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The White Picket Fence Dream

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“Good afternoon, Melwood Homes. Trent speaking.” The thick Scouse accent cuts off the cheesy hold music Virgil had been enduring for the last few minutes.

“Hi, I’m calling about an issue with the house I’ve not long moved into.” He reaches for the TV control and presses mute. 

“Okay can I take your name and address please?”

“Yeah it’s Virgil Van Dijk. D-I-J-K. and it’s 102 Griffiths Avenue.” He can hear typing at the other end of the line.

“Can you just confirm your date of birth for me and how you pay your rent?” 

“It’s on monthly direct debit and 8th July, 1991.” He hopes they fixed his information after last time, when he first moved in he called to set up the direct debit and whoever put his details in his file had entered the wrong birthday. For an hour he went back and forth arguing about his own birthday with a total stranger.

This time he’s in luck. Trent hums positively, “And what’s the problem?”

“I only noticed the other day" lies he scolds himself internally, "but the fence in my back garden is broken. The one out front looks like it’s about to go too, wood looks rotten or something.” Virgil kind of hates making complaints because, it’s just a fence, who cares? But he cares. He totally noticed it when he first moved in and now, three months later, he can’t stand to look at it as he washes the dishes anymore. “Can it be replaced?”

There’s more fast typing and clicking on the other end of the phone. “We’d have to get someone out to measure it up first, to check if you need a whole new front fence too.” Virgil nods even though no one can see him. There’s more fast typing and clicking, he almost laughs at the speed, it’s like an overdramatic hacker in an action movie. “How does next Thursday afternoon work? Someone will come over to measure it quick. They’ll give you an appointment for the repair.”

“That’s great, thank you.” 

“No problem at all. Have a good day.”

Virgil ends the call and throws his phone to the other side of the couch, getting up to get some food. He pauses as he goes past the kitchen window, smirking a little as he looks at the fence that’s been getting under his skin.

 


  

Thursday afternoon comes around and there’s a knock on his door as he’s washing up, trying not to look too smugly at the fence. Virgil opens it but no one’s there, he steps out to look around the corner, and can see a guy turning back from the fence with a clipboard tucked under his arm and a bright smile. “Hiya mate!” He starts walking back over. “My names Jordan, the office says there’s some issues with your fences?” He’s got a thick Geordie accent and Virgil can’t help smiling as he imagines him on a wild night out. 

Geordie Shore might be objectively bad television, sure. But what else were you supposed to watch through the night after moving to a different country to escape a break up you’d been hung up on for a year.

“Yeah this one looks like it could fall apart any day. Some boards on the one out back have been broken in half.”

Jordan’s bright smile seems to get brighter and his eyebrows shoot up with interest. “That’s a different accent. I thought your name looked unusual. Where abouts are you from?” 

“Holland.” 

“Ah! You settling in alright?” Virgil just shrugs and Jordan nods. He clicks his pen on the clipboard and points over his shoulder at the fence. “That one’s about as good as dead. Doesn’t look the best either, eh?” He starts writing something down. “We’ll get that replaced so it matches the other ones in the street.”

“That’s great, thanks.” Virgil steps up through the front door. “Want me to show you through to the other one?”

Jordan finishes what he’s writing and nods, following Virgil back inside. Jordan looks around the open plan downstairs. “Your house is immaculate. God, wish I was this tidy.” Virgil’s laugh is deep as he unlocks the back door and steps outside, leading Jordan to the broken fence panels. 

“Can’t deal with a mess, have to live on my own in fear of murdering a messy housemate.” Virgil thinks about all the housemates he's had, and how glad he is that he'll never have to find three month old leftovers in the back of his fridge again.

Jordan crouches down to look at the damage, pulling a measuring tape out. “This must be driving you mad, eh? We’ll get these fixed up too, no problem.”

Jordan quickly calls the office, going back and forth to find dates that work for the repairs. Virgil has to check his phone to make sure he’s not busy and nods.

Jordan puts the phone back in his pocket, flipping to a new page on his clipboard and writing quickly before ripping it off to give to Virgil. “Alright so that’s next Friday for the back fence. The following Tuesday for the front.” 

