Fienchen (fienchen) wrote,

The Chronicles of New Zealand - Chapter 50

Titel oder Beschreibung

Title: The Chronicles of New Zealand
Author: fienchen
Pairing: Domlijah
Rating: NC 17 (for series)
Summary: Elijah Wood and Dominic Monaghan meet in New Zealand and fall in love during filming "The Lord of the Rings". As their relationship develops the problems and obstacles increase, but of course nothing stands in the way of true love.
Author's note: This work is pure and utter fiction and the product of my vivid imagination. Special thanks to my lovely beta spikessweetgirl.
Chapter: 50
Word count: 6505

Previous chapters

Chapter 50

Orlando looked out the front window and tried to concentrate on the setting of downtown Wellington as the car made its way through the city by night. He didn’t manage to do this for very long though. Leaning his elbow against the side-window, his gaze was drawn to the rear-view mirror again and again. He had to bite down on the nail of his thumb in order to suppress a grin. He didn’t succeed there either. Billy’s eyes met his in the mirror and of course Billy noticed the silly grin on Orlando’s face. He pressed his lips together and glanced aside. Then he looked into the mirror again and shrugged in an exaggerated manner and with an apologetic expression. Orlando sighed quietly but in an equally exaggerated way. Shifting his gaze, he got faced with Dominic’s teasingly serious reflection. However, Orlando refused to give up just yet, the main reason for this certainly being the proper amount of alcohol he had already enjoyed. Wriggling his eyebrows and tilting his head, he put on his best begging puppy-dog-look. Dominic imitated the silly look right away and shook his head slightly, only to pucker his lips like he was pretending to blow his pleading friend a kiss. To the left of him Elijah watched the scene amused. Due to the angle of the mirror he couldn’t see Orlando, but he knew what he wanted and what the looks were about. Not just Orlando, but Billy as well. Poor naïve guys, Elijah thought with a grin. Like Orlando he wasn’t entirely sober anymore either. The four of them had downed a couple of small drinks at a local pub before leaving for their final destination and as usual, Orlando and Elijah felt the effects sooner and more intense than everyone else. And as usual, the company made Elijah loosen up some. Biting down on his bottom lip to hold back his cackle, he reached out and sneaked his hand around the seat in front of him. Orlando flinched briefly and then let out a sharp shriek when he suddenly felt two stroking fingers on the back of his neck. That pulled the trigger and the struggle not to burst into silly giggles crumbled instantly as heavy laughter filled the car.

Despite having practically initiated it, Orlando didn’t even know why he was laughing so hard, but the noises from the boys behind him only amplified it. He dared to look to the right and noticed that their driver had a small smile on his face but kept his eyes straight ahead on the street. Orlando wondered if this man knew who he was driving in his taxi tonight, but it wouldn’t do their reputation any harm. It was known among the locals that the cast liked to hit the bars and pubs of the city and that they basically behaved like the average fun loving inhabitant of Wellington. And nothing could be worse than peeing into a public fountain in the middle of the night. Only tonight Orlando was restricted. Putting a hand on his side, he couldn’t help the light wince. His broken rib was healing nicely, but the heavy laughter had caused another pang of pain to shoot through him. He didn’t take any medication for the pain any longer, which would have been a rather bad combination with the alcohol. Why was he drinking anyway? Damn you, group pressure. No, damn you, filthy hobbits, Orlando thought, but that only made him burst into another round of silly giggles. Viggo had been taking good care of him during the past painful weeks, knowing all kinds of helpful advice and Orlando had sucked it all up eagerly. Like everything Viggo said or did. Orlando used to hang on to his lips and every word, almost like Elijah used to hang on to Dominic’s lips and every word, just not in an unconsciously romantic way.

