“He’s flirting with you,” Amy said.
“Who?” Tony said distractedly as he glanced through the sides Peter had sent him to pick up.
Amy rolled her eyes. Tony didn’t see it, but he heard it in her tone when she said, “Lee, of course!”
“No he’s not,” Tony said without looking up from the sides.
Not that Tony would mind – he’d had a crush on Lee Nicholas since the moment he’d laid eyes on him during his first day at CB Productions. Unfortunately, while Lee was friendly and polite – he smiled at Tony and said ‘hi’ and ‘thank you’ in all the right places – Tony had seen the men Lee dated. “He likes ‘em buff and blond,” he told Amy. And that wasn’t Tony.
As usual, Amy ignored him. “Here. Since you’re going that way.”
“What way?” Tony said as he reflexively took the revised script pages Amy held out to him.
“Past Lee’s dressing room.”
Tony didn’t roll his eyes, but only because he didn’t want to be poked by Amy’s lethally long and sharp magenta fingernails (which matched the magenta stripe in her hair). “But I’m not going that way.”
“Or you could drop off Mason’s.”
“I’ll drop off Lee’s,” Tony quickly said.
Amy smirked. “Thought so.”
Peter started yelling in his ear and Tony used it as an excuse to leave. He slipped the radio off his hip and said, “Coming! I just need to drop off the revised script to Lee on my way.”
“How is that on your way?” Tony heard Peter ask, but he didn’t reply. He passed the door that would lead him between the racks of costumes to the sound stage and gave it a wistful glance as he instead headed for Lee’s dressing room. Lee called for him to come in when Tony knocked. Tony pushed the door open cautiously. (One other time he’d interrupted Lee removing his motorcycle chaps – Tony had been distracted for the rest of the day.)
Tony was relieved to see that the black leather jacket Lee wore had been tossed over the back of the couch along with the chaps. His relief was short-lived when his eyes found Lee, who was in the process of trading the black t-shirt he’d worn in to the studio for the blue button-down, beginning the process of transforming himself into James Taylor Grant (junior partner to Raymond Dark, vampire detective on the highest rated straight to syndication show in Canada, Darkest Night, on which Tony was a production assistant, or rather the production assistant, since Chester Banes, creator and executive producer, wouldn’t foot the bill for another).
“What can I do for you?” Lee said when Tony didn’t say anything right away.
Tony swallowed hard and dragged his gaze away from Lee’s fingers, which were busy doing up the shirt’s buttons. “Amy sent me. With the revised script,” Tony said, holding up his hand and waving the blue sheets as if he needed to prove that he hadn’t entered Lee’s dressing room merely to ogle him.
“Thank you.” Lee’s lips curved up into a smile when Tony didn’t say anything. “You can just leave them, unless you’ve got time to stay and do a read-through with me.”
“I . . . what? Oh, no, Peter . . . .” Tony tapped the ear jack and right on cue Peter bellowed for him again. Tony jumped and tried to ignore Lee’s grin. He snatched the radio out of the holster once more and told Peter he was on his way.
Tony dropped the script on the low table in front of the couch, realized it was the sides for Peter, snatched them back up and dropped the actual revisions on the table. “I’ve gotta go,” he said, backing up until he hit the door. He fumbled behind himself for the handle, then jerked the door open and escaped into the hallway.
Tony took a couple of seconds to catch his breath – all the while berating himself for being such a klutz around Lee – and then hurried to the sound stage before Peter could call for him again. Unfortunately, Tony’s klutziness didn’t end when he left Lee’s dressing room behind. He tripped over power cords he could normally navigate with his eyes closed, nearly spilled coffee on Peter’s clipboard, and had to be nudged by Tina when Adam had called his name more than once.
It only got worse when Lee appeared to shoot his scenes. Even when Lee wasn’t looking at him (which Tony knew, because he kept stealing glances at Lee), it seemed that he could feel Lee’s eyes on him. Finally, after he’d dropped his radio and ruined an otherwise perfectly good take, Peter banned him from the sound stage until he could ‘get his shit together’. Tony wasn’t sure when that might be.
“I’m going to get fired,” Tony whined to Amy.
“No you’re not,” Amy said with little to no sympathy. “Here, go bring him a peace offering.”
