A few months have passed and I still believe Tino is the love of my life.
I've known this prior to dating him. Before that, I knew I lusted after him on T.V. In magazines, I'd see him in the background, awkward yet supportive, as his husband stood in the forefront and spoke to the press and people. T.V. and photos didn't do his face any justice, yet he still struck me with his fair skin and rare-colored eyes. I'd be lying if I said I didn't sulk when I thought about the stranger already being taken.
Then I felt weird because I didn't even know the guy and I already held this instant attraction towards him. It felt unnatural, so I chose to ignore politics for a while, opting instead for keeping my sanity. That is until I heard about the scandal.
As sick as it sounds, my heart warmed to hear of their separation and eventual divorce. But when I realized I'd still most likely never have a chance with this mysterious man, I sulked again. I stopped following the papers and articles about the once-political couple yet again.
When Peter entered my class, my heart skipped a beat. I tried reasoning with myself that I'll probably never even meet his parents, if anything maybe once or twice as a polite greeting, possibly also holding conferences over the phone due to their busy schedules and such. Peter's father was still in office and Tino had surely been up to better things now. The kid would most likely have a nanny or security member come drop off and retrieve him.
But it was Tino himself that came to my classroom every day. Not once Arthur or Alfred or anyone from his office. Just Tino all on his own with the little tike.
From then on, I grew to respect him and befriend him, though the attraction I felt for him was ever apparent to me. Being in his presence every morning woke me up and the thought of seeing him again later motivated me throughout the day. Quickly I learned his quirks and 'flaws' and the craving of wanting him was growing stronger now that he was right in front of me. For weeks we would casually talk, slowly revealing more about each other, those moments being the highlight of my day.
When he was hitting the bottom of his luck and crying in the hallway outside my room, it pierced my heart. Offering my help immediately was instantaneous and practically unconscious. Tino had me wrapped around his finger and didn't even know it at the time.
His infectious smile on that round face, his adorable laugh, his easy-going nature and positive outlook made me fall hard. Harder than I ever thought I could fall. . . . In fact, I think I'm still falling. He voices my thoughts and opinions without knowing it (sometimes rendering me more silent since I'd just be repeating his words) and is an A++ parent when it comes to Peter.
The little guy is basically my ideal son; curious, hardworking, and enthusiastic over the littlest things. Though I think he gets that last part from Tino. He's so bright and curious about the world, it makes me happy to teach, and gives me hope for the future generation. But that sense of wonder also gets him into trouble. But what do you expect from kids?
Peter started first grade in Ivan's class and comes home with astronomical amounts of homework at times. I help him with it of course, and the blonde has gotten overwhelmed every so often (as to be expected), but it takes at least an hour a night. Tino was upset, and vented not only to me, but to Arthur as well, who told Alfred, who of course confronted Ivan. Ivan then proceeded to extend the turn in periods, but continues to assign a lot of work. I had to admit Peter was gaining and retaining a lot of knowledge, which swelled my pride quite a bit.
Emil used to be troubled, but since moving in and dating Xaio, he's calmed down, thankfully. I still don't know much about Xaio, but I get the sense he fits in well with our family. It's comforting yet eerie that his boyfriend is just as quiet and reserved seeming as he is. Now that I think about it, Lukas and myself ended up with talkative partners while he didn't.
My chair creaked as I leaned back, pondering the thought. I'm currently at work, helping Lukas book tickets for him and Mathias to come visit us for Christmas. My class of kids is in P.E. at the moment, unleashing the relentless energy children somehow possess and adults grow to lose.
Sure, it's pretty early to be booking flights, but it's best to be prepared. Tino is planning a large party this year, since Arthur and Alfred will be home too. It'll be the first time we'll have the whole family(?) together. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. Lukas will be meeting Xaio for the first time, the home is pretty small, so sleeping arrangements are going to be tight, and Mathias has yet to stop calling Tino a "MILF", which will no doubt upset not only me, but Arthur as well. A fight between those two would not be good. Especially if anyone got drunk-"anyone" most likely meaning the Dane and senator.
It also feels strange planning all this, since Tino and I are still just boyfriends. He's started wearing the ring more, especially at work. It is surprising, because then he'll get less tips, but it makes me happy to know he's showing the world he's taken. When I find some good seats, I call Lukas and email him the link to the site. We chat for a bit, until my new kindergarten class enters the room after P.E. I hang up quickly, get back to work, and begin a lesson for my now-tired kids.
When school ends and all my children have gone home Peter and I hop in the car and do the same. Luckily Peter only has a math sheet tonight, so that leaves more T.V. time for him. When we get home and walk through the door a delicious smell greets us immediately.
