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Dark Eden I: Chances

Angyl and Rina

March 2004

Waves crashed on the rocky shore, their roar blending with the last notes of a song and all but drowning out the singerís achingly high falsetto refrain. A long-fingered hand reached out and turned off the CD player before wrapping once more around a mug of tea, holding it close to a lean, almost too thin chest draped in a heavy sweater.

Andrew Cooper, once half of the world-famous pop group Dark Eden, raised the mug to his lips, taking a sip of the warm, sweet liquid, his shadowed green eyes focused somewhere in the distance over the water of the Atlantic Ocean. The song was good, and why shouldnít it be? Gavin always had a knack for describing emotions brilliantly in his lyrics as well as the talent of making each member of their audience believe that he was singing to her or him.

"Good for you, Gav," Andy murmured, leaning an elbow on the weathered railing of his deck and running a hand through his wind-blown hair to get the dark-blond strands out of his eyes. "Itís what you always wanted."

It was true; during their fame, Gavin had basked in the attention, eating it up and always wanting more, soaking in the accolades until his pale skin almost glowed with electricity. Andy, on the other hand, was more than happy to take the back seat. He played the music, Gavin sang it. He faded into the background unless dragged out into the light, Gavin lived for being center stage.

It was a strange partnership, but their musical styles had been perfectly complementary, and they had been best friends practically since the day they had met, seven long years ago. Andy supposed that Ďhadí was the important word in that sentence; he hadnít seen or spoken to Gavin in over a year and a half, not since the day heíd learned out that Dark Eden was no more. Found out by reading a press release as a matter of fact, one handed to him by the bandís (now Gavinís) press agent Lenore Hastings.

Now, eighteen months later, Gavin was on the verge of a new career with the release of his solo CD. Andy was busy himself, scoring movie soundtracks, and, even though he didnít miss the incessant grind of touring and publicity, he missed his friend.

"Face it, Coop, itís all your fault," he sighed, turning around to rest his back against the railing. When theyíd met, Gavin had been recently engaged, finally getting married to Diana just before the release of their first album some months after he and Gavin had begun to write music together. She had been great, which was partly why the divorce had come as such a shock to everyone in their circle of friends three years ago. When she left, Diana also took with her Andyís main reason for refusing to see Gavin as anything but a friend and somewhere during their last tour, he fell, and fell hard for his best friend.

Through the whole tour, Lenore had been pushing for more from them; more dates, more photo shoots, more interviews, until Andy thought heíd go mad with it all. Being a band from Dublin wasnít enough any longer, they were supposed to be global, to run with the big dogs, and Andy just wasnít comfortable with it. Gavin, however, seemed to relish the lifestyle. Heíd packed up and moved to the States to be closer to the pulse of the music business or some such rubbish not long after the divorce. Theyíd written most of the last albumís songs by e-mail, and while it was some of their best work, Andy wasnít as pleased with it as he had been by the songs they worked on together at his old piano in one of their flats.

Things would have been bearable, but then he had to go and ruin it. There wasnít an excuse, though heíd been exhausted and angry at the time. He just couldnít go on any longer without telling Gavin how he felt, that he wanted to be so much more than friends and that was it.

Sighing, he lowered his chin, his gaze falling on the jewel case next to the stereo. Gavin had dyed his hair blond, and while Andy thought the look really didnít suit the other man, other than that, he hadnít changed. He was still beautiful; fey, almost untouchable looking, though in truth he was anything but.

Making his decision, Andy picked up the cordless phone and punched in a number, one he hadnít called in over a year.

"Hi, itís me. I, umm, just wanted to say congratulations. The album sounds really great. Iím glad for you, Gav. Itís what you always wanted."

Unable to think of what to say next, Andy fell silent, while an answering machine an ocean and a continent away spooled its tape until he finally hung up.

Gavinís head snapped up as he heard Andyís voice on his machine. It was the last voice he expected to hear, especially after the way they had ended things, but there his friend was, wishing him well and success. Taking a large swallow of the tumbler of scotch heíd poured himself, Gavin tried to ignore the hitch in his throat.

Walking in the door to his apartment not half an hour before from a red-eye flight from Portugal where heíd been busy doing the usual pre-album push, trying to drum up support for his solo career, Gavin had heard the phone ring but had chosen to ignore it and let the machine pick it up. Now he wasnít sure if he should curse himself or thank fickle fortune for his overwhelming exhaustion.

Andy Cooper, his best friend, partner, private inspiration and the reason why his marriage had lasted barely three years and ended in divorce. The man heíd fallen for during the course of his engagement and subsequent nuptials, his partner and the one truly unobtainable goal in his life.

In a way Andy had been the reason behind his hasty marriage to Diana. Heíd just gotten engaged to her after barely a month of dating when heíd met the lanky blond bassist and score writer. The attraction heíd felt for Andy was instantaneous and impossible to deny. And it had just kept growing, despite the fact that Andy didnít seem remotely interested or even of that bent, so to speak.

So what had Gavin done? Instead of facing what he felt for the bassist, heíd honored his promise of marriage to a woman he barely knew and, in fact, loved more like a friend than a lover; and he had done so with such speed that he couldnít talk himself out of the madness.

But through those mad first months he and Andy had collaborated on a song and Dark Eden had been born. That first song had been... magic. His lyrics, Andyís music - it had been pure genius and nothing since the group broke up had ever felt so good or so right. Oh he could write the songs and collaborate with other artists for the music to the point where it sounded like heíd originally envisioned it to sound. But it still felt wrong. Andy should have been the one to write the music to match his words. Andy, who seemed to know on this almost soul deep level just where Gavin was going with the lyrics. Andy who could take Gavinís fanciful ramblings and off hand descriptions and turn it into the poetry of sound. Fuck he missed that, more than he ever felt possible.

But Andy had been tired of the fame, tired of the push for publicity. Tired of the controversy that had sprung up due to the fact that he, Gavin, had always been ambiguous with his sexuality and had made fans out of women and men, his actions and antics calling his Ďlifestyleí into question, and therefore Andyís as well. Heíd become the George Michaels or Boy George of the 21st Century and apparently Andy couldnít take being partnered with a poof anymore and so heíd walked out, or at least thatís what Lenore had told him when the publicist had broken the news to him.

Apparently Andy had finally figured out that Gavinís act on stage wasnít completely an act but the only way he could flirt and touch the man he so desperately wanted and not get caught doing so. However, heíd finally been caught out and Andy had walked.

So why the phone call now? And why had Andy sounded so... wistful? Lonely? Hungry. That was it, Andy had sounded almost hungry on the phone. But hungry for what, or who?

Downing the rest of his scotch, Gavin refilled his glass for a liberal dose of Dutch courage and picked up the phone to return the call.

Juggling the CD player, his mug, and the phone as he pulled the door shut behind him, Andy almost dropped all of them when the phone rang. Managing to set his drink and the portable stereo down on the nearest table, he hit the Ďtalkí button, and held the phone between his ear and shoulder as he hopped on one foot to pull the heavy boot off his foot.

"Hullo?" He was answered by silence. "Hullo..." Shifting to get at his other boot, he sighed. Idiot pranksters. "Talk now or talk to the dial tone..."

"Andy..." Gavin husked, not quite sure what to say or how to say it, only knowing that the last thing he wanted was to have the younger man hang up on him, "itís Gavin."

"Gavin." Andyís boot hit the floor with a thump, followed by a softer one as he slid down the wall before he fell down. "I just called you." Stupid sod, of course he knows that, why else would he be calling you back? "How are you?"

"Tired, so fucking tired, mate," Gavin answered without thinking, just the sound of his former partnerís voice tearing into him making him want so much all over again. He shouldnít have called, it hurt so much to hear that gorgeous, glorious voice but... if he were the moth then Andrew Cooper would always be his flame and heíd always seek the conflagration.

"Iím sorry, you called to congratulate me and here I am dumping on you instead of saying thanks. It means... more than you could know that you listened to it, that you liked it. It... was harder than I ever thought it could be without you. You used to make is so easy... sorry, shouldnít have said that either," Gavin slurred tiredly. "Maybe this call wasnít the brightest idea I had but I just needed to talk to you again. Iíve missed you, mate," the singer choked out and then took a deep breath and tried to find his balance once more before he said anything more idiotic.

"Bugger, canít believe I said... gotta go, Andy." Gavin hung up the phone quickly before he said anything else or made a complete and total jackass out of himself once and for all. "Way to fuckiní go, genius. Next you would have blurted out that youíre head over heels, madly and deeply, and youíve never gotten over him. Fuck!" Gavin hurled the half empty glass of, barely hearing the shattering of the crystal as his own conscience screamed at him for being a complete and total prat.

"Gavin? Gavin!" Realizing that he was speaking to dead air, Andy swore and cut the connection before hitting the re-dial button. There was no answer this time, not even a dial tone, and he angrily threw the phone across the room. "Fuck!"

How had it come to this? One day theyíd been inseparable, many reporters had joked about the two of them being joined at the hip - to which Gavin would always reply with a wink and a lewd remark, until one day the ribald responses stopped, and not long after it they were only together when concerts or publicity demanded.

"Dammit, Gav..." Leaning his head back against the wall, Andy looked up at the ceiling, his jaw clenched as he tried to keep control of his emotions. Hearing Gavinís voice again had been like heaven, but he couldnít recall ever hearing the other man sound so worn out before. "Donít know how to look after yourself..."

Maybe Dark Edenís split wasnít part of the cause of Gavinís exhaustion, but Andy knew that he had to find out for sure. He would have thought that Gav wouldíve blown off the call, but this... he had to know. Maybe, just maybe there was a chance to patch up their friendship because God knew that heíd been missing Gavin horribly. So there wasnít a chance for anything more; so be it. He just wanted his best friend back.

Pushing himself off the floor, Andy crossed the room to pick up the phone, scowling in distaste when it fell to pieces in his hand. He hated to fly, despised it in fact, and the only way he usually made it on a plane was through the combination of tranquilizers and Gavin talking him through it. Well, this time he was doing it on his own.

Walking into the kitchen, Andy rang British Airways, and, after five minutes, had booked a flight to New York City, leaving Dublin that evening and arriving in New York at approximately the same time Eastern Standard Time.

Taking only enough time to stuff some clothes, his passport, and a book into a backpack, Andy locked up the house, climbed into his car, and raced for town and the airport, making his flight with only minutes to spare.

Not bothering with the glass, just stepping around it, Gavin stumbled into the bathroom, wrenching the medicine cabinet open. Knocking bottles aside carelessly the overly exhausted and half drunk singer finally found what he was looking for. Popping a bottle of mild sleeping pills, Gavin swallowed a couple down and chased them back with a glass of water.

Swaying back into the bedroom, stripping his clothes off as he went, Gav collapsed onto the bed and promptly lost consciousness.

He was dreaming about war drums, thatís the only thing that could explain the incessant pounding on his door. And ceiling. And wall. What the fuck?

Staggering to his feet, not even aware of his nudity, Gavin staggered to the front door and wrenched it open, still more asleep than awake. "Whathefug?" he muttered before slamming the door shut again, not even registering the wild-eyed man on the other side or the fact that the door didnít shut because Andy had thrust a foot inside to stop it. All he could think of was his bed. And sleep.

Wired and on edge from his flight, Andyís pre-planned speech went out of his head when Gavin practically slammed the door in his face. "Gavin, dammit, what is going on?" The first thing he saw after closing the door behind him, was Gavinís naked ass as the singer stumbled down the hall toward his bedroom.

"Shit. You took a sleeping pill, didnít you?" Knowing he was talking to himself at this point, Andy dumped his bag on the floor and moved to catch Gavin by the arm, guiding him toward his bed, and settling him under the comforter, studiously not looking at his friendís nude body.

"Get some sleep, mate. Weíll talk later,í he sighed, wondering if heíd be able to sit still long enough to read or if heíd bounce off the walls before Gavin was coherent again.

Mumbling incoherently, Gavin rolled over onto his stomach and fell back into a deep, dreamless sleep, even as he snuggled deeper into the covers, hugging a pillow to him as if it were a person.

"Yeah." Running a hand through his hair to get it out of his eyes, Andy sighed, stopping himself before he performed the same maneuver on Gavin.

"You are so screwed, you know that, right?" he asked himself, diverting his attention from the man asleep on the bed to the apartment itself to try to distract his mind. Heíd only been here once or twice, but it looked different somehow.

Curious as to the changes, Andy prowled around the spacious flat, feeling a bit like he was snooping, but unable to help himself. The dťcor reflected Gavinís love for things mystical with an almost Zen-like dťcor, but what startled the musician were the pictures. There were many of them, and most of them were of Gavin and himself. From the first months theyíd known each other up to the last concert theyíd done together, their friendship was chronicled in color and framed for display.

