eff_reality: (so ridiculously pretty dom)
[personal profile] eff_reality
Premise: AU. Billy is a PhD. candidate in Cinema Studies at Suffolk University and Dom is a rent boy in Southie.
Rating: PG-13 to NC-17
Feedback: is my anti-drug. Help keep me off the pipe.
Summary: It's another day for you and me in Paradise.
Previously.



SCENE 42. - INT. PARADISE - TWO DAYS LATER

Dominic feels like his relationship with Paradise is a good metaphor for how his life has gone over the past few years; he always seems to end up in the exact same place, despite how thoroughly he recognizes his own hatred of it. Now that he feels like he’s made some real, true progress, for the first time in just as long, this is the last place he wants to be getting a drink.

Fucking Orli.

Orlando had insisted that they all needed a “real” celebration for Billy officially passing his defense, though Dominic suspected he was just applying an occasion to tonight as an excuse to get a little fucked up. Orli has something extra about him whenever he’s holding, an electric current in his limbs that would be much more at home in Dom’s own veins, a restless gleam in his eyes as they dart around the dancefloor and the mezzanine level above where the go-go dancers gyrate with purpose.

Over these past weeks that they’ve grown apart, Dominic has readily given up his title as Orlando’s keeper, and he has no intention of reclaiming it tonight. In fact, he’s pretty much had it with all the old roles he used to play. What Billy’d said to him at the gallery, those words he’d so generously gifted to him—they’ve dug their way under Dominic’s skin and become a fixture there, a reminder of what he’s striving to become—and overcome.

About ten minutes in, Dominic is seated at the bar nursing a whiskey and feeling completely restless. Orli’s distracted non-presence at his side certainly isn’t helping. Dominic hasn’t heard anything from Billy about Braedan, apart from a painfully vague response to a text the same afternoon they’d met. To be fair, Billy’s been awfully busy, drowning in yet another sea of paperwork after having handed in his dissertation and done his defense, all repetitive, bureaucratic shite that he’d rather throw into the Charles than actually sit and complete (Billy’s words). Still, Dominic can’t help but be concerned. The only thing comforting him is the thought that Billy will be here soon. Soon he’ll have some answers.

A few moments later, Elijah sidles up to him, and Dominic can’t help but look past him as they greet each other. “Billy’s running late,” Elijah explains, reading the look in Dom’s eyes with an amused little smirk before moving on to Orlando, who’s on his second glass of ice water so far. Dominic looks toward the entrance again, trying to will Billy there with his mind. He pulls his mobile from his pocket and sends a quick text without thinking: Get here already!

He can vaguely hear Orlando and Elijah flirting and snuggling and laughing together, though he does his best to tune it out and pay most of his attention to his drink, until Orli pokes him in the side, hard. “Stop trying so hard to not have fun.” Elijah giggles, already a bit tipsy.

“Fuck off,” Dominic says, pounding back a couple of whiskey-tinged ice cubes and chewing them until his tongue starts to go numb.

Elijah quickly extricates himself from Orli’s grip and moves behind him, motioning to the bartender, giving them a bit of privacy.

Orlando wastes no time leaning in. “You’ve got to stop thinking about this, man. Don’t think I didn’t hear you pacing around in the kitchen all last night. It’s not worth it.”

Dominic gives him his patented You don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about face as he places his empty on the bar and hops down from the stool. “Fuck off,” he repeats, and moves into the quickly burgeoning crowd. He doesn’t dance, though; it’s simply a means of getting to the other side, a clearing with no bar and, more importantly, no people. He turns and leans back against a metal pole leading up to the mezzanine, closing his eyes, ignoring the flash of the strobe behind his eyelids.

Orlando’s right, of course; he had been pacing the kitchen early into this morning. But it hadn’t just been about Billy; it’d been about bloody everything. He’s been deliberately turning his whole fucking life upside down and hasn’t had much of a chance to let his brain catch up and get used to the idea. He’d read a quote recently though, from some up-and-coming photographer who liked to put herself in extremely dangerous situations in order to get the rarest shots. She’d said, “If you want something you’ve never had before, you have to do something you’ve never done before.” Dominic had clipped it from the mag and put it on the fridge. It’s inspiring, but it doesn’t make any of what he’s dealing with less hard, really.

When the next song begins, his mobile vibrates against his thigh, and he nearly tosses it sliding across the floor in his attempt to pull it out. Getting there :) it says, from Billy. Dominic takes a deep breath and exhales, energized again, at least until Orlando slithers his way through the crowd and approaches.

