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no one ever knocks before entering the arches. at least not when ben’s there, anyway. it’s always someone coming to threaten him for money or a job or whatever reason he’d last given them. this is why he’s not surprised to look up and find the soft rapping on the wall belongs to callum. he’s probably one of the only people in the square who wouldn’t just barge right in and start yelling at him at this point.

“alright?” ben asks, small smile on his face as he swivels around in his chair. callum returns it, stepping further in.

“yeah, yeah. sorry i know i didn’t text-“

ben holds a hand up to stop callum’s ramblings. “ya don’t need an excuse to come see me. i know i’m irresistible.” to callum’s credit, he only blushes a little bit while ben smirks.

“i do, actually. have an excuse,” callum replies. ben realises he looks nervous, eyes darting around the walls and hands stuffed in his suit pockets.

“what is it?” he asks, standing up and moving closer to his - boyfriend? or the guy he’s been thinking about every day for months now, at least. he reaches a hand out and lightly grasps callum’s arm until he finally makes eye-contact. “callum?”

“it’s just- i was thinking about whitney. i’m still worried about her,” callum admits softly. ben fights every instinct to roll his eyes and instead frowns in confusion. he lets his hand drop to his side. “that guy she was on a date with last week, he didn’t seem right. i don’t trust him.”

callum is serious, and he really does seem concerned. it both annoys and warms ben’s heart seeing how kind callum never fails to be. he thinks about asking callum why he cares so much, but knows it’s just because that’s who he is.

“what d’you mean?” he questions instead. as far as he knew whitney was just moving onto the next thing with legs that looked her way. y’know, pinball and all.

“he was all over her, always touching her and making sure she was close. and the daggers he kept sending me ain’t helping his case.” ben scoffs, shaking his head amusedly at the thought.

callum sighs. “and i just found out that he cracked onto tiff only a few weeks ago.”

“what? i thought whit met him on the- holiday.”

“she did. this just proves that he’s up to something,” callum replies. he runs a hand through his hair, disturbing some of the gelled down threads. ben’s tempted to reach out and tuck them back in.

instead he asks gently, “what could you possibly do about it?” he’s not convinced that whit is some damsel in distress in the first place. but if she is, well, callum’s not exactly your typical knight in shining armour. it hasn’t occurred to ben quite yet, but when callum’s blue eyes shift back to his own guiltily it begins to click.

“well, i was thinking of having a word to leo,” callum begins, false confidence bleeding through his tone, “and i reckon you could help.”

“help?” ben asks incredulously. “you want me to help scare off your ex-fiance’s new lover?”

callum sighs again, pressing his hands to his eyes. “yes, ben. it is possible to help other people out every now and then.”

ben’s speechless for a moment, pressing his mouth in a line and trying to ignore the slight sting from callum’s words. the taller man quickly backtracks, reaching out and grabbing ben’s hand in his own. ben lets him. “i’m sorry. i’ve just been going crazy worrying about it.” he runs his thumb back and forth across the back of ben’s hand soothingly. “and you’re good at intimidating other people,” he adds.

ben tilts his head, smirking. “other people?”

callum’s becoming more immune to his teasing every day, and he’s more than ready to start dishing it out himself. he crowds closer into ben’s space, backing him up against the desk behind him. “well it doesn’t work on me, does it?” he asks, curling a large hand around the shorter man’s waist. ben stares back up at him intensely, eyes dark.

“i know your weakness,” callum continues lowly. the air around them shifts in a way ben’s found it to a few times over the past couple of weeks, fast and unexpected. he’s almost scared by the way he hangs off callum’s every word, every touch, when it gets like this.

callum lifts his hand and runs it softly down ben’s cheek until it comes to rest on his neck. he glances at ben’s lips once before swooping in and capturing them in a heated kiss. it’s not as rushed as their first rendezvous in the park, but it certainly isn’t as innocent as their last few kisses. callum presses their bodies together and pushes ben harder against the desk, completely forgetting where they are and the fact anyone could walk by and see them. ben moans into callum’s mouth, melting under his touch and letting callum control the pace. callum grips his neck tighter for just a moment, swiping his tongue along ben’s soft bottom lip before he pulls back with a smirk. ben blinks, trying desperately to pull his thoughts back in order - cursing the effect that this man has on him once more. suddenly the heat from callum’s body is gone and he’s almost out the door before he turns slightly to send ben another grin.

“you comin’ to help me then?”

of course he is.