Hey...so in this story JP and Craig have not met and John Paul has arranged ...a date of sorts to accompany him. Enjoy!

ALMOST

Passport, suit, I pod, condoms, favourite lucky navy blue 'fuck me now' Calvin Klein boxer shorts and tooth brush. That was it then. John Paul looked at the main items in his Luis Vuitton travel case and nodded. All the essentials for this Godforsaken trip, all present and correct.

The door man of his building buzzed him and informed him he had a visitor before hanging up, giving John Paul just enough time to straighten his jacket and smooth his tongue over his teeth, just to make sure there were no remnants of the spinach quiche from his lunch stuck there. He checked his hair in the mirror, running his fingers through the silky blond strands for the umpteenth time as he waited impatiently for the knock at he door that would signal the arrival of his visitor. He jumped as the doorbell rang, even though he was expecting it, and...taking a deep breath, he flung it open with a wide smile.

"Your not..." He attempted to save face by smiling at the bicycle courier, trying not to feel disappointed as he took in the clingy, shiny cycle shorts and wrap around sunglasses. The courier stood and surveyed the situation, taking in the plush, spacious, uncluttered room behind John Paul as he waited for a response from the flustered man in front of him. John Paul finally moved, gesturing towards the envelope and a small boxed recording device that the cyclist held in his hand.

"Is that uh...for me then?"

The delivery man nodded and handed his packages over after getting a signature from John Paul, his eyes taking in the obvious nervousness that was emanating from every pore of the young fit blond before turning and making his way back to the elevator.

John Paul looked form the brilliant white envelope with the unfamiliar scrawl to the ear piece, deciding which he should go with first. Shrugging his shoulders and implanting the small device into his ear, he smiled as the rich, silky voice spoke, telling him of the change in plans, reassuring him things would be fine. He didn't know why but he believed him, maybe because the voice sounded so sure or maybe just because of the warm rich treacle like quality to it that seemed to seep into every pore of his body. He listened once more before taking the ear piece out and pocketing it, tearing open the envelope eagerly.

You'll be fine!

Three small words but...seeing them written in the same flowing handwriting as on the envelope John Paul felt assured, he felt confident...he could do this, it was only a week right? Scanning his apartment one last time, throwing the photographs he'd been looking at back into the keepsake box, he flicked off the light switch, picked up the case as well as his other bag with his clothes in and made his way downstairs to the shiny black Mercedes S class that was parked waiting for him with it's engine purring ready to take him to the airport.

"Good morning Mr McQueen, let me help you with those". John Paul handed the smaller case over to Martin, being sure to dispatch the larger, heavier case into the boot of the car himself. Four years after moving from Hollyoaks and two years since he'd last visited, he still wasn't used to being treated like anything other than a younger, irritating brother. All this, being driven from pillar to post, business class flights and royal treatment was thanks to his prominent position as writer for the number one rated music magazine in London. Even then, it was only because of his contacts with music executives and singers alike that afforded him these luxuries. Beatz magazine couldn't be seen to be scrimping on it's top writer, especially as that writer was also the house DJ every Saturday night at the newest, hottest, trendiest club in Soho, Infusion.

"Straight to the airport Mr McQueen?" Martin looked in the rear view mirror as John Paul settled himself into the soft dark leather, his laptop on his knee and the well thumbed newspaper tucked beneath his arm.

"Yes, thank's Martin". He settled back, taking his phone from his pocket and checking for messages as he looked back at the driver. "Martin? Call me John Paul,yeah?" He smiled openly, as always the warmth from his smile, reaching his eyes.

"Yes Mr McQueen". John Paul nodded and sighed, he asked the same thing of Martin every single day but it didn't stop the driver from continuing with the formalities. He fished around in his jacket pocket until his fingers connected with the stiff, ivory coloured card that was the reason for this week long getaway. Taking the card he opened it up and read the invitation.

Mr John Paul McQueen +1

Mrs Myra McQueen & Mr & Mrs Reynolds

Take the pleasure in inviting you to the wedding of their son & daughter James Samuel and Michaela

To be held at St Augustin's Church on Saturday 24th April

R.S.V.P.

