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Dancin' at the Other End of the Ballroom

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First Steps

It’s been a really good night.

Much better than I’d’ve thought.

I wasn’t even sure about coming – but – no, it’s been a laugh.

Didn’t think so at first, cos – well, it’s a bit – dauntin’, all these blokes, an’ some of ‘em – wow. Can’t imagine anyone like that ever lookin’ at me, but then some of the others – takes all sorts, I s’pose, but – blimey. Why’d anyone want to wear those?

An’ no-one’s talked to us. Thank god. You’re really pissed off about that, I don’t know what you expected, the whole world at your feet I s’pose. Me, I’m quite happy just to have a look about, have a drink, have a laugh with you. No-one’s told us to fuck off, or asked our age, so – that’s good enough for a first time, I reckon. It’s nice just to be here, finally.

Imagining that maybe, maybe one day, maybe – if somethin’ happened to completely change my looks an’ personality – maybe I could dance like that, with someone I actually fancied. Snog some bloke, like them over there.

Hold hands.

Maybe here it would be ok.

But – I don’t know. It’s like when we’ve been to discos, in the school gym.

Which I didn’t flood.

Anyway.

You’re always up for dancin’, and flirtin’, all the girls want to dance with you, everyone always wants to dance with you, look at you, touch you, but me – I couldn’t, I don’t know how, an’ however much you say girls at school want to dance with me too – that’s just that most of the boys won’t bloody dance at all. An’ I hate it, but – you always drag me into stuff. An’ well, some of them are alright, really nice – we have a laugh.

Just shows, I s’pose.

An’ here – I know I should be able to do all the chat, an’ the flirtin’, an’ the eye-contact, an’ dance an’ – all of it – like you always say – but – I don’t know. I can’t see that I ever could. Don’t see how I’m ever goin’ to fit in here either. Not properly.

You’re – oh my god, Stuart, you can’t – you can. Of course you can.

“Look after this”, you say, an’ you’re off, onto the dance floor, leavin’ me with your coke as well as mine, an’ I feel a right prat stood here, but you don’t – oh my god Stuart, you can’t. He’s – if he looks at you – oh my god – you would, wouldn’t you, you’re only goin’ to – to actually get off with someone while I’m stood here watchin’. Or – no, you wouldn’t – you wouldn’t?

Where’re you goin’ to go?

You can’t – you wouldn’t be stupid enough to go to his – some bloke you don’t know – you wouldn’t – surely?

Oh my God.

He’s – you’re – no. Oh thank god. Is that his boyfriend? Christ, Stuart, you are such a – just let’s go for a drink, you said. It’ll be fine, you said, I won’t do anythin’ daft, you said, trust me Vince.

You’re comin’ back, laughin’, pleased with yourself. Pleased you had the guts to try, I s’pose. Shakin’ your head at me, ‘cos I don’t, an’ ‘cos it didn’t go quite to plan,

“Maybe next time,” I say, an’ it’s funny, really, the sheer cheek of you, an’ god but I wish, I wish so much I was like that – but I’m not.

I could never do that. I don’t think I could ever stand up and dance in front of all these blokes, ‘cos they’re all watchin’, ratin’ out of ten probably, like boys lookin’ at girls at the school discos. An’ you know I couldn’t, an’ you’re shakin’ your head at me again.

But then the music changes, an’ you’re pullin’ me, an’ – oh my god – you’ve – we’re – blimey.

It’s Rainin’ Men.

Mum likes this song. An’ that must be the wrong thing to think of, but she does, so I know it, an’ – an’ ok, maybe I can do this, maybe it isn't that different, just havin’ a laugh, doin’ like everyone else is, if I don’t think about it, it’s ok.

If I think about it though – Oh My God.

We’re actually dancing together.

You an’ me.

Here.

You an’ me, out on Canal Street, together.

It doesn’t mean anythin’. You’re just havin’ a laugh.

I know that.

But I – I just want this to never end.

 

 

 

 

 

Freestyle

I feel good.

