fate or something better
for the anon who just sent me the message re: zacchio fics, here’s something I started and will likely never finish (for several reasons, one of them being that wips and me aren’t so simpatico these days)
It's fate or something better; Billy is having lunch with a friend on the patio at Lyon's when he hears hey isn't that the Karate Kid? And he twists around so fast, he nearly clotheslines a waiter.
“Uh, you okay?” asks Sarah: pausing over her salad, brow furrowed.
“Yeah, just – did you hear? I thought I,” and he cranes his neck, peering into the shadowed interior of the cafe. After a moment, he takes off his sunglasses, and then he sees him. “Be right back,” he says to Sarah.
He hops out of his seat and cha-cha-chas his way between the close-set tables to slip inside the restaurant. He is careful on his approach, politely giving way to milling waitstaff and doing his best to control his expression, but it's hard, it's always been hard. It's Ralph.
Billy steps around the final pillar and there he is.
Ralph looks tired, but is very professionally dressed in a grey buttondown and dark slacks, his glossy black hair combed neatly away from his forehead. As Billy watches, a curtain of it falls, tumbling into his eyes. Ralph says something to his lunch companion and absently sweeps it up again; his wedding band catches the light. For a second he transforms from Ralph Macchio, Actor to Ralph Macchio, Family Man. It's still a good look.
The ring suits him, Billy thinks. Suits his hand.
Ralph doesn't clock him until he's within can-I-have-your-autograph distance, and then his expression flips rapidly through an entire three-act play before arriving at surprised pleasure. Billy is pretty sure it's surprised pleasure.
“Oh,” says Ralph, standing. “Oh, wow, this is—”
“Been a while,” he says, grinning.
He goes in for the hug, and Ralph's hand presses briefly over his back. He smells good; Billy had forgotten that. Always meant to ask about his aftershave or cologne, or whatever it was he used.
“You look familiar, why do you look familiar,” says the other man at Ralph's table. He doesn't get up or offer his hand, just sits chewing his steak and peering up at Billy with a faintly bothered frown.
“Maybe push me around a little,” Ralph says to Billy, eyes twinkling. “See if it jogs his memory.”
And Billy's used to taking direction, so he automatically feints at him, elbow coming up. Ralph flinches back, and Billy's arm shoots out to hold his shoulder. It's a weird moment. Billy forgets people in show biz don't tend to play around.
“Sorry, just,” messing with you, he doesn't add, because clearly. He lets go of Ralph's shoulder and tips his chin to the man. “Hi, William Zabka, I was in the movie with Ralph.”
“Yeah, you know, Lou,” says Ralph dryly, “that one movie, what's it called. This is Louis Bonomo, my agent,” he explains to Billy, who nods and does his best to look like he isn't trying to snoop in on any of their business. That's not why he came over.
“So you're back in LA?” asks Billy. A waiter moves past them, and he steps closer to Ralph to give him space. “Shooting something?”
Ralph's gaze slides away and back. “What? Oh, yeah sure,” and he laughs for some reason, like Billy had cracked a joke. “No, not. Nothing like that. Just taking some meetings,” and his smile is smaller and less genuine this time. He shrugs and nods like you know how it goes. “I'm flying back, end of the week.”
“Oh,” says Billy, nodding back. “Right, of course. Cool, yeah.”
Louis Bonomo carves off another piece of steak and puts it in his mouth. After a moment, he points his knife at Billy. “You were the bully! Johnny, or whatever.”
“Yeah, I was the bully,” confirms Billy, still smiling. He glances at Ralph, whose lashes dip. Something about the sight of his own bit-back smile pushes him to say, “Hey, listen, man – you wanna get drinks or something sometime this week? I'd love to catch up.”
Ralph looks surprised. “I – don't know, my schedule's...” but then he meets Billy's eyes, patient and open and undemanding as he can make them. Ralph's shoulders relax a fraction. “Y'know what? Sure why don't – give me your number, okay? I'll give you a call some time.”
He grins. “Got a pen on you? People don't ask for my autograph as often as they used to.”
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