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an inconvenient time of day

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Aaron wakes to the sound of rain, fumbles for his phone to check the time before he remembers it's Sunday. Thank god.

He pulls his arm back under the duvet where it's warm. He's got it snugged up to his chin, tucked under his knees, a perfect little cocoon against the February dawn.

Robert's putting out heat behind him and Aaron moves his feet back, warms them on Robert's ankles even though it makes him grumble in his sleep.

It's not quite light out yet, he's definitely got a couple of hours before he needs to move.

He turns over, plasters himself up against Robert's back, tucks his cold nose into the hair at Robert's nape.

Robert always pretends he hates being the little spoon but it's all lies. He hums contentedly when Aaron slides an arm around his chest, hand coming up to cover Robert's heartbeat.

It thumps in time with the patter on the windows and Aaron lets his eyes slip shut again. He's exactly where he wants to be, he's not moving.



Aaron would be a liar if he said he wasn't at least a little bit into Robert being taller than him.

It's not even like it's a big difference, he's not craning his neck every time they snog or anything. But sometimes, when Robert's suited and booted, paperwork under one arm and that stupid travel mug in hand, expensive coffee sloshing, sometimes, especially if Aaron's only just out of bed, in bare feet and still rubbing his eyes. Well, those times, when he has to fist a hand in Robert's jacket and ever so slightly tip up on to his toes to snatch his goodbye kiss. Those times, like this morning? They're nice.

They're also infinitely better without an audience.

“Vom,” Liv says when Robert leaves. She's sat up on the kitchen counter, holding a bowl of cereal. There's milk on her chin.

“You got a little bit of something,” Aaron tells her, thumbing at his own face. He laughs, dances out of the way when she kicks out at him. “What are you vomming at this morning anyway?” he asks, getting jam out of the fridge.

Liv scoffs. “You two, dribbling all over each other. I'm scarred for life.”

Aaron pushes the lever on the toaster down, rolls his eyes. “Well we don't so.”

“Yeah okay. Must be someone else following him about for a cuddle every morning then. My mistake,” she gestures with her spoon and a soggy cornflake flies across the room. “You do know you work at the same place? You could just go with him.”

Aaron refuses to go red. “He's gone to a meeting actually smart arse. Why aren't you ready for school anyway?” she's still in her dressing gown, hair like a birds nest.

“Teacher training day,” she say, holding her empty bowl out at him. She waves it until he gives in and takes it over to the sink for her. “It's on the calendar.”

She's not wrong. It's right there when he checks, written in Robert's neat block capitals, same as all the other school holidays Aaron always forgets to remember. The calendar's actually for his benefit, he's starting to realise.

“What are you going to do all day then? Sit around in your pyjamas texting Will?”

She glares at him. “Don't be daft. I'm going to invite him round when you leave, give him a tour of upstairs.”

Aaron should really know better than to spar with her these days, she spends far too much time with Robert. “Don't even think about it.”

Aaron can just about stand Will for the couple of minutes it takes Liv to put her coat on and hustle him out the door whenever he knocks on her her. That's it.

Liv laughs, hopping down and making her way over to the stairs. “I've got some revision to do actually,” she tells him. “Lunch at the pub later though? Will Rob be back by then?”

Aaron frowns. It's not as though Liv wanting to have lunch with Robert is totally unheard of but there's something about the way she says it. Something's going on.

“I'll text him” he offers. “Everything okay?”

She a picture of innocence. “Can't I just want to have lunch with you?”

“Both of us?”

“I like Robert more than you, you know that.”

Aaron laughs because she's only half joking and it'll never get old.

“Get some work done, squirt,” he calls as she disappears upstairs.

He makes a mental note to give Robert a heads up though, something's not right.



He comes to slowly, gasping from breath. There's heat, wet and relentless around his dick and it takes him a minute to figure out he's not still dreaming. Half sat up, scrambling.

Robert's a lump under the covers and he doesn't let up. Plants a hand in the middle of Aaron's chest to push him back down.

Aaron lets himself be manhandled, sinking back into the pillows with a groan.

He feels on edge already, Robert taking him deep, swallowing around the head, perfect drag of his tongue against the underside on every upstroke.

Aaron doesn't know what to do with himself, just takes it instead. Fists his hands in the sheets, bites back a shout.

