"Let me take you to the ballet."
"What?" Michael Caffrey looked up at his best friend.
"Seriously...there's a showcase of some of the older students work coming up. It's not a full ballet. I like to think that I'll star in your first full ballet."
"Why do you want to take me?" Billy's family had brought Michael along to visit Billy in London. He'd been at the school for several years now, and Michael hadn't ever seen the place.
"I need a date," he grinned. Back in Everington, before ballet, he wouldn't have dared to say something like that. Now he brushed it off easily. If only people in Everington were as kind.
"Fine then. You know I don't understand any of that dancing shite, but I'll try."
"Wear something nice Caffrey, can't have you embarrassing me."
"Shove off Elliot."
"Come on Billy, we're going to miss our train."
Billy stood in front of the mirror and frowned, adjusting the fifth tie he'd tried on.
"Give me a minute," he hissed.
"What're you getting so dressed up for?" Tony said, leaning on the door frame.
"It's the ballet, I've got to."
"Yeah but...fucking shite Billy you've been getting dressed for the last hour haven't you?"
"Is it Michael?"
"Jesus Tony I just want to look nice for the show." Tony sighed. His little brother was 16 and had no girlfriend to speak of. He was worried. Worried that Billy was working too hard, losing what was left of his childhood to dance.
"You know I wouldn't care of you were. I got that out of my system when you started ballet. I just want you to live a little."
"Even with Michael?"
"Even with Caffrey."
Billy looked down, face flushing.
"Well come on then. He's not going to care about your damn tie."
Michael looked almost too good to be true. Billy'd never seen him in a suit. Hell he'd hardly seen him without that bloody hat.
They met there. Tony had insisted on coming along, showing his support and taking over for Jackie Elliot for once. They'd established a trade off system regarding dull dance events on their visits. Michael was at the same hotel as Tony, but he wanted to find his way to the train himself. Practicing, he said, for later.
"You look...damn good," Billy muttered, handing him his ticket.
"Right, like I'm the one who looks good," Michael replied.
"So how come you're not dancing?" Tony asked as they were taking their seats.
"The showcase's just for the older students. I'm not good enough to be in it."
"Yet," Michael added.
"Yet," Billy mumbled.
"Well I asked him to be in my piece but apparently dancing in the background is too good for the great William Elliot."
"Amélie you know that isn't true. I was never going to be ready to perform that part, I'd slow you down."
A girl in a black leotard and sweeping skirt ruffled his hair. Michael was kind of envious of her thick black eye make up and neatly pulled back hair.
"I'm Amélie," she said, extending a hand to Tony, and then to Michael. "I'm Billy's friend, a year older I'm afraid, so we don't have many classes together."
"Amélie this is my brother Tony and my friend Michael."
"You're performing?" Tony asked, surveying the beautiful, bright-eyed ballerina who'd somehow latched onto his brother.
"Yes, it's my first year in the showcase. Billy'll be dancing up there in no time. He's a natural, an absolute teacher's pet."
Tony smirked. "Is he now?"
Amélie winked and punched Billy on the shoulder. "See you after the show?"
"Aye, see you then."
"So does she fancy you?" Tony asked, milliseconds after Amélie had gone.
Michael felt his face flushing, and looked at Billy expectantly.
"Amélie? Shove off Tony of course not."
"Do you fancy her?" Michael muttered.
"No," Billy said firmly. "She's just a friend."
It was halfway though the showcase and Michael was finding it more interesting to watch Billy than the dancers. His face lit every time one of his friends was on the stage. "That's Adam, he's got brilliant form see?" Billy whole world was ballet and he never seemed to tire of it.
Michael however, was tired, and leaned his head against Billy's shoulder, drifting off to the gentle music.
"Hey Michael, Améile's on."
Billy's friend really was beautiful, the way she glided across the stage, movements elegant. Her legs were long, and her eyes shined. Billy was a fool not to fancy her. But Michael was glad he didn't. He was glad that in this world of gorgeous ballet dancers, Billy hadn't gone and snogged anyone...yet.
"You'll get him back to the hotel?" Tony asked gently. Michael was still asleep on Billy's shoulder.
"Yeah," he whispered. "Thanks for coming."
"Any time Billy."
"Michael," he nudged him. "Michael it's over, time to wake up." Billy looked down at his friend, long dark eye lashes and small smile on lips. He stirred, blinking and sitting up.
"Sorry Billy, did I fall asleep?"
"It's okay. It was a long show. Do you want to meet some of my friends? Tony went home so we can take all the time we want."
"Alright," Michael muttered, suddenly self conscious.
"Michael this is Adam, Elizabeth, James, Marie, and you already met Amélie."
The dancers were all polite, and gorgeous, all interested in knowing what Billy was like when he was little.
While the others were busy laughing about how Billy tried to be a boxer, Amélie pulled Michael aside.
"Hey, so Billy talks about you nonstop."
"Yeah, and I wanted to know," she dug around in her purse. "If you wanted these." She pulled out a tube of mascara, stick of eyeliner, and some dark eye shadow. "I bought extra makeup for the showcase. It's the kind I used tonight see?" She opened her eye wider and turned her face closer to his. "Billy said you might like this kind of stuff."
"I uh..." Michael didn't know whether or not to feel insulted or ecstatic. "Thank you. Seriously, thanks a lot." He took the makeup, looking it over carefully.
"I think he likes you too."
"You know what I mean," she glanced over at Billy, who was still laughing with the others.
"Here," she took him by the wrist and pulled him into the girl's bathroom. "Get up on the counter, I'll do your makeup."
Michael did what he was told, against his better judgement. "Why are you helping me?"
"The girls never let me do their makeup. Don't want the lesbian too close to their faces I guess."
"Billy didn't tell you?"
"Oh well, I am. Look up," she went at it with the mascara brush. "You wear makeup at home?"
"Not in public, just at home."
"Shame, this really brings out your eyes."
"Of all the guys I've done makeup for, you most definitely look the best. Billy's gonna flip."
"In a good way?"
"In a good way."
"Michael, you ready to...uh..."
"What is it?"
"Amélie do that? The," he gestured to Michael's eyes. "Makeup?"
"Yeah, is that okay?"
"Course," he flushed, looking down. "Ready to go?"
"Next to meet you Michael," Amélie said, winking.
"I'll walk you to your train."
"You don't have to do that. It's out of your way."
"No, I want to."
"You like your school Billy?" It was cold out and Michael pulled his jacket tighter around himself.
"Of course I do."
"Good," he smiled. "I'm glad."
"Hey," he grabbed Michael's wrist. "Thank you for tonight."
"You're welcome," he stepped closer.
"You look perfect Michael."
Billy stepped closer, bridging the gap between them. "Can I kiss you?"
"You really want to?"
"Is this about what Tony said because Amélie's not..."
"I know, it's not about her." He shuffled his feet. "You don't want to kiss me Billy, not with all the gorgeous dancers at your school."
"Bullshit," He put his hand on either side of Michael's face, brow furrowed. "I took you out, not some other dancer. You look nicer with makeup than they do anyway."
"That's what Amélie said," Michael grinned.
"She's usually right." He kissed him, soft and slow.
"How was that?" Billy muttered, pulling away. "I've never done that before."
"Me neither. I liked it."
"Want to do it again?"
" I think I could do that forever."