The next day was better, in Derek’s opinion. They spent the morning with Ben and Vanya, dossing about in the sun. They lay in the grass and snacked on fruit they’d stolen from breakfast. The sky was clear the sun was out and Derek felt more relaxed than he had for a while.
“I don’t think I know the story.” Vanya said from where she lay on Ben.
Derek was sat next to Dex near them, not touching one another but lounging and enjoying a somewhat stress-free morning.
“What story?” Ben asked, his face angled toward the sky and sun.
Vanya smacked Ben lightly, “how they got together, dipshit.”
Ben frowned, tipping his head toward Derek and Dex and cocking it to the side. “Huh, nor do I.”
“Yeah well it’s not like anyone really wants me to talk about it.” Dex said, deflecting the obvious question there.
They’d discussed it, their getting together story. It wasn’t a great one or even a good one. It was just that one day they’d been hanging out (and totally not arguing pfft no) as usual when something changed. That Dex had already known Derek was into guys, that it started out with a kiss (how tf did it end up like this) and had spiralled from there. They’d talked about it, decided to give it a go, and here they were one year later happy as can be.
“You guys are still in the honeymoon phase.” Vanya said, once Derek and Dex had told the story rather dully. “That’s really sweet.”
“You saying we’re not?” Ben teased her.
“We came back from our honeymoon a few years ago babe. I’ve seen you take a shit. We’re out of the honeymoon phase.” Vanya replied drly, at which Ben burst out laughing.
Derek looked over to Dex and saw him pulling a face at the two of them, but he didn’t say anything.
“How long ago did you two get married?” Derek asked.
“Idk like three years ago?” Vanya replied, making Ben roll his eyes and hold up four fingers. “We started renting our own place, it’s all nicely decorated and everything.”
“With a spare room for guests.” Dex said with a smirk, “or a child.”
Both Vanya and Ben went quiet and shared a Look. The smile slid from Will’s face as he watched his brother and sister-in-law, trying to figure out if the silence was a good thing or a bad thing.
“Um, actually…” Vanya coughed. “You’re going to be an uncle?”
Derek definitely felt like he was intruding on a private, family moment as Dex let out a loud whoop. Dex's entire face lit up. His eyes brightened, his grin split his face. It was nice to see Dex look so comfortable.
“No way really?” Dex grinned, his hands clutching either side of his. “Congrats bro, holy fuck.”
“We’ve only been sure for about 14 weeks.” Vanya said, sitting up, looking absolutely ecstatic.
“So, like… three months? Three whole months!” Dex’s eyes widened, “Ma’s gonna freak. Her first grandbaby!”
“She’s gonna freak that we didn’t tell her sooner.” Ben said, looking a little dazed. “It’s going to be a lot telling the family. They love whenever someone has a new baby.”
“First black Poindexter though.” Vanya grinned. "I'm fairly certain anyhow."
“So, it’s going to be a Poindexter?” Derek asked, the words forming on his lips before he could stop them. He hadn’t wanted to take part in this family moment, not when it was so clearly nothing to do with him. But then Dex turned to look at him, his eyes gleaming and looking just so happy. Their shared look felt like Dex was including him in this moment, pulling him in and sharing his joy. Vanya too, turned at gave him a grin that felt like an inside ‘we have each other’s backs because we’re the outsiders’ look.
“Yeah, as attached as I am to my last name I don’t particularly want to pass it on. I want my kid to be one of the Poindexters, not that they wouldn’t be part of the family if they weren’t.” She scrunched up her face as she tried to think of the words.
“Will you name it something Irish, Nigerian, or Russian?” Dex wondered. “I can’t imagine a Poindexter without an Irish or biblical name.”
Ben and Vanya shared another look, this one clearly stating that they’d discussed it. “We’re not sure. We’re not finding out the sex, so I think we’ll have a list of names and when they’re born we’ll know. Is the hope anyway.”
