Friday night is bowling night for the Lightwood siblings. Ever since Alec turned 16 and he got his driver's license, he and his siblings - Jace (their adoptive brother), Izzy, and Max (when he was old enough) - would go to the bowling alley almost every Friday night. When Alec took a gap year after graduating high school to travel overseas, stopping bowling night was inevitable. But the moment he got back, it had to be reinstated. They took another break when he started college but with conditions. His siblings cornered him and made him swear on his favourite tattered hoodie that bowling night continues even if he was now a grown up and swamped with college stuff.
Alec really didn't need much persuading, but he found it cute that his siblings went through all that effort. He was surprised they gave him a full 3 weeks to adjust to his life in college before resuming the attacks. The incessant texts and calls of "Come pick us up!" and "We want to go bowling!" had started to come in not long after.
And so here they were again, on his second year of college, at the bowling alley one Friday night.
They went to their usual bowling alley which thankfully was reasonably close to his apartment and near the university. His parents have agreed to let his siblings stay at his place for the weekend, if Alec promised to return his younger siblings on Saturday night so they have time to do their homework.
"Alec, come on. Hurry up!" his 10-year old brother, Max, was practically jumping with excitement, pulling on the sleeve of Alec's black (almost grey from fading) sweater.
"Max, if you pull any harder, that sweater will tear apart." Izzy says with a laugh. She and Jace high-fived each other. It started off as a joke, them teasing Alec about his raggedy sweaters. Until a certain incident five years ago, when they were playing wrestling in the living room. Izzy, Max and Jace were clinging to him and his holey sweater ripped beyond repair.
Alec rolled his eyes. His lack of fashion sense (as his sister puts it) and love for hoodies and sweaters until they're faded and tattered with holes has always been the butt of jokes among his siblings. At least Jace and Izzy, anyway. They both considered themselves to be stylish, or at least took a lot of care in how they looked. He could care less about things like clothes, or appearance. Not like he couldn’t afford new clothes. As long as he looked presentable and hygienic, he was fine with it. Alec just wants to be comfortable. And that's what his fading, tattered sweaters were, comfortable.
"Ha ha. Funny," Alec responded with sarcasm. "Say another and I won't pay for your bowling fees or your food."
Izzy and Jace promptly shut up. Alec rolled his eyes as he turned to face the attendant.
“Hello. Welcome back,” the attendant greeted him. “The usual lane?”
Alec nods. "And can we have ..."
His siblings shouted from the back.
"One game, please," Alec emphasised the ‘one’, amikng sure his siblings heard while ignoring their protests. "You know how they get competitive. We'll probably add more later."
The attendant laughed and took the payment from Alec. The Lightwoods were regulars. They practically had a designated lane, bowling balls and footwear reserved just for them. Unofficially, of course.
The siblings took their bowling shoes and proceeded to their seats at the rightmost lane.
"Alec, can I be on your team, tonight?" Max asks as he looks for the appropriate ball. Alec on the seat still putting his shoes on.
"What? No way!" Izzy protests, standing up and joining Max. "You were on his team last time. It's my turn."
"No," Jace butts in. "I remember you two being on his team last time. So it's my turn."
This happened all the time since they found out Alec was the best bowler. The younger siblings would argue over who would be on Alec's team. Plus, Alec was their "big brother" with Jace and Izzy being 5 years younger. The younger Lightwoods all looked up to him and loved him as the eldest Lightwood pretty much raised them while their parents were busy working. There was always some kind of competition for his attention. Bowling was the epitome of it. They usually played the bowling games two on two to make it fair for Max (and Izzy but no one wants to tell her that). And whoever was on Alec's team, won. Most of the time.
There was a game a year ago of which no one likes to speak of and everyone claimed someone else may have won on a technicality, but no one was really happy with the results. Let's just say there was a mix up and a power outage, possible disappearance of a ball and a claim of a computer glitch in scores. No one knew exactly what happened. There was silence in the Lightwood house for a week. Their parents, Robert and Maryse, nearly called in counsellors.
Alec watched in amusement as his siblings tried to figure out who goes on which teams. This is one of the things he's missed since he moved out of the house. He knew this could take a while so he looked around the bowling alley at the other people. There weren't many but then again it was only 7pm on a Friday.