Why? Despite the story Lenore had given the press, Dark Edenís breakup had been less then amicable, though it had all been done third person as theyíd been on different continents and Gavin had always had Lenore take his calls. Why then would he keep these reminders of a failed partnership? Never mind the fact that Andy had his own photos, ones that he prized more then the gold records or awards they had won.

It was the smell of coffee that at last woke Gavin up from his nearly 24-hour sleep. He couldnít remember setting the auto on the coffeemaker but then again heíd been so fucking wiped that anything was possible at that point. The only clear thing he remembered was the sound of Andyís voice and his less than brilliant phone call where heíd all but spilled his guts about everything.

Rolling into a sitting position, Gavin moaned piteously as his head threatened to explode. What the hell had he been thinking, mixing alcohol and sleeping pills? Christ, he was the one who not only preached about his body being a temple but practiced that belief as well. No junk food, very little in the way of carbs, loads of fruits and veggies and lots of exercise and water. He hardly drank, coffee was his only true vice, didnít smoke or do drugs of any kind and only resorted to doctor prescribed medicine in the direst of circumstances. And yet last night heíd indulged in both alcohol and prescription medication; had mixed them even though he wasnít sure what heíd been trying to do.

Heading for the bathroom, Gav downed some aspirin with water and scrubbed his fuzzy teeth before gingerly making his way into the kitchen. Only to come face to face with Andy while he, Gavin, stood there without a stitch of clothes on to hide his immediate reaction to his beautiful ex-partner.

Both shocked and startled by Gavinís appearance as, in truth, heíd been dozing at the kitchen table while the coffee brewed, Andy did the only thing he could think of. Holding out the mug heíd just filled, he offered it to Gavin, while looking anywhere except into his eyes. "Coffee?"

"Umm... thanks," Gavin replied, turning bright scarlet and ducking around the corner of the breakfast bar for at least a modicum of decency. Then it suddenly dawned on him that Andy was in his kitchen. Andy who lived in Ireland and who he hadnít talked to for over a year until last night when the younger man had called out of the blue.

"Uh, what are you doing in New York? And how did you get in? Didnít I just talk to you only a few hours ago and... Iím confused," the singer admitted, plonking himself down on one of the stools at the bar.

"More like a day ago," the blond admitted, pouring himself a mug and sitting at the far side of the breakfast bar where he could neither see or touch any part of Gavinís body. "You let me in." Now he was wondering if Gavinís reaction of slamming the door hadnít perhaps been a true one.

"I - I was worried about you. You sounded really wonked and..." Andy shrugged and looked down at his coffee. "I caught a flight over."

"I donít remember anything after tossing back a couple of pills and crashing on the bed," Gavin admitted, embarrassment spreading across his features. "I was such an idiot - taking those pills I mean. Hell I know better than that, especially after my system was already swimming in scotch and I was exhausted to begin with. I... I didnít do or say anything Iím gonna live to regret, did I?" the older man asked in a choked voice, almost afraid of the answer.

Beginning to feel like heíd made a huge mistake and probably a fool of himself, Andy shook his head. "No. Nothing embarrassing, nothing horrid. No worries, Gav. Your reputation is still intact."

Gavin choked on a laugh. "What reputation?" he sighed. "I havenít.... been interested in having a reputation since, well since you told me to shove off and walked away," the singer admitted. "I need a shower and a shave," the older man announced suddenly, wheeling around and all but bolting back into the safety of his bedroom.

"Told you to... Walked away?" Andyís voice rose at the last even as he stood, trying to catch Gavin, but the singer had disappeared.

Determined to hash this all out after Gav came back out - if he came back out - Andy settled in one of the over-stuffed chairs in the living room. He closed his eyes, intending only to do it for a second, but sleep caught him unaware and he drifted off, his head pillowed against the back of the chair, his legs hanging over one of the arms.

Taking his sweet time and using up most of the hot water in his tank, Gavin at last emerged from the bathroom. "What a bloody comedy of errors. A year of silence and now heís in my home after flying, flying across the Atlantic because he was worried about me. Stupid sod, doesnít he remember heís afraid to fly by himself?" Gavin grumbled as he tugged on a pair of skintight black jeans that clung to still damp, naked skin, and a black turtleneck. Yup, back in New York less than 48 hours and he was already dressing in the native color again. Black, black and more black. Luckily it looked good on him.

Running a brush through his too blond hair, Gavin took a good hard look at himself. The black circles had faded to that ugly purple bruise color and there was definitely some life in his eyes now. His face wasnít as pinched and strained and his lips didnít look like heíd been sucking on lemons. Fuck heíd been tired at the end, still was for that matter but at least now he could function coherently. Look what a mess not being able to do so had landed him in!

Groaning at the thought of the confrontation to come, the singer wondered if he could make it to the front door before Andy tackled him and then berated himself for his cowardice. Seven years of friendship and then ... nothing. They both deserved some kind of closure, and maybe a chance to build something new? If Andy wasnít over the top with his lifestyle still or the.... Fuck the pictures!!!

At least, thank god, the younger man hadnít seen the truly damning one simply because Gavin kept it in his bedroom, next to his bed. Picking up the picture that Diana, of all people, had snapped at the last Ďfamilyí Christmas the three of them had shared, Gavin sank to the bed as he studied it.

Diana, bless her, had hung mistletoe simply everywhere that year and of course it led to Andy and Gavin being caught under numerous dangling bits of greenery. They had made excuses and acted like buffoons until Diana, exasperated, demanded that one of them kiss the other. Not one to back down from a challenge, Gavin had wrapped his hands around Andyís head and pulled him in for a full lip lock. Big mistake because it left him hungry and aching for days afterwards.

Diana had snapped the whole thing with the digital camera from the moment Gavinís eyes lit wickedly until the moment Andy had cuffed him over the back of the head and pulled him into a headlock to give him a noogie. The picture was captured just when their lips had at last parted, maybe a centimeter between them, and Andy looked.... soft, dreamy even with his eyes closed and his lips moist. Gavin had looked hungry and, for those who knew him, desperately in love.

It had been the beginning of the end of everything Gavin cherished more than life.

Shaking off the reverie, the singer put the picture back down on his night side table and stood, taking a deep breath. Time for the singer to face the music, he thought with an ironic chuckle.

Andy was sound asleep in one of Gavís chairs. His favorite chair to curl up in, the one with the deep, wide seat that you could fold yourself up in perfectly and just watch the changes to the Manhattan skyline over his balcony garden. And Andy looked almost like he belonged there. "Silly sod," the singer murmured fondly and, picking up the sand colored chenille blanket from the back of his black leather couch, he tucked it gently around his friendís lanky frame, and then on impulse laid a soft kiss on the mop-topped forehead.

Knowing he had no food in the house, Gavin quickly penned a note saying he was gone for groceries and that the spare room was Andyís for as long as he wanted it, the singer quietly slipped on his leather bomber in deference to the early spring air, a pair of black shades, and soundlessly shut the door behind him.

Coming awake at the sound of banging on the door, Andy sat up, wincing when the move brought to life aches in his back and neck brought on by sleeping in a not quite comfortable position in the chair. God, he had to have been exhausted to have fallen asleep there, normally, he couldnít sleep anywhere but in a bed, his own bed most preferably.

Whoever was outside the door, knocked again, and, thinking that Gavin was in the shower still, Andy stumbled to his feet to answer it.

"Took you long enough! We have got a ton of... Andy! What are you doing here?"

Looking down at the bandís one time publicist, Andy felt a weird sense of dťjŗ vu. Lenore was a tiny woman, 5 foot nothing in her stocking feet, but she displayed enough attitude for someone twice her size. A native New Yorker, she was a shrewd businesswoman who right now looked as if sheíd stepped in something repulsive and wished she hadnít.

The look vanished in an instant, though, leaving Andy wondering if heíd imagined it. "I thought..." Actually, he didnít know what he thought any longer. "Gav sounded down, I was worried."

"Ahhh. Iím just surprised..." Never mind." Sweeping past him, Lenore breezed into the apartment, dropping her coat on a chair and looking through the pile of mail that had been stacked on the table. "Where is Gavin?"

Realizing that if his former partner had been here, he would have been out already, Andy shrugged. "Dunno." His gaze lit on the piece of paper on the coffee table, and he picked it up, recognizing Gavinís scrawl without a second look. "Says he went to the store to pick up some food. Iím sure heíll be back soon."

"Ahhh." There was that infuriating sound again. "Well, Iím sure he wonít mind if I wait for him as well. Thereís so much to do with his new album coming out. Busy, busy, busy. What have you been up to?"

"A bit of this, a bit of that." Andy turned over the sheet of paper he held in his hands, and was distracted by what was written on the other side. A few lines of a song, the lyrics struck him as pure Gavin, and he automatically started fitting music to the obviously sad refrain, for the moment forgetting that wasnít his job any longer.

Opening the door one handed and trying to be as quiet as possible Gavin winced when he heard the thick New York accent of his publicist. Fuck. Heíd forgotten that Lenore knew his itinerary and would pounce the first chance she got. Sheíd been slowly driving him insane this last year and hearing that grating voice in his living room immediately put his back up and completely ruined any relaxation sleep had brought him. Fuck, fuck, fuck, heíd have to spend at least an hour meditating later just to try and recapture that calmness.

Hearing Andyís vague answer to Lenore, Gav decided he didnít need to be quiet anymore. "Hey Andy, can you give me a hand here, mate. I had nothing in the fridge so I went a little insane. One thing I have to say about New York, you can get absolutely anything at all you want. Even found a little Irish shop that sells Belfast bacon. Talk about memories, all those morning hunched over the table shoveling in bites between writing and scoring."

Walking into the living room, his hands full, Gavin gave his publicist a sickly smile. "Hello, Lenore and goodbye, Lenore. I told you when I called from the airport, no work until Monday. I need time off. Itís only Thursday, youíre early. Now leave."

"I know that dear, I just wanted to make sure that you were settled in and to remind you to be on time for the taping Monday afternoon."

Andy watched, vaguely amused, as she brushed some lint off of Gavinís shirt, then air-kissed his cheek. "Call me if you need anything, darling. Iíll speak to you on Monday if not sooner."

Patting Gavinís chest, Lenore opened the door, looking back over her shoulder before leaving. "Oh, and it was lovely seeing you again, Andy. Do keep in touch."

"Right-o," he murmured, stepping forward to take one of the bags out of Gavís arms and carrying it toward the kitchen. "Letterman, eh? Busy boy you are."

"Tired boy I am, Andy," Gavin replied, sagging slightly. And right miserable if only I could tell you. The shows are the only time Iím alive, the interviews, well I deserve an Oscar for the bloody interviews and the rest of the time...

Shaking off the thought, Gav began to put away the groceries and pull out pans to make some breakfast. "I went a little crazy in the Irish shop. Bought the bacon, potato bread, soda bread, and a whack load of other things ĎIrishí," he laughed. "Could be Iím a little, well homesick. Havenít been back since the break up, either of them."

Trying to make himself as busy as possible, at times not daring to believe Andy was here, at other times trying to pretend like he wasnít so that he wouldnít feel like a total idiot, Gavin buzzed around the kitchen with the same energy he usually reserved for the stage.

"But, the albumís due out in a week and then I get to hit the road on tour again, oh joy and bliss. Maybe after that I can finally take a break and take a vacation. If Iím lucky."

"If you arenít, youíre going to end up in a hospital somewhere," Andy commented, taking the frying pan out of Gavinís hand and setting it on the stove. He knew the other man better than he knew himself at times, and Gavin looked knackered. He usually was only this tired at the end of a tour, and here this one hadnít even commenced yet.

"Let me do that. You always burn the devil out of bacon," he muttered, Opening the package and turning on the burner, letting the pan get good and hot before he laid strips of the thick, round, fatty meat in it.

Glancing over at Gavin, who now looked at a loss for something to do, Andy spoke again. "Thereís no law saying you canít go home and visit. Hell, next to U2, youíre the biggest national hero out there. Theyíd hold a bloody parade in your honor." He smiled a bit at that. "Plus I know that Diana misses you. She told me she hasnít talked to you in months."

Gavin grimaced at that. "We had a huge row over the phone about... things. You know me and my temper when I get my back up. Too damn proud to say she was right about almost everything she was saying. Best thing she ever did was leave me," the singer admitted, slouching against the wall, scuffing his feet on the floor.