“Wow, holy shit, an uncle.” Dex breathed. “who else have you told?”
“We haven’t, yet.” Vanya said sheepishly. “Once you tell someone, everyone will know. And we just know someone will get offended if we don’t tell them ourselves, so it’s a matter of making sure we get to the right people as quickly as possible.”
“Wait, so we’re the first to know?” Dex said, looking honoured. What Derek’s brain homed in on, however, was the fact that he’d said ‘we.’
“We know that you two can keep a secret.” Ben said bashfully and pointedly.
Dex sent Derek a panicked look, a look that said to Derek that he felt bad about lying. Derek gave him a small shrug. If he wanted to tell his brother the truth that was his choice, it didn’t, and shouldn’t, affect Derek at all.
“What’s wrong, you two?” Vanya asked in a voice that sounded a lot like Derek’s mom when she was trying to approach a subject carefully, or maybe Derek was projecting.
“Um, well.” Dex swallowed. “Nursey and I – ugh, Derek and I, we aren’t actually dating.”
Ben blinked at the two of them as Vanya frowned. Derek’s heart sank, he felt like he was disappointing them. It was so stupid, this wasn’t even his family.
“Chris was really, and I mean really, pissing me off with his ragging. So, when he asked if I found myself a boyfriend… I just said yes?” Dex carried on, the rant building up in him and turning his face red. “It was mostly to get him to shut the fuck up and it sort of spiralled. I didn’t actually think about how that would affect my standing with the family but when it did… Well it just made me more mad. Nursey and I were actually talking about this the other day. When the love my family had for me became dependant on what I decided to do with my dick I just saw red. It’s not fair, and in a family as large as ours I’m certain there are LGBT+ people who were scared that what’s happening to me would happen to me. Since I’d already set myself on this path I figured why not fight it, so that it might become easier for someone else. So that maybe I could change some attitudes in this family, we let too much shit slide in the name of ‘keeping the peace’ and I’m kinda sick of it.”
“Holy shit Will.” Ben said, his eyebrows raised, eyes flicking between Derek and Dex as though he were looking for proof.
“I know, I know.” Dex waved his brother off. “I asked a few guys on the team if they’d be my fake boyfriend for this week and Nursey was the only one who was free.”
“That’s…” Vanya said. “I don’t even know, Will.”
Dex dropped his head, guilt all over his face. Derek could relate, he too felt as though he’d let them down somehow. He felt even more like an outsider now, he couldn’t even pretend that he was in the same boat as Vanya. He wasn’t a significant other, he wasn’t committed to this family like she was.
“It’s just so sweet.” Vanya said, causing Dex’s head to snap up. “That you’d put yourself out there for any potential family members who might need this. You too, Derek, for opening yourself up to something like this.”
“I almost don’t believe it.” Ben laughed. “You guys are so, er, well, cute together. Like cheek kisses, and sticking up for each other, and hand holding, and like in your highlight reel, right? You were so proud of Will for scoring, and you calmed him down and stopped him fighting some jagwad? Not just anyone can do that.”
“You been watching them?” Vanya remarked with a laugh. Ben flipped her off, his neck had gone red, Derek noticed, unlike Dex, Ben’s blush was in his neck not his face.
“Honestly, Dex and I have been getting along better this week than we have for the last two years.” Derek gave a weak laugh, which Dex echoed.
“Oh yeah bro, it’s actually mad how we literally haven’t had an argument yet.” Dex laughed, the sound of it warming Derek slightly, making him feel less awful.
“Probably because you’ve been spending all your energy on fighting everyone else.” Derek grinned.
“Too real.” Dex shook his head. “Too fuckin real.”
“A morning of revelations.” Ben said, falling back in the grass.
Vanya, Dex, and Derek all nodded along in agreement. The atmosphere had changed rapidly from chilled, to joyous, to serene.
“I really appreciated you coming to talk to me though.” Dex smiled at his brother. “Letting me know you were there for me and loved me. It’s nice knowing someone has your back.”
