Matt's kneeling on the floor in Luca's new bedroom hunting for a lost shoe - something he's done far too often. "I can't see it," he looks up as Chris appears in the doorway, "have you checked the toilets?"
It's been less than 48 hours since the news broke of his and Chris's relationship and the interest in them doesn't seem to have diminished much at all. Even so, they're getting ready to go out on their planned shopping trip with Luca.
Chris holds one small shoe up. "Luckily it was not in the toilet this time, it was in the trash bin," he says, shaking his head. "Does he have something against his shoes?"
Matt sighs and rolls to his feet. "I have no idea, I'm not sure it's not turned into some game at this point," he admits, stepping up to Chris and exchanging the shoe for a kiss. "You can try asking him, he wouldn't tell me."
"It's probably just a stage, right?" Chris says, adding with a grin, "He won't still be doing it when he's eighteen."
Matt snorts at that. "I'm pretty sure our boy will be getting up to far more nefarious things at eighteen than flushing shoes away. We'll have a whole new set of worries by then."
Eighteen. Fuck. Chris smiles at the thought. At the future stretched out before them, together, their family, Luca growing up, hopefully with a sibling. Unlike a lot of men his age he's unfazed by the idea. He wants to grow old with Matt (and Kate), raise their kids, work if he can... "I'll let Kate know we're ready?" he offers. "Text Greg and Max?"
"Yep," Matt nods. He's nervous about this; despite being determined that the attention they've garnered shouldn't disrupt their day to day plans Matt is uncomfortable at the prospect that something could upset Luca. He is, however, reassured by the presence of the personal protection they have and the knowledge that Chris would do whatever it takes to keep his son safe.
Chris gives Matt another kiss then heads out to the living room, texting Greg as he goes. "We found Lulu's shoe," he tells Kate, leaning down to tousle Luca's hair. "Go see your dad and get your shoes on. Greg and Max are going to be here in a few minutes."
Luca skips out of the room, his shoes clutched, one in each hand.
"Are you sure he'll be okay today?" Kate asks as she reaches for a hairband and scoops her hair up to tie it in a loose and messy top knot. "I can tell Matt is nervous," she glances up to meet Chris's gaze.
"If we don't make a big deal out of it, he won't," Chris says, making sure they've got the diaper bag all stocked and packed up. "I've been around my nieces and nephews when the paps are out and they've always taken it in stride. Granted Luca's younger but if Matt and I are good, he'll be good too." He gives Kate a small smile. "I know it's hard on Matt too, I wish I could make it easier, but I'm going to keep my promise to him and keep my focus on Luca."
"Well, have a good day yeah?" Stepping in she rises up on her toes and presses a kiss to Chris's cheek. "Spoil them?"
"I will," Chris assures her, his smile deepening at the kiss. "Don't worry about us. Make sure you relax and enjoy your spa day."
"Oh I will, I am going to cram in as many treatments as possible." Laughing, Kate steps away and waves her hand in a shooing motion. "Go, go and have some fun."
Luca comes running back, shoes on this time, down the hall and straight into Chris's shins, giggling gleefully as he does. "Up," he demands, adding a 'please', when he sees how Chris is looking at him.
A knock comes at the door and Chris answers, toddler in his arms and diaper bag over his shoulder, Greg slipping through. "We're almost ready. We had a shoe emergency," he explains, Greg laughing knowingly.
Matt appears from their bedroom, having finished getting ready; he's thrown on a light sweater over his tee and added another silver ring to one hand, a long chain with pendant joining the heavier silver chain he'd not taken off since their date night. "We good to go?" he asks, sliding his phone in his pocket and his wallet in the other. "Shall I take him?" he offers, moving up to Chris and setting a hand to his lover's butt.
Matt looks good and Chris's appreciation is clear in his gaze. "Sure. I've got the diaper bag," he says, handing over Luca and grabbing the lightweight travel stroller from behind the door. "And the stroller. Just in case." Luca mostly wanting to walk these days.
"Max'll be by as soon as they clear out in front," Greg tells Kate, giving her a wave. "He'll text and you can go out back, over three houses to the east and up the laneway between."
"Have fun!" Kate waves them out the door.
As they step out of the house the noise from the crowd of paps rises as they start shouting questions, the noise only subsiding a little when they spy Luca in Matt's arms.
"Who dose people Daddy?" Luca asks, pointing at the gang of photographers.