Virgil nods and leads him back through the house, Jordan takes his time to wipe his feet carefully on the mat, looking around the kitchen as he does. He spots two rainbow flags in a tall cocktail glass on the windowsill. 

“Oh hey!” Jordan points at the flags brightly, but then his face falls. “Sorry. I was going to be invasive. Sorry.”

Virgil grits his teeth slightly. Really? Was a dude going to come into his house and spot that and then be a dick. “No, go ahead.” Virgil’s voice is cold and as Jordan turns to face him, he looks a little scared. Jordan is always speaking without thinking and it’s always getting him into trouble, and all he can think about is how he would not ever want to even be in an arm wrestle against this guy. 

“Oh, sorry. No, not that. Not anything.” Jordan is babbling, gesturing wildly with nervous hands, and Virgil has raised an unimpressed eyebrow. “One of my boys, well he’s not my boy like my son or anything, just feels like it, I guess. Maybe like a younger brother? Anyway. Sorry. Why did I… I wasn’t being… Not that anything would make me prying okay but... He’s gay and is always complaining there’s no one else around like you have to leave suburbia and head into the city to find anyone and… I wasn't trying to say... You might even not be. Sorry. I just saw and…”

Virgil saves him with a smile, it’s a pretty small town about half an hour from the city, and he was told to expect the over-familiarity in Liverpool. Everyone will just act like you’re part of the family once they know you’re an alright bloke.

“That’s how it goes usually. You never hear about a booming suburban gay scene.” He laughs slightly and Jordan is back to smiling so wide because he knows he hasn’t done anything to anger the extremely tall and muscular dude, who he’s supposed to have professional, customer service interactions with. 

He confirms the dates again before he leaves with another bright smile and a wave. Virgil texts Andy about the interaction.

The reply doesn’t come through until later; Told you Scousers are too friendly for their own good. Bet you were tempted to ask to be set up on a date. 

Virgil responds; He was a Geordie

The response from Andy is instant; Stay north of Birmingham and I think it’s all the same.

 


  

When Jordan gets back to the office he has a terribly unprofessional thought. Leaping without looking is his one true skill in life, so as much as he knows he shouldn’t, he meddles. 

“Hey Trent!” He calls, walking towards the bank of customer service desks. Trent holds a finger up as he ends a call with a resident, Jordan bounces impatiently on his toes. 

Trent slides his headset off and swivels in his chair. “Let me guess, you booked Friday off and didn’t put it in your diary and now you need to see if I can move all your appointments around to other people.” He rolls his eyes turning back towards the screen.

“No. That only happened once, stop going on will you?” Jordan sighs, hitting Trent in the back of the head lightly. “I need you to give the fencing repairs for 102 Griffiths to Ox.” 

“Why?”

“He’s just great at fencing, I want to make sure it’s a top job for the guy.” Jordan knows he’s already slightly blushing. 

“Liar.” Trent laughs. “Gimme next Friday off and it’s done.”

“I’m not even your manager!” Jordan whisper-shouts in exasperation, Trent shrugs and goes to turn back in his chair. Jordan puts his hand out to grab the chair and Trent smirks. “Fine. I’ll talk to Klopp.” 

Trent laughs and starts clicking into the appointments to make the changes. “Done, now go bother someone else.”

 


 

Friday rolls around and Virgil’s set up to work from home, his laptop and a bunch of file folders surrounding him on the table as he waits for someone to come to repair the fence. There’s a knock at the door and he opens it to a smiling Melwood Homes maintenance guy with some planks of wood. “I’m here for a fence repair?”

Honestly, Virgil wonders if they’re putting something in the water at this place, no one he knows is this happy in work. He guesses that’s why he works in project management, rather than customer service.

“Yeah come on through.” Virgil walks him through his house, quickly glancing down at the guys name tag. Alex. Alex was pretty cute. “Need help carrying anything?”

“Nah it’s fine.” Alex waves him off, looking around the place, whistling slowly. “Boss said you had a super clean house when he came to measure up, stressed it was very important I wore shoe covers. He was right.” He gestures down at the blue plastic coverings over his shoes and clicks his heels like Dorothy.

