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The Gay Favour

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The last day was a slow one. Will and Nursey had a lazy morning in bed, snuggled up and occasionally kissing. Eventually they roused themselves to helping pack up. Thankfully everyone was moving slowly, having all stayed up until dawn the night before. Breakfast was leftovers, sausages and bubble and squeak. There wasn’t much juice or squash left so they were all mixed together into what Nursey kept referring to as PG tub-juice.

 

As some of the last up they had the fun job of washing up the breakfast cutlery and crockery. Luckily there wasn’t much of it as it had been a simple breakfast, and it sure beat packing up the campsite. Families were packing cars up with bedding and roll mats and kids running to and fro.

 

 

The pots and pans were all packed away into the basement of First Home, too big for everyday use but to be brought out for events. Will’s brothers were taking down the equipment of the stage but that didn’t stop some of the elder poindexter’s playing music.  As Will and Nursey reappeared out of the house they saw Uncle Bill and a few of the other older Poindexters who lived locally sitting by the stage, all sitting around and singing merrily,

 

In Dublin’s fair city

Where the girls are so pretty

I first set my eyes on

Sweet Molly Malone

As she wheeled her wheelbarrow

Through streets broad and narrow

Crying cockles and mussels

Alive, alive ‘O!

 

 

They sang with a cheery yet melancholy sort of sound. The song had been slowed down than Will was used to hearing it, but it made him smile to hear it sang. It reminded him of his childhood of hearing old folk songs. He didn’t remember having learnt these songs, they’d always been around him that they felt like part of him. There had been a time where he’d gotten rather embarrassed by his family and their penchant for the old ways and the old songs. He didn’t feel like that anymore.

 

Alive, alive ‘O!

Alive, alive ‘O!

Crying cockles and mussels

Alive, alive ‘O!

 

Nursey turned to grin at him as they approached the singers, he looked ecsatic. “I know this one.”

 

Will rolled his eyes. “Then join in.”

 

“Can I?” Nursey dropped his voice low.

 

Will took Nursey’s hand and pulled him down to sit next to him to sit on the crates with the other Poindexters. Will waited for them to reach the next verse before joining in.

 

She was a fishmonger

But sure ‘twas no wonder

 

Will gestured to Nursey as he sang. Nursey straightened up and sang along with them. Uncle Bill cheered when Nursey started singing too.

 

For so were her mother and father before

And they both wheeled their barrows

Through streets broad and narrow

Crying cockles and mussels

Alive, alive ‘O!

 

“Beautiful Derek!” Maire laughed. “Come on now!”

 

Alive, alive ‘O!

Alive, alive ‘O!

Crying cockles and mussels

Alive, alive ‘O!

 

“Final verse!” Bill called, before bellowing the last verse loudly. He was a fan of a rousing end.

 

She died of a fever!

And no one could save her!

 

From across the field came the voices of Declan and Lachlan, who’d heard their voices rise. Lachlan’s three daughters were sprinting toward the stage area, singing the last verse at the top of their lungs.

 

Now her ghost wheels her ‘barrow!

Through streets broad and narrow!

Crying cockles and mussels

Alive, alive ‘O!

 

The girls skipped around them as they closed the last chorus. They screamed and giggled in delight and once the song was over immediately started requesting more.

 

“Let’s do The Red River Valley!”

 

“No, Land of the Silver Birch!”

 

“No, Tumbalalaika!”

 

“Girls, none of those songs are Irish.” Bill mock scolded them.

 

The girls giggled. “We’re not just Irishhh Uncle Billlll.”

 

“Red River Valley is the only American song out of your choices, girls.” Will smiled at them. “Land of the Silver Birch is Canadian, and I have no idea where you got Tumbalalaika from.”

 

“Vanya taught it to us, she said it’s Yiddish.” Orla said knowingly.

 

Uncle Bill and Maire shared an amused and surprised look. As did

 

“You’ll have to get her to teach it to us.” Maire smiled. “We could use some new folk songs in this family, we tend to stick with our greatest hits. Incorporate the cultures of our ever-growing family.”

 

Orla decided that was her cue to run and find Vanya, much to the amusement of Lachlan. He just shrugged and shook his head, he wasn’t about to try and stop her. She reappeared with a bashful looking Vanya.

 

“I hope you don’t mind me teaching her some of my family songs.” She smiled uneasily.

