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You Drive Me Crazy (Robert‘s way of wooing)

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“Ten ways to get-”

Robert jumps on his stool, he almost slides off and slams his laptop shut, glaring accusingly over his shoulder. Feeling pretty smug and not sorry at all, Jimmy stirs his coffee and enjoys the clinking noise he makes. “Working on a Saturday?” He asks nonchalantly and takes a seat at Robert’s table, since all the other’s in Bob’s cafe are already taken. It’s almost noon and lots of villagers are enjoying a late breakfast. 

“None of your business,” Robert says and takes a sip from his herbal tea.

“Oi,” Jimmy stage whispers and leans in, “you’re not watching porn in the café, are you?”

Robert starts coughing and nearly spills his tea. “Jimmy, what the hell?! I’m not watching porn in the café!”

He raises his hands in defence and leans back again. “Just asking, just asking.”

While they’re both drinking, they start talking about this and that, mostly work, but Jimmy also tells Robert a few family stories, just to amuse him. He knows they're a pretty strange pairing, but Jimmy really does like the presence of Sugden junior. But only when he’s sober, he adds in his head after the last incident in Bar West. That reminds him of Robert’s feelings for Chas’ son.

“So, err. How’s it going on the Aaron front?” he wants to know.

A few months ago, Robert suddenly spilled his guts after a few Gin and Tonics - probably a few too many- and that was something Jimmy never had seen coming if he’s honest. Firstly the fact that Robert fell for Aaron Dingle, who always seems so dead grumpy and barely opens his mouth to talk… and even when he talks he barely opens it, Jimmy thinks the guy’s totally mumbling. Secondly the fact that Robert confided in him, Jimmy, felt extraordinary. He wonders if Robert sees something like a father figure in him. God knows Jack did a horrible job at it. If he’s honest he’d like that, because Jimmy really does like the presence of Sugden junior. 

Robert gives him a look, a mixture between irritation and smugness. “I’m working on it,” is all he says ominously. 

“Working on it?” he frowns and tilts his head slightly. “What happened to ‘I’m gonna tell him, Jimmy, I’m just gonna tell him’?”

“Yeah, because that worked out so well, didn’t it,” Robert says sarcastically. “Seriously, why didn’t you stop me? It was obviously a dumb idea.”

“Ah, I need to mark the day in my calendar, Robert Sugden admitting he had a dumb idea,” he grins.

Robert rolls his eyes at him. “Shut up, nobody’s perfect.”

“Except Aaron, eh?” Jimmy can’t help himself and cackles and oh look! Robert is actually looking flustered now and - Jimmy might need to pinch himself - he is even blushing a little. Oh dear, he’s got it so bad. Young love, he thinks ruefully, young love is something special. 

“Hiya you two!” a bright voice sing-songs and a second later Victoria climbs on the third stool at their table. “Did I just hear you talking about Aaron?” she asks them and steals Robert’s half eaten muffin. 

“Oi…!” Robert protests, but he shuts up when he sees how his little sister unceremoniously shoves the remaining mini-cake into her mouth in one go.

“We did talk about Aaron, yeah,” Jimmy confirms and Robert glares from his sister to him.

“We certainly did not.”

They stare each other down and Jimmy wants to high-five himself that he finally found Robert’s Achilles heel. Finally he has something to tease back! This is absolutely delightful!

“Well, I wanna ‘alk about A-Won,” Vic mumbles around the chocolate dough. 

“Don’t talk with your mouth full,“ Robert says out of reflex with an annoyed undertone, before he sits up straight. “Wait, what? Why? Did something happen?” He seems eager all of a sudden.

Jimmy leans back and crosses his arms, wondering what that was all about. Vic makes a show of chewing very thoroughly and Robert gets more and more impatient with every passing second until she finally swallows.

“So,“ Vic starts and drags the word, “I totally forgot to tell ya, Aaron came to me yesterday when you were at work…” She pauses to drink from Robert’s tea and her older brother looks like he’s ready to strangle her any second.

“And?” he asks impatiently.

“And, he asked me if you’re lonely. He got all shy about it, it was actually kinda cute,” Victoria is grinning now and even on Robert’s face is a smile spreading.

Jimmy narrows his eyes while he watches the siblings, definitely missing something.