Virgil almost blushes as he opens the back door. He’s clearly been living like a hermit for way too long if he can get this easily flustered around a cute guy, who only referenced his vaguely obsessive cleaning habits. 

Alex steps through the door and starts heading towards the broken slats in the fence. “He said you were attractive too and I didn’t believe it, but God. Two for two, Jordan’s never been right that many times in a month.” He punctuates it with a wink and the blush is now in full force as Virgil turns back to head inside, deciding just not to respond at all because in all honesty, he wouldn't even know how. 

Virgil leaves the back door open as he heads back inside, fiddling with his hair as he walks past a mirror back to the table. Was this the guy the other guy meant? The like a son, or maybe a brother, that was gay and complaining there was no other dudes who are into dudes around here? Calling him attractive whilst being extremely attractive himself?

Virgil walked back towards the door, trying to think of anything that would have suggested Alex was gay. He scolded himself for trying to work it out, he could always tell when people were doing that to him and hated it. He steps out into the garden. “Do you want tea? Water? Anything?”

“All the looks and a great host too?” Alex grins as he turns back to look over his shoulder from where he's knelt on the floor. Virgil still doesn't know what to say, although there's definitely something in his mind about Alex looking great on his knees. He pushes that away before the blush gets worse, and keeps quiet. “Nah, this won’t take a minute. Don’t worry about me, get on with whatever, I’ll be out of your hair in no time.” 

Virgil goes back inside but doesn’t get back to work, he watches Alex work out of the kitchen window for a bit, making himself a cup of coffee and turning away when he feels like a creep. He goes back to the table, sipping the coffee (which is too hot but damn it he needs to feel like he’s doing something) and trying to get back into the groove of doing some work.

He can’t. He’s blames it on not being able to settle when someone else is in his space, and goes back to the kitchen to wipe down the counters. He moves the stuff off the windowsill to get at the dust that’s building up. His cocktail glass with the pride flags is on the counter, and as he turns he hits them with his elbow, the glass tipping onto his side, one flag falling to the floor. He's just glad the glass didn't smash. 

It’s in that moment he’s bent down to pick it up that he hears Alex walking back into his kitchen, humming quietly. He stands quickly, getting even more flustered, pride flag held up in one hand, feeling like an idiot. 

“Your fence is as good as new.” Alex says brightly, then he registers the flag in his hand, eyebrows shooting up and smile spreading across his face. “Pride’s pushed back a week this year, scheduling conflicts in the city or something.” He shrugs easily.

“Oh.” Virgil feels like an idiot, he’s almost sure he looks like an idiot. He wishes he’d said something better than that.

“Yeah, you’ve not long moved here right?” Alex seems bubbly and chatty and Virgil is still stood, too quiet, with a pride flag, flustered. 

He looks to the flag and quickly drops his hand back down to his side. “Yeah I-”

He’s cut off by a phone ringing, Alex smiles apologetically and digs in his pocket for his phone, turning and taking a step away to answer the call. 

“You’re through to the magnificent Ox.” He laughs and is quiet for a moment. “Of course I will, there’s nothing I can’t do. Tell them I’ll be there in fifteen.” He hangs up and turns back to Virgil. “Anyway, the fence is all good. My names Alex if you want to leave a review on Facebook, we get entered into a monthly draw for Amazon vouchers. I gotta go help a locked out old lady.” 

Virgil follows him to the front door. “Sure, awesome. Thanks Alex.”

Alex is already through the gate and waving bye, Virgil gives a small wave and shuts the door, leaning his head against it as it clicks shut. “Get a grip.” He mutters to himself.

 


  

The following Tuesday Andy has come down to visit him from Glasgow, they’ve both taken the week off work and have no plans to do anything but lounge around for a few days. Andy has been waiting for Tuesday though, ever since Virg phoned him with an existential crisis over not being able to handle a cute carpenter being in the same building as him. 

“Are you going to swoon when you see him?” Andy mocks nudging Virgil as they play Fifa. 

“Shut up.” Virgil grunts, sitting forward since Andy was starting to look like he might score. “It probably won’t be him anyway, who knows how many people they have working there.”

“Aye unless its fate.” Andy laughs, and then he does score, making Virgil groan. 

