After sending the text Eddie sat curled on the floor shaking. What had he done? He practically invited a stranger to his house and for the life of him he couldn’t remember giving him his number. For all he knew about the guy he could have been the person pounding on his door. His thoughts started to spiral out of control when someone knocked on his door. Instantly fear jolted through Eddie like an electric shock. He scooted further into the corner wishing he could disappear.
“Eddie?” Rory’s voice said from outside his window “Eddie are you alright?” His voice sounded worried….concerned.
A moment later a Eddie received a text. “I’m not leaving until I’m sure you’re ok.”
Trembling so much Eddie had to concentrate hard to key in a response “how did you get my number?”
The response was almost immediate “I asked your boss. He’s my Uncle. I didn’t want to wake you by coming over unannounced.” Rory sat on the steps of Eddie’s porch typing. He had a slight smile upon his complacent face that belied the relief he felt in knowing Eddie was alright. “I wanted to call first but thought a text would be better. I’m sorry if I….” He looked up at the sound of the door opening behind him.
Eddie stuck his head cautiously out the door surprised to find Rory sitting on his porch steps. “My boss should have asked me first.”
Rory nodded putting his phone away. He scooted over on the step “want to join me?”
“I’m… uh…” Eddie stammered looking down at himself as if realizing how little he had on.
“I need to get dressed first.”
Rory gave him a gently smile “I’ll wait.” He said leaning back without looking in the blond’s direction. Although he had to admit the brief view he had of Eddie without a shirt on was stimulating. Instinctively he knew if he appeared to be too interested Eddie would tense up and he wouldn’t see him again that night. He heard the door close and the lock click into place before he allowed himself to turn and look in the direction of the house. He wondered not for the first time what he found so compelling about the skittish blond.
Eddie leaned on the door in relief. Thankful that Rory hand’t asked to come inside. It somehow reassured him that Rory wouldn’t pressure him into doing anything he wasn’t ready for. He felt slightly foolish for locking his door as he glanced out the window to see if Rory was still waiting for him. He seemed unphased by Eddie’s actions, he had to have heard him lock the door. It made such a distinctive click. Smiling for the first time since meeting Ramsey in the part that morning Eddie went to get dressed.
He glanced at his phone wondering why Ramsey hadn’t called him lie he usually did to set something up for the next day. He wondered if he should call him. He pulled up his number when a sudden feeling of panic overwhelmed him. What if Ramsey didn’t want to see him again? Not that Eddie would blame him. He made for such an awful date. Sighing he put his phone away deciding he’d let Ramsey make contact if he wanted to. He wasn’t going to pressure him. The last thing he wanted to do was come across as needy or clingy.
Coming out of the house “sorry for making you wait,” he apologized.
“It was worth it,” Rory assured him scooting over so Eddie had room to sit down beside him.
Hesitating for a moment to process the fact that Rory had not only waited for him he hadn’t assumed he was invited inside the house. Sitting down Eddie made several covert glances over at Rory noticing certain things about his appearance. “My cousin’s wife has blue hair,” Eddie blurted by way of a conversation starter.
“Really?” Rory said surprised “I was hoping I was an original.”
“Sorry” Eddie mumbled looking away.
“You say that a lot,” Rory pointed out looking at him.
“Say what?” he asked confused.
“That you’re sorry,” Rory said “just relax and go with the flow.”
Eddie nodded looking at his hands in his lap unsure whether he could do that. Rory had a point. Most of the time he felt like he had to apologize for even existing. He moved to get up thinking he had just ruined the evening.
“Hey don’t go,” Rory said getting up “I didn’t mean to upset you. Sometimes I say things that I shouldn’t….”
“You didn’t say anything that wasn’t true,” Eddie said turning to face Rory “would you like to come in?”
Eddie’s eyes bulged in shock and surprise not understanding where he had gotten the courage to invite his neighbor, a virtual stranger inside his home.
This time it was Rory’s turn to hesitate. “Ok” he said following the blond inside.
“Do you mind if I cook something?” Eddie asked “I haven’t eaten anything today….”
“How about I order us a pizza?” Rory offered instead.
Eddie could feel panic welling up inside him as Rory waited for an answer. “No um thank you but nnno” he stammered feeling like a fool.
“Hey that’s cool if you want to cook for me,” Rory teased smiling gently at him “I love a good home cooked meal.”
“Yyyyou haven’t eaten?” Eddie asked surprised.
“What can I say” he shrugged “I have a crazy schedule.”
“What do you do?” Eddie asked curious about the man he invited into his home.
“I’m a musician,” he said “the band isn’t very good yet but we’re gonna be awesome.”
Eddie was busy chopping vegetables for the salad he decided to make to accompany the chicken he had marinating. The only good thing that had come from never eating out it had honed his cooking skills. “What kind of music do you play?”
“A little bit of everything,” Rory shrugged “you can say we’re still developing our sound.”
Eddie nodded admiring his positive attitude wishing he had some of it. “Are you playing anywhere this weekend?”
“Why?” Rory grinned “do you want to come to one of our gigs?”