"Mmmm Mama what are ya makin'?" Peter yells, tossing his shoes off before running down the hall to the kitchen. Collecting his footwear and mine, I put them neatly against the wall so Tino won't trip over them later, like he's known to do (and then yell at Peter). When I get to the kitchen, the smell only grows stronger and more heavenly. I see Peter sitting at the island counter, while Tino is stirring one of the pots on the stove, a light smile playing on his face as he listens to Peter recount his day.
The steam from the food ghosts up, naturally warming his face and misting his lips. He looks up at me and smiles brightly, showing those white teeth as I approach him for a kiss, which he graciously gives me. I put my arm around his waist as he continues cooking dinner, only hearing a small 'ewww' in the background.
"Smells really good."
"Thanks, I hope it turns out alright. It's a new recipe from Feli."
"Everything you make's delicious." I try to reassure him, and kiss the top of his head. I decide to give him some space so he can continue working, and join Peter on the stools at the counter. He pulls out his math sheet while I make myself comfortable on the raised chair. We work on it for a while, only getting stuck on four problems. By the time Tino has finished dinner, Emil and Xaio walk through the porch doors.
"Welcome home guys! Wash up, I'm putting dinner on the table now."
Peter follows the older boys to the bathroom while I go to the kitchen sink. In the meantime, Tino starts gathering the silverware and dishes. I manage to dry my hands fast enough to grab the plates in the cupboard before he can and place one in front of each seat. He smirks at me playfully before going back to the stove to retrieve the food. The kids emerge and go to their respective places at the table, as I help Tino finish setting up. He insists I sit down, but I won't hear of it. It's bad enough he set up the table when he made the meal.
"Chicken and Shrimp with Angel Hair and homemade sauce. Enjoy, everyone!"
Immediately, we start digging in. This is one of Tino's best dishes by far, though everything he gets from Feli is excellent as well as filling. Sitting there surrounded by my family (except Lukas, Dad and Mathais), I feel this wave of warmth inside me. To have the ones you love come together to enjoy a hot meal is not so common anymore, which makes it almost a surreal experience for me.
I've always wanted a big family and worried that I may not be able to attain that. Not because I am gay and prefer not to reproduce with a woman or anything, but because of my awkward nature and intimidating features. Those two issues set me back for years when it came to relationships, job opportunities and most social interactions. But here I am; so far enjoying my career as a teacher, living with a handsome man who looks like he could be a prince from a fairy tale by my side, and his son, and my baby brother with his own loved one. That may not sound like much, but it's far more than I was expecting. And both have welcomed me into their home and hearts, as I have with them. Well, I technically didn't give Tino and Peter a home, but I'm helping any way I can with the bills. And Tino agreed to take in Emil after only meeting the kid once. He didn't sit and wait to make a decision or think about how we'd support him financially, but took in my brother instantly, already regarding my family as his too. For such a petite man, he has a huge heart.
During the meal, I can't help but give him a small smile when we make eye contact. Still to this day, he'll blush at such a small gesture. Holding our gaze, I feel something touch me under the table. Figuring it was just one of the kid's legs that bumped me I ignore it until it purposefully travels upwards. My eyes widen when I look at the Fin to see him wink at me. I gulp, nearly choking on my food. The leg moved away as I took care of a coughing fit. That look he is giving me is not unfamiliar, but it sends shivers down my spine the same way it did when I first received it.
Quickly, I down some water and am about to return the favor, only Peter asks him a question. Slipping into Mom-mode, Tino gives his undivided attention to his son, and I don't dare disrupt them.
Peter doesn't like the mushrooms and is piling them on the edge of his plate as a child does. Tino negotiates eating at least two, which the little blonde does before leaving the table and placing his dishes in the sink. The teenagers are done soon after, saying their 'thank you's and following Peter's example, journeying into the living room to join him on the couch.
Taking the opportunity, I shifted my leg forward to initiate a game of footsie only to collide my foot with his. We both end up kicking each other.
After the initial "Ouch!" he begins bawling out in laughter, eyes prickling with tears and mouth grinning widely.
God I love this man.
When we finish eating, I take our plates and clear the table as he gets Peter ready for bed. While washing the dishes, I let my mind wander. The dinner seemed more fancy than usual.. . . Am I forgetting something? . . . Peter had his birthday already and our one year anniversary is next week. . . Does he think it's this week? If he does, I'm most likely getting lucky tonight. . . . I'll break the news to him after so that I can get twice as much-
"Ber? You're scaring me, what are you thinking about so intently?"
"Hm?" The man caught me off guard, coming from behind me as I finish washing a dish.
"You looked like you were having some deep thoughts there. Hahaha, you okay?" He took the dish from my hands and started rinsing it. I was nearly done but with his help I'll be finished in no time.
"Mm, nothing big. L'kas booked their flights today."
"That's fantastic! When are they flying in?"
"December 21st. Then they're leaving on the 28th."
"We'll have to get an air mattress before then."
"Nah, just let L'kas have the couch and the idiot have the floor."
