My first America/Canada! I mean, I written about them before but I've never shipped them seriously in a story before. And I ship these guys like the Royal Navy. Lyrics are Pursuit Of Happiness by Kid Cudi.
Tell Me What You Know About Dreamin' Dreamin'
You Don't Really Know About Nothin' Nothin'
Tell Me What You Know About Them Night Terrors Every Night
5 Am Cold Sweats Wakin' Up To The Skies
Tell Me What You Know About Dreams; Dreams
Tell Me What You Know About Night Terrors; Nothin'
You Don't Really Care About The Trials Of Tomorrow
Rather Lay Awake In A Path Full Of Sorrow
Francis had been waiting for him when he got home, sitting on the edge of the couch, bags packed.
"Francis?" Matthew had asked, wracking his brains to try and figure out where the other was supposed to be going. He was so good at organisation. He shouldn't have forgotten this.
"Matthieu," the Frenchman nodded. Strain was evident in his voice, as though he was keeping something back, and the Canadian felt the bottom drop out of his world.
"Francis, please. I know I haven't been around much lately, but please, we can make this work…" reduced to begging so easily. Didn't he have any shame?
"I've been having an affair. Cher… This isn't going to work. You have your love, and I have mine."
"An- an- an -" he could barely finish the question. There wasn't enough air in his lungs to ask it. An affair? Francis had been cheating on him? With who? "How long?" he choked out.
"Just over a year now,"
Why did five words feel like he was being disembowelled? A year? He'd had the wool over his eyes for over a year. How had he not seen the signs?
"You were too busy with him," of course Francis would see the question in his eyes. The bitterness in the Frenchman's tone was also unsurprising. He's always expressed distaste for Matthew's professional enthusiasm.
He didn't know when he'd sat down, or when Francis had knelt in front of him, but he was aware of something warm and round being pressed into his hand. Tired indigo eyes stared, barely comprehendingly at the thin silver band and the diamond it held. He looked to the Frenchman, who was smiling sadly.
"Then there's really nothing I can do?"
"Non," Francis pushed the red-blond hair back from the Canadian's forehead, kissing him briefly before picking up his suitcase and walking out the door.
"You have a twelve-thirty with R&D about the new processor model – not that you haven't explained it to them at least a dozen times. Where do you find these dimwits and why do you hire them? Even I understand the concept by now. Lunch at one-thirty with the board of trustees, a proper lunch at two-thirty. At three, PR wants a word about the new advertising campaign – they were saying something about false advertising, but that's not really my area of expertise, I'm just a PA, I only checked their stupid brief three times. And you have an appointment with your new lady friend at seven-thirty at the Piazza. I'll remind you again later, but don't forget that she's a vegetarian, she loves dogs and her name is Sarah," Matthew said in a mildly bored tone of voice as his index finger skimmed down the schedule in the page-a-day planner that he kept with him at all times. His job was unfortunately one that required constant attention. That was why he was now single, the faint tan line where his engagement-ring used to be tingling unpleasantly. Francis had known. He just hadn't said anything, Matt was sure of it.
"You're adding pissy foot-notes to my day again, what's up?" Asked Alfred F Jones, the founder of Hero Corp. Institute of Technological Advancement (PTY LTD), not even bothering to look at the man in front of him. Alfred had his cowboy-booted feet propped up on the desk (and a mound of undone paperwork), his chair tipped back and his hands behind his head, eyes closed. On his desk was a box of glazed doughnuts and a to-go cup of coffee. So that meant that one person out of the two of them had gotten laid last night and it wasn't Matthew.
"Am I?" he asked, not paying attention, making notes in the planner as he spoke. He could predict already that he was going to swap the meetings with PR and R&D just to irritate them, and give R&D more time to think through what he'd said the last time, just in case they figured it out and he suddenly had his afternoon cleared. He was also going to ditch Sarah – too aggressive for Alfred's tastes, plus he loved red meat and cats – and replace her with the sweet, vaguely insipid and large-breasted Yekaterina Braginskaya. She was a Ukrainian model notarised by her long legs, tiny waist and a phenomenal set of knockers – 100% real. "I got rather spectacularly dumped last night, so I suppose that's why. Shall I see if Yekaterina's available or did you have someone else in mind?"
"No, Katy'll do nicely. Really? I didn't know you were seeing anyone," the American mused. It wasn't as though Alfred was a bad boss, just unobservant and forgetful. At 26, he was surprisingly high up in the world, managing his own corporation. He'd started out building computers in his room with his best friend – who was now stealing one of the doughnuts out of the box – cinnamon flavoured – and pencilling in a tentative hour of pre-date prep. That usually consisted of stroking Alfred's ego until he purred and reminding him of what was and was not acceptable dinner-time conversation with whomever he was seeing. Especially when, like now, his date could practically be classed as international relations.
"Mmhmmm~" the Canadian hummed, his mouth full of deep-fried, spiced goodness, "Engaged. You came to the party last spring." Add after that a melancholy drink by himself and the possibility of having to find Alfred in the small hours and that was the day all planned out; nice and neat.
"Oh, right. I wondered what that was about. The French dude, right? You'll do better next time," Alfred reassured, patting down his pockets for his cell phone, which had just started ringing.
"I'd like to see how," Matt snorted derisively, deftly catching the phone that was about to ring its way off the polished table-top and depositing it in front of his 'employer' as he snapped the day-planner shut, "Will that be all, sir?"
"Yeah, thanks, could you send the head of accounting in? I need to check some numbers with him," Alfred muttered distractedly, answering the phone – press or a lady friend, judging by the smooth tone – "Alfred F Jones, speaking, how can I make your tomorrow brighter?" it was hard to see through all that false cheer, "Uh-huh. Yup. Yes, indeed-y. I'll get right on it. Oh, hang on a tick," he pressed the device into his shoulder to muffle the sound, "Mattie, could you do me a whopper of a favour and move my 10am to next week and slot in Veronica Woo? From The Times, and could you check her out, too?" Why did he always wear that pleading expression, as though he thought Matthew wasn't going to do exactly as he was asked?
"Sure thing, sir."
"Oh, and Mattie?"
"Why did he leave you?"
"I'm already married to my job, sir," Matthew grinned as he walked towards his own office with his list of tasks for that day carefully written down in his own messy short-hand. He had a lot of false-cheer, too. He didn't see Alfred frown as he returned the phone to his ear.
"Uh-huh. Yup. That'll be just great. See you then. Buh-bye, now."
Continue? Yes? No? Frankly My Dear, I Don't Give A Damn?
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