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when the sun came up, you were looking at me

Chapter Text

Six days after the Championship Final

Jamie shifted his weight slightly between his legs, fidgeting while he waited at Keeley and Roy’s front door. He double-checked his texts again, but the messages were still there:

iMessage with contact grumpy old twat. Roy: Come over tomorrow. Jamie: y Jamie: r u gonna kill me? Jamie: were u just waiting til after the final? Roy: Bring your passport. Roy: And a bag. Jamie: ??? Jamie: wtf??? Jamie: roy?? Roy: Just fucking do it.

So, definitely not some weird hallucination.

He had no clue what Roy could possibly want with him—let alone what would require a passport, but he had set his alarm anyway and was standing outside waiting for—

“Tartt,” Roy said gruffly as the door swung open. “Come in.”

Jamie followed him in, looking around for any signs of Keeley and/or murder weapons. He hadn’t spoken to his coach since the night they had been promoted—or, more accurately, since the following morning when the celebrations finally died down.

That night had been fun—almost everyone had joined, even though Nate was MIA, Ted had left around eleven, and Keeley and Rebecca disappeared sometime at midnight for ‘girl chat.’ Jamie had expected Roy to stay aloof and leave when Keeley did, but instead he had sat directly next to Jamie at the VIP area when they first got to the club and spent the entire time with him and the rest of the team like he never had when they were playing together, matching them shot-for-shot. Jamie would have been able to get laid, but he didn’t want to get up from the booth—he had been very aware of the warm line of Roy’s bad leg pressed against him, and he didn’t want to make the other man move. The other lads had almost all pulled, including Beard, so it was just Colin, Sam, Roy, and Jamie sat together toward the end of the night, comforting Sam about his ‘mystery’ lady. If it was Rebecca, Colin owed him 50 quid.

Jamie didn’t remember getting home that morning, but he had awoken to a glass of water and paracetamol sitting on his bedside table. He had assumed he had gotten it himself, a kind of drunken autopilot that he often ran after a particularly long night of celebrations. But now, following Roy into the kitchen, he wasn’t so sure that’s what it had been.

“Sit.” Roy said, pointing at the table. Jamie thought about arguing, but figured he should make sure he wasn’t going to get belatedly murdered for confessing his love to Roy’s girlfriend before he started mouthing off.

“What’s this about, yeah? Keeley here?” He settled for instead. Wait. Maybe he shouldn’t mention Keeley. Roy raised his eyebrows at him, clearly noticing the internal dilemma.

“Stop waiting for me to hit you. I’m not going to hit you.” Roy ordered. Something in his voice made Jamie look up and meet his eyes. He thought of that horrible night against Man City, and Roy’s arms around him. He was pretty sure Roy was thinking of the same thing. They were silent for a long moment before Roy broke eye contact, turning away. “I forgave you for that.”

“Forgave me?” Jamie’s own—much better—eyebrows shot up. “Is that what yelling fuck at me means?”

“Obviously.” Roy stomped to the kitchen counter, leaving Jamie gaping after him. How the fuck was he supposed to know that?

“How the fuck am I supposed to know that?” Jamie repeated out loud. Roy stormed back over and slammed a coffee in front of him. Jamie took a sip, and almost spat it back out in surprise. “How the fuck do you know my coffee order?”

“Don’t get too excited, Keeley had a bunch of that vanilla syrup left from when you were dating and we don’t drink it.” Roy slid into the seat in front of him, sipping his own coffee. “Sorry.”

“Sorry?” Jamie didn’t know what he expected, but it wasn’t…whatever this was.

“Yeah, sorry for just yelling at you,” Roy said in his usual monotone. “I forgive you for telling Keeley you’re in love with her. We’re fine.”

Jamie blinked at him, shocked. “Cool. Yeah. Fine.”

“Do you want to go to Marbella with me?”

Okay, Jamie didn’t pay enough attention to the possibility of this being an extremely strange dream or hallucination. Had he had one of Beard’s crazy girlfriend’s weird teas? That had to be the most logical conclusion. Because if he was conscious, then Roy Kent—who had a well-documented dislike of Jamie until very recently—had just asked him to go to…Spain?

“Like the place?” Maybe there was a club or something that had just opened, and Jamie was completely misinterpreting this. Maybe Keeley was standing behind him or something—he whirled around, but no Keeley. He looked back at Roy in confusion.

“Yeah. Do you want to go to Marbella with me today?”

“What?”

“Did I fucking stutter?” Jamie looked around the room wildly, wondering if there was some kind of camera crew set up, or some of the team hiding and filming.

“Hang on…just, let me make sure I have this straight. You want me, Jamie Tartt, to go to Marbella with you, Roy Kent, today?”

“Yes.” Roy’s face was poker straight, not a flicker of expression implying that this was at all an unusual request.

“Er…for how long?” Jamie asked, more for time to try to process than anything.

“Six weeks. Or however long you want to stay.”

“What?!”

“Tartt, do you want to fucking go or not? I got the tickets for Keeley and I but she’s too fucking busy girl-bossing and owning her own PR firm and I’ve got a non-refundable villa in Spain for six fucking weeks and I don’t want to spend the entire fucking time on my own when I could be with a friend—”

Suddenly, Roy stopped talking and Jamie realized his mouth was hanging open. Roy looked away, seeming…embarrassed?

“You want me to come to Marbella with you because we’re friends?” Jamie finally got out, feeling a bit like a broken record. Roy gave a sharp nod, still not quite meeting Jamie’s eyes.

Okay. So the grumpy twat, former football legend, every-fucking-where Roy Kent not only did not want to kill Jamie for any number of somewhat deserved reasons, but wanted him to go on holiday with him, because he liked Jamie. As a friend, not just as a footballer. Unless…

“There isn’t some football league in Marbella you want me to play in or something?” Jamie asked. Maybe this would make it all make sense. Evidently not, though, because Roy growled in frustration.

“I want you to come because I do not want to spend six fucking weeks alone in Marbella drinking and reading books on my own when I could spend it drinking and reading books and getting annoyed with a mate, and it would seem, the person who I’m closest to other than Keeley or Phoebe or fucking Ted Lasso is…you.” Jamie didn’t outright gape at him this time but it was a close call.

“Right. Okay.” He decided, still not entirely sure what was going on. “What time do we leave? Because I need a lot more than I packed if we’re going for six weeks.” It was Roy’s turn to look surprised, as though he hadn’t expected Jamie to say yes. “Look, mate, I don’t have training, I haven’t had a break in a while, and all I was going to do is go to clubs here anyway. I’m in.” And his dad wasn’t in Marbella—but had, at least twice in the past week, showed up at his place in Richmond. He wasn’t going to mention that, though.

“Okay, great. Good. We’ve got to be at Heathrow in two hours, so let’s get your shit.” Roy said, finally. “Come on, we can get a cab from your house to the airport.” He grabbed a bag next to the door that Jamie hadn’t noticed. Jamie followed him to his car, sending a quick text to Keeley as he did.

iMessage with Keeley, with a sparkle emoji and sparkling heart emoji. Jamie: is roy on drugs? Keeley: Did he ask you?! Jamie: you knew?? Keeley: Course! Are you going? Jamie: i guess so Keeley: Yay! Have fun [three double heart emojis] Keeley: Don't do anything I wouldn't do...

Jamie stared at her response before shaking his head and sliding into the driver’s side. Fucking weirdos.

Chapter Text

They got to the airport with plenty of time to spare, because Roy was an ancient grandad who had to get to flights at least two hours before boarding—the word Brexit was thrown around at one point, mixed with more or less every curse word Jamie could remember hearing in his lifetime. At the other man’s insistence, Jamie had swapped his normal ICON hat out for something more nondescript—Roy had pointed out that pictures of the two of them boarding a flight for Marbella together might spark some interest in the press, so the more discreet, the better.

At the airport, Roy pointed him to the first-class lounge.

“Oi, these tickets were originally for me and Keeley, I splurged,” Roy snapped in response to Jamie’s low whistle. “It was romantic, alright?”

“Well, I feel very romanced. I’m a lucky guy,” Jamie joked, elbowing Roy in the ribs. “Come on, let’s go get some airport pints. Sacred tradition, innit?”

He walked over to the lounge’s bar, not sure why he suddenly felt a little warm. Roy took longer than he expected to follow, but silently appeared next to him to grab one of the pints of lager. Jamie flashed him a quick, Tartt-patented smile before sitting down on a nearby couch and taking a huge sip to try to ground himself.

The couch dipped as Roy settled in next to him, pulling a book out. Jamie rolled his eyes—he didn’t have a book because he wasn’t an old man who needed to read instead of talking to other people. After a few minutes, though, he was considering annoying Roy into talking to him. It turned out when your only company was an old man who needed to read instead of talking to other people, a book might be a good idea.

“Here,” Roy said suddenly, handing Jamie a second book—he brought more than one book on holiday? Maybe he shouldn’t say that out loud. “I knew you wouldn’t bring one.” Jamie looked at the cover.

A Wrinkle in Time?” He asked, flipping it over to read the back. “You brought more than one book on holiday?”

“Lasso gave it to me, so don’t wreck it.” Roy managed to sound both pleased and annoyed with that. “And I brought five, not counting that.” Five books? That was just excessive.

“Five books? That’s excessive,” Jamie said out loud. Who cares if Roy got mad at him—they were friends, weren’t they? Apparently, Roy liked him. And he tended not to filter himself, anyway, so maybe Roy didn’t mind that.

Roy just growled.

***

They made it to the plane—seriously, first-class tickets for a two-hour flight? Jamie didn’t even know they had those—and then to Marbella without causing any international incidents or PR scandals. It wasn’t until they were standing in the ridiculously lush villa that something occurred to Jamie.

“Oi, Roy?” he called, staring at the huge four-poster bed in the middle of the bedroom. Roy shouted something from the direction of the toilet. “You booked this trip for you and Keeley…so that means…”

“Oh, fuck.” Roy swore, coming to stand beside him. The bed was large, yes, but it was also covered in roses and had a bottle of complimentary champagne sitting in the ice bucket next to it. Romantic was one word for it—Jamie might have picked excessive, or laughable, though. “That’s the only bed.”

“I can take the couch. You’re too old, it might kill you,” Jamie joked, fidgeting slightly. What was wrong with the air in Spain? It felt like he couldn’t take a deep enough breath.

Roy looked at him for a long moment. “Don’t be ridiculous,” he said. “Can’t have our top scorer sleeping on a couch for six weeks. We’ll share.” Seriously, was the air pressure higher here or something? His heart was pounding a little faster than usual and everything. He shook his head to clear it.

“Fine, but I’m not cuddling you,” he got out finally.

