Right Where I Belong Ch. 01

byanon_temptations©

"Yeah, that's fine with me. It's your place, after all." Matt held the whisk out for her before Tessa had even asked.

"Thanks, sweetie," Tessa said as she took it from him, "and I'm glad you don't mind. He's a really nice guy; he comes here quite a bit after work for dinner or a few beers. He's been working with Chris for about three years now."

"Longer than that," Chris said as he walked into the kitchen and made his way towards the fridge.

"Don't you dare start on the beers yet." Tessa hadn't even turned to look at her husband. Chris raised his hands in mock surrender.

"Yes, ma'm," he mocked, before leaning against the fridge and speaking to Matt. "Tomas is a decent guy, I'm sure the two of you will hit it off straight away."

Matt couldn't help but notice the mischievous smile on Chris's face. "This isn't a set-up, is it?" He asked cautiously.

"Of course not!" Tessa and Chris both exclaimed together.

Matt didn't believe them for even a second and rolled his eyes, but he didn't have time to argue because there was a knock on the door and Joseph suddenly jumped up out of his seat excitedly. "Grandad's here!"

They could hear footsteps moving across the hall before Chris's dad Hank walked into the kitchen. Matt had only met Hank a handful of times – the first time being at Tessa and Chris's wedding – but they had always got on well. Hank was always smiling and you could clearly see where Chris got his height, his fair hair and his friendly personality from. Hank had raised Chris on his own after his wife had passed away when Chris was only a toddler, and Tessa had also commended him on what a wonderful job he had done.

Joseph ran towards his grandfather with his arms in the air and a grin plastered across his face, before stopping short when he seemed to remember that he was covered in paint.

"Look at you, little man, you look like a rainbow," Hank exclaimed before picking him up regardless. Tessa went to object, but Hank cut her off. "Don't worry Tessie, these are my gardening clothes anyway." He turned to Matt and grinned, genuinely pleased to see him. "Matt, it's good to see you again."

"You too, sir."

"We'll have none of this 'sir' nonsense, son. Call me Hank." He smiled before putting Joseph down and picking up the overnight bag that was sitting on the kitchen table.

"We really appreciate you taking Joseph for the night Hank," Tessa said.

"No problem love, you guys have a nice night and I'll drop him back tomorrow around lunch time."

"See you later, little man," Chris said, kissing his son on the cheek.

Tessa and Matt waved goodbye as Hank left with an excited Joseph in his arms. Tessa turned back to her cooking. "Now you can start on the beers."

"Thanks, sweetheart." Chris leaned over to kiss his wife on the cheek before getting himself a beer and passing one over to Matt.

"You're going to change before dinner, right?" Chris asked.

"Um, do I really need to? I thought this was just a casual dinner amongst friends."

Chris looked over at his wife for support. Tessa nodded. "Perhaps put on a different shirt. Keep the jeans though, they look hot."

"Yeah and perhaps wear that dark green shirt, or maybe even that fitted black one. Those two really suit you," Chris added.

"Oh God, this dinner thing is a set-up, isn't it?"

"No," Chris laughed at Matt's reaction, "but it doesn't hurt to make an effort when we have guests, does it?"

Matt just shook his head and made his way upstairs to change.

*******

There was a knock on the door at precisely 7pm. Matt and Chris had been sitting in the lounge whilst Tessa was in the kitchen adding the finishing touches to her dessert. Chris left to answer the door whilst Tessa joined Matt, a glass of wine in her hand.

When Chris re-entered the room, Matt was rendered speechless. The man beside him was gorgeous. Scratch that, he was stunning. The first thing Matt noticed was his height. Although not as tall as Chris, he was a good three or four inches taller than Matt's 5"10. He had stunning dark eyes and dark brown hair that had that sexy messy look that some guys could pull off effortlessly. He had a bit of stubble across his jaw line – something that had always been a strange turn on for Matt. Tomas had to be a similar age, Matt thought, or maybe a year or two older. Matt blushed when he realised that he was staring and stood quickly to greet Chris's friend.

"Matt, this is Tomas Owins, a colleague and good friend of mine. Tomas, this is one of our closest family friends Matt Webbe. He's relocating here and staying with us until he finds a place of his own."

Tomas offered his hand and Matt reached out to shake it. Tomas's hands were soft and Matt found himself reluctant to let go. "It's nice to meet you Matt."

"And you," Matt replied with a friendly smile.

Tessa greeted Tomas with a hug before pulling her husband away. "Chris, I need a hand in the kitchen. You two boys can sit down and get to know each other; dinner should only be another ten minutes or so." Tessa and Chris practically ran from the room. It was almost comical.

Matt sat down first and passed Tomas a beer from the table.

"Cheers," he said before sitting down on the opposite sofa.

"So, Tomas..." Matt started.

"Call me Tom."

"Right..." Matt paused - he was truly awful at making small talk and had no idea what to say without sounding like a total fool. Thankfully, Tom spoke first so that he didn't have to.

"So you're moving here, then? What made you decide to relocate?"

"Oh, well, it was pretty sudden," Matt started, "but I've been living on the outskirts of London since I graduated from Uni and I needed a change of scenery really. Plus it'll be nice to live closer to Tessa, Chris and Joseph. I've already got a job lined up locally and I start a week on Monday, so all I have to do now is find somewhere to live, and I'm planning to start house-hunting this week."

"Wow. It sounds like you've got everything sorted," Tom said, looking impressed.

