The room itself was drab, and uninteresting, and smelled like damp things. I had a bag with a laptop, a pair of boxers-- a leopard print shirt, if I remembered correctly, and... Oh, fuck. I was going to a party with Gally after fixing the surveillance cameras at the Corner, and the only thing I now had to wear was the leather pants and that incredibly tight shirt. Stuff that I was going to put on after work. That, and my suit, and the jeans I was wearing.
If we don't die, I'm going to wring Gally's neck. She said be outrageous-- okay, so it's not very outrageous, but it *is* uncomfortable, especially to sleep in.
I dropped my bag on the stupid looking, ugly green chair, and couldn't help sighing. In a few days, everyone's going to know exactly what I wore in my time off... and what kinds of parties I could have been inviting those kids to.
Hey. Note to self. If I ever get another chance, drag those bloody kids out for a real time.
There were some bumps and groans from the room next to us, and I shook my head, then fell onto my back on the double bed. It squeaked, and something in the mattress immediately started digging in my side. Not only that, but the damp smell suddenly intensified.
What. A. Dump.
I stared at the ceiling as Rick wandered around, digging through his things. I thought I just caught a mutter or two about a shower, and I bit my tongue just before I said, 'Great idea. I'll join you. Save water.'
I kept staring at the ceiling. Counting the CDs I had with me, bemoaning the fate of the rest of my collection. Maybe I could get Kallie or Lin to save them from abandonment. My apartment was paid up for the next three months. No one would miss me, since all the bills were automatically withdrawn. I'd left a bunch of shit at work that someone would have to pick up; Lin again. I'll have to get in touch with her.
--Work. Shit. I'd have to call them, find out whether I'm ever going to have a job again. At the very least, let them know I wasn't going to be back for a while. Maybe ever.
Alex fumbled around, and Rick started singing in the shower, and suddenly, I got the strangest feeling of not belonging with this crowd. Sure, I knew these people better than they did. And Ellis and Moric weren't mutant, either. But.
It suddenly occured to me that giving Lin that extra key months ago was a godsend. But there was so much *stuff* in my apartment...
Be reasonable, Iz, I told myself. If you can't remember about it now, in your time of need, *you* *don't* *need* *it*.
That was my philosophy. And since I'd only moved in a year ago, there wouldn't be *that* much stuff for Lin to go through. A lot of equipment, which I hoped she had room to store. I didn't want to sell it, if I could help it. It had taken me a long time to build up my collection of eletronic shit, and Lin would take care of it. If anything happened to me, I wanted her to have it. CDs, DVD player, surround sound, my flatscreen TV-- she'd love it like I did.
Or, barring that, at least it'd be out of my place.
I also had clothes, which she could crate up in one box, and books, most of which she could do what she wanted with. A few I'd want; a few she'd want. Textbooks, for those night classes I was going to fail-- I had a midterm next week in classical comedy. Aristophanes wasn't going to help me right now.
The rest of the stuff I had, dishes, furniture, was sparce, and imminently disposable. The place itself was nice, but not that nice. If I thought about it really hard, I could probably get her to put all the things I really, really wanted in one trunk, and ship it to whereever we ended up. Then, she could cancel the lease; the phone and all the rest of it could be done online, from anywhere.
All in all, it should probably take her a few hours to pick out what I did want, a few more to sort through what she wanted, and if she paid movers to do it, another three to get the rest of the shit out. Half a day. I'd have to wire her some money. I could do it, though, it could be done.
It suddenly occured to me that I'd given up a life, and probably the only one I wasn't going to fuck up, for Rick and Alex.
I suddenly had a little trouble breathing.
Alex was done fiddling with his bag, and I could tell he was either wired or horny, because he was pulling out a book. Predictable, Alex Olsen. Cute, but predictable.
To be honest, I was dead tired, and I didn't feel like putting up with an Alex tonight. Cute. Cuddly. Yes. Did I mention I can't snuggle when I sleep?
