The following weekend we have everyone round for dinner again. Tom is grilling out on the deck so Peter and I can relax. We are wrapped up together on a lounger when the others arrive.
“You two are adorable.” Gavin says as he comes through with Felix and Harry.
“Vomit.” Felix laughs.
“Like you two are not just as sickly.” Peter laughs.
“How do you feel after your first brush with fame?” I ask Gavin.
“So weird. A few girls asked me about it after class, wanting to know if I knew Zac Efron and the like. A few asked about the movie and Tom. It was cool for 5 minutes but not something I want every day.” Gavin laughs.
“And your colleagues, did they tease you?” Peter asks.
“They mostly didn’t notice. A few support staff mentioned it. Jasper has been blanking me ever since. Others have noticed and said it makes him look bad not me. So that’s good, it’s good to know that even though I’m the new guy others have my back.” Gavin says.
“Sorry if it causes any issues. It was a laugh though wasn’t it.” Tom says coming over and handing out burgers.
“Oh he had to find out and it saved me the awkward conversation. Anyway when I met Felix he was single.” Gavin says.
“I sure was and now I’m not. We are totally officially official boyfriends.” Felix says with a grin.
“We are.” Gavin says kissing his Felix.
“Are Jamie and Brian coming next week?” I ask.
“No we pushed it back a bit as Jamie is so busy with his new job. Brian will be able to take a few days he thinks, if he can combine the trip with a visit to a chemical firm out here who are sponsoring some of his work.” Felix says.
“I can’t say I’m not relieved.” Gavin says.
“Brian will like you as you’re a nerd like him and Jamie will love you for loving Felix.” Peter says.
“I had another spate of messages from Jay after he saw me with Tom.” Harry says.
“Seriously? I spoke to him and he said he would get himself together and stop all this crap.” I say annoyed.
“Babe you need to stop feeling responsible for Jay. Everything he does is his own choice and it is not your fault. Just as it isn’t my fault or Peter’s fault.” Felix says.
“He needs to be careful. There is talk about him, not too much yet. But to be brutally honest once Mart and John go people will stop holding back unless he shapes up.” Tom says.
“I know, I know. But I brought him into this world. I’ll always feel responsible for how he behaves in it.” I say.
“You did, you gave him a massive leg up and he never says thank-you. Never acknowledges that you got him in the door he just s on you and your friends.” Tom says angrily.
“You really can’t blame yourself for what he’s doing to me. Even if you made the suggestion for me to call him. I knew what he had done to you and to Peter before I went in. I’m happy with whatever is happening with Tom. I can ignore a few messages but I thought you’d want to know.” Harry says.
“You know if Tom or I are in the same room with him again he won’t come out alive.” Peter says.
“Too right. It’ll be him that needs security not me.” Tom threatens.
“Ugh please let’s talk of nicer things. I can’t believe he is still the center of attention after all this time.” Felix says.
“When are you two moving in together?” Peter asks cheekily.
“We actually wanted to ask you about that.” Gavin says.
“I’ve no problem with you moving in to my place. Just give me a nudge about moving the rest of my stuff out.” Peter says with a grin.
“Actually we want to buy your place. It is the perfect location for work. Which I guess is why you bought it and its just the right size. Would you consider it? We’d make a real offer, not expect a discount.” Gavin says.
“Felix?” Peter asks.
“I want Gavin to meet Jamie before we make anything really official. Please don’t start shouting about red flags and moving too fast.” Felix says.
“We won’t do that. We can see you’re good together but it is a big deal and we’ve not decided what to do about everything yet. We’re selling the college house when the lease ends but we’ve not made plans for the houses here yet.” I explain, I feel that Peter needs to keep his house because of what it means to him, the achievement.
“Don’t feel you have to rush just because we’re moving ahead with our new place. You can live there as long as you want to and of course you get first refusal if I decide to sell.” Peter says.
“Okay. We both have this massive need to make this permanent. It’s weird, I think after Brendan stalling and stalling I want Gavin to prove to me that he is for real.” Felix says.
