Derek woke the next morning with Dex in his arms. He was curled around Dex’s back, his arm slung around his waist, hand resting on Dex’s stomach. Derek smiled, he could get used to waking up list this. Dex was waking up too, shifting slightly in Derek’s arms. And then he stretched. His whole body tensing up and pressing against Derek’s. Derek’s arm tightened around Dex’s waist, Derek’s forehead resting on his shoulder.
“Morning.” Dex said, voice sleepy and heady.
Derek bit Dex’s shoulder. The jolt that went through Dex made Derek smile against the smooth skin of his shoulder. He pressed a soft kiss there as he listened to Dex’s breathing change from sleepy to carefully even. Dex’s arm reached up behind him, his hand curling into Derek’s hair.
“Mmm.” Derek couldn’t help but gasp out quietly.
Derek’s hips moved mostly of their own accord as they ground against Dex’s ass. Derek’s hand had moved to Dex’s hip, helping him keep a hold on him. Dex breathed out soft sounds of enjoyment, coaxing Derek on. He started with soft kisses to his neck and shoulder, occasionally nipping at him slightly.
“Derek.” Dex huffed quietly, taking hold of Derek’s hand on his waist and tugging on it.
Derek understood immediately and pressed a kiss to Dex’s neck. He moved his hand from Dex’s hip to the waistband of his boxers and slipped inside. When his hand found Dex’s already hard cock they both let out twin grunts. Derek tried moving his hand in time his hips that were still slowly rolling against Dex.
Dex turned his head to better see Derek, to press their lips together. Derek lifted himself up to allow Dex to roll onto his back. Dex’s kissing ability was severly impaired by Derek’s hand working on him, but Derek didn’t mind at all. He continued to kiss him, his lips, his forehead, his cheeks, his neck, his collarbone, his shoulders. Anywhere he could get his lips.
Dex was trying to conceive cohesive sentences but wasn’t able to do much more than mumble. His hands were restless, tracing Derek’s bicep, pulling on his hair, gripping onto his hip, his ass. Anywhere he could get his hands.
Derek was starting to tell when Dex was close because of the way he’d tense up. The way he’d tip his head back to give Derek access to his neck. The way his brows would pull together, and his eyes would roll back. Dipping his lips to Dex’s neck, he coaxed his boyfriend to his climax.
“Fuck Nurse.” Dex mumbled, eyes still closed.
Derek smiled and continued pressing soft kisses all over Dex. Soon Dex opened his eyes again, squinting against the morning light. Dex’s morning-post-orgasm smile made Derek’s chest hurt, yearn to hold him in this moment forever. A swirl of emotion flooded through him, something akin to envy coursed through him. He ached for this moment, to feel this emotion he’d only really read about. There was also disbelief, utter disbelief that he was existing in this moment. That it was his and Dex’s alone, theirs to share. The final feeling was a feeling of contentment, of the calm that comes with peace time. The feeling of a summer breeze as you watch the sunset, the feeling of being alone on the ice, the feeling of seeing a flower reach for the light or watching dust moats.
Dex’s hand rested on Derek’s cheek, bringing him back to the man who held him both in heart and hand. Dex’s expression turned for lazy morning to wicked in a second. A look that reminded Derek of how hard he was.
“Will you show me what you like?” Dex asked him.
The air left Derek’s lungs. He pressed his mouth firmly against Dex’s, wanting to feel their bodies against one another. Their kiss was messy and dirty and everything Derek craved. Dex’s hands were holding firmly onto Derek’s hips. Too soon Derek had to pull away.
He knelt above Dex, his knees bracketing his hips. Dex lay back and smiled up at him with a lazy grin, a smile Derek returned as he pushed down the waistband of his own boxers. Taking himself in his hand, he did exactly what Dex had asked for. He showed him what he liked.
Later, after they’d both showered, they stood in their room looking at their bed. They both had to admit how gross it had gotten after 6 nights sleeping in it, and more than a couple orgasms. The real issue was how they were going to clean them without attracting attention, attention that would almost certainly end in inappropriate jokes and lewd comments.
