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come on, bite the hand that feeds you

Chapter 7: The writing on the wall
第 7 章:墙上的字迹

Summary: 摘要

The arrogance, the overconfidence, the brashness, the hostility and entitlement - that’s what they wanted him to see. And he drank it all up like it was poisoned tea, and now he just feels so incredibly, utterly stupid.

“I’m… sorry.” "我......对不起。"

“For what?” Alex asks, and Henry thinks that they both know what this apology really is.

“I was wrong about you. You’re…”

“Handsome? Hilarious? Charming? The best thing that ever happened to you?”

Notes: 备注

First of all: 首先是

OMG. We're so sorry, it's been literally like a month, but we finally completed the chapter. As always, hope you enjoy, especially as it's been a longer time than usual, so we decided to make the chapter a teensy bit longer.

Second of all: 其次是

Tiniest trigger warning for talk of attempted assault, nothing too graphic but we thought we should let y'all know.

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text 章节正文


   “What the actual fuck were you two thinking?”


   Henry and Alex sit before Zahra’s desk in her office like two naughty school children about to be given detention, the former with his morning cup of tea in hand.


   “Causing another scene? Another national incident - and with the Lord of Arkansas, no less? God, I didn’t know this was a PR-ruining free for all.”


   “Zahra, we can explain-”


   “ No , Alex. You lost your fucking shit and punched the Lord of Arkansas, not once but twice . And before you give me all that alpha dominance bullshit, just don’t. You’ve made this hard enough. And you .” When Zahra turns to Henry, she looks genuinely disappointed. “I expected more from you. Why in the fuck would you be flirting with another alpha when you’re meant to be pretending to be claimed by Alex?”
"不,亚历克斯。你失去了你他妈的狗屎 和一拳阿肯色州的主, 不是一次,而是两次。在你给我所有的 阿尔法主导废话,只是没有。你已经让我够呛了而你......"当扎拉转向亨利时,她看起来真的很失望。"我对你的期望更高。你他妈为什么要和另一个首领调情 而你应该假装被亚历克斯占有?"


   Henry looks down, a little ashamed. But mostly not. To be very honest, not a lot can dim the glow of “ I was fucked for hours on end last night ”, and not even the bags under Henry’s eyes or the tiredness can make him cranky.
亨利低下头,有点羞愧。但大部分时候并没有。老实说,没有什么能让 "我昨晚连续干了几个小时 "的光芒黯淡下来,甚至亨利的眼袋和疲惫也不能让他变得暴躁。


   “I’m sorry, Zahra. Truly. But don’t you think this might even be beneficial to our ruse? By Alex getting all worked up and then storming off with me in tow, everyone will be proper convinced that we’re together. It’s the perfect display. People will love it - they love drama. Amp up the alpha possessiveness, and Bob’s your uncle.” They both give Henry a weird look at the saying but ultimately ignore it. Americans and their bloody idiosyncrasies .
"对不起,扎赫拉。真的但你不觉得这对我们的诡计有好处吗?艾丽克丝激动起来 然后带着我冲出去 大家就会相信我们在一起了这是一个完美的展示。人们会喜欢的,他们喜欢戏剧性。再加上阿尔法的占有欲,鲍勃就是你的叔叔了。他们都用怪异的眼神看了亨利一眼,但最终都忽略了这句话。美国人和他们该死的怪癖


   Zahra thinks for a moment, and then raises her eyebrows, slightly impressed. “You’re not… wrong. But I’m still annoyed at you two - we now have to make amends with our rival Lord of Arkansas, not to mention I had to listen to you two all fucking night.


   Henry spits out his tea and Alex chokes on a laugh, slapping the desk in front of them loudly. He can feel his face burning up again, and clears his throat, eyes wide.


   “Erm. Anyway. Moving on.”


   Alex has a self-satisfied smirk on his face that Henry would give anything to slap right off , but he’s too embarrassed to do much now other than close his eyes and hope that everything will melt and disappear and become a lovely dream where no one calls him out for his… nightly activities.


   “So…” Henry pauses. “How are we meant to make amends with him? Considering Alex sort of… beat him up. In front of everybody.” He winces.


   “I didn’t beat him up , I just gave him a little-”


   “Quiet, Alex. I need to think .” Zahra massages her temples and lets one out of a million long-suffering sighs. Immediately, Henry feels bad, because technically he caused all of this. Or at least had a hand in it. He won’t be blamed for Alex’s typical bullshit behaviour - though he cannot bring himself to regret much because, despite his mortification at Zahra calling him out, he did thoroughly enjoy last night. Alex was… something.


   Alex was also uncovering new kinks that Henry didn’t even know he had. He was a simple man - all Henry had really wanted all his life was a bit of peace, a stack of Jane Austen books to read, and all the tea he could ask for. Maybe a quiet place to settle down after everything with the army. A therapist (thank God for Shaan) to help him… deal with his family’s bullshit and whatever emotional scars the army had left on him (probably quite a few, but considering he’d only just been honourably discharged, he didn’t think there was enough time to even begin to unpack all of that yet).


   Henry liked to think he enjoyed sex a normal amount. He tried not to be sucked into all the omega and alpha bollocks, so it was handy having everyone think he was simply a beta. It was a little hard to hide it during sex earlier but he made do with what he could.


   But Alex - it was like something was set off in him. He was hungry for him. Constantly. Henry never used to want to be dominated so badly. Like he said, he tried not to be sucked into the omega and alpha bollocks. But fuck, he liked everything Alex was doing. If he was completely honest, he loved it. He loved that Alex wasn’t afraid to give him everything and more, yet he knew he was always safe with him, despite his perpetual dislike of the alpha.


    Alright , maybe not perpetual. Maybe not dislike, either. Henry and Shaan had talked about practising honesty with himself, and… he tolerated Alex. Sometimes, that bloody dimwit of a man was funny. And handsome. And the sex… well. Henry doesn’t have it in him to lie to himself about that, which is how he got himself in this mess in the first place. It’s okay to be attracted to the odd arsehole, right?
好吧,也许不是永远。也许也不是不喜欢。亨利和陕恩曾说过要对自己诚实,而且......他还能容忍亚历克斯。有时候,那个蠢货还挺有趣的也很帅做爱......嗯。亨利不会在那方面欺骗自己 所以他才会陷入困境被混蛋吸引也没什么,对吧?


