretty sure  the school’s alarm system was still on when he arrived this morning.

So, how come Paget and Drummond had been able to enter the school without disarming it?

He just shook his head and went back to his cleaning.

He would have to talk to Mr. Peel about this.

The alarm system could be broken or something.

 

Chapter Text

 “I can’t tell you how relieved I am to see you back with Drums,” exclaimed Mina as she took her slippers off and climbed into bed.

“Well, that makes two of us then. It would be even better if I could sleep with him, but I figured you wouldn’t want to sleep with George, so…,” Alfred yawned.

“Nope, I don’t. It would just be plain weird,” Mina shrugged, then turned on her left side to look at her friend.

Since George was still staying at their flat for a couple of days, our three roommates had decided that Edward would be the one to sleep with him in Alfred’s bed, since Mina did not want to share hers with anyone except her best friend.

Our favorite couple wasn’t too thrilled by their temporary sleeping arrangements.  

After all, they had spent the last two weeks apart and felt a burning desire to be in each other’s company….

What were 3 more days of waiting, really, after that awesome night they had spent in the gym storage?

A bloody pain, that’s what it was, honestly.

But Alfred, being a gentleman, had still agreed to sleep with Mina.

So there he was, laying in bed with his roommate.

He scratched his nose and yawned a second time. “He snores, and he stinks, too. It’s no wonder he can’t keep his girlfriends for long.”

Mina snorted. She turned off the light and rested on her back.

The two friends stared at the ceiling in an agreeable silence as both were deep in thought.

The blond was thinking about how Edward had looked when he had torn his shirt last night as they were both submerged in the throes of passion.

He was just imagining how his boyfriend could be kissing him and stroking him everywhere just now, when Mina cleared her throat and poked him in the shoulder.

“I have something to tell you. “

He sighed. “What?”  It seemed a guy couldn’t even fantasize in peace around here.

He looked at her. “You are pulling the exact same face you had when Edward prepped food for us the first time and you weren’t sure if you were going to eat it or not.” He smirked.

She rolled her eyes and slapped him with her right hand.

“Aunt Buccleuch called.”  

“And…?” The blond was waiting for her to explain what had been so important about that call.

She sighed. “She wants to sell the house.”

Alfred gasped in surprise. “What? Are you telling me we’ll have to move?”

The secretary scratched her head and tried to avoid his stare. “Well, she asked me if we would be interested in buying it, actually.”

“What did you say?”

“Well, seeing we were both single when she called, I told her we wouldn’t; but now that you are back with Drums, it could be interesting.”

There was silence as Alfred was considering the possibility of buying the house with Mina.

He groaned. “Damn! you should have told me before I went on that shopping spree! I certainly would not have bought all those expensive clothes if I had known. How much money do we need, and when?”

“Well, not too much… Just £60,000 before the end of June.” He whistled. It was a very substantial amount of money. “We could split the house if we buy it. You could take downstairs and I would take upstairs, or vice-versa.”

“Well, I can help Angelina with her class and do some more hours at work to earn some extra money. I’ll check with Edward if he thinks it might be feasible.” The blond sighed. “Now, how am I supposed to sleep with all of that?  I have so much stuff to think about! What color should I paint the living room? Blue?”

“Alfred! You’ll have to discuss this with Drums first. Then, we’ll need to find the money. You are not going to paint anything for a very long time, so I think it’s safe to say you can try to get to sleep.” She paused, before she pushed him in the ribs. “Why does everything have to be blue with you?”

He rolled his eyes and turned his back on her.

She closed her eyes and was about to drift into sleep when the blond poked her shoulder. “Blinds or drapes for the bay window?”

“Good night.”

 


 

 

“It’s our first night together. How lovely! I swear I’ll be gentle with you.” George winked in Drummond’s direction. The latter sighed.

He liked George, but would have been happier if it were the youngest Paget brother that was resting next to him.

In fact, they probably would not just be sleeping next to each other right now.

“Don’t tempt me, Paget! I do tend to cuddle in my sleep. I’ll remain on my side of the bed and you’ll stay on yours.”

George laughed, but put a pillow between them just in case. The blond fell asleep quickly, while Drummond felt restless. He was thinking about last night’s event and quickly felt hot and bothered when he remembered how Alfred had looked in his work-out outfit.

He sighed and tried to think about work, because he was pretty sure Mina would not like it if he showed up in her room to shag Alfred next to her.

Damn night…

He finally succeeded in calming down and had just closed his eyes when George started to snore loudly.

It seemed he was in for another solid 8 hours of non-sleeping.

He sighed and got up.

 


 

 

Alfred could not sleep.

He had turned around in the bed a couple of times and decided to go and get a glass of water. After all, it might help settle his mind.

He had already decided in what colors he would paint his kitchen, his living room and his bedroom and was proud of his brilliant choice.

He was tiptoeing to the kitchen when he spotted a sleeping form on the couch.

He whispered. “Edward? What are you doing on the couch?”

The sleeping form raised its head. “Your brother snores, and I couldn’t sleep anyway. My brain is plagued by images of you.…”  

Edward moved a bit from his resting place as his boyfriend smirked and laid down against him on the couch.

There was not a lot of room to move, and Edward quickly circled his boyfriend with his arms, preventing Alfred from falling on the floor.

The two were facing each other and Alfred’s heart started to beat faster as he buried himself into the warm embrace of his loving boyfriend. “Why aren’t you sleeping?”

Edward was whispering, too, and Alfred snorted when George’s loud snoring prevented him from hearing his answer.

“I’ve been thinking about how we are going to paint our living room and such.”

It was Edward’s turn to snort. “Why? Did you forget to tell me we were getting a house?”

The blond quickly explained what Mina had told him about Aunt Buccleuch’s call, as Edward kissed the top of his head and started to massage his lower back. “- reason why we could get a whole floor to ourselves. Our own place with locks and a guest room for when your mom or my brothers come to visit! We would not need to sleep apart ever again.”

Edward nodded as he tried to get his hands underneath the elastic band of his boyfriend’s pyjama pants while Alfred started to tell him how he planned to decorate their place.

Truth be told, he heard and understood what Alfred was saying, but he had other priorities in his head and the color choices for every room or how they would place some pieces of furniture in each room were not on his list.

He finally managed to get his hands where he wanted them to be, and stroked his boyfriend’s silky skin, tracing the outline of the heart tattoo the latter had on his butt cheek with his fingers when he realized Alfred had drifted off to sleep.

He sighed and pulled the blond closer, as George’s snores grew louder.

It seemed he would have to dissect a quadratic formula to finally get to sleep.

 


 

 

It was Sunday morning and Julia Peel and her husband were supposed to go out and enjoy a nice brunch with four of their grown-up kids and some of their grandchildren.

But, to Julia’s irritation, her husband had been on the phone for the last twenty minutes, talking about work (everything was always about work with Robert) and they were running late, as usual.

 “Yes, Penge. I’ll call and check with the maintenance team. Thank you for giving me a call.” Robert smiled apologetically at his wife as he hung up.

She sighed loudly, as she started to tap with her fingers on the table. “What is it? What could be so important to make you spend your time on the phone instead of with me and your family again?”

“The alarm system might be faulty.” He scratched his arm and looked at his watch.

“What happened?  Do you have to pay a fine?”

