horseboykarl: (Karl loves NZ)
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After getting some interesting vintages out of the wine cellar, including one of the bottles of Camigliano, I bring my finds to the kitchen. Sean's got his hands in something for dinner, the sleeves of his jumper pushed up to his elbows. I whinged enough that he agreed to come up with something for Paris.

Seeing him at work in the kitchen does things to me, probably because that's where our first, never-to-be-forgotten kiss took place, but it lights a warm fire low in my belly, a mixture of lust and love. And I fit myself behind him, nosing the scent at the back of his neck, smiling when he turns around for a quick kiss.

I leave him alone and get out the stuff for the marinade for the lamb chops. I whisk that together and get the chops soaking before I wander outside to get the outdoor hearth lit and pull the cushions for the chairs out of their storage. It's cold tonight, but we've got
plenty of wine, good food, and friends coming around in a little while so it should be fun to sit out here at least for a bit.



Sean: Karl’s warmth fitted in close behind me is the perfect distraction. Turning, I’m greeted with a kiss, a slow sweet slide of tongue and heat. We enjoy one another for a moment, too soon pulling apart. He moves off and I watch him go, grinning. Right, back to the meal. Karl’s got the carnivores covered with his lamb chops, I’m handling the rest of the lot. There’s a large salad with toasted croutons. Roasted potatoes topped with herbs along with a big bowl of lightly seasoned mixed veggies, carrots, squash, red bell peppers, all prepped and ready.

Sliding a tray of wheat rolls into the oven, I check the time. Dave and Paris are due anytime now. Deciding to take a few extra pillows out for the chairs, I pick up a jacket draped over the back of the couch, smiling because it’s one of Karl’s and his scent clings to it. Outside it’s cold but clear, the sky deepening into evening. Dropping the pillows on the chairs I step to Karl’s side, sliding my arm about him, smiling as the firelight from the hearth dances over his face, in his eyes. I lean in for another kiss, only reluctantly pulling back as the sound of a car coming up the drive registers.

Dave: It's a minor miracle we aren't late. I'd written down the directions to Karl and Sean's place, and somehow we ended up in a run down little shopping center instead. I could have called but really didn't want to admit we were parked in front of the run down remains of Harvey's Bait and Wine Shoppe. A few minutes fumbling with a map showed me my mistake – a transposed number and a similarly named street. Still, as long as we we're here… I haul Paris into a small gift shoppe and we emerge with a fairly tasteful housewarming card along with a handful of silver mylar balloons.

We hit the road again, and when we pull into the drive, I'm immediately overwhelmed with how right this place is. Even without an address, if I'd been dropped off here at random, I'd recognize Karl and Sean's new home. The place just feels like them. We wander up to the door, eyes wide and taking in all the sights, before rapping on the door.

Paris: I'm a little sheepish about having gotten us lost, but we still arrive in plenty of time, and it gave us the chance to pick up gifts, so all was not actually lost. I love the curiosity on Dave's face as we park up and he takes the place in. I can't wait until he sees the bathroom. I think the bath in the Gods will appeal to his sense of humour.

He's put me in charge of the balloons and I hold on tight to the strings as we walk up to the door. I've been looking forward to this, the four of us hanging out together. I like Sean, he's easy company and it's been a while since I've seen Karl. While we wait for someone to answer the door, I pull Dave close for a soft kiss behind the balloons, smiling happily as his fingers run up my arm.

The door is pulled open as we emerge and our hosts are standing grinning in the doorway, so I thrust the balloons at Karl. "Happy … erm … housewarming, mate!"

Karl: I wrestle with the balloons, a little surprised to be getting them. Never figured Paris for the balloon type, Dave yes, but not Paris. "Er, thanks, mate."

I grin at Dave's open-mouthed peering around at the house. Haven't seen him since I moved. I frown, remembering the day I was packing and how his cowboy tried to talk me into shifting. Tonight should be okay though, with both Paris and Sean here to help me if the ego-maniac shows up again. It'd be nice to get through a bloody dinner without uninvited guests.

