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When the lights go out I'll still be there

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Marc is rudely jerked from his daydreaming by the noise of one of their regulars tipping over their chair when they stand up too quickly. Frowning, he pushes himself up from the counter to see what is going on.

“How did you not realise that we’re dating? We spent every free minute together, we slept in the same bed for a week straight, I held your hand every time we walked anywhere and when we took the car I always had my hand on your knee! I was about as subtle as a freaking lighthouse for fuck’s sake! How did you miss all of that?!” Jev’s voice raises more with every word he speaks to André.

André looks at where he’s playing with his own hands on the table. “I thought you were just being friendly.” His voice sounds small and insecure and tugs at Jev’s heartstrings. Sitting down on the chair next to André, he grabs André’s hands with both of his, effectively putting a stop to the wriggling of his fingers.

“Even though you’re an incredibly oblivious idiot, I’m madly in love with you. I honestly thought you realized that and that you felt the same,” Jev says softly, now feeling stupid that he yelled at the boy he loves so dearly.

André finally looks up from the table to meet Jev’s gaze. Smiling softly, he moves his hands to properly hold Jev’s. “I love you too. I just couldn’t believe that you’d ever feel more than friendly feelings for me, so I kept telling myself we were just friends. I’m sorry I hurt you, but I promise I’ll do my best to make it up to you.

Jev smiles devilishly. “You can start by taking me out for dinner tonight,” he teases. “That’s a deal. Wear that blue dress shirt that makes you look like you just stepped out of heaven for me?” Jev immediately feels blood rush to his cheeks, making him resemble a tomato.

“You think I look like I just stepped out of heaven when I wear that shirt?” André smiles at the disbelieving tone of Jev’s voice. “To me you always look like an angel, that shirt just enhances the glow of your halo.”

 

James softly hits his husband on his arm. “Why can’t you ever say something cute like that?” Niki frowns at that. “I tell you your ass looks fabulous every morning!” James narrows his eyes. “You smack my ass when I get out of the shower, that’s not the same. You should take me on a date tonight, too.”

Niki surrenders, mostly because he realises they haven’t been on a date in forever. “Okay, fine. I’ll take you out on a date tonight.” Niki remembers James talking about a newly opened Italian restaurant and makes a mental note to make a reservation for tonight.

 

The warmth inside the homey coffeeshop is disturbed when the door swings open, the little bell above it signalling that new customers have arrived. The bell was Valentino’s idea. He said they’d needed a way to know if customers came in even when he and Marc where in the back doing other things, or each other.

André and Jev don’t even look up when Dani walks past them, his face mostly hidden by the scarf he used to keep warm in the icy winter cold.

Marc grins when he recognises his friend and drops the rag he was using to clean the counters to greet Dani. Marc snorts when Dani untangles himself from his scarf and reveals his hair sticking up in every direction. “Stop laughing and make me coffee before I murder you,” Dani grumbles at him.

“You’re not tall enough to murder him,” Vale pipes up when he walks past the pair, his eyes twinkling. Marc shakes his head while grinning, reaching out to slap Vale’s ass. A wink is thrown over Vale’s shoulder in response. “Ugh, you guys are disgusting.”

“You’re just jealous,” Marc answers while turning on the coffee machine to get Dani his much-needed caffeine. Dani hops on the counter, ignoring Marc’s glare because he got special permission to sit on the counter before the coffeeshop had even opened.

“I definitely am jealous, though.” Marc hands over the coffee and then pats his knee to offer a bit of comfort. “You’ll find someone, love takes time.” Dani hates it when Marc uses the words he always told the younger when Marc was complaining after getting his heart broken again.

“I just need it to hurry up already,” Dani grumbles after the first sip of coffee. “And why is that?” Dani sighs before answering. “Because I told my parents I found a boyfriend and now they’re insisting I bring him to the family weekend.”

“But why did you tell them you have a boyfriend when you don’t?”
“Because mama kept giving my number to every gay boy she met, and I got tired of her meddling in my love life, so I told her I have a boyfriend to make her stop.”

Marc nods, he knows how annoying it is when your mama tries to set you up with every gay boy she meets. “She only does that because she wants you to be happy. You know that right?” Dani sighs before nodding. “I know, but it’s annoying and I have to reply to way too many messages asking if I’m really bad enough at love to need my mama to find me a boyfriend, which is a mean thing to text somebody you’ve never met, by the way.”

“So now your mama expects you to bring a boyfriend to the family weekend. Did you tell her anything specific about your imaginary boyfriend?” Marc has always been eager to help his friends and family when they needed it and he thinks he might be able to help Dani out with this problem too.

“Not really, I just told her that he’s gorgeous. Why?” Dani knows Marc usually comes up with the most ridiculous plans, and that he’s often encouraged by Vale to make the plans even more ridiculous. Marc’s evil grin tells him more than enough. “No! Whatever you’re planning, I’m not doing it,” Dani immediately protests.

“You said the same about Venice and look what happened. Just trust me, I can help you fix this!”
“Okay, I’m listening. Tell me about the crazy plan that hatched in that weird brain of yours.”
Marc grins broadly at Dani’s surrender before he calls Vale over. Dani raises one eyebrow, knowing Vale’s involvement usually isn’t a good sign.

 

“What can I do for you, bambino?” Vale asks before kissing Marc’s cheek. “Call Jorge and tell him to come her right now.” Valentino looks at his lover questioningly. “Why do you need Jorge?”
“Because Dani needs a boyfriend.” Valentino raises both of his eyebrows in surprise and turns to look at Dani, who feels his cheeks heat up immediately but offers no explanation.

“Okay, I’ll call Jorge. But I want an explanation later,” Vale tells them before getting his phone out of his pocket to find Jorge’s contact. He moves to the office in the back to call without being disturbed.

Jorge answers his phone after the second ring. “Valentino, why are you calling me? You never call. You only text people,” Jorge asks him immediately. Valentino grins. “I’m calling because Marc ordered me to.” Jorge laughs at him. “Of course, you’d do just about anything he asks you to do. It’s almost sickening,” he teases the tall Italian.

“Shut up. Marc says you need to get your fat ass over here right now,” Vale responds. “And why is that?” Vale sighs deeply. “I honestly don’t even have a clue.”
“Fine, tell your boytoy I’ll be there in fifteen minutes. You better have my coffee ready by then,” Jorge grumbles.