v_angelique (v_angelique) wrote in v_and_rc,
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v_angelique
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Chapter Ninety-Six: Patience is a Virtue


"May I have your attention please?" Matt called out over the sounds of conversation from the head table next to Dom, clinking his spoon against his glass. "May I have your attention? Mum, this isn't working."

"HEY!" Aureen yelled loudly, causing the entire room to turn and stare at her.

"Okay, I guess that'll do," Matt muttered under his breath.

"Um, thank you," Matt said, blushing as everyone turned to look at him. "Can you, uh, can you all hear me?"

"Yes!" several voices cried, and Matt grinned.

"Excellent. Well, we all know why we're here today, of course, and that's to celebrate my little brother getting married. Before me, which isn't funny, but this isn't about me so I'll stop moaning."

"You will?" Billy piped up. "Shocking!"

"You be quiet," Matt said, looking down at Billy, whose hand was stroking gently over Dom's thigh. "Remember that I've got dirt on you, Boyd." Matt smirked and then turned back to everyone, who were all rolling their eyes at him.

"Yes, well, anyway. A few years ago, anyone that met Dom would've said that he just wasn't the marrying type, am I right?" A few sounds of agreement were heard and Dom pretended to look outraged. "To begin with, he'd turned being gay into a religion and what's more, he'd never been in a serious relationship. And by serious I mean 'lasted longer than a month'."

Billy laughed and squeezed Dom's thigh under the table, feeling incredibly happy that he'd been the one to break the trend.

Dom just hid his face in Billy's shoulder, hoping beyond belief that Matt didn't continue in this vein although he knew that was probably what was going to happen.

"So, about a year and a half ago, I got a phone call from my dear brother here, didn't I, Dom? He hadn't saw fit to ring his family in three weeks, and none of us had any idea that he'd been seeing someone. So I get this phone call and Dom starts doing his usual spastic thing...him and Billy had had a bit of a fight over something that I don't remember the details of-" Dom was suddenly very glad that Matt had a tiny bit of tact, "and he wanted me to sort it out. Being me, I had no idea what to do and after asking around, I found out that Miss Mary Craig over there-" Matt pointed then beckoned Mary up to top table, "told Dom how to fix things. So come up here, love."

Blushing, Mary hurried up to where Matt was, tucking her hair behind her ears in a nervous gesture.

"I'd like you to have this-" Matt handed her a bag of things that Andy had helped him pick out earlier that day, "as a way of saying how grateful me and the rest of my family are for helping Dom out when he'd been a bit of an idiot."

"Presents!" Mary exclaimed, then blushed with embarassment for her little squeal, taking the bag and motioning for Matt to lean down so she could kiss his cheek. "Thank you."

"Obviously we need to keep that kid around," Billy whispered to Dom under his breath.

"Obviously we do, yes," Dom agreed, kissing Billy's cheek.

"Now, there are several other people on my list to thank so I'll try and keep it quick. To, uh, Le Perraudin, who've done the food - merci beaucoup pour la dejeuner parfait. And I've no idea whether that's right as I was relying on Dom's French and we all know what that's like..." Several people, including Mary, who was now sharing a box of pink chocolates with Bryony, laughed.

"Um, I'd like to thank Andy, Lou, Oliver and Anabelle as well for the great weekend we had in London, despite the last night." Everyone who had been present blushed, except Anabelle, who stuck her thumbs up and grinned.

"And finally, I'd like to thank Billy, for taking that idiot off our hands." Matt grinned and ruffled Dom's hair then shook his head. "I've known my brother for nearly three decades now and since he was born I've tried to make sure that he's happy. Sometimes I've come off worse...A few lads hospitalised Dominic here simply for being who he is so naturally, the next day, I went and tried to be a hero and got a few of my mates together to flush those gits' heads down the toilets. We nearly succeeded but we got caught and suspended and beaten up, to boot." Matt smiled and Dom rolled his eyes as he remembered. "Sometimes, though, there are moments when I'm genuinely proud to call Dom my brother. Moments like now, for instance."

