Two Tickets to Paradise [Liam, Chris]
[Takes place Sunday afternoon.]
Disembarking at Santa Madalena is heaven compared to their transfer earlier that day at Kingston -- faster, easier, nowhere near as crowded, and every single person wearing any kind of uniform is friendly and deferential, absolutely eager to serve them and make their travel as pleasant as is humanly possible. Compared to the harrassed airline staff and stone-faced security nazis one runs into at commercial airports it's like being in another world.
Of course, that's the whole point of Citadel.
Liam and Chris had checked in when they boarded the tiny Citadel-owned jet and that was the only paperwork required of them. Everyone knows who they are now and where they're staying and quietly helps them get there. Their bags are handled and will likely be in their beach house waiting for them by the time they arrive. If they dawdle along the way, they might even be unpacked.
The sun overhead is a brilliant golden and the breeze is warm, but Liam has an arm around Chris anyway, just because he can. They'd arrived at Gatwick together far too early that morning but had had to be careful not to do anything to attract attention -- no touching, no significant glances, no talking above a murmur, nothing that might draw notice from any paparazzi who might be hanging about the airport keeping an eye out for celebrities behaving indiscreetly. Since he had the tickets, Liam had fallen into the role of "handler," seeing to baggage and boarding passes, treating Chris as impersonally as an employer rather than a lover. It stank on ice but it was necessary and it worked.
Now, though, the entire island is Citadel property and they can do whatever the fuck they want. If Liam wants to stop in the middle of the welcome center and snog Chris silly then he bloody well can. And it sounds like a wonderful idea so that's just what he does.
"Hey, I think that guy over there is trying to flag...." Chris doesn't get much farther in his mentioning of the guy in neat white shorts who seems to be their ride. Liam's arms come around him fully, they come to a grinding halt and bam! tongue.
Chris has never started off a vacation better.
Every mile away from London improved his already peppy mood. By the time they'd landed in the Citadel plane ("Dude, I'm so stealing some of these peanuts. The bags are cool -- Jessie'll love 'em,") he'd lost his over shirt and was content to lounge against Liam in his shorts and sneakers and green tee.
Cool and breezy and island bound; a celebration of being together -- unshackled by major committments otherwise and a celebration of birthdays. Chris didn't need to make a wish this year on the candles -- he's perfectly content.
One long, leisurely kiss later, Liam looks up and spots the man who'd caught Chris's attention, who's waiting with great patience off to one side. "Aye, I believe you're right." Liam slips his arm back around Chris's waist and they stroll over together.
The man in the white shorts bows and introduces himself as Dominic. He offers them a few options for transport to their house and after a glance at Chris, Liam chooses a brightly painted open carriage drawn by a pair of gleaming chestnut horses. It's about an hour's trip at a mixed walk and trot and Dominic points out some of the facilities and attractions along the way while Liam and Chris look around, cuddle, kiss and make plans for what to see and do later on.
"You know, this may sound cheesy American but I keep expecting to see Cinderella's castle and some trees shaped like Mickey Mouse ears," Chris whispers, nuzzling the side of Liam's neck. It's surprisingly easy to be openly affectionate; maybe he'll be shy later but for now...he's holding his lover's hand.
Liam has to laugh at that and tickles Chris just on general principles.
At this point, he'd be good just staying in bed with Chris the entire time, but he has to admit that the call of the island's scenery would probably draw him out eventually, even if they were to try for a marathon sex vacation. He chuckles to himself at the thought, then answers Chris's inquiring look with a headshake and a caress.
"What are you thinking about?" Chris winces. "And swear, that's my only stereotypical chick thing I'm going to say this whole vacation."
Liam laughs out loud and gives Chris a rib-creaking hug. "Trust me, dear heart, you're not at all chick-like, stereotypically or otherwise. And I was thinking for a moment that I'd like to just fall into bed with you and not come out for the entire two weeks. Although I suppose we could've done that at home, hmm?
"And I'm planning on fully enjoying being able to maul you in public while we're here, and to do that we have to be out in public, so I suppose we'll have to get out of bed occasionally."
"We could split the difference -- half the day in bed, half the day sightseeing and mauling in public." Chris laughs, tipping his head back to let the sun kiss the parts of his face not covered by sunglasses. He's living dangerously, a white boy from Boston in all this sunny paradise but he'll assume Citadel has a special deal with Mother Nature about the sun's rays here.