I shake my head and smile at my friends.

"Glad you could make it, we've been wanting to do this for ages."

Sean: The balloons were absolutely Dave’s idea, I’m sure. Shaking my head I slap him on the shoulder as he looks about, my smile welcoming both he and Paris. “Good to see you, mate. Been a while, yeah? Come on it, welcome to the new place.”

We move deeper into the house, Dave still looking about and Paris seeming to enjoy his curiosity. Karl moves off, stashing the tangle of balloons in an out of the way corner, returning with a bemused expression. Before I can offer anyone a seat or a glass of wine, the oven in the kitchen chimes. “Right. That’d be the rolls. Dinner’ll be up in a few, if everyone’s ready?”

Passing Karl on the way to the kitchen, I steal a quick kiss. He looks and smells so fucking good, it’ll be a task to keep me hands off him. “I’ll let Karl take care of the wine, he’s the expert,” I call back, shooting him a warm grin. He knows I love watching him open wine . . . or doing anything else, really.

“Have any trouble finding the place?” I ask as I pull the tray of steaming rolls from the oven. Their aroma adds to the pleasing aromas in the kitchen, I breathe it in, looking forward to a nice dinner with good friends.

Dave: Sometimes it's good to have acting skills at one's fingertips. "No trouble at all! We stopped on the way at a favorite shoppe, since mylar balloons are an old Wenham family tradition for housewarmings." I'm sure no one's buying that, but hey, it's all in fun.

The cooking aromas coming from the kitchen are amazing. This is the same Karl that's usually shared take-out Chinese or pizza with me? Sean's definitely having a good influence on my old friend, and I'm very glad for that.

I call out to whoever's in earshot… "This place is amazing! I love it! Hey, it's been a long drive. Which way's the little boy's room?"

Paris: I can't resist jumping in with a little wind up, not after our unexpected detour on the way here. "Down the hall and to the right, babe. No wait, the left . . . or was it right?" I snicker as Dave digs me in the ribs. "It's the right, honest!"

Dave wanders off down the hall and I walk through to the kitchen with Karl, following the wonderful smell. "Not too much trouble. We took one wrong turn, but didn't go too far before I realised we were heading in the wrong direction." I say in answer to Sean's question as we join him, and then I turn to Karl.

"It's an amazing place you've found yourselves. Sean gave me the tour last week. How are you settling in?" I liked Karl's old place, it had a comfortable air about it, but this is definitely cut above, both as a home and when looked at with a professional eye.

Karl: I'd opened the wine bottles earlier so I pour out, handing one to Sean and another to Paris, and then I poke at the chops. Should go on the grill right about now.

I lean against the bench beside Sean and think about Paris's question. "I'm doing all right . . . it was hard to realise that it was time to move up to something else, but Sean convinced me to let go of the old place. Plus . . . he comes with the deal, so that was a big incentive."

He grins at me and I can't resist tangling my fingers in his hair a little, grinning back at him. I pick up the platter of chops before I treat Paris to a bit more affectionate by-play than he wants to see.

"These'll be about fifteen minutes." I head out for the grill.

Sean: I watch Karl head off with a grin before turning back to Paris. I’ve a few last minute things that needs doing, and I wave to a stool by the kitchen island. “Have a seat, mate. We’ll chat a bit while Karl tends grill. Must say, he’s wicked good at it.” I smile, taking out the butter and brushing a small amount over the rolls, pausing to take a sip of wine.

Dave has yet to emerge and I shoot Paris a grin. “Reckon Davey’s gotten lost?” He smiles as I set aside the rolls. “Nah, more likely just giving the tub in there a good looking over. Know I did when I first saw the thing, well, still do, actually. Yet to figure it out, though.”

Dipping into the frig I bring out a couple selections of dressings for the salad. “Wouldn’t believe what we went through before settling on this place. Was worried there for a bit we wouldn’t find something we’d both go for, you know? Someplace Karl would be happy with. Loved his old place like mad, he did.”

