After having a talk with Dani, Ehren felt much better than he had in the prior weeks and while work was never really what he wanted to do with his time, being there was much more cathartic now that his mind was more clear. Sadly, today, one of the circuit breakers was busted and a good half of the warehouse was out. Also sadly, it wasn’t his part so he was forced to work through it while some of his co-workers got a paid break. He’d seen Logan walk in and head straight to the circuit breaker but he didn’t think it would be the right time to approach him since he did have a job to do, so he waited, continuing his work on the machine parts which were used for god knows what.
The mood was typical in the shop, tons of macho attitudes, men talked about women in ways he wasn’t a fan of, and other hyper masculine things he never found interest in. He was used to it though, mechanics were the same. When the power finally came back on he watched Logan make to leave. Shutting off his machine and taking a towel to wipe the grease off of his hands he made his way toward Logan who was filling out some paperwork.
“Hey Logan. I don’t know if you remember me, you were pretty drunk. I’m Ehren.” He offered, a smile on his face. It seemed that the other man did manage to make it through the night, which lifted a heavy burden off his shoulders.
Experience tends to come in the places where you would least expect it, as the way most things in life do. Being able to fix things - machines, electronics, houses - came from watching his father tinker with things in their shop. He’d grown good at handy work, at least enough to get by and make an honest living for his family before now. Presently he did it because it gave him something to do.
He ignored a lot of the conversation on purpose, didn’t address anyone or anything other than the task at hand needing his attention.
A few motions and trials later he managed to get the breaker running, operating. With satisfaction and a bit of pride the panel was closed and Logan wiped his hands on a tag hanging from his tool belt and then turned toward the place he would go to fill out the report on the status of the job.
Feeling someone approach Logan paused mid sentence to look up at who was coming. Posture was straight but relaxed upon seeing who it was. “I remember,” he breathed politely, nodding. “From Josie’s.”
The pen would be set down. Paperwork would be set aside in favor of being personable. “You okay?”
It seemed like an odd question to ask considering Ehren was the one who dragged him home, drunk out of his mind but he’d reply anyway. “Yeah, no I’m good. Greasy..” he gestured to the state of his arms “...but good. Did you get the stuff I left for you at your front door?” He asked, knowing well that things left out didn’t often stay left out in this place.
“That must have been one hell of a hangover.” He added with a little smile, because he’d been there many times before. Ehren had a habit of drowning his anxiety with liquor, specifically scotch, and it was no secret that he’d had a fair share of hangovers in his life.
His eyes wandered down to the tool belt on Logan’s hips, the tell tale signs of a diligent maintenance worker. It seemed silly that he’d never noticed before how he wore it whenever he came to fix things.
A little smile was offered in reply to the joke about being greasy. He figured they all were in some state of being soiled: grease, sweat, whatever would come from the task. “Yeah. Thanks.” Sometimes things didn’t always make it where they were supposed to go but he’d been grateful for the small, kind gesture.
Upon mention of the hangover Logan’s eyes dropped a little. “It gets easier.” That was the honest, the frightening part. It got easier to handle every year. Gaze lifted and he watched with a bit of interest as the other man’s eyes fell.
“You should let me repay you for your kindness.” He didn’t like being indebted to anyone, especially not for something he did to himself.
Returning his gaze to Logan his eyebrows raised. “I mean, I was just looking out for you, but sure, if you’d like.” He didn’t often feel indebted to people but he knew how uncomfortable it could be when he did. Ehren didn’t feel like Logan owed him anything though, simple human kindness should have been expected, but that wasn’t how this world worked.
The rag in his hands was soiled from the grease so he placed it down on the break room table next to him. “What were you thinking?” He asked. He really could use another friend in this crazy world they lived in, and while he did seem like a ball of anger and regret, he did seem like he was, at his essence, a good person.
He could understand the value of kindness - lately it wasn’t something one could extend without something to offer in return. Had Ehren refused he wouldn’t have pushed but part of him was glad the other hadn’t. Though how he would even repay a small kindness was beyond him.
“I don’t really know,” he admitted. It was something he’d thought of, considered, but not enough to pin anything down. That and he didn’t know Ehren very well so it was hard to pick something that the other person would like. They had one thing in common, but that seemed faux pas.
No longer was he good at coming up with ideas to suffice for casual encounters. Before it hadn’t been much of a challenge.
