“Hey Axel, you know how to swing it?”
It was only the two of them that evening, Lucy had gone out with Ellen to go watch a play at the local theatre. Something about civil rights, if he recals correctly. So Tommy had called him in, asked if he would like a little bit of compagny and help him with the cooking. Axel told him he didn’t even have to ask.
Diner had been great, like always. Joyfull, warm, relaxing, all things that came naturally with Tommy. They laughed the whole way through, despite almost burning the potatoes at some point. There’s a mess in the kitchen, but they can deal with that later. Now they’re both in the living room, smoking those cheap cigars - sorry, first class cigars!- as Tommy puts on a record.
“Do I look like I do?” scoffs Axel.
Tommy smiles. “To me?” he says “Y’look like the best dancer around the block.” Axel laughs at that, feeling a small blush creeping in. “Come on, quit that! I dig it allright, but compared to you I probably have two left feet.” Tommy shakes his head. Music starts and they both begin snapping their fingers to it. Tommy walks up to Axel with mischief in his eyes and extends a hand to him. “Come here then, I’ll show you.”
Axel knows there’s nothing else to do but reach it.
“Now put your right foot in like this.” Tommy holds him a little while showing him the moves and Axel tries to concentrate. “In. Out. Spin. Yeah, like that! Haha, you’re not so bad, Jack!” That’s definitely a lie, but Axel takes it anyway.
They’re not so close at first, keeping their distance a little bit like this is just normal teaching, but as the music goes on they fall into a rythm and before Axel knows it, Tommy has his hand on his back. It’s easier that way really, makes him spin faster and catch up the song's rhythm more swiftly. He’s quickly picken up on it despite his earlier doubt, spinning and turning and not tripping too much on Tommy’s feet.
“See? You can swing it allright.” Axel laughs at that, because really its Tommy who does all the work here. “Do you say that to all your dancing partners?” For only answer, his friend makes him do an extra turn, echoing his laugh.
They continue like this for the rest of the song. Axel can’t stop smiling, blissfully unaware his eyes are shining a little. There is a small sweat forming on the back of his neck, but he’s not sure if its the spinning or the fact that he has never stood so close to his friend, who is not only significantly taller than him, but also quite strong. He feels it in the way Tommy catches him each time and he tries not to think about it.
When the song arrives at its end they're still chuckling, Tommy is still holding him. Axel doesn’t let go right away because truly this feels so good and its been so long since he-
Suddenly, another tune starts, much slower. Not a swing then, a ballad. Axel freezes in place.
“You know how to slow?” Tommy asks him with his charming little tone as if he knew it was coming up. Axel just blurts out a “Maybe?” because he really doesn’t know what to do and the blush is coming back to his face and - oh god this cannot be happening - Tommy is still holding him like a gentleman, with his hand in the curve of his back as he starts leading him in a smooth easy rhythm.
They are so close now Axel can’t look at him and tries desperatly to concentrate on the music because holy shit. He hopes his blush is not too visible… (above him, Tommy smiles fondly at the red of his neck). Billie Holiday’s velvety voice fills the room as they sway lightly against one another. Softly, Tommy starts humming to the chorus……
[I’ll be seeing you
In every lovely summer’s day
In every thing that’s light and gay
I’ll always think of you that way…]
Axel gives in and let’s himself be rocked gently. It feels a bit like a dream. Axel wonders for a second if he’s not still asleep in his lonely flat upstairs. Then, the records stops and neither of them wants to move. They stay like this, reality coming back with the needle scratching the disc. Axel finally looks up.
“You didn’t want to go out with Lucy?” He asks, because the question is burning on his tongue since diner and he really cannot figure it out. Tommy is still smiling. “No.” He responds, softly, easily, like there is absolutely nothing to worry about. His hand is still in his and on the small of Axel’s back. An anchor keeping him up. His eyes seem then to flicker to somewhere down Axel’s face…
“Why not?” Axel asks again, voice cracking a little. “Didn’t want to.” Tommy says. “Wanted to stay here.” “With me?” Axel almost squeeks because what does that mean? Eyes flicker back up to his. "Yes.“ "But why? I mean, im not better company than anybody I- im not even that good a dancer!”
“So what?” says Tommy, shruging, “I don’t mind…” They’ve stopped moving and Tommy’s face is getting closer to the point where there is no denying what’s going on and Axel can’t move because he’s right there he’s-
All it takes is a little tilt of the head. Slow. Almost imperceptible. Jus that, for their lips to meet and Axel’s eyes to close. It’s such a light press, timid, featherlight. Axel closes his eyes and almost wonders again if he is not dreaming it, if Tommy isn’t still a few centimetres away staring down at him. The hand on his back pushes a bit further and, just as Axel can feel the pressure of the kiss growing and growing and kissing, there is a sharp sound of keys turning in the lock of the door.
“We’re here!” comes Lucy’s clear voice. Axel suddenly puts space between him and his friend, blinking rapidly, looking everywhere but Tommy, at everywhere but his eyes, his face, his arms, his lips-
Oh god. Lucy. He can’t do this to her.
“I-I have to go.” He blurts out and runs out the door barely looking at the girls calling his name in confusion while he dissapears down the stairs and out in the street. When he arrives to his place he almost rips open his door and falls on his bed trying to calm his beating heart, trying to forget the heat of a hand on his hips, trying to ignore the buzz still lingering on his lips…..