“I don’t fucking cuddle,” Roy growled. Jamie wasn’t fooled, though. He was friends with Keeley—she told him things. Judging by the way Roy stomped off, he knew Jamie could see through his bullshit, too.

“Hey, coach,” Jamie yelled after him. “Are we going to drink this champagne or what?”

“Bring it to the Jacuzzi, you little prick!” Roy yelled back.

Jamie was beginning to get a handle on Roy’s particular brand of affection, he thought. He dropped his bag and pulled his trunks out to change, before grabbing the ice bucket and following Roy.

“Who gets a villa this posh with a Jacuzzi but no spare bedroom?” He asked, gasping a little bit at the hot water as he slipped in. Roy, already sitting with his eyes closed and head tilted back, opened one eye to do a weird sort-of glare.

“It was for Keeley,” he said, as though that explained everything. Although, now that Jamie thought about it, it sort of did. He was still beating himself up for ruining everything with her, although he felt weirdly not jealous of Roy. They were good together, and Roy would do anything for her. Which is what she deserved. Not some twat.

Roy nudged him, shaking him out of his thoughts. “Champagne?” he asked, in a slightly softer tone than usual. Jamie forced his face into a smile and took the proffered glass. Champagne.

***

Champagne, Jamie decided several hours later, was one of the best inventions of all time. Apparently, the great Roy Kent was great not only at football but also at planning ahead, because the villa was fully stocked with food and alcohol, a collection of which was approximately three bottles of champagne lighter than it had been when they got there. Jamie wasn’t sad about his dad or about ruining things with Keeley or about how strange it was that his best and maybe only friend besides his ex-girlfriend was his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend or anything because of the glorious, bubbly champagne. He was having fun. With Roy Kent, who he had had on his wall growing up and then hated him and now didn’t hate him at all, it would seem.

“We should go swimming,” Jamie announced, sipping on his umpteenth glass in the massive sitting room. Roy, who was a remarkably giggly and strangely effusive drunk, looked at him in confusion. “In the sea,” Jamie added for emphasis. This seemed to make something click in Roy’s head.

“That’s brilliant.” Roy jumped up much faster than he would have done sober—it probably wasn’t good for his knee. “Let’s go.”

They made their way out of the villa and ran down to the shore, Jamie hollering obnoxiously the whole way. For the old man’s sake, he pretended not to hear him laughing at his antics as he crashed into the Mediterranean.

A few minutes later, floating on his back in the sea, he glanced over at Roy. Roy caught his eye and smiled slightly, a gentle, private thing, shocking Jamie just upright enough to get immediately hit in the face by a wave. When he resurfaced, choking, Roy was outright laughing at him, treading water all the while.

He stopped, and the night grew quiet again, with the crashing of the waves loud enough to distract from any noise of neighbouring parties. Jamie paddled toward the shore until he was able to stand, Roy following him wordlessly. Jamie looked to him again and was met with the same, unusual smile.

“Thanks for coming with me,” Roy said, his voice soft in a way Jamie had never heard directed at him and wouldn’t mind hearing every day. Jamie didn’t say anything, wasn’t sure what he could say that wouldn’t shatter the bubble of warm silence that they had somehow built up around themselves. He just smiled, and wrapped an arm around Roy’s shoulder—casually, as though they did this all the time. His heart was pounding again, and he was beginning to think it might not be related to Spanish air pressure at all.

***
True to Keeley’s word, and completely against Roy’s own, Jamie woke up in a massive, four-poster bed with almost six feet of ex-footballer wrapped around him like a koala the next morning. He was beginning to be concerned about how little he minded.

Chapter Text

Marbella, Day 10

The first week in Marbella passed much like the first day—a little too much drinking, a lot of relaxing, and an entirely ridiculous amount of weird heart palpitations. Jamie was going to need to see a doctor when he got home.

It was going smoothly, more smoothly than even Jamie himself would have bet on. And it was actually relaxing, not just partying every night like most holidays Jamie had been on. He had, much to his dismay, already finished one book. When he noticed, Roy had just grunted at him and handed a second, much larger book over—The DaVinci Code, which Roy had apparently just finished and loved. Jamie had gone out to try to pick up girls the fifth night while Roy FaceTimed Keeley, but had found himself coming back to the villa early and strangely lonely. He wasn’t thinking too hard about the fact that he hadn’t had sex since before Rebecca’s father’s funeral, but it was hard to ignore that, for the first time in his life, he wasn’t particularly interested in a one-night stand. When Roy saw him come in from a club well before midnight, he hadn’t said anything, just turned the phone so Keeley could see both of them. They had gotten deep into the rosé that night, all three of them giddy.

 

 

“Okay, boys,” Keeley asked, giggling a little in anticipation. “Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga.”

“Fuck’s sake, I’m almost forty. I’m not playing shag, marry, kill with you.” Roy grumbled.

“Grumpy old twat,” Jamie said affectionately. “I’m not a party pooper, yeah, so I’ll have a go. Marry Gaga and shag Taylor, I think.”

“That’s fucking ridiculous, you marry Taylor Swift. If marrying Taylor Swift is an option, you fucking take it,” Roy exploded, drinking pink wine in the most aggressive way one could ever drink pink wine.

Jamie hid a laugh. “What if it was between Keeley and Taylor Swift?” he asked, catching Keeley’s eye and winking.

“FUCK.” Roy got up, pretending to storm off, but Jamie could see him pulling another bottle of rosé from the fridge. Keeley was nearly bent in two laughing on the other end of the line.

“You can’t bring people we actually know into it, that gets messy!” she got out between giggles. “And babe, if Taylor Swift proposes, we can work something out, yeah?”

“Messy is more fun,” Jamie whinged, mostly to be a brat rather than out of an actual opinion. Roy returned and Jamie held out his glass for more rosé, missing the calculating glint Keeley got in her eyes.

“Okay…” she drew the word out, a mischievous tone in her voice. “Roy, Beard, Nate, then.”

Jamie laughed at her, shaking his head. He had set himself up for this, he supposed. “Gross but…I’d shag Beard, I think, cause I’m pretty sure he’s done it before,” he pursed his lips. “And I’d marry Roy, since we’ve shacked up so well. Sorry, Keels. R.I.P. Nate.”

Just then, a splash of wine hit his leg and he realised Roy hadn’t actually stopped pouring the wine, which was now overflowing from his glass. The man himself had gone perfectly still, as though he had entirely shut down.

“Roy, mate, I think I’ve got enough wine,” Jamie said, not unkindly. Roy blinked and appeared to restart.

“Sorry,” he muttered, sounding uncharacteristically flustered. For reasons Jamie couldn’t entirely figure out, Keeley was laughing hysterically again.

Jamie was shaken from his memories by the sound of his phone vibrating. He pulled out his cell to see his father calling, which he quickly declined, and then looked at his lock screen to find…way too many notifications.

Screenshot of an iPhone lockscreen at 13:26 with a Richmond AFC background. Message from Keeley (sparkle emoji, sparkling heart emoji): I'll handle it, don't worry. Messages from "Dad": 15 iMessages. Message from Ted (cowboy emoji), one minute ago: Call if you need anything. Instagram DM to [TheJamieTartt] from Dani Rojas (football emoji), four minutes ago: You got this muchacho & I will (trainer emoji) anyone who is r (text is cut off). Message from isaac (football emoji, scissor emoji, flexing emoji), 6 minutes ago: BRUV.  Screenshot of iPhone lockscreen continued. Message from Colin (caterpillar emoji, welsh flag emoji), 6 minutes ago: If this is real I'm going to lose my shit. Message from Colin (caterpillar emoji, welsh flag emoji), 7 minutes ago: Is this real? Message from Colin (caterpillar emoji, welsh flag emoji), 8 minutes ago: ???!!!??!??! wtf. Instagram notification to TheJamieTartt: @thesun has tagged you in a post

Fuck. Fuck, this was not good. What the fuck? Also, he was spending too much time with Roy, clearly.

He clicked open the first notification of the bunch, the Instagram post the Sun had tagged him in, with a sinking feeling in his stomach. There, on the screen, was a picture of him and Roy at dinner last night. It wasn’t a bad picture, just Roy’s normal face and Jamie mid-sentence, and there was nothing compromising—although why would there have been anything compromising? There was nothing to compromise, just two mates out for a meal—but the headline made its own conclusions.

 

 

Kent cans Keeley, takes up with…Tartt? Exclusive photos of the footballers’ gay getaway.

With shaking hands, Jamie clicked the link in the Sun’s bio, taking him to the article. He was shocked to see pictures from nearly every time they’d gone outside the villa—from him leaving the club alone the other night to the market trip they’d taken on their third day. Fuck. He began to read:

 

 

By Ernie Lounds

Richmond’s newest assistant coach and apparently football’s newest WAG, Roy Kent, was spotted having an intimate getaway in Marbella with none other than star striker Jamie Tartt.

Although Kent was previously dating Keeley Jones, PR’s latest It Girl, sources close to Tartt confirm that he has been out of town for at least a week, and that he had a long-time obsession with Kent. Could Coach Kent be taking advantage of

His phone was grabbed out of his hand suddenly.

“Don’t read that shite,” Roy said, his tone kinder than Jamie was expecting. “It’s fucking ridiculous, and it gets homophobic. Lounds is a twat.”

Jamie gaped at him. “How did you already know?”

Roy held up his own phone. “Just talked to Keeley,” he explained. “She’s sorting out a press release and everything.”

“I thought she wasn’t working for Richmond anymore,” Jamie said, dazed. “We were just out for dinner?”

“She’s not working for Richmond anymore,” Keeley’s voice piped through the speaker. Jamie started—he hadn’t realised she was on FaceTime again. “She’s trying to make sure her dear friend and her boyfriend don’t get harassed on their holiday.”

“And we can never just go out for dinner, you know that,” Roy sighed. “It’s always a fucking event.”

“Boys, I need to go threaten several people. Jamie, sweetheart, will you be okay?” Jamie wasn’t sure what his face was doing that put that tone of concern in Keeley’s voice, but he nodded anyway. “Love you,” she directed to Roy.

“Love you too,” he said. Jamie noticed that he was blushing slightly as they hung up, but he didn’t have it in him to make a comment. “Jamie, are you okay? Keeley will sort it before it goes too far.” Roy’s voice was kind again, why the fuck was Roy being kind? Roy Kent didn’t do kind.

Jamie didn’t have to find the words to explain why exactly he was freaking out, his phone buzzing to life again in Roy’s hand. Roy looked down and his face darkened when he saw who was calling. Jamie’s breath was harsh in his ears and suddenly he found himself being led to the couch in the giant sitting room. Roy was crouched down next to him at eye level and his phone was still fucking ringing.

