It’s a shot in the dark but I’ll make it
Joel sat at his stupid barstool in this stupid bar, with its stupid view of the latest person his stupid brain had decided to be stupidly attracted to. Ray was chatting with Barbara and laughing at something she was saying. He looked happy. Joel wanted to glare morosely at the, frankly quite gross, bar and get drunk and complain to the bartender about life and love and the economy but being a morose recluse was difficult when he was out with a whole goddamned crowd of his co-workers. Speaking of which, Burnie was making a beeline to where Joel was currently sitting sulking. Joel glanced around for an escape route and, seeing none, decided that the best course of action was to down the beer in his hand in the hopes that it would make Burnie’s inevitable confrontation slightly easier. Burnie approached him with a frown.
“Dude, what are you doing sitting here like the world’s just ended?”
“Why not? It’s gonna end eventually so I may as well get drunk now.” Joel shrugged, motioning to the bartender for another beer. Not like he had anything better to do than drink anyways.
“This is about Ray isn’t it?” Burnie asked. “I don’t understand why you don’t just ask him out Joel! You’ve asked people on dates a million times. Why are you hesitating this time?”
To be honest, Joel just could not see why a handsome, charismatic person like himself just could not get up the courage to ask the object of his affections out. Honestly, Joel was a catch! He was clever and confident and he talked too much about stocks and scared people off with his intensity and had that weird thing about gold… Yeah he knew why he wasn’t asking Ray out. He was pretty much a huge fuck up who had somehow managed to develop a huge crush on a guy almost 20 years his junior. Burnie was still standing there, waiting for an answer. Joel shrugged and downed his beer again. Things were starting to get fuzzy around the edges. He stared down at his empty beer bottle, and then across the room, where he caught Ray’s eye. The younger man smiled at him. Oh god. He was too old for these stupid butterflies. Joel made a stupid face at Ray who laughed out loud. Barb stopped talking and glanced over at Joel, then grinned and dragged Ray up to the dance floor, Ray protesting the entire time.
Burnie looked between Ray and Joel and his own face lit up. “Dude, come on. Let’s dance.”
Joel frowned. “No. I don’t dance. Not even a little. Like, not at all.”
Burnie shrugged. “Hey man, the world’s ending. Why not enjoy yourself a little?”
Saying that, he grabbed Joel’s arm and pulled, surprising the older man into standing and stumbling forward. Maybe he had had too much to drink after all.
Burnie was tugging Joel’s arm into the mess of people. Barb was dancing with Ray in the middle, doing stupid dance moves to make him laugh. It was working. Ray was in hysterics, almost doubled over at Barbara’s attempt at the robot. Joel had never seen him look more beautiful.
“Hey guys.” Burnie shouted over the music. “Mind if we join?” Barbara shook her head, out of breath and laughing as she grabbed Joel’s hand and dragged him over towards her. Towards Ray, who was glowing, happy and enjoying himself. Joel made one last futile attempt to escape, but one look at Ray’s smiling face had him stuck in place. Burnie had picked up Barb and was spinning her around as she shrieked and batted at his arm. Ray was watching, and Joel gathered up his courage. To quote Ray: Yolo, right?
He bowed dramatically to Ray. “Would the young sir care to dance?” He asked, holding out his hand. Ray grinned and grabbed it. Joel immediately began leading them in the most over the top waltz he could think of, dragging Ray around the dance floor with his arm around the shorter man’s waist. Somehow, they lost Barb and Burnie and were suddenly alone in the crowd. Joel stopped and spun Ray around, lifting his arm as Ray twirled and came to a stop. Ray was out of breath and smiling. He raised his arms to Joel’s shoulders, Joel’s hands automatically coming to rest on Ray’s hips. They slowed down, just swaying to their own rhythm. This was his chance. He had to take it.
“Hey,” Ray smiled, lifting his arms further to link them around Joel’s neck. “How’s it going man? How much have you had to drink?”
“It could be worse. I am in full possession of my faculties, and I’ve got this cute Puerto Rican dancing with me. Not sure if they’re into it though. ” Joel said, wincing internally at how cheesy that sounded. He wanted to seduce him, not make him burst out laughing. However, his cheesy line seemed to be working.
Ray blushed and broke eye contact for a second, before determinedly looking up, locking Joel in.
“Well, hey, I guess you’d better find that out then. Although you know, I wouldn’t waltz with just anyone.”
And Joel Heyman may be lacking in some social skills, but he could recognise when someone was flirting. At first, Joel did nothing, continuing to sway thoughtfully with Ray in his arms. But he might have done nothing for too long, because Ray started to pull away, eyes widening in alarm.
“Hey, Joel, I’m really sorry. I was just joking around man, no big deal.” Ray said lowering his eyes. Joel tightened his hands around Ray’s waist, keeping him there as he bent down to press his lips to the younger man’s. Ray made a muffled sound against his lips, before raising his arms around Joel’s neck again and kissing back. It was like coming home. He’d never kissed someone who fit so well against him. Joel pulled away briefly pressing his forehead to Ray’s. He was damned ready to continue what he could sense would be a pretty epic make-out session but he could hear someone hooting from over at the Roosterteeth table.
“Wanna go outside?” he asked Ray, who nodded, grabbing Joel’s hand and pulling him out into the cool air in the parking lot. They came to a stop by Joel’s car. Joel pushed Ray up against the side and stepped between Ray’s legs, but paused before meeting his lips.
“Is this ok? Are you cool with this? Like, you’ve not gotten drunk off the alcohol on my breath or anything? Because I completely understand if you think I’m too old or something , it’s just I think I might really really like you and I’d kinda like to know if you liked me too. And maybe if you wanted to get a coffee sometime?” Joel’s babbling was cut off by Ray reaching up for his lips again, parting them and deepening the kiss like they’d be doing this for years rather than seconds. He dragged himself away.
“I do hate to stop this whole kissing thing, but that wasn’t really an answer.” Joel muttered. Was he avoiding the question? Did Ray just want a onetime no strings attached thing? Ray huffed a laugh, tucking his face into Joel’s neck.
“This is gonna sound really cheesy. Oh man.” Ray muttered. He pulled his face up and took a deep breath. “Okay… When I’m with you Joel, there’s no place I’d rather be. So, uh, yeah. I’d love to get a coffee.” He said, face red.
Joel grinned. “That’s good enough for me.” He said, smiling against Ray’s lips.