AN: So some of you asked for this. It is the fourth part of my Father Figures stories (see Father Figure, Sins of the Father and Like Father, Like Son). Please read them first!
You may want to reread to remind yourself of all the twists and turns anyway. Or to be sure you want to read it!
A big thanks to Soggy Teabag for the title. Or blame her if you don't like the title.
I hope you enjoy, and as always, I love to know what you think, so please review!
Brendan leaned against his car, trying to look casual and inconspicuous. The pick-up should have happened twenty minutes ago, and Brendan was beginning to feel those tell-tale nerves.
This was far too public a place for this sort of thing anyway. However dark it was, there were still people about. Brendan was not very happy about that. People meant witnesses, people talked, people noticed what you didn't want them to notice.
Not that Brendan doubted his own ability to be intimidating. The average person would, when given the choice, rather eat raw sewage than get on the wrong side of Brendan Brady, but you still got some proper nosy bastards who couldn't tell when something was none of their business. Or even what was best for themselves.
Brendan huffed, the summer night only growing cooler as he waited impatiently, the sound of distant roads humming quietly. A small group of women chatted animatedly as they passed him. Two of them looked at him as though they thought he were up to no good. Brendan gave them his best unnerving stare back.
How much longer? He shuffled his feet and tapped on the roof of his car, checking the street.
Twenty five minutes after he arrived, a figure in a hoody finally emerged from a nearby building, glancing up and down the road before stalking in Brendan's direction, head down and hands shoved in pockets. Brendan smirked a little at the sight, but otherwise didn't move. He didn't want to alert his target to his presence too soon.
The figure dragged his feet like a teenager, and seemed in no hurry to get anywhere. As he got closer, Brendan noticed a casual bobbing of the head in time to an unseen music source.
Jesus, an elephant could sneak up on this kid and he wouldn't notice. Was he actually about to walk past Brendan and not even notice?
At the very last moment Brendan stepped straight into the path of the new arrival.
"Eyar, watch where yer…" that familiar whiney voice began, but stopped in moments. "What are you doing here?" it asked instead, far less whiney this time.
"What, I can't surprise my boyfriend by picking him up from work, now?" Brendan retorted smirking.
"Most people would've said, you know. I nearly walked straight past yer," Steven said, grinning.
"Yeah, I noticed," purred Brendan, "but now I have your undivided attention, Steven Hay..." He put both hands on Steven's waist, pulling him forward so their bodies melted together, and as it went on he felt Steven soften under his ministrations, putting his own hands into Brendan's hair and thrusting his own tongue into Brendan's mouth,.
Brendan eventually pulled out of it, not because he wanted to but because he didn't fancy being arrested for public acts of indecency. Even after all this time, Steven could make him almost powerless to resist the desire to commit public acts of indecency. And private acts of indecency. And sometimes very poorly timed acts of indecency indeed. But he couldn't let that happen today; he had a schedule to keep.
"Oh, I do love it when my gorgeous boyfriend surprises me by picking me up from work," Steven grinned at him.
Brendan gave him an extra peck on the lips. "Stop behaving like a soppy girl and get in the car," he said, but the tone was light hearted, and only made Steven grin and steal another proper kiss before getting in on the passenger side.
Brendan tried to hide his own grin as he got in the driver's side. He had an image to maintain, after all.
As Brendan started the engine, he watched Steven out of the corner of his eye. His head was pressed back against the seat, his arms flopped at his sides, like he was completely exhausted, but there was a satisfied grin on his face.
"Oh, I'm dead shattered, me," he grinned, happily, "it was mad busy today, and Pierre keeps giving me more to do, ye know. It think he's starting to really, like, trust me with stuff, ye know?"
"Yeah?" said Brendan, non-commitally. He hated the way Steven used such an admiring voice to talk about his boss (who, as far as Brendan could tell, was just a poofy, posh French bloke who spoke about food far too much like it was sex. He could just imagine the two of them speaking in double entendres and feeding each other all day.)
"Yeah," Steven grinned, not noticing any tension in his lover, and Brendan wondered if he was beginning to get too good at pretending not to be bothered by stuff like that, "and you'll never guess what, Bren."
"What?" Brendan asked, eyes on the road.
"You know, there's a competition in Liverpool, right, for up and coming chefs, under twenty-five? And, Pierre's entering me!"
Of course he was, Brendan thought.
"Can you believe it though? Me? I've only been working there, like, how long?"
"Isn't it?" Brendan said, his voice sounding false and high to his own ears.
"It's amazing, innit?"
"Is that why you were so late?" Brendan asked, trying to keep his scepticism to himself.
"Yeah," Steven said, still grinning, "he wanted to tell me, and then talk about what I'd have to do."
"I'll need to do some proper difficult stuff, you know, and fancy set ups. And then, right, I'll have to create my own meals. And there's these top judges, right from… where are we going?"
Brendan grunted. That was quicker than he expected.
"You just went, like, completely the wrong way." Steven continued.
Brendan cleared his throat, "I thought we'd go and see the boys for a few days."
"What, like, now?"
"Yeah. No time like the present as they say."
"Brendan! I can't just swan off, I've got work and the kids and…" Steven trailed off but not for long. "What are you running away from?"
He was getting canny, this lad now. Maybe he was spending too much time with Brendan.
"Who says we're running away from anything?" Brendan tried.
"Well, normally, when people go on holiday, they do stuff like tell their children and the mothers of their children, and pack and stuff."
"I packed for ye."
"Of course you did."
"And you can text Amy now, yeah?"
"Brendan! Just answer the question. What are you running away from?"
Brendan grumbled. "It's just… just a deal, went sour. We're just popping over the water' til the heat dies down. It's nothing big."
"So police, or…"
"It's not important."
"Brendan! You're asking me to abandon my job and my kids without telling 'em, I deserve to know what's happening."
Brendan sighed. Steven was right of course. Brendan just preferred it when he could keep Steven out of that stuff.
"Alright," he said.
And so it began.