Matt swallowed around the unexpected lump in his throat and wiped his eyes. "Dom, I can't believe how lucky I am to stand here today and deliver this rambling speech to our family and Billy's family and your friends. Because it's your wedding day, I'm going to tell you now, and this is a once in a lifetime thing so someone best get it on camera, that I think you're an incredible person. You're-" Matt sniffed, "you're not only my brother, but you're my best-" he sniffed again and wiped his eyes, "my best friend. I just hope that one day I find someone who makes me as happy as Billy makes you and then I know that I've got everything I need.

"So, Dominic, thank you. Thank you for being my little brother, and my best friend, and thank you for giving me a big brother of my own." Matt nodded towards Billy and smiled through his tears. "You're the bravest, most honest, most brilliant person I know and I hope that one day..." He let a choked sob escape his throat and then sniffed and swallowed quickly, trying to compose himself. "I hope that one day I'll be just like you."

By the time Matt finished his speech, half the people in the place were bawling, and Billy grinned at the two brothers, who were by now both standing up and hugging tightly. "Hey, if I'm your big brother, does that mean I get to steal your sweets and lock you in the closet?"

"That was only the one time!" Maggie insisted from the other side of Andy, making everyone else laugh.

"You stole her sweets?" Dom asked, his vision very unfocused with his tears and without his glasses, which were tucked away in his jacket for his own speech. "That's so mean."

He squeezed Matt one last time and kissed his cheek before sitting down and pulling his weeping mother in for a hug so that Matt could do his toast.

"To Dom and Billy!"

"To Dom and Billy!" everyone cheered, as Billy leaned over to give Dom a kiss.

"She stole my sweets, by the way," Billy murmured. "I'm just looking forward to misplaced payback."

"Oh, I see," Dom said, wiping his eyes and kissing Billy again. "Well, feel free. You saw the whole Barbie Vs. Action Man thing, didn't you?"

"I did," Billy replied. "One of your finer moments, indeed."

Before Dom could reply, however, Andy was standing up for his own toast.

"Damn, I was hoping I could get away with being sentimental and impressing everyone, but Matt's stolen my thunder."

"Yes!" Matt shouted, punching the air as he grinned at Andy, back to his usual cocky self after having his tears wiped away by his mother.

"Oi now, shut it you wanker, it's my turn. As I was saying," Andy continued, "I've only known Billy for about a year and a half now. We met at the most painful of Christmas parties, to which some of you here can attest, but out of bad parties arise good friendships, sometimes. Neither Billy nor I are particularly demonstrative blokes, and we don't sit around talking about our feelings, as I'm sure Dom and Matt do..."

"We do not!" Matt protested, his eyes wide. Anabelle gave him a look from across the room and he promptly shut up.

"...but despite that," Andy went on, ignoring Matt, "I've come to care about him a lot in the time we've known each other, and I think we understand each other quite well. So I'll tell you what I know about Billy, Dom, that I think might come in handy if you haven't sussed it out already. Seeing as how you're a bit thick, you might not have."

Dom just glared but nodded, prompting Andy to continue.

"Billy's fiercely protective. I've seen the look he gets in his eye when someone says something unkind to or about Dominic, here, and let me tell you, friends, you want to avoid doing that. If Dom were to ever end up in hospital again because of his orientation, the blokes wouldn't just have their heads stuffed in toilets, Billy would be sitting in a French prison for murder. In fact, at the end of the dreadful dinner party I mentioned a moment ago, Dom you'd already left by this point, but after a certain someone said something unsavoury about your character which I'm sure you'll remember, Billy stood up and I swear to God, I have never in my life been more respectfully frightened of someone smaller than me."

"Damn right," Billy muttered under his breath.

"Thing about Billy, though, is that he's not only tough as nails, he's also soft as anything - and before you say anything, mate, I don't mean that as an insult. The thing about Billy is, he surprises me. He's a very strong man, but he's also incredibly tender. I've seen the worry in his eyes when something happens to Dom, and it's at least five times worse than my mum."

"Andy," Billy warned, but Andy didn't stop talking.