After sorting out a few more details for the meal, I lean against the counter, sipping my wine and remembering Paris saying once, that before coming back to Wellington, he lived on the road. I identified with that, having had to travel so much for work, and I think now about grounded I feel here to this house, already. “It’s bloody nice having someplace we can both call home.” I say, thinking he’ll understand.

Paris: I sip at the wine that Karl poured. It's very good, and I take a longer drink, savouring the taste as Sean talks.

"You both look very comfortable here already. It suits you well, I think." It's only occasionally that I wonder about how Dave and I live, between the two places, and how it seems to suit us. Admittedly, since Cavalo joined us, we've mainly stuck to the cabin with the warehouse being relegated to my office and workshop and somewhere for the horseboys to hang out when they visit, but we still spend the odd night there when we want to be closer into town. "Yeah, it is nice having somewhere to call home."

Dave: The bathroom's clean and bright and the washbasins are interesting. Odd to have two basins in a guest bathroom, though, but from the bits I've seen so far, the house is a little quirky all over. The ceiling in here's tall, and I peer upwards out of curiosity. And suddenly the house goes beyond quirky and straight over the line to eccentric. There's a damn bathtub up where nature never intended porcelean to be!

I gawk a while, and then hit the hallway again. I can hear talking and laughing off towards the kitchen, but I decide to turn the other direction and poke about a little bit more. I probably wouldn't be surprised to find a bed imbedded in a wall. Which, to my relief, I don't.

Eventually I follow the voices back to the kitchen, and pop in on everyone, sliding up behind Paris and tucking my arms around his waist. I talk over his shoulder, grinning. "Hey, Karl. I didn't realize filming The Price of Milk left you with a lifelong craving for bathtubs in odd places! Do you two really use that thing?

Karl: I walk back in with the finished chops about the same time Dave finds the kitchen. I go through to the dining room and set the platter down, coming back to help Sean.

"You've been in the dunny this whole time? Fuck, Sean, we'd better call someone to fumigate the place, he's probably turned it radioactive."

Paris is used to Dave and me, so he rolls his eyes. I smirk at Dave. "And I'm not telling you what we use that thing for." I can't help stealing a kiss from Sean at his snort. We've acted out my toe-sucking fantasy more than once.

"Are we ready?"

Sean: Elevated tubs. Who knew they could be such a conversation piece? My lips still tingling from Karl’s kiss, other parts tingling at the memory of what he and I have got up to in that tub, I nod in answer to his question. “Just about, love.”

Paris and I share an amused look at our lover’s antics, and I motion he and Dave toward the dining table. “If you lot are ready, we’ll move this to the table. Or since Davey’s so attached to the loo, maybe he’ll like to take his in there?”

Dave gives me an eye roll, making me grin as I snag Karl’s hand. I pull him close, brushing a warm kiss to his mouth. “I’m glad we did this. It’s nice, yeah?” He smiles and I have to remind myself that we’ve company. “Grab the chops and the rolls, will you? I’ll get the rest.”

It only takes a few moments to get the table loaded, and sliding into our chairs, we join our friends.

Dave: Right. Fine couple of comedians you both are. Not that I haven't given you both a worse time of it whenever possible, and I can take as good as I give. I grab up my napkin and look around the table, happily grinning at the feast that's been heaped up. "Wow. This all looks amazing. I'd thought about dining the bathtub, but I'll be wanting seconds and thirds, I'm sure, and I don't feel like commuting!" I spear a lamb chop, inhaling the scent of whatever it's been marinated in. "These smell fantastic!"

Platters of food are passed around until everyone's got their plates heaped just the way they like. A glass of wine's been set by my place, and I take it up, hold it high, and clear my throat. "I'd like to propose…" Both Karl and Paris are trying to hide a wince. "…. That Paris make a toast. 'cause heaven knows if I do it won't be pretty. Trust me on this one, Sean."

