George first heard the music from two floors below the flat, something fast and upbeat with a rockabilly swing to it. It got louder as he stepped off the elevator and made his way down the hall. He was sure it wasn’t being played by Dr. Stanley, who was on shift at the hospital for another eight hours. Definitely not Mr. Morfin, or his husband Mr. Weekes-- if there was ever any music heard coming from their flat, it was almost always classical. It wasn’t until George reached the last door that he realized it was loudest there, and most definitely coming from inside his and Charlie’s flat. When he opened the door it was practically deafening.
"Charles?" He called, just in time to be drowned out by a twangy guitar solo.
He frowned and tried again.
Nothing. He sighed, shook his head, and closed the door. Hung his keys. Toed off his shoes. Stepped inside. The music seemed to be coming from the kitchen. George really didn't want to startle his boyfriend again. Not after last time, when Charlie thought he was an intruder and thwacked him soundly on the arm with a wooden spoon. (Of course, he'd be lying if he said he hadn’t been at least a bit happy with how Charlie's guilt manifested as apology cuddles and soup-- but he wasn’t sure the bruise was worth it.)
George paused just short of the kitchen doorway. He was going to hollar for Charles one last time, and hope he wouldn't have to go within spoon-and-arms length. Yes. That sounded like a good plan. A good plan that fell through when he turned the corner and saw Charlie standing at the stovetop. That bit wasn’t what caught George’s attention, of course. The bit that stunned him was the fact that Charlie was dancing. In shorts.
George's mind went blank as his gaze traced the lines of Charlie’s legs, drinking in the contours and plains of muscle rolling and flexing beneath smooth, pale skin. He couldn;t recall the last time Charlie wore shorts-- rather, he didn’t think Charlie had ever worn shorts at all. Watching him now, George swore to himself he’d replace his whole wardrobe with shorts if it meant he got to see this more often. Watching Charlie move was like watching a raven fly, or a cat prowling, or a Venus flytrap shutting its jaws: completely natural and utterly mesmerizing.
He didn't notice when Charlie turned to face him. He did notice when his boyfriend yelped and hurled his spoon across the room.
"Georgie!" Hollered Charlie, using the same tone as someone who’d just been walked in on naked.
George ducked. The spoon struck the wall and clattered to the floor. George rose slowly and stared at it, eyes blown wide and brow knit. Being hit by a spoon was one thing, but Charlie throwing it at him? Was there nothing he could do to avoid injuries caused by kitchen utensils? If so, that certainly wasn’t what George signed up for when he agreed to move in with him.
He turned to Charles and cried, "What was that for?"
Charles opened his mouth to speak, either ignoring him or unable to hear. George couldn’t tell which. He was cut off by a sudden and loud boogie-woogie piano opening. Charlie scowled, marched over to the speaker, and turned it down. He spun around with his fists on his hips. Now that he got a good look at him, Charles didn’t look like he was scowling so much as aggressively frowning. George wasn’t sure if there was a difference, really, but it looked like there was one.
"Why were you lurking in the doorway?" Demanded Charles.
"Why’d you chuck a spoon at my head?" Demanded George.
"I wasn't aiming for your head!” Said Charlie. “I was aiming for-- well… " He made a face and waved his hand in a vague, sweeping gesture, then shrugged. "All of you, I suppose."
"So that's why you hit the wall?"
Charles rolled his eyes and strode back to the stove. "Oh, whatever. 'S not like your aim would be any better. Grab that spoon for me, will you?"
George fetched the spoon, rinsed it off, and handed it back. George watched Charlie's fingers curl around the handle.
"Thank you,” said Charles. He turned to the pot and stirred slowly. Whatever it was smelled delicious and homey, like they were in a little cottage in the woods rather than a London flat. Garlic and onion: potatoes, carrots, and chicken: parsley, sage, rosemary, and… turmeric?
"Still haven't answered my question, though."
"Yeah. About why you were lurking in the doorway."
George blushed. His hands moved to his pockets. He shuffled his sock-clad feet on the linoleum tiles-- their faded, dull, grey-on-not-quite-grey pattern suddenly looked very interesting.
"Well?" Asked Charles.
Georgie sucked in a breath and muttered, "Wasn't staring."