“Give it here,” Jamie said, his voice sounding strange to his own ears.

“Fuck no.”

“He’s just going to keep calling until I answer, it’s easier this way,” Jamie insisted, reaching for his phone. Roy relented, his face stony and gestures even jerkier than usual. The phone buzzed again and Jamie, the knot in his stomach twisting further, picked it up.

“‘lo,” was all he managed to choke out before his father’s voice exploded in his ear.

“Is this why you quit City for those fucking amateurs at Richmond? Do you even know what you’re fucking doing? I knew it, I fucking knew it, I’ve always said you’re a pathetic, weak, pussy and too fucking soft and now, apparently you’re a fucking—” Once again, Jamie found his phone being grabbed out of his hands.

“If you ever fucking talk to him like that again, I will find you, rip your balls off, and fucking feed them to you.” Roy said, his voice the kind of dangerous calm that Jamie associated with locker room bust-ups and red cards. “I advise you not to call back if you value your life, because I may not be in England right now, but there’s a whole team of fucking amateurs who would be more than happy to fucking kill you.” He hung up the phone before Jamie could hear his father’s response and in one quick movement, blocked his number, deleted the texts Jamie hadn’t been able to bring himself to open, and handed his phone back.

“Fixed it,” Roy said, still crouched next to him, his face and voice back to their normal level of gruffness, like he hadn’t just done something Jamie had been terrified to do for years. Like he hadn’t just stood up for Jamie when, even in a locker room full of people who at least kind-of liked Jamie, nobody ever had.

And what was Jamie supposed to do with that?

Still not feeling entirely real, Jamie found himself reaching his hand out to grab Roy’s. Roy went perfectly still as Jaime interwove their fingers and then, in the stupidest decision he had ever sort-of made in his entire life, Jamie pulled Roy Kent closer, wrapped his other hand around the back of his neck, and kissed him.

And Roy? Roy kissed back.

Chapter Text

He was kissing Roy. Roy was kissing him back. Jamie couldn’t help but let out a little sound at the thought, a noise that Roy quickly swallowed. Roy’s large hand came up to Jamie’s neck, mirroring Jamie’s own and he deepened the kiss, biting gently on Jamie’s lower lip in a way that sent a thrill through Jamie’s entire body. They broke apart for one moment, both breathing hard, before Roy pulled him back in and Jamie just went, hands trembling. Roy moved from his mouth to kissing down his neck, and Jamie was embarrassed at how hot he found it, about to drag Roy back when—

A phone buzzing. Not his, this time…Roy’s phone. Roy pulled back—reluctantly, some barely-functioning part of Jamie’s brain noted triumphantly—and reached for it. Jamie glanced over to see who was calling, and immediately felt as though he had been submerged in cold water.

Keeley was calling. Beautiful, bubbly, perfect Keeley, who was dating Roy and who Roy was in love with and Jamie was also at least partly in love with, and whose boyfriend Jamie had just thoroughly snogged, because he was the worst. Emphasis on boyfriend, too. Since when did Jamie snog men?

Roy reached for his phone before fixing Jamie with a stern look—and oh, no, that was going to do things to him now. “Don’t go anywhere, you little prick,” Roy ordered. “We’re going to talk about this. But I do actually need to answer that.”

Right. Good. Right. Jamie nodded once, not trusting himself to speak. Roy, seemingly appeased, took his phone into the other room. And Jamie, being of sound mind and absolutely able to make decisions for himself that did not launch his two closest friendships into the sun, ran.

***

Who gave a fuck about champagne? Champagne was bubbly and made Jamie burp and have weird feelings about how Roy’s eyes look in the moonlight. Shots—especially vanilla vodka shots—are where it’s at. Shots, and clubs, and snogging five different women in one night, not quiet villas and books and nice wines and snogging his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend. Jamie didn’t know or care how many shots he drank but he was feeling great.

Jamie had, at one point, considered fleeing the country, before realising his passport and all his belongings were still at the villa. He figured he could sneak in sometime in the early hours when Roy, being geriatric, would be asleep. That was a great plan. Jamie had to think through all plans carefully, though, and with lots of shots, because otherwise his brain would lead him to doing strange things like kissing Roy Kent when he wasn’t even gay.  

Maybe it was some weird jealousy thing? Like, Roy got to kiss Keeley, and Jamie missed getting to kiss Keeley, so his brain got confused and told him to kiss Roy because it was the closest thing to kissing Keeley. That made perfect sense, right?

It didn’t explain why he enjoyed it so much. But everyone liked kissing. It was just kissing. His brain, finally deciding to be of some use, helpfully pushed aside all instances where he had kissed someone that he hadn’t enjoyed as much, which was good, because it was basically all of them and he did not want to unpack that. Good brain. More vanilla vodka for you.

Standing at the bar waiting for more shots, Jamie made the mistake of glancing at his phone—it had been buzzing relatively steadily since about twenty minutes after he left the villa, which he assumed was when Roy got off the phone with Keeley. He had put it on Do Not Disturb hours ago, after texting the Richmond group chat that he was fine, and he’d message them back later. He had a bunch of new texts from Roy—and ten or so missed calls. He was probably texting him to tell him to get his shit and get out, which would make sense. Nothing from Keeley yet, but maybe she would wait until he touched down in England to yell at him. Or worse, he thought with an ache in his chest that made it difficult to breathe, maybe she would just never speak to him again.

He clicked on the message thread, the ache in his chest intensifying. No kicking out yet, but you never know. He sent one text back, just to appease the old man when he woke up the next morning, but Roy text back immediately:

iMessage chain with grumpy old twat at 2:01am, 7% battery life. From Grumpy Old Twat: This is not not going anywhere. New message: Where are you, you twat? New message: Seriously. Such a child sometimes. New message: Jamie, where are you? New message: Let me know you're alive at least. From Jamie: alive. From Grumpy Old Twat: Come back. New message: Please.

Roy Kent, saying please? What the fuck. He looked between the dance floor and the model he had been dancing with, and his phone. She was gorgeous, but he felt no more desire to go home with her than he felt to any of the girls in the club the week prior, or the last several times he’d been out in London. He’d rather be back on the couch, playing stupid secondary school party games with Roy and Keeley.

Fuck it.

He took a deep breath and lined up five shots, taking them one after the other. One shot for every minute he and Roy spent kissing, he supposed. Then, he slammed a twenty Euro note on the counter, turning on his heel and walking out the door of the club.

***

He had every intention of just crashing on the couch. No way was he crawling into the fucking bed they had been sharing—and that was ridiculous, anyway. No wonder his brain got confused. Roy, however, was sitting on the couch with the lights on, staring at some book about angels or some shit, as though it wasn’t half two in the morning. He looked up at the sound of Jamie entering and his face, which Jamie hadn’t realised had been drawn taut from stress, immediately relaxed.

“You fucking prick,” he said in greeting. “I was worried.” Jamie scrutinized him for some kind of sign as to his mood, or how his talk with Keeley went, or if he had said anything to her about the kissing, but he was as stoic as ever.

“Sorry, grandad, some of us aren’t in the retirement home yet,” Jamie tried to match his normal tone, but he was certain his expression showed how fucking vulnerable he felt.

Roy stood up and came toward him. This was it. Jamie was going to get punched for kissing him, never mind that Roy had kissed back, and Roy was going to kick him out—and something in Jamie’s mind laughed at the idea of being kicked out of ‘the villa’ like on Lust Conquers All—and get him transferred out of Richmond and he was never going to talk to Roy or Keeley or any of the guys on the team or Ted ever again.

Jamie tensed up as Roy drew close. He didn’t want to hit Roy back, that desire had long died, so he was just going to let it happen and then he’d pack his bags and he’d go home and he’d be alone—

For the third time in the past year, Roy pulled him into a hug. Jamie felt a keen sense of déjà vu as he slumped in the other man’s arms like he was a marionette whose strings had just been cut. Roy held him tightly, and Jamie didn’t understand what was going on but he wasn’t going to argue, because it just felt so nice to be held.

“I was worried,” Roy repeated. “I thought you might have done something stupid.” He didn’t elaborate. Jamie thought about it from his perspective—pro-footballer is accused of being gay, takes hurtful phone call from abusive father, kisses man, disappears after promising not to for twelve hours.

“I think that came before I left,” Jamie joked, awkwardly. Roy didn’t laugh, but his grip got a little tighter. He thought about what Keeley said, about accountability. “I’m sorry. I should have text you back.”

“S’fine,” Roy muttered. “Now come on, I’m fucking exhausted. We can talk in the morning.”

Jamie nodded, turning towards the couch. Roy sighed and grabbed his hand, pulling him toward the bedroom.

“You don’t have to sleep in here if you don’t want to,” he added, “but don’t feel like you can’t. But brush your teeth first, you smell like a fucking sixth form party.” Wordless, and feeling rather like he had missed a key development, Jamie followed.

***

“Well, this is just adorable!”

Jamie blinked awake, his dry mouth and throbbing head reminding him that even if he hadn’t kept track of how many shots he had last night, his body was all too aware. The room swam into view, with a number of developments—first, Roy was wrapped around him again, second, that it was clearly sometime in the middle of the day from the sunlight streaming in through the window, and most importantly, Keeley Jones was standing in the middle of the room, taking a picture on her mobile.

“Keeley?” Jamie sat up, pushing Roy off of him as he did. Not exactly the way you want to start an interaction with someone whose boyfriend you just snogged. She gave a little wave and Jamie’s heart pounded a little harder. He did not want to think about how similar that was to how he felt when Roy looked at him with that soft, private smile of his.

“Don’t worry, I won’t sell it to The Sun,” Keeley laughed, waving the picture she had just taken around on her phone screen. Jamie caught a glimpse and felt the same ache from last night in his chest—a kind of fear and longing combined. They looked good, he thought, snuggled together in a huge bed.

“What are you doing here?” Jamie whispered, easing himself out of the bed. “Come on, let’s not wake the grump.” He led the way out of the room, ignoring the slightly taken aback look on Keeley’s face. He needed to tell her what had happened, even if Roy hadn’t.

“We figured it would be best for me to make a public appearance with Roy—or even with both of you—to get the rumours about you two to die down. Roy and I are going to dinner tonight, and we’ll all go to the beach this afternoon,” she beamed at him in a way that made his stomach clench. She was such a good friend and person and he had kissed her boyfriend, like an idiot. He was going to miss her. “Then I have to fly back because I have a meeting at nine tomorrow morning, but it’s okay, because Rebecca loaned me the jet!”

“Right. Keeley, I need to talk to you about something,” Jamie said, forcing himself to cut straight to the chase as he headed to the kitchen for coffee. He wasn’t sure he could look her in the eyes while he did this. “I kissed Roy yesterday.”

