Title: Cafe on the Corner (16/?)
Author: Amre ([livejournal.com profile] dazzamre)
Pairing: Viggorli (brief mention of others)
Rating: This chapter PG-13, overall R/NC-17
Summary: AU. A local coffee shop. An Open Mic Night. Anything could happen.
Feedback: It would be most welcome. :)
Disclaimer: Lies, lies! It’s all lies, I tell you!
A/N: Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] dreamerren for the beta. Happy Valentine's Day! :D For the purposes of this fic, I'm using Viggo's dad's middle name to avoid confusion.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10 Part 11 Part 12 Part 13
Part 14 Part 15

Chapter 16

Orlando pushed aside the curtain in Viggo’s living room and looked for the telltale sign of headlights on the long driveway for the fifth time in as many minutes. Liv and Sean were in the kitchen emptying the last of the takeout Viggo had ordered out of aluminum containers and into real dishes. Sean had decided there was safety in numbers and had persuaded Viggo, with some help from Orlando who had practically kissed Sean when he’d suggested it, into having a little get-together for his parents, instead of abandoning Viggo and Orlando alone with them.

“Orli, plates!” Liv shouted from the kitchen. Orlando dropped the curtain and went back into Viggo’s seldom-used dining room, where he had been doing his best to put together something suitable with Viggo’s mismatched dishes. Liv and Sean met him there carrying large bowels and placing them on the table.

“What exactly did Viggo say when he called?” Liv asked again, although Orlando had repeated the conversation to them at least twice.

“He said they were leaving the airport and that they’d be here in about twenty minutes,” Orlando said automatically. “That was,” he looked at his watch, “twenty-two minutes ago.”

“Relax,” Sean told him. “If Grace still likes me after all the things I’ve gotten Viggo into over the years, she’s gonna love you. And trust me,” Sean said mischievously, “I got him into loads of trouble in college.”

Orlando didn’t bother to point out the big difference between them. Even if Sean had been a horrible influence, which he didn’t doubt for a second, although he was sure Viggo could more than hold his own in the troublemaking department, the fact remained that of all the things he’d done, sleeping with her son had not been on the list. Viggo had assured him repeatedly that his parents were fine with everything, but Orlando also knew that he’d never had to introduce them to a boyfriend in the past. As long as he was just an abstract idea, sure, they were fine with it, but would that hold up when they were seated around the table trying to make conversation?

They were interrupted by the sound of car doors slamming, and Orlando didn’t have time to think about it anymore. As they filed into the living room, Orlando felt as though he were about to hyperventilate, sure that all this stress was going to do him in before he could even meet Viggo’s parents. Henry came in first, draped with bags.

“They’ll be inside in a minute. Grandma wanted to ‘stretch her legs’,” he said, handing a couple of bags off to Sean, who had met him halfway. Sean followed Henry down the hallway to deposit the bags in the guestroom, leaving Liv and Orlando alone in the living room.

“Deep breaths,” Liv ordered quietly, giving his arm a reassuring squeeze. She was still peering at him as if afraid he was going to pass out when Sean and Henry came back in the room.

“Grandma can’t wait to meet you,” Henry told Orlando, grinning. He wasn’t sure if Henry was trying to be helpful, or if he got some sort of perverse pleasure out of seeing him sweat like this. Knowing Henry, Orlando was apt to go with the latter.

Sean cuffed Henry lightly on the shoulder and gave him a dirty look, but didn’t have time to say anything as the door opened again, and Viggo entered followed by his parents. Sean was first in their line of sight for which Orlando was grateful. He grasped Peter’s hand before giving Grace a tight hug. “You’re looking lovely as always,” Sean told her, laying the charm on thick.

“You flatterer,” Grace said admonishingly, but smiled nonetheless.

Liv was standing just behind him, suddenly looking nervous herself. Sean wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her even with him. “This is Liv,” he introduced, smiling as she politely shook first Grace’s hand, then Peter’s.

“Good luck keeping this one in line,” Grace said conspiratorially.

Grace finally spotted Orlando lurking behind them and smiled. “You must be a friend of Henry’s,” she said, causing Henry to snort, though in his defense he did try to cover it, and Orlando to panic. He shot a deer-in-the-headlights look at Viggo, who came to his rescue. He brushed past his parents to stand by Orlando.

“Actually,” Viggo said, clearing his throat, “Mom, Dad, this is Orlando.” Orlando was only vaguely aware of Viggo’s arm around him, gripping his shoulder tightly. The simple gesture was calming, but Orlando still felt like a bundle of nerves. The next few seconds seemed to last a lifetime, but finally Grace moved toward them, giving Orlando a quick hug.

