Fiction: My Boyfriend was Lost and Broke in Paris; All I got was this T-Shirt (ATWT)
Title: My Boyfriend was Lost and Broke in Paris; All I got was this T-Shirt
Author: Syberina5 or tsarcasm
Word Count: 2,400ish; Complete
Rating: PG (which makes me feel kind of pathetic)
Summary: “Luke and Noah and Cheese at La Tour Eiffel.”
Beta: escapes , who stepped up and wonderfully helped out [loves total stranger].
Disclaimer: Disclaimer? Pffft! Whatever. I so own them. And Paris. I own Paris, too; I won it in a Euchre game.
Author’s Notes: Nobody said which Paris. Short and standalone written for luke_noah 's monthly challenge #11 due 10/31/2009.
“Noah.” Luke pulled him to a stop by the butt of his shirt. Which had him feeling a little more awake. He felt his back thump into Luke’s chest and glanced over his shoulder at what Luke was looking at.
“Huh?” All he saw was the vastness of the casino floor, oddly shaped tables of leather and green felt, slot machines, harried waitresses and tubby men in shorts. All under a cerulean blue sky, dotted with cumulus clouds. The air the faint breeze on his skin of constantly circulating ventilation which was, but not enough to ruffle the leaves of the potted trees.
The effect was bizarre. The way the lights were so cleverly bouncing off the painted walls and ceilings, as though they were beaming down from the sky. But, your mind couldn’t trust it. There were no shadows and the clouds were too perfect. Noah looked at them harder, he couldn’t see anything in them, no stratosphere bound Rorschsach test.
“We should play Noah.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Luke.”
“Oh, come on.” That pleading, goofish tone sliding into his voice, “You can’t come to Vegas and not play a little. It’s Vegas. And it’s not like either one of us has a gambling problem. We’ll just play a little bit. Just until we lose like… twenty bucks,” and he was pulling Noah again, this time by the front of his shirt which didn’t please Noah as much, towards the roulette tables. “Who knows, maybe we’ll win.”
“Luke, all we have is twenty dollars. It was for the cab back, remember?”
Luke rolled his eyes. “The strip isn’t that big, we’ll walk back if we have to. Live a little Noah.”
Sighing and nervous to part with it, Noah took out the one bill they had left.
Damian had scooped them up and onto the jet for a meeting in LA with someone he’d given Luke’s script and Noah’s Senior project to. They’d had to stop in Vegas for a last minute meeting Damian had there. He’d waved them off the plane and told them to meet him at the Luxor, where they had a suite in their names. And to make it an early night; the meeting was first thing in Hollywood.
Neither of them had their wallets on them, only cash. Luke’s idea to keep them from spending at the tables. It wasn’t like they’d need them, they wouldn’t be gambling, or buying alcohol.
The plan had been to start at one end of the strip and work their way down, seeing everything that caught their eye. And there was a lot to see. And a lot to catch the little cash they’d brought. There was the lions at the MGM Grand, the jousting at the Excalibur, and the rollercoaster at New York, New York. Luke had wanted to see the Eiffel Tower at the Paris, the fountains at the Bellagio, the gladiators at Caesar’s, and ride a gondola at the Venetian.
One of the things that had caught Noah’s eye, which seemed to be less on Luke’s radar, was the porn. Well, Noah supposed it wasn’t really porn, but it was porn they were advertising. There were guys all over the street trying to hand you fliers for some titty show. And the ads were plastered on the sides of the buses and trucks that constantly drove up and down the strip. And the rude, abrasive, sexual t-shirts that were for sale everywhere. It was all kind of a big turn off for Noah. He liked it inside, where it was remotely quiet and there were less boobs.
He watched a waitress walk by. There were still lots of boobs, just… less.
They’d only come into the casino itself to go to the bathroom, the massive amount of M&Ms Noah had eaten, in lieu of dinner, at M&M World not sitting well in his stomach. He rolled his eyes at how Luke had talked him into that.
Sighing, watching Luke play a game he apparently knew the rules to, he tried to tell himself that Luke would have talked him in into using the money to go up the Eiffel Tower or ride the gondolas or some such thing before they finished their trip. That money was never going to see a cabbie.
