|Ronan will always remember being (skinned) wrote in rooms,|
@ 2015-02-20 06:01:00
He was going to have to work on his negotiation skills within the context of this relationship. Because, though he hadn't entirely been serious when he'd said that Ben was only allowed to spoil him just this once, it was really starting to turn into a regular thing. Ben with his trust fund and his disregard for Ronan's wishes to stick to doing things that they could both afford - he wouldn't call it a problem, but it wasn't necessarily ideal, either. Even if the restaurant that Ben had chosen for their absurdly romantic dinner hadn't been delicious, it was still sort of expensive. Not the same thing that Ronan and his wallet would have picked, if he’d been picking up the tab. And he wasn't so uptight about the difference in their bank accounts that he ever disliked Ben taking him out to nice restaurants, but there was a point when he had to start feeling like the repeated extravagance was an uncomfortable thing. With the knowledge that he couldn't even fantasize, realistically, about returning the favour.
And probably he would have been making a big deal out the whole thing, were it not for their little Sorenson invasion.
It wasn't like they didn't have the room to spare. Ben's house (their house, as the little voice at the back of his head argued whenever he was feeling particularly shitty about the fact that Ben refused to charge him a fair price for rent because Ronan couldn't afford it on his salary of tips and minimum wage) - their house was well enough equipped for guests. They had the spare bedroom with a mattress and a hideaway bed tucked under the loveseat in the corner. That was where Daniel and Angeline and Alexander had taken up after their arrival, exhausted by the cross-Atlantic flight. Justine had seemed likely to insist on camping on the floor of Ben and Ronan's bedroom, although she'd been persuaded to sleep in the living room with promises of tourist attractions that the entire family could visit the following day. There were two pull-out beds there, one for Ben's parents and one for their oldest daughter. Ronan considered it a small miracle both that the whole family had fit and done so without complaint - no way that his older brothers would have tucked into beds made on hideaways and air mattresses, least of all without objection and the threat of violence.
Anyway, the point was that it should have been too much, right? But even with the expense of dinner, and the cab home because it was freezing outside, Ronan didn’t have it in him to protest. His only concern was getting Ben back home in one un-frostbitten piece, praying that his family was asleep by the time they crept back into the house, and then for silence as he led the way up the stairs to the landing outside Ronan's old bedroom.
"Alright,” he murmured, straightening the lapels of his suit jacket as he turned to face his boyfriend outside the closed door. A lift of his eyebrows towards his hairline served as an attempt to relay the gravity of the situation, and then he’d reached out to take hold of Ben's hand in his own. “Tonight, and your family and everything? That was my present. This is for you, okay? Just... don't say anything. Not right away."
The step that he took backwards and through the doorway was cautious and slow, as he hoped that the terms of his wish had translated into the magic. That Ben would see the memory that he’d painted on the wall of his old bedroom: the meadow that Ronan had been shown that first night. That first time. (He'd done his best to replicate that scene in rich oil paints, with the azure sky and young tufts of grass and the trickling of a spring that had soaked the cuffs of his jeans within Ben's memory.) Another couple of steps took them to the second door, with a handle that either could grasp and open, leading the way into Ronan's wish.
The warmth of the sun on their skin was there, beating down strong like they were both wearing thin cotton shirts instead of the suits and jackets. It was too early in the season for the grass to be long, but the sun was out in full force. There was no arm cast over their eyes to blot out the light, but there was the faint sensation of their feet submerged in a cool, playful trickle of water from the mountains. There was as much detail as he had been able to articulate with the strokes of his brushes, awash with the memory, and the reality of that spring afternoon in the meadow had Ronan gazing up at Ben. He was pleased, and it showed in the easy slide of his smile, but the brush of his hand against his boyfriend’s bicep was both curious and apprehensive.
"Is this okay?"