A few minutes later the taxi stopped in front of a familiar house. They hadn’t been here as often as they had been at Peter’s house, but it was still rather memorable from the first cast party right before principal photography had started. Orlando pushed a couple of bills into the driver’s hand without even counting them or waiting until the driver said how much they owed him. But the man’s expression revealed that he had received a lot more than required and since Orlando didn’t seem to want any change, he kept the rest as a generous tip. Orlando, however, only wanted to get out of the car and the sitting position, but when he opened the door and stood up, he made the mistake of stretching his arms and that sent another throbbing pang through his side. It wasn’t as painful as it had been a few weeks before, but it was still uncomfortable. This wasn’t his first injury. When he had been younger, he had broken his back and had almost ended up in a wheelchair. But that hadn’t kept him from living a pretty active life, and breaking his rib now had annoyed him immensely. At least it hadn’t happened during summer. He wouldn’t be able to go surfing or ride his motorcycle or whatever he just felt like doing.

“Fuck this shite.”

“What was that?” Elijah asked as he got out of the car and heard Orlando curse under his breath. “I think my poor, innocent ears perceived something they weren’t supposed to.”

Orlando put his hands on his hips, determined not to let anyone know what was bothering him, and put on a smirk as he looked at the smaller man in front of him. Now that he was standing upright, the soreness in his side slowly subsided, but he knew he had to be more careful. Above all, he didn’t want to ruin the fun night with useless lamenting.

“Oh, shut up. It’s all your fault anyway.”

“What’s whose fault?” Dominic slipped out of the backseat and shut the door with a noise that was louder than necessary. Running a hand through his hair, he frowned at Orlando, but with an amused expression on his face. “How much did you give the bloke? Didn’t we say we would share the costs?”

“Hey, Orlando can afford it,” Billy piped with a grin as he joined them from the other side of the taxicab, which now started to move again slowly and then drove off into another direction. “He’ll be swimming in cash soon, being Hollywood’s next pretty face.”

“Right, consider yourselves invited. I lost the bet, but that was your fault! How could you let me down like that?” Orlando said, his arms still akimbo and his head held high, like he wanted to tower proudly over everyone else. Which wasn’t that difficult in this company.

“Let you down?” Elijah laughed, searching his jacket for his pack of cloves. “How could we let you down when we always said we wouldn’t do it and told you to fuck off and dream on?”

Dominic grinned broadly and put his arm around Elijah’s shoulders. He didn’t take his eyes off Elijah as he spoke. “Seriously Orli. Did you really think we would do this for several minutes in the backseat of a taxi?”

He pressed his lips against Elijah’s cheek which was slightly flushed and damp from the alcohol, but still smooth and flawless as always, and Elijah turned his head so that Dominic could caress his mouth instead of his skin. Only the kiss was anything but romantic, in fact, it couldn’t even be called kiss. Dominic opened his mouth wide and stuck out his whirling tongue, moving it in an exaggeratedly and way over the top sexy manner against Elijah’s lips. Elijah stifled a snigger as he parted his lips as well, but when Dominic’s tongue slobbered all over his chin and then slavered into his open mouth, dueling with the other rough tongue there, he gave in and giggled.

Billy watched them and laughed. Glancing at Orlando’s inscrutable face, he wasn’t quite sure what his friend was thinking which was pretty weird since normally Orlando sucked at hiding his feelings. Earlier in the car, Billy had been able to tell that Orlando’s rib was bothering him. He could hold his liquor better than anyone else, so he was still capable of thinking straight. About Dominic and Elijah he wasn’t so sure, but then again, sometimes you couldn’t tell if Dominic was drunk or not, with the things he used to pull at times.

And right now Dominic wrapped his arms around Elijah’s upper body and lowered him until he almost touched the ground. His slobbering tongue was still all over Elijah’s jaw, lips and cheeks. The “kiss” was totally messed up now and Elijah emitted a heavy, laughing shriek, clinging to Dominic like he was afraid of getting dropped. Of course that was ridiculous. Dominic wasn’t as drunk as the others assumed. He was still very much in control of his body and mind, but he could never resist teasing Orlando mercilessly. Especially tonight, after Orlando’s silly request.

