He hadn’t seen Riley in a couple of weeks and Ehren was dying to tell him about everything that had happened between then and now. Earlier that day he’d sent a quick text that read “Mario Kart, my place, 7pm.” He wasn’t usually so demanding of his friends but they also usually just went along with it anyway.
Ehren had the necessary supplies for a night full of Mario kart. Chips, beer, and other various snacks. He sat down at his couch and played a couple of games by himself while he waited for Riley. It wasn’t that he had to beat the other man, it was just that he wanted to.
The reply text was a photograph he’d pulled from the internet of Princess Peach in a Mario Kart followed by a wink emoji. After the back and forth about bringing stuff - snacks, beers, the awkward conversation that was a Kip friendship tradition - he got settled down and finished the rest of the day ahead with anxiousness coupled with excitement.
Ehren couldn’t be good at everything. Riley was the best at hide and seek if they were comparing notes. He might not have been the best poker player or karaoke singer but his rendition of Jolene had never gotten him thrown out of a bar in his life. Nor had it gotten him far in American Idol. But that was a story for another day.
At seven minutes before seven sharp Riley sauntered down to his friends place for the prospect of what would be a grand evening. Kicking ass on the rainbow bridge was his specialty. Upon reaching the door he paused and knocked, waiting for his friend to let him in.
“What’s up, bro!” He chimed upon seeing his friend where the door used to be. Riley beamed, “Ready to be pummeled with Koopa shells and banana peels?”
With a beer in hand ready for Riley, he handed it to his good friend and opened up the door wider for him to step inside. “Please, you’ll end up hitting them yourself as I surpass you by three laps.” He jested, giving his friend a pat on the back as they made their way over to his couch to get started on some serious Mario Kart. “I have so much to tell you, I don’t even know where to start.”
He could go into how he was detained, but he thought it best not to tell Riley because it would only worry him. “What has Finn told you already? I don’t want to start from the beginning if you already know.” He stated, cueing up the game for them to start. They’d start with something easy, like the Mario Circuit and then make their way to rainbow road.
“Whaat?” He proclaimed, excited by the beer being extended. “Where have you been my whole life?” A laugh and he took a sip, shuffling into the apartment. And then a puff of air would come - pfft - coupled with a playful roll of the eyes.
“Start at the beginning!” His drink would be set safely down and a controller would be plucked up. “Uh,” he paused, trying to think. They talked about a lot of stuff.
And then it hit him. “Oh! The pink haired girl, Meg. That you and Meg had a thing.” He emitted a saucy growling noise and nudged his friend in the arm with an elbow.
“Well that’s not really happening anymore. I kind of passed out while we were having sex. Needless to say it wasn’t sexy and she and I are not seeing each other anymore.” He couldn’t explain exactly what happened but he thought this would be the easiest way to go around it.
As the level started he began to press the controllers as he moved around the different obstacles, trying to get some power ups. “But I met Dorian.” He added, wondering if Riley would understand where he’s going with it. “And we’re going to go out on a date.” Wow, Ehren realized he hadn’t really wasted time moving onto the next person.
“Bummer,” he murmured, shrugging a shoulder. “Sorry that happened man. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out.” He wasn’t judging anybody. Fingers would move deftly across the paddle, driving his little character to and fro trying to pass up who he could.
When Ehren mentioned Dorian, he lit up. “Yeah? That’s awesome! Dorian is amazing. Such a cool, sweet guy.” Not to mention he was handsome as all get out. He and Riley had spent some time together on Memorial Day and a few times before that just chatting and getting to know each other. “Really loves his family, too.”
At the mention of Dorians family he frowned. Dorian had barely told him anything about himself and he hadn’t told him about his family. He took a sip of his beer quickly before going through the last lap with Riley. “I got roughed up by a guard and started having a panic attack. He helped me through it and then brought me home and cooked for me.” Luckily it was a short encounter with the guard and all that he had to show for it was a small bruise on his back where he’d fallen down on a book.
There were things people didn’t tell other people - not for any specific reason, it just had yet to find its way into conversation. Riley had a way of getting to know people on a level deeper than just casual and superficial. But he didn’t know everything. Finn knew about his family but had never actually met them. And nobody else knew about Riley’s past. He just never talked about it.