“You’re my brother.” Ben shrugged. “Chris and Donnie still love you, they’re just… Well they’re just real dumb.”
Dex let out a snort of laughter. Derek caught Vanya’s eye, her eyes seemed to be conveying, ‘yeah you can say that again.’ Tension eased out of Derek, it was nice that he still had this with Vanya. Oh wow, he most likely wouldn't see her again after this week. Who sees their college friends' extended families? Especially once they graduated.
“Just don’t come to me when you need to bury a body.” Ben joked. “I’ve got a family to think about now.”
Vanya looked at Ben with a gooey look Derek had expected from her. He almost couldn’t tear his eyes away from them, watching their obvious love for one another. Then he glanced at Dex, who seemed to be having the same thoughts.
“Who would have been your first pick?” Derek wondered, his mind going back to when Dex had said ‘Nursey was the only one who was free.’ Something in him had almost taken offence, which was ridiculous.
“I dunno man, Shitty maybe? He’d know what to say, all I’d have to do is set him loose and he’d have at it. But I don’t think it would have been believable, we just don’t have that relationship. Bitty is, and like, I know how this sounds, but the most believably gay to a conservative family who take stock in their gender roles. Honestly though, I think he gets so much of this shit at home he’d either take it as an opportunity to release some of that anger or it would really hurt him.”
“Wow you’re really thinking about this.” Derek laughed. “First name that comes to mind when I ask, okay? Dex, Dexy, who do you want for you fake boyfriend?”
“You.” Dex replied immediately.
Warmth blossomed in Derek’s chest, a smile playing on his lips. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Ben and Vanya share a look. Which he chose to ignore.
“I feel like it makes the most sense.” Dex replied, not even realising how that might sound. “We’ve got a lot of history, probably the most out of all the guys I know on the team. You and Chowder. And then ‘cause we clashed so hard in the beginning, it’s kinda like what I said to my ma, hate and love are easy to confuse.”
“You know we’re not actually together, right?” Derek chirped, but his chest responded differently. His heart had stuttered and whether consciously or not, refused to think about what that meant.
Dex went bright red as he reached out and hit Derek on the arm. “Yeah, you dick.”
The four of them stayed chatting until Roisin came to get them, they were needed for peeling duty. She complained about being the family errand girl this week, but at least she didn't have to prep the food. Big family gatherings were a lot of work, a lot of planning, a lot of scheduling, and a metric fuck ton of food. But everyone pitched in, bought in bulk, donated what they could.
Derek ended up sitting next to Granny Aoife, who was also peeling potatoes. Dex was a little way away sitting with Cormac, Faolan, and Sinead. As they had been late they didn’t get to choose what job they did and thus were separated for the first time this trip. Derek would have to socialise with Dex’s family, which had been giving him anxiety. Being seated next to Granny Aoife had cooled him a little bit.
“So what do ye know ‘bout First Home?” Aoife asked, her hands moving quickly over the potatoes for someone her age. Whatever that age was.
“Ugh, Dex, um, Will said it was the first house that the Poindexter’s bought when you guys came over from Ireland.” Derek said, wracking his brain to see if there had been anything else.
“That it is.” Aoife smiled. “It’s a lot bigger now than it first was. Me da had made the first house, and me brudders worked on it after he died, made into something resembling what it is now.”
“Must be really old then.” Derek mumbled, not really knowing what to say but enjoying listening to Granny Aoife talk. He could tell she enjoyed telling her story.
“About as old as I am.” Aoife smiled and winked. “I was only a babe when it was first built, and now I get to see all my children, and my children’s children, and sometimes even their children, get to enjoy it.”
“You’re the Poindexter, aren’t you?” Derek asked, drawing on something he’d realised about quite a few women in the family.