Paris: A toast? Well, I didn't exactly come prepared, so I try to remember some of the Scottish toasts that were always used on occasions like these when I was a kid, but not the Robbie Burns stuff, because none of us understood that. Since our glasses are fairly full already, I push my seat back and stand up,

"Well, I could make it short and sweet and simply say "Slainte", but I don't think I'd be allowed to get away with that, and it might open the floor up for a traditional Aussie toast, something that no-one should have to endure twice in one year."

I wink at Karl and smile down at Dave who digs me in the ribs again in exactly the same spot as before making me both chuckle and wince.

"Karl, Sean. You've found a wonderful place to share, and you're already making it into a warm and welcoming home." I raise my glass and the others do the same. "So may your troubles be less and your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door. Slainte!"

Dave: Now that's a toast worthy of the occasion. I raise my glass and beam at my two friends, glad to see them so happy together in their oddly fun, hobbity house. "Slainte!"

Karl: I join the toast, holding up my glass and clinking it with my friends. I turn to Sean and I know what I'm feeling must be showing in my eyes. That my life has finally come together, that we've woven our separate lives into something for both of us,
surrounded by our good friends in our house. I've got more than I ever expected I would and the love between us continues to astonish me with its depth.

"Slainte, tahu," I add softly.

Sean: Glasses click together as I join the toast, warmed by Paris’ words and the happy faces of our friends. “Slainte!”

My eyes are drawn to Karl. His gaze holds mine, his gorgeous eyes alive with warmth, and so much more. That it’s for me is beyond anything I probably deserve, and his soft words slip across the small space between us and touches me, my heart. My free hand finds his, our fingers weaving together. “Slainte, love.” I echo, my voice as soft as his.

Lifting his hand to my lips, I brush a kiss across his knuckles, smiling. Good friends, my mura by my side, in our home, it’s brilliant. Better than brilliant, it’s bloody amazing.

Dave: I lean close to Paris and whisper, "I'd tell them to get a room, but it's their house." And really, I don't mind a bit. Both my friends are overdue for some real happiness in their lives. I suppose I always expected Sean to find someone eventually, but I'll admit I had been worried in the past about Karl closing himself off from opportunity. It's obvious that what they've got with each other is as real and solid as this amazing house.

I raise my glass towards Sean, and give him a warm smile. "And here's to Sean, doing what I didn't think anyone had the courage or sanity to attempt. You've domesticated the wild Karl, and without aid of a bit and bridle. Or, well um. Maybe I shouldn't assume that."

Sean: I keep from spilling my wine by the barest margin. Dave, the twat, and who else could give a toast quite like that and get away with it? He will, though, because he’s Dave and a good friend that I wouldn’t trade for anything. Still, tempted to chuck my roll at him, I am. I shoot him a sly grin. “Domesticated? Nah, why do such as that? Like him wild, I do.”

Looking to Karl I feel my grin turn into something else, something private, meaningful, just for him. My face heats as I’m thinking just how much I love his wildness, being the focus of it, and I don’t mean in just the physical sense, though that’s bloody brilliant by itself. Squeezing his fingers I take a sip of wine, glancing down the table. Paris seems to be fighting a laugh, and Dave is wearing another grin that definitely denotes more mischief.

“Right, careful, you,” I warn him, biting down on a laugh of my own, “or it’s back into the loo, and without your dinner.”

Karl: I can't help bristling over that, feeling defensive, and I'm on the verge of throwing some sort of zinger back at him, when Sean steps in. Fuck, I love him so much, and sometimes it still puzzles me that he can accept me so easily, but he lights a warmth in me, and I give him a look that tells him that he'll be seeing that wild side later tonight. I smile as his face colours. My Brit with the revealing complexion.

I laugh with everyone else. "Brilliant! I never thought of using the loo as exile for unruly guests."

I mock-glare at Dave, my irritation with him gone in the wake of Sean's intervention. "That's where I'll stow your irritating cowboy next time he shows up."

Dave: I caught the look on Karl's face there, Okay, I probably deserved that. I feel a bit squirmy talking about Zan in front of Sean, considering what those guys like to get up to when they're here. Still, haven't felt any sort of twinge from the guy since we got here, and that's good, but we shouldn't jinx that by bringing him up. "Eh, the sight of that bathtub would put the unholy fear into him, and that'd be that. Gone for good, and good riddance." My voice is light, but I'm careful to look right at Karl as I say those last words.