   Soon they were both sharply dismissed from Zahra’s office (“ get the hell out of here before I lose my shit with you two ”), and Henry realises it might be the first free day he’s had without June and Nora since they arrived in LA.


   He heads back to their suite, intent on curling up on the couch with a cup of tea and his worn, old edition of a collection of Tennyson’s poems, but casts a suspicious glance over his shoulders.


   “You’re following me. Again. Do all Texan lords have stalker-ish habits or is it just you?”
"你在跟踪我。又来了德克萨斯的领主都有跟踪狂的习惯吗 还是只有你有这种习惯?"


   Alex looks amused. “This is my room, too, you realise. It’s not, like, your own personal wing or something.”


   “Well, I wish it was,” Henry mutters as he opens the door.


   “Sure.” Alex gives him a look, flopping onto their bed.


   “Sure?” "确定?"


   “Come on, Hen. You love sharing a room with me. And how could I blame you? I mean, who wouldn’t?” The insufferable man smirks up at him, looking like the epitome of a lazy god lounging on the bed. Henry almost imagines omega servants combing their fingers through his hair, bringing him plump grapes on silver platters, and - no. He banishes the image, glaring at Alex. He takes it back. He does hate him.


   In the end, Henry only mutters, “you’re a wanker,” and then grabs his book and goes to make a cup of tea, then falling in an unceremonious heap on the couch. After a few minutes, an annoying sigh and then an even more annoying voice interrupts him.
最后,亨利只嘟囔了一句 "你是个混蛋",就拿起书去泡茶,然后毫不客气地瘫倒在沙发上。几分钟后,一声烦人的叹息和一个更烦人的声音打断了他。


   “I wish I could be doing more.”


   Henry looks up from his book, annoyed . “What?”


   “I wish I could… help. With political stuff more,” Alex says, staring at the ceiling.


   Henry’s confused. “Aren’t you… the Lord of Texas?”


   “Yeah, but the title is almost purely figurehead. Mom does basically everything and I’m just here to sit still and look pretty, I guess.” The lord lets his head loll to the side and grins at Henry, but it doesn’t meet his eyes. Clearly, this is… bothering him.


   “Oh.” That’s most of what Henry can manage, because for the first time in a long time, he’s a bit lost for words. Confused.


   “I feel like I just have to sit around until I’m called in to make some appearance or do a photoshoot, and it kinda kills me. To… sit around while I could be doing something to, I don’t know, help my state. I just wish Mom would let me help more, but she’s always so, like, adamant on doing everything herself.”
"我觉得我只能坐着,直到被叫去露面或拍照,这有点要了我的命。我本可以做些什么来帮助我的国家,却只能......坐以待毙。我只希望妈妈能让我多帮点忙 但她总是坚持什么事都亲力亲为"


   They both sit in silence for a few minutes, and Henry feels it - his heart softens a little bit. Just a tad. Because… he cares. Alex cares . And there’s so much going on behind the scenes that he never knew about, and he always just assumes , but maybe the picture of Alex he’s been holding onto in his mind was simply the one the press projected, and Henry feels so stupid .


   The arrogance, the overconfidence, the brashness, the hostility and entitlement - that’s what they wanted him to see. And he drank it all up like it was poisoned tea, and now he just feels so incredibly, utterly stupid.


   “I’m… sorry.” "我......对不起。"


   “For what?” Alex asks, and Henry thinks that they both know what this apology really is. 


   “I was wrong about you. You’re…”


   “Handsome? Hilarious? Charming? The best thing that ever happened to you?”


   Henry snorts. “Sure. But what I mean to say is, you’re more than I thought you were. And you’ve helped me through all the PR bollocks, and you’re not just a rich, entitled snob.”


   Alex grins at him, and then softens a little. “Thank you. I’m sorry, too. For being an asshole when we met, and being an asshole most of the time. And I’m sorry that you don’t think Empire is the best Star Wars movie, because clearly that means there must be something a little wrong with you.”


   Henry narrows his eyes. “I take it back. You are a rich, entitled snob-” He’s suddenly muffled against Alex’s hand as the lord eats up the distance between them, eyes wide.


   “We were just getting somewhere , Henry, c’mon-”


   Henry wrenches Alex’s hand off of his mouth in order to continue spewing insults at the lord, but is quickly shut up with a kiss, and- oh. It’s… different.


   They’ve never kissed just for the sake of it before, and Henry finds himself melting into it; savouring the taste of Alex on his tongue. Maybe it’s just him, but this kiss feels softer. More tender, filled with some sort of emotion, and Henry feels cared for in a way he hasn’t felt in a long time. He feels so unsure, and yet, he sinks into it, allowing the depths to swallow him whole. Please , he begs in his mind. 


   He doesn’t know what he’s begging for - more, less, harder, softer? But it reminds him of last night - the way Alex had kissed him while he’d fucked Henry, possessive and all-consuming. But at the same time, oh so soft.


   They break for a second to catch their breath, and Alex grins down at him, licking his lips. Looking like he owns Henry, and he finds himself saying-


   “Alex.” "亚历克斯"


   “Mmm?” "嗯?"


   “I need you to know - just one thing.” Henry clears his throat. “While I am, unfortunately, attracted to you, that's it. You can have me in the bedroom, but outside - I am my own person, alright?”


   Alex thinks for a second and nods, and Henry finds himself wondering what’s going on in his brain. “I understand. You like it, though? When I call you mine?”
亚历克斯想了一会儿,点了点头,亨利发现自己不知道他脑子里在想些什么。"我明白了。不过你喜欢吗?当我叫你 "我的 "的时候?


   Henry feels a pleasant shiver run through him at the words, heat pooling at his crotch. “Yes. Very much so.”


   Alex only smirks at him, and they spend the rest of the day in each others’ presence, and it’s nice. Really nice. 




   The next day, everyone is flown back to Austin to the Claremont-Diazs’ extensive home, and Henry finds himself back in Shaan’s office after not too long. For some reason, this session feels different, and Henry is slightly bundled with nerves. Maybe it’s the aftermath of the ball and the night itself, or maybe it’s the possibility of Shaan ripping into him like Zahra had. Though less likely, it still presents itself as an option in Henry’s mind.


