Pine: A Slashy Melodrama in Six Acts

Recipient: trianne
Author: sanzorama
Pairing: Orlando/Elijah
Rating: R for language and sexual situations
Summary: Elijah and Orlando are former roommates who are now a couple. They met at Guildhall wear Orlando was studying acting and Elijah, who quit acting while still a child star, was studying lighting design. Now Lij is making a name for himself as a DJ and Orli is the hot young actor who's starring in a musical based on David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. They're professional lives are going well and, according to the tabloids, they're the new gay "It" couple. Why do insecurities still abound? Will the holidays make a difference?
Warning: AU. Angst in the style of a Puerto Rican soap opera. Foul Language. Man on man action of a sexual nature aka my first explicit sex scenes (¡Ay caramba!). Lots of product placement aka my holiday wishlist. Copious amounts of author's endnotes in which you learn more about me than you probably wanted to know.
Author's Notes: Beta: The amazingly talented and supremely silly giselleslash. Thanks for all the handholding and the cheerleading. Sorry about the sex.


Act 1

SCENE 1: INT Christmas Eve - Orlando's Bedroom

Elijah tried, once again, to get comfortable on the bed and, once again, gave up. He stood up with a sigh and resumed pacing the length of the usually cluttered room. He'd debated about what to get Orlando for weeks. It was the old cliché, 'What do you get for the man that had everything?' After all the trials and tribulations of the past year, everything seemed to have fallen into place for Orlando and for them. 'Them... us... ours...' It still made Elijah smile to think about it, but recently that smile had a melancholy tinge.

He probably never would have told Orlando about his feelings, if Dom hadn't threatened to tell him first. Elijah shook his head at the thought of Dom and the thought of Dom and Sean. He would never have guessed that the former stripper/porn star and the former DCI would have made a serious go at it. 'Cupid has a wicked sense of humor,' Elijah thought.

With a shrug and a deep sigh, Elijah started to untie the red velvet bow that was tied around his waist. "Thanks Dom, this was a silly idea," he muttered to himself, "I wonder if it's too late to book reservations for that trip to Barbados that Orli and I talked about?" Pulling the bow free he carefully folded the strip of ribbon and stuck it into the basket of goodies that sat in the middle of the bed. The ribbon joined a bottle of Ghirardelli's Hazelnut Chocolate Syrup, a box of Trojan Ultra Thins, a bottle of Wet Warming Lubricant, four yellow, orange and black vintage Pucci print silk scarves that Lij had found at Camden Market, and a single peacock feather. Elijah slowly blew out the candles he had placed around Orlando's room and put them back on the tray, which he carefully balanced atop the basket. He proceeded to open the door, grab his wobbly bundle and trudged across to his bedroom.

Most of their friends teased Elijah and Orlando about the two bedrooms. Dave and Charlie joked that they were more like an old straight couple that the new gay "It" couple. The reporter who interviewed Orlando for The Advocate, and flirted outrageously with him while Lij pretended to be absorbed with the photographer's lighting set-up, had even commented on their separate rooms. Orlando shrugged it off saying, "Sometimes Lij comes in late from a DJ set reeking of cigarette smoke and wired on all the caffeine he's drank to stay awake. If I have an early morning photo shoot or something, he sleeps in his old room. If not then, he wakes me up for a long hot shower. Wink wink. Nudge nudge." The reporter had laughed at Orlando's blatant reference to their sex life, but the laughter grated on Elijah's nerves like sloppy beat matching.

Only Dom and Liv knew the truth -- that Orlando and Elijah had never fully consummated their relationship.


SCENE 2: INT Christmas Eve - Orlando's Dressing Room at the Theatre after the final performance before winter break

Orlando closed his eyes and leaned back in the makeup chair. This was always his favorite part of the post-show ritual. Toni Collette's delicate touch and her wicked Aussie sense of humor helped him unwind from the emotional catharsis of "Rock and Roll Suicide." "I thought that pompous old queen was, finally, going to pull you into the audience, tuck you under his arm and carry you home tonight," Toni cattily commented in reference to Sir John Rhys-Davies as she removed Orlando's wig.

"Now, Toni love," Orlando replied, "you should show more gratitude to Sir Rhys-Davies. After all, without his initial glowing review you and the rest of us would be out of a job right now."

"I know, Orli," Toni said as she smoothed almond oil infused pads over his temples to remove the final residue of wig adhesive. "It's just that he seems to tug a little harder every time he grabs you during give me your hands," she continued as she reached for the Purifying Cream Cleanser, "and I just know he wants to cart you off and sink his teeth, among other things, into your tight little ass."

Orlando laughed gleefully and responded, "Don't let Miranda know that you've been looking at my ass. The next time I go to her salon, she may decide that I'd look better with canary yellow hair."

"Yeah right," Toni snorted, "I think I should be more worried about you stealing her away from me than of her being jealous of you. She always said that no matter what she did to your hair, you were pretty enough to eat."

"Let's see Rhys-Davies is going to take a bite out of me and Mir thinks I'm good enough to eat," Orlando said thoughtfully and then snapped his fingers, "Ah ha! I've got it! You're on one of those crazy diets again aren't you. Toni love, what have I told you about that?"

"Oh don't get your knickers in a twist, Orli," Toni replied in exasperation, "I've just skipped a few meals, because Mir is planning the feast to end all feasts for tomorrow night. I mean all bloody week, she's been talking about recipes and baking like this is the last Christmas dinner before Armageddon. Between each request to 'taste this for me' and all the delicious odors wafting from the kitchen, I think I've gained a couple stone."