 

“Not at all!” Uncle Bill opened his arms wide. “We’d love to learn it, if that’s alright.”

 

“Of course, it is! You’ll have to excuse my voice, it’s not the best.” Vanya sat down opposite Will and Nursey. “I’ll teach the English, I was never very good at Yiddish. My father, who was a Russian Jew came to America with his parents when he was young to avoid the war, taught me this song. It’s a riddle song, as I think most cultures have.”

 

Hear my tale of a certain young man

Who stayed up all night ‘til he thought of a plan

He wanted a girl, who would be his delight

A girl who was pretty

Pretty and bright

 

Tumbala, Tumbala, Tumbalalaika

Tumbala, Tumbala, Tumbalalaika

Tumbalalaika Tumbalalaika Tumbalalaika

Freylach zol zayn

 

Uncle Bill picked up with accordion and played a few chords that matched Vanya’s singing. She’d sing a verse and they’d repeat it, with each repetition Uncle Bill’s chords got more sure of themselves.

 

“I’ll have to search the actual ones of course.” He grinned.

 

Tell me my pretty one

Tell if you know

What needs no rain, and yet it can grow?

Tell what blossom, bloom through the year

Tell what can cry, cry without tears

 

“And back to the chorus.” Vanya smiled, “tumbala, tumbala…”

 

By this point more family had finished packing and finished their chores. Ben had walked up behind Vanya, his expression soft and slightly awed as she sang her song. His eyes warm as he saw his family absorb this new song into their collection, as they accepted her into their family.

 

Oh, foolish boy now surely you know

A stone needs no rain and yet it can grow

True love can blossom, bloom through the year

And a heart when it yearns cries without tears

 

The family needed no prompting as they all went into the chorus together. Vanya’s face lit up as she had the full gusto of Poindexter singing. The three Lachlan girls danced around as they sang, enjoying the song immensely.

 

“You guys sing it wonderfully!” Vanya said, a warm smile firmly in place. “My father would be very happy to know it’s being sung.”

 

“It’s perfect, our child can learn both our heritage.” Ben said, dropping down next to his wife.

 

“I have a feeling it’s going to learn more Irish songs that Jewish or Nigerian though.” Vanya laughed.

 

They spent the rest of the morning singing old songs as family slowly trickled out. There was hugs and kisses as families got in their cars and waved as they drove away. Many cars had sleeping children and teenagers in the back. Each car dropped their tent off at the house before leaving.

 

Soon mostly everyone was gone, only those who lived in the surrounding area were left. The Declans’ were the last to leave, with Sinead and Saoirse getting Nursey’s social media before they left. Ben and Vanya would be leaving the following morning, Will’s mother had convinced them to stay an extra night. Will did not envy the attention his mother was giving them now that they were expecting.

 

Nursey would be leaving that night though. His parents were expecting to attend a function with them the following night which required him being there all day with them to get ready.

 

Before this week, Will hadn’t really cared when Nursey left. Now? He already missed him. He had spent every moment, waking or otherwise, with Nursey for a week straight. He’d gotten used to him being there. Will know that he’d see him again soon, in fact they’d be sharing a room once more and probably getting on each other’s nerves again soon. He should be grateful for some space before that learning curve. But he wasn’t.

 

They said their goodbyes alone, full of kisses and trying not to feel dumb because of how mushy it was. Will still felt dumb. Nursey didn’t seem to have that issue as he whined each time Will pulled away and would grab him back and pull him into his arms. Will felt dumb. But he liked it.

 

It was one of those things where when you’re watching others doing it, you feel cringey and get second-hand embarrassment from them, where you think about how if anyone ever tried that with you you’d hate it. But when you’re with someone who makes you forget about what other people may be saying or thinking, you find you don’t care anymore. You like that they want you, you like that they make you feel dumb. You like that they give you butterflies and make you feel calm and content yet alive and like an electric wire. Will had felt this before, but never quite like this.

 

“I do have to go now.” Nursey murmured, his lips pressed against Will’s forehead.

 

“No.” Will sighed, wrapping his arms around Nursey’s waist even tighter.

 

Nursey laughed, his breath warm against Will’s head. “I love that you’re secretly cuddly.”

 

“Shut up.” Will moved his head so that his face was now buried in Nursey’s shoulder.

 

“William!” His mother’s voice called up the stairs. “Derek said he needed to leave by 7, it’s now quarter passed!”

