Word Count: ~4,400
Rating: Uh. PG? Nothing too serious.
Summary: “He looked pissed but he probably wouldn’t bother. We are a long way up.”
Author's Note: Third post!
Based on what Nick said in an interview about tapes. This story just appeared after seeing that interview once. Don’t judge me.
I MISS THIS COMMUNITY :C
Also, I’m not entirely sure of Nick’s sister’s ages etc. So just go with it x
Disclaimer: None of this is real. I made it all up. This is not, at all, meant to be taken seriously.
The pencil rolled slowly between Céline’s delicate fingers.
She stared at it with narrow eyes as she tried to wind the tape back into the cassette. Biting her gloss-covered lip, she saw the tape was almost there. It snapped.
“Damnit!” she cursed angrily. That was one of her favourite tapes. The tape rattled sadly as she dropped it onto the table in defeat and anguish, knowing now it was useless. It was such a waste, really. She glanced over at her brother who had his guitar in his lap, a smile on his face as he watched his own fingers on the fret board.
“Broke, huh?” he asked, voice gentle and deep. Céline pushed the blonde hair from her face as she gave a soft nod and then smirked as something crossed her mind. “Do you remember what we used to do when this happened?”
Nick looked up from his guitar, but didn’t stop playing. He uncrossed his legs and crossed them again comfortably. He grinned. He remembered the weekends spent as kids and teenagers, recording, listening to, and destroying mix tapes with his sisters. They would record off the radio or old records, tapes or even new CDs they bought. It was one of the few ways they bonded, through music. When a cassette’s tape snapped or the tape just didn’t work or even if they got bored of the music on it, they would smash it open. Then they would spend hours throwing tapes off their balcony in their apartment; usually when their parents weren’t there. Céline and Elizabeth usually liked to let Nick do all of the tape-throwing because he was the strongest and the tapes flew a lot farther by his hand. Watching it roll and flip and spool out in the air was entertaining enough: but seeing it smash on the pavement below had a weird satisfaction to it.
Elizabeth sat in the next room writing a letter to a friend from school. Céline appeared and waved the tape in front of her face, and it made an odd clicking as it swayed back and forth; clearly broken. Elizabeth’s face lit up and she put her pen down immediately.
Nick continued playing and let his sisters have a bit of fun smashing it open with a small hammer. After the lounge-room table was littered with fragments of plastic cassette and tiny bits of torn tape, Nick rested his guitar on its stand for a moment and took the tape from his sister’s hands. They stood either side of him excitedly. “It’s been years since we’ve done this,” said Céline happily. Nick stood at the window, feeling the gentle wind blow his hair around his face and he turned the tape in his hands and tapped it with a thin finger. He drew his arm back and then threw the tape with all his might out the window. Holding tightly onto the thin, black tape, Nick and his sisters leant over the balcony and smiled as they watched the plastic rectangle tumble through the air.
As it neared the ground, Nick’s face fell as he realised it was flying a little too close to some guy walking below. “Oh shit,” he muttered as he knew it was imminent. Sure enough, the three winced as the tape fell onto a man’s head as he walked on the sidewalk. The two girls gasped and dashed back inside when the man grasped his head in pain and cursed and glared up at the building. Nick looked at the guy, angrily clutching his head and wearing a scowl. A couple of other people had momentarily looked up too but continued on their way. Nick couldn’t blame the man for being pissed. He let go of the tape and went back inside. The three looked awkwardly to each other; “Well. We didn’t mean to, right?” Elizabeth looked up in thought, “Is that the first time we’ve hit someone?” The other two nodded. Céline looked at the door worriedly, “What if he, like, comes up here or something?” Nick waved his hand, “He looked pissed but he probably wouldn’t bother. We are a long way up.” They all went back to what they were doing but they were all a bit worried, including Nick. If the guy did come up, he’d have to deal with it because he wouldn’t put his sisters in harm’s way, and he was the one who threw the tape anyway.
After several minutes of awkward silence and gapped guitar playing, there was a knock on the door. Everyone went even quieter and turned to stare at the wooden door. The girls backed into a corner. “Oh shit, he’s gonna kill us, man,” murmured Céline quietly. Nick put his guitar down and stood up. “Don’t worry, I’ve got it.” Elizabeth grinned in the corner, “Yeah! No one messes with the Valensis!” Nick glared at her and her face fell. When Nick opened the door he was faced with a beautiful, albeit angry face. The man had dark brown eyes and smooth skin, brown hair which fell neatly around his face, and an odd expression which read both fury and salutation. He looked slightly bored, and Nick was overwhelmed by his presence. He forgot to speak and he felt slightly dumbfounded as he stood in his own doorway. The man sighed a little. “So,” he began. He reached a calm hand up to his hair and wiped a spot on his head; then he showed Nick a bloody hand. “Care to explain?”
