I can live like this forever, Landry thought. But I do need a bigger couch.
Landry and Jeremy were occupying what was dubbed the birthplace of Linsanity – Landry’s couch Jeremy bunked on the night before Jeremy’s break-out game against the Nets. That was also the only time he slept on it.
He sat reading a book and Jeremy was lying down, his head resting on Landry’s lap, his feet stuck up the other end, propped up by the couch’s armrest. Landry thinks he should get one of those chaise long types, where you can really stretch your legs or even lie on it. Jeremy eyes were closed. He wasn’t really sleeping, but listening to the music filling up the living room. Now that they have the whole weekend for themselves, Jeremy is spending it at Landry’s.
Landry was running a hand through Jeremy’s hair, occasionally rubbing his ears or caressing his face. Moments like this, when they can really be alone together, have been so rare lately. The last time they had hours together had been that morning after work-out, Landry remembered with a smile. He is definitely looking forward to more moments like that.
The ringing of Jeremy’s phone cut through their reverie. Jeremy opened his eyes and lifted his phone to answer, but kept his head on Landry’s lap.
“It’s Jeremy,” he said. “Oh hey, Tyson.”
Tyson was calling – that usually meant he’s rounding up the gang for a night out. Landry started shaking his head, motioning at Jeremy to say no. Jeremy grinned at him, still listening to Chandler. “I’m at Landry’s. Let me ask him,” he said.
Jeremy looked at Landry, “Jerome needs cheering up – they’re sending him to the D’s again.” He sat up and leaned towards Landry, their noses touching, whispering, “Jerome needs us.”
Landry sighed, “How can I say no to that?” Jeremy gave him a quick kiss, and then turned back to the phone. “We’re on our way.”
The gang consisted of Tyson, Jared, Shump, Toney, Jerome, Josh, Novak, Landry and Jeremy. They were quite a group – conspicuous because of their height – and notoriety, according to Shump. After dinner at Clyde’s, Jeffries suggested they check out Baby Grand, a karaoke bar. Everyone else but Landry groaned – they all suck at singing except him. Jared thinks he’s a great singer, but he’s really not.
Landry and Jared went to talk with the DJ while the rest found a corner where they could be for themselves. This involved the usual pushing and shoving to get the best spot. When Landry came back, he was relegated to the middle of the couch, beside Jeremy who apparently lost the battle for favorable seats. Everybody was in good spirits – that, too, was usual for them. “Okay, boys,” Jared declared. “It’s 90’s night.” Reactions varied from glee to protest, but they did not have much of a choice.
Jerome delivered a Jamaican rendition of “Boombastic”. Shump and Toney danced and sang to “Getting Jiggy with it”, eliciting screams from the females in the crowd. Novak, Jared, Josh and Tyson tried their best with “Hammertime”. They were giving the guests at Baby Grand a very entertaining evening. When Landry got to the stage for his turn, the gang started whistling and clapping. He gets a lot of heckling, because they all know he’s good.
Landry took a deep breath, thinking: Give it your best, Landry.
“Whenever I’m weary from the battles that rage in my head
You make sense of madness when my sanity hangs by a thread
I lose my way but still you seem to understand
Now and forever I will be your man…”
Landry put all his emotion in the song, in every word. Yes, it was cheesy – but it was how he felt. He tuned everyone out. This was a moment for Jeremy and him. The crowd was quiet, enjoying Landry’s performance. Jeremy sat entranced, the song enveloping him like an embrace. Landry was pouring out his love for him here and now. It’s a good thing they sat in darkness or his teammates would have seen Jeremy blush.
“Boy, he’s got it bad,” commented Jared. “That Jenny must be one special girl.”
Jeremy almost laughed, yet another part of him felt guilt at keeping something from Jared. What will they think and do if they found out that it was Jeremy Landry was singing to?
Landry’s soothing voice was pushing shame and doubt away. Warmth was spreading in his chest – a feeling – happiness. There was something else, too – an indescribable tug at his heart and wrench in his gut as he sat, taking in the sight and sound of Landry serenading him.
Amid wolf whistles and heckling, Landry made his way back to their table. His teammates started ribbing him the moment he was within earshot.
“Whoo-boy, that was harsh.”
“You need to snap out of it, Dude.”
“This evening needs to be salvaged,”said Tyson, rising. “Come on, let’s show them a Knick’s special.”
Jeremy laughed, “You guys go ahead – my singing is best hidden for the shower.”
Landry and Jeremy were left sitting in their dark corner, while the boys made for the scene, the crowd cheered them on. Jeremy took Landry’s hand in his. “Thank you for the song,” he whispered, his forehead touching Landry’s. With the spotlight on the guys on stage, no one paid any attention to them. Landry gave Jeremy a kiss that evoked flutters in Jeremy’s heart.
They broke apart and laughed when they recognize Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison”. The gang was awful, but the crowd was on their side.
With the noise filling the bar, Landry took hold of Jeremy’s chin, pulling him back into a kiss – longer this time, sweet and slow. Jeremy put all his emotion into the kiss, wanting Landry to feel what he feels. Landry was taking his time, enjoying the contact. Something feels different, Landry thought. But it was too dark to read Jeremy’s face. All he could do was relish the feel and taste of him. They slowly eased their kiss – the boys were singing the last notes. Landry and Jeremy stood up with the crowd, giving them a standing ovation.
When they all gathered by the table, Jared said, “What’re you smiling at, Landry?”
“That you’re all lucky the crowd is starstruck. You were butchering that song.” They all started ribbing him for his comment, pushing and jostling so Landry got squeezed tight between Novak and Jeremy.
Under the table Landry rested his hand on Jeremy’s thigh, their fingers intertwined.