"When Dom lost his teaching job, it was obviously a very hard time for him, and I, being a stupid git, thought it might be a good idea to take him out to the pub and get him trollied. So of course, once I realised I was in over my head, I had to call Billy for help. And yes, he wanted to kill me, but more importantly, I've never seen someone so genuinely concerned... he was like a mother hen, making sure Dom was all right and getting him home, even though Dom was shouting all sorts of abuse. I'm sure Maggie can vouch that he's an amazing person to have as a family member, and you're lucky to have that, Dom. I suppose what I'm trying to say is, we may not talk about our feelings much, but you'd have to be blind not to see how much he loves you. The man would move mountains for you, and that's rarer and rarer in the world, I think. So I guess what I'm trying to say is, to Billy, and to Dom, and to many happy years together in the future."

"To Billy and Dom," everyone chorused, as Billy stood up and pulled Andy into a manly hug, and then just for the hell of it smacked a kiss on his lips.

"There's tender for you, you silly git."

By this point, Dom was sobbing quietly into his hand again, as was everyone else in the room. He couldn't quite believe that Matt, someone with about as much emotional capacity as a prawn sandwich, and Andy, who Dom had declared dead inside after admitting he didn't cry when Bambi died, had come up with two, simply perfect speeches.

"You want me to go next?" Billy asked, leaning down to whisper in Dom's ear, seeing as how he was bawling like a baby and didn't appear very toast-ready.

"Yes please," Dom said with a little nod, kissing Billy's cheek and then leaning over in his chair to kiss the top of Andy's head. "Thank you."

"Right then. I suppose it's my turn, since Dom needs a moment. I don't think this is necessarily going to change by the time I finish, because I have a horribly disturbing knack for making him cry, but here goes," Billy joked. "I'm going to tell you a story, Dom, that you actually haven't heard before. In fact no one knows this but Maggie, so it's fresh material for almost everyone here. When I was younger, see, I was obsessed with books. Well, that much hasn't changed, but even when I was little I loved to read. I learned how when I was three or four, and then I just wouldn't stop. I hated maths and science, but I always loved reading.

"Of course when I was wee, I read mostly fairytales and things, but when I got older, I got really into fantasy and adventure stories. I loved Gulliver's Travels and Huckleberry Finn and The Lord of the Rings. And besides all the cool adventures everyone got to go on all the time, which seemed novel to me as we rarely left Glasgow, I liked how the boys and men in these stories always seemed to have a best friend. It didn't matter what they did or where they went, they always had someone to depend on. And it wasn't like I never had friends, because I did sometimes, but never a best friend.

"Anyway, then I got a bit older, and I was a teenager, and I was reserved but a lot of people liked me. When I was about thirteen, I thought this was my time to shine. I was going to be popular, and then I'd meet some friend, maybe a wealthy boy who would take me on holiday to exciting places, or even someone who was dirt poor like me but really understood me, who would go on adventures no matter how trivial they'd seem to other people, and they'd seem special to us, because that's what being a best friend is like. And maybe sometimes we'd talk to each other and it would seem like we were speaking a different language, but we'd both understand.

"When I was thirteen, my father died. And then a few years later, my mother after him. And the boys at school tried to be understanding, of course, but who can understand something like that who hasn't been through it? So I kept to myself, and my sister was my only real friend, and that continued as I grew up. I met people I liked, of course, but I never became close enough because I didn't want to let anyone in and show them the bad parts of me. I didn't want them to see the hurt, or the sheer anger I felt at my mother for all but abandoning us when her husband died, and at God for taking my da away from me. Those parts of me were ugly, and it took me a very long time to even understand them enough so that I can articulate what was there. I think I'm only able to even tell you all this today because of the man sitting next to me.

"Because nearly two years ago, a strange young man wandered into my shop. He seemed a bit weird, and he kept grabbing the back of his neck as if he were nervous. He dressed a little strangely too, but it was like he wore his whole personality on his sleeve. He talked too fast, and he smiled a lot, and he blushed a little too. And somehow I ended up on a date with the man, and I didn't know it at the time, but I had found my best friend.

"We don't have any secret handshakes or a treehouse somewhere where we can hide away, but I don't mind that it's taken so many years to find you, Dommeh. Because you do speak my language, our language, and you've brought back my hunger for adventure and the excitement that comes from finding new things. I've started learning again, instead of being complacent, and not only that but I'm strong enough to peel away some of the layers, and show you that part of myself that I was afraid of. It's not so scary anymore, you see, because I have you, and I know in comparison to the enormous amount of love I feel for you, the hurt and the anger are just tiny parts of me, parts that are okay to carry. I don't know if this makes any sense, but... well I love you, lad. I always will."

