|Alex arrives in NYC and meets up with Stark and PJ.||[Sep. 19th, 2011|10:15 pm]|
[ Current. Alex heads to NYC for a few months, and meets up with NPC Stark Sands and NPC James "PJ" Ransone, who he's staying with. Players Only. ]|
By the time his plane lands at JFK late Monday night, Alex is already exhausted. He’s jumped more time zones in the past week than he has in probably a few years. Premiere here, press tour there, a few photo shoots thrown in just to torture him. Alex hates that part of the job, but it’s worth it. He feels exhausted, but accomplished.
He’s dressed in a simple black tee and jeans, sunglasses and a baseball cap firmly in place. He leaves the ear buds to his iPod in, even though he’s no longer listening to music, just to further discourage anyone from bothering him.
The first thing he does is grab his luggage. The second is text both Stark and PJ, since he has no idea which of them is home. If either of them are home.
He really hopes one of them is home, cause he just wants to eat and go to sleep.
Just landed. U home?
It’s Stark who texts him back.
I am. PJs filming should b back soon. Come by whenever.
Alex grins, a silent thanks to god or whoever, and begins making his way out of the airport. A few fans still manage to recognize him. He’s slightly annoyed, but puts on the show anyway. Fans, at least, pester him out of some appreciation for his work. It’s the fucking paparazzi that really piss him off.
And it seems that, no matter what, no matter where, they always seem to know where he is. There’s always someone around to take a chronological play-by-play of his entire fucking life. At all times.
Alex sighs, he’s tired and frustrated but he doesn’t let on. He signs a few autographs, flashes his most brilliant smile for a few pictures, and gets on his way. As he’s getting into the cab, sure enough, he looks up and there he is.
Some guy with a really expensive looking camera, snapping happily away. He glares at the guy from behind his sunglasses before folding himself into the back seat of the cab, wondering how in the hell they always manage to find him.
By the time Alex lets himself into the apartment PJ has already returned, and he and Stark are both sprawled on the couch watching some political show or another, ranting to each other about the never-ending stupidity of the American government, and Alex rolls his eyes with a fond smile. He normally hates when they go all political on him, but right now their banter makes him feel at home.
The two are so wrapped up in debating the merits or lack thereof of the new American Jobs Act, they don’t even notice Alex’s presence until he’s literally towering over them.
PJ turns around, then, and his face lights up. He stands to give Alex a hug. “Hey, you giant Swedish bastard! What’s up? How was your flight?” There’s a pause while PJ looks him up and down, then he adds, “Damn, brother, you look like shit.”
Alex quirks his eyebrow. “Gee, thanks, nice to see you too.” He then turns to Stark, and he smiles. “Hey,” he says simply.
Stark returns the smile. “Hey,” he repeats right back. “How are you?”
“Tired,” Alex answers, honestly. “Really fucking tired. And I’m starving. You guys better have food, or else some really good take-out numbers.”
Stark laughs and gets up, maneuvering around Alex’s suitcase and into the kitchen to grab the folder of take-out menus he and James have collected over the last year. He returns with the menus, plus three beers. “Go ahead and put your stuff in the bedroom,” he says to Alex.
“And you’re sure Dave doesn’t mind?” Alex asks, directing the question toward PJ.
PJ just snorts. “Dude, he hardly even comes by anymore, always down at the bar or off with his new girlfriend. He stays at her place every night anyway, so I just told him he had to keep it up for a while. It’s fine, man, no worries.”
Alex grins and goes into what used to be PJ’s brother’s bedroom, which will serve as his room for the remainder of his stay in New York. He drops his suitcase and back pack down on the bed. “Hey, Alex,” he hears PJ yell from the living room, “what kinda food do you want?”
Alex wanders back outside, grabs the menu out of PJ’s hands, and looks it over, then gives him his order. PJ hands the menu off to Stark, and gives his order as well. Stark glares, but then rolls his eyes with a dramatic sigh and makes the call.
Before long, they’re all sitting on the couch, drinking their beers and catching up, insults being thrown left and right. It’s almost just like old times.
In fact, most people wouldn’t even notice the way Stark and Alex still never quite meet each other’s eyes, or they way Stark is always much more soft-spoken and reserved whenever Alex is in the room.
They’ve come a long way from three years ago.
When they hear the buzzer, indicating the delivery guy’s arrival, Stark is the one who volunteers to head downstairs to get the food.
“You know, dude,” PJ says after a pause in the conversation, “You really do look like shit. You haven’t, like, sold your soul to those plasticine Hollywood dirt bags out there on the west coast or anything, have you?”
Alex gives PJ a playful shove. Though, honestly, there are some days lately when he’s not entirely convinced that isn’t the case. “I’m just tired,” he replies. “I’ve been busting my ass for seventeen months straight.”
PJ gives him a look like he doesn’t quite believe that, but lets the subject drop. Stark returns, take out in hand, and he places the bag down on the coffee table before grabbing three plates from the kitchen and giving Alex and PJ each one.
They all dig in, and the conversation slows.
“How is Kate?” Stark randomly asks after a while, and Alex has to remind himself that he doesn’t know. No one does, since they haven’t officially announced their break-up yet. There’s nothing behind Stark’s question but polite, genuine curiousity.
For some reason, that makes Alex smile, despite his terse response of, “We broke up.”
“I fucking told you that girl was a good for nothing cunt rag,” PJ chimes in, earning himself a smack from both Alex and Stark. “What?” he shrieks in self defense. “I only speak the truth,” he grumbles, looking at Alex. “C’mon man, you can’t tell me your life hasn’t been a disaster ever since you met that chick. Need I remind you that you almost got arrested, AGAIN, cause of her.”
“I've been almost arrested a lot,” Alex replies, and takes a drink of his beer. “Almost doesn't count. And besides, it wasn’t all her,” Alex says honestly, shooting PJ a sideways glance. “I screwed up, too.” Alex sighs. He’s not drunk enough for this. You’d think after as many break-ups as he’s been through, this would get easier. But it doesn’t. Not for him. “We were just fooling ourselves, anyway, from the beginning, so it’s not much of a shock…”
“Still sucks,” Stark says softly. Then he reaches out and lays a hand on Alex’s knee, and it's the first contact he has initiated between them since that last night in South Africa. Alex meets his eyes, those damned perfect green eyes that still sometimes haunt his dreams. “I’m sorry, Alex,” Stark says sincerely, and there's an inflection in his voice that Alex can't quite place.
Alex just gives a little nod, and a smile.
Oh for fucks sake PJ thinks to himself. “So,” he says, standing up and interrupting Alex and Stark's little moment or what the fuck ever. “Who wants another beer?”
He doesn’t miss the way Stark quickly pulls his hand away, like a kid caught in the cookie jar. Or the way Alex’s smile turns just a little sheepish. He contains his urge to puke, or knock his friends' heads together, and moves into the kitchen.
Mental note to self he thinks as he grabs three more beers rip Stark a new asshole.
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