“What sort of stuff do you like?”
It was endearing that even though Logan knew nothing about him that he was still intent on paying him back. A shy smile came to his face, the freckles that peppered his cheeks brightened a bit. “Uh, books, booze and dogs but you can only find about two of those here.” He offered with a smirk, stuffing his hands into the pockets of his work pants.
“You don’t have to do anything for me if you don’t want to. I’m just happy to know you’re doing ok.” Maybe ‘doing ok’ was over simplifying it. Ehren was rarely ever ‘doing ok’ but he’d tell his friends he was of the situation wasn’t too dire.
“I do have a pretty stellar Super Nintendo at home that I’ve grown fond of too.” He added, forgetting how much of his time outside of writing he’d spent playing games from his childhood.
He brought a hand up to his right cheek which had mostly healed at this point but was still scraped from where his face hit the floor right before a vision. It was still a little tender.
Wolves weren’t dogs but they came as close as possible, he supposed. A nod would come at the three options presented and he considered each one of them equally. “I want to,” Logan replied. He wasn’t going to refuse now that it was a thing. That felt worse than just letting it go.
His eyebrows arched at the mention of the gaming console. “I don’t think I’ve ever played.” Logan couldn’t recall ever playing a lot of video games.
And that was when his attention went to the scrape upon Ehren’s cheek. A hand lifted, Logan caught Ehren’s chin gently in his fingers and he turned the other man’s face to expose the red streak. “Are you okay?” If someone had hurt Ehren, Logan wanted to know.
Ehren wasn’t expecting Logan to grab his face like that but wasn’t altogether upset about it. How could he dislike the attention from the quiet strong type like him, it didn’t mean anything was going to happen, no matter how hard he wished. But then again, if this thing with Caspian worked out, maybe it could. “Oh yeah, no I’m fine. I slipped over the threshold into my apartment and face planted.” Which was not totally a lie, he had face planted but it was because he barely made it home before slipping into a vision.
“I should probably walk around covered in bubble wrap.” He joked, trying not to think about the way Logan looked at his bruise, like he was ready to make someone pay for it. There was something so appealing in that and thinking much more about it was only going to frustrate him. “It was after the storm, I think I was just a little shaky on my feet from sitting on the floor in the Facility.”
An assessment would come and he determined quietly that he had no right to presume that Ehren was telling him anything other than the truth. A nod, and Logan’s hand fell from Ehren’s chin.
The storm had been a different catalyst all together, a lot of people had gone a bit crazy. He’d been out in it trying to help residents get to safety. And then he’d run into Dorian.
“I think all of us are still sort of reeling from it,” he confessed, nodding at Ehren. It was natural to be a little shaken after something like that.
Trying to get back on track Logan once more thought about the options given. A library seemed like a lame way to pay someone back for a favor, the Marketplace had some books but he didn’t know if any would suit Ehren’s taste. Then he reminded himself he had no idea what that was.
And Josie’s seemed too wrought with connotation.
“You should let me get you a book or something.”
That was the safest verdict he could think of. Unless Ehren has a better idea.
A smile came to his face again, with a nod. “Yeah that would be cool. I don’t really have much at home. I like William S Burroughs and Sci-fi and fantasy.” Wow he must have really sounded like a complete dork. “But I’m always up to read something new, I’m not totally particular.” He offered, since Logan did seem to need to know a direction to go.
“Just don’t get me any paperback romance novels. I take one look at those authors and it’s a picture I can’t erase from my memory.” He joked, a quiet chuckle escaping his lips.
Logan had never been much of a reader. Not even the instructions for a project, he was better with his hands and figuring things out by trial and error than trying to be patient with a play by play.
“Cool. Let’s do that then.” Not right then, of course. Neither of them were dressed or ready for an excursion to the Marketplace unless there was fixing to be done.
“I’ll let you pick,” he assured the other man. He didn’t want Ehren to get something he didn’t want or like, that would defeat the purpose.
He wanted to go together? Honestly that was even better, it gave him more of an opportunity to get to know this new acquaintance. He wasn’t sure exactly what it was about Logan but he seemed like he might be a good resource for Ehren’s ‘healthy network of socialization’ that his therapist had harped on when he still saw one. “Cool, uh, I’m off in a few hours, if that works for you?” He offered, although now he realized how desperate he sounded.
