Ethan S and Kyle V
Who: Kyle V. Ethan S. What: Dinner and a delivery Where: Kyle's house When: Same time as this Warnings/Rating: PG
Kyle had spent most of the day cleaning out the room at the front of the house. He was stronger than he looked and stubborn to boot and he’d managed to push most of the abandoned furniture to the side and back of the room, exposing a lovely wide space below a magnificent chandelier, which would be amazing once he’d got someone in to firstly take it down and clean it and secondly replace the wiring so that it actually worked. Right now, it was simply dusty and huge, its size in perfect proportion to the high-ceilinged room that one day Kyle was going to have as a magnificent dining room, he’d decided. It was dark now, but he knew that the view from the floor to ceiling windows would give quite the view of the front porch and the ground beyond.
Dinner was the reason for the clearance, as Ethan was coming round for dinner and Kyle wanted to impress - even if there was a particularly difficult conversation on the horizon. Still, he would take any excuse for entertaining - he didn’t get to do much in this town.
He didn’t have a table he was happy with and that he could manage to manhandle into the room on his own. After some humming and hawwing, he had decided to go in a totally different direction and, when Ethan finally arrived, Kyle brought him in with a flourish.
The room was softly lit in an artful way that disguised both the damage to the walls and ceiling, plus the fact that the main lighting ring for the room had seemingly been eaten through by mice in the past. Instead the combination of lamps and candles cast a warm glow that highlighted the white throw Kyle had laid out in the middle of the room, scatter cushions placed around the edge, and wine with two glasses to one side, next to an array of finger food.
Ethan raised an eyebrow at the whole spread, but smiled at it nonetheless. He knew was the rest of the room looked like, like the walls might cave in, and he was grateful for Kyle’s attempt at covering that up. It would have been distracting. “You know,” he said before handing off the bottle of wine he’d brought and dropping to sit on one of the cushions. “We could have just had dinner in bed. You didn’t have to go through all of this.”
“You’re such a romantic,” Kyle deadpanned. Still, the bottle was a decent vintage and was more than acceptable. “But I’m not feeding you my grandmother’s butternut ravioli in bed. I do have some class you know,” he added, edge of bitchiness in his tone as he settled down side on to him.
“But you’ll feed me here?” Ethan asked, leaning into Kyle as he joined him. “Because I like that idea too.” He couldn’t help it, not when it was like this between them. They just worked, not long term, not love, but the back and forth, the push and pull, it was exciting and interesting and Ethan couldn’t get enough of it.
“If you’re good,” Kyle said, lifting his chin a little - as though he hadn’t spent all evening making ravioli from scratch and there was no damn way he was letting that go to waste.
“I’m always good,” Ethan reminded him, but leaned in to kiss Kyle’s cheek before looking at what he’d made. Kyle had surprised him with his love of cooking, though Ethan was hardly complaining about it. Typically, he got to reap the benefits. “Where do we start?”
“We start with--” Kyle broke off as the doorbell rang. “--Visitors, apparently.” Which was surprising - nobody ever came this far out. “Excuse me for a moment,” he said, stroking the back of Ethan’s hand and getting to his feet.
“Who would be coming by?” Ethan asked, too curious to stay where he was (and honestly a little afraid, the house was creepy), so he followed after Kyle. “You didn’t invite your other boyfriend over to dinner did you?”
“Ha, ha,” Kyle shot back over his shoulder as he headed for the front door. “You’re so funny E. Really, you’re… hil…” Kyle fell silent as he saw what was on the porch. He squatted down, pulling the box toward himself, eyes growing wide at the little mewl that sounded from inside it. He pulled at the bow, the silky ribbon slipping against itself and falling to the wooden deck of the porch. “E…” Kyle looked back into the house, even as he lifted the lid, already certain of what he’d find inside. His voice sounded loud in the dark night, the light from the house spilling through the doorway. “Did you do this?”
