|Prompt # 8
||[Apr. 21st, 2008|02:29 am]
George & Paul
Response to prompt 8. |
Prompt: I'm Happy Just to Dance With You
Out of all his band mates, Paul was the man George could least relate to. He shared at least three or four commonalities with John and Ringo, but when it came to Paul, he was at a loss. To top it off, they couldn’t be in the same room together for more than an hour, or they would both get grumpy and huffy and unpleasant to be around. However, they did share one thing-aside from their love of music. George liked to call it The Wall. An invisible but looming thing of seemingly impenetrable material, that shadowed the two of them, and kept them from seeing eye to eye.
The Wall was especially noticeable tonight. In the crowd of swaying figures, dancing women and chatting men, George’s eyes seemed always to be able to pick out Paul, no matter how obscured or far away the other man was. It was an instinct, really, differentiating Paul from whatever swarm of people that happened to be around him. George liked to know exactly where the other man was, so as to be able to avoid him, therefore keeping The Wall at bay. If he drew too near Paul, said Wall would suddenly appear, as large as life, and just as real.
Things didn’t used to be like this. The two of them had been such close friends, their relationship so tight-knit and effervescent. They had depended on each other; shared so many trivialities and eccentricities. In the heyday of their friendship, they were so heavily influenced by the other, that they used to copy each other’s sleep patterns, bad habits, tastes, everything. If George bit his fingernails in a certain manner, Paul would adopt that same manner; if Paul knew the words to a certain song, George would take it upon himself to learn said song by heart, and be able to sing it in his sleep. And now-now they couldn’t even spend ten minutes alone without becoming exasperated by each other’s presence. That damn Wall wouldn’t go away. Try to breach it, and it spit hellfire back at you, scorching your skin and your good intentions.
But wouldn’t that be nice? To break down The Wall and join Paul on the other side. To be able to touch the other man without feeling nauseated. A big part of George wanted to do such a thing, but another part of him was too afraid. How was he to tear down such a huge emotional rift, all by himself? His hands were useless against brick and mortar. He would need Paul’s help to punch through an anomaly so overbearing.
George’s eyes caught a flurry of movement; it was Paul, dancing. Attempting to dance, was more like it. The idiot was failing miserably. That wasn’t any waltz George had ever seen. Paul looked like a little kid, with his arms holding his partner in the wrong places, and his feet stumbling over each other. The little kid George had loved like a brother.
A bark of self-effacing laughter and a goofy grin, from Paul, and George felt something rip inside of him. Something in his chest, and something in the air. A little hole seemed to have eroded in The Wall; what felt like fondness was warming George’s cold, cold heart. He had to put his glass down and excuse himself from the table.
As he walked into the hall, The Wall followed at his heels. Now that Paul wasn’t in sight, dancing in that sweet, childish way, George felt the rip begin to repair itself. He could practically see The Wall rejuvenating. Cement closing over the hole. Senseless hatred once again clouding George’s vision.
There was absolutely no reason for George to feel this way. He hadn’t been ‘wronged’ in the past. There was no history of disagreeability between Paul and himself. But the very sight of Paul arose in him a feeling so potent, it was almost violent, and The Wall was the embodiment of that ineffable feeling. God, how he would love to penetrate it. To bury a hand in Paul’s hair; have a heart-to-heart with the other man; sit down for a nice cup of tea; anything. He would settle for anything.
In the quiet of the hall, the crowd’s voice was muted, and the music seemed miles away. It was silent enough for George to hear his own thoughts. For him to almost see The Wall, as if it were an apparition of some sort. Go away, he told it. It just stood there like the great hunk of useless garbage it was.
Footsteps now. Reverberating throughout the hallway.
“George!” A joyful, breathless voice. The voice of someone who had just been dancing. Paul. The last person George wanted to see.
“They’re playing that song you love-oh, I forget its name. Come dance!” Paul’s face was red and sweaty. All George had to do was stretch out his arm, and he could swipe a finger against that glowing skin.
Paul stood next to George, but maintained his distance. He had always been respectful of The Wall.
“I don’t feel too well,” George said.
“Come dance,” Paul repeated.
George wished with all his heart that Paul would leave. The tension between them was especially bad now that they were alone, and there were no distractions. No wine, women, or song. Just him and Paul; two men unable to communicate the world of difference that lay between them. They could acknowledge it, yes. But to speak of it would, in a sense, be bringing them together. And that couldn’t happen. If The Wall was breached…
“Come dance.” Paul was relentless, the bastard. It was unusual for him to act so bullheaded. He knew about The Wall; he understood its limitations. Why would he suddenly challenge it?
“Sorry, Paul,” George said. He could already feel anger brewing in the pit of his stomach, and he had only been around Paul for a minute or two. Just leave me alone, he wanted to shout. Stop making me feel so helpless.
Paul’s mouth twitched as if he were about to once again say those two, infuriating words. He remained silent but for those bright, loud, vivacious eyes of his. A long moment passed, in which Paul only stood and stared, like he was trying his hardest to communicate a wealth of information using only his eyes. George saw pain. He saw fear, and distrust, and anger. He also saw a willingness to forgive and forget. That is, if he hadn’t misinterpreted, which he so often did when it came to Paul. The emotions he had seen could very well have been but his own. That goddamn Wall. It overrode everything in its path, making any truth impossible to find.
Paul started forward. George took a half-step back.
“No,” George said firmly.
“Why not?” Paul’s voice began to rise. “Why not, huh?” He continued, unchecked. “What are you so afraid of?”
George didn’t respond. What was he so afraid of? Everything. But most of all, he feared vulnerability. Without The Wall, he would be naked. Bare to the other man. Paul would be able to read him like an open book, just as he used to when they were young. When they were friends. When they shared each and every emotion. That kind of intimacy with another man was frightful.
Paul leapt forward with long strides. Suddenly-he was there. Right there; right next to George. Touching him without hesitation. Hugging him without consequence. Paul had engulfed him in his arms, and it was warm and dark and secretive inside. George waited for The Wall to come crashing down upon the two of them. He braced himself for cosmic sparks or divine thunder. But nothing came.
And so he hugged Paul back. He put his hand in the hair he had been longing to touch, and felt its thick, lustrous texture. He stuck his nose in Paul’s neck, and smelled the skin of the man he had been holding an unexplainable grudge against for years.
They did a sort of dance. A kind of meandering waltz, right there in the hallway where anybody who cared to look could have seen them.
When George lifted his head from Paul’s shoulder, he finally realized that The Wall had vanished. Just plain disappeared. He was so elated, he didn’t even notice his tented trousers, and the erection he had been pressing so casually into Paul’s hip. Because the lust was natural, right?
After all, he had breached The Wall. He was on Paul’s side, now. His friend. His mate. The lust-it was natural. It had been there all the while.