Chapter Twelve

Bo felt as though he couldn’t breathe by the time the pair of them stepped back out onto the street, though the feeling was in the best way. The last half hour after he had completed his singing was full of, what felt like, mind numbing information overload, and at this point and time, Bradley felt like he would burst from potential excitement.

There was so much that needed to be finished before the show would make its first run on Broadway, and the event was months away. The realization that he had now secured a position back into the prestige of Broadway was something that made his heart flutter and his head feeling light. He began to bounce on his toes as soon as he walked away from the center of the stage, Oscar did not comment on the action.

Oscar held his hand tightly, muttering about this and that and preparations for the show. They had climbed into the car and moved it from the spot on the street to the curbside by Bo’s apartment, chattering all the while. Oscar wasn’t ready to settle just yet and so the pair of them wandered. Bo could swear that he was listening to Oscar, but his mind was far off into places that whispered about over excitement and anxiety that would certainly arise.

Bo led the way to Central Park, bent slightly at the waist and ear turned to listen to Oscar, the man seemed to be full of words, and Bo could understand why.

“I’ve crudely drawn pictures of costumes that I want to base things off of. It’s so difficult to know exactly what will work.” Oscar took a deep breath, pausing in his speech ever so slightly to hop from the curb to the ground below. Bo spurred Oscar forward, wanting more than anything to cross the street with little interference from the smaller man.

The moment they reached the other end, Oscar continued on as if unbothered, his hand holding Bo’s just slightly tighter as they continued. “I want there to be no barriers between gender or race for the show, and the costumes should reflect that to some extent-”

In that moment, Bo felt a sudden surge of happiness, his heart picked up its pace and rather than his usual flapping hands or sudden vocal sounds he gripped Oscar’s hand just a bit tighter and spun the man rather suddenly. The smaller man yelped, before recognizing what the action was an attempt of and leant into the man as he spun once again with no care for the pedestrians around them.

It was like years ago for Bo, flashes of a night time skyline and laughter echoing through the streets. When Bo was Jack Kelly and he and his cast mates had just performed opening night in the Nederlander Theatre. High off of the excitement of performing so wonderfully the group took to the streets to celebrate for just a few hours before resting for the next night. The few hours was full of dancing and disturbing the peace, they brought on crowds of people, and this moment reminded Bo of that, in all the best ways.

Bo danced with Oscar as if he had no cares, no prosthetic limbs and anxiety, just bright eyes and giggling smiles and an accidentally cleared space from wild movements. Bo knew what he was doing, years of training and practice brought to the forefront of his mind with little prompting, this was not the case for Oscar, who tripped over his toes and attempted to look put together.

A thought passed through his mind, and Bo took the smaller man by the waist, pulling him to his chest and bouncing in a terrible half-assed attempt at reeling. It had been years since he had last done it and that much was apparent in the way that he stumbled but still kept going. Much too quickly did his left leg stop wanting to comply, and he spun the smaller man away from him in an attempt to hide his slowing down.

Oscar’s cheeks were bright red when Bo finally got to look at him, and when Bo pulled him back to his chest the smaller man gripped his biceps with hands that looked for strength rather than just a place for them to sit.

Bo smiled brightly down at him, pulling Oscar closer to his chest and lifting the smaller man onto his toes, his lips easily finding Oscar’s with no care for those watching. A smattering of clapping passed through the few of those watchings and the moment that Bo stopped kissing Oscar he pulled Oscar into the crowd, disappearing into the swell with no care for those watching.

“You’re brilliant.” Bo muttered it to the side of Odcar’s head, pressing a kiss to the spot following his words. To him this was common, this was something he always wanted to do in his life, that is, dance in the street with no care for false limbs or odd looks. So much of his life was dependent (in his mind) on other people ability to let loose and have some fun, and the fact that Oscar was still smiling despite the minutes that had passed let him know that this was a partner he would want for life.

Bo pulled Oscar closer to him, wrapping a steadying arm around his waist and continuing down the sidewalk. His leg was definitely feeling the fatigue, but he didn’t let it bother him, rather let himself lean into Oscar for help, and took a deep breath in response.

Oscar took the deep breath as a chance for him to continue speaking, which he did with ease, “I want Burr to wear a maroon color, because that seems to bring out your eyes nicely, and those glasses that you wear in the same color? They do wonders for your comple-”

“I love you.” Bo spoke it in the middle of Oscar’s words, and while he almost instantly regretted speaking over Oscar (as he has always hated interrupting) the smaller man seemed entirely unphased, hurrying through his sentence without really hearing the words that were just spoken.

The taller man glanced at Oscar for, watching as the smaller man continued speaking and walking. While Bo was fully aware that Oscar had heard him, there was a sudden feeling of anxiety at the thought of the words he had just said. Almost as quickly as he looked at him, Bo looked away.

