Boys Over Flowers (3/3) - Chustin Fic
Yeah, so I have no excuse for the delay of this part, except to say that Real Life kicked my ass for the past few months.
Better late than never though, right?
Now, while I gear up for NaNoWriMo, please enjoy the conclusion!
The smell was the first thing to hit Charlie’s nose as he emerged from Justin’s bedroom dressed casually in a t-shirt and jeans borrowed from the English boy. He proceeded to slide down the banister of one of the twin staircases that led down to Hanover’s ground floor.
“I swear if you end up in hospital again because of another mishap with stairs, I’m not coming to see you this time,” Justin scolded as he came down the stairs in the more usual manner.
“Promises promises,” Charlie said as he dusted himself off and waited for the Englishman to reach the bottom.
Justin rolled his eyes. “At least I’m glad to see you’re in better spirits.”
Charlie smiled a little. “Being with you always makes me feel better.” He grinned when Justin blushed, then nudged him. “WHAT is that smell?”
“Hmm?” Justin sniffed. “Oh, just Merril baking again. She usually does so over the weekends. It’s normal.”
“She should meet Kurt. The whole of Windsor swears his cookies are magic. They’d have a ball swapping cooking tips.”
“So you’re going back to Windsor now?” Justin asked. “You’re ready for them?”
He nodded. “I will be. Besides, it wasn’t exactly fair to run out on Blaine like that and leave him in charge of the mad-house. I still don’t think he’s forgiven me for the first time.”
Justin squeezed his shoulder. “Good luck.”
Charlie nodded. “Thanks.” He paused for a moment. “Hey… about tomorrow…”
“It’s no big deal Chaz, really. I don’t like rowdy parties anyway.” Justin shrugged. “I’d be perfectly happy with dinner and a movie to celebrate my birthday.”
“Whatever you want.”
Charlie leaned in and pecked Justin on the lips before opening the front door. He nearly stumbled over the pair of blond twins who stood just outside, hands raised as if they’d just been about to knock. They stared at their prefect in just as much surprise.
“Chaz!!” they exclaimed.
“Evan, Ethan? What are you doing here?” he asked, narrowing his eyes suspiciously, mostly out of habit.
They looked at each other for a moment.
“Just wanted to see if you were coming back to Windsor,” Evan said, stepping back warily.
“The boys are worried about you,” Ethan added, following his brother.
Charlie saw the hint of apprehension in their eyes and felt a small stab of guilt for the way he reacted towards them the day before. He turned to Justin. “I’ll see you later.”
Justin smiled and nodded and gestured for him to go on. “I’ll be here.” It was assurance that Charlie had some place to go to no matter how things turned out.
There was an awkward silence that filled the air as the three walked back to Windsor, Charlie just a step behind the Twins who seemed more nervous than usual – like they were waiting for something to happen.
“I’m sorry,” Charlie said softly.
The Twins stopped so abruptly in their path that the prefect almost walked into them. They turned and stared at him in shock. “What?”
Charlie took a step back so he wasn’t crowding them. “I’m sorry… for how I reacted yesterday. I know I hurt you, and it shouldn’t have happened. I know I was really angry, maybe I still am a little, but it was not an excuse to push you into that wall.” He met their eyes. “I’m sorry.”
“… you… we…”
“We love you!”
Charlie found himself caught up in a rib-crushing hug as both twins flung their arms around him. He let them cling to him, smiling a fond smile that they couldn’t see while their faces were pressed against his neck, feeling a bit better that they seemed to have forgiven him for what he did.
“But…” he said, gently pushing them off him when breathing started to get difficult. “If you ever mess with my flowers again, I am going to confiscate your nerf guns, and I am going to burn them.”
They scrambled back from him looking horrified.
“Queen of Hearts, have mercy!” Ethan cried.
“Not the nerf guns! They’re our lifeblood!” Evan chimed in.
Charlie smirked. “Then I guess you’ll have to hide them well. Stashing them under your mattresses isn’t very creative for the two of you.”
They looked at each other. “He knows!”
They were off haring across the campus while Charlie followed at a much more sedate pace, looking pleased with himself. Couldn’t let them think he was going soft on them. He passed South and Main, which was when he heard familiar footsteps hurrying after them and slowed. There was a trip and a stumble, and Charlie spun around in time to catch Reed before he hit the ground.
“Oh! Chaz, thanks!” he said.
“Anytime. Though I have warned you before to look out for that bit of ground.” He set the blond back on his feet.
“I know, I know… sorry. I was trying to catch up to you.”
“About yesterday… the roses, and not telling you about the Twins…”
“Reed, it’s okay.”
“I just wanted to say I’m sorry I didn’t say anything…”
“Reed, I said it’s fine.”
“I didn’t know they meant that much to you, or that you and Justin…”
“Reed!” The smaller boy stopped and looked up at him, eyes slightly wide. “You don’t have to apologise. If anything, I’m sorry I got angry with you.”
