Take me out tonight

Where there's music and there's people

Who are young and alive.

Howard was becoming increasingly stir-crazy. Apart from a fleeting conversation with Lester, the time had slunk by, dragging the hours like the hind legs of a weary animal. He perched quietly on the edge of the sofa, a jazz record spinning on the turntable. The surface noise hummed quietly around the needle as it worked its way to the end of another song.

Suddenly, an earth-shattering crash sliced through the older man's jazz trance. He leapt up, knocking the needle onto dead space. A crackle dripped through the tense silence.

'Bollocks!' finally came a voice. The voice of Vince Noir.

'Vince! What are you doing?' Howard shouted, in no particular direction. The crash sounded to have come from Vince's bedroom.

Moments later, he appeared before Howard, his electric blue eyes glistening under his darkened brows. His outfit looked immaculate; a sequin jumpsuit and purple jacket, teemed with a pair of silver cowboy boots.

'What did you break?'

'Nothing,' he laughed, attempting to soften Howard's questioning. His look of expectancy did not melt. 'Nothing!' assured Vince.

'What was that crash, Vince?'

'It was me.'

'I know that, I mean-'

'No, it was literally me.'

'What?'

'I just came through the window.' He looked back through the open door, smirking. 'Genius escape!'

'Escape from what?' Howard asked, in disbelief.

'Leroy got us into a mental situation. Had to pull some moves, get away.' He mimed a myriad of martial arts moves, but Howard's pout remained unaltered.

'That's the thing with you, Vince. It's always just about you and your "mental situations" You haven't really thought about me in this.'

'Sorry?' Vince half-laughed, 'I didn't know I was interrupting anything.'

'It's not just about that, is it?'

'What are you on about?

Howard stood, rushing to the coat rack. He snatched at his jacket, tearing it from the hook. 'Howard.'

'I'm going out.'

'Come on, Howard…'

'Goodnight, Vince.'

I never, never want to go home

Because I haven't got one anymore.

Howard wasn't completely sure of the reason for his outburst. He supposed Vince made him feel old and washed-up. But it wasn't like his earlier years were filled with much window diving. Maybe Vince was a one-off.

What was he thinking?

Of course Vince was a one-off. There was no one like Vince.

And that was the problem.

Walking through the blistering cold, he turned his collar up against the wind. Thoughts assaulted his mind. Did Vince care about him even half as much as Howard cared for him? Would it be ridiculous to think that someone so sublime could sink so low as to like him, to love him?

Howard banished the thoughts from his mind with every quickening step. But they wouldn't stay away.

'Howard?' He heard a cry. It was him. He sped up. 'Moon, you twat!' Howard turned around.

'Charming.'

He watched as Vince ran to him, panting and spluttering like a child on sport's day. His face glowed softly under the gaze of the streetlamps, licking his skin and playing off strands of messy hair.

'Can you blame me? What was that?'

'I just needed to clear my head.'

'You are such a wanker.'

'That's rich coming from you, you inconsiderate berk!'

'Inconsiderate? Would you rather have me sitting around, moping on the sofa with-' He stopped himself, but not early enough. Howard's heart sunk.

'With me? Because I'm just a "jazz freak?"'

'Come off it, you know I didn't mean it like that.'

'Vince, you should just go back to the flat. Leave me here.'

'I'm not leaving you anywhere until you tell me what's going on.'

'Leave it.'

'No, Howard, you fucking-' He was stopped by a sudden kiss. Frustrated fingers worked their way to the younger man's shoulder, gripping at mounds of fabric. Howard pulled away, but Vince lingered. Reawakened, he finally understood why he had stuck with Howard for so long. Why he put up with the jazz, the persistent whining and everything in between. Things he could not have explained a minute ago exploded in a technicolour mess behind his eyes. He knew there was something about him, but he'd never felt it so intensely before. Howard Moon was the love of his life.

'God, I'm sorry.' Howard walked away, his head in his hands. He thought about pacing backwards, but continued forwards instead.

'Wait!' Vince shouted. It seemed to do little to sway him. 'For fuck sake!' He ran to him, a firm hand on his shoulder. With a powerful shove, he turned his head. Vince forced his lips onto Howard's, furiously embracing him. The smooth gloss of his lips tingled against Howard's tongue as he let the kiss devour him. Vince worked his hands through the older man's drooping curls, pressing tightly against his temples. Howard grabbed the younger man's waist and pulled him closer. A moment later, they both pulled away. Breathless, they kept each other near. A smile passed cheekily over Vince's lips, and Howard felt himself fall more deeply in love.

'What's that face for, you nonce?'

Realising, Howard snapped out of it.

'That? Oh, nothing. I just-'

'Shh.' Vince interrupted, placing a soft finger on his lips. 'Take me home. '

There is a light and it never goes out

There is a light and it never goes out…