“So, there’s no tumble dryer.” Derek said.
“No, the house’s electrics are too sketchy for too many appliances.” Dex sighed. “The one time they tried to whole circuit freaked the fuck out.”
“So the washing of the sheets shouldn’t be too hard, but the drying and replacing…” Derek
“Yeah, I mean. We can get new sheets easy. But that still leaves cleaning these ones, and there’s no way I’m making my grandma clean my spunked up sheets.”
Derek wrinkled his nose at the use of phrase but understood Dex’s point. Granny Aoife did not deserve such a task. Then again, she did have like a ton of kids, half of which were boys. Not that Derek was going to add to the problem.
“How about,” Derek said slowly. “We replace our sheets and the manky old ones can be balled up and put in a bag until before we leave, and we clean them then?”
Dex frowned but nodded. “Seems to be the best plan. ‘Cause there’s no way I’m sleeping in that bed again until they have new sheets.”
“Who knew you were a clean freak.” Derek smiled lazily, knowing the comment would rile up Dex.
“I’m not a clean freak, not wanting to sleep in like three-day old jizz isn’t being a clean freak. It’s being sanitary and having basic hygiene.”
“Babe, chill.” This time Dex turned to look at him, realisation that Derek was winding him up dawning on his face.
“I swear to God, if you say chill one more time this week.” Dex said seriously, but a smile was curling on his lips.
They changed the sheets, the only fresh ones left were heinously floral in a way that should be criminal. ‘Cause Derek like flowers, okay, he thought they were fucking sick. But somehow, people had managed to fuck up flowers.
“At least we don’t have to worry about getting fluids all over these sheets.” Dex said once they were on the bed. Derek’s heart sank because there was a very real chance of that.
At breakfast Derek noticed Roisin avoiding them, he raised an eyebrow at Dex who just sighed and shook his head at him. Ben and Vanya cornered them to tell them today was the day they were going to tell the family about their pregnancy and to prepare for a very excited Aisling. Dex smiled for them but looked tired already at the level of excitement that was about to takeover the reunion.
They ended up hanging around the stage and firepit once breakfast was over and done with. Dex left Derek with Ban and Vanya as he went off to find Roisin. Derek didn’t mind, he was comfortable enough with Ben and Vanya now that he didn’t feel on edge.
“Is Rosy okay?” Vanya asked Derek as they watched Dex leave.
“I’m not sure. She got into a fight yesterday.” Derek replied. Ben and Vanya shot him alarmed looks making Derek realise that none of the young adult Poindexters had seen fit to tell anyone about the party. Which made sense, adult often over reacted and would bring unnecessary things into situations, like law enforcement. “Ah right, yeah.”
“Explain.” Ben said, the most serious Derek had ever seen him.
“I’m not even sure what happened, we were hanging with Dex’s friends Katie and Brandon when we heard some yelling. Will was on his feet before I even knew what was going on. Some girl Roisin’s age, called Lila or something –”
“Layla.” Ben nodded.
“Sure.” Derek shrugged. “She was trashing Poindexters and saw Dex heading over and said ‘here comes the fag’ which is when Roisin hit her. Dex pulled her off the girl, told her to stop. That what some random small town girl had to say didn’t matter. The Declan twins showed up and essentially told this girl to fuck off and then told everyone the show was over kind of thing. Roisin was still kinda angry so Will carried her off.”
“Carried her off? Like… literally?” Vanya asked.
“Oh yeah.” Ben nodded, smiling slightly. “Roisin’s always had a temper like Will has, so he was often the best at dealing with her. Unless it was the two of them fighting. He would just carry her away.”
“You don’t seem all that bothered.” Vanya noted.
“I’m not.” Ben shrugged. “You should have heard about the scraps Will used to get into. Or Donnie, or Chris.”
“But not you?” Vanya teased.
“Oh, me too. But at that time it was only me and Cathy, and Cathy couldn’t care less what trouble I got into. So it was either figure things out for myself or become a complete degenerate.” Ben shrugged like it was nothing. “Besides, the rest of us don’t really get angry like those two do. Most of our brawls were just guys being doofuses.”