“What?” Dominic says, instantly irritated again.

Orlando leans in close. “Peace offering.” He pulls a piece of candy from the pocket of his denims, wrapped in clear blue plastic. Dominic examines it, noticing a tinge of orange on Orlando’s own lips and tongue in hindsight. The candy resembles a pacifier, only the nipple part is a green lolly. Dominic raises skeptical eyes to him. “Sour apple,” he shouts over the music.

“Thanks,” Dominic yells back, though begrudgingly so, before peeling away the wrapper and sticking the candy in his mouth. He shrugs at Orli. Not bad.

Orlando’s eyes twinkle as he sneaks around to Dominic’s back, wrapping full-body around him and shuffling him back out onto the dance floor. “Fun,” he breathes into Dominic’s ear, not a suggestion but a demand. When Orli finds them a spot in the center of the floor, Dominic gives one last look at the entrance for Billy before he begins to move half-heartedly. Orlando is like a pinball bathed in orangey light, hopping and writhing about before him, alone at first and then sandwiched between two guys who appear to be a couple.

Dominic turns away and closes his eyes, Orlando’s voice repeating in his head like a mantra: Fun. He finds his limbs a bit looser than he would have expected, for only one whiskey in. He decides to blame his lack of sleep the night before and just go with it.


When Billy finally makes his way past coat check, he expects Dominic to all but accost him; he’d received two more texts after the first, very uncharacteristic for Dom but not unwelcome. He can’t seem to find anyone, though, at least not for the first few minutes; the crowd at Paradise is nearing its peak, if Billy’s last trip here was any indication. It certainly doesn’t help that Billy’s on the shorter side, half-naked, glittery bodies towering over him as he pushes his way to the first bar downstairs.

It takes a while, but by the time he gets the attention of one of the bartenders, a rather large group of rather large guys has moved from their perch there, leaving a row of empty stools. He quickly slides onto one and drapes his coat over the next.

“Hey!” a familiar voice calls, Billy lifting his eyes to take in Elijah just before he pulls him into an enthusiastic hug. Lij ruffles his hair as he pulls back, putting them at arm’s length. “Fucking crazy tonight, right?”

Billy glances at his watch, noting that it’s not yet eleven. “Yeah.” He looks past Elijah.

“They’re dancing.” Elijah rises up on his toes to give the crowd a proper search and leans toward Billy, pointing out Dominic and Orlando after he’s found them.

Billy follows Elijah’s finger and laughs at the display he finds on the other end, Dom and Orlando jumping straight up and down and pumping their fists in the air, a far cry from actual dancing.

Lij pushes a tumbler of whiskey into his hand, leaning in again. “Was supposed to be Dom’s but he clearly couldn’t give a fuck at this point.”

“Right,” Billy smiles. “Thanks.”

He spins around on the stool and takes a moment to look his fill at Dominic again, the wide, toothy smile, the sheen to his skin, still stubbornly tawny from months before, ever-so-slightly damp hair hanging in his eyes, which look quite manic from where Billy’s seated. Dominic doesn’t look totally carefree, not like Orlando seems to be, but he’s getting there, or at least putting on a good show of it. As a matter of fact, Billy’s not quite sure Orlando’s enthusiasm is totally genuine, either.

It only takes a moment for Dominic to glance over at him, as if his body knows instinctually that Billy’s arrived. A different kind of smile graces Dom’s face then, something softer but still a little dangerous. One of his hands flutters in the air in a sort of wave. Billy inhales and waves back, suddenly reminded of the last time they were here, when he’d offered Dominic a dance in the hopes of getting him to smile at him like that again after having gone far too long without.

There’s a visible swagger to Dominic as he saunters through the crowd and over to him, the kind that makes Billy take pause and remind himself of all the time that’s passed, that it isn’t still the first night they met. Billy holds his arms out in expectation. “You tell me to hurry up and get here, and then y’dance with every other man while I sit here drinking and sulking.”

Dominic doesn’t duck his head demurely, though; he levels Billy with liquid metal eyes as he steps up onto the platform where the bar is situated. “Come on, then.” He drapes both arms over Billy’s shoulders and brushes a kiss to his cheek, Billy feeling the perspiration on his upper lip as he does so. “Dance with me.”

“I’m working up to it,” Billy dodges, bringing his tumbler to his mouth for a drink and keeping his other hand draped resolutely over his own thigh.

