Title; Cigarettes in the Middle of the Night
Summary; “I only smoke when I can’t sleep.” Dom lifts a sheet of paper out of the pile, his palm pushes it across the table at Billy and with his index finger he points to a circular burn in the corner.
Disclaimer; I love to write. I also love Mr. Monaghan and Mr. Boyd. Thus I put the two together and make beautiful lies
Warnings; A little bit of sex-stuff and a little bit of angst. My usual.
Note; I might like this one. I love writing about smoking. Not sure why. I also love the middle of the night. Was completely inspired by Lost in Translation. Quite a short piece.
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When Elijah leaves packs of his cigarettes lying around sometimes Dom will smoke one. Just because, why not? And maybe because he’s lonely. Which doesn’t really make a terrible amount of sense except to him.
In the middle of the night he’s sitting on Elijah’s living room floor. The TV’s emitting its fake, dull, light and the volume’s so low it sounds like voices from another room. Elijah’s sprawled out on the couch behind him, his top half is the only half that’s actually on the couch, his lower half is hanging off, his feet bent at the ankles against the carpet. Dom’s jealous, he’s only here because he can’t sleep, hasn’t slept in days. Forgot what sleeping feels like. His eyes sway, unfocused, from the screen of the TV to the pack of cigarettes. He reads the Warning labels over and over, he thinks of the kinds of toxins cigarettes put into the air. He looks down at the lit one between his fingers, burning and stinking up the already-stagnant air in the apartment. He parts his lips, places the cigarette there and puffs away.
He doesn’t know why he’s lonely. Maybe it’s because that girl he was seeing, well, it just didn’t work out. And maybe it’s because Elijah’s kind of been dating this really pretty actress-lady, and he’s been gone, in England, for long periods of time for shooting and when he comes back he’s sort of … He’s not very Elijah anymore. But Dom knows he’s not very Dom anymore. No one’s really how they were, actually, or maybe they are and Dom just had it all wrong from the beginning. Either way.
The cigarette tastes so bad in his mouth. He looks down at it again, stares at the fading flame and then puts it out on his wrist. He drops it into the ash tray and blinks up at the TV. He replaces his arm band, covering the brand-new mark. It’s burning just slightly; he’s too tired to really feel it. His head droops backwards against the couch as the TV blurs so completely he can’t really make out what’s happening and Elijah’s apartment seems so very small around him. The body that his head is now rested upon shifts and makes a little murmur-moan and then goes back into complete stillness.
When Billy was visiting the week before, Dom had realized he hadn’t changed. Their friendship hadn’t even changed, all of the perfect comic timing, the playfulness. All there. When Billy was drinking and his voice got deep and thick and sofuckingScottish and he had said, “Sometimes I just miss you so much, Dommie,” all Dom wanted to do was tell him to stay.
Or maybe ask if he could go back home with him.
When Ali would call and leave messages at Dom’s apartment looking for Billy he would feel absolutely nothing. Her chirpy accent that never sounded as beautiful as Billy’s would echo around the small room, would give Dom a headache, but still he sometimes would like the things she’d say. “Dom, I just wanted to talk to Billy. I figured he might be there. He’s always there.”
It sounded right, for someone to call his phone but ask for Billy. He could get used to it.
For some reason it takes him great effort to grab the remote and turn the TV off. But he does. The little sucky-static-alien sound makes Dom jump, and the darkness makes him feel cold. He sits there for a long time just staring at the black hole. It isn’t until Elijah moves just slightly in his sleep that Dom turns his head, rests his cheek against his inner thigh and stares up at his face. It doesn’t really seem possible but in sleep Elijah is only more innocent-looking. It always amazes Dom.
After about thirty seconds he whispers Elijah’s name, lifts his head off of his leg and nudges his shoulder. Elijah wakes quickly, big eyes opening and shining, looking confused.
Dom asks if he should leave, go home. Elijah just looks annoyed. He tells him to do whatever the fuck he wants, rolls over, goes back to sleep.
Dom pushes himself up and squeezes his body onto the couch next to Elijah. He lies like this until the sun lights up the apartment.
When Dom calls Billy he tells him that there are more reasons for him to come back to LA.
Billy asks, “How many video game premieres can two people go to in a month?”
Dom tells him there isn’t any video game premieres and when Billy asks well what reasons, then? All Dominic says is, come and I’ll show you.
He sits with his own pack of cigarettes, an entirely different brand than Elijah’s. But he sits out on the balcony so his apartment won’t smell if Billy says yes. It’s 3AM in LA but 11AM in Glasgow and in the background Dom can hear Ali asking Billy if he’s seen her car keys because she has to pick up a few things. Billy says no he hasn’t but a few seconds later Dom can hear her mockingbirdesque voice sneaking its way into the phone wires and saying, “Never mind, found ‘em!”
