“I am not wearing cowboy boots,” Dan yelled back to Phil through the wall that connected their rooms, “I don’t even have cowboy boots!”
“How can you line dance without boots?!” Phil asked.
Dan leaned around the corner and stuck his head into Phil’s room, “Mate, first of all, you don’t own a pair of boots either. Secondly, we are doing Karaoke, not line dancing. And thirdly, what on earth are you wearing?”
Phil stood up and turned around slowly, modeling his sparkling silver jacket and black pants with a button down white shirt.
“We’re going to Louise’s house, not to meet the queen, Phil!”
“It’s her birthday!” Phil said joyfully, “We should dress up!”
Dan just laughed. His boyfriend, Phil Lester, did look very handsome dressed in his suit, but the invitation specifically specified casual, and Dan explained gently that he would stick out if he wore his best outfit.
“Alright,” Phil said, somewhat dejectedly, “I’ll change. But I still want to look nice for Louise!”
“You’ll look great, Phil,” Dan assured him. “And I can’t believe I’m saying this to you and not the other way ‘round, but ‘Hurry up, we’re going to be late!’”.
Phil laughed and quickly began pulling clothes out of his wardrobe.
Ten minutes later, they were out the door and headed for the train station.
“We have the gift in the backpack, right?” Dan asked.
“Roger,” Phil replied.
“We have the metro cards?”
“Okay, do you want me to carry the backpack?”
“No, I’m fine,” Phil answered, and they quickened their pace to meet the arriving train.
Thirty minutes later, they stood at Louise’s door, Phil fishing around in the backpack for the gift so they could present it to her after they knocked.
“Um..” Phil said, looking up briefly into Dan’s eyes as he shuffled items around.
“Phil!” Dan quietly shrieked in his high pitched voice, “we don’t have time to go back and get it! I thought you said it was in the back pack!”
“Haha!” Phil laughed, pulling out the gift, “I got you!”
“Phil,…” Dan said angrily, then his frown melted into a smile, “Alright, you got me. Good one.”
Phil straightened up, a satisfied grin on his face, and handed the present to Dan before fixing his hair and knocking on the door.
Louise opened the door with a warm smile and the squealed as Dan held out the beautifully wrapped gift to her. Dan had taken extra time making the package symmetrical and Phil had added some glitter decorations and a sticker. It had taken them an hour.
Dan and Phil were known in their friend group for their thoughtful gifts, and Louise was looking forward to opening it later on. “Come in, come in,” she laughed, stepping back from the door and opening it wide.
They two young men walked in and saw a small group of their closest friends sitting in the living area, listening to P.J. tell a story and laughing.
Dan and Phil found an empty spot on the couch and sat down, just as P.J. ended the story with, “so I’ve got to take pictures and make a video about it because no one is ever going to believe it! Oh, hey Phil! Hi, Dan!”
“Hi P.J.!” they said in unison, and everyone giggled.
Greetings were exchanged all around, and then Louise’s boyfriend brought in some drinks and snacks for everyone and set them on the table. Phil grabbed a soda and handed one to Dan, then dug into the chips and dip.
While they snacked, Sophie asked Louise about Darcy’s present, and Louise told a hilarious story about a hand made card that turned into a two hour vacuuming job to get glitter out of all the carpets in the house.
Everyone laughed and ‘aww’ed’ and then P.J. turned to Phil and loudly whispered “Protip” in his ear, causing Phil to spit out his soda as he burst out laughing. Dan ran do the kitchen for a towel, and Phil wiped a tear from his eye from laughing so hard.
“Come on, then,” Louise said, standing up as Dan wiped off the table, “let’s get this party going!”
She walked over to the Karaoke machine and started to make some collections. “I’ll get us started,” she said, “with a little Taylor Swift! Who wants to join me?”
“Oh, me!” Said Sophie, and the two young women took their places in front of the group, faced the screen, and started to belt out a mostly on-key version of “Shake It Off”, complete with dance moves.
Dan lead the applause when the song was over, “Bravo!” He yelled out. “Well done!”
“Encore!” Cried P.J.
“We’ll honor the crowd with requests,” Louise said in a silly voice, “What shall we sing for you?”
Phil shouted out, “Gangnam Style!”
Dan rolled his yes “Phil, that’s in Korean! They don’t speak Korean, much less sing it!”
But Louise was all for it, “Let’s do it!” Sophie agreed, and they made their way through phonetically through the song to the giggles and delights of everyone. The crowd of friends leapt to their feet and danced along, causing the chandelier above to swing and the downstairs neighbor to pound on the ceiling with his broom, but the group didn’t even notice.
“Oh my!’ Louise gasped after the song was over and she and Sophie had taken their theatrical bows, “I need a rest. Who’s next?”
“Oh, me, me!” Phil exclaimed as he jumped up. He grabbed Dan by the hand and dragged him to the Karaoke machine. Dan just shrugged and allowed himself to be pulled.
“What shall we do?” Phil said, looking over the selection.
“‘Toxic!’” Came the reply from the group, in unison.