He comes in waves, Robert taking it all, body humming and arms heavy. He's glad he's already lying down.

Robert flops down beside him after, mouth used and hair a mess. Sweaty from being under the covers with no air.

“Good morning,” he says brightly, because he's a smug arsehole and Aaron can't feel his face.

Aaron has to laugh. “Yes it is.”

He lets Robert roll into him, accepts a wet kiss that tastes like morning breath and himself. Doesn't pull a face.

He's maybe thinking about returning the favour when Robert pulls back, face regretful. “I'd really like to continue this,” he says. “But I've got a meeting with Nicola and she'll kill me if I'm late again.”

Aaron watches him get out of bed. Tracks broads shoulders narrowing to lean hips and that perfect arse across the room.

He pushes himself up to sit against the headboard. Watching Robert get ready is always a treat, there's no way he's missing this.

He might text Liv to bring him a brew once Robert's got pants on, really make the most of it.



Robert's side of the bed is empty, cold like it hasn't been slept on.

Aaron checks the time, 4.23am, and feels a wave of worry wash over him. He'd come to bed alone last night, left Robert watching the news and pretending he wasn't waiting up for Liv. Where the fuck is he?

Aaron gets rolls out of bed, tugs a hoodie on because it's still dark and it's freezing.

He can hear voices when he opens the bedroom door, the flicker of the TV when he crosses the landing.

He resists the urge to slide down the bannister.

Robert's on the sofa, Liv tucked under one arm, blanket tucked around them both. It makes Aaron's chest seize.

'What's going on?” he asks, whispering because that's what you at this time of the morning. Is glad, when he realises Liv's asleep on Robert's shoulder.

Robert smiles at him, he looks knackered. “She split up with Will.”

“What? Why?”

“Didn't really say. Because he's a prat, probably.”

Aaron perches on the arm of the sofa, strokes a hand over Robert’s hair. “You could have woken me up.”

“It's fine. She was a bit upset so I made hot chocolate and we watched a film. No big deal.”

Aaron gives him a look. “You've been up all night looking after my little sister. It's a big deal.”

Robert rolls his eyes, looks away like he always does when Aaron wants to be nice to him. “Yeah, well. She's not just yours is she?”

Sometimes Aaron has no idea what to do with how much he loves Robert. It's like there isn't enough space inside of him for it all.

“Can I get you anything?” he offers, seeing as Robert's pretty stuck.

Robert shakes his head. “No, I'm fine. Go back to bed.”

“I'm up now,” Aaron argues. “What are we watching?”

He squashes down into the space on the other side of Robert, tucks himself under the blanket.

He puts his head on Robert's free shoulder and watches Liv sleep across the rise and fall of his chest. There's a wet patch on Robert's t shirt where her mouth is open. She's never living that down.



“You're definitely sure about this?”

Aaron's sat on the edge of the bed, lacing his shoes. He glances up to glare at his mum. “It'd be a bit late to back out now don't you think?”

She holders her hands up. “Alright. Just checking.”

Aaron huffs, straightens his cuffs. “Besides, it's not like I haven't already married him before.”

“Yeah but that wasn't legal. You're actually stuck with him after this.”

“That's sort of the point,” Aaron tells her, “I want to be.”

Chas nods, checks her hat in the mirror again before turning to him. “I'm really proud of you you know? Both of you. For getting this far after everything.”

“Mum,” he says, he doesn't want to hear this. Not today.

“I mean it. You're my son and I love you. And I suppose you could probably do worse.”

He laughs, getting up. He hugs her as best he can, ducking around the brim of the hat. “Thanks. Now can we get a move on? I don't want to be late.”

Liv and Robert are waiting downstairs. Liv's in an actual dress, hair pinned back and she's hunched over Robert's outstretched hands, sorting his cufflinks.

“We ready?” Chas asks, clattering across the kitchen in her heels. “Someone's getting impatient.”

“Shut up.”

Robert looks up, smile wide and eyes soft as he takes Aaron in.

The matching suits had been Liv's idea.

“We've got ages yet,” Robert says, “Put the kettle on.”

“What, no whisky this time?” Aaron asks, even as he's pulling mugs from the dishwasher.

Robert meets his eyes across the room, everything else falling away. “No, I'm good.”

They both are, they're getting married again today, they're brilliant.