Charlie paused. He peered at George with dark, twinkling eyes. They looked amused. So did the rest of Charlie's face, really, from the lopsided quirk of his mouth to the slight crinkle between his brows.
George didn’t like that look. Historically, it meant nothing good.
“I wasn't.” He insisted.
The quirk of Charlie's mouth grew more mischievous. “Nobody said anything about staring.”
The room was suddenly far too warm for his liking. Charlie’s grin grew wider as he turned back to his pot. George didn’t miss the prodding glances tossed at him. “Would you care to tell me why you were staring? And don’t say it was because of my scandalously bared legs.”
Charlie said it sarcastically. George’s responding blush was about as far from sarcasm as you could get, washing over his face and neck and chest to leave him looking feverish. He sucked in a sharp breath, then muttered something halfway between a bad excuse and pitiful justification.
Charlie balked. “Oh my god, you were--! Georgie, you Victorian pervert!”
“They’re nice legs!” He cried. “Anyone with a decent set of eyes would have done the same!”
Charlie laughed, long and hard and loud, leaning back and clapping with delight. When he was finished, he wiped a tear from his eye and turned to George with a grin.
“Oh, Georgie. I love you.”
George’s face was still very, very hot.
Charlie smiled and shook his head. “Oh, come here.”
He pulled George down to kiss him soundly.
Charlie’s kisses meant several things, he’d learned. Long and hard meant, rough day, need a break. Fast and desperate meant, bedroom, now. This kiss-- the one that was slow, sweet, and attentive, the one that made their whole beings thrum with delight-- this one meant, I adore you. Georgie couldn’t get enough of it.
He moved closer to rest his hands on Charlie’s hips. Charles pressed against him and slung his arms around his neck. After a moment, they pulled back.
Georgie gazed contently at Charles. Charles ran his fingers through George’s hair, messing up whatever was left of that morning’s attempt to style it. Charlie was smiling.
“I didn’t mean to embarrass you.” He said softly.
George hummed and pressed his forehead against Charlie’s.
“‘S alright,” he mused, “I’m just glad you didn’t hit me with that spoon.”
He felt Charlie’s forehead wrinkle against his own.
“I did apologize for that.”
George’s mouth quirked up. “Oh, I remember. You cuddled me on the couch for a solid week.”
“And there was soup.”
“Lots of soup.”
Charlie made a curious face. “You really like soup, don’t you?”
“I like your soup.”
Charles gave him a bemused look. “Is that supposed to be romantic?”
Georgie shrugged. “Not particularly. Just speaking my mind, is all.”
Georgie leaned in for another kiss. Charlie smiled against his lips. When he pulled back, George began to run his hands up and down Charlie’s waist. Charlie preened and leaned into his touch, resting his head on his shoulder. George tucked Charlie under his chin and swayed gently.
The music playing from the speakers was quiet, but still audible. George only half paid attention to the lyrics.
I’m gonna run my fingers through your long black hair Squeeze you tighter than a grizzly bear Uh-huh, uh-huh Yes-sir-ee, uh-huh I’m gonna stick like glue Stick because I’m stuck on you
George huffed in amusement as he recognized them.
“Really?” He said smiling.
Charlie didn’t move. He merely gave an inquisitive, “Hm?”
George shook his head. “Elvis?”
Charles shifted to rest his hands on Georgie’s chest.
“I’ll have you know, his music is very catchy.” Charles said against his neck.
George scoffed. “Cheesy, more like.”
Charlie made an offended noise, but his voice gleamed with amusement. “You are a tasteless fiend, Georgie.”
George smiled. “You’re one to talk.”
He didn’t have to look to know Charlie was smiling. He pulled back and gazed at George with dark, twinkling eyes.
“Dance with me?” He asked.
George smiled. “What about the soup?”
“Damn the soup.”
Charles turned the burner off, the speaker up, and pulled George into the center of their tiny kitchen. He moved his feet, swaying his body and moving to the rhythm like he was made for it. George began to sway with him. The beat kicked in and Charlie’s hips started moving.
George sang the words under his breath.
Charlie fixed him with a sharp look and grinned.
“You hypocrite!” He said gleefully.
George smiled and pulled him close. “I said Elvish was cheesy, not that I didn’t like him.”
Charlie laughed. Something warm and soft bloomed in George’s chest. He grinned.
It would be a while until they got around to dinner.