"Oh, God," Dom gasped, the tears streaming down his face through his fingers, seeing as his hands were pretty much glued to his face. "Bill, I..." he settled instead for not talking and stood up, pulling Billy into a bone-crushing hug. "I love you so much," he sobbed, shoulders shaking as he held onto Billy, not caring if he looked like the world's greatest ponce.

"Wheesht," Billy cooed, holding Dom tightly and gently kissing his neck. "It's all right lad, shh. I've got you," he murmured, letting Dom press his face to Billy's shoulder and giving him a minute to compose himself.

"I have never seen something so cute," Lucy whispered to Andy and Margaret, between whom she was sitting, and Margaret helpfully passed her hankerchief down the table so that Billy could dry Dom's eyes.

"Well then," Billy said once Dom had at least mostly got himself together, one arm still around the other man's waist as he raised his glass of champagne. "To Dominic."

"To Dominic," everyone chorused, standing up and sipping their champagne before sitting down again.

"Sorry," Dom whispered into the microphone, making everyone laugh as he rested his head on Billy's shoulder. "I don't know how you expect me to deliver my speech now."

"Take your time, lad," Billy suggested, squeezing his leg.

Dom took a deep breath then gave Billy a quick kiss to his lips, standing up after he'd done so. "Right," he said, grinning at their guests, wiping his eyes again. "My turn now." He got his glasses out and put them on, smiling happily when he was able to see properly. "Ah, look, sight. I should have got contacts for today. Anyway. I've got two people I really need to thank for their help with my speech, because this wouldn't have been possible without them."

As he spoke, a projector and laptop on a trolley were wheeled in behind Dom, as well as a white screen. "Mary, shut your ears, lass." Obediently, Mary put her hands over her ears, a big grin on her face as she left a little gap so she could still hear. "Lou, over there-" Dom pointed her out, "borrowed-slash-stole the projector and screen from the school for the weekend, and transported it here, despite the amount of time it took to get it in the car. And Oliver, her husband, helped me out with this powerpoint thing, as I'm a bit of a spaz at that sort of stuff, so big kisses to the two of them."

"You're very welcome!" Lou called, as Billy shook his head.

"Conspiring in theft for me, Dom, really," he muttered, though he couldn't help but smile.

Dom giggled and ruffled Billy's hair then turned back to everyone else. "Now, I had a very hard time writing a speech. I wasn't entirely sure what to write, and, well, I thought that I could adapt an idea I had about six months ago. For Billy's fortieth birthday, I was going to do one of these powerpoint things with forty reasons why I loved him on, but I'm doing that now so I'll have to think of something else for then." He grinned and clicked a couple of buttons until a picture of Billy, a towel round his waist, having evidently just got out of the shower, appeared on the screen.

"I didn't do forty as there's only a certain amount of time until everyone has to get trains back and stuff, but I have done twelve. That's not to say I couldn't think of forty, though."

"Stop reminding me that I'm about to turn forty," Billy hissed out of the corner of his mouth, trying not to look at himself half naked on the big screen.

"Oi, forty's the new thirty, duck," Dom said, bending down and kissing Billy, a big grin on his face. "Anyway, reason number one." He clicked a button and then smiled faintly when a picture of his and Billy's linked hands appeared on the screen. Billy's knuckles were split and sore and several people hissed sharply at the state of them. "As Andy's already said, he's protective. I took that one when Billy was asleep. That was the day after he floored a bloke who started on us in the street, and that's what he had to show for it for a fortnight."

"I didn't know you took that," Billy murmured under his breath, as Maggie gave him a stern look across Andy and Lucy.

"You can take the boy out of Glasgow..." she muttered.

Smiling at Maggie, Dom nodded. "Exactly, Mags. They had it coming, anyway." He clicked the button again and everyone burst out laughing as a picture of Dom in his Superman t-shirt and a pair of rainbow braces, grinning like an idiot, appeared on the screen. "He loves me for who I am! When we first started seeing one another, I thought it might not work as he was far more conservative and respectable than me, but well...he loves me despite the fact that I can't sing and like wearing eyeliner and really really like rainbow stuff. Which is just as well, I suppose."

