Damen and Jokaste have been dating for a few years now. Damen sees Jokaste getting all dolled up and wearing a sexy red dress, but he knows they have no plans tonight. He asks her about it.
“I’ve got a date tonight,” she says as she puts in her earrings.
Damen…doesn’t know how to react to that.
“A date.” He reiterates. “You have…a date.”
“Yes Damen, that’s what I said.”
Jokaste kisses his cheek as she walks out the bedroom. Damen chases after her and catches her at the door.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. What do you mean a date?”
She smiles, amusement shining in her eyes. “I’m seeing a coworker’s younger brother so he doesn’t have to explain to his parents that he’s gay. Nothing to worry about.”
She slips from his arms.
Damen learns a lot about Laurent after that. Auguste’s little brother. Auguste’s gay brother. Auguste’s hot brother.
Auguste never told Damen he had a brother.
Damen can understand why after meeting him.
Jokaste asked Damen to give her a ride to their meeting point since her car was in the shop. Damen obliged, more than a little suspicious of the “gay” guy using his girlfriend.
Seeing a carbon copy of Jokaste standing beside Auguste was not who he expected.
Seeing all three of those beautiful blonds beside each other was like a wet dream come true.
Damen did not hang around.
That was the start of the fighting between him and Jokaste.
It started off small, over who would wash the dishes that night or what movie they would see at the theater the next weekend, then it escalated to how much her shopping cost them or how much time he was spending with the guys.
Jokaste started sleeping at a friend’s house, and Damen started going out drinking with Nik more.
The break up should have been vicious, considering what led up to it.
It wasn’t. They were both very mature about it, and Damen agreed to move out because it was her apartment first. She even helped him pack, though whether that was out of the kindness of her heart or to get him out of her apartment faster is anyone’s guess.
Auguste let him move in until he could find his own place.
Laurent spent a lot of time at Auguste’s apartment, whether Auguste was there or not. Sometimes Laurent would sit around and read while he and Auguste played video games together. Other times Laurent would come over during the night and make some food in Auguste’s kitchen.
Damen didn’t know why he came to Auguste’s in the middle of the night to cook, but when he got up for water during the night and found Laurent cooking, they would chat. Laurent occasionally even let Damen help if he was feeling amiable.
Jokaste was still seeing Laurent, but he’s pretty sure she’s seeing Auguste too. Either that or Auguste has grown incredibly uncomfortable around Damen and is around the house less often for some reason he won’t tell Damen.
Auguste is definitely seeing Jokaste.
Laurent’s drunk one night and laying on Auguste’s couch, a movie playing but going unwatched.
Laurent would normally be cooking, maybe baking, if he were over at this time of night. But tonight, he stumbled in, loud enough to wake the dead, and crashed onto the couch and has yet to move.
Damen sat beside him, gave him a glass of water that he didn't touch, and has been rubbing Laurent’s feet since.
Laurent reeks of griva. He looks like he’s sleeping with his eyes open. Damen is admittedly a little worried. He’d get Auguste, but he hasn’t returned home yet.
“How do you know if you’re in love?”
Laurent, drunkly, rolls onto his back. He stares at the ceiling and folds his arms over his stomach. Damen wonders if he’s going to throw up.
Damen doesn’t get a chance to answer before Laurent continues on.
Eyes squeezing shut, he looks pained as he whispers, “My dad’s gonna kill me.”
Damen doesn’t know how to help. His parents had been perfectly accepting of his coming out. Damen hasn’t met Auguste’s parents, but Auguste didn’t have positive things to say about his father.
Laurent did throw up, luckily only on the floor and he just missed Auguste’s white rug. Damen carried Laurent to his bed, laid him on his side, and placed a bowl on the bedside table before he went to clean up the barf.
When Laurent finally gets out of bed that morning, Damen has breakfast cooking and some pain pills and a glass of water on the table waiting for him.
Laurent drinks his water and takes his pills and stares unblinking at the wall across from him.
Damen places a plate of french toast in front of Laurent and offers him a smile.
Laurent goes pink cheeked and stares down at his plate.
That’s when Auguste decides to return home.
Damen says nothing about him smelling like Jokaste’s perfume and simply directs him to Laurent, moping and nursing a hangover.
It becomes more and more evident that, while he’s trying to be polite, Auguste is pushing for Damen to make a move on Laurent.
Damen is baffled by it. Auguste was so protective of Laurent that he didn’t even mention Laurent’s existence in the five years they’d known each other, and now he’s trying to set them up?
Damen decides to sit Auguste down after he tries to convince Damen to go to the movies with Laurent. Laurent, who has made himself scarce since the night he showed up drunk.
“Auguste,” he starts, letting out a sigh. Auguste is tense beside him. “I don’t know if this is out of some misplaced guilt for seeing Jokaste–”
“You know about that?” Auguste’s eyes are wide.
Damen offers a rueful smile. “Yes. And it’s okay.”
Auguste blinks at him, his eyes darting away. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. I meant to, I just didn’t know how.”
Damen places a hand on Auguste’s shoulder. “Look Auguste, it’s okay. I just want you to be happy. And if she makes you happy, then I’m with you one hundred percent.”