They carry on playing and when there’s a knock at the door Andy turns to him and raises his eyebrows. “That’s fate knocking there lad, I wouldn’t leave it to long.”

Virgil throws his controller down, rolling his eyes. He opens the door and fate must be playing a joke on him because it’s Alex, smiling just as bright as last time. 

“Just wanted to let you know I’m here, I’ll be out the front.” He scans the room and notices Andy, sprawled out on the sofa, and his face shifts slightly into something Virgil doesn’t fully recognise. “I’ll let you know when I’m done.”

Alex has already turned to head towards the fence when Virgil calls “Tea? Coffee?” 

“Tea, milk but no sugar. I’m already sweet enough.” Virgil heads back to the kitchen and puts the kettle on, Andy wastes no time in sliding up to him, doing an elaborate mime with dramatic facial expressions, which is supposed to communicate; He’s cute and look at you making tea for him.

“Piss off Robbo.” Virgil says under his breath as he picks up the mug, and Andy laughs, going back to collapse on the sofa.

There’s a knock on the door again about an hour and a half later, Alex is stood there with the empty mug in his hand. “You’re all sorted now. Front and back. Great cup of tea too.” 

Virgil takes the empty mug off him and their fingers brush slightly. He tries to ignore it and focuses on the brand new fence that matches the rest of the street instead. “Thanks. The fence looks great.”

“Proper white picket suburban dream now you are.” Alex laughs, turning back around and heading towards the van, shouting over his shoulder. “See you again!”

Virgil shuts the door and Andy is already stood with a ridiculous expression on his face. He takes the mug from Virgil. “This is the mug he drank from. You can never wash it again.” Virgil shoves him back, taking the mug off him and dropping it into the washing up bowl. Andy groans. “Virg, if you had drank from that without washing it, it technically could have counted as a kiss, would have been like your first kiss in months.”

“Are you still twelve?” 

 


 

When Alex goes into the office to pick up his Amazon gift voucher at the end of the month Trent is looking at him with mischief in his eyes. “What’s going on?” Alex asks.

“Nothing, Ox. Swear down.” Trent laughs, turning back to his desk for a second, before turning back to him. “Which review got you that voucher? 102 Griffiths?”

“Yeah. Why?” Ox walks over to his desk, leaning down to look at Trent’s screen like that could tell him.

“Nothing.” Trent laughs again, he’s got such a shit eating grin on his face, Ox can only roll his eyes. 

“Do me a favour? You still sort all the schedules right?” Trent nods “If we get anything else for 102 Griffiths, put it in my diary.” 

“What’s in it for me?” Trent asks, eyes flicking down to the Amazon voucher. 

Ox rolls his eyes again and flicks the card at him. “Fine.”

“Always a pleasure doing business with you, Ox.”

 


 

It had been almost a month since his fences were fixed. Virgil had been set up on one date by someone from work, it was awful. He had to sneakily text Andy to call him, pretending there was an emergency so he could bail. Virgil felt bad over it, sure, but he couldn’t deal with the whole dating thing.

He figured maybe he wasn’t ready. Unless, something happened with the cute fence guy, then he’d make sure he was ready. He was pulling into his drive when he noticed a Melwood Homes van across the street, and when he saw another guy getting out of it that wasn’t Alex, he was a little bit disappointed. More than a little, if he’s being honest.

He calls Andy in the night to tell him. 

“Am I losing my mind? Is this what losing your mind feels like?” He asks as Andy carries on laughing at him, crashing around the kitchen, not long back from a night down the pub.

“You’re like a wee boy who’s never had a crush before.” His accent sounds thicker than usual, and Virgil can hear loads of rustling in the background. 

“What are you even doing?” 

“Listen, you try making a bacon butty half drunk with a phone to your ear.” There’s more sounds of struggle before a relieved sigh. “I’m on the sofa now.” He says triumphantly. 

“I’m so proud of you baby.” Virgil coos, mocking him.

“Twat. Alright. Here’s what you do. Sometimes you have to be your own fate, you need to break the fence again.” He says the last bit as he’s taking a bite of food, unable to wait, and then moaning down the phone about what a great cook he is. Andy is a reliable paragon of bad decisions and stupid ideas.