"Of course sheís always one to gloat when she is right," he had to laugh. "Yet another reason why I havenít swallowed my pride. I hate hearing ĎI told you soí," the singer continued with humor. "A bloody pain in the arse she was, bless her, and she deserved so much better than me. I heard she was dating again at last. Hopefully this time sheíll find a guy whoíll treat her like a queen instead of a chum like I did.

"So, orange juice?" Gavin asked, suddenly switching topics and heading to the fridge for the jug. "Andy," Gavin paused a long moment, "it means a lot that you came to see if I was okay. I know..." Gavin looked into the depths of the refrigerator without seeing, "I know Iím probably not your favorite person in the world, what with everything, but you still came. It, hell never mind me, Iím probably overly tired and even more unstable than I usually am. Did you say if you wanted that juice?"

"Yeah, sure." Andy took his eyes off the cooking bacon to look at Gavin, wondering just what it was that he and Diana had fought so bitterly about as sheíd made no mention of it the numerous times heíd spoken to her. Funny that heíd become almost closer to his friendís ex-wife over the past year then he was with Gavin

"Youíre my mate," he said by way of explanation. "What happened... it happened and I canít go back and change it, but youíll always be my friend, Gav. Just sorry it took so long for me to remember that. I guess I was just hoping..."

Now it was Andyís turn to change the subject as he flipped the slices of bacon to let their other sides cook. "How about that juice, then? The baconís almost done, maybe some toast too?"

Gavin felt his jaw drop. Andy still considered him a mate? "But Lenore said that you..." shaking his head, Gavin walked over to the stove and turned off the burner. "Put the bacon down, Andy. We need to talk," the singer requested. "I need to know just what the hell is going on because what I think and what you think are obviously continents apart and... Iím tired of thinking you canít stand me and hating me for falling... I mean being what I am."

"Hating you?" Andy set the pan aside and turned so that he was leaning against the countertop next to the stove. "I never hated you, Gav. Yeah, sure having the whole thing dropped on me out of the blue had me pissed, and maybe I said some things I shouldnít have, but you were right, it was for the best. You know how I felt about touring but if you hadnít called it quits like that I probably would have hung in there, making both of us miserable."

"The only reason I was miserable was because you couldnít take it anymore... you said... what do you mean having it dropped on you out of the blue? You walked away, Andy, not me, remember?" Gavin asked more than a little confused by the conversationís twist.

"Are you daft?" Andyís green eyes narrowed and he shook his head, looking at Gavin with incredulity. "I just told you that I couldnít - wouldnít have. If you wanted to go on to more, it wasnít a problem, I just had a problem with the way I found out. How much would it have take to pick up the fucking phone and tell me in person, Gav?"

"If I wanted to go on to more? Dammit, why would I... Jesus Christ, I chose you over my fucking marriage, you bloody shite, why would I decide to go on alone after that? Iím not saying that Diana and I shouldnít have split but... We, you and I, were always more important to me than my marriage. That should fucking tell you something.

"The energy I should have been putting into the commitment I made to a beautiful, intelligent, warm and witty woman I put into our partnership. Our band. I never wanted to leave you. You left me!" Gavin snapped back, not believing Andyís bullocks, trying to deny that he was the one that walked away when heíd said heíd had enough, when Lenore had...

"Lenore. First you said youíd had it and then she said... she said you didnít want to be around me because I was queer," the singer continued slowly. "Said you didnít want to be around a poof. Especially a poof who was i... never mind, itís a foolís dream anyway and Iím the practical one, right?"

It was a good thing that Andy was leaning against the counter because heíd have ended up on the floor otherwise. "What the hell are you talking about? What did I have to do with Diana? Jesus, Gavin I am so lost here." He turned and hung his head, staring down at the stainless steel countertop, when the last of Gavinís comments registered.

"What the fuck do I care if anyoneís a poof? You lived with me being one this long, you think I canít..." Voice dying away, Andy turned his head and looked back at Gavin. "What do you mean youíre queer?"

"Iím queer, bi, I bend both ways, I... you are? Since when?!? And how come you never told me?" Gavin asked, astounded, shocked, amazed and pissed off in equal measure. "I thought we were mates and that mates told each other everything. Did I ever let on once that that I would care who you shagged?" the older man asked, unaccountably wounded by the whole thing.

"Thatís Ďcause Iím usually not shagging anyone." Andy gave a slightly bitter laugh before turning to face Gavin again. "As for telling you, I didnít think it mattered which was why I never brought it up. And if youíre going to get so sodding uppity about that, why didnít you ever tell me?"

"Because I didnít really know until I bloody well fell in love with you!" Gavin shouted, and then paled when he realized exactly what he blurted out. "Oh fuck."

Andyís eyes widened and he slowly slid to the floor as his knees gave out, his shoulders shaking in almost hysterical laughter. "You - with me? Oh, this is perfect. Just bloody perfect."

Gavinís shoulderís slumped and then he pulled himself up ramrod straight. "Fine. Great. Beautiful. So glad you find it funny. Iíve lost my appetite. Iím going out. See ya!" Gavin spun on his heels and headed for the door, suddenly thinking that work was actually the best thing he could do at the moment.

"The hell you are!" Leaping up off the floor and managing to slam his knee into the side of the breakfast bar in the process, Andy chased after Gavin, catching up to the shorter man just before he got to the door. Clamping a hand on Gavinís shoulder, Andy spun him around, his expression now deadly serious. "I donít find Ďití funny, I find the two of us, fucking hilarious though! You want to know the main reason I never told you I was gay? You want to? Itís because then I figured you would take a second look at the way I looked at you, and the fact I did my damnedest to be near you whenever I could be, thatís the reason, Gavin."

"You mean... Jesus, weíre a pair arenít we?" the singer replied, slumping against the door. Wanna know something else? Dianaís gonna laugh her ass off. The reason why we had that row was because I finally got the courage up to tell her the reason why I didnít fight the divorce, because I was in love with you. Sheís been trying to get me to talk to you for the past year, and to get me to tell you, well, that I love you, Andy."

"Jesus, Gav." Andy moved forward and rested his head on the singerís shoulder, much as heíd done a thousand times in the past. "Are you telling me all this," he waved a hand indicating the apartment and New York in general, Ďwas because of me?"

"It was either get out of Ireland or lose my mind, thatís how bad I wanted you, Andy. And I couldnít live with losing your trust or your friendship so instead I chose to get out of the picture for a while and then... then the tour happened and it brought back everything I thought Iíd buried and you said you couldnít take it anymore and... my world fell apart," Gavin replied, a trembling hand coming up to caress his mateís head. "I thought Iíd lost you for sure, Andy. I really did."

"I felt the same. When I said that, God, Gav, I was talking about this - how I felt, not the band. When you and Di were together I was able to handle it, but once you werenít..."

Feeling Gavinís hand on his hair, Andy lifted his head, looking into the singerís eyes. "Iíve missed you so much, Gav. I thought I was living, but I think I was just treading water, wondering when I was going to give up and drown, but now - " Reaching up, he rested his hand on Gavinís cheek, feeling the rasp of his stubble beneath his palm.

"Now maybe youíll let me be your life preserver and you can teach me how to have fun again? I threw myself into my work after we split, thinking I had nothing left but the music and even then it felt so wrong because you werenít there to know what I needed and where I was going. You always knew what I was trying to say and you always found the perfect music to go with it.

"After... after I believed Lenoreís lies, something I will be dealing with, everything just felt so wrong, so out of tune. I felt tone deaf and the harder I worked the worse it felt. I... started drinking, Andy. Not enough to become addicted but enough that I felt no pain when I finally went to sleep some nights. I lost the heart of my music, the soul of it, when you left," Gavin confessed softly.

"Maybe she thought she was doing what was best for both of us," Andy offered, though he didnít really believe that defense. "Even though it wasnít. I need you so much, more then the music, more then anything, Gav. Youíre it for me, have been for as long as Iíve known you. I love you."

Shivering, Andy leaned in and brushed a kiss over Gavinís lips before ducking his head a bit. "Cor, my mouth must taste like a swamp."

Gavin chuckled. "Doubt Iím much better, and frankly I donít give a shite." That said, Gavin wrapped his hands around Andyís head and pulled him in for a thorough kiss, thoroughly enjoying every second of it, of finally being able to put his feelings, his passions, into action.

When the need for oxygen at last drove them apart, a seductive smile spread across the older manís lips. "Iíve wanted to do that since... since Diana and her blasted mistletoe. Shite, I had a hard on for the rest of the fucking day after that and... never mind, you really donít need to hear that," Gavin blushed as he realized he was about to confess that he and Diana had set the sheets on fire that night due to his overwhelming desire for his best mate.

"And why is that?" Giving into his long held need to touch Gavin, he moved in closer, capturing the singer between his body and the door. "I still canna believe you never knew..."

"Because the last thing I want to confess to is how I used my wife to get rid of the desire I had for you," Gavin muttered, shame-faced. "I was a right bastard to her and she just forgave me. I still canít figure that part out. And of course I didnít know, I was too busy wondering if you knew about me," the singer shook his head. "A right couple of idiots we were, werenít we?"

"Now thereís an understatement if Iíve ever heard one." Andy sighed. "As for why she did that. Maybe she knew us both better than we knew ourselves. I dunno." He leaned his head on Gavinís shoulder once again and breathed deeply. "So what do we do now, hmm?"

"I dunno, play Canasta?" Gavin smirked, eyes hooded and hungry. "Pinochle, Euchre, Strip Poker perhaps?"

Andy looked at his former partner - and he supposed, future lover - incredulously. "What are you blathering on about? I meant..." Shaking his head, he cuffed Gavin on the back of his head, then chuckled. "Take you somewhere to fix this hair color? Were you trying to be the next Beach Boy or something?"

"Fuck no, I was trying to be the next Justin Timberlake," Gavin smirked. "Donít you know blond is in? Become blond and you too can end up with a virgin sex kitten like Britney for your very own," the older man laughed. "Actually I just went back to me natural color, Andy. I was born dirty blond, I just went black for the shock value of it."

"And Cooperís amazing conversation skills end up with his foot in his mouth again," Andy sighed. "As for virgin sex kittens, donít see any around here, sorry. Was that part of the tour you had planned?"

"I was dreading the tour," Gavin confessed quietly. "It just wouldnít have been the same without you and I was trying desperately not to think about it until I didnít have a choice anymore.

"And no, no virgin sex kittens and no you didnít stick your foot in your mouth. If you were any other bloke Iíd have had you in bed in a shot but... youíre Andy, my mate... my love. I want it to be right and good and not some hormonally charged fumble. Call me a romantic fool but I want it perfect for our first time. And I sure as hell donít want it here, where Lenore comes to check up on me on an almost daily basis.

"I have a place, havenít even told Lenore about it yet, because escrow only closed a couple days before I flew to Portugal. Itís in Provincetown, just a drive up the coast. Come with me to see what I foolishly sank my money into?" the singer asked, unusually shy about the whole thing.

"I always knew you were a sentimental twat, Gav." Andy smiled, cuffing Gavin lightly before pulling him in for a kiss. "And of course the answerís yes. I donít care where we go, Iím just so damn glad itís with you."

He glanced down at his t-shirt, flannel over shirt and worn denims then, and chuckled. "Not really dressed for socializing anyway, was planning on - Christ, I was supposed to be at the studio four hours ago. Whoops."

"Correct me if Iím wrong here, mate, but your studio is in Ireland and youíre in New York City. I think you may be a tad far away to make it into work. You may even want to give them a ring and let them know a... family emergency came up?" Gavin chuckled as he tossed Andy his phone and watched him dial a number.

"Stewart? Yeah, itís Andy. I know I was supposed to be there this morning, something came up. No, I canít get in tomorrow either. Iím in New York. Yeah, New York, you heard right. Iíve got some things to settle here. Iíll ring you when I get back, go ahead and give someone else my time if they want it, at least for the weekend. You too. Bye."

"Good bloke, that Stewart," he said, turning off the phone and tossing it back in his bag.

"As long as heís just a friend," Gavin growled, suddenly jealous of the fact that someone else was almost as close to his mate as he was. "Iím not, I canít share that part of you, your work Iíve got no right to anymore, your life, thatís always been your own and will stay your own, Iíd never ask to have that kind of power over anyone but Iím a jealous sod when it comes to my up until now non-existent lovers, Andy," the singer confessed, stalking forward to claim another kiss.

"Easy, luv," Andy murmured, bringing a hand up to rub the back of Gavinís neck. "Yes heís just a friend, we bounce ideas off one another - kind of like the two of us used to. Not quite the same though, not as... right. If ever you want to work on something together..." Andy smiled wistfully before kissing Gavin.