“I know,” she said, her voice as upbeat and friendly as ever. “Also, I brought you coffee.”

Jamie turned around to see her offering him a paper cup. He grabbed it, eyebrows shooting up to his hairline.

“You know…and you brought me coffee?” He repeated, feeling stupid. He sniffed the coffee—vanilla. “Is it poisoned?”

“Jamie,” Keeley said, affectionate and scolding at the same time. Fuck, he really did love her. “I would never poison you. We’re friends! Anyway, Roy told me yesterday.” Jamie stared at her. He did not understand her. He did not understand Roy, for that matter. He wasn’t sure if he understood anything. “I was surprised, though,” she continued, flopping onto the couch and patting the seat next to her. Jamie sat where she gestured and, bemusedly, held the pillow she handed him in his lap. “I didn’t realise you knew you liked men.”

Hang on a second.

“Hang on—what do you mean knew I liked men? I don’t like men.” Jamie stared at her in shock. For her part, Keeley muffled a small giggle.

“Then why’d you kiss Roy?” she said, clearly fighting to keep a straight face. Jamie wasn’t sure if you could lose a conversation, but if you could, he was losing.

“It was…jealousy, or somethin like that,” he rationalized, remembering his vodka-shot-driven conclusion from the night before. “He gets to kiss you, and I love you, so I kissed him.”

Keeley outright laughed now. To be fair, it had made a lot more sense soaked in vodka. Maybe Jamie wasn’t explaining it right?

“Jamie, sweetheart,” she began, grabbing one of his hands. “You like men. You’ve seen every movie Ryan Reynolds has been in multiple times, and you cannot tell me it’s for the plot. Green Lantern is so bad, even he regrets being in it.”

“Look, I have eyes, I can appreciate when a man is attractive,” Jamie insisted. “That’s why I look so good—I know what a good haircut and outfit looks like, you know? But I’m still straight.”

“Do you look at men’s asses?” Keeley asked. Jamie glared at her—she knew full well he did, she had seen Deadpool with him. “Do you ever think about men in bed?” Jamie opened his mouth to protest, but she knew him too well. They had had a threesome with a male model in Paris once, and had talked about it a lot after. Keeley, clearly knowing all too well where his mind had gone, smirked and delivered the killing blow. “Do you have feelings for Roy Kent, notably, a man?”

Jamie nodded miserably.

“Then you’re not straight, babes,” she shrugged. “Straight men don’t look at other men like that. Welcome to the club, loads of people aren’t.”

“Not in football!” Jamie objected, voicing a red-hot terror that had been festering since he looked at his phone yesterday. “There’s nobody out in football.”

Keeley looked at him with a steady gaze, the kind of look that made him feel seen and as supported as he had last night, with Roy’s arms around him. “Do you think Ted will kick you out? Or Rebecca? Do you think Isaac and Colin will harass you, if you come out to them?” Jamie thought of the texts that he still hadn’t answered, the Instagram DM from Dani with a rainbow of heart emojis, the immediate support offered by a man he had insulted at every given opportunity a mere year ago.

“No,” he said at last. “They wouldn’t.” Keeley squeezed his hand and smiled at him.

“That’s a start, at least,” she said. Jamie nodded, sitting quietly with the idea. He expected more of a crisis, in all honestly, in those rare moments where he thought about how he looked at other men—how he acted toward men he felt an attraction to in real life, the way he pushed them away or pushed them around—but somewhere between Roy smiling at him in the Mediterranean at night and deciding to leave a nightclub to potentially sleep alone on a couch, he had kind of come to terms with it.

“So if I like men and women, then I’m like…a bicycle, right?” Keeley laughed again—Jamie felt like he was being laughed at a lot in this emotionally complex conversation. This is why he didn’t do emotional complexity.

She stopped, suddenly. “Sorry, I shouldn’t have laughed. You mean bisexual, sweetheart,” she squeezed his hand again, before suddenly launching herself at him. Jamie found himself with 5’2” of pure sunshine hugging him tightly before he could react. “I’m proud of you.”

“Thanks, Keels,” he said into her hair. Suddenly, he pulled back. “Wait. Keeley, I still kissed your boyfriend.”

Keeley smiled again at that, eyes sparkling. “That is something you need to talk to him about, not me. I’m not upset at you, and maybe depending on how your talk with Roy goes, we can all have a conversation, but that’s it. Anyway, he’s well fit, so I get the urge.”

Jamie laughed, his eyes tearing up a little bit. “I thought you wouldn’t talk to me ever again,” he admitted.

“Babes!” Keeley swatted at him lightly. “I would never. He’s a great kisser, isn’t he?”

Jamie nodded emphatically, still marvelling at the sheer bizarreness of this conversation in the back of his mind. “Very good.”

“You should see what he’s like,” she gestured emphatically, “downstairs.”

“Oi, you talking about me?” Roy’s voice came from the doorway, startling Jamie. They both swivelled around.

“Yes,” they said in unison and then burst into laughter.

Chapter Text

Marbella, Day 11

Jamie had to hand it to Keeley—she was incredible at her job. By that evening, pictures of the three of them on the beach were circulating Twitter. While it wasn’t enough to stop the entire online reaction, it had slowed down the onslaught somewhat, and was even trending with the hashtag #friendship goals, various users admiring their ability to all hang out despite previous and/or rumoured romantic entanglements. The Sun was refusing to print a retraction, but Keeley had made sure there would be cameras at her and Roy’s dinner tonight. Between the photos that had been snapped (and already posted) of him at the club the night before and the ones from Keeley and Roy’s suitably romantic date tonight, the rumours would be dying down by the end of the week.

It had been a nice day, all in all. Jamie had missed spending time with Keeley—hadn’t been in a room alone with her since the funeral, on purpose—and they had just goofed around all day, with the occasional break in which she snogged Roy while he pretended to be suitably unbothered by it, reading a book or going for a solo swim. Roy brightened around her, too, smiling more than Jamie had ever seen before Marbella. Although, at one point Keeley had elbowed him and asked why Roy was being so smiley—Jamie didn’t want to read into things, but maybe it wasn’t just Keeley’s unexpected presence that had the other man uncharacteristically not-sullen.

Now, though, they were out to dinner. Which was good! Great, even. And Jamie was fine. He actually wasn’t jealous at all, and anyway, he was on the couch with a takeaway, and he was totally fine with this turn of events. It didn’t mean anything—they clearly both cared about him, in ways he wasn’t entirely sure how to process. It did mean Jamie was in the house completely alone for the first time with the ability to scroll through Twitter and Instagram, reading the things people had tagged him in, and thinking about his father’s words. And Keeley was leaving directly after dinner, so he wouldn’t even get to see or talk to her again. It was fine. He was an adult, he could handle a little—okay, a lot—of homophobia online. Sure, it was rough seeing these things after only just admitting it out loud today, but he knew what the press was like. It was fine.

“Ted would support you. Rebecca would support you. Your team would support you,” he muttered out loud to himself. He couldn’t stop himself, though, from opening his dad’s contact and letting his finger hover over the unblock button. He didn’t want to talk to him, but maybe if he could hear the worst of it, he would know what to expect from everything else.

No. That was the kind of stupid idea he had ten vanilla vodka shots deep, and he was only sipping on his first glass of pink wine. He didn’t need to call his stupid fucking father.

He probably should call someone, though.

The phone was ringing before he had really made up his mind to dial, and seconds later, the other end picked up.

“Hey there, Jamie,” came a familiar voice. “I was hoping you’d call. Gimme one second.” He heard Ted mutter something and a deep voice reply on the other end. Beard? “Okey doke, what can I do for you?”

“Hey, Ted,” Jamie said, not really sure how to continue.

Ted, never one for silence, jumped in. “Seems like it’s been a rough couple of days for you? How you holdin’ up over there?”

“I’m…I’m fine,” Jamie sighed. “I think I’m okay. Keeley has been handling the press but…I dunno, Coach.”

“Bein’ outed is never a fun thing,” Ted said, sounding serious. “And I don’t know if there’s any truth to those rumours, nor does it make any difference to me who you’re into, so long as they respect you and you respect them, but I do know one thing that my football and your football’s got in common is a whole lot of loud people with some real ignorant opinions. And I want you to know that I’ve got your back, and so does the whole team. So you let me know if there’s ever anythin’ I can do to help.”

“Thanks, Coach,” Jamie was not choked up. It didn’t matter that this man he hadn’t known for very long—and hadn’t been very kind to—was saying things he hadn’t even dared to hope his own father would say, and he did not feel tears burning in his eyes. It may have been the reason that he said what he did next, though. “There’s some truth to it.”

“Is that so?” Ted’s voice was open, unjudgmental, and Jamie felt something in his chest loosen again.

“Yeah. Yeah, there is,” Jamie swallowed, his mouth dry. “I’m bisexual, anyway. That’s what Keeley says—”

“Keeley is one smart cookie—biscuit, sorry—but I think what you say is more important, kiddo,” Ted cut in. Jamie gave up on being entirely dry-eyed, but he wasn’t going to let Ted know.

“Okay,” he took another deep breath. “I’m bisexual, I think.”

“Well, thank you for sharin’ that with me,” Ted’s voice didn’t change, still open and welcoming in the same way that used to drive Jamie mad, but now he couldn’t help but be grateful for. “I appreciate you.”

Jamie didn’t respond for a long minute and for once, Ted just let the line stay silent, breathing steadily through it all the while. Jamie knew now, of course, that Ted wasn’t unflappable, but he still felt the same, deep sense of security he had when he asked Ted if he could come back to Richmond, despite expecting a negative answer. This was someone who would not laugh in his face, even if he said something stupid.

“Footballers aren’t gay,” he said finally. “People in football just aren’t gay. Not the coaches, not the players, not the fucking kit men.”

“I think you’ll find you’re a lot less alone than you think you are,” Ted’s voice was serious. “In fact, I’d be willin’ to bet a whole lotta money that you’re not even the only person at Richmond who’s a card-carrying member of the LGBTQ+ community.” He pronounced the acronym with care and precision, as though he’d made a point of memorising each letter. 

Jamie snorted. “Why, cos of Roy? I haven’t even talked to him about it.” That, at least, was true, even if it wasn’t exactly the whole story. Ted chucked, somewhat knowingly. Jamie thought for a moment of Colin, who never pulled when they went clubbing, despite offers, and who carefully avoided using pronouns when talking about his hook-ups. He thought too, of the texts he had yet to reply to, and felt a pang of guilt. He was shaken out of dwelling for too long, however, by someone talking to Ted on the other end of the line again. Ted’s voice, muffled, said something appropriately folksy and the same voice from before responded—definitely not American, though, so not Coach Beard. Jamie strained to hear what was being said—I’ll come downstairs in a little bit, sweetheart—and almost dropped his phone as he, slowly, connected the dots.