The conversation moved on from there. They asked about Derek’s family and were surprised to hear he was an only child. Ben shook his head like he couldn’t even picture having a small family, but Vanya nodded understandingly, having one sibling herself and all of two cousins who lived in a different state.
Ben asked Derek if he played any instruments. Derek admitted he had been taught violin as a child but only knew classical. As he’d gotten older he’d seen some truly talented people who used their violins to play all manners of music, to invoke a range of emotions, but whenever he’d tried to do the same it had always sounded like a sad copy. A porcelain doll who can only be played with carefully, always watching the ragdolls be taken on adventures.
Derek frowned at the metaphor he’d used. He could do better than that.
Ben had just laughed and asked to hear it. That’s how Dex found them a few hours later, Derek playing classical violin and Ben trying to teach him how to incorporate other styles in.
“What you up to?” Dex asked, eyebrow raised.
“Just with Ben, jammin’.” Derek replied easily.
Dex closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “I fucking hate you.”
Vanya laughed, “sorry I just got it. Benjamin. Pregnancy brain.”
“Wait, what?” Roisin was stood slightly behind Dex. She stared at Vanya with wide eyes. “Really?”
Vanya grinned at her. “Yup, you’re gonna be an aunt, Roisin. We’re gonna tell your ma and da later on, so keep it secret until then.”
Roisin smiled warmly at her sister-in-law and nodded, holding her finger to her lips. Her eyes drifted to the violin in Derek’s hands. She frowned. “Is that my Fiddle?”
“Uh, maybe? Ben handed it to me, sorry.”
“Don’t be.” She smiled. “You play?”
“We’ve been trying to instil some Irish rebellion into his playing.” Ben grinned at his little sister. “You know all about that Rose.”
The next hour or so was spent with Roisin trying to help Derek play the violin, differently. Whenever she took the instrument from his hands it was almost as though it transformed. He had been taught straight back, make a line with your neck, hold your bow like this. When Roisin held her violin it looked as though it her an extension of her. Her whole body moved with the movement as she felt everything she played.
Maybe that was Derek’s issue. He’d always tried to not show too much emotion, too many emotions could be dangerous. When you’re black and angry. When you’ve got a crush and you’re gay. When you’re happy but anxious. He’d never been much of a classical player, he just had the technical aspect down which meant he passed as a decent player. With this style of playing the technical mattered less, anytime Roisin’s finger slipped or drew the bow wrong it didn’t feel like a mistake, it felt more real. More visceral. The feeling she poured into her playing was what made it good.
“Oh my god, is that a ukulele?” Vanya said brightly, noticing the tiny instrument next to a few other guitars. “If you can play guitar can you play the uke?”
Dex held his hand out for the ukulele and considered it. “In theory? Who’s is it anyway?”
Roisin blushed, her violin now on her lap. “It’s mine. I was teaching myself thing summer.”
“Yes Rosy!” Ben grinned, throwing his hands into the air. “Join the guitar gang.”
“Stringed instruments all the way.” She rolled her eyes.
“What can you play?” Dex asked, smiling proudly at his little sister.
“I don’t know any real songs, I’ve just been messing around with chords.” She said, taking the ukulele from Dex.
“Why the switch?” Vanya asked. “I mean, you’ve absolutely mastered that violin, and you play the cello, too don’t you?”
“I’m not so good at the cello, but decent.” Roisin nodded, averting her eyes from her brothers. “I wanted to move over because it’s easier for songs.”
“Rosy, you’re writing songs!” Ben said, clasping his hands together.
“They’re not much.” Roisin mumbled. “Besides, it’s not like I can live up to Will.”
Dex gave Roisin a light kick. “Don’t you dare.”
“It’s all valid, Rosy,” Derek nodded, shrugging as he spoke. “You’ve got your own sound, your own style. It’s not about being Will, it’s about being you.”
“They’re also just…” She took a deep breath, her brow furrowing as she looked for the words. “They’re too raw. To share with everyone.”
