Original Story: Unseen by light_the_sky76
Summary: Billy is waiting. Martin is observing.
Pre-reveal notes: Hen night -- bachelorette night in the States, I believe.
Post-reveal notes: Beta appreciation to Claudia603!
Disclaimer: The author makes no claims or inferences to reality or truthfulness. Moreover, this story is based upon the work of another author and recognises their creation.
Like any landlord worth his salt, Martin had seen most things. Like the time he'd been wiping down behind the bar and heard this posh bird asking for a Pimms; he'd straightened up only to be confronted by an acre of naked flesh, naked flesh that fancied warmer climates. As in naked flesh heading South... Yep. Hen nights, gotta love 'em. Or not.
He'd witnessed heated arguments over everything from politics to the colour of the downstairs loo. Fights about pigeons and parking spaces, politics and pork scratchings. Affairs by the score. Fencing stolen iPods and mobile phones (which he wouldn't stand for, no way, not in his pub). Drugs: ditto.
And oh, he'd seen this before.
Bloke reading a paper. Only not reading a paper. Not even interested in Dishy Debs from Darlington, 19, interests macramé and, if memory (or should that be mammary?) served, flyfishing. Nope, this guy must merely be going through the motions, if he was so obviously impervious to the charms of the delightful Debs.
Interruption of Observation: "Pint of Budvar, please." That was Trevor, regular, recently divorced, been going to the gym, wearing new contact lenses. Martin served born-again Trevor his pint and returned his attention to the time-killer. He wasn't sure why he was so interested; it was just, the guy had a look about him, might be famous, might not be. Martin had little knowledge of modern films, had little or no time to watch telly, apart from anything featuring the master, David Attenborough, but still he felt a mental itch.
Whatever it was, there was something quietly appealing about Killing-Time-Single- Malt-Doesn't-Like-Girls. Maybe it was the cleanness of him, the scrubbed, cuteness that was definitely all male but somehow, well, hirsutely cute. Or maybe it was the way he kept glancing at the clock, cutting casual peeks, stifling a pretend yawn, flicking over the page of the paper that was patently nothing more than a prop. Yep, Martin'd seen it all.
Love. That's what this was, pure and simple. Or blackmail.
"Cheese and onion crisps and half a lager." That was Len's lugubrious tone; Martin pulled the lager, pushed the bag over, took the proffered coins and carefully avoided noticing Len's toupee, which was never easy. Then he returned to observing the little Scottish bloke. He knew he was Scottish, knew it as soon as the little fella'd opened his mouth to place his order. Not that Martin had a problem with Scots, far from it. He owned a Westie, after all.
Another glance up at the clock, shifting in his seat, sipping from an empty glass, nibbling his bottom lip. Love. Or blackmail. Either way, Martin wasn't exactly going to be off to the Caribbean on the proceeds from this punter.
Ah. Trade. Martin watched the newcomer, saw him look around a couple of times, then followed him with hooded eyes as he progressed across the pub and over to Killing-Time-Single-Malt-Doesn't-Like-Girls. There was a moment, Killing-Time-Single-Malt-Doesn't-Like-Girls opening his eyes wide, guard down, when it looked like a fridge door had opened, a fridge full of green beans and lettuce and peas and stuff. Martin scribbled that down for use in his creative writing class; then put a line through it. Simple was best. The Scot smiled, green eyes lighting up, and all seemed suddenly much righter with the world.
Blackmail? No. Love.
They left soon after, Killing-Time-Single-Malt-Doesn't-Like-Girls and his friend. Martin wandered over and rescued Delicious Debs from the table with a wistful sigh.
Yep, he'd seen it all, had Martin. Male, female, parrots or porcupines, love was love was love. "I think you'd agree, Debs, me darlin'," he murmured, tucking her under his arm.
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