Chapter 1: To Be With You
The day was, to put it short, going to shit. Don Scripps knew Dakin had never really been one for nerves, he was calm and collected, a tad arrogant, and overall, alert to his surroundings. Or so Scripps had thought. But now, as he stood in the entrance to the church, Don could see his shoulders quite literally shaking. The grey suit jacket had been discarded, carefully placed over an entrance chair. Dakin might have been nervous but he wasn’t careless, especially with clothing. Or his wedding outfit, especially his wedding outfit. And when Dakin decided to undress, Don always knew it was time to step in. The black leather monkstraps beat out a steady rhythm on the church carpet as Stuart paced in dizzying patterns, muttering to himself.
‘What if he doesn’t, y’know, want this? He’s always been the one to hesitate, the twat.’
At that Scripps eyebrows inched up past his forehead and halfway through his hairline. No one, especially Dakin talked badly about Irwin.
‘Fuck, what if he ducks out? What if I'm not what he wants? Maybe he doesn’t want to marry. Not me, anyways. I’m not exactly the marrying type, you know.’ There came a barely covered snort from Don’s corner.
‘Oh shut up, you smug little fuck.’ There was nothing better than to knock his ego really, it’d been a while since he had.
'You know he loves you and you’re arse over elbow for him, you’re the marrying type for the better looking general studies teacher and you full well know it. Get your scrawny northern arse down that aisle, now.’ And so, given his marching orders, Stuart did. Don had never been so relieved to be one of the few who Dakin would listen to, if only on rare occasion.
Stuart Dakin had never been so nervous as when he walked down the aisle towards Irwin. Towards Tom. His Tom. Fuck, he’d never felt so whipped. Marriage had never been on his cards, but neither had breaking up with his girlfriend before dating his ex-teacher while studying at Oxford. But god, had it been bloody worth it.
And now, as he saw Tom in his suit, leaning against his cane, looking like one of the fucking angels from the paintings themselves, he knew he loved him. Why had he ever doubted? It took all of his control not to jump Irwin right there, damn all the guests. Instead, Dakin took his hand, gently squeezing it. I love you, it said, A short grip and silent love you too was Tom's response. If this was where the service ended, Stuart Dakin would be a happy man. If the world were to end, Irwin would be by his side, as it was, there was no need for the end, the beginning was here as Tom took his hand and swore to love him, for better and for worse. For Stuart, it wouldn't get much better than this. And as the priest began to pronounce them one, Dakin launched himself at Irwin, barely stopping for air. Fuck tradition, they weren't in the subjunctive anymore. There was no possibility surrounding them, this was what cemented them together. And from the front row, the rest of the Oxbridge eight whooped and hollered, a wolf whistle emanating from Timms as the husbands pulled apart.
It really was out of the blue. Tom Irwin had never expected to find love, or even happiness. Academic success had been his focus, to better himself and strive to know all he could immerse himself in. History especially. A teaching position at 25 hadn't been on his agenda, nor had falling in love with his 19 year old student. But the immense opportunities and possibilities that life threw at him had blind-sided him. But to be blinded by love, that was a joy. And Dakin, he was the peak of that joy, illuminating his otherwise bland life, a life full of Abbey finance records and Henry VIII documentaries.
He'd never planned to propose, definitely not post sex on a friday night, a mumbled whisper into Dakin's neck. But the result had been both a yes, and the best sex they'd had. Lord, he'd made a good choice. Stuart, who'd stuck by him in physiotherapy, Stuart who'd stayed by his side through the numerous operations to reset his legs, Stuart who had helped him in his flashbacks and episodes. Stuart, Stuart, Stuart. Tom Irwin was intoxicated from the feelings he felt but God they were fucking worth it. Stuart Dakin was his soul mate, he knew. No, Stuart Irwin. That made his heart burst, his grin threatening to take over the rest of his face from the way it was spreading up his cheeks. Yes, he thought as a hand slid around his waist and grabbing his hip, this was what he wanted.
David Posner hadn't been in love with Dakin for a long time. True, he cared for him greatly, but his heart had moved on. Namely, to the burly best man currently stood next to Dakin, head thrown back in laughter. Don Scripps was everything Dakin wasn't, and while Posner had loved Dakin, it hadn't had depth, it was an infatuation. Don and he shared interests, avidly discussing philosophy, music, literature and all variations of subjects, debating and arguing until they ran out of steam. No feelings had been exchanged, but Scripps and Posner knew, and that's all that mattered. Maybe, one day, they'd voice it. Maybe, one day that'd be them. But for now, Posner was content to be his, and so was Don.
Chapter 2: Champagne Confessions
And of fucking course, there stood Don Scripps in all his glory. A warning for profanity I guess, if you're not keen on it.
