| Alex's father pays him a visit.
||[Aug. 28th, 2011|03:59 pm]
[ Backdated to August 23, 2011. Players Only. ]|
The following day, Alex doesn’t stir until two in the afternoon. And then, only because he is dragged from his slumber by a loud, steady knock on his door. Go away he thinks to himself, as he groans and rolls out of the bed. He's already out of his bedroom before he realizes he's still stark naked. Last night's events come flooding back to him, and he lets out a string of colorful Swedish phrases.
Stalking back into his room, Alex quickly pulls on a pair of dark blue jeans and a grey tee shirt. He runs a hand through his hair as he makes his way back out to the door, stopping to check himself in the mirror in the hall. "Fuck," he whispers, and leans in closer to the mirror, brushing his hair out of his face, thinking maybe it’s just a shadow.
On his right cheek is a fairly sizeable bruise. It’s not really awful looking, but definitely noticeable. Alex lets out a long, miserable sigh. His misery is two-fold. On one hand, he stupidly put himself in potential danger without even one thought as to the consequences. He’s damn lucky a bruise is the worst that happened to him.
On the other hand… he had really enjoyed it. Particularly the slapping bit. He would like to do it all again, that's for sure. But he doesn’t really see how that would be possible, if every time he ends up with bruises. On his fucking face. Not for the first time, Alex thanks god or whoever for his very much needed months vacation.
Another knock at his door drags Alex from his thoughts. He rolls his eyes, walks to the door, opening it just a crack and peering outside.
"Dad?!" Alex is completely surprised. He opens the door all the way and happily accepts the hug his father gives him. "Aren’t you filming? What are you doing here?" He steps aside to let Stellan enter the apartment.
"I am, but I have a few days off so..." Stellan trails off, presumably figuring that was enough explanation, and walks past Alex with a smile. This is the first time Alex and his father have seen each other in close to a year. "Your sister told me you were home, so I came to see you." Stellan turns, then, to look at his son and…
"Christ, Alex, what happened to your face?"
Alex, though, was ready for that. He just shrugs it off. "Nothing," he says with a shake of his head, "I went to the match last night, everyone was excited, some guy elbowed me in the face," he lies. At his father's concerned look, he adds, "Relax, it's not a big deal. Call for Maisie isn't for another few weeks, I have nowhere to be until then, luckily."
"You had better hope not," Stellan replies, grabbing his son’s chin and turning his head so he can better assess the damage. "You have to be more careful." Tell me something I don’t know Alex thinks. In the end, though, Stellan seems to buy Alex’s story. He smiles again. "So how are you? Any new projects you haven’t told me about? Los Angeles still treating you well? How is Kate? Give her my regards."
"We broke up," Alex says simply.
"What? What happ--"
"I don’t want to talk about it. Not now." Alex gives his father a look that says he means it. He feels like shit in more ways than one and is in no mood to rehash all that drama. Then he gives a small, forced smile. "I need coffee." Alex immediately stands and makes his way into the kitchen. He answers Stellan’s other questions as he sets about making them both a cup.
“I’m okay. And LA is… good,” he says after a pause, as though he just decided that fact on the spot. “I still hate the fucking circus,” he continues with a mirthless laugh, “Guess I’ll never get over that. But it’s good. Really good.” Alex smiles, genuinely this time, at his father, who had followed him into the kitchen and is now seated at the small table. “The work is great. I’ve got a lot going on this year, and next year.” Alex allows himself to feel a small bit of satisfaction, maybe even a little pride.
Stellan can feel his son’s excitement, it’s coming off of him in waves, and he smiles back. He certainly knows the feeling. “That’s wonderful, Alex. I’m really happy for you. And really proud of you,” he says, sincerely.
Alex’s smile grows just that much wider, though he tries to hide it. “And how are you? And Megan, and Ossian? He must be so big by now. The last picture you sent he’d already grown so much.”
“They are both great. And he is growing up quite fast, yes. You’ll see them on Thursday, they’re both coming.”
Alex grins. “So we’re definitely going? Will everyone be there?” The minute he told his family that he would have a break for his birthday and that he would be home for a week, at least, they immediately started planning a trip to their vacation house in Öland. It was supposed to have been a surprise, but Valter had let it slip a few weeks ago over the phone. Apparently, everyone knew that Alex found out.
The coffee finished, Alex pours his father’s cup first, then grabs it and the sugar and brings it over to the table. “Thank you,” Stellan says as Alex puts the cup of coffee in front of him. His eyes catch on something then, but before he can be certain of what it was, Alex is back at the counter getting his own coffee. He narrows his eyes at his son’s back, but continues the conversation. “Yes, the whole family will be there. But your mother doesn’t know that you know, so you have to act surprised. For her.”