"I guess so, which is kind of surprising when you consider that this time last week I was a complete wreck." Matt noticed Tom's inquiring look and darted his eyes away as he went on to explain. "I split up with my partner Mitchell a few weeks ago after I caught him in bed with a friend, and he pretty much admitted that it wasn't the first time he'd cheated either. We'd been together for two years." Matt blushed. He couldn't believe he'd told this to a man he'd know for barely more than a minute.

"Shit, man. I'm really sorry." Tom seemed to mean what he said – he appeared genuinely sorry to hear about Matt's relationship disaster. "I realise that it's probably not my place to say this since I don't even know the guy, but he sounds like a world class prick."

Matt gave a small chuckle. "You're right, he is. I just didn't realise until too late. I'm doing pretty well now though and being here has definitely helped. This whole relocation thing has happened so quickly, but I really like it here."

"Yeah, it's a nice area. I've lived here all my life and I've never even considered moving. If you need a hand with finding a place, I could help. My sister's a local estate agent and I know the area really well."

Matt nodded. "That's really nice of you to offer, thanks."

"No problem." Tom gave Matt a wink, and Matt was sure his heart skipped a beat. "So what line of work are you in?" Tom asked.

Matt had to clear his throat before he could speak. "Graphic design – I majored in it at university but until now I hadn't managed to actually get a job in that field. I tried to get work as part of a marketing team at a whole bunch of firms in London but I never had any luck. I think Tessa pulled a few strings and exaggerated a little to get me this new job but I'm pleased that she did," he laughed. "What about you? I know you work with Chris, but if I'm completely honest I'm not even sure what it is that he does. I just know it involves numbers."

"I'm a business analyst. And yes, it is as boring as it sounds," Tom joked. "It's actually not what I want to do forever; I'm waiting for a teaching opportunity to crop up at the local Uni. I do guest lectures for the Business School every now and then but I'd quite like to teach, eventually."

Matt was impressed. Tom certainly sounded like a smart, level-headed guy and he seemed genuinely nice too, which Matt felt was a winning combination. Matt was surprised by how well the two of them were hitting it off. When Tom laughed or smiled, Matt's heart fluttered and he was left almost breathless. He couldn't believe the instant attraction he had for the other man and he tried his best not to let it show for fear of making Tom uncomfortable.

The two men continued to chat until Tessa called them through for dinner. The conversation continued throughout the meal, and they discussed anything and everything; sports, music, work, and whatever else happened to crop up in the natural flow of the conversation. Tessa and Chris kept sending each other knowing glances that Matt didn't fail to notice. In fact, Matt was sure that Tom had noticed their smug expressions too.

After the meal, everyone headed into the lounge where Chris and Tessa cuddled up to each other on one of the sofas, leaving Matt and Tom to sit together on the other. As soon as he sat down, Tom lifted his arm and rested it along the top of the sofa behind Matt. Matt couldn't help thinking how natural it felt, the four of them sitting here like this and chatting away to each other. He shot Tom a sideways glance only to notice that Tom was looking at him with a beautiful smile on his face and a slight sparkle in his eyes.

"You two certainly seem to be getting on like a house on fire," Chris commented with a grin.

"Definitely," Tessa added. "That's always what I like to see; two of our closest single gay friends getting along so well together."

Matt blushed profusely. "Holy shit Tessa, did no one ever teach you of a little thing called subtlety?" Matt mumbled.

Tessa simply shrugged and took a sip of her wine. Matt couldn't deny his attraction to Tom. The man seemed perfect – he was smart, gorgeous, funny, and he already seemed to have the stamp of approval from Matt's closest friends. Matt couldn't believe he was even thinking about this since he had only just met the man.

After some more chatter and a few more beers – on Matt and Chris's part, Tom wasn't drinking because he had to drive home – Tom stood to make his exit.

"Thanks for a great night guys, but I best be off."

"It's no problem at all honey. You know you're welcome here any time. Matt will walk you to the door, I'm absolutely knackered." Tessa stretched out further on the sofa and gave an exaggerated yawn, and Matt was once again left to wonder at her complete lack of subtlety. He got up from his seat and waited whilst Tom gave Tessa a kiss on the cheek, and then he headed out towards the door with Tom in tow.

"I really enjoyed chatting to you tonight, Matt." He paused. "This might sound kind of forward, but would you like to go to dinner some time?" For the first time that night, Matt thought that Tom sounded rather nervous and self-conscious.

"I mean, it doesn't have to be like a date or anything," Tom continued, "I haven't really been on a date since – never mind. I – I could show you around town, introduce you to the area a bit. If you'd like. You don't have to if you don't want to, obviously." Tom started to blush and nervously ran a hand through his hair. "Sorry, I sound like a complete idiot. Just ignore me." He turned to open the door.

Matt reached out to stop Tom from leaving. He wasn't sure if he was ready to start dating quite so soon after Mitchell, but he really liked Tom, and Matt didn't want him to leave like this. "Dinner sounds good, Tom."

Tom smiled and nodded. "Great, well I'll call you and we can arrange something." He pulled his phone from his pocket. "I have Tessa and Chris's house number but it might be easier if you give me your mobile number, if that's okay."

Matt nodded and took the phone from Tom. He punched his number in before handing it back.

"Thanks. I'll catch you later then, bye." Tom smiled before pulling the door open and making his way down the drive with a wave.

"Bye, Tom." Matt closed the door and spun around, heading straight back into the lounge. He stopped in front of Tessa and Chris with one hand on his hip.

"That was a total set-up, wasn't it?"

"Does it matter? You liked him, right?!"

Matt rolled his eyes. But truthfully, he did. He really liked Tom, and that scared the hell out of him.

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