She spoke quickly, apologizing and looking embarrassed. Orlando decided on the spot he liked her. He waved off her concerns, assuring her that he wasn’t offended. Orlando felt Viggo relax next to him and realized that despite his calm demeanor, he’d been just as nervous as Orlando.

Sean led the way to the dining room with Viggo and Orlando pulling up the rear. Viggo caught his hand just before they left the living room and gave it a little tug. “You okay?” Viggo asked softly when Orlando turned to look at him.

“Yeah,” Orlando nodded, smiling as Viggo brought their joined hands up to his lips and pressed a kiss against the back of Orlando’s hand. He held it there a second longer than necessary before reluctantly letting go.

“Good,” Viggo murmured. He looked at the dining room door and raised an eyebrow. “Shall we?” he asked playfully, though not looking entirely certain that Orlando wasn’t going to bolt as soon as he had a chance.

“I don’t think we have a choice,” Orlando grinned, following Viggo when he pushed the door opened.

Dinner went surprisingly well. Viggo shrugged off his mom’s compliments on the food without actually telling her that it was from a restaurant, though Orlando got the impression from the way Sean kept grinning at Viggo that she knew. Orlando had seen Sean work a crowd before at the gallery, but his skills in keeping the conversation moving and not lingering too long on Viggo and Orlando were superb, especially since Grace seemed determined to have Orlando’s life story before the meal was over. Peter was affable, carrying his end of the conversation, but not prying, and seeming to silently signal to his wife when her questions became too invasive.

Henry was on his best behavior, though Orlando was fairly certain Viggo had threatened to ground him until he was thirty if he caused any problems while his grandparents were in town. There was one time when Orlando thought he was on the verge of making a snide comment, but Sean kicked him under the table and put an end to it. Orlando knew this because Sean had managed to kick him, too, in the process. He was surprised the whole table hadn’t felt it, but if they did, no one said anything.

After dinner, and after they’d all assured Viggo repeatedly and emphatically that they didn’t want coffee, Sean and Liv finally had to leave. Orli knew Liv had an important deadline the next day, so even though he hated to see them go, he understood.

Grace insisted on doing the dishes, so after telling Sean and Liv goodnight, she began loading the dishwasher while Viggo and Orli saw them out. “I told you it would be okay,” Liv told him, pecking him on the cheek. “I’ll see you at home later?”

“Yeah, I’ll be home,” Orlando told her, opening the car door for her and waiting for her to slide in before shutting it. He waved bye to Sean, who had already started the car, and waited for them to leave before joining Viggo on the other side of the driveway.

“So, all in all, not too bad, huh?” Viggo asked, putting an arm around Orli’s shoulders as they started back to the house. Orlando shook his head, relieved that the night was almost over. Henry was in the living room when they went back inside.

“I’m going to feed the horses,” he told Viggo, slipping on his jacket.

“You want some help?” Orlando offered. He was still too nervous to be left alone with just Viggo and his parents. He didn’t know why, exactly, because they’d both been perfectly nice to him, but there was still a lingering doubt in the back of his mind that they wouldn’t approve of him. Henry shrugged, but waited for Orlando to grab his coat before going outside.

They trekked to the barn in silence. It was warmer inside the stables, but still cold, so they worked quickly. Henry moved around like a pro, and Orlando tried to stay out of the way until Henry told him what to do. As instructed, Orlando poured a bucket of feed into the trough in Legolas’ stall and gave him a quick pat on the neck. He waited for Henry to finish, and then they headed back to the house. Orlando paused at the door, hearing raised voices inside and not wanting to interrupt.

“You shouldn’t eavesdrop,” Henry whispered disparagingly from just behind Orlando. He gave him a disapproving look, then pushed Orlando slightly to the right and pressed his ear to the door.

“For goodness sake, Viggo, you’re robbing the cradle! He’s just a child!” Grace answered exasperatedly. “You’re old enough to be his father! I know you don’t want to hear this, but he’s too young for you. He’s going to get bored and move on, and you’re going to be devastated.”

Viggo started to object, but his mother interrupted him. “Don’t tell me the age difference doesn’t bother you. I know you better than that.”

“I…Of course, I’ve thought about it,” Viggo admitted grudgingly, his words making Orlando flinch. “Orlando is so exuberant and full of life. Why would he want to be with an old man like me? I’m not sure it’s fair to him.”

Orlando couldn’t listen to anymore. He backed away from the door, bumping into Henry, and turned away. He walked away numbly, heading in the general direction of the barn, not sure what he was doing, but knowing he couldn’t just walk in there right now.

