When John had told Lafayette and Hercules that he had something important to tell them, but that he had to wait for Alexander, the other couple had become suspicious. Their friend had been acting off all day – almost childlike in his giddiness – and now that the sun had rolled off into the night, the Frenchman was less than impatient to hear what the South Carolinian had to say.
“Please, mon ami! Tell me! I will not tell, Heracles!” Laf whined, prodding the shoulder-pad of John’s suit. The trio were dressed for Yorktown Daily and Monticello News’ Christmas party, but were still waiting on the arrival of the young Nevisian before they continued on their way to the Washingtons house uptown. Alex had been texting John on-and-off all that day, as he had had the day off to spend with Philip because the schools had now broken up for Christmas. His latest message had informed the excited curly-haired (or more tamed curly-haired) man that Pip had been safely dropped off with their landlady, and that Hamilton was making his way to Rochambeau.
John shot Lafayette a firm look, before glancing back at his phone, “Laf, you’re not finding out anything until ‘Lex gets here.”
“You are too cruel, Laurens! What about my curiosity?” The pansexual pouted, his mocha-coloured lips revealing their natural pink colour as he did so. Laf had opted for a very colourful, yet almost regal outfit – his military-blue blazer made the dark hues of his iris’ pop, and his white skinny jeans brought out the bitter chocolate of his skin…John had had to separate him and Hercules as they were struggling to keep their hands off one another. Well, it was more Lafayette was using his partner to disgust John into telling him whatever secret he was keeping. However, the Frenchman had forgotten John’s immunity to their antics, and had only separated them when Hercules got far too into his attempts at undressing the tall pansexual.
Herc chuckled from where he now sat, banished behind the counter – his beanie softened the smart suit and bowtie he was wearing. “Laf, sweetheart, you do know the phrase ‘Curiosity killed the cat’, right?”
“Oui,” Laf replied instantly, leaning over the counter to kiss his partner’s forehead, “But if I remember correctly, does that phrase not finish with ‘Yet satisfaction resurrected it’?”
John snorted, “It’s ‘Satisfaction brought it back’.”
He was briefly interrupted by Lafayette who whispered loudly, “I will never be satisfied,” before he continued his sentence, “seriously why do you pretend that you don’t know English?”
“Because it gets him sympathy points with Herc?”, interrupted a fourth voice as Alex sauntered into the closed café. His hair was loose, and his beard trimmed – making it very difficult for Laurens not to swoon. The Nevisian was wearing a royal blue suit, which made his olive-skin glow, but it was the affectionate look he shot John and the smile that quirked on his face, that made the South Carolinian blush. Now that all his anxieties about Alex not liking him had vanished, John could read the smaller man’s eyes like a sonnet. Their pupils dilated upon seeing the South Carolinian, and the bilingual bisexual’s cheeks tinted…only slightly…but enough for John to see that Alex was caught off guard by his own arousal at seeing him. The underlying feeling wasn’t sexual or heated, but a toasted warmth which had John’s knees feeling like marshmallows.
“Mon petit lion!”, Lafayette squealed, almost swan diving over to where Alexander stood. He pulled the other man’s face to his chest and began stroking Alex’s hair manically, like those villains from spy movies with their cats. The rapid stream of French swiftly followed as Alex struggled to free himself of Laf’s lanky arms.
“John était si cruel avec moi! Il dit qu'il a un secret à nous dire, mais il était un bâtard et le gardait pour lui jusqu'à votre arrivée.”
Alex shot a weak look over to where both John and Hercules stood, his eyes pleading for help. However, neither of the other pair lifted a finger, except to wipe the tears of laughter falling down their cheeks. The Hamilton then smirked as an idea came to him – remembering something John had told him guiltily a few weeks back about Lafayette.
“Oh, I know what John’s secret is.”
