Warmth curled in Eliot’s stomach as he caught Quentin’s gaze across the room and he smiles, bright and happy and just the right amount of tipsy, as he mixes drinks without missing a beat. He winks and blows a kiss before casting a quick glance over the rest of the room–a quick check to make sure everything was in order as much as it was just Eliot soaking in the energy of the people surrounding him.
It’s New Year’s Eve and the party in the Cottage has been in full swing for a couple of hours already, so most everyone is halfway drunk or there already; but everyone is happy and satisfied, and that’s what he cared about the most. Well, that and Quentin. A thrill shoots through him at the thought of Quentin–it never gets old–and he almost drops the glass he’s holding. He catches himself though, and smiles smoothly at the objectively pretty girl who is waiting for her drink to distract her from his almost-slip up.
Not that she noticed anyway, she’s been making heart eyes at Alice Quinn all evening. And Eliot smiles and adds the garnish to her drink–a mint leaf–with a flourish before sliding it across the counter to her.
“You should talk to her. She won’t bite.” He comments casually as he fills a small row of shot glasses for someone else. He grins at the surprised look she shoots him before she's frowning in consternation. “Well, not much, anyway,” he amends, chuckling in amusement at the alarmed look she sends his way. He tilts his head in Alice’s direction but doesn’t take his eyes off the girl. “She’s in Game Design, so if you like games…” He leaves the sentence open with a wink before turning away to serve the next person.
When he turns back, the girl is gone; she’s hovering on the fringes of the conversation Alice is having with a few other people–presumably a few of her friends from her classes–and Eliot smiles at the girl’s frankly adorable nervousness. He knows the feeling. He sincerely hopes she can gather the courage to talk.
“Should I be worried you’re staring at a pretty girl?” A voice sounds to his left, a teasing lilt to it.
Eliot grins wider as he spins round to take in the sight of his love standing at the bar; he’s got a casual plaid shirt on, with a dark undershirt, and black jeans. His hair is tied into a small bun at the back–his favourite hair style on him by far–and Eliot’s already reaching for another empty glass to start mixing his signature Q drink.
“Don’t worry sweetheart, she’s not nearly as pretty as you.”
And the warmth in his stomach flashes hot as he watches the delicious red steal up into Quentin’s face as he ducks his head in embarrassment. “Christ El, you can’t just say things like that.” He mutters, glancing down at his shoes.
Eliot sets the finished drink in front of Quentin before he reaches over to tilt his face back up, and leans in for a quick kiss. “Oh honey, there’s plenty more where that came from,” he replies sweetly, tapping Quentin’s nose with the tip of his finger.
“I hate you.”
“You love me.”
Quentin catches his eyes, humour fading from them as a soft smile plays over his lips. “I do, yeah.” He says quietly.
And Eliot–needs to catch his breath, because he’s so sincere and tender, and he’s reminded of whispered I love you’s into naked skin and slow kisses in the dark, and of stained glass art and a vintage music box that sits on his desk in his room, and the brand of a kiss on his heart and–
“I love you too,” he manages to choke out, so full of love, so full of–everything–that it’s still overwhelming, even now. But Quentin just smiles and smiles, still with that you’re the centre of my universe look in his eyes, and Eliot briefly wonders if anyone will miss them if they snuck upstairs for some New Year’s sex instead of waiting for the toll of midnight for a kiss.
“Sweet baby Jesus, get a room, you two.”
As if manifested from his own thoughts, Margo appears with a roll of her eyes, swiping Quentin’s drink and taking a sip to which they don’t protest–they know better. She grins at them and winks before sauntering away, glass in hand. Eliot sighs good-naturedly and starts a new drink for Q, making it his last drink as bar tender. He hands it off to Quentin before pouring his own and stepping out from behind the counter, automatically taking Quentin’s hand and leading them to their group of friends who are laughing at something Josh just told them.
The next couple of hours pass in a blur of music and disco lights and copious amounts of drinking; Eliot dances with Margo, and then Julia, and even takes Alice for a spin too. And they take shots, and bicker over who gets the last Pringle (Quentin wins because he took it silently while everyone was still bickering, the sneak, but he shares it with Eliot, so really, who won?), and they take more shots, and he’s holding Alice’s hair as she pukes in a shrub outside because I’m not an experienced drinker, so naturally Eliot gets her more drink. And they take a few hits from Josh’s blunt, which probably accounts for the haziness permeating his mind, and he shotguns a few hits with Quentin that turns into a heated make-out session in the reading nook–which may or may not have led to a quick blowjob in the closet, but who cares? No one uses it anyway, it’s just for show, and the music masked any loud noises that may have slipped out.