Nick blinked. He had opened the door expecting to be obnoxious, tough and a bit of a show-off in front of his sisters, but suddenly he couldn’t be any of those things. He felt nervous, ill at ease and definitely uncomfortable. He felt that any one else would have come up to his apartment yelling and being aggressive because they were hit by a tape, but this guy was quite calm. Angry, of course, but calm. Suddenly, Nick felt even worse about what happened. “I am so sorry about that,” he said, more seriously than he intended. The man looked at him with tired eyes, “So you just throw tapes at people’s heads for fun or target practice or what?” Nick shook his head, “No we used to do it heaps as kids. This is the first time we’ve hit someone. I’m... Look, I’m sorry, okay? Can I get you anything for the bleeding?” Nick tried to smile but he couldn’t, instead he looked at the man with the friendliest expression he could muster. The guy waved his hand, “Eh.. it’s only bleeding a little. You apologised, that’s all I wanted. Bye.” Then he turned and walked away.
Nick shut the door and he felt a bit deflated. He wasn’t sure why but he felt like he had disappointed the guy almost. He felt so weird but he knew he had to make it up to him, because he had hurt him and he genuinely felt awful. Nick grabbed some tissues and an icepack, ignored the weird looks from his sisters and ran out the door. He hurried down the stairs and saw the back of the man just turning a corner. When he caught up, the guy turned around and gave him a funny, yet intrigued look. “Wait,” breathed Nick as he jumped down the last couple of stairs and they met on the landing. “I am sorry,” Nick said quietly as he scuffed his shoe and unintentionally avoided the man’s strong gaze. The guy smiled. “I see.” He took the tissues Nick offered and got rid of some of the blood in his hair. He held the icepack casually on his head and winced as the cold bit into his skin. Nick watched the man’s face relax as he leant against the wall, “That’s better,” he breathed.
Nick smiled a little at his shoes, “I’m Nick, by the way…Valensi.” he said. The man smiled too. Nick noticed he was very attractive when he smiled. “Julian,” he said in a deep, slurred tone, “Julian Fernando Casablancas.” He chuckled, “Yeah it’s really Spanish.” Nick found himself smiling and then the smiled changed into an apologetic half-smile. “We are sorry, though,” he said. Julian raised his eyebrows, “We?” Nick also leant on the wall, opposite Julian, “Yeah, my sisters and me. We smash open mixtapes when they break, and throw them off the balcony. It’s fun to watch, but as I said before, we’ve never hit anybody. We panicked.” Julian smirked, “Right. Well I did the same when I was a kid so I can’t be that pissed. It was just me own my own though, and I hit loads of people.” Julian started laughing as he was lost in his own thoughts. Nick laughed too and felt perhaps this was the strangest conversation he’d ever had, but he was enjoying himself.
Julian looked at Nick with a happy face for a moment, then he tilted his head and asked, “How many more tapes do you have left to throw today?” Nick shook his head, “None, there was just the one.” Julian leant off the wall for a moment and took the icepack off his head. He slid his free hand into his jacket pocket. “Well, how would you like to go out with me later? For dinner?” he said slowly, wearing a happy face, though his smile had the tiniest hint of shyness. Nick was taken aback. He stared, not believing what he heard, “What? Like…” “Yeah, a date,” replied Julian mischievously, “I’ll be honest: I like you, Nick.” Nick still couldn’t really form any proper sentences in his mind let alone speak one out loud and he found himself staring dazedly at Julian. Julian sensed Nick’s awkwardness and shrugged a little, “Don’t like guys or is it just me you don’t like?” Nick’s nonsensical train of thought dissipated and he looked at Julian’s eyes. “I’m just…not…normally into guys…” he stammered with a sideways glance. It was true, he liked girls. He liked smart, strong, curvy women who knew how to have a good time but he never dismissed the thought of being with a guy. He just never knew or met any whom he found any interest in: until now. There was something about Julian that Nick was innately attracted to, and it felt new and weird but also it felt kind of exciting and right. “But um…sure, Julian,” he replied softly, with a bashful smile. Julian’s fallen face lit up and he looked pleased. “Pick you up at seven,” he said with a wink as he patted Nick’s shoulder, handed him the icepack and then continued sauntering down the stairs. Nick stared after him for a moment and heard the plodding footsteps echo up the stairwell and then he made his way back up to his apartment. He glanced at his watch and saw it was only four thirty. Excited and distracted, he tripped up the last step.
