Alex likes their life now. He likes what their relationship is, with them living in the same house and going on dates, holding hands at the Crashdown and wrapping their arms around one another at the Pony just because they can.
That doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine and roses - they still get dirty looks and Michael’s gotten into a couple of bar fights defending both of them, and the less said about Jesse Manes, the better. But it’s so good compared to anything Alex thought he’d ever be able to have, especially with Michael, that he can deal with knowing that his father is flipping his shit from Florida.
Actually, knowing his father is losing his mind was a particularly appealing part of going public for both of them. Knowing there's sweet fuck all Jesse can do makes being together just that little bit better, a giant ‘fuck you’ to the man who'd tried to destroy them.
They try to contain themselves most of the time though, even if a public indecency charge getting back to Jesse would be incredibly amusing. Alex is still too shy and working off years of fear to get an Isobel-worthy PDA going just yet, but thankfully Michael is content to mostly keep his hands to himself around other people as long as they're not hiding out in the shadows anymore.
It's a different matter when it comes to physically marking their turf, because both of them have found out they’re a little … well, territorial, to say the least. Alex felt more than a small rush of pride when Michael had to leave the house tonight with bruises and red marks around both wrists from the zipties they’d improvised with earlier and his shirt done up an extra button to cover the bite mark on his chest. Alex, on the other hand, has been wearing a perpetual hickey just below the hinge of his jaw for the last six days that Michael worries at whenever he gets half a chance.
They both get a thrill at people seeing, people knowing , people who can't say or do anything beyond shooting looks their way.
That’s strangers, though. Their friends are a slightly different matter, if only because both of them have given everyone so much shit over the years that now it's being sent back their way with gusto.
When they settle themselves in a booth at the Wild Pony across from Isobel and Noah, Isobel’s eyes are drawn to the mark immediately while Noah’s attention focuses on Michael’s wrists.
“Ew,” Isobel comments, nose wrinkling in disgust. “Come on, you two.”
Michael snorts inelegantly. “Excuse the fuck out of me, who is it who very proudly shows off her husband’s bondage marks and refuses to stop telling me what you two have been up to in bed, when you're my sister. Consider it well-deserved revenge for years of torture.”
Now it’s Alex’s turn to be mildly disgusted, because Noah’s cute enough but he doesn’t need to be imagining his pseudo-sort of sister in law and her husband having sex, but he doesn't let it show, instead smirking across the table at them. “And those are only the ones you can see.”
It’s not a lie - Alex has scratches down his back to his ass from Michael losing complete control of himself, (which led to the zipties in the first place,) and Michael has bruises between his thighs from Alex’s belt pressing into sensitive skin. Frankly, the hickey and a few obvious red marks are nothing compared to what the town would see if they both stripped off.
“Hey, yours is still better than mine. Try walking into court with obvious handcuff marks and a permanently rumpled tie.” Noah aims for sympathizing, but Alex suspects on the other side of that straight face is a man who's glad the spotlight is off his own sex life.
And alright, admittedly that sounds unpleasant. But … “I have to work in a base full of Airmen with filthy minds tomorrow, and most of them know Guerin,” he reminds Noah and takes a sip of his beer, glad that the Brackens had already gotten drinks for all of them before they'd arrived.
Noah concedes with a tip of his head. “You've won this round, I think.”
“He usually does,” Michael chimes in around his beer bottle, his eyes soft and fond as he watches Alex. “Too much of a smartass for his own good.”
Alex has nothing of use to add to that, so he sends his middle finger Michael’s way to the tune of Isobel giggling at them.
Michael and Isobel very quickly dissolve into a discussion about Max and Liz, Max’s moon eyes getting worse with every day to the point that there’s a literal betting pool going to see when he’ll propose. Alex has his money on six months from now, or if Liz gets pregnant beforehand.
Alex doesn’t offer much information towards the conversation, and neither does Noah, Noah because he doesn’t apparently know much and Alex because he’s not stupid and if he tells them that he caught Max looking through the local jewelry shop window the other day he’ll have to explain why he was there himself.
So there may be a chance he and Michael will be engaged before Liz and Max, assuming Michael says yes to him. Alex thinks they’re entitled to go a little faster than most couples after taking ten fucking years to get to the point they’re at. He thinks of the plain silver ring with the stars spattered over the face of it that he’d seen on Friday, thinking of how good it’d look on Michael’s finger. Either hand or around his neck works, Alex knows that the left hand might not be an option and Michael’s job might not be the safest place to wear jewelry on his hands. He lets himself drift for a while, content and comfortable and aware of every time Michael moves at his side, a line of heat pressed against him from shoulder to knee.
He’s not paying much attention to the conversation or his surroundings, trusting Michael to poke him if he’s needed. Admittedly, date night after a day at work and a longer-than-planned round of sex that started in the kitchen and migrated to the bedroom then bathroom tends to exhaust a man, and Alex thinks he deserves slightly more lenience than most people. Being down a leg has wrecked his energy stores, and then having Hurricane Guerin as a partner can either exhaust him or energise him. Tonight, it started off with a burst of energy like he’d drank a can of Red Bull, but the rush has worn off and now he’s ready to go back home.
But he’ll easily admit it’s nice chilling out in the bar with Noah and Isobel, even if Isobel occasionally looks around the Pony like she’s afraid she’s going to catch a bad case of redneck just by being here. It’s not their usual scene, Alex knows, but he appreciates them meeting here - he’s still not the most adventurous when it comes to date night, but he trusts Maria, Mr Ortecho and old Mr Silva at the drive in to not give them trouble if Michael presses a kiss into Alex’s hair or if Alex decides to wrap his arm around Michael’s waist. Plus, Maria mostly leaves them alone when they’re here and lets them grab their drinks from the bar, letting Alex work up his confidence without feeling watched even if Maria’s eyes have been on them since they walked in.