You?” he blurted out. “You’re talking about yourself? But you never said anything! You’re always saying things!”

Ted chuckled on the other end, not sounding too put out. “It’s a pretty new development, and we’re keepin’ it quiet for now. You could say we’re in the same boat here, my fine-footed friend. You’re not alone, all I’m sayin’.” 

Jamie thought about that for a moment, and then remembered what Ted had said to him. “Er…thanks for telling me, Coach,” he said quickly. “And thanks for supporting me.”

“My pleasure, Jamie,” he said, earnest as ever. “But it’s not just me, and I think you know that. How many unread texts do you have from your teammates right now?”

“A lot,” Jamie admitted. “I should probably reply to them. Thanks, Coach.” He hesitated for a moment before adding, “Roy had to block my dad from calling me. I almost unblocked him before I called you, but he was saying some…he was saying some shite, that’s all. So…yeah, thanks.” He blinked rapidly, trying to tamp down the welling of emotion.

“You can call me anytime, Jamie,” Ted’s voice sounded strange. It took Jamie a moment to realize that he was choked up, too. It made Jamie’s again-impending tears feel a lot less shameful. “And I’m flattered you did. I know dads can be complicated, and I wouldn’t ever want to offend you by talkin’ about your old man, but from what I’ve seen, he doesn’t deserve a son like you. You’re one of a kind, and if he doesn’t appreciate all of you, he’s a damn fool.”

Yeah, there went any chance for Jamie keeping it together. He was pretty sure he was audibly crying at this point. “Thanks, Ted,” he got out. “I…thank you.” He didn’t know what else to say, but wasn’t sure he needed to say anything else.

“Of course,” Ted’s smile was evident in his voice. “I’ll let you go respond to your teammates, okay?”

“Okay.” Jamie said. He stared at the phone after hanging up, trying to recalibrate his sense of the world. Then, he pulled out his phone to respond to some of the unread messages—Sam, and Isaac had both text him again since yesterday and he responded to them first before opening up two message he knew he needed to respond to with more care—Colin, who might have a more personal stake in LGBTQ+ football players than anyone else, and Dani, who had text him almost every hour since the news broke yesterday.

He was texting Colin as he heard Roy open the door. He sent a quick message to Colin and set his phone down, switching his Do Not Disturb mode back on and setting his phone down on the coffee table. Then, hesitating, he picked his phone back up and responded to Dani one more time, before tossing the phone to the nearby armchair:

iMessage thread with colin [caterpillar emoji]. Jamie: i'm not sure if it's real. Colin: Wait, Jamie...ARE YOU QUEER??? Jamie: that's like bad to say right. Colin: Not if you're also queer, I think. Colin: Which I am. Gay. Just FYI. Jamie: Maybe. Jamie: i think i'm bisexual. Colin: Welcome to the club, boyo [rainbow emoji]. Colin: Okay now seriously... Colin: ARE YOU DATING ROY??? Jamie: ...tell you tomorrow?        WhatsApp thread with Dani Rojas. Dani: Are you okay? Dani: you have been very silent. Dani: and you are not silent as a person. Jamie: all good amigo. Dani: love is love [7 heart emojis in rainbow order] Jamie: im not sure what to do right now. Dani: follow your [heart emoji] Dani: futbol is life [football emoji] Dani: but so is [heart emoji]. Dani: te amo mi amigo. Jamie: thanks muchacho. Jamie: love u 2

“You’re back early,” he called, trying to quell his nerves as Roy walked in and settled next to him on the couch with a tell-tale exhale and slightly higher-pitched-than-usual grunt, betraying that his knee was bothering him. It wasn’t surprising—they had been on the beach for a while, and hadn’t exactly been sedentary the whole time, and that was before he walked to dinner. What was a little surprising, maybe, was how obvious Roy’s tells were to Jamie now. “How was dinner with Keeley?”

“Food was fine, Keeley was…well, Keeley,” he said, his usual monotone undercut slightly by the look in his eyes at the mention of her name. Jamie knew the feeling. “How are you?”

It was the same question that Ted and Dani had asked him, but coming from Roy, it sent a thrill through Jamie’s body. It wasn’t just that Roy cared that affected him—he knew, maybe a little better now than before, that his teammates and coaches all cared about him too—but the particular way he cared, the way it felt to have Roy’s entire focus directed at him.

“Okay,” Jamie responded, not loving how breathy his voice sounded. “Good.”

“Good,” Roy repeated, sitting next to him on the couch, their thighs touching. “Are you going to run away again?” Wordless, heart beating fast at their proximity, Jamie shook his head. Roy moved closer at that, pressing a quick, closed-mouth kiss against Jamie’s lips before retreating back into his own space. Jamie’s heart felt like it was preparing for take-off now.

“What…what’s going on?” Jamie asked, his voice shakier than he wanted it to be.

“You kissed me, mate,” Roy pointed out. “Last night. I didn’t make the first move.”

Jamie felt shame surge through him—despite Keeley’s insistence that it was okay, despite the fact that the people he had talked to in the past hour had been supportive, he still felt like he had done something wrong there. Roy seemed to notice this, reaching his hand to his shoulder, squeezing comfortingly. 

“I’m glad you did,” he said. “I was going to do it eventually.”

“You were?” Jamie was not proud of how high his voice was at that. What was going on with him? But seriously—he was? “Why?”

Roy sighed, not unkindly. “It has come to my attention that you’re not a total fucking arsehole,” he began. Jamie opened his mouth to gloat about that admission but one glance at Roy’s face—serious, but something in his eyes was tenser than usual and he was flushed with nerves in a way Jamie couldn’t help but squirm at being the (presumable) cause of—and he decided against it. “And I…may have developed…feeling.” Jamie waited for him to continue, but that seemed to be the end of his sentence.

“You have…feeling. Singular. For me,” Jamie clarified, pointing to himself. Roy rolled his eyes.

“Do you see anyone else here, you muppet?”

Maybe it was the conversations he had had earlier that day, or it was maybe the way Roy was clearly just as nervous as Jamie himself, but he found himself able to regain a bit of his typical, cocky attitude. He made a point of looking around dramatically, lifting up the pillow next to him on the sofa as though someone could be hiding under it.

“This is a fucking terrible idea,” Roy groaned at Jamie’s antics, yanking him towards him for a much longer kiss that left Jamie’s head spinning.

“Apparently not,” he teased, slightly breathless still. “Since you have a whole feeling for me.” Roy growled at him and Jamie found himself being thoroughly kissed yet again.

“Careful, I’m going to start thinking you like it when I’m a prick,” he warned as they pulled apart.

“It shuts you up,” Roy said, rolling his eyes. Jamie wasn’t fooled, though, and Roy clearly knew it. Jamie shuffled back a little bit—as much as he wanted to keep kissing Roy, he had the sneaking suspicion that they really did need to talk.

“What is this?” he asked, gesturing between the two of them. “What do you want? What about Keeley?”

Roy took a deep breath, and Jamie got the sense that this was particularly difficult for him. Shocker—Roy Kent, not great at talking about his feelings. Not like he was much better, though.

“I have feelings for you,” he said again—plural, this time, Jamie noted. “I have spoken to Keeley about them, and she’s okay with it. Thrilled, really. I would not hate it if we spent more time together.”

“We’re in the middle of spending six weeks together,” Jamie pointed out needlessly. He probably shouldn’t keep interrupting Roy, but it was kind of fun, now that he knew they were going somewhere.

“Romantically, you fucking prick,” Roy responded. Jamie rather thought romantic conversations weren’t supposed to involve calling the other party a prick, but what did he know anyway. “I would like to spend time with you romantically. Is that fucking alright with you?”

“I didn’t even know you liked men,” Jamie mentioned casually. "But yeah, it's alright with me." 

“I don’t advertise it, I’m a fucking footballer,” Roy snapped, before wincing. “Was a footballer, I suppose. But yes, I like men.”

“And you like me,” Jamie repeated. “Since when do you like me? Two weeks ago I thought you hated me.” Roy looked away, face flushing again. Jamie raised his eyebrows and waited—clearly, the answer was at least a little embarrassing, and he was going to make the most of it. Roy muttered something that Jamie couldn’t make out. “What was that?”

“It started sometime around when we developed the signal, okay?” Roy said, finally. “And then it got worse after…you know—” Jamie knew. “and got confusing after you told Keeley you loved her again, which really fucking bothered me, even though I knew Keeley wasn’t going to leave me for you. It wasn’t until after you apologised and that last match that Keeley pointed out that maybe I wasn’t just angry at you, but a little jealous of her too.”

Jamie stared at him, jaw dropped. “The signal? But…that was months ago!” he exclaimed. Roy met his eyes again and shrugged, quickly. Jamie quickly ran through every interaction he had had with Roy in the past few months, trying to re-evaluate them. Huh. “So you had…feelings for me before you invited me here, yeah?”

“I wasn’t sure,” Roy explained. “We had never spent time together, it might have gone away easily.”

“So you invited me here to…what, test it out?” Jamie wasn’t sure if he should be offended or flattered. “On your romantic holiday?”

“That wasn’t the plan, I just wanted company. I didn’t think about the romantic shite I had planned,” Roy defended. Jamie believed him, but he wasn’t going to let him off that easily. He inched closer to the other man.

“So you invited me here and then just happened to seduce me, yeah?” he teased. “What would you have done if Keeley hadn’t bailed?” He suddenly felt less light-hearted—what if this was just a second-choice thing?

“Would’ve probably asked you out in London,” Roy replied, not missing a beat. “Or Keeley might’ve done something, if she got fed up of me wondering.” Jamie didn’t know what answer he had expected, but it wasn’t anything that straightforward. Roy misinterpreted his silence as reluctance, though. “Jamie. I want you. But say the word and I’ll drop it. I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.”

Jamie was feeling many things, but uncomfortable wasn’t really one of them. He moved quickly, standing up to face Roy before straddling the other man. Roy was shorter than him like this, his face tilted up with a questioning—nervous?—look.

“I’m not uncomfortable,” Jamie said. “I’m done talking, though.” This time, Jamie was the one to kiss Roy first, as the other man made a noise of surprise before sinking into the kiss, pulling Jamie firmly into his lap.

Jamie knew there would be more to talk about—a lot more, like clarifying that Jamie was pretty into Roy too, if he didn't realise that already, and what was going to happen after Marbella, and what this all meant with Keeley, and how fit did Roy think he was? For now, though, he was all too happy to stop thinking and focus on kissing Roy.