“Luckily, no, because we would have had to use all the funds we collected with the Zumbathon to pay it and I don’t know how I could have justified to the parents the fact that we have not been able to buy all those new toys we were supposed to get. Penge said Paget and Drummond were able to enter the school without disarming it.”

“Aren’t they the ones we saw at Ciro’s?”

Her husband nodded as he put his coat on.

 “What could they be doing together at the school on a Saturday morning?”

Robert shrugged. He had no answer to his wife’s question.

Julie frowned as a shocking idea crept into her mind. “Do you think they might have spent the night there or something?”

Peel looked at her with bewilderment and then roared with laughter. “Don’t be ridiculous, Julia. Drummond is dating Florence Kerr. Now, I thought you wanted us to get to the restaurant as soon as possible?”

Julia pursed her lips as her husband opened the door for her.  They both walked to the car in silence.

 


 

 

Alfred and George were playing a video game together while Mina was looking at one of her magazines, when Edward felt his phone buzz in the back pocket of his jeans. He quickly pulled it out and sighed when he saw the call was from his mom.

He left the living room and went on the balcony to get the call, closing the door behind him.

 “Hi, mom!” He tried to sound extra cheerful, but he could already feel his anxiety building up. He had not spoken often with her since her surprise visit, and their relationship was still at a weird place.   “I was about to call you! I was wondering with Alfred and Mina if you would like to come over for Easter?”

“No.” There was a silence on the other side of the line. “ But you could still come over to visit me. Alone.

The brunet sighed and scratched his nose. “I don’t think I’ll have the time to go visit you. We only have a couple of days off, and a friend of ours is opening his bakery the following week. He asked for our help and we agreed to make some extra money.  Maybe we could meet halfway and eat at some fancy place?”

It was Frances’ turn to sigh. “I think it might be a nice solution. Oh, and Edward?”

“Yes?” he asked hopefully.

“I love you, son.”

“I love you too, mom. Don’t you want to tell me anything else?” She had not mentioned Alfred once in all their conversations, and he hoped she wasn’t still holding it against his boyfriend.

She seemed to think Alfred was responsible for his sexual orientation, which was ridiculous.

“No. Don’t forget to say hi to Wilhelmina, that’s all.”

Still not a word about Alfred. It was now a certainty she did not like his boyfriend, and it was all because of him.

Easter dinner was bound to be a catastrophe this year.

 


 

After his phone call, Edward had helped Mina with some of the household chores they usually did during the weekend. He was the one in charge of the laundry this week, which he hated, but Alfred had said he would be the one to iron all of their shirts when he got back from grocery shopping with George, which was a relief.

He was sprawled on the bed with the firm intention of reading Tony Wright’s book about British politics -whom Alfred had deemed as boring as watching paint dry- when the latter tiptoed into their room. He had a smirk on his face as he closed the door behind him.  

“I have about 15 minutes before George realizes I’m missing. I thought we might have a little fun together.” The blond looked at him suggestively. “That is if you are in the mood for it, since I see you have just picked up your tedious book.”

The brunet did not need his boyfriend to tell him twice.

He threw his book on the floor and just gaped, as Alfred hopped on the bed, pushed him back gently with his hands and straddled him, pinning his hands above his head with his right hand as he leaned down and slowly kissed him.

Their kiss deepened as Alfred’s tongue slid into his mouth and began to play with his.

 He felt his brain quickly turning into goo as the blond’s left hand began to toy with his hair.

Now, that was a nice way to wait for the washing machine to stop….

Their kisses grew in intensity, and he groaned when Alfred pulled back to stare down at him.

The blond brushed his fringe out of his eyes.

He looked beautiful with his flushed cheeks and Edward took advantage of his inattention by firmly grasping his butt with both hands and getting him to lean back down on top of him.

He could feel his boyfriend’s erection against his and thought it was time to get things going to the next level.

But the blond smiled at him, pushed himself back up, grabbed his hands, pinned them back over his head, and repositioned himself, his knees firmly grasping his hips on each side.

Edward groaned. “I thought you said we only had 15 minutes.”

Alfred pushed his tongue out and leaned back down, slowly kissing the side of the brunet’s face until he reached his ear and whispered, “I still have 9 minutes to go.”

The blond then proceeded to slowly undo every button of his boyfriend’s shirt, bending down over him and alternating kisses between his mouth, his neck, and his collarbone.

When he was finally done with the buttons, Alfred took Edward’s shirt off.

“I like what I see,” he said appreciatively, before he started to kiss and lick his way down the brunet’s chest.

Edward arched his back as Alfred’s kisses got lower and lower and the blond unzipped his pants and began to kiss and lick his hipbone.

Edward curled his toes with anticipation as it finally seemed the blond was about to kiss him where he really wanted to be kissed, when Alfred pulled back again.

He groaned more loudly this time as Alfred looked down at him from the corner of his eyes.

“How impatient you are today, Mr. Drummond!”

“Could you stop being such a tease, Mr. Paget, and put an end to my misery?”

Alfred winked. “ Your wish is my command.”  

The brunet’s breath caught in his throat as his boyfriend carefully slipped his fingers underneath the elastic band of his underwear.

Alfred smirked at him one last time before he closed his beautiful blue eyes; his lovely ebony eyelashes brushing his cheekbones as he looked down at him. He slowly licked his lips and Edward thought he would just die with anticipation.

It seemed the 15 minutes had turned into an hour and he yearned to feel his boyfriend’s mouth on him.

Alfred finally pulled his underwear down when Wilhelmina opened the door with a loud bang, startling them both.

“Hey Drums, the washing machine is done and-OMG!O-M-G!” The little brunette turned around and her heart started to beat faster. She felt extremely bad, as her face turned as red as a tomato within seconds.

It was something to hear about her roommate’s sex life, but it was another one to witness it.

 She turned her back on them, as Drummond quickly rolled around on the bed and struggled to cover himself while Alfred just jumped up from his spot and stared at Mina with daggers in his eyes.

“MINA, CAN’T YOU KNOCK?”  He pushed her out of the room as she yelled back at him.

“IT’S 2 IN THE BLOODY AFTERNOON.”

Alfred closed the door behind them.

They would need to move out of here, and the sooner the better.

 


 

 

From: Worthington’s social committee

Recipient: Skerrett, N.

Object: Party!!!!

Dear colleagues,

To thank you all for the hard work you’ve been doing and to help us get through the end of the year, your social committee has decided to plan a special soirée.

Mr. Peel has kindly agreed with us that we are in desperate need of distilled drinks and fun and rented a room at the Four Corner hotel (come and say hi to the gorgeous blond who works at the secretary’s office to get the precise address). This is going to be a themed event, so you’ll need to come disguised.

You’ll need to wear a disguise or an accessory that represents your true personality. THIS IS FOR FUN, NO ONE WILL GET GRADED ON THIS ( HA HA HA!)!

The best costumes will get prizes (a.k.a., more booze). The more original you get, the better!

We are hoping to see you in large numbers (which means Gabriella, you’ll have to show up, too).

Your social committee

 


 

 

Mr. Peel was reading the memo about the party his employees had planned for the start of April, when someone knocked on his door before quickly opening it.

“Mr. Peel, I’m sorry to bother you.”

“Ah, Leclerc. Please, do come in.” The headmaster gestured to the Frenchman to sit down on the chair in front of him.

“I was wondering, since Gabriella’s husband can’t accompany us on Zhe fifth and sixth graders’ field trip if we could ask someone else to come with us?”  Leclerc looked attentively at his boss. He had one name on his mind but waited to see how this conversation would turn out before saying it out loud.

