It was hot under the studio lights as they went back and forth about whatever topic grabbed the audience’s attention. Jimmy had known Seth for years but still got a little jittery whenever he was on, old habits die hard. Seth was unpacking a story about potty training his kids, it’s hilarious, it’s messy, and the audience was jeering at him. He clearly loved it and took the opportunity to discuss more of his chaotic home life. It's all very dad to dad. Jimmy can't help but think how much the both of them had adjusted to this new life, one of settling down and fatherhood.
Suddenly, all that mattered was changing diapers, washing baby socks, and making sure your baby stroller was "vegan". It was only yesterday when him and Seth were working on SNL, two twenty somethings rushing to meet deadlines and chasing fame, and afterwards? Partying and using tables covered in spilled alcohol as slip and slides. Life was so much simpler back then. It only takes a moment for Jimmy to flashback to the times of pretending to be professional and holding back laughter until it erupted out of you like a geyser.
Seth finally wrapped up the kooky story he had shared and the segment ended. Jimmy laughed along to everything he said, which was genuinely funny, but he could not help but be a little absent minded that day. Truthfully he hadn’t been all there for the past few years.
“Hey, it was great seeing you.”
Jimmy turned to see that Seth had stuck around after the show, hanging backstage while the assistants and camera crew workers bustled about packing everything up.
He reached out to hug him, wrapping his arms around his body. Jimmy limply hugged back, exhausted from hosting. Cologne and hairspray lingered in Seth’s nose as he tucked his chin into the creak of Jimmy’s neck. Ever since he met him on SNL he had always smelled like this. Perhaps the cologne had become less pungent and cheap over the years but it was still the same combination of smells. If they were face to face, Seth bet he would also get a hit of cherry chapstick and minty toothpaste from Jimmy’s mouth.
“Yeah Seth, I’ve missed you,” Jimmy replied.
“Mhm,” Seth mumbled against his neck.
Seth was the first to let go, he allowed himself to look Jimmy in the eye. The two most innocent, chocolate brown, eyes looked back at him affectionately. It made heat rise to his cheeks and he hoped the other man didn’t notice him blushing. It’s not his fault his 43 year old friend looked at everyone (including him) like a golden retriever would.
“I miss you too...I can’t stay for long but—”
His face dropped and the eyes that were once beaming up at him immediately lost color. Instinctively, Jimmy grabbed Seth’s hand; earning an eyebrow quirk from him.
“Don’t tell me you’re leaving right now...”
Jimmy’s expression harden and Seth was at a loss for words.
“Oh no, you’re not getting away again. We’re going somewhere.”
Before Seth could question anything or bring up the fact that his wife wanted him home in two hours he was getting dragged away by Jimmy’s tight grip, dodging and ducking whatever people he put in his way. By the time he could get his mouth open to say something, he was standing at the building exit with him, Jimmy’s van pulled up to the door. The side door clicked open, inviting them in.
“Jimmy. Where. Are. We. Going?” Seth asked firmly.
Jimmy turned and flashed his boyish grin, the one that meant that he was up to no good of course. Charmingly worn from tiredness. He let go of Seth, his hand uncomfortably cold now from losing the warmth of the other’s. Seth didn’t seem to notice as he was still staring at him, waiting for any answer to his question.
“It’s a surprise!” Jimmy chirped.
The driver honked, hinting at his impatience with the pair. Seth frowned at the lack of information. Maybe if he was provided with a location, he wouldn't be so hesitant about following Jimmy on what seemed like a midnight drive to god knows where. But Jimmy is already in the car, gesturing him to get in with that dumb grin of his and Seth felt like any arguing or prying would be worthless. So he got into the van, closed the door behind him, and they drove into the night. Seth tried his best to ignore the satisfied hum that came out of Jimmy as soon as the van moved.
The car ride was long, and Seth was antsy most of the way. Half an hour in Seth gave up on being hyper aware of his setting and sunk into the van’s soft, leathery, car seat. In the end he trusted Jimmy and even if he had not been on an “adventure” with him for a while he knew he meant no harm, soon humming to the soft music on the car radio. He was sure Jimmy had some sort of victorious smug grin on his face but Seth would definitely not give him the honor of turning and actually noticing it.
By the time the van’s tires had stopped rolling it had been an hour, they were far, far, away from the studio. Through his window Seth could see a lone short building in the distance, only a parking lot accompanying it. From the van it seemed like a two storey building, with a long rectangular fluorescent sign. If he squinted he could make out the words on it.
“Abigail’s? Where are we?” Seth thought.
The sound of the car door clicking open broke his train of thought.
“No time for day dreaming Seth,”
Jimmy had already left the van and made his way onto Seth’s side. He opened the car door, revealing a bewildered Seth. He climbed out of the car, cool summer air hitting him. He savored it after being cooped up in a van. They began their trek to Abigail’s, its structure becoming clearer with each step. Seth noted it was very minimalistic. A sleek gray building with no hint at what it could be, except for the sign indicating the name of the establishment. The outside of Abigail’s could never prepare Seth for what it held on the inside.
When Jimmy finally ushered him through those glass doors, his crystal blue eyes immediately lit up. It was a lounge bar, but it was the most beautiful lounge bar he had ever seen. A sleek black interior with maroon furniture, this place had everything: elegant decor, immaculately dressed staff in fine pressed uniforms, a lively band, and the most sophisticated looking patrons he had ever seen, buzzing with chatter and laughter. Seth was sure he could recognize a few a-list celebrities if he concentrated hard enough. Even if he was a celebrity himself, taking all of this in made him a little cottoned mouthed. He felt Jimmy rest his hand on his shoulder, squeezing it slightly. Seth turned to him, breaking into a smile.
