The Hawaiian breeze washed over the city, bathing the inhabitants and visitors alike in its warmth. To Alex O’Loughlin, the breeze was not welcome; he didn’t want anything to do with the island right now, not it’s ocean view or its tropical breeze. He fell into both the inhabitant and visitor categories, living on the island for 9-10 months of the year, his family in Australia and his friends all over the world. There was consistently an absence, though he felt it most ardently now. Every time he glanced towards the skyline he couldn’t help but feel displaced; like he should be somewhere else entirely right now. “Stop your whining, idiot,” Alex would say to himself, mentally slapping himself back into reality where he had set responsibilities and a close group of family and friends, not to mention a reality in which he was a fucking television star. The island provided him with a steady income and a sense of belonging, and to resent it would be just plain ungrateful. He knew, however, that the sense of belonging, the reason he loved Hawaii so much, was due to one individual in particular. The one person he’d been waiting to have in his life, the one he cared about and was so extremely terrified of. It just so happened that it was also the one person who was nowhere to be found on the island at that precise moment. Alex stared at the ocean, scowling, wondering again if he could transport himself a thousand miles by his own sheer will.
Alex’s eyes snapped open, his scowl instantly replaced by a smile, only just plastered onto his face. He looked across the table at Daniel, feeling at once annoyed and incredibly guilty; it was hard to divide your time evenly amongst all of your friends (and co-stars), and it had definitely been a few months since his last solo breakfast with Dan. “Yeah man?” Alex shrugged, trying to let his thoughts slide off of his shoulders.
“You seem kind of out of it, no offence,” Daniel replied, his voice and eyes equally dripping with concern. “What’s on your mind, brah?”
“I feel like we’re doing lines right now, babe,” Alex joked, throwing out the pet name for good measure, immediately feeling wrong. Steve never calls Chin ‘babe’. Babe is Danny, always Danny. “Sorry Danny,” Alex said to Daniel without thinking, and the pain returned, a stabbing jolt to the solar plexus threatening to break him as he gave a light chuckle. “It’s nothing. I just hate these press things.”
“You’re lying,” Daniel surveyed him, putting the pieces of Alex’s emotional puzzle together. “You miss him.”
Maybe it was the fact that Daniel said it like a statement, rather than a question, like an undeniable truth; maybe Alex just couldn’t lie anymore. Whatever the reason, Alex, slack-jawed and defeated, admitted, “I wish I could be there for him.”
“I’m sure he understands, Alex,” Daniel tries to console him, but it’s no good. Alex leans back in his chair, shaking his head, “It’s not just that. When I was gone, you guys carried on, like nothing had changed. In between getting better and learning how to live without the drug again, I was going out of my mind because I felt like you didn’t need me.”
Daniel, shocked by Alex’s admission, begins, “Alex, we never-“
“No man, it’s okay. That’s life, it’s the job, and you kept going. But I don’t want Scott to think that he’s alone over there.” With a deep sigh, Alex stared out to the horizon once more. “I want him to know I’m proud of him.”
Daniel surveyed Alex with piercing eyes, trying to break through the defense Alex had built up around himself. He knew (hell, everyone on set knew) how much Alex and Scott meant to each other; they didn’t shut everyone out in favour of each other, but you could tell that their bond was something else.
“You love him don’t you?”
Alex’s head snapped back around to face Daniel’s; for all the references to ‘hand carved from marble’ Alex’s body got in the press, it now looked as though his face actually had turned to stone, a spring having popped in the clockwork of his mind. It took all of three seconds before he came to life again. Daniel later realized that this was the best description of Alex at that moment; by either a trick of the light or the happiness in his heart (Daniel figured that Alex could pass for a Disney Prince, where such things happened), Alex’s entire face seemed to brighten, his smile filling two-thirds of his face, his eyes shining with the realization and images of Scott. Daniel smiled, and kicked Alex under the table.
“OW, what the fuck,” Alex couldn’t help but laugh.
“That was for being a surly asshole,” Daniel grinned evilly, pointing a finger at his friend. “Go on, get out of here.”
“I haven’t even ordered yet,” Alex whined.
