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The Love in your Eyes (5 times Aaron hated being at a wedding and 1 time he didn‘t)

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It’s not Aaron’s job to judge the couples they plan the wedding celebrations for. He gets paid for organising and accompanying the festivities with atmospheric music. No one’s paying him for his opinion on the bride and groom. But damn, there are those moments when he wants to take either of them aside and ask them if they really, honestly have thought that whole thing of ‘til death do us apart’ through. 

Right now is such a moment.

And despite Aaron hating all the clichés that come along with the standard ceremony, he does believe in the value of marriage. It’s more than just a flashy party in a fancy outfit and showing off. 

Pierce Harris is showing off. 

His soon-to-be-wife, a shy woman with huge eyes that make her permanently look like a deer caught in the headlight named Rhona, is constantly clinging to his arm as if she could get lost without him. The man is walking around with broad shoulders and a puffed out chest, sporting the prigging expression of a classic macho man and Aaron does neither like nor trust him. Whenever they met before the wedding, Pierce made all decisions and Rhona just nodded along. Aaron wonders if she’s not allowed to have her own will and sadly it wouldn’t surprise him if that was actually the truth. This Pierce guy is bad news and he screams fifty shades of dodgy. Aaron even considers taking Rhona aside to talk to her. 

But then again, it’s just a feeling he has. And it would be overstepping the line by, like, a fucking huge step. Just because he doesn’t like someone. Aaron doesn’t like a lot of people, so he isn’t sure if he can really trust that nagging doubt in his guts. Besides, Adam would probably kill him if he did do that. 

And so Aaron stays quiet, although it makes him feel guilty and he hates it.

Rhona and Pierce will exchange their vows in one hour. Aaron sighs and looks around. The venue is a restaurant in Hotten, nothing too flashy, but far from an ordinary Yorkshire pub. There is a lot of gold and white decoration everywhere, clearly Priya’s attempt in upgrading the place. As usual she succeeded. 

The equipment for the ceremony is set up, Aaron just finished his last sound and light check. Adam makes sure his microphone is fully charged and the florist is arranging the last flower tubs. The couple booked a singer for the ceremony and she’s putting up her notes and humming a few tunes to warm up her vocal cords. It’s always busy before every wedding, but to be honest Aaron doesn’t mind at all. In fact, this is his favourite part of the day. 

The guests haven’t arrived yet, so it’s still relatively quiet and once Aaron’s equipment is ready, he takes a little walk around and checks if everything’s alright.

Normally, that is.

Today, Pierce is marching around, supervising everything as if he’s some sort of commanding officer and Aaron would rather steer clear of him, so he walks off to the backroom and opens the door energetic-

Whoah! What-!

The bride freezes in the middle of her move and stares at him with her huge, ever-shocked eyes. She is wearing nothing but a white corsage and a thong and is currently about to step into her dress.

“Get out!” Only then Aaron realises that there’s another woman in the room, crouching on the floor, holding said wedding dress. Probably the maid of honor. 

“Could have put up a ‘do not disturb’ sign or summat,” Aaron grumbles and points with his thumb towards the door handle. 

The second lady, a feisty one with long strawberry blonde hair is glaring at him, while Rhona is still standing not moving like a statue. “What the hell?! Get out!”

Just when Aaron wants to explain that he’s gay anyway, Maid of Honor is grabbing one of Rhona’s white shoes and threatens to throw it at him. He hurries to shut the door quickly, because those heels look damn sharp and murderous and he isn’t keen on finding out how unerring this woman’s right hand is. 

Well, that was awkward.

Taking a few deep breaths and shaking his head, Aaron tries to get his composure back. He feels like an idiot for stumbling into that room like that. Since he doesn’t trust himself to open more doors without knowing what’s behind them, Aaron makes his way to the backyard.

The restaurant has a quite lovely garden behind the building where they put up white bar tables and an outdoor bar for champagne and cocktails. He thought he would be alone here, but he is wrong - there is a guy, standing with his back to the door. 

When he hears Aaron’s footsteps he turns around and

Ohmygod. Fuck.

it’s that guy. Blond Bloke. Aaron stops dead in his tracks, just like his heart - before it takes a crazy leap and starts jackrabbiting painfully against his ribs.