“Ugh, you guys are so disgusting,” Orlando complained and wrinkled his nose, yet his formerly enigmatic expression changed and the tone of his voice revealed that he wasn’t serious and just joking. He dropped his arms and sighed melodramatically. “All I wanted to see was one normal kiss, you chickenshits. He probably wouldn’t have noticed anyway.”

Dominic pulled Elijah up again, momentarily marveling at Elijah’s face that was a little more flushed now but still lovely as usual. Nothing could ever ruin this perfection, neither long days at work nor wild and bashed nights. They were standing directly under an illuminated streetlamp and not even this unpleasant, hard light spoilt the beauty. And luckily no one else was in sight, otherwise their little snogging session would have been right in the spotlight. No, Dominic wasn’t drunk. He felt himself getting more and more sober as they inhaled the fresh night air by the side of the street and his previous tipsiness slowly faded, like the pain in Orlando’s side. And no matter how boozed-up he might become, Dominic would jump off a cliff before he would drop Elijah on a cold, rough street.

Billy gave Orlando a sympathetic glance. “Sorry mate. Tried my best.”

Orlando just shrugged and shivered, obviously throwing the towel. “Come on now, getting a little too chilly for my pretty arse,” he said and turned around to walk up to the house. Billy watched Dominic and Elijah exchange a triumphant yet loving look and then he followed them as they made their way towards the residence after Orlando, holding hands. He grinned. Usually they hardly ever showed public displays of affection. They weren’t all over each other, not even when they were with nobody else but their friends. Unless they were drunk or at least tipsy. And it was probably better this way. Or rather safer. If they didn’t act like a couple around people who knew about them, it was less likely that they would accidentally do something around other people that might reveal what was really between them. Billy’s grin faded when he thought about that. He wasn’t sure if he could keep up a relationship like this. Always having to mind your behavior in public and putting society before yourself because you’re considered “wrong”. But Dominic and Elijah handled the situation surprisingly well. They had to back down in this one respect, and that was well worth it, as Dominic had assured Billy several times. And in the end, that was all that mattered.

Orlando had already rung the doorbell and was greeted by the friendly grey-haired man who invited them all in right away. The memories of the first cast party at Barrie Osborne’s house a year before were vivid and the place still looked exactly the same. The eye-catcher was a long fire pole that was installed in the hallway and connected the different floors. If you felt like it, you could just wrap yourself around the shiny tube and slide down from upper to ground floor. Which the boys had repeatedly done the first time they had been there.

The producer’s home looked very similar to Peter Jackson’s house. If you didn’t know any better, you wouldn’t believe that someone from the movie business was living here. No mansion, no luxury, no extravagance, no over the top furnishings. The only thing that might be considered luxurious was the backyard with a splendid view of the sea. The perfect location for the anniversary party.

As they went through the hallway and entered the garden, Orlando, Dominic, Elijah and Billy noticed that they were among the last ones of the main cast to arrive. Yet unfamiliar crew faces mingled with familiar faces such as Peter, Viggo, Ian, John, Sean Bean, Andy, Miranda, Bernard, the scale doubles, Fran, Philippa and various others. It was a large gathering of talented, creative people who did not only share a passion for their work but who were also connected by a form of companionship, which was rare and uncommon in this industry. And the filmmakers’ houses mirrored this phenomenon. Simple, pure, humble residences, accommodating humble, passionate and ingenious people. Maybe it was something that occurred only in New Zealand and was typically Kiwi. Or at least something that could only occur outside of Hollywood. Barrie Osborne was from America, but if you were lucky enough to live in New Zealand for such a long time, the local spirit claimed you and didn’t let you go again.

This was one of the things that were running through Sean’s mind as he crossed the lawn and approached the patio, holding Alexandra’s hand and trying to keep up with her. His little daughter had already been half asleep earlier, but when she had spotted her beloved, favorite uncles, she had immediately jumped up and all her sleepiness had been gone abruptly. They went over to one of the benches on the patio where Billy, Dominic and Elijah had sat down with fresh supplies of beer.