"Now there's a lovely thought," Liam murmurs, one hand sifting through Chris's short hair. "Twelve hours in bed and twelve hours out and about each day. And sex whenever we like since this is essentially one big, island-shaped extension of the club."
Another thought crosses his mind and he laughs again, shading his face with one palm. He meets Chris's questioning glance and laughs harder, but this time he answers the unspoken query. "I was just... just wondering, in how many places out and around the island we'll find caches of condoms and lube?" Visions of little plastic packets stashed in every knothole and flowerpot and seashell has him leaning over, silently laughing into Chris's shoulder.
Chris blushes a little but then he tips his head back and joins in the laughter. "Oh hell, can you imagine a few hundred years from now, people excavating a place like this? They'd be straining themselves trying to figure out exactly what the hell it all meant!"
"I'm sure they'd have a grand time figuring it out." Liam takes a deep breath of warm, scented air, still smiling, then suddenly loops an arm around Chris's waist and hauls him onto his lap. He settles down with his arms around his lover -- the best way to enjoy a carriage ride. Or just about anything, for that matter.
A protest dies half-hearted on Chris' lips -- he's dreamed of having Liam all to himself for months. He's dreamed of having them, together, without anything or anyone hanging over their heads. No phone calls, no emergencies, no worries. Even Jessie kissed them both good-bye, made them promise to bring her presents and that was that.
They were just Liam and Chris, acting like romantic fools in a carriage rumbling through paradise and he wasn't going to let his natural shy tendencies muck any of it up.
Liam'd half expected a protest. When he feels Chris tense and then slowly relax he tightens his arms around him and murmurs, "Good boy," into his ear.
They sit together for the rest of the ride, pointing out lovely views and things they'd like to do while they're here, places to see and other members wandering around. Although there really aren't all that many other folks, not like there'd be at a public resort. Liam likes that -- it's not like being in a ghost town, but there's plenty of privacy about and they'll have no problem finding a spot to lay their beach blanket.
No, no problem at all. The carriage turns off the road and up a driveway to head toward a lovely white cottage, and before it turns and stops in front of what appears to be the back door, Liam spots a shining expanse of smooth, white beach around the other side, with the luminous blue of the Caribbean lapping at the edge. What he'd seen of the beach, their patch of it anyway, had been completely deserted.
That makes him smile. He'd had thoughts of making love to Chris out in the sun with the sound of the waves nearby, and if their bit of beach stays that empty then he might just be able to manage it.
"Holy crap." Chris smiles, stepping out of the carriage and feeling his sneakers sink into the sand. "This place is gorgeous." He shades his eyes with both hands, trying to see down the beach. "Hey, we should sleep out one night." He smiles, turning around to look at Liam.
"I think that's an excellent idea. And I'm sure they have jumbo-size beach blankets stashed in a closet somewhere because there are some places no one wants to have sand penetrate." Liam loops an arm around Chris's waist and walks toward the house, his eyes shining with humor.
They enter the house and it's lovely. Everything's bright and tropical, and the walls are more window than wall so the light shines in from every direction. Half the windows are open to let the breezes in, including a set of double French doors standing open to the beach with gauzy white curtains billowing inward.
Chris takes Liam by the hand and starts exploring every corner of the cottage, finding numerous comfortable pieces of furniture that seem to almost beg and plead to be lounged on.
In the cozy bedroom, the white linens and mosquito netting lend to that "exotic castaway" feel -- broken only by the large whitewashed armoir that reveals quite the selection of toys.
Liam steps up behind Chris and looks over his shoulder into the armoir. "Hmmm, a nice assortment. How many do you think we'll have time to try while we're here?" His mind really isn't on toys or even sex but a chance to make his lover blush so adorably is something he has a hard time passing up.
Chris ducks his head a little but he pushes back against Liam's warmly imposing body. "We might have a hard time squeezing everything in in just two weeks," he says softly. "Plus there's the fact that there are at least two things in there I think are misplaced from the First Aid tent...."
"Well, I'm sure we'll manage to keep ourselves occupied nonetheless," Liam says. He reaches out and closes the armoir, then steers Chris out the French doors onto the deck facing the sea. There's something inside that's been growing and swelling and roiling about within him, struggling to escape and he's determined to let it out now. He's feeling a bit queasy but he knows it's just nerves and he'll be fine once it's over with.
