1987 :Saturday, July 30th
Cold sea air whipped at my face, a slow, dull thump of music from surrounding diners and passing cars. It’s refreshing, just walking along the main stretch of road after a long day of unpacking. The city's not home- it doesn't even begin to scratch the surface, not in my book. The lights are too bright and the people too loud but, it's dirt cheap and God knows I need the extra money. Photography doesn't pay well especially when your unknown, nor should it ever be a full-time gig. It takes the fun away from the piece when it basically throws one dollar bills at you every once and awhile. Like, I'm some sort of photography whore. I stop for a moment and look at the old building in front of me, Tucker’s. “Could you please stop it?! I just wanna have some fun, okay?”
“Still walking, Wes.” A boy, who I assume to be Michael, in red button up with some cool 70’s print and tight skinny jeans replies as he passes in front of me. His lips glossy and slightly kiss swollen.
“We’ve only got a couple of hours so let’s, uh… let's use it.” I'm stopped, staring blank faced, watching the scene unfold before me. This guy “Wes” or whatever, looks so stupid. He's got shoulder pads under his leather jacket and weirdly placed chains, pins, patches and spikes coating the sleeves, he's following like a lost puppy, biting his lip trying to be sexy- and totally failing- even though he isn't looking. It makes me want to hurl on the spot.
“I am using it.” Michael looks over his shoulder a bit, his lips pulled into a mischievous smile, and walks straight into Tucker’s even though it's oozing horny twenty-year-olds who are just casually bopping with the music and swaying awkwardly. The music clicks over from Heaven is a Place On Earth to C’est La Vie as I peered into the door. It's alive with fluffy-doo’s and blinding neons. I feel so out of place in my brand-new pastel blue sweater that's tucked into some mom-jeans that kinda make my ass look nice. I enter cautiously, eyes peeled for The Part-time Rapist- Wes- giving Guys and Gals shit while trying to get into their pants. I waddle past the dance-floor, careful to stay along the edges of the huddle, to the arcade. It's a decent set of games, Bubble Bubble, Top Speed, Donkey Kong, Q*bert and Pac-man (regular and Ms.(which makes no sense, why do you need to make a yellow ball that eats ghosts sexy?)) just to name a few in the area, there is a whole other room past the Pac-man machine. I slip a quarter into Bubble Bubble and play single. I'm heavy on the bubble button to the point where it's considered ‘mashing’.
“Hey.” A short guy stands next to me awkwardly checking me out while I play, paying him no attention. “You're pretty good at this.” He leans up against the machine sipping on a mojito, his hand coated in a thick, pink burn scar. “It's uh… got different endings. Ya know, depending on if you're in one or two players.”
“Uh-huh.” I give him a smile.
“It was kinda the first game to do that.” He says as one of the bots gets the dinosaur.
“Dammit!”I mutter and slam my palms onto the machine going to dig another quarter out of my ass-pocket.
“Do you uh, wanna p-play Top Speed?” My eyes flicker to the screen behind me and stare at the car for a little before it goes out of control and crashes into a brick building. I jump back into the bubble bubble machine and squeak out a ‘no, sorry’ and dart off into the crowd, to the bar. The boy seemed sweet and I feel like an idiot for zooming off like that… whatever, tonight is my night and I'm not killing my buzz for some idiot who tried hitting on me at the arcade! I order a coke and start sipping, swaying with the random songs that play from the jukebox.
The music clicks over to Walk Like An Egyptian as Michael, from earlier, slides into my booth. “Go along with whatever I say.” He stares at me seriousness dripping from his tone.
“Whatever I say go along with it!” He nudges my shoulder and leans against it, like I'm the most interesting person in the room (which is bullshit and we all know it). Michael sweeps the floor over with his eyes and snaps his head back to me and giggles at nothing. Wes taps his shoulder, eyes glued to the back of Michael's head. “Okay, Wes, now you're just being a pest.” Michael is still looking at me uncomfortably.
“Two hours, thirty-five.” Wes huffs and crosses his arms. “Not, much time.”
“Wes.” Michael looks over at him, obviously trying to shake him. Why can't people take a fucking hint, it's written all over his face. Why does Wes keep bothering?
“Look, last week we had the most amazing--” Wes starts to kneel to meet our eye level and he's leaning in, staring at Michael's rosey lips.