I wondered if Alex remembered, too, and decided to test it. There was that stupid looking kid's cot in the corner-- but it was looking tempting.
Maybe it wouldn't smell like damp, too. "You're going to make me sleep in the kiddie bed, aren't you?"
This would see whether he knew, and cared, or not. He gave me a bright grin. "Good guess, shorty."
Fucking short jokes. You know, I've heard them all my life, and guess what? They were never funny. "Why is it that I like you guys again?"
It's a rhetorical question when Alex bounced on the bed and crawled over to straddle my waist. Ohhhh. Not what I needed. His groin making little shhsing movements against mine, friction between us, and his breath hot, even from up there.
And Rick was singing in the shower: showtunes and boybands.
It came to me in a flash, and I glared at Alex for beaming at me so widely, obviously enjoying being hot and bothered way too much to stop. I gave up a job at one of the highest regarded stations in New York, a nice flat, a steady life, and a hell of a party town... for *this*. This is some cosmic joke. Take Izzy's version of heaven, an incredible man mounting your cock, and another one naked in the shower; make it somewhere in the middle of nowhere with no pressure where you'll technically never be bothered again... and pervert it into hell, complete with teenagers and laugh track next door.
Make it Alex, not Rick, on top of you. Make it Rick, singing boybands.
Alex eyed the bathroom door, and says, "And people say *we* are the weird ones."
I answered, "They don't know what they're talking about, obviously," out of habit.
He wriggled a bit to get comfortable, making his weight shift on me even more, and I tried not to groan. Don't fucking *do* this, Alex-- you didn't want to fuck anymore, I said fine, and now you're doing this with the three of us in a room--
Interesting side note. We have never had a threesome. It's-- odd, looking back on it, and then, it's not. I think it would kill me. I know it would kill Alex, just because he'd laugh too hard the next morning.
I don't know how Rick would feel, and that's why we haven't. And that's why we won't. Yeah, good excuse.
Alex looked at me for a while. "Why did you come with us?"
Good fucking question. I shrugged and looked away from him, think frantically for something that won't make him get sappy. Distraction. Make fun of him. Yeah. "Just... Oh god, you're going to go sappy--"
He cut me off. "Thanks. For coming with us. I know you didn't have to and it means a lot."
I flushed, and I could feel it, my face heating up. I didn't want him to know why I'd really come, because I didn't want to talk about it, I didn't want to deal with it, and-- distraction. Make fun of-- someone else. I didn't manage it with my usual flair, but I managed to mumble, "Yeah, well. Seemed like a good idea at the time. After twelve hours in the car with that damn mick, I've changed my mind."
He bent down, making our torsos touch and my fingers itch to start-- down, Izzy. This is not the mental picture you need to be painting right now. Though, it is more useful in my head than-- don't think that way. He said to me softly, not letting me look away, "I love you, Iz."
Fuck. Fuckfuckfuck-- I squirmed. "Yeah, back at'cha, sweets." It wasn't enough, and it was less than he deserved. Be gruff. He can handle that. "Listen, could you cut the sappy stuff now? I want to see if we can get something on the telly."
Something. Anything. He sighed, and I could hear him cursing my coldness. I muttered, trying to regain both my mental equilibrium and my physical calm, "The remote?"
He rolled his eyes, but got it for me. He's a good friend. I smiled at him, trying to say thank you for more than just that. "Ta very much, hon."
He flopped down beside me, and watched my lightening speed channel changing. Game show. Game show. Hotel channel. Movie listing for channels we have to pay for. News. Game show. --the same game show as before. News. Weather. Blah, blah, there was a big storm. Most of the channels were fuzzy anyway, so that last game show could have been a movie, but--
Hang on, porn. Is there enough there to play 'name that bodypart'? "Huh."
He said, "You're going to watch porn?"