“Or some other time, I don’t really have much of a life lately so I’m pretty open.” Again, sharing way too much information. Why not just come right out and tell the man that you’re certifiably insane.
Why wouldn’t they go together? He only knew a little about Ehren, trying to fly solo on getting him anything of any worth was better done with the other there. It was like trying to choose a birthday gift for a stranger at this point.
“No, that’s fine.” A nod would come as he thought over the next few hours up until that point. It wasn’t as if he was doing anything substantial either.
“Meet where? The Marketplace or..?” Was it presumptuous to pick one of their places?
They lived in the same complex so it seemed silly to be coming from the same place to the exact same place. “I’m in 107 if you want to stop by. Kind of makes sense to just meet where we both live.” It was a sort of ‘I’ll show you mine since you showed me yours’ kind of offer. It only seemed fair since Logan didn’t know where he lived and he knew where Logan lived.
“Come by around 5?” He added, since a few hours was kind of vague. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d said something like that, maybe the last time he’d been on a date that wasn’t the first or the second. It had been too long.
He could plan on that. At least someone had an idea of how this was supposed to work. Five would come too slowly, and then much too quickly.
“Okay. I’ll come to your place and we can go from there.” The plan reiterated sounded much better than anything he could formulate on his own and he felt more confident for it.
There was no intention behind the meeting other than ensuring that his debt to this man was paid.
“Great.” Ehren replied, picking up the rag from the table to stuff back into his pocket. He was actually out at four but he never went anywhere after work without taking a very long shower. He gave Logan a small wave before heading back to work for the day.
Work went slowly as he had predicted. Any time he had an opportunity to glance at a clock the minutes read five, ten, fifteen after the first glance. It was frustrating.
But finally he was out - earlier than five but with the promptness to be showered and dressed, upon the doorstep of one oh seven as the clock chimed the hour.
Usually he went home, showered, found something already prepared to eat and did so. If it was a night where the next day was one free of work he might go to Josie’s. But then the evening ahead was still ripe for sitting at home and wallowing.
Once he had showered and dressed in plain clothes - jeans and a tee shirt, comfortable shoes - Logan made his way to Ehren’s place. A knock would come, soft but deep was the echo of fist upon the door.
Slow was right, Ehren felt the hours tick on like the resting heartbeat of a corpse, but finally the time came. He was happy to get home and shower to get the grime and grit from the day off of him. He’d grown accustomed to it from the years he was a mechanic but it still always felt so good to be clean. When the knock came, Ehren hadn’t even had a chance to put a shirt on, must have spent too much time on his hair. It was growing far too long at this point.
Not evening realizing he’d still been shirtless he grabbed the doorknob and opened it to Logan. Immediately he realized his mistake. “Hi, uh come in, I’m sorry let me put a shirt on.” Well now that was embarrassing.
Logan had turned to look at something caught in the corner of his eye after knocking. The sound of rustling from the door was what coaxed his gaze back and he saw that where the flimsy, hollowed door once was there stood a shirtless Ehren.
“Hey,” he managed, keeping his eyes on those of the other man. It seemed lecherous to even attempt to observe anyone in such a state. Not that he hadn’t wanted to.
“Don’t worry about it.” The comment was casual. Logan crosses the threshold of Ehren’s place, closing the door behind himself politely to keep the bugs out.
He yelled from the bedroom as he scoured his closet for a good shirt. “Thank you, it’s kind of bare. I never really felt like I never really found anything here that made me feel like home.” Finally he found an under shirt and short sleeve button down with corgi’s on it. He walked out back into the living room and smiled at his guest. The only thing that decorated his apartment was pages and pages of manuscripts, none of which had been read by much of anyone.
“Yeah I’m not really good at organization either.” Noticing the fact that they were just standing in his apartment. “Shall we?” He suggested, gesturing toward the door.
His own was bare, too. Not a hint of decoration, anything to make it personal or that anyone lived there at all. Maybe it was his detachment from the situation, maybe it was the idea that it couldn’t be real if he didn’t leave any impression on it.
One of those manuscripts was plucked up and lifted. He studied it while Ehren was busy doing what needed to be done. When the other man returned the paper was set down on the same stack and Logan nodded.