Blond Bloke. It’s him. Definitely. Aaron hasn’t forgotten that face from the wedding four weeks ago. In fact it’s pretty much imprinted on his brain and he might or might not have jerked off in the past few weeks to the mental image of Blond Bloke and his lush lips doing explicit things to Aaron’s body. 

The other man seems just as surprised as Aaron for a moment, before his expression quickly smoothes and that tiny, smug grin appears.

“Well, if that isn’t the most enthusiastic wedding DJ in the whole of Yorkshire,” the guy says with a deep and sinful voice.

The hairs on Aaron’s arm are rising and a warm prickling feeling runs down his spine.

“What’re you doing here?” Whoah, that came out more gruffly than Aaron aimed for and he blames his non-expanding chest and tight throat for it.

“So first: I’m not the groom - thank God for that by the way - and second: I’m way too smartly dressed to be a waiter, so that leaves me being a… start gripping drumroll now…!” Then he  actually drums with his pointers against the edge of the table like a prat. 

Aaron rolls his eyes at the dramatics of the other man. 

A guest then.

He could have just said it, couldn’t he? Apparently not! “Alright, keep your hair on, Sherlock. No one likes a smartass.”

The smirk turns into a bright grin and small wrinkles around those incredibly green eyes are showing. “Is that so?” he asks cockily and leans one elbow on the table and gives Aaron the slowest once over he ever received. 

When his eyes land back on Aaron’s face, he’s hot all over and his brain is offline for a moment. No one ever has flirted with him like that. He clears his throat, because he‘s lost for words and that buys him some time. 

“So I take it you’re from the bride’s side?” 

Ah, safe topic switch. Smooth, Aaron. 

“Something like that, yeah. I’m Robert,” the bloke announces and offers his hand for a shake. 

Aaron closes the small gap between them and finally he gets a good close up of Blond Bloke’s

Robert’s

face. He is even more gorgeous than Aaron suspected from afar, how bloody unfair is that? From that perfectly styled hair over those bright eyes, shining like gemstones, to plump lips and a sharp jawline. The skin is freckled with little dots and moles.

Robert coughs and glances down. Aaron follows his gaze, blinking and feeling a little dazed. The hand is still stretched out and way too late Aaron realises that he is supposed to shake it! He wants to slap himself when he quickly complies like a total idiot.

Please, don’t let my hands be clammy!

Robert’s grip is warm and firm and dry and pretty much perfect and Aaron looks back up, because that face is like a magnet to his eyes.

“Are you gonna tell me your name or do I have to carry on calling you ‘hot DJ’ in my head?”

Well, Aaron does feel extremely hot right now, that is for sure! His body is burning and his skin is flushing with heat. He fears he might melt away any second. 

“Aaron.” He clears his throat again, because there is a weird chafing thing happening that he has no control over. 

“Aaron,” Robert repeats with sparkling eyes and God, has his name never sounded better! “Nice to meet you.”

They are still shaking hands and Aaron doesn’t want to let go, really. In fact, he wants to pull the other man even closer and kiss that smug confidence right off his beautiful face. 

Eventually the moment is broken when a waiter steps outside, balancing a tray with a single glass on it. Robert takes a quick step back and their hands slide out of each other's grip. 

“Your whiskey, Sir.” The glass with the brown liquid is being put on the table. “Anything for you?” The question is aimed at Aaron.

“Coke, please.”

The waiter nods and heads back in.

“Bit early for that, innit?” Aaron can’t stop the words from spilling out of his mouth. It’s true though. It’s just a little past lunch time. 

“Driving tonight, so gotta start early. Besides, this is my second wedding in four weeks...” Robert scoffs and takes the glass with his long, nimble fingers that Aaron is definitely not staring at-

God, look at those hands, that glass looks so tiny in those huge hands…

“... so I’d say I earned it.” He sips at the whiskey and his Adam’s Apple is bobbing up and down when he swallows. “I bet you’d have one too, if you were just a guest and not on duty.”

“I’d be hammered already,” Aaron says dryly, not even lying, and to his delight, Robert throws his head back and lets out a loud and deep laugh. 

“Are you telling me that you’re a wedding DJ… who doesn’t like being at weddings?” Robert says amused and raises his eyebrows. 