To put it plainly, David Posner was pissed. He'd never held his alcohol well, though he'd never say so. But it was sod's law that he'd drink too much champagne at the Dakin's wedding reception, then be called upon for a toast. Never the eloquent one, he'd stumbled a little through his speech, quoted a bit of William Blake, and toasted to student/teacher relationships. It wasn't his finest moment, David would admit. He'd done better than Timms, who'd barely made it through his own toast at all. With the embarrassment fresh on his mind and on the wedding video, a walk outside had been in order.
And of fucking course, there stood Don Scripps in all his glory. A lit cigarette in his mouth, his top few buttons of his shirt undone, Don was leaning against the wall, bowtie left untied and draped across his shoulders, his hair unkempt. And the little whisper in Posner's head that said how gorgeous Scripps was at that moment slipped from the back of his mind to out of his lips, bubbling off the tongue like the champagne lingering on it. Fuck.
The wedding reception was stifling. Not that Don Scripps regretted coming, but there was only so many minutes of small talk he could take before he had to refrain from committing grievous bodily harm. He'd snuck out onto the porch, something the snobby fucks at the reception insisted on calling a veranda, untied his tie, and pulled out his cigs. Smoking had started about the same time he'd realised he was head over heels for Posner, just towards the end of the first year of uni. And unlike any other sensible adult, Donald Scripps had decided drowning himself in classic literature and new hobbies would seem to help.
It hadn't solved his infatuation, but Scripps could at least now play snooker like a pro. After watching his mates give speech after speech, Scripps had been all but ready to leave, or at least grab another drink, and then Posner had stood up. Don could tell from his glassy expression that David was absolutely smashed, and the way he blurted out his congratulations and anecdotes had been adorable. Pos' face all scrunched up, trying to remember where he'd left off. Don went to grab that drink and a smoke anyways. He'd be needing it, he knew. And sure enough, no sooner had he taken the first drag did David step out onto the porch, tripping a little across the doorframe as he did. Don couldn't tear his eyes away, Lord knew how he'd manage a conversation.
'Out on the porch, are we now? You managing alright?' It was a simple enough question, with a straightforward answer. Don could handle this, he knew it.
'You're gorgeous', came the mumbled reply. Fuck, how could he handle this? 'Besides, it's a veranda. Or at least, that's what Irwin's mother seems to be calling it.'
And there was the Posner he knew and loved. Quickly drinking the scotch in his hand, and stubbing out his cigarette in the other on the wall, Don stood up straight. Posner didn't like it when he smoked, it was only fair.
'Yeah, but Irwin's family are all stuck up twats and you know it. God, we're the religious ones and if we don't care where their son's sticking it, why should they? Bloody hypocrites, the lot of them.' The only sound that came from the direction of the garden chair Posner had flopped in was an agreeing hum.
'But we're not very good at it, being religious I mean? I'm a gay lapsed Jew, you're some form of Christian when the weekend comes around but you're obviously not straight, and I'm pretty certain we don't keep to the basic principles of our faiths. All in all, we're fucked.' If only, Don thought. His celibacy was no longer a self imposed ban , but the only downside of being ridiculously in love with his best friend.
'Your speech was something to behold you know. Didn't think you'd do it, to be honest.' And now the drink set in, and set it's course.
'You were good Pos, don't get me wrong, but you've never been one for public speaking.' A pout began to spread across Posner's face, his eyes crinkling and a frown appearing on his face.
'I can be outspoken when I wish to, sometimes there just isn't anything to be said. Besides, I only spoke because you did. It wouldn't do if only two of us spoke, and Lockwood started giving a speech after me.' A far off look crossed his face briefly, and went as fast as it had appeared, being replaced with a smile across his face. And as Posner's grins tended to, it spread infectiously across Don's face too.
Posner jumped up out of the rickety chair, it tipping over at his sudden movement. 'Will you dance with me? I can hear the Beatles being played, I know you wouldn't want to miss them.' And just like that, David grabbed his hand, interlinking their fingers, and pulled him closer. Well, now or never. 'Of course Pos, but just before we do,' Don bent his head down, closing the small gap between them and kissing Posner chastely on the lips. Pulling away, Scripps saw the happy tears forming in David's eyes. Maybe it was the lingering smoke. Maybe he'd waited just as long. Wordlessly, Don unhooked their hands, and wrapped his arm around Posner's waist. And together, they walked back into the wedding reception. Fuck the veranda, they had something better to do.
Chapter 3: The Ties Of Family
A short insight into David Posner's family, sibling bonds, and a new surprise. Warnings for use of homophobic slurs
David Posner carefully reversed his battered Ford Fiesta into the driveway, making sure to leave room for his dad's car later. For a brief moment, Posner considered leaving. It wasn't like he was expected, and he wasn't exactly on a social call. After almost eight months of dating, he and Don had come to agree that their families needed to know. It had been a year since Tom and Stuart's ceremony and his family had accepted that, surely they'd still welcome David. It was the eighties for fuck sake, they'd come a long way since Oscar Wilde.