I always feel pretty good, has to be said, but tonight – tonight I feel fantastic.

Signed today.

Haven’t told you yet, haven’t worked out how to say it.

How the fuck do you say – move in with me – without it sounding like some fuckin’ big deal?

It isn't, it shouldn’t have to be, and I ought to be able to trust you to know that, but – you’re Vince Tyler, capable of making a big fuckin’ deal of any shit.

Obsessin’ about nothin’.

So I’ve been thinkin’. Might just – move in – an’ then when you’re round all the bloody time – move you in.

Main thing is, I’ve got my own flat.

Been thinkin’ about it since I came back, about gettin’ out of that house, away from the snipin’, the arguin’, away from the pair of them windin’ each other up tighter and tighter. Christ on a stick, is that what happens?

She keeps askin’ when I’m gettin’ married, didn’t I meet any nice girls in three years in London – and what the fuck can I say?

No.

Well, yes lots, but – no.

He keeps sayin’ by the time he was my age he had a wife, a mortgage, one kid and one on the way. Like that’s a bloody advert for it. Like he’s been such a fuckin’ success.

Jesus.

The two of them, on and on at each other, at me, at Marie, at any fucker comes in range.

Jesus.

But I’m not thinkin’ about all that tonight, tonight I’m out with you, an’ you know what – I might not even bother to cop off. Not for the night like, might just have a wank, keep on lookin’, go back to yours, have a laugh, get Hazel to cook breakfast in the mornin’.

Watch Hazel get you to cook breakfast more like, while she gets the first coffee an’ fag down her.

You’re smokin’ more than you used.

Disgustin’ habit.

But I like it on you. Like the way you smell, the way you roll the fag along your lip.

Not thinkin’ about that now.

Just – havin’ a laugh.

Dancin’ with you.

It’s Rainin’ Men.

‘Cos it always is for me, man after man after man, see ‘em, want ‘em, have ‘em, can’t stand the sight of them. Easy come, easy go. Gorgeous ‘til I’ve had them, then – they can fuck off. But dancin’ with you – is different.

 

 

 

 

 

New Moves

New York.

An’ they play the same music. It’s Rainin’ Men.

New York, though.

Like, real New York.

Can’t believe it, not really.

That I did it. Just – went for it – like that.

That we’re here.

You and me, together.

Havin’ a good time, seein’ the world – together.

Not let myself think about what I’ve left, about home, mum, all of that. Only about rain, an’ crappy coffee, an’ borin’, borin’ supermarkets.

Not worryin’ about money. You say there’s enough for both of us, that somethin’ will turn up, that you can get more when you need it, an’ right now, I’m trustin’ you. You say we’ll head out West once the Jeep’s been shipped over – which is mad, but completely you – an’ god knows what’s goin’ to happen then, but I’m trustin’ you. That we’ll be alright, together, somehow. You’re a lot of things, Stuart Alan Jones, but you’re not a liar, so I’m trustin’ you.

It’s brilliant, this is. All of it.

Empire State Building. Statue of Liberty. Shops – you love shoppin’.

I love watchin’ you.

Fuck it, I can be honest with myself – I love you.

Goin’ out together like this, knowin’ we’re goin’ back to the same hotel room, the same bed, wake up together, have breakfast together, spend the day together – goin’ to be together tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow – it’s brilliant.

I mean, we might not go back together tonight. Not if you cop off. I’m not daft, I know we aren’t – shaggin’. Not likely to.

An’ that’s fine. Really. I don’t care.

I’m with you all day, every day, every night.

Except when you’re shaggin’.

But it doesn’t matter. Not really.

It’s me dancin’ with you, tonight, every night. An’ I know, I know, it’s only while you look round, get your eye in, see who you really want to fuck, but – it doesn’t matter. Not anymore.

I kind of understand now.

Shags come, shags go. Doesn’t mean anythin’ to you. You’re not like me. It doesn’t matter why, it’s just how it is. I don’t want to change you. Not anymore.

I can’t change you.

