The night before, before the videos had gone viral and both news and social media had gone wild with speculation about Chris, Kate and Luca, things had stayed pretty quiet. This morning, within an hour of their joint statement being released, the news trucks and paps had arrived in full force, keeping only the mandatory distance from the house and all sides. Unaware of everything going on outside, Luca's had a great day, Chris distracting himself by building forts and playing crocodile in the living room most of the day. He'd offered to reschedule their date night but Matt had declined and now they're both getting dressed for dinner, Greg - and a second bodyguard - around the corner, waiting for their call. "Do you want me to wear a tie?" he asks from the closet, sticking his head out. "Are you wearing one?"
"No." Matt is wearing a three-piece suit, however, a modern cut slim leg pant with waistcoat and jacket, teamed with a white shirt. He's also accessorized with some jewelry he's not worn in a very long time; jewelry he'd always loved but Dylan had said intimated was 'too hippy' or that Matt was too old to carry off. A chunky silver ring sits on his right forefinger, a silver bangle circles one wrist joining the bracelets Chris had brought him back from India and he's finished this off with a silver chain from which suspends a silver disc, Luca's birthdate hand stamped on it. "I don't mind if you do wear one, it's a look I like on you."
Chris smiles, taking a good look at Matt. "You look gorgeous," he says. "I love the jewelry and that suit fits you perfectly."
"I've only worn it once before." Matt looks down at himself and then back up at Chris. "And thank you." Stepping up, he cups the side of Chris's face and tugs him down for a kiss. "You look edible," he murmurs against his lover's mouth.
"I am," Chris grins, kissing Matt back. "I'm dessert."
Fuck! Matt groans at that, biting at Chris's mouth and nipping at his lower lip. "I'll hold you to that."
"Please do," Chris says with another smile and a low groan of his own. "We'd better get going," he says a little reluctantly with a glance at his watch. Grabs a black tie to go with his tailored grey suit and white shirt, confident all eyes will be on Matt tonight. He texts Greg to bring the car around. "Are you sure you're ready for this? The airport's going to seem like nothing."
"We might as well bite the bullet." Matt nudges Chris's hands out of the way and swiftly knots his tie for him. "I don't want to be playing cat and mouse with them, so let's go out, be seen and maybe the novelty might wear off a little quicker." It doesn't really occur to him that he's being naive; that it's not just they're announcing they're a couple but that Chris is publicly stepping out of the closet.
"Okay," Chris nods, his nerves making themselves known for the first time, sending up a wave of butterflies in his stomach. But he's an actor after all and he's damned if he's going to let anyone out there see any weakness or fear. They're just another wave to be conquered. He takes Matt's hand and they make their way out to the living room, giving Luca and Kate kisses. Greg texts to say they're out front and they walk to the door, Kate waiting to lock up behind them. "Ready?"
Matt thought he was, he really did, until they stepped out of the shelter of the house to be faced with a barrage of noise and chaos. He recoils for a moment, acutely aware of Chris's hand tightening around his own, of the tension that seems to wash over his usually so relaxed lover. "Fuck," he breathes, blinking at the lights aimed at them. "Fuck!"
"Yeah, I know," Chris says, bringing their joined hands to his mouth for a quick kiss before he takes the lead, pulling Matt down the pathway to Greg and the waiting car, the questions hammering them, a barrage of voices and demands.
"Over here! How long have you known you're gay? Where did you guys meet? Who fucks who?" Chris grits his teeth, but still smiles for the cameras, refusing to comment or be drawn into reacting.
Matt is stunned, there's no other word for it and he is only pulled from it when Chris lifts their joined hands to his mouth. Blinking he squints against the flashing lights and falls in step as they make their way to the car with its open door. The noise seems to be mostly questions - some pretty benign, others downright obscene - and Matt frowns, not quite believing what he's hearing. What takes a minute no more, feels significantly longer, but eventually they reach the car, Greg holding it open, Chris moving in behind him to watch his back as he slides into the quiet cocoon of the back seat. Once inside he looks up, waiting for Chris to join him. His heart is hammering and his hands are shaking and Matt realises he really had no idea it would be like this.
