|Taeja Kim ☠ Jörmungandr (jormungandr) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2011-02-25 20:37:00
|Entry tags:||hermes, jormungandr|
an offering of the heartless
Who: Philip & Adam.
What: Aphrodite’s influence is really not helping Adam’s rep.
Where: Pax lobby.
When: 12:50 p.m., 14 February.
Warnings: Lovelorn pining ahead.
The moment Adam woke, rising from restless dreams into the stillness of his room, he knew something was decidedly different. He had slept less than he was typically inclined between lengthy night shifts and yet he felt oddly energized, alert and attuned to his surroundings in a way he rarely felt upon first waking. A pleasant sort of nervous energy coursed through his veins, further heightened by a quick, hot shower. He shaved meticulously, grooming his sideburns to positively diabolical points, as if determined to present his best possible face to the world. He paid equal attention to his thick, dark eyeliner in spite of the fact it would need to be significantly toned down before work. In a patch of unfogged mirror he noted that the black lacquer had chipped on one short nail. He procured two small, well loved bottles - OPI Black Onyx and Top Coat - from a nearby cabinet, repairing the damage and touching up another potential problem spot.
A fleeting pang of hunger nipped at him as he dressed, but his baseless eagerness would not allow him to think of food. Instead he turned his thoughts to his wardrobe, deliberating over the options provided him. “Black, or slightly darker black?” he muttered aloud, laughing at his own joke. At last he decided on black trousers, a black tee shirt adorned with a bleeding sacred heart motif, black Cuban heels, and a thick wallet chain. Where exactly he was headed he had not entirely decided, but he felt certain something good would come of it. After one last appraising glance at his reflection he slipped his keys into his pocket, a contented little hum on his lips as he set off for the lobby.
The sun gleamed brightly off the floors of the ground level, sending a blinding ray of light into Adam’s quickly narrowed eyes. With a small, discontented sound he lifted his hand to block the light. The gesture limited his perspective somewhat, framing a nearby tenant perfectly in his view. Adam’s steps slowed, habit alone guiding him to the bank of post boxes surrounding his own. He lowered his hand, playing off his sudden strangeness by searching his pockets for his keys.
“Good morning,” he said. He felt the beating of his heart give way to a harder, triphammer pulse as he spoke; it was at once embarrassing and painfully, unusually intriguing. “I don’t think we’ve met.” He reached out a hand to the stranger, praying the other man would take it before he might see the trembling of his fingers. “I’m Adam.”
"I'm... I'm 'in the depths of despair'" Philip sighed grievously, borrowing a turn of phrase he'd read once in his youth. This had not, however, accomplished answering the question posed to him, and yet, it seemed the only term which Philip felt properly embodied himself in his current state, the utter devastation wrought against his bruised and broken heart. With a certain dramatic flair, he collapsed against the nearby desk, clinging to one corner as if this alone kept him from sinking any further. Another audible exhale passed his lips, the curls of his bangs briefly blown out of place off his brow.
"Have you ever been in love?" Philip just barely managed to prop his chin up beneath the heel of his palm and a carelessly angled arm as he looked toward the other man. "You know, struck straight through the heart by Cupid's bow, and all you can think about is that long-limbed, tempestuous, glorious example of human perfection, and it makes your heart beat so fast that you think it's going to tear right out of your chest... or maybe something a little less gory. Have you ever felt like that?"
Adam’s own heart had sunk somewhere deep within his belly, nestled snugly in what felt like a tangible coil of pure, unadulterated shame. His proffered hand fell to his side, pale digits twisting at the seam of his trousers, black nails digging into the thin fabric. His keys, forgotten, clattered together as they fell back to the depths of his pocket. “I’m sure,” he whispered, breathless, barely registering his own words as he spoke them. He shifted on his feet, heels clicking against the flooring as he sought a more advantageous position from which to view the object of his interest, so recently spotted and so hastily snatched away. Adam drew a deep breath, watching too closely the soft stirring of the man’s mussed curls, the distant, distracted gleam in his eyes, the faint shadow of stubble that set his fine cheekbones in stark relief.
Uncomfortable, he cleared his throat, taking a single step back from the man. He felt the slow advance of melancholy, beginning in the pit of his stomach, creeping upward until it began to bleed into his every thought. But rather than will it away as others might, Adam embraced it, aware that this was the cost of any overwhelming emotion, a price that must inevitably be paid - even if it was a pity his was due so soon. He forged ahead, his voice sounding rough and hoarse to his ears. “So what do you intend to do about it?” he asked. “Today’s supposedly the day to act on that feeling, after all.”