Peel scratched his chin. “Ah, he can’t? Why don’t you ask Paget about it? He told me he needed extra income.”

Leclerc smiled at his boss. “It would be a nice alternative, without a doubt.”

Chapter Text

It was the night before the field trip and Alfred was packing his bag while Edward sat on the middle of the unmade bed, looking at him as he rummaged through his wardrobe.

”Are you going to sleep in the same room as him?” asked the brunet for the fifth time in the last hour or so.

To say Edward had been displeased when he heard about Alfred agreeing to go on the fifth and sixth graders’ field trip was an understatement.

To be clear, what irked him the most wasn’t the fact Alfred was going on that trip; it was the fact that Leclerc was going, too.

Alfred sighed. “You have nothing to be worried about. I’ll sleep with Harriet. I love you and I am only doing this so we can get more money to buy the house.”

The blond grabbed two more shirts, quickly folded them, and shoved them into his bag.

“Why can’t we just ask your parents for the money? I’m sure they would help us if we asked.”

Alfred glanced at him, smiled, and returned his attention to his wardrobe.

“I don’t want to ask them now. I’m keeping that for when we will be ready to have a baby. A surrogate is costly and-”

Edward made an annoyed noise as Alfred quickly stuffed the last items of clothing into his bag and zipped it shut. “Alfred… I’ve not said yes to that part of our life plan yet.”

“But trust me, you will in due time!” Alfred just stared at him with his puppy dog eyes and Edward sighed, because there was absolutely no way he could resist his boyfriend when he used that tactic.

“We’ll see,” said Edward. Alfred gave him a sweet kiss on the lips. “You will be the death of me, Alfred, you know that?”

“Nonsense. Besides, what would I do without you?” The blond grinned. “Who would shovel the snow during winter and do all of my chores when I don’t want to adult?”

“Now I see why you are keeping me around.” Edward tried to look offended, but it failed. “Still, what will you do if Leclerc makes a move on you or tries to kiss you? I’d feel better if I could come.”

 “Don’t worry, I can fend for myself.” Alfred winked at him. “What do you say we go out tonight? There’s a new movie I’d love to see. We could stop to grab a bite on our way back, and now that George is gone we could go to bed early. ” He raised his eyebrows suggestively and smirked.

“Sounds like my kind of evening.”

 


 

 

If there is something worse in the world than having to sit on an uncomfortable school bus seat for a long ride, it’s to do it with 72 over-excited kids between 10 and 12 as your co-passengers.

Gabriella had already stated she was going mad, and they weren’t even halfway there.

Two kids had already thrown up everywhere on the floor, one had dropped his phone on the highway (and had wailed since then), one was having a full-blown panic attack because she wasn’t used to sleeping away from home, and to make matters worse, Alfred was sitting in the back with the older kids and had begun to sing that awful “the wheels on the bus” song to entertain them and many kids were now singing along with him.

It had now been almost an hour since they had begun to sing, and they did not seem to be ready to stop anytime soon.

Harriet sighed, too. Why did they always end up going on these trips every year even though they swore each time they would never do it again?

She felt a headache creeping up on her, as Leclerc just glanced at Alfred and listened absentmindedly to what a fifth grader had to say about his dog.

Matters took a turn for the worse when Adam started to throw up right in front of her and Alfred decided to change his song.

“Clarence and Lydia sitting in a tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G…” he intoned, as she decided to inhale deeply.

Nope, she definitively wasn’t paid enough to deal with that stuff…

 


 

Al ˂3 at 15h14:

We just arrived at The Manor House. Gabriella is pissed. Harriet has a headache. Vincent is pulling a weird face.

I think it’s safe to say that bus ride was a big win!

Sending you kisses EVERYWHERE!

Drums at 15h20:

Already missing you! Can’t wait for you to get back. Xxxxx

 I’m going to paint all evening.

 I’ll be a pro by the time we move downstairs!

 


 

 

While Alfred was away, Edward had decided he would help Charles (who had now successfully completed his course as a master baker) to prep his bakery for its grand opening that was scheduled two weeks later.

Nancy had been very grateful for his help and had begged him to forgive her for the way she had acted when he and Alfred had temporarily broken up.

“You know what, guys, I really appreciate all the help. That bakery will be ready in no time!” exclaimed Charles, as he handed each of his helpers a cold beer.

Ernst had come to help them, too. The three men were sitting in the middle of the newly painted shop as they waited for the paint to dry before they could apply a second layer.

“Just give me food and I’ll kindly do all the work you want, Francatelli!” said Ernst, as a grin spread across his face.

“You might regret saying that later, Ernst!” said the Italian as he playfully slapped the music teacher on the shoulder.

Drummond grinned, took a gulp of his beer, and took his phone out as he felt it buzz. He quickly read what Mina had texted him and sent her a short reply.

While he did so, a little box fell from his pocket and thudded on the floor with a soft bang.

Charles bent down to pick it up, as Ernst frowned. “What are you doing with that in your pocket? It looks like a jewelry box…”

Edward smiled sweetly. “It is. I stopped at the jewelry store on my way here. I jut bought a ring while Al is away. I think I’m going to propose.”

Ernst looked shocked. “Are you sure?”

Charles chimed in. “Yeah, did you not propose to that girl before, your ex, and regretted it afterwards? How long have you two been dating, anyway?”

The brunet scratched his nose. “Well… it’s been a while, close to 6 months now.”

Charles and Ernst shared a look.

“Look pal, I waited 3 years before I proposed to Nancy.”

Edward looked puzzled. “So, you guys think I should wait?”

Ernst nodded. “I mean, once you give him that ring, it’s game over for you, Drums. Do you really want to be stuck with Paget for the rest of your life? Aren’t you scared by that prospect?”

“Haven’t you learned your lesson?” added Charles, as an afterthought.

Edward took a gulp of his beer. He might have to do some more thinking before he did pop the question, then.

 


 

 

“I’ve just checked on the boys. They unsubtly tried to hide the fact they had taken pictures of the girls in their bathing suits with their phones while I was there.”

Harriet snorted. “Boys will be boys, I guess. You can be damn sure Mrs. Wolligan will kill us if she hears about this.”

“I picked up all of their phones,” continued Gabriella, as she grinned and turned her attention to Alfred, who was beaming as he was looking at his. “I think I’ll do the same with you, Alfred. You’ve been on your phone all evening. I’m taking this from you, young man.”

Alfred rolled his eyes, smiled, and slowly dropped his phone in Gabriella’s bag. “My mom will hear about this!”

Harriet snorted “I would be scared if I was you, Gabriella! Charlotte Paget is not a woman you want to mess with.  By the way, Alfred, does it bother you if I sleep in the girls’ room? Tatyana would feel better if I was there.”

The blond shrugged. “You hog the covers anyway!”

“Speaking of covers, we should all go lay down, because it has been a tiring day and you can all be assured tomorrow will be the same.”

They all rose from their chairs, and Harriet yawned. Leclerc slowly pushed his chair and walked a bit behind his three colleagues.  

Gabriella quickly entered her room and bid goodnight to her co-workers.  Alfred stopped on his way to his room to check on the boys, who were all asleep (or seemed like they were), while Harriet sighed and went into the girls’ room for the night.

A few minutes later, as Alfred was closing the boys’ door behind him, he saw Vincent was waiting in the corridor.