Fingers pushed at the controller’s joysticks, cruising the character along the final lap of the race. “Yeah? That sucks, man. I had that happen a while back. Not the panic attack, but the ass kicking. Had a black eye for a week. You remember, yeah?”
“He cooked for you? Wow. That’s how you know someone cares. I love cooking.” The comment was made with humility. He knew he could cook in some of the finest restaurants if he wanted to but teaching was his passion.
In this round Riley surpassed him just as they reached the finish line and he shook his controller. “Damnit!” At least now he could sip on his beer some more. Before they started the next game he sighed and turned to look at Riley.
“Riley, I’m terrible at this stuff. What if he doesn’t want to tell me anything because he thinks I’m trying to use him? I really like him and I just feel like I’m going to fuck this all up.” Unless he already had by kissing Dorian when he was stressed out about his vision. Not only that but now he had the watchful eye of Roman on them and he wanted Roman as far away from Dorian as possible.
“Yes!” He exclaimed, rising to his feet with a fist raised triumphantly in the air. He shook his hips in a victory dance, totally smearing it in that he beat Ehren (even if it was just by a little bit.) “Booya! Eat that turtle shit!” Giggling like a child he sat back down onto the couch with a toddler like plop and swept his beer up for a victory sip.
And then his eyebrows arched when Ehren started getting a bit serious. Setting his controller and drink aside his attention went instantly to his friend. “Look, you gotta give people time to warm up to you. You just met the guy. If he’s trying to get hitched like yesterday you probably don’t wanna marry him. Dorian is a cool cat, like really smart and super funny but he comes off as shy.” In his experience with the tall drink of water Dorian left a lot to the mystery and Riley had a feeling that was the way the other guy wanted it.
“Go with what feels right. Take things the way they come. If he wants to move slow, be patient, if he wants to go fast, do it like rabbits do. I mean, you have to find a balance with each other that works for the both of you. I don’t tell Finn everything,” he expressed, then paused to think about it, “Well, almost everything is a secret, but I’ve also known the guy for years. I didn’t want him to know about my family for a long time, you know? Thought he’d think I was crazy or something. More than I am already.” That signature double Kip wink would be offered to his friend.
“Relax. Okay? I’ll teach you some freaking amazing dishes to make him and you’ll charm the pants right off of him.” And then he was laughing, “Speaking of pants, I need your laundry, dude.”
He was sure Riley but that wasn’t how Ehren’s mind worked. He couldn’t relax or go with what felt right because nothing ever felt right, nothing besides just being around Dorian. He finished up his beer and reached over Riley to grab another one out of the cooler, popping off the cap with a bottle opener. “Speaking of laundry, did you know you shrunk one of my shirts? Dorian says he knows a little girl who can take it and it’s your fault if you see a kid on the street with a shirt that says ‘I’m your daddy’.” Of course he was kidding, he definitely didn’t have a shirt like that but he did find a shirt of his significantly smaller than it was before.
“I think maybe we should just forgive the debt and let me ruin my own laundry.” He teased, taking a sip of his beer before cueing up the next game. As it started he leaned to Riley’s side like he was driving a real car. “We made out, you know?” He said, a small smirk playing on his lips.
His mouth made words without sounds to convey his amused surprise - “you have a shirt that says I’m your daddy?” - and then he was laughing. Who had a shirt like that? That was so early 2000, he loved it. “I did shrink your shirt. I felt bad, but now I don’t.” It was a tease, but he was glad someone was going to be able to use it after he ruined it.
This was why Finn did the laundry for the both of them. Riley could find his way fluidly around the kitchen, as if he were some sort of food brain surgeon, but the laundry room? Nah. You put the fabric softener there? Bleach here?
Smirking, he shook his head, “Bets a bet.” He wouldn’t go back on his word. “Hey, hey! That’s not fair!” He exclaimed, though the response could have been toward anything - the game or making out with Dorian - though it was geared more toward the former. “I’m glad for you. But kissing is like first base. Little kids kiss.” He teased, nudging Ehren with an elbow in hopes of making him screw up.
He veered the other way, as if it made any impact on how he was playing the game. “I’m sorry that I didn’t tear off his clothes, we haven’t even been on a date yet.” But they had one the next day, which was making Ehren all sorts of anxious. “I made some stuff for a picnic that I found in some cookbooks from the library but if all goes well then maybe you could teach me how to make a few things for another time?” He suggested, getting a star on the track and moving past Riley. “Yes!” He exclaimed, biting down on his lip as he concentrated.
