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    lomax61
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This story is set in contemporary Britain during the pandemic. As such, references are made to UK government regulations and guidelines, although some of the timelines may vary for artistic purposes. This story is my usual flavour of gay MM romance and is not a political statement in any way, simply an observation of a budding romance during extraordinary times.

Famous Last - 25. Chapter 25

Spencer, Marshall and Tiger move in together, bringing Famous Last to a close.

Sunday morning, Spencer stood outside the Bermondsey apartment in a plain white towelling robe over his tee and pyjama bottoms. Overlooking the Thames, someone had adorned the apartment’s concrete terrace with lush evergreen plants and bushes in China blue and white pots, and terracotta plant holders, not unlike Muriel Moresby’s penthouse apartment. Spencer cradled a mug of steaming coffee against his chest, watching a barge inch down the Thames. Tiger sat stock still beside him, watching vigilantly as birds chirped excitedly in the naked branches of a tree across the way. Behind him, a door slid open and shut.

“Bit fresh to be out, isn’t it?” said Marshall, coming to stand beside him and putting a warm and comforting arm around his shoulders. Spencer noticed he had a matching towelling robe on, with a folded newspaper stuffed into one pocket. “Aren’t you cold?”

“Her royal highness wanted to come out and do her business. And then forgot all about it when she spotted the party going on in the tree over there.”

Built on a lower floor, the apartment looked directly onto treetops lining the river walkway. Marshall had told him they were cherry trees and would blossom spectacularly in spring. Something else on his long list of things to look forward to in the new year.

“She does love the terrace, doesn’t she?”

“Of course, she does. We both do. Her, because she’s finally got some open space.”

“And you?”

“Because it’s not too far from the ground. In case you ever feel the urge to step over the railing.”

“Arse,” said Marshall, pushing his nose into Spencer’s ear and nipping the lobe.

The moment he had walked over the threshold, Spencer had fallen in love with the flat, which felt far more like a home than Marshall’s South Kensington space. All of the furnishings had been chosen for comfort not style, the cosy tan sectional settee with a place for two to lie next to each other while watching the television, giant cream cushions that could be used on the shag pile carpet, to sit upon. Once the authorities had lifted restrictions, he couldn’t wait to get friends over for dinner and drinks. In the days leading up to the New Year, when Marshall wasn’t rushing into the studio to put the finishing touches to their Kryszytonia documentary, they had moved in together, with Spencer informing his landlord that he could have the flat back early to begin refurbishing.

“When you’re finished, your ladyship,” said Marshall, tilting his head down at Tiger. “I have some new gourmet canned food for you to try out.”

Almost on cue, Tiger blinked up at Marshall, and Spencer could almost believe she smiled at him before she moved over and sat between her new master’s slippers.

“You’re spoiling her.”

Marshall crouched down and scratched her head, a manoeuvre he knew she would love. The two of them had bonded well, Tiger loving having the run of the apartment and, of course, the terrace.

“It’s a New Year’s treat. Anyway, I have to make sure she’s on my side, if I want to keep her owner happy.”

“You really don’t need to worry, you know. Both of us couldn’t be happier. I absolutely love this place. Apart from the sex-on-demand, it’s much bigger than my old gaff, has amazing views, modern kitchen, bathroom and bedroom, and, to top it all, is incredibly convenient. I can’t believe we did the journey to my new office in less than thirty minutes yesterday.”

“Over the weekend, too,” added Marshall. “When the service is probably limited. How are you feeling about tomorrow? Nervous at all?”

Having sorted the apartment out during the week—Spencer had brought mainly clothes and Tiger’s things—they had Saturday free, so Marshall suggested they do a trial run using public transport ready for Monday, Spencer’s first day on the new job. On their way back, they had shopped in a supermarket together, a simple domestic chore that had Spencer’s heart bursting with pride. They were officially a couple.

“Not so much nervous, more excited.”

“You’re going to be just fine. And, by the way, I’ve got an online meeting with the publisher tomorrow. Are you going to need to clear your involvement with Ed?”

“I’ll talk to him tomorrow. But I can’t see it being an issue.”

Rather than ghostwrite Marshall’s autobiography, Spencer had suggested they write the book together, as co-authors. Marshall had taken some persuading, citing his busy work schedule, but Spencer had convinced him with the image of them both holding the finished hardback in their hands with both named as authors. In the end, Marshall agreed that this did indeed feel like the right solution.

“Have you thought any more about the elements you want in the book? Key events that shaped your life and career? It’s important to focus on exceptional things and anecdotes that are going to grab the attention of the reader, but in your line of work I’d expect there to be lots.”

“What sort of things did you have in mind?”

“Oh, you know? Special moments. Like having a drug lord put out a hit on you because they didn’t like the interview you’d done with them.”