“Il te manque quelque chose, Vincent?” (Are you missing something, Vincent?) asked the blond as he walked up to the other man.

Leclerc smiled. “Oui, toi.” (Yes, you.)

Alfred tensed a bit upon hearing his answer (he wasn’t expecting this, honestly) and shook his head. “Sorry Vincent, but that won’t work. I’m flattered really, but as you know, I’m already taken.”

“He doesn’t need to know I’ve been in your room.” Vincent looked him up and down with desire.

“What? ” Alfred frowned as he tried to get past the Frenchman.

“Just think about it, just the two of us. I’m sure I can make you forget about him.” Leclerc nudged Alfred against the door and firmly grabbed his right arm. “Je suis certain que tu le veux autant que moi…” (I’m sure you want this as much as me).

Alfred shook his head, stared at Leclerc’s hand on his arm and then looked at him with a hard expression on his face. “Sorry, Vincent, but I’m not like that. I would appreciate it if you could just let go of my arm.”

Slowly, Leclerc seemed to study his options and finally let go of Alfred’s arm.

The blond looked at him one last time, unlocked his door, and went into his room.

It seemed Edward had been right all along: Leclerc wasn’t as nice as he thought he was.

 


 

After Alfred had gone into his room, Vincent had decided to go back down to the living room.

He couldn’t believe Alfred had refused him.

Vincent was good-looking. Usually, men begged him to be with them. He wasn’t used to it going the other way around.

All of this was because of that lowkey office assistant; he was sure of it.

He would eventually get Paget, one way or another.

Edward Drummond, that idiot, would soon learn that If you mess with Leclerc, you’ll pay the price.

Vincent hit the table with his fist out of anger. He groaned.

Suddenly, an idea crept into his mind as he spotted Gabriella’s bag.

 It was the bag that contained all the boys’ and Alfred’s phones.

He sneered. This would be perfect.

He knew how he would ruin Drummond’s life.

Alfred would be in his arms in no time; he was now sure of it.

 


 

When Alfred came back from the field trip, he did not tell Edward any of what had happened with Leclerc. The brunet already hated the Frenchman a lot and Alfred feared his boyfriend, who was prone to do rash things, would be so angry by it all that he would do something at work about it, thus blowing their cover off and revealing their relationship to everyone.

Plus, he felt sufficiently overwhelmed by the prospect of going to Easter dinner with Edward’s mom that he did not need to add any more drama on top of that.

They were already running late as he decided to change his outfit yet again.

His meetings with Edward’s mom had been the first time in his entire life that his legendary Paget charm seemed to be failing, and he did not know what to do to fix this. The situation made him feel anxious and he did not like to feel that way.

The three roommates arrived late to the restaurant and Frances was already seated when they went in.

Her face lit up when she saw her son walk toward her.

“Hi, mom!” Edward bent down and kissed her on both cheeks.

Frances smiled. “Hello, son! Mina, I’m so glad to see you.”  She kissed the brunette to greet her, as Mina giggled and sat down.

Then the older woman turned her attention on Alfred, who smiled warmly at her. “Hi,” she simply said, coldly, without making any warm gesture toward him.

Alfred cleared his throat, as Drummond smiled contritely at him. He clearly was in for a rough night.

They took some time to look at the menu and ordered their meal before they pursued their conversation.

 “We are all glad to see you, mom.” Edward smiled at everyone and took a sip of the wine the server had just poured in his glass. “Alfred brought you flowers.”

The blond flashed the older woman his trademark irresistible grin as he handed her a nice bouquet.

Mina had been sure it would help soften the dark mood of the older lady, and she smiled as she took a sip of wine.

Frances coughed politely. “I don’t like daisies. They give me urticaria.”

The server chose that exact moment to come and bring everyone the meal they had ordered.

There was an uncomfortable silence, as they began to eat.  Mina placed her hand on Alfred’s thigh under the table to assure him of her support.

The little brunette smiled pleasantly. “I’m sorry. I was the one who chose those flowers.”

“No problem, my dear, thank you for that kind gesture,” replied the older woman as she adroitly avoided Alfred’s gaze. The latter sighed.

Edward glanced at his boyfriend and cleared his throat. Ask her something nice, his eyes seemed to say.

This is all your fault, Edward Drummond, you are sleeping on the couch tonight, Alfred’s seemed to reply.

The blond persisted nonetheless. “How is the weather in Scotland, Mrs. Drummond?”

“Bad,”replied Frances, cutting their conversation short.

Edward cleared his throat, put his arm on the back of Alfred’s chair, and began to pat his boyfriend’s back.

The older woman quickly turned her attention on Mina, who sat on her right. It was clear the affectionate gesture between his son and his boyfriend was making her feel uncomfortable.      “Mina, I love your earrings; they are lovely, my dear!”

Mina blushed and got her hair out of the way to let the older woman get a better glance at them.

“Thank you, Frances. It was a gift from Alfred. He has such good taste.”

“You mean luck,” replied the older woman softly, as she pushed her empty plate out of the way.

“We have something very important to tell you, Mom!” began Edward, as his mom turned her attention back on him. “We are actually going to buy the house we live in! I’m going to move downstairs with Alfred.”

The two men stared at each other and exchanged a glance so full of love, Frances felt a bit faint and almost dropped her glass on the floor. “I need to go to the restroom,” she said before she quickly got up and left the table.

Mina watched her go and decided she needed more wine to deal with this. She refilled her glass and downed it in one big gulp.

“I think I’ll just get a head start and wait for you at the bus station,” said Alfred before he got up, pushed his chair, grabbed his coat, and left without glancing back at the table once.

Edward sighed and facepalmed as he was wondering if he should go after Alfred or just stay here with his mom. “I think it’s safe to say he’s really upset right now.”

“On a scale of one to ten, it’s safe to say he’s probably at fifteen,” replied Mina as she spotted Mrs. Drummond walking back toward their table.

Edward smiled at his mom, who had stopped at another table to talk with someone, and finished his glass of wine. “What do you think I should do to help him feel better?”

“Well, you should never underestimate the therapeutic effect clothes shopping has on him.“  The tiny brunette checked her watch. “I’ve also learned that getting a new pair of shoes works miracles,” she added confidently as she smiled at him, got up, and ran to catch up with Alfred.

Chapter Text

With Alfred and Mina gone, Edward was having some  second thoughts about how the evening had gone. It was now clear as day: he should have stood up for his boyfriend, just like Mina had done all evening.

 In fact, it was ridiculous of him not to have done so in the first place.

He drank another gulp of wine to give himself some more courage, as his mom finally sat back down at their table.

The older woman smiled pleasantly upon seeing her son was now alone with her.

 She did not mind that lovely Wilhelmina being there, but that Alfred was another thing…

 It was obvious that young man was a bad influence on her son.

“I’m sorry to see your friends had to leave so soon, Edward.” It was clear by the tone of her voice she did not feel sorry at all. “Are you sure it is a good idea to buy something as important as a house so quickly with your… friend?”

Edward cleared his throat and scratched the back of his neck. “He’s not just my friend, Mom-” he paused and stared directly back at her.  “He’s my boyfriend.”

Frances made an annoyed noise with her tongue. “Edward, do you have to use that word? It might just be a phase you are going to grow out of and-”

Edward glared at his mom, silencing her on the spot.  

