For butler academy graduation, I had to wear black, just like everyone else. It made me sooo sad, but I was working on a line of colorful print butler uniforms that I hoped would catch on in the greater butler community. There were so many things I wanted to do with my life.
I lived by myself now instead of with Mom and Dad and Anders. It was nice having my own apartment, like I was a real adult for the first time…but also lonely.
But when I talked to Mr. Richardson, I never felt lonely.
And then he asked if I wanted to come over. He hadn’t done that in a long time. He had to know I was sooo in love with him. If he hadn’t noticed, Ellie probably would’ve told him by now.
But he still wanted to see me. And I wanted to see him. So bad. It hurt, when I stopped being his butler intern and didn’t have an excuse anymore, so I kind of sort of made up the Post-Butler Internship Continuing Satisfaction Program. If he knew it, he was way too nice to say anything.
It was strange, going back to his old house, the one I’d gone to so many times as a kid…
I wanted to dress up more instead of wearing some old clothes, but…then he’d really know what I was hoping for. What I wanted more than anythinggg else. But I still put a lot of effort into my hair. Did he like my hair?
“Caspian,” said Mr. Richardson, “you’re earlier than I was expecting. Sorry, I look like such a dad today.”
“You are a dad, Mr. Richardson.”
He let out an awkward chuckle. Was he nervous? “Well, I’m definitely old enough to be your dad.”
“But you aren’t my dad.”
“Could we maybe…stop saying ‘dad’?”
That was fine with me too. I thought he was really really youthful looking, especially now that he got back in shape (even though I liked him when he was softer too). He was happier–he was acting again. I loved seeing him happy.
I wanted to kiss him.
But instead we just had lunch together. Instead of bringing stuff from Mom’s restaurant, we ate really light, since Mr. Richardson was always health-conscious now.
“Sorry about this,” he said. “I would’ve liked to take you someplace nicer, but some paparazzi are actually interested in me again. I wouldn’t want you to get caught up in that or for people to get the wrong idea…you’re not a public figure.”
What wrong idea? “I don’t mind,” I said, “as long as I’m with you.”
“…You’re a good kid.”
I winced and took a bite of my meal. But then I smiled at him again. “It’s really good to see you back here, instead of that apartment.”
“This place is too big, with Ellie gone,” he mused. “But now she visits me–I even met her boyfriend. And it’s home after a long day on set. I have something now…a lot of things. And I wouldn’t have any of them without you, Caspian.”
“It was my job to help, as your butler intern. Former butler intern.”
Our meal was pretty quiet after that. I just…I wish I knew how he felt. Would he tell me if I asked?
But after we cleared our empty plates, there was only awkward silence. It felt too early to leave…was that what he wanted?
I wasn’t in uniform. I wasn’t his butler intern anymore. I wasn’t Ellie’s teenage friend anymore.
He wasn’t dating anyone… I read every single gossip column about him online, even the comments on forums for fans of his new show, and there wasn’t even a whisper of him being with someone else. (Some fans shipped him with his vampire hunter actor co-star, but they did have good chemistry.)
He was looking at me, wasn’t he?
I closed the distance between us–and now I was looking back at him. He didn’t look away.
I reached out for him.
“Caspian…are you sure you still want this? I’m…probably not the man you think I am.”
“I’ve never stopped wanting it…” Even when he punched Anders, I probably still wanted it at least a little. “And I love the man you are.”
He closed his eyes. I touched his face. How long had I wanted to do that? How long had I loved him? Maybe it was just a crush once…but now I knew I loved him.
And for the first time, we kissed.
“You’re so eager,” he said, laughing.
“I waited a long time, Mr. Richardson.”
“Hamlet. If we’re doing this…it’s definitely Hamlet.”
And we did do this. On the counter. Dad and Anders sooo wouldn’t approve.
“I want to look at you,” Hamlet said. “You’re beautiful. All of you, inside and out. You’re just…I don’t think I deserve you.”
But he was showing off his body again, after hiding it for so long. He wanted me to see it.
“I want to look at you too,” I admitted, “sooo much.”
“God, I–what am I doing?”
“Me,” I breathed.
And he did. The counter was cold, but I didn’t mind. It felt way too good…and I was finally with the man I loved.
But immediately afterward, he started worrying again. I didn’t know which was more soothing: the warm water or his arms.
“I…don’t know if I can do the dad thing again,” he said. “If…if you want kids someday.”
“We can get a dog,” I said cheerfully. More than anything, I wanted him.
“I don’t know if I can keep up with you. I’m getting older.”
“I’ll help you stay in shape.”
“Your parents won’t like this at all… I punched both your dad and your brother. And I’m your parents’ age.”
“They’ll come around–and they’re very forgiving.”
It took him a while to think of another protest.
But he had a lot of worries weighing on him, even when there was only room for our two bodies in the tub. “It’ll be hard for you, dating a celebrity… There’ll be so many rumors about both of us.”
“I don’t mind, as long as I have you.”
I didn’t want him to be ashamed or afraid to be seen with me in public. I wanted him to know I could confront any problem at his side–and give him all the love he deserved.
I’d never let go of his hand.
Hamlet Richardson, my boyfriend. Let the world see us together.