"Also, I'm not as conservative and respectable as you originally assumed," Billy murmured, which Andy heard. Smirking under his breath, he gave Billy's arm a little punch.

"Billy!" Dom hissed, his eyes going wide. "Stop it! Now. Number three. He's hardworking." He clicked for the next slide and smiled when a picture of Billy doing the accounts in his glasses came up, tearing at his hair. And he's clever, look, which is number four." The next slide appeared, which was Billy reading a book at the shop, looking completely absorbed in whatever it was. "But on top of that, he's romantic." Two slices of heart-shaped toast appeared on the screen, and everyone 'awwwed'. "And incredibly caring, as well." A picture of Dom with bedhair came up, making the squinchyface and holding a cup of tea. "Every single morning he brings me a cup of tea, without fail."

"He has tea in his shop, too!" Mary piped up before her father could shush her. "Cause he cares about other people, not just Mister Mo - Dominic."

"That's right, Mary!" Dom said, grinning as he clicked for the next slide. "He's generous, as well-" he motioned towards the Oasis tickets that had been scanned in, "and very, very talented, as you all saw earlier." Billy playing guitar popped up, a little frown on his face as he concentrated on moving his fingers. "In addition to everything else, he's funny-" Dom looking hysterical and a mildly amused Billy appeared, on a night out in the pub, "and terribly sexy." Dom sniggered when a photo of the two of them at Lou and Oliver's wedding slid into view. "You don't know how hard it is to not do that at the minute." He grinned and pointed to where his hands were clutching Billy's kilt-clad arse, Billy's back to the camera as Dom smirked at the photographer over his shoulder.

"Oh God," Billy muttered, hiding his face in his hands. "There are children present, Dommeh."

Dom just grinned. "Since I've been seeing him, at least, he's also become very willing to try new things. Family members and children, please look away now." A picture of Dom and Billy on Hallowe'en appeared. "I do stress that this was fancy dress for a party and it's not the sort of thing we do for the fun of it."

"Oh God," Billy groaned, smacking his forehead on the table. "I'll never recover. It won't happen. I will die, right here, on my wedding day."

Everyone else, of course, was howling with laughter, and Dom bent down to wrap his arms around Billy. "Had to be done, love, I'm sorry," he said, kissing the top of Billy's head then standing up again. "Last one now, come on, lookit." Dom clicked the button and then sighed happily when a picture of him and Wilde peering over the edge of the bath, their hair (and fur) sticking up every which way, came onto the screen, Billy crouching next to them, the camera evidently perched on something, the timer in action. The two of them were smiling and Wilde looked his usual happy self as he nuzzled into Dom's neck. "Despite our eccentricities, and yes, that is our cat and I in the bath, Billy loves us anyway. He's the most devoted, loving man I've ever had the pleasure to know, and I'm sure that everyone here will agree." There were general sounds of agreement and everyone nodded. "I honestly can't believe how lucky I am, Bill." Dom stroked the side of Billy's face and smiled. "To have someone as perfect as you to spend the rest of my life with is just...it's such an unbelievable gift. I'm never going to stop loving you, Billy, not for a second. And I'm really sorry I'm useless at writing speeches and--anyway." Dom held his glass of champagne up. "To Billy."

"You're going to make me cry," Billy mumbled as everyone drank, giving Dom a kiss. "And here I was about to complain that I get all sentimental and you show humiliating pictures of me... and then you go and say something like that."

Grinning, Dom pressed his lips against Billy's again, sliding his tongue into Billy's mouth for a moment, trying to draw out the kiss for as long as possible.

As it was, most people ended up ignoring them, and they just kept on kissing for a few minutes until Aureen came and tapped them on the shoulders.

"Boys?"

"Erm... sorry, ma'am," Billy spoke up, coughing and blushing.

"Billy."

"I mean... sorry, Aureen."

"You know dear, you can call me mum if that's easier."