Orli laughed indulgently, let out a sigh, and settled down further as Toni's long and agile fingers gently removed the last traces of stage makeup. He knew that he had lucked out when Miranda suggested that he recommend her Aveda obsessed girlfriend for the position of his dresser/makeup artist. After the final show of each week, Toni treated him to a four-star facial. At first he laughed at all the new age names, but now he was hooked on the Tourmaline Charged Exfoliating Cleanser and the Outer Peace Acne Relief Pads. It didn't hurt that Elijah loved the way he smelled. If all he was going to do was cuddle, kiss and be the recipient of the occasional hand or blowjob, at least Orlando could make the most of it. Orlando shifted is his chair restlessly. "What's the matter love?," Toni asked as she smoothed her fingers over his suddenly furrowed brow.


Act 2

SCENE 1: INT Three Weeks Before Christmas -- The Bathroom in Elijah & Orlando's Flat

Elijah leaned over the bathtub and tested the water temperature once again. 'Perfect,' he thought, 'Hot enough to melt away any residual Ziggy bits.' He checked his watch for the fourth, or maybe fourteenth, time. 'Orli should walk through the door any minute now,' Elijah thought as he dropped the Green Day Bubble Bar into the tub, 'I better start the milk for the Mexican hot chocolate.'

Sean teased them about their bath rituals and Elijah constantly regretted letting Dom in on that secret. Still he insisted that it was unfair -- sexist even - to think that women should be the only ones allowed to pamper themselves with a good soothing (or stimulating) soak. Plus he loved sitting on the side of the tub while Orli sat in a bath and talked about that night's performance. It was wonderful to hear his voice get progressively deeper; the slowing cadence of his speech and the barely there moans as he got more and more relaxed were better than any music.

Tonight, Elijah had something special planned. He had made a special trip down to the Lush store on Lion Yard in Cambridge and picked up the aforementioned bubble bar slice and a Wiccy Magic Muscles massage bar. He had programmed a special playlist that was chockablock with Al Green, David Sylvian, Cocteau Twins and David Darling. He'd pulled out the Paul Robinett aromatherapy candles that he's been saving for a special occasion - peppermint for pleasure, chocolate for desire, and vanilla for patience. He'd placed a couple of Egyptian cotton bath towels across Orlando's bed, stripped down to his bare skin and slipped on his fluffiest bath robe. Elijah thanked all the gods and goddesses that their antique claw foot tub was big enough for two.

Three hours later...

Elijah sat in the empty tub with his knees drawn up to his chest. The right side of his face rested against the damp tiles and the pruny fingers of his left hand drew nonsensical patterns on the wall. When the Poets Dreamed of Angels wafted from the speakers in the living room and, as Sylvian's voice gave way to the Spanish classical guitars that signaled the ending of the song, Elijah finally allowed his tears to fall. "You're such a pathetic mess," Elijah's voice took on an eerie quality in the echoey bathroom, "Why should he want to hurry home to you? What would he say? 'Hello my little bundle of repression, I'm home. Why don't we snuggle in the bath and sip hot cocoa like a pair of adventurous altar boys. Maybe, if I'm being particularly irresistible and you're being excessively naughty, I can get a candlelit blow job for my trouble.'"

In the outer entryway, Orlando fumbled with and dropped his keys for the second time. Despite his desire to be quiet, his drunken giggle wormed it's way through the keyhole.

"Here let me help you with those, Orli," said a voice that Elijah didn't recognize. An American voice that was sort of rich and whispery at the same time.

"Shhh Josh, you've got to be quiet. If Elijah is sleeping, it wouldn't do to wake him," Orlando replied perfectly unaware that, under the right conditions, the odd acoustics of the apartment allowed anyone standing outside the bathroom to hear anything that was said in the hallway.

Elijah reached back into the bathroom to turn off the vanity light. After the first drunken giggle, he had blown out the candles and climbed out of the tub. Pulling his robe even tighter to his body, he walked quickly to his room and closed and locked the door just before Orlando and his new co-star, Josh Hartnett, entered the living room.

"Hmm, it smells damn good in here," Josh exclaimed, "It's like a Peppermint Patty. Do you all have those over here?"

"Shhh!," Orlando hissed angrily, "I told you that I didn't know if Lij was still awake." Orlando crossed over to his boyfriend's room and tried to open the door. The resistance of the doorknob was enough to sober him up completely.


SCENE 2: INT The following afternoon -- Elijah's Bedroom

Elijah was dreaming of pine trees -- a forest of pine trees. He and his Dad were on a trip to North Carolina to visit a couple of his Dad's old fraternity brothers. It was Christmas time, but Elijah's mother had refused to come along. She thought that Elijah should be preparing for his role in The Good Son and she didn't approve of his "uncle's" lifestyle. Elijah was having a blast with his Dad, Uncle Chris and Uncle Bill. Over the past week he had eaten more catfish, hush puppies and barbeque than he would have thought possible and he had heard his Dad's laughter more than he ever had before. It had been an exceptionally mild winter, even by North Carolina standards, and Elijah was disappointed that he wouldn't be able to build a snowman. He wandered deeper into the trees looking for the perfect pinecone. Maybe if he found the magic pinecone, he'd be able to live amongst the trees forever. His Dad would stay with him and never leave and the four of them could live on...

Elijah woke with a start. He could still smell the scent of pine. He shook his head to clear away the last vestiges of the dream. He knew he'd never forget that Christmas -- the last time he really spent with his Dad before he went away. Jesus Lij, what are you eight years old again? He didn't go away. He died. He had cancer and he died. He knew he was going to die and he never said anything to you. He never told you that he was leaving you alone with her. She knew it would be his last holiday and still she refused to go.' Elijah hoped that a brisk shower would clear away the last dregs of sleep and get him away from another bitter trip down memory lane. Maybe Orlando had some funny stories about the new guy...

