|Cristobal Rodriguez ♦ Coyote (coyoti) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-03-15 10:56:00
|Entry tags:||ares, coyote|
and I know we said we wouldn't
Who: Chris & Daniel.
What: Chris doesn't want to be alone after finding Nish nearly dead in her apartment.
Where: Daniel's apartment.
When: Following Nish's OD.
Chris sat at the traffic light, lost in his own thoughts until another car horn rudely awakened him to the fact that the light was green. He surged forward into the intersection, on his way back to Pax after dropping off Nish's POA at the hospital. He hadn't even wanted to leave the confines of the apartment complex after finding his friend facedown in her own vomit, but it turned out that the short sojourn had worked to clear his head a little.
He pulled into the Pax parking lot and paused, the car running. He toyed with the idea of calling [Maui], of talking to someone for some sense of normalcy in that moment when everything seemed so surreal. No matter how many times he'd done it, how many people he'd called paramedics for, or seen die from an overdose, he didn't think he'd ever get used to it. And the fact that had Nish had gotten the drugs because of him did not help with the guilt settling over his shoulders.
Chris turned the car off, and slowly got out, making his way into the building. He paused in the lobby, the looming thought of his empty apartment filling him with dread. The last thing he needed at that moment was to be alone with his thoughts. After a beat, he pulled up the Pax network on his phone and messaged Daniel.
can i please come over, i need to see you
ofc. Door's open
Inside, Daniel unlocked his door, then immediately moved to the kitchen to crack open a couple of beers. Whatever this was about, given the tone of the text and the nature of their last, markedly prickly conversation, he could only assume it would call for alcohol. He returned to the living room, turning down the mindless drone of the Twitch channel he'd been half watching. His laptop he left open, a panel of work-related emails still open in one corner.
He got up when the door opened, circling his coffee table to peer out toward the door. "Come on in," he called.
Chris let himself in, half remembering to close the door behind him. He glanced at the sight of Daniel at work, freezing.
"You working? I didn't mean--" He looked visibly upset, and the hand holding the front door's knob withdrew to pass through his still-ruffled hair. The beers available on the coffee table struck a note, and he clenched his jaw, closing his eyes and trying to just focus on his breathing for a minute. "I just need to sit." He moved toward the kitchen table, scuffing the floor as he pulled out a chair and helped himself to his exact statement.
Daniel's brow furrowed. He left the laptop as it was, but grabbed both bottles from the table as he passed. He hooked his bare foot under the rung of the chair to the right of Chris's, pulling it out and taking a seat. He pushed the beer over toward his guest.
"I'm always workin'," he said. "I've got time." He canted his head, his dark gaze flitting over Chris's troubled expression. "I thought you were still pissed at me, but now I think something else is goin' on. What's wrong?"
Chris suddenly remembered their last exchange, and he swallowed down a laugh. He still felt put out by Daniel's issue with his own closeting, but it seemed small in the larger scale of things. He glanced at the beer, but didn't take it, despite the fact that he wanted it.
"I just found a friend facedown in her own vomit; she ODed, I think," he added, despite the fact that he knew very well what was wrong with Nish and how she'd gotten that way. Chris ground his teeth, leaning back in the chair, then forward again, unable to find a comfortable position. "She's at the hospital now. They said they'll take care of her, but..." He trailed off, his upset more visibly about said friend's well being and not about the fact that he'd been the cause of it in several ways. His eyes welled with tears, which he quickly wiped at, feeling childish.
"Holy shit, dude." Daniel's thumbnail slid beneath the label of his bottle, picking at it for lack of anything more useful to do. He scooted his chair forward until his knee brushed Chris's beneath the table. "I'm sorry. I'm glad you found her. Holy shit." He shook his head, taking a moment to process before speaking again. "Look, that's not uncommon. Depressing as hell, but it's true. They'll take good care of her. And they shouldn't have her arrested… they'll get her help. Or try to, anyway."
Chris swallowed thickly, nodding. "Yeah, I know." He wanted to say it wasn't the first, but he also didn't want to invite unnecessary questions. People always looking for answers they didn't need but wanted all the same. He put his face down in his hands for a moment, focusing on his breathing so he didn't start crying tears that would be mistaken for something other than they were.
"Look, I'm sorry for dropping by like this, I just...I didn't want to be alone." He let his hands fall to the table, leaning over its surface, eyes red. "I'm sorry I was a dick over the network, but you were kind of an asshole too. Halloween costume? Aren't you supposed to, you know, support people?"
Daniel shrugged as he set his bottle down. With a flick of his tongue he wiped a thin sheen of beer from his lips. "Yeah, and I do," he answered. "And I get it if you're still in the closet or whatever, that's a viable choice that I don't personally support but whatever, it's not my decision. I shouldn't have said what I said. I'm sorry, too." He picked at the label again. A thin scrap of paper came free of the chilled bottle, falling to land on the table. "I know it's selfish, but I don't like feelin' like somebody's low key side piece. I've played that game before and it fuckin' sucks."
"Side piece?" Confusion contorted Chris's face further, but this time he at least was able to sit back in his chair comfortably as he tried to wrap his head around Daniel's assumption. His left arm fell into his lap. "Do you or do you not remember when I told you it's been a while? And somehow that translated into having more than one?" He leaned forward enough to grab the other beer, content to let his leg rest against Daniel's under the table. "Yeah, I want things low key, for now. Should I take that as a compliment that you think I'm hot enough to have guys throwing themselves at me left and right? Because right now, you're the only one who's shown a goddamn interest, and frankly, the only one I'm interested in. At least when you don't make me feel like a piece of shit."
