‘Dan? Oh my god, it is you!’ The voice comes from behind Phil, and despite the delighted grin Dan’s sending over his shoulder Phil actually doesn’t know who it is.
‘James?’ Dan asks, sounding just as shocked as ‘James’ had. ‘Wow, it’s been-’
‘About five years?’ James provides, smiling just as widely as Dan is. The first thing Phil registers is that he actually has to look up - quite significantly - to James’ face, and the second is that said face is, quite probably, the most gorgeous he’s ever laid eyes on in person, and he’s been to movie premieres. This guy could probably double as Idris Elba, Phil’s frankly offended by how gorgeous he is. The third thing he notices, quite a few seconds later, is quite how blatantly James is checking Dan out, now reaching out past Phil to put a hand on Dan’s shoulder.
‘It must be that, yeah,’ Dan agrees. ‘How’ve you been?’
‘Good, good,’ James replies. ‘How about you? You look great, the time’s definitely treated you well!’ he runs his eyes over Dan’s body again, as if Dan might have missed in the first time, and Phil rolls his eyes, amused.
‘You’re not looking too bad yourself!’ Dan returns, and Phil turns back, surprised, to see Dan checking James out just as blatantly as James had him, smiling, not seeming at all bothered by James’ hand on his shoulder. Okay, Phil thinks, feeling his view on the situation shift a little. Okay.
‘What are you doing in London?’ Dan asks, then seems to remember himself. ‘Oh, sorry, this is Phil,’ he introduces. ‘Phil, this is James, we went to high school together.’
‘Hi,’ Phil smiles, reaching out for a handshake that is not at all intimidatingly firm.
‘Hi Phil,’ James smiles warmly. ‘You must be Dan’s...?’
‘Flatmate,’ Dan supplies, the moment before they’re interrupted by the Starbucks barista wanting their orders.
Phil steps forward to order for himself and Dan, apologising for the delay, and turns back to the tail end of James establishing that they are free for lunch, and yes, Dan would love to eat together.
‘If that’s alright with you?’ Dan checks, turning to Phil, who can’t suppress a spike of irritation. They’re busy today, just out of a meeting about their book with another meeting at the BBC in a couple of hours, and he’d been looking forward to a relaxing lunch with just the two of them.
‘Of course,’ Phil smiles, unable to reasonably do anything else.
‘Are you alright?’ Dan asks as they finally leave Starbucks, running just a tad later than Phil would like.
‘Yeah, of course,’ Phil replies. ‘Why wouldn’t I be?’
‘You’ve been a bit quiet,’ Dan points out.
‘I’m surprised you noticed,’ Phil replies. ‘You two were getting on well enough without my contribution.’
‘Wait a minute, are you jealous?’ Dan asks lightly, chuckling.
‘Why would I be jealous?’ Phil asks, a touch too sharp, knowing the instant the words leave his mouth that he’ll regret it.
‘Oh my god, you are!’ Dan exclaims, laughing harder.
Phil just frowns, shoving his hands deep into his pocket and not making eye contact.
‘You never get jealous!’ Dan finally manages through his laughter.
‘You never pay more attention to someone else than to me,’ Phil points out.
‘Ouch,’ Dan responds, but he’s smiling. ‘I thought I was the jealous one, are you saying you’d be like this all the time if I was a bit more social?’ He’s still amused primarily, maybe curious too. Phil can’t say it’s helping his mood.
‘Only if you kept socialising with Idris Elba doubles who paw at you while going on about how impressive your career and face are,’ Phil grumbles, rolling his eyes as he has to stop when Dan actually doubles up laughing. ‘We’re running late,’ he says after a moment. ‘Could you imagine if I was like this every time you got jealous?’ Phil asks pointedly, when that doesn’t work.
‘Oh, come on, you know you’ve got nothing to worry about,’ Dan says, still laughing, but it at least sobers him up enough for them to keep walking.
‘So do you,’ Phil points out.
‘Eh,’ Dan shrugs. ‘I know what you have to put up with,’ he says, a touch too casually.
‘Dan-’ Phil’s the one to stop them this time, turning to look at Dan.
‘No, I know,’ Dan assures him. ‘You’ve had to reassure me enough, it’s my turn for once.’
‘Go on then,’ Phil invites, quickly checking that the street is still quiet, the closest people to them on the other side of the road.
‘Er, I love you?’ Dan tries first. ‘I want to spend the rest of my life with you, no one else has ever or could ever mean so much to me or fit me so well, I can’t imagine a future without you?’
‘Alright, I didn’t ask for a proposal,’ Phil grins, feeling inexplicably lighter despite the fact that Dan hasn’t told him anything he didn’t already know, really.
‘Would that help?’ Dan grins back, probably relieved that Phil had required so little appeasing. Dan’s own fits of jealousy are not often quite so easy to work through.
‘Shit, are you gay?’ comes a voice from behind Phil, and this time he recognises it.
‘Hi, James,’ Phil greets, turning to face him as Dan closes his eyes in disbelief.
‘Bi, actually,’ Dan says, apparently having gathered himself quickly. ‘We’re not out, far too high profile, I’d appreciate it if you kept it to yourself. Now we’ve got to get to the BBC, very important meeting, can’t hang around.’ And with that rapid monologue delivered Dan takes Phil’s wrist, drags him away from James’ incredible shocked expression and marches him down the road.
‘I knew you were enjoying him fawning over you!’ Phil exclaims, the first thing that makes it through when he processes what had just happened.
‘Of course I fucking was, have you seen him?’ Dan asks, incredulous, and Phil just bursts into laughter. It's a good thing he's not typically jealous.