Empty swimming pools [BxB]

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Wild eyed

Just outside the Carlyle Rosewood Hotel where Bemelmans Bar is, Lennon is smiling widely showing all his teeth and dimples hoping that might help in persuading William not to go home. William is shaking his head in defeat.

- Come on then. - he replies and Lennon would smile harder if he could.

- Yes mate. I’m so done with hotel rooms, I really don’t want to go back. - Lennon offers that as a reason.

- But there’s one thing that I actually have to do. I have to take my dog out for a walk, I wasn’t home this morning. So do you mind coming with me? We can take him out and then there’s a pub I like, we can go there.

- No, I don’t mind at all. Poor thing. Nina couldn’t do it? - Lennon is curious.

- Well we don’t live together and also she’s on the set all day. Otherwise I would ask her.

- Shit.

- It might possibly be some shit there, you’re absolutely right. - William jokes.

- I promise if the dog pissed or pooped in your flat I would clean it, because that would be my fault too. - Lennon declares.

- You bet.

William decides they will take a taxi to his flat in West Village so he lifts his arm and a famous yellow car stops to pick them up shortly. You have to have a certain skill to hail a taxi in New York City and this man surely has it. After approximately half an hour they arrive at 39 Christopher Street and William tells him to wait for him while he quickly goes to get the dog.

Lennon takes his phone and discovers missed calls and messages from his band mates probably worried about him because he’s not in his hotel room. He decides to give some sign of life, he scrapes his dirty white Converse on the pavement, one hand stuffed in the pocket while the other dials Jorja’s number.

- Hey Jorja, you alright?

- Where the fuck are you? - his dearest Jorja, he loves her feisty attitude so much.

- Just out and about. You know.

- Out and a.. What does that even mean? We have a flight tonight you know? You’re coming back to the hotel any time soon? - she shouts.

- Yeah yeah chill out. It’s only 3 o’clock and I will be there in a few hours. I’m just hanging out with William. - he says that with caution not sure if Jorja remembers him, considering they were all quite drunk the night before.

- William Hamilton-Smith? Oh ... Okay...

- It’s not like that. Your dirty mind. He has a girlfriend. And is straight. We’re just hanging out. Yeah, so don’t worry, I’m not dead in some back alley. - Lennon knows how protective Jorja is of him and it warms his heart.

- I do worry, you wanker, especially after we all got pissed last night. - she seriously tells him and just sighs deeply. - Fine. Let me know when you’re back at your room. And say hi to William, he’s seems like a cool bloke.

Lennon hangs up and sees William getting out of his building with a beagle on a leash, pulling eagerly.

- Lennon, meet Cooper.

- Hey buddy! So sorry you didn’t get to pee in a while.

Lennon speaks to him in baby talk while getting down on his knees and ruffling dogs soft fur, a combination of white, tan and black and he seems very affectionate and energetic. Lennon gets so excited by this, maybe even more than the dog for going out. The reason is because he gets the chance to know more about William, he met his dog - that’s important. He knows where he lives. Yes, why is that important? He will think about that later but maybe they can all hang out here with Liam when Lennon comes back to New York.
So they go to the nearby park, walk around a bit, let Cooper sniff a few bushes and William points his finger to the direction they should go.

- I’m taking you to my favourite pub. It’s just around the corner. And it’s dog friendly.

Just on the corner of 7th Ave and 10th there’s Galway Hooker and Lennon bursts out laughing.

- What? - William acts all innocent and clueless like he doesn’t know Lennon is laughing at the pub name.

- Love it. I’m taking Jorja here next time, she’s half Irish.

- Galway hooker is actually a type of traditional fishing boat in Ireland. And also there’s a pale ale with that name, don’t know what you’re laughing at.

