Friday, July 24, 2009
A cup of coffee by =shhilja on deviantART
A/N: This is for Drei, because I understand whatever he needs to do and wherever he needs to be.
Warnings: This was originally intended to feature generic characters in a somewhat realistic plot, which was a good way to excuse my weak characterization and my telling-not-showing-disease. Anyway, I just needed to let this plot bunny play, so I could go on my merry way.
(Thanks to my beta Shirls, who understands why I can’t flesh out this story now but lets me publish it anyway.)
An easy silence, this was not. No, this was awkward wrapped in discomfort and liberally sprinkled with embarrassment. He called me out. On my shit. He called me out on my shit and for some reason I couldn’t BS my way out of it. Oh irony of ironies.
“You like me.” was all that he said. Not “You like me,” punctuated by eyebrow wiggles and elbow jabs. Not “You like me,” complete with finger pointing and tongue clucking. Just “You like me,” matter of fact, without hesitation and zero hint of smugness.
I considered several options. Obviously, lying was out and so was denial. Then I thought, why not a joke? But I couldn’t call on the goddesses of comedy for some reason. And then it occurred to me. Maybe I was the joke and everybody’s in on it. Well, damn. I bet this guy had been planning this for a week. Double damn. By this time, I could sense he was waiting for an answer so I forced myself to focus. When that proved futile, I cursed my nonlinear way of thinking. Well, hell! Thinking things through had never been my strongest point. I said screw it, this was a lose-lose situation, anyway.
“Yes,” I said. Or maybe it was a whisper, I couldn’t tell.
And that’s all I was gonna get. The man was a veritable fount of non-answers and his “I see” had the unexpected effect of shutting me up. Great, I muttered to myself, another silence.
“It shouldn’t be a problem, should it?”
Wait, did he just ask me…What? I shook my head and took a sip of my now-cooled chai latte. Of course he didn’t. That would be stupid, as it already was a problem. But maybe he was talking about something else, something I failed to realize because I was too busy being freaked out by his…declaration? Observation? Accusation? If it was the last one, clearly I had a lot more freaking out to do.
“I asked if we should consider this thing a problem.”
“Oh,” was all that I managed to say. And really, what could I say? “Next question please” hardly seemed appropriate and neither was “Thank you for sparing me the outright rejection.” No way in hell would I ever subject myself to that kind of humiliation. But God help me, I was mouthing the words before any sense of self-preservation could stop me.
“Why should it be a problem?”
“Because we’re friends,” was his swift reply.
And that it seemed answered everything. At least to him I was sure it made perfect sense. Meanwhile, I was thinking “Why couldn’t this man give a straight answer?” Weird bastard. But then again, that was one of the reasons I liked him—the fact that he was unreadable, slightly unhinged, and unquestionably brilliant. Really, I had no right to complain.
“That doesn’t change because I like you.” Not the answer I wanted to give, but it would do until I had the chance to process my emotions.
“What would you have me do?” At this, I snapped to attention. The answer to his question was obvious, wasn’t it?
“Errr,” I hesitated, “I want us to remain friends, I think.”
“You’re not sure?”
“I’m not sure.” I figured since we were way past the making sense phase; there was no harm in being purposely vague.
“I see.” There. Two words and we were forced into another stalemate.
“That makes one of us,” I blurted out of frustration. This was going nowhere. Not when the problem refused to resolve itself over cups of cooling coffee. Not when this was the exact opposite of how I played this scenario in my head. Not when rejection was gaining favor by the second, compared to this limbo of uncertainty he had relegated me to.
“Maybe it’s better if I show you.”
Before I could register my shock, his hand shot out to drag me closer to his side. Briefly a moment had passed before I felt the press of cool lips against mine. It was curious, this kiss. Very different from the tongue sex I assumed he was accustomed to. This was an experiment, a research where eyes weren’t supposed to meet and breaths were expected to hitch.
“This shouldn’t be a problem,” he whispered into my lips.
And because it was what the situation warranted, my last words that evening were “I see.”