Dominic glances down into the space between them when Billy lowers the drink. “‘S that mine? You thief.”

Billy silently offers it up to him, rendered slightly incoherent by the look in Dom’s eyes.

Dominic takes the glass but simply reaches behind Billy to place it on the bartop, pressing all warm against him as he does so. “So, how are you then?” Dom asks airily, his breath ghosting over Billy’s neck and making his stomach tumble.

Billy’s other hand flails, confused, before falling to his opposite thigh next to the other. He swears he can feel each and every groove in his fingertips pressing against the denim. Dominic pulls back, shuffling nearly right between his legs, and Billy swallows. “Good. Was enjoying watching you.”

“‘M sorry I stopped, then.” Dominic tilts his head and jerks it back in the direction of the dance floor. “Shall I keep going?”

“‘S alright,” Billy laughs a little, nervously, he realizes, at about the same time he registers one of Dominic’s fingers stroking the back of his neck, not with intention, just a simple vertical drag that also feels somewhat damp. Billy struggles to keep his eyes open, gaze traveling from the color high in Dom’s cheeks to the light brown fan of Dom’s eyelashes, which are so fucking close he can count each and every one of them. “Look just as good standing still,” he says quietly, too quiet for Dom to hear by the looks of his face, all scrunched and suddenly leaning impossibly closer. Billy isn’t sure he intended for Dom to hear him to begin with. He waves one hand in the air between them as if to say Nevermind, and wishes for his drink again.

“You’ve been awfully quiet,” Dominic says, his eyes turning pensive.

“It’s hard to compete.” Billy gestures at the music and the overall atmosphere.

Dom shakes his head. “No, I mean, since.” His hand drops to Billy’s thigh, over Billy’s own hand, and they both jump a little. Dominic quickly retracts it, using it to pull at his hair instead. “What happened?”

Billy stares at him for a long moment until he realizes that Dominic’s referring to Braedan. “Nothing, really. It was actually really positive.” Dominic leans in again, soaking in his words. Billy’s eyes drop to his mouth, and he wonders if it’s the lights making the inside of his lips look green or something else. “For me, anyway. He’s grown up quite a lot.”

Dominic pulls back, digging the heel of one of his hands into his eye, as if trying to press some internal reset button.

Without a thought, Billy reaches out and curls his fingers around his wrist. “Y’alright?”

Dominic nods quickly, though his eyes have lost some of their trademark sharpness.

Before Billy can inquire further, two long, equally tan, gangly arms wrap around Dominic’s chest from behind, pulling him back towards the throng again. Orlando’s head pops over his shoulder. “Sorry Billy, we’re bonding tonight!”

He and Dominic both give each other a lamentful look as they’re essentially torn apart. Elijah appears beside Billy again, shrugging, his eyebrows trying their best to reach his hairline.

“What are they on?” Billy says, looking intently after Dom, his protective streak kicking in, which is beyond absurd considering how their relationship started.

“E,” Elijah says, a world of exhaustion underneath the simple letter.

“Do they know what they’re doing?” Billy asks, needlessly.

Elijah purses his lips. “It’s candy. Barely enough to do much damage.”

Just from the look on Elijah’s face, Billy infers that he’s seen Orlando on his share of shite, so he is the best authority at this point. “What’s going on with you?” Billy’s going for nonchalant, but it’s impossible when faced with the obviously growing schism between Lij and Orlando.

“I am way too tired to answer that loaded fucking question.” He turns to Billy with a fake smile. “What’s going on with you?”

Rather than answer, Billy simply pulls Lij into an affectionate headlock, a wordless statement of their bond in this mad situation, having gotten into this mess together. Falling for these two.

It occurs to Billy, as he watches them dance again, that Orlando’s likely still tricking. He can’t even imagine how he’d handle Dom going back to that, not now. A small part of him wonders if Dominic’s even been entirely truthful about it.

Seemingly in a flash, Billy’s next peek through the crowd at Dominic finds him shirtless with a lolly in his mouth (probably the kind Lij just mentioned), one of the rather large guys from earlier grinding enthusiastically with him from behind. A dark cloud sinks into Billy, spreading through his chest and stomach. The man with Dom has his hands all over him, but it isn’t until his fingers start inching up toward Dom’s nipples that Billy all but jumps from his stool.

After he's pushed his way into the crowd, Billy hooks his fingers in Dominic’s belt loops, literally pulling him from the other man and stumbling against himself. “Mm,” Dominic protests, looking nearly ready to fight until he realizes who’s standing in front of him. He pulls the lolly out with a pop, giggling. “Billy, I didn’t know you cared.”

