A long overdue conversation - Chapter 6 - BrewerConsulting (2024)

Chapter Text

The trouble with being a high performer at work is that you can see all the ways in which other people are doing a mediocre job. And then, if you're a gobsh*te, as I very much am, you can't help but point out all of the ways in which said people should be doing it better.

Throw in a rainbow badge and talk about your boyfriend at work and this, my friends, is how you find yourself on the organising committee for your employer's upcoming London Pride march appearance.

So this year, I hate everything to do with Pride month, but for a very different reason. The herculean amount of planning and cajoling to make it happen is easy, I can do that in my sleep but the day itself? I'm sh*tting it. I've never even been to a Pride march and I'm going to be rainbowed up the wazoo, on a corporate-branded open topped bus, in front of a million or so people. Oh god, am I going to have to dance?

The fact that, despite his whole gruff, dom daddy front, David is incapable of saying no to people in authority, is absolutely hilarious. And one that I may or may not have banked for future bratting.

I'm obviously so proud of him, a year ago he was barely out, and now he's organising his work's Pride float. Before, he wore his queerness like he'd suddenly grown an extra limb and none of his clothes fit him properly. All awkward and self conscious. But he's had time and space to assimilate this part of himself into the rest of his identity and it's a beautiful thing.

Obviously, my mates are all going to Pride, as are Charlie, Nick, and their lot. They've been taking me since I was a kid and, over the years, more and more of our friends have joined in. Even my sister comes. She says it's to complete her annual quota of people in public places in one efficient outing, but she'll still dig out her ace flag and pointedly complain about how the purple is too gaudy within earshot of Nick. From what I can tell, it really used to wind him up, he'd take it as a personal assault on the bi flag. But then one christmas he bought everyone mugs with their flags on, complete with hex colour codes and he went up in her estimation.

So I'm always excited for Pride, and especially so for this year. Not that David is giving anything away about what he'll be wearing, or what he'll be actually doing on this float.

Ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod it's actually here. I am so nervous. A quickie in the shower with Olly barely takes the edge off. I need to head up west super early to get everyone set up and off, god it's going to be a long day and I'm already shattered.

I know that Olly and everyone else is going to be towards the end of the route, on the left hand side of the road just before we get to Trafalgar Square. I should have calmed down by then, it'll nearly be over.

We've got a decent sized group, twenty are going to be on top of the bus with a further twenty marching in front of it. We have to wear tops with our work logo on it and some bright spark decided that we also needed to wear rainbow glitter wings. I was not a fan of this idea but was voted down. Stupid democracy.

Eventually I figured, hell, go big or go home, so I've turned my poorly fitting, extremely synthetic, work mandated Fruit of The Loom tshirt into a tight, cropped vest. All the better for displaying the goods, my dear. Dark blue tailored shorts that make my arse look superb, and some plain trainers that I know I can stand in for a long time. And bi flag socks, just to ram the point home.

Us volunteers huddle together, well as best as forty people wearing wings can do. I do one final runthrough so everyone knows what they're doing and where the water and snacks are stashed, and it's go time.

Bailey, Oscar and I get to our spot really early, so I can be against the barriers and get the best chance of seeing David when his float comes through. They predictably roll their eyes and try to tease me about being whipped but I just laugh and shrug. I mean, tell me something we don't all know. What they don't know is that I've made a banner to zip tie to the barriers. It says 'HAPPY PRIDE, PRINCESS' in big rainbow letters, with a pair of otters holding hands on either side. I thought it was hilarious when I made it but a touch of nerves are creeping in. Have I overdone it? Too late now, I guess.

Gradually, everyone turns up. Charlie and Nick, and various mates of theirs, more of mine, David and Nick's mum arrives, Tori and Michael. Even Archana, Jason and Cookie make an appearance. Jason looks visibly uncomfortable but it's good of him to come anyway. He needs less comphet in his life, he can consider today a teaching moment.

The march passes through, and it's magical as always, a riot of sounds and colour and rainbows and joy. And then I see David's float approaching. Holy sh*t, he's leading his team, waving a huge f*ck off intersex-inclusive pride flag. Oh my god, is that a crop top? His arms look amazing. f*ck me, he's wearing rainbow angel wings, I bet he's kicked off about glitter going everywhere.

I nearly faint when I realise he's wearing eyeliner and black nail varnish. He's so gonna get it later.

Once the nerves went, I started to really enjoy myself. The energy of the march is insane, and the combination of music from the floats and the noise of the crowds is a sensory overload. I march in time with the loudest beat, waving this comically large flag. My colleagues are around me, dancing and waving and singing. It's simultaneously chaotic and smoothly organised, and full of joy. I idly wonder whether it's this much fun on a damp day. I'll have to see in the future. That thought, that this is the first Pride of the rest of my life, creates a brief woosh of emotion in my chest, but it's good. It's so, so good.

We approach the bend where Olly will be, and I scan the crowd. There's no way I'm going to be able to see him, there are too many people, but hopefully he'll see... hang on, I hear him! Somehow, I can hear him yelling my name, and he's hanging over the railings, and I'm breaking formation to waddle over, with my huge bloody flag, to kiss the living daylights out of him. I hear Cookie yelling to get a room, and I yell back that he's just jealous, and I step back to see Olly's made me a banner with otters on it, so I surge forwards again to kiss his face off some more. I reluctantly break off to catch back up with my work mates before I lose them completely.

I have no words. If I was in a cartoon then you'd see all the feelings bursting out of my chest like David's glittery rainbow wings. The joy that's radiating off him right now. I love him, I love him, I love him.

The march is finally over, and I'm a wired, sweaty mess. I'm meant to be helping to dismantle the decorations on the float but other committee members told me in no uncertain terms that they don't want me here and to go to my bloody boyfriend already, please, they're sick of hearing about how amazing he is.

I don't need telling twice.

The crowds would have been easier to navigate if I'd thought to take off my wings first, but I finally intercept Olly and everyone else in St James Park. He scrambles to his feet as soon as he clocks me, running towards me and lifting me up in a fierce hug, like we're in a rom com. And then my mum is there, hugging me, and my brother, and my friends, and I'm so overwhelmed that I'm suddenly tearfully clinging on my mum and brother, clutching Olly's hand for dear life.


Yes, I'm a bit tipsy. And my Queen Sarah tiara, the one Darcy made me all those years ago, is definitely wonky on my head. And I'm going to suffer from all this sun later. But just look at my boys. And their partners, and their friends, and all the kids, and the dogs. All glittered up, in a sprawling heap in the park. Rainbows everywhere and so much love.

I hadn't realised how much David's unhappiness weighed on me over the years. It went from teenage defiance to absent uni student to emotionallly and geographically distant adult, so it wasn't easy to spot the melancholy that ran through him. I wish I could have done more, I regret not trying harder. But he probably wouldn't have let me.

Oh but look at him now. Look at both of my boys now. Surrounded by love, secure in their relationship with each other as well as their partners. They've come so far. I am so proud.

A long overdue conversation - Chapter 6 - BrewerConsulting (2024)
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