Auguste meets his eyes again, a smile creeping back onto his face.
Damen continues. “But you don’t have to set me up with your brother just because you feel bad about–”
“No, no, no! That’s not what I was doing!”
Damen raises a brow at the exclamation. Auguste comes back to himself, and then he turns red.
“You can’t tell Laurent I said anything,” Auguste tells him, voice barely a whisper. “But he–”
The door to the apartment opens then, revealing Laurent. Speak of the devil and he shall appear.
“Auguste?” Laurent isn’t looking at them and he scuffs his foot against the floor. “Can I talk to you?”
Auguste shoots a look to Damen before he stands with a smile. “Of course! Anything for my baby brother!”
He wraps Laurent into his arms and smothers his head with kisses, despite Laurent’s shoving and protests.
Damen has a feeling he knows what Auguste was going to say.
Damen ended up inviting Laurent to the movies with him.
Laurent had gone beet red, said no, and run out the apartment door.
Damen had to finish cooking the food Laurent left behind.
Laurent didn’t come back over for a whole two weeks, but Auguste has been in a much better mood since the Jokaste reveal.
Damen is happy for them, really.
When Laurent finally shows back up, he’s drunk on griva again. He slams straight into Damen when he makes for his bedroom.
Laurent groans into Damen’s chest. Then he mumbles words that are lost into the fabric of Damen’s night shirt. Normally he’d sleep nude, but Auguste kept the house far too chilly for that.
“Laurent, I can’t hear you with my shirt in your mouth.”
Laurent goes boneless against him, so Damen takes pity and helps Laurent onto his bed. Damen will evidently be sleeping on the couch again tonight.
Laurent looks up at him, blue eyes bleary, and says, “You’re really hot.”
Damen chuckles. “Yeah, I’ve always put out a lot of body heat, sorry.”
Laurent frowns. “No, that’s not what I meant,” he whines. “You’re so oblivious Damianos!”
Laurent throws himself onto the bed and curls into the covers.
Damen can only smile at the display and head for the couch.
Laurent is at the door, tears rolling down his face and a red mark on his cheek.
Damen and Auguste are on high alert the moment they see him.
Laurent falls into Auguste’s open arms the moment he’s there and starts to cry. Damen frets from the sidelines.
“Laurent, what happened?” Damen asks, rubbing Laurent’s back.
“I told Dad, that-that I’m gay…and he hit me!”
Auguste goes from worry to shock to rage frighteningly fast.
He passes Laurent to Damen, departing with a pet to Laurent’s head and a threat to maim their father.
Laurent continues to cry, though quieter now, little hiccups jostling them both from time to time.
Damen walks them over to the couch and sits Laurent down.
“I’m going to get you an ice pack for your cheek.”
Laurent nods and stares at his feet. He sniffles.
When Damen comes back, Laurent has stopped crying, and his face is void of emotion. Damen squats in front of Laurent and holds the pack to his cheek, gentle for the bruise and wrapped in a cloth so the ice doesn’t hurt his skin.
“For what it’s worth,” Damen tells him, his voice low between them. “I’m really proud of you.”
Laurent meets his eyes. Damen gives him a small smile, hoping to cheer Laurent up even a little. All he gets is Laurent’s eyes watering up again.
Damen feels panic crawl up his spine. He didn’t mean to make it worse.
He’s about to start spilling out apologies when Laurent’s arms come around his neck and pull him close.
“Thank you, Damianos.”
Damen wraps his arms around Laurent’s waist.
By the time Auguste gets back, it’s late and Laurent has fallen asleep in Damen’s bed, where he’s taken to sleeping when he’s over here.
Auguste drops heavily onto the couch beside Damen.
“How is he?”
Damen passes Auguste his beer, “Sleeping. Better, I guess. He said your mom took it better than your dad. She was mostly upset about losing Jokaste?”
Auguste takes a swig, passes back the beer, and nods. “She’ll be pleased Jokaste is still around I suppose.”
They pass the beer back and forth between them until it’s empty, and stare at the TV for a while.
“I punched my dad.”
Damen looks over at Auguste, but he’s as blank faced as Laurent was.
“What did he do?”
Auguste shrugged. “Pretty sure he’s disowning me and Laurent. But our mom still loves us.”
Damen gets up and grabs two more beers from the fridge. “I’m sorry, man.”
“Don’t be. I make plenty of money, and Laurent doesn’t need someone like that in his life. I can take care of us just fine.”
Damen nods and they sip their beers.
Damen crashes on the couch that night and Auguste leaves to see Jokaste.
Laurent spent a very long time talking to his mom on the phone the next morning, mostly about Jokaste.
Being assured that Auguste was dating her cheered Hennike up a little. Asking if he was seeing anyone cheered Laurent up a little.
Laurent had cast a glance Damen’s way, a flush to his cheeks, and said it was complicated.
Damen continued with breakfast, a smirk on his face. Complicated. Okay.
Damen convinced Laurent to go to the movies with him that night. Laurent rejected just as quickly as he had before, but he didn’t run out of the apartment. Damen managed to get him to go anyway.
It wasn’t much, just a start, but Laurent smiled the whole time.