There would be no judgement of any kind from him regardless. He paused to open the door, holding it for Ehren.
A small smile played on his lips as walked through his door. He was a gentleman for sure, so many different things in his behavior had suggested that deep rooted sense of chivalry in his psyche. “Thank you.” He said and waited for Logan to close the door behind him before taking his keys out to lock the door.
“Where are from, before here I mean? If you don’t mind me asking.” He wondered out loud, endlessly curious about the other man. He seemed outwardly to be a good person but small ticks gave away a troubled history. They walked out toward the walkways that would lead them to their destination, Ehren’s hands pushed deep into his pockets.
A toss of his head and his long, blonde hair tumbled off a shoulder. It was pesky and often fell into his eyes unbidden. Once Ehren was outside the door would be closed so that it could be secured appropriately.
“Chicago,” came the answer to the question. He wandered along after Ehren until they could walk side by side. “You?” Questions always seemed to come but that was how someone learned about another.
“Spokane, born and raised. Never actually been outside of Washington.” He admitted, which was a sad thing to think about, because he might never be able to again. Still, he could read and hear stories of places he’d never gone to.
“Tell me about Chicago. What is it like?” He didn’t mean what were the buildings like or what major landmarks were there. He wanted to know what it felt like to be there more than anything.
“Probably not a bad thing,” Logan offered. Other places weren’t as nice as Washington was. Chicago was terrible sometimes between the wind and the cold weather. It was more of the same here.
“Windy,” he began. “Big city, has a lot of crime like any place. Cold in the winter. Hot in the summer.” Typical big city plight. “It was home, though. Everything I had was there.”
“I get that. I had to leave behind my dog, Daisy. Killed me to have to give her away but I had no choice.” He missed her still, so many years later. It would have been different if he’d be able to have a dog after he lost her but he just had his memories of her, and it hurt.
“Guess I got it easy with the weather. Doesn’t really get very hot here often.” Which was true. Maybe once or twice in the summertime it would get a little warm, but it always cooled off by the night time.
He and Casey had a dog, a blue heeler, that he’d left in the dust along with everything else. “I know what that’s like.” Now he was a dog. A mongrel if the guards were concerned.
“They’re family. Hard to leave them behind.”
When the weather was mentioned Logan shrugged. “Milder here for sure. Rains a lot. Probably because we are on an island, though.”
“I thought you liked the rain.” He said with a smirk to Logan. Maybe he didn’t remember saying that as he was very drunk. Still, it was endearing when he drunkenly spoke about such small pleasures.
“If I didn’t like it before, that storm has made it that much harder to sway in my favor.” He really didn’t mind it for the most part, as long as he wasn’t trying to look good. His hair turned into a frizzy mess that only tamed if he washed it again.
“That never changed,” Logan assured the other man. He still loved the rain. He loved it more when he was a wolf; the scent of the raw earth coupled with the tears of God was unparalleled. The way the air flowed through your fur when you ran which felt nearly as if you were flying —
“You shouldn’t hold that against the rain,” Logan expressed. “We are on an island. It’s bound to happen.” He would imagine they had hurricane season here, tropical storms, a rainy season, or something dire along those lines. It was inescapable.
He really didn’t have a huge problem with the rain, he’d grown up playing amongst puddles and dancing when the first droplets began to fall, but it didn’t hold the same spark as it did when he was a child. “You could still change my mind, but you’d have to give me some really good reasons.” It wasn’t as if he actually expect Logan to do that, they hardly knew each other.
As they approached the market he looked ahead to see what the crowd was like. Most people were in their homes eating, a few here and there working or shopping. “You know it’s funny, this idea of going shopping, like any of us chose to be here.”
“About the rain?”
A glance would be cast sideways with mild interest. There were so many things about the rain that had to be experienced to know for sure. It wasn’t raining now.
“It’s cleansing. In the summertime, when it’s warm, the way it washes your skin is unlike anything.”
And then he fell silent as the market came into view.
“I did. I came here.” He chose to be here, chose to escape the life left behind in Chicago.
That was a shock. He’d never met anyone who came here voluntarily, and the idea seemed crazy to him. But nobody knew it would be the way that it was, maybe Logan still didn’t understand everything that happened on this island. “Oh, well, I suppose there are worse places to be.” He offered, since he didn’t totally understand it.
