The click of his bedroom door opening woke him up. He laid in the semi dark listening for something else, a footstep or a voice. His pulse raced as he imagined a burglar sneaking inside. The surprise when the door didn’t open as quietly as expected. The hesitancy the intruder might have wondering if the sleeping occupant had been awakened.
A girls high-pitched giggle put his concerns to rest. He peeked out from beneath his covers. He could make out their silhouette from the glow of his nightlight. She was clad only in her unmentionables and the guy had his shirt off. The girl was working on his belt as they smooched and slobbered on each other.
“Wrong room” he growled sitting up having seen enough.
“Sorry dude” Felix mumbled while the girl sucked his bottom lip. “Want to join?” He unclasped the girls bra tossing towards Carson’s head.
“Get out” he shouted snatching the girl’s underwire and tossing it back.
“Party pooper” the girl pouted as she freed Felix of his pants.
Carson closed his eyes to keep from seeing more than he cared to see of his roommate and date. This was becoming a nightly ritual with this guy. It was getting old. He heard them mutter something. A few grunts and bumps before the closed leaving him in silence. He got out of bed gathered their discarded clothes and tossed them into the hallway.
He glanced towards Britland’s closed bedroom door wondering if he was asleep or not. Running a hand through his disheveled hair he backed into his room. Maybe Felix didn’t pull the same shit with him as he did with him. Muttering to himself Carson lay down on his bed. Tossed an arm over his eyes and tried to regain the relaxed state he had been in before being rudely awakened. The soothing glow from the night-light was reassuring. Eventually his eyes drooped, closing and sleep once again claimed him.
Britland woke up to the sounds of raised angry voices. He moaned rolling over covering his head with his pillow. Felix and Carson were at it again. It every morning started out the same way. Those two fighting like five-year olds and him refereeing.
After a couple of minutes Britland knew they weren’t going to stop on their own. He crawled out of bed wishing one or the other would grow up. That seemed like an impossibility for the near future at least.
As soon s he opened his bedroom door their angry voices washed over him like a tidal wave. He hated confrontations of any kind. He was like his father that way. A peace keeper. Raised voices always grated on his nerves. “Can’ you guys get along without me for a few minutes?” he demanded glaring at both men few seconds.
Carson lowered his head like a chastised child. Felix pointed an accusing finger in Carson’s direction. “Do you know what he did?”
Baffled Britland turned his towards Carson who shrugged. His jaw set in a stubborn hard-line. “What?” he asked with a feeling he wasn’t going to like the answer.
“He threw my clothes into the hallway” Felix glared at Carson “that jacket is expensive and requires special care and respect.”
Carson’s jar ticked as he visibly bristled under Felix’s unfair accusation. He was like a guard dog fighting against its chain trying to get to an intruder. He glanced at Britland before responding “then you shouldn’t have left them in my room.”
“That’s no excuse for disrespecting my things.” Felix jabbed a finger into the larger man’s chest “you live in my house. Have some respect.”
Knocking his finger away Carson growled. “I pay rent you moron. Same as you.”
“That’s not the point” Felix jutted his chin out pushing Carson into the counter.
Carson shoved the smaller man away from him. “How about you have some respect for me. Do you think I like be awakened in the middle of the night by you and your newest bimbo?”
“She got confused….”
“By what?” Carson demanded “doesn’t she know her right from her left?”
“If you didn’t sleep with a night-light this wouldn’t have happened” Felix persisted.
“What difference does that make?” Carson demanded leaning against the refrigerator, “my door was closed.”
“It confused her” Felix repeated stubbornly.
“And you were to sloshed to notice” Carson added with a derisive snort.
“I was about to get my rocks off so excuse me for not caring” Felix snapped.
“Of course that’s the only thing you care about.” He shook his head, his mouth twisting in a disgusted grimace. “Why any woman wants to get with you is beyond me.”
“I haven’t gotten any complaints” Felix bragged looking over Carson’s shoulder smirking “at least I’m getting some.”
Britland gasped audibly “that was uncalled for” he stammered as both men turned to stare at him.