Orlando was standing beside them and smiled as the girl with bouncing blonde curls tugged at her father’s hand, clearly in charge tonight despite her age of almost four. “Hey party princess! Why aren’t you in bed yet?”

Dominic put his bottle down on the table in front of him and leaned back with a grin. “Yeah, don’t you know that Father Christmas…I mean, Santa only brings you presents if you’re a good girl and don’t stay up to catch him?”

Sean’s hand got released and Alexandra put on an adorable, precocious expression with a tilted head and funny beam. “Haha! I know it’s not Christmas yet. And I am always a good girl.”

“Touché,” Elijah giggled. Sean’s daughter was surprisingly sharp-minded for her age. He was about to reach into his pocket to pull out his cigarettes, a movement he didn’t use to think about much and that happened automatically, but he quickly dropped his hand again. He didn’t smoke in front of children, especially not Alexandra who he knew looked up to all of them.

Sean playfully rolled his eyes behind Alexandra. “Why are kids getting chattier, the later it is? She was ready to doze off until you guys showed up.”

“Smart lass,” Dominic joked, picking up his bottle again and taking a small sip of beer.

Turning her head around and gazing up at her father, Alexandra smiled her sweetest smile. “Can Uncle Dom tell me a goodnight story, daddy?”

“Hey,” Orlando protested with a mixture of amusement and light shock. “I thought I was your fairytale uncle.”

The smile on the girl’s face did not falter. “But Uncle Dom does the voices so well.”

Dominic looked at the glowing, lovely little kid, with those bright blonde curls and smooth, rosy features of an angel, feeling his heart going out to her. Elijah knew this look very well. It used to creep over Dominic’s face whenever he was around children, babies in particular. And Elijah loved it every time he came to witness it. There was something special, something magical about it that seemed to change his entire appearance. Elijah remembered how Dominic used to clown around with some of the kids that had played hobbit children in the Shire scenes, Peter’s boy and girl being among them and the director smiling at the welcome entertainment in between takes. Now was one of those moments again and Elijah smiled at the picture. It was a side of Dominic that not many knew of as it was often hidden behind a wall of fooling around and making jokes. A serene, sensitive side.

Slowly Dominic managed to do something other than beam enchantedly. “Awww…isn’t she the cutest? Of course I will tell you a goodnight story, princess. If daddy lets me.”

Sean gestured nonchalantly and chuckled. “Sure, go ahead. Ask Pete where you can put her down. Just remember: she’s the child and you’re the adult, so don’t let her wrap you around her little finger so she can stay up longer. She knows some clever tricks there.”

“Hey, I’m the personification of responsibility,” Dominic grinned and got up from the bench, lifting a happy Alexandra up into his arms. “Shouldn’t be too long,” he said directed at Elijah and Billy, and then they disappeared into the house.

“Mommy and daddy are going to pick you up before we leave!” Sean managed to shout after them and laughed. “I’m all washed-up now.”

Orlando sighed and wiped an imaginary tear away from his cheek. “Well, I’ll try not to feel too rejected.”

“Dom is really great with kids,” Sean said, still looking at the now closed door. “Ali is in good hands until Chris can pull herself away from her endless lady conversation with Fran,” he added as a joke.

“Just wait twenty more years and you’ll have some serious competition there, Lij,” Billy teased and nudged Elijah’s side.

Elijah played with the cigarette pack in his pocket. “Oh please, let’s not go into that direction. But I think Orlando is gonna be the one to be stalked by the girls.”

“Hmm really?” Orlando rubbed his hands together and took a look around the garden venue with wide eyes. “Apropos, where’s Liv?”

“What, you didn’t know?” Sean asked. Orlando looked like he was about to go hunting for a certain species. “She left for Texas to do a new movie. Don’t worry, she’ll be back soon.”

“Oh…okay,” Orlando shrugged, trying not to look too disappointed. “Think I’ll go and stalk Vig then.”

“May I join you?” Billy got up as he asked the question, his eyes scanning the place to look for Viggo, who had somehow disappeared into the crowd. “I haven’t talked to him in a while.”

