Chapter Nineteen

Matt woke up with Abe's arm across his bare chest. He rolled over and grinned fondly because the boy was lying with his face pressed determinedly into the pillows, snoring lightly. It felt right, like things hadn't for a while.

He moved Abe's arm gently, so as not to wake him. Last night, with everything being so eager and fresh, Matt had been easily persuaded to stay. Not much had happened, though Abe's mouth against his had done some of that persuading. Abe had fallen asleep again, fairly soon after doing a rapid tidy of his bedroom, which Matt heavily suspected consisted of forcing the objects strewing his floor into the wardrobe before barricading the door shut.

This whole rigmarole of wrong and right, and guilty mistakes had worn the both of them out. The security of finally ending up together had hit like a sleeping pill, releasing all the stresses and allowing relaxation. Abe for one was shattered by the whole emotional rollercoaster, and it was showing in his snuffled breathing.

Matt nuzzled a soft kiss against the back of his neck and whispered into his ear as he stirred gently.

"Good morning."

He rolled over, bleary-eyed and still half claimed by sleep. He smiled and traced fingers over Matt's bare chest. "Good. You are here. Thought maybe I was dreaming."

Matt shook his head and kissed at Abe's closing eyes. "Idiot. What do you want for breakfast?"

"Now?" he queried, still sleep-fogged. "You." He smiled mischievously. "Or a bacon buttie. Really crispy. Lots of brown sauce." Matt blew out an offended sigh.

"Glad to know where I rank in this relationship."

Abe grinned, mumbling sleepily as arms wrapped Matt's body tightly. "Or both. Ideally both."

Rough hands traced down Abe's side and Matt was laughing at him again. "What kind of Jew are you, Abe?" He let his lips follow the path tracked with his fingers.

Abe rolled onto his back, half-pulling Matt down on top of him. He swallowed to refresh his sleep-musted mouth, sinking back against the pillow.

"Not a very good one. Blah blah, no bacon, blah blah, kosher etc etc. You try having two fridges and two sinks in student accommodation. I go to synagogue twice a week, and I eat what I like." He closed his eyes and let his breathing even-out, but after a moment he cracked open his eyes again. "Why are you awake? My alarm hasn't gone off yet. I thought you hated mornings."

"Usually," Matt said, pressing lips to Abe's shoulder and down along his arm, "mornings are boring. I like them if they're not."

"If I go back to sleep will that make it boring again?" Abe put in hopefully.

"Do you want to go back to sleep?" The playful tone was slipping away from Matt's voice, replaced by slight insecurity as he rolled off his boyfriend.

Abe yawned. "Well, now you come to mention it…" His face folded into a smile as Matt lost his. "Matthew, I'm joking." That earned him a shove.

"Nice try, but it's Matthias. I can't believe you don't know my full name."

Abe sat bolt upright and turned to him, blinking. "You're kidding me? You're not called Matthew?" Matt shuffled so that he was sitting up too, and took advantage of their new positions with curious hands and lips that settled on bare skin.

"No, you loser I'm not."

Abe grinned into Matt's searching lips. "Pity. Matthew's a sexy name. I always thought you were called Matthew." Fingers rambled through Matt's hair and down the back of his neck, before roaming down shoulders and chest. "I only decided to go out with you because I thought you were called Matthew."

"Oh shut it, or I won't cook breakfast," Matt growled and went to work on Abe's neck, melting it with kisses and firm lips until the boy was liquid heat. He pulled away with a triumphant smile, observing the way Abe's eyes sparkled, and hands struggled to keep still against his skin.

"Matt," Abe mumbled, "I think breakfast can wait."

A good hour later, Matt was grilling bacon in the oven when Poppy walked in. He looked up and the satisfied smile crashed off his face. Abe was in the shower, making good after their early morning exertions, and now he was face to face with Abe's very recently ex-lover. His stomach somersaulted and a frantic hand tangled in his damp hair.

Poppy gave him a small smile, and a pink blush stained her cheeks. "Hi," she muttered, eyes down as she fitted a couple of slices of bread into the toaster. "That smells good."

"Hi," he croaked back, watching her hovering on the other side of the room in awkward silence. After a moment she looked up.

"You know," she began, and her fingers tangled on the back of the chair she was standing behind. "He's fancied you for as long as I've known him."

Matt looked up, unprepared for this. "What?"

"Abe – he's been drooling over you from afar for the past three years. You're, and I'm quoting him directly here, 'Hot Blond Guy'. As in 'today Hot Blond Guy looked at me' or 'today Hot Blond Guy pissed-off one of the tutors'." She was clearly nervous and rambling.

Matt frowned, unsure exactly why she was telling him this. "…Ok?"

She shook her head. "Sorry. What I'm saying is, that I was never trying to compete with you, because I've always known there's no point. Just – everything fell apart at once and he was just, there. This whole mess should never have happened. Abe and I were just friends and it should have stayed like that." She looked up, eyes serious.

"I know it's stupid to tell you all this and expect you to listen, because you probably hate me, but I really don't want to lose him over this, and I know I should. I know you have every right to tell him not to speak to me ever again."

Matt felt his mouth open slightly. He adjusted the grill tray, checking on the bacon, talking while he did so.