Granny Aoife smiled at him, almost proudly. “Yes, me husband took my name, it wasn’t done back then but we did it anyway. Poindexter’s don’t take well to being what to do. Willaim’s mother did it too, she’s mine o’ course. When Dave proposed to her she told him, ‘I’ll only do it if I get ta keep me name, I care nought what you do with yours.’ And Dave, good lad he was, took the Poindexter name too.”
Granny Aoife continued to talk to Derek about the family history, how she’d had her first kid quite young and by the time she’d had her last her eldest was about to have his first. It meant that a lot of the generations were a bit skewed with siblings being decades apart and cousins being the same age. Grandchilden and great grandchildren. Aoife admitted that at this point she wasn’t sure who was whose most of the time, just that they were all hers.
“Hey,” Dex’s hand fell on Derek’s shoulder, “we’ve been set free.”
“Aoife, it’s been an absolute pleasure.” Derek smiled and took Granny Aoife’s hand, giving it a swift kiss.
“Call me Granny, young man.” Granny Aoife chided. "And remember, just because people don't want you to do something, or think it's a little odd, remember that Poindexter's have never been all that interested in doing what everyone else did when it comes to tradition. That goes fer the both of ya's."
Dex blushed a rather dashing red at his grandmother's words. Derek felt a warm, homely feeling bloom in his chest. It was as though for every Poindexter that didn't approve of Dex's supposed homosexuality, there was one who let him know he was still loved. As they walked away Derek noticed Dex smiling to himself almost smugly.
“What you smilin’ at?” Derek asked suspiciously as they walked toward the house.
“You’re starting to sound like us.” Dex said, eyeing Derek up. Derek frowned at him and his smile grew. “You said ‘absolute pleasure,’ it’s a very Poindexter thing. You might have noticed.”
“Good fucking lord I’ve been here too long.” But Derek found himself grinning as they entered the house. They were in the search for hydration.
“Hey have you checked the group chat?” Dex asked leaning against the counter as Derek opened the fridge. God he was way too comfortable here, to be just diving into their fridge.
“Nah bro, it’s been pretty dead. Why?”
“It’s been resurrected.” Dex replied dryly. “They’ve just realised you’ve been here for like three days now and are asking for deets.”
Nursey handed Dex a bottle of water and together they moved to the living room where they both flopped down onto the sofa. Sliding his phone out, Derek opened the SMH Group Chat.
Got that Summertime (summertime) Sadness
@SendInTheNurse you’re at @DexingtonBear ‘s reunion the week
B R U H
Yeah he’s here. You guys would be proud, we’re 100% channelling you two.
“We’re channelling Ransom and Holster?” Derek asked, raising his head to peer at Dex.
“Nah but they’ll feel flattered.” Dex replied.
WE’RE SO PROUD
Oh that’s great guys! How’s it going so far? Having fun!?!!
How do you define ‘fun’
Uh oh, that doesn’t sound good
“How much do you wanna tell them?” Nursey asked, raising his head again. This wasn’t his family and he didn’t wanna talk shit about Dex’s family, especially while sitting next to him.
Dex didn’t reply straight away, he was tapping on his phone and only looked up when he’d hit send.
Oh boy you have no idea
“I have no idea how to put into words the clusterfuck these last three days have been.” Dex said, face blank. “But I’ll be you do.”
And with that Derek set to work, tapping out on his tiny keypad the mess of things that had happened.
Buckle. The Fuck. Up. Boys
Oh boy I’m ready
Oh Lawd He Comin
This doesn’t sound like it’s going to be a very happy story
In the beginning, there was Shannon
Now, Shannon wasn’t the first ‘Not So Chill’ person I met on my trip here, but so far has been the mother fucking worst
But I’ll get to that
First I met #BigBroChristo-fucking-pher and middle bro Donnie the Dumbass
For the record, he is verbally confirming with me that I’m okay with this.
Don’t worry, we know you are two Wholesome Boys
Nah Bits, Rans and I are Holsom ;)
Boyos, payo, attentiono
*Zipping Mouth Gif*
So I met The Two Brothers.
