Eddie walked into park after leaving his car at the bookstore. Ramsey waved him over the bench he was sitting on. Eddie returned the wave envying the mans’s energy and sunny disposition.
“Don’t you ever sleep?” Ramsey asked looking at him with concern.
“Sleep’s overrated” Eddie tried to sound shipper despite the fatigue that weighed his mind and body down.
Ramsey frowned clearly not happy with the response but he held his tongue. He knew from past experience the blond would just clam up and sulk. He had much better things planned for the morning then to worry about the man’s sleeping problems. Ramsey reached over and grabbed Eddie’s hand pulling him from the bench “come on I’ve got tickets to the early movie.”
Eddie’s eye’s brightened in anticipation. He hadn’t been to a movie in years. He expected Ramsey to drop his hand as they walked through the park but to his genuine surprise and delight Ramsey didn’t. Did that mean Ramsey liked him? Or was the guy just afraid if he let go Eddie would fall on his face? Mentally shrugging Eddie decided not to put too much emphasis on it opting instead to just enjoy the moment. He couldn’t help but notice how his hand seemed to fit in Ramsey’s hand. It felt so right and somehow comforting. He couldn’t remember the last time he felt so relaxed with someone. A little voice inside his head contradicted him saying yes you do. Remember the pool house with Graham? A shiver panic went through him at the thought knowing how he manged to ruin something that had so much potential before it even had a chance to begin. What if he did it again?
Ramsey looked over him “is something wrong?” he asked as they sat in their seats.
“No I’m fine,” Eddied shook his head.
“Would you like some popcorn? Soda?” Ramsey asked getting to his feet.
“Nnno thank you,” Eddie shook his head vehemently unable to hide the panic he felt at eating something he didn’t make himself.
Sighing Ramsey moved to sit back down mumbling “you never eat…”
“Sssorry,” Eddie stuttered knowing he was ruining everything all over again “I dddon’t eat out.”
Unable to contain his curiosity Ramsey asked “why not?”
“I…” Eddie swallowed down the bile that came up as his mind was bombarded with hazy unsettling memories from the last time he ever accepted something from someone else to drink “I just don’t,” he said knowing it wasn’t answer but it was all he could manage. “If you want something please don’t let me stop you.”
“No I’ll survive without it,” Ramsey said sitting back down beside him. He had the feeling that there was something in the blond’s past that really hurt him and it was going to take time and patience for the guy to come to trust him. The lights dimmed as the previews began. Stretching Ramsey put his arm on the back of Eddie’s seat.
Eddie tensed when he felt the red heads arm brush against him. Heart pounding he gripped the arm rests tightly to keep from bolting from the theater. He turned to look at the man’s face trying to gauge his intentions.
Ramsey felt the blond’s eyes upon him. He resisted the urge to look into his soft dark brown orbs afraid he would scare the young man into bolting. Studiously he kept his eyes trained on the screen in front of him. When he felt Eddie relax and sit back in his seat Ramsey leaned over saying “I love watching the previews almost as much as the movie, don’t you?”
Eddie flashed him a brief stiff smile in response keeping his eyes glued to the screen too afraid to look at his companion. He was screwing this, whatever this was, up. Why couldn’t he just overcome his fears? Shove them so far down where they couldn’t him.
Halfway through the movie Ramsey looked over at Eddie as he snored beside him, his head resting on Ramsey’s shoulder. Ramsey was tempted to wake him up. He was missing a great movie then he remembered the red sleep deprived eyes and let him sleep. When the movie was over Ramsey gently shook Eddie’s shoulder. “Hey sleeping beauty time to wake up.” He leaned over and giving in to impulse lightly kissed his lips.
Eddie woke with a start. Putting his hands on Ramsey’s chest he pushed him away. Glaring at the man Eddie said “what the hell.”
“I’m sorry,” Ramsey attempted to apologize “I got caught up in the moment and I….”
Looking at the furious face of the normally complacent blond he muttered once again “I’m sorry.”
“I have to get to work,” Eddie announced as he turned and fled from the theater leaving behind a stunned, confused apologetic young man.
Ramsey watched him go, head bent down, hands in pockets the picture of dejection. He wondered for the second time that morning what had happened in Eddie’s past that hurt him so much. Shaking his head as he followed in the blond’s wake wondering if he really wanted to find out.
Eddie walked into the bookstore feeling as if his past was haunting him. Would he ever be normal? He doubted it. What good was talking to a therapist if he still couldn’t eat anything that wasn’t made by him? He used to enjoy going out for coffee with his friends. He used to enjoy a good meal in a fancy restaurant. Not now not anymore. No amount of telling himself he was being paranoid helped either. He wouldn’t blame Ramsey if he never wanted to see him again. He acted like such an idiot. Falling asleep during the movie. Refusing to eat popcorn. All such normal movie date things and he couldn’t even do that.
