Logs:(Not my First) Rodeo

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(Not my First) Rodeo
Dramatis Personae

Ryan, Steve


"You don't have your wrasslin' clothes on."


<NYC> Midtown

This is the New York of so many establishing shots in films and shows. Midtown runs the gamut from sterile corporate gleam on the east to gently shabby bohemian charm on the west, unevenly divided by the river of light and sound and humanity that is Broadway, and the ever-moving digital kaleidoscope of Time Square its hollow, glimmering heart.

The August Wilson Theatre has been packed tonight, as it is most weekend nights of late, with a large number of teen and tween girls. Now that the show has let out and most of the unaccompanied adults rapidly dispersed to whatever other revelry they had planned, many of the youngest fans are clustered around the stage doors in eager anticipation while their guardians keep watch from a respectful distance. The two men departing the main entrance now, however, briefly draw their attention -- and their smartphone cameras.

Steve is in a brand new outfit tonight, though he looks quite at home in the unaccustomed finery, impeccably tailored to highlight his physique. His great coat is slate gray with engraved gunmetal buttons, worn open. His black trousers and white spread-collar shirt are traditional in cut, but of exquisite material and execution. His tie is a bit more modern, glossy steel gray and subtly tessellated with five-pointed stars, tied in a neat, perfect full-Windsor knot. The only visual break from the monochrome styling is his sapphire blue vest, which lend a brightness and intensity to his eyes like the blue of a clear, deep-winter sky. His right hand is wrapped in white athletic tape that binds all the fingers together but leaves the thumb free.

Is Steve on Ryan's arm or is Ryan on Steve's? Who's to say, really! (Well, likely the internet will have opinions!) Ryan isn't so much finery as splash in a flared black thigh-length moleskin coat with silver satin lining, blue velvet corset with silver buttons, generously cut white dress shirt with a soft black cravat dotted with tiny silver stars, skin-tight blue velvet trousers tucked into knee-high black boots with a faint silvery sheen under certain lighting and zippers spiraling up from the insteps. His arm is curled through Steve's as they exit the theatre, for once not whisking or being whisked. The bright warmth of his smile, practiced and not unaware of the myriad surreptitious and not at all surreptitious snaps of cameraphones around them, is no less genuine for it as he leans in closer to Steve. "Okay, that was great -- even if it totally reminded me why I dropped out of high school."

Steve's pace is easy, his steps light, but he's still steady where Ryan leans against him. His eyes scan the street as they join the stream of pedestrians pouring out of the theatre district and toward the restaurants and clubs to the south and west. "Wait. It did?" His gaze slides aside to linger skeptically on Ryan. "How so, if you wouldn't mind saying? No buses were involved, I hope."

"Please, I know I can be a messy bitch but I was never push-my-rivals-in-front-of-a-bus messy." Though Ryan does little to modulate his voice, their conversation -- somehow! does not actually /carry/ much past the two of them, voices lost in the general city hubbub much to the disappointment of many a would-be eavesdropper. "Only bus involved was the tour bus for my travelling puppet show before I realized what an uphill climb it would be trying to make a living with educational communist puppetering. Music's an easier sell."

"Cady didn't push her, either," Steve insists, though his smile is bemused. And a bit uncertain, now. "I realize I /should/ probably have plenty of other questions about this, but -- you could afford a tour bus in high school?" His eyes sparkle with interest. "It sounds like I missed out." His brows wrinkle faintly. "Though it was just as well my bullies skipped the psychological warfare and when straight to the walloping."

"Only with the money I earned from the rodeo," Ryan assures Steve lightly. "Everyone always told me I oughtta have stayed in school but I gotta say walloping doesn't sound like where it's at, either. You didn't try singing and dancing about it, did you? Cuz it seemed to work out alright for all them."

"Still not sure it was worth it, but Ma would have been heartbroken if I didn't see it through, and Buc --" The jagged edge of the name Steve breaks off speaking bleeds raw anguish, and for a moment it seems unlikely he will continue. "-- my best friend...needed someone to heroically rescue and trade witty banter with." His broad shoulders quirk slightly. "Oh, I mostly drew pictures about it, which -- also worked out alright, I think." His bravado would hold up to a lot of scrutiny, but to Ryan's the profound frustration and anxiety beneath the words rings loud and clear. Some of this subsides with his genuine surprise, though, "There are still rodeos?"

Ryan hasn't really been leaning into Steve but he does now, just for a second, his hand lifting to squeeze briefly at the other man's arm. "Still rodeos? What! You can have your pick of rodeos now, friend. You want drag rodeos? You want burlesque rodeo? You want gator rodeo? Women's rodeo? People do all kinds of rodeo, silly and serious. -- I know New York was different in the waybackwhen but you can't tell me they were doing rodeos up here back then, what. You ever been to a rodeo?" He's veering down a street -- not exactly away from the crowd, that's hard to achieve in Midtown, but certainly away from the thickest press of it. "You do much by way of nightclubs in your day? What were those even like?"

Steve glances aside at Ryan, eyes growing only wider. "Did you say /gator/ rodeo? As in /alligators/?" The tension in his frame is easing, and he shakes his head, short and quick. "There may have been, but if so I never heard, though I read about them plenty." It's a full beat before he adds, "Are you saying there are rodeos in New York /now/?" There's a kind of giddy boyish wonder in these words that Ryan wouldn't need empathy to pick up. "Oh, we had nightclubs. Some of the famous ones are still around -- Copacabana, the 21 Club..." He shrugs lightly. "I rubbed my share of elbows at places like that while I was in the USO, though when I was younger it was only cheap neighborhood watering holes for me."

"We actually had one at Chimaera once. It was maybe --" Ryan's hand seesaws in the air. "-- not exactly the most traditional but I, at least, would pay solid money to see Jax in metallic pink chaps riding a light-up rainbow mechanical bull again." He's dug out his phone while they walk -- or at least while they were walking. Somewhere mid-searching, now, he's tugging Steve to a halt so that instead he can hail a cab. "I'm going to tell you a secret about the future, though. There's pretty much everything, if you know where to look."

Steve blinks. Opens his mouth. Closes it. Then blinks again. "That...sounds quite spectacular," he finally manages, voice carefully measured, though still not carefully enough to disguise his doubt or his interest. Despite his strength, he stops immediately at Ryan's prompting. "I admit, I'm a /little/ skeptical. Feeling more and more foolish all the time for it." He flashes Ryan a smile, his head canted slightly. "You're the sort of fella who always seems to know where to look." It's only half a beat before he adds, "Gator rodeo, is it?"

"Gator?" Ryan just looks Steve up and down, a quick smile flashing across his face as a taxi pulls up to the curb. "You don't have your wrasslin' clothes on. Still. --" He pulls the door open, eyes lingering over Steve as he holds the door for the other man. "I'm sure we can work with this."