“And,” she goes on, eyeing Jimmy croissant with too much interest, so he unsubtly pulls it back and shields it with his right arm from her longing gaze. “You can thank me later by making your best man, best sister or whatever, but I might have given him the push he needed to get his head out of his bum and finally do something!”

Robert snaps his fingers. “Excellent!” he cheers. “See? I told you it’d work!”

Jimmy takes this as his cue to finally pipe up. “What worked?” 

“Robert’s plan of wooing Aaron,” Vic explains easily like it’s the most obvious thing ever.

Oh so slowly, basically in slow motion, Jimmy raises his eyebrows and looks from Victoria back to Robert. “Your plan of wooing?”

The younger man shifts on his seat. “I can’t just spring it on him that I love him, alright? That disastrous night out in Bar West has proven that. It might ruin our friendship and I won’t take that risk. I had to do this slowly, subtly.”

“Subtly,” Jimmy echoes. 

“I did some research,” Robert says ominously. 

“Research.“

“It‘s what I do, alright? If there is a challenge, I do research, I make a plan, I follow that plan. It‘s called foresight.“

It‘s called bullshit, Jimmy thinks, but doesn‘t say it out loud, instead he just sighs. Deeply. 

“There is stuff online Robert read. Like ‘ten ways to get him to love me’ and that,” Vic explains, much more informative than her brother, and bites into a croissant.

Wait, where did she get that croissant?! Jimmy stares at his plate, which is empty now except for a few crumbs. He shoves the plate away and curses under his breath. Then another thought hits his mind when he thinks back to what he saw on Robert‘s screen earlier.

“Wait, wait, wait.“ He holds up both hands. “You have a ‘ten ways to get him to love me’-list for Aaron?” 

Jesus Christ, what is wrong with these young people today? 

“It’s psychology, what would you know about it,” Robert says defensively. 

“I know that I‘m happily married to my Nico!“ he points out. “Just tell him, for heaven‘s sake. Take it as some old man‘s wisdom.“

“First I need to know if he‘s feeling the same. It has to come from him,“ his friend insists stubbornly.

And here Jimmy always thought Sugden was supposed to be the clever one. 

“It‘s all going to plan, you‘ll see.“

++

The radio is playing a Kaiser Chief’s song and Aaron immediately turns up the volume. Yeah, nice, the rock band is one of his favourites since his teenage years and just what he needs now. He’s on a call-out and Cain only gave him a sketchy direction and the information that a woman’s car broke down. Aaron isn’t a fan of call-outs. They require small talk with the car owner and it isn’t exactly his virtue. That he is surrounded by vehicles instead of people is one his work’s biggest perks in Aaron’s books. 

A few minutes later when he drives around a long stretched bend, he sees the car at the side of the road and a woman walking up and down the ditch with a smartphone pressed to her ear. He slows down and sighs, steeling himself for the upcoming encounter and brings Cain’s truck to a halt. Grabbing the toolbox on the passenger seat, he gets out, his eyes immediately zoning in on the beauty in front of him. He whistles through his teeth and can’t wait to get his hands on her. 

It’s not every day that he sees an Aston Martin V 8 coupé from the 1970’s and it hurts his heart that the baby isn’t running. He’s got to be very careful with the lady. Aaron puts the toolbox down and strokes gently over the chassis. 

Only when someone coughs, is he reminded of the owner who obviously finished her phone call. Aaron ducks his head sheepishly and clears his throat before he looks up at her.

“Sorry,” he mutters. “I’m here to check what’s wrong with her.” He feels a bit too stiff, but she’s smiling at him warmly.

“Yeah, I figured. I don’t know what’s wrong, suddenly the motor sounded strange and when I hit the accelerator nothing happened.”

“Pop the bonnet then, I’ll have a look.”

She does and Aaron goes to work, not without admiring the engine first. 

“Ever worked on an Aston Martin before?” the woman asks him. 

He snorts quietly. The villagers mostly drive land rovers, SUV’s, those kinda cars. Practical cars. The only one with the inclination towards classic cars he knows is Robert. “Mh-mh,” he says truthfully and shakes his head. “My friend owns a Porsche 924 tho and he trusts me with it, so your car’s in good hands.”

It seems like this sentence is an invitation for her to start talking about classics which she loves, although she doesn’t know the technical stuff. She got the Aston Martin from her father for her 21st birthday, and that old man must be loaded, Aaron reckons. She also owns a Merc and a Jaguar and whoah, they must be damn loaded! He just hums along while he keeps checking the motor, glad that he doesn’t need to contribute to the conversation since it’s more or less a monologue. 

