1 1 - An Arranged Meeting

Prologue: what happens when a musician with no purpose except his fame and career meets a sullen artist with a distinct lack of direction and complications that would upset even the most endearing people? love. not quite the love that is expected, either.

Alex stared out the window as he took a sip of the cheap gin he poured for himself earlier, it was on the verge of raining, and it was if the universe was in a state of needing to weep but the tears wouldn't fall, and Alex thanked them - he had a meeting today. Usually, in this particular case, if he was feeling rough as he was this evening, he would cancel the entire meeting and crawl in a corner of his bathroom, smoking on the floor - he didn't care much for existing, especially at this point in his life. The soft and somewhat dull echo of an overused vinyl was narrating the scene before him, he knew he had to get up, he had to do this, if not for the man he was supposed to claw his artistic presence at for, but for himself, Alex trusted his instincts, and the impulsive behaviour he had learned to escape in the past was about to begin, but in the best way possible.

After careful consideration, Alex traced a thin layer of water over his delicate features to rid of the callous and obvious lack of self-care he had developed. He had to appear absolutely in control, and he knew it. His caring but worn fingers followed the bridge of his nose which shifted awkwardly from previous damage until he reached his thick lips - he cleaned up well, and he knew it, but never enough to become egotistical. At some point between grabbing his beaten leather jacket and slipping his suede boots on, Alex had downed the rest of the gin painfully, clumsily layering his body in an essence of aftershave, the same scent he'd been buying since he was a few years younger after discovering the floral gem.

It wasn't long before the lad crept his way down the long winding road and eventually reached an Arctic cold bus stop, in which he only had to wait a few minutes, if that, for the bus to actually present itself - the only perk of moving to a fast paced city was the reliable public transport, especially since he was raised with slow and intermittent wavering transportation. The truth was, Alex hated where he was from and would do anything to hide it, but his rough edged accent often eluded most people - he was either here, there, or everywhere - a man of many places and faces. He cherished the gift of cultural androgyny. After witnessing his apprehensive facial features reflected in the glass window, he swiped his hair carefully, he'd been growing it for years now - it had only just reached his shoulders. A faint covering of unkempt stubble blessed his perfectly balanced facial structure.

Surprisingly, the bus journey passed faintly within what seemed like a few seconds - despite it being in congested traffic most of the journey and understanding that, Alex finally sighed breathlessly in relief over that, lurching confidently out of his seat and jumping off the bus at the earliest convenience. The building in front of him made him quiver in anticipation, to say that this was not what he was used to was an understatement and he was nervous, he shook in apprehension but his fave stiffened and he placed a thin cigarette between his lips, lighting it and understanding that he had to be somebody he wasn't in this moment.

Once he pushed the heavy door of the modern building, which to his surprise, was easier than he thought, the thick smell of nicotine and expensive alcohol hit his nostrils. It wasn't what Alex expected a recording building to be like - Alex thought it would be much more prestige than it was - even if the musicians that were known to record and meet here were not, but he wasn't going to complain if it meant he could smoke without question. The reception was oddly welcoming and the young man behind the desk quirked a brow at the often misconstrued artist that had just wondered in - and then it hit Alex, he looked truly lost.

"Can I help you?" The young receptionist asked, he looked all too trim and proper to be in a studio for unorthodox musicians that Alex loved. "Sorry, yes, I have a meeting at seven, with a Mr Marrey?" Alex watched his tone, he seemed devoid of enthusiasm but regained his relief when a deeper voice appeared from behind him, startling him a little. "Thank you, Tim, I'll take it from here," The voice spoke, clearly not from London either, a thick essence of Midlands in it. Alex turned abruptly and gasped silently in surprise, the man was relatively tall, and broad, yet the smile on his face cancelled all the intimidating energy from him. "So, you're the artist, Alexander, if I'm correct?" The man, who Alex had just noticed had strong waves of golden hair surrounding him, it ended at the edge of his shoulders - which were drastically out of proportion with Alex's own. He gulped.