Henry cursed under his breath and followed him. “Orlando, wait!” Orlando kept walking, ignoring Henry and the stinging in his eyes. When Henry finally caught up with him, he grabbed his arm, forcing him to stop. “She doesn’t know what she’s talking about,” Henry told him. “Once she gets to know you…” he trailed off, and dropped Orlando’s arm, as if unsure of what to say next.

“What? She’ll like me? Giving you time has sure worked wonders,” Orlando said sarcastically, regretting it the moment the words left his lips. He wasn’t being fair to Henry. Things were actually getting better between them, and now he was attacking Henry for no reason. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that,” Orlando said softly.

“Don’t do that,” Henry ordered. “I’ve been a jerk to you; don’t apologize. And don’t back down with my grandmother, either.”

“It’s not just her,” Orlando answered quietly, taken aback by Henry’s outburst. “I never realized how much our age difference bothered your dad. We’ve never really talked about it.”

“Really?” Henry asked, surprised. “I guess I just thought that was something you would have talked about right away. It doesn’t bother you, not even a little?”

Orlando shook his head. “I’m aware of it, obviously, but it’s never mattered to me. I mean, when you get down to it, age is just a number, right? Why should it matter? And I didn’t think it did, at least not until tonight.”

“Look, it’s obviously not that big a deal to him, or he would have said something before now. Grandma just pushed him until he had to say something; it doesn’t mean he meant it.”

“He wouldn’t have said it if he hadn’t been thinking about it,” Orlando said quietly.

“So he’s thought about it. It didn’t matter enough for him to do anything about it, did it? You don’t have anything to worry about.”

Orlando stared at him. “If you’re not careful, I’m going to start thinking you like me,” he said at last, giving him a wry grin.

“I wouldn’t go that far,” Henry muttered. “But I guess you’re alright.”

“Thanks,” Orlando answered, surprised by how forthcoming Henry was being. They’d been getting along better and better since Thanksgiving, but he’d always felt it was more for Viggo’s sake than any genuine affection between them. Now, though, maybe he and Henry could move past that and actually be friends. “You’re alright, too.”

“Yeah, well,” Henry muttered uncomfortably, looking back at the house and away from Orlando. “If you’ve had enough of this sappiness, can we go inside now? The longer we leave Dad and Grandma alone together, the worse it’s going to be.”

“I guess we should,” Orlando said, even though the last thing he wanted was to see Grace, or Viggo for that matter, right now. Taking a deep breath, he slowly followed Henry back to the house, surprised, but grateful for his unexpected ally.


From: [identity profile] viggolady.livejournal.com

What a lovely Valentine day gift. I miss this sorry, and was glad to see it up again. Glad Orlando finally won over Henry and now has a ally in his corner! Now he's got to face Viggo and his mother.

From: [identity profile] dazzamre.livejournal.com

Thank you so much! I'm really glad you're enjoying it. The next chapter is with my beta, and if she doesn't recommend too many changes, it should be up soon. ;)

From: [identity profile] obvmluver.livejournal.com

Eep! What a twist!
This was a lovely V-Day gift. I just hope you'd update this a little bit sooner than months apart. *giggles* But I guess you have your reasons.
All in all, lovely update with the twist in the end.=D

From: [identity profile] dazzamre.livejournal.com

Thank you so much! The next chapter is with my beta, and if she doesn't recommend too many changes, it should be up soon. ;) RL got crazy for awhile, but hopefully I'll be able to update more regularly now.

From: [identity profile] lenalove.livejournal.com

I love this story, and I am over the moon to see an update. :D I hope the next one won't be so long in coming! *hugs*

From: [identity profile] dazzamre.livejournal.com

Thank you so much! The next chapter is with my beta, and if she doesn't recommend too many changes, it should be up soon. ;)

From: [identity profile] laura-iskra.livejournal.com

so happy to see an update of this!

and I love henry so much right now :p

From: [identity profile] dazzamre.livejournal.com

Thank you so much! The next chapter is with my beta, and if she doesn't recommend too many changes, it should be up soon. Henry and Sean are ridiculously fun to write. ;)

From: [identity profile] ireth06.livejournal.com

YAY! An update! I love this story.

Viggo and Orlando will have to talk about this and Grace needs to get to know Orlando. Maybe Henry can get her to chnage her mind.

Viggo could have said something about Orlando's age, althoguh I understand why it would ahve been difficult...

Thanks for sharing.

From: [identity profile] dazzamre.livejournal.com

Thank you so much! I'm so glad you like it. The next chapter is with my beta, and if she doesn't recommend too many changes, it should be up soon. ;)

Thanks for reading. :D

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