Billy stared at her a moment, considering it, and then shook his head. "I... please don't take any offense, Aureen, but I... I can't really call anyone that."

She nodded and gave his shoulder another squeeze. "That's fine dear, of course. Just whatever's easy for you, but no more of this 'ma'am' shite. We're family! Anyway, I came over to tell you it's about time for cake and then the photographer wants to get people together for pictures."

"Cake!" Dom exclaimed, jumping up and pulling Billy with him. "We're going to have photos on the bridge, Bill, with all the lights and stuff," he said, walking backwards and somehow managing not to bang into everyone.

"Cake, Uncle Dom!" Bryony squealed as she came barrelling over, hand-in-hand with Mary.

"That's right, cake!" Dom said, beaming as he picked her up and twirled her around.

"Didn't I say something about no more sugar for him? I could've sworn I told you to hide the cake," he muttered to Aureen.

"Ah, Billy. One thing you'll have to learn is that no man can stand between Dominic and chocolate frosting. Lesser men have tried and failed."

"Come on lads, I want cake!" Austin said, standing at the front of the crowd of people with the video camera.

"Yeah, come on!" Several other Monaghans added, grinning as they held their own cameras.

"All right, all right!" Billy exclaimed, walking with Dom over to the table next to the buffet where the big chocolate wedding cake was sitting. "Jesus," he muttered to Dom. "Your family and their cake."

"We like cake," Dom said, pressing a kiss to the back of Billy's neck as he went to stand behind him, wrapping his hands around the knife and sighing happily when Billy's hands joined his.

"All right," Billy said for the benefit of the photographer. "One, two three."

Once they'd cut a slice and gotten it on a plate, Billy swiped some frosting off the top with his finger and grinned, slipping it between Dom's lips.

"Mmmm," Dom moaned, smirking as he licked the icing off, hoping that the mini-blow-job he was giving Billy's finger wasn't entirely obvious.

"Yeh little minx," Billy murmured affectionately before Dom tore off a piece of cake and fed it to him.

"You're gorgeous," Dom said as he looked at Billy's lips wrapped around his fingers, bending his head to kiss Billy's cheek and conveniently whisper into Billy's ear at the same time. "Can't wait to see those lips wrapped around something else."

"You're horrible," Billy whispered, though his cock certainly disagreed with that statement.

"Mmm," Dom agreed, dabbing a bit of buttercream on the tip of Billy's nose and then licking it off, giggling as he did so.

Billy laughed and gave Dom's side a brief little tickle, glad that Dom had taken off his jacket earlier. "Are you taking tips from Wilde?"

"Not at all," Dom said, kissing Billy again. He rested his hand on Billy's chest and rubbed their noses together, grinning as he did so.

"So can the rest of us have cake now?" Matt asked loudly, making Billy roll his eyes.

"Oi, bugger off," he muttered, though he dutifully took up the knife and started cutting more slices.

Dom helped Billy hand out the slices of cake until everyone had one. "Happy now?"

"Yes!" Everyone called over their shoulders as they went back to their seats.

"Reckon we've got time for a quickie?" Dom asked Billy quietly, keeping his eyes fixed on the back of the room.

"Might do," Billy murmured quietly. "We could go to the loos, no one would notice we were..."

"There you are, lads!" the rather campy photographer exclaimed. "Finish up that cake, we've got pictures in five minutes!"

"Would anyone notice if I killed him and buried the body in the bushes?" Billy asked under his breath as the man flitted away.

"Still," Dom said, "five minutes. Bet I could get you off in four."

"Done," Billy agreed, tugging Dom off by the wrist. The moment they reached the loos, Billy pushed Dom up against a conveniently placed wall, pressing his lips hard to Dom's.

And then he heard the snicker.

"Why hello, boys."

"Oh you have got to be kidding me," Billy groaned, seeing Andy and Matt standing against the sinks, lighting up.

"Cigarette?"

"I hate you. I hate the both of you."

"We haven't had sex in a week," Dom added, glaring at the two of them.

"Not my fault," Matt replied with a grin and a shrug. "Here, have this, I just lit it for effect." He handed the cigarette to Dom who took it, grumbling under his breath and inhaling, working Billy's mouth open with a finger and then covering Billy's mouth with his own, breathing out.