He then quickly got up, grabbed his coat, and pushed out his chair. “It’s not just a phase. I’m born this way. I just happen to have recently come to terms with it. ” He gestured to the server-who was chatting with one of his colleagues- that he wanted to pay and was ready to leave, as Frances made that annoyed noise with her tongue again.

He stared at her seriously. “Alfred is my boyfriend, and I did not appreciate the way you treated him tonight. I should have stood up for him earlier, but I didn’t.”

His mother looked at him pleadingly. “Don’t do anything rash, Edward. I just want you to think about this. You can still change your mind.”

The server came to the table, and Edward quickly paid as Frances began to gather her things.

“You know what, Mom? Next time you see us, there’s a good chance Alfred won’t be my boyfriend anymore…. “

Frances let out a sigh of relief. It seemed her son had finally come to his senses. “I knew it.” She got up and smiled.

The brunet put his coat on and began to walk toward the doors as his mother frowned at him. He had not even kissed her good-bye.

She began to walk at a faster pace to catch up with him. He stopped close to the door, turned around, and looked directly in her eyes. “He’s not going to be my boyfriend anymore, because he’s going to be my fiancé.”

She froze on her way to the door, stunned, as she watched him leave.

 


 

 

He still felt a rush of adrenaline in his veins, as he ran to the bus station. He was proud of what he had just done.

And terrified, too.

When he arrived at the station, he saw that Mina and Alfred were deep in conversation with a tall, good-looking guy.

Upon seeing Edward, Mina smiled and turned to greet him. ”Hey, Drums!“

Alfred nodded in his direction, too, but the smile he gave was a bit forced.

He was still angry about tonight’s events, and he had good reasons of being so. The quicker Edward could tell him what had just happened with his mom, the better.

The tall man, who also had brown hair, held out his hand to shake Edward’s.

“So you are the famous Edward Drummond that Alf and Mina have been talking so much about?”

“Indeed”  He smiled and shook the taller man’s hand. “And you are?”

“Brandon. Brandon Templeton.”

That name reminded him of something, but what?

Oh right, he was one of Alfred’s exes. It seemed fate had something against him yet again tonight.

Edward had a sudden vision of his infamous dinner with the Pagets, as he remembered Brandon was the one Charlotte and George had gushed so much about.

He was the boyfriend with the famous asset.

Don’t look there, he thought, as he tried to fix his eyes on Brandon’s face.

“B offered to drive us back home,” Alfred said as Brandon smiled enthusiastically, grabbed him by the shoulders, and showed them to his car, a brand-new Rolls Royce.

Edward gaped as Mina jumped in excitement as she wanted to get into the car as soon as possible.

It was now official, fate ABSOLUTELY had something against him.

 


 

They were back home in record time, because Brandon liked to drive exceedingly fast.

Edward had clenched his jaw during the whole ride.

He had secretly compared himself to Brandon the whole time, and Mina, sensing something was wrong, had glanced at her friend two or three times, but had decided to let the matter be.

She was pleased to see Brandon and had laughed a good part of the way.

Honestly, the more things he heard about Brandon, the more it seemed the latter had everything in life: a ton of money, a good career, a nice body, a loving family with a nice mom and a supportive dad, a charming smile, expensive cars, a big home that was well-furnished and ideally located, and lest he forget about it, since Brandon liked to point it out, a huge asset in his pants.

Everything. He just had EVERYTHING.

Alfred was in a better mood after the drive and his pleasant chat with Brandon.

He seemed to have already forgotten about that horrific supper with Frances, which was a bit of a relief, since Edward was now the one who felt downhearted.

He quickly got into bed while Alfred and Mina bid their farewells to Brandon outside.

He was laying there, looking at the ceiling and thinking about the unfairness of life, when Alfred finally came into their bedroom, closed the door, quickly went past him and into the restroom to brush his teeth.

“Alf, why are you dating me, really?”

The blond stared at him from the threshold of the restroom and shrugged. His toothbrush was still in his mouth. “E’cau’e I o’e u!”

Edward raised an eyebrow at him and mentally noted that existential conversations should never occur while one partner was unable to answer properly to the other’s questions.

Alfred went back into the restroom to put away his toothbrush, turned off the light, and finally got next to him under the covers.

The blond got close to him and laid on his right side to stare directly at him. “You know, I should be the one feeling all gloomy tonight, not you.” He poked him in the chest and smiled, but the brunet was not in a mood to laugh.

“Really, Alfred, why are you dating me? You could have anybody. Everyone wants to date you.” He sighed, while Alfred rolled his eyes.

“Well, I think I once met someone who was not interested in dating me, but I might be mixing things up.”

Edward sighed again and kept on staring at the ceiling. “I have no money; my mom hates you, and now she hates me, too. I don’t own a car, I literally own five shirts and three pairs of pants, I-”

“You are absolutely right, Edward; I’m leaving you. Go grab your coat, I’m throwing you out this instant,” exclaimed Alfred before pulling his boyfriend close and snuggling into his chest. “You are not rich, but we manage. Watch out: we are going to buy this house in no time!”

“Hum…,” replied Edward, as he snuck his arm under his boyfriend’s shirt.

“You don’t have a car, but I like to walk together. Driving is overrated anyway.” Alfred shrugged against him, which made him laugh a bit.

He was now starting to feel a little better.

“Now, I’m sure I know what’s bothering you the most.” Alfred rolled his eyes as a smile began to creep onto Edward’s face.

“I’ve already told you, and I know I’m repeating myself, you are well-equipped. And best of all, you know how to use what you’ve got down there, while Brandon doesn’t.”

Alfred gave him a very steamy kiss that left him breathless, before continuing his tirade.

 “As for your look… Sadly, we can’t change anything about it. Luckily, I can be handsome for the both of us.”

Edward snorted. He felt a bit childish for letting Brandon get into his head like this.

Alfred yawned. “Now that you are feeling better, let’s go to sleep. It’s already way past 2 a.m., and we have to help our dear- I’m being polite here- Aunt Buccleuch to pack tomorrow.” He yawned a second time before quickly turning onto his left side. The blond fell asleep almost instantly as Edward held him closely in his arms.

The brunet was feeling way better. Everything was now clear in his mind.

Never mind Ernst’s and Charles’ ill advice; he needed to propose, and the sooner the better.

 


 

The next day, Mina’s aunt ordered them around a good part of the afternoon, since she had decided she needed to move to her sister’s place in London the next week.

The older woman was in a bad mood once again, and seeing as they would probably need to get more boxes and wrapping tape to finish packing, Alfred quickly volunteered to go buy some more, stating he needed help to bring all the new boxes back.

Mina and Edward had looked at each other, but Edward had been the quickest to answer, jumping first on that golden opportunity to escape.

The look Mina had given him at that precise moment was probably going to haunt him until the end of his life, but it had absolutely been worth it.

 The two lovebirds had taken all the time in the world to buy the stuff they needed before they decided to head back to the flat to rescue Mina.

They were animatedly chatting together as they walked at a fast pace, when Alfred unexpectedly spotted something- or rather someone- that was going to change his life forever….

 “We’ll need to repaint everything, that’s for sure. I mean that flat is literally fifty shades of beige, I wo-EDWARD! DO YOU SEE THAT?”

Alfred stopped walking at once, as he excitedly pointed at a little puppy that was standing in the front window of the town’s pet shop.

The little puppy, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, seemed very excited to see Alfred, too. It began to bark enthusiastically and scratch at the window to catch the blond’s attention.

