Head Over Heels
by Dolores

"That's really not funny," Dom says, with a silly grin on his face.

Orlando is leaning against an oak tree in the park and he's just dipped his nose into his Mr Softee ice cream. A little curled peak drips onto his chin.

"You look very silly."

"Do I?" he asks, then dips again, tongue flashing across his top lip as more drips down his face.

Dom is close enough to touch and with his spare hand, Orlando does just that, grabbing Dom around the waist, pulling him close and rubbing noses. Dom shrieks, pulls back and sneezes.

This last act splatters ice cream down Dom's t-shirt. Orli nearly collapses in a fit of laughter.

"You total bastard," Dom says, ineffectually wiping a hand down his chest.

Orli giggles some more and cleans his face with a grubby tissue found in his pocket. "Come on, we haven't been on the swings yet."

For a sunny day in early June the park is quiet, but then it is a Tuesday morning and the schools are still open. There are a few people about: an elderly couple walk their fat basset hound, and a mother watches her toddler son kick a ball half as large as himself before falling over. His wails are sharp against the dull roar of the city beyond the park gates.

Orlando decreed at breakfast that morning that he wanted to spend the day at the park. Dom, who was rather hungover and merely agreed to get Orli to stop talking, blames this idea on the fact they'd watched "Mary Poppins" the previous night after coming in from the pub, although admittedly Orli hadn't yet bought a kite. When they'd set out Dom had really just wanted to go back to bed, but now he was here it was actually quite enjoyable.

The world moves up and down, and Orli complains. "I'm sure I could get higher when I was little."

"That's because you were smaller. And you probably had someone pushing."

"Very true. I'm higher than you, anyway."

That was the thing with Orlando. Everything was a competition.

"Are not!"

The same was often true of Dom.

When they can't agree who can get highest, they declare a draw and move onto the roundabout, which has less of a competitive element. The hangover, which had faded, returns to haunt Dom and whilst Orlando whoops with glee and pushes even harder, Dom clutches the bars and tries not to be sick.

He isn't quite ready for the seesaw after that, and can only cope with those fibreglass animals on springs, which rock gently back and forward. Orlando, who is on an elephant, hums to himself as Dom, who is on a flamingo, lets his stomach settle.

"I still want to go on the bouncy castle," Orli says when the colour begins to return to Dom's cheeks.

"We're not 11 years or under. We're not allowed."

"Stupid rules. There has to be a way around them."


The bouncy castle is large and yellow and, as it turns out, owned by a Lord of the Rings fan who waives his normal rules for two autographs and some gossip about Liv Tyler.

Dom doesn't think he's seen Orli happier, but then maybe he has. Orli looks like a happy puppy most of the time. Either way he's laughing and it's a good sound. Dom is laughing too.

"So why the park?" he asks, throwing himself into a wall.

Orli tumbles head over heels. From somewhere under a tangle of limbs he says, "When I was 11 I took a girl on a date to the park. She was my first kiss."

Dom slumps into the corner of the castle, which undulates beneath him. "So this is a date then?"

"Maybe," Orli answers. "If you want it to be." He crawls over to Dom, and places his hands on Dom's chest.

"I've had more romantic interludes."

"Have you really?"

"Maybe. Who kissed who, then? That first time."

"I kissed her of course. I was very forward. Still am."

As if to prove his statement he leans in and kisses Dom, soft and gentle, hands pressing into Dom's body. His fingers curl around the fabric of the t-shirt, and suddenly he is pulling Dom forward and over his head, throwing him to the other end of the castle.

"You're still a total bastard," Dom says breathlessly. "I bet you did this to that girl too."

Orlando shakes his head. "Oh, I never would have taken her onto the bouncy castle."


"Nope. You're special."

His words linger in the warm air for a moment. The mother has brought her toddler to the bouncy castle, and is giving them a funny look. He is busy taking off his shoes, trying to work out the mechanics of Velcro.

Dom smiles at Orli.

"Fancy getting a kite?"


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