He thought about earlier that day and couldn’t stop himself from saying something. “I ran into Roman at the market. I get a really bad feeling from that guy.” He didn’t want to say it to Dani, because she genuinely seemed happy, but Riley was at least a somewhat neutral party.
“No, that’s not what I meant.” He put his tongue between his lips in a serious way as if he were serious about the task ahead. “Kissing is good. It goes back to what both of you are comfortable with, and I was only teasing—“ his eyes widened, “what the—“ and then he was calm.
“— you.” He finished from the first pause. “You’re going to be fine. What’re you doing for your date?” The question came as his eyes were fixed upon the screen.
And then his questions had been answered. “I’d be happy to teach you,” he said, before nearly throwing the controller at the television.
“Ro—Roman?” He had to think for a second and then he nodded, “Yeah, that guy did something I don’t think anyone knows about once. But I was never there.” He ahemed and then tried to focus on the race.
Ehren paused the game immediately and turned to Riley. “What did he do?” He demanded, taking the controller out of Riley’s hand to set it down on the table. This was not going to just slip by unnoticed. If Roman did something terrible then he could just as easily do something terrible to Dani. He couldn’t bear the thought of losing another friend in this fucked up place.
“Riley, you have to tell me, I cannot let her keep seeing this guy if he’s a total creep.” And what wasn’t creepy about him? He was a government employee who seemed to know a lot about Dorian. What was his end game? Ehren couldn’t tell but he guessed it might be something unpleasant.
“No. That’s not how this is going to go.” The emotions were too charged, and while he wasn’t exactly into lying to his friends he knew when to hold off. His ability allowed him to blend in to certain places, he didn’t know if he’d ever shown Ehren what he could do or really anyone. “I don’t know what you’ve got against this guy but this isn’t the way to do it.”
“One of the residents stole an apple and he didn’t say anything,” Riley managed. “He’s so tall and intimidating, I hid. I didn’t want him to see me.”
“But you need to chill. What’s creepy about him? I mean, if it was me I would’ve let the guy steal an apple too.”
He didn’t mean to roll his eyes but he did. Riley was making excuses for him and yeah he supposed he was being a bit judgmental but Ehren really cared for Dani and he didn’t trust anyone who worked for the government. He averted his gaze to a wall, obviously annoyed, and took a sip of his beer before handing Riley back his controller.
Was he overthinking this? It would make sense given his inclination to overthink a lot of things. “Never mind.” He said and shut his mouth. If he didn’t he’d probably end up left alone with more snacks than any one person could eat alone. He’d get over it eventually, he’d just need to stew in his anger for a bit. Unpausing the game he refrained from his previous theatrics and concentrated on winning.
He paused the game again, moving almost dramatically to do so. “No. Really. This is a thing and it needs to be discussed, dude.” That roll of eyes was unwarranted. He didn’t understand the passive aggression when the story didn’t match up to what Ehren thought it did. “You trying to find dirt on this guy? I mean, the dude has a history of being in law. Who would trust him?” And he was a freaking giant.
If Ehren wanted to fight about it Riley was the best person to do that with. The Texan could be over dramatic but he was honest and he cared.
But then Dorian was probably as tall as Roman, give or take an inch. People like Riley and Ehren were easily overshadowed.
He sighed and closed his eyes before addressing Riley. “I don’t know, maybe I’m just projecting my own insecurities on to him. I just, i really care for Dani and she’s so trusting, you know? It’s one of the things I love about her but I don’t want to see someone take advantage of that.” He’d done just that for a long time but that was out in the open with her now and he was glad that he could confide in her.
“Can we just drop it? I will try to give him a chance if everyone seems to think he’s such a nice guy.” Try was the operative word here. Chances were he wouldn’t be able to succeed.
“Yeah, I understand. But sometimes you gotta let people find stuff out for themselves.” His mama had been like that in a sense and now she was gone because of it. “Trust me, if she’s so wrapped up in this guy which I’m sure she is, she ain’t listening to reason. She’s gotta see through him in her own time. If she doesn’t and something happens, even if they fight, it’ll just keep going. She will keep fallin’ for it.” His drawl had started to get a bit heavier as he spoke. “You aren’t doing anything wrong, trying to help her. Just be there for her the way a friend does when times are hard. She will come ‘round.”
