Darren receives an unexpected email from Daniel inviting him to come and stay for a few days.
By Hayes Fantasy
From: daniel jones
Date: Tuesday, 22nd February 2005 12.52 AM
To: darren hayes
Subject: Mardi Gras
Hi Darren, how you going mate? I heard you are coming back to Aus to do Mardi Gras in a couple of weeks. Just wondering if you're going to have any free time while you're here. I'd like to catch up. I've finally finished the studio and would love for you to see it. Kathleen's gone away for a few weeks touring with Hi5 so I'll have a bit of time up my sleeve if you can spare the time. Let me know if you can fit me in to your no doubt busy schedule. My time's pretty flexible, so maybe you could come and stay a couple of days. Hope to hear from you soon.
Darren stared at the computer screen in wide eyed amazement. He and Daniel hadn't spoken two words to each other since the 2003 Arias. They had exchanged polite emails when Darren's latest album was released but had not actually spoken to one another. Now here was Daniel, inviting him to come and stay. He shouldn't go, they really didn't have that much in common anymore, probably never did other than the music, and then there was the little problem of Darren's feelings for Daniel. But God it was tempting. He would relish the opportunity to rebuild their friendship to what it was in the good old days. He would love to spend time just with Dan, like the good old days.
Very over-used words 'the good old days'. Were they really that good? He pondered that question for awhile, a smile on his face as he thought about those times. 'Yeah, way back before it got silly, before the stardom, they really were good times.' he thought. When he and Dan ended up sharing a little flat and living on 2 Minute Noodles while they tried desperately to get a record deal. They had a wonderful bond then, they believed in each other, in the music, when no one else believed in them. That was when Darren realized his feelings for Dan were a little more than friendship. That was when he learnt to bottle it up inside.
He was planning on visiting his folks and another friend in Brisbane while he was in Australia, so a little trip further up the coast to see Dan wouldn't be a problem. At least, he hoped it wouldn't be a problem. He emailed Dan back and let him know he would be free the Wednesday after Mardi Gras and would come to stay.
Mardi Gras over and done with, Darren flew up to Brisbane to spend a couple of days with his parents. It was always so nice to spend time with his family but he found himself distracted, thinking constantly about seeing Daniel again.
'Boy oh boy Daniel, this is going to be hard going,' Darren thought to himself, 'how am I going to cope having you so close again but never as close as I really want?'
Wednesday morning he set off from his parent's place in his hired SUV, and arrived at Daniel's place just before lunch.
Dan heard him pull up and was standing on the front porch as Darren hauled his overnight bag out of the car.
"Is that all you've brought with you Darren?" asked Dan with a smirk on his face "I thought you were going to stay a few days, where's the rest of your luggage?"
"Ha ha, very funny Daniel. I'll have you know I've finally learnt the art of traveling light," Darren replied, grinning broadly as he reached the porch. Before he knew what had hit him he was pulled into an enormous bear hug. 'This is new, Daniel is not normally the hugging type,' he thought to himself. After the initial shock he dropped his bag and returned the hug. 'Breathe Darren, breathe.'
"Good to see you Doze, you're looking well." Daniel said as he held Darren at arms length inspecting him thoroughly.
"Really great to be here Dan, you're looking well too," Darren replied, "this sea air must be doing you good." The two smiled broadly at each other as they walked inside.
"Wow, this place is amazing Dan!" Darren gasped as he took in his surroundings.
"Come on, I'll show you through. Bring your stuff down here and put it in the guest room."
With Darren's things put away and the tour of the house and studio finished, Darren sat at the kitchen bench and watched Dan finish making the salad he had been preparing for their lunch. They then sat out on the back deck overlooking the pool and beyond that, the ocean, and leisurely ate their lunch, sharing a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc. Darren rarely drank, but it was a special occasion so he indulged a little.
Being early Autumn, the weather in Queensland was still very warm, especially after leaving London's winter. Darren kept trying to follow the shade as the sun moved across the sky, moving his chair a few times to avoid getting burnt.