“Can I get you something to drink, sir?” The waitress with the boobs was back.
“Um, no. I’m fine, thank you.”
“Noah, it’s ok. It’s free when you’re playing and we’re playing,” Luke explained as he put a chip on Black. “I’d love a Sprite with a little OJ in it,” he said, straightening up from the table. “Noah?”
“Just some water for me, please.”
“Thanks,” Luke said and put a chip on her tray.
“Thank you, gentlemen. I’ll be right back.” And the boobs were gone. Noah relaxed in relief.
“Why’d you pay her if they’re free?”
“Gee, Mr. I work in a café, don’t you know what a tip is?” Luke rubbed a hand down Noah’s arm and he felt himself relax further. “Besides, it was just a dollar.” He watched those pink, twisted lips bend into a smile, then grow a tad suggestive.
“Last call for bets, sir.” The croupier was verbally nudging them.
“Oh, right, sorry. Noah pick a number.”
“Four.” Luke placed the bet. “For forever,” he said, feeling not just anxious. “How long have we been here already?”
“It just seems that way because it took us so long to find the bathrooms.”
Noah watched the little rake take away the lone chip Luke had placed on the table. That seemed to happen a lot.
“Hm. What should we pick next? Something… ah. I’ve got it.”
Luke held a chip in front of his face. “What?”
“Kiss it,” Luke said seriously. “For luck.”
Noah rolled his eyes and kissed the very colorful bit of plastic before him. He knew it was the right thing to do, because Luke smiled, his nose scrunching a bit, and rubbed his bicep. He placed the luck laden chip on number six.
“For June. When you showed up at WOAK. The best day of my life. Well, one of them.”
“Really? It was kind of a crummy day for me. I mean this guy I’d never met, who I was going to be working with all summer, was really kind of a jerk.”
“Hey,” Luke called, and punched him gently in the stomach. Noah pulled him in while they tussled, cutting off any room Luke had to fight and just because he was there to pull closer.
“Letting it ride, gentlemen?”
“Oh, hey, we won. See Noah, luck. Let it ride,” he called with much enthusiasm. “Ok,” he said happiness all over his face, turning back to Noah, “maybe it wasn’t one of the best days. But it was still a pretty lucky day. I mean, look how it all turned out,” he said with a shrug.
“I did get pretty lucky that day.” He looked so deep into Luke’s eyes that, under the strange light of the faux sky, they seemed almost a deep green rather than a whiskey brown. He could tell by the way the corners crinkled that Luke was smiling, his own face morphing into a wide unselfconscious grin.
“Letting it ride, gentlemen?”
“Why don’t we take some of it off. That way if we win, we still win but if we lose we don’t lose it all.”
“Oh.” Luke looked at the croupier. “He’s the brains of this operation.” Several people around the table chuckled. Luke reached in and pulled off a handful of the chips there.
Noah was hoping that if they couldn’t break even maybe they could not lose enough for the cab ride back. If they went all the way down to the Venetian it would be a long walk back to the hotel.
And a long walk back to the hotel it was. If they could ever find their way out of Paris.
“Oh, there, that says exit, I think.” The signs were in French. That had been part of the bathroom problem.
“But this one says Eiffel Tower.” Luke pulled him in the opposite direction.
“No, it says La Tour Eiffel.”
“That means Eiffel Tower. Noah,” Luke pulled on his arm without budging him like Ethan did when he was really excited. Noah smirked, Luke sounded kind of like Ethan too. “Come on,” he whined a little adorably.
He smiled even as he let himself be pulled in the wrong direction.
They got turned around again several times more on their way through the faux Parisian streets to the faux “Tour,” finally landing at a pool, let in by some group of drunk men and women in barely any clothing.
“Wow,” Noah said and Luke took his hand. The tower was lit up like gold in the distance with what must have been a thousand bulbs.
“God, how amazing must the real thing be? Someday we have to go. You and me and lots of French cheese at La Tour Eiffel.”
“Fromaggio,” Noah said smiling into Luke’s ecstatic face.