They’re p dece yeah, not like ew get that ***** away from me lets burn these boys for being #Gay.
What they do is make every fucking gay joke in the motherfucking book. Almost all of them about sex.
It’s like they’re hyper focussed on our ‘sex lives’ ya know?
Anyone else finding it weird that we’re all like, ‘ah yes, Dex and Nursey’s sex life. How dare they’
Oh for sure Bits! Also weird that they’d focus on their brother’s sex life *Side eye emoji*
Oh actually it’s totally fuckin’ mad bruh
The amount of straight guys who are hyper focussed on gay sex and all that. ‘Cause like, that’s the bit they’re stuck on ya know?
“How can you have sex with a man” kinda deal.
Except my brothers are convinced we don’t have a sex life and it’s a phase
And Yes I’m aware that they’re technically right but they don’t know that.
In all fairness, all your brother’s jokes were completely overshadowed by what your cousins said, and they only spoke like, once? Twice?
Faolan and Eddie?
Yeah bro them. Fuck what they said was so fuckin
The fucking suspense dude
Do I want to hear this
Those are some fucking Irish names there
Holts, my dude, you don't even know the half of it
Nurse where these deets attttt
So These Mother Fuckers
And I kid you not
“I reckon Will just wanted to do the stuff girls usually say no to”
THE FUCK YA KNOW
WHOA DUDE THE FUCK
No fuckin way did someone actually say that
That’s really shit dude, hope you’re okay man
There’s SO much to unpack
What Jack said ^^^
That young man doesn’t deserve anyone touching his dick
And like?? If someone doesn’t wanna do shit that’s fucking fine like get tf out of here with that ‘I deserve my dick getting xyz merely cause I want to’
Ngl girls will often do the shit ‘girls usually don’t wanna do’ when they’re with someone they fucking like and trust
Sounds like you guys are having an awful time
Not the mention the undertones of homosexuality as something subversive and kinky ya know?
Too fucking right Bits
That’s not even the worst guys
Oh no guys! >:( That’s awful!!
We’re here for you guys!
Let me tell you fuckers
Shannon is a 40-something year old woman who arrived early the second day.
I was helping direct people to their allotted plots
Darling Shannon pulled up
Rolled down her window
And said brightly
“Oh did we finally hire some help this year”
bitch did not
TELL ME SHE DID NOT
Oh but she did
Oh Nursey honey!
I genuinely cannot comprehend
People are fucking racist man
What did you do?
Gave her my best Customer Servive Smile and told her I was Dexy’s bf and sent her on her fucking way
Bet she didn’t like that
She did not
Yeah my family are fucking shit
Not all of them
Too fucking many that’s for sure
My body yearns for retribution
Oh Dex got super mad on my behalf bro
That’s my fucking boy man
Our boy, Rans, our boy
Least I could fucking do
Since it’s my fault he has to put up with this for another few days
Dude istfg we’ve been over this
I chose to fucking come
To flaunt my bi ass in the face of their bigotry
Fuck yeah we are Lards, we’re fucking cute and you wanna know why?
To fuck with my family
“Are you guys texting each other while in the same room?” It was Donnie. Chris right behind him.
Neither Derek nor Dex had noticed Dex’s brothers coming into the room, and Derek could hear other’s in the house too. Probably the kitchen.
“Chyea” Derek replied. “Our friends wanted an update on how meeting the fam is going.”
Donnie grinned. “You telling them how great his brothers are, just like, super funny, super handsome.”
“No.” Derek replied, deadpan. Chris burst out laughing but Dex slid him a wry look.
Derek couldn’t be asked to get up, he was comfortable. Dex looked very much the same. Chris and Donnie, however, didn’t seem to be leaving any time soon. They weren’t so bad, Derek decided, when they weren’t making jokes at the expense of his gay ass. Not in comparison to Eddie or Shannon.
Wow, was this really what it had come down to.