Ethan leaned in from behind Kyle, squinting in the dark to see the contents of the box. “Did I? Why would I leave it out here? ” he asked, making a face. “And ring the doorbell,” he added, looking up into the night, trying to spot whoever left it. “Trust me, I’d want the credit.”
“Yeah, you would,” Kyle agreed. His attention, though, was entirely on the box as he lifted what he decided was the world’s most adorable kitten from the depths. “Oh my god,” he breathed, bringing it up to cuddle in the join of his shoulder and neck as it started to purr. “It’s perfect.” Never mind that he’d more than half decided to adopt two cats, at least one of which was going to be older. Now that he had a kitten in his arms, he couldn’t imagine anything else.
Ethan made a face at that, looking at the kitten then the box. “Was there a note?” He grabbed the box, flipping it over and not finding anything. “Who just leaves it here? What if you weren’t here?”
“I don’t know,” Kyle said, as the kitten clambered out of his grasp and up into his hair, to his half panic, but mostly vast amusement. “Any note - maybe they saw us inside.” He gestured back toward where he knew the windows to the dining room were, the light from the room casting shadows on the deck.
Ethan’s frown was still there, leaving his eyes narrowed. He was still holding the box. “So you’re...okay with this? You wouldn’t let me get you one and now some...weirdo, just drops one off?”
Kyle couldn’t stop the wide grin taking over his face as he gently pulled the kitten from his hair and held it up before him so they could both see. “Isn’t he just the most adorable thing you’ve ever seen?” he asked, talking in baby tones. “Look at his little eyes and those ears and paws and whiskers and yes - we’re going to have to think of a name for you and…” He looked across at Ethan. “You any idea how to tell the difference between a boy kitten and a girl kitten?” he asked, lifting the animal up higher to figure that out. “Oh, okay - think I got it. Boy. Probably.”
“Kyle,” Ethan said after a moment, not answering the question about boy or girl because he had a feeling it was obvious. “Who left this here? Aren’t you worried about that? I thought you could get your own cat.”
Kyle tensed, the smile sliding off his face. Cradling the kitten to his chest, he turned to Ethan. This was the hard part of the evening. He just didn’t think it would arrive with a fluffy accompaniment. “Of course I can get my own cat. But I’m not going to abandon this one just because… Ethan. I - you - I didn’t want you to get me a cat. I really like what we have, but it’s not, well - it’s not ‘pet owning’ status or anything.”
Ethan crossed his arms over his chest. “You also know that’s not what I was going for. You wanted it, I can get it for you. Why is that so bad?” he asked. And sure, maybe he was feeling a little jealous, someone had left this here as a gift, a gift that Kyle would have flipped out about if Ethan had given it to him.
“Because I’m not your mistress, E! Or whatever. You know what I mean. I don’t want anything from you. You and I work because we don’t take anything to the next level. We don’t owe each other anything. I don’t want to have a cat that I think of you every time I look at it. I don’t want that kind of a connection.” Kyle wasn’t ready to open his heart to falling in love again. He knew he was too readily predisposed to it and he wasn’t over the heartbreak of last time it happened yet.
Ethan frowned. “I thought we were friends,” he said softly. “I thought that went above the rest.” He wasn’t invested in them as a couple, but he was invested in them as a duo, as two people who got along well enough and wanted to spend time together, but clearly he was alone in that.
“Of course we're friends! That's why I don't want anything to get in the way of that.” He didn't want to give his stupid brain anything to latch on to. He couldn't risk falling for Ethan Sinclair. “I like what we have at the moment. I want to keep that. I don't want to risk things getting weird when they really don't have to. I know me. If you gave me a cat, I'd want you to help name it. Then I'd get the idea that you should have co-parenting rights. Then it'd become our baby and… That side of me would smother you and this thing we have going would end. Probably messily.”