“Of course, my dear,” Orlando held out his hand which Billy ignored graciously.

Elijah and Sean watched them leave, chatting with each other vividly as they melted into the other guests. When they were gone, Sean shoved his hands into the pockets of his pants and looked down at Elijah. His friend was still sitting on the bench, the pack of cloves now in his fingers. Sean could tell that Elijah was feeling the strong urge to smoke and he struggled to bite back a comment. He had sworn to himself that he would quit his bad habit of fussing, or at least reduce it.

So instead he just smiled. “Wanna stroll a little?”

Elijah stopped fumbling with the pack and returned the smile. “Sure,” he said and lifted himself off the seat.

Together they slowly walked across the lawn, occasionally greeting a few people of the crew, until they came to stand in a remote spot, away from most of the others. A line of smaller bushes bordered the backyard and beyond the natural fence, below the incline the house was situated upon, the stunning scenery of the harbor spread before them. The lights of the buildings around it danced on the surface of the water. Despite the party music and the voices from the chatting guests behind them, which weren’t very loud but still there, the panorama filled Sean and Elijah with a pleasant sense of peacefulness.

The little pack had slipped back into his jacket while Elijah pinched a clove stick between his lips and lit it with a lighter. The gleaming end illuminated his face as he took a first drag. He was still silently surveying the calm harbor area when Sean turned away from the view and looked at him. The clove cigarette was dangling between Elijah’s fingers now. Sean kept his own hands in his pockets, the soft smile not vanishing from his face.

“Dom is really great with kids,” he repeated his earlier comment, his tone casual and nonchalant.

Elijah blinked like he had been pulled out of a process of deep pondering and fixed his eyes upon Sean. The statement made him smile as well.

“He is,” he said and paused briefly, like he had to gather his thoughts again. “I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks so. But you know he’s a great entertainer, so it comes naturally to him. And the kids love that.”

Sean nodded. “Yeah. But you know Ali will always love you. She’s way too fascinated by your eyes.”

“What can I do? I can’t possibly poke them out,” Elijah laughed and lifted the clove to his mouth.

“I didn’t say it’s bad that she loves your eyes,” Sean raised his hands in defense and then folded them across his chest. In spite of the humorous mood between them, he couldn’t help but observe Elijah a little more closely and with a pensive gaze. The contemplative expression and especially that certain look in his eyes when Sean had mentioned Dominic and the children hadn’t gone unnoticed. Although Elijah seemed lost in thoughts more often than not, it wasn’t really anything unusual. He didn’t know if he should address this here and now and if he wasn’t maybe going too far. Once again. But it was something he had wondered about even before he had known Dominic and Elijah had gotten together. Or maybe they hadn’t been together yet at the time, he wasn’t sure. One memory was particularly present. Mount Owen on the South Island almost a year before, in between takes for the tragic Dimrill Dale scene. His flippant question. It had been the first and last time he had asked it. He hadn’t known about Elijah’s sexuality at the time, let alone about the secret affair. But today, here and now, his curiosity took over and weakened his reason. Was he being ridiculous for bringing it up again? The words were out before his mind could finish weighing up the pros and cons.

“Anyway, I think you’re very good with children too, Elijah. You want some of your own some day?”

Exhaling the smoke of his cigarette, Elijah looked at the cloud in front of him for a moment as it vanished in the night air. At Sean’s question he turned around and blinked confused. A small chuckle escaped his throat, but he didn’t know where it came from.

“What?” was all Elijah said, and now it was Sean’s turn to be confused. Was the question really this far-fetched and amusing? Was it too straight-forward? Had he overstepped his boundaries? Sean hoped and prayed that he wasn’t walking on sensitive territory yet again, not after everything they had been through and after their reconciliation. It was just an innocent, curious question. Right?