"Right the new guy," Elijah ground out bitterly feeling completely awake, "The guy that he brought home with him last night." Elijah thought about remaining in his room until Orlando had to leave for tonight's performance, but then he remembered... "Fuck! It's fucking Sunday. No performances until Wednesday," Elijah sighed deeply. There weren't even any rehearsals until Monday afternoon.

"Hey sleepy head," Orlando called through the door, "I hear movement and mumbling. Are you finally ready to rejoin the world of the living?" He tried the doorknob, but it was still locked. Rattling at the door, Orlando continued, "Hey my little vampire, you've slept the day away while I puttered around by my lonesome. Come on out love, I have a surprise for you."

'I wonder if my surprise is six foot tall with dimples that make all the little girls swoon,' Elijah thought bitterly, But...Orli said he was alone. Oh well, time to face the music.' Elijah reluctantly unlocked the door and opened it cautiously. He barely made it out the door, before Orlando grabbed him by the shoulders and spun him around to face...

"A tree," Elijah blinked, but it was still there a six foot tall vision with twinkling lights that made him feel like he was going to swoon, "You bought a Christmas tree? A real Christmas tree! Where'd you find it? How'd you get it up here?"

"I went out for a late dinner and some drinks with the rest of the cast in order to welcome the new guy. You know, Josh Harnett, he replaced...," Orlando paused briefly, "Oh never mind, you know all that. Anyway, after a dinner that was more liquid than solid I decided to help Josh find his way home. There were no cabs about so we decided to walk. His place is pretty close to the theatre and about half way to here. Anyway, we passed by a lot where they were selling pine trees and it was still open. The guy at the gate looked half frozen and rather pathetic. He tried to get us to buy a tree, but Josh said that his place was too small. I remembered that story you told me about Christmas..."

"Christmas in North Carolina with my Dad," Elijah cut in, "Oh Orli! It's the most beautiful tree I've ever seen." Elijah turned around to face Orlando and cupped his head gently. He ruffled his fingers through Orlando's curls for a moment and then pulled him down for a kiss.

"Hey sweetie," Orlando said softly as they pulled apart, "Baby? Don't cry. Why are you crying love? You've seemed so sad recently, I thought this would make you happy. "

Act 3


SCENE 1: EXT One week before Christmas -- On a Busy Sidewalk in London

"Come on Elijah Jordan Wood," Don intoned wearily, "we've been to every shop in the greater London area. And it's all been a waste of time because you already have the perfect present for Orlando."

"What?," Elijah responded, confusion readily apparent in both his tone and his facial expression. "I've hardly bought anything for Orlando. I mean that chunky Aran Island sweater is rather nice, but I'd hardly call it the perfect present."

Dom pushed Elijah through the door of their favorite café/pub saying, "Find us a quiet spot preferably with a pair of those so comfy you never want to leave chairs. We need to talk." Elijah sighed and headed to the back of the room. Luckily his favorite spot was free. Two oh so comfy chairs, the perfect pair of little marble topped side tables and a cozy fire in the grate. Elijah hated it when Dom said that they needed to talk. He could only imagine how Bean felt when he heard those dreaded words.

About twenty-five minutes later, prompt service not being the reason that the Red Lion was one of their favorite spots, Dom made his way to the back balancing a tray filled with drinks on his left hand while he deftly navigated around tables despite his shopping bag toting right arm. "Oi take this, you lazy git" he said indicating the tray with a brisk nod, "You could have come up to the front to help me with my bags."

"What and leave my cozy nest while the threat of a talking to hung over my head," Elijah responded as he quickly grabbed the tray and placed it gently upon the nearest side table.

"I took the liberty of ordering us a couple of Shepherd's Pies and Greek salads," Dom said as he gratefully plopped down on his chair, "And yes, I did remember to ask for extra feta for your salad. They'll be brought over whenever Astin gets his ass in gear."

"I heard that," said Sean Astin, the Red Lion's proprietor/chef and sometimes waiter. "It's a good thing that I'd already spat in your salad Dom."

"What just mine?," Dom responded with a laugh, "Why not Elijah's?" Dom quickly cleared the coffee table so Astin could set down his burden.

"Because Elijah knows better than to bad mouth me within the walls of my own establishment," Astin replied as he affectionately rubbed his knuckles against Dom's skull.

"Oh I see how it is," Dom said as he playfully swatted back at Astin, "You'd rather I talk about you behind your back like a little coward than tell you to your face that I think you're a lazy sot."

"Hey, I resemble and resent that little coward remark," Elijah protested as he watched his friends go through their usual routine. He had never figured out how Dom and Astin had met each other or why Astin was called Astin even before Bean entered the picture, but it didn't really matter either way. He was simply grateful that, as soon as Dom introduced them, Astin had accepted him and, even though they weren't very close, he had always made Elijah feel welcome.

"Now sod off back to the kitchen you and finish heating up our pies," Dom said while pushing Astin away, "Elijah shops like he's bloody Oprah and Paris Hilton rolled into one and I'm starved."

"Ouch," Elijah pouted as he started to dig into his salad, "You cut me to the quick!" Dom and Elijah silently decided that their conversation could wait until they had a serious tuck-in but, all too soon in Elijah's opinion, it was time to talk.

"Damn, that was good," exclaimed Dom as he removed a napkin from his lap. He took a slug out of his green tea chai latte and settled back in his chair. Elijah eyed him warily over the rim of his bowl of cappuccino and licked his lips nervously. "Lij, there's no need to look at me like you're the rabbit and I'm the poacher dreaming of rabbit stew. I'm not trying to trap you or hurt you here. I..."