In a daze and feeling a little confused, about himself, more than anything, Nick opened the door to see his sisters waiting immediately behind it. They both started speaking at once excitedly, asking what had happened. “I uh…well I gave him ice for his head ‘cause he was bleeding…” Elizabeth winced and Céline had murmured something about how hot the guy was. Nick then looked out the window where he had thrown the tape a while ago. “And then he asked me out,” he said simply, not really wanting to elaborate on the matter. It’s not that he was ashamed, it was just he didn’t know he could feel so…nervous or so shy, different from how he normally was. The girls squealed, and then Céline sighed almost disappointedly. “Aw, he’s gay?” Nick frowned in thought, “I don’t kn—I don’t think so,” he declared out loud. The girls eyed Nick for a moment. “But, you said ‘no,’ right?” asked Elizabeth cautiously. Nick felt like laughing at how ridiculous this all was and a small chuckle escaped him as he looked at his sisters and shrugged, “I’m meeting him at seven. Tonight.” The girls squealed again and then Céline eyed her younger brother. “Wait, wait: you’re gay?” Nick sighed, “No he’s just… Ugh. Look, can we argue about this later? I just want to play guitar.”
Despite all the pleading and fighting, the girls didn’t let Nick touch his guitar. They spent the next two hours helping pick Nick’s clothes and doing his hair. Nick was going to argue that he could dress himself, even if he was a man, but he did like the combination they had picked out for him; his comfortable, black skinny jeans, a white, button-up shirt, his denim jacket and his favourite skinny, red tie. He brushed his hair with his fingers in the mirror as he held a guitar pick in between his teeth, willing to be ready quickly so he could play some tunes before he left, but his sisters wouldn’t have any of it. Elizabeth ran back and forth between theirs and Nick’s bedroom, bringing various hair-combs and such for Céline to use on Nick. Nick had heavily objected, but Céline wasn’t doing that bad a job. She was trying to make his hair ‘neatly disheveled,’ as she called it. She had tutted when Nick tried to get up and leave, “Don’t you dare. It’s not every day my baby brother gets to go out with some gorgeous man who just turned up at our door.” Nick felt himself laughing incredulously, “We threw a fucking tape at his head!” Céline laughed and then completely messed up Nick’s hair with her long fingers. Nick liked that much better than any comb.
With his hair disheveled and his tie slightly loose, Nick looked himself over in the mirror briefly and wondered why Julian asked him, out of all people, on a date. Julian probably could be with anyone he wanted to, regardless of gender. Nick glanced at the clock’s reflection in the bathroom mirror and he read there was only fifteen minutes left until Julian arrived. Now feeling slightly nervous, Nick thanked his sisters and left; taking his time going down the stairs. He shut the building doors behind him and heaved a sigh as he leant on the wall, hoping that Julian wouldn’t be much longer.
Within five minutes of waiting in the cold night air, a silver car decelerated and stopped in front of the doors. Smiling, Nick pushed himself away from the wall with his foot and sauntered over to the car. When he sat in the passenger seat, he closed the door behind him and smiled to Julian, who grinned back and started driving.
The car ride was short, but not at all awkward. There were some good tunes on the radio and Julian had hummed along to them happily as he navigated the streets. Julian had announced they had arrived and when they had stopped in a car park, Nick noticed small, delicate rows of lights strung up in the trees. He glanced at an all-too familiar sign above the door. Nick turned his head away from the sign slowly and looked to Julian worriedly. He’d seen this restaurant on TV many times; it was a very famous, very fancy restaurant which Nick knew of course, was also massively expensive. “I can’t afford this,” he said quietly as he cast his eyes down to his shoes. Julian looked at him with a tiny smirk, “Who said you were paying?” Julian exited the car and Nick quickly followed, “But shouldn’t we go, like, halves or something? Like, this is, really. Uh…” he trailed off when Julian walked away towards the door and left Nick in the dim light of the car park.