Peripherally, Spencer noticed Marshall turn to him.

“You know about that?”

“Is it true, then? Joey said something that day I bumped into him at the bar, but I wrote the comment off as his usual brand of bullshit.”

“No. I interviewed Roberto Fiorelli back in 2018 and backed him into a corner. Not the smartest man on the planet, and not the first person I ever pissed off on screen. He did indeed threaten to end me himself. We had a roomful of witnesses, but I took it all as bluster.”

“You weren’t worried?”

“Not unduly. Wouldn’t be the first time somebody got pissed off at me because I made them out to be some kind of pond dweller. Besides, six months after the interview aired, they had a family disagreement. Fiorelli’s brother-in-law decided he could run the outfit better, went into a restaurant in downtown Boston with his gang of three for a confrontation. Only the restaurant staff walked out alive.”

“That is definitely going into the book.”

Marshall chuckled, and they fell into a comfortable silence for a few moments.

“By the way, have you read the paper this morning?” asked Marshall.

“Only the front cover. But we’ve got all day.”

Even in the coldness of the morning, just saying the words aloud filled Spencer with warmth. After a leisurely breakfast, he planned on taking Marshall back to bed. Maybe later, he would finish the Sunday newspapers, or perhaps he could persuade Marshall to read aloud to him, a new and surprisingly effective form of foreplay.

“Thought you might be interested to see this.”

Marshall pulled the newspaper out of his pocket and handed Spencer what looked to be a full-page advert.

“I don’t have my glasses—”

“Here they are.”

Marshall pulled them out of the same pocket and placed them on Spencer’s nose. When he focused on the top of the page, he screwed up his nose.

“Positions Vacant? Why would I be interested in— Oh, I see.”

The full-page advertisement was for the award-winning Blackmore Magazine Group and contained no fewer than eight positions vacant. Spencer skimmed them briefly, seeing his and Bev’s former roles advertised, before noting the contact person listed at the bottom of the page. Madeleine Morrison from The Peerpoint Consultancy.

“I meant to tell you,” said Spencer, handing the paper back. “Blake sent me an email overnight. Probably from his hospital bed. Asked if I would consider coming back to Blackmore, to officially take over Clarissa’s role, if the pay and incentives were right. I declined immediately. I want nothing more to do with their family.”

“I would have been unhappy if you’d even considered the idea. You’ve made a good career move, Spence.”

“Yes, I know. But I kind of feel sorry for Blake. I think he can see the writing on the wall, and he’s getting desperate. I’d bet you money he contacted Bev and Prince, too.”

“Who would also have said no, if they have any sense. Don’t waste your time feeling sorry for bad management, Spence. From everything you’ve told me, Muriel Moresby knew exactly what she was doing but has the emotional quotient of a grinch. I’ve seen the same thing time and time again, bad business owners treating good staff appallingly, and then blaming everyone but themselves when things go belly up.”

“Wow. Harsh, Marsh.”

“That’s because I know what you’ve been through, Spence. I love what you told her about burning bridges. But now is not the time for looking back. My mother has a mantra for whenever she’s been brave enough to get herself out of something bad. Accept. Expel. Move on. Accept what has happened. Expel any negative emotions the memory still evokes. And finally, move on with your life.”

“Accept. Expel. Move on.”

“Exactly.”

Spencer ran the words over and over in his head. After a while, he turned to Marshall.

“You know, I’m surprised Blake didn’t get Muriel to phone you, get you to try and sway me. Now she knows you and I are an item. And after you agreed to the client event interview.”

“That’s never going to happen, I’m afraid.”

“You’ve spoken to her?”

“I don’t need to. But once you see the final cut of my interview with her and Lord Moresby, you’ll understand why. A number of my additional questions made her extremely uncomfortable—although his lordship was a good sport. Anyway, I know for a fact she contacted my producer to demand that some of them not be used. Fortunately, she signed a waiver, meaning we can air whatever we want. And we’re using everything. So, no, she won’t be calling me anytime soon.”

Spencer slipped his arm around Marshall’s waist.

“Remind me never to get on your bad side.”

Marshall draped his arm back across Spencer’s shoulders and kissed his temple.

“Never going to happen.”

“You know, I do have Muriel to thank for something,” said Spencer, after a few moments.

“Whatever could that be?”

“You. Unknowingly, she brought us together. At that charity event in her penthouse flat back in October. If it hadn’t been for that, we might never have met.”

“Was it only October?”

“I know, right?”

Right then, Spencer’s tummy rumbled, and they both laughed.

“Come on, let’s get you some breakfast. And then we need to shower and I need to have a conference call with Darcy. I know it’s Sunday, but she’s insisting. So I’d like you to join, if that’s okay? If you’re there, she might keep it short and snappy.”

“Of course. What’s it about?”