Edward glanced at his boyfriend first, then at the tiny puppy. “Alfred, no-” he began, but it was already too late.

The brunet sighed as his boyfriend dropped the boxes he was holding and quickly entered the store.

Edward picked up the boxes and followed him inside, resigned.

The cute little puppy was ecstatic and began to bark more loudly as it saw Alfred getting closer to its cage.

“EDWARD, LOOK!” repeated Alfred, completely in awe.

A middle-aged man who did not seem too thrilled by his work nodded at Edward.  “Hello sir, would you like to see her?”

Edward sighed and shook his head. “No, we don’t.”

The employee was not in a mind to listen to him, it seemed, as he walked to the cage anyway.

“You are in luck, gentlemen, we just got her yesterday. She’s three months old and ready to leave the store as soon as you want her to.”

Edward shook his head as the employee delicately took the puppy from her cage and handed her to Alfred, who quickly squeezed her into his loving arms and kissed her head.

The puppy’s fur was tricolour: black, white, and tan. She looked extremely soft and had a pair of cute soft brown eyes.

 “I want her. I need her. I love her already,“ said Alfred joyously, as both he and the puppy looked pleadingly at the brunet.

They looked ridiculously cute together.

Edward scratched the back of his neck and sighed. “Alfred, we can’t get a puppy, and that is final....”

 


 

Mina at 15h35:

The guys have left me to die alone and I need help if I want to keep my sanity. Can you come over, PLEASE? I’M BEGGING YOU!!!!

Nancy S. at 15h42:

I must prep stuff for MY FIANCÉ, but I’ll come over as soon as I can. Xx

 


 

“I thought you said you were supposed to bring back boxes and tape. Not a puppy,” Mina said when the boys arrived back at the flat more than an hour later.

The little brunette was very angry at them for leaving her alone with her aunt for such a long period of time. She looked at them resentfully.

She had managed to finish some more boxes, with Nancy’s help, before her aunt had ordered them to leave, stating it was time for her to watch her tv show and that she needed some peace and quiet.

Alfred had beamed from ear to ear as he returned to the house, Edward and his new little puppy in tow.

The puppy wagged her tail playfully, as she looked around the flat and went to sniff Mina’s feet. “She’s 3 months old,” Alfred said excitedly, as Mina began to pet her.

Nancy glanced at the dog from a distance, as she tried to take a picture of her to send to Charles.

“She’s a real cutie. I thought you were more of a cat person, Drums?”

The brunet shrugged as he sat down and began to prep food for dinner.

Getting a puppy wasn’t in their plan and it had been a bit costly, considering they were still short on money to buy the house, but then again, how was one supposed to say no when Alfred Paget used his infamous puppy-eye look?

The puppy made a cute sound as Alfred and the girls cooed loudly over her.

“What are you going to name her?” asked Nancy, as the puppy began to lick her hand.

Alfred looked at his friends very proudly. “It was a hard choice, really, but I think I’ve finally settled on Emma Alexandra Paget-Drummond.” Nancy and Mina glanced at each other and tried very hard not to laugh, which proved extremely hard. Nancy took a gulp of water to calm herself.

Alfred did not seem to mind one bit and continued to talk. “Her nickname is Princess, though.”

Nancy spat water everywhere, as she couldn’t hold her laughter in anymore. Alfred raised an eyebrow at her, while Mina excused herself, saying she had to go to the restroom NOW.

 


 

“Hey, I thought it said in that memo I would get to see a gorgeous blond in here?” exclaimed Gabriella, as she pushed the door of the secretary’s office open.

Mina shrugged as she took another bite of her sandwich. “The gorgeous blond is out for lunch, sorry.”

“That was false advertisement. I’m suing,” added the sixth-grade teacher, before she winked at Mina. ”Can you give me the address for next week’s party?”

”Here,” said Mina with a smirk on her face as she handed Gabriella a piece of paper with the party’s address already scribbled on it.

 


 

 

Alfred and Edward had decided to head out to the school park to eat together under the sun. Spring was now officially here, and many flowers were in bloom, which was a lovely sight.

Edward was glad to eat with his boyfriend, but was disappointed about the fact that he couldn’t hold him or kiss him while at work.

Alfred was so gorgeous under the sun, with his hair shining like gold. He had to repress a sudden urge to kiss him as he spotted Leclerc in the distance. Seeing the latter reminded him he had not seen the Frenchman speak with Alfred in a while, which was a bit odd.

 “You’re not eating with Leclerc anymore. Did something happen at the field trip that you forgot to tell me about?”

Alfred blinked twice, took another bite of his salad, and shrugged. “Nothing, really. I’m going to take Mina out on Friday, if that’s okay with you? I think she’s in dire need of a night out. I want to spoil her a bit.”

Edward nodded as he took a gulp of his soda.

“Plus, this means you’ll get to spend some alone time with Princess. Lucky you, you’ll be able to enjoy some daddy-daughter bonding time!”

Chapter Text

The week had gone by swiftly at work, and Alfred had decided to take Mina out on Friday night for a nice evening. The little brunette had carefully chosen a cute dress to wear, painted her nails a lovely shade of lilac, and tried on a new lipstick for the occasion---the type of which had grown rarer since Alfred had begun dating.

The two best friends had decided to share a nice meal at a fancy French place before going to dance at their favorite club, while Drummond was back at home with Princess.

Now, Mina was finishing her dinner as Alfred was checking the dessert menu.

“Should I go with the crème brulée or the Clafoutis?”

Mina shrugged. “Pick one and I‘ll take the other. We can share.”

“Sounds like a plan.”  Alfred smiled at her, and gestured to the server that they were ready to order. She rapidly came to their table, wrote their order down, and quickly left to give it to the kitchen. “I can’t believe your aunt is finally gone, Mina!”

“Me neither! It’s just too good to be true!” The young woman let out a sigh of relief. “I can’t believe we managed to get all that money in such a short time.”

Alfred shrugged. “Well, we did make a lot of sacrifices, and I don’t think I’ll be able to eat pasta before I turn 40; but still, I regret nothing.”

“If all goes according to plan, you’ll be able to move downstairs by June!”  exclaimed Mina, as the server already brought their desserts to the table.

Alfred winked at his best friend, raised his glass, and proposed a toast. “To us, adulting successfully and becoming home owners.”

“Cheers!” said Mina, as she raised her glass and drank it in one gulp.

 


 

While Alfred was gone, Edward had been pacing around the flat, trying to quickly put together the last pieces of the fantastic proposal he had planned. Princess had happily followed him around the flat during a good part of the evening and been rather good with him this time.

She was not fully listening to him yet, but she had only chewed on one of his shoes and peed on the floor just once all evening, which was a nice improvement.

She was a sweet puppy, but she still was a bit jealous of Alfred’s affection towards Edward.

 


 

Drums at 19h15:

Hey George, can you call me back? You’ve not told me if you did what I asked you to do? We are supposed to leave tomorrow.

Gege P. at 20h15:

Oh right! I had forgotten all about it; sorry! I just made the call you asked me to do two weeks ago. It’s not the same place you wanted at first, but I’m sure it’ll be fine.

Drums at 20h20:

This needs to be perfect George. I’m not sure I should have trusted you with this…

Gege P. at 20h25:

Welllllll, since I’m the one lending you money at a very small interest rate…

 


 

When Alfred and Mina came back from their night out, it was safe to say they were a bit drunk. Both felt as though the ground wasn’t stable under their feet, and climbing up the stairs proved to be quite a challenge.