Virgil doesn’t want to follow through on Andy’s stupid idea, but the next morning he stands looking at the fence, brow furrowed. He rolls his eyes and puts his foot on the bottom beam that runs horizontally, pressing his weight down against it until he hears a crack.

It’s a whole two weeks until his appointment for the repair. He’s been looking at the damage every day, getting annoyed with himself for thinking this was a ever good idea when he couldn't guarantee Alex would be back. Now he doesn’t even care who’s on the other side of the door. He just wants it fixed so he can move on from this whole fiasco. 

It’s Alex when he opens the door. “Do you think at any point in the past three years you may have done something to anger the God of fences?” Virgil laughs and moves aside for Alex to come in. Alex steps through the threshold and then places his hand on Virgil’s arm, looking him dead in the eyes. “Do you think anyone suspicious could have put a curse on you, specifically relating to any fences you own?”

Virgil shrugs. “Not me. Don’t hang out with mystical types. Did you guys give me a cursed house?” 

“God I hope not, that’s so much paperwork.” Alex laughs, stepping away and heading towards the back of the house, looking out the window at the fence. “Surprised it came off though, thought I’d done a bang up job.” 

Virgil tries not to look to openly guilty. “Tea?” 

“Yeah that’d be great thanks. Milk, no sugar.” Virgil nods, turning away to put the kettle on and grab a mug. “How’s your first summer in Liverpool going?” 

“Yeah good, quiet mostly. Not that I mind though.” He goes to the fridge to get the Milk and sets it on the side, turning back around as the kettle boils.

“I got worried you were going to put the milk in first for a minute then.” Alex laughs. “Your partner not home today?” 

“Partner?” Virgil asks confused, the kettle clicks and he finishes making Alex his tea.

“Scottish guy. Was here last time I was.” Alex sighs then, running his hand over his face as Virgil sets the tea down in front of him. “Sorry. I just assumed. The flag and then the dude. I just-”

“Oh. No, it’s okay.” Virgil shrugs it off, kind of glad the universe has given him a chance to casually get in that he’s single. That or Alex is smooth as hell, and he’s just as happy if that’s the case. “He’s not my boyfriend. Like yeah, the flag. But Andy’s just a mate, came down on his week off.”

“Ah, nice.” Alex’s grin spreads across his face slowly and there’s something too gleeful about it. He opens the back door before he picks up his mug and steps out into the garden. “I’ll get this sorted and be out of here in no time.” 

 


 

The summer holidays start and Virgil is still trying to convince Andy that destroying the house to keep calling out the hot carpenter is not the answer to all his problems. The street has changed now kids are off school, and everyday there’s kids from all over playing football on the street. He’s not shocked, it’s the world cup this year and he’s probably just as excited as they are. 

He gets home from work the one day to his neighbours outside his garden, they live in one of the houses opposite. There’s one very guilty looking kid stood with his mother, Chloe. He gets out of the car and she pushes the boy towards him. 

The boy starts talking quickly, lip quivering a bit. “We’re really sorry. We were playing football but we weren’t being careful. I kicked it too hard and it broke your fence.” Virgil looks around but doesn’t see it. The kid walks around the side of the garden, leading him down the small pathway his house backs onto. 

“You didn’t just kick the ball too hard.” The boy’s mother sighs, following them, exasperated. “You were playing a mix of football and British bulldog, which you’ve managed to make more violent than rugby, and tackled your younger brother through Virgil’s fence.”

Virgil tries not to laugh, he touches the boy’s shoulder. “It’s okay, it’s just a fence. Your brothers not hurt is he?” The boy looks guilty again, Virgil tuts a little, pretending to be shocked. “You’re supposed to be his big brother dude! You gotta look after him!” 

The boys mother nods. “See Jake, anyone with common sense can see what a stupid game it is. Get back inside now you’ve apologised, you’re still grounded.” Jake runs off and Chloe sighs again. “We’re really sorry Virgil. I’ll bake some cookies or something for you, hopefully it’s not too long before they can get someone out to fix it.”

Virgil calls and tries not to think about how he’s probably got some sort of mark against his name on their computer system, calling him out for being a problem resident. He imagines what life would be like if he wasn’t obsessed with details, and he’d left the slightly broken and old fence as they were in the beginning, and none of this would be happening. 