"But that's just it. I did act on it." Philip was too consumed by his own wounded heart that he failed to notice any change in disposition from his newest acquaintance, neither the withdrawal of his hand or the slow retreat of a greeting smile. He settled one cheek against the hard surface of smooth wood as he stared idly at the rows of metal boxes and their round circular locks, unsympathetically expounding the details of his own romantic woes. "You know, we met right here. Or, well, she didn't meet me exactly, but I saw her, gliding through this very lobby with the wings of an angel. Graceful, elusive, mysterious as... the dark side of the moon. Wait, no, scratch that." He frowned slightly as though this description was somehow less appropriate than his other cliched odes of admiration.
"But I mean, I just knew right then and there that we were meant to be together, and so I did everything you're supposed to when you fall in love. I got her flowers, made her lunch, or tried to, and you know, really tried to show her how I feel with words and grand gestures and all. She wasn't even impressed." Philip confided glumly and at last he raised his gaze to look over at the other man, the wheels turning quickly in his head. "Say you're a handsome enough guy, and you probably have had plenty experience with women, haven't you? What would you suggest I do to win her over?"
Against all reason the man’s careless compliment, so quickly glossed over, hurt more than nearly anything else he said. Adam wondered what it was about himself that the man could find aesthetically appealing, but not enough to return even the most tentative of interest. Perhaps it was his quiet introspection, his deliberation before speaking; some preferred the more extroverted personalities, after all. He could not act against his nature, and indeed had not the first clue how to go about it if he’d wanted, but he felt the weight of his own apparent shortcomings more keenly now than he had in long years. His fingers laced together, twisting anxiously, silver rings glinting coldly in the light. “Well, what does she like?” he asked. “Not every woman likes flowers and food, even if that is the standard for Valentine’s.”
He paused, then, thinking a moment. He dragged a deep breath into his unwilling lungs, feeling the weight around his heart constrict further with the motion. There was nothing to be gained by withholding advice when it had been overtly requested, and it was clear nothing would come of the unexpected attraction he felt toward this yet unnamed stranger. It pained him to give good advice knowing it would be to his detriment and another’s benefit, but to be deliberately deceitful or withholding was no option Adam would accept. “Talk to her, if she’ll let you,” he said, treading cautiously. It did not sound, after all, as if the conversation had gone particularly well. “Sometimes it helps to find a band or movie or book she’s into. Give her a gift she’s more likely to appreciate. Maybe take her to a concert.” He managed a soft smile as his thoughts turned inward, remembering times such approaches had gone well for him. Somehow it helped to ease the tension the conversation had instilled in him, though that subtle ache did not entirely recede. “Do something that appeals to her. Not something just anyone would supposedly like.”
"That's..." Philip's brow furrowed with thought. "That's brilliant." His whole demeanor transformed within seconds as he sprung up from where he had once sprawled himself across the desktop. His eyes brightening as his mind buzzed with hopeful but only half-formed plans to extract information about his newfound love. He'd gotten into her apartment once, and surely, he could do so again. He'd just peruse her things until he knew her likes and dislikes in and out. Philip flashed a broad grin at Adam and practically flung himself on the other man with an excited hug, one arm remaining slung across his shoulders as his other hand balled in a fist to emphasize his dedication to the newly proposed cause. "You're brilliant. Of course she'll have to fall in love with me if it turns out we have everything in common, and she'll be so impressed by how much I know about her. Who could resist that? Anticipate her every need, surprise her at places she likes to go, and if she stills says no after that, well, someone ought to just turn her into a rock because it'll be clear she has a heart of stone." An uncharacteristically dark expression shadowed his features at this contemptuous sentiment. But it was gone as quickly as it had come, and his smile was once against turned in full force toward Adam.
"You know, it's too bad you couldn't come with me during all this. Feed me all your good advice through some kind of high-tech earpiece. You know, the way that one guy tells the other what to say in that play," Philip said cheerfully. "Like the ultimate wing-man."
