To The Waiter

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Hello guys! And Merry Christmas! So, some of you may have been reading my story Salt Sweat Sugar. This is almost like the prologue, and is the story of how Matt and Morgan met. It's Christmas-themed, and also my Christmas present to you guys!
Now take your seats, ladies and gentlemen, because it's going to get turbulent...

Chapter 1 (v.1) - To The Waiter

Submitted: December 12, 2011

Reads: 320

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Submitted: December 12, 2011

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Soundtrack!

 

Said The Bride's Maid To The Waiter

 

12th December, 2009.

It was pretty uncomfortable just sitting here, waiting for him to say something. Sean fiddled with the handle of his fork and tried to smile at me. Great, he was just as uncomfortable as I was. He looked around the room like he was trying to find inspiration. The only inspiration I wanted as at the bottom of the glass of red wine in front of me. Blind dating left a lot to be desired. I looked up at the gaudy red and gold Christmas decorations sprinkled around he ceiling, and tapped my foot to the slow, romantic Christmas songs being tinkled across the huge dining room from an indeterminable source. “Matt?” He asked “You look bored.” He was cute, and American. With a set of lips to die for and a readily happy smile, dark hair and even darker eyes. And the glasses sitting on the bridge of his nose were just an added bonus. There was a face I could never get used to. But, as pretty as the young man was, the conversation would have been better if I’d brought a pot plant. I decided to blame Clair.“Go out with him!” she'd said. “You two are perfect for each other!” Right. Because obviously, me and the only other gay man she knew were going to be perfect for the other, after all, look what we had in common, a mutual love for male genitals and “I'm pretty sure he loves Star Wars. You like Star Wars, right?” I’d been too polite to mention that, actually, I was more of a Star Trek fan.

“I'm not bored, honestly.” I shook my head, without bothering to return the question. We slipped into icy silence again.

He cleared his throat and straightened his glasses. “So... The weather's pretty-”

“Please, god. Don't say I’m boring you so much that we have to talk about the weather.” I sighed

“We aren't doing so well on any other topics.” He opened his hands “I'm really sorry, I guess I’m just not used to going out with guys yet. To be honest, you're the first guy I've been out with.” he cringed a little and looked down. Well...That wasn't going to wash with me, I didn't care if he'd had one date or one hundred. I wasn't going to be an experiment. “Right. Of course. Sorry, would you rather talk about football and boobs?” I snapped. He looked a little offended, and I immediately felt guilty. But I didn't apologise. He sighed and took off his glasses, picking up a napkin and cleaning the lenses with it. Slow circular motions around the edges.

“Look, I’m glad that you're totally comfortable with your sexuality. But some of us aren't, okay?”

“So, what? Am I just proving that you clearly can't date guys because unless they have a pair of ovaries, then you can't keep a conversation going for longer than three minutes?” I felt my fist tighten under the table, like I was ready to slam it down and go off on a rant, but a cool shadow fell across the table, blocking out some of the light from the thousands of strings of fairy lights.

“Hello...My name's Morgan. I’ll be your server for the evening. Ready to order?” The waiter had glided smoothly over to the table, and he was smiling behind his note-pad. He'd just heard my outburst. Fantastic, Matt. Announce to the restaurant that you have a preference for guys. That won't get you dragged out into an alleyway and beaten up. I looked up at the waiter

“Uh,” I grabbed for the menu and read off the first thing that looked remotely appetizing. “I’ll have the...Pasta Arr- Arri-”

“Arrabbiata?” He smiled, and I nodded, blushing again. “Don't worry, we don't expect fluent Italian here. And you, sir?” He turned to Sean, who asked for something unremarkable. But he seemed more interested in the waiter than anything that he was ordering. I followed his gaze to the waiter's face. They were almost polar opposites. The waiter had a blonde mop of hair that hung in his face, whereas Sean's was dark and neat, flipped up in a very Fifties-style almost-quiff. Their eyes were also completely different. The dark, sharp blue and the soft, deep brown. And yet, somehow, they would look fantastic standing side by side. Or holding hands. With their foreheads pressed together and their noses brushing. My stomach squirmed, pissed that my date was flirting with the staff, I coughed sharply. The waiter, glanced at me and clearly noticed my irritation. Not that I’d made any attempts to hide it. He promised us a second bottle of wine and hurried off. I knew I was being stupid, what were the chances of him even being gay, to begin with? And even if he was, what was to say that Sean would be his type? And again, even if Sean was the most attractive thing that he'd ever seen, Sean didn't seem like the kind of guy that would just drop a date. Either way, apparently where that guy was concerned, I was sure Sean would have be no difficulty in keeping up a conversation.