They can get someone out the same day as the Holland game, perfect for him because he’s already booked the time off work, so can guarantee he’ll be home. 

He’s drinking beer and watching the game while texting Andy, who’s supporting Holland in the world cup over England because of Virgil. He’s honoured by the gesture. 

By the time there’s a knock at the door he’s already a little bit tipsy. It’s Alex. Again. He really doesn’t believe the universe is doing this to him. 

“I can’t believe you’re doing this to me.” Alex sighs in mock exasperation. “You actually can help me carry things to the garden this time because we may as well teach you to fix the fence yourself if it’ll be this often.” Virgil reaches out to take some of the wood, opening his mouth to speak. Alex pushes his hand away. “I’m kidding. What’s the damage this time.” 

They’re making their way through to the kitchen when there’s cheering from the TV and they both turn to look, it’s almost a goal for Holland, but not quite.

“Oooh so close, and in the first ten minutes too.” Alex laughs, carrying on to the back door. “You’re Dutch right?” 

Virgil nods, although he doesn’t think he’s told Alex that. “Yeah, is it pathetic taking the day off to indulge my nationalistic side and watch the match?”

“Nah.” Alex laughs. “I’ve been singing It’s Coming Home in the van for a week now.”

Virgil laughs and snorts a little “You guys haven’t played your first match in the cup yet.” Alex winks and both of their attention drifts back to the TV as things pick up again. Virgil turns back to Alex “Tea?”

“Too hot for tea today. Glass of water would be fine.” 

“I can get you another cold drink? Pepsi? Juice?”

Alex turns to him with another bright smile. “I don’t mind your fences breaking all the time, coming here is like being at the Ritz. Pepsi, yeah sure.” Virgil gets a can out of the fridge and hands it to him. “Pepsi instead of coke. You’re a real man of mystery, Virgil. Don’t worry about me, get back to watching the game.” He tries desperately to ignore how his heart rate increased hearing Alex say his name. Andy was right, he's been out of the dating game so long he's like a thirteen year old.

Virgil does as he’s told and quickly loses himself to watching football and drinking beer, completely forgetting Alex is working in his garden as he shouts at the TV. He’s three more beers in and flailing his arms in annoyance at the ref when Alex is stepping back through the door, it’s a few minutes to go and they’re drawing at the moment.

“Penalty ref! Ref!” He jumps when he hears the door shut quietly as Alex is smiling at him. Alex comes over to stand behind the sofa, watching the replay and clicking his tongue at the tackle. 

“Penalty all day.” Alex agrees.

“Thank you, right?” Virgil sighs and Alex laughs a little. Suddenly he remembers that they’re not here watching the football together and shoots up, kind of embarrassed. “Ah, sorry. Thanks, for coming back to do the fence.”

“Yeah it’s no problem.” Alex is just a cheery as ever. “Listen, next time you want to see me again you don’t have to go all in with a massive break in the fence, something small would do it. You could just lock yourself out?” 

Maybe it's the alcohol. Maybe his brain just wants out of the guilt of lying. Maybe his heart has decided to take over. “I didn’t do that on purpose, the time before was; but I felt bad for even doing that myself.” Virgil’s eyebrows shoot up and he slaps a hand over his mouth. “Sorry. Wow. Okay. Sorry, I’m maybe slightly drunk. I-”

“Yeah go figure.” Alex says with a laugh, but it’s friendly and he tips his head towards the line of empty beer bottles that had piled up on the kitchen counter. “Well I’m glad to know you’re into me enough to cause property damage, and break your tenancy agreement.”

“I really am sorry.” Virgil’s heart is pounding in his chest. Why did he ever rely on advice from Andy? Why did he think all this fate wasn’t going to lead to a big mess. 

“Don’t worry about it. You broke your tenancy agreement, I’m going to break my employee code of conduct.” He puts his tool box on the floor and flops down on the sofa, patting the spot next to him. “They won’t know I stayed to catch the end of the match if you don’t tell.” Virgil stays frozen and Alex pats the spot next to him again. “Come on, it’s four minutes extra time on 1-1, anything could happen.”