“I mean, the job has its perks.” With a hammering heart Aaron tries his best attempt in flirting and rakes his gaze over Robert’s body, just like the other man did earlier with him. Only Aaron feels a bit rusty in comparison. He is not a flirty person, alright?! 

If those slightly pink turning ears of Robert are anything to go by though, he didn’t do it so bad after all! 

“Yeah? Which are?” Robert takes another sip and licks with his tongue the remaining whiskey from his upper lip. 

“You know…” Aaron says vaguely, shrugging and pulling the corners of his mouth down. “... like getting free drinks…” Just on cue the waiter turns up with the coke and puts it on the table with flashing a smile, before he quietly disappears again. “Or like watching people…”

“Do you like watching people, Aaron?” Robert dips his voice a bit deeper and his green eyes are locking on Aaron’s.

They’re not just green, there is also a hint of blue…

“Some more than others, yeah.”

Especially those tall, blond blokes with tailored navy blue suits. 

Aaron grabs his glass like a lifeline. The cold feels heavenly in his sweating palm.

Behind him, clicking heels are announcing the approach of a woman. 

“Robert, there you are!”

Aaron turns around and spots the strawberry blonde maid of honour from earlier right in that moment when her eyes land on him. She stops on the spot and her face darkens.

Uh-oh.

“You!” she sneers and points at him. “You 're the voyeur!”

Her accusation hits him like a brick and he raises his hands in a defending gesture. “I- What? No?! I… didn’t-,” he stutters helplessly. It’s not every day you get called a pervert and Aaron kinda lacks experience in handling a delicate situation like that. 

“He walked in on us when Rhona was about to put on her dress and he kept lingering around like some perv!” the woman says to Robert, still pointing at Aaron. 

“I did not… linger!” Aaron frowns and turns around to Robert as if to get some support from him, only to find the bloody traitor chuckling like a smug douchebag extraordinaire. As if all of this was utterly hilarious to him. 

“You literally just told me you like to watch people,” Robert grins, shrugging casually and shoving his hands into the pockets of his pants like an innocent school boy, and yeah, he does enjoy the whole situation!

Oh, you smug, arrogant, cocky-

God, Aaron wants to kiss him so bad. 

“Only the blokes, alright?!” it bursts out of him. “I’m gay!” He keeps flipping his head back and forth to look at them both like the viewers of a tennis match.  

Robert barks out another laugh and the woman’s finger is slowly lowering. Her furious expression softens and the corners of her mouth are quivering as if she is trying to suppress a grin. 

“Okay. Fine!” she finally huffs. “But I’m keeping an eye on you! Anyway. Robert! I was looking for you. We need your helping hand, since all the others aren’t here yet!” 

The man in question downs his whiskey and slams the glass with a final bang onto the table, before he slaps the surface.

“Coming!” he says to the woman and then his eyes settle on Aaron again. “That was a very interesting conversation, Aaron. Thank you.”

He can’t remember when he’s ever been thanked for a little chat. If ever. His knees turn into jelly under the soft gaze of those shiny gemstones.

“Yeah. I’ll see ya,” he says and nods.

The cocky grin returns and when Robert walks past him, he says: “Oh, I’ll bet you do.” 

Aaron’s breath hitches. Then Robert goes back inside with the other lady and he is alone.

Did that really just happen?!

Scratching his eyebrow, Aaron stares at the door and then at the empty whiskey glass on the table. His whole body is thrumming and buzzing with excitement and he huffs out a little laugh when he replays the whole conversation in his head. 

That Robert-bloke has definitely got an ego as big as a house, that‘s for sure. Aaron can’t help but wonder what else about Robert might be big and he swigs down his coke in a poor attempt to cool himself off. 

 

  • -    -

 

Robert has no shame.

You know, dancing the Macarena should be forbidden, because it’s, like, against the Geneva Convention or something, and Aaron is like 80% sure there are online petitions solely for that cause somewhere!  

If not, maybe I should start one. 

Of course Robert is amongst the lines of women, moving his arms to the beat of the song and shaking his hips like a drunken duck before he jumps to switch direction. 

Aaron can not look away. 

Whenever Robert is facing him, their eyes lock and that smug expression never leaves that stupid, freckled face. Aaron sips his coke without letting Robert out of his gaze. Like prey. 

Such a fucking tease.

And no one can seriously blame him at this point for all the dirty thoughts he’s having, imagining having his way with the other man. How is anybody supposed to resist this?! 