"We can't have all our guests in the living room Ber. Maybe we should get Peter a full-size bed and have them in his room and Peter can bunk with us or Emil?"
"He won't give up his fort-bed."
"Yeah but maybe Arthur could take it. Or his grandparents . . ." I gave him an almost dead-panned look. We both know how unlikely that would be.
"Mm." If there's one thing Peter loves, it's his fort-bed. The panels along the side look like gray bricks as you would see on an old castle wall. Underneath lies a large blue rug. He told me once that Lukas said it was a moat, as big as the ocean and that it keeps him protected from any bad dreams or monsters. I think he really believes that and would hate to see him part with it.
"So, what happened under the t'ble, was that the appetizer? Because I'm still hungry for more Chef T'no." The man laughed lightly, nudging me with the hip a little in response.
"I'm glad to hear that Berwald, because there's plenty more to sample upstairs." He winks up at me again. It sort of surprises me to this day how eager I am to be with Tino after all the times we've slept together. Even though this may have been the millionth time we've gotten frisky, it doesn't feel routine. I don't know how Arthur could've cheated, and I don't think I'll ever understand. I used to feel a little flame of irritation towards the Englishmen for being unfaithful, but reminded myself that if he didn't, I most likely wouldn't be where I am now with the man of my dreams. Tino takes my hand as he pulls me with him up to the bedroom and shuts and locks the door behind us.
I pull off my shirt and go to pull his off too. Watching his eyes I can see he's looking at my stomach, unconsciously wetting his lips. He's always had a weakness for my abs. "You s're you're not the h'ngry one?" He blushed and shoves me lightly.
"Shut up!" I grab his hips as I crane down to kiss those pouted lips. I feel his mouth respond against mine and take the opportunity to snake my hands around to cradle his ass. Slowly I begin to massage it, pressing down a little more each time I hear him 'mew'.
God I can't get enough of this.
As I press more, I pull him against me so our bodies are even more flushed together than before. He rakes his hands through my scalp, knowing how much I enjoy it. I deepen the kiss while pulling the hem of his pants down a little more. With the hopeful promise of no interruptions and enough energy at a decent hour, there wasn't anything holding us back as I pulled him more against me and he grinded in return. I can feel our arousals pleading for air from the confines of our pants in no time.
Still grabbing his bottom, I bend down a little more and hoist him up. His strong legs wrap around my waist before I launch him onto the bed. He hastily sits up before I can climb on top of him. Raising my brow at him but he ignores my face and, instead, immediately dives for my crotch.
Fast hands make quick work of my button and zipper, freeing my member from its prison and into the heaven that is Tino's mouth. I can't hold back a loud groan. I'm pretty sure Emil and Xaio can hear it and now know where we disappeared to, but at the moment as long as Peter was asleep, I didn't care.
Tino pulls up and "Shhhh"'s me, but it hardly registered The smaller man is a master at the art form of being a lover and I am his willing medium. To my surprise, he hardly took any previous bed mates. The only two were Arthur and Francis, who I, still to this day, hold a bit of a grudge towards. I will never forget the night he told me about Francis~
Emil and I were already moved in and Tino and I randomly went to go get ice cream. Emil was in his room so it was okay to leave a sleeping Peter home (with a promise of returning with a blizzard for the blonde teen).
We climbed in my car and got the frozen treats. On the way back, for some reason, we got on the topic of past partners. I asked if Arthur was really the only one, not believing someone so fetching could've had only one partner. The Finn was unusually quiet after I asked and it was starting to scare me. I asked him what was wrong, but he answered 'nothing'. There was that knowing pause for him to continue but he looked around, avoiding my gaze.
When I pulled up to the driveway he was close to bursting into tears, still not telling me the reason for his unusual behavior.
We both know he's a terrible liar.
"Something is wrong. Don't lie."
After I said that, it was like I unleashed a flood. There he was in the passenger's seat bent over and trying to hide his face. The only thing I could think of doing was unbuckling both our seat belts and, as uncomfortable as it was, pulling him into an awkward-angled hug. It only made him cry harder, but I knew that he'd be done soon. Tino just needed to get it all out, whatever it was.
When his crying ceased and he was only left with sniffling with some stray tears, he pulled himself away and looked at me.
"I need to tell you something important, and I hope you don't think less of me." My first thought went to cheating. Wonderful. Quickly I could feel my heart racing and my fingertips growing cold. But rather than say anything, I nodded my head for him to continue nearly praying it wasn't that.
"After the divorce, after I moved here and started school, I had some money problems. As you remember before we started dating, I didn't have a job."
I really don't want to hear the rest of this-
"In order to pay for things, I had a 'deal' with my English professor. . . He would pay me for 'services' after class, and I was able to pay some bills and get discounts for things for school."