It was challenging watching the people you love get hurt or be put into situations that you could only watch from the outside. But some people only learned from the scars of life and wanting to protect those people was natural.
Riley barked a laugh, “A nice guy? Roman? I don’t know much about the guy on purpose. I’ve seen him around, he’s been here nearly as long as Finn, I think. On the outside he is nice, but I don’t think he’s so good on the inside. I get a bad feelin’.”
It angered Ehren that Riley thought the same thing about him and yet still held Ehren back from looking up on him. He shrugged his shoulders, resigned to even arguing it anymore. If Ehren really wanted to know how they would end up, he knew what he had to do but at what cost? He couldn’t go on having too many visions because it made him feel a little weaker every time he did it.
He couldn’t help what came out of his mouth, no matter how hard he tried. “If you get a bad feeling then why don’t you tell me what he did?” He hadn’t meant to say it, meant to keep it bottled up inside but Riley was giving him mixed reactions and it was making his head hurt.
He wasn’t holding anyone back, merely offering some nuggets of whatever sage like advice he could muster for his friend. Ehren was going to do whatever he wanted at the end of the day much like anybody else would. “Look, I’m not trying to upset you or tell you that you’re wrong. I’ve been wrong about stuff a lot in my life, just trying to hear you out and offer some advice. You’re my friend and I care about you.” The future was fluid.
And then Riley blinked, “You think I would cover for that guy if I had something bad on him? I get bad feelings like anyone else would. Maybe they’re warranted, maybe they’re not. I try not to dwell too much on what I can’t control and don’t understand. Easier that way.” He didn’t want to get to know Roman but he didn’t necessarily hate the guy either. Just got an odd feeling when the other man was around, one he couldn’t explain or justify.
Ehren sighed, taking another sip of his beer and grabbing a chip to stuff in his mouth. “You’re right.” He said after he’d chewed and swallowed. He supposed he would just have to see how it all played out. Still, in the back of his mind he knew he’d come to a decision. He was going to spy into their future, whether anyone wanted him to or not.
Of course things didn’t always end up like they did in his visions, maybe something happened differently than it should have, but it could also help save her from a world of pain. “I’m sorry, I just, I care very deeply for her. You can understand why I’m so protective, right?” The truth was that the two of them could have been an item, if their timing had been different, but they grew too close quickly and it just didn’t seem right anymore.
Regardless of the advice Ehern would do what he wanted to do. Riley couldn’t stop that, he didn’t have mental abilities and even if he did he doubted he’d use them on the other man. He only hope that Ehren could tell Dorian about this and save face.
“Of course. I totally understand. But I also know that some people can’t learn with advice.” And then he smiled a little, “most of them are as stubborn as you.” If Ehren was that intent about being something with Dani the opportunity was still there if she trusted him that much.
He laughed at that, maybe it was a bad idea to misuse her trust like that and he was right, even if he peered into their future she’d probably still stubbornly go after Roman. “Ok yeah you’re right I’m stubborn, mostly.” But he was trying not to be stubborn right now.
The time for Dani and Ehren had come and gone and while he wished he could protect her forever, eventually he was going to have to leave that up to the person she was with. “But if he hurts her, I have a right to pull the republican dad card.” He didn’t have a shotgun but he knew people in high places in the faction.
Ehren unpaused the game, trying his best to beat Riley this time. Wanting a change of subject, he decided he’d rather talk about Dorian than Roman. “Dorians a good kisser, you know.” He said with a smirk, sort of a way to rub it into Riley’s face.
Riley grinned. And then he laughed at the Republican Dad comment, nodding, “I’ll get my NRA card and flash it around real good so he gets scared.” He didn’t actually have an NRA card, that was more of his Pop’s thing, but he figured Ehren would get the joke regardless.
As the game came back on Riley made a quick scramble for his paddle, effectively nudging at Ehren’s arm with an elbow in an effort to gain an upper hand.
When the comment came about their friend being a good kisser, Riley emitted a playful growl coupled with an eyebrow waggle, “I’ll have to beg to differ, my friend,” he grinned, “Finn is way better than Dorian.”
Laughter bubbled in his lungs as Riley made the NRA joke. With his drawl, Ehren knew Riley came from a very southern part of America but he’d long since lost some of those quirks.