The night is going okay all in all, just like the day in general. Only the ceremony itself was cringe-worthy, at least to Aaron, because that bad feeling intensified. He wondered if other guests felt something similar or if it was just him. Right before the exchange of the vows Aaron silently yelled at Rhona in his head to say ‘no’ into Pierce’ face and take to her heels. She didn’t. And now she’s Mrs Harris.

It’s time for another genre - no matter how much Aaron wishes to play cheesy 90s pop tunes all night long just for the blessing of ogling Robert shaking his arse, he knows he can’t do that really. So a bit of modern R’n’B it is. He queues up 10 songs, starting with Beyonce, before he puts his headphones down and leaves his table to order a new coke at the bar that he downs in one go.

Usually he doesn’t take many breaks, but once or twice Aaron needs a few minutes apart from the booming bass and the loud crowd. Knowing that half of the wedding party is in the backyard, he chooses the front door which leads to the parking lot. The night isn’t cold by any means, but the fresh air causes him to shiver after exiting the small overheated restaurant. Aaron takes a deep breath in, thankful for the much needed oxygen. 

“And here I thought I would be alone out here,” a voice makes him jump. 

Aaron glares in the direction where it came from and he’s not surprised at all to find Robert leaning against a silver Porsche, holding a bottle of water in his hand.

“And here I thought all the guests would prefer the backyard,” Aaron shoots back and walks over to him.

“Well, the exceptions prove the rule.”

There isn’t much light so Aaron can’t be 100% sure, but he thinks he feels Robert’s eyes travelling over his body again. And there is the same tingling sensation crawling up his spine as earlier. It’s weird, having this strong bodily reaction toward the other man who is basically a stranger. What does he know about Robert besides his name? Right, that he’s got shitty taste in music. 

“Just needed a moment of peace and quiet, I guess,” Robert adds and this might be the first time his voice sounds actually normal, genuine, without that tiny teasing undertone. 

“Same.”

Aaron leans next to him and then they are standing in silence. Leaning his head back, Aaron looks up into the night sky, but the light pollution in Hotten and a few clouds make it impossible to see any stars. Shame.

Somehow his thoughts wander back to Rhona and Pierce. Such a weird couple. They don’t seem to fit at all.

“How well do you know the groom?” he asks suddenly out of curiosity. 

Maybe he isn’t so bad and it’s all in your head, because you’re too touchy…

“Pierce? He’s a douche,” Robert says simply. “Why’d you ask?”

Aaron shrugs and starts nagging his lower lip. He’s not sure if he should talk about this with Robert, if he’s in the position to do so. He barely knows Pierce Harris. He only met him like 4 times, including today. But still…

“He’s a bit... off,” he says carefully and when Robert raises his eyebrows questioningly, Aaron sighs and deflates. “He gives me some serious creeper

abuser

vibes, I dunno.”

Aaron had his fair share of abuse with watching his mother becoming a totally different person under the constant control and influence of Gordon. And with suffering from abuse himself, in the most excruciating, unspeakable way possible. 

Harris gives him Gordon vibes. Aaron sees the same expression in Harris’ eyes like he did in his own father’s. He shivers at the unwanted memory and tugs at the collar of his shirt, because it’s suddenly suffocatingly tight. 

His thoughts aren’t something he wants to elaborate to a stranger like Robert and so he pushes them back and back to the very rear end of his mind where he doesn’t have to deal them. “Just… keep an eye on Rhona.”

Robert gives him a long look and from the corners of his eyes Aaron sees the muscles of his jaws twitching as if he’s grinding his teeth. Fearing that he’s maybe just paranoid, Aaron quickly adds: “Look, I know it’s not my place or anything, but I-” 

“No, it’s alright,” Robert interrupts him and then more quietly: “I get what you mean.”

Do you though?

He looks at the man, but Robert stares into the distance as if he’s lost in his own memories, before he swallows and casts a quick glance to Aaron. “Okay. I’ll talk to Vanessa, she is her best friend after all,” he says, letting out a long sigh. 

That must be the bride’s maid then, Aaron reckons. He nods in agreement, then they’re silent again. It’s a bit odd now, after they touched such a heavy subject, even if the biggest part remained unsaid. 