“We always do ‘Toxic’,” Dan said, “Let’s do something different.”
“Yeah, let’s find a duet!” Phil said excitedly.
“How about “'A Whole New World’”? Dan suggested.
“Okay,” Phil agreed, selecting the song.
Then Louise ran up, “Oh, I forgot, it has a lighting feature! Let me turn it on!”
She turned the lights off in the room and Dan and Phil were left with a disco ball illumination around them.
“Ooooooo” everyone said in unison.
The music started, and Phil began, “I could show you the world,” letting his voice vibrate and intentionally signing in a dramatically low tone.
When Jasmine’s part arrived, Dan jumped towards Phil and sang her part in a high pitched falsetto that made everyone laugh.
Phil started swaying as if he were actually on a magic carpet, so Dan dramatically stepped on to the imaginary rug and swayed with him as they were “soaring, tumbling free-wheeling, on a magic carpet ride!”.
At the end of the song, they stared at each other as they sang, “A wondrous place, for you and meeeeeee,” holding the note longer than the music lasted, in an obvious contest for who would run out of breath first.
Dan won easily, and everyone cheered.
After taking their bows, they handed the mics to P.J. and Louise’s boyfriend who then performed a rousing rendition of the theme song from Green Acres.
Soon, it was time for cake and gifts. The group gathered round the dining room table and Louise sat at the head, opening each gift carefully and gushing over each one. Dan and Phil’s gift was a handmade baby outfit for Louise’s new baby, embroidered with the baby’s name and surround by sliver glitter.
“Oh my gosh!” Louise said, tearing up a bit, “It’s perfect! And it even has a sprinkle of glitter!” Thanks guys!”
Dan blushed and Phil smiled.
P.J. cut the cake and served it, and Phil had two pieces of the sugary white cake with raspberry filling between the layers. Dan groaned internally, knowing what Phil was like with that much sugar, but let the moment pass without fussing, as he knew Phil was having a good time.
As the evening drew on into the early morning hours, the mood turned more mellow. Pairs and trios were chatting softly, sipping champagne and nibbling on what was left of the chips.
Dan and Phil sat together on the couch, mere centimeters apart although there was no one else seated there.
“I want to sing some more,” Phil said.
Dan laughed, “Of course you do. What do you want to sing?”
“Let’s just see what they have,” Phil suggested, and bounded up and back towards the Karaoke machine.
The group turned as one in surprise as the sounds of Muse started rocking from the speakers.
It was “Uprising” one of the first songs Dan and Phil discussed when they first met online. They sang in unison, raising their fists to the air, eyes closed, belting out the chorus.
The group started rocking out along with Dan and Phil, but they did not notice, as they were obviously in another world together. They kept their eyes closed for the entire song, and seemed bit startled when they realized they were actually not on stage, but rather standing in front of their friends.
“Thank you,” Phil said, talking very closely into the mic, “Now, here’s Wonderwall”.
On the way home, the train was nearly empty. The two young men sat closely together.
Phil rested his head on Dan’s shoulder.
“That really as fun, even if there wasn’t line dancing.”
“Where did you even get the idea that there would be line dancing, Phil? You don’t even know how to line dance.”
Phil grinned, “I was just joking about the boots earlier. You really believed me?”
“Yes,” Dan admitted with a giggle.
“You know, we should have done ‘Toxic’,” Phil said. “We’re good at that one.”
“Eh, we’ve over done it, I think,” Dan answered.
“It was fun signing ‘Muse’ with you,” Phil said sleepily.
Dan yawned, “We should really rock out more,” he said.
Phil lifted his head, looked at Dan, grinned, then lowered his head back on Dan’s shoulder and promptly fell asleep.
When the train arrived at the station, Dan gently nudged Phil awake and the two made their way back to the apartment.
Phil started slipped his shoes off in the main entrance way, and left his socks in the hallway. As he headed for his room, Dan gently reached out for Phil’s shoulder.
“What?” Phil said, groggily.
“Cuddles,” Dan said, still a bit tipsy from the champagne.
“Yes,” Phil said, and made an about face into Dan’s room.
They removed their shirts and pants, leaving on shorts, and climbed into the bed everyone knew as “Dan’s”.
“I think she really liked the present,” Dan said as he pulled Phil closer.
“I think so too,” Phil said, barely able to keep his eyes open.
“Hey, why are you sleepy?” Dan asked suddenly. With all that sugar, I expected you to be bouncing off the walls!
“I think I used all my energy on ‘Muse’”, he said with a grin.
“It really was a good party. It was fun to see everyone,” Dan said.
“Yeah,” Phil replied with is eyes closed. “ ..was fun”.
Dan grinned. Phil was falling asleep, and Dan loved to watch that process.
Phil snuggled into Dan, then let out a loud yawn. Dan stroked Phil’s hair, and watched his body slowly relax.
After he was sure that Phil was sound asleep, he started singing their song to him.
“They will not force us
They will stop degrading us
They will not control us
We will be victorious “
For together, whether it be at Karaoke, a World Tour, or a relationship, that much was clear. They would be victorious.