"You think he's going to break up with me don't you?," Elijah interjected, "You probably wonder why it hasn't already happened. Orlando would never break up with anyone during the holidays, so I..."

"Elijah! Stop babbling and listen to me," Dom exclaimed. Elijah abruptly shut up, closed his eyes and sat back heavily in his chair. Dom watched sadly as Lij drew his legs up, hugged them to his chest and buried his head between his knees. "Elijah, look at me," Dom said softly as he reached out and ran his fingers gently through Elijah's hair. Elijah only seemed to burrow more deeply into himself. "Elijah," Dom continued after a long pause, "I don't think that Orlando is going to break up with you now or after the holidays. I think that Orlando loves you and he wants your relationship to work out, but..."

As Dom faltered, Elijah looked up. Through the magnification of his tears Elijah's eyes seemed even larger than usual and Dom knew that he had to make this work. "Elijah, I won't lie to you," Dom started again, "I'm sure that Orlando is very frustrated right now. I know that I would be. I probably would have broken up with you months ago, but I'm not Orlando. You guys are uniquely suited because Orlando's insecurity about his self worth drove him outwards towards promiscuity and yours drove you inwards toward sexual repression of the worst kind. I'm sure in the beginning, Orlando thought that your lack of desire was proof of your love. You wanted both more and less from him than any of the others. But Orlando isn't as insecure as he once was. You've shown him that there is more to his self worth than his body and his beauty and now I think that he questions your lack of desire for him." Dom paused, but Elijah only seemed to tighten his grip on his own arms and resolutely kept his head buried.

Dom sighed. Maybe he was taking the wrong tack here. "Elijah, I can't believe that you don't want to shag Orlando Bloom," Dom continued after a few contemplative sips of his latte. "Every straight woman, every gay man and more than a few straight men want to shag Orlando Bloom. Hell, I bet that there are a few lesbians who'd admit that Orlando is shag-a-fucking-delic."

"Stop it Dom!," Elijah hissed furiously, "How is it helping me to think about the fact that EVERYBODY in the whole world wants to shag my fucking boyfriend." Elijah rested his chin on his knees and glared at Dom. "I know that he gets propositioned all the time. Now there's this new guy in the cast, Josh, and Orli keeps talking about how talented he is and they've gone out to dinner after a few of the shows and..."

"Elijah stop!," Dom interrupted, "Forget about Josh Harnett! If Orlando wanted to fuck Josh he would have. Just as he would have shagged numerous members of that cast and crew. Remember earlier when I said that you already had the perfect Christmas present for Orlando?"

"Yes, but..." Elijah started to reply.

"Well the perfect present is you Elijah," Dom interrupted once again, "All that Orlando has wanted for the past year...scratch that all the Orlando has probably wanted since you met during that first year at Guildhall is you. "

"But I can't," Elijah interjected, "I've tried and I can't. I just freeze. It's not that I don't want to fuck Orlando shag-a-fucking-delic Bloom. I just..."

"Yes, you bloody well can," Dom said irritably, "Elijah you gave up acting, you fought to be legally emancipated from your mother, you struggled to be accepted by the other students at Guildhall...Bugger it all, you fought to change my mind about you when I was ready to write you off as a spoiled Hollywood reject. Don't you see, if you ruin your relationship with Orlando then you might as well have stayed with your homophobic harridan of a mother. You might as well have given up on your love for Orlando. You might as well have given up on all your other dreams."

Dom paused to survey the damage. Elijah's head was once again buried in his knees, but looking closely Dom could see that Elijah's grip on his arms had loosened. "Elijah," Dom continued in a much gentler tone, "I'm not saying this to hurt you. I honestly believe that you can overcome your fears. And you won't be doing it bloody pun intended... Orlando will be there every step of the way. I think that you've been taking too much upon yourself. Just gather the necessary supplies and put them on Orlando's bed. Get undressed, tie a big red bow around your waist and wait for him to come home. Orlando will take one look at you and know exactly what to do." Dom stroked Lij's hair gently. "Come on mate, he loves you and wants you. Anyone who isn't legally blind can see that every time he looks at you. Anyone who isn't legally deaf can hear it when he talks about you..."

Dom dug into one of his pile of bags and pulled out a small bag from Covent Garden's Coffee, Cake and Kink and emptied it's contents onto the coffee table, "Look I got you a couple of things to get you started."

Elijah pulled his head up. He saw a box of Trojan Ultra Thins (size large) and a bottle of Wet Warming Lubricant on the table. He turned towards Dom who winked at him in a rather lascivious manner and they both started to laugh hysterically.

"Oi!," shouted Astin from behind the bar, "Am I going to have to come over there to sort you two out?"

Act 4

SCENE 1: INT Christmas Eve -- Orlando's Dressing Room at the Theatre

Orlando floated in post-facial ecstasy. He and Toni had chatted quietly for a while as she packed up her tools and supplies. She always teased him that his blissed out look should be used in Aveda ads with the tag line: Purifying Cream Cleanser -- it just might be better than sex. But now as Toni glanced over at him, she could see the return of those furrows that she'd noticed earlier. She had an idea about what the problem was, but she prayed that she was wrong. She also prayed that she was doing the right thing when she decided to broach the subject.

"So have you decided on what to get Elijah for the holidays?," Toni asked quietly, "I can't imagine that you've had much time to shop and I know that you aren't a big fan of the Internet."

"Well, Josh and I did some shopping together earlier this week and...," Orli started to respond but Toni cut him off in a rather brusque fashion.

"You took Josh with you when you went shopping for Elijah?," Toni asked and the incredulity was evident in her voice.

