Angus ran yet another coat of hairspray through his impressive coiffure, making sure it was just right for the big night. He had dreamt of it since junior high, after making it through to the final round of the Canadian national geography challenge. Their team had gone all the way to the end, only to lose to a George Washington High from Anchorage or something. But Alex had been there, and that was all that mattered.
His between-round dad jokes and slightly off-colour banter with contestants. His unflappable Canadian good cheer, even when it seemed apparent that he was doing a favor for someone, somewhere, and would much rather be at home recording his own voice and listening to it again, and the moustache. The moustache. A beautiful streak of gray with a clear strength that put Freddy Mercury’s comparable soup-strainer to shame, framing full lips and lending a fatherly authority to what might otherwise (we would find out later for certain) a weak, round face. All the trivia kids only had room for one person, it was either for themselves or for Alex. His face was up in many a locker, his name whispered airily at Reach For the Top meetings.
Here was the chance, all he had to do was be impressive. Angus would not be alone in vying for Alex’s affection that night though, oh no. Though Liz seemed interested mainly in the shiny studio lights, it was clear: that jackass Mike was shooting for the prize too. Stupid prep-school know-it-all with his good looks. Angus got the first topic pick and went straight for weapons; he knew weapons the way only a man with his extensive collection would. He had an entire living room full of knives and swords, there was know way this could go wrong.
Shit, shit, shit. He froze. Mike picked up the answer easily, grinning his smug grin. Angus vowed that he would pay for it, and so he did. Angus answered question after question with unerring precision. The hours and hours spent in the library would finally pay off. Abraham Lincoln, The Cotton Gin, Louis XVI, Baklava, Trifle, Jacob. He had them all, it came down to final Jeopardy and he took it in a sweep, more than doubling his opponents’ feeble answers. London was the biggest city in the world in the 19th century. Obviously.
Angus was triumphant, and he thought Alex liked what he saw.