Ehren was derailed both by Riley’s playful elbow and the statement about Finn being better that he drove himself into a corner. Trying to maneuver his way out from it he stuck his tongue out of the side of his mouth. “How would you know? You and Finn have been together for freaking ever.” He got back onto the track and tried to catch up with Riley. “Also, the two of you? Not fair. You can’t both be beautiful and then also perfect together. The world doesn’t work that way.”
A loud bark of a laugh - ”HA!” - flew from Riley’s mouth as Ehren’s character careened right into a wall. From behind Princess Peach’s go kart came a few banana peels for good measure.
The end of Riley’s nose crinkled in amusement, the joy and glee creased the corners of his eyes. “Duh, that’s what happens when you find your soulmate, silly!” He remarked, trying his best to stay on the road. Emitting a playful gasp he offered a side-eyed glance to his friend, a playful bat of his lashes. “Beautiful and perfect? My my, Ehren, if I wasn’t engaged I’d reckon to say you’re in love with me.” That was just a jab, of course.
“We aren’t perfect, trust me. I’ll take beautiful, though. I do look damned good in these jeans.”
At the comment about Ehren loving Riley he rolled his eyes and faked a gag. “Never mind I take that back, you and Finn are disgusting and chaotic. You two deserve each other.” He teased, “Aw.” Throwing his hands up in the air he hung his head low as Riley beat him by at least a full lap.
He grabbed his beer off the table and stuck out his tongue before smiling over the mouth of the bottle. As he tipped back the drink a bit spilled down his chin and down the front of his shirt. “Oh Jesus…” He gurgled through a mouthful of beer. Swallowing he grabbed a napkin off the table to clean the mess he’d just made of himself.
“You are so full of shit, Clemons,” he quipped. And then he was up again, dancing the victory shimmy. Hips moved from side to side as he danced with elation. “Boom!” He cajoled. And finally he sat down and set his controller down.
A giggle and then he swept his own bottle up, proposing a mock toast, “To my best friend!” And then he was giggling. “You’re not spilling beer! Dude, that’s a party foul.” Finally he managed to finish a beer, setting the bottle aside to toss away later.
“Probably should change that.”
He had to laugh at himself for how clumsy he’d been, so he stood shaking his head to walk into his bedroom to change his shirt. He supposed if Riley was really into fulfilling the bet he’d have to give him some laundry because he was running low on t-shirts. He grabbed the only one he had left that was clean, one of his old button downs from when he was a mechanic. He pulled it over his shoulders and walked back into the living to sit on the couch. The name tag read ‘Aaron’ which was what his boss had thought his name was spelled like.
“Before you say anything I tried to get the name changed but no one ever got back to me.” He warned, taking a sip of his second beer. “Besides, people would have probably said it wrong if my actual name was on there.” He picked up his controller began looking through the different tracks. It wasn’t time for rainbow road but maybe one of the other higher tier tracks would be good next.
Honestly he hadn’t even know the name tag or the error was there until Ehren pointed it out. His gaze would fall to it and a giggle would ensue, “Aaron. So common, so average,” he quipped playfully. It wasn’t as if Riley was any sort of a unique or exotic name, it was his though and he knew the hassle of having it not spelled or pronounced correctly.
“Good point.” Finishing the beer, Riley set the bottle aside and swept up his controller, eager to get started on the next race.
As the race started, Ehren sped ahead of Riley trying to get the first couple of added bonuses from the track. “Trust me, if I could go around spelling my name like a regular person I would, but those legal documents won’t take my fake name.” He got some bananas and he let out a silent “yes” and he let them loose behind him.
“Prepare to feel my wrath, I’m coming for you Riley and you are going to be sorry you ever crossed me.” He teased, leaning into his friend again to get him off course.
“Uh huh,” Riley quipped, focusing on the screen. Once in a while his body would move with the controller as if he were really driving, side to side, and then he mouthed a silent “shit” when the bananas went flying.
“Hey! Hey! Not fair, that’s —“ he laughed as his character got caught on an oil spill and went sliding around for a minute. “— cheating. You cheater!”
“I don’t think so, this game is free for all. The only rules are there are not rules so suck it up Kip.” After a few laps Ehren finally won one of the games on the course they were doing. He stood with his controller in his heads and raised them in the air. “Fuck yeahhhhh” he beamed, grabbing his beer to drink back the last of it. He leaned over Riley again to grab a beer and sat back down on the couch next to him.