"They're people who take photos of Daddy Chris for magazines like the one you got the other day," Chris explains, keeping himself between the paps and Matt and Luca, Greg already at the car with the door open since they're not allowed to step onto his property.
Matt bends down to slide Luca into his car seat, the small boy's face creased in confusion as he thinks over this information.
"Why is Daddy not in magazines?" he asks, mangling 'magazine'.
"Because I write storybooks for people to read and Daddy Chris makes movies for people to watch," Matt explains very matter of factly.
"What kind of movies?" Luca asks, straining to see the photographers, the commotion outside the car still getting half his attention.
Chris stays outside the car with Greg, letting the paps get their pictures while Matt gets Luca settled. He doesn't answer any questions, doesn't even acknowledge they're there but he lets them shoot away without comment.
"All kinds of movies, there's one where he gets to drive really fast cars, there are some where he's pretending to be a soldier but most people know him as a person called 'Thor' from a superhero movie." Matt tugs quickly on the restraining straps to check them.
"Like Superman," Luca crows. "And Spiderman." Names he's learned from preschool. "Can Daddy Chris fly?"
"Nope," Chris supplies helpfully, sliding into the car on the other side. He's not going to get into the finer details of whether Thor can actually fly or not. "It's just pretend. Like when we play lions and monkeys."
Matt climbs in, Greg shutting the door behind him as he clips his own seatbelt in place.
"Pretend?" Luca frowns again. "Not a superhero?" He looks up at Chris, looking more than a little disappointed.
"No, but I get to wear a cool costume and cape and I have a really big hammer," Chris says, hoping to make up for it.
"A hammer?" Luca kicks his legs as he looks at Chris and then Matt. "Can I have your hammer?"
"Well, you can't have Thor's hammer because I still need it for the next movie," Chris says, looking to Matt for some help, "but we can probably get the prop department to make you one if your dad's okay with it."
Matt grins at Chris, amused. "Firstly, I'm sure a toy hammer would be more than fine, we could probably pick one up today and secondly you're also his Dad..."
"I know, but we haven't talked about how you and Kate feel about anything that could be a weapon as toys," Chris says, smiling back, amazed at how easily Matt solved the problem when he was still thinking of the prop Mjölnir. "I don't want to step wrong but I'll get more confident as we go."
"It's not a weapon in the traditional sense, is it? It's a mythical object which can open conversations about Norse mythology, different cultures… a teaching tool if you like, as well as something that is connected to you and your work," Matt points out.
"Good point," Chris smiles. "See? I never would have thought of all that."
"So," Matt turns his attention to Luca, "if you're a good boy today we can go and see if we can buy you a hammer just like Thor's."
"My own hammer?" Luca asks, glancing at Chris.
"Yes, love, your own hammer, Daddy has his own for when he dresses up as Thor for work."
"Maybe we can even get you a cape," Chris suggests, smiling at Luca. "Then we can play superheroes together."
Luca's approval of that suggestion is evident in the way he claps his hands excitedly.
"I think you just scored extra Dad points," Matt chuckles.
Chris grins. "So, a hammer and cape and clothes. Lunch. Maybe rings while he's napping?"
"I'd like that," Matt nods, glancing out of the window as Greg takes a right-hand turn. "Have you decided what style of ring you want?" He glances back at Chris.
They've already done some looking in magazines and one store but it had been curtailed by the fact they weren't out and by Chris's back and forth with work. "Something fairly simple, white gold or platinum rather than yellow gold, no jewels unless you want them but I'd prefer only diamonds, something thick versus thin. I'll have to take it off for work regardless." He smiles over Luca's head at Matt. "What about you?"
"Similar," Matt nods, pleasure making his belly flip. "I'm not keen on yellow gold, so platinum would be good, a simple band with rolled edges maybe." He looks down at his hands, he used to wear a number of silver rings until Dylan had started hinting he didn't like them, and then when Luca came along they just weren't practical. Their date just a few days ago had inspired him to try a couple of rings on again and he'd liked how it had felt as if he were reclaiming some of himself back.
"Do we want matching bands?" Chris asks, holding out his hand for Luca to play with his fingers. "Or complementary?"
"I don't mind," Matt admits, turning a little in his seat to watch Chris and Luca. He's still stunned at how quickly Luca took to Chris and how accepting his son has been to the changes in their lives. He's determined to give Chris what he'd yearned for so long, a child of his own.