Adam made a vague sound in answer, more a gust of breath through softly parted lips than any real response. The other man’s markedly forceful ideas on the delicate subject of courting bothered him perhaps less than they should have. His proposed approach did not mesh exactly with what Adam had meant, but his mind was too clouded with a thousand other things to notice, his body responding with utter treason to this clearly meaningless, platonic touch. His pale skin warmed beneath the idle pass of Philip’s slender fingers, shoulders stiffening beneath the line of his arm even as he leaned, unconsciously, further into him, praying he would not feel the violent racing of his heart. His black eyes fell to the bright smile now at last directed at him, taking in its every quirk and nuance, as if it might at any moment be turned from him again. For all his desire to do otherwise, he kept his own arms pinned firmly at his sides, refusing to give in even to the slightest brush of his fingertips against this stranger’s skin.
“I’m sure you’ll do fine on your own,” he said at last. He fell silent, his tongue flicking at his labret as he searched, desperately, for something to say. “I’m... glad I could help.”
With his problems settled and his trouble mind put at ease, Philip was once again able to look upon the world with a slightly less skewed perspective. The sun was shining, the familiar lobby bathed in the warm glow that he had enjoyed earlier that morning, and there beside him a new friend had been made. He took stock of his companion in a more careful manner than his once-divided attention had allowed, even when he had paid the other a rather flippantly made compliment. He found Adam to be rather subdued in disposition in spite of the unconventional nature of his appearance, but he gave this fact no deeper meditation. Philip had not committed to memory Adam's earlier exuberance to decipher that something might be weighing on the other man's mind, and this alternative style of his appearance was enough to entertain Philip's sense of the superficial, who took delight even in the smallest novelty.
"I like your sideburns," he commented idly, even when it broke the rhythm of the conversation. Philip had never been stingy when it came to voicing his approval or admiration, since it was one of the few things that came without consequences when spoken without much premeditation, and he rather liked the way Adam had shaped those sharp, tapering points. "I wouldn't mind having something like that myself, though I imagine it takes commitment to keep them looking like that. But say since you're all dressed up so nicely, we should go out. Hit the bar. We could go for some celebratory drinks now that you've given me this great plan and all."
“Thanks,” Adam said, his hesitation clear in both the timing and tone of his response. The fresh compliments only served as a reminder of how quickly he had been shut down; in light of this denial the subsequent invitation, though more welcome than Adam cared to admit, stung as harsh as any overt insult. Others he knew would have jumped at the chance to share a drink with the object of their interest, particularly given the unnatural advantage he himself was granted in situations such as these. Some cold, reptilian part of his brain told him how simple a thing it would be to buy his newfound friend a few strong rounds and watch his disheartening fixation on their unnamed neighbor slip away - and with it, perhaps other inhibitions as well. But the better part of Adam found the thought utterly repellent, and cast it immediately aside.
“And I, um.” He fumbled, then, pulling farther away from the man. A new ache settled in his chest in the wake of the motion, as if his body meant to assure him he had foolishly broken the last close contact they two would share. Loneliness weighed heavily upon him; he found himself wanting nothing more than to be back in his apartment, safe and alone once more. “I have work tonight,” he explained, glossing over that lengthy pause. “Actually, I should really be catching up on my sleep right now. Some other time, though.” Somehow he managed to meet Philip’s eyes, and then, to his regret, he found he could not look away. “I’m in five-oh-four, though, if you ever want to stop by.”
It had probably been for the best that Philip's offer had been rejected. He took no offense from the action, nothing deeper read in the excuse that might have indicated a lack of sincerity behind the reasoning given, and in truth, he lacked the funds to really indulge in a round of beers. But those types of considerations were often only made in retrospect and had resulted in the occasional dine-and-dash that not all would have approved. He looked into the other man's gaze with nothing held back in his expression, his enthusiasm at the invitation readily visible. Adam’s heart skipped a beat at that small glance, his baseless infatuation so soon stoked once more over nothing, so soon to be shot down once more.
"Five-oh-four. I'll definitely swing by. We're going to be the best of friends, and do all sorts of things together. But I mean, don't be too jealous that my girlfriend's hotter than yours, because your advice is going to be half the reason she falls in love with me. I can’t help it that she’s a perfect goddess," Philip said, briefly revisiting his plans to ensure that the elusive and graceful creature who'd stolen his heart would soon be his - and if she wasn't? Well, then she deserved some horrific fate, like being turned into a tree, which would obviously match her utter lack of human feeling. But Philip was certain it wouldn't come to that, and he gave a smitten sigh as his mouth slid back into an easy smile, his hand lifted in a wave only through a weak, mechanical gesture of habit. "See you around." His grey-green eyes were the eyes of a lovelorn dreamer, slipping off into some distant reverie that soon forgot his departing company and the rest of the world around him.