"Here Darren, put some of this on." Daniel said, throwing him a bottle of sunscreen. Darren rubbed some on his arms and across the back of his neck. "Hang on, you've missed a bit," said Daniel "let me do it". With that he was behind Darren rubbing sunscreen lotion above the collar of his shirt dipping his hand under the collar a little making sure all exposed skin was covered. Darren rolled his head forward enjoying the sensation of Daniel's hands on his neck, and softly whimpered. Daniel's arms then moved around his upper body and he hugged him from behind.
"So good to have you here Darren" Daniel whispered into his ear. His warm breath in Darren's ear and on the back of his neck made Darren's skin tingle and a shiver of excitement run up his spine. "So good to be here Dan", he whispered back, rolling his head to the side, exposing more of his neck to Dan. A soft gasp of surprise escaped Darren's lips as Dan placed a soft kiss on the exposed skin and then suddenly pulled away.
"Okay what about a play in the studio? What do you think Doze?"
"Great idea Dan" replied Darren, feeling the heat rising in his cheeks. "Let's go play!" He picked up his glass and the remainder of their bottle of wine and followed Dan into the studio.
'Oh Daniel, why did you have to touch me like that, and a kiss? Do you have any idea what you are doing to me?'
Darren kept his feelings in check as they played a little with some of their old songs. He found he couldn't wipe the grin off his face. It felt so right to have Dan beside him when he sang their old songs. It was like coming home. They then experimented with some new music, both stuff Dan had been working on and some of Darren's recent songs. Much to Darren's surprise, Daniel knew how to play a number of Darren's new songs.
'He has been taking notice of my new stuff.' he thought to himself.
"Your new album really is good Darren, I wasn't just being polite when I emailed you." Daniel said, then after a moment of silence he continued "....it's also bloody heartbreaking Doze....you, you really have been through some crap in your time haven't you?" Daniel's expression was a little unreadable but Darren thought his eyes were a little watery.
"Well yeah, a little, but like I've always said, what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" Darren chuckled, trying to lighten the conversation.
Daniel smiled, fighting back his tears, and pulled Darren into another hug.
'Daniel, will you stop doing this,' he thought, 'you're killing me.'
Daniel had hugged him more times today than any other time in his life, and it was getting very hard for Darren to cope with being that close to Daniel. He breathed in Daniel's scent, something that was still etched in his memory from times past. 'Oh God Dan, if only you could love me like I love you.' he thought to himself.
Reluctantly Darren pulled away, his mouth dry.
"Come on Dan, it's time we thought about getting some dinner started," Darren said, trying to slow his racing heart, "I can't believe how the afternoon has flown."
Some time later, another bottle of wine half consumed, Dan was cooking chicken kebabs on the BBQ and Darren was inspecting the noodle salad Dan had thrown together earlier.
"Are these 2 Minute Noodles?" Darren joked.
"No they're not, I put a bit more effort into cooking these days Doze" Daniel retorted grinning broadly. "Mind you, those 2 Minute Noodles were some of the best meals I've ever had." His face softened at the memories. "They were special times Darren." His eyes locked with Darren's and Darren found himself having to turn away.
'Oh my God Daniel, what are you doing? What is it with you today?' Darren put it down to the wine they had been drinking that afternoon, maybe that was making Dan feel a little sentimental.
"Are those kebabs cooked yet Dan, or are you going to cremate them?" he laughed, trying to change the subject yet again.
The evening was spent talking about many different things, the Savage Garden days, the people they knew from those days, the fun they had back then. Daniel opened up more than he ever had to Darren, talking about the breakdown of his relationship with his first long term girlfriend, Michelle, and asking Darren about his marriage breakup. Daniel seemed to want to know everything, like he was trying to put it all together in his head so he could understand what had always been right in front of him. He had been around when Darren and Colby split and he knew a lot of the lyrics Darren had written for their second album were to help him purge the pain of the breakup, but they never really spoke about it. He really only knew what Darren had said publicly. They both kept their private lives very much to themselves in those days.