"I wasn't just shopping for Elijah, but yes I took Josh with me," Orli responded heatedly, "Why shouldn't I? What exactly are you insinuating?" Toni started to respond, but he cut her off. "I am sick and tired off all the gossip and the bloody innuendos that keep springing up regarding Josh and myself. I can understand the gutter press, they haven't anything better to do, but..." Orlando paused and continued sadly, "but you're my friend Toni. You and Mir are two of my closest friends. Elijah has Dom, Liv and even Billy, but in so many ways I only have you two."

"Orlando...," Toni started, stalled and slowly continued, "Orli, I'm sorry. Perhaps I shouldn't have said anything, but I'm worried about you. More specifically, I'm worried about you and Elijah. You seem to be living separate lives and it's been that way for some time now. I know that you're busy and your schedules often conflict, but..."

"But what Toni?," Orlando asked sharply, "go ahead and finish it."

Toni approached Orlando's chair cautiously and placing her hands on his shoulders she looked into the mirror and met his eyes. His body tensed under her palms and the eyes in the mirror were defiant, but Orlando remained silent. "Orli love," Toni began with a sigh, "It just looks bad you know -- the time that you are spending with Josh. I know you're aware of what it looks like whether it's true or not."

"Whether it's true or not...," Orlando said through gritted teeth. All the relaxing benefits of his facial were long forgotten. "Thanks for the bloody vote of confidence. Do you want to know what I got Elijah? I arranged for us to go away -- just the two of us. I've rented a little cottage in Donegal on the northwest coast of Ireland. It's a tiny thatched cottage with a peat-burning fireplace. It will just be the neighbor's sheep and us. The nearest neighbor is fairly distant so unless we go into town we won't see anyone at all, because I'm having it stocked with all the necessary supplies."

"Orli that sounds lovely," Tony said sadly, "and honey, I'm so sorry for saying anything. And for the record, I didn't think that anything had happened, but the temptation..."

"There hasn't been any temptation. Josh is new to the show. He's new to England. We get along and that's it," Orlando's exasperation was plain, "I'm not tempted and he's not tempting."

"Who isn't tempting?," Josh said with a laugh as he stuck his head through the door. Sensing the tension in the room, he paused and stepped back. "I'm sorry to interrupt guys," he continued in a more subdued manner, "Ah...Orli, I was wondering if you wanted grab a drink with me and a couple of the crew guys before you head home."

For a second, Orlando and Toni's eyes met in the mirror. She shrugged and gave him the barest of smiles. "Sure Josh, I'll meet you downstairs in a minute. Let me call Elijah and let him know that I'll be a little late."

"Oh, did you guys have plans? Because...," Josh began.

"No. No specific plans. I just want to check in with him. You know how it is, " Orli said with a smile, "or anyway, you will."

Orlando thought he heard a bit of disappointment in Elijah's voice after he mentioned Josh, but he shrugged it off. 'Probably, just residual guilt because one of my closest friends doesn't trust that I'll be faithful to my boyfriend,' he thought bitterly. Toni had left at the same time as Josh. She had given his shoulder a squeeze that seemed to say 'I'm sorry,' but it wasn't nearly enough.

Pulling on his coat, Orlando made his way downstairs to the rear exit. Josh was leaning against the wall trying to light his cigarette. Orlando paused inside the doorway. His eyes narrowed as he looked around. "Hey Harnett, where are the crew guys?," he asked casually.

"Oh, Johnny got a call from Vanessa and took off like a bat out of hell. And Sala and Andy decided that they just wanted to pick up some curry and go get stoned," Josh paused to take a deep drag off of his recently lit cigarette, "so it's just us again. It that OK?"

"Sure mate...sure," Orlando replied, "Why wouldn't it be OK?" 'This is the fifth or sixth time that a group of us going out has suddenly become just the two of us. Was Toni right to warn me about this?,' Orlando thought sadly.

"Earth to Orlando," Josh said jokingly, "Is there anybody home in there?"

"Oh shut up you," Orlando responded with a smile. He was determined to shake off this sudden touch of suspicion. "Where do you want to go?"

"I was thinking about Geja's," seeing Orlando's frown Josh continued hurriedly, "you know the fondue place? It's really close to my apartment. I mean my flat, so I figured I could spring for a taxi over there and then I can walk home and you can cab it to your place.

"Sure, I know Geja's," Orlando responded quietly, but red flags were popping up everywhere. Geja's had consistently been voted one of the most romantic restaurants in the theatre district. "Wait, won't it be impossible to get a table there?," Orli asked as he saw a way out of a potentially sticky situation.

"Well, when I found out that it was just going to be us two again," Josh paused to light another cigarette, "I called ahead and reserved a table."

"Is it me or are you smoking more than usual?," Orlando asked bluntly. He knew that he couldn't ignore the warning bells that tintinnabulated in his head like a goddamn Edgar Allen Poe poem. "Josh...," Orlando paused and sighed, "I don't want to sound conceited here but are you hitting on me?"

"Orli you don't sound conceited, but if you were as bright as you were beautiful," Josh responded with a smirk, "it wouldn't have taken you this long to ask that question. And the answer is yes. Yes I am hitting on you. I've been hitting on you since the night we hauled the Christmas tree up to your flat. I still remember the way you giggled as you dropped your keys. You were... you are..."

"Josh wait. Just stop and think," Orlando interrupted, "You know I have a boyfriend. A boyfriend for whom I bought that tree. The tree that we lugged for ten drunken blocks and up four drunken flights of stairs, because I was stupid enough to buy a tree that couldn't fit into the lift."

