MMFD Fanfic: A Shady Lane (Ch. 4)
The lads arrived at the cabin just as the sun was setting. Finn had picked up the keys in town earlier that morning and had loaded the rental car with flats of beer and Chop had got his hands on an unrealistically large amount of weed. The drive into town had been mostly uneventful. Archie was in a stroppy mood in the passenger seat (trouble in paradise?) and Finn was too lost in thought to jump into conversation about Manchester United with the lads in the backseat.
He didn’t know why he was so cut up about what had happened in the pub. At least Rae had saved him some embarrassment. Eight months wasn’t that long, he reasoned. He’d been in medium-grade infatuation with her for almost a decade, but it was true that they were untried in many key areas of their relationship. She’d only just met his coworkers a few weeks ago. But he felt his mother’s engagement ring burn against his skin in his pocket and was again overcome with disappointment. He’d picked it up the weekend he had come back to pick up his belongings in Lincolnshire, when he’d moved in with Rae and Archie. Perhaps he’d just been swept up in the festive cheer of the season. But hadn’t his father told him to get this on lock down? His dad had always liked Rae and his advice was that they’d been dicking around long enough. Time to put a ring on it.
Before Finn knew it, they were in front of the cabin. The lads exploded out of the car and to Finn’s amusement, there was already a car in the park. Devon, the bloke Archie had been banging on about was waiting in front of his car, arms folded. Well, at least he seems cool. Archie noticed him and immediately started smoothing his hair in the back. Finn snorted and Archie shot him a look that silenced him mid-chortle.
The lads walked in to find a simple set up: a few couches surrounding a fireplace, a small woodsy kitchen and a crawlspace up top with mattresses. They set up all the booze on the counter and immediately started taking shots, toasting Chop and Izzy and their future together. Finn told himself that it was only once in a lifetime your best mate gets married, and that he was going to enjoy himself. He opened a bottle of vodka and drank three hard swallows that burned his throat and seared his belly.
Archie could barely breathe. He hasn’t seen Devon since Christmas Eve. They’d ran into each other at the pub (not entirely by accident – Archie had been sitting there for hours with a copy of Of Mice and Men) and they drank and chatted for hours. Archie could feel himself falling more and more for this beautiful stranger. He was well-read, well-fed, and from everything Archie could deduce, well-hung. His face burned at this thought and he realized he’d had far too many gin and tonics. When it was time to head home, Devon had walked with him, in the wrong direction, for several blocks before Archie lost an internal battle and told him he was lost again.
“I’ve figured that out myself, actually,” said Devon. His voice was low and a little husky and Archie just wanted to crawl into bed and read The London Times with him forever.
“Oh. Well…why are you taking the scenic route?“
“You’re well plastered, aren’t you?”
“Ah, as lovely as it is to be so considerate, I’m pretty acquainted with Stamford.”
“Well, I just felt I ought to return the favor.”
Archie wanted to jump him right then and there, but thought better of it and kept walking, hoping Devon couldn’t see the smile on his face. They reached Archie’s house way too soon, like Stamford had shrunk on itself.
“Well, this is it. Would you like to come in?” said Archie.
“Er, no,” said Devon.
Archie’s face burned bright red. Maybe he’d mistaken the entire situation. Oh, God. He’s not interested. He’s not even fucking gay. Archie nervously adjusted his glasses in time to see Devon’s face barreling towards his. They kissed for what felt like an eternity, but also like half a second. When they broke apart, Archie bit his lip and stared up at Devon.
“Shit,” he muttered.
Now it was Devon’s turn to blush. Which was, to Archie, almost too fucking much. He crashed his lips against his and they stood in front of his house kissing until the light switched on and the ripped apart. Devon muttered a quick goodbye, gave Archie’s shoulder a quick squeeze, and hustled off into the night.
It had been almost a week since then and there had been complete radio silence. Archie had gone down to the pub every night since Christmas hoping to run into him. He’d even found his way to Devon’s Aunt’s house a few times but saw no trace of the object of his growing obsession. He’d meant to write at least 20 more pages of his thesis, but he’d been completely out of sorts. This crush was ruining his vacation.
When Devon had failed to show up at the pub before the Stag Party, Archie had resolved to move on. He’d been crazy, too crazy about the potential of meeting his soul mate. He’d been decorating a posh apartment in Kew Gardens and imagining their shared bookcase; it was insane. It was only because all of his mates had been pairing off, surely.
When Archie had first got an inkling about his sexuality, he found it hardest to come to terms with the fact he might never be able to get married, proper married and settle down. While the UK had finally granted civil partnerships to same-sex couples, he was just waiting for the right guy to come along. After that guy had refused to show up in his life, he began trying to make it work with whomever would have him. It was getting so depressing. Maybe it was just that he wasn’t soul mate material. Clearly he was insane for building some drunken kiss with a near stranger into some grand romance. Maybe Tom was right. Maybe he was meant to spend the rest of his days in committed relationships with long-dead Greek men. He was glad Finn hadn’t felt like talking on the ride up. He was sure he should have asked what was up, but Finn was sending out all of his brooding energy into the universe and Archie couldn’t muster the courage to wade into it.