Tony took the slip Amy held out to him, sighed as he unhooked the radio holster and removed the ear jack and laid both on her desk, and then went to pick up the sandwiches Amy had ordered for lunch.
“Don’t drop them!” Amy called after him.
Tony flipped her the bird, but only because she couldn’t see him.
Tony had never been more glad in his life to have a day be over. He placed the final radio in the charger with a sigh of relief and then grabbed his backpack and headed for the office. Tony almost had a heart attack when he got there and found Lee resting one perfectly formed butt cheek (not that Tony had looked) (okay, he’d looked) on the corner of Amy’s desk. Lee wore the black leather jacket and chaps, and held the motorcycle helmet under his arm. He looked right at Tony and smiled. Tony glanced over his shoulder to see if maybe Lee was smiling at someone else. When he looked back Lee’s smile had widened.
“Um, hi,” Tony said.
“I thought you’d already left.”
“No. I’ve been chatting with Amy.”
Amy’s smile reminded Tony of a shark. “That’s nice,” he said carefully.
“I was waiting for you, actually,” Lee said.
“Oh?” Tony said. It wasn’t the most clever response, but since he could barely breathe he counted it a win that he got out anything at all.
“I wondered if you were busy this weekend. Saturday.”
Amy had to bounce a paperclip off Tony’s forehead before he could speak. “I am, actually,” he said. “Busy.”
Tony ignored Amy’s glare of death.
“That’s too bad,” Lee said. “There’s this classic film retrospective downtown that I thought you might enjoy.”
“I would,” Tony said. “I mean, I am. I mean, that’s where I’m going on Saturday.”
“What a coincidence,” Lee said. “Are you going with anyone?”
“No,” Tony’s mouth said before his brain registered the question.
Lee smiled. “Good.” He slid off Amy’s desk, drawing Tony’s eyes to his crotch. “I’ll pick you up at noon, then. We can grab dinner after.”
Tony watched Lee leave in silence, mainly because he couldn’t make his brain formulate a reply, much less make his tongue speak it. “What was that?” he said the moment he could.
Amy gave Tony a self-satisfied grin as she straightened papers on her desk that didn’t need straightening. “Lee Nicholas just asked you out on a date.”
“No he didn’t,” Tony said reflexively.
Amy just shook her head.
Tony was a nervous wreck the rest of the week. He couldn’t look at Lee without dropping something, and he kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, for Lee to cancel, or tell him it had been a joke. Something that would tilt Tony’s world back up on its axis. Tony was still waiting when Lee picked him up.
“Thanks for not bringing the motorcycle,” Tony said as he climbed into the passenger seat of Lee’s Mercedes SUV. Not that Tony was afraid of riding on the motorcycle, he just wasn’t sure what he’d do if Lee wore the chaps, or if he had to hold onto him so he didn’t fall off.
Lee smiled. “You’re welcome.”
“I didn’t know you liked classical movies,” Tony said after several minutes of silence.
“There’s a lot you don’t know about me,” Lee said.
Lee held the door for Tony and bought the popcorn and drinks even though Tony protested. Their fingers touched in the dark as they watched the first movie and shared the popcorn. About three-quarters of the way through the movie Lee put his arm along the top of the seat behind Tony’s shoulders. Tony jumped and sent the popcorn tumbling to the floor despite his best efforts to catch it. Tony swore softly, only to be shushed by someone in front of them. Lee’s shoulders shook as he laughed silently beside Tony.
“Sorry about the popcorn,” Tony said softly.
“It’s fine,” Lee said, and he got shushed this time.
They watched the rest of the movie in silence, Tony all too aware of Lee’s arm against his back. Finally the credits ran and the lights went up. Several people took advantage of the brief intermission before the second movie started to stretch their legs.
“What are you doing?” Tony finally worked up the courage to ask.
Lee raised his eyebrows in question. “What am I doing?”
“Yes!” Tony hissed. “Is this a date?” he asked, the question coming out almost as an accusation. He could see Lee biting his lip to keep from smiling.
“Yes, Tony, this is a date,” Lee said, speaking slowly and clearly.
Tony sucked in a breath and pointed an accusatory finger at Lee. “You have been flirting with me! I mean, have you?”