But then she starts asking questions about Robert’s Porsche, telling him that this would be a car on her wishlist.

Aaron can’t even imagine what it must be like living the life of a rich offspring, where you don’t need to worry about the bills every month but where you can get your next car. 

“I’d love to talk to your friend about his car, do you think that’d be possible?” she asks him.

He stills, bent over the engine, his oily hands wrapped around a wire and looks slowly up ather. She’s meeting his gaze with big blue eyes and her long brown hair is waving softly in the wind. Not that Aaron gives a toss about the royals, but even he thinks she’s basically a princess-Kate-lookalike. She’s objectively beautiful. A rich, beautiful woman with a love for fancy cars. 

Something inside of him is aching at the thought of introducing this woman to his friend. His Robert. 

His stupid mind immediately pictures them together, sitting at a table in a cosy restaurant, maybe something French or Japanese, both perfectly dressed, faces lit up by soft candle light, talking animatedly about cars.

Fuck, she would be perfect for him, wouldn’t she. 

“Sure,” he says and hates it.

“Oh great!” she sounds excited and opens her handbag. “I’ll give you my card. Hey, did I even introduce myself earlier?”

Aaron shakes his head, realising that he didn’t introduce himself either because he was too caught up with the car. Count on his social inability to make every encounter awkward. She beams at him anyway and reaches out with a business card with lilac letters and purple letters between her perfectly manicured nails. 

“I’m Chrissie. Chrissie White.”

++

Robert stares at his display for about ten seconds, reading the words over and over, his body flushing warm.

 

Azza

Dinner 2nite?

Woolie at 8?

 

Just a handful of innocent words and still they make him all giddy with excitement. Aaron Dingle is inviting him to dinner after all! And maybe they’d finally move in the direction Robert wants them to. Somehow or other, he’s gonna spend the evening with Aaron and that alone is a lovely prospect. 

 

To Azza

Sure, yeah! Look forward to it.


He types out eagerly and wonders if he doesn’t sound like it. Keeping it cool is easier said than done though, especially since he wants it so much! God, he wants Aaron. So much. 

The evening can’t come quick enough, but of course the remaining hours at work are stretching endlessly now the anticipation is killing him and Robert stares at his computer screen without actually looking at it. Being distracted by thinking about blue eyes and a dark scruff is too easy these days. 

Fully aware that he is procrastinating, he grabs his cup and walks to the little kitchenette at the end of the floor, whistling that Justin Bieber song that’s stuck in his head. Damnit, why does he have to make such bloody catchy tunes?

“Someone’s in a good mood!”

The boss’ daughter is in the office today. She’s working in another business, as far as Robert knows she owns a chain of beauty salons but she’s using the infrastructure of her dad’s company to do her bookkeeping, so she pops in every now and then. She smiles at him, pouring coffee into her own cup before she hands him the pot.

He takes it and hums happily. 

“Someone’s got a date later,” he says with a smirk.

“Oh, nice! Tonight of all nights!”

He hums again. Surely it has to mean something that Aaron is asking him out for dinner tonight. At least Robert hopes so. 

Eventually, finally, the clock strikes 5 and for once he leaves work on time. Usually he doesn’t mind working extra, but today he practically flees from the office, ignoring his phone when it starts ringing - sorry, mate, computer’s already switched off, he thinks - and grabbing his jacket. He doesn’t even take the time to put it on, he just carries it over his arm until he can throw it on his passenger seat. If he’s driving off the parking lot with screeching tires he doesn’t hear it as he sings along to Taylor Swift from the top of his lungs. 

A small eternity later he sits in the Woolpack, it’s 8pm on the dot and he’s staring at the door like a hawk. Aaron isn’t there yet, but Robert isn’t worried much because that's pretty normal. Aaron has other virtues than timeliness. 

On the little stage next to the entrance his grandmother Faith is bawling some folk song into the karaoke machine and Robert wishes he’d brought some earplugs.

“Anything you wanna drink?”

He slowly shifts his gaze up to where Charity is standing next to his booth and he can’t hold back the smirk if his life depended on it. She’s wearing an abominable Alice band with two attached elastic springs with red, sparkly hearts bobbing on the ends. It goes along her heart shaped earrings and the little pink hearts on her black satin corsage. She looks just as ridiculous as the whole pub and Robert sees that once again Chas Dingle went totally overboard with her idea of a Valentine’s party. 