Darren had never really tried to hide his bisexuality, although he didn't flaunt it either. But now Daniel was asking questions about Darren's more recent relationships. He didn't know how much Daniel suspected, but decided if this friendship had a hope of starting anew, he should be totally honest with Daniel. So, he told Daniel that his last two lovers had been men. If he expected shock or disapproval from Daniel he was pleasantly surprised.
"I think I always knew that you weren't totally straight Doze," Daniel said smiling cheekily.
The conversation got back to some of Darren's new songs and how hurt he must have been to have written them.
"No one should have to go through that sort of heartache Darren," Daniel said softly, "especially not you." The compassion on Daniel's face, in his eyes and in his voice unnerved Darren and little. A frown formed on Daniel's brow and he quietly grumbled, "the bastards didn't deserve you." Darren once again found himself steering the conversation away, this was getting way too heavy. Daniel's empathy for Darren's situation and his sudden interest in his love life was fast becoming confusing to Darren. 'Maybe Dan is a little drunk; yeah that's it, tired and emotional.' He suddenly felt tired and emotional himself, he needed some space; his heart and his sanity couldn't take too much more of this.
"I'm bushed Dan, I think I'll hit the sack" Darren sighed as he got up to go to bed. "Goodnight mate."
"Sure Darren, goodnight mate." Daniel didn't make a move, a sad smile on his face as he bid Darren goodnight.
Darren tossed and turned, couldn't sleep. He wasn't lying, he was tired, but he was burning up and his mind wouldn't rest. He knew he still loved Daniel, and had never seriously thought Daniel would return those feelings. But that was okay, he could live with that if he could have the friendship again, and tonight he felt a glimmer of hope.
All of the bedrooms had doors opening onto the pool area and Darren could see the moonlight reflecting off the pool as he lay on his bed. It looked very inviting. A moonlight swim might cool him down, help him sleep. Quietly, so as not to wake Daniel, whose room was next to his, he went out to the pool area. He took off his boxers and quietly slipped into the pool naked. It was a wonderful free feeling, being naked in Dan's pool. The water helped to cool his burning skin, but the burning he was feeling inside remained. He glided up and down the pool trying not to make any noise, and then he heard it. A noise in the shadows. Looking closely he made out Dan's silhouette in the darkness, sitting where he had left him earlier in the evening.
"Dan....you alright?" he asked.
"Daniel?" Concern in his tone.
"Yeah, sorry Darren, I didn't mean to scare you. I'm fine, couldn't sleep.....you?" Dan replied.
"Me neither, my body is exhausted, but my mind is working overtime," said Darren, "thought a dip might help."
"Sounds like a good idea," said Dan, pulling off his T-Shirt as he walked towards to pool, "mind if I join you?"
"No, not at all, but, um....Dan, I, I'm not..." he gestured towards his boxers lying on the ground.
"I know Darren....." then Daniel pulled his shorts down and stood there naked.
Darren's mouth went dry. Fighting his desire and failing miserably, his eyes roamed over every part of Dan's body in the moonlight. 'Exquisite...' he thought then silently chastised himself for perving on his mate, hoping the darkness had hidden his faux pas.
He dragged his gaze off Daniel's lithe form as Dan slipped into the water. He launched himself across the pool, away from Daniel, his heart thumping so hard he was sure Dan would hear it. Hanging on the edge, looking out to sea, with his back to Daniel, he suddenly felt his warm body behind him as Daniel's hands went either side of him to rest on the edge of the pool.
"Dan?" Darren whispered.
"What, what are you doing?"
More silence. Just Daniel's warm breath on the back of Darren's neck sending a delicious shiver down his spine.
"I... I'm sorry Darren....I um, I don't really know," Dan whispered, and went to move away "I'm sorry..."
Darren swung around and caught hold of Daniel's wrist, preventing him from moving away. "Daniel please, don't be sorry, but please talk to me, tell me what's going on in that head of yours."
Their eyes were locked together for a long moment. Daniel then dropped his head refusing to meet Darren's eyes. Darren reached up and stroked Daniel's cheek softly, then gently lifted his chin up so Daniel had to look at him again. "Please Dan."