“And I am. I don’t need anything else from Felix but I do want equal standing where we live just in case. I don’t doubt Felix at all, but moving into his friend’s house means the bigger risk for me.” Gavin says.
“As long as you’re good to Felix you’ll be fine. Even then we’d be able to give one of you a bed while you sorted things.” Peter says.
“Seriously these 2 are crazy generous. You don’t need to worry.” Tom says.
“That’s the thing I can see that. I don’t know you guys well yet but the first time Peter and I met he made me feel more welcome than anyone else at work. I know I can trust Peter but I also know Felix is his friend first. The sensible part of me says we should get a neutral place together but I already love Peter’s place so much that everything else we look at doesn’t measure up.” Gavin says.
“I just love how committed you are. Felix needs someone like you.” I say.
“Thanks, it means a lot how supportive you are.” Gavin says.
The evening is another success and in bed I hold Peter close and tell him so.
“It was great but exhausting.” Peter says.
“You’re still struggling. Few more weeks and you can have all the sleep you need.” I say.
“I know. Should I sell Felix my place?” Peter asks.
“I have a plan which you might not like.” I say.
“Go on.” Peter says.
“I don’t want you to sell your house. I feel like you’re giving up a lot for me, your future opportunities are limited because we are famous. I want to be certain that if the worst happens you still have something that is yours. I know how proud you are of that house and what it means to you.” I begin.
“Thanks. I feel weird about it as it has bad memories too.” Peter says.
“But good ones. You showing me the rings happened in that house and that changed my life forever.” I say.
“So you want it for you.” Peter laughs.
“No! I just have an emotional attachment too. I was thinking that while we love this place it’s never quite been home for us.” I say.
“But it is too expensive for Felix.” Peter interrupts.
“I know. Is it too much to sell this one to them for what they would pay for yours? I know they say they love your place but this one is just as good for them location wise and gives them more space.” I say.
“If you think we can afford it, I think that is a really nice offer. I love parts of this house but we’ve bought the new place because this one just doesn’t feel like ours. Felix has been great to me and rarely asks for anything.” Peter says.
“Exactly. I feel like I owe him big time. I don’t think he’d take a house from me, and I think that would cause issues with Gavin but we can do a good deal.” I say.
“Now I need more cuddles, more, more, more.” Peter demands exactly what I need too.
We fall back into a routine. I’m aware Peter is struggling and I try and support him all I can. I have to accept that right now he hasn’t got the energy for me, I know it’s temporary. He clings to me when we’re alone and I hold him tight.
He is spending a lot of time with Tom, I’m surprised at myself that I’m not jealous. Again because it is temporary. It is a little annoying he sometimes uses the little energy on his friend and not me but I want him to be happy and for the first time ever I am completely secure, I know he loves me and wants to be with me forever.
The purchase of the property finally goes through and Peter comes home Friday afternoon and asks me to get in the car.
“What’s happening?” I ask.
“You’ll see.” Peter says grinning.
“What is all that stuff?” I ask motioning the back seat.
“Be patient. I thought we needed some alone time.” Peter says.
“We do. We really do.” I agree.
“I know I’ve been neglecting you and you’ve been so patient with me.” Peter says.
“You have so much on with work and your books and entertaining Tom.” I say.
“I know, final stretch with the books and with work and then you’ll have be all the time. Jamie and Brian will be out soon and we have our campaign filming and the TV interview. We know things will get crazy when Eric’s reality snow goes out. There is loads of buzz about it.” Peter says.
“You shouldn’t be reading those magazines or websites.” I say.
“Well I do. It’s a reflex while something is running I check those mindless sites, I used to check up on you, and Eric and Tom. There were some great picture of us and they keep reusing them in pieces about Eric and Max.” Peter explains.
“I guess all of our college group could come up in it. Though I expect them to be me, me, me, most the time.” I say.
“Yeah, I bet they bring up Blondie. We should call his mom soon.” Peter says.
“We should. We should invite them out once the new place is ready.” I say.
“So what are we doing?” I ask.
