Fives
#16
Rob clapped his hands in delight, proud that his pupil was making progress. ”Now ‘ee got’it, Felix!” he lauded happily, raising his own tankard in a salute. At Felix’s words – the need for a drink and alluding to the weekly competition – Rob nodded in agreement. ”Aye, ‘reckon we best move aside for t’while.”

The two stood together by the bar, while competitors and spectators alike organized themselves to get comfortable and get on with the night’s sport. Rob of course was to be a participant, but he had a mind to keep Felix company during the other men’s turns. Leaning back to the bar, elbows planted on its surface, he looked at Felix and asked curiously, ”So, ‘ee never ha’ tossed a dart afore? Do’ee enjoy any other games?” He cocked an eyebrow, smiling, perhaps flirtatiously, perhaps not. It was always so hard to tell if Robbie was being clever, or thick headed.
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#17
As the tournament got underway, Felix found himself glad to be out of the center of attention, content with his position at the bar with Rob. Kel's little band continued to play, and Felix was momentarily sorry that the crowd was more interested in their game than in the beautifully wild music. Resolving to compliment Kel on his playing later, he turned his attention fully back to his evening's companion and his remaining ale.

Whether or not Rob was flirting in earnest was still up in the air, yet that never would have prevented Felix from smiling back at him. "Oh I don't know, I might quite like darts, if the company is always so engaging." He took another sip of ale, actually considering. "I do enjoy card games, Hearts, Whist, that sort of thing. It feels like it's been ages since I've played anything at all. Charades can be such fun, only when quite intoxicated."

As if to demonstrate that particular condition, Felix downed quite a lot of his ale, finding it more palatable if swallowed quickly and in large quantities, and waved to the barman. "Would you fancy something a bit stronger? They do have brandy here, if you're game for it?"
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#18
Rob noted the way Felix kept looking at the musicians, and he ruminated the more about what he had guessed was going on between his old mate and the oddly genteel footman. His blue eyes flicked from the energetic fiddler to the more winsome looking Felix, and he thought little about what sort of emotional attachment might be forming there, and much more about the arousing idea of two men engaged in physically intimate couplings of one sort or another. Felix was good looking, real handsome, and Kel - Kel was a looker too. And he had a very special place in Rob’s heart, if no longer in his pants.

Rob had a great fondness for his long time friend and first lover, though it was doubtful that he had ever really loved the other boy, even back then . Recently what with pondering the what ifs and maybes, and the past rationalizations for his deceit when he’d broken things off with Kel, Rob had felt a bit guilty – and a queer mix of nostalgia and horniness, laced with the attraction of proximity. It was a bit muddled. But so far, Kel wasn’t biting and Rob suspected that the comely lad next to him accounted for a fair bit of Kel keeping him at arm’s length. His own role in his friend’s resistance was also acknowledged, but Rob knew less how to “fix” any of that.

In any case, in response to Felix’s complimentary, and mildly flirtatious, remark, he gave the man a direct look that might have signaled an amused interest, and said only, ”Oh, aye?” before lifting his own tankard to his lips and draining a large gulp of his preferred drink. When Felix moved on to offer up brandy, Rob raised an eyebrow with marked interest this time, and answered in an unsure voice, ”Reckon they do. ‘Ee be a man of fine tastes, Felix…” Rob hailed the bar keep and asked after the pricey French beverage, which in turn engendered more raised eyebrows of those standing close. But it seemed there was a bottle or two on the premises and as the barman tottered off to search for it, Rob heard a pause in the music and once again his eyes went to Kel.
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#19
The set had finished, and he kissed Coleen's cheek before hopping off the platform, tucking his fiddle away in the case. He'd nearly lost track of what Robbie and Felix had been up to, and went about in search of them, wiping sweat from his brow. He spotted them at the bar, of course Felix had asked for brandy, which he snorted at as he slid into a seat next to them. "Reckon they only takes out fancy drinks when a bloke looks fancy enough to look worth the trouble."
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#20
His evening's companion had seemed uncertain, and Felix could not guess at what Rob might have been thinking, regarding his choice of spirits or anything else. At least the Madman's Bluff still had some supply of the brandy. "Too fine, I wonder?" he asked, eyebrows pressing together slightly in concern. "I do try to experience all things, as an artist . . . but I suppose, also as an artist, I do appreciate the most beautiful of everything most of all."

As he made this last statement, Kel came to sit beside him, and Felix smiled at him. "Speaking of beauty, your playing tonight was superb." He laughed at Kel's comment, smoothing his waistcoat self-consciously. "Do you think so? Perhaps. But it does my wallet no favours." He smiled at Rob, delighted to be sitting between the both of them. The barman brought the brandies. "We'll want a third glass, won't we?" he asked, looking from Kel to Rob, then nodding at the barman, who went to retrieve it.
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#21
Rob was more than a bit lost in Felix’s philosophical reply, and wasn’t bothered enough by that to ask him to expound further, only looking forward to a taste of the smoky wine. His eyes, like Felix’s, went to Kel as the other groundskeeper joined them at the bar. He nodded in a congenial way to Kel, with a smirk playing about his lips, and seeing the two man interact he was convinced he was right in his speculation. But the brandy had arrived, and Rob took his glass readily and sipped appreciatively, enjoying the luxury and the taste as well. He raised his glass a bit and said with a smile, ”To fancy lads then, and fancy fiddlin’” before he downed a large gulp, with little regard for the etiquette which called for polite, small sips.

In the next moment he was called away to take his turn at the board, and he went with alacrity, there being nothing immediately likely to distract him from keeping his eye on real prize here.
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#22
"Ta, Felix." Kel inclined his head, barely smiling but conveying his reaction in his eyes; he was quite charmed by his brief mannered intake of his appearance, his sincere and lavish compliments. Felix was such a contrast to Rob. But he appreciated both for their own singular allure. "So Robbie been' showin' thee how Yorkshire men spends their time?" He held no particular pride in his tone, watching the game in full swing. Perhaps he was embarrassed, surely Felix was used to more interesting things. Laughing at the toast, and drinking a similar hearty swig to Rob's as the barman brought him a third glass.
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