Chapter Text

Marbella, Day 18

Jamie was going to kill Roy. Or Roy was going to kill him.

They had been doing…whatever this was for a week now, a fucking week, and Roy would not. Fucking. Touch. Him. He got it, he really did—they had gone to bed together after they had talked and not done much other than kiss and cuddle, and the next morning Roy had made a big (for Roy) speech about how he wanted to take it slow because it mattered to him, which was all fine and well, except they were half-naked all the time and Roy was, he could admit now, really fucking fit, despite being basically ancient, and Jamie would like very much to get his hands and mouth on him wherever he could.

The thing about moving slow is that you usually moved slow before you went on holiday together. Not while on holiday together. They had a Jacuzzi, for fuck’s sake. He should be having Jacuzzi sex. And it wasn’t about Keeley, either. Roy and Jamie had called her the next day, confirmed that they were working things out, and she had given her full blessing. Jamie felt a thrill run through him whenever he thought about her words: specifically, her insistence that they should all speak in person.

Some small part of him thought this might be some kind of dream, where he was being kissed by a man he had fantasized about—and yeah, he definitely should have realised he wasn’t straight sooner—when he was younger and might even be able to reignite things with the woman of his dreams while seeing her boyfriend. Her fit, annoying, strangely sweet, quietly funny, gorgeous boyfriend. But if he was dreaming, he and Roy would have fucked by now. And they definitely, irritatingly had not.

Frankly, Jamie was going to go insane if something didn’t change soon. He needed to talk to Roy. Laying in their shared bed—shared bed! That was not slow!—he stared at the sun dappling the wall and considered the merits of going on a nudity strike.

The door to the bedroom opened and a very shirtless Roy Kent came in, holding two cups of coffee. “Made this for you,” he said, passing one over. Jamie took a deep sip—vanilla syrup in it, as usual. He was beginning to suspect the vanilla syrup at Keeley and Roy’s house had not, in fact, been left over, but purposefully bought in as part of a half-baked Roy Kent Seduction Tactic. It had worked, clearly.

“Thanks, babes,” he teased. Roy rolled his eyes but settled in the bed next to him. “Can I say something?” Roy tensed next to him and Jamie pressed his shoulder into the other man’s in a hope of providing some comfort. He felt Roy relax slightly, and he pressed a kiss against his bare shoulder.

“I get this whole taking it slow thing, yeah? But we’re on holiday together and we’re sharing a bed. We’re past slow, I think. So if you’re waiting for my sake, you don’t have to,” he sipped his coffee again, trying to hide his nerves. The thing was, he wasn’t entirely sure how to do the whole communication thing, since the closest he had ever gotten to a real, healthy relationship had blown up in his face. Not that this was a relationship. But it might be. Anyway, Roy’s stillness wasn’t exactly encouraging. “Roy?” he prodded.

“One second,” Roy grumbled. “Thinking.” That was also not encouraging. Roy shifted in the bed to face Jamie, setting his coffee on the nightstand as he did. Jamie wrapped his hands tighter around his mug in response. Shit.

“I’m your coach,” Roy said, finally. Jamie was left blinking at him in shock—Roy had a knack for bringing up things entirely out of the blue. Or maybe he just didn’t get Roy’s brain. Either was possible.

“You were my coach when you were snogging me yesterday, too,” Jamie pointed out, not unreasonably. “Is there a no-shag-rule for coaches and players?”

Roy looked at him like he was an idiot. “Yes, you idiot,” he said. Ah. “But it’s also a no-snog-rule too. It’s a fucking abuse of power thing.”

“Well, just don’t abuse your power, yeah?” Jamie shrugged. He wasn’t really sure why this was where Roy was drawing the line. “And what power, anyway? It’s not like Ted or Beard would let you. You can’t fire me, and you can’t decide to take me off the pitch all on your own, and you’re a right prick during training even to the ones you like, like Sam. S’not like that’s going to change if we shag.”

“That…makes some sense,” Roy said slowly. Jamie shrugged and lay back in the bed, giving him his best “well, what can you do” smile. Roy bared his teeth at him but then dropped the façade a second later, leaning over him for some definitely disallowed coach-player interaction. “But that means we’ll have to talk to Beard and Ted, and probably Rebecca about it, if you’re alright with that.”

“I already talked to Ted, didn’t I?” Jamie responded after a beat, still trying to switch between kissing-brain and conversation-brain as quickly as Roy did.

“You what?” Roy’s voice was shocked to the core. Jamie hadn’t realised he hadn’t told him—he had had other things on his mind that night, in his defence. Roy, mostly. Not Ted fucking Lasso.

“Came out to him and everything, a week ago. Didn’t say anything about us, though,” he added hastily, in case Roy was worried about that. “But he’d be fine.”

“Jamie…” Roy seemed to be having some kind of heart palpitations. Oh shit, was this because he was old? Maybe Jamie had to make sure not to make any sudden movements, or something. Also, if they were doing…whatever…maybe Jamie should stop calling him old all the time. That’d be creepy if he was actually super old, instead of like, football old. But where was the fun in that? “I thought you only just realised you were bisexual last week.”

“Yeah, so?” Jamie was glad Roy was not having a heart attack or whatever, but he was being a bit slow on the uptake. “I talked to Ted since then.”

“You…who else did you…talk to?” Roy asked, speaking slowly. Seriously, was he okay? He looked fine—well, he looked great, but that wasn’t the point. Jamie shook his head to clear it. He almost missed when he could just see Roy shirtless and make a joke and not be completely distracted, but unfortunately, those days seemed long gone.

“Erm…Sam, Isaac, Colin, and Dani? Oh, and Keeley, but you knew that already.” Jamie listed, thinking of everyone he had text in the past few days. “Only, Colin and Dani do know that there’s something going on here. Sorry. I should have checked with you, but they kept asking after the article and Colin gets it and Dani and I are pretty close, y’know? They won’t say anything.”

“No…that’s fine,” Roy responded, sounding bewildered. “…you can tell whoever you want on the team.” Cool, Jamie could text Sam. Although he wasn’t sure what he would tell Sam—Roy liked him? He was maybe seeing Roy? It wasn’t like they were dating or anything, at least, not that Roy had told Jamie. He wouldn’t mind if—but he probably shouldn’t focus on that.

“Are we past the coach thing yet? Because Rebecca probably knew within seconds of us kissing the first time, there’s no way she loaned Keeley the jet without Keeley telling her everything. And if Ted knows, Beard probably knows. Also, I think he knows everything,” Jamie rambled. “And none of them would let anything bad happen. I trust you to not be a dick, other than like, the normal ways that you’re a dick. So I don’t think it’s like, a power abuse situation. Also, I kissed you first.”

“I…I brought you on holiday and seduced you, though,” Roy sputtered, remarkably shaken. “That’s some kind of…fucking coercion or something. I don’t want you to think you have to do anything, and I don’t want to act like it’s a one-night-stand or holiday fling.”

Jamie rolled his eyes. “Roy, mate, you’ve laughed in front of me multiple times. I know that’s serious. Look, if you don’t want to have sex, you can just tell me.”

“I can’t fucking shag you right away because that’s not respecting you. I mean, I want to. I really want to. But I can’t just…I respect…I need to…I’m going for a walk.”

And then a very flustered Roy Kent left the room. Jamie stared after him and then looked back at the wall. Roy wasn’t really smooth enough to seduce anyone, to be fair. He got a little goofy when he liked someone—Keeley had made fun of his impressions to Jamie enough for him to realise that, and now Jamie had seen it with his own eyes. It was cute, or something.

It was obvious to Jamie, though, what he had to do. To make Roy feel better about supposedly seducing him, or whatever was going on in his thick skull, Jamie had to seduce him right back.

***

Ten minutes later and Jamie realised he hadn’t actually had to seduce anyone, ever. The whole footballer-plus-being-incredibly-fit thing had made it pretty easy for him, actually. He wasn’t entirely sure if it was appropriate in this situation, but he needed to bring out the big guns. Or phone a friend. Or something else that Ted was always saying.

iMessage thread with Keeley [sparkle emoji, sparkle heart emoji] from 10:52am. Jamie: how do i seduce roy. Keeley: !!! Keeley: Thought you already did? Jamie: all weve done is snog [crying emoji]. Jamie: He's worried about pressuring me or something but he's not, so I gotta seduce him. Keeley: Did you tell him he wasn't?? Jamie: yea but he isn't listening, just keeps sputtering about coaches and stuff. Keeley: Hmm...          iMessage thread continued. Keeley: HE gets in his own head like that sometimes...he just wants to look out for you. Jamie: He's so dumb. I want him to fuck me tho so any advice. Keeley: 20 exclamation marks. Keeley: He thinks you're really fit when you're playing. Keeley: Won't admit it though Jamie: rly??? Jamie: i knew it      iMessage thread continued. Jamie: do you think he'd like jacuzzi sex. Keeley: He has seen a LOT of Lust Conquers All...but I am not playing relationship counselor to 2/3 of my relationship! Keeley: Go get your (our) man [heart emoji]. Jamie: yr an angel thank u. Jamie: wait does this mean I get to seduce you 2? Keeley: Can you still do that thing with your tongue? Jamie: ya [face with tongue out] Keeley: You don't need to [winking emoji]

Relationship…Keeley used the word relationship. Okay. So she thought they were in a relationship. Maybe he should talk to Roy about these things before seducing him?

Nah. Maybe? He wasn’t sure.

Football. Football he could do. And Jacuzzi sex, finally. In that order. He slid out of bed and headed to the shower. Time to come up with a plan.

***

Roy still wasn’t back when Jamie got out of the shower, so he went into the kitchen, putting some more of the champagne into an ice bucket and setting it near the Jacuzzi. Step one, done. He returned to the bedroom and threw open the closet (ha), scanning his clothes for the perfect seduction outfit. That was beginning to sound a lot less like a word the more he thought it. Oh well. He grabbed his tightest swimming trunks—very tight, for the record—but none of his shirts seemed quite right. Maybe shirtless would be a good shout?

The door slammed as he stood there, debating, announcing Roy’s return—perfect timing. Something caught his eye and he grinned. Now that was an idea. He grabbed the shirt and threw it on before leaving the room, snagging the football they had purchased on their second day as he headed to the back garden. Showtime.

“Hey gramps,” he called, sauntering past the other man. He heard Roy drop something—his phone, maybe?—and swear, but he didn’t stop to check. “Want to play some one-on-one or run a drill? I need to make sure I’m keeping in shape here, we can’t all just scowl at people for a living.” He reached the garden and began playing keepie uppie as he waited, his back facing the door.

He did not have to wait very long.