It was a relief that Aunt Buccleuch had already moved out, because both friends were giggling very loudly as they reminisced about funny things that had happened to them over the years. It was clear the grumpy old lady would have been extremely displeased by their not altogether respectable behaviour.

After three failed attempts, Alfred had finally succeeded in unlocking their door, while Mina, crying with laughter, had collapsed on their kitchen floor with a loud bang.

Princess quickly emerged from the boys’ bedroom to investigate what was going on, and barked joyfully upon recognizing her master.

 “Princess, you are such a good girl. Papa loves you,” Alfred said loudly, as he picked up his puppy into his arms and kissed her on her head.

Mina was still in tears as she continued to laugh and tried to get up. She finally managed miraculously to get to her room without breaking anything, while Alfred and Princess got to theirs.

Luckily, Edward had not been woken up by all the ruckus they had made.

 Alfred installed Princess in her little bed that was located at the foot of his, and then crawled under the covers still half-clothed since he had almost fallen over on his face when he had tried to get his socks off.

He quickly fell asleep as he curled up against the warm sleeping form of his boyfriend, unaware that he would sleep roughly four hours before Edward would wake him up.

 


 

After a good five minutes of poking him in the back and shaking him from the shoulders, Edward finally succeeded in waking his boyfriend, who groaned loudly while his face was still buried in the mattress.

“Alfred, get up!”

“I’m dead.”

The brunet snorted. “You are not. You need to get up, because your parents sent their chauffeur to pick us up.”

Alfred finally looked up from the mattress as his brain processed what his boyfriend was saying. His fringe was sticking out at a weird angle and he blinked several times because the light was hurting his eyes-and his brain. “What? Why? My parents aren’t even home for the next two weeks, why are we going there?”

“I’m taking you to Scotland,” said Edward, as he smiled widely.

Alfred scratched his head and frowned. “What, why? We were supposed to paint our living room this weekend.”

“Well, it’s going to have to wait for next week, babe.”  The brunet kissed his boyfriend sweetly on the lips, got up, and quickly went to the kitchen to fix them breakfast.

 


 

“Why are we going to Scotland again?” asked Alfred, as both were sitting in the back of the Paget’s main car. Roger, the family chauffeur, had been driving for a couple of hours and they seemed to be in the middle of nowhere.

The blond had slept for most of the trip, to Edward’s relief, because he did not want to spoil his surprise. He had been thinking about this since their meeting with Brandon, and now was not the time to ruin it.

The brunet smiled innocently. “This is for our 6 months anniversary.”

Alfred looked at him suspiciously. “Hmm, but we are closer to our seven-month anniversary than our sixth. After all-” he paused as he checked his phone, and Drummond sighed because he knew damn well his boyfriend was still checking his countdown dating app on a regular basis, “-we have been dating for the last 6 months, 25 days, 7 hours, 36 minutes, and 13 seconds.”

“Right…” Edward avoided his boyfriend’s gaze. He racked his brain and quickly thought about something to use as a diversion. “You know what? The more I think about this, the more I think you were right with our bedroom. Green is a bad choice of color, let’s go with grey…”

Alfred gaped at him “Really? I’m so glad you changed your mind! What do you think of that Granite Grey shade I showed you last week? Or that Basic Grey?”


 

Their conversation about paint shades had been going on for a while when Roger finally left them in front of a  shoddy looking Bed and Breakfast that was located near the town of Muir of Ord, which was close to Glasgow, but still seemed to be in the middle of nowhere.

The gardens around the Bed and Breakfast were lovely, but the inside of the property was grubby and smelled weird (more precisely, of a curious mix of mildew and wet dog).

The old lady at the front desk of the inn was extremely surprised to see her guests had really showed up for once, and enthusiastically walked them to their room as Alfred looked around the place doubtfully and Edward mentally swore he would probably kill George the next time he saw him.

It absolutely wasn’t the type of place he had asked the older Paget son to book for an unforgettable romantic weekend getaway.

Both men thanked the old lady before they closed the door behind them and looked more closely at their room.

It was as bad as the rest of the little inn. There were cobwebs everywhere and a couple of suspicious stains on the bedspread.

The dampness level in the room probably was a health hazard.

It also seemed something that looked like moss was growing on the wall and the carpet on the floor clearly seemed like it had seen better days.

Edward decided he did not even want to venture in the bathroom.

Alfred whistled as he sat on the bed. It was hard and lumpy, and the springs made a cartoonish ‘boooooing’ sound every time he moved an inch. “We are certainly not having sex on this unless you want to catch the Plague or some old weird disease that has not been caught since the last two centuries.”

“And here I thought you were always willing to try new things without any second thoughts...”

They both looked at each other and burst out laughing.  

Needless to say they were out of that place in a heartbeat.


 

“I’m sorry this trip is not turning out as I had originally planned it,” said Edward, as he sighed and gave his boyfriend’s hand a squeeze.

Alfred flashed him one of his trademark grins. “I always thought sleeping under the stars was romantic. If we end up freezing too much, we can still go back to our room.” he shrugged. “We’ll just need to sleep on the blankets we just bought and remember to burn our clothes before we go back to our flat.”

After leaving (hopefully forever) the disgusting Bed and Breakfast, the pair had decided to look around to find an available room for the night.

Sadly, they had quickly discovered everything was booked for the weekend, all due to a special performance of a local Scottish band, the Beatties.

They were about to call Roger to pick them up, when a local, seeing how lost and desperate they seemed to be, had assured them the weather wasn’t too bad to sleep outside for a night.

He had then proceeded to sell them -at a ridiculous price, really- some blankets his wife had stitched with her own hands.

They had then decided to go for a walk to take in the beautiful Scottish scenery.

As they strolled hand in hand around a stunning and mesmerizing woodland, they had stumbled upon a calm little pond.

Seeing they were alone, Edward had quickly suggested they go for a swim, and had proceeded to undress under the bewildered gaze of his boyfriend.

The water had been extremely cold at first, but as they fooled around in the water, hugged and kissed, the sun had warmed them a bit.

When Alfred’s lips had begun to turn blue, they had gotten out of the water and decided to lay back on the mossy bank, where they kissed and cuddled under the warm sun for a while.

 

As the sun had begun to set, they decided to put their clothes back on.

Alfred had then exclaimed he found those late spring evenings enchanting. His skin was now covered with little freckles that had appeared everywhere as the sun had lightly tanned his skin, and Edward felt a strong urge to just kiss them until the end of time.

 “We should maybe go back to grab a bite and figure out where we are going to sleep tonight, don’t you think?” said the blond, as he turned on his right side and stared at his boyfriend, light blue eyes looking intently into dark brown ones.

“Before we leave, I have a poem for you-” began the brunet, as Alfred smiled and stared attentively at him.

Edward cleared his throat as his heart began to beat faster.

“If I could have just one wish,

I would wish to wake up

Everyday to the sound of your breath on my neck,

the warmth of your lips on my cheek,

the touch of your fingers on my skin,

and the feel of your heart beating with mine.”

His heart was now beating strongly against his ribcage as he got up, pulled out the small jewelry box that was hidden in one of his pockets, and got down on one knee. Alfred sat down and gaped incredulously at him.

“Alfred, will you marry me?”

 


 

Mina was reading a fascinating book about a nurse who had spent her entire life working in one of East London’s poorest boroughs as a midwife, when her phone began to ring.