  But Shaan does not, in fact, berate Henry and his actions. Instead, he’s the kindest person that Henry has had to deal with since meeting Alex, and it’s incredibly refreshing - he wonders if maybe that’s because Shaan has been the only other British person in his immediate vicinity for the past couple months. 


   To be completely honest, Henry had never really found Shaan to be scary, or rude, or brash like Zahra sometimes was, but he never… connected to the man. However, this time, Henry feels seen.


  When he enters the room, Henry expects the usual rug on the floor with sofa chairs and crisp white papers stacked neatly on the small round table. But this time, he’s surprised to find hot tea in a ‘Fuck America’ cup, with fresh biscuits laid out on a paper free table. The tea’s smoke wafts up into the air, and the biscuits’ smell beckons him a little closer. Shaan sits in his usual sofa chair, cradling a ‘World’s Sexiest Therapist’ mug, and he smiles when Henry walks over. 
走进房间,亨利以为地板上会像往常一样铺着地毯,摆着沙发椅,小圆桌上整齐地堆放着洁白的纸张。但这一次,他惊讶地发现 "去他妈的美国 "杯中盛着热茶,无纸桌上摆放着新鲜的饼干。茶的烟味飘散在空气中,饼干的香味吸引他走近一点。陕坐在他常坐的沙发椅上,手里拿着一个 "世界上最性感的治疗师 "杯子,当亨利走过来时,他笑了。


  “From what Zahra told me, it seems like you had a pretty eventful night.” Henry turns a dark red. “Don’t worry, I’m not here to berate you. Come sit, have some tea and biscuits.”
"从扎拉告诉我的情况来看 你今晚过得很不平静"亨利脸色变得通红。"别担心,我不是来责备你的。过来坐,喝点茶,吃点饼干。"


   “Thanks,” Henry murmurs in relief as he perches on the sofa and takes a long drink of his Earl Grey. He’ll have to get the brand off from Shaan; it was creamy and soft and everything an Earl Grey should be. 
"谢谢,"亨利如释重负地喃喃自语,他坐在沙发上,长长地喝了一口伯爵茶。他得从 Shaan 那里买下这个牌子;它口感细腻、柔和,是伯爵茶应有的一切。


   “Not a problem at all.” Shaan gives him a small smile. “So. Would you like to tell me about the ball?”


   Henry shifts nervously in his seat. He almost decides against it, but Shaan was his therapist. The man that Henry chose to talk to. 


He concedes. “Yes. Alright.” And he does talk. He tells Shaan about the man who ran at Henry and Alex, and how disconcertingly concerned and gentle Alex was about it. He tells Shaan about the ball, about Tyler and Alex’s stupid fight. And he tells him about… after. A little bit. To be fair, Henry is very vague about the whole thing and blushes furiously thinking about it, and tries changing the subject multiple times.
他承认了"是的,好吧"他确实说了他告诉陕恩那个冲向亨利和艾丽克丝的男人 还有艾丽克丝对他的关心和温柔 是多么令人不安他告诉陕恩舞会的事 泰勒和艾丽克丝愚蠢的争吵他还告诉他......之后的事。一点点公平地说,亨利对整件事含糊其辞,想起来就脸红,还多次试图转移话题。


   And Shaan simply sits and listens. After Henry is finished talking, Shaan thinks for a while, while Henry nervously eats three biscuits in a row.
而 Shaan 只是坐在一旁倾听。亨利说完后,陕思考了一会儿,亨利则紧张地连吃了三块饼干。


   “First of all, are you okay, Henry?” Shaan begins. “What you went through - the person who ran at you two, and everything after - sounds… traumatic. Quite so. Are you alright?”


   Henry’s about to divert to his usual answer of I’m fine, don’t worry, I’ll deal with it , but Shaan gives him a look that tells him he’ll be taking no bollocks and Henry relents, blowing out a breath. “I’m a bit shaken up, honestly. I mean, for heavens’ sake, I was in the military - I’ve taken bullets. I should be fine.” He pauses. “And I’m annoyed. At Alex, surprise surprise, for getting into all his alpha male bullshit with Tyler, and causing such a scene. I mean, I knew alphas could be possessive, but bloody hell…” Henry trails off.


   “It’s good to know when you aren’t alright. Despite being in the military, which evidently took its toll on you - but we’ll explore that another time - things can still affect you. As for Alex…” Shaan sighs. “He’s a handful, yes. But from what you told me, Henry, you don’t hate the possessiveness as much as you’re telling me.”


   Henry scoffs and sips his tea indignantly. “I don’t know what you’re on about, Shaan. It’s proper stupid. It’s insufferable.” But his cheeks warm yet again that day when he thinks about how that translated in the bedroom. But further than that, as well - how worried Alex had seemed after that almost-attack, how… protective he’d been afterwards. It almost made sense how touchy he was about Tyler afterwards.


   Shaan smiles knowingly. “Henry. It’s alright to like it. I know your relationship with your second sex is complicated, but accepting that part of yourself isn’t a bad thing. Alex wants to take care of you, and you want to be taken care of. You can be an independent man whilst enjoying that.”
陕露出了会心的微笑。"亨利。喜欢就好。我知道你和第二性的关系很复杂,但接受自己的这一部分并不是坏事。亚历克斯想照顾你,你也想被照顾。你可以做一个独立的男人 同时享受这种生活"


   Henry thinks for a minute. Shaan isn’t… wrong, per se.
亨利想了一会儿。Shaan 本身并没有......错。


   “Not to mention your flirtations with Tyler. Why do you think you did that?”


   Henry wonders, annoyedly, what that has to do with anything. “I don’t know. To antagonise Alex, who was being his usual incredibly annoying self.”


   Shaan raises an eyebrow. “Not to make him jealous?”


   The words hit Henry like a brick. Of course he hadn’t. He didn’t give a rat’s arse if Alex was jealous or not… Did he? “Jealous?”


   “Yes, jealous.” Shaan rolls his eyes teasingly. “And you succeeded in this, didn’t you?”