“So, as a wedding DJ who hates weddings…” Robert starts and his cheerful tone implies that he’s trying to change the subject, “how did you like this one? From one to ten, honest ranking.”

Aaron snorts. “Two. Tops.”

“Explain,” Robert says and takes a sip of his water.

The man radiates an exciting energy, a mix of authority and confidence, when he gives Aaron that short command which makes him think that Robert must be some sort of businessman.  

“Well, for one: the venue. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice restaurant, but it’s just… a nice restaurant, you know what I mean? I’ve seen it too often, mate. The decorations, the small menu cards, the balloons and all. This is the most standard wedding set up to ever exist. It totally lacks creativity. Personality. Where is the personality of the couple in there?” Aaron points towards the door. Robert doesn’t answer his question, since it was more or less rhetorical anyway, but he keeps listening intently, so Aaron goes on. “And then the ceremony.” He shakes his head. “He had to read his vows from a note. From a note, Robert.”

That causes the blond man to chuckle lowly. “Some people get nervous in front of crowds,” he throws in.

Aaron gives him a look. “Pierce Harris,” is all he says flatly. A lot of adjectives fit the bloke, ‘shy’ isn’t one of them. 

“Point taken.” Robert bows his head. 

“And even if…! Then, so what? Then you’re nervous, but shouldn’t you be able to come up with your vow naturally when you look into the other person’s eyes and express what you see in them? What you are for each other, wish for each other, what you’d do for each other?” 

Will I ever find a love like that?

Suddenly feeling a lump cutting off his ability to breathe, Aaron tries to swallow it down. It makes his throat ache. “Never trust a person who reads their vows from a paper like rattling off a phone number.” 

His heart is thumping rapidly and so loud that he worries if Robert might be able to hear it.

“Aaron…” Robert starts and his voice has dipped a bit deeper than normal. “Are you a romantic?”

The playful undertone is back and it’s obvious that he’s teasing, but Aaron just feels caught!  

Caught by a total stranger. He has talked to Robert… what, like 15 minutes in total or what?

 “What? No,” he scoffs and clears his throat. “I hate weddings.”

And he does. He does hate weddings. 

“So, you wouldn’t marry the man of your dreams? If he’d ask you to? Out of principle?” Robert has turned towards him and is watching him with genuine interest now. 

Aaron feels his cheeks heating up under the intensity of his gaze. “Lots of subjunctive there, mate,” he rasps.

“Hope the poor bloke knows how you feel about marriage...”

Shoving his hands into his pants, Aaron pushes himself off the car and kicks around the gravel with his shoes. “Yeah, well. Good thing there isn’t a bloke, I guess,” he mutters and avoids Robert’s gaze as best as he can.

That’s how it is: Aaron Dingle, eternal bachelor, no matter how hard his mum tried to set him up in the past.

And urgh, did she try that a lot. Too much, in fact. The thought alone about Alex the Weirdo still gives him the creeps. A guy who seemed quite nice in the beginning, so nice it was actually almost a bit dull, before he turned on a full-stalker mode and kept showing up unannounced at Aaron’s work or in the pub when he had a pint with Adam. He even came to a wedding once, making a scene and accusing Aaron of cheating on him - which - what the fuck?! - he didn’t. He broke off with Alex, naively thinking that was it. Of course, the other man kept stalking him until it got so out of hand that Aaron threatened to get a restraining order and Cain had “words” with Alex. Only then he backed off. 

Since then he's been single.

Eventually Aaron glances up briefly and he thinks he sees some kind of sparked interest in Robert’s green gemstones. But he’s not quite sure, maybe that’s just some sort of wishful thinking. Because damn, that cocky blond stranger is the first bloke in… ages who makes him want! Who has him longing for a touch or a kiss.  

He kinda wishes he could ask Robert if he’s single too, but he doesn’t know how without being blunt and coming on too strong. His inability to use words properly striking again. 

He must be single, why else would he flirt with you like that?

Right? 

“Aaron!”

Adam’s voice sounds stressed and Aaron quickly turns around to his mate, who is standing at the threshold of the door.

“What!”

“Can you hear that?” Adam asks.

Straining his ears, all Aaron can detect is the faint humming of engines from the cars passing on the street nearby and the animated chatter from the inside of the restaurant. But despite that, nothing unusual. 