He opened his third beer and took a sip out of it before grabbing a handful of chips. “I may beat you yet.” He added with a smug look on his face.
“I am not a Kip!” He exclaimed, righting his character on the track. Princess Peach scurried off after the rest of the cars. “God...doggit….fuck!” Riley laughed as Ehren won. He set the paddle down and giggled. “You’re the worst friend ever! Ever!” He quipped playfully.
Another beer would be grabbed and the top was popped. “You’re on, Clemens. You’ll never beat me. I’m good at Kart and Mario Party, mk?”
“I’m sorry, Thompson.” He corrected with a chuckle. He knew Riley had never been a fan of his last name and at least now he would get to change it. Finally it was time for rainbow road, which was the hardest one and he would have to be on his game to beat Riley. At least he’d made a little bit of a comeback.
“Want to make this interesting?” He asked. Laundry was already Riley’s punishment so he’d have to come up with the bet this time.
Riley never talked about his past with anyone. Nobody but Finn knew. He didn’t like to address it because it made him so angry. When they approached rainbow road he was eager.
“Oh, a wager!” He giggled. “What would you propose?”
“I chose the last one so I’ll let you pick it this time. Nothing too humiliating please.” He replied, taking a sip of his beer and placing it back down on the table. He knew Riley wouldn’t actually ask him to do something humiliating but if it was possible he was going to Ehren wanted to cover his bases.
“That includes nudity.” He added with a chuckle.
Actions surprised, Riley’s jaw dropped and he gasped, appalled. “I would never do such a thing!” He stated dramatically. Eyes would avert from the screen playfully and he would glance at his friend for a moment before his gaze found the television again.
“Hmmm...maybe you come clean my house for a month. Like really clean it.” Laundry, cleaning a house, seemed fair.
It wasn’t like there would be much to clean, Finn kept things fairly tidy.
A laugh bubbled up in his belly. “Are you sure Finn will be ok with that? I don’t want to step on his toes.” That and Ehren’s laundry was probably an easier task than cleaning an entire apartment. Still, he had asked Riley to choose so he supposed that it was fair enough.
“Ok deal.” He said with a smirk and extended his hand to give Riley’s a firm shake. He was lucky to have the friends he had, given the fact that he was constantly using them for support so if he did lose, it would feel nice to give back to his friends.
“Being doted on? Psh, are you kidding? That guy deserves to put his feet up once in a while.” Riley helped around the apartment when he could, mostly with the dishes and the cooking. Once in a while he vacuumed, made the beds, but if there was a chance that his fiancé could come back home to a clean house and relax, well, Riley would give it to him.
Riley shook Ehren’s hand to seal the deal, glad they could have friendly wagers between each other.
The deal was done so Ehren chose the rainbow road option before readying himself to not fall off the edge. It was the hardest level and he was sure the two of them would end up odd the edge at some point. “Well if it helps you get laid, please spare me the gory details.”
And they were off, trying to bump into each other to get the other one off the road. “Or actually do, I might need some blackmail material for later.” He teased.
Riley barked a laugh, tossing his head. “Like I need help, dude,” he quipped, keeping his eyes on the television screen. The end of his nose would wrinkle in amusement. “A good gentleman never tells, my good sir!”
An elbow would be nudged into Ehren’s side in effort to get the other to veer off of the road.
“Must be nice.” He replied a bit solemnly and then found himself run off the road. “Damnit!” He said, as a mushroom in a cloud fished him up and put him back down on the road behind Riley. Oh it was pay back time for sure.
He leaned into Riley trying to knock him off the track, a dirty trick they’d both been doing since the start of the game.
Before he could say anything to Ehren about the comment Riley saw his friend tumble from the road. A triumphant “Yes!” Was thrown out and a wiggle of his frame ensued.
Coasting along the rainbow road he let loose a couple of banana peels hoping to trip his friend up further.
And just as he expected, Ehren fell victim to the banana peel and spun around in place for a bit before finally getting back on the road. Finally he got a turtle shell and flung it toward Riley.
It would be wrong to say that Ehren didn’t envy the strong bond Finn and Riley had. He only hoped someday he could have the same.
