Fandom: None; original
Pairing: Alex/Marco (AU)
Rating: T; some language.
Word Count: 1,455
Summary: It's the summer of 1965, Beatles fever is still in the air, and Alex Ford is a peacock in a sea of pigeons. A new neighbour brings colour to his otherwise black-and-white world for the first time, and his resolution to keep his illegally-inclined heart concealed in a secret scrapbook filled with George Harrison suddenly falls apart.
Perhaps half an hour into their dancing – and they danced purely to the Beatles, as always – the man that Alex supposed must be Marco’s dad appeared from behind the door and looked disapprovingly into the crowd of teenage bodies; a healthy mix of boys and girls that would have unnerved any parent concerned about halting their offspring’s sexual development. Mr. Whatshisname seemed to be disapproving because he couldn’t see his son, though – when he finally caught sight of him, he called his name and Marco sprang to attention to a smirk from James; James respected his dad, and it made his superior attitude over anybody who obeyed their parents really hypocritical, but as usual nobody said anything. James had the blinkers on when it came to race – he’d take the piss out of anything that presented itself to him, whether or not it was related to the nationality of the person. Marco came back over with an apologetic expression on his face, speaking ever-so-politely. It melted Alex mid-dance. “Dad says I have to go to the shop to pick some things up for mum.”
“Sure. You know where it is?”
“I’ll walk you.”
“Oh! No, no, I don’t want to drag you away...”
“It’s fine. I’m tired now anyway. Luce can dance with Sam and Patty.”
“You say Lucy?”
“Yeah, Luce; you stay here. I’m just showing Marco to the shop; be back soon.”
Sam piped up eagerly. “I can take him if you don’t want to.”
“Give over, Sam; I’ve already offered. Two ticks.”
The crowd seemed to part naturally for Alex – maybe a side-effect of the daggers James was throwing at his and Marco’s backs, but he doubted it – and he felt like some sort of messiah; it wasn’t entirely a good thing. He liked that they liked him, but a lot of the time it felt fake – fake and even political. A fair few of them were probably only friends with him because they knew it’d give them access to more people; already people got the feeling that it was not what you knew but who you knew. Alex knew people – especially with his dad being in the music industry. He was just like anybody else, and yet at the same time there was something remarkable about him. He hated that mix – he didn’t get the best of both worlds at all. He lived a clumsy mix of being the local young It boy and the Mr Nice Guy that wasn’t particularly special – he felt trapped by their attention and made boring by their constant clamouring to copy. Alex didn’t want to live life in the mainstream, but by definition he was the mainstream.
Perhaps it was wrong to complain about being the centre of attention; really, he did quite like having people adore him so much. It just... clipped his wings a little bit. He wasn’t the sort of person who liked that idea.
“Thanks for showing me. I bet it’s only a two-minute walk away,” he said sheepishly. He was so cute – even in a platonic sense, he was cute.
“Not if you don’t know where you’re going though, right?” Alex put his hands in his pockets – no mean feat given how tight his trousers were; the trends were ridiculous but he loved them – and grinned sideways at his companion. “You might have gotten lost and then you’d be in trouble.”
“Uh... just while I have the chance,” he said, as soon as they were clear of the crowd. “Don’t listen to Jim; James, I mean. He has a... a thing.” He was too scared of stepping on a conversational mine to elaborate, but he hoped he was getting the message across anyway. “Just... don’t get offended, OK? He doesn’t know what he’s talking about and, like... it’s only his dad. He’s not really a git, promise.”
Marco smiled sideways at him. “Thanks. I’m quite used to it now, though.”
“We get it all over the place. People don’t like us – least, they think they don’t, even if they’ve never talked to us. Like James. Some of them come around; some of them don’t. I can’t help that my parents aren’t English. I don’t think I would if I could. It doesn’t matter to me.”
Alex looked over at him, thoroughly endeared by the honesty. Not everybody would open up like this to someone they’d only just met – already he’d decided that he was going to like Marco. He liked honest people, perhaps because he couldn’t always be completely honest himself. Like now, for example... if it was up to him he’d be flirting like tomorrow the world would explode, but he just couldn’t do that. It really felt like he was lying, if only to himself and nobody else. Horrible. At least he had a conversation to distract himself with. “Sure. I admire that.”
“Thanks for inviting me over.”
Alex waved a hand at him, downplaying it. Of course he’d invited him over; what else could he have done? Nice boys invited other nice boys over. “Nah; it’s fine. Any Beatles fan sits well with us. It’s just nice to have fresh meat around, too.” He grinned, and continued on to tease. “I get tired of having the same disciples hanging around me all the time.”
Marco didn’t seem to take it as a joke. “They do all love you. You can see it.”
He wrinkled up his nose. “Undeservingly. I’m nothing special.”
“If you say so,” Marco said, but it was clear that wasn’t what he meant. “They all seem to think you are.”
“This is a very embarrassing conversation,” Alex hinted; Marco blushed and began apologising. “I’m kidding. I think they’ve just grown accustomed to liking me over the years; I’d rather they hadn’t, actually. They just like me for liking me’s sake, now. If... that isn’t utter nonsense I don’t know what is.”
Marco laughed good-naturedly. “No; I understand. For what it’s worth I see plenty of reasons to be friends with you for your sake.” He blushed quite red delivering the compliment, and even Alex coloured slightly – usually, he wasn’t easy to faze.
They both fell silent for a few moments as Alex frantically sought a way to say something nice back without sounding like he was just making something up for the sake of being nice back. “You seem alright, too.”
Between boys of this age, ‘alright’ was, of course, a compliment of the highest order, especially delivered in such a gruff tone of voice. It brought a wide smile to Marco’s face and an altogether more pleasant blush to the apples of his cheeks. “Thanks.”
By the time they got back from their trip to the shop, Alex’s resolution to guard his heart behind a secret George Harrison shrine had flown out of the window in his subconscious. Vaguely he registered the idea that he’d never be able to treat Marco like he was supposed to be treating Lucy, but he so much wanted to. He was too on-edge to actually open up and start making it obvious that he felt something other than budding friendship where his new neighbour was concerned – that was just the way he’d learned to live his life – and as such couldn’t yet acknowledge exactly how far into his affections Marco had managed to worm within the space of half an hour and with only a shared packet of dolly mixtures by way of direct bonding experiences.
Later that night he took his diary up from beneath the floorboards and wrote solely about Marco Santos – the way Alex thought Marco understood him in a way that nobody else did; the way he blushed so often; the way his face dimpled as he smiled and his eyes flashed when he laughed. Far from channelling this interest into his collection of George Harrison pictures, he actually forgot about the Beatles’ guitarist altogether and instead focused on pouring a fond and biased portrait of his new friend onto the eager, understanding pages of his diary. At the moment he simply felt over-enthusiastic about having someone new in his crowd – he realised, of course, that he had a crush on this boy, but that was all he realised. As he drifted off to teenage dreams of an Italian boy dancing in the park, he still didn’t realise how much land Marco’s troops had managed to secure in his heart.
All he knew was that he felt like a hummingbird was in his heart, and that he was rushing to get to sleep so that he could wake up in the morning to more Marco. How could a seventeen-year-old boy define love at first sight?
Part Three (From Me To You)