"If I ever?" Gavinís chuckle was more than a little strained, "Only every fucking second Iím in the studio or working with someone who isnít you. The solo album, itís good. Itís my lyrics and the music sounds good but... it isnít magic. We used to make magic, Andy. I miss that so much it hurts," Gavin replied immediately.

"But what say we pitch the breakfast and get something on the road? I wanna be out of New York before my so-called publicist decides to call to see if weíre still at each otherís throats or if weíve found out her little game.

"Oh shit, itís not furnished," Gavin remembered suddenly. "Well we could stay at the inn I stayed at while I was looking around and maybe I could talk you into helping me shop for furniture and stuff for the place? Thatís if you donít think itís too... I dunno, cutesy? On the plus side P-Town is well known for being a community that accepts Ďalternative livingí so weíd blend in, no worries there."

"Fine with me, any and all of it." Andy smiled. "Watch it though or Iíll tie you to a chair and make you write just so I can remember how good it felt."

Letting go of Gavin, Andy bent and picked up his bag again. "Well, Iím ready, what about you, bucko?"

"Like being tied to a chair by you would be a hardship," Gavin leered. "And, Andy-love, I adore you, I want you to know that, but you may want to consider taking a shower before we head out... I mean, you flew here from Ireland, fell asleep, dealt with Lenore and then we had it out... you havenít had time to freshen up yet, have you?" the singer continued with a smirk.

"Besides itíll give me a chance to pack and Iíll even volunteer to scrub your back if you want me to."

Grimacing, Andy ran a hand through his hair, then over his stubbled cheek. "I know how long it takes you to pack, Gavin. Iíll be long done in the shower before you finish. Besides, if you get in there with me, we wonít make it anywhere else."

Grabbing his bag, Andy darted into the master bedroom and the bathroom, stripping, showering and changing as quickly as possible, finally deciding against shaving as he remembered Gavin once telling him he looked sexy with a bit of scruff.

"How many bags?" he laughed, exiting the bathroom to see Gavin folding clothes into a suitcase.

Rolling his eyes, Gavin stuck his tongue out at the taller man. "Can I help it if Iím absolutely gorgeous and therefore need to dress in order to compliment my looks?" the singer preened, then burst into laughter at the look on Andyís face.

"Two bags, one with clothes, the other with what I need from the bathroom and a few other necessities, like condoms and lube and such. I... you should know Iím clean, there hasnít been anyone since Diana and we had tests done before we got married and every year after just to be on the safe side," Gavin got out on a rush, wanting it over and said.

"As for the clothes, a couple pairs of jeans, some shirts and one Ďdressyí outfit. I found this restaurant when I was there; I want to take you out there one night, on a real date. I want to wine and dine and romance you and maybe even dance with you," Gavin finished, a soft smile lighting his features.

"Oh, I have something I want to give you. Didnít have time to wrap it or anything but... it was the one thing I took with me wherever I went this last year, the one thing that kept me going." Picking up the picture from the bed where heíd laid it, Gavin touched the glass almost reverently before he handed it Andy. "It fueled a lot of fantasies and hopes that maybe one day weíd work things out," Gavin confessed.

Andy ran his hand over his still damp hair as he looked down at the picture of the two of them. Heíd seen other ones from that night many times, but this one, this one heíd never seen.

"Wish Iíd gotten a look at it before," he rasped. There was no denying how either of them felt in the picture. He remembered that night, how heíd had to keep himself from pulling Gavin in for a longer kiss, but also, how comfortable it had been between the three of them.

"May have to take me shopping there - I know how youíll hate that," he added, smiling a bit, still looking down at the photo. "Donít have anything else besides this." He darted a look at Gavin, and continued. "Havenít been tested in a while, myself. Of course, I havenít done anything that would need to be tested for, but still, we should probably be careful."

"So we play it safe, that way neither of us hurts the other by accident, until weíre sure that this is it," Gavin replied even as an inner voice told him in no uncertain terms that this sure as hell was it and heíd better not screw it up or heíd be living the rest of his life like he had this last year, alone, miserable and constantly on the edge of something less than pleasant.

"So, you can take the picture with you, you know," the older man smiled, his fingers running over the hand that still clutched the frame. "Itís clocked as many miles as I have over this past year and survived quite well. Thatís even the original frame and glass. So, pack it away, Andy, and lets get out of the city. I canít wait for you to see P-town. Itís as close to Greystones as I could find in America," Gavin continued, referring to the small seaside town a ways outside of Dublin that heíd spent summers as a child.

"And itís got the added benefit of being close to a city, Boston actually. I should warn you that the driveís gonna be about 6 hours, hope you can stand being in the car with me that long. Consider me your captive audience. We can even bounce ideas and such off of each other or you could get some more sleep or we could just talk," Gavin offered, tugging at the younger manís hand. "Címon, Andy, letís get out of town for a few days and get to know each other again, this time maybe better than the last time."

"Donít think thatíll be a problem," Andy answered as he carefully wrapped the frame in his discarded shirt before settling it in his bag. "I can always turn up the radio if you start nattering on..." Gavin took a playful swing at him at that, and Andy caught it and kissed the other manís hand.

"If weíre going to be staying at an inn, hadnít you better call and get reservations? Weíre going to end up sleeping on the floor of your place if we get there and everywhere is full." Thinking about it, Andy gave a small shiver. It may be delayed right now, but soon, he and Gavin were going to be together, together in a way heíd never dreamed would be possible.

He sobered slightly at that. Gavin was a sexual creature, he oozed it, breathed it, lived it. Andy - well, Andy just didnít. Sex was all right, but it wasnít something he had to have, he just didnít want to disappoint the man who meant everything to him by that fact.

"Made them while you were in the shower, didnít want to leave anything to chance. Weíre staying at the Beaconlight, itís a gorgeous guesthouse and the reason why I fell in love with P-Town. Just wait until you see the suite, Andy, itís got a fireplace at the foot of the bed and a king sized bed and itís own private entrance. I canít wait to show you around. Iíve...

"Iíve been thinking of moving there permanently once the house is set up right. Itís close enough that I can come into town when I need to be in the studio or the itch to be in a big city and party hits, and far enough away that I can have my own life without the press and media. Iím not so big on that as I once was. I just want to be able to live my life again, you know?" the singer finished, finally vocalizing a major source of disquiet in his life these past months.

"Maybe Iím finally growing into my own. Not so much the Peter Pan I used to be, hey?" Gavin looked down at his hands, noting the fine tremors wracking them. He was prattling on like a yob on his first date, his palms were sweaty, his heart racing and all he could think about was how badly he didnít want to screw this up. But this was Andy, his mate, his...

"Lover, youíre really going to be my lover soon, arenít you?" the older man husked, an almost shy smile of pleasure spreading over his face. "I canít believe how fucking nervous I am. I feel like I did the first time I met Dianaís parents, like nothing I did would be right and Iíd put my elbows on the table and spill down the front of my shirt and make a general ass of myself. Bloody ridiculous, hunh?"

"Nah." Andy scuffed his foot against the tile, ducking his head before looking at Gavin. "Not ridiculous. We know each other inside and out, but this - itís different. New. Guess that reactionís only normal."

"Peter Pan or not, youíre always going to be beautiful to me, Gav. Even... no matter what happens, Iím always going to see you as that boy I met in the pub back in Dublin, that beautiful, ethereal, frenetic boy who walked over, sat himself down and took over my life."

"Now how Ďbout we get out of here? Did you turn off the pot? Donít need your place burning down while weíre gone."

Gavin choked out a laugh. "Yeah, that wouldnít be the best way to get into the news right now, thatís for sure," the singer replied, giving one last quick dash around the apartment to put things to order and to leave a message on Lenoreís voicemail saying he was going out of town for the weekend to get away.

"There, that should give her something to chew on, wondering if youíre with me or weíve split again and youíve gone back to Ireland," the singer smirked. "Right then, letís get lost in Massachusetts." Picking up his bags, Gavin ushered the younger man out the door and locked up behind them.

"Should I even ask how sheís going to grill you when you get back?" Andy asked, shouldering his backpack and following Gavin toward the elevator, marveling on how different things were now then they had been when heíd arrived the day before.

"How do you get used to driving on the wrong side of the road?" he laughed, once they were free of the city traffic, and were speeding along the interstate.

"Iíve never lived on the straight and narrow, now have I?" Gavin replied with a laugh. "And letís face it, I often drove on the wrong side of the road back home. So this is nothing new, now is it?" Glancing over at the younger man, Gav hid a smirk. "And here I thought flying was your biggest fear. Now the truth comes out - youíre afraid of me driving!"

"Sod off, bugger," Andy growled, sipping from his cup of coffee. "And Iíve seen your insurance payments, can you blame me? Fender bender king."

Shaking his head fondly, Andy reclined the seat a bit so that he could watch both Gavin and the scenery at the same time. "Flying is the only thing that scares me more than your driving, and not by much!"

"I remember," Gavin replied softly, his hand leaving the stick shift to caress the younger manís thigh. "Just think, next time you fly I can really relieve your tension. Feel like joining the mile high club with me?" the singer laughed.

"Why donít you sit back and get some sleep, love. You look like you still need it. I promise to wake you when we get close or when I need to stop for food. I promise to point out all the important sights on the way back, okay?"

"Better be a private plane or the washroom will be really cramped." Andy chuckled, and set his coffee in the cup holder between the seats. "And may just do that. Bloody time changes, hate Ďem."

Setting his hand on top of Gavinís, Andy tightened his fingers around the singerís before leaning his seat back more. "This way Iíll be awake for you later on too." Smiling at Gavin, he rested his head against the seat, and closed his eyes, the hum of the engine and the comfort of Gavinís presence easily lulling him to sleep.

Pulling into the parking lot of the Beaconlight, Gavin turned off the engine and looked over to his sleeping lover, a full-blown grin spreading over his face. He still couldnít believe his good fortune that Andy was here with him and they had worked things out. Leaning over, the singer brushed Andyís unruly blond hair out of his eyes before placing a light kiss on the musicianís lips. "Wake up sleeping beauty. Weíre here."

"Humh?" Opening his eyes, Andy was treated to the rare sight of Gavin leaning in over him, and met the singerís smile with one of his own. "Here already? Man, I must have really been knackered then. Feels like Iíve only been asleep five minutes."

Turning a bit in his seat, he looked out the window at the neatly kept guesthouse, then back at Gavin. "Nice place. Are we going to see anything except our room?"

"Well if we donít itís not a great hardship. Iíll just do my shopping in New York or online and have it shipped the next time I come up here. Iím planning on taking a couple of weeks off at the end of the month to rest up. That should give me time to get my house into order, literally. Youíre more than welcome to come back if you like, I could even fly over to Ireland to fly back with you..." the singer offered tentatively, not wanting to push but already hurting at the thought of Andy leaving and him staying behind.

"The tourís tentatively set for a summer kick off here and then moving through Canada, Europe Asia and down to Australia. Itíll only be major cities for now, and not the biggest venues. I may even do some club dates just for variety but... I want to be home for Christmas this year," Gavin continued. "I have new motivation. Someone to spend Christmas with," he finished, caressing Andyís cheek and leaning in for another, more thorough kiss.

"Letís check in and then see about beefing up your wardrobe so we can go out to dinner tonight. I want to do it before we get... too distracted to see the light of day before we have to leave again."

"Christmas with you? Better make sure thereís lots of mistletoe," Andy murmured before sitting up and looking over at Gavin. "And Iíd love to come back and help you set up here - and for you to distract me on the flight back, if you can manage it."

Giving Gavin a final kiss, he climbed out of the sports car and stood, rubbing his back. "Maybe I should wait out here. Donít want you to get too distracted or anything in there." He laughed softly and leaned against the side of the car.

"Cocktease," Gavin laughed, pressing a kiss to Andyís lips even as he took one of Andyís hands and pressed it to his own groin. "Iíve been hungry for you all day, so whatís a few more hours anticipation?" the singer purred, licking at his partnerís lips once before forcing himself to let go of Andy and go and register them and pick up the keys for their room, as well as order a few surprises for Andy to be delivered to the room while they went out shopping.

Ignoring the hushed whispers of the staff as he was recognized, Gavin leafed through one of the brochures of services provided while he waited for the desk clerk to arrange for his requests and send a bell hop down to collect their bags from the car before they headed off shopping. Picking up one on commitment ceremonies, Gavin felt a pang of longing.