Nick caught up quickly and walked nervously along-side the older man. “Julian, I’m serious,” he pleaded. Julian stopped walking and heaved a slightly annoyed sigh. The doorman cast them odd looks. Nick looked at Julian worriedly and felt he had overstepped the mark. Julian’s expression relaxed and he placed both hands on Nick’s shoulders. The sudden contact startled the younger man. “Nick. Calm down. I’m paying. You’re going to enjoy yourself. Okay?” Julian’s dark eyes looked from Nick’s left eye to his right, to make sure he got the message. Nick bit his lip and swallowed whatever words he was thinking of saying; and he nodded. Julian’s face twitched into a smile, but his hands didn’t move. He looked into Nick’s eyes and saw they had lots of tiny gleams in them from all of the lights, and his face was bathed in a soft glow of the yellows and blues around them. Nick looked back at him with a slightly bashful, slightly inquisitive expression on his face, but his eyes said he was nervous; but excited. Julian grinned and let go of Nick’s denim-clad shoulders; continuing to stroll to the door. The doorman greeted them and granted them entrance. The inside of the building was very warm, very cozy and the dining area was romantically-lit. Each table had a small candelabrum in its centre. The artificial light was quite low and the candles mounted on the walls and on the tabletops created a very inviting atmosphere. Julian talked briefly to the waiter while Nick stood in a daze nearby, looking around at all of the decorations and dim chandeliers which trickled delicately from the ceiling. It was just as he had seen in that programme.
A minute later they were seated in one of the corner booths and Nick found himself staring down at a list of prices and dreading asking for anything at all. He had only met Julian earlier that day, but he was genuine and Nick had questioned so many things about the world and himself since Julian had invited him out. If Julian went all the way up to his apartment to confront someone who threw a tape at his head, why would he then become sweet and ask him out? Did Nick look like a guy who was into guys? What would happen if Julian tried to kiss him or something? Nick felt himself blushing from his thoughts and the heat from the candlelight before him. Julian leant forward and tilted his head; “Nick. You decided yet?” Nick slowly looked up from the blurry menu and he swallowed a lump in his throat. “I uh. What? Oh. Steak,” he stammered, “…please.” Julian looked at him with cautious eyes and told the next waiter their orders.
Then he sat forward on his seat, closer to Nick, who responded by smiling nervously. “So, Nick,” began Julian. “Tell me about yourself.” He leant two elbows on the table and rested his chin on his interlaced fingers. Nick, who normally let everyone know who he was and what he was about, just kind of froze up and he hated himself for it. “I like, I don’t know, I just kind of, like, play guitars,” he said, feeling a little shy because Julian’s dark irises appeared black in this light and they stared through him into his soul. However, the older man smiled warmly. “Guitars, huh? Are you any good?” Nick felt himself easing a little as Julian’s smile had a calming effect on him, as it had earlier that day. “I’ve been playing since I was six so I’m pretty good,” he said truthfully with a slight nod. Julian’s eyes narrowed momentarily: “How old are you?” Nick was a little surprised by that question and he suddenly realised he didn’t know how old Julian was either, but he looked not that much older than himself. “I’m eighteen,” said Nick, as he fiddled with a loose thread he suddenly discovered on his jacket sleeve. Julian’s shoulders relaxed a little and he smiled, “Oh. You look my age, is all. I’m twenty-one.” Nick nodded. “What do you do?” he asked quietly, assuming that Julian had a job because of how much everything at this restaurant cost. Julian chuckled, “I work at a bar. Serving drinks, mixing drinks, drinking drinks, it’s all good.” He gave a small shrug. Seeing Julian laugh made Nick smile; he couldn’t help it. “Other than that, I’m trying to form a band, but I only have one other person so far.” Nick perked up at another music reference, “Oh yeah? What do you play?” Julian coughed softly into his fist and he gave his hair a quick scratch. He almost seemed to be nervous talking about himself. “Well, I can play guitar, piano, drums, bass and keyboards,” he chuckled again as he dropped his voice a little lower and he added, “I sing, too.” Nick just imagined that voice on the radio, the whole country would melt. He went to say something, but the waiters delivered the food. Their drinks were poured and Nick looked down at his steak, sitting on a highly-ornate porcelain plate, sided by several kinds of cutlery. “Do you always dine out like this?” asked Nick quietly. Julian looked confused for a second and then laughed, “No, I just thought you’d enjoy it. Do you like it so far?” Nick felt at ease hearing Julian laugh. He smiled at the older man, “Yeah, I do.”
After lengthy discussions about music; favourite genres of music, favourite musicians and such, Nick and Julian threw small stories at each other from when they had travelled when they were younger. And after the steaks were eaten, the glasses emptied and the bill paid for, they were back in the night air, standing beneath small twinkling lights. They headed to the car and it was noticeably warmer inside.