"There's something I've wanted to tell you. For quite a long time actually, but I couldn't before. Then I thought I'd do it on your birthday but suddenly that's far too long to wait and I don't think I'd last that long." Liam's babbling and he knows it but he can't help it. He knows his nervousness is apparent in his voice and he can't help that either. He looks past Chris's blond head at the swirling sea and struggles to think how to say what he needs to say. It seems like it should be something... special, something grand, but nothing that sounds at all decent is coming to mind.
Chris turns his head, looking up into Liam's face with a spot of worry. Last time they needed to have a talk...but no, that part of things is over as Christian is better and moving out and Liam is free. But maybe there's something else and Chris' brain goes into momentary overdrive with apocalyptic scenarios as he struggles to say something.
"Nothing! That is, nothing's wrong now, everything's perfect and now I'm free to say something I couldn't in good conscience say before and it really shouldn't be this hard...." Liam pushes a nervous hand through his hair, trying to figure out where the off switch is in his adrenal gland because it's determined to make things difficult for him. "I'm sorry, I haven't done this in... in I don't know how long. And maybe I should've done the flowers and champagne thing, or gotten you something--"
And of course it hits him then that he should've done that, gotten him a ring or a bracelet or, or a collar? But they haven't talked about that and Liam's not sure they're ready to go that far or that formal or if Chris would even want to so they'll have to talk about that some time but not now because right now is for something much more basic and fundamental if only he can just cough it up.
"I love you."
The flowers and champagne makes his worry pause and Chris' brow does this furrowing thing so deep you could plant crops. By the time Liam gets the words out, words he's waited so so long for, Chris thinks he must've misheard. Or something. But the worry and earnestness in Liam's expression tells him he's heard exactly right.
And Chris smiles. Big time smiles.
"Seriously?" He tilts his head closer, laughing a little. Nerves and shit. "Wow. That's just -- you know I've been in love with you for like...months right?" Two spots of blush hit him on each cheek.
"I've been...." What? Wondering? Wishing? Trying not to notice? "Hoping." That's a good word. Liam leans back against the door and tugs Chris up against him, so he can see his face and feel their bodies touching. "I couldn't say it before but now I can. I was just hoping it was what you wanted to hear."
Chris is laughing harder now, relief and happiness washing through his system like the waves outside the window. He sags against Liam, reaching up to touch his face tenderly.
"I love you. Please get used to hearing that because I have a feeling it's going to populate my vocabulary a lot."
Liam closes his eyes and rubs his cheek against Chris's hand, like a big cat enjoying a caress, then he turns and presses a kiss into his palm. Some insane, paranoid little chunk of his heart had expected the lad to draw back, to push him away, to laugh -- something. He'd known, really known that it would never happen, that his Chris was sweet and gentle and even if he hadn't returned the feelings he'd never have said or done anything hurtful, but the fear had still been there, immovable and impossible to silence.
Now it's all just draining away and Liam feels himself sway with relief. He turns it into a gentle rocking for the simple joy of feeling the two of them moving together.
"I can't imagine ever tiring of it."
There's a permanence in the words that makes Chris' heart leap and then retreat back -- no need to ruin the moment by saying something profoundly ridiculous and wrong. There's still so much that needs to be said and figured out and examined but then again...he could just enjoy the moment.
Enjoy Liam's hands and touch and gentle caring way with him. Enjoy the relieved tint to Liam's eyes.
"Good to know because...I love you." Chris smiles, tilting his head for a kiss.
"I love you too," Liam replies softly. It's cliche and unoriginal but utterly true and right. He bends his head and presses his lips to Chris's, a gentle touch with a bare tickle of tongue.
The kiss seals the deal as far as Chris is concerned; he'll remember this moment forever. When he pulls away slightly to catch his breath, he gives Liam a quirky smile.
"Okay, now what?" he teases with a chuckle.
"Now?" Liam almost laughs and instead drops a quick, teasing kiss on the end of Chris's nose. "Now, anything. Anything at all. For the rest of our vacation. The rest of our lives. Whatever you want." He lifts Chris up and sits him on the sun-warmed wooden rail at the edge of the deck. The perch brings them up to equal height and he takes advantage of that happy coincidence with a long, leisurely kiss.
The fading ghost of that little voice inside him is whining that this is all a dream, an impossible fantasy, that he'll wake up soon and everything will be back the way it was. Liam just wishes it'd shut the fuck up and let him enjoy his boyfriend.
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