   Henry feels a bit sick. Surely Shaan couldn’t be suggesting he had feelings for the lord. That was ludicrous. Out of the question. But he couldn’t deny the satisfaction he’d felt, making Alex jealous, and of course, what followed.
亨利感觉有点不舒服。陕肯定不是在暗示他对领主有感情。这太可笑了。不可能但他无法否认自己的满足感 让艾丽克丝吃醋 当然还有后来的事


   “Yes,” Henry says, “but it doesn’t matter how I did it. I infuriated him, that was the plan, not making him jealous over me.”


   Shaan watched him for a moment, and Henry could feel him evaluating whether to push Henry, but clearly deciding against it. He pushes the subject into more familiar ground, and Henry is grateful for the change in pace.


   “Aside from that, have you thought more about going off your suppressants?”


   Henry had. And it surprised him to find that he was beginning to feel more and more okay with being an omega. He still didn’t like it, but… it was a part of him.


   “Yes, I have. I think… I’m beginning to become alright with being an omega. It’s a part of me, whether I like it or not, despite everything my Grandma’s taught me. It’s not so bad. Maybe I’m ready to go off - not right now, of course, but soon.”
"是的,我有。我想......我开始接受自己是欧米茄的身份了。这是我的一部分,不管我喜不喜欢 尽管我奶奶教了我很多东西也没那么糟也许我已经准备好离开了 当然不是现在,但是很快"


   And Shaan genuinely smiles, a wide, warm one. “That’s wonderful to hear, Henry. I’m so glad you’re coming to terms with yourself.”


   Henry smiles back. “Thank you. It’s all thanks to you, anyway. I’d never have been able to open up like this if it weren’t for you. Truly, thank you.” Shaan nods in acknowledgement, a proud look displayed on his face.


   The two share a moment as Henry finishes his tea, before Shaan checks his watch. “Unfortunately, that’s our time. I’ll look forward to seeing you next week.”


    A few days later, Henry wakes up in his and Alex’s room to find Alex gone. As hard as it is, he finds the strength to drag himself out of bed to make a cup of tea, and finds himself wandering the halls of the Claremonts’ Texan estate, left alone with his thoughts to ruminate (which is never a good idea when it comes to Henry).


   As he floats through the large house like a ghost, he realises he’s beginning to find it increasingly more difficult to deny the unfortunately plausible theory that he might not loathe Alex entirely. That he might… have some more feelings for him than he thought he did. That he’s not missing Alex whenever the alpha has to spend time away for solo PR trips; that he’s not roaming the lord’s very own home looking for him like a lost puppy; that he’s not hoping to find Alex lazing on some couch waiting for him with a drawl: “ took you long enough to find me, sweetheart.”


   Eventually Henry’s had enough of his thoughts and goes to knock on June’s door, hoping for some company to distract himself. The woman in question opens his door, grinning when she sees it’s him.


   “Henry! Oh my god, come in, come in,” she says warmly, ushering him inside, and before Henry knows it he’s sitting on the couch with another warm mug of tea, June chattering while curled up on the other end of the sofa.


   “Hey June… Can I ask you something?” Henry says eventually. He can almost see June’s proverbial journalist ears prick up.


   “Of course, Henry. Ask away.”


   “About Alex. At the ball, you said all those things about your parents, but…” Henry sighs. “I still don’t understand. Well, I don’t understand Alex. Why does he feel like he has to act like an insensitive bloody dick all the time to cover up how hurt he was by your parents’ divorce?”


   June thinks for a moment, and Henry’s about to backtrack when she sets her own mug of coffee down. “What you don’t know about Alex, Henry, is that he still feels all of the pressure of having to live up to Mom and Dad. I mean…” She blows out a breath. “I’m sorry, this is still kinda hard for me to talk about.”


   “No, no, I’m sorry if I overstepped at all. Take your time, June,” Henry says, wincing a little. Maybe he was the one being a bit insensitive here.


   “It’s okay. I mean, what I’m getting at is, he always feels the need to do so much and Mom never lets him. Her being the Lady of Texas and Dad being who he is, it’s been hard for him in a way it’s never been for me. And the other thing is, don’t get me wrong, alpha’s are one hundred percent the top of the social hierarchy, but there’s so much toxicity in it that he can’t help but be exposed to. It’s really fucking shit, to be honest, and with everything adding up like that, it’s as if he’s never allowed to show emotion. I’ve tried to help him, of course, but it’s hard for him to open up.” June takes a shaky breath in, and Henry just breaks . He feels… he doesn’t know what. Empathetic. Terrible . And he has no idea what to say.
"没事的我是说,我想说的是,他总是觉得有必要做这么多事 而妈妈从来不让他做。她是德州夫人,爸爸又是这样的人 这对他来说很难,对我来说却从未如此还有一件事,别误会我的意思 阿尔法家族是社会等级制度的顶端 但其中有太多的毒害,他不能不接触到老实说,这真他妈的糟透了,所有的事情加在一起,就好像他永远都不能表达情感一样。当然,我也试着帮他,但他很难敞开心扉。"琼颤抖地吸了一口气,亨利就这样崩溃了......。他感觉......他不知道是什么。同情.可怕的感觉他不知道该说什么。


   “Fuck, June. I didn’t know all that. I’m so sorry. It must be so hard for both of you,” Henry says with feeling, shifting on the couch and putting his mug down as well.
"操 琼我不知道这些真对不起。对你们俩来说,这一定很艰难。"亨利感慨地说,他在沙发上换了个姿势,把杯子也放了下来。


   June laughs, but it comes out a little watery. “It’s fine, Henry. It’s how we live. And no one has to know - that’s what PR is for, right? Covering up our stupid fucked-up family shit. At least we get the privilege to hide. It’s just that… a lot of people don’t understand this about him, but Alex acts all strong and confident when he just hurts so much because he can’t ever repair this family, but he doesn’t- he doesn’t like showing that part of himself. So he acts like this over-confident shit who holds the world in his palms.” June sniffles a little, and fuck if Henry really, really didn’t realise how much Alex went through when this happened.
琼笑了,但笑声有点含糊不清。"没事的,亨利。我们就是这样生活的。没人会知道,这就是公关的作用,对吗?掩盖我们愚蠢而糟糕的家庭生活。至少我们有隐藏的特权只是......很多人不了解他这一点,但亚历克斯表现得很坚强,很自信,而他只是很痛苦,因为他永远无法弥补这个家庭,但他没有,他不喜欢展示自己的那部分。所以他表现得像个自信满满的混蛋 把世界都握在自己手里琼抽了一下鼻子,如果亨利真的没有意识到亚历克斯在这件事发生时经历了多少,那他就太操蛋了。


   He’s lost for words yet again at the pain he never saw on the inside. “June, I…”


   June gives him a smile and waves him off. “Don’t worry about us, Henry. At least we have therapists to talk to. There are people out there with nothing. Anyway,” she says brightly, “let’s move on to something a bit lighter. Who’s this ‘Pez’ man you keep bumbling on about?”