So when they play this song, an’ it’s the gay anthem, it’s your anthem, your theme tune, I’m here, dancin’ with you.

An’ that’s good enough.

 

 

 

 

Time and Time Again

Jesus but today has gone on for years.

What was it Hazel said once – one quick shag and it goes on for years? One quick wank, in my case.

Most expensive wank I ever had. Got that right, back then, years ago.

Look at him now though.

My son, the bridegroom.

Jesus.

Look at him. Makes me feel old.

But no, I’m not old, never old. I’ll never be old while you’re lookin’ at me.

An’ you’re always lookin’ at me. You’re always watchin’. You think I don’t know, don’t know you watch me; you think I don’t watch you, don’t look at you. Christ, the times I’ve watched you, seen you, looked at you.

Shared hotelrooms, shared flats, shared bathrooms. An’ you think I don’t look at you, don’t know what you like?

But you don’t have the guts to ask, to push.

An’ I can’t turn round, change, I can’t if you don’t make me. ‘Cos if I did, what would all these years mean?

I can’t.

You have to. Step out, make me stop, save me.

Jesus.

What a fuckin’ mess.

But Alfie – look at him.

If one more tosser tells me I must be so proud – fuck – I don’t know what I’ll fuckin’ say. They can just fuck off, all of them.

But I don’t say it.

He wouldn’t like it.

More important, you wouldn’t either. Twat.

Look at you.

Sat there, noddin’ away, chattin’ nicely to my parents.

Jesus. Fuckin’. Christ.

Makin’ out like you don’t care what they think about us, not bothered.

Such a fuckin’ liar.

You hate this sort of thing, and I know it, and you know I know it.

Still.

Nearly done now, surely.

Fucks sake.

We’ve had the ceremony, the photos, the meal, the speeches – and what kind of fuckin’ rule is it that the groom’s father isn't allowed to speak? – the first dance. Fuckin’ bollocks.

I’ve done my bit.

Paid.

Made nice.

Danced with the bride’s mother, danced with the groom’s mother for that matter, been fuckin’ charmin’.

Lovely, in fact.

So – I reckon I’m owed a bit of fun.

And that best man – he’s lookin’.

I’m lookin’ back.

And oh yes, Alfie, my boy, your dad’s still got what it takes. You might be married, settled down, watch your sex-life stop – but I’m not.

Only then – bloody DJ changes the music.

No more naff couples dances.

Everybody on the floor, he’s sayin’, one for all you singles out there. Time for you to strut your stuff, show us what you can do.

I’m expectin’ Abba or somethin’ crap like that, like at every tossin’ work do.

Quite happy to give that a miss, so I’m still lookin’, still makin’ eye contact, ready for my treat.

Only it isn't Abba that comes on.

At the first strains, I’ve forgotten mister cute, I’m lookin’ across to you. You’re grinnin’, shakin’ your head, ‘cos, yeah, this isn't the time or place, you reckon.

Beats me how Hazel ended up with a son like you, Vinnie.

Anyway.

Feels like the time and place to me.

I raise my eyebrow, an’ cock my head, point. You’re shakin’ your head again, blushin’ just that little bit, but you know, an’ I know, you don’t mean that.

It’s Rainin’ Men.

Cos it is, it always is for me, but – right now, I’m dancin’ with you.

Dancin’ like twats.

Together.

An’ I don’t want anythin’ different.

 

 

 

 

The Show Must Go On

Christ Stuart, what are you like?

We’re too old for this.

I’m too old for this – you aren’t, of course, you don’t look old, you’ll never be old, you’ll always be young, always be lovely, you’re Stuart Alan Jones.

But I’m not. I’m Vince Tyler, an’ I’m too old for great fuck-off birthday parties, too old for streamers an’ cakes an’ hired discos.

I don’t want any of this.

I only want one thing.

An’ I can’t have you, will never have you. Not the way I always dreamt.

I know that.

I don’t mind, not really.

Because all this – all this money, this extravagance, this show – it’s all your way of sayin’ you care, in your own way.