“What?” He smiled at me. I realised I was frowning quite hard at him.

“Oh, uh. Just deep in thought.”

“Penny for them?” He offered. Well, I thought, at least he was trying now.

“Keep your change. Just wondering about the snow. Whether it'll stop me getting into work tomorrow.”

“Aw. Don't tell me I’m boring you so much we have to talk about the weather.” He smirked. I had to hand it to him, he had a fantastic smile.

“Sorry.”

Morgan the waiter reappeared with a bucket of ice and a towel draped over his arm. He reached over the table to pick up the empty bottle of wine and place the bucket and the fresh one down in its place. He pulled off the towel with a flourish, making both Sean and I giggle, though we met each other's eyes and stopped immediately. Morgan didn't seem deterred at all. He cracked open the foil around the top and jammed the corkscrew with a little more force than necessary. He fumbled and dropped the metal corkscrew with a clatter onto the floor

“Shi-Sugar.” He set the bottle down on the table and knelt down to fish around under the table for the corkscrew. “Sorry.” He sighed when he re-appeared from under the table cloth. “Let me just go get a clean one...” He turned to walk away, but I stopped him

“Er, no. It's okay. Here.” I dug out my keys from my pocket and flipped open the corkscrew from the Swiss army knife. He took it from me and grinned.

“Ah! I need one of these.” He took off the cork more gently this time, lifting the bottle and looking at us expectantly. Sean motioned for me to taste it, so Morgan poured a little into the clean glass in front of me. I picked it up and tasted it, with no clue what I was supposed to be testing for, I swallowed the wine and nodded. Morgan poured the wine into Sean's glass, and then into mine.

“Enjoy, and just holler- well, don't holler, but make some sort of gesture if you need me. And I’m so sorry.” He grinned and turned to walk away. He hadn't noticed, but Sean and I definitely hajud, that his shirt had come un-tucked at the back while he was under the table. Giving us a sufficient view of his boxer shorts to know that they were a luminous pink.

I blushed, so maybe he was gay.

Too embarrassed to mention this to him, instead, I just surreptitiously watched him walk back into the kitchens, and through a small circular window in the door, saw him slap himself on the forehead, then grab his hair as he walked out of sight.

He was embarrassed?

Okay. He was definitely gay.

Sean didn't seem to have noticed, instead, he was just humming happily to the tune playing and flicking absent-mindedly through the menu. I cleared my throat,

“So...You think that waiter's gay or what?”

“Oh, definitely.” he nodded, lifting up his glass and swilling it around as we shared a smile at the poor guy's expense “What self-respecting straight man would wear pink underwear to work?”

“What self-respecting straight man would wear pink underwear at all?” I quipped

“Point taken” He grinned and took a sip from the glass. “I must say though, if you don't mind, of course, that he is definitely a loss to women.”

Oh, no I agree.” I sighed and chuckled. I looked at Sean, and he was looking right back at me. “It's not working out, is it?”

“Not when the longest conversation we've had has been about other boys.” He shook his head and laughed. I laughed too and shrugged.

“How about we just finish the date here, and start again as a casual dinner with a new mate?”

“Sounds like a plan.” he nodded. “That way we can both dribble over Morgan and not feel bad about it.”

“Ah. My kind of dinner.”

 

Morgan came back over no more than ten minutes later, carrying two too-large-to-be-practical plates. “Mind you don't drop them, now.” Sean mused and Morgan laughed nervously.

Tempting fate, tempting fate.” He set down the plates without accident, though. “Penné Arrabbiata for the gentleman.” He chimed with a false Italian accent. “And smoked sea-bass for the other gentleman.”

We both thanked him and sat up to our plates when he floated away, his shirt still un-tucked. I was just turning my plate around to decide which angle was best to attack the mountain of pasta from, When Sean's throaty chuckle made me look up.

“You're blushing.” he noted as he stuck his fork into a lettuce leaf, still looking a me with a grin on his face. “That's cute.”

Shut up...” I muttered, pressing the back of my fingers to my face, I was warm. “It's just the red lights...”

“And Morgan's Italian accent, perhaps?”

I flicked a balled up piece of a paper napkin at him. He just carried on grinning as he ate. I stuffed the pasta on my fork into my mouth and chewed it ferociously as the chorus of A Holly, Jolly, Christmas filtered its way over to our table. We heard a clatter at the far side of the restaurant and looked up from our plates. Only to see Morgan dropping to his knees to pick up a tray of dropped glasses. I turned back to Sean, and we shared a conspirational giggle.

