Robert woke up to a cold bed. He put his hand over the sheets, frowning. No note, and no text on his phone. He felt a sense of foreboding. This wasn’t good, but he couldn’t explain why. Robert quickly dressed before leaving the hotel room, almost literally bumping into John. He didn’t waste time with preamble.
“When did he leave?” Robert asked.
“About half three in the morning,” John said, Robert's heart sinking. “He went home.”
“He told you that?” Robert asked.
“No,” John said. “But I’m not an idiot. I had some of my guys follow his taxi, because I knew you’d ask in the morning. Plus having him kidnapped wouldn’t help anything.”
“Didn’t you try and stop him?” Robert asked. John just glared at him. Robert sighed.
“Get me a car, I’m going over there.”
“You’re crazy,” John said. “It’s the middle of rush hour in London, it’ll take ages.”
“John?” Robert said. “Get me a car.”
Aaron had barely slept and he knew he looked terrible, the dark circles under his eyes almost glowing. He couldn’t stop thinking of Robert. He shouldn’t have run out of there, but he was panicking. It was too serious too quickly. Robert was too unobtainable. But it’s too late, a voice said in Aaron’s head, one he pushed aside.
Adam was making himself some toast, wearing only his boxers and looking like he’d got more sleep than Aaron had. “You want some toast?”
“No,” Aaron said.
“Oh dear,” Adam said, voice all sing song. “You’ve had an argument with your rich and famous boyfriend?”
Adam’s voice lost the teasing tone to it. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Aaron said. “I just know it can’t go anywhere and… it hurts. To know that.”
“Mate,” Adam said. “It might be better to get shot of him.”
“Yeah,” Aaron said. “But I’ve fallen for him and I really shouldn’t have.” Aaron shrugged. There was a knock on the door and Aaron sighed, moving to get it.
Aaron felt like he’d been electrocuted. Robert stood there, on his doorstep, one guard accompanying him. “What the hell are you doing here?” Aaron said.
Adam had turned around, looking at the door, mouth gaping open in shock. “I wanted to talk to you," Robert said.
“I have a phone,” Aaron said, shaking his head. “God, the risk… If you’re seen…”
“I know,” Robert said. “I didn’t care. Have you got a minute?”
“Adam,” Aaron said. “Shut your mouth and disappear.” To his credit, he did.
Robert breathed out with relief when they were alone. “I woke up and you weren’t there,” he said simply.
“I know,” Aaron said, shrugging. “I just…” Aaron didn’t know how to say it.
“Do you want me to go?”
“No,” Aaron said, because he didn’t. As soon as he said that, Robert moved closer to him, hands on Aaron’s hips so they were facing each other and Aaron couldn’t turn away.
“I er… I got overwhelmed,” Aaron said. Did that describe it? “You… it’s just… so much and I can’t help how I’m feeling for you.” It was hard to get the words out, but it was at least honest. Robert’s eyes lost some of their panic and he sighed.
“I don’t want to lose you,” Robert said. “I’m not… I’m me, you know? I have a really privileged position, but underneath, I’m just me.”
“I know,” Aaron said. “I shouldn’t run, but… I’m scared, you know?”
“Yeah, I do,” Robert said. “Listen, I’ve got a week off work coming up. Come with me to Balmoral.”
Aaron blinked. “Just like that?”
“It’s private,” Robert said. “It’ll be just us, and there’s miles and miles of private land, so we don’t have to worry about the press, the photographers, anything. Plus… I’d like a week with just you.”
Aaron smiled. It was tempting, oh so tempting, but… he was still the prince of the country. “We won’t get caught?”
“No,” Robert said. Aaron nodded.
“I’ll try and get cover at the garage,” he said. “If I can, then… yeah.”
Robert beamed. He kissed Aaron quickly but thoroughly before leaving. Aaron wasn’t stupid, he knew this visit had been a risk. Adam appeared out of his room and Aaron winced.
“So,” Adam said. “When you said he was rich and famous, you left out the bit about him being the future KING of the bloody country!”
“Yeah,” Aaron said. “I know.”
“Aaron, what are you doing?!” Adam said. “It can’t last, you know that.”
“Yeah,” Aaron said. “I’m not stupid, I know. But…” he thought to himself. “It’s too late. I’m already in over my head. I can’t leave him.”
“Please, don’t say anything,” Aaron said.
“I’m not a grass,” Adam said, scowling. “Who do you think I am?”
“Sorry,” Aaron said. “I know you’re a mate.”
“Of course I am,” Adam said. “You’re just… playing with fire.”
“Yeah, I am,” Aaron said. Because he knew that all too well.
As it happened, Cain was more than happy for Aaron to take some holiday, and his uncle didn’t question why it was so last minute either. However the downside of their week of bliss meant Robert had a very heavy week with royal appointments and engagements, so Aaron didn’t have any time to see him. Aaron did keep a closer eye on google though, to get pictures of his public appearances. Sue him, he loved how Robert looked in a suit. He also realised that on Wednesday Robert had a haircut. It had been getting a bit overgrown, not that Aaron minded as he enjoyed running his fingers through it. But he did look good.
It was the day that Robert and Vic had a joint appearance at a grief group, to deal with loss, and life after the death of a loved one. It was the usual way charity visits went, but Robert was glad he had Vic with him. In the car on the way back to the palace, Aaron called him. Robert couldn’t ignore the call so he answered it, ignoring Vics frown.
“Hey,” he said quietly.
“Hi, have you got a minute to talk?”
“Yeah,” Robert said. “God, it’s good to hear your voice.”
“Are we still on for tomorrow?”
“Absolutely,” Robert said. “I’m not sure what time yet, but yes. I can’t wait to see you.”
“Same here,” Aaron said. “I see you’ve got a haircut.”
“I have to look presentable, don’t I?” Robert said and Aaron laughed.
“It looks good on you. I miss you.”
“So do I,” Robert said. “I’m with someone at the moment, I’ll call you back later.”
“Okay,” Aaron said. “Bye.”
“It’s getting serious isn’t it?” Vic said as Robert tucked his phone in his pocket.
“Yeah,” Robert said. “I er… I don’t remember feeling like this about anyone.”
“So,” she said. “When can I meet her?”
“Not yet,” Robert said as they fell silent.
“I’m going out with Nick tomorrow,” Vic said Robert sighed. He didn’t like Nick. He was Vic’s on off boyfriend and he didn’t like him. Not good enough for her by a long shot. “I’d like to meet her.”
“I’m not saying never,” Robert said. “But just… not now. There’s… issues.”
Robert sighed. “I can’t.”
“I’ll keep nagging you,” Vic said. “Does she make you happy?”
“At least that’s something.”
Aaron had a holdall with his things for the holiday with Robert. He was equally nervous and excited about the coming week, it could be really enjoyable. On the other hand it could be completely overwhelming.
He was in the back of a car being led to a helipad, where presumably he’d meet Robert. Aaron didn’t know if he’d ever get used to being handled like this, like stolen goods, but needs must. Also, he’d never been in a helicopter and he was looking forward to it.
The car drew to a stop half an hour later, Aaron looking at the helicopter already there. It was a very private area, and other than the pilot and a few security guards, there was no one there. Oh, apart from Robert who was already sitting in the helicopter. He smiled at Aaron and kissed him briefly as he sat down. There was too much noise to be heard properly, but Robert gripped Aaron’s hand tightly. They were both happy the other was here. And as the helicopter took off, both men were happy to be leaving London and the city behind.