“We’re having a weekend just us, at our place.” Peter says as we arrive at the gate.
“We should change the code now it’s ours.” I say.
“Yeah. I have the instructions.” Peter says.
“Did you go to work this morning?” I ask as I open the trunk.
“No, I had to shop for this and get a few things ready up here first.” Peter grins.
“Why didn’t you have me come shopping?” I ask slightly annoyed we could have had more time together.
“Because I wanted to surprise you. Look we have a tent and disposable grill. I’ve cheated and set up a refrigerator in the pool house. I arranged for the utilities to go back on and a cleaning crew are coming on Monday so we can decide if we want to move in then. But I wanted to camp this weekend and what better place then here where we won’t be disturbed.” Peter says.
“Wow. You’re amazing. You have no time for yourself and yet you did all that for us. I love you babe. You’re very naughty taking on more work but I still love you and I really appreciate what you’ve done.” I say meaning it and hugging him.
“Let’s go find a spot for our tent and then have lunch.” Peter says.
“Okay.” I say grabbing his hand.
We set up our camp well away from the house and enjoy lunch. Peter has brought a cooler full of beer and a load of food that he’s storing in the pool house. After lunch we strip off, grab towels and head down to the beach.
“It’s almost like being on the island.” I say.
“Yeah. Just you and me and the water.” Peter says.
“We need a boat.” I say.
“We should do proper sailing lessons when I finish work.” Peter says.
“We should.” I agree.
“I think we could keep kayaks down here. We won’t want to build a jetty.” Peter says.
“I know, I just miss being out on the water. Kayaks sound like a great idea.” I’ say.
We lie in the sun all afternoon, making plans and catching up. The pressure is on Peter to do a second tour and we’re trying to decide what to do about the wedding.
“You know I know this place won’t be ready or anywhere close but we could get married on this beach and we could have a party in a marquee in our grounds. You know we talked of something informal like a clam bake. We could do that here and even if the gossip columnists or paparazzi got wind of it we can put the rumor out that it’s a housewarming.” Peter says.
“Are you saying I should throw away all my research?” I ask in a very serious voice.
“Yes baby, it was all rubbish.” Peter says seeing straight through my complaint.
“You know I love it. Being here we can have Mart and John and anyone else we want to far more easily. We can do the ceremony with just a few people then a bigger party, like you said something informal. Seafood, grills, lots of champagne. We can run people in to town to stay or they can get back to LA fairly easily and our friends might stay and camp out.” I say.
“So we cater ourselves essentially. I bet I could ask some of the kids from my afterschool program to be waiters. Okay, I say we do it in June. We tell our family it’s a wedding and everyone else it is a housewarming and just surprise them with the wedding part.” Peter says.
“Deal. Oh baby this feels really, really right. So much less stress too.” I say.
“I know. Though I tell you organizing Brian and Jamie’s wedding at the house was not easy. Felix and I worked hard.” Peter says.
“If I had gone to that would we…..?” I fade off not able to articulate what I mean.
“Would I have dumped Gabe and taken you back?” Peter asks.
I nod not quite able to look at him.
“I would have taken you to our bed and you would have had a hard time escaping. So many things would have been different. I wasn’t open to reconciling with you at that point but I was looking round for you, expecting a last minute appearance and if you’d have been there I likely would have caved.” Peter says.
“I have you now.” I say.
“Forever, all yours forever.” Peter says.
As it cools down we make our way back up the path slowly. It has been a perfect afternoon. Peter makes us some cocoa and we sit in our tent, on an air mattress drinking it and looking at each other. It’s getting a little chilly but we’ll be fine snuggled up together. I lie with my head on Peter’s stomach and we take it in turns to read aloud to each other from a book we both have been meaning to start.
In one afternoon Peter has more than made up for the way he’s been the past few weeks. I love that he was aware of my feelings and not ignoring them. That his grand gesture is real quality time.
“You are spoiling me.” I say as he closes the book.
“I’ve been neglecting you and you knew it but you haven’t been nagging for attention. You’ve been amazing at not increasing my stress.” Peter says.
