"So, where are you going?" Gabe settled himself in a chair and watched Angela packing swimsuit after swimsuit into a suitcase.
"Just away with my dad for a few weeks. He's got a conference in the Bahamas, so I'm going with him to get away for a while." Gabriel smiled.
"Yes, there's a lot you need to get away from here. I can tell." She smiled over at him. She zipped her suitcase shut, padlocked it, and hauled it awkwardly to the door. Sighing, Gabe got up from his chair and took the case downstairs for her. She kissed his cheek and called her dad from his study.
Gabriel watched the pair of them pack their cases into the car and drive off, before wandering slowly back down the gravel driveway. He slipped through the wrought-iron gates and was heading back towards the town when something shot from the bushes beside the pavement and jumped onto his back. With a soft curse, Gabe twisted, about to claw the person from his back, when he saw it was Bailey.
"Made you jump." Bailey smirked. Gabe stuck his tongue out. Bailey slid from his back and fell into step beside him, brushing his dark hair back from his face. "Where're you going?"
"I've got to fetch the twins from school. Why?" Bailey shrugged.
"I noticed the fair was in town this week… I thought you might like to go… with me?" Gabriel smiled to himself.
"I might like that." He said quietly. "Pick me up tonight, at seven?" Bailey nodded happily, and squeezed Gabe's hand tightly for a moment, before disappearing down the driveway of another house on the street. Watching him go, Gabriel couldn't fight back a smile. The older boy's happiness was infectious. And the kids were always telling him to have more fun.
Liam and Rose were waiting for him when he arrived at their school. He listened to them chatter about their day, but for once, he barely heard a word they were saying. He couldn't stop thinking about Bailey.
"What's for dinner tonight, Gabe?" Liam asked, putting his rucksack down in the hall when they got home. Gabe shrugged.
"There's some shepherd's pie in the freezer." He said. "Or some lasagne somewhere, I think." He'd started digging around in the freezer when he heard Jordan and Phoebe come in. He found the second of the lasagne's he'd made a couple of weeks ago, and put it in the oven to warm up. He set the table while the twins settled down to do their homework. Jordan had disappeared upstairs, and Phoebe was sprawled out on the sofa, a history textbook open on her lap. Gabe went upstairs and knocked on Jordan's door, poking his head around the edge of the door.
"Can you watch the kids tonight? I'm going out." Jordan shook his head.
"I promised to take Tracy to the fair."
"Oh…" Gabe sighed, and headed back downstairs. "Pheebs, can you watch the twins tonight? Jordan and I are both out." Phoebe nodded. "Thanks." Gabe went to check on the lasagne and sat down with Liam and Rose while it cooked, helping them with their maths homework.
As it neared seven o'clock, Gabe ran upstairs and changed quickly. After considering several outfits, he finally settled on simple jeans, a white polo shirt and a grey sweater. He went back to the kitchen and took his jar down from the shelf. He took out one hundred pounds, tucked fifty safely into his wallet, and went to find Jordan, who was in the process of changing for his date.
"Here you go." He said, handing his brother the money.
"What's this for?"
"You said you were going out with Tracy." Gabe shrugged. Jordan smirked and pocketed the money.
"Thanks." He hesitated, staring at two shirts.
"The red one." Gabe blurted without thinking. "It goes well with your skin tone." Jordan shot him a confused look, but pulled on the shirt.
"Thanks for… what you told me a couple of nights ago." He said quietly. "About… stuff. I talked to Tracy, and she agreed to wait a while. But we've decided to… experiment a little… at some point." Gabe nodded slowly.
"Remember to just take it slowly… and be safe, alright?" Jordan nodded, flushing bright red.
"So, where are you going tonight?" He asked Gabe, pulling on his trainers.
"The fair, same as you… Bailey's taking me." Jordan raised his eyebrows.
"Does Angela know about the pair of you?"
"No. She's gone to the Bahamas with her dad for a few weeks… I'm going to try and convince Bailey to tell her when she gets back." The doorbell rang, and they both headed downstairs.
Gabe opened the door while Jordan pulled on his jacket. Bailey and Tracy were both on the doorstep, apparently having just introduced themselves to each other. Jordan felt a spike of jealousy when Bailey smiled at Gabe, and beat it back quickly. He kissed Tracy's cheek and felt her arm link through his when he stepped out the door. Gabriel locked the front door and returned Bailey's smile readily.
"Do you two want a lift?" Bailey asked as they walked down the garden path. Gabriel saw that instead of his sports car, Bailey had tonight driven a shining new Volvo. Tracy accepted the lift before Jordan could refuse, so he had to endure ten minutes of Gabe and Bailey being chatty and happy with Tracy. He'd never head Gabe talk so much in his life.
Finally, to Jordan's relief, they arrived at the fair. Bailey parked the car quickly and locked up. They paid together and strapped on their glowing green wristbands.
"Where do you want to go first?" Jordan asked Tracy.
"The Waltzer." She said firmly. "I have to go on that before I have anything to eat, otherwise I'll be ill."
"Will you two need a lift back?" Bailey asked before they split up. "If you do, we need to arrange somewhere to meet, and a time."
"I'll walk Tracy home afterwards." Jordan said quickly. "I don't need a lift." Bailey nodded agreeably. Jordan felt his heart squeeze painfully when Bailey slipped his hand into Gabriel's.
"See you guys later, then." He said.
"Have fun." Gabriel winked at Jordan when Tracy's back was turned. Jordan stuck his tongue out, and let Tracy lead him away.
Gabriel watched the pair disappear from sight, before he turned and smiled at Bailey. The older boy tugged him into the crowd. They walked around for a little while together, hand in hand, until Bailey decided he wanted to on the ghost train.
"You know these things aren't scary at all, right?" Gabe asked as they joined the queue.
"That's not the point." Bailey said.
"What is the point, then?"
"I can pretend to get scared, and you'll cuddle me." Bailey smirked. Gabe rolled his eyes, and wrapped his arm around Bailey's shoulders.
"Is that good enough?" Bailey laughed softly, and nodded. Gabe saw a woman in front of them turn and give them and nasty look. He stared haughtily at her until she flushed and looked away again.
"Do you want something to eat?" Bailey asked after they'd been on the ride. Gabe shrugged.
"I'll share something with you, if you like. I only had dinner a while ago." Bailey wandered over to one of the trade stands and bought a hot dog.
"You don't mind onions and mustard?" He asked. Gabe shook his head, and took a bite when Bailey offered him the food.
"Where are we going next, then?" Gabe asked, as they wandered through the fair. Bailey shrugged.
"Don't mind… the Ferris Wheel?" They joined the queue, and quickly clambered into a car. "I think I can see my house." Bailey said cheerfully when they reached the top. Gabe smiled.
As they wandered through the fair, they saw Jordan and Tracy queuing for the teacups ride, sharing a pink candyfloss on a stick. Gabe pulled Bailey over to another trade stand and bought a blue one for them to share.
"I've not had candyfloss for years." Gabriel said excitedly. Bailey let Gabe have most of the candyfloss, occasionally leaning in to steal a bite for himself.