Another few seconds later Billy says, “How long am I coming for this time? She won’t be happy.”
He wants to say forever so badly the taste of it in his mouth overpowers the tobacco. Instead he says, “When you start to miss her more than me.” He really wants it to mean the same thing.
Billy’s flight was arriving at 2:45AM, which was lucky for Dom because it wasn’t like he’d be sleeping or anything. The airport is one of those places that are still so very awake in the middle of the night. Dom gets there at midnight and watches. By the time Billy’s stepped off the plane he’s seen every type of person imaginable coming from every place imaginable. Or so he likes to think.
He puts the cigarette out before Billy can see. He hopes he doesn’t smell too badly. He hopes he doesn’t look too badly, either.
When Billy sees him he doesn’t say anything, doesn’t need to. Doesn’t tell him he looks awful or smells awful or that he looks like he hasn’t slept in days. What would be the use of that?
They don’t talk at all until they’re in the car and Billy says, “I think Ali broke up with me.”
Dominic pulls out of the space and maneuvers his way through the parking lot. He can feel Billy watching him, or his driving at least.
“S’bad to drive when you’re as tired as you look.”
He stops the car right in the middle of the parking lot, not caring. They get out and switch, Billy getting behind the wheel and Dom slumping in the passenger’s seat. On the way back to the apartment, Dom falls asleep against Billy’s shoulder.
Pages of writing lay scattered across his kitchen table, above him the too-bright lights of the room make him squint. Los Angeles rain splashes noisily against the window above the sink. The clock above the window above the sink says 1:06. The cigarette in his hand is half-smoked.
His best friend stands in the doorway for five minutes before he speaks, before Dom knows he’s there. All he says is, “Even the rain has no respect for sleep here.”
A whole minute later Dom says something like now you see what I’m going through.
They sit at the table and Billy glances at some of the writing. It’s all chicken-scratch and random words and Billy knows they are the product of insomnia.
“I only smoke when I can’t sleep.” Dom lifts a sheet of paper out of the pile, his palm pushes it across the table at Billy and with his index finger he points to a circular burn in the corner. Billy’s eyes move to Dom’s wrist. Dom can see his collection of leather cuffs and arm bands in his mind. “That too.”
Billy doesn’t say anything. He reads a little more. Mostly he gets out of it that Dom’s lonely.
“I thought maybe you’d help.”
There’s thunder very far away. Billy says, “She didn’t really leave me. But she wants to. Or doesn’t want to but, thinks she has to.”
“She’d be stupid.”
Billy shakes his head and stands up. The scratching of the chair against the floor makes Dom wince. Billy stands next to Dom’s chair and when Dom turns around Billy reaches out and touches Dom’s cheek. He says, “Let’s go to sleep.”
The next night at midnight they’re laying on Dom’s bed, sprawled out next to each other with empty take-out cartons all spread around them and the TV isn’t making Dom lonelier because there’s nothing to feel lonely about. In the trash bin next to Dom’s bed is a pack of cigarettes.
Billy laughs at the movie. Billy always laughs at the jokes in movies, nice and loud and full and he doesn’t care because if he thinks something’s funny then he’s going to laugh. Dom’s not really paying much attention to the movie because he doesn’t think there’s anything funnier in the world than Billy Boyd. So he just watches him laugh and then he’ll laugh too because it’s all just so perfect. And, well, he’s had more than a couple of beers.
Billy looks at Dom and Dom feels himself blush because he’s been caught staring. But Billy just smiles and leans in. Their foreheads press together, Dom’s eyes close and he breathes in so deep. Billy smells amazing.
Dom can’t help it. Not anymore. His body moves forward, he presses it in, fits it perfectly into Billy’s so they’re meeting everywhere possible. His head tilts just slightly and his lips brush Billy’s, his hand, oops, slips up beneath the hem of Billy’s shirt and his fingers dance across warm flesh.
“Not really,” he answers. He dares to open his eyes, finds Billy staring back at him. He can feel him smiling. He can feel it all throughout him. “Not yet.”
Billy’s lips pucker and press hard against Dom’s and each of them release breath like they’d been holding it in forever. Food containers get kicked away, the remote gets rolled over and the TV flashes off. They’re left in the dark, groping hands, hungry mouths, even hungrier bodies.
Dominic takes a breath as he feels the first real contact of flesh on flesh. Bites a soft patch of skin so gently and says, “I’ve been waiting so long to be up in the middle of the night with you.”