“What are the fuck are you wearing?” Roy asked, a strong arm wrapping around his waist. Jamie spun around with a grin, finding himself nose-to-nose with Roy.

“Do you like it?” he teased. Roy tightened his grip and Jamie felt his breath catch in his throat. He really was going to die if they didn’t do something about this soon. “I thought it was funny you brought a bit of your old kit on holiday, but I think it looks good on me, don’t you?” He pulled out of Roy’s embrace to do a spin, making sure Roy could clearly see his own name splashed across Jamie’s back.

“Fuck,” Roy sounded somewhat strangled. “Come back here.” He reached out and snagged the front of Jamie’s (his) shirt and pulled him in for a bruising kiss. Roy wrapped his arms round Jamie, one hand sneaking up the back of his shirt to pull him even closer. Jamie felt like he was going to explode, his skin burning where Roy touched it. He fisted his hands in Roy’s hair and gave him as good as he was getting, until he drew back and Roy tried to follow his mouth with a strangled groan. Jamie took a quick step back, just out of reach, with a roaring sense of triumph. This was going to be fun.

“Possessive?” Jamie smirked, which would probably have been more effective if he had waited to catch his breath. He wasn’t alone, though—Roy’s face was flushed and his pupils blown, his hair sticking up where Jamie’s hands had been.

“You little prick,” Roy murmured, his tone making Jamie’s head spin a little bit. He quickly debated the benefits of abandoning his plan altogether and just dragging Roy to the bedroom now, but decided against it, stepping back further to where he had dropped the football when Roy had grabbed him.

“Can you still kick this, old man? Or is your knee too fucked?” he passed it to Roy, who reacted on instinct. Jamie looked closely to make sure Roy wasn’t actually straining his knee, but he showed no signs of flinching.

“Tartt,” Roy began, his normal glare back in place. Jamie could see he was still breathing hard from the kiss, though, so the effect was basically ruined. Jamie ran to the other end of the garden before Roy could finish.

“Kit says it’s Kent for now, actually,” Jamie called, intercepting the football smoothly. He ran it back to Roy, showing off his best fancy footwork as he did. Jamie ran forward to kiss him on the cheek before jogging off again. “C’mon, Coach, are you going to drill me or what?” It was a bad joke, but Roy still looked like his head was exploding, so Jamie considered it a job well done. 

“That was fucking horrible. And don’t…call me that in this context,” Roy ordered. Jamie smirked at him.

“What do you mean? We’re just playing football,” he winked. Roy made another strangled noise, before moving to intercept the kick Jamie sent his way.

They passed the ball back and forth for a while before Roy switched to tossing the ball Jamie’s way. Jamie took any opportunity to send teasing comments and flirty looks Roy’s way. Roy, for his part, seemed increasingly frustrated, throwing with more force each time, sending the ball all over the garden while Jamie ran for it. This worked well for Jamie’s plan, however, since it just meant he had to lift up his (Roy’s) shirt to wipe the sweat off his face several times, causing more noises from the other man’s general direction.

“Hang on, need to cool down,” Jamie said at last, exaggerating his breathlessness for effect. He ran up to his water bottle and squirted it directly onto his face, letting it drip from his nose and down his neck.

“Jamie,” Roy groaned, his eyes tracking the trail of a droplet. “You’re killing me.”

Jamie flashed him another quick grin. “Dunno what you mean. Come on, I think that’s enough football for the day.” He splashed some more water on his face, just to be sure.

“What?” Roy seemed dazed, still staring at him, and Jamie felt like he should send Keeley some flowers or something. Although, if they were maybe-dating, he should probably do that anyway. Not the point right now, anyway. Jamie winked at Roy again and began walking over to the Jacuzzi pulling his shirt off as he did.

“I liked having that on, but I don’t want to ruin it,” he explained, overly-casual. He sneaked a look back at Roy, who was still standing where Jamie had left him. “Are you coming or not, old man?” He popped the champagne and poured it into two flutes, setting them in the drinks holder of the Jacuzzi.

“Aren’t you too warm for that?” Roy asked, heading toward the door without waiting for an answer. “I need to get my swimming trunks on,” he added.

“Do you?” Jamie asked, raising his eyebrows. He waited ‘til Roy was looking at him to drop his own, lowering himself into the Jacuzzi.

“You’re fucking killing me,” Roy said again, but he followed, so Jamie considered it a success. He passed Roy a champagne flute and considered his next move—he was more than a little nervous, since it was more…up front about emotion than blatantly teasing…but Keeley’s texts, and Roy’s reactions, had steeled him. He wasn’t going to send Roy running if he told him how much he liked him—Roy had done the same for him, after all. If he was going to make sure Roy knew he was very very willing to move things further, he was probably going to have to be vulnerable or something.

“Oi,” Jamie said, stopping Roy from taking a sip of his champagne. “Let’s do a toast, yeah?”

Roy raised his eyebrows at him but didn’t object. Jamie took a deep breath, steeling himself.

“Uh…just…thanks for inviting me out here,” he started, holding up his flute. “S’not every day someone I really like invites me on holiday, and…I do really like you. And have feelings for you. Plural, significant, tell my friends about it, not-just-casual-shagging feelings, d’you know what I mean? So, yeah, cheers,” he clinked his glass against Roy’s, feeling slightly awkward.

Roy was frozen again—he seemed to be stalling out a lot today. Jamie took a deep sip of his champagne to hide his nerves, and then suddenly found his flute being lifted out of his hand and set firmly in the drinks holder, Roy crowding into his space.

“You’re a fucking menace,” he growled. Jamie closed his eyes, trying to control the full-body shiver that came from having Roy this close, naked, his breath hot against Jamie’s face.

“You like it,” he pointed out.

“Fuck me, I do,” Roy responded. Jamie didn’t have time to make a quick remark or offer to fuck Roy—or preferably, the other way around—before he was being kissed thoroughly again, Roy’s hand moving in a distinctly new direction.

***
His Jacuzzi sex ranking needed significant updating.

Chapter Text

Marbella, Day 28

Jamie Tartt was having a good fucking time. Or a fucking good time. There was a lot of fucking and it was good, that was his point. Well, there wasn’t any fucking, if he was being technical about it. Frankly, he was getting off much too often to be technical about it, though.

He felt like he was living one of those romcommunism movies Ted was always talking about. He was a fucking Kate at this rate, and he was loving it. Jamie had all but turned his phone off, using it only to text the boys and Keeley, and had never gone this long without coaches or his father or reporters or anyone getting in his face in his life. They had lie-ins and sometimes Jamie made Roy breakfast in bed—if he could detach from octo-Roy, anyway—and Jamie went for runs while Roy did Roy Things, and then they went to the sea or the pool and read and swam and hung out together for most of the day. They had gone through basically every two-player card game they both knew (Roy was good at poker. Jamie was not) and he had read Roy’s weird bible book (it was fine, he didn’t love it) and Roy made fancy dinners that Jamie had no idea people just cooked casually, and they talked to Keeley or Roy talked to her on his own while Jamie talked to Colin or Rojas or occasionally Isaac, and sometimes they even watched the romcommunism movies, which they both preferred over action things, but usually didn’t get very far before Jamie was straddling Roy on the couch, or on his knees, or…it was nice, was his point. It was very very nice. It was the kind of nice he and Keeley didn’t even get to, because they had both been so busy and he had been so self-absorbed and into being Jamie Tartt and hadn’t cared all that much about being Jamie.

He got to be Jamie with Roy. He kind of had to be, because Roy hadn’t liked Jamie Tartt all that much at first, but he seemed pretty into Jamie. Which made Jamie feel good in a way he wasn’t sure he had ever felt before. He liked being someone Roy liked.

They still hadn’t had what Colin kept referring to as The Talk about if they were dating or not, but that was fine. Well, it was mostly fine, as long as Jamie didn’t focus on it too much. If he did, he felt a bit shit. It was just that things were good and he was maybe a bit scared that if he brought it up, Roy might say he didn’t want to date and that not-casual shagging meant literally just that, nothing else, and then Jamie would be—

Well. Fucking heartbroken, maybe.

He didn’t think it would go that way, but you never knew, and he wasn’t about to fuck up this good thing the way he fucked up the last good thing he had going. Because he thought he was great then, and even though he knew now he was actually being a dick, he didn’t know if a year from now he’d look back at asking Roy to be his…whatever…and think the same thing. For ages, he was kicking himself, picturing the quiet moments when it was him and Keeley and they were good, and wishing he could go back and just change everything he did after. And right now, he was lying in bed with Roy and it was quiet and good and he didn’t want to be picturing this for the next however long when he could have been doing it instead if he didn’t fuck up, so he just had to make sure not to—

“Stop thinking so loud,” came a sleepy, grumpy voice. Jamie realised his breathing had sped up. Roy, currently snuggled into his chest—and Roy’s complete lack of personal space at night-time was fucking cute, alright, and Jamie could officially think that now because they were doing…this—cracked open his eyes to glare half-heartedly up at Jamie. That was pretty cute too, actually. “You’re all tense. Alright?”

“Alright, yeah,” Jamie nodded a little jerkily and Roy opened his eyes all the way, shifting so he was lying a little more next to Jamie and a little less on him. Jamie had a split second of concern that he had done something wrong, but Roy turned to face him on the bed and immediately intertwined their legs together, so he figured he was fine.

“Don’t lie. I’m not fucking dumb.” He said, his tone gruff but gentle in a way that made Jamie want to melt. “S’wrong?” Jamie wasn’t sure how to explain it.

“I just don’t want to fuck this up, d’you know what I mean?” he opted for at last, looking away from Roy, ears burning.

A warm hand wrapped around his chin and tilted his face back toward Roy’s. The other man’s gaze was steady and warm, and Jamie felt his chest loosen. He felt like nothing in the world could hurt him when Roy looked at him like that.

“You’re not fucking this up,” he said, his voice so full of affection that Jamie melted further. “You’re fucking spectacular, actually,” Roy added. Jamie wasn’t sure what his face did—did he make a noise at that?—but whatever it was, Roy liked it very much, because Jamie found himself being kissed pretty thoroughly, and he had no space for worrying at all when Roy was moving his tongue like that.

“C’mon,” Roy said finally, pulling back. They were both breathing heavily and Jamie was sure his pupils were blown as wide as Roy’s. Fuck, he liked him so much. “You need to go for your run, and I’ll do a proper breakfast while you do.” He drew back and got up from the bed.

“Trying to keep me in shape, Coach?” Jamie teased as he followed suit.

“What did I say about calling me that when we’re like this?” Roy growled, getting very close to him again. Jamie paused for a long moment, pretending to deliberate.

“That I should do it as often as possible, because it turns you on?” Jamie smirked at him.