"Poppy," he shrugged, unsure of the words that were coming out of his mouth. "This is Abe you're talking about. Even if I told him to do that he wouldn't listen to me. Look, do you want a bacon sandwich?"

The girl blinked at him. "Seriously?"

Matt shrugged again, pulling the tray out and flipping the rashers over with a fork. "There's enough bacon."

She frowned at him. "You're acting like you don't hate me."

Matt didn't look up from the task. "I don't know you well enough to hate you. Abe likes you, and from what I've seen he has good people-reading skills, so you can't be all bad."

"I thought you were supposed to be moody, cynical and generally unforgiving."

Matt smirked. "I am. I just know a lot better than you that sometimes it's just about sex, because for whatever reason, it's needed. That's what it was with you and him. Just sex."

Poppy bit her lips together and looked away. "Yeah. God, you're more open-minded than I am."

"Look, it happened. I'm not happy about it, and the timing wasn't brilliant, but it doesn't matter. He's -" Matt stopped himself, because he realised how hurtful it might have been to finish that sentence, but Poppy did it for him.

"Yours. I know. I'm glad."

Abe picked that moment to walk in, freshly damp from the shower.

"Jesus Matt, I thought you were joking. You're the guest. You're not supposed to be cooking for me." He wandered over to the oven and peered at the grill tray. Matt's hand snaked around his near leg.

"Oh it's ok, you don't have to have any."

"It's fine. I'm just telling you off for appearance sake, so it doesn't look like I don't know how to treat you." He turned, smirking and kissed Matt deeply, tongue delving expertly as soon as he responded. "You're a star," he whispered. "I'm ravenous."

Matt's lips crooked up and he kissed him again, a little more conservatively this time, aware of their audience. "Thought you might be."

Poppy filled the kettle under the tap, and Abe looked up. "What were you two nattering about, anyway?" he asked, shooting Matt a concerned look that he shrugged off.

Poppy cleared her throat. "I was just telling Matt you've been stupid over him since first year."

Abe's eyes widened slightly and his ears went hot. "That's an exaggeration."

Matt grinned. "Is it?" He let his fingers tug at Abe's hip teasingly. "I always thought you were kind of cute too, in a flaky, hippie-try-hard kind of way."

"Oh, ouch." He pulled out a chair from the table and straddled it. "Now you're just lying. You didn't know I existed – with your super-cool med-student boyfriend and your climbing buddies."

The smile faded from Matt's face as he held eye-contact, and he was suddenly serious. "You're talking about fancying me before my accident?"

Abe looked uncomfortable. "Yeah."

"And then still after?"

"Of course still after, you moron. Otherwise I wouldn't have spent the last two weeks trying to get you to go out with me, would I? Oh, babe, watch it, the bacon's smoking."

Matt rolled his eyes, and pulled back from the oven slightly, hand on a wheel. "Do you want to cook it? You said crunchy. How else do you want it crunchy?" But he was smiling slightly, trying to pretend he wasn't. Abe was bare-foot and unshaven still, and his lips were tugged swollen, pupils dilated and dreamy. It made his body tingle knowing that was all because of him.

Poppy grinned, watching the two of them. She shook her head indulgently. "Thanks for the offer Matt, but I think I'll pass on the sandwich. My toast's done. See you later."

Abe looked up, seemingly having forgotten that she was in the room. "Ok Pop. I'll catch you at the theatre."

The girl paused in the doorway with her plateful of toast and a mug of tea. "Actually Abe, I've decided I'm not doing theatre stuff anymore. If you could let James know I'm not going to be available for the next performances? I think I need to give it a rest for a while. Get myself together."

Abe nodded, slightly dumbstruck at the implications. "Ok. Sure. I'll tell him." A disbelieving hand dragged across his cropped hair and he spared her a look. "Are you ok?"

She smiled and though it was weary, it lit her face. "Yeah. Thanks. I think I am."

Matt switched the grill off quietly, sending the girl an echoing smile. "You'll be fine, Poppy. You'll come out alright." Her beam widened and she nodded slightly before ducking out of the room.

"I know. Thanks."

"Grub's up, Abe. Where are the plates?"

The boy sprung from his chair and scrabbled about in the cabinet suspended over the sink, passing a couple of plates down to Matt. He lent lazily against the back of Matt's chair and traced kisses down his neck. "Thanks for that," he mumbled.

Matt looked up from layering bacon on sliced bread. "What?"

"Poppy. That was nice," and he settled a quick kiss against his lips. Matt smirked, a hand tugging at his ear, not quite letting him pull away yet.

"Well, I stopped being stupid and realised that even if you like her, she doesn't stand a chance."

Abe slumped back down in his seat after the kiss, enjoying watching his boyfriend work, eyes fixed in easy concentration. "Why's that then?"

Matt winced as he singed his fingers on the hot bacon, and then shoved them in his mouth to dull the pain. "Because I think I finished falling, and I'm not planning on letting you go." He looked around, distracted. "Where's the HP? We're going to be late for class."

Abe shook his head, grinning. "Forget class, Matt. I've got better plans."

A/N: That's all folks! Thanks for the support and the reviews!

As always, take care!