“Last week was last week.” He puts a hand over Wes’ mouth and pushes him back from his toes to his heels. “I need to talk to my friend here, okay? Haven't seen ‘em in awhile.” He drapes an arm across the back of my tense shoulders. I haven't been this anxious since I spilt coffee on my boss at my last job… and got fired. Wes chuckles after Michael moved his hand. “Wes, he's sick. Like, “six months to live” sick.” His jaw drops into an ‘o’ and scuttles back a little.
“Five, actually.” Michael looks back, his jaw dropped a little too as I give him a knowing smile and he whips his head back around.
“I need to catch up with him. Ya know, private time.”
“Okay… okay. Hey, I'm sorry.” Wes says, standing up.
“It's okay.” I shake my head, the universal go the fuck away symbol.
“See ya around, Micha.” Michael stares for a moment before pulling his lips, that were previously curled in a sassy grin, into a straight line.
“Sure.” It leaves his tongue the second Wes is out of hearing range. “God, what a clingy Dom.” I'm staring intensely at Michael. He's actually really cute with his honey colored skin and his almost-too-tight clothes that make his definitions bulge every so slightly. It's amazing, Michael is amazing, everything (except the asshole™) is amazing. I let out a dreamy sigh and lean into my fists on the table while Michael plops his head on the patch of wall separating the booths. We both chuckle as Michael perks up. “Sorry for killing you. Ya know, the whole “six months to live” thing? Sorry. Five. Five was a nice touch, actually.” He put his hand out. “Michael.”
“Jeremy.” I took his hand in my own, admiring the firm but gentle handshake.
“Jer-a-me.” I said a little louder over the music, letting his hand go. I'm smiling like an idiot at this boy, he's got this nervous-but-I-really-want-to-be-here smiles like he's having the time of his life being a wallflower with me. And that's when I immediately decide that that Michael is officially my type.
“He's not really a bad guy. I feel kinda bad, I met him at the Quagmire so-”
“Wait, what's the Quagmire?” I cut Michael off.
“Oh, your twink-ass probably doesn't want to know.”
“What's a twink?!” Michael starts barking with laughter, it's so loud, obnoxious and he snorts every once and awhile. “What? D-did I say something?” He moves his glasses up and rubs his misty eyes for a second.
“Oh my God, you're serious?! Twink?” Still nothing. “It's an acronym for gay guys like you. Teenage, white, into no kink.” My face flushes as I pull my sweater sleeves over my hands.
“I could be kinky…”
“Really?” He puts a hand under my chin, yanking my eyes away from the ground.”Prove it.” Michael purrs, his eyes darkened. The milk chocolate Hershey bars turning into solid cole. They scan over my body inch by inch taking in every little detail.
“Wh-what are yo-u do-d-doing?” I can feel my cheeks darkening when his eyes get my wait and put my hands in my lap.
“I'm… regarding you.” Michael smirks
“I feel like I'm being analyzed.” I avert my gaze from Michael completely and let him stare. I haven't gotten this much attention in a long time and it's honestly breathtaking, like, falling in love for the first time. Intense and incredibly desired.
“What's with the outfit? You know this is a club right?” He's dropped his hand back to his side his eyes back to gooey chocolate as they look back at mine.
“It's a comfort thing. I have to h-have long sleeves in new places.”
“I kinda thought it was a fashion statement… guess not.” I lower my head a little. “Hey, don't take it the wrong way, Jer-bear. I mean, look around. People try so hard to look how they think they should look, probably stealing looks from movies but this,” he gestures to my outfit. “Is authentically you. And you're pretty cute, might I remind you.” He scans the room a little before snapping his head back to me. “So, you live here?”
“So you're a tourist?”
“Guess you could call it that…”
“Oh wow, okay!” The jukebox clicks over to a new song and Michael immediately brightens. “Holly fuck, I haven't heard this in forever! Jere we have to dance!!!”
“With me?”Michael nods dusting off my coke.
“Who else would I want to dance with?!”
“Oh, dance floors aren't my thing.” My hands start getting sweaty, trembling with the bass of the music.
“Let's not limit ourselves, jer.”