“If he wasn’t sexually frustrated he wouldn’t be so upset.” Felix shrugged slapping Carson across the back. “Go ahead make your move. He’s just waiting for someone to take control. Be his first. Show him what he’s missing. I know you want to.”
“The hell’s wrong with you?” Carson exclaimed “have some respect at least for him if not for me. He’s suppose to be your friend.”
“Yeah so” he asked belligerently staring defiantly into Carson’s face. He looked away when Britland made an inarticulate moan before turning and retreating to his room
“Look what you did?” he accused Carson.
“Me” he shook his head wanting nothing more than to feel the satisfying crunch of his fist pounding itself into Felix’s thick skull. “This is on you….not me.”
“If you’d be a man and just lay him….” he didn’t finish as Carson’s fist landed squarely in the mouth.
Carson stood over him breathing heavy. His hands bleeding from connecting with Felix’s teeth. A satisfied smile spread across his face “that felt as good as I thought it would.”
Felix inspected his face a surprised expression in his eyes. Spitting blood he held a hand beneath his slowly dripping nose. “Shit dude really” he mumbled anger replacing his surprise.
Carson bent down, his voice trembled with repressed rage. “Say whatever you want about me. Leave Britland out of it.”
“I’ll say whatever I damn well please,” he spat on the floor aiming for Carson’s bare feet.
Taking a step back his teeth grinding together “you are a sorry ass friend.”
Lacking a comment Felix flipped him off as he dragged himself to his feet. “Britland is my friend and always will be. All you are is a lay and your screwing that up.”
Carson stepped aside to let the younger man stagger past him.
When Felix’s bedroom door closed Carson knocked softly on Britland’s door. He waited for the blonde to open his door long enough to think he wasn’t going to. He was about to give up when Britland stuck his head out. “Are you alright?” Carson asked keeping his voice down so as not to disturb Felix and restart the feud.
“Fine” he mumbled his eyes downcast.
Carson raised an eyebrow “liar.” That got him a half-hearted smile. “Come on. I’m taking you out for breakfast.”
“I’m fine” Britland snapped “you don’t have to worry about me.”
“I’m not” he retorted “I’m hungry and thought you might be too.” He could see that Britland was still visibly upset over what that pink haired idiot had said about him.
“We’re friends aren’t we? Friends go out to eat all the time.” He gave Britland his best pleading puppy dog look he could manage.
Chuckling a little Britland looked up meeting his eye “you can’t go out looking like that.”
“Why not?” he asked looked down at himself “don’t you think I look good like this?”
“It’s not a matter of looking good” Britland protested pushing on Carson’s well defined chest. Shock brightened his light green eyes. His cheeks turned dark. “Wow” he choked dropping his hand “it’s a matter of what’s appropriate.”
“Are you saying this isn’t appropriate?” Carson teased delighting in the dark emerald hue Britland’s cheeks took on when he was flustered. “Give me five minutes to change.”
“Five minutes” Britland grinned at him relaxing “after that I start making pancakes.”
“You do remember what happened the last time you tried to cook?” Carson asked his voice deadly serious.
“It wasn’t that bad” he mumbled his cheeks again a dark emerald-green.
“Not that bad” he demanded “we had firemen in full gear evacuating the building.”
“It was just a small fire” he mumbled “besides I’ve improved since then.”
“It’s only been two weeks” Carson laughed “no one improves that much.”
“Fine I won’t cook but the cereal comes out in four minutes” Britland snapped sounding aggravated.
Carson let out a loud guffaw “you are so adorable when you’re embarrassed.”
“I’m not embarrassed” Britland snapped “I’m irritable and hungry.”
“I better hurrying so we can feed you” he turned walking from the room. He could feel Britland’s eyes following him. It made him feel light and fluffy
Pushing his plate away Britland smiled over at his companion “thank you.”
“You’re welcome” Carson laid his napkin on his plate “it’s not as good as my Aunt’s cornettos though.”
“I wish I could cook” Britland said wistfully picking at the crumbs on the table.
“Why’s that?” Carson asked signing to pay for their meal.
His cheeks darkened as he raised his eyes “I’d cook you all your favorite meals.”
“I can teach you” Carson offered.
“You can cook” he asked surprised “all the time you’ve lived with us you’ve never cooked once.”
