Title: Moving On
Fandom: Life on Mars
Disclaimer: I don’t own these characters or their universe. BBC/Kudos do. I’m not making any money out of this.
Rating: White Cortina
Word Count: 996
Characters: Gene, Sam, Missus
Summary: Prequel to Wine & Candles
Author’s Note: In various fics in the Wine & Candles and Survival joint universe, I have mentioned a certain pair of special occasion wine tumblers. I recently managed to find a pair of those very glasses, which gave me the inspiration for this fic. Yes folks, those glasses are important enough to have their own back-story.
Previously posted to Lifein1973. I'm slowly trying to bring my journal up to date.
Gene rummaged through the sideboard, cursing as his watch chinked against a particularly ugly vase. Impatience was getting the better of him: finicking around being quiet just wasn’t in his nature, but in four days of thinking about it he had failed to think of one believable reason as to why he needed two glasses, so silence it had to be. He wanted to find them today, because Fridays were his best chance of an invitation back to Sam’s flat after the pub. Another week, another small step forward.
All teasing aside, Gene was sure Sam actually was queer, but it was almost as if he was trying to deny it to himself. Always making eyes at the plonk but, if the cleaners’ gossip was true, never doing anything about it. Obviously the bloke was never going to admit it openly, but for God’s sake, he was thirty-seven; you’d expect him to have admitted it to himself by now.
Gene’s plan at this stage was simply to be around when the nancy twat finally did admit it. Making an obvious play for his own subordinate could land him in a lot of trouble, and in the case of prissy Tyler it might be the last thing he did before being drummed out of the Force, so for now it was just keep calm, keep cool, and keep close.
As he cautiously edged aside the pair of Irish Coffee glasses some cousin of Vera’s had given them three Christmases back, he kept a lid on his rising irritation, knowing that if he gave into it now there would be broken glass everywhere before you could say “Your breakfast is in the dog.” And you could say what you liked about Vera’s notions of being a good wife, but she had it right in the breakfast department, so he didn’t want the best fry-up in Manchester ending up in the bin again, at least until he had Sam trained in how he liked his bacon done.
Keeping close to Sam had so far involved no more than pushing his luck with the Scotch and the dirty jokes a little further every Friday night; two weeks ago he’d been rewarded with a genuine grin just before Sam passed out, and last week Sam’s glance had lingered for just a split second on Gene’s crotch as Gene sat down next to him on that silly bed. Getting to sit on the bed in the first place had taken four Friday nights until, heart pounding, he’d made the move so casually Sam hadn’t even noticed they were now mere inches apart.
Gene stopped to listen for a moment. Hearing the clatter of the frying pan on the stove he reckoned he had a few more minutes while the eggs cooked so, holding his breath, he gingerly reached past the ashtray and crystal fruit bowl he and Vera had swapped last anniversary until he spotted what he was looking for: two simple tumblers, hidden at the back with the rest of his mother’s sorry collection of cheap glassware.
He edged them out carefully, remembering the day Stu had brought them home for their mother’s birthday. Gene had been impressed – two new glasses, matching and all, when they already had one each – but Stu had been dismissive. “Those posh birds should look after their cargo better, shouldn’t they, daft tarts.” He’d been going wrong even then, Gene knew that now, but at the time his twelve-year-old self had been in awe of the casual sophistication of his brother coming home with such a present. He’d laughed ruefully years later when he saw the same glasses on sale in Woolworths.
Still better than Tyler’s tooth mug, though. Gene had never quite understood how it was that he, the guest – the Guv – had ended up in the strangely intimate position of drinking cheap whisky out of a yellow plastic tooth mug that bore the marks of Tyler’s toothpaste. Should have been disgusting, but somehow – well, somehow it wasn’t. For Gene it was just the beginning of a lifetime of intimacy that would start with a tooth mug and end with, well, who knew. One step at a time.
And last Friday night Sam had said, “If you’re going to keep wishing yourself on me every Friday, Guv, I need to buy some decent glasses. You look a bit silly with that plastic mug.” To which he’d replied that the Gene Genie did not, ever, under any circumstances, look silly, and if new glasses were the price of continuing to be welcome on a Friday night then new glasses it would be, and Gene had just the thing in the back of a cupboard somewhere.
So here he was, waiting for the tell-tale sounds of his egg being served up so he could close the sideboard door at the very instant Vera banged the frying-pan back onto the stove. He wondered briefly how it had come to this: sneaking around his own house, retrieving his own mother’s glasses from his own mother’s sideboard, scared his own wife would find out what he was doing.
Not for much longer though, if he judged right. Gene had long ago stopped wondering why Vera picked the days he was home to go “visiting her mother”; he just wasn’t interested any more, and he’d worked out some time ago that neither was she. He was pretty sure she had a man over there in Salford, which would make it easier when the time came. He could bring Sam here, tell everyone that with the wife gone he needed a lodger to stop him from drinking himself to death, truth being it was more likely if she didn’t go.
Ah, sod it, he thought, what does it matter any more. Time to move on. He slammed the carved oak door and walked into the kitchen with the glasses, placing them assertively on the table as he sat down to one more breakfast.