“I saw the sign with your special cocktails tonight, can you list them off again, please?” he says smugly, well knowing that Charity hates this. 

She scowls at him. “We have Sex On The Beach, Bend Over Shirley, Blue Balls, Pop My Cherry, Raspberry Kiss and I Love You.”

Yeah, Chas Dingle went totally overboard. In other words, what’s new? 

“Aw, I love you, too,” Robert smirks at Charity and mock-touches his chest.

“Yeah, does that warm your ice cold heart?” she bites out sarcastically and rolls her eyes. 

“A pint, please, Charity,” he says sweetly just to piss her off even more.

A bystanding stranger might get the impression these two hate each other’s guts, but the opposite is true: Robert’s actually pretty fond of Charity and he knows she feels vice versa. It’s just how they talk to each other for their own little bit of fun. Sometimes she mocks him, today it’s the other way around. In the end neither of them take any of it personally and that’s probably why they enjoy the banter way too much. 

On the stage, Faith is finished and gets a round of applause before Tracy more or less rips the microphone out of her hands and pushes her aside. Karaoke nights always turn some villagers into hysterics who see themselves as the next winners of Britain’s Got Talent or whatever.

Charity mutters a curse under her breath and walks back to the bar. While Robert is still chuckling gleefully, he sees out of the corners of his eyes the door opening. His heart doubles in speed from one beat to another as he watches Aaron stumbling through the sparkling curtain into a bunch of helium filled heart balloons. His friend looks around in confusion, wearing his trademark frown, taking in the tons of plastic roses, the red shining disco ball, the pink confetti on the floor and last not least the big letters right above the bar:

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY

The blue eyes widen in surprise and dart around, immediately seeking out Robert in the crowd of already tipsy villagers. Aaron hurries over to him and all the happy Valentine’s greetings are dying along Robert’s smile when he picks up his friend’s slight panic.

“Rob,” he says quickly and the rare use of the shortened name doesn’t bode well. “Rob, I swear I didn’t know it was Valentine’s Day, I’m so-”

At first Robert doesn’t understand until he sees someone stepping up behind Aaron, a familiar face.

“Aaron, are you sure-... Robert?!”

“Chrissie,” he says, stunned, trying to get his head around what she’s doing here in Emmerdale, in this pub where she is clearly, definitely, out of place with her fur coat and her petite Chanel clutch. 

Her eyes flick back and forth between him and Aaron and Robert knows that she’s putting two and two together since he mentioned his date night earlier to her. 

“You, uh… you know each other?” Aaron asks slowly. 

“That’s Chrissie, my boss’ daughter,” Robert explains stiffly, feeling a horribly awkward tension rising between the three of them. “How do you know each other?”

For a very, very long moment he’s irrationally jealous, seething with pure anger at the thought of Aaron and Chrissie… which is absolute nonsense because Aaron is as gay as they come, but still! 

“Remember I told you about the woman who’s interested in buying a Porsche?”

And yeah, nodding, Robert does remember that Aaron asked him if he could give some advice to that lady which salesmen to trust, what to look out for, what to avoid and all that. He agreed to do that - he just didn’t know this would happen today.

So said woman is Chrissie White then, he’s not surprised, her love for status symbols is legendary in the company. 

Looking into Aaron’s guilty face the penny finally drops. His friend arranged that meeting as another attempt to play cupid. He wants to set him up with Chrissie. 

Charity chooses this moment from hell to come back with his pint. “Your beer!”

“Booze,” he bites out through gritted teeth, feeling cold in the middle of the crowded pub all of a sudden. “Bring me some booze.”

This isn’t how he imagined this evening, this is awful. What makes it even more awful is the fact that he is still holding a single red rose under the table he bought earlier on a whim, imagining to surprise Aaron with it. It was a stupid idea to begin with, Aaron is not the type for red roses. Or the type for surprises at all. 

Aaron is a tremendous idiot and still, Robert loves him, loves him so much it fucking hurts. 

“Do you want anything?” he hears Charity asking Aaron and Chrissie.

“Why don’t we go over to the bar and you show me your card?” Chrissie suggests with a smile and gives Robert a meaningful sort-it-look that he barely registers.