We've nearly decimated this wonderful dinner, and a change of subject's due. I've never been one to keep my mouth shut for long, so I veer into fresh territory. "So! I know Paris' gotten a tour before, but I'd love one. I know I've been teasing about the house, but seriously, it's incredible. And it feels really welcoming, too. Show me around?"

Sean: From what Karl’s told me, I’m glad to hear Dave say his cowboy is gone, permanently. I hope so, anyway. Finishing off my wine I push up from the table, motioning Dave and Paris to leave their plates where they are. I’m full and still more than a bit warmed from the look Karl gave me earlier, and I let him take charge of the tour, smiling as he goes about, showing Dave the house.

We make our way through the kitchen and around the ground floor, dipping into his wine cellar for a moment before heading upstairs. Coming to our bedroom, Karl takes a quick circuit, before leading the way out onto the deck and down the stairs. Strolling briefly about the grounds we head to the pool and the outdoor hearth that’s bright with a healthy fire that’s crackling merrily. The cushioned chairs are arranged nearby, along with the pillows, providing a comfortable, snug spot for a sit down.

Paris: Once Dave's curiosity about the house is satisfied, I think we're all ready to relax for a while. The fire gives off enough warmth to make it pleasant to sit outside and the seats are more than comfortable. Dave settles next to me, and my fingers linger on his neck as I smile at him and shift a little closer.

Karl refills our wine glasses and then joins Sean. It's easy to see the depth of feeling they have for each other and I'm glad for both of them but especially for Karl. He went through so much, coming to terms with the horseboys shifting, and splitting from Eric, which, according to Dave, affected him pretty badly. So it's been good to see him so relaxed the past few times we've hung out, and Sean is most definitely the cause of that.

I glance over at Karl as Dave's fingers idly explore a small hole in the knee of my jeans. "Isn't your new movie due out soon? Pathfinder?" I think that's what it's called. I get so wrapped up in work sometimes that it's hard to keep track of what everyone's up to. And I don't often think of these guys as being the big movie stars they are either, my lover and my friends, although I'm not as used to Sean yet in that respect as I am to Dave and Karl. It still occasionally hits me when I see him that he's Richard Sharpe, although I'm sure that will pass quickly, he's such a down to earth bloke to be around.

Karl: I settle back into the lounger, pulling Sean into my lap and leaning back against the cushions. I growl into his ear, "It'll be warmer this way," and we relax together, falling into our usual tangle.

I'm enjoying having him against me like this, in a position for nuzzles and kisses, that I almost miss Paris's question. But I laugh and whisper, "Straps," to Sean.

"Yeah, mate, in a few weeks. I'll have to do the rounds of the premieres and the like." I don't like the cameras in my face all the time, but I like being around the fans, like chatting with them. I don't want to leave Zid this time, though, don't want to be away from Sean. We haven't been separated much since I came back from the South
Island. We'll have to see if we can work something out.

"Dave's got one, too, right? I think I win the lack of clothes contest though, and they didn't have to put any make up on my chest." I smirk at him.

Dave: "Hey, now, mate! It's like those high-fashion models. They've got a natural beauty, but they wear makeup to enhance it! As you very well know, I've got an amazing chest. The makeup just enhances my natural beauty." In all honestly, I hate that chest makeup. From up close, it looks like I've been playing with crayons, but I'm not going to give Karl any more ammunition – he hasn't even mentioned my diaper-like costume yet, and I'm hoping Sean will distract him enough that he forgets about that.

The small hole in Paris' jeans gives way and turns into a small rip. "Whoops."

Paris: My hand covers Dave's as I listen to Karl. I don't mind about the growing hole in my jeans. They're an old comfortable pair which can handle a few more knocks, and besides, I like the warmth of his fingers right where they are.