After hearing that it felt like a blow to my chest. How long had that gone on? Which professor was that? But even though I was having this internal rage and despair for Tino, in the back of my mind I knew that right then I had to be the bigger man and not go find that teacher and tear him a new one.
Instead I beckoned for his attention.
I couldn't look away from him. I knew he wanted me to, but I refused to. Tino looked so broken right then, leaning against the car door in the passenger seat. He was still sniffling, and the tears were still sneaking out of the corners of his eyes. Anyone could see how upset he was at himself.
"I'm sorry I haven't told you earlier, I just-I didn't know how to bring it up, and I didn't want you to hear about it from someone else and-and I don't want you disappointed with me. I'm already a divorced, single parent who works in a bar, who people already think of as tabloid-trash but please understand Ber, it was the only way at the time I could make the money in time for bills-"
"Did he force you to?" I interrupted, the thought just coming to me, like word vomit and a rushing urgency to know.
"N-no . . . Just offered it and gave me a week to decide. . ." Tino looked at me wide-eyed, more tears still threatening to fall and his nose still runny.
It was quiet after that and we both didn't make a move to get out of the car. After a while I reached out and took his hand, trying to mull things over more in my mind as I intertwined our fingers. We didn't start dating till after he got his job so really all he was doing was trying to provide for himself 'n Peter in the best way he could. But even so it royally pissed me off. As a teacher I know and understand the importance of teacher-student relationship.
Tino's hand felt cold in mine and it wasn't from the ice cream. I looked at his form and he still looked distraught. Seeing him so unhappy physically hurt. I gave myself another minute before slowly speaking.
"He's that Fr'nch guy r'ght?" I guessed from one of our very first dates when running into him and Tino acting weird.
He swallowed and slowly nodded, looking at my face for any indication of change in my feelings. Sure, I was hurt, but Tino was really hurt. I could tell it was a heavy matter weighing on him, and he didn't want to talk about it, but felt the need to, which was enough to show me he wanted to be honest with me.
"French people give me the crepes." At first he looked at me stupidly, then snorted and laughs a little, hand tightening some on reflex. He looked like he was going to ask something but I kept going.
"What's the shortest book ever written?"
"Berwald, what are you sayin-?"
"French War Heroes." Tino laughed at that, but he still looked very confused. I sighed, running out of jokes. I needed to brush up on more of those.
"Tino, you did what you had t' do. I don't love you any less. In fact, it shows how far you're willing to go to provide for your family, but just know- I'm here now and you'll never have to do something like that again. I don't want anyone else t' have you. Your problems 're our problems." Wow, did that come out too strong? Maybe, but that was how I felt and still feel. Aside from the feeling of wanting to punch that Frenchman in the face.
He rubbed his eyes some more and looked back at me, meeting my gaze and smiling some. The spark in those violet eyes come back as his fingers brushed against the back my hand.
" . . . It hurts me that you had to put yourself through that, b't please, don't ever do that again. I'll make sure it'll never come down to that. I love you, T'no."
"I love you, too, Ber . . . I'm sorry."
"Don't be, you're a parent doing everything in your power." I reached over and pulled him against me again. I kissed the top of his head and combed through his hair with my fingers.
"You are one of the strongest men I know. Don't ever think less of yourself." After I said that, he went back to crying harder, and I held him until there was nothing left but quiet sniffling. At least this time it seemed like the tears were more happy then sad.
Needless to say, when we walked inside, the ice cream was more like soup. Emil came down to give me shit, but stopped the moment he saw Tino's face. He didn't say anything, but I can see he was asking if things were okay. I nodded to him, a silent understanding, and he turned around and went back to his room. ~
With somewhat steady hands, I rake one through his hair, gently combing it, and my other hand on his shoulder, squeezing it whenever his skill becomes too much. I'm not one to be the possessive type but I never want Tino to perform these acts with any other. Nor me with anyone else. After a few minutes, I've squeezed pretty hard, because when he pulls away, my hand has left a red mark on his shoulder. Before I can apologize he lays down on his back and starts shimmying off his jeans.
"You seem to be in another world, Ber. Everything alright?"
Instead of replying verbally, I climb on top of him and cup his face, staring deep into his eyes. It's obvious he's confused by the change in attitude but quickly he understands, and I lean down to connect our lips to which he meets earnestly.
No matter what did or does happen, no matter what the world has in store for us, married or not, we will always be there for each other and forever have this love.
Go ahead, I deserved to be yelled at v.v I'm sorry to keep you wonderful readers waiting so long. Life has been . . . hard. I'll stop with the excuses there though.
Thank you Abbey love for beta-ing for me. I would put your ff . net name but I can't find it (I think you told me it, I'm terribly sorry! As soon as you tell me I'll edit this)
Also, in case you haven't already heard, Kuro-Riya and I are collabing and writing a SuFin/DenNor in the Frozen au. It's called Frozen Heart and please come read it if you'd like.