The Start of It All

Arthur Kirkland was never one for relationships. Public displays of affection made him feel physically sick and he despised how a couple could look so dreadfully happy while sticking their tongues down one another's throat. How could anyone find that socially acceptable? Arthur Kirkland certainly didn't. Now, Arthur hadn't always been a stick in a mud. On the contrary, he had been a very outgoing, romantic, lovable young man until recently after a terrible breakup with that bitch from down the hall. Even just seeing her mail sticking out of her post box on the ground floor of the apartment block made him want to punch a wall. "You're so sweet, Arthur." "You're just too nice, Art." "It's not you..." "I slept with Gilbert." God; he fucking hated her. After a year of dating the blonde bimbo, he had surprised her with champagne and red roses and had booked a table for the two at an overly expensive restaurant down town. Only, he had waited all night for her in her own apartment, and when he finally left at 11 o'clock, he found her outside snogging the hell out of some brunette tanned guy - and didn't even notice Arthur was there! She came clean the next day. It wasn't just the brunette guy, but five others Arthur had been too stupid to pick up on. And Gilbert for God's sake! His own friend!

So when Arthur's other friend - if he could even call the blasted French man that - suggested he tried Online Dating, Arthur promptly laughed in his face and burst into tears not a second later. The 'bitch', as the pair decided to rename her, had "sucked all of the love" out of Arthur. (Quote Francis.) The 5'9" Brit was a shell of the man he used to be, and didn't even attempt to sort out his unruly blonde hair that had grown to cover his wonderfully bright green eyes on his way to work. Two months after his devastating break up, Francis had booked Arthur in for a hair cut. (He had also tried to book a spray tan, but after a swift backhander, he immediately called back to cancel.)

Arthur felt much better when he paid the barber, and surprised himself by smiling. It felt much better to feel fresh and free, and the Brit and French man went straight to the pub for a quick pint before setting up his account on WorldMatch. He felt his heart rate quickening as the blue background loaded and their slogan of 'Meet your match online...Anywhere!' sped across the screen and stopped beside a moving GIF of a globe. Francis swiftly moved the mouse to the 'Sign Up' button, and rapidly typed in Arthur's information. "Your email is still KirkyK91, right?" Francis asked with a snigger, and entered it anyway. He uploaded a handsome picture of Arthur in a white shirt grinning, with a drink in his right hand and his old watch on his left, tilted to the right with a white, crooked smile. He was outdoors by the lake, sunshine lighting up his soft features. You could see his bright green eyes that were framed by thick eyebrows and long lashes, and he looked extremely cheeky in his pose. Perfect. With a charming profile that described him as, 'Bright, funny and wears matching socks,' Francis was extremely confident that Arthur would be receiving attention in no time.

Two days had passed since the account was set up, and so far Arthur had received 10 pokes. WorldMatch was set up so that you could view anyone's profile and see their description, but you could only communicate through pokes until the other had accepted and messaging may begin. Arthur had accepted way back that he was interested in both men and women, and fully showed that on his profile to try a bit of variety. Unfortunately, seven out of the 10 pokes he received were from women Arthur found no interest in, and even less so when he read their descriptions. The other three were men, one from Francis - supposedly to test whether it was working or not, though you never could trust the man - and the other two from men he had never seen before. One, Arthur found, was an architect working down in south London, while the other was a doctor living in the states. The second appealed to Arthur straight away, and he declined the poke from the architect faster than you could say Mississippi Mud Pie. Mississippi Mud Pie was, coincidentally, one of poker number two's favourite desserts.

So, after a pregnant pause, Arthur finally found the courage to have a real look at this man's online profile. "Fuck," Arthur cursed as he scrolled through, "this guy knows what he's doing..." Arthur worked in a hospital just as this mysterious man; so that was something to talk about at least. Arthur was the head nurse in his department, and knew just how straining it could be. After having a snoop around his profile, the Brit found out the man's name. Alfred. That was the guy's name; Alfred. Arthur found himself saying it over and over, blushing at how nicely the name left his pink lips.

The first time he saw this Alfred's picture, his heart stopped. It couldn't be him; he was too handsome! Mouth agape, the other stared at his image for a long time, just taking him all in. He, in the picture, was stood by a tall pine tree by a forest, wearing a white t-shirt with shorts and hiking boots. On his back sat a backpack and he had a jacket tied around his waist, grinning at the camera with such a dazzling smile that Arthur found himself smiling too. His face was chiseled where Arthur's was more soft, and he was taller than Arthur from what he could tell. He was a broad man with built up shoulders and Arthur knew he must be fit and energetic. The more Arthur looked at the picture, the more attractive he found the American. Tanned, sun kissed skin with golden wheat hair and blue eyes; stunning. With a dry mouth, Arthur poked him back, and hoped it wasn't a mistake.

The next day, Arthur checked his online profile. You have 5 new pokes. Five? Arthur was surprised and checked it. One more from Alfred! He dismissed the others (they were all boring bastards anyway) and poked him back, grinning as he did so. You have 1 new poke. Oh, God! He was online! Arthur yelped and blushed, waiting a minute before poking him back once more. Two minutes later and there was another message. You have 1 new poke. By now, Arthur was grinning like a damn fool and giggled childishly as he went to make his morning cup of tea. Arthur enjoyed flirting.

Alfred and Arthur spoke everyday after their poking incident. The first day and a half were spent poking each other in turn, grins plastered on both men's faces each time. Part way through their poking match, Alfred had popped up on the site's instant messenger. 'Hey, cutie.' Arthur felt his heart stop. The words made his heart race and his stomach twist at the same time, and he didn't know what to do. His fingers hovered over the keys of his old laptop and it took him a few minutes to reply, but when he did, he felt himself smiling once again.

"How are you, Arthur?" Francis asked, five months after they set up his online profile. They were sat in the quaint coffee shop on the corner by the apartment block they both lived in, nursing caramel lattes in the corner booth.

"Fine. Last night's shift almost killed me." he almost laughed in response, cringing as he thought about the amount of sick and blood he had had to clean up. "...I spoke to Alfred when I got home." Francis nodded slowly at his reply and mulled it over, sipping his hot drink quietly.

"Ah, did you? This seems to be a regular occurrence, hm?" he finally said back, tilting his head slightly to the right. He buried his nose in the scarf wrapped tightly up to his chin, cold in the unheated coffee shop. It was almost as bad as being outside.

Arthur nodded and smiled shyly, "Maybe. I-It's got nothing to do with you anyway, Frog..." he said, though he smirked as he glanced up and drank his coffee. "He wants to talk on the phone."

"And what did you say?"


AN/: Hey, guys! So I decided I'd take a day off lazing around on my butt to do something productive, and here came this new fic idea. It probably won't be a dreadfully long one, maybe two or three chapters? Just something quick to take my mind off exam stress. Please let me know what you guys think so far and I'd like to hear any thoughts on it so far! Thank you!

- BritishTraveller.