Michael shifting at his side drags Alex out of his zone, and he’d feel slightly bad if Noah wasn’t also looking a little glazed around the eyes. Dealing with the influx of ICE cases he’s got right now has to be wearing on him, and Alex makes a mental note to see if he’s okay. He raises his eyebrows questioningly at Michael, wondering what the heck he’s after.
“Bathroom break. Do you guys need a drink?” Michael picks up his empty and gestures at everyone else’s, but Alex is barely through his, Noah is the designated driver with a full glass of water and Isobel’s wine is only half empty, so everyone turns him down.
Michael slides his arm out from behind Alex’s back and he pushes past them headed for the bathroom first, and Alex shakes his head with a smile at Isobel’s discreet thumbs up. Michael’s dropped his alcohol and acetone consumption greatly since they moved in together, dealing with the withdrawal symptoms better than Alex would ever have thought, but he can’t help himself in the Pony.
Alex can deal with him having a few here and letting Alex drive him home - it helps that Michael turns into a sweet puddle of submissiveness when he’s tipsy, with wandering hands and a willingness to spend literal hours under Alex’s command, trusting Alex to take care of him and keep him safe. It’s a hell of a headrush when he knows Michael’s had a shitty life so far with no reason to trust anybody, not even Alex after he’s dithered back and forth with their relationship over the last decade.
They probably won’t be doing much tonight, but Alex thinks he can convince Michael to slide to his knees in the shower and let Alex wash his hair for him, a guaranteed method of turning him into a loose-limbed, sleepy mess so that his genius brain will switch off and let him sleep for at least six hours.
Maria slips into his view far too quickly after Michael’s left for Alex’s liking, making him blink himself aware and glare half-heartedly at her. The way she’s side-eyeing his neck is something he likes even less than his apparent lack of situational awareness, and before she even opens her mouth he’s thinking up an excuse that doesn’t involve his boyfriend chewing on him.
“Alex Manes, is that a hickey?” The delight in her voice is obvious to everyone, and Alex fights the urge to sink under the table, his face starting to flush. “Isn’t it you who told me hickeys are tacky?”
“It’s a mosquito bite,” he mumbles, forgetting that it’s very much the wrong time of year for them in Roswell and also it looks nothing like one.
“Uh- huh. ” Maria is far too smart for her own good, but much to his delight, she lets it go. Alex isn’t stupid though - she’ll eventually get her revenge on him for all the shit he’s given her over the years for the visible hickeys she’s worn with pride, because Maria DeLuca does not give two fucks if people know she’s been having sex.
Alex honestly doesn’t care either, and the good-natured teasing is nice compared to the alternative, but still. His friends can, at times, be assholes, and he doesn’t need to encourage their behavior.
He thinks for a moment that he's saved by Michael returning to their booth, but instead Maria turns a predatory smile on him instead, her eyes going straight to the button of his shirt that's dropped down indecently low again and then to the marks on his wrists in turn, which are now standing out even more because Michael's rolled his sleeves up. Someone must have hit on him between the booth, the bathroom and back again, and Alex feels a thrum of heat at his groin at knowing Michael's made it clear he's taken, but ugh. Just what he needs, Maria and Isobel with more ammunition.
Michael sends her a slightly confused look at the way she's eyeing him up like he's her next meal. “Hey, DeLuca.”
“Hey, mosquito,” Maria answers sweetly.
Alex groans, wishing they’d just stayed home and continued what they were doing. Or that Michael had left a mark somewhere more private.
Michael's eyes dart to Alex, who is now considering hiding under the table, and specifically the mark under his jaw, and the wickedest little grin spreads across his face.
“Buzz.” He says, deadpan, and Alex goes with letting his forehead fall onto the table with a thunk so he doesn't have to keep watching Maria grinning like the Cheshire Cat at him.
Michael slides in beside him, the bench seat shifting under his weight, and settles back into the booth with warm hand resting on Alex's back, his thumb rubbing circles at the jut of his shoulder blade.
Alex kind of wants to lift his head up to see that gorgeous smirk he's probably shooting Maria right now, but he can feel how red his cheeks are and Isobel is giggling like crazy, and no, he's happy to stay right here, thanks.
“Oh, Alex, honey.” Maria almost sounds sympathetic, and Alex tentatively raises his head up, only to have her break out into a positively evil giggle. “Maybe you need to feed your puppy, then he won't chew on you and need to be tied up.”
“Ugh.” Nope. Alex prefers the table, sticky though it is. “I hate you, DeLuca.”
“I can recommend something for you to get your teeth into, Guerin, that rump's pretty fine and -” Alex cuts her off with a balled up napkin to the face and gropes at Michael's thigh, his thumb brushing over the seam of his jeans. Maybe if he gets him in the mood again they can bail early, even if Alex is likely to fall asleep mid-round.
“Can we go, please? Anywhere our friends aren't being assholes?” He pleads, and Maria's fingers scrub roughly through his hair as she laughs at him.
“Payback is a bitch, Manes. I'll leave you guys to date night and get your drinks. For now, and don't think I'm not gonna get all the details later!”
She walks away, and Alex stupidly thinks he's off the hook and lifts his head, only to find two identical grins on the other side of the table and Michael smirking down at him.
“I need new friends. And maybe a mute button for my boyfriend,” Alex mutters. But he's full of shit, because he loves the friends he has, and he loves Michael and their new life together. And the sex. God damn, does he love the sex. But next time, Michael is getting a hickey somewhere obvious instead of Alex.