Hesitation, a deep breath. "Darren....I, um, a long time ago, you used to feel for me, I mean ... more than just friendship, am I right?" Daniel whispered.
Darren was lost for words, 'How could he know that?' He stood there with his mouth hanging open, feeling his face flush with colour. Now it was Darren's turn to break the eye contact. Looking down he whispered "Well I....um, how did you, um?"
Daniel interrupted him. "Darren, am I right, or did I just make an arse of myself, did you feel more for me or not?"
"Yes" Darren let out the breath he had been holding. Looking up he fixed Daniel with his sapphire gaze "Yes I did Dan."
Relief washed over Daniel, giving him the courage to continue talking. "Do you still, I mean, could you.... oh shit Darren." Daniel took a deep shaky breath and started again, "Darren, what I'm trying to say is, is that I think I....feel that way too, and if you could still..." he trailed off as he seemed to get lost in Darren's eyes. Darren was now smiling sweetly at him as his hand came up to caress Dan's face, his thumb gently stroking over his bottom lip.
"Daniel, I've never stopped loving you" Darren whispered. Daniel leaned his cheek into Darren's hand and his eyes closed. While Darren's other hand started caressing Daniel's chest he moved the hand on Dan's face to the back of his neck, feathering through the fine hairs there. Daniel's eyes opened and locked with Darren's. Very gently Darren pulled Daniel's face towards him as he too moved closer. Their eyes closed seconds before their lips met in a gentle and loving kiss. This kiss grew very rapidly into one filled with lust and need, their mouths opening and their tongues entangling.
The intensity of the kiss took Darren's breath away. The feeling of Daniel's naked body pressed against his, trying to get closer still, overwhelming. They broke the kiss for much needed air.
Taking some calming breaths Daniel gently pushed Darren back to the edge of the pool and whispered close to his ear, "Darren, I want you". Hands stroking over smooth skin, caressing Darren's back, his chest, he started feathering soft kisses up the expanse of Darren's pale throat.
"Oh my God, Daniel" Darren whispered, his voice hoarse with arousal, "you don't know how long I have dreamt of hearing you say those words." There were other words he wanted to hear from Dan, but for now this was more than he had ever let himself hope for.
"I think I have some idea." Daniel smirked pressing his groin to Darren's making Darren moan. They couldn't get close enough, couldn't stop exchanging passionate kisses, fingers gliding over damp skin, the need fast becoming unbearable. Daniel tore his mouth from Darren's and tried to catch his breath. "What do you think we take this somewhere else?" he panted, motioning towards his bedroom. Darren smiled, turned around and hauled himself up the side of the pool, pointing his delectable arse in Dan's face. Daniel couldn't help but reach out and palm the soft cheeks. Darren then turned and held out his hands to Daniel to help him out of the pool. Once they were out their hands once again roamed each others bodies, exploring, caressing.
With effort they made their way to the bedroom door and Darren stopped dead in his tracks, breaking away from Daniel's grasp and trying to control his ragged breathing.
With uncertainty now showing on his face, Darren stared at the king size bed in Daniel's room.
'What are we doing?' Darren thought, 'this is her bedroom.'
"What is it Darren?" Daniel asked, his brow creasing in concern.
"It's just, I don't.....oh God Dan, what about Kathleen?" Darren asked, "Do you still love her?"
Tears were now welling up in his eyes. "Where will I stand when she comes back?" he whispered.
'My heart can't take this, I won't be able to be with him now, then just give him up for her.' Darren's thoughts were quashed with Daniel's next words.
"Darren...she's not coming back. I wasn't totally truthful when I told you she was away touring. Well she is but I, I broke up with her before she left, told her I was living a lie and couldn't be with her anymore"
"Does this mean you want, you want to...." Darren stuttered, tears now spilling onto his cheeks.
"To be with you Darren," Dan whispered as he gently wiped away Darren's tears, "if you want me. Darren I love you."
Those were the words Darren wanted so badly to hear. His lips crushed Daniel's as they now stumbled wordlessly into the bedroom. No words were possible now, no words were necessary.
The End (well actually the beginning)