Fan Fiction - Hanson, Krasobruslení - This Glassy Surface
Pardon me if I don't say hello
I belong to another, it wouldn't look so good
To know someone I'm not supposed to know
~ Jimmy Rodgers – Just Walk On By~
There’s a lying in your silence
Tell me where did Johnny go
~ Hanson – Yearbook ~
Paris picked the restaurant this time. Every Sunday, they go for brunch in the city, then hit the boutiques in SoHo. Sundays are a luxury, the only indulgence Johnny allows himself where his training schedule is concerned. On Sundays, he sleeps in instead of getting up when it’s still dark outside to go to the rink for the morning session. Usually, his Sundays are pretty damn fantastic. This one, however, threatens to turn out a little out of the ordinary.
They’re finishing their meal, enjoying their coffee, when Johnny suddenly spots him. Taylor. His heart somersaults with a thrill, for which Johnny feels ridiculous as soon as he notices the company Taylor’s in.
It’s been nearly two weeks since he’d taken Taylor home with him, two weeks Johnny has spent in hopes Taylor would perhaps contact him a little sooner than the last time when it took him about three and a half months. There’s something about Taylor that makes Johnny feel a little mushy inside – a sensation he hasn’t experienced since his relationship with Vitali. It’s the way Taylor smiles and the way he runs his hand through his hair to push it back from his face every once in a while, the way his eyes come alive when he’s talking about something he’s passionate about.
So predictable. Johnny had to grimace at himself when he first realized that Taylor is precisely the same type of man like his ex – tall, blond, passionate, with a smile to die for. Of course Johnny felt attracted to him and it was too much of a temptation to resist when it turned out the interest was mutual. He and Vitali had been almost over by then; cheating on him with Taylor was just the last drop.
Johnny had considered it a one-time thing and was surprised to hear from Taylor once again a year after their first encounter. It was towards the end of the tour, he was constantly high-strung and a thorough fuck from someone he didn’t have to skate, eat and travel with every day was just what Johnny needed at that time. The fact that he could actually talk to Taylor was something Johnny appreciated almost more than the sex – sometimes, it was bliss to talk to someone who couldn’t tell an axel from a toe-loop if he tried. It was so liberating.
And then Taylor came to see him at the Will Sears, they talked and flirted all the way on the train to Lyndhurst and ah, it really turned out to be much more than Johnny first expected to get. It felt as if he’d known Taylor much better and for much longer, as if there was a connection almost, when Taylor showed him the pictures of his children –
His children. Johnny’s mind snaps back to the present and he watches the little family settle down at their table. It ties a few unpleasant knots in his stomach.
He quickly averts his look when Taylor’s eyes wander in his direction. He suddenly feels stupid and guilty and inferior. He can’t resist, though, and glances over once again to find Taylor’s blue gaze on him, staring with an unreadable expression on his face. The foolish excitement comes back for a second, only to be mercilessly trampled when Taylor shakes his head a little, as if he was shedding an uncomfortable thought, and turns his attention back to his wife and children. The message is clear. I don’t know you. I don’t want to know you.
The gesture sends a twitch of anger through Johnny’s system; he knows perfectly well it’s unreasonable and unjustified, what else could he have expected... But he still feels it burn inside him, the humiliation and anger and... disappointment? He hates it, hates the pretense and denial, and he hates being ignored.
He suddenly remembers that he’s not alone and realizes that Paris is talking to him.
“Johnny, are you even listening to me?” he’s asking and poking at Johnny’s shin with the tip of his shoe under the table.
Johnny turns to him and, ignoring his puzzled look, says:
Paris’ eyebrows shoot up in surprise; Johnny only uses his real name when they talk about something serious.
“Yes?” he says slowly.
“Could you do me a favor?” Johnny asks and pierces Paris with an intent stare.
“Sure, of course,” Paris shrugs after he’s taken a moment to read Johnny’s expression. “Anything for you, babe,” he adds with a grin, clearly coming to the conclusion that Johnny’s previous zone-out was just one of those moments in which Johnny’s mind had wandered off a little without forewarning and that he didn’t mean to be rude. Paris knows him so well and Johnny feels a wave of gratitude and affection. He doesn’t know what he’d do without Paris.
“Could you,” Johnny begins, then leans a little closer and lowers his voice to a conspirational whisper, “grab my hand and pretend we’re here together?” Johnny almost has to cringe – this is awkward – but it’s necessary. Besides... he can trust Paris. He won’t get any wrong ideas. Johnny expects to get his share of teasing, but there are worse things in life than Paris greeting him with hi, lover in the mornings for a while.
Paris bugs his eyes out a little, then purses his lips suggestively:
“Boyfriends or first date?”
Johnny rolls his eyes, but rewards Paris with a grateful smile. God bless him.
“You choose,” he says. “Just do it now, please?”
“Okay, honey-bear,” Paris mocks, but he reaches out and threads his fingers through Johnny’s, clasping their palms together intimately.