"No comment," Chris says as he's getting into the car. "And there sure as hell won't be one while you're asking questions like that," he adds, gesturing in the general direction of where the worst of it came from. "Police yourselves, guys." He slides into the car beside Matt, reaching for his hand again, his heart beating wildly. "It won't always be like this," he promises. "We're just the scandal of the moment."
Matt rubs his free hand over his mouth, his head turned to look out of the privacy glass of the door nearest to him. "That was disgusting," he says softly. "I cannot believe what I heard out there."
"It's not all of them," Chris says, "but yeah, me neither." They pull away from the curb and sure enough, most of the news trucks and other vehicles follow them. "It's the bloggers and paps trying to make a name for themselves who are the worst."
"Are we even going to manage to eat?" Matt casts a glance out of the back window.
"They can't follow us into the restaurant and Greg and Max will make sure we get inside," Chris assures him. "Won't you, guys?"
"Damn right," Max mutters under his breath. "They'll assume you're going in back," he says, glancing at Matt in the rearview mirror. "So we'll stop in front. The restaurant's already been called. They have valet parking and no one's allowed to block it and they're not allowed to block the entrance either so we'll pull up there and we'll both see you out and inside."
"And then we'll do the same in reverse when you finish dinner," Greg adds.
"And what about back at the house? Kate and Luca are on their own with all that crap going on..." Matt glances over his shoulder again, the reality of what they've just done only now starting to dawn on him.
"There's two more guys on the house," Chris explains. "And even if there wasn't, they're not allowed to knock at the door or go onto the actual property. They'll be safe. Besides, you and I are the big news, the focus, and most of them have followed us."
Matt isn't entirely mollified by Chris's assurances, this is new territory for him to navigate. "I need you to make sure that they always have someone watching them Chris, always..." the thought that Luca might be exposed to that vile display they'd just endured making him feel vaguely sick.
"I will," Chris promises, glancing at Greg. Luca's already taken a liking to the other man and it would do them good to have someone permanent. "By the time we get back from the wedding, there'll be security systems in place at both houses and I'll talk to AJS about us needing someone for good."
Closing his eyes Matt tips his head back against the seat, taking a minute to concentrate on finding some semblance of equilibrium before they get to the restaurant.
It's not a long ride but there are vans beside them, behind them, cameras rolling as they try to get a view inside, the tinted windows spoiling their efforts. A few blocks before the restaurant, a number peel off, Max right in his assertion they'd assume they'd go for the back entrance. But there's still enough left that when they pull up in front, it's full on pandemonium, reporters and paps spilling out onto the street, Greg and Max blocking them as Chris and Matt exit the car. And again, the calls ring out, the questions, the accusations, the obscenities, Chris wishing he could shield Matt from it all. The owner meets them at the door though, using his body to shield them as well and firmly closing the door behind them. "Mr. Hemsworth, Mr. Czuchry, if you'll follow me," he says with a smile. "Your table is ready."
Even as they move into the relative quiet of the restaurant, Matt realizes that many of the other diners have turned their attention to the commotion they have brought with them, and he dips his head, embarrassed and uncomfortable. He follows Chris, taking a proffered hand and after a moment he lifts his head, determined to at least pretend he's not entirely freaked out.
Chris pulls out Matt's chair, seeing him seated before taking his own. "You okay?" he asks softly, his words for Matt alone, as he opens his menu.
Matt picks up his napkin and lays it over his knee, simply to give himself something to do. "Not really," he admits quietly. "That was way more intense than I was expecting." He doesn't mention that he hadn't expected the lewd comments and the overt feeling of homophobia that was evident in some of the questions being yelled at them. "I'm sure a drink will help though," he manages a smile at that.
"Wine or cocktails to start?" Chris asks, ignoring the looks they're getting. Knowing it'll die down soon.
"Wine would be good," Matt nods. What he'd prefer is a scotch but he'll save that for later. "A red."
Chris consults with the sommelier and he recommends an Argentinian Malbec. Once Chris has nodded his approval of the wine he pours glasses for them both, then steps away so the waiter can recite the day's specials for them. "Those sounds good. I think we still need a minute with the menu though," Chris says with a smile. "Do you have any idea what you want?" he asks Matt when they're alone again.