He had wished to address Logan’s comment on the rain but his second statement flabbergasted him. He couldn’t really move past it. “Can I ask why you chose to be here?” He asked, although he was sure the answer was heavy with personal relevance.
Of course there were worse places to be. They could be imprisoned in a foreign country without rights, held on charges that were superfluous.
“Nope,” he breathed, shaking his head. He wasn’t ready to tell that story. Not to a stranger, at least. “You just have to trust me.”
There was that word, trust. Ehren had a hard time trusting anyone and it seemed like he’d been giving it out a lot more than was safe lately. Still, he couldn’t blame Logan for wanting to keep secrets. He had many of his own. “Ok, no that’s, it’s fine. I didn’t want to pry, I’m just nosy I guess.” He shook his head at himself as they found themselves inside the shop, heading toward the books.
“I guess you’re right about summer time rain. Where I’m from it rains in the freezing cold and if you stay out too long, it takes a full day to feel warm again.” And he’d had a few of those. With his mom being a nurse, she’d fuss over him every time he came back from being in the rain.
He didn’t want to talk about it. Talking about it made it real and he didn’t want to relive that horror again. It was bad enough it haunted him.
In silence they continued along together, moving side by side. When the rain was mentioned Logan glanced over at Ehren. “Not so bad. Not even the bugs are that bad.”
Ehren chuckled a bit at that and started to peruse the selection. The library definitely had more to offer, but you couldn’t keep those books. “I always loved rolly polys when I was a kid. I would touch them and watch them ball up.” He eyed a William S. Burroughs book but it was the soft machine which was one of the only books he owned.
“I’m now realizing that it was probably torture.” He didn’t mean to say it out loud but there it was nonetheless. “What’s the worst kind of bug? I feel like everyone had a different answer for this.”
As they entered the Marketplace and then the bookstore, Logan took a glance around. He watched the people, noticed the wares, and hung close to Ehren. “Centipedes,” he murmured.
Finally he found Ehren’s gaze, “centipedes were my favorite when I was a kid. They bite but they have so many legs.”
And then he answered quickly, “Mosquitos. You?”
He thought about this for a moment. What bugs plagued him as a child? Then he remembered. An angry beetle biting his leg before he’d managed to step on it. “Beetles. There’s this kind around here, something about the devil, I forget what they’re called. They have these pinchers that hurt like hell.”
Something amongst the shelves caught his eye, a read he hadn’t read in a while. Probably because it was depressing. ‘Where the Wild Fern Grows’ haunted him as a child and his sense of morbid curiosity was peaked.
Nodding in understanding, Logan tried to picture the type of insect that Ehren was describing. “That sounds awful.” He wasn’t particularly fond of bugs. As a human he did his best to stay away from them, as the wolf he evaded them too for the most part but he had eaten his fair share of spiders in the forest from time to time.
Logan followed Ehren around the shelved, browsing without really looking.
He began to peruse the fantasy aisle which was where he should have gone in the first place. The first thing he noticed was ‘The Name of the Wind’ which was a book he was recommended ages ago. He picked up the book by the spine off the shelf and looked down at the description. Then his gaze averted. “You know, this is kind of weird. I feel like a kid picking out a Christmas present for himself.”
His gaze came up to meet Logan’s. “Do you like reading?” He asked, curiously. Logan didn’t seem very interested in the books lining the shelves of the book shop.
It wasn’t that the wasn’t interested, he felt a bit intimidated by all of the books. He didn’t know what he liked because he hadn’t really been in pursuit of literature.
“I do, I don’t really do it a lot though,” he confessed. Did that make him stupid? Around those who enjoyed books he felt beneath them.
“Get whichever one you want, really.” He didn’t care how much it cost. It was nice to have someone else to spend the stipend on. It was way too much for him.
Ehren had never felt himself above anyone, he was damaged and nerdy, but he wasn’t arrogant. Deciding that the book in his hands was the one for him he held it up to show Logan.
As they made their way toward the register, his mind wandered, thinking about what sorts of books Logan would read. “Do you have a hobby? I’m sure you noticed I’m a writer.” Although recently was the only time one could really call him that.
“Yeah,” he replied, nodding at Ehren. He had noticed that the other man was a writer. And then he shook his head. “I mean I like to exercise but you know how that is.” He was good at fixing stuff, too.