“Holy shells!” He cried out, watching the turtle shell nearly miss his little cart. “Whew. We were about to have to have a bit of come to Jesus, Ehren,” he teased, cruising the little car on along the path.
Riley was certain that his friend would one day be able to have something solid and strong, that tended to happen when you least expected it.
“This game is not yet won.” He replied, inching closer and closer to him on the track. Suddenly he found a star and was avoiding obstacles like no ones business. He flew past Riley, an attempt to knock him off the road.
“Ha! See??” He said, watching as the star power disappeared.
“Aw damn!” Riley exclaimed, rushing to try to catch up with his friend. Everything that Ehren avoided, Riley managed to collide into which resulted in slowing his cart down.
“C’mon Peach, we ain’t lost this yet!”
Making soft “rrr” noises as if he were actually driving the vehicle he sped up and finally caught up to Ehren’s cart, coasting on his friends tail.
It was then when Ehren got cocky that he ran himself off of rainbow road by accident, delaying him for a bit. “God damnit.” He said and then got back on the road to be behind Riley. They were in their final lap now and Ehren was beginning to think that he’d be the one cleaning Riley’s apartment.
A shout of delight when Ehren ran off of the rainbow road erupted from the shorter man. Giggling, he careened his little vehicle around the curves and dove eagerly into the final lap.
Any power ups gleaned would be used to his advantage as fast as he could acquire and put them into play.
Before he knew it, he was hit by a mess of different obstacles and Riley was crossing over the finish line. He threw his hands up in the air and placed the controller back on the table. “Well, guess I better get a maids outfit.” He teased, polishing off his beer before standing up to put the empty bottles in the recycling.
“You should give me a spare key, so I can do it while you’re not there.” He offered.
“Yes!” He shouted, throwing his fist into the air in triumph as Peach crossed the finish line. “Woohoo! Take that Clemens,” Riley sassed, wiggling around in delight. The controller was carefully set down before it was unceremoniously thrown in victory, and Riley grinned like a child. “That was amazing.”
He realized he didn’t have a spare key but they could probably get one made. “Sure. A key for the maid, of course.”
He chuckled at his friend, cleaning up the various snacks and grabbing the beer to put back into his fridge. “Well, at least you can win at something with me.” He joked, his pride only a little bruised.
“Next time we’re playing pool again, and I will beat your ass.” Which was probably true, Ehren was good at pool.
A playful, faux gasp would be released, “How rude. I won fair and square.” Maybe Riley was a sore winner but he wasn’t doing it on purpose to hurt his friend. The occasions he actually won anything were so rare being overjoyed was the natural reaction.
He finally calmed and helped Ehren clean up the snacks and the drinks they’d left over. “Psh, no way I’m playing pool with you again.”
His eyes rolled and a soft laugh escaped his lips. “Come on, just because I’m good doesn’t mean I cheated. Besides I gave you some good pointers which you can use to win in the future.” He said, grabbing the last bag of chips to put back into his cupboard.
When everything was clean he gave Riley a smirk. “Thanks for coming over and listening to me. I know my soap opera life gives you ample entertainment.” He didn’t really think of it that way, it was really just part of their repartee.
“Uh, Yeah, that’s exactly what it means,” he scoffed playfully, shaking his head at Ehren. “Cheater cheater pumpkin eater.” A laugh would tumble from his lips as he continued to help his friend clean up the apartment.
As the clean up came to a conclusion Riley leaned against the side of the counter and grinned at his friend, “Nah, it’s what friends are for, dude. We have to be here for each other, even if you don’t always like what I have to say or vice versa.” They weren’t always going to agree but it was good to know they could be honest with each other even if it did upset one or the other. There was little that could come between Riley and his friends, he wasn’t looking to lose any over petty shit.
As he walked his friend to the door a genuine smile came to his face. He was grateful, grateful that his friends were always willing to listen to him bitch about his problems when it was obvious that he sometimes created problems in his head.
“Well then no thank you and get out of my apartment.” He teased. It had grown late and he was covering a shift earlier in the morning for a coworker.
The movement to the door was casual, easy. He wandered over after ensuring everything brought had been tended to or gathered up to take back with him. At the door Riley passed and grinned, looking up at the other man with fondness.
Laughing, he patted his friend on the side of the arm. Shaking his head in a playful way, Riley bade Ehren goodbye and left the apartment.