“How about just us?” Vanya asked.
“You’ve been feeling a lot recently, Rosy.” Dex murmured, moving to kneel in front of his little sister so he could look her in the eye. “And you’ve been struggling to tell me what’s going on. Sometimes I find that my songs works better than my words.”
Roisin bit her lip and nodded. She positioned the ukulele in her hands and closed her eyes. "It's called Darkness Keeps Chasing Me."
Opening my eyes
Seems like it gets harder sometimes
Look at the skylight
Would you be mad at me if I tried running away to it in the night?
Derek was surprised by the tone of her voice. Her violin playing was so lively that the song was a direct contrast. Her voice was grainy in a good way, perfect in its imperfections. As he watched her face he noticed how she tried to hide how she felt as she sang, but it was coming through anyway.
Every now and then
The darkness tries to chase me
And my legs
Are getting tired of running
Oh, please don’t
Please don’t let it get to me
Oh, I don’t wanna give up that easily
But the darkness keeps chasing me,
Derek’s heart hurt for the girl. He had felt what she was feeling. He could see the truth of her emotions playing on her face. Glancing to the side he saw Vanya covering her mouth with her hand, her eyes shining with unshed tears. Ben’s usually happy face had fallen, understand and empathy etched into his face.
I will be different
But I’m not sure if I can do it all alone
God, I want to be different
But im not sure if I can do it on my own
Dex drew in a sharp breath at his sister’s words, his eyes watching his sister with such worry. Derek supposed that was because he had an idea what this was about, beside the obvious.
As she finished her song Roisin kept her eyes down, waiting for a response from her family.
“Oh Rosy.” Dex said, leaning forward and pulling his sister into a hug. She slumped against him as he whispered something in her ear.
“Oh fuck, I’m crying.” Vanya said, tilting her head up and blinking at the sky. “Roisin you are incredible.”
Dex and Roisin separated from their hug. Ben exhaled softly before speaking to his sister.
“It was absolutely, gut-wrenchingly, beautiful.” He said, his eyes searching hers. “Truly, a beautiful song. I think you encapsulated the feeling very well. I’m just so sad you’re experiencing it.”
“I’m okay.” Roisin sniffled slightly. “I am, really. Or at least, I’m better.” Her eyes flicked to Dex, who was watching her with a sad smile.
“Can I get the whole thing written down?” Derek asked, his brain unable to absorb the lyrics fully.
Roisin smiled and nodded at him.
“God, do you have any others?” Vanya asked. “’Cause if you do, tell me if they’re going to make me cry too.”
Roisin laughed. “I do, but they’re all angsty songs about being a teenager and all that brings.”
“Hey look, we’ve all been there. Literally, all of us.” Vanya gave her a wide-eyed look of understanding. “High school was a nightmare for me. A mixed-race girl in Maine with a name like Vanya Ngozi Uzu-Plotskivich. I don’t know the shit you’re going through but never downplay how awful it is.”
“Oh babe,” Ben said, looking at his watch. “We told ma we’d meet her around now. Wish us luck guys.”
Ben helped Vanya to her feet and offered them the chance to join them. Dex and Roisin declined. They wandered toward First Home hand-in-hand. Dex had a look about him, one that told Derek that he wanted to talk to his sister. One that Derek didn’t think he should be sitting in on.
“You guys look like you need to talk.” He said, rising to his feet. “I’ll go find Saoirse and Sinead or something.”
“Babe, I don’t want you to –” Dex said, reaching his hand out and taking Derek’s.
“Will, it’s fine.” Derek smiled at him and raised his hand to kiss it. “I’ll survive. Rosy, you’re incredible. I loved your song and I can’t wait to hear more. Remember to give me a written copy.”
Wandering around alone was interesting. People were no longer giving him weird looks, he’d been there long enough that they’d gotten used to him. A few people waved and smiled, some called out to him and asked where Dex was, and if he’d finally escaped. It was all friendly. It was just family things. A thought that sent Derek reeling a bit.