“Bless him.” I sighed “It's cute.”

“I'm not too sure about that.” Sean said, twirling his fork around. “I think the clumsyness is a bit of a turn off.”

“How so?”

“Well, he can't be very good with his hands, can he?” He stated plainly. I almost choked for the burst of laughter that exploded at his words. I grabbed for my wine glass, and when I was satisfied that I could breathe clearly, I set it down and looked back at Sean.

“That's a grab at nothing, there. I don't really think 'Oops I dropped it' really applies in that situation.”

“But you aren't sure?”

“Well I..” I was definitely blushing now. Idiot.

“Me neither.” He seemed suddenly fascinated by his fish. I didn't blame him. I was hoping that I could just make a quick recovery and end the conversation. But I could think of no way to phrase anything in a way that wasn't going to offend him.

“Well, seeing as I’m the only guy you've ever been out with, that doesn't surprise me.”

He let us fall back into silence again as I poured us a second glass of wine.

“I mean have you like never, or just not with a guy?”

I really didn't want to have this conversation, so I flagged down the nearest waiter, and asked him for a drinks menu. Effectively killing it dead.

We toyed with our food a little while longer before a slightly dejected-looking Morgan appeared at the table again. “Everything okay?”

“Great, thanks.” Sean replied cheerfully, Morgan nodded to him and looked over at me. He caught my eye and held it for the longest second while he waited for a response. I had to fight to stop my mouth from opening and closing around empty words. His mouth twitched at the corners and he frowned a little, but smiled with what looked like confusion. Or satisfaction?

“Fine. Yeah. Everything's fine.” I managed to stutter out at last. He smiled properly and picked up the discarded menus from the table.

“Great. Well, you know the drill, if you need anything. Dessert menus or the cheque or whatever.”

“Thanks.” Sean nodded and Morgan disappeared with a smile into the crowded restaurant, almost knocking a tray out of someone's hand as he shuffled past.

“Christ almighty.” Sean puffed. At first I thought it was because of Morgan's clumsiness, but when I looked back at him, from the figure of the retreating waiter, he was looking at me.

“What?”

If you don't ask him out...I'm going to ask him out for you. And I haven't done that since I was like, fourteen.”

“Are you joking? He's just being friendly because it's his job.” I scoffed, what did he know? He'd never even been out with a guy before.

There's a thin line between 'friendly' and 'giving you the eye.' You're lucky, actually, I wish I had cute guys giving me the eye.”

I felt that familiar blush creeping back up into my face “I'm sorry, you've known me the best part of an hour an a half and you're making decisions on my relationship with a man who may or may not be single, and who may or may not be gay?”

“Sounds about right, yeah.” He smirked, “And you were no better.”

“Excuse me?”

“He was making you blush like a school girl, for one.”

“Would you stop trying to matchmake, please? Aren't I supposed to be on a date with you?” I sighed and sat back in my chair.

“I thought we decided to just be here as friends?” He reminded me and reached for the wine card that as in the middle of the table, flicking through it as he spoke “And I, as your well-meaning friend, say that you can't taste the honey unless you stick your hand in the beehive.”

“What if it's bottled honey?” I try, but maybe he had a point.

He raised an eyebrow at me. “You don't understand metaphors, do you?”

“Maybe you don't understand...Life's easier when there's no danger involved right?”

“Easier, yes. But that isn't any fun. Besides,” he jerked his thumb toward Morgan without actually taking his eyes off of me. “guys like him don't come in bottles.”

 

Morgan was waiting for us to come pay the bill at the podium. I could see him from where we were sitting. I tried to hand my money to Sean, in hopes that he would go pay, and not leave me to face the guy. But, he pushed my hand back toward me, and held his money out toward me.

“Nuh-uh. You go pay.” he patted his belly like he'd eaten too much and sat back in his chair. I glared at him and snatched the notes from his hand. Fine, he wanted the satisfaction of seeing me blush myself stupid, then I would prove to him that I could have a conversation with an attractive man without managing to pass as a beetroot. I tried to cross the restaurant without making a fool of myself, but the floor seemed like it was deliberately laid with as many booby-traps as humanly possible. I almost tripped on a carelessly-placed handbag as I made my way toward the podium. I looked up just in time to see Morgan attempting to hide a grin. Great, I was blushing already.

I managed to make it in one piece. “Hi.”

“Ready to pay?”

“Yeah, uh, table-” I strained my neck around to try and see the table number.

“Table nine, I got it.” He chuckled. “The meal was okay?”