Much as the idea was tempting, and there really wasn't anything else on.... "No. It's straight porn and that's even more boring than gay porn." I tilted my head. Huh. Elbow. Breast. --no, knee and thigh. Or was that a collarbone? Storm was messing with the reception even worse than usual, and so instead of just fucking in inverted color, we got inverted fucking every few frames or so.
I pursed my lips. There REALLY wasn't anything else on. "Well, it's good for a few laughs, I guess."
I can't believe people actually get off on this.
"How can you tell it's straight porn?"
I grin smugly, as another breast comes into view. There's a foot, too. "I can just tell. It's a gift."
He sounds a little amazed. "You're amazingly talented."
I keep flipping channels, mostly staring at the antenna above the TV. Game show. Ads. News. Hotel information, the third time around. Stupid movie--
Alex started waving his hands in the air spastically. "Go back! Go back!"
I briefly wonder whether he's suffering a bout of Turrette's, but obediently go back a channel. "What?"
He sits up straighter, beaming happily. This can't bode well with the rest of us sane mortals-- ha hah. Yeah, alright. But I was right about it not boding well. He said, "Look! It's Dead Man on Campus!"
Now, I do a lot of things for my friends. I pick them up, I drive them places. I buy them as much as I can. I go with them stupid places and fun places. I'll lie for them. Once and a while, I'll even tell them the truth-- but I am *NOT* watching that stupid movie another time. Especially with a bright grey line in the middle of the screen and with a roughly 200% noise filter making the screen like some modern-art show. "Oh, god, no."
I immediately changed the channel.
He sounded like someone just ran over his puppy. I don't care. He doesn't have a puppy, and I hate that fucking movie. "No, Alex. Absolutely not." In my head, I think to myself, ask for a blowjob, ask to ram me up against the TV and make me scream, ask for a show, ask for my kidney-- or, just the blowjob, whatever, man. Be reasonable.
Suddenly, the water shut off for a minute and we could hear Rick singing Savage Garden quite clearly. Alex buried his face in my shoulder, and shuddered. I heard him say, muffled, "He's nuts."
I nodded, and supressed the shiver and the thought-- "Yup."
"In an adorable sort of way. But still nuttters."
The water turned back on, and my chest tightened. Nuts. We were all nuts. Rick was nuts for secretly liking boy bands but outwardly hating the sentiment. Alex was nuts because he actually *trusted* me to tell the truth... oh, okay, Alex was just fucking insane, forget me.
I was nuts. I'd given up my home just because I was in love--
Quick thinking, no time to get around, Alex was touching me and this wasn't something I wanted to know, I didn't want to, do you remember in the Corner, in the car, in the-- remember summer camp, remember how you didn't tell the counsellor you wanted him to fuck you, remember that guy in the seventh grade that you kissed and the next day he laughed at you, remember his *face* and remember, you don't know how to deal with this you're so fucking stupid, you're stupid, you're stupid, you're in love, you're, you're--
He groaned, and pulled away, then crawled over to the edge of the bed, and towards the bathroom. I felt guilt come over me in waves, but I couldn't help it. Poor Alex. I should just stay away from him for the rest of the trip. I should just, maybe I should just go home, let the two of them deal without having to deal with me...
Alex banged on the bathroom door, groaning some more. He said pitifully, "Rick! Open! Now! C'mon!"
Rick opened the door, and I turned the volume of the TV up a lot, stared at the snow with grim determination. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see them talking, and a very wet--
Oh, god. I shivered again, and felt the tightness in my chest clamp down. Pulled my knees to my chest.
I could hear Alex in the bathroom, and hung my head, wrapped an arm around my knees. Kept the other hand very still, made sure I didn't move unless it was to flip channels. Look. A game show.
There was a knock on the door, and I raised my eyes, so not interested in whatever they were selling. After a minute, Mickey opened the door, and I sighed. "What."
He looked around. "Where's Alex?"
"Don't you have something better to do? He's sick."
