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20's Love Songs

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Charlie had begun to notice a very strange occurrence. It was no secret that Alastor loved to play music through his microphone wherever he was. Often giving detailed commentary on the songs, before or after they played. Sometimes even when no one was around to really listen. But ever since Angel stopped working the street at night, Charlie noticed a change.

Charlie started to hear Alastor talking with Angel at night, instead of playing jazz quietly on the piano in the entrance lounge, making jambalaya in the kitchen, or even just stalking the empty halls. She started to notice Alastor shutting Husk down when he called Angel cruel names. Alastor taking extra care in making sure Angel ate three meals a day. Alastor was even softer in his taunts, often going so far as to be kind of civil to Angel during the day. Needless to say, Charlie was confused. And concerned.

Then something happened. It seemed like just a normal day. Niffty and Alastor were cleaning the entrance hall, Alastor playing a groovy jazz song in the background. Then, Angel walked in, yawning in his pajamas, two arms stretched over his head, crop top rising to show his stomach. And Alastor’s radio screeched static, switching suddenly to playing “Embraceable You” loudly, and clearly. Niffty's eye widened comically and Alastor seemed unperturbed. But his smile was tighter than before, his eyes not quite as relaxed, his shadow twitching on the wall behind him. Angel barely noticed, just stopping long enough to give Alastor a soft smile, then continue on to the kitchen. Niffty immediately began pulling on Alastor's coat, begging for answers to the change in song. Alastor tapped his microphone a little harder on the tile of the floor, turning the microphone’s music off completely and lightly patted Niffty's head before stalking away. The first time it happened, Charlie was sure it was an accident. But it just kept happening.

The second time, Alastor was teaching Vaggie to dance in the ballroom. Alastor facing Vaggie, tapping her arms and torso with corrections, and tripping her with a loud cackle when she’d continue to get it wrong. Then Angel sauntered in, a grin stretched on his lips, showing off his gold tooth in the shimmering lights, stopping to ask Charlie a brief question. Alastor’s microphone stopped playing the vernacular jazz immediately, spitting seconds of static and feedback before settling on a gorgeous rendition of “When You’re Smiling.” The change startled everyone in the room. All swiveling their heads between Alastor and Angel.

"When you're smiling

When you're smiling

he whole world smiles with you"

Alastor’s smile was taut and furious, yet softened slightly when he glanced over at Angel. Angel began to blush lightly, making eye-contact with Alastor, then the confused face of Vaggie. His shoulders inching towards his ears, his grin sloping into an embarrassed smile. Charlie and Vaggie made subtle eye-contact, Vaggie questioning, Charlie beginning to grin. Alastor desperately tried to get back to dancing, swinging Vaggie into a slow dance, her steps stumbling over his shoes. And as Angel left, the microphone began to static softly, like it didn’t want to play anymore. Alastor quickly ended the lesson with a flurry and strutted back to his room, his moves restrained and obviously frenetic. Vaggie and Charlie peering out the doorway, looking on as he marched away, perplexed.

The more it happened, the more everyone else started to take notice. Niffty and Husk questioning Alastor viciously, only to be ignored. Vaggie, arching her brow every time Alastor was around Angel. And Charlie. Charlie had begun to take detailed notes on who it happened with, what Alastor was doing when it happened, what song played, and the time of day it happened. Charlie noticed that it only happened with Angel, no matter what Alastor was doing, or the time of day. If Angel walked in a room, Alastor knew it, and everyone else would quickly be made aware of it by the static and quick switch from some bouncy song to something soft, sober, and utterly romantic. The song seemed to change depending on Alastor’s mood. Charlie would pay close attention to if his posture was getting stiffer, or his smile relaxing into something more real, or even if Alastor would leave the room altogether as soon as the static started.

One especially memorable moment was when Alastor had walked into a room where Angel was lounging and his microphone began blaring “I Wanna Be Loved By You.” Alastor had looked utterly enraged at the microphone and Angel had jumped up, startled by the noise. Only to turn dark red as the song played on.

“I wanna kissed by you, just you,

Nobody else but you,

I wanna be kissed by you, alone!”

The chorus caused Angel to lift two of his four hands to cover his mouth, his eyes widening, cheeks burning. Looking at Alastor carefully underneath his eyelashes, his eyes big and eyebrows turned up. Alastor stood frozen in the doorway as his microphone broadcasted his heart. He quickly turned on his heel and booked it out of the room, in the calmest manner a demon can, while speed walking like God is on his heels. Angel had sat down almost like fainting, more falling than gliding. And Charlie had been practically vibrating with the new knowledge that even if Alastor refused to admit it, he did care for at least one person. Somewhat. Charlie had pumped her fist inconspicuously. Her rehabilitation was working. Sparing a glance for Angel, Charlie saw him staring at the doorway where Alastor left, shock and genuine affection stuck on his face like the hearts on his fur.

Charlie would also notice, whenever especially sappy songs would play, how Alastor would avoid Angel at all costs during the next few days. Even going so far as to shadow travel somewhere else if Angel appeared where he was. Always ignoring that he had feelings, even if his microphone was far less subtle than he was.

But no matter what happened during the day, when Charlie would go downstairs in the middle of the night, Alastor and Angel were always there. Sometimes sitting down on opposite sides of the couch. Sometimes hip to hip on the piano bench. And one time, sitting in front of the fireplace on the floor, knees to their chests. No matter the arrangement, there they were. Smiling and chatting like old friends. Or new lovers, Charlie’s mind supplied generously. They spoke quietly, but happily. And Charlie would find herself standing in the shadow of the doorway to hear Angel’s delicate giggles, real ones she’d think. And to see Alastor’s soft smile, his sharp teeth barely showing. Unlike when he’d bear down on others like he’d eat them whole on the spot.

And as Charlie would slip away quietly to bed, she’d catch herself humming the soft love songs the microphone had almost silently played in the dark of the night.