“Well,” Sean hesitated, trying to find the right words. Elijah’s reaction had left him slightly self-conscious. “I know I asked you once and you said maybe. At that time I didn’t know about you and Dom yet and now I feel a little silly. But now that I know about you and…well…seeing you guys with Ali, I was just…you know…wondering…”

He trailed off as he realized that he was stumbling over his words. Looking down at the ground, he hoped he wasn’t making another big mistake. They had patched up their busted friendship, but Sean sensed it was still fragile. He couldn’t see past the cracks and he was afraid that one wrong motion might smash their rebuilt relationship back into pieces. He felt Elijah’s intense eyes on him and that made his already blushed face redden even more.

Indeed Elijah was looking at him with a combination of bewilderment and amusement. The way Sean was hanging his head as if in shame almost made him pity him. “You were just wondering?”

Elijah’s questioning voice made Sean lift his head and turn to his younger friend. Sean’s hands were still buried in the pockets of his pants and he was kicking some invisible object with his foot, clearly oozing uneasiness.

“What the hell makes you bring this up now?” Elijah asked with a frown on his face.

Swallowing the lump in his throat, Sean shrugged his shoulders and somehow this helped him lose some of the tension. He even managed to show a smile, even though it did not reach his eyes.

“I don’t know. Maybe this anniversary party is making me a little too emotional for my own good. But every time I see you around Ali or any other kid, I can’t help but imagine you with one of your own. Call me silly, but it’s just like that. I’m like that. You know my family means everything to me. Much more than acting and making movies. I know that must sound quite unbelievable to you…”

At the last part Sean chuckled quietly. He was very much aware how obsessed he came across sometimes when it came to filming and everything that involved the process of producing movies, but that didn’t mean that there was nothing else he cherished in his life. On the contrary. He felt relieved when he saw Elijah smile at the last words.

“What I’m trying to say is just,” he went on and finally pulled one hand out of his pocket for some hopefully supportive gesticulating. “I want you to know that I’m sure you would be great parents some day if you decide to go this way. And you shouldn’t be afraid of it. It brings so much joy into your life, Elijah.”

He stopped again. Elijah’s eyes had widened during his little speech, but that alone hadn’t distracted him. First Elijah giggled, but then he actually laughed and looked straight ahead. It didn’t last long though. After taking a last long drag from his almost forgotten clove, he dropped it and stubbed it out. When he faced Sean, he was smiling faintly.

“Geez…you’re really worse than me. You’re thinking way too much,” he said, feeling a sudden pang. Thinking too much…worrying too much…that had always been Elijah’s problem. “Don’t you think it’s a little too soon for this conversation?”

Sean chewed on his bottom lip and shrugged once more. “Is it? I wasn’t talking about tomorrow. I was talking about some day. In the future.”

“Yes, it is too soon,” Elijah emphasized, ignoring Sean’s objection. “I mean, what am I supposed to say? That we’re already planning a big fairytale family? That we have it all planned out already? And how are we supposed to do that anyway, huh? Last I heard, guys couldn’t get knocked up yet.”

He paused as he sounded a little more wound up than he had intended to. He still didn’t know whether to find the question funny or irritating.

“I know,” Sean sighed, struggling not to think too much about the mistake he had wanted to avoid. If it was too late now, he couldn’t do anything about it anyway. “That’s not what I meant, Elijah. I was just asking out of curiosity and interest. Seeing you with my daughter and all…I’m sure you would love it and you would be wonderful at parenting. And there are certain ways for gays to have children. It’s just wonderful having a family with the one you love. Trust me.”

“You know, that’s just it,” Elijah said. His head was full of spinning thoughts and his soul full of whirling emotions. It was hard to get them into proper phrases. “I don’t deny that it’s wonderful for you. But you are a family man through and through. It’s great that you’re happy with your family, but you can’t apply your standards to us, Sean. Not everyone needs that to be happy. Just because we like playing with Ali doesn’t mean we have to have a child of our own. No one knows what’s in five years time from now, but it’s absolutely no option right now. We’ve only just gotten together. Besides, we have tons of other fucking problems and things we have to think about, you know. In case you forgot, Dom is a guy and I’m a guy and society still shits on that. It’s difficult enough as it is. I thought you of all people should know that. You’re a Hollywood kid after all, like me.”