Ethan was upset until Kyle explained himself, then after traveling down that imaginary path with Kyle he got it. He didn’t want to lose his friend because he’d be a terrible cat co-parent. “Okay, okay,” he said softly, reaching for Kyle, kitten and all. “That’s fair. Just don’t think I want to start some sort of family of weirdness just because I like the idea of getting you something every now and then.” He pet the kitten’s head with one finger and before his smile slipped away again. “That doesn’t solve the question of who did leave it here.”
“I don't mind you buying me appropriate gifts,” Kyle agreed, though he changed the emphasis a little. As long as they weren't sleepwalking into a relationship and Kyle kept his independence, they were fine. In actual fact, Kyle loved presents - both giving and receiving them. “I have no idea who dropped off this beautiful boy. Or why they didn't just stay.” It was no secret in town that he'd been after a cat, but still - this was more than a little odd.
“Maybe it was some sort of weird surprise,” Ethan said, looking around the area. “You’d think we would have heard them, or whatever. You have a secret admirer I don’t know about?”
“If I do, he’s so secret that I don’t know about him either,” Kyle said with a chuckle. “Maybe it’s just someone who needed to get rid of a kitten and knew I was looking. Decided to kill two birds with one stone - it was a pretty public announcement of intent I put up.”
Ethan looked at the box, then the kitten and shook his head. “That’s a gift,” he said. “Someone wasn’t offloading a cat. Not with the bow.” He shook his head a little and reached out to pet it. “Can’t blame anyone for liking you though.”
Kyle sighed, popping the kitten back into the box as the ball of fluff began to squirm to get down. “You’re right.” He picked up the box and headed back inside. “I’m keeping him though - no matter who he’s from. No little kitty is going to be homeless on my account, mystery or not.”
Ethan grabbed the ribbon off the porch because he knew Kyle would want it and followed him back inside, shutting the door behind him. “I would expect nothing less. What are you going to name him?”
Kyle looked over and raised a brow, but he didn’t make a point of the question. “I don’t know,” he said, brushing it off instead. “I’m sure something will come to me, sooner or later. I want to get a feel for the little guy’s personality first.” Sure, it would have been easier just to come out with a decisive name, right off the cuff, but Kyle had always had a problem with being decisive. In that, well, he wasn’t very good at it.
“I’m allowed to ask,” Ethan pointed out, holding his hands up in mock surrender. It wasn’t like he was going to weigh in on it. “Just don’t name him something lame.” Okay, maybe he would weigh in.
“Please,” Kyle said, making a show of pretending to be offended, mouth agape as he closed the door behind them. “As if I would ever do anything that was lame. Now, come and help me find somewhere safe to bed this little guy down for the night.”
“You're making the assumption there's somewhere safe in this house,” Ethan murmured half under his breath.
“Annnnnd we’re back on the ghost theory again,” Kyle breathed. He looked over, arching a brow. “Or are you just suggesting that maybe there’s a little instability--” Kyle broke off, then thrust the box into Ethan’s arms. “Hold this. Look after him. I’ll be right back,” he said, before dashing off to close doors to the parts of the house that he really didn’t want explorakitty getting into. Which at times was a feat, given that the stair treads were on their last legs, meaning that Kyle had to half hop up them so he didn’t do himself an injury.
The box mewled the moment Kyle left, but Ethan tilted it a little, trying to get a look in one of the holes. “Trust me, you don’t want to wander around here. I don’t want to wander around here either.” He looked at the walls, then sighed. “We have to convince him to move, you and me.”
“I heard that!” Kyle called from upstairs, forcing the third bedroom door closed and then placing a loose board in front of it, just in case. “No turning kitty against me! I refuse to be ganged up on!”
“There's a very nice guest house on our property!” Ethan called back, rolling his eyes even if the cat nor Kyle could see him.
“And that's very nice for your guests,” Kyle said, though he waited until he got back downstairs again. “But Kitty and I will be just fine here. Now, should we go and finally eat?”
“Please, let’s,” Ethan said, holding out the box to Kyle again when he returned. He’d had enough interruptions.