The two women are walking away and Aaron slumps with a sigh into the booth. “This is terrible,” he mutters and wipes away red, heart shaped glitter confetti on the table.

“Understatement,” Robert agrees curtly and he doesn’t mean the hideous decoration. 

“Robert, I totally forgot about this Valentine’s circus,” Aaron says and he seems genuinely crestfallen.

While Nicola and Jimmy are giving their best Jennifer Warnes and Joe Cocker on stage, Robert drops the rose unnoticeably under the table, ignoring his aching chest. “Doesn’t matter.” It really doesn’t matter whether Aaron tries to set him up on Valentine’s Day or on any other fucking random date of the year. He downs his beer in one go, welcoming the bitter taste that fits his mood. “So, you wanted to play matchmaker again?” he says, voice gruff, just needing the confirmation although he knows the answer already.

“Don’t be mad. I mean, she’s into cars, she’s classy, she’s clever, good looking,” Aaron justifies quickly and leans over the table as he does so, his eyes bright and blue and pleading. “You’re basically a perfect match.”

The fact that Aaron implies considering Robert as classy, clever and good looking does something inside of him. The fact that those eyes are looking at him ever so softly does even more. He can’t - literally can’t - believe that this is just one sided between them. Robert swears he sees goddamn sparks flying in the air around them. 

“Has it ever occured to you that I don’t want ‘perfect’?”

Aaron looks utterly confused at him then, eyebrows drawn together in a frown, head slightly tilted. “Why though? You deserve it Robert. Why would you settle for anything less?”

Robert’s not quite sure but he thinks he sees him flushing pink behind his scruff. Aaron bites his lip, a tell-tale sign that he’s feeling nervous.

“You don’t get it, do you?” he asks, but it’s a realisation less than a question.

He gets it now though. It’s quite astonishing to him that Aaron seems to have such low self-esteem that he doesn’t even consider himself worthy. Robert knows about his mental health struggle, his trust issues and anxiety, but it’s still unexpected.

“Some hang on to used to be, live their lives looking behind, all we have is here and now, All our lives, out there to find…” Jimmy and Nicola are singing from ‘Up Where We Belong’, loud and off-tune, and Robert makes a decision right then and there. 

“Fuck that,” he mutters and gets up.

All we have is here and now. 

++

“Robert?” Aaron asks and his voice cracks, when his friend just walks off without as much as looking at him. 

Robert is mad because he messed up and Aaron can’t handle that. He can handle a lot of things but not that, Robert is too important. 

But all he can say in his own defence is that he meant well. He just wants Robert to be happy. After everything he went through with the early loss of his parents, the responsibility for his younger sister, he deserves this. Starting a family of his own, maybe becoming a parent himself. Aaron has no doubt that Robert will make a brilliant dad. 

It just hurts beyond words that he, Aaron, can’t be that person for him.  

But right now, his friend is pissed off and this is not the time to wallow in self-pity and misery, Aaron needs to make it up to him somehow! He stands to go after Robert to apologise only to watch him climbing up the small stage, accepting the microphone like a baton from Jimmy, who has just finished his duet with Nicola. 

“Ohhh, yes! Robert!” Faith shouts excitedly and whistles through her fingers, a few others cheering with her.

“What the…” Aaron mutters to himself and takes a few steps forward.

Robert bends down and mutters something to Marlon next to the stage, the chef apparently being the karaoke DJ for the night. He nods quickly, types something into the computer in front of him and a few seconds later a song starts with guitars and a catchy pop beat. 

A bit awkward and a bit offbeat, Robert starts swaying to the music, in typical Robert-style with his long limbs. And God, Aaron finds that absolutely endearing and a hot wave of affection is flooding his body, making him warm and fuzzy all over, the feeling only intensifying when his friend starts singing:

“You know, baby, when you're in my arms, I can feel your loving, magic charms…”

Oh. 

He realises, Robert is singing a love song and out of reflex, Aaron turns around to seek out Chrissie White in the audience to check if she’s listening - only to find her giggling about something Al Chapman just whispered into her ear. 

Oh. 

He turns around to the stage again.

“You drive me crazy. You drive me crazy…”

Oh. 

Robert is looking at him. He’s looking at Aaron. Right in his eyes, through his eyes, into his soul. While he sings. A love song.