Before he could catch himself, Daniel laughed aloud. He pointed at Chris with the long neck of his bottle. "You're not the first to tell me somethin' like that," he said. "Listen, I know you own a mirror, I've been to your house. So yeah, you are hot enough. If you got outta your house more often -- and didn't look like someone was draggin' you to a funeral when you did it, like I know you probably do -- you could be balls deep in whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted it. All I know is you act like you don't wanna be seen in public with me, and maybe you actually don't, and since I am interested in you that kinda sucks."
Chris rolled his eyes, finally taking a long pull from his beer and giving the alcohol a minute to settle in his stomach.
"Look, I just choose to be careful about how I'm seen in public, all right?" He fixed Daniel with a careful look. "There're...people. It would make my life difficult if people knew I was gay. Sorry to burst your bubble, but it's not about you, as you're so often inclined to think. I like you. A lot. I just... I need time to figure shit out, OK? You act like everything has to be sorted out yesterday. I've only known you a month and already you gotta be out there telling everyone we got friendship bracelets or something. What's so wrong with taking it slow?" He bumped Daniel's leg with his knee, a lame attempt to soften his words. "You gotta prove something to someone?"
"Ugh." Daniel set to work on his beer, knowing himself well enough to buy some time before he spoke again. Only when he had formulated and thoroughly vetted his next words did he set down the bottle, now well past half empty, and speak.
"I'm not about provin' shit to people," he said. "But I don't like waiting, either. I never have. I was the kid that opened Christmas presents and rewrapped them so nobody would notice. And now you've got me waitin' on even dates in public. Damn." He shook his head, laughing once more. "Who knew it'd take dick to teach me patience. My dad would be so proud."
For the first time since he could think of within that day, Chris smiled wider, laughing faintly. He shrugged. "What can I say, I'm a good Catholic boy. Minimum's three dates, then maybe oral. There's rules, you know." He took another swig of his beer, starting to feel more right than he had since waking up. The sight of Daniel's smiling, laughing face did that to him, which gave his stomach another reason to churn. "No guarantee, though, and there's a return policy if you don't like what you get," he offered, hiding the words with some shyness behind the mouth of his beer.
Daniel was still laughing, shaking his head. "None wanted," he said. "Alright. I gotcha. Rules." He raised his hands in surrender. "You got it." He finished his beer in one long draught. Then he set it back atop the table, pushing it back and forth between his fingertips. A small, boyish smile played at one corner of his mouth. "I'm glad you stopped by," he said. "Wish the circumstances were better, but it's good to get shit worked out."
Chris's head bobbed. He felt considerably warmer, between the beer and the company, and his leg slipped forward to gently kick Daniel's foot back.
"Thanks for letting me freak out in a safe space. Look," he said, sitting up in his chair, his leg drawing back as a result, "I do wanna go. Out with you. We can go to the St. Paddy's day thing they're having; I know the owner, not like it matters, but I know the place, it's decent. But you have to keep your hands to yourself, OK?" He set his beer aside, hands flat on the table; the beginnings of a smirk curled one edge of his mouth. "Rules, OK? I swear if you're a good boy, it'll be worth your while."
"Well damn, when you put it that way…" Daniel chuckled. "I'd like that. The party thing, I mean. I was planning on goin' alone, so I think I can manage to play 'just friends' for an hour or two. Give you your space and all." He smiled softly, turning the bottle again and again in his hands, as though practicing keeping them occupied with something other than Chris.
Chris's gaze dipped down to Daniel's hands, his smirk widening as he looked back up to the other man's face.
"How much more work do you have? If you're free this evening, I can show you how tamales are supposed to taste." He grabbed up his beer, eager for their time together to not be so short. Part of him kicked himself for his puppy-like demeanor, while the rest of him shushed that voice. "Maybe give you something to tide you over on Friday." Chris's brows rose as he took a deep drink.
Daniel arched one in turn, the sharp angle of his smile matching it. "Are we still talkin' about tamales?" he asked. "Because I am definitely free tonight. For tamales or whatever else you have in mind. Which reminds me." He pointed again, what little beer remained sloshing noisily inside the bottle. "You never brought my dish back. I don't exactly have a lot of those, y'know, poor bachelor that I am. I'm gonna assume that means you ate every last one and just don't wanna tell me."
Chris offered a shrug, though his smile did not abate. "I guess you should come over and find out. Maybe, around five?" He finished his beer, keeping its empty carcass between his suddenly itchy hands. He chewed one corner of his mouth, foot sliding forward to tap against Daniel's. This time, Daniel felt bold enough to press back. "Give me time to scrounge up the ingredients, get some stuff made. You can pick the movie we probably won't end up watching."
Somehow, Daniel's grin spread wider still. "Damn right," he laughed. "Five it is, then." He tipped his chin toward Chris's hands, where he had found his gaze wandering again and again. "You want another one of those in the meantime?"
"Sure," he offered, happy to linger in Daniel's space for as long as he was allowed. He tossed the bottle from hand to hand, incredibly pleased that he'd made the correct decision in barging in on the other man. A small voice in the back of his mind reminded him that he shouldn't be getting too close, too attached, but as his eyes watched Daniel rise from the table and landed on the other man's backside, all worries were instantly washed away.