“You little shit,” Roy manhandled him back into the bed, thoroughly proving Jamie’s point.

***

It wasn’t until he did finally get to his run—and he didn’t love running, precisely because he didn’t love being alone with his thoughts and that was like, half of the point to running—that the overthinking and nervousness began to rear its head again. He tried to focus on the steady pounding of his feet on the pavement, the physicality of it, but he couldn’t quite clear his mind. It just kept eating at him—Roy said he was spectacular, but everyone had always said that with caveat or a qualifier. He was great, sure, but only at football. He was sexy, but not quite sexy enough to make up for his (admittedly horrible at the time) personality. What if he meant he was spectacular in bed (duh) and at hanging out in Marbella, but not for romantic serious conversation type things? He didn’t want the romcommunism montage to end and be left falling in love with Roy Kent and already in love with Keeley Jones and both of them in love with each other and not with—

Oh no. That was a big word. That was way too big a word for this freak out.

He got back to the house in a worse mood than he left it and could only partly smile at Roy, who followed him into the bathroom.

“I made breakfast, if you want it before your shower,” he said. Jamie just shrugged, which seemed to alarm Roy. “Or we could shower together.”

“I’ll just shower alone,” Jamie said. “I’ll be out in a bit, yeah?” He hated showering alone, but he was freaking out a little bit and having Roy naked and pressed against him wasn’t going to help.

Roy looked like he wanted to say something, but seemed to think better of it and left Jamie standing in the en-suite, alone. As requested.

He was sitting at the too-large table when Jamie came out, dressed and towelling his hair dry, two plates of food on the table. Jamie sat across from him and lifted his fork to begin eating. Roy opened his mouth and closed it again.

“Are you pissed off at me?” Roy said finally. Jamie started, almost choking on his mouthful of scrambled eggs. He took a few quick sips of water to clear his throat, coughing.

“What are you talking about?” he said, finally. Roy was looking at him with a vague expression of alarm on his face. “Why would I be mad at you?”

“I don’t fucking know, you showered alone! You fucking hate showering alone.” Jamie peered closely at Roy, who looked…huh. Worried.

“Roy, I was just having some thoughts and needed a minute, do y’know what I mean?” Jamie said, slowly. Roy’s shoulders dropped slightly, some tension releasing. “I promise we can shower together tomorrow, yeah?”

“About what?” Roy pressed. Jamie sighed—this was as good of an opening as he was going to get.

“What is this?” He gestured between them. “With you and me? Or you and me and Keeley, I guess.”

“What do you mean?” Roy seemed a bit taken aback, like he didn’t expect the conversation to go in this direction. He wasn’t being particularly grumpy, at least, so it didn’t seem like Jamie had fucked up yet.

“Look, it’s like…I don’t know what you want from me. I mean, I know you’ve got feeling or whatever, I know you want me, and I know you want me to understand it’s serious and not just something casual, and I know you want to be very sure I consent to everything—which I have done, obviously—but like, I don’t know what else that means. And I don’t want to fuck it up by thinking it’s something that it’s not but I also don’t want to fuck it up by asking you too early or anything,” Jamie finally got out, so quickly some of the words ran into each other, twisting his hands together. Roy blinked at him several times, seemingly processing. “Sorry.”

“Don’t fucking apologize,” Roy said, quickly. “Thinking.”

Jamie waited. Roy took ages to think, he had noticed, it was very strange. It was like he had to translate everything Jamie said into old-man-language and then translate it back. Or something. At least he knew now it wasn’t necessarily a bad sign. Roy just didn’t really say things he didn’t mean. Well, except for calling Jamie a prick all the time, but Jamie knew that was more a pet name at this point.

“You don’t know what I want from you?” he said finally. What was all that thinking for, if he was just going to repeat Jamie’s own words back to him? Was Jamie going to have to spell it out for him? Probably.

“I don’t, like, if you want a relationship or to casually date or whatever? Or something…else, I don’t know. I’m asking you, aren’t I, cause I don’t know,” he said, hands twisting even more as he said the word relationship. He didn’t know what he was thinking—he was Jamie Tartt. He was fine for a shag, or a whole six weeks of shagging, and fine for a threesome or whatever, but not long-term. Not in a real way. He shouldn’t have even asked. He stared at the floor, not wanting to meet Roy’s eyes when he inevitably let him down easy.

“Jamie.” Roy’s voice was calm, the same warm tone in it that Jamie was beginning to associate with sun-streaked mornings and rare, irony-free smiles. He heard shifting. Fuck, this was going to hurt as much as Keeley had. Maybe more, because he hadn’t let himself care then. “Hey, Jamie, look at me.” Jamie didn’t lift his eyes, but Roy crouched down into his sight line—that must kill his knee—and wrapped his hands around Jamie’s own. “I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear. I fucking like you. I want a relationship with you.”

“Really?” Jamie hated how small his voice sounded when he got emotional. He had hoped but still…the doubt had overwhelmed him. He still couldn’t quite meet Roy’s eyes. “You want to like…be my boyfriend, or something?”

Roy scoffed, but when Jamie looked at him, his eyes were still warm. “I’m not a fucking child,” he said. Right. That made sense, but Jamie couldn’t help but feel a bit let down. It would’ve been cool to be Roy Kent’s boyfriend. Apparently, Roy could tell, though, because he let out a long-suffering sigh, which was undercut by the way he squeezed Jamie’s hand. “Yes, I want to be your fucking boyfriend.”

“What about Keeley?” Jamie asked, pushing as much as he could, because he wasn’t sure he’d have the nerve to do it again. Keeley had used the word relationship, but still. Ted was always saying something about assuming. Also…“What if she gets sick of dating me again? I was pretty annoying last time, I think.”

Roy laughed slightly. “I think she’s over that,” he said. Fair enough. “But you need to talk to Keeley about you and Keeley. No matter what she says, I’ve talked to her about me dating you. You and I are dating outside of Keeley and I and outside of you and Keeley.”

“It’d be nice if it was all three of us, though,” Jamie pointed out. “It’s nice when it is all three of us talking, anyway.”

“Yeah, it is” Roy agreed. Jamie finally met his eyes. Fuck, he was into him. “So. You get it now, right? We’re in a relationship. With all the shit that means.”

“Yeah, yeah, I get it,” Jamie agreed, all fake bravado to try to hide just how nervous he had been. From the look Roy gave him though, he wasn’t buying it. “Boyfriends, or whatever. Do boyfriends have sex? Because you’re basically on your knees already.”

“You’re so fucking horny all the time,” Roy said, rolling his eyes. “Come on, then. Let’s go to the room.”

*

Roy got up stiffly and pulled Jamie to his feet with him. Jamie followed him to the bedroom, not sure why they weren’t just going for it there—he had blown Roy in almost every room of the house at this point, after all. Roy tossed a pillow from the bed and lube onto the floor, which confused Jamie, but he wasn’t going to question it too much, not with Roy kissing him the way he was, mouthing down his neck, the scape of his beard just right. Roy tossed his shirt aside before pulling off Jamie’s, continuing kissing downward until he was actually kneeling on the pillow, pushing Jamie’s shorts down.

“Fu-u-uck,” Jamie groaned, voice shaking as Roy took him into his mouth. Jamie had never sucked a dick before Roy’s but Roy had and it fucking showed—he was too good at it, he was going to kill Jamie. Roy pulled off him for a second and looked up, his hair messy where Jamie had grabbed onto it.

“Is it okay if I prep you?” Roy asked. It took Jamie a second for the dots to connect and then he nodded, so enthusiastically he swore he could hear the brain cells that Roy hadn’t killed off entirely rattling around. Roy reached for the lube looked at him for a moment longer and then—“you can fuck my face, you know. Boyfriend privileges.”

Clearly Roy could tell what that did to Jamie because he went right back to sucking Jamie’s dick and Jamie’s hips snapped forward as Roy circled his hole with one finger, not quite pushing in yet. They had done this before, but never with the word “prep” involved. Jamie let out a strangled moan as Roy chuckled around his cock, the vibrations making his toes curl.

Time got a little hazy there, a mix of incredible sensation and slick fingers pushing inside Jamie, and his legs trembling as Roy hit just right until—

“Roy. Roy, babe,” Jamie panted out. “I’m going to come.”  Roy pulled away again, letting out a small noise at the endearment.

“Can’t have that,” he said, his voice raspier from—fuck—from sucking Jamie’s cock, and that was so hot he may never have to watch porn again, and they’d done this before too, but this was the first time it was foreplay instead of the main event, and it was the first time without the lingering fear that this would go away suddenly, but it wouldn’t because Roy was his boyfriend now and fuck, Jamie was being pulled to the bed, almost thrown and he was so alright with this. “On your back okay?”

“Yeah,” Jamie agreed, breathy, lifting his hips up to let Roy put the pillow that had previously been on the floor under his hips with more ease.

“Good boy,” Roy murmured in approval, stroking his hand down Jamie’s thigh, and there was no way he missed the full-body shiver that caused. Jamie moaned, head thrown back, and Roy mouthed at his throat. “Fuck, you’re so good.” Oh, Jamie was going to die. This was too good and Roy wasn’t even fucking him yet.

Keeley had fucked him before, with a pink strap-on. He thought he knew what it was like to be fucked. Roy pushing into him, all hot and fucking huge, though, was a completely different experience.

“Fuck, Jamie,” Roy moaned. Jamie felt insane, his mouth swollen and throbbing from where Roy’s teeth had scraped kissing him, his body stretched and clenching around Roy. He felt like he was pulled thin, every part of him surrounded by Roy—every-fucking-where, Roy Kent. He let out a bit of breathless laughter as Roy began to thrust.

Then Roy changed the angle of his hips and thrust into him again, hitting him perfectly, and Jamie wasn’t thinking anything at all, he was just babbling something incoherent, the entire world narrowed down to him and Roy and Roy’s fucking cock, and Roy’s beard was scraping against him as he sucked another mark into his neck and Jamie was fucking done for, moaning as he came, Roy following him over the edge.

“Fuck,” he panted, coming back to himself some time later. Roy made a muffled noise in assent and then leaned over, kissing him softly, edge all gone but affection remaining. Jamie wanted to curl up close to him forever. “Not bad for an old man.”

“Shut up, you prick,” Roy nuzzled into him, clearly already slipping into unconsciousness with the way he was wrapping his limbs around Jamie. What a ridiculous man, falling asleep less than two hours after waking up, just because of mind-blowing sex. He wasn’t really complaining though—Roy cuddling him like this was nice. God, he was clingy. Jamie fucking loved it.

“Sleep well, babe,” Jamie pressed a kiss to Roy’s forehead, taking in a deep breath. He was so gone, it was ridiculous.