Luca puts his hand on top of Chris's and Chris puts his other hand on top of Luca's, giving the toddler a mischievous grin. Luca pulls his hand out and sets it on top of Chris's and Chris waits a beat before doing the same. "Ha ha," he says, eyes sparkling, then widening as Luca puts his other hand on top of Chris's. Pretending disbelief. "My hand's on top," he declares, placing the bottom hand on top of Luca's.
"No, my hand," Luca says, giggling as he slides his hand on top of Chris's.
Matt relaxes back to watch the two of them playing, it's moments like this that he can catch Chris unguarded, so open, so happy engaging in something so simple. "I love you," he murmurs, reaching over to pet Chris's jawline.
The touch feels good, the words even better. "I love you too," Chris says, smiling, managing to continue the game even while he looks at Matt, wondering for a moment how in the world he's got so lucky. "I'm glad we're getting out today." Despite everything.
"So am I," Matt agrees. "If I start letting them," he inclines his head to indicate behind them, "dictate how we live our life now, it won't get better. I won't hide, I'm a proud gay man who is in a loving relationship."
Chris nods. "And I didn't come out to hide," he says, the words more a reminder for himself than Matt. Especially given that he'd been prepared to pack up and take off to Canada early. "This is what I wanted, to be able to be out there, honest about who I am, not afraid to be seen with my partner, my family... It's just this little guy we have to protect," he adds, still playing hand over hand with Luca. "And he'll take his cue from us."
"No regrets then?" Matt asks softly.
Exhaling softly, Chris shakes his head. "I still wish we'd been able to control it the way we wanted," he admits. "But no," looking up at Matt again, meeting his gaze, "no regrets." Regardless of what it means for his career.
"Good," Matt offers Chris a bright smile that makes the corners of his eyes crease up.
Which of course has Chris smiling back. He can't believe Matt doesn't really see himself the way Chris sees him. As absolutely gorgeous. "Just let me know if it gets to be too much," he says. "We can always take a break or grab things in Whistler."
"Nah," Matt waves it off. "I've got my two favorite boys with me."
Soon enough Greg pulls the car over into a parking spot. As soon as the car is still Chris climbs out.
He grabs the stroller from the back and sets it up, putting the diaper bag in the bottom, while Matt gets Luca out of his seat. Greg takes up watch, making sure they've got everything together before following them into the mall. Chris pulls a baseball cap on and hooks his sunglasses onto his shirt, just in case. "Where do you want to start?"
Matt hands Luca a small plastic dinosaur, one of his new favorite things, and straightens up. "Clothes for Luca, then if he behaves we can go and buy him his own Mjölnir and cape," Matt grins. Considering the fact they are merely shopping, an everyday occurrence a mundane activity for most, Matt is hyped at doing so with Chris.
Chris grins back. He pushes the stroller along the first floor of the mall, making a turn into the first kids store they see, the place busy but not as busy as the mall itself. "I forgot how cute kids clothes are," he says, pointing out the baby socks and a t-shirt that reads 'I can do more in one unsupervised minute than most people can do all day'. "Especially if it involves shoes and a toilet," he kids, nudging Matt's shoulder.
"Maybe we should only let him wear Crocs or some other waterproof footwear until he grows out of it?" Matt laughs. "We need all the basics first, underwear, tees, pants." Glancing around Matt finds a stack of baskets and grabs one, returning to his so far unrecognised lover.
"Okay." Chris nods and follows Matt with the stroller, Luca still content at this point to play with his dinosaur. Greg stays by the front of the store, able to see them from there but not drawing any unwanted attention. "Plain tees or a mix?" he asks. Some of the sayings and pictures are really cute but some of them just make your kid out to be a brat.
"Hi," comes a chirpy voice from behind them. "Can I help you guys find anything?"
Matt was about to reply when they're interrupted, he half turns and smiles. "We're good, thank you," he replies, wondering if that will be enough for her to retreat and before she has time to recognise Chris who has his head down.
"Okay. Just let me know if you need any help," the teenaged salesgirl says in the same chirpy voice, the last few words trailing off as her gaze narrows and flickers between Matt and Chris. "I know you guys!" she says, her voice suddenly louder than normal before she drops it down again. "Sorry. I'm just so excited. I'm such a big fan. All my friends and me think it's so amazing you decided to come out. And your little boy is so cute. Can I get your autograph?" she asks Chris. "My dad loves your books," she says to Matt. "Can I get yours too?" She starts rifling through her pockets for a notebook and pen, already shoving it at them.