“I’m good at fixing stuff. Nearly anything.”
When they approached the line a smile formed on his face. “Like an engineer. That’s fascinating. I’ve always wondered what the thought process is like when it comes to fixing things.” He commented, taking a step as the next customer was served.
“I like working out too, it helps…” he stopped himself. Ehren wasn’t embarrassed of his diagnosis but Logan was still a new person and sometimes it he talked about it too quickly, people retreated before they got a chance to get to know him. “...well with everything I guess.” Part of him felt ashamed for not being open and honest with Logan but if an actual friendship blossomed out of this, he’d have time to own up to it.
“I don’t know about that, I’m not a smart person,” he explained. He was smart but he wasn’t looking to get personal with it. “My pop owned a fix it shop. I’ve been fixing stuff since before I could talk.”
Or at least that was what the woman who claimed she was his mother had told him. But then what did she or his father actually remember?
“Helps?” He inquired, looking over at his new friend with interest.
A smile came to his face, but not much of a genuine one if you looked closely. It was hiding sadness. “A story for another time.” He offered as it was finally their turn and he placed the book on the counter for the clerk to ring up.
“And I think it takes a lot of intelligence to fix things. I was a mechanic for a long time and it took me forever to really get the hang of it. If I were still doing it, I’d still be learning.” Which was probably why they set him up at his job, even though it was a completely different field.
A nod would come. He wouldn’t press just now because there were others around. As he stepped forward with Ehren and the clerk rang up the book, cash would come out of a pocket and be laid down. This time he wouldn’t be thwarted. He was repaying a debt, after all.
The book was bagged up and Logan accepted it, turning to offer it to Ehren.
“What are you talking about?” He inquired, shaking his head. He just knew what to do. That wasn’t smart. Books were smart.
A smile came to his face as Logan questioned him, a playful roll of the eyes followed. “I’m saying you’re wrong. You are a smart person, from what I can tell. But what do I know? I’m not really a smart person either.” In more ways than one, it was why things always seemed to go wrong for him.
Exiting the book shop was always an exciting moment. He could never quite wait to get home to start reading it. Sometimes he wouldn’t, he’d find a spot in the market and just sit down to start reading. Now though, he was far more interested in learning more about Logan.
Eyes would narrow in a playfully exasperated way. “Are you always so self-depreciating?” It was a tease of course. Nobody hated themselves more than he did. They couldn’t. He literally killed his family. Or at least that was what he told himself.
“You’re a smart person. You wouldn’t be where you are if you weren’t.” Wisdom from Logan. Take it and put it into your pocket for later.
A nod would go to the cashier. He didn’t notice her swoon as he turned away, eyes on the door. “So, I guess you’re ready to get started on your book. I’ll walk you back home.
The compliment was noted, a secret smile came to his face at that, trying not to give it away if he looked over. They made their way through the market down the path back to their apartment complex. “Yes I am always this self-deprecating but it’s kind of charming so people usually just let me keep doing it.” He teased back with a soft chuckle.
Ehren had noticed the way the cashier looked at Logan, hell he was sure anybody who looked at him did the same thing. And Logan couldn’t be more oblivious, although something about him suggested that maybe it was intentional. “Well thank you, I don’t feel smart all the time.”
At the mention of walking home, Ehren nodded, looping his hand through the bag before stuffing both of them back into his pockets. “Yeah that sounds good. I have a bottle of scotch with my name on it and thanks to you, I also have something to read.”
“That’s so yesterday,” Logan remarked, shaking his head at Ehren. “Charming has lost its value.” Most people nowadays got offended if you held the door for them. Logan did it anyway but someone like Ehren was bound to take the whipping for being chivalrous. But that wasn’t his place to tell people what to do.
“Smart just sort of comes and goes.” He’d found that out the hard way. Often people thought he wasn’t smart. He was alright with that. The fewer who got to know him the better. “You’re welcome.”
“Sounds like a perfect night.”
“Well I’ll try harder not to be self-deprecating around you.” Although who knew if that was true. Ehren didn’t really know how not to be, so often the things he said mirrored the thoughts in his head.
“Should be pretty good, not as fun as dragging drunk people home but I’ll take what I can get.” He joked, the complex coming into view ahead of them.