"Well, I have heard tell of the mysterious Elijah," Josh said rather snidely, "the fucking washed up child star that couldn't take the pressure and ditched his mother in order to run away to England and be a fucking DJ. Is this the boyfriend to which you refer? I'm not sure, because I've never seen him in the flesh. All I've seen is you. Every night for a week and almost every night the week before. Come on Orlando. Don't play the stupid 'but I have a boyfriend game' with me. We wouldn't even be standing here, if it weren't painfully obvious that you Elijah are up to your necks in domestic trouble. It's Christmas fucking Eve, if every thing was hunky dory you'd be at home making out under the fuckin' mistletoe."

"You know something Josh?," Orlando fired back, "You are absolutely right. I should be at home under the fucking mistletoe...TAXI!" Orlando leaned into the cab that screeched to halt in response to his yell and told the driver to hang on a tick. He turned back to Josh who stood there gaping and said, "If I ever again hear you refer to my lover as a 'fucking washed up child star,' you are going to find yourself with a new set of rather uncomfortable dimples." With that Orlando slid into the cab and shut the door leaving Josh standing on the empty sidewalk looking like his dog had died.

Act 5

SCENE 1: INT Christmas Eve -- Elijah's Bedroom

Elijah hung up the phone and sighed. 'Right, I guess that's it. I suppose I should start looking for a new flat as soon as possible. I wonder if Dom is really going to follow through on his plan to kidnap Sean and whisk him away to that walled city in France that he's always yammering on about. What's it called? Oh yeah, Monpazier... Elijah, what the fuck do you care what it's called? The better question is how the fuck are you going to tell Dom that you're moving out and that you want to use his flat while they're out of town so that you can hide from Orli? Yeah, that will go over like a lead balloon.' Elijah's thoughts were interrupted by a tinny version of the Ramones' "I Want To be Sedated." "Oh like fuck," Elijah exclaimed before he answered his mobile, "Hello Dominic."

"What's wrong Lij?," Dominic instantly responded to the defeat evident in Elijah's voice.

"Orli called to tell me that he's going out for a drink with Josh and some crew members," Elijah explained in a rush, "and I think I'm going to move out. Can I stay at your place while you and Bean are in France?" 'Hmm, that was easier...'

"LIKE FUCK!," Dom yelled so hard that Elijah felt his phone rattle, "No you cannot stay here while we are away! And no you are not going to move out! What the fuck?! What happened?"

"I told you," Elijah said wearily, "and I'm tired of fighting it Dom. I know that Josh wants Orli. As you so blithely pointed out everyone wants Orlando. And I tried...I tried..."

"You tried what?," Dom sighed softly, gently, "What did you try, Lij?"

"I tried everything," Elijah sounded so defeated, "I tied the fucking bow around my waist. I put the basket of supplies on the bed and I tried to get comfortable. I tried to feel seductive. I tried to be someone that Orlando wants."

"Elijah, do me a favor," Dom pleaded, "Hang up the phone, get in the shower, re-tie the ribbon and lay down on Orlando's bed."

"But...," Elijah started.

"No. No buts," Dom said sharply, "Pretend you're in a bloody Nike ad and just do it. You've built this thing up in your mind for too long now. And I blame Orlando really." Elijah gasped in reaction to that, but Dom wouldn't let him speak. "Yes, that's right I blame Orlando. Maybe he should have taken a page out of a Harlequin romance and drug you off somewhere and ravished you despite all your protests. Can't you just see Orlando, all decked out like the evil laird of some Scottish estate or better yet as a pirate somewhere in the Caribbean? Of course that means that you'd be the damsel in distress with the heaving bosoms." Dom smiled as he was interrupted by Elijah's raucous laughter. 'There's a good lad,' he thought despite the fact that he and Elijah were about the same age.

"I guess that's your way of telling me to get over myself, eh Dommie?," Elijah said between giggles. "I'm sorry. I got rather maudlin there for a minute. I'm so sorry Dom..." Elijah's voice took on a subdued tone.

"Oi! None of that," Dom said curtly, "Just get your ass in and out of the shower before Orlando gets home. And don't you dare bring up Josh fucking Hartnett again or so help me God..."

"OK! OK! I'll get in the shower," Elijah cut in, "and Dom? Thanks."


SCENE 2: INT An hour later

Orlando entered the flat quietly. He had stopped at the store in order to pick up a bottle of wine and a few gourmet nibbles. 'I hope Elijah's up for a picnic in bed or maybe we can take a bubble bath together. I think I saw a Lush shopping bag in the trash bin a few weeks ago, so he must have some goodies stashed somewhere.' Suddenly Orlando noticed that the flat was rather dark. There were candles burning in the bathroom and the Christmas tree was lit but nothing else was on.

"Elijah? Where are you love?," Orlando called out quietly as he made his way to Elijah's door. He tried the doorknob, but it was locked. Suddenly, he was filled with despair. 'It's too late. He just assumed that I wouldn't be home until late and he went to bed.' Orlando went to kitchen and dumped his purchases onto a counter. As he slowly made his way to his bedroom, he undressed and left behind a rather angry trail of clothing. 'Fuck! You're such an ass Orlando,' he thought as he wrenched open his bedroom door...

Elijah lay on the bed. He was propped up on several pillows and had just taken a bite out of a strawberry. Juices from the fruit stained his already pink lips and a little bit dribbled down his chin. The light of over a dozen candles shimmered over his naked body. Suddenly, Orlando recognized the scent, 'Peppermint Patty' and he smiled as he approached the bed. Elijah smiled back and Orli froze in his tracks. Elijah's smile faltered for a second but it quickly returned as he put an arm out and patted the bed. Orlando let out a whoop and jumped on to the mattress. His action upset the basket of supplies, but when he took Elijah into his arms and kissed him all of that was forgotten.