“The costuming will be historically accurate for the most p-” Oscar stopped, in both step and words, as if he had suddenly heard the declaration that Bo had just made. His eyes trailed along the profile of Bo’s face, though the taller man very pointedly did not look at him, Oscar knew that the words that he had said were true.

Bo continued forward, turning as he did. He let his hand trail down Oscar’s arm to hold the smaller man’s hand firmly as he gave him a moment to consider what he had just said. “I don’t expect anything back darling. I just wanted you to know-”

It was true, Bo had not considered what he would do if Oscar had no reply, but he was almost certain it would involve a small smile and a kiss to his cheek. At the same time, he had not considered what he would do if Oscar did have the same reply, so no matter the outcome, he wasn’t really sure what would do.

“I love you too.” Though Oscar said it with a slight shrug, Bo could tell he meant it genuinely. Oscar brought his hands up to the taller man’s neck, his eyes flitting down to Bo’s lips multiple times in a row. It took Bo a moment to understand what he meant by the micro-movement.

Bo bent down slightly, hooking his hands around Oscar’s waist and pulling him closer to him before pressing a kiss to his lips in a gesture that lingers ever so slightly. If given the chance, Bo would continue to kiss the smaller man, but the realization that they were in the middle of the street and not in a private place, he let himself draw back, and smiled at Oscar softly.

“Do you have to go home to Jessamine?” Bo offered the crook of his elbow to Oscar, turning to face frontways and continue down the street.

It took Oscar a moment to speak, “Uh-I-” He swallowed thickly, “No I don’t. She’s staying the night at her grandmothers, why do you have something in mind?”

If Bo was looking at Oscar he might have noticed the way that Oscar’s cheeks turned pink, and if the pair of them were holding hands he would have noticed Oscar’s hand tightening around Bo’s. But he wasn’t, and they weren’t, and so Bo did not understand what it was.

“Take out and a movie?” It was said in a sure tone of voice. “My favorite place is right around the corner and on the way back to my apartment. They have a sandwich that I think you would like, and I like the pasta that they have.” He paused for just a second. “And then you can spend the night if you want.”

Oscar laughed, an almost awkward sounding one, his cheeks lighting up red as he shook his head. “That sounds great Bowie.”

“Good that.” Bo nodded his head and continued, though his pace did change ever so slightly.

There was something in the air between Oscar and Bo, and while the latter was not likely to notice it, Oscar did.

More than anything, Oscar wanted to acknowledge what was going on. His first thought when Bo spoke was that he would comment on what had transpired between the two, but when the man did not, he hesitated slightly. It was obvious to Oscar that there would in fact be communication barriers between the two, and that did not necessarily bother him or make him hold back, but the lack of confirmation about what had just happened slightly put him off.

Not because he resented Bo in any way shape or form, but rather because he wanted more than anything to continue kissing the man and hold him tightly without worry of overwhelming. And of course the worry about not wanting to overwhelm him was not because he didn’t like the fact that he was Autistic, but rather because he wanted to pleasure the man more than anything else.

Without second guessing himself, Oscar began to continue the conversation he had been having early, dropping his previous thoughts and smiling as he thought about the show and working with the love of his life for the next few months.

“What would you say to growing out your hair just a bit for the role?” Oscar’s question was mostly a teasing one, in reality he liked the way that Bo’s hair looked right now. Though he would freely and easily admit that he liked the idea of being able to braid the taller man’s hair, as he found the action so soothing and hoped that it would be the same for Bo.

Bo didn’t answer for just a moment, and instead opened the door to the restaurant beside him, admitting Oscar in before he followed. “I don’t like growing my hair out past my ears, it tickles my neck and gets stuck in my collar.” He spoke frankly, and with a flat voice, before smiling and asking what the man wanted from the menu.

“The sandwich you mentioned sounds good!” Oscar smiled at Bo when he answered, the same kind of smile that felt like it only belonged to Bo, and watched as the taller man smiled brightly at the hostess (who greeted him by name) and moved to the bar with no issue.

Mi amor!” The voice that spoke was bright and loud enough to speak over the volume of the bar. The woman that the voice belonged to was just the same, with hair that is pink and a tattoo along her neck, she was not what Oscar expected in a friend of Bo’s. “Bradley, it is good to see you! You look good.”

The woman speaking stood behind the bar with a glass and towel in her hands, and despite everything else going on, the first thing Oscar noticed was how she phrased her words as a statement, rather than a question.

Bo lit up, “I have been better than normal.” He commented on what the woman said, as if she had asked a question despite the fact that she had not. Oscar felt an odd sense that this woman knew something he had not. “You look great Lana, it’s good to see you.”

The taller man smiled in a way that Oscar could easily see was forced, only in the way that the corners did not turn up as much as usual, and that his teeth did not peak through the grin. Bo’s shoulders were tense, and Oscar recognized the fact that he looked as though he was bent closer to the woman, to Lana, but knew that there was no way that he could not hear the woman.