"The seared scallops," Matt muses after a few moments scanning the menu. There are several dishes that appeal but Matt finds he's not hugely hungry and he loves seafood. "With the green bean and crispy shallot side," he adds, looking up. "I'll skip the starter."
"Me too," Chris says, still torn between a couple of dishes. "I'll save my appetite for dessert," he adds with a grin, wavering for a moment before he decides, "I think I'll have the grilled swordfish special." He smiles at Matt. "Do you want a white wine to go with our seafood?"
"Champagne?" Matt suggests, not sure if Chris is even a fan of bubbly or not. "But yes, a white would be lovely."
They place their orders with the waiter and the sommelier returns to recommend a Champagne. That done, Chris sits back and smiles across the table at Matt. "I know I said it earlier, but you look gorgeous."
"A three piece suits me, huh?" Matt smiles, happy to be diverted by his lover. "I love this fabric," he adds, smoothing his hands down the front of the jacket, the fine silk blend a dusky blue with a large but subtle check pattern.
"It's really nice," Chris says, taking a sip of his wine. "And I see you're wearing my gift from India."
Matt looks down at his wrist, his fingers toying with the bracelet. "I used to wear jewelry, I like chunky silver stuff, but Dylan didn't like it and it got easier to just not bother than put up with his pointed comments," he muses softly. "And then when he'd gone I had Luca and it wasn't practical."
Chris smiles. "I'll make sure you get lots of date nights where you can wear it," he promises, thinking once more what an ass Dylan was. He glances towards the front of the restaurant, catching sight of a few people outside still waiting for them, knowing the crowds will come back when they leave. Fuck.
"I think I'm just going to start wearing some of it again," Matt shrugs, following Chris's gaze. "Did you expect this much interest?" he asks quietly.
"Yes and no," Chris says, his attention fully back on Matt. "I'm used to this sort of crowd when we do PR for any of the Marvel films, but I wasn't expecting the obscenities, and I've never had them outside my house in any numbers."
"Homophobia is alive and well it seems," Matt grimaces, shaking his head. "Well, we've opened Pandora's Box now, we're just going to have to deal with it."
Chris nods. "I had an idea to try and defuse it but I don't think it's one you'll like," he says, draining his glass of Malbec.
Tipping his head to one side Matt's brows draw down. "Try me."
"We could do an interview - just the two of us, or Kate too - with one of the more reputable outlets, like People. Get ahead of all of this and once they've posted some pictures and an interview, there won't be anything left for these vultures," he gestures towards the windows. "It wouldn't mean we wouldn't be followed, or still have to deal with them the way I normally do, but it wouldn't be like this."
Matt doesn't reply but his fingers keep toying with the bracelet as he thinks. "If you really think that it will deal with some of this... shit," he waves toward the front of the restaurant. "But I want Luca kept out of this, no face pictures at all. I'd rather not involve Kate either but that will need to be her decision."
Chris nods. "I think we should make the offer for her to be involved but it's totally up to her," he agrees. "And I wouldn't dream of putting Luca in front of them. The laws are pretty strict about what they're allowed to do with him anyway. They wouldn't have been allowed to follow us the way they did tonight if he'd been in the car. They can take pictures from a distance but they can't do anything that harasses him or makes him feel unsafe."
"And do these parasites actually stick to the law? Because if anyone distresses Luca in any way..." Matt trails off, his paternal instincts almost choking him at the thought of his son having to hear some of the filth that was shouted at them earlier.
"I'll be right there by your side and we won't let them," Chris says firmly, reining in the anger just the thought provokes in him. "We'll make sure they keep their distance."
"So an interview, somewhere neutral I assume? What do we share? What do we keep to ourselves?" Matt reaches over the table to top up Chris's glass. This is not what he thought they'd be discussing on their date night when he had first requested it; he'd thought they'd be talking about the wedding, about work, normal couple conversations.
"Yeah, their office or a restaurant," Chris says. "Just the two of us, unless Kate wants in. A few photos, the basic story of how we met, a reiteration of what we said in our statement. We can ask them to give us their questions beforehand. We don't talk about our sex life or anything else you want to put off limits."