Derek went to go grab his poetry book, deciding instead to sit a be alone for a while. He hadn’t had any alone time in a week, and it had drained him. He suspected that when he got back to New York he’d take a moment to enjoy the solitude, the quiet, and then immediately crave the feeling of family once more.
It was hard to judge the success of a writer. He could write 10,000 words and it all be useless, or he could write merely 500, but those 500 be the best he’d ever written. He could scribble something good down in five minutes, or spend an hour perfecting a sentence. There was no accurate gauge in Derek’s mind.
It came to no surprise to him when Dex appeared some time later to call him to lunch. Walking hand in hand they made their way to the firepit. Derek asked how Roisin was, to which Dex had sighed and said she’d be alright.
As they arrived where the food was being handed out they saw a lot of people gathered around Ben and Vanya, giving them handshakes and hugs and claps on the back. Dex’s mother was fluttering around, her face red as though she’d been crying. Her smile was radiant though, Derek thought. She looked ecstatic.
Dex didn’t even pretend he didn’t know when his mother told him the news. He laughed as she gasped and smacked Ben on the arm, who gave Dex look of exasperation. Aisling kept repeating ‘a grandmother, I’m going to be a grandmother!’ to herself and to anyone who would listen.
The day was spent in a warm haze. Happy congratulations, spirits raising at the prospect of another Poindexter. The kids danced around, the teens had relaxed enough to be goofy again, adults were less worried about keeping everyone in line for a week as it drew to a close.
Sinead and Saoirse teased Dex about Stephanie, much to his brother’s enjoyment. Even Cathy smiled when Dex related the story of how Roisin had pointed out his ex-girlfriend dancing with an unsuspecting Derek. Roisin laughed as she told them of how he had marched over and claimed what was his.
Derek thought back to that party when Dex had left to deal with Roisin. Stephanie had sidled up to Derek, Katie, and Brandon.
“You should hear the songs he wrote about me.” Stephanie had said smugly.
Derek had smiled back at her evenly. “You should hear the way he screams my name.”
“Fuck.” Katie gasped, laughing at Derek’s unexpected words. Brandon didn’t even try to hide his laugh.
Stephanie’s face paled, a cold look stealing over her face. Derek couldn’t find it in himself to care as she walked away. He shrugged at Will’s friends, who both smiled at him. Brandon even offering him a fist bump.
Yeah, Derek very decidedly liked Dex’s friends, and they had let him know that they very much decidedly liked him too. It was crazy, how quickly Derek had been sucked into Dex’s fairy tale world. And it truly felt like a fairy tale at times. None of these things that they did so casually felt real. But maybe that was the city kid in him.
After dinner everyone sat by the firepit. A few solar-powered lights had been set up around them too. There was a quiet murmur of voices as everyone enjoyed one another’s company. People sat less in clusters and more together.
Everyone was dressed differently than usual. The men wore loose shirts and slacks, the women wore either flowing dresses or skirts. There were colourful belts tied around waists and embroidered shawls draped over shoulders.
A hush fell over the assembled family. Looking up Derek say Granny Aoife standing on the stage, a motherly smile gracing her face. She looked gorgeous, in the way some elderly do when utterly in their element. When they feel comfortable and at home.
“What a beautiful reunion this has been.” She spoke in her Irish lilt. “I couldn’t be more proud of the family I have created. It started with me son, Seamus. By the time I was on me last bearn he was on his first. The family has been growing ever since. There have been many ups and downs, we’ve lost a lot of people. With ye all gathered tonight, I’m reminded of all I have and how much I have to be grateful fer. New partners have been brought back ta the First Home, brought into the arms of our family, and there’s not one of them I wouldn’t wish here with us. You all belong, so long as you protect and love what is mine, and now yours. Our family is still growing, with Caitlin about ta have a wee’un, young Vanya too. For it is the women of this family, that have kept us strong.”
The atmosphere around the firepit as Granny Aoife spoke was that of family. Derek, not for the first time in his life, struggled to think of the words that described the feeling of kin.