This thought was, of course, not meant to be rude, but the woman had a very distinct voice. Oscar instead took the action as a protective one, he was protecting his ears from the volume of the music in the bar.

Oscar reached forward carefully, and set a hand on Bo’s shoulder carefully, his hand light, and when Bo looked down at him he smiled brightly. “You alright Bowie?” The question went unanswered, and when Bo looked forward again Oscar considered the action as an unresponsive ‘yes.’

“This is-” Lana did not finish her question, and yet Bo still replied.

“Oscar, my boyfriend.” Bo’s hand reached for Oscar’s, and the smaller man grinned as he smiled at the woman. Lana said ‘hello’ to him, and asked how he was doing, and the smaller man replied easily before Lana looked back to Bo. “Your usual.” Once again Lana’s voice easily cut through the sounds of the bar, and the taller man hesitated before replying.

Bo’s words were slightly different when he replied, like he was forcing himself to, rather than using the elegant tone that Oscar knew him for. “A-yes, and the sandwich.” He seemed to pause between each of the words, “The one with the tilapia?”

Bo pronounced the word wrong, which was strange for him, the syllables sounded more like “tail-lay-pea-yeah” and the mistake made Oscar frown just a bit, his concern growing for Bo’s current physical and mental state.

The taller man rocked back and forth on his heels as Lana wrote down the order, and when she asked a question, it was phrased just like the rest of the questions she had been asking. It was phrased like a statement.

“That’s the end of the order.” It wasn’t a question, but Bo nodded as a reply anyways, a smile on his face at her words. “You can wait outside now Bradley. I’ll bring it out to you when it’s done.”

Bo turned to Oscar the moment that Lana finished speaking, he smiled brightly, extending his hand to Oscar and started to lead him to the door.

“Hold on Bowie.” The affection term helped Bo to stop in his tracks, and when he looked down at Oscar it was without looking him in the eyes. “I’ve got to go to the bathroom, you go on out, I’ll be there in a minute.”

Oscar was lying, but Bo didn’t notice. He just nodded, pressing a kiss to the side of Oscar’s lips in a way that was nearly robotic, before turning and continuing outside, his hands linked in front of him as he avoided bumping into anyone. Oscar watched him go, before turning back and walking to the bar where Lana stood with a knowing smile on her face.

“Hello Oscar.” Lana smiled at him, “Do you have something you would like to add to the order?” It was a question, very specifically a question.

“I-I don’t.” Oscar leaned against the bar top, trying to think of how to phrase his question. “Why did-”

Lana interrupted him, “Bradley doesn’t like questions.” She shrugged off the question that Oscar was about to ask, “I had a feeling you were going to ask. When I said that he looked good, and he replied as though it was a question, you looked confused.”

There was a feeling of comfort at not having to actually ask his question, and when he started to ask another Lana just smiled and continued to speak. It was slightly frustrating to be interrupted, but he didn’t let that really bother him.

“When I first met Bradley he came into the bar and ordered a glass of wine.” Lana reached for another glass to continue cleaning. She pointed to the seat at the corner of the bar, “He sat at that seat for exactly three hours and then got up and left. Every time I asked him a question, he very pointedly did not reply, and at first I thought he was just rude. Took me a long time to realize why, and when I did I started phrasing everything as statements, and that’s when conversations started happening.”

Oscar smiled at the thought of Bo making connections.

Lana leaned against the bar top, “That was two years ago, and based on how close the pair of you are, you know what happened two years ago.”

The smaller man couldn’t supply a verbal reply, and instead just nodded.

“His friend, Lydia came in one day and told me that he was speaking again. She thanked me, and told me that it was because of me that he was speaking.” Lana ended it with a smile. “He gets overwhelmed when the lights are on, but I usually just speak through statements anyways. It gets a better response in most situations.”

“Wow.” It was all that Oscar could think to say at first. “Thank you for sharing that Lana.”

She shrugged, the tattoo on her neck rippling as she did. “Anything to help a budding romance.”

It was a mostly sarcastic response, and Oscar just laughed and shook his head. “I think we will get along.” He offered his hand to her, and shook it twice, “I look forward to seeing you again Lana.”

“Yeah yeah, don’t get dewy eyed on me there Ozzie.” Once again Oscar laughed before shaking his head and turning to leave.

There was something comforting in meeting one of Bowie’s friends. There were still some things that weren’t shared just yet, and it was fully because of Bo’s inability to realize just how helpful it was for Oscar to know.

Some part of Oscar wanted to just ask Bo every question that he had, but it felt much more intimate for him to just learn about everything as the pair grew together. He smiled to himself as he found Bo standing just outside the door, his hands by his side and the tension lacking in his shoulders.

Bo smiled at him almost instantly, and Oscar stood on his toes to kiss the taller man.

It was there, at the side of the walkway, that Oscar fell in love with Bo just a little bit more.

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