    Henry smiles back at her, though he’s unable to remove the heavy feeling in his chest whenever he remembers her sombre words about Alex. “Why don’t we call him now? I haven’t seen him in a bit, and it’s not late yet in England.”


   June agrees and they FaceTime him straight away, the lady’s daughter coming to hover over his shoulder and squint at the phone. There’s a sound of the FaceTime finally connecting and then a decidedly effeminate scream and clatter as they are graced with a wonderful view of Pez’s kitchen floor.
茱恩同意了,于是他们就直接 FaceTime 了他,女主人的女儿来到他的肩膀上,眯着眼睛看着手机。FaceTime 终于接通了,然后是一声娘娘腔的尖叫和咔嗒声,他们看到了 Pez 厨房地板上的美妙景色。


   “Holy bloody shit,” comes the tinny audio from his phone. “Bloody fuck, Henry, could you at least give me some warning before you call me with the love of my life right next to you. Good god, I’m barely dressed. My hair is a mess.”


   Henry chuckles, June joining him. “That’s all well and good, Pez, but how is she supposed to see your handsome face when all we can see is your floor?”


   “Henry George Edward James Fox, I am not presentable at this time of night. I have Jaffa cake crumbs all over my face and my hair is wet with dye.” Henry winces at his full name from Pez’s mouth. 
"亨利-乔治-爱德华-詹姆斯-福克斯 这么晚了,我不像样子。我满脸都是雅法蛋糕碎屑 头发也被染湿了"亨利从佩兹嘴里听到自己的全名,不禁打了个寒战。


   “Percy Okonjo. It’s 6:30 in the evening for you, you fool. And you know you’re always handsome, give us a peek.”
"珀西-奥孔乔现在是傍晚六点半,你这个傻瓜。你知道你一直都很帅,给我们看一眼吧。" And you know you're always handsome, give us a peek."


   Pez sighs but when the phone focuses back onto his face he’s grinning delightedly, his hair wet with bright green hair dye. “You bloody charmer. You know just which buttons to push, you cheeky lad, you.”
Pez 叹了口气,但当手机对准他的脸时,他正开心地咧嘴笑着,头发被鲜绿色的染发剂打湿了。"你这该死的骗子。你知道该按哪个按钮,你这个厚脸皮的家伙。"


   June laughs delightedly. “Hi, Pez.”


  “Hello my dear, the love of my life, the best Claremont-Diaz there is,” Pez articulates dramatically, pushing his fingers against his soon to be green hair. June giggles and waves, sliding on a posh faux British accent. 


  “Oh, stop it, you’re making me blush.” Pez winks and Henry groans. He’ll be completely insufferable after this call, he can already hear it. 


  “I’m sure Henry would disagree with the fact I’m the ‘best Claremont-Diaz’.” Henry scoffs. He isn’t wrong, per se, but he’s rather Pez not saying anything since his sister was right here. “No, I’m sure, despite all the hate, that Henry loves Alex.”
"我相信亨利不会同意我是'最好的克莱蒙特 -迪亚兹'"。亨利嗤之以鼻。他本身并没有错,但他宁愿 Pez 什么都不说,因为他姐姐就在这里。"不,我相信,尽管有那么多的仇恨,亨利还是爱亚历克斯的。"


  “I completely agree with you, love of my life ,” June says, teasing Pez a little. Despite the pixelation, Henry is sure Pez is a furious red, matched perfectly with his bright green. 
"我完全同意你的说法,我一生的挚爱。"琼说着,逗了一下佩兹。尽管像素不高,但亨利确信 Pez 是一抹艳红,与他的翠绿色搭配得恰到好处。


  These two had barely talked for five minutes and they were already insufferable .


  “You two are fucking gits, don’t make me third wheel. Is Bea there, Auntie Pezza? I can’t be the only one going through this,” Henry waves his hands at June and his phone, “nonsense.” June flicks her finger on Henry’s forehead. 


  Pez mimics punching Henry and he rolls his eyes. Git. 
Pez 模仿打亨利,亨利翻了个白眼。吉特


  “I’ll call her, and I’ll get David in here too.” 


  “Oh my god I bloody love you Pez, I haven’t seen my good boy in so long ,” Henry chatters, with June’s head cocked in confusion.


  “Who’s David?” "戴维是谁?"


  “Coincidentally, Alex asked the same thing,” Henry chuckles. “David’s my dog, the one who holds the key to my heart, my very good boy who deserves all of the hugs. I haven’t been able to see him for ages . He’s the one who really got me through it all.” 


  June smiles. “I wish I could say the same for us. The only pet I’ve had is a goldfish and Alex killed it.” 


  “Is that really a surprise?” 


  “What’s a surprise?” A voice asks through the tinny speakers, followed by scatters from what could only be his beloved David. 


  “Bea, please save me from third wheeling,” Henry pleads as David’s face envelopes the screen. June audibly gasps and coos, and David excitedly wiggles around in true David fashion. “ Whoza a good boy, yes you are!” 


 The view on the screen tilts, and Bea slowly looms into view. Her eyes widen a little, spotting Henry’s company, before she smiles. “You must be June. Henry’s mentioned you quite a bit, and I’m glad to have met the woman that’s made Henry at home.”


  “That’s a high compliment, and quite sentimental of you, Bea, is something the matter?” Henry teases, Bea scowling, unamused, back at him. David settles himself in between the two, tail wagging happily.