Alex extended his arm coyly and spoke, choking slightly on his words. "Just call me Alex, I wouldn't call myself an artist though!" He laughed nervously before blinking, the attempted sunlight shining through the main windows as he caught a flash of icy cerulean, like it had been done in watercolour, Mr Marrey had amazing eyes, apparently. The taller musician met few artists that had the inconceivable humble attitude that the shorter man in front of him possessed, it was refreshing somewhat. Alex drank in the surrounding environment of what could be his temporary work space and embraced it vividly. The soft artificial lighting was balanced quaintly as the lanky musician strolled lazily down the hallway, following behind was Alex, until they eventually reached the end of the corridor where a large double door entrance approached them rapidly - Alex assumed it was the best quality of the studio, especially considering Mr Marrey and his musical repertoire. "Welcome to my safe haven, I hope it's alright, please try not to trip on the cables, mind you - I do that a lot." The older man laughed sweetly, his lovely smirk shone through intensely.

"If it was my area, it would be heavily ordered, unless of course I'm painting, and then it's a calamity - dangerously so." Alex mentioned, quirking his brows inquisitively at the comfortably sized guitars that lay surrounding them, it wasn't quite what he expected. The microphone stand was hauntingly high for Alex and the amplifiers were chaotic ally stacked against the left sided wall, it wasn't heavily messy, but it irked Alex somehow. Something about this room was strange, perhaps the lack of windows. "Well, I'm glad it's not your area then. I apologise for the formalities in the reception, my names Nathan, as you know," The blonde oozed sarcasm at the start of the sentence, but ended it in a caring comfort, he seemed brilliant at making people at ease, a gift of his that Alex would later come to cherish strongly.

Nathan took a heavy seat on the reclining leather sofa with a small crash, he seemed exhausted. "You look like you haven't slept in days, fuck." Alex commented awkwardly before it dawned on him what he had actually spoke. Nathan was bewildered for a brief time before snapping back to the conversation. "I could say the same for you, Mr Bates, you have a strong gin smell about you, is there something you'd like to talk about?" Nathan smirked dastardly before winking and relaxing with a cigarello. Alex's nose flinched slightly at the stench of pure tobacco, but continued his argument. "What's it to you?" The dark haired male grinned shyly in response, turning his head to ignore what was really going on between him and Nathan. This was an interview, but the most informal business meeting he'd ever been to. It startled him slightly. "Exactly." The guitarist responded sharply, taking a shady drag of smoke into his lungs and carelessly exhaling it in Alex's direction - the younger coughed softly.

Alex grit his teeth roughly, he couldn't lose the civilised argument, purely out of pride and effort. He gave the older a side glance, the dull lighting highlighting the brown circle that surrounded the vivid wash of pale green that often took people back in the glory of them. It was awfully seductive without needing to be inherently sexualised, Alex couldn't deny attraction to the man in his mind however, but he'd most likely never tell Nathan that. "What's the brief, then?" Alex spoke clinically, pondering on what exactly he was required to do, after all, this was a job. "Really? That's rather professional, Mr Bates." The musician sighed in a tamed tone, his left hand taking hold of the acoustic instrument next to the sofa before he positioned it in his lap. Alex pondered what it was like to be in the man's lap.

"Have you got ghosts?" Alex blurted out, his lack of social adaptation, or lack thereof, made him seem abrasive and obnoxious to most, but to Nathan, that was the perfect snippet of the attractive, but troubled Alex. Alex was a tormented soul. "I'm sure I have many, do you?" Nathan replied, in his usual honest way, even if it hurt to say, Nathan couldn't lie, but the comment took Alex back slightly, he had the audacity to say that? "Uh-" The melancholy boy in front of Nathan became flustered. "I have too many, I think." Alex bit his lip, a slight searing pain pricking his skin as he did so. Nathan thought it was adorable, for some reason or another, it didn't matter how strong or masculine Alex was, he was also a very soft boy, and he enjoyed it. Nathan didn't know what to expect from him, in all honesty.