He looked at the bathroom, but didn't move to see whether Alex was better or not. "What happened to him?"
Part of me was sick, too, thinking about what I'd done to Alex, when he was only trying to be nice to me. But that was it. "He got. Fucking. Sick. Fuck off. You can talk to him later."
Mickey looked down his nose at me, and replied, "This is kind of important."
I stood up, and shook my head slowly. "Whatever you need. It. Can. Wait." I gestured wildly at the bathroom, at the two most important people in my life, and all around the room. "Go away, Mickey. We don't need you right now."
He said, "Oh, you don't, don't you. How are you going to protect those two? I'm trying to help."
It was stupid of me to say, but I said it anyway. "Your help ain't wanted, jack. Fuck off. Alex needs to rest, okay."
Mickey raised an eyebrow, and crossed his arms against his chest. "Are you insulting me?"
"How'd he get sick, anyway?"
I don't know why it set me off, why *Mickey*, of all people, managed to break my self control when Alex and Rick had just made me pull away. I got right up in his face, yelled, "Fucking mick!"
He yelled right back, "Damned queer!"
I threw my bag off the chair and moved to pick it up, meaning to smash it against him, when Rick barged out of the bathroom, towel only barely covering his hips, and yelled, "What the fuck are you two doing?"
"Stay out of this!" Mickey.
"Yeah. None of your business," I agreed suddenly, wanting him as far away from this ugliness, just, as far away from me as I could get him. "This is between me and that damn mick!"
This has nothing to do with you, I pleaded silently, and begged the cosmos to make him go back to Alex. It didn't listen.
Rick scowled, and all the fight drained out of me. He said, "Wonderful rolemodels you are."
I managed to find enough venom to spit, "I ain't no fucking rolemodel!"
"You got that right." That was Mickey. Thank you. I think we've proven what kind of rolemodel I am, Mickey, no need to be petty.
I turned on him next, and felt the venom come back. "Look who's fucking talking."
"Mickey, go to bed. Iz, shut the hell up," Rick commanded. He rubbed his face wearily, and I didn't notice his towel slipping even a little bit. Nope. Not me.
I noticed Alex in the doorway as Mickey said, "Alex, when do you want to leave?"
He looked greener than normal. And pale. And, sickly. I couldn't look him in the face. They talked for a minute, and I went back to sitting on the bed and thinking way too much.
Mickey left, politely of course.
Alex turned to me. "What the heck was that all about?"
Rick saved me from answering by pointing out that he was naked again. At least it distracted Alex as well as made my guts twist. He said, "Iz, I'm going to get dressed, then we're going to talk."
I groaned and looked up. See, I know him. He might think I don't, and *I* might think I don't from time to time... but we're alike enough for me to know that, deep down, Rick needs a bit of drama in his life too. Him and Alex started murmuring in the bathroom, and I muted the TV. Silent black-and-white snow. It's a beautiful thing, TV.
The two of them came back, Rick supporting Alex considerably. I slid over on the big bed, and sat with my back pressed against the headboard, knees up so that Alex could have most of the room. It was my fault he was sick.
I watched them, with a kind of dread. I got the distinct feeling that Something was going to happen... and I didn't want it to, because I didn't know if I could let it. I'd rather go home than give Rick up by saying 'no', and I know that doesn't make sense, but it's still what was running through my head.
I made sure not to touch Alex.
Rick stared at both of us, eyes tired, weary, nervous, but happy too. I realized, I had no idea whether they had tied up their lives before they left or not; I still had to do it. I realized, too, that there would be no place for me to hide anymore. The quarters were too small.
I started to have trouble breathing again.
Rick saw me, or just needed to, or whatever-- he crawled on the bed and pulled me close to him. I hesitated, and then wrapped my arms around his back tightly, face buried in his shoulder. Tried not to break.
"It's going to be all right," I heard Rick say. "_We_ are going to be all right."
I couldn't believe him, but I wanted to.