O7 | Whales and Wine
16 years old
As both boys finished year 11 at school and passed their GCSEs, they found that they had a little more freedom than they had before. Anthony had always had more freedom than Aziraphale, as long as he stayed around the resort and checked in every now or then, his parents were content. They didn’t really care that much. Aziraphale’s family, on the other hand, would request his presence a lot. They would have all their meals together, go on outings, play games with his siblings and he always had to tell them what he was doing and where he was going. Anthony found them rather odd, as they would get up early every morning and read passages from the Bible with the whole family. Afterwards, their father would tell them what the story meant and they would discuss it. Aziraphale had asked Anthony to join once and he did, a few years ago, but he didn’t like it and never joined them again.
His sisters, Michael and Sariel, invited them along on a boat trip. Anthony liked them better than the rest of his siblings, especially Gabriel and Uriel. His sisters had invited some of their friends, who were a few years older than they were and not really interested in two sixteen year old boys. They were just doing whatever they wanted, Aziraphale sat on the edge of the boat with his feet dangling down while Anthony swam in the water and climbed back on board every now and then to jump off again.
“D'you think there are dolphins here?” Anthony asked while he peered up to Aziraphale through his sunglasses.
“Probably. It’s warm enough here.”
“What about whales?” He looked at the vast amount of water underneath him. “You think they’ll fit here?”
“A sperm whale at most. Did you know they have the biggest brains out of all the whales?”
Anthony snorted and his friend raised his eyebrows at him. “Sperm whale," Anthony wheezed.
The corners of Aziraphale's mouth twitched upwards and his bright eyes twinkled. He would never find this as funny on his own, but Anthony's laugh was infectious.
The next day they were back at the spot they dubbed ‘their spot’ because they hadn’t seen anyone else there yet and they liked it. They had lunch there and Anthony was laying down on his back and stared at the blue sky and the leaves of the trees above them. Aziraphale was sitting upright and looked at Anthony.
“Penny for your thoughts?” he asked.
Aziraphale always asked that when they both were quiet for a longer period of time. Anthony could never sit still for a long time, or keep his mouth closed for that matter, so he always wanted to know what his friend was thinking about.
“I don’t really want to do my A-levels next year,” Anthony answered and Aziraphale was silent. “Well, I don’t mind school, but my dad wants me to take certain subjects for uni that I don’t want to.”
“I’m not smart like you. You’re definitely going to uni and do some good things or whatever. My dad just wants me to go so he looks good for it. Doing law or business or somethin'.”
“What do you want to do?” Aziraphale asked.
Anthony shrugged. “Dunno, honestly. What about you?”
“I like school,” he admitted. He stopped looking at Anthony when he rolled over on his belly and planted his elbows in the grass. His face cupped in his hands. Instead he looked at his fists that gripped the grass next to him. “My parents also have expectations, y’know.”
“Yeah, probably religion studies or something,” Anthony smirked. “But you’ll like it anyway.”
“Probably,” Aziraphale mused.
“I’ll tell you what. Whatever happens, let’s come back at this spot every year on the last day of our 2 weeks. A tradition.”
“Deal. A tradition,” he repeated with a smile.
The smile made his heart flutter and he never felt anything like that before. It made him roll onto his back once again to gaze up instead of looking at Aziraphale. He didn’t like the feeling at all.
This was also the first time that his friend noticed that the bruises that peeked from just underneath the sleeve of his shirt, were fingertip shaped. He had noticed the fair share of bruises Anthony had over the years, but always assumed it was because of the boy's active nature. He decided not to say anything about it, because he could be very wrong.
Anthony decided to make their new tradition a little bit special. He nicked a bottle of rosé from a cart in the hallway by his room when nobody looked and hid it in his backpack. Right after dinner, the two teenagers found their way to their spot and sat down on the towels they brought.
“I brought us something special,” Anthony said and he wiggled his eyebrows above his dark sunglasses.