Sean didn’t say anything for a long moment. The sound from the party was drifting over to them, yet between them there was a thick tense silence that was louder than any noises could be. Eventually Sean’s quiet voice sliced the stillness like a knife.

“I know it’s difficult for you, Elijah. I’m sorry…it was stupid and out of place to bring this up. And I guess I’m the last person to ask you private questions like this anyway.”

He chuckled humorlessly.

“And what makes you say that now?” The confusion took over again and the frown seemed to be impaled on Elijah’s face.

Sean’s voice became even quieter which was hardly possible. “After everything that happened between us.”

It was barely audible and first Elijah thought he had misheard the mumbling. Then he sighed and took a deep breath. Another cigarette sounded very tempting right now. “Don’t tell me you’re still living in the past, Sean. We’re friends, unless you see problems where there aren’t any and pull everyone down.”

“I’m not living in the past,” Sean said, now a little more loudly. “Just sometimes I feel like I’m walking on a minefield and one wrong step will blow everything up and I’ll lose your friendship again.”

“And you think I’m pissed off now and don’t want you as my friend anymore because you asked me this question? Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but it’s not that easy to get rid of me,” Elijah took a few steps towards Sean who had bowed down his head and was studying his feet. The earlier small wave of compassion for Sean was back and it showed in Elijah’s eyes and voice when he spoke.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to sound so pissy. I just didn’t get why you would ask me about something like this. I mean, it’s really absurd. It’s nice that you’re thinking about us that way and that you think we could be good parents and I believe you when you say that having a family of your own is great. But it’s no option for us. Like I said, nobody knows what the future brings, but it’s hard enough to live in the here and now. We’ve not even lived properly together yet. And it’s just been a year, that’s almost nothing. We haven’t told this anyone else but Billy yet, but Dom is going to move to LA next year.”

Sean looked up, clearly surprised. “Really?”

Elijah nodded, losing his previous edginess at the prospect. Thinking about Dominic living with him permanently, in the same house, always filled him with happiness and a warm snug feeling. The soft smile on his lips revealed this on the outside.

“Yeah. We’re both going to move into my mother’s guesthouse for starters and then we’ll see where we go from there. It’s the only way for us. We can be together and he’ll have more opportunities to get acting jobs. It’s a huge step moving from England to LA, but we want to stay together.”

No, we need to stay together, Elijah thought, feeling the emotions threaten to overwhelm him. If he wasn’t an actor, he would have no problem packing his stuff and settle down somewhere in England. Or any other place, as long as it was Dominic he settled down with. Of course he would miss his mother, his sister, his brother and the friends he had back at home, but ever since he met Dominic, he felt himself become more and more mature and sophisticated with each day and turn into a real young adult. Elijah had always thought that getting into the movie business at such a young age, being surrounded by grown-ups most of the time, had helped him leave his childhood behind sooner than normal. And it had. But Dominic was on an entirely different level. During the past year Elijah had learnt more about himself than he had ever deemed possible. Dominic had pulled him into a completely new world and opened his eyes to things he had not even dared to dream about. And just like Elijah’s maturity was growing day by day, his love for this man deepened day by day. Letting him go back to England would be beyond senseless and impossible. But luckily Dominic was an actor as well, so moving to Los Angeles was not the worst next step for him. And luckily, like Elijah, he was head over heels in love, too.

The surprised expression on Sean’s face got replaced by a gentle smile. “That’s great. That’s really great, Elijah. I’m happy for you. And I think you’re doing the right thing. I mean it.”

“I know,” Elijah said and placed a hand on Sean’s shoulder. “I know you mean it. Fuck what happened between us. If you still need time to get over it and forgive yourself, you have all the time in the world. Dom and I don’t blame you and we consider you a good friend. There’s no minefield that could destroy that.”

Sean’s smile grew broader and he reached out to pull Elijah into a tight hug. There were no words that could express his gratefulness any better and it was his first and only instinct. Elijah wrapped his arms around Sean and lightly patted his back.