“Can I have some of that?” Billy nods at the lolly. Dominic silently hands it over, his eyes going seductive like the embodiment of the drug itself. Without breaking eye contact, Billy drops it and kicks it sliding across the floor. Dominic either doesn’t notice or doesn’t mind. Billy takes his hand, finding it damp and hot against his own. “Come on,” he smiles, trying his best to lure Dom away, though he seems more than willing and ready to follow. “Come sit with me, yeah?”

Dominic nods and smiles, looking suddenly sweet again. “Yeah,” he mouths, trailing behind Billy as if on air as they ascend the stairs to the mezzanine, which is a bit less crowded. On the way there, Billy motions to Lij, who’s still dutifully keeping their post at the downstairs bar, sitting on Billy’s coat now. Lij nods, acknowledging that he’s seen him.

“You seem to have lost your shirt, eh?” Billy says as he ushers Dominic over to the only empty table.

“Oops,” Dominic replies gracefully before just as gracefully dropping into Billy’s lap, rendering the empty chair across the table useless.

Billy clears his throat, his arms automatically going to rest on the arms of the chair, out of harm’s way. Dom’s whole body is heavy and damp, curled up not unlike his cat would be, except that he leans his head on Billy’s shoulder, breath warm and careless on his neck. The feel of Dominic’s bare skin is a shock to Billy's system, something it certainly wasn’t expecting tonight. He has to actively fight the urge to touch it.

There's laughter in Dom’s voice as he lifts his mouth to Billy’s ear. “Why’d you bring me all the way up here? Want me all to yourself, King Kong?”

Billy lets out a surprised, good-natured laugh at that. “Away from others, more like,” he admits.

Dominic rests his head again with a great big sigh, adjusting himself until his own arms are wrapped around Billy’s waist and his little round rose just skims the tip of one of Billy’s collar bones, jutting out from the collar of his shirt. “I like being close to you,” Dom says, his voice gone all high and boyish. “I’ve missed it.”

Billy can actually see his own heart pounding, insanely, in his chest. Or maybe it’s just the strobe. He breathes, absorbing that remark.

After a long moment, Dominic sits up again, his hands slip-sliding up to play with the buttons on Billy’s shirt as he leans his forehead against Billy’s temple. “You’re so careful around me now, with how you touch me. Why is that?” He glances up into Billy’s eyes, making it clear that he’s not going to back down until he gets an answer.

Billy turns his eyes down to their laps. “You’re with someone, aren’t you? David?” He knows that’s not the reason, though. Billy has only just begun to realize how fucking scared he is of his attraction to Dominic, how far he’ll be pulled in if he lets himself go and actually lets it happen. He knows Dominic could very well leave his heart completely decimated, worse than before.

“Over. Been over for a while. Das Ende,” Dominic laughs. “Wasn’t really much to begin with. Not like...”

Billy looks up. “Like what?”

Dominic lifts a finger to Billy’s mouth and begins tracing his lips. He taps the little divot above his upper lip until Billy gives him a playful glare. He doesn’t answer, though.

Billy grabs his hand, opening up his fingers so his palm shows. There’s a sweaty streak of numbers written sideways along Dominic’s lifeline. “What’s all this?”

“I’m keeping a tab,” Dominic says, still staring at Billy’s mouth.

“What?”

“Nothing.” Dominic cradles Billy’s face in both of his hands, bringing their foreheads together again. “You know, you have the sweetest mouth I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen many.”

Billy’s reminded of the little scene he’d witnessed between Dominic and Ian the last time. He turns his head in Dom’s hands, glancing down to the spot at the bar from which he’d watched. And drank. “Dom.

Dominic lets his hands drop to his lap. “What did I do to deserve such rejection, Professor?” he jokes.

“...Nothing.”

Dominic stares at him, then grabs blindly for a drink, any drink, finding a random abandoned one on the table behind him. “Liked it the first two times, yeah?” he mutters.

Before Dom can lift the glass to his mouth, Billy grabs it. “That’s not mine,” Billy warns, leaning to place it far on the other side of the table, cradling Dom’s back and legs to shift him comfortably before settling again. He stares at Dominic, who’s now doing everything in his power to avoid his eyes. “Why are you bringing that up?”