The little artist shook his head. “No, you had every right to get angry. Your plans were ruined because of us. I… I want to make it up to you and Justin. Here…” He thrust a silver card at the Windsor prefect.
Puzzled, Charlie took it and opened it. A “Tiffany’s & Co.” gift card stared back at him and he blinked, looking at Reed. “Reed… what? I can’t…”
“Just take it Charlie. I have more than enough of those than I know what to do with. My mom gets them all the time. Go out and buy something nice for Justin, it’s his 18th birthday.”
The prefect hugged the smaller boy gently. “Thank you, Reed.”
“It’s nothing, Chaz. You already do a lot for us that we don’t always appreciate.” He stepped back. “You should hurry if you want to beat the weekend crowd in the city.”
“Good idea. Thanks again, Reed.”
Reed smiled as he watched Charlie run off to where he knew his truck would be parked, then took out his phone and typed in a quick message:
Ok, he’s gonna be occupied in town for most of the day.
We better hurry
On Sunday, Justin woke to a strange text message on his phone.
Happy Birthday, my beautiful White Queen.
Your presence is requested at Windsor immediately
- all my love, QoH
He frowned. Charlie never texted like that. He would have thought Charlie might have been drunk only he knew that given his alcohol condition, he’d die before he could ever get that wasted. Which only meant…
Well, they wanted his presence at Windsor anyway. Might as well kill two birds with one stone – literally, if those Twins had driven Charlie around the bend yet again. He got dressed and made his way down the stairs, smiling and acknowledging Merril, Spencer and Danny who stopped to wish him Happy Birthday.
“Doing anything special?” Spencer asked, winking knowingly.
Justin blushed a bit. “No, I don’t think so. I told Charlie I didn’t want anything fancy. We might just do dinner and a movie.”
Merril giggled, then blushed and waved him on. The prefect only eyed her fondly and proceeded out and towards Windsor. Most of the mad-house, as many non-Windsors called it, were up and about – Reed sitting on the porch sketching, Dwight off to the side performing some ritual or the other, David and Wes kicking a football around elsewhere – and when they saw him he was instantly swarmed by three of them, while Dwight came over and blessed him with a smoky bundle of sage.
“Uhh, thanks guys,” he said and finally managed to push past them to the front door.
“Happy Un-birthday, dear White Queen!!” the Twins shouted from the common room as he entered. They stood and came towards him wearing identical grins. “We thought you’d never get here.”
Justin frowned at them. “Give Charlie back his phone and tell me why you stole it in the first place.” He crossed his arms. “I swear if you’ve upset him again…”
They laughed. “Your Majesty!”
“Spoken like a true monarch…” Ethan said.
“We named you well,” Evan added.
Justin growled and would have snapped out something had Charlie’s voice not carried down the stairs.
“Ethan! Evan! Give me my phone back NOW, or so help me I will confiscate every last bit of contraband you own!” Footsteps pounded on the stairs and Justin wondered how Blaine could just sit there calmly reading his newspaper like they were discussing the weather. “What’s more, I’ll string you from the Stuart flagpole with bullseyes painted on you!”
The Twins’ grins, if possible, grew wider. “Off with our heads!” they cackled at Justin, who was absolutely certain they were mad and belonged in a mental institution, not a boarding school.
Evan pulled out a phone and threw it to Charlie as the prefect entered. He snatched it out of the air without so much as batting an eye, frowning at them before he registered Justin’s presence. Whatever creative threat he had been brewing was swallowed down as he broke into a little smile and went over to the Hanover.
“What are you doing here?” he asked. “A little early for dinner and a movie right?”
Justin nodded to the Twins. “Ask them. They stole your phone and told me to come over.”
Charlie gave them the stink-eye. “What are you two hellspawn up to now?”
“Queen of Hearts…”
“… Your timing is impeccable.”
A loud pop sounded above them and the two prefects found themselves in the midst of a shower of red and white rose petals. They looked up and saw a banner hanging from the device that had held the petals, that wished Justin a happy birthday from Drew and Satoru. Charlie closed his eyes and took a deep breath, and Justin could hear the other boy quietly counting to ten.
“You will be cleaning up this mess later,” he said.
“Oh they will,” Blaine said nonchalantly from behind his newspaper.
“Oh we will,” the Twins chorused. “Later.”
“First things first…”
“… Come with us.”
Each twin grabbed a prefect’s hand and dragged them out through the front doors before they could protest. Once outside, Reed jumped up to follow them, while David and Wes waved them on. Justin wondered if he should protest somehow, but then saw Charlie looking resigned and decided to go with it.
The walk took them all through a lightly wooded area. Any questions posed about where exactly it was that they were going were met with grins from the twins and giggles from Reed and Justin eventually just stopped asking.