This does not happen to Matt outside of fan events for his books. He's never been approached in public like this before and whilst her words are reassuring, it's a disconcerting experience. One hand reaching down to pet Luca's hair as if to soothe his son, Matt looks up at Chris, looking for direction on how to handle this.
"Sure," Chris says, "but maybe you can keep it to yourself that we're here? We really need to get some clothes for the little guy."
"Oh, of course," she assures them, beaming at Matt and waving her fingers at Luca. "Hi." She grins at them all. "I'm Julie and my dad's Tim," she tells them, handing Chris the notebook first. "My dad's going to freak. We've seen all the Avenger movies together and he keeps bugging me to read your books." She smiles and wiggles her fingers again at Luca who's looking up at her with interest. "How old is he? He's so cute."
"He's nearly three," Matt replies, figuring that's not giving too much away. He takes the note pad from Chris and scrawls a quick message addressed to 'Tim' and finishes it with his signature. "Here," he hands it back. "Tell your Dad thanks for reading my books."
"And your dad's right, you should read them too," Chris adds. "They're really amazing. If you like the Avengers, you'd like Matt's books."
Julie beams at them again. "I'll check them out," she says, nodding vigorously. "Thank you so much for the autographs." She blushes a little. "I'll leave you alone now but if you need anything, I'll be right over there," waving vaguely towards the back of the store. "Bye," she says to Luca, waving at him again and bouncing on her toes when she gets a wave in return.
Matt looks first at Chris and then down to Luca, he doesn't want to make more of the interaction so he employs his go-to parenting method - distraction. "Okay buddy, what color tee shirts would you like? Red ones?" he winks at his son and moves in beside Chris, their hands brushing for a moment.
Chris smiles at the touch, grateful their first joint fan experience was a good one. "This is cute," he says, holding up a t-shirt with a tyrannosaurus rex on the front.
"Do you like that one?" Matt asks, squatting down beside Luca. "I like the dinosaur."
Luca claps his hands. "Yes please!"
The tee gets added to the basket along with a few plain ones, Chris making faces at some of the sayings. "I don't get how you put some of this stuff on a tee and then act surprised when your kid lives up to it," he says quietly to Matt, not wanting to be overheard badmouthing the store's stock.
Chuckling at that Matt nods. "Oh, you wait until you get Kate on the subject, especially clothes and toys that are heavily gendered," they keep moving, pausing to pick out some hoodies and sweatshirt.
"This is fun," Chris says, handing over another sweatshirt - dino themed like the first t-shirt. "We didn't have any of this stuff when I was a kid."
"No?" Matt reaches down to pick up the dinosaur that Luca had thrown on the floor, a sure sign that the boy is starting to get restless. "Do you want to get out?" he asks.
Luca nods, kicking his heels against the footrest as Matt unclips the restraint straps. "Do you want up or hold a hand?" It's a rule they have, Matt not trusting Luca to stay close.
"Nah." Chris shakes his head, hands on the stroller, watching Luca decide to take Matt's hand. "We had no money and we lived on a cattle station in the middle of nowhere. I was lucky to get my brother's hand-me-downs when they weren't already worn to pieces and otherwise, it was plain white tees and jeans."
"I kind of imagined you as a semi-feral child covered in cuts and scrapes getting into all kinds of trouble," Matt admits as he lets Luca lead them to a selection of shoes.
Chris laughs. "Pretty much," he says, following with the stroller and noticing but not acknowledging the looks of recognition they're starting to get. "We've been made," he adds under his breath, angling the stroller so it blocks one woman's view of Luca - and that of her cellphone, held close to her chest. "We ran wild. My parents were always worried we were going to get trampled by buffalo or eaten by crocs."
"You make it sound like you were living in a zoo," Matt laughs, distracted by Luca picking out a pair of velcro strapped canvas shoes. "You like those? What does Daddy think?" he nudges Luca to show them to Chris.
"I like them too," Chris says, crouching down in front of Luca, "but they're going to get ruined if you put them in the toilet."
Luca's lower lip slides out and he pulls the shoe closer to his chest. "No toilet!" he shouts, upset that his new best friend is reminding him of when he is naughty.