Not my way, not the way I’d rather, but – better than bein’ without you.

An’ that’s the choice. I know that. I’ve known that for a long time.

So – it’s my birthday, an’ you’ve spent fuck-knows-how-much. An’ it’s great.

Really.

I’m smilin’, laughin’, chattin’ to people.

Tryin’ not to hope that maybe one day, one year, you’ll feel old. That you’ll look around you and see boys, laughin’ at the old man. That you’ll turn and see me, finally.

That you’ll touch me, kiss me, let me – all the things I’ve seen you do to so many others. Seen it all, I have, closer than I ever wanted. You’ve never been one to care, never been one to take consideration for anyone. Sharing hotel rooms all these years, sharing flats, sharing bathrooms – you don’t cover up, don’t quieten down. I’ve seen it all.

Doesn’t matter. Not really.

But still I wish – anyway.

No point hopin’ for that.

If it hasn’t happened yet, it isn't goin’ to.

Besides, why would I hope to see you fail, see you stumble, see you hurt?

Why would I do that to you?

What kind of love would that be?

The music changes, and you’re lookin’ at me, and I can’t help but smile, shake my head, and then you’re laughin’, holdin’ out your arms.

And we’re dancin’.

There isn't a better feelin’ than this, than dancin’ with you, up against you, holdin’ on to you, laughin’ and rubbin’ and your eyes on me, your hands on me.

At least I s’pose there is, but it’s nothin’ I’ll ever have.

It’s Rainin’ Men.

For you, always.

For me – it’s just Rainin’ In My Heart.

 

 

 

 

And one more, beginning with F……

Everyone keeps on sayin’ it’s a celebration.

They can all fuck off.

Don’t feel like celebratin’.

An’ when I don’t say it, they look at me, like they know what I’m thinkin’, and they say – oh now, he wouldn’t want that.

You have to look at the good.

All those years.

After all, at your age, it’s only to be expected. They don’t say that bit, but I’m not thick.

An’ fuck knows, if I’d had the choice – I’d have done it this way. ‘Course I would.

‘Cos I’m a selfish fucker.

An’ the thought of knowin’ you were goin’ to be left – that’d be worse. Much worse.

There’s music now.

Fuck, imagine you thinkin’ all this through. When did you do it, I wonder? Like it fuckin’ matters now.

Music. All of it dreadful, tear-jerking crap, slushy, to start with. Fuckin’ Titanic. Crap like that. Jesus, what the fuck were you thinkin’?

You’d planned it all.

Mad.

But you had.

Didn’t trust me to get it right.

I said that, an’ Alfie – wonderful Alfie – just looked at me, an’ sighed, an’ his bloody mother – thinks she fuckin’ knows – shook her head an’ oh no, he didn’t want you to be havin’ to do it, wanted to save you the work.

Maybe.

Can’t fuckin’ ask you now, can I, you twat.

I’m stood here, supposed to be makin’ nice, but fuck that. They can all just – just fuck off.

Where are you?

You’re meant to be here, meant to be doin’ all this, all the makin’ nice, the chattin’. You’re not supposed to leave me, you bastard.

Don’t you understand?

You always understand, always see through me, hear what I don’t – can’t – say.

So where the fuck are you?

Twat.

And now this.

Shit. Why d’you go an’ do this to me?

This song of all of them?

Danced to this with you more times than I can remember.

I need you.

Not sure I ever said that, an’ just realisin’, realisin’ that, makes it all worse, so much worse. Knowin’ I can’t ever tell you.

Can’t pick up the phone, hear your voice.

Can’t apologise – or not – can’t wait for you to come out of your strop.

I miss you.

Fuck.

I love you, you bastard fuckin’ cunt.

And you’re dead.

That bloke’s lookin’. He’s nice, very nice, an’ I could, it’d be so easy, so fuckin’ easy, an’ for a moment – maybe it’d help, maybe a quick shag an’ I’d feel like myself, like Stuart Alan Jones again.

But you’re dead.

So what’s the fuckin’ point in anythin’?

 

 

 

 

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