“This place is beautiful.”
Jimmy winked, “Thanks captain obvious.”. Seth was too dazzled by Abigail’s to mind what Jimmy had just said. A waiter walked over and greeted them at the front table, a classy looking brunette with her hair into a slicked ponytail.
The corner of her lips turn up as she spotted a familiar man. “Mr. Fallon, welcome back! We’ve missed you. Would you like your regular table?”
“Yes Marie, the one by the window please.”
The pair follow their waitress across the bar to a table that sat in a corner, its centerpiece a bundle of fresh, aromatic, red roses. A window was indeed beside it, letting in the gentle amber light of the bar’s exterior lights. Jimmy and Seth took their seats. “Very romantic James...Please don’t tell me this is where you take your secret mistresses...” Seth joked. Jimmy chuckled, unbuttoning his suit jacket.
“Don’t ruin the fucking mood Seth.”
It was a bit jarring for Seth to hear Jimmy swear, knowing his current reputation as a family fun late night show host. Marie came back with drink menus, Seth pretended to read his menu while watching Jimmy, he would order whatever he was having, he never expected to be drinking tonight so no preference was there.
“Seth, let’s share this bottle of wine,” Jimmy said as he pointed to something on the menu.
Seth shrugged, “Sure. Never saw you as a wine man though.”
Jimmy looked up, “What do you mean?”
“Jimmy, where are you on a Friday night but at a shabby bar chugging a beer? In fact, I’m genuinely shocked you wanted come here to drink and not a irish pub called Patty’s”
Jimmy pouted, setting aside the menu. “I can be fancy when I want to…” Seth felt bad for teasing, but for only a moment.
Marie took their menus and came back with the wine and two wine glasses. She poured the velvety red liquid into the glasses and left the bottle on the table. They raised their glasses and clinked them against each other before taking a sip each. Seth took a moment to savor it.
Jimmy smugly looked back at Seth. “See….I told you.”
One glass of wine soon became two, two became three as more wine was ordered. Seth was too drunk to care about how much wallet damage drinking two bottles of high end wine is.Their conversation flip floped for awhile until their SNL days were brought up and they had a field day talking about all the mishaps and memories that happened. Jimmy was very giddy at the moment. Cheeks red from laughing and alcohol. If Seth squinted, he could see the 27 year old that was at the SNL after party all those years ago. Full of life. Sharp. Witty. Adorable. Seth brought his third glass to his lips.
Jimmy set down his glass and leaned back into his chair, “You know Seth, there’s something else I want to show you.”
It's 3 am at this point and a boozed up Seth who has had to toss his rational thinking out the window this whole night was eager for another rousing fallon treat. He smiled at him, awaiting his next adventure.
“Oh? And what would be that be?”
Jimmy stretched his hand out.
“Can’t you use words?”
Seth took his hand (again), and was whisked away by Jimmy, both stumbling and hitting the chairs of various socialites at other tables. Seth hoped no one noticed him whizzing by and that “Party boy Seth is a messy drunk” isn’t the title of some tabloid. It seemed like they crossed the entire lounge before Jimmy brought him to the stairs that would lead them to the second floor of Abigail’s.
“Are we going up? W-What’s up there?” Seth slurred.
Jimmy hiccuped and tugged on Seth’s hand. “Secret.”
“Of course it is.”
Turned out the upstairs is a dance floor, covered in people dancing to music kept in rotation by a DJ.
“It’s pretty tame right now but, I love when they get the band up here and do karaoke night. I get to sing and rock out to all my favorites...” Jimmy said, looking at the raised stage currently occupied by the DJ.
“So, what are we doing up here?” Seth interjected.
Jimmy frowned, as if Seth said something useless.
“Obviously, we’re dancing.”
Seth didn’t fight when Jimmy raised his hand and placed it on his waist. In fact, he did the same, earning a surprised look from Jimmy.
Two can play at this game.
Their other hands joined together and they began dancing. The intimacy of it all would have been suffocating sober, but now, they’re free to hold each other close, laugh, and dance to whatever the DJ threw at them. For Seth, dancing with Jimmy was like floating. His smiling lips constantly pressed to his ear, whispering all sorts of drunk mumbles. Nothing registered, but that didn’t matter, he simply liked the sensation of him being so close to him. A pang of guilt hit Seth when he realized he was indulging in something wrong. But dammit, it felt good. It’s what he had wanted for so long.
Jimmy pressed their bodies closer and Seth was in a fit of giggles.
Jimmy looked at him with heavy lidded eyes, filled with mischief. “What?”
“God. You’re so bad.”
They kept dancing until they melted into each other, barely moving to a slow dance song among other couples on the dance floor.
“Can I confess something?”
Even in his half asleep drunken state, Seth managed to perk up enough to listen.
“Do you ever feel like you’re playing house?”
“I don’t understand,"
Jimmy sighed into Seth’s shoulder.
“Sometimes I feel like I can’t be the man I want to be. Like I’m an imposter.”
“Of course you wouldn’t understand, you seem so orderly, so in charge. Like some sort of superman. It’s scary.”
Seth pretended that god was watching over him in that moment, laughing at the horrible irony of the situation. He was in love with Jimmy and was shamelessly sucking in all the affection he innocently gave him. Ever since he met him, he was infatuated. But so was everybody else. It was unrealistic to chase after trivial love so he bottled all his feelings up.
To the point where he agreed to “grow up” and play house.
Which only lead to thinking about him everyday. What it be like for him to be his. To hold him in his arms like now.
Seth reached up to gently hold Jimmy’s head, running his fingers through his hair soothingly.
“Seems like you don’t know me that well.”