She was enthralled by her book and ignored it at first.

After the third call, though, she had no choice but to pick it up. Princess, who was sleeping at the foot of her bed, yawned and looked at her questioningly.

She was surprised to see it was Alfred trying to video-call her.

She frowned as she clicked on her skype app and allowed the video-call. “Is there something wrong?” she asked at once.

“Miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiina!” Alfred said excitedly.

He had such a big smile on his face, the little brunette was pretty sure his cheeks would get sore from it.

She sighed as Princess barked excitedly upon recognizing her Papa’s voice. “What? It’s almost 2 in the morning. What’s going on?”

“Miiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiina!” repeated Alfred more enthusiastically as he changed the angle of his camera, to allow her to see both his face and his hands on her screen.

Mina sighed more loudly. She loved her best friend, but hated it when he acted this way. “What? You are holding your phone wrong.” She groaned as Alfred moved his phone again. “Alf, all I can see now is your hand and I-WHAAAAAAT? IS THAT REALLY WHAT I THINK IT IS?” The secretary had finally spotted the new gold ring that was glinting on Alfred’s fourth finger.

“IT IS!!!! I’m engaged! YOU BETTER GET READY, WILHELMINA: I’M GETTING MARRIED, AND YOU ARE GOING TO BE MY BEST WOMAN!“  exclaimed Alfred, as Mina squealed loudly with joy.


 

“She’s thrilled, and so am I. I can’t believe this is happening,” said Alfred, as he snuggled closer against his boyfriend’s chest and looked at the new ring that was resting on his fourth finger.

His heartbeat was just getting back to normal now. He had felt so much joy when Edward popped him the question that he had thought his heart was about to burst.

He had shakily said “yes,” and had even cried a couple of tears of joy as his boyfriend slid the gold ring on his left hand.

Edward, feeling relief wash over him, had grinned widely as Alfred had pulled him close and began to kiss him languorously.

A couple of hours had then passed before a proper conversation occurred between the two.

Alfred had called Mina, and here they were now, tightly wrapped in the blankets they had bought earlier.

The night was cold and even a bit freezing, but the burning love they felt for each other was enough to keep them warm.

Edward kissed his boyfriend’s head as he stared at the endless stars that were illuminating the beautiful night sky. “I’m relieved you said yes, even though this proposal was a bit rubbish, honestly.”

“Quote me some poetry and I’ll agree to anything,” said the blond as he slowly drifted to sleep, lulled by Edward’s breathing.

 


 

The boys had come back very late from their little romantic getaway in Scotland, both smiling giddily, high on love and, if it was even possible, more engrossed by each other, which quickly got on Mina’s nerves.

It was sickening, really.

Their love seemed to have reached such a high level, she was fearing for their sanity as well as hers.

Alfred had showed everyone at work his engagement ring (and updated his Facebook status from In a relationship to Engaged) and it had quickly turned into the newest hot topic at school.

Well, that and the infamous staff party that was scheduled for Friday night.

Work was hard, sick students were everywhere, the report cards were coming up fast, parents were getting angrier by the day, and the nice weather was very tempting as everyone wished they could just leave and bask under the sun until September.

Nonetheless, the week had come to an end, and the promised party was finally here.

Alcohol was flowing freely, and many teachers were already drunk barely two hours after the party had officially started.

Mr. Penge, the janitor, was flirting outrageously with Ms. Lehzen, who oversaw the school’s daycare service. Harriet, dressed as a princess, was dancing with Vincent Leclerc and seemed to enjoy herself, while Ernst was eyeing her in the distance with desire.

Nancy, helped by Gabriella, had just finished setting up a projector at the front of the room and had begun to display funny pictures of the staff that had been taken over the school year.

Everyone was staring at them distractedly; smiling and laughing at some funnier pictures.

So far, the costume idea had been a complete success. Mina, who had decided to dress herself in beige from head to toe with strips of papers glued on various spots of her outfit, had to explain a couple of times she was supposed to be wallpaper.

She smiled as she drifted over to the music teacher’s location.

“Hey Ernst, what are you supposed to be with that ugly unbuttoned shirt and all that disgusting fake chest hair?”

Ernst snorted and winked at the tiny brunette. “I’m a womanizer. And a very virile and irresistible one at that.”

“I thought the theme was secret personality or something like that?” she replied as she waved at Drummond, who was walking toward them with a glass of wine in his hand.

 The brunet was wearing a gingham shirt with black suspenders and a bowtie. His hair was awkwardly combed on the side.

Ernst pulled a weird face at him. “That’s one big ugly pair of spectacles you got there, Drums. What are you supposed to be? A scientist?”

“I’m a nerd,” the brunet replied simply as he pushed the massive glasses-which had tape on them- further up on his nose.

“That costume is not very flattering. Those glasses are absolutely atrocious.” said Ernst jokingly, while Edward smirked at him.

“On the contrary, Ernst.  Seems they are very much to someone’s taste, and I’ve not had a proper night’s sleep since I’ve gotten them.…” He winked.

“Why are you not sleeping, Drummond?” asked Gabriella, as she joined their conversation.

The office assistant blushed. “Ehm… Insomnia. I’m struggling with insomnia,” he replied, before he excused himself and went to talk with Nancy on the other side of the room.

Alfred, who had been pleasantly talking with his boss, looked in Mina’s direction as Gabriella gestured to him to come over.

A funny picture of Cleary and Nancy acting as though they were swooning was shown on the screen and a lot of people started to laugh.

Gabriella snorted as Alfred walked up to her. “Wicked angel, right?”

“You know I am!” said the blond as he looked at his colleague suggestively. He was wearing a cute white shirt with his customary skinny jeans and his red converse shoes. He had a makeshift halo clipped to his hair and a devil’s tail.

“Why don’t you show me that ring of yours?” Alfred happily complied as Gabriella grabbed his hand to look at the ring more closely. “Too bad your fiancé couldn’t come tonight. I would have loved to see him.”

“He’s a busy man.” Alfred pouted and shrugged as he looked vaguely at Drummond who winked at him in the distance. He quickly avoided his boyfriend’s gaze and drank a gulp of his champagne to keep his countenance because seeing his boyfriend wearing those glasses was definitively making him feel weak in the knees.

“What does he look like, Mina? Is he good looking? “ asked Gabriella, as some of their colleagues began to mutter in the background.

A picture of Drummond holding Alfred by the waist was being projected on the screen and it seemed some people were beginning to put two and two together.

How come that photo was in there? It was curious, because Alfred was pretty sure he had never been held by Edward like that while they were at work….

Who had taken that picture, anyway?

Realisation suddenly dawned on the secretary as another photo of him and his lover, this time showing them in a tight embrace and staring at each other as if they were alone in the world, was shown on the screen.

It seemed someone had somehow scrolled through the contents of his phone and decided to out their relationship to everyone.

“Thank god I’ve not kept our sex vids on my phone,” Alfred muttered under his breath, as Mina raised an eyebrow at him.

Leclerc was smirking in the background, as Harriet put her hand over her mouth.

Another picture appeared on the screen, this time showing Alfred pulling Edward down by his scarf and kissing him senseless.

At this point, Cleary, dressed as a paparazzi gasped loudly. “O-M-G! Forget about Lefred! I’m shipping Drumfred so hard now!”

Peel gaped at the screen as he emerged from the restroom, and silence fell over the room.