"That's right," Chris nods, deliberately misunderstanding and resisting the urge to look to Matt for his reaction. "If we can agree they don't go in the toilet, you can get them."
Matt watches his interaction with amusement, having to bite his tongue not to step in.
"I have them?" Luca asks, looking at Chris and then his Dad.
"Yes you can," Matt nods, "but like Daddy Chris said, only if you promise not to put them down the toilet."
Chris gives Luca a gentle fist bump, something they've been practising, and a wide smile, getting a giggle from their son. "I think Daddy was right though," he says, picking up Luca and still steering the stroller. "Maybe we need a pair of Crocs for around home and then outside shoes should go up somewhere for when we're going outside. Just in case."
Matt follows, stepping in to take the stroller when they need to turn a corner, the basket perched on the empty seat. "Did we agree on a shirt and pants for him for the wedding? I can't recall?" he asks as they wander past a rack of jackets.
"We said nice pants, a white shirt and a bow tie," Chris says, smiling, Luca patting his cheeks. "But I didn't know if we already had those or not."
"We've never had the need to dress him up before," Matt halts the stroller to look at some pants. "Have you decided what you're wearing?"
Chris nods, rubbing nose with Luca. "My dark blue three piece with a white shirt and black patterned tie." He grins at Matt. "If that meets your approval." He wants to look good for Matt on their wedding day.
"Sounds gorgeous," Matt admits, putting back the grey pants he'd picked up for some dark blue ones. "I think it would have been criminal for you not to wear blue." Chris's blue eyes are one of the things Matt finds most attractive about his lover.
That gets a smile, cut short by Luca squirming to get down. "Okay, but you have to hold my hand," Chris says, setting him on his feet. "What about you?"
"I'd also picked out a dark blue three-piece, but it has a subtle check pattern, a pale blue shirt and I haven't decided on a tie yet," Matt checks the size on the pants and then goes back to the display to find the next size up. "Do you think these would match us if we're both in dark blue?"
Chris nods, Luca tugging at his hand. "I think they'd look great." Watching Matt, his words low and for them alone when he adds, "And you look very sexy right now."
Matt looks up at that, meeting Chris's gaze. "Right now?" he looks down at himself in jeans and a sweater and frowns.
Chris nods again, taking a step closer. "It's the way you look when you focus, on anything really, but right now it's clothes for Luca," he says, which he knows is really strange, but he doesn't care. He's talking about what attracts him. "And yes, the jeans and the sweater and the jewelry... the whole package."
Smiling Matt shakes his head. "Thank you," he murmurs. "I'm not used to someone talking to me like that."
Chris starts to say something else but a middle-aged woman steps up to them, holding out a pen and a piece of paper. "You're Chris Hemsworth, aren't you?" she says, voice quivering with excitement. "Can I get your autograph? I'm a huge fan of yours. I've seen all your movies and I even got all the seasons of Home and Away."
"Sure," Chris says with only the smallest of sighs. "Who should I make it out to?" he asks, crouching down so he can hold onto Luca and sign the paper.
"Jean, please." She smiles at Matt before returning her attentions to Chris.
"What's that?" Luca asks, pointing at the paper.
"It's for me to sign my name," Chris explains, noticing Greg just beyond them, stepping in a little closer. "This lady is a big fan of my movies and she wants me to write a nice message to her so she can remember when we met."
Somewhat taken aback at the interruption of what was a private moment Matt takes a half step back. He doesn't like that this woman approached Chris when he was holding on to Luca. Moving around Chris, Matt steps in behind their son, he doesn't touch him, but it's clearly a protective move.
Luca leans in to study Chris's writing and then looks up at the woman.
Like the salesgirl earlier Jean gives Luca a little wave. "He's adorable," she tells them. "My grandson's about the same age."
"It's a great age," Chris agrees, handing her back the paper and her pen and picking Luca up as he rises to his feet. "Anyway. It was really nice to meet you," he says, making sure none of the resentment he's feeling comes through. "But we need to get this little guy some clothes and we're on the clock." He smiles at Matt.
"Oh of course," she says, taking a step back. Certain she's been dismissed but not in a way she can really complain about. "Thank you," she adds, holding up the paper Chris signed before turning away.
"That was rude," Matt murmurs as the woman walks away. He tosses the pants in the basket and takes control of the stroller again.
