At around six, Ian had everything ready for dinner. He had spent about the entire day in the kitchen, and he had loved every second of it. He had never expected it to be so nice to cook for someone. He tended to treat himself to nice meals once in a while, and tried out recipes he’s seen in cooking shows, but this was a completely different experience.
And he wasn’t just cooking for anyone. He was cooking for Dylan. His muse, his bloody addiction of a person. It made him nervous, but in an exciting way. He had been dancing through his living room listening to love songs, because well... that.
At one point he even put his cooking down to write some batter-stained lyrics. Which he then hid, obviously.
Not that he was expecting anything to happen tonight. He was too aware of how that wouldn’t even be a possibility, and he hoped these feelings would pass at some point. But as of right now, he was enjoying how he felt like flying. Sober and flying, now that was a first.
But the ecstatic feeling turned into dread when he turned around to look at his apartment. Everything was a mess and he had only one hour to clean all that shit, including his batter-stained self. He decided on desperate measures, put on some heavy duty fast-paced music, and went through his home like a whirlwind. It didn’t actually need to be tidy. It needed to LOOK tidy. So he went for the short fix and rammed everything lying around in cabinets. Then he vacuumed and cleaned the kitchen.
When it finally looked presentable, he set the table and took a quick shower. With one minute left on the clock he threw on some clothes and some aftershave. He didn’t have time to fix his hair, because at exactly 7 o' clock there was a knock on the door.
Dylan with a cooled bottle of prosecco. It seemed he had even dressed up for the occasion. It made Ian’s heart jump.
“Here, this is for you.” Dylan handed him the bottle, before he could say something else.
“Nah, I guess it’s for us.” Ian said and smiled, feeling the blood creep into his cheeks, which he couldn’t use right now. He immediately turned to get glasses. This is a friendly celebratory dinner with your neighbour. Don’t think of him like that, you can do it Ian…
“Smells good in here, what are we having?” Dylan asked as he walked over to the table and took a seat.
“You’ll see.” Ian said, winking as he poured two glasses of the prosecco. He brought them over and as Dylan took his, he clinked them together. Ian was still standing, not really sure if he should take a seat as well, or get on with serving his starter. He had made vitello tonnato with edible flowers and was dying to serve it. He couldn’t remember when he had ever done such elaborate cooking and he was extremely proud of how everything had turned out.
“I want you to tell me everything about what we’re celebrating here, but first I’ve got a question for you.” Dylan said, looking up at Ian with a cheeky smile on his face.
Marry me. Ian thought, then needed to use all possible restraint not to slap himself in the face.
“I’ve got something to celebrate as well. Today I received a permit to extend Mercury’s opening hours on the weekend. We’re throwing a party next Friday afternoon with craft beers and live music. I was hoping you’d be the live music.”
This wasn’t what Ian was expecting, but to be fair, he wasn’t expecting anything. It took him a couple of seconds to process the information. He had a show on Saturday, so he had a lot of clients coming in on Friday. But he couldn’t say that, now could he?
Finally he managed a “Congrats Dylan! Good for you! And yes, I’d love to, but I have a show booked for Friday night already… But if it’s in the afternoon…”
“Yeah, well… We were thinking between 5 and 7?” He could make that, probably. If he skipped dinner, or had some food beforehand, he’d make it to the club by 7.30. They wouldn’t be happy about it, but if he fixed that now… It wasn’t a good idea, but no way in hell was he going to turn Dylan down.
“Sure!” He said.
“Oh great! I’ll text Danny immediately, then he can fix the poster. Can he use the pics from your Instagram?”
“Of course, I’ll text the other venue now too, to tell them I’ll be there at 7.30.”
As Dylan dove into his phone, Ian made his way to the kitchen. He texted Cherry, adding a load of apologetic smileys and took out the plates to serve his starter. He smiled at how beautiful it looked and took a picture to show the world.
