He came to town like a midwinter storm
He rode through the fields, so handsome and strong
His eyes was his tools and his smile was his gun
But all he had come for was having some fun
Aaron Dingle hates weddings. No, scratch that, because that would be a simple understatement. He loathes weddings.
Crying brides with fake hair and plastic nails, Aaron loathes it.
Pink flowers and white balloons, Aaron loathes it.
The stupid protocol and endless speeches, Aaron loathes it.
The obligatory first dance to either Dirty Dancing or Twilight, Aaron loathes it.
Drunken men falling asleep at the tables while their wifes-slash-girlfriends are bawling to the Spice Girls, Aaron loathes it.
Getting hit on twice every hour - loathe, loathe, LOATHE!
Lord help him, but right now is one of those moments again, when a young woman is approaching him, sipping her cocktail through a straw to prevent her red lipstick from smearing all over her face or something. Aaron does his best to ignore her as she’s standing next to him, although he can definitely feel her gaze on him. Getting eye fucked without wanting it is not nice. It’s not fun. It makes him uncomfortable, so he stares pointedly in another direction.
Of course she can’t take the hint.
Here we go,
he thinks when she leans over, closer than necessary, rubbing her breasts seemingly by accident against his arm.
“Hi,” she breathes a nasty stench of alcohol and mouth odour right into his face.
Aaron values personal space a lot, thanks very much, so he steps back on instinct and stays quiet.
She can’t take the hint.
“Just wan’ed ‘o say you’re doin’ a great job.” She’s slurring a little.
He gives her a quick thumbs up and focuses on the table in front of him again.
Guess what. She can not take the hint.
“How’re you so good?”
The question makes him frown, because
I’m sorry, what now?
and eventually he does look at her. She’s got dark, shoulder long hair and is wearing way too much makeup. One strap of her dress slid down her arm and Aaron has to resist the urge to pull it back up. She sucks at the straw again and blinks up at him through her false lashes.
Good God, he is so done with it.
“That’s because I honestly don’t give a flying fuck,” he says truthfully and flashes her a brilliant smile before he turns back to his table again.
She’s standing there for another five long seconds, until he sees out of the corners of his eyes how her face falls and she freaking finally takes the fucking hint!
She gives him an irritated look, before she weaves away. Aaron takes a deep breath and okay, fine, he does feel a tiny little bit bad for being so rude to her. It’s just her bad that she was the fifth woman who came onto him tonight and Aaron honestly wonders if he should put up a little sign ‘not interested’.
“She looked upset!”
Aaron jumps slightly, because he hadn’t noticed that Adam was suddenly standing next to him. He just shrugs instead of giving an answer. Apparently his best mate doesn’t need words to look at him exasperatedly.
“Aaron, she’s one of the bridesmaids. Mate, we can’t…” Adam sighs and rubs his forehead. “We have to stay professional, please.”
“She was basically sexually harassing me or summat!” Aaron points stubbornly in the general direction where she left.
Adam gives him a look that pleads ‘don’t be the biggest inconvenience in my life, mate’. “Then you make a couple of minutes of small talk and let her down easily!” Adam over-accentuates the last part and makes a big gesture with his hand.
Small talk at a wedding, Aaron loathes it.
He groans, but then he deflates and nods sulkily.
“Good lad,” Adam says, slapping his shoulder blade and walking off.
Adam Barton is the worst best friend ever.
Aaron really, really should have gotten out his pitch fork to shoo him out of his house when Adam approached him three years ago with the brilliant idea to start a business of their own.
But Adam’s loveable cuteness and his huge puppy eyes and yes, also his sheer endless enthusiasm, made Aaron weak and lured him into the trap he finds himself in now.
They own an event agency and at first they started with a whole portfolio of different events they offered to organise. And then one of their first clients happened to be a bride-to-be and they sorted the venue, the menu, the bar, the decorations, the music, the give-aways - they organised everything.
To make an unfortunately very, very long story short: it got out of hand.
Not because it was a disaster. Haha ha, oh no. It was perfect. A comprehensive success.
The happy bride recommended them in multiple wedding blogs and the guests also spread the words amongst other friends and before Aaron and Adam realised it, they were booked out with weddings for the rest of the year.
And here he is now: Aaron Dingle, 25, wedding DJ, at your service.
It’s all Adam’s fault. Adam with big brown eyes and his innocent little face.
They quickly figured that Adam was perfect to host the wedding parties. With his energetic, friendly and slightly eccentric personality it wasn’t a hardship, really. Aaron had the false expectation to be left alone behind his laptops, but of course he isn’t that lucky. People love the DJ and sadly they like to express it.