Shrugging Carson laughed “I know how to cook doesn’t mean I like to cook.”
“There’s a difference” Britland asked having never thought about it before.
“Big, big, huge difference” Carson said holding his arms out wide “people who like to cook put their heart and souls into it. People who cook to eat don’t. It shows in the food. The way it tastes. I can tell the difference. So can you if you think about it.”
Nodding deep in thought Britland could see how that would be true. “My parents weren’t very good cooks. I ate a lot of mac and cheese growing up.”
“And Hamburger Helper I’d imagine” Carson added “I’ll teach you then you can surprise your parents with a home cooked meal when they come to visit.”
“As long as I don’t burn the building down” he joked. Being with Carson was like a breath of fresh air compared to hanging out with Felix. He couldn’t help but make the comparison. “You know Felix isn’t such a bad guy…”
“Please don’t tell me I just need to get to know him” Carson rolled his eyes “he acts more like a jealous lover than a friend.”
“That might be the problem” his eyes grew large at what he said “he is jealous but not jealous lover kind of jealous. He’s never had to share me with anyone before. I think it scares him.”
“That’s no excuse for being a jerk” Carson complained “I don’t care why he’s the way he is. I don’t care how he treats me. What I do care about is you.” He laid his hand down on top of Britand’s hand “you don’t deserve the abuse he hurls at you. It doesn’t matter what your sex life is like or if you have one.”
“He’s my friend” Britland said as if it explained everything “he doesn’t have anyone else. Give him time.”
“You may be his friend” Carson moved his head “but Felix isn’t yours.” He saw the regret, the hurt in Britland’s eyes. “I’m sorry I won’t say anything else about him. I don’t get it. Just don’t expect me to like him.”
Felix mopped at his nose still fuming over the unexpected blow that knocked him flat. He hadn’t thought Carson hadn’t it in him. He could hear Carson and Britland talking, making plans. Without him….again. He glared at his reflection in the mirror.
Britland was his friend. Had been his friend since preschool. That should mean something. He had stuck by him when everyone teased him for his big eyes and green skin. This is the thanks he gets. To be dumped like yesterday’s news.
He scowled at his image. A part of him knew he deserved it. He had said some awful things. He didn’t seem to be able to control the dribble that came out of his mouth sometimes. He kicked at the bottom drawer. His toes protesting the abuse. Grabbing some clothes he bolted for the bathroom. He needed a shower and some companionship.
The water ran off his head, down his body. It lacked the soothing relaxing tones he usually got. All he could think about were the words he said about Britland. If someone else had said those things he would have flattened them. Instead he was the one receiving the flattening.
Jumping from the shower feeling no better than he had before he dressed quickly hoping to be gone before they returned. The last thing he wanted to do was look Britland in the eyes and see the rejection he deserved. He ran out of his apartment so fast he knocked over one of his neighbors.
Looking down he gasped in shock. The pretty girl from down the hall lay sprawled on the floor. “I’m so sorry” he cried bending over to hep her up.
Knocking his hands away “I’m fine” she said brushing off her clothes as if his touch made her dirty.
“I am sorry” he sighed his chest feeling tight and heavy. He blinked several times. This wasn’t his day.
“I know I heard you” she mumbled “where’s the fire?”
“I just had to get out. Get some air” he ran a hand through his still damp hair.
“Well JoAnn isn’t here” she stated positive that’s who he was looking for.
“Yeah I know. She’s visiting her parents with the kids” he mumbled. Maybe his trysts with the neighbor hadn’t been such a good idea. But she was always available when he needed some relief. He ran a hand over his eyes rubbing them.
“Are you alright?” she asked her demeanor and tone changing to concern.
“Yes….no” he sighed letting some of his unease out “I was an idiot and I’m afraid my best friend hates me.”
Considering his words and the misery she read in his eyes she offered something she wouldn’t normally do. “If you promise to behave we could go for a walk. If you feel like talking we can do that to.”
“I think I’d like that” he smiled a spark of his old self shining through.
“The moment you misbehave or do anything inappropriate I’m gone” she warned.
“I promise I’ll be on my best behavior” he said solemnly.
“Alright then” she nodded moving towards the elevator.