Elijah pushed at Orlando's chest firmly until he was released. As Lij gasped for air, Orlando smiled ruefully and said, "I'm sorry love you know I've always been a sucker for strawberries." Elijah looked startled for a second, but then he grabbed the peacock feather and proceeded to tickle Orlando until it was his turn to gasp for breath. As Orlando's breathing calmed, he righted the overturned basket and perused the supplies. As he pulled out the bottle of Wet, he paused and looked at Elijah with a raised eyebrow. Elijah blushed and nodded his head. Next, Orlando picked up the box of Trojans. Again, he looked at Elijah with a raised eyebrow. Elijah blushed some more and nodded his head again. Then Orlando picked up the chocolate sauce and the silk scarves. "What are these for?," he asked in obvious confusion.

"Um, chocolate covered Elijah," Lij answered with confidence despite the fact that his face suddenly resembled the interior of a blood orange. Elijah extended his arms towards the wrought iron headboard. Orlando shook his head and pulled away, but Elijah said, "No Orli, I want you to. I want to do this for you...for us. I don't want to lose you because I let my fear paralyze me." Orlando shook his head again. Elijah nodded and reached down to grasp Orli's erection and gave it a gentle tug. Orlando moaned, but still he shook his head. "Your body says yes and now finally I'm saying yes," Elijah continued, "don't make me beg."

Orlando bent down and kissed Elijah gently. As he tried to pull back, Elijah tugged him back down and flipped him over. Orlando looked startled for a moment and then he smiled and nodded. "Chocolate covered Orlando," Elijah said with an impish grin. He grabbed Orlando's left wrist and gently tied a scarf to it. He deftly tied the other end of the scarf to the headboard and quickly proceeded to attach a scarf to Orli's right wrist. In a few minutes, Orlando was spread eagled and securely bound to the bed. Elijah knelt between Orlando's legs and sat back on his haunches. He surveyed his work with a satisfied air and then suddenly jumped off the bed and ran from the room.

"Wait, Elijah," Orlando shouted, "where do you think you're going? Elijah? Lij? Damn it this isn't funny." Orlando didn't think that his cock could get any harder until Elijah returned with a bowl of crushed ice. "No, Elijah. Don't..." Orlando's protest quickly turned into a scream when Elijah suddenly leaned down and engulfed the tip of Orli's cock into his ice-filled mouth. "Oh god, Lij," Orli's comment dissolved into a moan. Elijah released his dick with a satisfied pop and dipped into the bowl for more crushed ice. He smiled innocently up at Orlando and then grabbed Orli's cock with his ice filled hand. Orlando screamed, but his screams turned into moans as Elijah replaced the icy hand with his hot mouth.

Sometime Later...

Elijah drizzled more chocolate syrup onto Orlando's rapidly moving chest and smeared it into his clavicles. The bed was a wreck with strawberry juice and rapidly drying jism staining the sheets. Orlando's lips were swollen and a livid love bite had formed at the juncture of his neck and shoulder. Orlando gasped as Elijah licked the sticky syrup off of his right nipple. His left nipple was already so hard that it ached and the right nipple was rapidly approaching the same state. Suddenly Orlando's mouth was filled with several of Elijah's chocolate and sperm covered fingers. Elijah lifted his head and said, "I need you to clean me off so that I can prepare myself for you." Orlando felt lightheaded as his blood made a mad rush to his cock. He tried to talk around Elijah's fingers but his woods were garbled. Elijah removed his hand with a smirk.

"Are you trying to kill me?," Orlando gasped before Elijah's mouth descended upon his. Elijah kissed Orlando like a Dyson vacuum - all suction all the time. When he finally released his captive, Orlando's eyes were wild. His irises were so dark that they were indistinguishable from his pupils. As he gasped for breath he eked out, "Elijah please untie me."

Elijah replied, "I'll untie you on one condition," and he reached back and placed the bottle of lube onto Orlando's stomach. Orli glanced at the lubricant, looked back at Elijah and nodded his head. Elijah smiled slowly and reached for one of the scarves.

Act 6

SCENE 1: INT Christmas Eve -- Orlando's Bedroom

Orlando cradled the container of lube in his right hand and used his thumb to flip the top open and closed repeatedly. He sat at the foot of the bed between Elijah's outspread legs and surveyed the scene before him. The sheets were ruined, sticky with chocolate sauce and other substances. Elijah lay on his back in the midst of the mess and his fear was evident in the way he worried at his lower lip and the fact that his eyes were fixed on Orlando's hands.

"This is not how I wanted this to happen," Orlando said as he dropped the lube onto the bed and started to get up off the bed. Elijah breathed a sigh of relief and just as quickly that relief turned to panic. Orlando correctly interpreted the rapidly changing expressions on his boyfriend's face and said softly, "It's okay love. Don't worry. I just think that we need to get these sheets off of the bed and get ourselves cleaned up too."

Orlando chuckled at the perplexed look on Elijah's face and leaned over to kiss him briefly. "Elijah we're filthy and you're obviously so nervous that you wouldn't have enjoyed what we were about to do. Don't deny it love," Orlando continued as Elijah shook his head. Orlando straddled Elijah and leaned over so that their foreheads touched. As they rubbed their noses together gently and Elijah's long eyelashes fluttered and brushed against his, Orlando could feel his lover's body start to relax. He moved his head so his whisper could caress Elijah's ear, "I want this is be good for you. We've waited too long for this and I want it to be something that you won't regret." He pulled back slowly, grabbed Elijah's left hand and gave it tug. "Come on lover. Why don't you run us a yummy smelling bath while I change the sheets? We don't need to rush this," Orlando paused to plant a soft kiss on Lij's hand and continued with a wink, "After all, Toni and Mir aren't expecting us for another fourteen hours or so. We have plenty of time to work up an appetite."