Two lanes up from their booth was a family of four with two young kids and their parents. Next to them were two girls and two guys, probably on a double date. And on the other side of the room, were a group. Mostly guys he had seen around campus so they were likely students like him. There was one girl in the group, she had light blond hair. That's all that Alec really barely registered. He didn't care about the others. Because sitting in that group was him - the most beautiful guy he had ever seen. He first saw him around nine months ago while Alec was sitting on the steps of his college building. He's been crushing on him since but never really got a chance or ever gathered up the confidence to do something about it.
Alec didn't know his name. Just that the man had classes in the science building, across from the Business School where Alec’s classes were. Alec figured the guy must be doing something science-y. Although, he looked far from science-y, if there was such a look. Alec's best friend Aline had jokingly dubbed him "Sparkles" when they noticed he wore a lot of colourful clothes, make up, and glitter. The last part was according to Aline. Alec has never had the chance to be up close to notice details like that. Alec just called him a beautiful enigma in his head.
The man was of Asian descent, Alec could tell that much, but not entirely sure from which part. Asia is a big continent. He had soft, smooth tanned skin. Alec has decided that it's probably soft and smooth despite never having touched it or be near it. He was almost a head shorter than Alec - of which, Alec was always at least a head taller than anyone anyway. His dark hair was gelled up in spikes but the front always seems to curl down to his forehead in the most perfect way. Alec noticed that the tips of his hair seemed to change colour almost every week or whatever colour his top was for the day. He usually wore tight skinny jeans that emphasised the shape of his perfect ass, and a plethora of silk, stylish shirts, some of which are quite revealing. Not in a slutty sort of way, but in an elegant one. Oh and the make-up. Alec has never had opinion on make-up, especially on guys. But on this man. Oh dear, on this man, it was beautiful.
Not that he wouldn't be beautiful without his make-up. Alec thought. He was certain this man was beautiful in any which way, eyeliner or not.
Alec was sure he had a stupid smile on his face now. Who would have thought his crush would be at the same bowling alley on this Friday night?
The man laughed loudly at something his friend said, Alec couldn't really see which one. His laugh sounded heavenly. Yes, there was music playing in the background, and it was quite loud but when it came to this guy, Alec had bionic ears. And bionic eyes now apparently, because he noticed the guy's laugh reached his eyes. Alec found himself smiling again as he watched the man interact with his group.
"Nooooooooo!!!" Jace's agonising scream, hands pulling at his blond hair, snaps Alec out from his trance. It was a good thing, too. He could swear he was staring too long it was turning creepy. He got up and went closer to his siblings. After a round of rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock - probably Max's idea - Jace was out of the running for becoming Alec's teammate. It was down to Izzy and Max. Oh yes bowling night, where they spend the first 20 minutes just playing rock-paper-scissors-lizard-Spock to determine teams.
Neither Izzy nor Max were winning. And it was to the best of three. This could take all night. Alec intervened. "Right. This is enough. We can buy more games later. You all get a turn to be my teammate."
"Yes!" All three shouted. First it was Alec and Max vs Izzy and Jace. They would then rotate. And the competition begins.
Whenever Alec had a chance to sit down, he would sneak a glance to the other side of the room to watch what his crush was up to. Alec has yet to see him actually bowl tonight. He didn't seem to be playing but was just hanging out. One of the guys in the group - the tall, slender one with blond hair – kept attempting to get close to his crush. Alec couldn't blame him for doing that, although he wasn't going to deny he wasn’t a bit jealous. He would love to be the one flirting with the beautiful man. Not that he knew how to flirt.
Alec forced himself to look away after catching himself staring again. He had to be careful that his siblings don't notice or else he'll get teased. Or worse, knowing his younger siblings, they'll definitely go up to the guy and tell him about Alec crushing on him. Hard. Alec was not ready to die of embarrassment just yet.
After the third game, true enough, each younger Lightwood sibling had a win and they all seemed satisfied. They all sat down to rest.
"Can we have one more game?" Max piped up not long after. Izzy and Jace agreed. They all looked at Alec with pleading eyes.