"Yeah, it was," Chris agrees, hugging Luca in close. "And sometimes I call them on it, but with Luca here, I just wanted to get her on her way."
"I think in the future I'd prefer it if we requested we're left alone if we have him with us," Matt suggests, aiming toward the cashier.
"Okay," Chris nods after only a second's hesitation. "Do you want me to ask Greg to fend people off?" It's the easiest way to do it, a buffer between them and the fans.
Looking up at Chris, Matt thinks on that. "Are you okay with that?"
"With Greg doing it or with doing it, period?" Chris asks as they join the small line at the cash.
"Interfering with you talking to your fans," Matt explains. "I guess it would be okay if kids could come and talk to you but not like that woman..." His expression gives away just how disgruntled he is about that, especially given they were clearly talking to each other, and anyone with any modicum of social awareness could have seen that.
"I know," Chris had been as unimpressed with her behaviour as Matt, "and I'm okay with it because I'm out with you and Luca," he says softly, shifting a step back to make sure the woman in front of Matt isn't privy to what they're discussing. "Other than being with me, you guys didn't sign up for this. But the easiest way to get Luca used to this is by having him see it happen, so maybe kids for today, salespeople," he adds with a smile. "And everyone else Greg will explain to that we're having a family day out and would rather not be bothered."
Matt nods, relieved that a solution is so easily agreed. "I think that's okay." They're lucky that Luca is such an easygoing and well-behaved child.
Shopping for Luca under their belt, Matt suggests lunch. With a quick look at the mall directory, they opt for the nearby Ruby's Diner, a 1940s-styled family restaurant. Going upscale would likely get them more privacy but what they need right now more than that is a kids menu and the cover of other kids. "I'm going to put my sunglasses on," Chris warns Matt, slipping them on as they step up to the hostess, his head ducked, nose nuzzled against Luca's as Matt pushes the stroller through the restaurant until they're seated in a corner booth where he can sit facing away from the other customers, Luca in a highchair beside them.
"So what would you like Lulu?" Matt asks, scanning the menu. "Would you like a burger, hot dog or chicken?" he asks, before putting the menu down and leaning in to give his son his full attention.
"Hot dog," Luca decides, already with crayon in hand, scribbling on the paper placemat he's been given by the hostess.
Chris watches them both, heart swelling with happiness and pride. Regardless of all the outside crap of the past few days, he feels like the luckiest man on earth.
Straightening up Matt turns to Chris. "Hot dog for Luca," he states with a grin, "buttermilk chicken burger for me, and you?"
Chris grins back. "I'm going all in," he says. "The sriracha burger with onion rings and a vanilla milkshake." It's a rare splurge, enough weeks between now and when he's back to work to indulge.
Peering at the menu again, Matt scans it once more, aware moments later of their waitress moving in.
"Hey there," she chirps brightly. "What can I get you guys?"
"Hi," Matt smiles in return. "Can we get a hotdog and a small chocolate shake for our son, my partner would like a sriracha burger with onion rings and a vanilla shake and I would like the buttermilk chicken burger, dirty fries and a malt shake, thank you." Matt is amused at Chris's choice of 'vanilla' for his shake and he'll tease him about it later.
Chris smiles as Matt orders for him, watching Luca watch the waitress. He's such a bright little guy, taking everything in, and Matt and Kate have obviously done an amazing job raising him up so far. "Should I draw something too?" he asks, holding his hand out for a crayon when the waitress has gone and Luca's back to his placemat.
Luca doesn't even look up as he scrawls on the paper with a determined air of concentration, he does however shake his head, not wanting to be interrupted. Matt chuckles, sliding a hand onto Chris's leg under cover of the table. "Don't take it personally."
Chris chuckles too. "I won't," he says, giving Matt's hand a small squeeze. "I'm impressed he's so focused."
"Colouring and painting are the two things he does get lost in," Matt nods, watching Luca discard one crayon for another.
"Were you like that as a kid?" Chris asks.
"I don't think so," Matt leans back and relaxes in his seat, his thumb flicking the edge of the menu. "I liked Lego, then as I got older I moved on to model making, you know, airplanes and tanks..." Huffing out a laugh, he shakes his head, "I bet my parents still have them all tucked away somewhere."
"So you liked to build and you had patience for intricate details?" Chris says with a smile, thinking how he and his brothers had barely sat still unless made to.