“Listen, it’s 10 in the morning. If you hurry, you can get on the 12 to LAX and be there by 8:00. You’ll miss the curtain, but I already talked to Mike O’Malley; he’ll sneak you into Scott’s dressing room for when the show ends.”
Alex was dumbstruck. “What the hell…are you serious?”
Daniel smiled, and said, “Do you really think Grace and I don’t know you guys that well? Go and see him you idiot.”
“But the press-“
“We’ll handle the press, and Peter, and the network.” Daniel reassured him, looking Alex straight in the eye. “But you have to promise us one thing.”
Alex, jaw still gaping, asked the only question he had left. “What?”
“Tell Scott how you feel. Tonight.” Daniel smiled; it wasn’t a threat, nor was it meant to be some kind of cruel joke. Alex knew, just as Dan and Grace knew (and had probably known for longer than he had), that Scott was his world. He deserved to have him admit it to his face.
As the image of Scott’s face and his possible reactions permeated his imagination, only Daniel’s voice could break through the void. “What the fuck are you still doing here, GO ALREADY!”
And Alex was gone.
Scott Caan left the stage, his heart beating in his ears, the adrenaline rush nothing short of spectacular. The play had gone off without a hitch, and the feeling of saying your own words, and hearing them come back at you again would never get old for him. Taking curtain call with the cast, he shared a brief hug and a moment with his cast, as well as rushing into the arms of Mike, his producer. Pulling him aside, Mike whispered, “This is your night man. You should really go back to your dressing room right now,” before turning away to shake hands and kiss faces.
Confused, Scott stared after him; everyone was milling around, celebrating right now. What would he want in his dressing room? Mike caught his eye and gave a head tilt to send him off in the right direction, far off towards the dressing rooms. Scott supposed someone was waiting for him; his parents maybe, even if they had been in the night before.
When he opened the door, he was stunned.
It was Alex, dressed in a black suit, white shirt, and no tie. Right where he shouldn’t be. Right where Scott wanted him to be.
“Surprise,” Alex said, matter-of-factly, like he hadn’t just flown 2500 miles to see him. Scott was torn between hugging him and punching him in his smug, superior face.
“I don’t – How – what the FUCK?” The F word tended to carry a lot of power for Scott, apparently enough to close the distance between himself and Alex, punching his arm before pulling him into a bone crushing hug; he gripped at the other man’s shoulders, as though to prove to himself, “Yes, he is here, and he is very, very real.”
“Daniel and Grace’s master plan. They were sick of seeing me mope around the island without you,” Alex explained, his own arms wrapped around Scott just as tightly
“Oh, you missed me, huh,” Scott teased, reluctantly pulling out of the hug so look Alex in the eyes, pausing slightly as he looked up to stare at those oh-so kissable lips. “So you had to come and crash the party?”
Alex smiled, his hands pulling at his jacket, not having anything to do. “I just wanted to say…” Alex paused, his deep inhale practically pulling the air out of Scott’s own lungs. “I am so proud of you, Scott.”
Their eyes met once again, Alex having found the courage he’d apparently been missing, and Scott not daring to breathe in case he missed a word. “I know this is your night,” Alex continued, slowly shuffling forward to close the gap between them, “and if you don’t want to hear what else I have to say, just wait two minutes and then we can forget it, but please let me get it out.”
Scott waited, his heart pumping up again to beat in his ears as it had done so many times that evening. This time was different, however, and he so wanted to calm down so he could keep focused on Alex. With a final step, they were close, so very close and yet not close enough. When Alex spoke again, it was a quiet exhale of words, but every word reverberated around the room.
“I love you.”
Scott’s face ached from smiling, his entire body lifting with relief and excitement, his heart calming for a moment until he felt Alex’s lips pressed against his own. It was not their first kiss, as there had been far too many on-set dares and parties to allow for that kind of romanticism. It was, however, slow, and chaste, and built to something greater than they were individually, a dance of lips and tongues, and teeth. Alex explored Scott’s mouth while Scott bit experimentally on Alex’s bottom lip. It was a promise of things to come. As far as first kisses go, it was perfect.