...Frith Street, UK - January, Pt. 2
I’m a little disappointed when I realise he’s probably not a screamer. I’ve met screamers. He...doesn’t seem like one. Maybe he groans and moans? That’s hot.
“What’re ya doin’ here?”
“What?” he asks. He’s a good foot away from me.
“England. You’re American, yeah?”
He chuckles. It doesn’t sound real. “Is that painfully obvious?”
We cross the street. “What are you doin’ here?” I ask again.
He sighs and looks at me, then back to the road. “Studying abroad. What else would I be doing?” He inhales, puts his hand to his mouth, then turns his head to look forward. “I mean, technically, I can’t afford it, but I’ve always wanted to come here.”
“Hm.” Not really the answer I was looking for. Whatever.
“Y-your accent is nice,” he stutters. But now he’s watching the traffic on the road ahead.
I smirk. “Maybe you and it could get - ” He pulls me back as a bus goes by.
“You need to be more careful!” he shrieks in my ear. “You could’ve gotten killed. Please be more attentive. And this is coming from me, of all people.” He frowns for a second, then smiles. Dimples.
I glare. “What’re you implyin’?”
“You’re not paying attention,” he says, grabbing my arm. “You almost got run over.”
Wonder why I’m not paying attention. “I think I’m payin’ attention enough,” I say, glancing him up and down.
He looks away again as we dodge cars on Charring Cross Rd.
We get to the entrance of Leicester Square Underground station and he turns to me. “Well, uh...thank you, for walking me to the station. I appreciate it.” He nods and turns to go down the steps.
I grab his arm. “What’s the rush?” I point to the steakhouse right next door and grin. I can’t afford it, but he can’t leave yet. “Let’s grab something.”
He looks at the restaurant, then me. “What, there?”
“Yeah. There.” Don’t care. Anywhere. Somewhere.
After a second, he says, “I can’t afford that. I can barely afford to be here.”
OH MY GOD SHUT THE FUCK UP PICK UP THE FUCKING CUES, DUMBASS.
“I need to go study anyways. I have an assignment on Brutalism I need to do,” he says, shaking my hand off him. But the way he says it, there’s no, like, desperation to get away. He sounds like he truly means it. “Thanks for – ”
“Where’re ya headed?” I ask.
He points back toward the station.
YOU FUCKING DUMBASS PIECE OF SHIT.
“N-no,” I force-laugh. “I meant...can I come with?”
I can actually see the fucking gears in his head turning.
And then he gasps and asks, real fucking loud, “Are...are you asking me out?”
I cringe. Because he’s just too fucking loud and people’re looking at us.
But I swear to God, I will get fucking laid tonight if it’s the last goddamn thing I do.
“Hm,” I think, pulling out my phone. “Right, let’s skip th’ bullshit. Your station’s, what, 20 minutes away?” I pause for a second. “Nah, too long. Hold on.” I open my phone and begin scrolling through the contacts list. “I got a guy. Runs a taxi. He’s my mate, so we can...” I whisper this through my teeth. “...do whatever an’ he’s real cool with it.”
He blinks. And then steps forward. “Look, I...appreciate the offer for a cab, but I think I’m just gonna take the train. I need to get used to the area, anyways.” And then he leans forward and asks, loudly, “Unless you want to show me around?” But then pulls back. “But I have to be back at my flat by 10 because I need to study.”
I look at my phone. It’s almost 11.
“...do you want to do this?”
He cycles through different thought processes. It’s written all over his dumb, fucking face – confused, surprised, back to confused, suspicious. And then asks, “What?” He’s just staring at me like he doesn’t really know what the hell I’m saying. Like I’m speaking another language or he’s just that barmy.
And then it hits me.
Maybe he’s just that daft. Or he’s just slow. Because I kinda feel like this, like, unawareness is my fault.
I sigh and step back. “Sorry - ” Whatever the fuck your name is, dumbass. “I thought that...” How do I phrase this for him?
“...a guy at a bar would want to be asked out by someone?” he asks, scratching his arm. He slips on some gloves from his coat pocket. He tucks the ends of his muffler into his coat.
Not what I was going for, but okay.
“I know the situation seems kind of...out there - ” He makes this exaggerated face and pushes air away from him. ” - but I promise I wasn’t there for that. Again, I didn’t even realize it was a gay bar. I thought it was a bar called the Bugle. I-I am genuinely serious, I thought it was just a typo. My friends – well, I met them through my study abroad program, and I’ve been trying to hang out with them, but they keep ditching me so, so maybe I wouldn’t really consider them friends, but, you know, they invited me to come out with them but they...kind of dragged me there.”
I click my teeth. “...that’s right, you didn’t know it was a gay bar,” I mutter.
I put on this cheesy grin. And I know he won’t notice the difference. “Nothin’, mate. Jus’ glad I could help you.” Good fucking job, dumbass.
He halfheartedly smirks at me and begins backing away. “Have a good night...” His face twists back into, like, confusion, and he comes back towards me. “I’m sorry, I don’t know your name.”
I hold out my hand. “It’s Tommy.”
He shakes my hand, grinning. Like, a big-ass grin on his face. “Have a good night, Tommy. Thank you so much for your help. I really, really do appreciate it.”
I don’t think there’s any part of what he said that isn’t true.
Makes me feel good.
And then turns to head into the Underground station.
Okay, now it’s my turn to be confused because...don’t people usually introduce themselves or some shit like that when they shake hands? I want to ask his name, but he won’t hear me. And before long, he’s gone.
“Fuckin’ dumbass,” I mutter, and turn back to head to the Bulge. Though I should probably be saying that to me instead.
An hour and five more shots of vodka in, my head’s swimming. I get shot down three more times. I think it’s three. I’m not sure. And not even the ugly ones want to fuck me.
I hear Mum saying something. The words’re warped in my head and I can’t understand them. But she’s using that tone.
God I wish I was a smoker. That’d piss them off.
I want to go home.
I stay at the bar for another hour, groaning while I get a headache. The music and everyone talking kind of swirls together into this mess of loud noise. I want to go home. Something lumps in my throat, and it just makes me want to go home more.
I stay at the bar for another hour, shooting back a mix of stuff before I decide to head out back to Leicester Square station. Which just so happens to be the same fucking station I take to get home.
Everywhere I look, it’s like my eyes’re staring through water at shit.
I throw up somewhere.