Some only want to make some small talk, maybe because they assume he might be lonely or bored standing alone at his laptops the whole evening. Spoiler: he’s not.
Others just hit on him rather bluntly - exhibit A left a few minutes ago.
There are some perks of the job, Aaron is willing to admit that. During the week he can sleep as long as he wants to and since they always work with the same circle of caterers, decorators, magicians, clowns
Yes, some couples actually want a clown at their wedding, like what the fuck.
the organisation is a routine now. Just a ticking off of positions on their ultimate wedding checklist. So it isn’t hard work, really. And it brings good money, people are willing to pay insane prices when it comes to the happiest day of their lives. Actually working as a wedding planner and wedding DJ would be a nice job! Well. If it wasn’t for the, yeah, weddings.
Fuck my life.
Aaron glances at the little clock on his macbook monitor. Urgh, it’s only half past 11! Oh God, how is that even possible, it feels like he is here for bloody ages already! Another three hours ahead. Three hours. He wants to bang his head on the table.
Instead he grits his teeth and fades Dua Lipa into Taylor Swift. In the beginning he tried to make the song transitions as smooth as possible and used a few effects to mix them together before he would fade out the first song completely.
He quickly noticed that barely anyone gave a damn about it. Since then he just pulls one controller down and pushes the other up.
The couple gave him a top100 list of their favourite songs and experience teaches that countless guests come up to him with their own music wishes, so Aaron never has to search long for the next title in his playlist.
Sitting back on the stool, he sips his coke and lets his eyes aimlessly wander around. They are in a pretty modern town hall, but Priya, their decorator, created a small miracle and transformed that cold, clean hall into a bloody Disney Princess castle. Aaron almost choked on his lunch when he heard that the couple was actually spending so much money on flowers and decoration like others would do for a small car.
He spots a blond head in the crowd and Aaron doesn’t know why but somehow that catches his eye. The blond hair belongs to a man on the dance floor and although he can’t see him fully and only from behind, it seems like he is having a good time.
Men are a rare sighting on the dancefloor. They mostly come out only after midnight, when they successfully drowned their inhibition in enough alcohol.
A group of women is leaving the dance floor and now Blond Bloke is right in Aaron’s focus. Broad shoulders are covered by a crisp white shirt and the rolled up sleeves show off tanned forearms. Aaron approves. A lot. His gaze travels further down and
Whoah, hello there!
Aaron does recognise a nice arse when he sees one. And damn, is that one fine butt, swinging from side to side to the rhythm of the song. Such a perfect peach and Aaron can see the pants are honest to God straining over that much flesh that he wants to squeeze. He rakes his gaze over that man’s thick thighs and calves and back up.
That bloke is gorgeous from behind.
And he’s dancing like an idiot.
When the chorus is blaring, he waves his arms in the air and his whole body is shaking with it. Jesus Christ, Aaron bites back a laugh, because it looks that ridiculous. This lad clearly has a thing for Taylor Swift and he doesn’t give a fuck what others think of him dancing along, considering he is currently the only man on the dance floor and not holding back in the slightest. It’s kinda impressive.
Aaron is so enamoured by Blond Bloke that he totally misses his cue to fade up the next song. Suddenly the song ends and
a weird silence settles in - except from the constant noise of people talking. Aaron jumps up from his stool and leans over his laptops, feeling eyes burning on his skin and hearing the murmur of the people getting louder and louder and he just clicks without even reading on the next best title, which happens to be a classic tune from Madonna. His heart is pounding quickly in his chest and he takes a few deep breaths before he straightens back up. That never happened to him before.
He immediately spots Adam’s frowning face in the crowd and shrugs - his best mate hopefully knows him long enough to translate the gesture as ‘sorry’.
Aaron checks on the crowd on the dance floor and sees them picking up their hip swings again.
Except Blond Bloke.
Blond Bloke has turned around and is now looking at him, straight in the eye. And too often in his life Aaron fancied a guy from behind, but when he got a look at the face, he thought ‘okay, well, nevermind’.
But whoah, this man though! This man! His mouth is the first thing that Aaron zones in on, because those lips are lush and probably very kissable. And then that jawline, Jesus, it’s absolutely gorgeous and Aaron spots a cute, tiny dimple on the bloke’s chin. Finally their eyes lock and Aaron stops breathing for a moment.
He’s beautiful. That man is absolutely stunning.
He’s still standing there, just a little over 10 feet away, and whilst all the women around him are swaying, stomping and turning to the beat, Blond Bloke is motionless, just staring back.
Aaron never had eye contact that intense ever before. It’s not just eye contact, at least not on his side. His body is flushing with heat and want and fantasises about walking over, kissing him and combing his fingers through those perfectly styled blond streaks.
