There is an undeniable air about Dom that he is always exactly where he ought to be. He casually guides Billy toward a booth while calling out greetings to the bartender and a few customers. The pub is just over half full, and the quiet buzz is disrupted every so often by shouts of triumph or devastation by a crowd near the bar watching a beamed-in football match.
Dom flashes Billy a charming grin. "So, welcome to my home away from home. I'll get the first round. Bitter or stout?"
Billy smiles back. "Bitter, thanks."
Dom strolls up to the bar to order, returning with two pints and an order ticket.
"Curry chips," he offers in explanation as he holds up the ticket.
"Ta. I was thinking I could use a bit of something." Billy looks around appraisingly. "Nice place here."
"Yeah. Like a bit of home, really."
They fall into easy conversation about New York's pub offerings and Billy's impressions of the city so far. As the chips are brought to the table, the conversation turns to Dom's decision to move to New York City.
"I was always tempted to come here. New York just seemed so dazzling, so cosmopolitan. This is where everything happens, you know?" Dom's whole face shines with memories. "So I was doing theatre in Manchester at the time, and a call went out from New York for stage actors that could also play drums. The show was Hedwig and the Angry Inch - and my friend Orli was cast as the drummer. About a year later they needed a new bass player. Orli called me, I flew over, and the part was mine."
Billy looks suitably impressed. "You were in Hedwig? That's quite a good go for your first show over here."
"Yeah, well, it wasn't all glamour. The theatre was a dump and the pay was shite, but at the same time it was amazing. I had always loved playing music, used to muck about with my friends for fun. But actually getting up and performing night after night? Yeah." His eyes gleam. "The music is what really did it for me. So after about a year and a half, when the show closed, a few of us decided to form our own band. We sort of walk a line between glam and punk, a few cover tunes, but mostly originals."
Excitement plays across Billy's face. "I meant to tell you! I listened to the CD, and it was really very good...not that I was surprised, mind you. I can hear what your influences are, but you have an original sound. I also see that you've moved to singing duties."
Dom smiles almost bashfully. "Well, yeah. That was hard at first. It took a while for me to feel comfortable with it. Even with all my acting experience, there's something about being a lead singer that's so...well, okay, I won't lie, it's fucking cool. But it's so different than acting. There's no script. We try to keep it all somewhat spontaneous, and sometimes it feels like flying, but other times it feels like falling without a net."
Billy dips a finger in a pool of curry sauce and casually licks it off. "So the band is doing well, I take it?"
"I still have a day job," Dom laughs into his beer, "but we do okay. We're building up a decent fanbase with our live shows, and hopefully word of mouth will travel. You should come see a show sometime if you're free."
"I'd like that."
Dom tries to read Billy's expression, but can't tell whether it's the potential for friendship or a deeper interest he sees there.
After the briefest of pauses, Billy stands. "So, ready for another round, then?"