|Things Orlando Bloom Does Not Understand About The United States of America
Buffalo wings are just one more thing that Orlando doesn't understand about the States. He's out at some bar with Dom, a noisy, flashy place without any British beer on tap, and Dom's ordered himself a plate of gooey, bright orange chicken wings which the menu insists are called buffalo wings.
"Buffalo don't have wings," he insists to Dom, who has the orange sauce smeared at the corner of his mouth. Suddenly, for no real reason at all, Orli wants to lick it off Dom's face, and so he leans across the table and does. It's tangy and hot at the back of his throat. Dom wipes the back of his hand across the spot where Orlando's tongue has just been and gives him a look somewhere between wicked grin and utterly confused frown.
"It's just a name, you wanker," Dom says. He's staring at Orlando oddly and he wipes his mouth with his hand again, as though Orlando's tongue has burned him there.
Other things that Orlando does not understand about the States: baseball, why they drink coffee instead of tea, anything involving wheatgrass, American football, American distaste for real footie, and Britney Spears. Billy once tried to explain Britney Spears to him, told him that it was crap pop, but at least when she'd started performing, it had been inventive crap pop, but Orlando still doesn't get it. Her. Little blond twiggy thing, can't really sing, what's such a big deal about that?
Dom had clarified it for him: it's her tits, mate. Doesn't matter if she can sing, she shows off her tits and people eat that crap up.
Billy punches Dom in the arm for that, and says that her music is really quite clever, for a bird with as little brains as Britney, and Orlando just shakes his head.
He doesn't get it, he's never going to get it, and that's that. He leaves Billy and Dom in the bar, arguing over Britney Spears and her tits, and Orlando can feel eyes on his back as he walks out.
He pauses at the door, turns back, and Dom's staring at him - arguing animatedly with Billy, but his head's turned, his eyes are on Orlando instead of Billy.
Orlando chalks it up to one more thing he doesn't understand (this one goes on the list of Things Orlando Doesn't Understand About Mad Blokes From Manchester) and walks out.
Dom has started drinking coffee in the mornings, and whenever Orlando's actually around L.A. to meet him for a late breakfast, he knows that when he walks into whatever place they've chosen to meet, Dom will be sitting on the patio, drinking his coffee black and making faces at it, smoking furiously despite the dirty looks he's getting from everyone around him.
Orlando always orders himself an entire pot of Earl Grey because Dom sneers at it, and it's a good chance for Orlando to smack Dom upside the head and remind him where he's from. "It's not that I don't like tea," Dom says. "It's just that coffee's like shooting speed straight into your bloody veins, mate, only less chance of turning your heart to bits of exploding mush."
Orlando wrenches Dom's coffee cup away from him and he'd dump it into the flowering plant sitting next to their table, except between Dom's cigarettes and killing the restaurant's plant life, he's sure they'd be pitched out and he's hungry.
He shoves a cup of tea at Dom, made right, sugar on the bottom first so it dissolves, and slurps at the coffee himself. It's bitter and too hot, and the top of his mouth is going to be scalded for this, but Dom is watching Orlando drink Dom's coffee with a glint in his eye that might be predatory and might just be curiosity.
Orlando meets Dom's eyes over the rim of the coffee cup. Dom looks away first.
Orlando's not in L.A. much at all these days, because he's always - or at least it seems like always - off filming somewhere exotic, or in the case of Louisville, Kentucky, not particularly exotic but at least a little quiet, which is nice. When he is in L.A., though, one of the things that drives him craziest is that the real footie games are all on strange channels on his digital cable, and because he's lucky enough to see them live, he has to get up at 4 in the bloody morning to do it.
He hasn't bothered to put trousers on this morning, stumbling about in his dressing gown and not much else, with the big flat-screen television Elijah talked him into buying flickering on the wall behind him. It's comforting, hearing the SkyTV announcers rumbling through their pre-game analysis, familiar accents and familiar condemnation of Michael Owen's ability to play on a team and not just for himself. He's in the kitchen pouring himself a cup of tea and thinking about propping his eyelids open with toothpicks when the sliding glass door, that leads to the porch that leads to the beach, slides open.
He squints against the not-quite-bright-enough-to-actually-be-light light, wanting to know who's wandered in, because if it's a thief or the paparazzi, they're going to damn well have to wait ‘til Arsenal's beaten Liverpool into a pulp before they can steal all his things or snap incriminating photos of him with bed hair and an ancient flannel dressing gown.
Whoever it is drops onto his couch, props his feet on Orlando's living room table and says, "Bloody brill, mate, this match should be a real battle."
Dom. Who else would it ever be?, Orlando thinks. "Polite people," he croaks, and he takes a long sip of his tea and tries again. "Polite people, good mates who care about their own mates' privacy, telephone before turning up unannounced at" - and he squints at the clock on the microwave - "at 4:15. AM."
Stomping into the living room and slumping onto the couch next to Dom, he can see that Dom has tracked half a beach's worth of sand into his house, as well. "Not to mention," Orli says, feeling vaguely annoyed at the whole situation. "You don't even like Arsenal. Or Liverpool. What's this game to you?"
"Don't you ever miss home?" Dom says. Not meeting Orlando's eyes. "American football's all fine and good for the heathens who were born here, but you know, sometimes you just want something to remind you of England. Besides," he adds cheekily, eyeing the spot where Orlando's dressing gown has suddenly decided to gape open. "I would have missed your stunning ensemble of tatty dressing gown and ridiculous bed head if I'd stayed away."
Orlando sets his cup on tea on the table and leans forward to turn up the sound on the announcers. Out of the corner of his eye, he can see Dom trying to work out how to steal his mug of tea without being caught and tossed out unceremoniously, and Orlando drops the remote for the telly on the table and clamps his hand around Dom's wrist just before Dom can snatch the mug away. Dom wiggles his fingers a little, a protest against Orli's tea monopoly, and sighs melodramatically.
"Make your own bloody tea," Orlando says, and settles back on the couch to watch.
Midway through the first half, Arsenal trailing 1-nil after a brilliant Michael Owen goal that was nearly off the crossbar, Dom slumps over into Orlando's side. Orlando pokes him, rather more gently than he would have normally, and Dom says, "Grempf," and flails at Orli weakly with one hand. Orlando leaves him where he's fallen; Dom presses his face more firmly into the curve of Orli's hip and starts to drool a little.
At half, Dom stirs and stretches and sits up, smearing the crusted drool from the corner of his mouth with the back of his hand. "Who's up," he asks.
"You don't really care, do you?"
Dom shrugs. "I care, enough. I care more than Elijah does, say." He finishes stretching, arms over his head and rolling his neck, and Orlando can hear his vertebrae pop as his back unkinks from his nap. Dom drops his arms and one hand falls on Orlando's thigh. They both stare down at it, and Orlando's first reaction is to jerk away as though he's been burnt. Dom doesn't pull it away, though, and so Orlando stays perfectly still.
There's a moment of silence that hangs heavy between them, and then the clock for the second half starts rolling on the telly. Dom settles back against the couch, hand still on Orli's thigh, and his eyes flicker to the door to the porch.
"Sun's coming up," he says. "We could surf, after."
Things Orlando Bloom does understand include surfing, the fact that Michael Owen's a right wanker, and a whole world of saying things to your mates without having to say anything at all.