“It was great, yeah. Service was A-plus.” I tried to sound whimsical, but then the reality of what I’d jut said dawned on me and my jaw clamped shut. It took a whole lot of will not to slam my head down on the podium. I must have been scarlet by now. Morgan laughed, a brighter laugh than the one he'd used while he was serving. This was a genuine, honest laugh. Infectious, too. Because soon, I was chuckling along and rubbing my forehead with embarrassment.

“I'm glad you're satisfied with your experience.” He said while he waited for the receipt to print.

“Oh, Yeah. Watching you drop, well, everything was another highlight.” I cringed again, and willed my mouth to just stay closed and smile politely. This just sent him into a new round of chuckles, but nervously this time.

“I'm never normally this clumsy...I guess I was just distracted.” he smiled and tore off the receipt. But then his mouth tightened, and his voice lowered. “Look, I...Uh. I know this is probably completely out of line...But that guy you're with. Is he your- and I don't mean to offend you if he isn't, I’m not making assumptions about you, I just overheard your conversation and I-” He stopped himself and shook his head “Is he your boyfriend?”

“No. We were on a date. But I get the feeling it won't be a repeat.”

“Right...So you wouldn't mind if, if I-” he just put his hands up and shook them. “No. Never mind.”

“No, what?” I pressed, refusing to take the receipt until he'd answered. I felt my stomach twisting up. Was he going to ask me out, and solve this crisis himself?

“Well...Would...Do you think he'd mind if I asked him out?”

 

“So how'd it go?” Sean grinned raciously as I stormed back to the table, but then seemed to notice my sour expression, and his face fell.

“Oh. Did I read his signals wrong?” He asked gingerly and stood up, swinging his jacket over his shoulder.

“Yes. Actually. Very wrong.” I snipped, pulling on my own jacket and heading for the door.

“Isn't he gay?” he followed behind me.

“No, no, he's gay. Gay as they come. He couldn't be any more gay if he was wearing hot pants and fairy wings.” We reached the main doors and I yanked them open.

“Well then...?”

“He wants to ask you out.” I said, before I stepped outside. My stomach dropped when I saw him waiting, leaning against the wall outside with a cigarette in his mouth. He noticed me too, and flicked it away. “Nasty habit, Oh, Hey!” He called, noticing Sean. Sean raised a reluctant hand in greeting.

“I'll go find us a taxi.” I breathed and walked away in the opposite direction, just catching Morgan's nervous laugh and “So, listen” before I was out of earshot. The taxi rank was only ten paces away, so I got into the furthest one.

“Alright, mate?” The driver called through the Hackney's intercom. “Where you headed?”

“Can we wait a bit? Just waiting for my friend.” I gestured out of the window toward where Morgan and Sean were standing. The driver nodded and turned up the radio.

...new and happening band by the name of Wirejaw. A hot new Alternative-slash-Progressive band that have just launched their new album; Wild shadows.

The voice switched to a female “Hot is definitely the word for these boys, they've been gathering steam for a while now with a few self-released E.Ps, but the new record has caught fire! We here at Zen FM. think that they've got the potential to blow some of the more established bands out of the water with this album. So here we go, with their debut single; Strange-Flavoured Whisky.”

A funky intro started, but still managed to avoid the typical stereotypes of what I’d expect from a band like them. I listened with vague interest until the singer started, and then they had my entire attention. Well, as much of my attention that wasn't being spent trying to see over the driver's head and at the two men still standing outside the restaurant.

“Sorry,” the driver's voice crackled over the top and the station switched to something a lot more poppy and mellow. “I'm sick of that song.” he laughed. I tried not to look disappointed.

 

Sean opened the door to the taxi a few minutes and a few crappy songs later. “Sorry.” He said as he slid into the seat. His cheeks were red and he was beaming. He closed the door and the driver asked his question again. We told him our addresses, and mine was closer. “So.” I asked, when the taxi was in motion. “How did it go?”

He shot me a warning look and slid his hand over the button that turned off the intercom. He held it down, and the red light in the panel above us extinguished.

“Well. He asked.”

“And you said?”

“Did you see the guy? What do you think I said?” He puffed and sat back in his seat, he looked ecstatic, so it wasn't hard to guess.

“Oh. Well, two in one night.” I chuckled dryly. Why was my stomach convulsing and burning this way? I was normally so well-mannered, so why did I feel like punching Sean square in the face? I’d never felt such temptation to take someone's glasses and break them in front of their face before.

“Yeah...Though, we aren't counting ours, remember?”

Of course.” I grinned for him, because he was looking at me like he was trying to tell whether I was angry or not. Endearing, that he'd just been asked out by someone else and yet he was still concerned about his long-forgotten 'friend'. But I couldn't say this to him. He hadn't exactly done anything wrong. Instead, I laughed “So, you do get looks from cute guys.”