The whole room froze into silence, and John quirked an eyebrow at Alex’s tone. When he caught the Nevisian’s eye, he saw a cruel and teasing look in them, impish as it clicked for the South Carolinian that he wasn’t about to share their new-found discovery of one another’s feelings. His tongue was caught in his throat when Laf flung his arms out wide, slamming a fist into his gut so that he was now doubled over in pain: his tongue now bleeding as he clamped it accidentally between his teeth. All three of his friends flashed momentary looks of concern, but they were short-lived, as the juicy gossip that Alex was yet to reveal was a far more pressing matter than John being winded by the enthusiasm of a Frenchman.
“What is ‘is secret, mon petit lion?” Laf queried, not even daring to mask the desperation in his voice as he gave the Nevisian a little squeeze of encouragement. Alex, on the other hand, was enjoying drawing this out – watching John squirm (quite literally as he tried to regain regular breathing) was an entertaining way to start off his evening before he had to go and be forcible put into a social situation with Jefferson.
“Well, Laf, you know your favourite cashmere sweater?” The smallest of the quartet began, his voice long and drawn out like silk. John knew he was doing this deliberately. He knew that Alex knew of his weakness for his voice, for his sultry, Hispanic accent…however, fear…fear of what Lafayette might do to him if he found out that John had blatantly killed his favourite sweater – gifted to him by Hercules for their third anniversary – by dropping cranberry sauce all over it at Thanksgiving. It hadn’t been a deliberate act against the sweater, John had been drunk, and had only recently remembered the event, yet guilt and shame kept him from revealing the horror to Laf – so he’d snuck into his friends’ apartment and stolen the murdered victim of clothing in some attempt to rescue it.
“Oui?” Laf quirked an eyebrow. His lips curled as he glanced between John and Alex, curious to know what shared secret lay between them.
This time it was John’s eyes who were pleading; pleasing to Alex for more time to resolve the killing of the sweater. However, the Hamilton’s expression was unreadable, and Laurens could only chew the inside of his cheek as Alex opened his mouth to speak again.
“Oh good, I was just wondering if you knew what sweater your favourite was.”
Alex shrugged as the rest of his friends stared at him in confusion. He couldn’t be that horrid to John, by throwing him under the bus…plus…he’d also wrecked one of Lafayette’s make-up palettes and had seen the Frenchman’s wrath. He didn’t want to put John through that, it would be like scolding a puppy.
“What? I just wanted to know. I don’t have a favourite sweater, wanted to know if Lafayette did. I have no idea what John’s secret is.”
The Nevisian then managed to slink his way round next to John and stood on his toes to whisper, “There, I bought you some time, Cashmere Killer.”
He smirked as a brief blush crossed the freckled cheeks, “Thank you, Make-Up Murderer,” and he nodded his thanks. Laf visibly deflated, having missed this short encounter, his shoulders sagging as he flopped backward onto Hercules with a dramatic flair. His voice came out as a shrill whine, causing his beau to flinch and pull his beanie over his ears with one hand (the other supporting Lafayette by the waist), “Non! Alex, comment as-tu pu me mentir? Je pensais que nous étions amis!!”
Alex scoffed as Lafayette flipped his middle finger at him and contained a chuckled when he saw John roll up his sleeves and frown. The South Carolinian felt his face harden, whilst trying to dismiss the stupid need to defend Alex at this interaction, as he knew that this was just banter among friends. His expression softened though when he caught brown eyes staring at him. The affection behind Alexander’s smile caused his throat to clam up and he sagged once again, sinking back on his heels and smiling.
The shortest member of the quartet felt his palms sweat a little and he hunched his shoulders slightly. He wanted to tell the others about him and John, and damn anyone who tried to stop him. Alex could sense John’s eyes on his face and smiled widely – pulling at the sleeves of his blazer – and scoffed to Lafayette.
"Oh, tais-toi, Laf. Nous ne faisons que jouer avec toi. John et moi allons à un rendez-vous samedi, tu es heureux maintenant?"
…it took ten minutes and one cab ride to the Washingtons to stop Lafayette squealing.