  “I try to compliment you and your friends for once and of course you have to snark back, you bloody shit. If I was there I’d whack you over the head with my guitar.” June cheekily grabs a pillow, and gently whacks Henry with it. 
"我试着赞美你和你的朋友们一次 你当然要反唇相讥,你这该死的家伙如果我在场,我会用我的吉他砸你的头。"朱恩厚着脸皮抓起一个枕头,轻轻地砸向亨利。


  Bea laughs. “I quite like this one, Henry.”
Bea laughs."我很喜欢这个,亨利"


  “Piss off, Bea. This one’s mine,” Pez exclaims, nose turned upwards in jest. 


   Before Henry can get another word in, in between Pez and Bea chattering on and June watching amusedly, the door opens and Alex strides in. June looks up annoyedly at her brother.


   “Hey, you know there’s actually this thing called knocking,” June says faux-brightly. “It’s a relatively new concept, that-”


   “Fucking okay, Bug,” Alex rolls his eyes, coming to sit down next to Henry, giving him a quick peck on the cheek. Oh . Well, that’s… new.


   June and Alex continue squabbling on regardless of Henry, who’s acquired quite the flush to his cheeks, feeling the place where Alex pecked him almost burn. It was… an unwarranted display of affection. More than just sex, certainly, and Henry isn’t quite sure why it leaves his head reeling when, on top of that, Alex lays his large hand casually upon Henry’s thigh and greets Bea and Pez chipperly.


   Well, maybe he has some idea why it leaves him reeling. It’s no secret to Henry himself that he… well, he supposes he likes it when Alex is affectionate towards him. More than just the sex. Bloody goddamn it, this is the exact fucking thing he’d been trying to avoid thinking about.


   “Henry? Henry, brother mine, fellow Englishman,” Bea is calling out tinnily through the phone. “Earth to Henry. Are you there?”


   “What? Oh. Yes, I’m listening. What were you saying?” Bea gives him a disappointed look. “Actually, Pez was talking. Go on Pez, now you’ve got the whole group’s attention. As you must.”


   “Thank you kindly, Bea. You know it’s impossible for me to function without the spotlight,” Pez grins cheekily, “now, as I was saying…”


   As Pez continues yammering on, in true Auntie Pezza fashion, Henry notices Bea glaring directly at Henry. She then pointedly stares down through the phone at Alex’s hand on his thigh, and then up at his face as if to say, “ what the bloody shit is going on, Henry, we are going to be having a chat about this later ”. Henry gives her a weak smile. Not even he knows what’s going on, and it’s his own life. It’s all wonderfully, stupidly confusing. And yet.


   It’s no secret that at this point no one is paying attention to Pez. June is looking very smugly at Alex and Henry, as if she knows something he doesn’t, which is frankly a bit infuriating, even as Pez chatters on, oblivious. That’s when Nora opens the door, and June gives a faux-frustrated sigh, muttering under her breath something that sounds suspiciously like “ I guess I’ll just have my fucking door removed then, if no one bothers to fucking knock ”.


   Nora, who heard nothing, looks at the scene a bit confusedly. “Why are you looking all smug, June? What’s going on?” And then she shifts her gaze to Henry and Alex and promptly silences herself. “Uh huh. Okay.”


   Henry’s eyebrows knit together. “Okay, what the bloody hell is going on with you toffs? Why does it seem like everyone else seems to know what’s going on in my life except for my own bloody self?”


   Bea just smirks at him. “Oh, sod off, Henry. You know very well what’s happening with yourself.”


   Sadly, Nora agrees, ganging up on him. “Agreed. There’s a 91.2 percent chance you know exactly what’s going on, and you ain’t admitting it to yourself.” June nods solemnly.
可悲的是,诺拉同意了,一帮人围着他转。"同意你有 91.2% 的可能知道到底发生了什么,但你自己却不承认。"琼郑重地点点头。


   “Wonderful. I suppose it’s ‘let’s gang up on Henry’ day then. Carry on,” Henry says indignantly, lying back on the couch in defeat. Everyone laughs as Nora squeezes on the couch next to Alex and introduces herself to Pez and Bea, via many “ oh, I like you already ”’s.
"太好了我想,今天是'群殴亨利'的日子了。继续吧,"亨利忿忿地说,垂头丧气地躺在沙发上。诺拉挤到亚历克斯旁边的沙发上,向佩兹和碧做自我介绍,说了许多 "哦,我已经喜欢上你了 "的话,大家都笑了起来。


   The impromptu FaceTime call actually ends up lasting a good few hours, and soon it’s approaching 6 in the evening in Texas, and subsequently almost midnight for Bea and Pez. Despite the faint dark circles under their eyes, they’re still kicking, exchanging stories and gossip with June, Nora, Alex and Henry. It’s honestly quite touching, and Henry finds himself pondering the moment they all became such good friends.
这次即兴 FaceTime 通话持续了好几个小时,很快就到了德克萨斯州的傍晚 6 点,对碧和佩兹来说也快到午夜了。尽管眼下有淡淡的黑眼圈,但她们仍然兴致勃勃地和琼、诺拉、亚历克斯和亨利交流着故事和八卦。老实说,这很令人感动,亨利发现自己在思考他们成为好朋友的那一刻。


   Yes, friends . He’d felt so alone when he’d first arrived in America. Sure, he had people he knew. He even had a loose friend circle. But there was never anyone he truly connected with, or anyone who truly made the effort to bring him along to events and such. He mostly went out for drinks alone, waiting for the day of his honourable discharge ceremony in Texas until he could finally go home.


   But he’s starting to realise he likes it here. Henry has… Well, he has friends. Zahra can be bloody mean sometimes, but she cares for Henry almost like a mother. Hell, Henry has a fucking therapist . And he’s happier than ever - he’s actually alright with who he is, at least a little bit. June and Nora are incorrigible gossips, and some of the best women he’s ever met, aside from Bea, of course. And though he sometimes misses the rainy streets of London, and the old buildings and quirky teahouses, he likes it here. He likes Alex .
但他开始意识到他喜欢这里了亨利有......嗯,他有朋友。扎赫拉有时很刻薄 但她对亨利的关心就像母亲一样见鬼 亨利还有个该死的心理医生 Hell, Henry has a fucking therapist.他比以往任何时候都快乐--他对自己的身份很满意,至少有一点。琼和诺拉是无可救药的八卦女,也是他见过的最好的女人,当然,除了碧之外。虽然他有时会想念伦敦的雨巷、古老的建筑和古怪的茶馆,但他喜欢这里。他喜欢亚历克斯


   Which is truly a shocking thought. If someone had told Henry a few weeks ago that he’d be sitting down and having a laugh and a chinwag with Alex Claremont-Diaz, the Lord of Texas, along with both their sisters and respective best friends, he’d probably have thrown up. And then fainted. And then maybe thrown up some more.
这真是一个令人震惊的想法。如果几周前有人告诉亨利,他会和德克萨斯州州长亚历克斯-克莱蒙特-迪亚兹(Alex Claremont-Diaz),还有他们的姐妹和各自的好朋友坐在一起谈笑风生,他可能会吐出来。然后晕倒。也许还会吐得更厉害。


   He’s finally coming to accept how much he truly enjoys his time here. And maybe he’s not out in the army serving his country, maybe he’s not a normal beta man that his grandmother would actually be proud of, but he is happy . And maybe that’s enough for him, at least for now.