“Boyfriends,” he mouths, then drops the charade. “Now, did you just suddenly realize you love me or is there actually a reason for this?” he asks.
“Thank you,” Johnny says with a nod towards their entwined fingers. “Do you remember the guy I told you about?”
“Which one? You lead such an exciting sex-life, it’s hard to keep track of all your guys.”
“Stop it,” Johnny laughs up and kicks Paris under the table.
“Ouch,” yelps Paris. “Don’t get violent or I’ll break up with you,” he warns, then: “Of course I remember. Blond, hot, huge dick. Fucked you blind and gave you a footrub. He must be crazy; your feet are gross.”
“He’s here,” Johnny interrupts Paris’ rant and watches his eyes dart to the surrounding tables immediately.
“What? Where?” Paris inquires, then furrows his brows. “And why are we doing this, then?” he glances at their clasped hands suspiciously.
“Three tables to your right,” Johnny answers. “Don’t be too obvious,” he adds. The last thing he needs now is for Taylor to realize they’re discussing him.
Paris doesn’t need to be reminded, though – he and Johnny have spent enough time pointing out men to each other or discussing women’s outfits in restaurants and bars. He drops his head on his free hand, as if he was brooding over something, and inconspicuously lets his gaze travel over the tables on his right.
“I don’t see any-“ he mumbles, but stops abruptly in mid sentence when his eyes settle on the right table. Taylor is the only young blond in that direction.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Paris turns to Johnny, utterly shocked.
Johnny bites his lip. He’s told Paris a lot, but he neglected certain... details.
“Johnny!” Paris exclaims a little too loudly.
“Shhh,” Johnny shushes him and glances around worriedly.
“But you... Are you insane?!” Paris whispers. “He’s – god. He’s married AND with kids!”
Then, as his brain processes the situation a little further, Paris glares at Johnny: “I’m not in on this,” he informs him and wants to withdraw his hand, but Johnny squeezes it tightly and doesn’t let go.
“Justin, please,” he pleads with his best friend. He tosses a quick glimpse in Taylor’s direction, then turns back to Paris with a desperate look. “Please,” he repeats.
“Johnny, this is Not. Right,” Paris says but stops tugging and relaxes his hand nevertheless. “What do you think you’re doing? I mean, sleeping with him was already a bad idea, but...” he shakes his head and looks at their entwined fingers, then back at Johnny.
“Do you honestly think he’ll leave his wife for you?” he says softly, as if he was talking to a naive child. “Do you want that?”
“I don’t know what to think. I don’t know what I want,” Johnny admits, frustrated. The anger and humiliation are still gnawing at his gut, but Paris’ words trigger a new wave of guilt inside him. What the hell was he thinking?
Paris studies his face for a moment.
“You’re crushing on him,” he concludes eventually, the disbelief crystal clear in his tone. “You’re crushing hard.”
“No, I’m –” Johnny protests, but Paris cuts him off.
“Save it. I know you, Johnny,” he says, then stretches out his other arm to cover Johnny’s hand with both of his. He begins to speak, gently, to show that he only means well. As if Johnny didn’t know that.
“This is not good for you. You need to... stop. Just forget it, okay? Let it go.”
“It’s not –”that easy, Johnny wants to argue, but Paris interrupts him once again.
“I know, baby. But I don’t want you to get hurt. You’ve got to be a little more careful with your heart, you know? You don’t want it to get all broken again.”
Johnny nods silently. Paris is right, he knows it. He just wishes he knew how to follow his advice and make this stop – stop his eyes from wanting to look at Taylor, stop himself from caring, stop wanting to mean something, shrug off the disappointment at being ignored.
“Let’s just go now. Let’s leave,” Paris suggests carefully. “We can go to Fendi if you want, check out these awesome new bags. Or we can go home and get ice cream on the way – diet, Galina won’t kill you for diet ice cream.”
Paris is rambling, but somehow manages to wave at a passing waiter and ask for their bill inbetween.
Johnny knows he should be grateful for a friend like him, one who takes care of him. But he can’t help but feel a bit sour. Things could have been different if they’d gone to eat somewhere else today, or if he’d been on his own, or if – Stop! he orders his mind and focuses on counting out the correct tip instead.
He’d been foolish enough those two weeks ago already, asking Taylor to call and getting his hopes up. Paris is right, it needs to stop before things get out of hand, before he does something cardinally stupid. Like fall in love.
He lets Paris drag him towards the exit almost as if he was still a little boy. Paris makes sure to take the shortest route, one that doesn’t bring them any closer to Taylor and his family than absolutely necessary. But, at the door, Johnny can’t resist one final glance over his shoulder.
Taylor is watching him and he looks almost as if he wants to say something or get up and – No, that’s just wishful thinking. Johnny sighs. It would have been nice... in some other universe.
Pozn. autorky: * Paris = Justin Childers, Johnny's best friend and room-mate.
* Vitali = Vitali Danilchenko, a Ukrainian figure skater and Johnny's rumored ex-boyfriend.
* Galina = Galina Zmievskaya, Johnny's coach.