Truth be told, his wedding night to Diana didnít have him nearly as nervous and as excited as this did. Could be that he and his ex-wife didnít wait for the wedding, having lived together for a few years before their hasty tying of the knot. It could also be that this felt more right than anything in his life up until now. Cor but he was being a romantic sod, but he couldnít help it, it was like the beginning of a new life for him - a life with Andy firmly with him; a new partnership, a better one then theyíd ever had before, stronger for the feelings they both had.

"Everything is all set, Mr. Sullivan. Peter will come out and collect your bags to take them to your room and Iíll see to the arrangements of the suite personally," the desk clerk informed Gavin, breaking him out of his thoughts. "And may I say itís a pleasure to have you back again."

"Thanks, mate, I appreciate the help," Gavin replied with a smile, leaving a generous tip behind as he led Peter out to the car.

"All set, love, Peter hereís gonna take our bags inside and weíre off to the races," the singer laughed, leaning into Andyís lanky frame and kissing him thoroughly, reveling at being able to do so without worry for the first time.

"So, you want dressy, dressy or casually elegant?" Gavin continued. "I know of a few nice shops and such but for a real shopping excursion weíd have to go into Boston, I think."

"Which do you think?" Andy chuckled, wrapping his arms around Gavinís waist and holding the shorter man close. The ability to simply do that - and in public - gave him a high heíd only experienced with his music before, and he gave a carefree laugh. "There have to be shops here that have something youíll approve of, getting back in the car does nothing for me."

Truth be told, Andy hated dressing up, being much more a jeans and t-shirts kind of bloke compared to Gavinís high fashion peacock. Generally, he wore whatever he grabbed first in the morning, though on the occasions theyíd been on the telly or preformed at an awards show, he let Gav choose his clothes.

"We can take a walk down the street and browse to see," Gavin replied with a smile. "I want to show you off, love, hold your hand while we walk, snuggle, cuddle, coo, tease, please... do all the things weíve never been able to until now. Walk with me?" the singer asked, a truly lovesick look of devotion on his face.

"Ahem... if I may recommend," Peter the bellhop interjected after heíd gotten over his shock of seeing just who was with Gavin Sullivan. Could this mean his favorite band could be on the verge of reuniting? Peter couldnít wait to get home and log on to the chat room, and tell his roommates of course. Not the room Gavin was in but that he was in town and with Andy Cooper of all people! And they were acting like lovers, oh lord he was gonna faint dead away!

"Thereís few stores you may want to look at - Bodybody, Bravo for Men or Dirty White Boy have a really great variety from casual to dressy and then thereís Giardelli/Antonelli if you want top quality original designs or the leather place if thatís your scene. But on the plus side theyíre all located on Commercial which is only a couple blocks that way," the helpfully nervous young man pointed out.

"Well," Gavin mused, "We can always go back to browse. Why donít we try Giardelli, love, and then come back here and get ready for dinner. I made the reservations for 9 so we can have a long, leisurely dinner before heading to a club."

Smiling at the star-struck bellhop, Gavin made sure he got a very good tip as well as a way of thanks and tugged his soon to be lover towards the direction that Peter pointed out to them. "Címon, Andy, I want to dress you up and then strip you down, like my own personal Ken doll," the singer laughed playfully.

"Oh joy and bliss, I can hardly wait - for the shopping anyway," Andy laughed, knowing that heíd gladly let Gavin haul him to every store in Provincetown if it made the other man happy. "Thanks, mate," he called out to the bellhop who was still staring at them, Andy gave Gavin a nudge to get them walking.

So much for not making a scene. I bet that bloke will be spreading the word all over town in a matter of minutes that youíre here and have me with you. Not that I care, but... The wrong publicity isnít going to help your album, luv."

Gavin chuckled. "It made Rolling Stone when I came here on vacation in the summer. The minute word gets out Iíve bought a house here itíll just confirm what everyoneís been saying about me from the start. Iíve always been... ambiguous, Andy. Never on purpose but I never hid it either. Címon, the way I flirted with you on stage, the way I flirted with the male members of the press as well as the women? I had everyone trying to figure out what way I swung.

"Then it got out that I was married and they were sure I was straight, but then I got divorced and moved to Greenwich Village and vacationed in P-Town and they were sure I was gay. Honestly, I donít care who knows at this point. As for my career, a little controversy never hurt anyone. Besides, my biggest fan base is among the so-called Ďgay communityí anyway, so if anything itíll sell more records.

"But thatís all just fluff. What really matters to me, more than records, more than fame and money and success and all that is that Iím here, with you. Thatís all the success Iíll ever need, love. Itís the only fortune Iíll ever really want."

Andy had to chuckle at Gavinís rendition of his past exploits, but his expression grew tender toward the end. ""But youíll take the rest as well, aye?" he asked, leaning in and kissing the side of Gavinís neck.

There would be some adjusting to do; after all, he was living on one side of the Atlantic, and Gavin the other, but theyíd muddle through it. In the end, Andy knew he really didnít care where he was. Being in the States and with Gavin was infinitely preferable to being in Ireland by himself.

"So, where are these shops, then? Might as well buy me a blindfold too so that I donít shriek when I see what youíve picked out for me."

"Are you saying that I donít have taste?" Gavin sniffed as he tugged the taller man along. "Just because I wear sequins and bright colors when weíre touring doesnít mean Iíll make you wear them, love. I think... a pair of nice slacks and a fishermanís sweater would look gorgeous on you. Iíd love to get you into leather but I know itís not your scene. The restaurant is none to fancy, just ... nice and private. As for the rest, the tighter the pair of jeans the better, I wanna be able to drool over your ass just like everyone else does," the singer leered hungrily.

"Címon, lets try this one first. I have a yen to see you in silk shirts too, soft against your skin and maybe we should pick up some silk scarves while weíre at it... just to play with."

A short time later and a whirlwind of shopping, Gavin and Andy each came out with hands full of bags, the rest slated to be delivered to their room the next day. "See, now that wasnít so bad, was it?" Gavin laughed, ignoring the shell-shocked look of trauma on Andyís face. "And you look positively edible in those things. I canít wait to peel them off of you."

"Was that the point of buying them, then?" Andy asked, still amazed at how much Gavin had gotten him into and bought in the past hour. He had clothes enough for a month, far too much for the weekend that they would be there. That sobered him slightly, and he shook his head to rid himself of it before it lodged in his brain.

"Could do with a tea or coffee though, to recover from the shock," he explained, looking up and down the street, in search of a coffee shop or some such thing. "If we have enough time before we need to go and dress for dinner."

"The point of buying them all is that I plan on seeing you in each and every outfit. Why do I get the feeling thatíll Iíll be shuddering when I finally do get to nose around your closet," and pitching half of it when it gets amalgamated with my closet, Gavin thought firmly. He was not about to let Andy go a second time, no way, no how. Theyíd figure things out. Maybe half a year here, half a year in Ireland and he could keep the place in New York for when he needed to be in the studio. Whatever it took, he do it and make it work. This was too important.

Spotting the out of the way coffee shop that had won him over the last time he was here, Gavin pulled Andy inside and let out a whoop when he saw who was behind the counter of the empty coffee shop. "Molly-luv! Now thereís a lass as beautiful as the hills of Erin!" he exclaimed, leaning over the counter to buss the middle aged woman on the cheek delightedly.

"Well if it isnít the young Lord Flauntyerass himself," Molly retorted, her eyes twinkling. "Now sit yourself down. Youíre still much too skinny. A cuppa tea for you, love? And youíll be introducing me to this handsome devil as well."

"Molly, me own, this is Andy," Gavin replied simply.

"So, yer the one then. ĎTis about time the two of you stopped acting like a couple of dunderheads and worked it out. Now sit then, Andy and tell me about yourself."

Shooting a perplexed look at Gavin, and wondering just how much the singer had told this woman, Andy settled down on a stool at the counter, placing his bags on the floor between himself and Gavin.

"Not much to tell, really, and I have the feeling that Gavís told you what there is of interest." He chuckled, and looked at his friend. "Which should scare me right out of my boots."

"Oh donít worry now luv, I love a good bodice ripper as much as the next girl, or should I say codpiece ripper in the case of you boys. Now when Gavy here wandered into me shop the first time he came here, looking like heíd lost his best mate in the world I said to meself, Mol, that boy needs a shoulder tícry on aní lordy knows yer shoulders are big enough. So I shooed him into the back booth and wrung the whole story out of him over a pot of tea and some of me very own home made scones.

"Acourse I had to wallop him upside the head to knock some sense into him in order to make him realize the error of his ways. Didnít think heíd listen though, stubborn little queen that he is, but here ye are aní heís got a sparkle in his eyes so Iíd say something good happened aní thatís enough for me.

"Now, I can see what he was mooniní over though, youíre a right looker arenít ya, and probably as sweet as me very own trifle," Molly finished, giving Andyís cheek a motherly pat. "Now then, how does a cuppa Irish breakfast an some scones with clotted cream and me homemade strawberry preserves sound to ye both? An no arguments from you, Lord Flauntyerass, ye need some meat on those bones!"

"Yes míam," Gavin replied tamely, a blush slowly creeping up his face the longer he listened to the buxom redhead. "I know better than tíargue with ye. Me headís still ringing from the last time ye cuffed me!"

Andy was blushing furiously by the end of Mollyís speech, but he recovered somewhat, seeing the way she handled, and obviously cared for Gavin. "Yíwonít hear any arguments from me about that, maíam," he offered. "Gav never eats things that are good, prefers things that are good for him, which is fine in itís place, but..."

He grinned, and reached out to catch the singerís hand. "Thereís a place for other things too."

"And just whose side are you on, Andrew Cooper?" Gavin growled, squeezing Andyís hand tight as his eyes danced. "And I wouldíve had bacon and eggs for breakfast but for ... things coming up, as well you know. Besides which, the camera adds 20 pounds and no one wants to look at a tubby pop singer. Gotta keep up with the boy bands donít you know?" he laughed.

"I want to look at one, thatís who." That said, Andy smiled triumphantly, daring Gavin to top the comment or refute it. Molly brought them both mugs and a teapot from which the familiar scent of tea arose along with the steam. "Smells heavenly, Molly," he sighed, repeating the sound when she set the scones in front of them. "Heavenly!"

"Ah go on wií ye, itís just tea and cakes. Now eat up then and take your lordling in hand tímake sure he eats too.

"Oh and once ye move títown, Lord Flauntyerass, I expect tíbe seeiní ye in me shop once a week no matter the weather so long as yer in town, ye understand me?"

Gavin sputtered on a sip of tea and stared, dumbfounded at the older woman. "But how... who... I havenít said a word..."

"Me nephewís the one wot sold ye the house, him being a real estate agent aní all. He knew I knew ye and told me ye were moving in. Not much gets by Molly OíDell, mark my words. And you, young sir," Molly turned on Andy. "Iíll be expectiní the same thing from you when ye finally move across the pond. Together or apart, yeíre both tíbe in my shop once a week, understand?"

Now trying to swallow down a fit of uncontrollable laughter, Andy nodded. "Yes maíam. Weíll be sure to be here," he sputtered, biting his lower lip and pointedly not looking at Gavin for fear that would set him over the edge.

Taking the teapot, he poured them both mugs, pushing the cream closer to Gavin as he never used the stuff. "Maybe we should have her tell Lenore," he whispered, once Molly had turned to greet another customer.

"Oh now wouldnít that be a picture indeed," Gavin chortled. "A middle-aged Irish firebrand and a street-savvy New York entertainment barracuda having it out. We could sell the royalties and be set for life!" the singer continued, pouring a dollop of cream into his tea and taking a mouthful. "Sheís wonderful, isnít she? Sheís like my ma and nana all rolled into one and she chases away the blues as well as homesickness with that sharp tongue of hers.

"She likes you, you know," the older man continued with a smile. "If she didnít she wouldnít insist on you coming back once a week. It means your family not a customer. She only frets over her Ďchicksí like that and sheís got a fair number of them around town. Looks like weíve been made into the latest batch." Leaning over, Gavin pressed a fast kiss to Andyís lips, his eyes lighting up as he did so.

From her vantage point in the kitchen, Molly smiled. Cute as buttons those two were, now all they had to do was set up house and all would be right in their world.

Pushing his windblown blond hair out of his eyes, Gavin quickly recaptured Andyís hand as they walked back to the hotel after spending a pleasant hour in Mollyís coffee shop. "I think I need to start moving out here as soon as I possibly can," he sighed quietly. "I miss having a home, a community, a real life, not just a pop life.

"I... Iíd, what I mean is if you want to... I know itís a long way from Dublin but... live with me?" the singer got out breathlessly. "Fuck, I know Iím going fast, we havenít even... but I miss you, Andy. I miss us."

