Lazarus was shocked at just how busy London really was. As they elbowed their way through a crowd to reach their inn, he commented that he’d never consider his town’s market place busy again. Gabriel laughed and steered him inside towards the landlord to enquire about getting a room. They got a vaguely disapproving look from him when it was mentioned that they wanted to share a room.
“We ain’t got enough money for two rooms, stop looking at us like that,” Lazarus cut in with a scowl.
“Sure you haven’t,” the landlord’s lips slanted into a half smirk as he noticed the nervousness that had suddenly taken hold of Gabriel. The young lord couldn’t tell which was more unnerving, the fact that the landlord probably knew full well why they wished to share a room, or that Lazarus’ fists were balled, ready to pick a fight. Hesitating, he put his hand on Lazarus’ shoulder.
“Calm,” he said in a low, commanding voice. Lazarus’ hands unclenched and tension fled his body like an exorcised demon as he gave Gabriel a nod.
“Sorry,” he mumbled. The landlord arched an eyebrow at the display of submission from the boy. He shook his head and handed Gabriel the room key.
“Just keep quiet lads, yeah? You’ll scare off my customers if you’re not careful,” he told them gruffly before turning away and ignoring them in favour of more customers willing to part with their money. The two of them glanced at one another and hastily moved in the direction of their room for the weekend.
The nervousness that Gabriel had hoped he would leave behind seemed to have followed him. His stomach fluttered uncomfortably. He had always put that particular feeling down to the fear of being found out and ridiculed for his infatuation with another man, but here he had little reason to worry. Despite being a Lord, he was in next to no danger of being recognised and having his reputation destroyed – it was his father that was recognisable, not him, after all. No, this feeling... it was so very familiar, yet so confusing. It was being thrust into a new light and he did not know what to make of it.
It began to make sense after a while. He wasn’t sure what triggered the realisation, only that it felt like a minor epiphany to him. He felt like he was taking a girl on a date, and the need to impress and woo were so ingrained in his mind that he’d paid them no mind before. He’d never felt this before though – the butterflies and constant disquiet. No girl he’d ever courted had made him feel this way. A lowly working class boy with a passion and talent for music had somehow found his way into the young lord’s life and ignited these new emotions.
Lazarus had been watching the streets below from the window with interested and watchful eyes, taking in all the new sights and smells that London had to offer him. He felt Gabriel’s gaze on his back and turned to grin at him. Gabriel blinked, startled by the toothy smile he was on the receiving end of. It felt like his stomach was doing a back flips; another sensation that only Lazarus’ smile could set off.
“I never thought London’d be so different,” Lazarus exclaimed, apparently not noticing that Gabriel was still half staring at him. “Ain’t this noisy back home, is it?” Gabriel shook his head, partly in agreement, partly to clear it. Lazarus leant back on the window sill, eyeing his beau with amusement. “Y’look like a sprite stole your brain,” he chuckled, “wake up, Gabe. We got the whole of London to explore. Not that I’d mind exploring somethin’ else, y’know,” he grinned again, this time somewhat suggestively, managing to make Gabriel blush and avert his gaze for a moment.
Swallowing, he looked back at Lazarus. As much as he’d love to ‘explore’, he wasn’t sure he was entirely ready for it yet. “Um, yes. Uh...” he spluttered, trying to formulate a sentence, “what, um, what parts of London do you want to visit? It’s a big place, you know.” Lazarus moved forward, encasing the embarrassed lord in his arms with a soft laugh.
“I dun mind, Gabe. You pick somethin’. I’m happy with whatever you want,” he murmured, kissing him gently. The subtle reassurance helped to calm Gabriel’s heart, and as his pulse slowed, he was able to think more clearly.
“I suppose you’ve never been to the theatre?”
“Nope,” Lazarus shook his head.
“Would you like to go?”
“Really?” he asked, his eyes lighting up at the thought of being treated to new experiences.
“Of course. What kind of lover would I be if I didn’t treat my beau?” Lazarus kept quiet about how he was already being treated with a weekend in London away from prying eyes.