Written for a music prompts game. The prompt was “Hold Your Sexy Arms Against Me”, a mashup by Titus Jones.
Dominic’s rehearsed this. He’s practiced in front of the mirror. He’s ready.
Of course, he’s told himself this the least three weeks, and then lost his nerve and fled the club, once after he already paid the cover charge. Coming to terms with himself was hard — hesitantly telling a carefully-selected few that he was gay was even harder — but actually doing something about it that wasn’t furtive and never talked about again was proving to be nearly impossible.
Tonight’s going to be different. Tonight he’s going to Meet Someone.
The club is loud and dark and filled with beautiful creatures in their most provocative clothes. They make it look so easy — some of the men don’t need to do much more than stand in place and look alluring and casually bored, while other men come right up to them, say a few words, and then they move off the dance floor together. Others dance first, then go off to slightly-more private corners to make out. Still others dance all night long, slowly no matter what the actual beat of the music is, kissing just as slowly.
(In his heart of hearts, Dominic admits he wants someone who’ll be like that with him. Romantic. He reminds his heart of hearts, One step at a time.)
Dominic moves through the crowd, searching for a particular face, praying that he’s here tonight. Dominic saw him first at the art museum, looking after two little boys who called him “Uncle Croft” and clung to his hands, and Dominic wouldn’t have noticed him more than any other patron except for his patience with the boys and his lively eyes and friendly smile that somehow managed to include even Dominic in his family’s good time. That face stayed in Dominic’s mind, so when he spotted the man at the bookstore Dominic almost went up to him then — but what would he say? “I’m Dom and I think we’d be great together”? Instead, he’d stared for a few minutes and when the man looked up, he’d fled.
He’d chosen this club because he’d seen the man in line, laughing with friends, and he’d even seen him inside that time he managed to get in himself, dancing gracefully in the middle of the dance floor. It’s his face that Dominic has been picturing when he practices making conversation, asking to dance, asking to come back to his place. (And maybe some other stuff, too.
And there — yes — there he is, leaning against the bar, that strong body in jeans and a white button-down shirt (unlike many men here, Dominic’s dream man doesn’t need to parade his beauty around) and that unforgettable smile. Dominic stops, mumbles an apology to the man who bumps into him, and takes a few deep breathes to keep himself from passing out.
Tonight. Tonight’s the night. Tonight he’s going to speak to the man of his dreams.
He makes his way to the bar and leans against it casually. The man glances at him and smiles impersonally in greeting. His head is bobbing to the beat, his toe is tapping. He’s going to dance, and if Dominic doesn’t speak soon he’ll lose him to the dance floor.
Now. Now, dammit.
Dominic says, “If I said you have a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?”
The man looks at him again, a little confusion added to the genial expression. “What?” he says, bending closer.
Shit. It’s too loud in here. Dominic clears his throat and repeats, nearly shouting, “If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?”
The man straightens, now amused, confused, and — something else that Dominic can’t quite name. “Are you,” he says like he can’t believe it, “giving me a line?”
“Yes,” Dominic mumbles, miserable.
“You don’t,” the man says, still amused and disbelieving, “you don’t need a pickup line. Just ask someone to dance. That’s all you have to do. How old are you?”
“Twenty-one,” Dominic says, stretching the truth just a little.
“Not done this much, have you?”
Dominic shakes his head.
“Well, that’s my main advice. Don’t use pickup lines. They just embarrass everybody involved.” He pauses. “What’s your name?”
“Dominic,” whispers Dominic. He’s blown it. He’s so blown it. The man of his dreams thinks he’s pathetic. He wants to crawl into a hole and die.
“Hi, Dominic. I’m Bancroft. See how easy that was?”
Dominic nods, still miserable. He starts to slink away, not wanting his humiliation to drag on any further. “I’m really sorry to have bothered you,” he mumbles and turns to get the hell out of there. He’s never going to figure out how to talk to another man, let alone a man he desires. He’s going to be alone until he dies.
But he stops when Bancroft says, “Want to dance, Dominic?” and pivots on his heel to look at Bancroft, mouth open. Bancroft raises his eyebrows, waiting for his answer.
“Seriously.” Bancroft finishes his drink with a flick of his elegant wrist and sets the glass on the bar. “Come on.” He catches Dominic’s hand and pulls him out onto the floor.
Even though his body knows to move, it still takes a few minutes for Dominic to connect his hopes and fantasies with the actual fact that he’s dancing with Bancroft, that this man’s name is Bancroft and he’s smiling at Dominic like he’s having a good time or at least finds this all terribly funny.
Other couples are dancing close around them, touching each other, so Dominic swallows his nerves and puts his hands lightly on Bancroft’s shoulders. Bancroft smiles even more and holds his wrists, slides his hands down Dominic’s arms and then down his body to hold him by the waist. His hands are heavy and warm, and Dominic thinks for a moment he just might swoon. Or worse.
Bancroft bends to whisper in Dominic’s ear, “Holding it against you,” and Dominic giggles.