Well, actually no.” Sean grinned and sat up in his seat. “See, he was looking at you. Apparently to try and judge my reaction. Like, if I got mad then we were clearly a couple, or on a date. And if you got mad, then it meant that chances are that you weren't gay and neither was I. How cute is that? That he put so much thought into it?”

“Adorable.” I stumbled out. “So, are you guys meeting up, or?”

“Hopefully. We swapped numbers and he wants to do something this weekend, seeing as we're both off work.” He was beaming. Lucky him. I’d gone out that evening with my relationship status at zero, and I was going home with it at negative one.

“That's fantastic.” I croaked roughly and looked out of the window. Sean looked as if he wanted to say something, but seemed to think better of it and turned around again. The taxi had pulled up into my street, but I’d barely noticed the car moving. I reached over Sean's lap and re-activated the intercom “Uh, last house on the right?”

“Sure, mate” The driver responded and slowed outside my house. I dumped my half of the fare into Sam's lap and bid him goodnight, stepping out of the taxi before he could even respond properly. I slammed the door behind me and stepped toward my apartment building. I turned my key in the lock when-

Shit.

I closed the door and locked it again. I was supposed to have topped up my electricity card before came home. I cursed silently and headed down the street for the corner shop that was, hopefully, still open for another two hours. Otherwise it would be a particularly dark night. The door chimed electronically as I stepped in. I walked straight up to the counter and smiled at the old lady sitting with her grey hair in curlers and slippers on her feet.

“Hello Marge.”

“Ah! Matt! I was going to pop in to see you tomorrow! Have a favour to ask- What can I get you, before I stick in with that?”

“Twenty pounds on the electricity meter, please.” I handed her the money and the card, which she slotted in the machine and typed a number.

“I've given you twenty-five.” she winked. I grinned at her.

“Thanks, Marge. You had a favour?” I asked, taking the card back and slipping it back into my wallet. Thinking that she had a leaking pipe that needed fixing, given that her knees weren't what they used to be, and she secretly liked having me crouched under her sink, but would never admit it, I didn't mind offering her the occasional household task, she was always kind.

“Well, you know Mittens?” She asked, and yes, I knew Mittens. The most loathsome cat that had ever laid paw on the planet. She hated just about everything.

“Yeah?”

“Well she's had kittens, dear.”

“Mittens had Kittens?” I said evenly, trying not to grin wildly.

“Yes...And I was thinking...Seeing as you're all alone in that big old flat...And girls do find a nurturing instinct quite attractive in a young man nowadays...” Maybe I’d neglected to mention to Marge my preference for the less-fair sex. “I would only have to get rid of them.”

“Marge, I can barely look after myself, let alone a cat...” Untrue, I was actually pretty proficient in taking care of myself.

“Oh, but they take care of themselves, dear! You just feed them before you go to work, and when you get home. Lots of strokes and a comfortable place to sleep. That's all you really need.” She sounded so enthusiastic. Almost desperate. I sighed, could it really hurt? And besides, maybe if it didn't work out I could give it to Clair as a 'thank you for your wonderful taste in gay men' present.

“Well...Why not?”

She clapped her hands joyously and lifted up a box from underneath the counter. Like she'd been expecting me to come- Then again, she must have known my electricity was going to run out some time this week. I peered over the edge of the box, and my heart swelled. Seven tiny, fluffy kittens were curled up around each other. A white one, with brown paws was laying separately from the rest. I looked up at Marge and she gave me to okay to lift one out. I scooped up the kitten, who was about the length of my palm. “That's the only girl,” Marge said. “The nicest of the lot, I reckon.”

“Well, the others don't look like they'll miss her...Does she have a name?”

“No no, that's up to you. Here.” She handed me a rag blanket from the box to swaddle her in. I wrapped up the kitten and stroked her head, utterly in love.

“I think you've found your soul mate” Marge chuckled. “Here now, put her under your jacket.”

She swaddled us both, handed me a few tins of pet food, then pecked the kitten softly on the top of the head. “Good night, Matt.”

“Night, Marge.”

 

I unlocked the door to my apartment building, or at least tried to, before I dropped my keys.

“Oh, F-” I looked down at the cat, feeling uncomfortable swearing in front of her “Fiddlesticks.”

She mewed softly, I frowned. “Fiddlesticks?” Again, she mewed. “Is that your name?” I asked her. She squirmed in the blanket. I smiled and bent down slowly to pick up my keys. “Well...Fiddlesticks it is, then.”

 

 


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