Summary: Matt hopes Josh will show up at the DVD release party
Disclaimer: Real people doing fictitious things for my amusement
Spoilers: Mild spec for Season 2
Note: For the record, despite all that kvetching earlier in my LJ about post-hiatus Josh, I still love him madly. And so does Foxy. *nods*
Matt took another drink from the tray, smiling mechanically at the waitress, who was dressed like an Oceanic stewardess, in keeping with the theme of the party. He hadn’t even finished the last one, a concoction called a “Distress Call,” but he wanted something to do with his hands and it was either hold a drink or a cigarette. Or both.
He surveyed the party. The other actors had all escaped to the VIP area. He was the only one still hanging out by the entrance, still turning an eye toward the empty red carpet where a few bored video crews were eyeing the bar jealously. He kept sipping fresh drinks and barely tasting them as the sun gradually set and darkness set in. Despite the band and the elaborate sets and Dom and Jorge getting outrageously drunk and wading out into the surf, the party felt in danger of winding down before it ever really got started. At least for him. Normally, he’d be the first to hit the water and the last to go home.
If he hadn’t gotten here so damn early, he wouldn’t be ready to leave before Josh had even arrived. If he was going to get here at all. He was still shooting and chances were he’d be too beat to show up.
He looked at his watch for about the tenth time. Still just a little after 9:45. He’d wait til 10, and then call it a night. He was due on set at 6 a.m. and even though Jack was supposed to look haggard, he didn’t want to feel haggard.
He hadn’t been surprised when he’d seen the script for the first few episodes that there were no scenes with Josh. Just that twinge of disappointment. He knew the schedule meant they’d barely be seeing each other.
Acting with Josh was like a rush -- cerebral, visceral, all his senses engaged, the two of them clicking like they could read each other’s minds. He’d never had that with another actor and he missed it like crazy now that they had started filming again. Last season, Matt had seen plenty of Josh offset but whenever he read a new script and they had scenes together, he felt the same excitement, the same quickening of his pulse like when Josh kissed him for the first time. As he read through, he imagined how they’d play it out, feeling that same little thrill of discovery.
The party was getting duller by the second, now that the band had stopped and a DJ had taken over. The same people had been milling around for hours. The same reporters asking him the same questions he’d already answered 100 times. “What do you think is in the hatch?” “Are they all in purgatory?”
He just smiled and gave them either his stock answers or, as the night wore on, he got increasingly flip. “No, I think it’s all been a dream. Jack’s in a coma in a hospital somewhere.” This latest reporter nodded along, tape recorder eating up all the nonsense he was spewing.
Matt stifled a yawn and then he heard a commotion from the pressline, or what was left of the throngs of photographers and film crews, this late. Josh was here. Finally. The reporter raced back to the red carpet and Matt watched them all swarm over Josh, each of them straining excitedly to talk to him.
He downed his drink and proudly watched Josh charm every single person on the pressline. But dear God, where did he get that hideous shirt? Was he taking wardrobe tips from Evi these days? Sometimes Matt forgot how new Josh -- and Evi -- were to all of this.
Finally, Josh finished the last interview. His eyes lit up when he saw him, but Matt could see how tired he was.
“You look like hell,” he laughed, handing him a drink.
Josh flinched. “Hey, I'm gonna hire a trainer, OK?”
“Oh, no ... I meant you looked tired,” Matt hastened to add.
Sure, Josh might have put on a few pounds and he was apparently feeling sensitive about it.
“Yeah, you’re lookin’ a little rough too. You livin’ on smokes, there?”
Matt raised an eyebrow. “Yeah, I guess I’m a little thinner.”
“A little?” Josh snorted. “Maybe we should be tradin’ diets for a while. I didn’t think how hard it would be to get back in shape.” He sighed heavily. There were shadows under his eyes and he looked miserable.
Matt reached out and rubbed his arm sympathetically. They’d only seen each other in passing since Josh had arrived in Hawaii and now that he was here, he just wanted to drag him off somewhere. But there were still reporters everywhere and photographers and Josh was dead on his feet.
“You look great.”
Josh shot him a look laced with skepticism. “Bullshit. I look like hell.”
Matt laughed. “Not to me.” He leaned closer and lowered his voice, so that only Josh could hear. “I like a bit of meat on you.”
He felt Josh’s quick exhalation against his neck, and it sent tingles down his spine.
“You tryin’ to start somethin’?” Josh sounded wary.
“No,” Matt sighed, rocking back on his heels. “Not tonight. But tomorrow...?” He threw the invitation out casually. Maybe with all this time away, Josh had reconsidered things. They’d made the obligatory calls on each other’s birthdays, and he’d thought Josh had sounded lonely. But maybe it was the booze or the lack of sleep talking.
Now that they were standing here, having their first real conversation in months, Josh still felt far away. There was a glaze of fatigue in his eyes and he was starting to blink slowly. He still hadn’t answered him.
“It’s been a long day,” Matt said. “I don’t want to keep you...”
“Hell, it’s been a long summer.” Josh shook his head and rubbed his forehead as if to wake himself up. “Except I don’t know where it all went. It’s like a big blur. Sometimes it feels like we just said goodbye, then again, feels like a year since I left.”
”You’ve been working hard.”
“Yeah. I just hope the movie won’t end up bein,’ you know, complete crap.” He grimaced.
They both laughed and Matt felt everything clicking between them again. Like Josh had never been away.
“Read that interview you did on the set, that online thing. Jesus, sounded like that guy stopped just short of drooling on you.”
Was that a faint flush on Josh’s cheeks? Or was that his second drink, now taking hold? “Aw, he’s just a fan of the show.”
“C’mon, Josh, he went on and on and on about how cool you were. I think it’s love.”
Josh snorted. “Yeah, right. What about you, cover boy? That guy was just hopin’ and prayin’ you’d strip off in front of him. Maybe tackle him and force him to get naked with you?”
“I’ve never had to force anyone,” Matt said reasonably, unable to suppress a devilish grin. God, it had been so easy to convince Josh to go skinny-dipping that first time. If only it had just been the two of them then, if only he hadn’t been dead drunk and let Josh get by with just a kiss. “And you sound kind of...”
“Jealous. As hell. Yeah.” Josh grinned and the twinkle was back in those shadow-rimmed eyes.
Matt smiled and ducked his head. He wanted to grab him right there and rip that godawful shirt off of him and see for himself if Josh really had changed at all, just leisurely explore what those few extra pounds felt like on him.
But Josh was yawning now, the spark already fading. “And I’m fucking tired as hell. I gotta get to bed. But first I better do the rounds.”
A weary-looking waitress-cum-stewardess wandered by and he dropped his empty glass on her tray.
“Catch you tomorrow?” He said it lightly, as if to a casual acquaintance, for the benefit of her ears, Matt guessed.
“Yeah, see you. And Josh. Do me a favor?”
“Yeah? Burn that shirt.”
He was met with an incredulous glare. “I happen to like this shirt.”
“Well, then, you’ve got rotten taste.”
“See, I don’t think that I do. Not where it counts, anyway.” He flashed Matt his cockiest grin as he strode off, suddenly energized.