“I knew it was temporary. I had you every night in my bed.” I say.
“Want to go for a moonlit walk?” Peter asks.
“We’ll need clothes. It’s too chilly without.” I say.
“I packed sweats.” Peter says rummaging in a bag and throwing clothes at me.
“When did you pack clothes?” I ask bewildered.
“Yesterday after my shower. I was sneaky.” Peter grins.
“You were, but the best kind.” I laugh.
We walk along the cliff top and look out to sea, our favorite thing to do.
“I can forget everything when I’m alone with you. All my tension is gone. My mind is clear. I’ve been so overloaded, overwhelmed.” Peter says.
“I know. You are so hard on yourself; you don’t need me on your case too.” I say.
“You can expect lots of treats when I’m free.” Peter says.
“Waking up to you is the biggest treat. I still look at this ring in disbelief and I still get butterflies when I see you come in from work. Having you in my life is the most incredible thing. Our wedding, being married that is the only things I want.” I say.
We walk some more and enjoy being together.
“You’re not mad at me are you for going ahead with things here? I know this is your project and I’m allocating your time, you need to stay up here to let the cleaners in Monday.” Peter says.
“Not mad at all. I was waiting to go through the to do list with you this weekend. I’m so excited were finally working on it. I’m super happy to be here, it was a brilliant idea. Baby I will tell you when I’m mad or unhappy.” I say.
“You might keep quiet like the last week or so.” Peter says.
“I guess I might but not when it’s important.” I say.
We sit and cuddle for a long while. I love it. This is my dream.
“You know the plus side of me making those superhero movies was being able to buy this place and build our new house with no worries. It wasn’t worth the time apart but it makes our future amazing.” I say.
“Plus you looked really sexy in those costumes. Do you have any action figures of you?” Peter asks.
“No. I try and keep stuff to a minimum. It’s not like we ever wanted kids. If we did then I’d be more concerned about having that stuff to pass on but it is always just you and me.” I say.
“Not even a dog.” Peter says.
“Do you want one when we’re done with the building work?” I ask.
“No, we will travel too much, it isn’t fair on the animal.” Peter says.
“Good I don’t want to share your time with a pet.” I laugh.
“It’s a good job we can move the wedding up, else Felix could beat us there.” Peter says.
“More importantly I get to call you my husband that much sooner.” I say.
“That will be so perfect. I cannot wait. I love this place. Are you ready for a less than comfortable life until it’s done?” Peter asks.
“If we get walks like this every night then yes. But I think we should use your house as a base for a while. We’ll be pretty exposed to the builders.” I say.
“That is true. We need to talk to Felix still.” Peter says.
“I know. You’ve been so busy.” I say.
“I’m sorry. Nearly there. We should send Tom out and have Felix and Gavin over midweek and sort it out before Jamie and Brian arrive.” Peter says.
“Yes of course. Though I know adding social things in the week exhausts you.” I say.
“I know. It’s been rough recently but if we get the house situation cleared up it’ll be out of my head.” Peter says.
“I love how quiet it is here.” I say.
“Are you asking me to shut up?” Peter asks.
“No. Let’s go to bed, it’s early but I’m tired.” I say.
“Hey beautiful, still love me?” Peter asks as I open my eyes.
“How long have you been awake?” I ask.
“A little while. I’ve loved watching you and not having to get up.” Peter says.
“I love being right here.” I say leaning forward to unzip the tent before snuggling back onto Peter.
“Perfect. My perfect baby.” Peter says holding me, I can feel he’s so happy.
We make coffee and eat pastries sat outside enjoying the morning sun. We walk all over the property, Peter has brought the plans with him and I go through everything with him. He’s excited and very happy with all the choices. We talk about how we’ll use the house when it’s just us, the kitchen with a view. The outdoor shower. The study on the top floor with sky lights. F against the bedroom window in a storm.
Building our dream home together feels amazing. Finally we’ll have real roots, a real home together that is ours. Dream home is a silly phrase, I never dreamed life would be anything like this good.