Billy at least felt a little better as he inhaled the smoke from Dom's mouth, not even caring that the other two man were standing there. Hey, if they wanted to rain on the parade, they would just have to watch.

"So can I have yours?" Billy asked, turning to Andy.

"Psh. No way. I don't light cigarettes for effect. I smoke them."

Dom inhaled a couple more times then passed the cigarette to Billy with a kiss, flicking his tongue out slightly.

"I'm beginning to think there is something wrong with the two of you," Billy said casually once he'd pulled away from the lazy kiss, taking a drag from the cigarette that Dom offered him and leaning back against him, pulling Dom's arms around his waist. "I mean, don't you have lives?"

Andy and Matt looked at each other then shook their heads. "Nah." Dom just rolled his eyes and squeezed Billy's waist with one arm, letting his other hand drift under Billy's kilt to stroke his thigh.

"Though I'm a bit disturbed by the fact that my brother is groping you while I watch," Matt added with a shudder.

"You're the one still in the room, mate."

"And you're the one who has pictures in five minutes," Andy countered.

"I'm going to tell Lucy you were watching me again."

"Again?" Matt asked, looking intrigued.

"Andy's quite the voyeur," Dom added with a raised eyebrow.

"Why does it always come back to this?" Billy groaned.

"Oh that story. I already heard that story."

"Of course you did."

"Boys!" the photographer trilled, sticking his head in. "Photo time!"

"Oh, good!" Dom said, smiling brightly and following the photographer out of the room, dragging Billy out by his sporran as well.

Grumbling slightly, Billy followed Dom and the photographer, who had assembled the people who were supposed to be in the pictures - Dom and Billy's families, plus Andy and Mary since they were in the wedding party - and headed outside to the nearby bridge where the pictures were going to be taken.

Giggling, Dom picked Billy up and kissed his forehead before putting him back down again in the middle of the crowd of people. "Later, love," he promised, nipping Billy's earlobe and squeezing his arse surreptitiously.

"All right, Dominic's family first please, Billy too, gather 'round now," the photographer requested, arranging everyone as he liked. "Sweetheart, you stand in front of the grooms please, there you are," he instructed Byrony, putting Matt next to Dom and their grandparents next to Matt, with Dom's parents and his aunt and uncle on Billy's side and Thomas in front of them.

"Okay, everybody, say Belgian chocolate!"

"Belgian chocolate!" everyone shouted with only a slight lack of enthusiasm from Matt.

"Lovely!" the photographer snapped the picture and then re-arranged Billy and Dom, motioning for Maggie and Patrick to come over.

Maggie managed only a small eyeroll for the photographer as he put Billy and Maggie next to each other, with their husbands on either side, babbling about how the pretty ones should always go in the centre.

Next, the photographer wanted a picture of the wedding party, so Andy and Matt came over and they balanced Mary and Byrony each between two men's shoulders, giggling delightedly.

"Oh look at you four," Dom said with a fond smile, allowing himself to be pushed into position by the photographer. "Me and Mary are going to write to each other, Uncle Dom!" Bryony told him, looking very excited by the whole idea.

"We're going to be penfriends!" Mary explained. "Byrony lives in England, which isn't very far away from France, and Daddy's said he'll help me mail the letters."

"Can I come and stay with you and Uncle Billy, Uncle Dom, so I can see Mary?" Bryony begged, pulling a very cute face. "Please?"

"Please?" Mary added, making a cute face of her own. Dom looked at Billy and grinned.

"What do you think, love? Think we can look after a very excited nearly-eight-year-old for a few days? If your mam and dad say it's alright, of course."

"I think we can handle it," Billy agreed. "If you promise to be very good and not eat all of Uncle Dom's chocolate or Uncle Billy's shortbreads."

"Promise!" Bryony squealed, clapping her hands together then beaming at Mary. "I'll be really really good!" she said, nodding. "And I'll even bring you some more chocolate and shortbreads and help at the shop and everything!"

"Well in that case, we'll ask your parents and I think it'll be all right," Billy agreed. "Sometime in the summer when you're not in school."

"Yay!" Bryony shouted, throwing her arms around Billy's neck.