The residual tension dissipated as Elijah shook his head. He pushed Orli down onto the bed and blew a raspberry against his stomach causing his lover to laugh as he pushed him away. As Elijah hopped off the bed, he said with a chuckle, "After those strawberries and that chocolate sauce, how can you even think about food?"

"Hey," Orlando exclaimed as he swatted Elijah's ass, "I hardly ingested any of the chocolate and I probably worked off any of the strawberries struggling against my restraints." Elijah turned around and stuck his tongue out at Orlando. Orlando grabbed at him, but Elijah dashed out of the room with a giggle. "Don't worry, you little minx," Orlando shouted after him, "I'll get you. I know where you live." Elijah's laughter was his only response.

As Orlando stripped the bed, he worried at his lower lip and thought, 'Don't fuck this up Orli. Elijah needs you to take control of this situation.' Orlando wasn't used to being a top. His previous lovers had expected him to, as one said roughly "just lie back and look pretty, while I fuck you into oblivion." 'Maybe that's why I allowed Elijah to control this situation for so long,' Orlando thought suddenly, 'I kept waiting for him to make his move and now it's my turn.'

SCENE 2: INT Christmas Eve/Christmas Day -- The bathroom

Elijah paced nervously as he waited for the tub to fill. 'Don't fuck this up Lij. Tonight has been better than you expected,' Elijah paused to sigh happily. He flushed hotly as the memories of tonight's adventures flitted through his mind. 'You surprised yourself by taking charge of the situation earlier,' Elijah continued his internal pep talk, 'You were so far outside your comfort zone that it had to qualify as an out of body experience and it worked. Compared to that this should be easy...shouldn't it?'

Orlando paused at the doorway and took a few minutes to study his lover. Elijah had stopped pacing and he stood facing the tub. The rigid line of his spine radiated tension and anxiety. Orli sighed quietly. "Lij...," Orlando started, but his voice startled Elijah who dropped the bath bomb into the water with a splash. Orli started to laugh and Lij soon joined him. The tension broken, Orlando quickly stepped into the bathroom and pulled Elijah into his arms.


"Bombs away," Elijah exclaimed between giggles as he splashed Orlando with rapidly cooling bath water. Orli laughed as he grabbed Lij's hands firmly and pulled them both to their feet. Elijah sobered suddenly, but he remained relaxed. They had talked and played as they cleaned off the sticky residue from earlier in the evening. Sure they had created another batch of sticky residue while in the tub, but it was all water-soluble and would soon disappear down the drain. What seemed to be sticking around was their relationship.

As Orlando gently enveloped him in a towel, Elijah sighed happily. He told Orli all about his insecurities about their relationship and the lack of sex. In turn, Orlando had confessed his insecurities about topping and his fears of disappointing him. In the end, they had both apologized for the needless pain they had caused each other just because they had internalized their fears.

Orlando hummed happily as he finished drying himself off. Elijah had been so thrilled about their trip to Ireland. As Lij chattered in excitement, Orlando had been hard pressed to keep him from leaping out of the tub in order to start packing. In the end, all it took was a carefully place handhold which seemed to take Elijah's breath away until all that escaped his lips soft gasps of pleasure.

Orlando smiled to himself as he dropped the towel into the laundry hamper and started to walk to the bedroom. Elijah had already gone to his room in order to select 'appropriate music.' Orli shook his head and muttered, "Leave it to a DJ to have a special playlist for a time like this," but secretly the idea pleased him. He knew that the songs would be implanted in both of their minds forever and he could imagine the smiles they would share that no one else would understand.


A/N Act 1:If you ever get the opportunity to treat yourself to an Aveda anything, just do it. Unless you're at one of their schools, it won't be cheap but it will smell yummy. Also their products are (again) not cheap, but they last a long time once you get used to the fact that have a lower water content than most beauty products so a little goes a long way.

A/N Act 2: I love Lush products. I don't have a bathtub in my apartment, but usually try to have a few of their bubble bars on hand whenever I know that I'll have access to a tub. Luckily my lack of a bathtub won't stop me from indulging in their chocolate and coffee shower gel. How can I resist something called Sonic Death Monkey? Anyway, I don't know London but from what I could figure out, using a PDF map of the (rather overwhelming) London transit system, the Lush store in Cambridge is the closest one to Guildhall School and hence the fictional flat where most of the action (or inaction) takes place. Paul Robinett is in Columbus, OH and he (they?) make wonderfully fragrant candles. They're expensive, but long lasting.

When I was 11, I spent the better part of a summer in North Carolina (just outside of Raleigh-Durham) and we lived on catfish, hush puppies (corn fritters) and barbeque (pulled pork). Super yummy stuff for the non-diet conscious carnivore.

I don't know, but I doubt that they really have vacant lots that they use to sell Christmas trees in England so I beg your indulgence.

A/N Act 3: Coffee, Cake and Kink is the name of a real shop in Covent Garden. I read about it on the Internet and while I doubt that they sell things as banal as condoms and lube, I just had to use the name.

The Red Lion is a supposedly authentic style English pub in Chicago. I doubt the claim to authenticity, but their Shepherd's Pie is delish.

A/N Act 4: Geja's is (was?) a fondue restaurant in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. It used to, and might still, be considered the most romantic restaurant in Chicago. I wouldn't know, the only time I went there I was acting as the beard for a gay friend of mind.

A/N Act 5: I've never been to Monpazier, which is a 11th or 12th century walled city. Some friends recently bought and are renovating a 14th century house there and I'm dying to visit.

"I Want To Be Sedated" is the main ringtone on my cell phone.


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