"We'll be back to the problem of figuring out who plays on my team, you dorks." Alec answered, ignoring his siblings' puppy dog eyes.
"Idea!" Izzy jumped up. "All three of us, against you."
"I like it!" Jace and Max jumped in. "With all our powers combined..."
"What? You'll form Captain Planet?" Alec mocked his brother.
Jace pointed at him. "We'll crush you."
Alec laughed and rolled his eyes. "Challenge accepted. One more game. Let's just take a break for a moment. I need a drink."
"Ooh, buy me a coke, please. Diet," That was Izzy.
"Mountain Dew and some fries," That was Jace.
"Regular coke and a hotdog," That was Max.
Alec rolled his eyes again and walked away before they thought of anything else.
Alec went up to the snack bar and placed their order including the additional game.
"That'll be a 5 minute or so wait on the hotdog and the fries," the girl at the counter said. Alec nodded and stepped aside. He decided to read some of the flyers on the side of the counter not noticing who walked up next to him until he heard the voice.
"Can I have 3 sodas, one raspberry vodka and 3 beers please?" said the voice. Alec looked up and saw the enigma standing right beside him. He glanced down at the other man's hand which was resting on the counter. He had purple nail polish which matched his silk shirt and the tips of his hair. He had several rings on his fingers. Who wears that many rings while playing bowling? Alec thought. Not that he really cared. He thought this man’s hands were perfect. And he would love to hold this hand, rings or not.
Just as Alec looked up at his face, they made eye contact.
The guy smiled. Alec's heart stopped and his brain was malfunctioning. Oh God, he's even more beautiful up close. Somehow Alec was able to smile back without passing out. He wasn't sure if he was blushing. It didn't feel like it so he must have been ok. (He was blushing.)
"Are you having a good night?" The Asian man asked.
He asked you a question, you idiot. Alec's brain prompted him. "Yes. Yes, I am," he managed to say with composure. He was thankful he didn't stutter. That's it, Alec. Use single-word combinations. Makes you sound stoic and cool. And they're easier to say.
"And you?" Alec asked. He couldn't believe he was making small talk with this beautiful man. And he's not stuttering, or blushing. (He was definitely blushing.)
The other man nodded while fiddling with the ear cuff on his right ear. Neither of them made eye contact. Each one looking away while the other's gaze lingered, stealing glances from each other.
"Are they your siblings?" The other man asked, using his thumb to point towards Izzy, Jace and Max.
"Yeah." Alec confirmed. "They are. Who are you here with?" Alec really was sticking to the single-syllable words. He hated himself for not asking a more interesting question. Where was all that vocabulary he learned from reading all those books and novels?
"Oh, I'm here with..." the guy never got to finish as the waitress called Alec's attention and gave him his order. Alec picked them up, easily holding the drinks on one side (with some help from his arms) and the food on the other. He didn't want to be rude so he returned his attention to the other man to at least let him finish what he was saying. Of course, that was the reason. Not because he really did not want to leave and wanted to talk longer. Maybe get his number.
"Anyway, yes, I'm here with..." His crush continued. A body suddenly obstructed Alec's view, noticing that this hindrance also had his arm around the guy’s shoulder. Alec felt slightly envious.
"Hey, babycakes. Where are the drinks?" the newcomer said. It was another man from their group. He was definitely a lot older than everyone in the pack. He had dark brown hair and sounded British. "Oh pardon me that was bloody rude." He apologized when he noticed he'd butt into Alec's and his friend's conversation.
Alec made an attempt to wave it off to gesture it was okay but he couldn't stop frowning. "No it's fine. Enjoy your night." And he left.
Babycakes? Alec thought and cringed a bit at the term of endearment the older man used. Just his luck. His crush was taken and here on a group date with his boyfriend. Of course, he's taken. A beautiful man like that doesn't stay in the market for long. Alec shook himself out of his thoughts before he started to go on a downward spiral. He instead decided to focus on his siblings and the game.
"Right, losers. Let's get ready to rumble."