Luke gently slapped his shoulder, “It’s fromage in French.” They laughed and moved in to kiss just as something wet and scantily clad, drunk, and feeling suspiciously like boobs ran into him.
Blast the world, really. Sometimes he just wanted to make out with Luke and it wouldn’t let him. Fucking boobs.
“Let’s go up,” Luke said practically vibrating and pulling Noah towards the foot of the tower.
“Luke, we can’t,” he said, not giving in this time.
“We blew our mad money on roulette. Remember?”
“Oh, yeah. Lucky number six.” He smooshed his face to the side, thinking.
“It’s beyond luck that it would win as many times in a row as you bet on it. It’s beyond the laws of probability and nature and—”
“Yeah, but it was fun, right?”
Yeah, Noah was having fun. He pulled Luke in and—boobs and strangers and parents and customers be damned—kissed him his answer. When it ended he just looked into Luke’s eyes, feeling a calm triumph over the world and a pleasant sort of hum that blocked out all the noise and people of Vegas. The two of them could have been standing next to the pond at the foot of the large sycamore rather than by the Paris casino pleasure pool at the foot of the glowing Tour Eiffel.
“So what’s next?” Noah rubbed a thumb over Luke’s jaw to his ear.
“The Bellagio.” He turned and pointed. “See, it’s right there. It should be easy to get there. We can just cut a path straight through.”
Noah laughed at Luke’s confidence that it would be that easy. Nothing since they’d gotten to Paris had been that easy.
“Nothing. Luke, we can’t just walk that way and get there.”
“Ok, well, Mr. Outdoorsman, get out your compass and lead the way.”
Noah laughed harder. “Luke, even if I had my compass, this isn’t the woods. There are walls and security guards. We can’t just hop the fence.”
“Well, then it’s back inside to the scary signs we go.”
Noah was pretty sure by the time they got to LA they were going to have seen every inch of Paris and gotten no sleep. He really hoped they didn’t blow this opportunity because they’d managed to end up lost and broke in Paris.
Noah rolled over, thrilled to be back in his own bed after the whirlwind of Vegas and LA. It had been an amazing and memorable journey—even without the second leg in LA. He’d learned much, especially that traveling with Luke would always be an adventure. And he had a bit of newfound confidence in his work.
The Hollywood connection had turned out to be director Yarmule Daughty, a director Noah had studied whose art house type documentaries and romances were always complex and occasionally terrifying. But the man had proven simple and easy to understand.
“I wanted to encourage you to keep working.” He’d said after apologizing that they’d come all that way for a pat on the back. He’d been turned away so often, put down so frequently that he almost gave up on his dream, his career, his art. When he’d read the script and seen Noah’s piece he’d seen talent. Raw and ready to grow. He’d wanted to nurture it even if it wasn’t yet ready to produce full fruit. “Never let the people who say too little, nothing at all, or nothing you want to hear, convince you your vision is wrong, that you have nothing to offer. Young men, my friends, you have everything to offer that I do not. Keep after your visions. Art always finds it’s way; sometimes it will take you along for the ride.”
Noah liked that. His art—though he still felt funny thinking of it that way, let alone saying (and Yar had made them say it)—would take him on a journey. He just had to be willing to go.
Noah rolled a little further reaching out for Luke in the bed to find himself alone, the sheets cool. He frowned and looked around for Luke, though he’d have heard him by now if he’d been in their room.
He got up, reaching for where his jeans had landed the night before to find a tissue paper wrapped package.
He opened it carefully, always retrained with the pretty trappings of gifts. Inside was a bundle of white cloth. When he unfolded it, it was a t-shirt. The front said, in large, somewhat manic lettering, “My Boyfriend was Lost and Broke in Paris; All I got was this T-Shirt!” He laughed, grinning so hard his cheeks hurt. Flipping it to put it on he saw that on the back was the picture they’d taken of the two of them in front of the tower on Luke’s cell phone before they headed off to try and find the Bellagio. It was dark and blurry but there it was. Underneath in much smaller lettering was “Luke and Noah and Cheese at La Tour Eiffel.”
He pulled it on feeling that familiar, welcome, delicious pressure in his chest.