And if anyone did hear, so what? Let them know they are together, and having a damn good time too. Eliot had no qualms about showing his love anymore–he may still be a bit shy about it in public, but he was definitely not shy about sex. He ignores Margo’s knowing look and sly grin as he leads Q onto the dance floor when they finally make it back out of the closet (ha–pun intended!), and they wrap their arms around each other and slow dance despite the upbeat song, in a world of their own.
Before he knows it, it’s striking midnight, and everyone is cheering and yelling Happy New Year into the night with raised glasses, and he’s kissing Quentin long and sweet in the middle of the floor, mind swimming with alcohol and weed and love–not for the first time that night, he’s thinking I love you even as he doesn’t say it, and Quentin’s looking at him with sparkling eyes that catch the colourful lights from the disco ball, casting his face into blues and greens and pinks. He dives in for another kiss, surrendering himself to the spinning lights and the beat of QuentinQuentinQuentin.
Yeah, it was going to be a good year, he could feel it.
A quiet, suffering groan slips out as Eliot blinks awake, slowly working through the heavy weight in his mind until he remembers the party last night, and Josh’s weed, and the closet, and dancing with Quentin, and the first kiss of the year with Quentin, and the first sex of the year with Quentin–always Quentin, Quentin, Quentin.
He rolls onto his side, smiling as he watches Q sleep for a few moments before he drops a kiss onto his forehead and then carefully gets out of bed, making sure not to wake the other up. He goes for a brief shower and brushes his teeth to get rid of the fuzzy feeling and the taste of stale alcohol, and then makes his way downstairs to maybe cook some pancakes for breakfast in bed. Even if it is–he squints at the clock–one in the afternoon.
It takes him a second longer than it usually does to realise he’s not alone in the kitchen–Margo’s already there, sitting on a stool at the counter with a steaming mug in hand. She’s just in her underwear and a silk kimono, her hair still tangled from sleep.
“Happy New Year, Bambi,” he gives her a quick peck on the lips as he passes, moving to the cupboards to start pulling ingredients out.
He’s stirring and mixing the batter when Bambi mumbles something into her mug, and he chalks it up to her still being a bit hungover from the festivities so he doesn’t reply. She gets like this in the mornings after a party, and he knows to just give her time until her beautiful brain is back online, so to speak.
“I’m dating Julia.”
Eliot pauses in his stirring, spinning to face Margo. “What?”
Margo lowers her mug from her lips and gives him a gentle smile, eyes sparking with delight and some tentativeness. “I’m dating Julia. We uh, we got together. Last night. Really, we’d kind of been seeing each other for a while–I just wasn’t sure how to tell you that we were getting serious.”
Eliot’s eyes searches Margo’s face and then drops to the hickey on her neck, and he remembers another hickey at another breakfast, on Boxing Day, only he’d still been too raw and sensitive from his emotionally charged night with Quentin so he hadn’t teased her about it and–he feels his face lighting up in a slow smile of his own.
“Oh please, you think I didn’t already know?”
Margo quirks a brow at him: do tell.
He puts some batter in the pan, keeps an eye on it as he continues talking. “Let’s see… You spend a lot of time with her, almost as much as you do with me, and certainly more than with our other friends. You like it when she’s angry–don’t make me remind you about the time she barged into your room to throw a USB at me–and you know her coffee order, and her favourite fast food place. Oh, and there was that rather obvious hickey she left you on Christmas night–yes, I saw that the next morning–and the fact that you were texting her on the bus the whole way back.”
She blinks at him, her smile turning sharp the way it gets when she’s teasing. “Oh, you noticed all of that? I thought all your drama distracted you from everything else.”
Eliot plates up the few pancakes that have cooked already and sets them in front of her with a fork and knife. “Never from you, Bambi,” he says quietly, letting her know that she is still one of the most important people in his life. “I’m happy for you.” He adds honestly, turning back to make more pancakes.
Margo hums in contentment and digs in to her breakfast, and they banter back and forth like normal, the air between them just as relaxed as it ever was, and Eliot thinks he could get used to this; the man he loves sleeping in his bed, and easy breakfast conversation with Margo just like always as he flips pancakes, making more for Julia, and then for Quentin and himself.
When they break apart at the top of the stairs–Margo going to her room with Julia’s plate, and Eliot to his–Bambi leans up to kiss him on the cheek, a whispered thank you pressing into the skin there, before she flounces to her room with a wave of her fingers.
And Eliot smiles, soaking up the feeling of ease and contentment, before he also goes back to his room to wake Quentin up for some pancakes and maybe another round of New Year’s celebrations, just the two of them in their own space that they’ve made for themselves.