Alex returns to the table and sits, oblivious of his father’s scrutinizing gaze. “Fair enough,” he says with a warm laugh, “I think I can do that.” Alex would not admit it openly, but he’s absolutely ecstatic about spending a few days with his entire family, secluded and safe from the cameras and the crowds and the fucking bullshit.
Stellan watches as Alex takes a drink of his coffee. Sure enough, there it is again; marks on Alex’s wrist. Marks that look all too familiar to Stellan. He takes a bracing drink of his own coffee, then looks his son in the eye and says, “So, Alex, let me ask you something. This guy last night at the Bajen match, did he happen to tie you up before elbowing you in the face?” His voice was calm and even, no hidden accusations. He isn’t angry, only concerned. He knows Alex, and knows his penchant for failing to look before he leaps. Based on the condition of his face…
Alex immediately looks down at his wrists. As soon as he does, he realizes that small action is as much an admission of guilt as anything he could have said, and his father would know that too. There was no use denying it. He looks back up at Stellan, holds his gaze for a second, then rolls his eyes and smiles sheepishly. “So I was… experimenting,” he says with a shrug.
“With whom?” Stellan asks.
Alex sighs inwardly. This is the part where it would get ugly. He looks back down at the table before replying. “Some guy I picked up at the pub after the match,” he mumbles, his words almost slurring together. It had certainly not been his best decision, and he was not proud of it. Even less did he like having to admit to his mistake out loud.
Stellan’s eyebrows practically hit the roof. “You… what? Alexander, you can’t just--”
“Dad, I know,” Alex cut him off. “I’m 35, almost, and I don’t need you to tell me that I’m a fucking idiot, because trust me. I know.”
Stellan started to say something else, but then stopped himself. As much as he wanted to wring his son’s neck right now, he also had to admit that Alex was his own man, had been for quite some time. If he had truly learned his lesson, that was good enough. “Did he know you?” he asks instead.
Alex knows exactly what he means, and shakes his head. “I don’t think so.” Then he laughs. “Even if he did… he was a really standup guy, actually.” Isn’t that the truth.
“And you’re okay?”
Alex almost blushes. Now he’s getting irritated. “Yeah, nothing happened, it was…” Embarrassing he thinks to himself. “Nothing,” he says instead.
Stellan gives him a look. “That bruise on your face doesn’t look like nothing.”
“I asked for that,” Alex replies, “Literally.” They stare at each other for a few moments, and then Alex continues, not able to take the silence. “I told you it was stupid, I just wasn’t thinking about it at the time. It won’t be happening again, don’t worry.”
This last statement is particularly interesting to Stellan. “You didn’t enjoy it?” he asks, watching closely for Alex’s reaction; to see whether he is lying or not.
“Well…” Alex pauses, feeling quite flustered. Of course he’d enjoyed it, and he wanted to do it again. He would just have to be a lot fucking smarter next time.
Stellan, of course, picks up on this hesitation immediately. He smiles fondly as, not for the first time, Alex reminds him so much of himself. He decides right then to just go for it. “Well, let’s say you were interested in further experimenting,” he starts slowly, “There are places you can go for that sort of thing. Places that are safe, and private. I mean private, Alex. No risk at all. If you’re going to continue down this road, I strongly suggest you consider it. You’ll find someone open to pretty much any ‘experimenting’ you’re interested in...”
Alex just stares at his father. “Are you talking about some kind of sex club? You’re saying I should join a sex club.” One eyebrow lifts in disbelief. “A kinky sex club? Are you serious?” Alex isn’t sure whether to laugh or what. The idea seems completely ridiculous to him. Although it’s not without its appeal, either.
Stellan nods. “I am.”
And he is. Alex can tell. He stands up from his chair, suddenly needing to move, to exert some sort of control over the situation. He walks back over by the coffee machine and leans against the counter, crossing his arms over his chest. He his quiet for some time, focused entirely on his inner thoughts.
When he finally snaps out of it, Alex looks at his father again. “How do you even know about something like this?” he asks.
Several emotions flash briefly across Stellan’s face, but none linger long enough for Alex to make out what they are. “Because I am a member,” Stellan says. “And in this particular organization, you have to have a sponsor who is already a member. I can bring you in, and you can fill out the application… Alex, it’s a lot safer than picking up strangers in a bar. For your life and your career.”
“You’re a member,” Alex says flatly, “Of a sex club. Since when?” He eyes his father suspiciously.
Stellan rolls his eyes. “You first. Are you interested or not?”
Alex is silent for another long stretch. “Yes,” he says finally.
Stellan smiles. That had been easier than he thought. “Alright, then. We can go tonight. Go on then and take a shower, get ready.”
“You’ve been a member since when?” Alex asks again.
His father just pushes him toward the bathroom, promising to give him the whole story later on their way to the club. He tells him the place is called The Establishment.
Alex still thinks it sounds like a joke, but he obeys anyway.
It’s not as though he has much to lose.
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