“I can't i’ll look dumb and that’ll make you look dumb and I don't want to burden you with my two left feet because you're an awesome friend and everyone will probably shun you from this club and I don't wanna do that to you-”
“Jeremy, we’re dancing. Just, follow my lead!” Michael slides out of the booth and grabs my hand leading me to the middle of the floor. “Copy me!” He just starts moving working his shoulders to the rhythm of the song and it's really adorable. Our eyes are locked and we're just subtly dancing together… in the middle of the floor but I can't help but feel cold rushing into the pit of my stomach. He takes my hands trying to get me to join him, but I can't it feels like my feet are glued to the ground and my blood has suddenly turned to ice. Everyone’s eyes are on us, the only same-sex dancing partners on the floor. I can't help but turn around and bolt for the exit. It’s the last thing I wanted to do but it felt right getting off the floor, leaving Michael. He probably doesn't want me around anyway, I'm a fucking loser. I press open the back door, it's pouring rain but I still exit the building and sit on a dumpster waiting for the rain to pass. Michael pokes his head out minutes later spotting me. “Jer, why'd you run away?” He's giggling a bright smile plastered cheek to cheek.
“Oh, s-sorry. I-.. I'm seriously not much of a dancer.”
“No shit! You were like a frightened horse on a frozen lake back there.” He chuckles.”I'm kidding… well, half kidding. Sorry I pushed you into it. Saturday's once a week is all I get and it's like, no time. I get crazy impatient.”
“No! Uh, no. It's not that…” I fumble with my sleeves and stare at the ground. I can feel the anxiety wash over me again and eat at my stomach. “It's just everyone was looking.”
“Yeah. Ya know… two guys. Dancing?” I scrunch up my shoulders to try and cover my rosey cheeks from those glorified chocolate bars.
“Okay. One, folks are less uptight than they used to be and two, this is a party town. No ones judging. Face it, if they were staring it's because I'm bodacious.” He jabs his thumb at his heart in his puffed out chest. I giggle and tuck my curls back behind my ear.
“Thank you!” He nuzzles up next to me and stares at the sky. It's a peaceful silence minus the sounds of cars, the soft pitter of rain, passing conversations and breathing but it's silent in our corner of the world, on top of a dumpster.
“I've never been on a dance floor.” I blurt after a few minutes.
“Never?” Michael looks over at me, his jaw dropped a tiny bit. Just enough to make his lips part in a crescent shape. “As in the whole time you've been alive, or just now?”
“My whole life.”
“What are you, Amish?”
“Same difference, one sheltered existence you got there.” He nudges my shoulder making sure I know that there's no bite behind his words. Michael's kinda just staring like I'm a big ball of pure ness (which I guess now is kinda true).
“Yeah, well, as far as my family’s concerned I can't do anything.” I huff out a bit lighter.
“No one knows about half the shit I get up to.” He says a smirk just laying on his pink lips, that I want to kiss so badly. “With your folks, though, it's coming from a place of love. Right? They worry.”
“They don't worry. Just the concept of me enjoying myself is mind blowing for them.”
“What would you like to do, then? Like, what you've never done before.” He drapes an arm around my shoulder and holds me closer to his chest.
“So many things, Michael. You have no idea.”
“San Junipero is a party town, we could cross of some right now if you wanted.” His hand slips around my waist rubbing the sliver of skin that's showing, leaving nothing but heat and arousal in its wake. “Midnight is two hours away.”
“That's not long.”
“Why waste time sitting here then.” He snakes his hand up my side and I jump up. “Too much?”
“N-no, Michael, you're perfect.” I swoon a little but snapback quickly. ”I can't… I'm engaged. I have a fiancé. Called Greta.”
“And is…Greta here?”
“So she's elsewhere?”
“Wanna go to bed with me?” My mouth runs dry like if I turn him down I'm never going to get the chance to be with Michael ever again, even the thought of never being with Michael scares me. He seems like such a wonderful person and a great personality. I'm never going to get this chance again… “we could be back at mine in the snap of my fingers.”
“I've never done anything like that.”
“Well, then, all the more reason to.”
“Oh you're nice..” I so badly want to accept but the offer. To run my fingers through his hair while hits the spot that sets everything on fire, to know what it feels like to be cared for after and during and feel loved. “ I gotta go Michael.” I pecked his cheek a little too close to his lips.
“Bye Jer-bear.” He does the ta-ta for now wave and head back into tucker’s with a dopey grin. He's absolutely adorable and I'm never seeing him again…