“No?” he says irritably. Is there something he missed? “What is it?”

Adam flails his arms so hard he nearly trips over the little step. “The music, mate!”

The music?

The music!

The music stopped.

Fuck! Fuckfuckfuck!

This is the third time the other man distracted him in such a way he completely forgot his job. God damnit! He hurries to the entrance with muttered curses, ignoring Adam’s disapproving head shake, but not missing the cackling laughter of Robert behind him.

 

  • -    -

 

Time is flying when you are being captivated by a nice view, Aaron learns. They have booked the venue until 2am and now it is half past 1 already. Normally he is counting the minutes until he can grab his equipment and head home to his waiting bed for his beloved Sunday time out. Not today though. 

Robert is dancing again to JLo’s ‘Waiting for tonight’ and Aaron honestly admires his stamina. Of course his mind wanders immediately to the question if Robert has similar stamina in other domains.  

He can’t help it, the other man is flaming hot, alright, so sue him. 

His desire, however, is not just physical anymore. The little glimpses he got today of Robert’s personality were interesting and Aaron liked that slightly arrogant attitude, the little teasing undertones and that smirk that seems constantly to tug on the corners of Robert’s mouth. But he also liked that more serious side, the genuine interest and how he considered Aaron’s words about Harris without pressuring him to explain.

And he’d love to learn more about Robert. He psychs himself up to ask him for his number. 

Vanessa is entering the dance floor now, her make up still looks flawless, but she’s definitely lit by now. Her footing is unbalanced and her arm movements are uncoordinated. 

Aaron watches how she basically stumbles into Robert and the blond man laughs in return. He throws his head back and squeezes his eyes shut and he looks suddenly so much younger and carefree. He stabilises the maid of honour with a tight embrace for which he has to bend down, because she barely reaches his shoulders and she hugs him back, a blissful smile on her face. They start slowly swaying off beat to the up-tempo song in the middle of the party crowd. Like if they just dove into their own bubble. 

Aaron watches them talking, whispering into each other's ears.

He watches their faces, their smiles and relaxed mimics.

He watches two people sharing an intimate moment. 

How fucking stupid am I?!

It’s like someone poured a bucket of cold water over his head and that exciting tingling vanished from one second to the next and just left him… raw. Embarrassed. What the fuck was he thinking? Getting carried away after talking to some straight guy for a few minutes. 

Call him sulky, but Aaron switches his music programme to some K-Pop, even if he despises the genre himself, simply because he knows it’s gonna chase Robert off the dance floor. He can’t bear watching him and Vanessa any second longer.

The remaining time is being spent with excessive staring at his monitors and Aaron has to force himself not to seek out a tall blond bloke amongst the wedding guests. Sometimes he thinks he feels eyes on him, brilliant green eyes, but that’s probably just his imagination - like everything else that he read into his interactions with the other man. 

Adam has his last big appearance for the evening, when he announces they are nearing end of the evening. He asks the newlyweds to step forward and the guests to build a circle around them.  

“And now I want everybody to think about what you wish for our lovely couple and we’re going to pass all the positive energy and the love in this room onto Rhona and Pierce,” Adam says into his microphone with a bright smile. “May the memory of this special day light up your hearts throughout your journey of life!”

The audience is clapping and cheering and then Aaron starts ‘A thousand years’ by Christina Perri. As soon as the soft piano tunes are sounding, the guests fall silent again and everybody is putting their arms around the shoulders of their neighbour while the bride and groom are swaying in the center of the crowd.

They end every wedding party like this, it’s like a rite by now and it’s a proven success. The couples love that last dance and their guests get one last little highlight before the lights go out.

Needless to say that Aaron hates it. The song alone is doing his head in, it’s the epitome of every cheesy wedding cliché. 

Tonight he hates it even more, especially since he caught involuntarily a little glimpse of Robert standing arm in arm with Vanessa and another bloke.

Aaron starts packing all the parts of his equipment he doesn’t need anymore for this last song, because he really can’t wait to leave. Adam comes up to him and slaps his shoulder, that typical proud, but exhausted smile he always has on his face after another wedding night.

“What’s with you?” he asks Aaron.

“What’s with me?” he snaps and shoves his second laptop into the black leather bag. 

“You’re grumpy.”