   Henry tunes back into the conversation with a stupid smile on his face, which is very promptly wiped off when he hears what Bea is telling June and Nora about.


   “And then I FaceTime Henry, you know, to give the lad a call as we do every week, and it’s ringing for a while. It’s all well and good until the call goes through, but I’m not looking at Henry’s face,” Bea is saying with a smirk on her face.
"然后我给亨利打 FaceTime,你知道,就像我们每周做的那样,给小伙子打个电话,电话响了好一会儿。这一切都很好,直到电话接通,但我并没有看到亨利的脸,"碧一脸傻笑地说。


   “Oh my god, what is it? Tell us, Bea ,” June and Nora beg voraciously, obviously keen for any chance to hear about Henry and Alex’s humiliation, and Bea equally keen to provide. The tossers. 


   “It’s the ceiling, so I figure Henry must be asleep or something and he accidentally picked up, and then I hear this bloody moaning -”
"是天花板,所以我想亨利一定是睡着了" "他不小心拾起了天花板" "然后我听到了该死的呻吟声"


   Nora gasps. “No! No fucking way -”


   And Henry borderline yells , “ WELL . It’s getting quite late, especially for you two, seeing as it’s past midnight and you’re clearly a little braindead . So I’ll be heading off, with my phone, and I’ll see everyone in the morning. I’ll call you two bloody shits some time tomorrow. Good night .” 


   The last thing everyone sees on the screen before Henry snatches his phone back and promptly hangs up is Bea and Pez cackling maniacally, clutching their bellies with tears in their eyes. Henry’s face is furiously hot, while Alex is just smirking , along with June and Nora who are snickering away evilly like the heathens they are.


   Henry beelines for the door, Alex hot on his tail, and makes it all the way to their bedroom without saying a word, almost slamming the door in Alex’s sniggering face. 
亨利飞快地跑向房门,亚历克斯紧随其后,一言不发地一路跑到他们的卧室,还差点当着亚历克斯的面 "砰 "地关上门。


   “I cannot believe the audacity of those shits, what were they thinking-”
"我真不敢相信这些混蛋的胆量 他们到底在想什么......"


    “Well, I was thinking about how good you sound when you moan.” 


   Henry shuts his mouth and opens it again. And then shuts it again. Alex smirks, grabbing Henry by the waist. He leans close to Henry’s ear and blows on it softly. He shivers, shifting closer to Alex. Alex’s grip tightens. 


   “Are you going to moan for me tonight, baby?” He whispers lowly, fingers running up and down Henry’s spine. 


   Oh, fuck. That escalated quickly.


  “Insufferable bloody cocksucker,” he mutters and then gasps as Alex nips at his neck, soft lips and sharp teeth biting gently. He can already smell the scent of cedarwood growing stronger, making him dizzy with pleasure. Alex grins against his neck, kissing downwards, while his hands drift upwards. Henry curls a hand in Alex’s soft locks and Alex’s groan vibrates on his skin.


  “At least I’m your cock sucker, sweetheart. Don’t try to deny how much you love me when I’m between your thighs.” A tantalising image of Alex between his thighs arises, mouth pressing kisses up his cock and oh , Henry feels dirty . He feels so deliciously filthy that it makes him a little dizzy.
"至少我是你的吸吮者,亲爱的" "At least I'm your cock sucker, sweetheart.当我在你大腿间时,别试图否认你有多爱我。"一个诱人的画面出现了,亚历克斯在他的大腿间,用嘴亲吻着他的阴茎,哦,亨利觉得自己很下流。他觉得自己是如此的肮脏可口,以至于有点头晕目眩。


   “Fuck you, Alex.”


   “I think you meant that the other way around.” And before Henry can think of another smart retort and come to his defence, searing hot lips press roughly onto his, Alex’s cedarwood and cardamom surrounding him and almost completely overtaking his scent - marking him. Ruining him for any other alpha.


   A tongue flicks into Henry’s mouth, just as it has before, and he realises how intimately Alex knows his body now, inside and out. He whines as Alex pushes his fingers into the divot in his hips, and he urges them upwards, trying to get more, always hungry for more. Henry deepens the kiss, and it’s hot and messy, and yet incredibly intimate.


   It feels different. And Henry doesn’t know how to feel about that. 


   But he can leave that uncertainty for later, he decides, his doubts vanishing completely when Alex guides him towards their bed. Steady and certain hands deftly remove his shirt and before Henry can even touch Alex, a heat envelopes his nipples. He moans loudly and Alex chuckles. 


   “Why don’t you do that again for me, baby?” A wicked tongue flicks roughly over again and again, making Henry moan out repeatedly, and Alex just grins like he can’t get enough of it.


   This time, Alex encourages Henry to lay down on their bed, the soft blankets cushioning his body as Alex’s own covers him, his weight so hot and delicious, yet so comforting, enveloping him like the cosiest fire. There’s less talking, more kissing - they make out slowly as Alex fingers Henry open, slick dripping down his thighs, but neither of them mind the mess as it brings them closer together.


   Henry needs it; he needs more of Alex as the lord guides himself into Henry, thrusting slowly and opening him up. When he’s hilted all the way he stops, simply gazing down at Henry for a second, something more flickering in his eyes.