“Maybe,” he turned with the salad bowl. His cheeks bright red standing out against his normally pale skin.
“Awesome” Rory clapped his hands in excitement “I never had a groupie before. You’ll be my first.”
Setting the table Eddie served up the meal. “What are my duties as a groupie?”
“Well…” Rory began as he took a bite of the meal he had watched Eddie prepare “mmm this is really good,” he voiced with appreciation. “As a groupie you would need follow me around wherever I go and swoon whenever I look at you.”
Eddie’s fork stilled it’s progress towards his mouth as he considered what Rory said. “What if I don’t want to do that?”
“You could always cook for me,” Rory took a huge bite grunting in pleasure as he chewed “this is good. You could be my personal chef when I make it big.”
“Do you really think it’s that good?”
“It’s delicious” Rory enthused reaching for a another helping “you should be a chef.”
Eddie stared at him considering his words “my grandfather was a five star chef” he said almost to himself “I wonder if I should take some culinary classes…”
“All I can say is you have the skill and talent to be a great chef,” Rory said between bites “there’s no harm in trying.”
Watching the man enjoy his food Eddie asked “would you like to take the left overs home with you?”
“You don’t mind?”
“I wouldn’t have offered if I did” Eddie said putting the leftovers in a dish “besides now you have an excuse to come back….” He blushed and immediately looked down at his feet.
Taking the containers and setting them on the counter Rory tilted Eddie’s chin up “I don’t need an excuse to come back.” Eddie stared up into his green eyes and for the briefest of moments he thought Rory was going to kiss him. “I better be going” Rory said stepping back taking his food and moving towards the door.
Eddie watched him go somewhat disappointed that he hadn’t even tried to kiss him. Was that really what he wanted he wondered to himself?
Rory stopped by the door “I…” he hesitated “I don’t want to scare you but I think you should get the locks changed on this old door. This used to be a rental. Who knows how many people have keys to this place.” At the look of stark fear in Eddie’s eyes Rory took a few steps back towards the blond. He could see the guy was visibly trembling. “Hey it’s ok,” he tried to soothe him.
“Nnnn it’s nnnot,” Eddie stuttered wondering if this was why he was having so many bad dreams and sleepless nights.
“Tomorrow I’ll go and get a lock and replace it for you,” Rory offered pulling the blond into his arms holding him tight until the trembles subsided. “It’ll be alright,” Rory told him” just put a chair in front of the door.” He moved towards the door to go home.
Eddie lifted his head watching Rory leave. “Don’t ….go….I….” his eyes huge in shock “Please…”
Rory stopped his hand on the door knob sighing he turned to find Eddie standing where he had left him. How could he leave when the guy was so upset? Scared? His thoughts dried back to what he had witnessed earlier and wondered if his reaction now had anything to do with the person who was pounding on his door. Rory had looked out his living room windows and had seen someone approach Eddie’s house. He had thought Eddie had asked someone over to keep him company. The more he watched the less he liked the stranger. Some instinct prompted him to call his Uncle for Eddie’s number. For someone he just met he was cared about the sensitive blond probably more than he should. Taking Eddie’s hands he offered “I can sleep on the couch if that’d make you feel better?”
“Are you sure?” Eddie asked in relief looking deep into Rory’s eyes trying to gauge if the guy really meant the offer.
“Well…” Rory smiled “I’d prefer my nice comfy bed but I can’t leave knowing you’ll be over here worrying. You’re supposed to be getting rest remember?”
“Thank you” was all Eddie could manage in response.
A few hours later Rory woke up. Sitting up on the uncomfortable couch he had been attempting to sleep on. He walked swiftly across the length of the trailer towards the sound of screaming that woke him up. Rory half expected to find the blond being attacked by someone not thrashing about covered in sweat twisted in knots with the bed sheets. Turning the lights on he went to Eddie’s side of the bed. Sitting on the edge he reached out touching his shoulder “Eddie wake up it’s just a dream. Come on wake up.” He spoke in a soothing gentle voice hoping it wouldn’t jar him awake.
Eddie opened his eyes trying to attempt to claw through the headboard to get away the man in his room. “Eddie it’s alright. It’s me Rory. You were having a nightmare.” He kept talking in a calm soft voice hoping the frightened young man would relax.
Running a shaking hand through his hair Eddie mumbled “I’m sorry.”
Rory gave him thoughtful look “do you have nightmares a lot?”
Eddie looked down and away “yeah.”
“You don’t have to be ashamed” he said “I used to have nightmares too.”
“You’re just saying that,” Eddie mumbled refusing to look at him.
“I could be but I’m not,” Rory said standing up “maybe one day I’ll tell you all about it.” He walked to the bedroom door sensing that Eddie needed some space to compose himself. “If you need someone to talk too I’ll listen.”
Eddie stared after him unsure how to take his offer. He liked Rory more than he probably should but that didn’t mean he trusted him enough to share his deepest darkest secrets and fears. But he couldn’t deny he felt safe with him being around and having him sleep on his couch. He buried his head in his pillow no longer sure of how he felt about anyone or anything.