The walk was pleasant enough and completely ordinary at first. It was only when the prefects saw a path lined in yellow, cream and blue flowers – Windsor and Hanover colors – that they began to suspect something was up. The twins released them and ran ahead to a curtain of ivy that hung down in the middle of the path. This they parted down the middle to create an opening.
“Go on,” Reed encouraged, tripping over a tree root. “I promise you’ll love it.”
Justin looked apprehensive, but Charlie took his hand and gently tugged him through the curtain, ignoring the snickers of the Twins. They both stopped short and gaped at the sight before them.
The path of yellow, cream and blue flowers continued till they reached a bright yellow picnic blanket spread in a gently lit clearing. A white canopy hoisted over it provided some shade and kept leaves and insects from falling into the spread of food and drink laid out on the blanket. Going closer they found the blanket scattered with blue and cream rose petals, and in the middle of everything was a big bouquet of a dozen pure white English roses wrapped in yellow and white tissue paper and tied off with a gold ribbon.
Justin picked up the bouquet and turned the card over, reading the simple message scrawled in familiar handwriting – Justin, Happy 18th Birthday, all my love, Charlie – before looking up in amazement at the Windsor prefect.
“You planned all this?” he asked.
Charlie was speechless. “I… well I… I mean…”
“He had a little help,” Ethan said, slinging one arm around Charlie’s shoulders.
“And we owed him,” Evan added, mirroring the gesture on Charlie’s other side.
“Enjoy it guys,” Reed said and pulled the Twins off the prefect, dragging them back past the ivy curtain with warnings to leave the two alone for the rest of the day.
Justin popped the last piece of croissant in his mouth and lay back on the blanket, chewing slowly and thoughtfully. Charlie watched him curiously and a little fascinated, wondering what was going through the Hanover prefect’s mind.
“Penny for your thoughts,” he said at last.
“Hmm?” Justin looked over. “Oh, I was just thinking, whatever the Twins did to piss you off this time must have been really bad, if they went all out to help you with this.” He grinned.
Charlie laughed. “I’d say I wish they did it more often, but I don’t think my sanity, or they, would survive.”
“You have sanity?”
The boys smiled at each other before Justin went back to looking contemplative. Charlie nudged him gently, wanting him to share.
“ ‘All my love, Charlie’.” Justin made little quotation marks with his fingers. “Your words or the Twins ribbing on you again?”
The Windsor prefect blushed and picked at the threads on the blanket. “Would you believe me if I told you, somewhere in between?”
Justin sat up and tilted his chin up. “Love you, too, Chaz.” He loved the way those cornflower blue eyes lit up at that admission. “And thank you. Best birthday present ever.”
“Oh, it’s not over.” Charlie smirked, leaned in and kissed him softly. “We have the whole rest of the day.”
Fingers trailed down to fabric and began to undo buttons, brushing lightly against smooth skin underneath, as Justin kissed him back. “No interruptions?”
“Not if they want to live.” He leaned over to kiss the Hanover’s neck as Justin pulled him down, ridding the English prefect of his shirt far faster than Justin was taking Charlie’s off. “Now enough about them, let me give you the rest of your birthday present.”
“Looking forward to it,” Justin said with a little gasp as the Windsor prefect’s tongue travelled over his skin.
The last few barriers were flung aside. “Good,” Charlie said and finally moved lower.
Petals crushed as bodies moved and the scent of roses hung in the air under the canopy the boys lay beneath as the afternoon wore on uninterrupted….
They wrapped themselves in part of the blanket at the cool of the evening replaced the warmth of the afternoon, and Justin traced a blue rose petal over Charlie’s cheekbone.
“Am I allowed to declare this the best birthday gift yet?” he asked at length.
“Not yet.” Charlie nudged Justin off him, and sat up, wincing slightly as he reached for his jeans before fishing in a pocket.
Justin tilted his head. “There’s more?”
“Just this.” Charlie held up what looked suspiciously like a ring box.
The Hanover’s eyes widened and he shifted back slightly. “Whoa, hang on. Isn’t this a bit too soon? I mean, we’ve only been together for a few months and we haven’t even finished school yet. I might even have to go back to England first and-.”
Charlie silenced him with a kiss. “I’m not asking for your hand in marriage. Not yet anyway.” He winked. “This is just something I wanted to give you to let you know I’m serious about us, and that whatever happens down the road, I’ll wait for you.”
He opened the little box and drew out a length of twisted chain that shone and reflected the setting sunlight like little droplets of silver-gold. Justin took one end in his hand and ran a thumb over the smooth, cold metal.
“Nah, just a Windsor. Now c’mere.” He tugged the Hanover boy closer and clasped the chain around his neck. “Happy Birthday,” he murmured, cupping his cheek and kissing him softly.
Justin pushed him on to his back again. “NOW can I say it?”
Charlie laughed. “Go for it.”
“Best. Birthday. Ever.”