Tucking the invitation back in his pocket, John Paul opened the worn newspaper to the folded page, where the black ink was smudged from hours of contemplation and decision making. His icy blue eyes scanned over the advert that was circled in black and...not for the first time he wondered if he had made the right decision. Right or wrong it was too late for regrets now so he made himself comfortable and stuck the buds in his ears, relaxing as he let the music from his play list fill his senses. Thoughts of his family and Ben were never too far away but he tried to push them to the back of his mind as he concentrated on the words in the advert and the deep sensual voice on the other end of the message...the voice of the man that would hopefully be the one shining light in what was otherwise going to be a very long week.

DOUBTS

Craig tapped his foot impatiently, once more looking from his Parmigiani Pershing Chronograph watch to the door of his suite, wondering just how fine his friend Dominic was going to cut it. He jumped up suddenly when there was a short rap on the door. He opened it with a flourish, stepping back to allow his scantily clad friend to enter.

"Did someone call for room service?" Dom grinned and removed his shades and helmet, squinting at the bright sunshine leaking from between the blinds.

"Well?" Craig stood impatiently, his hands on his hips, looking at his watch for the third time in less than a minute. He tapped the gleaming polished surface.

"Wellll...what?" Dom shrugged like he hadn't a clue what Craig was getting at.

"Cut the crap Dom...what's he like?" Craig was imploring and Dom gave up the pretense and answered him.

"About your height, blond, blue eyes...neat." Craig sighed, looking nervously from his black leather Kenneth Cole garment bag back to his friend.

"Axe murderer?"

"No, he seems fine okay. He wasn't exactly talkative but he was polite, seemed nice...friendly looking, will that do you?"

"I suppose". Dom picked up the bag, passing it to Craig along with his plane ticket, ushering him towards the door.

"If it makes you feel any better, he seemed as nervous as you". He gave Craig a slap on the back as he made his way through the lobby towards the shiny, black cab idling at the curb. Craig leaned forward and told the driver his destination before sitting back thinking, wondering, worrying. Maybe it would've been a good idea to send one of his gay friends to carry out his dirty work instead, at least they would have been a bit more descriptive. Dom's assessment left him sorely lacking in detail and for his line of work, the more information you have the better.

Craig was used to having the upper hand, knowing pretty much what he was dealing with but this assignment was different...in more ways than one. Firstly, he was used to singles, divorcees, widows but...all of them female. Secondly, this was the first time he had agreed to more than a twenty four hour arrangement, to say that a week was more than he'd ever done before was an understatement. Something in his voice though, when he'd left the message on Craig's machine had made his innards stir, he'd explained the situation and Craig could tell it wasn't easy spilling everything to a stranger but John Paul had and he'd found himself listening, something Craig was very good at. He found that he sympathised with the younger mans plight and wanted to help him out. As well as that, he'd been offered double the usual salary and throw in a life time pass at the club where John Paul worked, something that in Craig's line of work would come in handy.

When the cab pulled up Craig got out, paid the driver and strolled casually to the check in desk taking his garment bag and holdall with him. He was oblivious to the numerous stares and lust filled appraisals that followed him as he walked, intent only on getting through the gate and onto the plane where he would meet his date for the next seven days...his male date.

God! The waiting was the worst part of it. John Paul berated himself for always being so punctual.

"Nervous about flying love? We'll be up and then back on terra firma in no time" the kindly lady in front felt the need to inform him. John Paul continued to fiddle with the safety manual, looking towards the exits. It wasn't the hour long flight that had him so anxious, it was the thought of seeing the man behind the silky, smooth voice that had him worked up. John Paul smiled and shook his head.

"It's not the flight...I'm going to my sisters wedding and the best man's my ex". She raised her eyebrows.

"Oh your gay...well that explains it". John Paul frowned and seeing this the elder woman felt the need to correct herself. "I meant the seeing your ex part...explains why you're on pins".

"On no...Well yeah, I'm dreading that but I'm waiting for my date...he's cutting it a bit fine actually". Once more John Paul looked to the door where the flight attendant waited patiently, greeting a couple more first class passengers.