Granny Aoife drew in a breath, her aged voice singing
When we go marching, marching, in the beauty of the day
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mil-lofts grey
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses
For the people hear us singing “Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses”
The other women in the family’s voice filtered in, their voices rising as they sang. It was taking Derek’s breath away to hear them sing so peacefully, with so much love, with so much depth.
As we come marching, marching, we battle, too, for men—
For they are women's children and we mother them again.
Our days shall not be sweated from birth until life closes—
Hearts starve as well as bodies: Give us Bread, but give us Roses.
A few of the men had moved to retrieve their instruments. There was soft drumming and strumming. And something Derek thought was a bagpipe in Uncle Bill’s hands. The respect this family had for their women was evident in every man’s face as they listened to their mothers, wives, and sisters sing.
As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient song of Bread;
Small art and love and beauty their trudging spirits knew—
Yes, it is Bread we fight for—but we fight for Roses, too.
Derek turned to look at Vanya, who was sat next to him. She had tears in her eyes again, ones she didn’t mind shedding, her hand on her stomach where her own child was growing.
As we come marching, marching, we bring the Greater Days—
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler—ten that toil where one reposes—
But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses.
There was a pause as the song ended. As everyone bathed in the atmosphere that had settled. Then, nearby, Sinead stood up and started singing a new song. At first, it was slow but as she sang faster the family started clapping the beat. Derek wasn’t sure if it was another language or scatting. Saoirse stood suddenly, causing Sinead to stop her singing. What she sang was clearly part of the same song.
Soon they were singing together, instruments starting up again. Derek even saw Chris and Donnie with handheld drums. When Dex had said they played the drums he had assumed it would just the usual.
“A bodhrán.” Dex murmured in Derek’s ear.
The cousin Gwen stood and joined Sinead and Saoirse causing all them to stop singing. She sang her own piece that soon Sinead and Saoirse were joining in with. The harmony flowed around the firepit. The family were smiling and clapping. Sinead sang alone,
Look how the lights of the town,
The lights of the town
Are shining now
Tonight, I’ll be dancing around
I’m off on the road to Galway now
Saoirse and Gwen shared a look and then were singing themselves
Look how she off on the town…
They all danced around one another as they sang. They turned and faced the assembled family
Téir abhaile riú, téir abhaile riú
Téir abhaile riú Mhearai
Téir abhail gus fan sa bhaile
Mar tá do mhargadh déanta
Derek gasped and turned to Dex. “They’re singing in Irish.”
Dex grinned at him, the soft light making him look unearthly. “Cén fáth go bhfuil siad.”
Derek’s heart beat unevenly in his chest, he’d fallen in love with a fairy. “Holy shit.”
Dex had never mentioned, but of course he wouldn’t. He turned to Vanya who winked at him. She hadn’t warned him either. But then again, experiencing this without prior warning was probably for the best. It was magical.
Roisin skipped out, her fiddle tucked under her chin. She played it with ease as she wove between the singers. They were just as respectful of her as they would be if she were another singer up there.
There's fine sailors walking the town
And waiting to meet the ladies there
Watch now he'll soon be along
He's finer than any sailor so
Come on now pick up your spoons
He's waiting to hear you play them WOO!
Faolan had joined them on the stage and had dancing around them. Saoirse and Gwen continued singing as Sinead slapped spoons on her leg, actually playing the spoons. Something Derek had never seen before.
There was a break in the singing and Faolan started Irish dancing, much to Derek’s surprise. Cormac and Jon joined him in his Irish dancing as Roisin dancing in and around them, playing her fiddle. Behind them Derek was fairly certain Lachlan was playing a flute.
Everyone joined in the singing, clapping along harder. One of the guitars Derek saw he was fairly certain was a lute. This was just too incredible for him to comprehend.
The singing, the dancing, the firelight, the stars in the sky.
When the song came to an end there was a loud cheer. Uncle Bill called for something he called a ‘Caoineadh’ and was met with a laugh. The next songs to be sung were by some of the older members, songs called ‘four green fields’ and ‘the town I loved so well.’ The girls had returned to sitting, occasionally joined in with the instrument playing.