Virgil sits and worries he’s sitting too close, he’s about to lean away when Alex leans into him, nudging him with his elbow. “Come on, I told you I thought you were hot the first day I met you. I’m flattered by the property damage.” Alex's expression is so genuine as Virgil turns to look at him, and he has to resist lifting his hand to touch the freckles scattered across his nose. 

Alex turns back to the TV, leaning back against the cushions. Virgil takes a deep breath and does the same. It takes him a minute to relax, but he’s quickly distracted by football and the alcohol calms all his nerves when he’s past the initial shock of being found out. They’re both yelling at the TV, Alex cheering on Holland with him.

Holland score from a free kick in the last twenty seconds and they crash together into a hug, cheering. They pull apart grinning to watch the replays and wait for the last few seconds before the whistle blows, Virgil still has his arm draped around Alex’s shoulders as they lean back on the sofa. 

“That was wild.” Virgil says after the whistle goes and Alex pats him on the leg, standing up.

“I really have to shoot off now to get to the next job.” He’s a little bit awkward suddenly and Virgil nods. 

“Yeah course, uhh…” He trails off, wanting to ask for his number but not really knowing how. Alcohol never really helped him with flirting or romance, nothing did really, maybe he was a lost cause.

Alex lets out a small giggle. “Pass me your phone, let me give you my number.” Virgil does as he’s asked and Alex types his number in quickly, passing the phone back so it’s on the new contact screen. He’s saved himself as ‘Ox (cute guy)’.

Virgil looks at him questioningly “Ox?” Alex, Ox, just nods. Virgil reaches out and touches the ID badge that’s hanging around his neck. “Not Alex?” He lifts the card so he can see it properly, the pictures a bit faded now, and Alex looks a few years younger. The cheeky smile is still exactly the same though.

“Well yeah Alex, but everyone calls me Ox. Call me then so I’ve got your number.” Virgil fumbles and calls, and he hears a different ringtone to last time as Alex pulls out his personal phone. He declines the call but starts adding him as a new contact. “Virgil?”

“Yeah.” Virgil smiles and he can’t believe any of this is real if he’s being honest. They’re still standing so close to one another, and the alcohol is making him just want to reach out and touch Ox's face again.

Ox puts his phone back in his pocket. “I’ll text you later when I’m done with work. We’ll arrange to go watch a match, or something more like a traditional date if you want?”

“Football is cool.” He nods smiling. Ox stands on his toes and quickly presses a kiss to Virgil’s cheek. 

“Cool. Text you later then.” Ox starts making his way to the front door, and is pulling it open when Virgil has a surge of bravery. He reaches out and grabs Ox’s shirt sleeve, pulling him back towards him, into a proper kiss.

Ox sighs into it, letting himself be crowded back against the door, which clicks shut again with their weight against it. He wraps his arms around Virgil’s neck and lets the kisses get less chaste, running his tongue along Virgil’s bottom lip before sliding into Virgil's mouth. Virgil takes another step closer, their bodies pressed together. Ox feels giddy with it all.

They pull apart to breathe and Ox pushes Virgil back, grinning up at him. “I’m really glad I bribed Trent to get all your appointments.”

Virgil laughs as his hand plays with the curls at the back of Ox's neck. “It wasn’t fate then that kept bringing you back to my door.” 

“Oh no, it was something much better. Serious attraction and good admin skills." Ox leans up for a kiss again, Virgil nipping at his bottom lip slightly as he pulls away. "Fate’s got nothing on determination.” Virgil stands back, letting go of Ox even though he doesn't want to. Ox lingers for a moment before he opens the door and steps outside. “If you really wanted to though you could leave Trent a review, help him get that amazon voucher.”

 


 

Virgil leaves a Facebook review for Trent later that night, writing a full paragraph on how much Trent did to go above and beyond his duties, making sure that not only were the fences fixed but that Virgil was left over the moon with the organisation and determination to provide the best customer experience possible. Within minutes he gets a notification. 

Jordan Henderson liked your post.

He clicks on the profile and sees it’s the guy who first came out to measure things up. Ox is in the profile photo with him, and almost every other photo on the guy’s page.

It’s another minute or too before the next notification appears.

Trent Alexander-Arnold liked your post.