The party was in full swing and the introvert in Alex panicked the second he lost Hercules and Lafayette to the dancefloor. John sensed his partner’s growing unease and wrapped an arm around his shoulders, leaning into his side and whispering in his ear, “D’ya wanna go get a drink and see if we can find the hosts?”
His reply was an eager nod and Alex had to yell a reply as the music gained volume, “Yes, you’re a saint.”
“Only for you, baby.”
They both looked away from each other, heat up their necks, before they moved around the edge of the room for the kitchen. In this, Alex led the way (as he was more accustomed to the layout of the Washington household), and honestly, the Nevisian never thought he’d ever see so many different types of drunk people in the one room. There were flirty drunks, sleepy drunks, angry drunks, mute drunks, cuddly drunks, loner drunks…then Jefferson drunk. The towering individual intercepted the pair’s path, grabbing Alexander’s face and breathing heavily into it. Behind him was a highly embarrassed Madison, who was clutching a bottle of water, Thomas’ phone, shirt and blazer…apparently Thomas Jefferson was a stripper drunk.
“OH MY GOD IT’S HAAM-HAMILTURNIP!”
Both Alex and John raised a hand to fan the alcoholic haze away. The South Carolinian unintentionally tensed, his eye narrowing as Thomas refused to let go of Alex’s face. A squeeze to his hand reassured him that Alex was equally as uncomfortable with their co-worker’s newfound closeness.
Alex instinctively stepped away from Jefferson – whose afro was imposing more height on him – and cringed while he spoke, trying not to inhale Thomas’ used breath, “Holy shit Jefferson, how much bourbon have you drunk?”
“Too much.” Madison groaned as his boyfriend staggered back to his embrace, his fingers still clasped to their fellow reporter’s cheek.
“Look! Maddy! It’s a Hammy.”
Ignoring him, Madison looked at John and Alex. His eyes screamed with both amusement and apology, and it was mimicked in his voice as he spoke, “We’ve got Beverly until next week, and he was supposed to by the designated driver.”
“Bailed as soon as he saw The General was serving Four Roses?”, John enquired.
“Yep”, James confirmed with a sigh, “He needed it though. Bev’s teething an- Wait, how do you know about…?” He trailed off as the puzzle-pieces slotted together. His eyes met Alex’s, whose cheek had now been released by Jefferson who had now joined Laf and Herc on the dancefloor.
“It’s fine. Tommy told me about your son as well. I know it’s not easy.”
There was an awkward moment of “silence” between the group as music blared around them, and they watched as Jefferson surprisingly started breakdancing…and ended up nearly breaking a hip. His small partner chuckled fondly and looked away for a moment, “Right, I better get him outside before he tries to throw up in Mr President’s mum’s urn.”
“He did what?!”
John let out a snort and answered Alex’s query as Madison walked away. “Last year, Jefferson got super wasted and nearly threw up in Mrs Washington Senior’s ashes. Boss ended up plunging his head into an ice-bucket to sober him up. Made everyone watch too, it was fucking hilarious.”
Alex shuffled round to look John in the eyes, gauging his honesty. He slid his hands up the other man’s toned chest and smirked, “Sad that I missed that.”
“Me too, you would’ve laughed so hard.”
“I probably would’ve ended up just as drunk.” They both laughed at this remark and John leant his head down a little, pressing his lips to Alex’s and melting into the heat of him. It was brief…mainly because someone accidentally rammed into them, causing the couple to headbutt and pull apart, grasping their foreheads and attempting to glare at the culprit.
“Oh my god, Alexander, hey!”
Angelica Schuyler grinned, lop-sided and obviously drunk. Both men looked at her, one amused and the other confused as she moved her arms like a robot. John chuckled, quickly glancing at his partner, before opening his mouth to speak to the eldest of the Schuyler sisters.
“Hey Angie, you here with Liz and Peg-a-leg?”
“Nah! I’m here with Jacky-boy!”, she pointed towards the space behind her and let Alex and John search for the tall, blonde head of Angelica’s fiancé, “Pegs is out with her college friends, and Lizzie’s here with her new girlfriend.”