Aaron rolls his eyes and scoffs. “I’m always grumpy.” 

Adam bites into a white pop tart he must have gotten from the midnight cake buffet and mumbles with his mouth full: “Yeah, but you’re, like, extra grumpy or summat.”

Tiny chunks are flying from his mouth in Aaron's direction and he pulls a face. This guy is his best friend, basically like a brother from another mother, but right now he doesn’t wanna elaborate his pathetic attempt at flirting with a taken man or his bad feeling regarding Perce Harris. 

He just wants to go home and hide under his blanket.

“You should smile more, mate,” Adam suggests, helpful as ever.

Aaron stops in his motion and turns towards him to lift the corners of his mouth and parts his lips until his teeth are showing. A frown forming on Adam’s forehead, his friend tilts his head like a confused puppy.

“Okay, stop doing that. Fuck. That’s creepy,” Adam decides.

With his friend’s permission, Aaron returns to his usual scowl and continues to roll up his cables with sharp movements. His mate gives him another friendly slap and walks away again. As soon as the song is over, Aaron sighs in relief and slams his macbook shut. 

Thank God, another dull workday is done.

Except…

This one wasn’t actually dull, was it.

Fuck, he really enjoyed those two encounters with Robert! And the eye contact during the whole evening. And even though he knows now that it was only one-sided, there was definitely a palpable pull towards Robert. As if he was just a compass needle and the other man the fricking north pole.  

Aaron sighs again, but this time in defeat. He’s been so stupid. 

“I thought I’d see you performing a happy dance when you’re finished.”

Aaron jumps and his heart skips a beat. “Fucking hell, get a bell around your neck or summat,” he mutters and rubs over his chest, feeling the erratic heartbeat underneath the fabric, before he pulls himself together. “I don’t dance,” he informs Robert shortly.

The other man doesn’t seem to mind his clipped tone, because he chuckles softly. “Of course you don’t.” He shakes his head and it‘s almost kind of fond. 

And Aaron does not want to find this adorable. He really doesn’t. 

The little light machine that is always placed in front of his monitors is the last item that he needs to put away and Aaron stares pointedly down at it when he pulls out the cords and grabs the case from underneath the table. 

Robert keeps lingering, which is kinda weird. What is doing here, standing silently next to Aaron? Hasn’t he somewhere to go now?

“I had fun tonight.”

That causes Aaron to look up eventually. There is no smug attitude in Robert’s voice, nothing playful, instead it’s soft. Like God help him, soft. And his green eyes are watching Aaron warmly, fond almost, flicking over his face as if they’re searching for something. 

Aaron feels that pull again, it’s like everything fades away around them and it’s just Robert and him, looking at each other, into each other's eyes. He doesn’t dare blink, fears it might break whatever is between them, so Aaron just stares. 

Until a movement behind Robert catches his attention. Vanessa is swaying on the spot next to one of the tables. 

“Robert!” she shouts and her eyes are fluttering. 

Someone’s hammered.

“She’s waiting for you.” Aaron nods in her direction, the words tasting bitter like acid.

The thought that Robert is going home with her is killing him. And the knowledge that he shouldn’t have such strong feelings for someone he basically knows nothing about isn’t helping at all.  

Robert turns around and sighs. “Yeah, duty calls, I guess,” he says wistfully.

Aaron frowns. “Duty?” 

“Since her wife had to work tonight, I jumped in as her plus one. Meaning I’m the chauffeur,” Robert huffs, but a little smile is tugging on the corners of his mouth. “What are friends for, eh?”

Wait, what. Wife?  Friend?

Aaron’s eyes are darting back and forth between Robert and Vanessa. So, does that mean they aren’t-

“Robble!” Vanessa mourns and hiccups.

Robert ducks his head. “I better get going before she can use more embarrassing nicknames… or before she gets worse and pukes in my car. She better fucking not do that.” He makes another pause, before he knocks on the DJ table. “Bye, Aaron.”

By the time Aaron has processed what Robert just told him - that he’s not together with Vanessa, that he had fun - and he finally remembers how to use his words, Robert is already gone.

Aaron stood there, turned into a pillar of salt, with an open gob like an idiot and just watched the other man leaving. Aaron just watched him leaving and now he’s gone.

He’s gone and Aaron has no phone number, no family name, whatsoever. 

Fuck.