The ride home seemed slower than the journey to the restaurant. Even though Julian felt kind of like a friend now, he couldn’t shake the fact that this was a date. He also couldn’t stop thinking about his imagined scenarios of Julian trying to kiss him. He felt his cheeks burning as he stared distractedly out of the window. He only stopped staring once he realised the car had stopped moving. He looked across at Julian, who was looking back with worried, encouraging eyes. “Did you have fun?” he asked, gripping the steering wheel with his hand; feeling as if maybe Nick hadn’t enjoyed himself. He hadn’t said much during the trip back to his apartment. Nick nodded and smiled reassuringly, “Yeah, of course I did. Thanks Julian…for everything.” He smiled and fumbled with his hands, “I’m sorry about the tape today.” Julian leaned closer and shook his head, “It’s fine. I’m kind of glad you threw it. Otherwise we probably wouldn’t have met.” Nick let a small grin escape him; “It’s only because you bothered to come all the way up that we met.” Julian leant closer as Nick was talking and he slowly pressed his lips to Nick’s cheekbone. Nick froze as he didn’t know what to do, nor was he seriously expecting this. Julian was still quite close, not moving closer until he was sure Nick was okay with this. Nick turned and looked at Julian’s handsome face, his soft features and dark eyes. He cautiously reached a hand up and brushed his thumb across Julian’s cheek. He avoided Julian’s gaze by watching his own thumb stroke the smooth flesh. He didn’t know what he was doing. He had kissed girls before, loads of times, but this all felt completely different: so new and exciting. He wasn’t at all freaked out by the idea of Julian kissing him, it’s just he was a little shy, and he didn’t want to mess it up. Julian leant into the little touches on the side of his face. Nick’s hands were warm and even though he had calluses from all the guitar playing, his hands were surprisingly soft. Julian carefully edged forward, shut his eyes, and kissed the corner of Nick’s mouth. The hand which was rubbing his cheek suddenly disappeared. Julian didn’t move back, he reached his own hand forward and curled his palm on the nape of Nick’s neck to pull him closer. Nick responded by kissing Julian back; slowly moving his lips in time with the older man’s. Nick felt himself thoroughly burning when a tongue licked against his lips and he instinctively opened his mouth. When their tongues touched, Nick felt himself moan a tiny bit in the back of his throat. Julian’s hand pulled Nick closer as they kissed deeply. Nick was breathing heavily through his nose, and he leant away just enough to break the kiss and to gasp a small amount of breath into his lungs. Julian was breathing heavily too; “I need you in my band. Please,” he begged with a low, serious voice. Nick, who was blushing hard said, “You haven’t seen me play.” “I don’t have to. I can tell,” said Julian, rubbing the back of Nick’s neck slightly and staring into Nick’s blue eyes, “We need a lead guitarist, and besides, we need more beautiful people.” Nick felt his heart thudding inside of his chest; he pressed his lips against Julian’s and the kiss continued.
They stayed like that in the car for a while, just kissing and sharing time together. It wasn’t until Nick had said goodnight and he was walking up the many flights of stairs did he have time to think. He had to walk slowly for the first flight and a half of stairs, as the happenings in the car made his jeans significantly tighter. He had calmed down a bit now, and he felt his lips were a bit numb. They weren’t sore; they just felt a little bit raw after all of the kissing. When he reached the landing which his apartment was on, he didn’t even have to knock on his door before his sisters swarmed him with questions and various excited squeals. “What happened?!” they cried excitedly. Nick scratched his head, “Well, I’m in his band now.” The girls grinned and congratulated him, then Céline noticed her younger brother’s lips. “Oh my god! He kissed you, didn’t he!” the girls shrieked and hugged Nick who was still a little dazed from it all.
He thanked his sisters for all of their help and he wandered into his bedroom and shut himself in. As he lay on his back, he went over the day’s happenings in his mind and he smiled a little to himself. He dug a serviette out of his pocket and held it at arm’s length above his face. He examined the ink which bled into the fibers; a phone number. He thought of Julian’s gentle, sweet voice, he thought of his irises which resembled a melted chocolate, and his soft yet overpowering lips and kisses and touches. Nick blushed again for the final time that night.
Maybe throwing the cassette was the best thing he’d ever done.
PS. I drew a little picture :P
Feedback / comments are love!
Seriously. I'd love to know what people liked or didn't like. Whether there were parts which were confusing or just didn't read well. Your favourite or least favourite line. Anything x
|comments: Leave a comment|