Magnus watched helplessly as the tall, handsome man with the gorgeous hazel eyes, walked away back to his siblings. They were starting a conversation, and having a moment. Magnus felt like they were having a moment. Or at least starting to. And then his friend happened. He glared daggers at Ragnor, his lips pursed.
"What?" his friend asked, oblivious to what he just interrupted, arm still around Magnus' shoulder.
"You idiot!" Magnus elbowed Ragnor hard on the ribs. He huffed and walked back to their seat, leaving his friend confused (the clueless son of a bitch) and in pain (good!).
Magnus plopped down on the seat next to his other friend Catarina, crossing his arms in the process.
"What happened?" she asked, flicking her blond hair off her shoulders as she moved closer to him.
"Ragnor happened." Magnus was clearly annoyed. Speak of the devil, Ragnor joined them sitting on Magnus' other side.
"Hey, mate. Sorry. What was that about? What did I do?" he said.
Magnus just looked at him incredulously. "Really? Are you serious?"
"You cockblocked him with tall, pale and grungy over there." Catarina added, using her chin to indicate to Alec's general direction.
Ragnor's eyes went wide in shock. "Oh dear. That was him? That was the fallen Angel?" He looked over to Alec and then back at his friend. "Magnus, I am so sorry, mate. I didn't know he was still in the prospect list."
Magnus threw both hands up, shaking his head in disbelief and looked to Catarina for help.
"Seriously? Where have you been for the past 6 months since he saw him jogging around campus?" Catarina said hitting Ragnor at the back of the head. "He's all Magnus has been talking, correction, gushing, gushing about."
"I was not gushing,” Magnus protested. “I was just appreciating the ethereal beauty that is this Adonis.”
"Yes. Yes you were. Still are." She took a deep breath and clasped both hands together.
"Oh Catarina, he's so hot. Did you see his face? And you should have seen his abs. He looks like an angel sent from heaven." Catarina said with her best imitation of Magnus.
"And his arms. Oh my God his arms. And his chest. He's muscular but not too muscular." Ragnor now joined with the playful mocking.
"And he's so tall. I wanna climb him like a tree."
And then both Magnus' friends together, "And his hair, and his smile. Oh his smile that just melts you..."
"Oh he's gonna add 'his eyes' to that one now," Ragnor interjected. Magnus looked at him. "Yeah I know you saw his eyes. I saw them, too. His beautiful hazel eyes."
Magnus smiled and sunk lower down his seat, lips pursed at his friends' teasing, his blush reaching his ears. They weren't lying though. Magnus has had a huge crush on this boy for a while now. It wasn't just because he was beautiful, physically. But Magnus sensed this air about him that he was nice, caring and responsible, with the times he has seen the man with his friends around campus. And now seeing him again tonight, confirmed it all the more. What college boy chooses to spend his Friday night with his siblings than out in town getting drunk with his friends?
"But, didn't you arrive to the conclusion that he was straight coz he's possibly with that tiny Asian girl or the blond-haired GI Jane?" Ragnor asked.
"No, no." Catarina answered. "We saw that little Asian girl with her girlfriend that other time so she's definitely out. Maybe GI Jane, but we're not sure."
Ragnor nodded, finally caught up with his friend's love life. "So, why don't you just go over there and ask for his number?"
Magnus sighed watching the events at lane ten. The little boy's hands were wrapped around his brother's waist, the girl jumped up on his back hands around his neck, and the blond boy covering his eyes. All while Magnus’ “Angel” was trying to throw the bowling ball into the lane. Magnus watched as he let go of the ball. He followed their eye line, curious as to where the ball was going. It got close to the pins but suddenly veered to the right and into the gutter. The girl and the two boys all cheered while the oldest brother just threw his hands up but still had a smile on his face.
"Magnus?" Catarina snapped him out of his trance.
"No. It's ok." he answered. "The moment's passed. Plus he seems to be having fun with his siblings."
Catarina squeezed his shoulder then gave him a kiss on the forehead. “There’ll be a next time.”
Magnus just nodded. And hoped.
A few minutes later, the brothers and sister packed up. Magnus watched as they left, wondering if he was going to get an opportunity like that again. Or if that was it. And his opportune moment has gone. He didn't even get to find out the guy's name.