"If I say yes and youíre bollocks in bed, can I back out?" Andy asked, pulling Gavin into a hug to prove that heíd been teasing. "I miss us too, Gav. Harder to tell on my end I know since Iím not the emotional one, but I really do. Just give me the word and the timing and Iíll be here, luv. Thereís nothing going on for me that canít be changed or finished on this continent, and I somehow think that everyone back home will understand."

"I was thinking we could split the time. Half a year here, half a year in Ireland. That way we get the best of both our worlds?" Gavin answered, hugging Andy tighter to him. "I do love you Andrew Cooper, and I can assure you Iím not bollocks in bed. Iím fan-fucking-tastic and youíre in for the night of your life tonight, my lad, rest assured," the singer boasted with a laugh.

"Careful, or youíll have me too nervous to do anything," Andy chuckled, turning his head to nuzzle Gavinís neck. "And lets just see how things go, okay? Get settled and then decide on what weíre to do."

They passed a small group of men enjoying a late afternoon drink at the tables outside a cafť, and, when the sound of their conversation rose a notch, he chuckled again. "Youíre going to have them following you like ducks back to the inn, luv."

"Hrmmm, oh were they watching?" Gavin asked, distracted by the feel of Andyís arm around him and his mouth nuzzling Gavinís neck. "Let Ďem watch, theyíre just jealous that Iíve got you. But Iím not sharing. God how I want you, Andy," the singer groaned, pulling his lover in for a heated kiss, his erection digging into the younger manís hip. "Letís go to our room, please? I want to, need to be alone with you!"

It was all Andy could do to keep from simply dropping all the bags Gavin had piled on him earlier and run to the guesthouse. As it was, he shivered, clutching at Gavís shoulders, before pulling back. "Much better idea then shopping, Gav. Donít want to share you right now, want you to myself."

Gavin smiled and, shifting the parcels around so that they were all in one hand, looped his finger around Andyís belt loop and tugged. "Well then what are you waiting for? Lets go!"

Dropping the bags just inside the door, Gavin looked around with a smile. The room was just like he remembered and was still dominated by a huge king sized bed and a stone fireplace, already lit, at itís foot. Tugging his leather jacket off, he tossed it onto the couch and relieved Andy of his parcels as well, then shut the door behind the younger man.

"How about I change our dinner reservations for tomorrow night? Tonight I want you. Just you. Naked and sweaty and moaning under me and over me and next to me. I want to be in you, I want you in me, and then I want to do it all over again."

The images made Andyís breath catch in his throat, and he nodded, pushing Gavin toward the phone on the table near the sofa and crowding up behind the older man, hands roaming over his belly over, and then under his shirt.

His cock was aching, and he didnít think heíd ever been this turned on in his life, but this wasnít just any moment in his life; this was Gavin, his partner, his friend, the man heíd loved for almost as long as theyíd known each other, and now, his lover.

It took Gavin a couple of tries to dial the number, and his voice was decidedly unsteady when he changed the reservations, all of which made Andy want to crow with glee. Instead, he kept quiet and kicked out of his boots, his hands and lips still moving over Gavinís skin.

"Yes, thatís right, eight oíclock tomorrow, oh god, right there! No, I mean, as private a table as you can get, bloody hell yes, thatís so good. Iím sorry? Oh Sullivan, nameís Sullivan. Right, thanks much and ta!"

Wheeling, Gavin yanked Andyís head down and ravished the blondís lips passionately, leaving them swollen and puffy before he let go. "Drive me mad will you, Mr. Cooper? Well then, I do believe itís time for a payback!" Pushing Andy lightly so that he went sprawling across the bed, Gavin followed him down and straddled his waist, pressing their erections together through the cloth of their pants.

"I donít care how many times you deny it, Cooper, you are a cocktease. My cocktease," Gavin growled, latching onto Andyís throat and devouring him.

"Just had to touch you," Andy panted, his hands fisting in Gavinís hair and the back of his shirt, his hips lifting up off the bed as he tried to get closer, to pull Gavin closer, to somehow get inside the other manís skin.

"Feel so good - Ah! Gav!" When Gavinís teeth closed on the side of his neck, Andy twitched as if lightning had shot through him. "Please, want to feel, no clothes, nothing between us." He plucked with suddenly ineffectual hands at Gavinís shirt, trying to get it off, to reach the warm, pale skin beneath the fine cotton.

Growling low in his throat, wanting the same thing and annoyed that he had to pull away in order to get it, Gavin yanked Andyís shirt open, scattering buttons around the room. "Good thing we got you enough for a month," the older man panted as he began to kiss his way down composerís lean chest.

Fingers flew over the clasp of Andyís jeans, tugging them loose and then down, taking the younger manís boxers with the denim. "God youíre incredible," Gavin sighed just before he wrapped those talented lips around the head of Andyís cock and began to swallow his lover slowly.

"Gavin, no..." Sure that heíd come any second now if Gav continued with what he was doing, Andy tangled his hands in the singerís hair, tugging until Gavin slithered up his body. "Just - oh lord - let me hold you, touch you, as well."

Tangling his legs with Gavís, Andy ran his hands down his loverís back, arching up under Gavís weight, closing his eyes and blindly searching for the other manís mouth so that they would be connected in almost every way possible. "Want to feel you in me, luv," he rasped, once they finally broke apart. "Feel you deep in my body like you are in my heart, can you do that for me?"

"I think that can be arranged," the singer replied with a hungry smile. "But that means I need to leave you for a mo, beautiful. Need to get supplies." Claiming Andyís lips hungrily, then slowly kissing his way from chin to navel, Gavin finally levered himself up off the bed and fumbled with his toiletries bag.

Pulling out the bottle of lubricant and an unopened box of condoms, Gavin tossed both onto the bed next to Andy. "When was the last time for you, Andy? I donít care who or how or why, I just need to know when so I know how slow I have to take this. Last thing I want is to cause you more discomfort than I have to," the singer asked quietly, spooning up along side his lover on the bed, petting Andy lightly to both arouse and sooth.

"Dunno rightly." Frowning slightly, trying to think while his brain was determined simply to short circuit due to pleasure, Andy reached back to run his hand over Gavinís side. "A year, maybe a bit more. Never was really that important or imperative for me." He gave a small laugh at that. "Why do I think youíre going to change that?"

Pushing back against Gavís body, Andy moaned as he felt the other manís erection press at his ass. "Donít need to go slow though, Iím pretty resilient that way." He looked back over his shoulder and kissed Gavinís chin. "An the only thing causing me discomfort right now is not having you in me, so show me what your made of, Lord Flauntyerass." He snickered at the last and tightened his fingers on Gavís ass.

"Keep it up there, mate and youíll be the one flauntiní your ass because itíll be too sore tísit upon," Gavin growled, nipping playfully at the younger manís shoulder. "And they say I can be a brat!" he continued with a snort. "A case of the pot calling the kettle if I ever heard it."

Reaching over Andyís waist, Gavin snagged the bottle of lube and the box of condoms. Pulling out a foil package he ripped it open and gently rolled it on, not wanting to set himself off. Gavin then snapped the bottle open and poured a generous helping into the palm of his hand, letting it warm to skin temperature.

"On your stomach, love, with a pillow under your hips," the older man ordered quietly, nipping at Andyís nape. "I need to get you ready."

"Donít flaunt," Andy grumbled as he rolled to his belly, shifting his hips up off the bed so that he could situate himself the way Gavin requested. "If I was any more ready Iíd be makiní a bloody mess of these sheets, yíknow."

The first touch of Gavinís now slick fingers made Andy twist on the sheets, his fingers clenching at the fabric as he tried not to hyperventilate. "jay-sus, I want you so bad, Gav. Going crazy here, I am. Would you touch me?!"

"Well youíd be waving that ass of yours in the air if it was too sore to sit down upon, now wouldnít you?" Gavin teased as he slid a well-slicked finger just inside and then deeper as he met no resistance. "And if you think telling me that youíre ready come with me barely touching you is an insult, guess again. You have no idea how fucking hot that makes me, knowing that I barely have to touch you to get you primed for me. Itís the pen-ultimate ego booster, Andy me love."

Adding a second finger in with the first, Gavin began to scissor them open slowly, enjoying the mewls of pleasure that were escaping the younger manís mouth in between the pants for air. "God but youíre the hottest thing Iíve ever seen. Youíre driving me mad, beautiful. Youíre so tight, so damn hot, youíre gonna burn me alive."

No longer able to wait, hoping that two fingers had been enough, Gavin slicked the rest of the lube on his own cock and, sliding his fingers out, began to slowly sink inside his lover, his Andy. "I love you, Andy, fucking hell, more than life!"

"Yíare my life," Andy gasped, his back arching and head flinging back as he felt the amazing, earth-shattering pressure of Gavinís erection sliding into his ass. He gave a broken whimper, the tiny bit of pain he felt lost in the overwhelming need the other manís touch generated in him.

One shaky hand released the sheets and reached back to stroke over Gavinís thigh. "Itís you. Itís really you," he breathed, pressing up and back, wanting to feel more of Gavin, to have his lover blanket him as he took him beyond the moon.

"Aye, love, that it is," Gavin confirmed on a groan, as he was slowly swallowed by the tight heat of the younger manís body. "Aní Iím planning on never letting you go, now that Iíve found you again. I didnít know... didnít understand... youíre everything," the older man husked, pressing a kiss on Andyís shoulder blade before he began to pull out.

Fighting back his orgasm, the singer sank back in and pulled out a little faster yet again. Over and over he did this, speeding up just a fraction with every thrust until, at last, Andy was writhing wantonly underneath him and he was pounding into his lover, claiming Andy thoroughly.

Tightening the muscles of his ass with each stroke Gavin made, Andy wallowed in the feelings that were rushing over him. He felt boneless, weightless, and most of all, loved.

He caught hold of Gavís hand, fingers squeezing tightly around his loverís as the crescendo of sensation built within him, each brush of Gavinís cock over his prostate drew hoarse groans from his lips until, with a wail, Andy came, Gavinís name on his lips and his body filled by the singer.

"Andy, oh god!" The sensation of the younger manís muscles squeezing him tight, the shivers that chased their way through Andyís body and transmitted to his cock as well as the rest of him were just too much for Gavin. Heíd waited so long, wanted so much and now, hearing, feeling and watching Andyís release the reality of this finally sank in and he was lost.

A soundless cry ripped from taut throat muscles and Gavin collapsed forward, blanketing Andy completely with his body as his body trembled with the force of his orgasm. Gavin curled even more tightly around the younger man, pressing kisses to every inch of Andyís skin that he could reach while he murmured mindless words of love and devotion, meaning each and every one.

"Heaven," Andy whispered, loving the feel of Gavinís weight on top of him. Not wanting to move, he stretched out as much as possible, dragging the hand he held toward his mouth to kiss each finger.

"And definitely not bollocks. Guess Iím stuck forever now. Terrible shame that."

Gavin chuckled, the sound transmitting through the composerís skin as it was taken in between mobile lips and suckled passionately, leaving a bright red bloom of passion over Andyís pulse point. "I can tell how devastated you are, beautiful. I feel your pain," the older man teased.

Nuzzling the hickey heíd left on Andyís fair skin, Gavin reluctantly slid free and, removing the condom and tying it off, rolled to Andyís side, snuggling in tight. "Never thought I could be this happy again, didnít think I deserved it but damned if Iím going to give it up. Give you up. They can take everything else, can take other parts of me but this... us, itís sacred, you know?"

Andy nodded, even as he curled his arms around Gavin, holding him closer yet. "Youíve always had the words, love. Only way I can think to describe it is in the music. And what the hell do you mean you donít deserve it? Where did that come from?"

"I just... I guess I never really expected to have this sort of soul-deep happiness. Oh, career-wise I had no doubts that I deserved fame and fortune but love... You know what they say about the people who crave the spotlight and need to be the centre of attention, Andy. Those pop psychologists might have actually had it right with me. I never thought that I deserved... silly I know but I couldnít help the way I felt. I thought Iíd already ruined the two best things in my life, my marriage and us, and didnít think Iíd be lucky enough to get a second chance. Glad you proved me wrong.

"Now how Ďbout we ignore my prattle and, I dunno, bask maybe?"

Eyeing Gavin seriously, Andy finally relented and smiled, even as he flipped the blanket up over them both. "Basking sounds absolutely fabulous right now. I feel... I dunno, like if you werenít holding me, Iíd take off and float. Now whoís being silly?"

"Iíd say you were being wonderful. Iím wonderful, youíre wonderful, weíre all wonderful, koo koo ka choo," Gavin laughed, nuzzling Andyís throat. "God but youíre beautiful."