"Okay," Matt nods. "Let's do that, but no mention of the wedding, right?"
"You mean the date and the details?" Chris asks. They'd already mentioned they were getting married in their statement.
"That it's happening anytime soon," Matt elaborates, leaning in, reaching for Chris's hand.
"Definitely," Chris nods, taking Matt's hand. "It's none of their business, and with Greg and Max's help, we should be able to throw them off our track at the airport. Maybe only end up with an amateur photog or two in Whistler."
"Okay," Matt nods, looking down at their joined hands. "So how do we handle the rest of this week? We have clothes shopping to do for Luca, we promised Kate a spa day and we still need to pick wedding rings."
"We'll take Luca out shopping tomorrow. We'll have Greg and Max and get a couple extra guys. They'll have to back off because Luca will be with us and they won't be able to follow us into the shops. We can slip Kate out the back at the same time to go for her spa day," Chris starts, working through the logistics. "If we can set the interview up for the following day, we'll do that and then go ring shopping since we'll already be out and I can take Kate for her dinner that night."
So much for their relaxed family week at the beach. Matt nods, "If you're sure it'll be okay." He has to concede to Chris on this as he's more experienced with this unpleasant side of fame.
"Our other choice is to head up to Whistler now and do our shopping and everything else up there as well," Chris says. "Canada doesn't do paparazzi the way we do down here. A few might follow us but security can easily handle them. And then we can come back here another time, when things have settled down."
"But we weren't supposed to head up there for another week?" Matt's surprised at the suggestion. "Can we do that?" He pulls back and looks up as the server approaches with their table with their food, he takes the opportunity to look around them again, checking to see if they are still being watched.
"Let me see," Chris says, pulling out his phone, which he wouldn't normally do on a date night. He texts Aaron, asking him to check if the property at Whistler is free for them to come up early. "He says he'll get right back to us."
Matt thanks the server and waits until they've retreated. "Is this what you want to do?" He feels conflicted, they'd had this all planned for a few weeks; a trip to the beach house to finish up the last of their wedding and Christmas shopping and some family time, then head home, pack up and go on to Whistler for the wedding and Christmas, and now everything has been thrown into disarray by circumstances beyond their control and he doesn't like it. Not at all.
"I want to do whatever makes you feel most comfortable," Chris says, setting his phone face down on the table beside his plate. "If we stay here, I'll make sure they don't bother Luca. They'll be there but they won't be yelling the stuff they yelled at us and they'll keep their distance. If you want to go, I'm good with changing our plans." He pauses, watching Matt for a moment, aware his lover's unhappy. "It won't always be like this. Normally I can walk all over town and not have to deal with the paps, or at least any of them up close. It'll get back to that. Right now, we're the news of the moment."
"Normally they thought you were a straight guy with a private life," Matt points out. "Now you're out as gay, that's not like having a new movie out, is it?" He sighs and picks up his silverware. "I want to think on it over dinner, we can run it past Kate when we get back and take it from there."
"That's fine, and no, it's not, but they will lose interest," Chris says. He's seen it before. "Alex Skarsgard and Luke Evans were harassed like crazy when they first came out and it spiked again when they had their twins, but it settled in between and it's settled now."
"I'm inclined to say I want to stay here, I don't want them dictating what we do and where we go. We came down here to spend some family time getting ready for the wedding and that's what I want to do," Matt cuts into a scallop and swipes it through the beautiful sauce it's been served with before popping it in his mouth.
"Then that's what we'll do." Chris gives Matt a smile. "I'm sorry for all of this," he says. "I wish there was something I could do to make them go away."
"You don't need to apologize," Matt returns once he's swallowed. "It's not on you that they can't behave like decent human beings," then he pauses and looks down at his plate, waving his fork at the food there. "And this... is incredible."
Chris beams at that. "The food here's amazing," he agrees, finally taking a bite of his swordfish, his appetite suddenly back. "And I'm so happy to be here with you,
regardless of the rest," he says, dismissing the jerks outside with a casual gesture.