"Okay, just the grooms, now, please, the rest of you can go back inside if you like..."

The photographer positioned Dom and Billy holding hands facing each other, and then took a couple photos (which Billy desperately wanted to call "prom pictures") with the two men chest to back and holding hands that way. He then decided he was through, but Mary and Byrony piped up.

"Wait, wait! You have to do funny faces!"

"Funny faces, you say? Come on then, Bill, turn round." Dom twizzled round so that he and Billy were facing the water and then, at the second they were both due to twist their heads and pull a face, a large gust of wind blew both of their kilts up, exposing their arses.

"Fuck!" Dom shouted as everyone else burst out laughing and the photographer started going on about how that picture was going on his website.

"Ewwww!!! Naked!!!" Byrony screamed, as Billy smacked his hand to his face.

Dom was now beside himself with giggles as he leant over the bridge and held his kilt down at the back with one hand. "You do realise that picture will go up in every single one of our guests' houses now?"

"I certainly bloody well hope not."

"It's going in mine!" Andy called out.

"Perv!" Dom returned, wrapping his arm around Billy's waist and then laughing as he heard the click of the camera again.

"Love you, Bill."

"Mm, love you too, Mr. Boyd."

"All right, lovebirds, back inside," Aureen insisted. "Your friend Lou is convinced that someone needs to throw a bouquet before anyone gets too intoxicated."

"Okay, you," Billy said with a smile when they pulled apart and headed back in. "Want to throw this bouquet or shall I?"

"What do you think?" Dom asked with a wicked little grin, squinting as they walked back into the light.

"Well you're the one who was so excited about the flowers," Billy teased. "You want to do it?"

"Do you mind?" Dom asked as Mary came running up with a bunch of multicoloured flowers.

"Course not," Billy replied. A group of single women quickly gathered, and Lou tried to shove Lucy in with them but she shook her head firmly, stepping back over to Andy, who wrapped his arms around her from behind. "No way I'm catching that thing," she insisted, as Lou laughed. "You people enjoy your marital bliss and I will enjoy my constant shagging."

"I certainly hope that's part of marital bliss as well," Dom said, smirking at Billy before moving in front of the women. He grinned, wished them all luck then turned round and threw the thing over his head.

At the same time, both Mary and Byrony jumped up for it, but it bounced off their hands and Mr. Craig, acting instinctively, caught it to keep it from landing on the floor.

"Daddy!" Mary squealed. "You caught the bouquet!"

"No, I mean I didn't..."

"Yes you did!! You're going to get married!"

Mr. Craig just blushed and looked at the floor, avoiding eye contact with anyone.

"Aw, Bill, look. Everyone's happy." Dom smiled and squeezed Billy's waist then turned to kiss his cheek. "Shall we give it another hour or so and then go and make mad, passionate love in our very nice honeymoon suite upstairs?"

"Sounds good to me," Billy agreed, turning and lightly biting Dom's ear. "Can't wait to get my hands up your kilt."

"Mm, likewise," Dom said, sliding his hand down Billy's back to squeeze his arse. "Who's topping first?"

"We could flip a coin."

"We could," Dom consented with a nod. "Andy! C'mere!" Obediently, Andy came trotting over. "Give us a coin, mate."

"What for?"

"Just give it here."

Andy rolled his eyes and handed Dom a one-Euro coin.

"Right," Dom said. "Map of Europe me, other side you."

He flipped the coin in the air then caught it, flipped it over again and smacked it down on his hand. "Yes!" he shouted, showing Billy the side with the number on it. "You."

"Excited about this, are you?" Billy teased.

"Of course," Dom said with a big grin. "My fingers just don't compare."

"Did you just...oh!" Andy laughed and had his coin back.

"Did they just what?" Matt asked, wandering back over from where he'd been dancing with Nana.

"They flipped a coin to see who'd top tonight."

"Who'd top first," Dom corrected.

"Don't suppose anyone's interested in preserving any shred of my dignity, by chance?" Billy asked.

"Certainly not!" Dom exclaimed, inching his hand up Billy's kilt again. "You're not allowed to be dignified at all tonight."

"Great," Billy muttered. "Just what I need."
Tags: bookshop monaboyd
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