Her conversation partners blinked in surprise, but it was Alex who spoke up. “Eliza’s got a girlfriend?”
“Yeah, y’know that chick from Thanksgiving? Whatshername?”
She began clicking at Alex for an answer. He shared a smirk with John, “Maria?”
“YES! Maria. Miss Maria Reynolds. That’s her. Yeah, they’ve been on like 4 dates now. They’re actually so cute together…what?”
John had felt Alex tense next to him, and he knew exactly why. Reynolds. There couldn’t possibly be a connection between the two? There was no way that monster could have a decent relative? One who could snag someone as sweet as Eliza?…could there? The South Carolinian felt the hand next to his tremble, so he slipped it into his larger one, brushing his thumb along Alex’s knuckles as he looped their fingers. Angelica was staring at them, her mind having sobered a little, but before she could respond, Laurens intercepted the conversation and steered it away from the uncomfortable conversation.
“Nothing, Angie. We’re just gonna go get a drink, ‘kay?”
He gently tugged on Alex’s hand, who was mutely staring at his feet, and led him away: not to the kitchen where they were originally headed, but to the pantry just off from it. The room was cluttered with cabinet, dry food. Tins and cans littered shelves making it too cramped for it to be a party hangout, but spacious enough for two people. Perfect to get away from the madness and to let Alex breathe.
As soon as the curly-haired man had closed the door, Alex slumped against the wall. He pulled at his collar, loosening his tie and trying to gasp for air as black dots began to swim in his vision. He clenched them shut.
They can’t be related. He can’t be here. He can’t be here.
A finger brushed his cheek and Alex opened his eyes, gazing at John’s brogues. He dipped his torso forward so that his forehead bumped into John’s chest and he let out a shaky breath. John sighed and pulled him close, kissing his head. “It’s ok.”
“’m sorry…I-I just heard R-that name and freaked out.”
“I know.” He kissed Alex’s hair again, “I know.” Alex shuffled so that his cheek rested on John’s chest, his hand tucked under his chin while John held him close.
And there they stood for several minutes, enjoying the quiet.
“Fuck, I don’t wanna go back out there.”
“Do we have to go back out there?”, John queried, “Can’t we just cuddle in here all night and let our friends and co-workers just get pissed?”
Alex chuckled, shaking his head. He pushed away from John quietly and looked at him softly. “Much as I would love to do that. I did say I was going to drunk slam Jefferson tonight and I have the honour to fulfil that promise.”
The other man raised an amused brow, “Oh, really?”
“Well, we better get back out there.”
“Have you got him?”
Washington asked this carefully and quietly as he passed an incapacitated Alex over to John. The party had surpassed its climax and had now ebbed with the melody of a slow tune. A few stragglers remained, but cabs had been called and soon peace would finally descend on the Washington house. Alex had gone beyond the drunkest John had ever seen him. He had fulfilled his promise of slamming on Jefferson – it had sparked a rap-dance-battle (which Alex totally won) but had ended with both reporters overdoing it on tequila and vomiting in two out of three of the bathrooms within the grand house. Thus, it had fallen on both their respective other halves to carry their drunk asses home.
“Yeah, I got him,” John said as he readjusted his grip on Alex’s waist. The smaller man was semi-conscious, muttering away in Spanish. He’d drooled a little on John, his hair was a mess and he’d taken his contact lenses out so all he could see was a blurry mess (more so because of the tequila).
“El tequila corre por mi sangre! Soy el Rey del alcohol, Thomas Jefferson es un ser débil.” The Nevisian slurred as his head rolled back into the crook of John’s neck. The John in question chuckled, giving Alex a peck on the forehead, whispering a quiet, “I know.”
As they staggered towards the cab George had called, Martha smiled as she watched the two young men. When her husband wrapped an arm around her waist, she leant into him and murmured sleepily, “Well, I think that went well.”