"Yeah, this is not how I saw our date going but it is good to be out, dressed up and enjoying some adult time," Matt agrees. "I guess when this does settle down going out will be easier than before right? Mundane things like grocery shopping and taking Luca out to swim or to nursery."
"It'll be great," Chris nods. "No more excuses for why I'm visiting and being able to introduce you guys as my family. Plus," he adds with a smile, "being able to hold your hand and kiss you when I feel like it."
"I'm not sure I'm comfortable kissing in public yet." Matt pauses only long enough to point that out before taking another bite.
"No? Because of them," another nod towards the front, "or just a general aversion to PDAs?"
Matt does not rush his eating in order to answer that question. Once he's swallowed he sets his cutlery down and picks up a glass of wine. "Partly because of them, but I've not been publicly affectionate in a long, long time. It'll just take some getting used to."
Chris nods. He's never been publicly affectionate before, apart from the club with Henry or holding Matt's hand tonight as they made their way to the car and into the restaurant. "I can wait," he says with a smile. "Hand-holding's okay though?"
"Yes," Matt grins, tipping his glass at Chris. "Just not sexual kissing, we do have a tendency to get carried away when we kiss," he points out. He's also not entirely comfortable with their height difference being made so obvious when they kiss.
"True," Chris chuckles. "I'll just be happy to be able to introduce you as my fiance and soon my husband," he says, taking another sip of his wine. "I'm sick of worrying about what I might give away when I look at you."
"Wearing your heart in your eyes huh?" Matt smiles, a little embarrassed at how effusive Chris can be. "Husband. It is going to be truly odd to say 'my husband'."
Chris smiles. "We've been focused on how my fans are going to take my coming out, but how do you think your readers will deal with the news?"
His glass set back on the table Matt returns to his food. "I really don't think they'll care. Their relationship is with the characters in the books, not with me, I'm sure some of them wouldn't even know what I look like."
Chris nods, changing the subject. "Are you looking forward to the wedding?" he asks, finishing his fish and turning his attention to the sides. "It feels like we should be freaking out more about that, but everything seems to have fallen into place."
"Yes, of course, I'm looking forward to it," Matt huffs out a laugh. "But it is still surreal. I'm very much looking forward to Christmas there, the four of us with the snow and all the themed festivities."
"Me too. I can hardly wait to see Luca with Santa, and we have a huge backyard at the place, so we can make snowmen and snow angels." Chris smiles, sitting back from his food. "Usually I'm in Australia for Christmas. I haven't had one with snow before."
"Well, that will make two of you then," Matt grins. "Can you skate? I think he might just be old enough to try that now."
"I can," Chris nods, topping up their glasses once more. "Not terribly well but enough to be able to make it around a rink. What about you? I know you ski but do you skate too?"
"I do, well I used to, I haven't skated since before Luca was born but yes I can skate," Matt recalls a particularly good vacation with Dylan where they'd spent a lot of time on the ice. "So we should get Luca on the ice, and I was thinking a dog sled ride would be fun too."
"That would be great," Chris agrees. "And they have a ton of other events and activities at Whistler. There's supposed to be a pop-up Gingerbread House with hot chocolate and decorate your own gingerbread inside and the Conference Centre hosts an indoor playground filled with bouncy castles if the snow gets too deep for the big playground. There's also a huge carol thing on Christmas Eve."
"We should do all the things, that way he'll be so tired he'll sleep like a dream and we," Matt leans in and winks, "will have some quality time."
Chris grins. "I definitely want some 'quality time'," he says, eyes sparkling. "As much as I can get, especially considering we'll be newlyweds for part of the time."
"I want to give Kate a chance to get out on her own for a few nights, so I'm sure she'll reciprocate," Matt finishes up his last mouthful and dabs at his mouth with the napkin. "A night out, a few drinks to kick back, some mischief..."
"Some mischief out?" Chris teases, grin widening.
Matt doesn't reply but he does wink, his own smile turning distinctly naughty.
"Really?" Chris sits back for a moment, surprised, then leans in, smiling again, "So there's one of the pros of coming out..."
"I don't know," Matt shrugs. "Since we met since I actually gained a sex life again I've discovered that certain things get me hot." He's lowered his voice a little and leaned in, "I like how I feel when it feels naughty, risky..."