 

“Okay you need to leave.” Will pulled back to look at Nursey, who sighed and nodded. “I’ll see you in a few weeks, yeah?”

 

Nursey’s smile grew. “Yeah you will, roomie.”

 

Will rolled his eyes. What on earth was he getting himself into. This could go so many different ways. But all thoughts and worries left his mind as Nursey pressed his lips against his. It was soft, and chaste. At first. Will honestly couldn’t help himself as he deepened the kiss. Revelling in the feeling of Nursey beneath his hands, in the feeling of Nursey’s hands on him.

 

“Babe.” Nursey murmured finally pulling away.

 

“Okay. Okay.” Will pulled himself out of Nursey’s arms. He groaned then picked up Nursey’s bag.

 

“Aw babe, that’s cute.” Nursey grinned at him as Will opened the door and gestured Nursey through. “Carrying my bag, opening doors for me. Is this what it’s like to date a Poindexter? I like this. You get an A* yelp review.”

 

“Shut up before I kick you down the stairs.” Will replied gruffly, but felt his cheeks warming.

 

“Cute.” Nursey mouthed with a wink before sauntering down the stairs. Which would have been pretty suave if he hadn’t tripped and almost fallen down them, catching himself last minute on the banister.

 

Will snorted as Nursey shot him a look of annoyance and amusement. He winked and mouthed “Cute”

 

At the bottom of the stairs was Will’s mother, ready to take Nursey into a bone-crushing hug. Will hung around on the bottom step as his mother spoke to Nursey. Will’s father stood behind her, arms crossed but a smile on his face.

 

“Oh Derek, I hope you enjoyed your time with us. I know our family can be a little much, and I know there were a couple mishaps and missteps. Towards the end there though things seemed to be absolutely lovely. You and Wills seemed to relax a lot more, seemed happier than at the beginning.” Will’s mother said, taking Nursey’s hands in hers.

 

“I’ve had a wonderful time.” Nursey smiled easily. “Truly, Aisling. You and the majority of your family have been very welcoming.”

 

Will’s father gave Nursey a strong handshake and a tight nod. Which Will supposed was a good thing. Not a man of many words, Will’s father. Chris and Donnie were in the living room but yelled their goodbyes. His mother’s expression told Will they were going to get scolded as soon as Nursey was gone. Nice.

 

“Derek!” Roisin came streaking through the house and plowed into Nursey. “You have to come back soon, okay? You make these things pretty fun. And you make Will get all gooey which is gross and funny.”

 

“Thanks.” Will said deadpan.

 

Roisin grinned at him. “It’s true though. You’re gross.”

 

“She’s not wrong, do we even wanna know why it took you guys so long to come down?” Ben asked, Vanya tucked under his arm.

 

Will closed his eyes and tried to not go red, which was not how that worked. He could hear the laugh in Nursey’s voice as he said. “I’m not afraid to admit how much I love cuddles. Seriously, bro, our team is a very cuddly team. It’s great.”

 

“Sounds it.” Vanya replied.

 

There were a few more goodbyes and idle chatter until Will reminded Nursey that he was supposed to leave half an hour ago. Will walked Nursey out to his car, which had been pulled around to the front of the house earlier that day.

 

Nursey’s bag was put into the boot. He opened the driver’s door and without thinking Will reached out and grabbed his arm. As Nursey turned to him Will leaned in to kiss him. Nursey smiled into the kiss, his hand landing on Will’s hip to bring him in closer.

 

“Sorry, I just needed one more.” Will smiled.

 

“I don’t mind at all.” Nursey smiled, cocking his eyebrow. He leant in to whisper in Will’s ear, “I suggest you do as much research into gay sex in these next few weeks cause once we’re back in the same bed I’m absolutely going to ravage you.”

 

Will gasped out an unexpected laugh. That was so Nursey. Christ what was he in for? “Yes sir.”

 

Nursey laughed at that, drawing away from Will and climbing into the driver’s seat. “Oh, I like that.”

 

“Don’t get used to it.” Will rolled his eyes and held onto the driver’s door. Drawing a deep breath, he ducked in once more and gave Nursey another kiss.

 

“Christ, I’ll see you in like a few weeks, you know phones exist right?” Nursey laughed at Will but his eyes were soft. “I’ll be back in Haus as soon as. Let me know when you know.”

 

“I will.” And with that, Will closed Nursey door. Soon, he was gone completely.