“It’s how we met!” Dominic suddenly explodes, sending Billy backward until he’s nearly pressed against the back of the chair. “You do remember that, don’t you? If you want to forget it, you can forget all the rest.” Dominic rises and starts toward the stairs.

Billy’s not exactly sure how to take that remark. It doesn’t stop him from following Dom, though. “Why would I want to forget it?” He grabs Dominic by the shoulders, forcing him to a stop. “I told you how important it was to me. How important you are to me.”

Christ. ‘Important.’ You fucking love that word, don’t you?”

Billy shakes his head, stunned.

Dominic licks his lips and smiles ruefully. “‘I think we can be more important to each other.’ D’you remember that too?” Dominic slams his hand on the railing next to them for emphasis. “What the fuck is more important? Clarify that for me, Billy.”

Billy starts to speak, barely hearing himself over everything else. “Dom, let’s talk outside. Get some air for a bit.”

“Nothing more to talk about,” Dominic dismisses before starting down the stairs. “I’ll go alone.”

“Dom, put on a fucking shirt at least, it’s fucking freezing outside.” He rushes after him, staying close behind as they descend the stairs. He reaches for his coat as they pass Elijah, pulling it from under him like a fucking magician and handing it to Dom over his shoulder as they make their way to the entrance.

“Fuck off,” Dominic tosses back at him, though he accepts his coat without a fight, pulling it around himself and frantically buttoning it just as Billy opens the door for the both of them. “Ah, shite,” he hisses, shivering and jumping on the balls of his feet as he fishes a fag out of the pocket of his denims.

Billy echoes his shiver, slowly easing the heavy door shut as he mentally readies himself for whatever is about to happen. He almost laughs when Dominic offers him a cigarette. He refuses, watching as Dominic silently lights up and exhales a steady stream of smoke, difficult to discern from the white air expelling from his own mouth. The fresh albeit biting air has seemed to bring him halfway back to sober. Billy waits to speak until the charge in the air between them has died down some. “Christ, Dom,” he says gently. “What the fuck is going on here?”

“I don’t know, you tell me,” he shoots back. Billy stares at him, waiting patiently for an actual explanation. Dominic shakes his head, his eyes filling with a pain Billy hasn’t seen since the night of the gallery opening. “I’m so sick of this. I feel like I’m bleeding all over you every second that we’re together.” Dominic looks out at the late night traffic, the intermittent groups of undergrads walking along, looking for a night not unlike the one they’re having—in theory, anyway. “I don’t know what you thought, but you can’t save me, Billy.”

“I don't know what you're—” Billy is quick to say.

“I mean, you can’t... keep others from me without claiming something for your own. ‘S not fair.” Dominic turns fully away, hiding his face.

Dom.” Billy steps closer, inching between Dominic and a metal police rail they’ve commandeered as their spot. When he’s finally able to see Dom’s eyes, they’ve gone all liquid. “Where is this coming from? You’re not making any sense to me right now.”

Billy looks so genuinely lost that Dominic softens. He takes his time putting out his cigarette on the rail and pocketing it, careful to put it in his denims and not Billy’s coat. He takes one last look at Billy and then a deep breath that pushes his words out in a rush. “I just don’t understand. What’s the use in being so careful now? It’s done.” He reaches for Billy’s hands, using them to pull him closer. “This is happening, isn’t it? You feel it, yeah? You have to.”

It takes Billy twice as long as it should to fully register what it is that Dominic’s saying, for him to actually take it into his heart and let it get settled there. He closes his eyes and tries to breathe, paralyzed, but mostly fucking terrified. He can feel Dom examining him.

“What’s keeping you from me?” Dominic whispers. After a moment, he drops Billy’s hands, running his own through his damp hair. “Oh.” He takes a big step back, putting distance between them. “You’re a hypocrite. Telling me not to be ashamed of my past, of what I am, when clearly you can’t even handle it yourself.”

“Dom, don’t—” Billy starts, but Dominic’s already walking away, starting down in the direction of the T.

“Fuck off. My life was so much easier without you in it.” Dominic’s stride isn’t quite on as he heads down the street.

Billy blinks past the utter sting of that remark. “Just—wait, let me get your coat and I’ll come with you.”

Dominic lets out a bitter laugh. “I’m fine.”

Billy runs after him. “You’re not.” He reaches into his back pocket and fishes his wallet out, quickly extracting some bills, which he hands out to Dom in offering. “Take a cab. Please.

Dominic gives him an incredulous look before he grabs the money, crumples it up, and tosses it to the ground.

NEXT

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