He moved through his duties at the book store as if he were on auto pilot. His mind dwelling on the disaster that was probably his last date with Ramsey if that was a date. He enjoyed spending time with Ramsey but he hadn’t been sure if it was anything more then friendship. What about the kiss? Eddie’s fingers traced his lips remembering how Ramsey’s lips felt on his before he was overwhelmed with panic and revulsion. The last thing he remember as he left the theater was the awful look in Ramsey’s eyes as tried to apologize.
He stumbled from the stepladder he was on into something warm and solid that reached out to steady him. “Excuse me” he mumbled trying to extricate himself from the helpful hands.
“I think you’d be better if you stayed down,” a deep voice admonished him.
“I’m ok,” Eddie contradicted him as he got to his feet. The room revolved around him. The culmination of too many nights without sleep, not eating properly and stress overtook him like an avalanche. His knees buckled as he fell to the floor.
Eddie opened his eyes moaning softly as he tried to sit up. Strong hands pushed him back. The same male voice from earlier said “stay down and this time listen.”
A brief grin brightened Eddie’s features “I’ve never been very good at listening.”
“Then I’ll skip the lecture,” the deep voice said.
“How is he?” another voice asked coming into the room.
“I’m fine,” Eddie said sitting up.
Shaking his head the older man said “no you’re not. I want you to go home and get some rest.”
“I’m supposed to work all weekend,” Eddie objected “you’re already shorthanded.”
“I’ll manage just fine,” his boss said “what’s important is for you to go home and get some rest. I don’t want to see in here for a week. You work to hard.”
“Yes sir,” Eddie mumbled knowing it was pointless to argue with his boss. “I’ll see you next week then.” Eddie pulled himself to his feet making an unsteady path to the door.
“Whoa there buddy” the familiar deep voice said coming along side him “you’re in no condition to drive.”
“I can’t leave my a car here for a week,” Eddie protested shaking the guys hands off him.
“Then I’ll drive you home,” the deep voice offered holding a hand out for the keys.
“How do I know I can trust you?” Eddie asked starting to feel dizzy as his ears began to buzz. The guys had a point. He could hardly stand led alone drive.
The guy sensed Eddie’s resolution waver “I promise once your home safe and sound I’ll leave. No monkey business.” Turning to the bookstore owner “I’ll even give your boss my phone number so he can check on me.”
Snorting Eddie handed the guy his keys “you win.”
Taking the keys the guy reached out to help Eddie. Eddie tensed jerking away from his touch. “Jeez I’m not going to hurt you.”
“I can vouch for that,” his boss affirmed “Rory would’t hurt a fly.”
“You live here?” Rory asked in surprise.
“Yeah” Eddie said somewhat defensive. He liked his house. He was proud of the work he had put into it. “What’s wrong with my house?”
“Nothing it’s just not a house,” Rory laughed “it’s a trailer. There’s a difference you know.”
“So,” Eddie shrugged realizing for the first time why his Dad had protested him wanting this house “I like it.” There was something about this guy that rubbed him the wrong way and yet he felt safe around him at the same time.
Rory turned and smiled at him “I like it too. I live in that trailer right over there.”
Eddie followed his pointing finger “we’re practically neighbors” he said opening the door.
Hurrying over to Eddie’s side Rory helped steady his wobbly progress to the door “makes it convenient…”
Eddie looked up “convenient for what?” he asked confused.
“Well,” Rory smiled his voice taking on a teasing tone “I met this really hot guy at the bookstore and I’d really like to see him again.”
Eddie gave him an unsure confused look wondering to himself what do I do now? I didn’t do anything to make this guy come on to me. What about Ramsey? After what he did at the theater he was sure he’d never see Ramsey again. Swallowing Eddie held his hand out to Rory for his keys. “Thank you for driving me home,” Eddie murmured.
“Glad I could help,” Rory smiled stepping aside allowing Eddie to pass by him. “I’ll check on you later.” He gave Eddie a wink before turning and walking away towards his home.
With trembling hands Eddie unlocked his front door. He tossed his eyes on the table too exhausted to put them where they went. Frowning he noticed the drapes in the living room were closed. He was sure, well almost positive he had opened them before he left that morning. Shaking his head trying in vain to rid his thoughts of the niggling doubts he had He put a chair in front of the door then did the dame in his room. With a loud sigh he collapsed on the bed fully dressed.
Five hour later he woke up with a start to the sounds of someone pounding on his front door. Fear had him curling into a tight ball on top of his bed covering his ears hoping whoever it was would go away. Logic dictated he should call the police and report the disturbance but fear kept him paralyzed. His phone vibrated in his pocket. He pulled the phone from his pocket as the pounding continued causing him to fumble and almost drop the phone to the floor.
He smiled reading the text as the sounds of pounding diminished. He wasn’t sure what prompted his response. Maybe it was fear. Maybe it was loneliness. Maybe it was because he really wanted to see the texter again. Eddie didn’t question his decision he just typed “can you come over?”