"Yeah I guess so, but I also loved going out on my bike and for a while there I was quite the tennis protege." Reaching out Matt makes a grab for a crayon as it rolls toward the edge of the table.
"You mentioned that. You went to college on a sports scholarship?" Chris thinks he has the details right.
"Yep." Matt sets the crayon back in front of Luca and turns his attention back on Chris. "My..." he just stops himself before continuing, "backside looks amazing in those white shorts, you know..."
"I'll bet," Chris says softly, letting himself think on that for a moment. "I bet that would make an amazing roleplay."
"Roleplay?" Matt's brows go up at that. "You like that too?"
"Some," Chris nods, glancing at Luca and making sure his attention is still on his drawing. "Is that something you've tried?"
"Not really, no," Matt shifts as their waitress approaches, her arms laden with their order.
Chris nods a thank you to the waitress as she slides their plates in front of them. "I'll cut up his hot dog," he volunteers, pulling Luca's plate over and cutting the wiener and bun into non-chokeable pieces. "What's not really?" Wondering if it's just an expression or if there's something more there.
"Only light messing about," Matt elaborates as he offloads a few of his fries onto Luca's plate. "Nothing that required dressing up."
"Did you like it?" Chris squirts some ketchup onto Luca's plate for his fries.
"Yeah, it was fun," Matt nods, grinning at Luca as he shoves a fry in his mouth. "Is that good, huh?" he asks, copying his son by doing the same.
Luca giggles and nods, holding out a fry to Chris.
"Me too?" Chris shoves the fry into his mouth, making exaggerated yum-yum noises and getting Luca laughing again.
What follows is a lighthearted family meal. There is much giggling and teasing and Luca demolishes everything put in front of him leaving smears of ketchup over his face. Smothering a soft belch with his fist, Matt nudges the glass that had contained his shake away and picks up a paper napkin. "Here," he waves it at Luca. "Wipe your face, you dirty monkey."
Luca makes a couple determined swipes at his face but it's not nearly enough and Chris tears open the provided wet wipe to finish the job. "There we go. All clean again," he says, giving Matt a knowing look as Luca rubs his eyes with his fist. He gestures to the waitress for their bill. "Nap and ring time?"
"Yeah," Matt grins at that. Sliding out of the seat he flips open the stroller and picks Luca up out of the high chair and into the padded seat. While Chris settles up he clips Luca in and tucks a light blanket around him.
Outside the restaurant they take a moment to check in with Greg (who had eaten separately and then waited out front for them) and make sure Luca's settled before heading for the jewely store they'd seen earlier. Quite high end, it's not particularly busy, the security guards at the front discouraging anyone not serious from looking. They head for the back where the wedding bands are and lean against the glass cases, checking out the rows of mens wedding bands. "See anything you like?" Chris asks while they wait for the salesguy to finish with another customer.
Matt scans the rings, his gaze skipping over those that are too wide, gold or too ornate until he settles on a tray of platinum bands. "Those," he points. "Simple and classic."
Chris nods, removing his sunglasses to better check them out.
Having finished ringing up his last customer, the salesguy comes over, already greeting them as he approaches, "Good afternoon. Can I help you with anything?"
Chris looks up and smiles at him. "We're looking for wedding bands. Platinum. Something simple and classic," he says, using Matt's description.
It's not like they don't get celebrities in here all the time, but rarely have they been someone of Chris's stature and of course David's well aware of the newly broken scandal over the man coming out. "Of course," he says, giving both men a genuine smile. He pulls the velvet tray of platinum bands out and lays it on top of the glass case. "We can also customize any of these if you'd like them thinner or wider, engraved, whatever. Customization takes about 5 business days."
Matt finds himself blowing out a breath he hadn't been aware he'd been holding - that this sales guy has decided professionalism is the way to handle this situation makes him feel like he can relax and enjoy it.
"I like this one," Matt picks out a simple D band, the precious metal polished to a high shine. He offers it to Chris and then turns back, "Oh! And this one," this time he pulls out a ring of a similar shape and size but this time it has a satin finish to it.
Chris looks at both, checking out the shine, the edges, the thickness. "You should try them on," he says, smiling at Matt.
"We have both of those in a size to fit you as well," David points out to Chris, the man's hands matching the rest of him. A thought which of course leads his mind somewhere it shouldn't be at all. "And we have wider versions. Up to 10mm."