Suddenly Blond Bloke starts smirking, which gives him such a smug aura, and Aaron is torn between feeling caught out on his dirty thoughts and the urge to kiss that stupid crooked grin off the guy’s pretty face.
Then the green eyes are dipping down to Aaron’s laptops and back up again. Blond eyebrows are rising, like asking a silent question. Aaron frowns and looks at his monitors and
‘La Isla Bonita’ is almost over! He needs to fade into the next song!
He can’t believe he was staring at the other man that long - for an entire song! How can four minutes have possibly passed already?! The seconds are ticking and ticking and literally the last moment he switches to Billie Eilish. It’s a pretty hard change from a classic pop to a modern chart tune, also totally off beat, but who cares?
Clearly not Aaron.
Searching in the crowd for Blondie, he realises with a sinking stomach that he must have left the dance floor, because he is nowhere to be seen. Shame.
Deciding to ignore the pang he feels in his guts, Aaron clears his throat.
Get a grip. Do your job.
Right, exactly. He focuses back on his playlist, or at least he tries to do so. That image of the other man is still very present in his mind. Fuck, that was intense! Aaron isn’t one for flirting much usually, it doesn’t go well with his grumpy, drawn-back, just-leave-me-the-fuck-alone attitude. And that was almost more than flirting!
He wonders if the other man felt something similar, too. He wonders how obvious he was. He wonders if Blond Bloke could read from his face what he wanted to do to that sweet arse.
Fuck, his mind is in the gutter now, like really deep in the gutter. Concentrating on his DJing seems like an impossible task now and Aaron can’t stop himself from craning his neck and searching the town hall for a tall blond.
Maybe he came across too strong, he wonders with a sinking feeling. Aaron knows first hand how annoying it is being treated like a fuckable piece of meat. God, he’s not better than all those people who are constantly hitting on him, is he?
Time is passing and Aaron plays a few songs from the current music range, before he’s switching to a round of classic love ballads. Women are dragging their partners on their dance floor for a slow bop and it’s astonishing everytime how there are exactly two types of men: the ones with a slightly embarrassed expression who just long to go back to the bar to down another shot with the other boys and the ones who start excessively making out with their lady.
There are people who claim that weddings are celebrations of stupid heternormative clichés and they were so right. And just to clarify, ‘people’ means ‘Aaron’, and yeah. He’s so right. It all is so predictable and he’s seen it too often, really.
With every wedding slowly but surely he’s losing brain cells, Aaron reckons.
Another music change, back to the 90s again. You can’t go wrong with the 90s, everybody seems to like those tunes.
Aaron wishes he had ear plugs. Ricky Martin is ‘Living la vida loca’ and frying his poor brain cells. The next four songs are queued up in the program and he looks up to check his audience. There is a good vibe tonight, the crowd obviously easy to please if those attempted latin hip swings are anything to go by.
Blond Bloke is back.
And he actually does a decent latin hip swing! In his right hand he’s balancing a glass of what Aaron assumes is G & T, his sleeves are still rolled up, the front of his shirt is half hanging out of his pants and his feet are moving quickly over the wooden floor.
It’s mesmerizing and Aaron finds himself staring again, simply because he can not NOT stare.
The man does a 360 turn and while he’s doing so, his eyes lock with Aaron’s. The crooked smug smile appears again, as if he knows exactly what effect he has on Aaron!
Aaron ducks his head and bites back a smile, feeling that skin of his getting hot. Blushing is something he normally doesn’t do - just like flirting. But well, it seems this stranger is bringing that out of him.
As the 90s playlist continues Blondie is on the dancefloor, showing off his, let’s phrase it unconventional, moves. Then Aaron fades into another genre - classic rock - and the guy is gone again.
Aaron may be many things, but he’s not an idiot. In the following hour he figures out that Blonde Bloke has a particular soft spot for trashy pop music from the past century and obviously dislikes rock, modern and rap.
Steeled with that useful knowledge Aaron rearranges the songs in his waiting list. And if he queues up Ricky Martin a second time only to see that ridiculous
hip swing, then he would never admit it, of course.
All he has to do is lean back and enjoy the show, literally. If one thing is for sure, like God-given, it’s the fact that no one can be attractive when dancing to ‘Cotton Eye Joe’. And yet, here is Blond Bloke, shaking his body and proving the universe wrong. Aaron sips his drink and tries to hide his smile behind the glass. There is something incredibly endearing about that man, it’s adorable and exciting and makes Aaron’s body buzz.
He just wishes he could go over and ask for the lad’s name, but considering Blonde Bloke is probably someone’s plus 1 and getting a drink spilled in his face isn’t ranking too high on Aaron’s preference list, he stays where he is and sighs ruefully.