And then, there he was. Devon. They pulled up to see him, cool as fuck leaning against the car. Archie was ready to take him up against that car, right now, in front of the lads. Finn must have seen a hint of Archie’s desire wash across his face. Archie’s mouth was dry and his fingers felt like they were shooting with currents of nervous energy.
Devon had come up and giving Archie a slap on the back, explaining he’d been out of town visiting some other family in the area all week. He’d snuck away for the stag party. Archie resisted the urge to drag Devon out back and confess his undying devotion to him and followed Finn off to unpack the supplies.
Archie managed to play it cool throughout the night, offering to help Finn prepare the food on the barbecue and when they were finished eating, he broke out his guitar and led the lads in a few rounds of their favorite drinking songs. He’d even played “Champagne Supernova” whilst Chop cried and sang along.
The night was going fine until Finn slammed down an empty bottle of vodka and tried to cram two joints in his mouth at once. He couldn’t even see straight enough to light either of them and looked in danger of setting his alcohol-drenched face on fire.
Finn was pissed. Pissed beyond all reason. Archie thought he was trying to be the ultimate best man and drink everyone under the table, but it was getting embarrassing. But then he asked to borrow Archie’s guitar and blessed them all with a terrifyingly passionate rendition of the Mountain Goat’s “No Children.”
I hope that our few remaining friends
Give up on trying to save us
I hope we come out with a fail-safe plot
To piss off the dumb few that forgave us
I hope the fences we mended
Fall down beneath their own weight
And I hope we hang on past the last exit
I hope it’s already too late
And I hope the junkyard a few blocks from here
Someday burns down
And I hope the rising black smoke carries me far away
And I never come back to this town again in my life
I hope I lie
And tell everyone you were a good wife
And I hope you die
I hope we both die
I hope I cut myself shaving tomorrow
I hope it bleeds all day long
Our friends say it’s darkest before the sun rises
We’re pretty sure they’re all wrong
I hope it stays dark forever
I hope the worst isn’t over
And I hope you blink before I do
And I hope I never get sober
And I hope when you think of me years down the line
You can’t find one good thing to say
And I’d hope that if I found the strength to walk out
You’d stay the hell out of my way
I am drowning
There is no sign of land
You are coming down with me
Hand in unlovable hand
And I hope you die
I hope we both die
Chop was laughing exceptionally hard throughout at some apparent inside joke, but the rest of the blokes looked confused and uncomfortable. Devon leaned over, and instead of whispering something sexy (to Archie’s supreme disappointment), he muttered, “I think someone needs to sort your mate out.”
Archie dragged Finn out front by the collar, forsaking coats and braving the cold and trudging out into the dark country night.
“Oi, what do you think you are fucking doing, mate? That song might’ve been a bit fucked up for a fucking stag party, yeah?”
Finn laughed and slurred, “It’s a song about me n’ Chopper, innit? We both used to swear we’d never get married. It were only a few years ago we heard that song. We thought it were brilliant.”
“Okay, then. Let’s just pretend that’s not bollocks and move on. Why are you so fucking wasted?”
“Because it’s a partayyyyyy! And from the looks of you and that posh bloke, it might end up a sexy party, yeah?” Finn elbowed Archie obnoxiously. Archie pushed him aside and Finn collapsed on the ground. Archie would have felt bad about it, but it was just wasn’t like Finn to be unable to hold his drink. When Finn started getting sick on the floor, Archie softened a little.
“Pull it together mate,” said Archie gently as he helped Finn stumble toward a camp chair on the porch. Finn settled for a second before snapping his eyes open wide with panic and groping in his pocket. His hands closed around something and he seemed to relax.
“What have you got, mate?”
Finn struggled to fish something out of his pocket and passed him a small diamond ring.
“Oh, Finn. I do!”
Archie had hoped he’d laugh at his shitty joke, but he didn’t. He passed the ring back and Finn just stared at it, bleary eyed and sad.
“It were me mum’s.”
Finn’s mum. He didn’t talk about her much and Archie never knew what to say. He suddenly felt very guilty for not having asked Finn how he was on the drive up. Christmas had always been hard on him and his dad. He felt like a selfish child.
“Wow. Finn…were you going to ask Rae?”
“I was. But, I’ve thought about it. I don’t think she’s ready for all that. I can wait. It’s fine.” Finn closed his eyes and lay back.
Archie looked into the window and found that Devon was looking at him from inside. He gave him an encouraging smile and Archie reached down to lift Finn up and drag him back
“I feel like someone dumped razorblades into my stomach and blended it. Fuck.”
“Well, that’s what happens when you drink an entire bottle of vodka.”
Archie helped him inside and tucked him in on the couch, worried that he might try to get up and fall out of the crawl space. He set his sleeping bag up on the floor next to Finn, ready to help him outside if he needed to be sick again. He’d hope that the night would have ended with him zipping sleeping bags together with Devon, but Finn needed him. Plus, Rae would kill him if he’d let Finn choke on his own sick while he was off getting cozy with a stage 5 dreamboat. . Archie was still very much single, but hopefully he’d at least have a kiss at midnight.
The rest of the lads moved the party upstairs, smoking and drinking until the sun came up and it was the day of the wedding.
Ooh! To be continued! I think I’ll write the Hen Party next! Let me know what y'all think!