Dex stopped up and headed toward the stage. He walked with such ease, such confidence. Who lived like this? Derek couldn’t help but wonder, who actually got to experience this? A hush descended as Dex was noticed. It felt as though they had been waiting for him, like they knew what song he was going to sing.
Oh Danny Boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
Ah, of course. No Irish evening of festivities was complete without Oh Danny Boy. Even Derek knew this song. Even so, it was beautiful. Dex was allowed to sing the first verse on his own before he was joined by instruments and other voices. Derek couldn’t help but wonder why it had been left to him to sing.
When he was done Dex looked out across the family in front of him, his eyes searching until he found Derek. Derek felt as though everything else had faded away. Dex got up and walked toward him. They kept their eyes on one another until they were face to face.
“What are you.” Derek found himself wondering in awe.
“I’m yours.” Dex relied, pressing a soft kiss to Derek’s lips.
The thing that drew the two of them out of looking into one another’s eyes like idiots was Roisin. She stepped out toward the stage, her beautiful dress billowing out. She no longer had her fiddle, but a ukulele.
“This is a song my littlest big brother wrote for me. I haven’t been feeling the best recently, but my big brother always has my back.” Roisin said. “I hope you don’t mind me singing it for you. It’s called, Light The Sky.”
There was clapping of encouragement from all around and a gasp from Aisling, ‘oh darling!’ Roisin strummed softly on her ukulele.
Stars, they got nothing on us
I don't think you understand
Dex was watching her with wide eyes. He perhaps hadn’t expected her to sing a song he’d written for her, or perhaps he hadn’t expected her to sing at all.
Cause the stars are dull when they're compared to you and I
And if people don't like it, then they can close their eyes
'Cause we're not the same and we don't have to try
'Cause we're brighter than fireflies
We're gonna light the sky
Derek sighed. It was a beautiful song. It made him happy to hear the words Dex had written for his sister, words he’d used to cheer her up, words he’d written to let her know she was okay. But he couldn’t help but read into it. Into what these words could mean.
Cause my head is spinning and my feet off the ground
And I can't stop dancing like no one's around
And yeah, I think we were born to shine
Roisin’s face as she drew to the close of her and Dex’s song, took on a new ferocity that Derek had come to associate with the Poindexters. Her voice portrayed her emotions just as well as her fiddle playing did.
When she was finished there was a pause before the applause started. Derek looked around and saw Aisling and Dex’s father both had tears in their eyes. Aisling rushed forward and embraced her daughter.
“What a beautiful song your brother wrote for you! Goodness, my children have been making me cry all day, look at ye’s!” Aisling turned to Dex and wrapped him in just as ferocious hug.
“Why are just you and Dex so special!?” Donnie asked with a laugh, voice full of faux annoyance.
Roisin turned to look at her elder brother and raised her eyebrow at him. “’Cause we’re the gay ones.”
There was a pause as her words were absorbed. And then Donnie laughed and held up his hands, “Fair enough, you guys keep your club.”
“Oh my god.” Vanya whispered, her hand over her chest. Ben next to her looked just as torn as she did. Derek knew they were both doing what he was doing, putting her earlier song into context.
More songs were sang that night. More dancing. Dex even joined in some of the Irish dancing, much to Derek’s delight. He moved like he did when he was on the ice, with purpose and masculine energy. Roisin coaxed Derek into playing the violin with her. Together they both attempted a jovial jig, Derek following her lead.
They stayed out all night, until the fire got low and the sun came up. The whole world turned golden with the fresh light. The dew clung to the world around them. The air was crisp and new. Children were carried to bed in their parent’s arms, lovers walked back hand in hand. Young people continued to dance as they made their way to bed. A soft song was sung as they packed up the things that needed to be put away before bed.
Dex took Derek by the hand as they walked through the damp grass toward First Home. They lay facing one another in bed, talking in hushed voices as the early birds began their own singing. Dex smiled with love and amusement as he watched Derek struggle to put into words the evening he just experienced.