“Thank you, Elijah. Thank you. You have no idea how much this means to me,” Sean’s voice was thick with emotions and Elijah smiled at his sensitive reaction.

“There’s nothing you have to thank me for, Sean.”

“Yes, I do,” Sean withdrew from the embrace to look into Elijah’s eyes. “You’ve always been nothing but a wonderful friend. I don’t think any other person would have forgiven me.”

Suddenly he lowered his gaze and scratched the back of his neck awkwardly. “But…can you do me a favor?” he asked, sounding like he was about to say something earth-shatteringly mind-blowing.

Elijah raised his eyebrows. “Yes?”

“Could you…could you not tell Dom about this? The baby thing, I mean. I’m feeling embarrassed enough, as it is.”

The laughter that came from Elijah was like the relief they both needed after this conversation and it inevitably carried Sean away. He chuckled and knew his face must have been as red as a tomato.

“I won’t. Oh Sean really are one of a kind,” Elijah said, when his laughter subsided.

“Who is one of a kind?”

Another very familiar voice announced new company and Elijah and Sean turned around simultaneously. Dominic approached them, sporting a big grin. He had only heard Elijah’s typical, high-pitched laughter and the last words. And as always, that sound was music in his ears.

“Oh, why am I even asking? I know who is,” he put his arm around Elijah’s shoulders and kissed his cheek. “Oh, sorry. I hope I’m not interrupting anything?”

“You’re not. And you’re right about that, Dom,” Sean winked at Elijah. “I’ll leave you two alone. Hopefully Chris has some time for her neglected husband now.”

“Ali’s sound asleep, by the way,” Dominic told Sean who was already halfway across the lawn and Sean waved back at him, indicating that he had heard him.

“What were you laughing about?” he asked. If Dominic hadn’t been grinning already, Elijah’s radiant smile would have been infective.

Elijah watched Sean walk away and then he turned around, locking his arms around Dominic’s waist. “Had something to do with you.”

“Me?” Dominic mock-gasped, feigning offense. Every pore on Elijah’s face exuded happiness as well as a tinge of mischievousness. “Should I feel insulted?”

“No,” Elijah closed the space between them and pressed his lips against Dominic’s. They didn’t use to kiss like this in public, not even at private parties, so it caught Dominic a little by surprise when Elijah initiated it. But he enjoyed it all the more. They were standing aside and nobody was paying attention to them anyway. Dominic gingerly cupped Elijah’s face, loving the feeling of a rough, yet gently probing tongue in his mouth. It was a magical little moment that shut out everything else. To Elijah the kiss was a needed outlet for the feelings that had accumulated inside him during his talk with Sean. Thinking about Dominic, their future, the next big stage in their relationship always left him in an extraordinarily emotional state of mind and made the already ever-present urge to be close to him even stronger. It didn’t matter who was watching them, if anyone was watching them at all, or who was turning up their noses at them. Only Dominic mattered, and the love they were sharing. Slowly Elijah removed his wet lips from Dominic’s, but stayed close enough so they were still nearly touching. Opening his eyes, he gazed up at him and formed a warm smile.

“Hmm…missed you,” he murmured, savoring the loving expression in Dominic’s eyes and tightening the hold of his arms around him.

Dominic stroked his thumb over Elijah’s cheek, lost in those unnatural eyes for a moment and the emotions the amazing young man evoked in him, with every look, every word, every smile. “I missed you too, baby. Took me some time to find you. They’re about to start the fireworks and I was afraid I’d have to watch it all by myself.”

“Now that would have been really unromantic,” Elijah leaned in for another kiss which Dominic delightedly returned. They only pulled apart when they heard the explosions of the rockets and looked up into the night sky. Countless colorful trails of sparks lit up the darkness and created a sight as fantastic as what was happening on the ground. To everyone else it was a celebration of the filming anniversary, of the movies, their work and their endless dedication. To Dominic and Elijah it was their own personal show to celebrate their love.
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