“And when I'm looking in those big blue eyes, I start afloating round in paradise…”

Oh. 

His heart misses a beat and then relocates itself to Aaron’s throat. Robert’s singing is about him. For him. 

“You drive me crazy. You drive me crazy…”

But this is impossible. This doesn’t even make sense. Aaron doesn’t let himself dare to hope. He startles when someone touches his arm. Chrissie smiles at him.

“I’m glad you could solve this misunderstanding,” she says, “He was pretty excited about that date with you tonight.”

The thing is, Aaron’s hearing is really bad when there is loud music, but he is 99% sure that he got that right. Robert thought they were having a date and not only did he think that - he even was excited about it. Aaron blinks at the stage, kinda dazed, desperately wanting his stupid brain to catch up with all that new information.

“Heaven must have sent you down, down for you to give me a thrill…”

He only realises that he’s smiling when he sees Robert smiling back at him. Something inside Aaron’s chest is loosening, something he didn’t even know was suffocating him and suddenly he feels like he can breathe! Letting out a little sob, his vision swims away in a blurry mess.

“Every time you touch me, every time you hold me, my heart starts speeding like a train on a track…”

He thinks about all those movie nights and Netflix marathons they spent on Robert’s couch, his feet in Robert’s lap, or Robert’s head on his shoulder and all those feelings that swirled inside him like a bloody tornado. If he’d only known that Robert felt the same…!

“I love you, baby, and it's plain to see, I love you, honey, it was meant to be…” 

Robert looks at him when he sings the lyrics and Aaron wipes his eyes furiously with the sleeve of his jumper, because fuck, he wants to see his favourite face saying, no singing the words he dreamt of hearing a thousand times. And it is downright adorable how Robert is shifting from one leg to another, clutching the mic so hard his knuckles turned white. He misses quite a few tones, but it’s perfect, better than anything Aaron could have come up with in his wildest fantasies. 

This is his Robert, standing on a bloody stage, singing a love declaration in front of the whole village for him and is this even real?!

His feet are moving like they have a will of their own and suddenly Aaron is right in front of the stage and Robert is smiling down at him. He needs to kiss him, needs to kiss him right now! 

Hoping that no one notices the slight trembling of his fingers, he lifts his hand and reaches out to Robert. 

The man just chucks the microphone over to Marlon who catches it at the last moment before it crashes on the floor, then Robert jumps down and is suddenly right there, his face only inches away. Aaron stares at him in awe like he’s seeing him for the first time - which is true in a certain way. This isn’t the smug trademark smirk of his friend. This is the affectionate smile and the longing gaze of the man he loves.

He’s never seen Robert so soft, so cute.

“Say something,” Robert pleads.

“Shut up and let me have this moment,” he says and it comes out half as a laugh, half as a sob. 

“You can have this moment and all the other moments after that. How does that sound?” The smile on the freckled face gets even bigger and Aaron is torn between rolling his eyes and melting away right then and there.

It’s such a corny thing to say, but he loves it, he absolutely does. 

“I love you,” Aaron breathes out the words, finally setting free what he tried to keep locked in his heart for years. 

The relief he feels is nothing though in comparison to what he sees in Robert’s green-blue eyes. “Finally.” Robert pulls him close and rests his forehead against his, before he moves to Aaron’s ear and whispers: “I love you. So much.”

Aaron hears and he shudders, a tickling sensation running down his spine.

Their lips find each other, it’s just a sweet, chaste kiss, but it’s enough to make Aaron’s body tingle all over.

“They said I LOVE YOU!” Jimmy King exclaims and the crowd erupts. 

Aaron startles, shifts back, looking around with wide eyes. He was so focused on Robert that he totally forgot they’re in the middle of his mum’s pub, surrounded by villagers. On bloody Valentine’s Day.

Well.

Aaron can’t bring himself to care, instead he kisses Robert again. If they are going to be the top gossip in the Dales tomorrow anyway, they might as well give them a little show.  

“Oi!” Charity shouts above the noise in the Woolpack. “Did someone order a cocktail?!”

The joke is lost on Aaron, but people, including Robert, are laughing. Robert takes his hand and leads him outside. Aaron marvels at how easily their fingers intertwine, so natural, so easy, as if they never did something else than hold onto each other. 

“Come on, let’s go home.”

And that’s where they’re walking, joined hands swinging between them while they're stealing happy, little glances at each other. Home.