Matt slides the first ring on and holds his hand out to study it. "Plain, simple... yeah?" He looks up at Chris.
Chris nods. "I like it, it looks good on you," he says, unable to stop smiling. Everything looks good on Matt as far as he's concerned. "It's comfortable?"
"Yeah." Nodding, Matt studies it again before slipping it off and trying the second ring. "This one feels good, it's weightier," he comments. Looking up at the salesguy he asks, "Can you see if you have Chris's size in this one?"
"Of course." David measures Chris's ring finger and then bends over, pulling open a few drawers under the case. "Here we go. We have it in the same width and we also have it in a 6 and an 8 mm if you'd like to try them?" he suggests, knowing that often men with larger hands prefer a larger ring.
Chris looks to Matt and then shrugs. He doesn't know anything about rings other than liking to wear them. "Sure."
David straightens up and sets all 3 rings out on a velvet mat. "Would you like to try something wider as well?" he asks Matt.
Shaking his head Matt picks out a ring slightly wider than his own for Chris. "Try it."
Chris slides it onto his ring finger and holds up his hand. "I like it," he says, the edges nice and smooth against his skin. "What do you think?" he asks Matt.
"I love it," Matt grins, nodding. "It's timeless and not overstated."
God Chris wants to kiss that grin. Instead he puts his hand beside Matt's, their fingers touching, looking at both rings. "So are these it?" he asks, grinning back.
"These are it," Matt turns his grin on the salesman. "These are it," he repeats.
David blinks, a little surprised to have made the sale so easily. "Great choice," he says. "I'll get some boxes and wrap them up for you."
"Will you let me pay for them?" Chris asks quietly while David's stepped away. It's not something they discussed before.
Matt's leaning over the stroller to check on Luca, finding him fast asleep, he looks up at that. "Yes, if you want to." It's easy to agree, he's sure there will be plenty of other things he can pay for over the coming weeks.
"Thanks," Chris says, bending down to check out Luca as well. "He looks like such a baby when he's sleeping."
"He looks like an angel," Matt smiles, bumping his shoulder against Chris. "My Mama tells me he looks like I did at that age."
Chris grins, looking from Luca to Matt and back again. "I can see it," he says. And he can.
"You don't know what I looked like at that age," Matt scoffs, shaking his head and turning as 'David' - according to his name tag - reappears. "Do we need to mention to this guy we'd like him to keep his mouth shut?"
"We can try," Chris says, straightening up and giving David a smile. "All set?"
"All set," David nods, showing Chris each ring nestled in its own box, the boxes placed in a gift bag, tissue tucked in on top. He enters the rings into the register, giving Chris the total and handing over his receipt. "I hope you have a lovely wedding," he says, waiting until Chris has put the receipt and his wallet away.
Chris smiles. "Thanks. I know it's asking a lot but I don't suppose you'd be willing to keep quiet about us being here today, making this purchase? At least until you hear we've done the deed?"
Put on the spot David stares at Chris for a moment. "I was going to tell my family and friends," he admits, adding with a sigh and a nod, "But I can keep quiet." He thinks. He's never been good with keeping secrets.
"Tell you what," Chris says, figuring he can sweeten the deal. "If you do keep quiet, Matt and I'll write you a thank you note for helping us find our rings after the wedding and you can put it up in here, show your friends, whatever. It's only a couple of months." A small lie, the last, but he doesn't want to give away the real timing.
"I can do that," David nods, smiling, holding out his hand so they can shake on it.
"You could charm the birds from the trees..." Matt murmurs to himself as he steps up behind the stroller, Chris finishing up and shaking David's hand.
"Thanks again," Chris says, giving David a small wave as they make their way out of the store. "There's no guarantee but hopefully he'll keep it to himself."
"What next?" Matt scans the stores around them.
"I don't know," Chris says, taking a look as well. "Do you have everything you need for Whistler? Warm enough coat, sweaters, good winter boots?"
"Yes," Matt nods, laughing. "Maybe we can just have a wander?" It's been a while since Matt got to just amble aimlessly around a mall.
Given that the paps haven't been able to follow them here and most people seem content to simply gawk, point and whisper, Chris is more than happy to agree. "That sounds good," he says, taking over pushing the stroller from Matt and taking his fiance's hand with a smile, the ability to do just that a huge part of why he wanted to come out.