CP bachelor AU: part 13
Laurent bends his legs, pulling his ankles out of direct sunlight and back into the shade of the poolside umbrella. He’s had sunburned feet once in his life, and never plans to repeat it. He throws an annoyed glance at Damen, who is stretched out on the adjacent lounge chair. Damen has spent the last three days turning steadily browner while being very lax about sunscreen.
The villa they’ve rented on the west coast of Santorini has its own pool as well as its own tiny courtyard complete with mosaic floor and fountain. Sunshine off white stone and white paint makes it feel overbright and otherworldly during the day, shimmering with heat and light. Laurent tried for an hour this morning to go over his notes on the Theran eruption and the formation of the caldera, but the heat snuck into his brain, and he can’t make himself mind. He feels looser, and happier, than he ever imagined he could.
The ratings for the show’s finale were unprecedented. With the story of Erasmus and Kallias under their belts, the finale was marketed as an even more shocking twist, and Laurent and Damen have become the new faces of unexpected romance. They’ve been asked to present at the Logies, and to appear on every morning show in the country.
Laurent has never been a celebrity in his own right, nor wanted to. He’s… adjusting.
The most obvious benefit is that Damen’s stock in the eyes of his PR department has shot way, way up, and his father has–after a long talk with both Damen and Laurent, which left Laurent feeling like he’d run a marathon–agreed that Damen will assume control of the company as planned. Theomedes looked like a man who’d already planned the first three years of his luxury retirement and had one impatient foot out the door; he was ready to throw Damen the reins immediately.
Damen promptly turned around and declared that he was leaving the company in the care of his brother Kastor for six months, extending the leave of absence he’d taken to come on the show.
“To do what?” Theomedes demanded.
“This and that,” said Damen, eyes dancing at Laurent. “Expand my horizons. Travel.”