"Youíre a daft bugger, in every meaning of the word," And snickered before kissing the side of Gavinís face to his ear. "God, I wish I had a camera to get a picture of us right now."

"And you call me a daft bugger? Weíre sticky, sweaty, rumpled and now you want to take a picture?" Gavin asked in complete disbelief.

Andy flushed, but he kept grinning. "Yes, right now. I canít imagine anything more perfect then the look on your face - well, the look that was there until you thought of having your photo done without primping."

"Youíve lost it, mate," Gavin laughed, grabbing a pillow and whacking Andy over the head with it. "I donít primp, you bugger, I preen. Get it right!" Rolling on top of Andy, straddling his waist, the singer began to tickle his lover, laughing happily as he played.

"Primping, preening, same thing, as long as you arenít pimping!" Andy laughed, trying to duck, dodge, and grab at Gavin all at the same time, a move that only ended up with both of them flat on their asses on the floor beside the bed.

"Oy! That hurt!" Andy shifted to his side and rubbed his butt. "Not much in the way of padding back there."

"God, Iím too old for horseplay. Lenore will kill me if I end up breaking something right before the tour kickoff," Gavin groaned, rubbing his hipbone. A sunny smile spread over his face as he contemplated what he just said. "Wanna try it again, maybe this time I can end up breaking something and then youíll have to stay and take care of my poor, bedridden self."

Andy smiled sunnily, but shook his head. "Sorry, luv, but no way. Besides, you break something and weíll be spending this little vacation in the hospital, not in bed like we should be."

He reached out and pulled Gavin closer to them, somehow getting both of them turned around to lean against the side of the bed. "And I know what a pain you are when youíre sick or hurt. No way Iím playing nursemaid no matter how much I love you."

Gavin pouted extravagantly, then ruined the look by laughing at the outrageous look on Andyís face. "Hey, youíre the one who fell in love with a drama queen, whatíd you expect?" he admitted with a self-effacing grin. "I play to the crowds, and with a crowd of one youíre gonna have to deal with all of me. But I have a feeling youíre just the man to handle it.

"Besides, if I end up in hospital Lenore will end up here and the last thing I need is to be a captive audience when sheís on a rant," Gavin shuddered delicately. "That idea doesnít even bear thinking about so I think itís safe to say Iím not about to damage myself in any way.

"Ugh," the singer continued, rubbing a hand down his thigh, "I think weíre somewhat sticky. Thereís a jacuzzi bathtub in the bathroom big enough for two and a telephone too so we can order room service. Join me in the tub, love?" the older man offered, standing and holding out his hand.

"And maybe after we eat and clean up we can get messy again and you can have a go," Gavin purred, his eyes becoming smoky blue with desire.

"Only the thought of that bath waiting and the fact that this floor is getting cold under me arse is enough to make me move, Gavin," Andy sighed, wrapping his hand around Gavinís and climbing to his feet.

"Why donít you fill the tub and Iíll order our meal. I just know youíd get us sprouts or something equally horrid, and it seems this is a weekend to be decadent, luv. Mmm, I canít wait to cook for you again." It was well known that Gavin couldnít boil an egg, though he tried time and again, usually with inedible results. Andy, however, counted cooking among one of his skills, and was more than content to prepare a meal himself instead of dining out.

Moving out of strangling range and towards the bathroom, Gavin shot a truly devilish look over his shoulder. "I always said youíd make someone a right fantastic wife, Andy my love. I never thought it would be me though!" He laughed mischievously.

"Not that Iím complaining mind you. I think youíd look absolutely fetching in a frilly white apron and nothing else!" Ducking in the bathroom, Gavin burst into laughter, unable to contain it anymore, as he set about filling the jacuzzi tub with almost scalding hot water and picking out a citrusy smelling bath bomb to go into the tub once everything was ready.

"Youíre a right bastard, Gavin Sullivan," Andy growled, shooting a dirty look toward the bathroom where he could hear his lover laughing and singing as he started the bath. "Good thing I love you or Iíd kick your arse."

Picking up the phone, he dialed the front desk and, while studying the menus on the small desk, ordered them a meal from a French restaurant nearby, along with a bottle of wine and a decadent sounding crŤme Brule.

"Iíve a mind to eat all this myself and not give you any," he called as he wandered into the other room, only to be treated to the sight of Gavin bending over the tub. "Or perhaps just to eat you." The last was said with a small smile as he moved behind Gavin and hugged him hard.

"Ah but if you ate it all yourself youíd be contributing to my wasting away to nothing but bleached bones, and then youíd be left all alone to deal with Molly, now wouldnít you?" Gavin murmured, leaning back into the taller manís embrace.

"Truth be told, Andy, Iíve missed the way you Ďmotheredí me. You took such good care of me, better care than I could have taken. But thatís neither here nor there at the moment.

"Tell me something, Mr. Cooper," the older man continued, a sly smirk spreading across his face, "is that a rocket in your pocket or are ye just a randy arsed bugger who wants to bugger me?"

Andy chuckled and slid a hand lower to cup Gavinís burgeoning erection. "Not wearing any pockets, Mr. Sullivan, and as for being a randy arsed bugger, I believe you just have that effect on people. Can I help it if seeing you bent over that way made me want to have you?"

"Far be it from me to stop you, love, but you may want to wait until the foodís come since we do have to pay, after all," Gavin replied with a chuckle. "And neither of us would appreciate having to stop mid-stroke so to speak."

Turning around in the taller manís arms, pressing his growing erection to Andyís, Gavin sighed. "Why do I get the feeling that thereíll never be such a thing as too much for us? Iím hornier than I was at 18 and thatís saying a helluva lot. I seem to be able to get it up faster, too. You must inspire me."

"Spoilsport," Andy grumbled, dipping his head to nuzzled Gavinís neck. "Know the feeling all too well, too. Sex was okay before, but youíve got me obsessing about it. How many different ways we can do it, how many different places, how much, period."

He gave a small laugh, and slipped past Gavin to slide into the deep tub. "Better enjoy this while we can, the food should be here in half an hour or so."

"Perfect timing, just enough to tease and arouse, not enough to do anything and then we can use each other as dinner plates," Gavin purred. "I have this urge to lick things off of you."

Sliding into the tub, the older man held out his hand for his lover to join him. When Andy was settled in front of him, back firmly plastered to his chest, Gavin picked up the sea sponge and began to dribble water down the younger manís chest, lightly swirling the sponge over firm, creamy flesh.

"A fucking work of art, ye are, beautiful," Gavin husked, resting his chin on Andyís shoulder to watch the way his loverís body reacted.

"Keep it up and Iíll start wondering if youíve been drinking," Andy murmured. He tilted his head back to rest it against Gavís shoulder, his hands idly stroking along the outside of the singerís thighs. The soft brush of the sponge over his chest was a sensual tease, and he closed his eyes, damning himself for ordering the food and delaying the inevitable.

"Not a drop, dry as a bone. Donít need to anymore, I have no reason to need help to get to sleep. Besides I have the feeling weíll both be exhausted enough that sleeping wonít be a problem," Gavin laughed as the sponge drifted lower and dipped under the water. Running the sea sponge back and forth lightly over Andyís erection, Gavin chuckled low in his throat as a full body shudder chased itís way up his loverís spine. "Now that was an interesting reaction, love. Like that did you?"

Mouth seeking and finding Andyís pulse point, Gavin first laved, then bit then began to suckle on the sensitive skin, bringing the blood to the surface and marking the younger man as his. "You bring out the poet in me, Andy, and the lover. You are beautiful to me, love. Always have been. I just get to say it out loud now. A fact that Iím thoroughly enjoying," the older man admitted.

Shaking his head, somewhat embarrassed by Gavinís words, but also liking them, Andy sighed, his fingers tightening on Gavís thighs momentarily. "Glad youíre enjoying it, still think you need glasses though," he murmured.

"And yes I liked it," he gasped, when Gavin stroked the sponge over his erection again. "If I like it much more, Iíll be making a bloody mess in here and then where will you be after we eat?"

"In the position to arouse you again," Gavin purred, stroking his bearded chin back and forth over Andyís shoulder as he continued to tease his loverís erection. "I want to watch you come again, Andy. Come for me..." the older man whispered hypnotically, letting the sea sponge float away and using his fingers to stimulate his lover.

"Come for me, love, and I promise to rouse you again. Wouldnít you like to feel my mouth wrapped around this lovely thing, sucking and nibbling and stroking with my tongue? Wouldnít you like me to tease your balls, suck them into my mouth, see if I can take them all?"

Andyís breath was coming in short pants and his whole body shook with the strain of holding still as Gavin stroked him, taking him higher and higher.

"Gav..." The word was a hoarse sob, and Andy reached back to wrap a hand around the back of Gavinís neck, turning his face so that he buried it in his loverís neck.

"So pretty, my lover, so very beautiful and all mine," Gavin sighed, his fist finally closing around Andyís cock and pumping it with a firm grip. "Thatís it, Andy, reach for it. God but youíre sensual, a fucking wet dream. My wet dream. You have no idea just how... incandescent you are right now. Come for me, lover, come for me. I need to see it," Gavin murmured as his other hand came up to pinch and twist one of Andyís nipples.

Moaning, his whole body twisting between Gavinís hands, Andy threw back his head, a low wail coming from his throat as his loverís words and actions drove him over the edge. His back arched, pushing his ass up off the smooth floor of the tub, and his cock throbbed in Gavinís grip before heating the water around it with pulses of semen.

"Oh, luv..." Gasping for air, unable to talk or even think, Andy slumped back against Gavin, eyes closed, body totally limp.

Gavinís own orgasm followed hot on the heels of Andyís as the feeling of his lover rubbing against him combining with the sight and sounds that Andy was making drove him to come as well. "Fuck but that was the most erotic thing Iíve ever seen," Gavin gasped, arms wrapping tightly around Andyís waist and pulling him even more closely to him. "You. Are. Absolutely. Perfect." Each word was punctuated with a kiss on the younger manís shoulder, collarbone, neck and finally lips.

Toeing the plug out of the tub to let the murky water drain out, Gavin shivered as the cool air hit wet skin. "Shower, love, then robes and dinner. Címon, beautiful, we can light a fire and curl up in front of it while we feed each other and such."

"Mmm hmm." His mind in a sensual haze, Andy let Gavin guide him toward the shower and rinse them both off. He came back to himself when the water stopped, and took the towel Gavin handed him, using it to dry his lover carefully. "Iím going to have to start on you when youíre asleep," he sighed, leaning in to kiss Gavís neck. "Only way Iím going to be able to make you as crazy as you make me."

"Well we do have a four poster. You could always tie me to the bed with those silk scarves we bought today," Gavin laughed, reaching for the matching plush white robes provided by the inn. "Then you can spend as long as you want to driving me crazy and there wouldnít be a blessed thing I could do about it. Hey, Andy? Do you remember opening that window as wide as it is? I could have sworn I only left it open a crack but now... I must be more tired than I thought."

"Hmm?" Distracted from the absorbing image of Gavin tied to the bed, spread wide for him to explore with hands and mouth, Andy shrugged. "Donít rightly know. I really wasnít paying much attention to it considering what you were doing to me."

Chuckling, he turned and kissed the singer lovingly, then caught his hand. "Címon, lets open that wine and relax by the fire until the food gets there - maybe after that weíll be recovered enough for me to have me wicked way with you.í

"Like Iím gonna say no to that. Weíd best have them send up a box of bottled water from room service, though. After all, the way weíre going weíre going to require plenty of liquids to keep us from dehydrating," Gavin smirked. "Although I canít think of a better way to go - wasted away to a dry husk by my randy lover who just keeps fucking and fucking..."

"Silly sod," Andy muttered, shaking his head and cuffing Gavin affectionately. "Thereís water in the mini-bar, and if anyoneís randy, itís you Gavin Sullivan. "Just canít keep your hands or your cock to yourself, can ye?"

He chuckled then, and curled up on the loveseat in front of the fireplace, settling Gavinís head in his lap. "Not that Iím complaining one whit, you know."

"Kept Ďem to myself since I left Ireland and moved to New York Iíll have you know," Gavin replied indignantly. "Didnít want anyone else. Oh I tried. Even went out and bought that box of condoms we cracked open earlier and the lube too. But every person that came on to me that way wasnít... well they werenít you therefore I didnít want Ďem back. Thatís the long and the short of it," the singer admitted, blushing slightly.