   “So fucking beautiful,” he murmurs, cupping Henry’s face, and his heart damn near breaks. He feels closer , not just for the fact that Alex is literally inside him - but the way his fingers linger on Henry’s face, thumbing and tracing his lips is so moreish , sating his hunger at the same time as making him even more ravenous for something he can’t have; has never had.


   And when Alex finally fucks him into the bed, pushing his thumb into Henry’s mouth, he’s gentle. So fucking gentle .


   It’s toe curling, the way Alex leans back down to press tender kisses to Henry’s forehead, his mouth, his shoulder and throat. Insanity in a way he has never known before, how his heart twists in his chest in tandem with the pleasure as his lord thrusts slow but hard into him, and eventually they come together, Henry crying out and gripping onto Alex’s curls tightly in an attempt to tether himself to this world.


   Around ten minutes later, after they’d cleaned up and wiped themselves off with a wet towel, they lie in bed together, Henry’s cheek pressed to Alex’s chest, listening to his heartbeat.


   “How was the speech with Nora? Full of old toffs who don’t give a rat’s arse about the wellbeing of your country?” Henry asks drily, eyes closed.


   Alex chuckles. “You’re not far off, to be honest.” He pauses for a moment, going quiet, and when Henry moves his head to glance up at him, he’s got a faraway look on his face, his eyebrow furrowed. Frowning.


   “Alex? What’s up?” Henry asks, worried.


   “Huh? Oh.” Alex looks down at Henry, searching his face, and Henry can see him weighing up whether to tell him. Henry gives him a stern look, the one his mother used to give him when he was a child running rampant in her backyard, trampling her begonias.


   “Alex. You can tell me.” Alex doesn’t look convinced, as if he’s about to deny anything happened at all, when Henry shushes him. “Really, Alex. You can tell me anything, I promise.”
"亚历克斯你可以告诉我亚历克斯看起来并不相信,似乎他要否认发生过任何事,但亨利嘘了一声。"真的 艾丽克丝你可以告诉我任何事,我保证。"


   He must sense some sort of sincerity in Henry’s words, or it might be the look he gave him, but he sighs and relents. “I, uh… Well, you know that guy that ran at us on the red carpet?” Henry nods. “He did it again. Today. Almost got to me.” Alex chuckles, but it’s less than a happy sound, as if he’s trying to play it off.


   And Henry’s heart drops. “Shit, Alex, are you okay? Why didn’t you say anything before?” he says, lifting himself onto his elbows.


   Alex gives him the same weak smile June had given him earlier that day. “You know, it just wasn’t that big of a deal,” he says. “He didn’t do anything anyway. Fucker got taken out by security.” 


   But Henry doesn’t buy it, especially the way he can see Alex’s hands shaking. He gives the lord another stern look. “I just said you could tell me anything. Now I can see that you’re not bloody okay, but if you’re going to be a shit about it, then I’ll just have to settle for giving you a hug or something.” Henry huffs and wraps his arms around Alex, glad that he can’t see how watery Henry’s eyes are getting.


   “Thank you,” Alex whispers, and not long later he’s breathing deeply with Henry wrapped around him, snoring lightly.


   And Henry realises how fucking terrified he is of losing Alex. How it makes his heart pound in the worst sort of way; how he wants to hyperventilate at the thought.


   He thinks: Fuck . He wasn’t even there this time. What if something had happened? What if the next time he’d seen Alex, he was in a hospital bed? And call Henry mad, but he wants to kill someone at the thought. That if it had all gone pear shaped, Alex wouldn’t ever know that Henry didn’t really hate him. That he probably never had.
他想妈的这次他根本不在现场如果发生了什么事呢?如果下次他再见到亚历克斯时 他已经躺在病床上了呢?你可以说亨利疯了,但一想到这个,他就想杀人。如果一切都搞砸了 艾丽克丝永远都不会知道 亨利其实并不恨他他可能从未恨过他


   The thought stays with Henry as he pulls back slightly, unable to sleep, content to study the lord’s face instead. His sharp jaw, honey-brown skin, angular nose and his thick eyelashes that should’ve belonged to an omega or something. The way his chest rises and falls with each breath, and the beautiful heart he keeps locked away like it’s a secret to be ashamed of. His thick, luscious curls, that Henry would never get to run his fingers through again if that man had done more than just run at them.


 It reminds him of just a few minutes ago, when Alex had been deep inside him, and yet pleasure wasn’t the only thing he’d felt (though he’d certainly felt it). How something had warmed inside him at Alex’s compliment, when he’d traced Henry’s face, how he’d been so fucking gentle .


 And this was it; this was the reality: they hadn’t just fucked. They’d made love. And Henry had never really known the difference; he hadn’t even thought they were different. And yet, everything screamed the truth at him, the truth he’d been realising for well over a month now.


 The writing was on the wall. He thought of the way Alex had buried his face in Henry’s throat, teething at the place he could so easily make Henry his with.


   As if Henry’s heart didn’t already belong to him.


   Oh, fuck . Bloody fucking SHIT . Henry was in love with him, wasn’t he? And the only thing he could think of was: why ? Bloody fucking why?
我操真他妈该死亨利爱上他了,不是吗?他唯一能想到的就是: 为什么?他妈的为什么?

Notes: 备注

A/N: A/N:

As always THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING ily all smmm and again sorry for the late chapter. Been struggling with writer's block recently (aka unable to stop doom-scrolling tiktok on my phone) and speaking of I have made an account by the same name (thedailycracker) just for fun for fandom related stuff. LOVE YOUUU -the daily cracker
一如既往地感谢您的阅读,再次为迟来的章节道歉。最近一直在与写作障碍作斗争(又称无法停止在手机上滚动 tiktok),说到这个,我已经建立了一个同名账户(thedailycracker),只是为了好玩,写一些与粉丝相关的东西。爱你--每日饼干

OMG the comments are actually so sweet, we love you all so much, and thank you for taking the time to read this!! (Even though it's been over a month since we've updated...) We'll try to be more consistent or get updates faster but thank you for sticking with us!!!! - Miki <3
OMG 的评论真的太贴心了,我们非常爱你们,感谢你们抽出时间来阅读这篇文章!(尽管我们已经一个多月没有更新了)!(虽然我们已经有一个多月没有更新了......)我们会努力做到更稳定或更新得更快,但还是要谢谢你们的支持!!!!!- Miki <3