With two plates in hand he walked back to the table and saw Dylan’s eyes go wide in delight at the sight of the food. Ian wished he could just take a picture of how Dylan looked right now, and stare at it forever.
He pondered getting his phone and trying to snap a picture of Dylan, using the food as an excuse, but he heard the buzz of incoming texts coming from the kitchen counter, and figured he’d better not invite a raging Cherry into his perfect dinner. Ian sat down, smiled at Dylan and explained what he had made and, after Dylan looked at him pleadingly, how he'd done it.
Dylan seemed to enjoy every single bite, which wasn’t such a surprise, because the second Ian tasted his own food, he knew he’d outdone himself. It was truly delicious. But tasty as the food was, it was hard to focus on eating. Dylan had voiced his enthusiasm over the food with a moan of pleasure that Ian just couldn’t deal with.
“We’re having dinner, don’t make it sound like porn.” Ian quipped, after he had almost choked on a particularly beautiful flower.
“Oh, but it’s food porn. Dude, you should be a chef.”
Ian noticed he was blushing, but then again, he had gotten a compliment, so that shouldn’t give him away. As long as he didn’t get up, it would be fine.
“You’re blushing, how cute.”
“Fuck you, Dylan. Shut up and eat your flowers.” Ian said, now turning crimson. This guy is going to be the death of me.
After finishing the starter, during which Dylan kept teasing him by making those sounds at every bite, Ian took the very necessary liberty to stay seated.
He evaded having to get up and serving the main course by telling Dylan about the reason they were celebrating. He told him all about the studio and Mr Derksen’s request and his meeting with Christine Baker. The new arrangement wasn’t going to make him rich, but it was a good step, and one that he was really proud of.
Dylan was very happy for him and kept asking him questions about the world of showbusiness. The man truly had no idea how things worked, and Ian enjoyed telling him all about it.
The main course – slow roasted shortrib with Brussels sprouts – was also a success and went very well with the red wine Ian had bought. He had hoped so, but he had never paired wine to food before and had therefore trusted the guy from the winehouse on his word. To Ian’s delight, his worldview was shook, and the trust he had placed in the shopkeeper turned out to be completely justified.
When they had finished eating and talking about showbusiness, Ian thought he could try and dive in for his usual fix of Dylan-stories. Maybe he’d even get Dylan to talk about himself, he seemed a little buzzed already. Ian had been carefully dividing the wine in a way Dylan wouldn’t notice he was drinking most of the bottles almost single-handedly. Ian didn’t trust his drunk self around Dylan anymore, for obvious reasons. But he didn’t want Dylan to notice, so he had been using frequent refills to obscure the fact he was hardly drinking.
“And? Have you got any stories for me, from the bar? I could use some new inspiration, with Christine Baker waiting for more songs, that is.” Ian said, after they’d both finished their meal.
“Well, there’s this guy working for me, Chan, I told you about him before, the Chinese guy.”
“Yeah, with the gangster boyfriend.” Ian remembered.
“Nah, he’s not really a gangster. Just some rich businessman. But he’s just so controlling… Poor Chan didn’t even dare to put his preferred workdays up on the roster, he said he needed to check with his man first. Said his boyfriend doesn’t want him to work at all, since he makes enough money for the both of them. And I just don’t think that’s a healthy relationship. So, I said I’d been in that situation before and I…”
“You have?!” Ian blurted out in surprise. He didn’t see how anyone could possibly think a magnificent person like Dylan would be content with being someone’s housewife. Then again, he was pretty tidy...
“Yeah, but I got a job anyway. I wouldn’t like to live off of someone else’s money.”
This was his chance. Fuck the story about the Chinese guy, THIS was interesting. Was Dylan secretly a millionaire? Was this apartment and his job just a cover? Ian could almost feel the song scratching his way through his brain. This was gold. Thank heavens for wine.
“Okay, I get that,” he said. “But um… if Sean was that rich, doesn’t that mean that… um… since you guys were married…”
“Are you asking me if I’m secretly a millionaire?” Dylan joked.