"Suddenly I really wish we weren't already under a magnifying glass," Chris says, firmly reminding himself they'll have years to explore all of this.
"Yeah but we can discuss it without being distracted," Matt points out sipping his wine, his attention firmly on Chris and Chris alone. "And you know, get ourselves worked up for 'dessert'."
Chris grins again at that. "Okay, so when you say naughty or risky, what kind of things come to mind?" he asks. "Sneaking off to the bathroom together?"
"Uh huh," Matt nods, because damn. "That, and you know I have a thing for being... messy..." There's a small frown there.
"I do," Chris says, wondering at the frown. "Are you okay with that?"
"Yes." There's another nod. "It's just a lot you know, going from celibate to what we have in such a short period of time. Finding someone who is so free of judgement in regards to all the little idiosyncrasies we each have about our sexuality."
Chris nods. "Any time you need us to slow down, just let me know," he says. "Or if I hit a wrong note or go too far. You can use your safeword even when we're not actually having sex."
"That wasn't a complaint, Chris." Matt reaches for Chris's hand again. "Just saying that I've learned so much about myself with you and I know there is more. Moments where you say or do something that makes me respond, moments I can't always speak up and shout 'that! that's hot!' because we're in the middle of something."
Chris chuckles. He gives Matt's hand a squeeze. "I know, but I worry a little I'll freak you out again, like I did that time out back of the house."
"Oh man but that was when we were how new to each other?" Matt shakes his head with a soft laugh. "Just a small heads up is what I need, so I can opt out, which you did not give me that time."
"That's true," Chris says, smiling in memory. "So... " he drops his voice even lower, making sure his words won't be caught by anyone passing by, "since we're just talking about things, does that mean if you didn't have to worry about Luca and Kate, you'd be into me fucking you in some dark alley and then having you walk around, my come leaking out of you, soaking your jeans..."
Matt has absolutely no control over the flush that rises up his throat at that, he blinks to break the eye contact he has with Chris and looks down at his empty plate to gain a moment to gather himself. "Yeah," his reply is breathy, soft.
"Another time, another place, I could put my foot in your lap under the table, hidden from view by the tablecloth, tease you through your jeans until you come in your shorts," Chris says, watching Matt closely, already so aroused himself. "Do you think you come without anyone noticing? Could you hide it?"
Matt shakes his head, he sets both hands palm down on the table cloth, his gaze now holding Chris's. "No."
Chris nods. "It's hot as a fantasy though, isn't it?"
"Uh huh," Matt nods, his tongue feels like it's stuck to the roof of his mouth and the room feels too hot.
"Do you want me to keep going?" Chris asks, not wanting to push too hard, freak Matt out.
Matt finds he can't answer that immediately, on one hand, this is such a new experience being played out when they've got so much unwelcome attention on the other... it's Chris and he trusts Chris.
"I'm watching," Chris assures him. "There's no one close enough to hear us, and we'll have dessert after this, where we'll talk about other things, and you'll have time to adjust before we leave."
Nodding again to show he's understood, Matt then swallows hard and verbalizes his consent. "Yes."
Yes. Chris watches Matt for a moment, simply struck by how gorgeous his lover, his future husband, is, and he doesn't even seem to know it. "What about what I said the other week?" he continues with a smile. "Me coming home from my run, or after a workout, all sweaty, skin gleaming with it, offering my pits up for you to rub your nose in, your whole face, tongue licking them clean..."
That, that right there, is something Matt had been fantasizing over repeatedly. He's only done it the once and it had been such an intense experience, so to have it offered again... fuck. "I really want that," he rumbles out, his tone gone rough.
"I do too," Chris says, taking another sip of his wine. "It's not something I'd done before, but having you that worked up, rutting against me, so hot for it... if I hadn't just come..."
Matt brings one hand to his face uses his napkin to dab at the light sheen of sweat that has broken out over his forehead. "Is there more..." he pauses to swallow, "are there more things like that?"
"Like which? The armpit thing?" Chris asks.
Matt nods. "Things that are... dirty..." He knows Chris will understand he doesn't mean naughty, he means physically dirty.