“Please,” he joked. Who was he to talk though? Probably hypocritical at best and he knew it. It was confirmed by the next quip which Logan made himself find humorous.
“Hey, I was walking. You couldn’t lift me.” That was as close to jest as he could get. The ring on his finger felt heavier then, though only for a moment.
As the apartments came into view he felt a sense of relief. He felt like running away, hiding under a rock. But he moved forward regardless.
Ehren faked a scoff. “Are you saying I’m scrawny? I work with heavy machinery daily and… yeah ok so I’m scrawny. I’m pretty sure if it wasn’t for me you’d have walked right into a wall and woken up in the middle of the street.” He wasn’t actually offended, more amused.
They were closer now, almost to Logan’s apartment and he figured all good things must come to an end. Ehren had really enjoyed spending that time with Logan, without his whole history being on display, it almost felt like being a completely different person. A person who didn’t have to be afraid of anything.
He looked back up at Logan, studying his profile for a moment. Taking the bag in his hand he lifted it up. “Anyway, atonement successful.”
A chuckle was offered in lieu of an actual reply. He didn’t feel up to discussing that evening or any of the events surrounding it. “Thanks.” Credit was given where it was due and no more or less than that.
Light steps would carry them toward the building, inevitably to his doorstep. Pausing, he lingered there a moment or two, watching Ehren. “Good to know. Glad you like it.”
The other also seemed different somehow, as if Ehren had changed on the journey back to the apartments. Keys would come from a pocket and Logan unlocked his own door. “Guess I’ll see you around.”
When they came to Logan’s door Ehren stopped to see him off. He didn’t normally get so comfortable talking to people until he’d known them better so something about it said that they could be good friends.
“Listen I like to drink alone and you like to drink alone. Maybe we can do that together sometime.” It then occurred to him that it sounded like he was asking Logan on a date. Not that he didn’t want to, Logan was a handsome man, but he didn’t know if he’d ever be able to date anyone ever again.
“I’m sorry that sounded like I was coming on to you, I just meant that it’d be nice to have another friend.” Someone he didn’t feel indebted to because he’d become that friend to many of his.
Before he opened the door, Logan pivoted slightly to get a better look at Ehren. “Why would you want to?” He quipped, trying to sound more playful and less pathetic and succeeding in both. “Don’t worry about it. I didn’t think you were trying to do that.”
“I’d like that. Drinking alone, together.” It sounded sort of nice, if he was being honest with himself.
A smile spread across his face and he looked down to his pockets to grab his phone out. He unlocked the screen and handed it to Logan to put his phone number in. “Don’t worry I won’t abuse it, unless you want me to.” He jokes because of course he wouldn’t. Only Riley, Finn and Dani got that kind of harassment from him.
At this point he felt like maybe he’d been rambling the entire time they’d been together. That wasn’t necessarily like him, but it didn’t feel terrible either. All that conversation finally set free from his mind, it was exhilarating. “Besides I’ll probably be up all night reading, I won’t even touch my phone.”
The outstretched phone was considered. He wasn’t the type who just gave out his number willy nilly - he valued the quiet and the privacy that came with seclusion. “Might not always answer back right away.” It felt fair to warm Ehren.
Accepting the phone Logan took a second to remember what his own number even was before he plugged it in.
Once the information was in Logan offered the device back to Ehren. He felt around for his own phone and decided that he had probably left it in the apartment. With that in mind the door would open. He beckoned Ehren inside and shuffled off to find the mobile phone.
Under pillows on the couch, on the coffee table, near the kitchen. Finally he found it laying on the bedside table from the evening before. He plucked it up and brought it back, offering it to Ehren.
The last time he’s been in Logan’s apartment was when he’d taken him home drunk, and it was dark. Now light shone through the windows as the sun made its slow decent into the horizon. A phone was placed in his hand and he began to type the numbers into the device. “That’s alright.” He said handing the phone back to Logan. “I’m patient.”
He offered a small smile before turning back to Logan’s door. “I’ll catch you later, Logan.” Were the words that followed him out the door. He turned around at the threshold and offered a little wave before making his way out of the apartment back to his own.
Accepting the device back, Logan set it into a pocket for now. Later, who knew where it would end up. “Good to know.”
A wave would be offered. Once Ehren was outside, Logan would close and lock the door behind the other and shuffle back into the apartment to ease into the rest of the evening ahead.