“What is it called again?” Timmy asks, turning towards Alex.
The sun shines bright today, forcing him to squint and turning his hair into gold. He looks even more impossibly handsome than he usually does. People are actually staring at him, wondering if he's perhaps some celebrity in disguise they aren't recognizing.
They've been in Piazza Santa Croce for approximately half an hour – not mentioning the forty minutes trip to get to Florence from the godforsaken place where his dad's farm is located – and Alex answered this very question something around ten times already. Timmy's beauty is quickly losing its strength as a valid excuse to his annoying inability of keeping any information in. “It's called Calcio storico fiorentino or Calcio in costume,” he says once again, taking a sip from his flip top water bottle, that contains cranberry juice for his red week and makes him look like a vampire drinking A+ blood. “Which roughly translates as Florentine soccer.”
Timmy nods as he did the past ten times Alex told him. It's like his brain can't hold any information for more than ten minutes, unless it's about farming. “But you said it's played with the hands?” He inquires.
“Mostly,” Alex nods. “But everything else is fair too.”
“Then it's football,” Timmy insists.
“More like rugby,” Alex reasons. “Players don't wear protections and they are extremely violent.”
Timmy nods again. For a moment he stays quiet and just looks at the bleachers. The stadium – or better, the square that was equipped like some sort of stadium – is quickly filling up, and people are making a lot of noise. Timmy believes that those men over there are already arguing, but it's hard to tell because Italians always seem to scream at each other even when they're just talking.
It was Alex's idea to come to this final match between Whites and Blues, or at least he thinks these are the names of the teams involved here, and he doesn't mind at all. Timmy's always interested in sports, any kind of sport, even one that dates back to the Dark Ages, like everything else in this city – or in the whole Country (he really believes Italians stopped making stuff around three centuries ago and never lifted a finger again) – but the match hasn't started yet, so he's got nothing to do and nothing to distracted himself with – given that he can't make out with Alex, since this is an uncivilized country, where people still frown upon two guys kissing. He almost punched a man in the face today because he disagreed with him holding hands with Alex. He doesn't want to risk it again.
In a perfect world he would probably eavesdrop, trying to catch a word here and there, but even that is impossible. After years of hanging out with Alex, he learned a few Italian words, like grazie, prego and buongiorno, and he knows how to order his food – which are the basics, according to Leo, who made him repeat specific sentences over and over and over in case he was hungry and desperate, as if he could ever starve in a country where food is a religion – but these people don't speak Italian. They speak Florentine, which is some sort of variation – something like a west coast/east coast thing, he believes – and nothing, not a single word, even slightly resembles the ones he knows.
So, the only thing he can do is sit here, waiting for the match to start. “So, why are there only four teams?” He asks casually. Asking questions is the only way he knows to pass time.
“It's one team for each quartiere,” Alex answers. “Neighborhood.”
“This must be a very tiny city,” Timmy comments. He grabs Alex's water bottle from his hands and takes a sip from it. Cranberry juice is not his favorite, but it's better than nothing.
Alex frowns. “It's a 1400's game,” he says. “The city was smaller.”
Luckily, any further discussion about the smallness of Italian cities compared to the glorious metropolises of Timmy's homeland is prevented by the beginning of the match. It is hard to miss, because along with a man throwing the ball towards the center line, there's also a small cannon firing. The tough-looking players dressed like people in Da Vinci's paintings were weird enough, but the use of ancient weaponry really catches Timmy off guard.
For the first few minutes – not that many, actually – he just watches the game, trying to get what's happening. Alex supplies some explanation here and there, but they are not really necessary because what Timmy lacks in language, he's got in logic and, once he compares this Calcio with all the other sports he knows, then the rules are pretty easy to understand.
Ten minutes in the game and Timmy is already screaming at every Whites' wasted action (apparently, that's the seats he and Alex are sitting on. He made sure of it before starting to cheer for the wrong team), as if he was born and raised in the very heart of Piazza della Signoria. He's so passionate when they score and so sad when they don't, that the man sitting next to him makes friends with him. They seem to talk strategies and complain about some poor choices of the fullbacks. Alex has no idea what language they're speaking, but they seem to understand each other perfectly. Must be the power of sport loving, he imagines.
Alex is not a sport guy, but he likes guys who play sport – his friend Neri always says that the logic in this is so flawless that doesn't need any comment. He especially loves these players because they are big, strong tough and rough-looking, and he can easily imagine them as they slam him against some surface or other. This probably qualifies him as a full-fledged repressed housewife with harlequin-like porn fantasies, but he's not the kind of guy who's ashamed of that. Actually, he will probably tell Timmy later, and Timmy will provide the brute strength to make all his dreams come true.
In the meanwhile, he can divide his attention between the match – or the gruesome, violent, testosterone-induced mayhem that's happening in the field right now – and his boyfriend, who's screaming and cheering and cursing and roaring so loud that all the Whites supporters are following his lead. Truth be told, it's all quite lovely, until the Whites score the victory goal and Timmy stands up and wraps the man next to him in a warm bear hug, totally forgetting Alex's right there, more than willing to share the only possible contact in public they are allowed here.
Alex should really go straight to the locker room and find someone to play with.
Too bad he's in love with the idiot, and when said idiot finally turns around, his smile could melt the ice.
He watched a game he didn't know, cheering a team he had never heard of before, and discussed it in a language that he doesn't speak, and he's so excited he can't barely stand still. There's no way Alex can be angry with him. He will wait and he will bear with him, and come the night he knows what to do with all this energy of his. He's got an idea, and it includes Timmy's excitement, some role play and a wall.