Lee shook his head. “I wasn’t sure if you were oblivious, or just not interested.”
Tony snorted. “Who in their right mind wouldn’t be interested?” he said, then froze when he realized just what he’d said. “I mean . . . .”
“Oblivious, then?” Lee said.
“No!” Tony denied. “I’m not even your type!”
Lee raised his eyebrows again. “You know what my type is?”
“I’ve seen the pictures,” Tony said dryly, suddenly feeling petulant. “Blond, beefy.”
Lee chuckled. “Are you jealous?”
Tony crossed his arms over his chest and stared at the dark screen. “Of course not.”
Lee ignored him. “Those weren’t dates, anyway, they were public appearances. I don’t usually subject someone I’ve just started dating to the paparazzi on the red carpets. And besides, I like to keep my private life private.”
“Oh,” Tony said. “So I am your type?”
The lights flickered and went down, but Tony could still see Lee’s smile. “Watch the movie, Tony. We’ll talk about it later.”
Butterflies took flight in Tony’s belly. Lee didn’t remove his arm from the seat and it rested heavily against Tony’s back. Lee dropped his hand on Tony’s knee when his leg started bouncing. Tony nearly jumped out of his seat at the unexpected touch. Lee released Tony’s leg only to take his hand. He stroked his thumb over the sensitive heel and palm, and merely pressed his knee to Tony’s when his leg started bouncing again.
When it was over Tony couldn’t remember a thing about the movie they’d just seen. This time they took advantage of the intermission to stretch their legs, tossing out empty drink cups and what little popcorn managed to remain in the container when Tony knocked it to the floor. Tony was glad for the cooler air when they stepped outside the theater.
Lee sighed. “Look, do you want me to take you home?”
Tony looked up in surprise. Though he shouldn’t have been. He’d expected something to happen and if he’d let himself think that this was really a date, then him screwing it up would have been one of his options. “I . . . could take a cab, I guess?”
Lee shook his head and gave Tony a rueful smile. “I meant, maybe this was a bad idea. You seem kind of uncomfortable.”
It was a bad idea, Tony thought. Lee was . . . and Tony was . . . and they were . . . . But he still didn’t want the date to end, he found. Now that he knew it was a date. “I just need to catch up,” Tony said. “Get on the same page. I feel like I’m the last one to know we’re on, like, a real date.”
Lee smiled. “I wasn’t trying to hide it.”
“I know,” Tony said. “I can be slow sometimes.”
“I noticed,” Lee teased. “I know something that might help,” he added.
“What?” Tony asked suspiciously.
“Trust me,” Lee said.
Lee stepped forward and cupped his hand around the back of Tony’s neck. He lowered his head and gently pressed their lips together. Lee raised his head and looked at Tony. Tony wondered if he looked as dazed as he felt.
“Does it feel like a date yet?” Lee asked softly, his breath feathering against Tony’s skin.
“Um . . . .”
Lee smiled and slowly lowered his head again. This time when he claimed Tony’s lips it wasn’t quite as gentle, and his tongue snuck out to slide over them. Tony couldn’t hold back the soft moan as his lips parted to Lee’s tongue.
“Come on,” Lee said.
It took Tony a few moments to realize that Lee had stopped kissing him – his lips still tingled from the kiss and he brought his hand up to rest the tips of his fingers against them. “What?” he said when he noticed Lee staring at him.
“The movie’s about to start,” Lee said.
Lee chuckled as he took Tony’s hand. “You’re good for my ego.”
“You’re welcome,” Tony said dryly as they entered the theater.
Lee slid him an indulgent smile and Tony wondered how he was going to make it through the rest of the retrospective and then dinner. Even more importantly, Tony wondered if Lee was going to kiss him again. He hoped so.
They settled into their seats and Tony leaned into him when Lee put his arm around Tony’s shoulders. He held out his hand before Lee could. Smiling, Lee tangled their fingers together. Tony dragged his gaze away from Lee’s face and stared hard at the screen, but he couldn’t keep a smile from spreading across his own face.
Tony wondered if it might actually be possible for your face to crack if you smiled too hard. He guessed he’d find out because he didn’t think he could stop. Not even the thought of Amy’s ‘I told you so’ could dampen his spirits.