"He'll be here soon I'm sure" she said patting the back of his hand. "You must be looking forward to seeing him then...as you're so nervous". John Paul nodded.

"You have no idea" he muttered beneath his breath. "Excuse me".

He got up from his seat and made his way to the exit, craning his neck to see out of the door. There was nothing there but the empty tunnel and still no sign of his date so he went to the quiet room and sat on one of the plush, brown leather seats, fishing out the ear piece and the little electronic remote that came with it. He played the message back, listening intently to the words...just to make sure he hadn't missed anything he told himself.

"Hi John Paul, it's Craig...Craig Dean." John Paul smiled at that. From the deep, husky tone of his voice, he pictured this guy could be a bit James Bond if he wanted to. "Sorry I didn't get back to you last night, I got your messages though...all seven of them." Okay so yes, panic had set in and he'd been phoning to cancel but luckily Craig hadn't answered and...here he was. "I know you're nervous but...you don't need to be, this is what I get paid for." Craig reassured. John Paul cringed at that. He knew he was desperate but being desperate and paying this guy because he was desperate were two different things. "Stop worrying. Your family will think we're in love and your ex boyfriend will think you've moved on and wish he'd never left you." There it was. The tone that had sent an involuntary shiver down his spine when he'd heard it. The voice was dripping with sensuality, putting him at ease with it's confident reassurance. "Now have a nice, calming drop of vodka on the airplane and I'll see you soon...can't wait to meet you!" That last little bit sent the butterflies in John Paul's stomach berserk.

Since getting the invitation to his sisters wedding almost six weeks ago, he'd barely been able to think of anything other than the reason why he'd left Hollyoaks in the first place, his ex boyfriend Ben. He was half dreading, half anticipating seeing him for the first time in two years...would the feelings still be there...did Ben miss him...would he have any regrets about breaking John Paul's heart? All these thoughts and many more had flittered through his brain on an almost daily basis. John Paul hadn't moved on, how could you when you had no closure? He still couldn't understand what had happened to make things go wrong in the first place. One minute they'd been away for the weekend with James and Michaela, happily spending lazy days on the beach and in the quaint town and the nights talking around the real log fire, all four of them sharing bottles of wine and funny little anecdotes about their lives. The next week they'd met in a fancy restaurant where John Paul thought Ben might pop the question, instead sitting there stunned that he was being dumped. He hadn't even been able to get angry, demand answers because the atmosphere was so hushed. What made it worse was that John Paul knew Ben had picked this place knowing he wouldn't make a scene.

Today though, the little obstacle of seeing his ex was pushed far to the back of his mind, firmly replaced by his anxiety at seeing Craig. It wasn't exactly something to be proud of...paying a stranger to pretend to be your boyfriend, even if it was for a good reason but he supposed, with how difficult it had been to get Craig to reply in the first place, lots of people must do it.

John Paul shoved his fingers through his hair, a sign of frustration at the things he couldn't control. His stomach was in knots and...knowing the flight was due to take off any minute now, he felt edgy, flustered and a little bit paranoid. He decided to take Craig's advice and went in search of a flight attendant, smiling when he found one he requested a drink...a stiff one. The woman in her perfectly pressed red and white uniform, with the neatly coiffed hair and ready smile handed him a neat vodka on the rocks, managing not to arch her eyebrows too blatantly as John Paul downed it in one, handing the empty glass back to her asking politely for another. She handed it to him and he took it gratefully, choosing this time to sip at it, relishing the burn as it slipped down his throat.

"I don't usually start drinking so early" he felt the need to inform. "Not that I drink late all the time either". She smiled politely as John Paul tried to extract his foot from his mouth. "It's just...any second now my date for my sisters wedding is going to sit down and I need to be ready for him" he gushed, the words flooding from his mouth before he took another sip. His eyes darted around, lifting to the stewardess as she cocked an eyebrow at the seats behind him.

"Hello 3b" she purred.

John Paul tensed and then, ever so slowly, he turned around, almost dropping the glass as he came face to face with his date.

Hope you like this fic, please leave a comment to let me know what you think. Thanks.