He was excited about it. He had drank alcohol before by breaking into his parents liquor cabinet and getting drunk with some friends. He knew his friends liked that about him, but wasn’t too sure if Aziraphale would also like it. He was very different from his friends back home. Since wearing his sunglasses, growing out his hair and adapting a ‘cool and aloof’ persona, he became friends with a few boys at school that used to bully him. Aziraphale was very different, Anthony didn’t have to watch what he was saying or voicing his opinion around him, afraid that the boy would think less of him. He was also pretty sure that he never had alcohol in his life and wanted to know what he was like when he was a bit tipsy.
He tucked his auburn hair, that now reached his jaw, behind his ears and opened his backpack. With a grin he pulled out the glass bottle and held it up for Aziraphale to see. The light of the setting sun hit it to light up the liquid inside. Aziraphale’s eyes grew big and he looked a bit shocked.
“Wine? Anthony, we can’t!”
“‘Course we can, angel.”
With the tip of his tongue peeking out from between his lips, he unscrewed the cap and took a swig from the bottle, he hadn’t thought of glasses. The pink liquid was sweet and tasted like summer fruits. He passed the bottle to Aziraphale, who took it hesitantly. He stared at the bottle as if it would start to speak and deliver him the answer itself.
“You don’t have to if you don’t want to,” Anthony said softly, he didn’t want to pressure him into something he didn’t want to do. “I won’t mind.”
Instead of passing the bottle back to him, the boy inhaled deeply, exhaled again, and took a swig of the bottle. “Oh,” he let out surprised. “It’s sweeter than I expected, I thought it would be bitter if you hear how the adults talk about it…”
Anthony grinned. “You have some strange adults in your life, man.”
He shrugged, took another sip and passed the bottle back. They alternated the bottle between them and watched the sun set further, the stars above them afterwards. Anthony felt the alcohol buzzing through his system and he knew that Aziraphale also felt it, since he acted more giddy than usual. His blonde curls were mussed because he kept touching them and his cheeks were pink.
“Vagina whales!” Anthony cried out in the middle of a discussion whether penguins were birds or mammals.
“What?” He seemed utterly lost.
“If sperm whales exist, why not vagina whales. Dick whales, tit whale, saliva whale,” he wheezed, thinking he was so clever and funny.
At first, Aziraphale looked rather disturbed, but started laughing and swatted at his arm. “Stop it!”
“Pee whales,” he grinned.
Aziraphale pushed him over and kept swatting at him. “You devious thing!” he laughed.
The moonlight caught his blonde hair and made it look like a halo around his face. Anthony stared at him for a moment, he never realized how positively angelic his friend looked. Aziraphale seemed to notice his staring, his face turned a darker shade of pink and he scooted a few inches away from Anthony. Anthony cleared his throat awkwardly and Aziraphale mussed his curls even further.
This resulted in another fit of laughter from the both of them that cleared the awkwardness right away. After a while they decide to go back to the resort, they have no idea how long they’ve been away and actually didn't care that much. Since it was already dark, they fumbled through the bushes. Anthony found out that the other didn’t have the greatest balance while tipsy, he kept grabbing onto his arms for support. Anthony winced while he grabbed his upper arm a bit rough and grabbed his hand to steady him instead. While very pointedly looking in front of him, Aziraphale laced their fingers together to escape the bushes unharmed. They both didn’t pull back when they reached the path that led back to the resort, but also pretended that they weren’t holding hands. He could feel his heart beating loudly in his chest.
They walked past the pool and Anthony saw a familiar outline there. It was unmistakably his father and he didn’t seem to be in a good mood. It took him a few moments before he ripped his hand free without looking at Aziraphale, stuffed both of his hands in the front pockets of his shorts and walked over to his father.
“Where the bloody hell have you been?”
He was grabbed roughly by his shoulders and looked up into eyes that were blazing with fire. His dad didn’t wait for an answer, instead grabbing him by his wrist and dragging him away from Aziraphale. He didn’t even gave the boys a chance to say goodbye. While being dragged by his father, they passed Gabriel who gave him a smug smirk. Anthony glared back at him.
“Please tell me you weren’t holding his hand? You can’t do that to us,” his father was hissing at him while they walked back to their room. He already knew that this night was far from over for him.