"Yeah, he has. And I can vouch for the natural beauty he's got hidden under that shirt." My voice is a little husky as I slide my fingers down the edge of Dave's shirt neck lean closer to plant a soft kiss just below his ear, then I relax back again. I don't want to get too friendly in front of our hosts, but I like the ease that we can be ourselves around them, and they obviously feel the same.

Sean: Karl, the bloody tease. My brilliant, bloody tease. Would have to go and mention the straps, wouldn’t he? Just the warm whisper and the thought of my lover and leather is enough to get me going from the word go. Knows exactly what he’s doing, he does, and I squirm a little against him. We’re piled together on the lounger and it’s easy to let my hand settle, just out of sight, on his thigh, and give a covert stroke. I shift a bit against him, more than necessary, and his arm tightens about me abruptly. I grin, thinking two can play at teasing.

The next moment Dave has me chuckling. Paris is agreeing with his lover, taking a kiss, and the warmth between them is obvious. I relax into Karl’s warmth, fingers curling around his denim clad thigh, thinking what lucky bastards we all are.

The fire crackles and I decide that, before the subject changes, I have to take the piss out of Dave, if just a little. “Right, now we all know Dave’s got the best chest out of the lot of us. Honestly, I’m for having him wear the makeup more often, for enhancement, just like he said. Be the best he can be, like.”

Dave: I really wish there were some snacks out here. A bowl of pretzels, some crackers. Because I'd really like to fling something at Sean, but I have to settle for making a childish face at him. "If we're out to enhance our good features, then I vote for Paris wearing some nice leather chaps. No pants, just chaps. And Karl, well, the poor bloke, we'll have to skip the hair, but he does have nice eyes. Maybe a pair of spectacles to show them off. And as for you, mate…" I fix my gaze on Sean. "What about that noble nose? You know, the one that's nearly as regal as my own dear snout?"

I settle back, feeling rather smug. I'm sure I'll pay for it later, but right now, the taste of verbal victory is sweet indeed.

Karl: Paris colors at that and I pretend that I don't know what Dave is talking about. I'm shaking, trying not to laugh out loud at Dave, not wanting to give him the satisfaction. But if he's gonna bring my lover into the battle, then gloves off. "Nah, no spectacles here, don't wanna focus too clearly on the diaper you've been wearing. Must take your mum right back to before you could talk."

But Sean's fingers have been busy working me, he know what he does to me and I urge my hips forward, letting him feel me, letting him know what he'll be getting later.

"I think your nose is bigger. It's proportional . . . " I let the satisfied tone color my voice, purring into Sean's ear, my love and want for him showing through.

Sean: Karl’s press and satisfied purr sends a thrill of want through me, intensifying that which has been slowly building as we’ve relaxed, tangled together, touching and teasing. My hand leaves his thigh, slips up to tangle in the hair at his nape that Dave has maligned. I press a kiss to his neck, nipping a little before pulling away, face warming at the promise I feel pressed against me, remembering that our friends may not especially want a show.

“Right, proportional, got it in one, love.” I chuckle, turning to Karl with an exaggerated whisper. “Let’em have his little moment, we all know how sensitive he is about his . . . snout.”

Turning back to Dave with a grin. “Mate, you’re truly cracked, the hair is brilliant, and I’ll not hear another word about it.”

Dave: I run my fingers through Paris' long, floppy hair and grin right back at Sean. "Well, as long as you love it, I guess that's all that matters." Impulsively, I give Paris a sound forehead-kiss. "Paris puts up with my shirts, after all. And yes, Karl, that's an admission of truth. My shirts are godawful things, I know it as well as anyone."

I can almost feel the warmth coming off the tangled pile that's Sean and Karl. If we weren't here, I'm sure they'd be ripping each other's clothes off. "So, mates – excellent dinner and wonderful company in an amazing house. I'm having a fantastic time of it. Though I'm thinking we haven't had our dessert. There's a drive-thru on the way home that sells fresh made soft ice cream in huge plastic bowls, and I haven't subjected Paris to it yet." I smirk. "And you two can have your dessert on the deck."

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February 2011

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