theplatonicnonyeah: (mr1)
[personal profile] theplatonicnonyeah
I am choosing to publish the stories for my horizontal line bingo in a slightly jumbled order, because this is how I wrote them.
So this is actually story number 2.

Fandom: The Americans
Pairing: Philip Jennings (The Americans) and Julien Grenier (OC), M/M
Rating: G, it's mostly angst

Holding hands

Right at the back of the café there was a table next to the emergency exit. It seated two, with one chair on each side, parallel to the wall. Phillip was sitting on the chair in the corner, waiting. On the table: half a cup of coffee and a plate of cheesecake.

Why he had chosen the cheesecake he couldn’t say. He never usually went for rich desserts. A sliced strawberry had fallen off the top of it and lay on the plate beside the cake.

For some reason he was early and it bothered him. Normally, he would expertly time himself and arrive with just enough momentum not to seem too eager. This time especially, there was no reason for him to sit and fret on his own.

The coffee was getting cold, so he gestured for the waitress to refill his cup.

As she walked away again, he picked up the cake spoon and slowly pushed it through the smooth texture of the cake. He scooped up a small piece of cake and brought the spoon to his mouth. Looking around to see if anyone was watching, he stuck his tongue out and touched the cake with the tip of his tongue. Opening his mouth, he put the spoon inside and turned it around, letting the cake fall onto his tongue. He licked the spoon clean, closing his eyes.

Suddenly aware of someone else’s presence, he looked up and saw Julien standing by the table.
- Hi, Julien said hesitatingly.
- Hi.
- Are you...busy?
- No, I was waiting for you.
- Ok. You looked kind of...absorbed in that. Is the cheesecake good? Should I order some more?
Phillip laughed, louder than intended, startling an old man, who sat reading a newspaper at a table further away.
- Sorry! Phillips smiled apologetically at the man and then turned back to Julien: - No, I’m good. It was...I just...never mind.
Then he blushed like a teenage schoolgirl.

Julien sat down opposite him, placing his elbows on the table and clasping his hands together under his chin.
- So, how are you? Everything ok?
- Yes, I’m fine. You’re here.
- I am.
There was a moment’s silence as they stared at each other. Julien looked tired, his eyes red around the edges and dark shadows underneath them.
- Here’s your coffee, sir. The waitress broke the silence as she placed Julien’s cup on the table between them.
- Thank you.
- You can have some of my cake, if you want. It’s good, said Phillip.
- Thanks, I’m ok, Julien replied and stirred sugar into his coffee.

Phillip glanced over at the old man with the newspaper. He was getting ready to leave, placing a few coins in tips on the table. As he got up, he shot an eye towards where Phillip and Julien were sitting. He huffed scornfully as he met Phillip’s eyes, then turned his back and sauntered out the door. The waitress waved lazily.

They were now the only customers left in the café. It was past the lunch hour rush, but before the afternoon invasion of high school kids. A radio was playing current hits in the kitchen. The waitress pointedly turned her back towards them and struck up a conversation with someone in the kitchen.

- I’m leaving tomorrow, Julien said quietly.
- I know.
Silence again.

Phillip searched his mind for the right words. Last night his head had been full of imaginary conversations they would be having, profound things that should be said, confessions and declarations. But now, sitting in silence opposite each other, none of it seemed important. In fact, most of it sounded contrite and hollow when he tried to recall it.

So he laid his hand on the table, turning the palm upwards and looked at Julien. Julien looked back at him and then carefully touched his fingertips to Phillip’s. He traced the length of Phillip’s fingers to the centre of his palm, where he followed the lines in the soft skin on the inside of his hand. Phillip folded his fingers around Julien’s hand and squeezed lightly.

- Phillip, don’t cry, Julien said.
- I’m not, Phillip replied.
But the tears came anyway. He cleared his throat and swallowed. He couldn’t look at Julien. Instead, he stared intently at the tabletop. There were a series of vertical scratches on the surface next to his coffee cup. Between the edge of the table and the wall, cake crumbs had nestled, not caught by the wet rag that was occasionally swept over the surface, leaving a residue of swirly patterns. A tear trickled down the side of his nose onto his upper lip. Quickly, he wiped it off and looked up at Julien again.

- I need to leave, Phillip said.
- Ok, Julien nodded. Maybe…
- Yes?
- Should I call you…when I get there?
They looked at each other, both knowing what Phillip’s reply would be, both willing to accept it as the convenient lie it was.
- Yes, Phillip said, his voice broken.
He leaned forward across the table to place a kiss on Julien’s lips. But there was no conviction in his movement anymore. It was all coming to an end, crashing down around him. He just wanted to get up and run out of there, burying the pain deep inside his heart and forgetting it ever existed.
- Bye then, he said and stood up, letting go of Julien’s hand.
- Bye, Julien replied.
As Phillip walked out the door he could still feel the imprint of Julien’s hand in his own.

October 2014


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