"Yeah." Chris nods, knowing they're skirting what could be dangerous territory. "There's rimming someone the same way. Not when they're dirty but when they're sweaty, musky," he says. "It can be even dirtier if they sit on your face and you have no choice but to have your nose up in there."
Matt is so hard he has to reach down under cover of the table cloth and adjust himself in his shorts, "Any more?" He puts his hands back on the table where Chris can see them.
Chris nods again, well aware of what Matt just did and pretty close to needing to do the same thing himself. "Lots but I haven't tried them all and there's likely to be some stuff that's too dirty for you or us. You want me to keep going?" he asks, checking in once more.
Matt really wants to say yes but he's not sure how much more he can take. Reluctantly he shakes his head, "Tonight? In bed?" Because Matt knows they'll both need to attend to their arousal.
Chris grins. "Definitely." He chuckles, clearly just really happy. "Do you want actual dessert now?"
"Yeah," Matt nods, picking up his wine glass and draining it. "There's no way I'm moving until I'm decent again," he adds quietly.
"Me either," Chris says, letting Matt know he's in the same state. He gestures at their waiter. "Could we have a couple of dessert menus?"
Having ordered a pannacotta with fig and hazelnut Matt refills their glasses, draining the bottle. He looks up to find Chris watching him again. "What are you thinking now cowboy?" he asks softly.
"How incredibly hot you are," Chris admits, smiling. "And how lucky I am."
Shaking his head, Matt looks down before raising his head again. "Thank you," he smiles. "I don't get it, but thank you."
Chris grins. "I'm also thinking I'm having a really wonderful time tonight, despite everything else. I like date nights. We'll have to make sure we have a lot more of them in the future."
"Yeah, we've not had nearly enough opportunity to enjoy dates like this, have we? And I am all for making them a regular feature going forward, meals out, movie nights, hikes and picnics..."
"Surfing," Chris supplies helpfully, a sparkle in his eye again. "You'll have to let me teach you."
"Surfing," Matt concedes, inclining his head. "Is Luca too young for that?"
"Not to start," Chris says, getting excited at the prospect. "He can ride tandem with me and we can do some bodyboarding where there's nice small surf. He's doing really well with the swimming and getting him used to the water is the most important thing at this age."
"I shall defer to your expertise on the subject," Matt grins, Chris's enthusiasm obvious.
Dessert arrives and Chris eyes Matt's pannacotta. "Can I have a taste?"
"Try your own first." Matt rolls his eyes as he picks up his spoon.
"So mean," Chris teases, taking a bite of his tiramisu.
"That's me," Matt agrees with a smirk as he sucks the creamy dessert from his spoon. "So mean to you."
"I'll give you a taste of mine," Chris says, smiling, offering a generous bite on his fork.
"Are we still talking about dessert?" Matt teases as he leans in to take the proffered mouthful.
"We are until we get home," Chris teases back, wishing he could kiss Matt before suddenly remembering that he can or will be able to, some day, just not yet.
"Hmm holding you to that." Matt swallows the tiramisu before offering Chris some of his own pannacotta.
"Mm. That's good," Chris says of Matt's dessert. "I might have to have that next time."
Having traversed the gauntlet on their way out of the restaurant and let Greg and Max shepherd them inside when they reach home, Chris and Matt lock up with a sigh of relief, the house cool and quiet inside, Luca already in bed and Kate in her room. "Do you usually peek in on Lulu when you're home?" Chris asks.
"Yeah normally, but this is a new place, I don't want to disturb him if he's already out for the count," Matt shucks off his jacket and starts to pop the buttons of his waistcoat. "How about a nightcap on the deck?" he suggests, aware they're both a little tipsy but not so much one more drink will tip them over into anything like drunk.
Chris nods. "Sounds good," he says, getting rid of his jacket as well. "What do you feel like?" he asks, loosening his tie.
"A bourbon?" Matt asks hopefully. He wanders over to the sliding doors and pulls one open to let in the night air.
Chris rummages in his small bar, mostly made up of bottles friends have brought over for get-togethers. "I've got Maker's Mark or Booker's," he says, examining his finds. "Any preference?"