William jokes and Lennon looks at him amused, wondering if he’s actually joking or he really knows these random facts. He decides he will google it later.
They take a seat by the window. Lennon is taking in the surroundings. It’s cozy and dusky. Comfortable green seats, the kind you can lounge about in for hours. Plain old tables, wooden floor and ceiling, decent selection of ales and beer at the bar. Jukebox and table football in the corner and bartenders who recognise locals and have their drink ready when they see you walk in. It’s so William. Cooper sits down next to Lennon’s leg and he pats his head gently, thinking how long has it been since he’s done normal things like this, having lunch with a friend or taking a dog for a walk. He doesn’t think he’s ever done it. Not with the way he lives his life.

- Everything alright, sad eyes? - William’s voice is so close and the words make him swallow a thick lump in his throat and keep his gaze on the dog, his arms prickling with goosebumps.

- Sad? - he can’t figure out what to say to that, he needs to shake this feeling off, he doesn’t like feeling so exposed. - Hair of the dog? - he decides to make a terrible joke instead, pointing at the pints in William’s hands.

- I got us two Brooklyn Lagers. Is it bad we’re already drinking after moaning about being hungover all day?

- It’s not drinking, it’s only one pint. - Lennon states before siping cold lager from a cold glass, water droplets are forming by condensation on the outside.
William is watching this simple action with so much interest, and Lennon notices. He knows a man with that look, but it can’t be? Can it? Lennon is making an art out of one sip of beer now, only for a few seconds but that’s enough to catch William’s eyes going wide.
Lennon’s rosy lips move to taste refreshing drink and frothy foam on top of beer leaving white trail on his upper lip. It should be funny because it’s making him look like he has white mustache. But Lennon nonchalantly licks his top lip, his tongue slowly removing the excess foam all the while looking straight into William’s eyes.

- I just love head. Some people don’t. Do you love head? - Lennon breaks the silence.

- Um. .. What? - William is shocked by the question and uncomfortably shifts in his seat. Lennon loves the reaction, even though he knows he can’t do anything with it, he knows this man is not for him in any way but to be friends with.

- Head, on a beer, foam? Some people don’t like to drink it.

Lennon tries to sound like the words he’s saying don’t have double meaning. He didn’t really try to find out if William likes sucking dick. Did he? He doesn’t want to make this lovely man uncomfortable. He won’t flirt even though the only image he has in his mind now is William licking away the white foam from Lennon’s upper lip. Licking something white from... Fuck. The image is on repeat, like a glitch.

- Yeah.. yeah, I do, I guess ... I don’t mind. - William smiles shyly and looks away, like he’s searching for something around the pub. - God, I miss English pubs. -he adds. And that’s a queue for Lennon to drop whatever he is doing there, pushing the images away, and focusing on new topics of conversation. He can’t shake off William’s answer though, it could mean he doesn’t mind sucking cock.

- I know, there are some amazing ones.

- Looking forward to going back home? You live in London right? - William asks.

- Yeah, but I grew up just north of London, in Stevenage. I’m just sharing a flat in Camden with Jorja at the moment. Not looking forward much. - at least not after today, he thinks but he doesn’t say- Our American tour is over so we get to rest for a few weeks but then have to start writing a new album. Are you going back home any time soon? - Lennon really wants to know.

- Yeah actually, not sure the date yet gotta check with Charlotte, my sister. It’s her engagement party sometime in April.

- That’s nice. - and they talk about everything else but beer head. At one point Lennon looks at his watch and realises that he would be definitely leaving soon.

- Do you have to go? - William asks, finishing his drink. - You know, I could drive you to your hotel.

- Oh. You have a car? - that surprises him, for a young man at only the beginning of his career he has a flat in one of the most expensive areas for housing and owns a car? Well he is dating Nina Perry, so maybe that’s why, he thinks. - No, you don’t have to do that, it’s really not necessary.

- Come on, it’s fine. I usually use the subway because it’s sometimes easier to take the subway then driving in the City but let’s go, I really don’t mind. I wouldn’t offer if I do.

William smiles gently at Lennon and Lennon obviously says yes.

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