“It’s Darcy, Spence. Who the hell knows?”

Marshall and Spencer had already talked about divvying up chores around the place, with Spencer opting for the general household tasks of vacuuming, cleaning and making the bed. At the same time, Marshall confined himself to the run of the kitchen. The arrangement suited Spencer completely, and he only baulked a little at Marshall’s insistence at continuing to have a cleaning person to come in one day a week. While they were both at work, somebody reliable his mother had used for more than six years would go in, someone who was also a cat lover.

They had only just finished their breakfast of hot oatmeal, fresh fruit and honey—with the obligatory mugs of fresh coffee—when Darcy’s call came through. Marshall had already rigged up the large flatscreen on the kitchen wall so they could take the meeting without getting up from the kitchen island.

The moment Marshall accepted the call, a fullscreen version of Darcy appeared, her hair pinned up hastily on her head, no makeup, and wearing what appeared to be a Chinese silk dressing gown in scarlet with small golden dragons around the mandarin collar.

“Good morning, lovebirds,” she said grinning and then sipping from a mug.

“Morning Darcy,” they spoke in unison.

“Is this going to take long? We’ve got some urgent things needing taken care of this morning.” asked Marshall, as Spencer felt a warm hand land on his upper thigh beneath the table.

“Don’t worry, I won’t keep you long. Got some interesting updates for you.”

First, Darcy talked about the book, their online meeting with the publisher and what to expect. He loved the way she worked, telling Marshall she would kick off proceedings, and instructing him to steer away from any hint of money topics; advances or percentage royalties. She would take care of all that.

Eventually, she got onto the Kryszytonia documentary and the post-production progress. Spencer knew President Karimov had called Marshall the week before mainly as a social call. But Marshall had used the opportunity to ask him some follow-up questions about what had happened since the assassination attempt, his presidency plans, and get permission from his advisors to use his answers in his documentary.

“They’ve come up with the working title. Kryszytonia: Rise of the Squirrel and the Phoenix. The squirrel relates to President Tobias Karimov and the phoenix represents the country, rising from the ashes of the past. As I say, it’s a working title, so if you have any other suggestions, let Kerry-Anne, know.”

They went on to talk about the difficulty of getting everything into the forty-minute time slot. Colm had shot a wealth of extra material when he searched the rubble for Marshall, and while this was unique footage, they needed to provide a balance to add weight to the documentary.

“Now the big news. Although the producers still want a couple of tweaks made next week, the documentary will have a special screening at the end of January. There’s a lot of excited buzz in the industry, Marshall, because your team was the only one there to record the historic event as a documentary. Please don’t get your hopes up yet, but it’s likely your little gem will be picked up for a number of best documentary award nominations, including the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary and the Academy Award Best Documentary Feature. We’re not sure what format each of the ceremonies will take, but they’ll expect us all to be available. Hope you’ve got a tuxedo, Spence. I want you looking your scrubbed-up best that night. And if Marshall wins anything, I expect no less than you planting a full on kiss on his lips. Are we all on the same page?”

“We are, Darcy,” said Spencer, laughing along with Marshall. “And you don’t have to worry. If he wins anything, I’ll be all over him like a lap dancer.”

“Okay, I’ll love you and leave you,” said Darcy. “I’m sure you’ve got better things to do. It’s going to be a good year, boys. I can feel it in my blood.”

Darcy ended the call, and Spencer sighed before turning to Marshall.

“It already is a good year,” he said, moving Marshall’s hand further up his thigh.

“Oh yeah?” said Marshall, his voice becoming deep and gruff.

“Oh yeah. Want me to show you how good?”

“Lead the way.”

 

>>>>>> THE END ~ OF THE BEGINNING <<<<<<

Thank you for reading, Any final comments or feedback or reactions gratefully accepted.

Kinds regards,

Lomax61 aka Brian Lancaster

Note: Thanks as always to Timothy M for carefully editing each chapter and for pointing out inconsistencies and/or errors. Thanks also for all your comments and suggestions along the journey. Thanks last of all to an ex-member of GA whose continuing correspondence kept me giggling at my own work, and who unknowingly encouraged me to incorporate an instance of self-fenestration in the story.

Copyright © 2020 lomax61; All Rights Reserved.

That you very much for reading.

Any reactions, comments or observations are very much appreciated.

Let me know what would you like to see happen? Or what you foresee happening next?

 

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Chapter Comments




    Now that this great story has been completed, it is high time to move on with ‘Hooking Trout’
    The farce has lasted long enough and Trout must be put out of his misery and the traitors punished.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Parker Owens said:

I’m glad the Blackmore family is being taken down a peg; perhaps their firm will soon be ripe for a hostile takeover? 

What Muriel really needs is a hostile makeover! (Bev, Darcy, are you in?) 😂

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