Feeling his own face heat and his heart quiver with love at Gavinís confession, Andy tenderly stroked the singerís face. "You telling me those things were three years old? Shite! No wonder they didnít crack apart when you opened the box!" he teased, letting his fingers slide down to tickle Gavinís ribs.

"A regular fucking comedian you are," Gavin growled playfully just as there was a knock on the door. "Go and make yourself useful and get the door then, will ya?" he continued with a laugh as he rolled off the loveseat and cat stretched before heading towards the ice bucket with the bottle of champagne cooling within.

"Arenít I though?" Andy asked, aiming a swat at Gavinís ass as he stood. Surprisingly, when he opened the door, it was the bellhop, Peter standing outside with the shopping bag of food.

"I thought you might not want anyone knowing you were here, so I intercepted the delivery boy," he said by way of explanation.

"Thanks, lad," Andy smiled, scrawling his name across the bottom of the credit card receipt and handing it back to the young man. "We appreciate it. Night now."

"Well, I paid, are you going to serve?" he asked, turning back toward Gavin, and locking the door behind him.

"Myself up on a platter with an accompaniment of champagne?" Gavin laughed as the cork flew out. Pouring two glasses, he brought them back to the love seat and placed them on the low table near the fireplace. Pulling the cushions off the sofa he tossed them onto the floor in between the fireplace and the table and then sprawled out on them, crooking his finger invitingly. "Címere me lover, and Iíll feed you all right."

Andy snickered and waggled his eyebrows lasciviously even as he set the shopping bag on the table and pulled out the various foil-covered containers of food. "Youíll be eating your meal, Gavin, and no back-talk. I donít want you fainting dead away later on because youíre starving."

He settled next to the older man, pressing a kiss on his shoulder, before opening the first container. Catching hold of one of the thin strips of chicken, he offered it to Gavin, grinning. "Eat up, luv."

Gavin rolled his eyes but dutifully opened his lips and nibbled his way down the offering until he met with Andyís fingers, which were then laved clean. "What is it with you and food?" he asked with a laugh. "I canít wiggle my ass nearly as well if its 40 pounds heavier. It would look like a bowl of jelly wobbling back and forth," the older man continued to tease but none-the-less continued to let Andy feed him choice morsels from their dinner even as he reciprocated.

"More to hold on to and to nibble on," Andy answered blithely, stroking a hand down over the body part in question and feeding Gavin another piece of chicken dripping in the rich sauce. "And all you have to do is one show and youíll lose every ounce I put on you. Youíre frenetic up there, luv and donít think I donít know it."

Gavin laughed. "I feed off the audience. They make it easy," he managed to get out before being fed another bite. "And donít you think you need to be eating too? After all, youíre the one whoís been... dehydrating more rapidly than me," the singer continued with a chuckle.

"And they always say man cannot live on love alone. Now stop feeding me and feed yourself," the older man admonished. "I know youíve been worried about me, love, but that doesnít mean I canít tell that youíve lost a few yourself. Now be a good little composer and do what Gavy says. Eat."

"Sod off, twat," Andy snorted, looking at Gavin like heíd lost his mind.

"Gavy... bloody insane he is." Even as he complained, he wolfed down some of the banquet spread before them, chasing it back with a gulp of the champagne.

"We need to remember to tip that bloke Peter really well when we leave. Heís a good Ďun."

"Just so long as he keeps his hands to himself. Youíre mine," Gavin replied leaning in for a wine filled kiss. "But youíre right, heís a good kid, even manages to keep the fact that heís Ďstar-struckí under control. Of course Iím star struck míself every time I look at you," the singer replied, then bolted to his feet and began rummaging through the desk drawer for the complementary writing supplies.

Plonking back down next to Andy, the older man began to write furiously, a new song flowing through his mind with an ease that he hadnít had in oh, about a year. Pen flew across the paper until heíd managed to get a rough idea of what he wanted and then he turned the pad over and pushed it away before straddling Andyís lap. "You have such a good effect on me, he murmured, kissing the younger man passionately. "The food will still taste good cold. Come to bed with me."

"Not going to let me have a look at it?" Andy grumped before the feeling of Gavinís body moving against his made him forget about music for the time being. "Suppose it can wait, Iíll just have to play you rather than an instrument."

His hands roamed up and down Gavinís back, stroking his skin through the thick terrycloth of the robe, then sliding down his sides to move over his thighs, then up and under the cloth, dancing over warm skin. "Bed is a wonderful idea, luv, but we canít move if youíre sitting on me."

"Youíll see it when Iím done with you, maybe," Gavin replied, the words of his new song playing in his head. Heíd call it Insatiable maybe, as it described perfectly how he felt about Andy and the singer was almost loathe to share it with his lover until it was perfect and he could actually sing it for Andy. But that was something he could think about later, right now he had more pressing needs to think about.

Grinding himself against the younger man, Gavin felt Andyís cock slot between his terry cloth wrapped cheeks and groaned. "Donít wanna move. Donít wanna wait. I want you in me now, Andy. Right now, right here," the older man growled hungrily. "And I want you bare. Inside me, bare," he finished, seizing the composerís lips for a kiss borne of starvation for his lover.

"Gavin..." Andy gave a pained groan and shivered at the thought of sliding into Gavinís lube-slicked ass with nothing between them, but... "God, I want to, but I want you to be safe more. Once I get tested again... But until then, we gotta be safe."

"Bugger being safe but if you want it that way... you see my doctor when we get back to New York. I want you in me, I want me in you. I want us to fuck like minks and have nothing but skin between us. Damn Iíve got that fucking tour... come with me? No thatís selfish, youíve got your career to think of you donít need me to stand in your way, ignore me I just want you so badly!" Gavin rambled as he reluctantly peeled himself off the younger man then pulled Andy to his feet.

Striding over to the bed, Gav grabbed the box of condoms, scattering them about the bed as he did so, and with shaking fingers finally managed to get one open. Coming to kneel before Andy, he slid the thin latex on with trembling hands. Looking up at his lover he was still in awe of the fact that this was real, they were real. "You know how the clichť goes, if itís a dream I never want to wake up. God, I adore you, Andrew Cooper!"

Reaching down to cup Gavinís face between his palms, Andy felt a momentary sadness darken his eyes before he willed it away. "Canít be a dream, mine were never this good," he murmured, drawing Gavin to his feet and guiding him over to the bed.

"I do know that youíre it for me, Gav. My once and forever love. For right now, lets not think about the tour or what Iím doing and just be together. The rest of the world can go bugger off, I just want to concentrate on you."

Laying Gavin back on the bed, Andy leaned in over him, kissing the singerís pouty lips gently, then working his way down the compact body, following pulse points and lines of muscle and bone until he was kneeling between Gavinís legs, rubbing his face against his loverís belly.

"Andy... please, god, love, god youíre wonderful, itís fucking killing me!" Gavin wailed as he writhed on the bed houri-like, desperate for Andyís touch. "Need you... starved for you. Shite, I want to be in you the same time youíre in me, so much. Havenít felt alive this past year now... everythingís in bloody technicolor!"

Reaching down, Gav hooked his arms under his knees and pulled them straight back, never more thankful than now that he was so flexible and in such good shape. Looking beseechingly up at the younger man, the singer fluttered his lashes and pouted as prettily as he could. "Please, Andy?"

Drawing in a shaky breath, Andy nodded, before a wicked grin twisted his lips. "For you, luv? Anything."

Scooting back a bit more on the bed, Andy leaned in, and licked a line over Gavinís exposed ass. His hands moved to support the singerís hips, and he continued to lave the tender flesh, groaning as he tasted musk and sex and pure, elemental Gavin while loosening and wetting his loverís passage.

"ANDY!" Gavinís voice hit notes he usually only employed while singing in the falsetto ranges of song choruses. Damn, whoíd have thought his ex-partner and his soul mate could be so bloody wicked?! "Jaysus, oh jaysus, yer goiníta be killiní me, Andy," the older man groaned, falling back into the lilting cadence of his homeland. "Sure an Iím goiní ta be dead by morniní an with the silliest grin on me face," the singer gasped, hands grasping at sheets in order to not yank at Andyís hair.

Pausing in his slow licking, Andy couldnít help a prideful grin. "Sure an youíre always underestimatiní me, Gavin Sullivan. As fer beiní dead, well, I have it on the best authority that we have many years ahead of us so Iíll be heariní none of that nonsense!"

That said, he went back to what he had been doing before, only this time, his tongue pressed inward into Gavinís body, working deeper with each press.

"Aye, glory, yes, Andy, me love, oh god so sweet, so fuckiní..." Gavin babbled, head tossing on the pillows and body straining for the completion he was being denied. "Goiní tílose me fuckiní mind. Yes, jaysus, do that agai... oh FUCK!" Surging up off the bed as best he could with his arms wrapped round his thighs, Gavinís whole body jerked and shuddered as he managed to keep himself from coming on the spot ... barely.

Growling, Gav reached down and tugged the younger manís head up. "Tis you Iím wantiní in me you sorry arsed bastard, not your fuckiní tongue. No more, Andy, just you. Iím begginí ye here!"

Climbing back up over Gavinís body, Andy nodded, Kissing the singer until Gavin had gentled somewhat and his own desire was nearing its peak. "In ye? Thatís what you want, luv?

"Then thatís what youíll have." Grabbing for the lube, he slicked a layer over his latex covered erection and placed it against the loose entrance to Gavinís body. "Love you Gavin Sullivan," he whispered, pressing forward and slowly sinking into the most mind-blowing tightness heíd ever felt. "Forever."

"Damn straight ye wi...ooooh god, Andy!" Gavin moaned, head falling back on the pillows and eyes closing as the sensations washed over him in a tidal wave. When he at last had it under control, Gavin let his eyes open and the sight he was met with, of Andy over him as well as in him and the look in the younger manís eyes, it caused Gavin to lose his heart all over again. "No one else but you ever again, love, on my life," he promised fervently.

"Never, ye have my word on that," Andy gasped, his body strung bowstring tight with the effort of holding back his climax. Once heíd regained a bit of control, he leaned in and kissed Gavin hungrily, his hands threading through the singerís hair as his hips started to rock, bringing the two of them as close as possible before pulling back, only to do it again.

"God, yes!" Gavinís head tossed on the sheets when the kiss broke for need of air and he sought to meet each stroke, his hips arching off the bed and his fingers digging into lean hips. "Shite, youíre inside me. Truly. God, Andy, Iíve dreamt of this for so fuckiní long. Andy, my Andy, love you, my own," the older man gasped as his prostate was nudged time and again. "Please, god, more, need you, need you so much!"

Cradling Gavinís face between his palms, Andy moved faster and faster, striving for the pace that would send them both over and finding it as they both gasped in pleasure, and lost themselves, toppling over the edge one right after the other.

After long moments of basking in the afterglow Gav raised his head to smile at the younger man. "Now that was well worth the wait, if I do say so míself," the singer laughed, pulling Andy down for a lazy, sated kiss, his accent returning to the more domesticated American-Irish hybrid.

"Yer gonna inflate me ego if you keep that up," Andy chuckled, nuzzling the side of Gavinís face with his chin and kissing his ear.

"And the problem with that would be?" the dark haired, dark eyed singer queried with a quirk of his eyebrow. "Andy, youíre well worth every ounce of praise and then some. But then again, with a lover like me how could you possibly go wrong, I ask ye?"

Andy pushed up onto his hands, staring down at Gavin incredulously and shaking his head. After a moment, his whole body joined in as he began to laugh, finally curling to his side and rolling off his lover to collapse beside him, snickering helplessly. "Such a diva, luv. But I love you for it."

"Damn bloody right you do!" Gavin retorted and then gave into the laughter threatening him as well. When he finally managed to get it under control he brushed the blondís hair out of his eyes. "And Iím bloody glad you called me, love, and that you gave me... gave us a second chance."

Smiling gently, Andy pulled Gavin into his arms, hugging him tightly. "As am I, Gav. As am I. Thereís no music without your words, even when the song doesnít need any lyrics."

"Andy..." The normally articulate singer had nothing to say that could express what his lover had so eloquently stated. Pulling Andy down for another kiss, Gavin gave him a half smile and stroked the other manís face softly.

Pulling Gavin closer to him, Andy smiled, then gave a yawn he couldnít quite cover up. "Looks like the day is catchiní up with me and probably you too. Youíd best get some sleep if weíre goiní ta be looking for furniture for your place tomorrow."

"Our place, luv. Itís gonna be our place," Gav grinned tiredly, curling around Andy limpet like.

"Mmm, Iím likiní the sound of that," Andy sighed, closing his eyes and falling asleep for the first the way he had dreamed of doing many times.


  since 02-04-07


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