Home > Mr Fairfax, Mr West and the Meet Cute

Mr Fairfax, Mr West and the Meet Cute
Author: Anyta Sunday

 

* * *

 

This book contains explicit sexual content.

 

 

This was a dream come true. A gender-bent Austen retreat. A chance to experience life as a nineteenth-century gentleman.

Nothing could be allowed to ruin this.

The gravelly stretch of road shuddered and smoothed out into a parking area. Josh slowed to a stop in front of a large map of the Amberguard estate, positioned under a stencilled wooden Camp Austen.

Camp. The height of wit.

He reached to pull the infopack from his suitcase for a quick review of the guest list, and caught sight of a red Lexus across the carpark. A familiar red Lexus. He swallowed a groan.

Tall, dark, handsome—a physical cliché down to his pearly white teeth—Josh’s ex-boyfriend unfolded from the car and angled the side mirror to smooth a stray hair into place. A short blond guy with an effervescent smile and mostly transparent clothing emerged from the other side.

Wonderful.

He of the ever-turned-on nipples.

They crossed the path in front of Josh’s car and Josh slid deep into his seat, out of sight. Not that he’d be able to evade Cassius’s casual speculations on how boring and lonely he was all weekend, but if he could prolong the inevitable . . .

He fumbled for his phone.

Josh: Cassius brought his new bf.

 

 

* * *

 

Noah: The nipple guy from the café?

 

 

* * *

 

Josh: Wally. Yes.

 

 

* * *

 

Noah: Damn.

 

 

* * *

 

Josh: Him never lonely, me constantly so.

 

 

* * *

 

Noah: Remember it’s not true.

 

 

Except it was true. Cassius was an arse, but maybe some of his many accusations held water.

“You work too hard.”

“That’s the only way to win in life.”

“Academic merit is all you want to win?”

It wasn’t just Cassius, either. His whole time at Oxford—his whole extra-curricular time at Oxford—could be boiled down to a litany of complaints on his loving only books and not knowing how to live. And Josh smiling it off like it never bothered him.

Everyone else knew how to live a balanced life. Party. Study. Work. Travel. Find love.

All Josh had was a string of first-quality essays.

Maybe . . . maybe he did need to broaden his horizons.

Josh: Know what? This weekend, I’ll be the perfect easy-going, charming gay guy.

 

 

* * *

 

Josh: Tahi: turn off the history podcast and turn on Lady Gaga.

 

 

Music pulsed out of his phone, and . . . sure. He could get into this.

Josh: Rua: leave all books in the car.

 

 

He reopened his suitcase. Book after book came out, piling onto the passenger seat.

He pulled out the final one and nestled it on his lap, flicking to one of his bookmarked chapters—

He thunked the book atop the others. He’d leave all the academic stuff behind. Take only his bathroom kit and underwear.

Josh: Toru: Have the time of my life.

 

 

* * *

 

Noah: Um . . . sounds fun?

 

 

Josh eyed the books gleaming in late afternoon sun—

Nope, nope, nope.

He climbed out of the car and shut the door on them.

Noah: What do you think of this guy?

 

 

A picture buzzed through, and Josh choked on the woodland-scented breeze swirling around him.

Whoa.

Taken in golden hour, somewhere outside. Dark eyes connected with the camera with sparkling intensity and his laughing face glowed. His shirt was unbuttoned, revealing a black rose tattoo creeping from his peck to the base of his throat. Beautiful. And . . . weirdly familiar.

Josh: . . . You already have a boyfriend.

 

 

* * *

 

Noah: You don’t.

 

 

* * *

 

Noah: Go have fun.

 

 

He would. He absolutely would. Just . . .

Josh reopened the door. This was an Austen retreat after all. It would be silly to be the only one without copies of the novels.

And Sanditon and The Watsons. They would come up. The professor had written books on those.

The tome on Regency etiquette. Yes, that would come in handy. And Grose’s dictionary.

And The Mysteries of Udolpho—Northanger Abbey referenced that one heavily. The History of Sir Charles Grandison was a known favourite. And William Cowper’s poetry.

That was all the books save one. Dickens.

He pulled it atop the teetering pile under his chin. He couldn’t leave a book on its lonesome.

Besides, someone might get sick of Austen and want variety. The homosexual elements woven into his stories would definitely make for interesting discussion.

Auē! He really was a muppet.

He should have opened his suitcase first.

 

 

A footpath through the trees led him to an old cottage and a smartly attired gentleman’s gentleman to help him dress. Through a door, stockings; breeches; a loose, frilly-collared shirt; neckties; waistcoats; jacket and boots awaited him, arrayed before a folding screen.

He ran a hand over the fine fabric of a waistcoat and imagined wearing something as gorgeous as this, every day, all his life. Choosing patterns and colours to suit his mood, everything perfectly fitted . . .

The valet coughed and directed him to make his choice of neckcloth and waistcoat.

The shirt was soft and loose, the stockings . . . weird. He ignored Cassius and Wally’s nearby giggles, and fiddled with the buttons on the breeches. Definitely didn’t want to get caught short there.

The jacket was eased over his shoulders and buttoned up. The grey coat, the white necktie, the dark-buttoned vest popped against his brown skin. He felt different. Reality, far off. Not bad, all in all. If not for the pressure and social awkwardness, he’d say . . . liberating.

He slipped his phone into an inner pocket and stepped out from behind the screen. One of the helpers he recognised from the infopack—Ashling?—waited for him, Cassius and Wally at her side.

“Gosh, all you boys look like you could star in the movie,” she said with gleeful applause. “I can’t wait to see you all together with your professor.” She waved for them to follow her. “She’s waiting for us at the carriage.”

Josh reached for his suitcase but Ashling stopped him with a shake of her head. “Your things will be brought to your room, along with costume changes for the weekend. We don’t want to spoil the illusion.”

He might as well be naked, walking out without his books. But. Illusion.

Outside, four horses were harnessed to a large carriage, and Josh’s professor was lifting her hem to climb inside. Wally followed behind her and poked his head out the window, grinning at Cassius, who was fussing with his silver cravat with the help of a compact mirror.

“Green would have brought out my eyes better.”

Wally tried to shove half his body out the tiny window. “Come in here, you hottie.”

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