"Booker's is good," Matt grins as he tosses his waistcoat to join his jacket and then works on the buttons on his shirt.
Chris looks up as Matt really starts undressing. "Are we getting naked already?" he asks, smiling, heart rate picking up a little as he pours two glasses.
"I'm just undoing my shirt," Matt protests with a chuckle. "No nakedness, certainly not if we're going to sit on the deck."
"Nah, you never know who's still out there," Chris says, bringing the glasses over. "Although they should be gone at this point. Now that we're retired for the night."
"That was my thought, so you'd better behave out there," Matt teases as he takes a glass and follows Chris outside.
Thankfully the beach appears deserted and Chris breathes a sigh of relief as he settles into one of the over-sized loungers.
"You okay?" Matt asks, glancing at his lover. They've all looked to Chris to manage this situation over the last twenty-four hours assuming he knew how to handle it, but of course, it's new to him too - having his sexuality being the subject of such attention.
Chris nods. "A little freaked out," he admits. "I have no idea what my career will look like when this all settles."
"I'd like to think that it won't look that much different." Reaching out Matt takes Chris's hand in his, lacing their fingers together.
"Me too," Chris says, gently squeezing Matt's fingers and taking a sip of his scotch, "but either way, I was planning on doing this. I just thought I'd have more control over it, and I didn't really think the paps would be so bad. Not the photos and the general yelling, I'm used to some of that, but the obscenities and the direct questions about our sex life."
"Yeah," Matt agrees with a frown. "We live in a liberal bubble here in LA, the rest of the country is a lot less enlightened," he muses. "What's it like in Australia?"
Chris sighs. "Well, same sex marriage is legal, and something like 80% of the population thinks gay people deserve the same rights as straight people. At the same time, we have all this macho and sexist crap going on," he explains. "But we also tend to leave celebrities alone, we don't believe in everyone's rights to arm themselves, and there's not a lot of hate crimes against the LGBTQ community."
"Do you have a home there?" Matt sips his drink, all the while watching his lover, taking in Chris's expression as he thinks and talks.
"I don't," Chris says, rubbing his thumb in small circles over Matt's hand. "I bought my parents their current home and I've thought about buying or building something there but I've never got around to it."
"Perhaps it's something we should think about, in case things get a little too uncomfortable here?" The suggestion is tentative but he knows how much Chris loves his place of birth.
"You'd be okay with that?" Chris asks, a little surprised but god, the idea appeals. "How do you think Kate would feel?"
"I think it's something we should talk about," Matt reiterates, "Kate loves to travel, there would also be a fresh pool of guys for her to check out," he grins at that before sobering a little, "but if things here get difficult, or we simply want to get away from it then it would better for all of us to have that option, and now we're a family, I thought perhaps spending sometime back home would be something you'd want to do."
Chris nods. "I would," he says. "I want you guys to meet my family and I'd love to spend some serious time there. It's been a long while since I've done that and it's such an amazing place to raise a family." He smiles. "We could rent a place to start, and then if we all really liked it, we could think about buying or building something down there."
"So perhaps think about spending part of the year there and the rest here, depending on work. I think renting would be the right move." Matt nods, sipping his drink and looking out into the dark again.
"That would be amazing," Chris says, spirits raised by the thought. "I think it would be way better for Luca - and his brother or sister if we get so lucky - than here. Where you guys are is great, but I wouldn't want him in LA for any length of time."
"I agree," Matt nods. "So two homes here and one in Australia? This is entirely movie star behaviour," he teases, alluding to their ongoing joke that Chris is the least movie star, movie star Matt has ever encountered.
Chris laughs. "It is, isn't it?" He gives Matt's hand yet another squeeze and smiles at his husband-to-be, confessing, "I really want to kiss you right now but I pretty sure there's some asshole out there with a high-powered nighttime telelens just waiting to catch it."
"Well it's up to you if you want them to catch it," Matt offers. "Or we could head to bed and you could go over the suggestions you were making over dinner?"
"How about both?" Chris says, leaning in and kissing Matt softly on the mouth. "An innocent kiss out here then all the dirty talk inside."