Making sure to shut the car door the right way in case the central locking fucked up again, Posner shakily walked towards the front door. This would be easier with Don. Scrippsy would know what he was doing. But right now, Don Scripps was making the same steps as David, just a few streets over. He used his house key, maybe for the last time, he thought morbidly. Would he even be welcome back after this weekend? He hoped so, if not for his sake, but Annie's. The ten year old adored Tom Irwin and his 'pretty husband' when she met them at the pub while David had been babysitting, she wouldn't understand why her own brother was disliked for the same reasons if he was cast out. The enigma was Richard. Richie had never voiced his opinions on the gay community either way, and David hadn't been as close to his older brother as he would've liked. At this moment, it would have been a fucking lifesaver to know where he at least stood. After shaking himself from his thoughts, David Posner took a deep breath, shut the front door, and walked forward.
The moment the lock had clicked behind him the sound of footfall on the upstairs landing reached his ears. Spinning around, David only just managed to catch the small body flying towards him from the middle of the stairs. So, Sarah-Anne was home. A steady stream of chatter slipped from her lips as he set the younger girl down.
'Davey you're home! Rich said you wouldn't be but I knew you would come!' The grin spreading across his baby sister's face as she rambled was infectious,
'It's almost my birthday and I knew you wouldn't miss it!'
Annie was practically bouncing up and down, eagerly waiting for the present she knew he would have. Silently, David drew a slender package from his satchel and handed it to the girl. Annie's obsession was currently her brother's record player, having sifted through Richie and David's collection and trying to add to it. The ten year old had ran up to her room, and within the time it took David to hang up his coat and walk through to the kitchen, David Bowie's Let's Dance LP was playing from her room.
'Fuck Dave, did you really have to give her summet else to listen to? She'd just stopped playing Too-Rye-Ay on repeat, she doesn't need encouraging.' Richie was pottering away at something on the stove while smoking a cig, smirking up at David. He hadn't expected Richie to be back from Leeds yet, this was strange.
'Well I don't see you buying her any more Rich, and there's nothing wrong with Dexy's Midnight Runners, I didn't get her the Sex Pistols at least, Lockwood suggested them', Posner pulled a face at his brother, turning to grab the sugar from the shelf.
'You know, I can tell mum's out, you wouldn't dare smoke when she's about.' A loud snort came from where Richie had perked himself on the kitchen surface.
'Don't you act all innocent David, you might be at Snobsvile University but it doesn't mean you're any more the good Jewish son. Mum would have a fit if she knew what you've done'. Wasn't that the truth, thought Posner. God she was going to kill him when she found out about Don. Something must've shown on his face, as Richie's posture shifted instantly.
'Shit Dave, didn't mean it, I was only raggin you on. Are you alright mate?' Pos was clinging to the edge of the sink, trying so hard not to cry. Not here, not now. He didn't need this now. If Richie carried on prattling he was going to lose it. 'It's not that you're a disappointment or anything, I didn't mean that! It's just you're at Cambridge an-'
'Just fucking shut it Rich, just stop.' Pos never lost his temper. He didn't want this. They were never going to accept him, but fuck it. 'I am going to disappoint mum. And probably disgust her too. I'm gay, okay? I'm dating Scripps and she's going to hate me.'
The silence that followed hurt almost as much as the shock in Richard's eyes. 'You can call me it, fag, poof. It's nothing I've not heard before.'
And while Richie stood silent, David turned around and went to grab his coat, he needed a cig and some fresh air before it turned nasty. He expected some sort of comment from Rich, something thrown at him as he left the house. What he didn't expect was a loud laugh from behind him. Turning around slowly, the genuine smile on Richard's face caught him off guard.
'Guess we're both disappointing her, eh? She's gonna have to get grandkids out of Annie instead'. Richie's laughter continued at the look on David's face.
'Yeah, you idiot, you're not the only one in the house who's queer. Mum knows about me, been dating someone for almost two years now.'
David didn't know what to do. All the tension and anxiety he'd felt for so long had been lifted. He felt free. He'd suffered in silence for the last few years, thinking he'd lose everything. He'd kept himself hidden. And yet, here stood Richie, his brother, who'd almost certainly gone through the same thing. Wordlessly, David took off his coat and hugged Richie.
'What's his name?' The unspoken acceptance was there, between them.
'Toby, and he's a fuckin weirdo.' Toby, it was a nice name. Maybe he'd meet David one day.
'Well, I've been going out with Don for eight months.' Maybe Rich would meet Don, properly.
'Bloody hell he's done well to stick with you that long.' Or maybe not.
'Oh,fuck off Richie.' Maybe, everything would work out alright. Just maybe.