A guy like that surely must be taken. Either that or straight.
It’s always the same, but that won’t stop him from finally getting some fun out of a wedding job!
“Hi!” someone shouts suddenly into his ear.
Aaron flinches and glares at the girl who just stepped up next to him. “What!” he barks over the loud music.
Dear God, he isn’t ready for another bad attempt at flirting and Aaron steels himself for whatever comes next by taking a deep breath.
“Can you play something from Nicki Minaj?”
Although he looks at her, he doesn’t really look at her, because in front of his inner eye Blond Bloke is waving his arms in the air and shaking that very edible arse.
- - -
Sunday’s are bliss.
Sunday’s are mostly spent under his blanket, enjoying the quiet, and only if needs must, Aaron peels himself out of the comfortably warm, incredibly soft, soul hugging safety of his bed. Like, to go for the toilet, which is so inconvenient on Sunday's. Sometimes on his way back he crashes on the couch and plays a little FIFA. Until he gets tired again and slips back into his bed.
Usually he orders in and devours his pizza in bed. If he’s too lazy for even that, buttered toast will do. In bed. Crumbs are flying everywhere, but there is no one there to tell him off anyway, so who cares?
His Sunday is sacred.
- - -
When he enters their office on Monday, he immediately wants to turn on his heel and head back home.
Adam is already on the phone, having the device jammed between his ear and shoulder while he taps frantically on his keyboard. He looks annoyed and considering his best mate is a literal puppy who’s smiling all day and probably also in his sleep, him looking annoyed is rare and odd and if there is something that annoys Adam Barton it will most definitely gonna piss off Aaron Dingle.
Priya Sharma is sitting at her desk, browsing through a catalogue with new ideas for bouquets. When she looks up to greet him, Aaron nods towards Adam. “Sup with him?”
Do I even wanna know?
he adds quietly in his head.
She raises her hand and puts it next to her mouth as if to block her whisper from Adam’s phone customer. “Difficult woman again.”
Aaron rolls his eyes, firstly at her lousy attempt to keep her voice low and secondly at said difficult woman. The woman is a client who contacted them a few weeks ago and demands them to drop everything as soon as she calls.
“No... yeah, but they have a really nice-” Adam starts.
“I’m not interested in NICE, Mr Barton!” the client shrieks so loud that even Aaron can hear it.
Adam winces and nearly drops the phone. He gives Aaron a look and they both roll simultaneously their eyes, before they put her on speaker.
“I want perfect . And I won’t settle for anything else.”
Honestly, it’s beyond Aaron what kind of man would want to get tied to this dragon. So far they have only spoken to her and Aaron supposes her husband-to-be doesn’t have much of a say at home.
“Of course you do, Christine!” Adam says and Aaron thinks that if the wedding business dries out one day his mate could start another career in acting. “I will look for three other venues and send them to you ASAP. Let me just point out again, that we only have a few weeks until your big day and we are in the middle of the wedding season-”
“Don’t tell me things I already know.” She sounds tense. And she should be, because Adam and Aaron are the third wedding agency she hired. The first two didn’t do a proper job in her eyes and considering the time pressure, this is her final straw.
Somehow that doesn’t stop Christine from expecting a wedding in Kate-Middleton-style.
“We are in the middle of the wedding season,” Adam repeats slowly, like he would speak to a stubborn child, “and the available locations are very rare.”
She breathes loudly into her phone. “Just send me something. Something bigger. Something more classy,” she demands. “And do it quickly. Money is not an issue.”
Urgh, Aaron hates people who talk like that. With another eyeroll he turns around to get a coffee from their small kitchen.
When he comes back a few minutes later, Adam has ended the call and is rubbing his face exasperatedly with both hands. He groans.
Aaron feels bad for his best mate for a moment, but then he remembers that it was Adam’s idea to start this whole event business, and well.
The phone rings again just as he’s sitting on his chair and booting up his computer.
“You take that, I gotta look for the goddam Buckingham Palace for Christine,” Adam says sullenly.
“Why don’t you take it?” Aaron frowns over to Priya, who gives him the most unimpressed look while she keeps on flipping pages.
The telephone won’t stop ringing.
So much for my authority as a boss.
With a huff, Aaron grabs the handset. “Yes.”
There is silence on the other end of the line, but he can hear someone breathing.
Adam and Priya are staring at him, slowly raising their eyebrows in perfect sync.
Aaron rolls his eyes, like he does a lot at work. And when he’s around his family, but that’s another issue.
“A-Team events, A & A create your perfect day, you’re speaking to Aaron, what can I do for you,” he rattles off deadpan.
God, he hates his job.