|Then There Was You
Author: S.J. Byrd PM
With a nickname like Scary-Douche-Roommate-From-Hell, did Stacey really expect me to like this guy? Then, for some reason, I did. SLASHRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Chapters: 19 - Words: 70,656 - Reviews: 64 - Favs: 42 - Follows: 81 - Updated: 03-14-13 - Published: 05-21-12 - id: 3024692
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Competition (Part 2)
"So, you're the boyfriend," Luke said, still smirking smugly. The air was frozen with tension, and Luke wasn't making it any better by keeping me held against him which made me really annoyed.
With a hard shove against his chest, I pushed him back a few feet and managed to free my arm. "Yes," I said, "This is my boyfriend."
Unconcerned by my shove, Luke took a few steps in Raphael's direction, the two of them sizing each other up. There was so much ego in this bathroom right now, I could barely breathe.
"Hello again, Pirelli. It's always a bother to see you," Raphael announced with a touch of disdain in his voice.
"Likewise, Van Rossum," Luke replied dryly and moved to stand closer to me again. "Nothing happened here," he continued and gestured between him and I, "At least, not yet."
I just rolled my eyes and folded my arms so he couldn't grab my wrist again. Who did this kid think he was?
"Oh, I'm sure nothing would have," Raphael replied and I preened on the inside at his confidence in me.
Luke gave a laugh. "You say that, but given my track record… Well, I don't need to tell you about our history."
I couldn't even begin to describe Raphael's sudden change in demeanor. The murder that had been in his eyes spread to the rest of his body, causing his muscles to clench and his jaw to tighten. He was steaming mad and I don't think I'd ever seen him like this before. I'd caught flashes of it when we'd fought but even that was nothing like the raging bull that I was seeing in front of me.
"You're just as much of an asshole as ever," Raphael said calmer than I thought possible.
"You're one to talk, dragging poor Erik here to a marathon of horror movies when he clearly hates them," he said and then eyed me up and down, "I'd take better care of your boyfriend if I were you."
"Erik's not the type to fall for your tricks," Raphael practically growled out and again I felt happy that he knew me well enough to say that.
"Isn't that what you thought about Matt too?" Luke asked, pure malice dripping from his words.
I didn't know who this Matt person was, but judging from the stance that Raphael was falling into, I knew that I needed to intervene quickly otherwise things would get very ugly.
"Let's just go Raphael," I said and moved over to him, "I was just about to head back when you came in."
His gaze flicked over to me briefly before he nodded and pulled me toward him. "Yeah, just remember Pirelli, Erik is mine. So back off."
Luke just raised an eyebrow and shrugged nonchalantly as we walked out of the bathroom.
Raphael stomped ahead of me, going straight past the entrance to the theater. Considering there was no one outside I could only guess that the next movie had already started.
"Hey, Raphael, wait up. Where are you going?"
"To the car," he replied tersely.
"We're not going back to see the other movies?" I asked.
He stopped abruptly, causing me to almost run into him. "I didn't need someone else to tell me that you didn't want to be there," he said frustratedly, "I'm not so callous to not recognize when you would rather go."
"I never said you were, Raphael."
"No, no, I know," he replied with a sigh, "I know. He just gets to me." He ran a hand through his hair and slumped against the nearest wall. "In case you couldn't tell, there's some bad blood between us."
"You don't say," I said sarcastically in an attempt to lighten the mood.
He chuckled and pulled me toward him. I moved easily into his arms and wound my own around him, my hands finding their way into his back pockets. "I'm sorry if I acted like a possessive freak back there," he murmured into my neck.
"I usually don't like that macho possessive thing, but just this once I didn't mind," I replied honestly, "He was kind of getting on my nerves anyway, so thanks."
He hands moved lightly over my back and I felt his chest rumble with another laugh. "And this is why I shouldn't be worried," he said.
My eyebrows furrowed together. "Worried?" I asked, "That I'd hook up with Luke?"
"Well, yeah, I guess," he muttered unsurely, "Or, I don't know, I guess it sounds stupid since we haven't been going out for very long, but I have a problem with infidelity. It just always seems to happen around me, first my father and then Matt."
Around him? That was an odd way to say that, I thought. "Will you talk to me about it?" I asked.
He sighed, "I don't really want to."
I understood secrets. I understood the desperate need to keep them to yourself because you were afraid of how other people would react. A week ago I hid a ton of things from Raphael, but now I finally understood how he had felt. When you liked someone, really liked them, you wanted them to be able to talk to you. You didn't want to think that there were things they couldn't, or worse wouldn't, share with you.
"Please?" I asked feeling like the biggest hypocrite on the Earth for pushing him to talk to me, "At least tell me if this Matt person is the reason you don't like Luke."
Again, he sighed. "I dated Matt a little over a year ago, and things were going fine until he ran into Luke at a party. The way I heard it was one thing led to another and you can guess the rest. Lucky for me, he told me about it the next day and I tried to work things out but he didn't really want to."
"Oh Raphael," I said sympathetically and kissed his cheek.
He let out a humorless laugh, "Yeah, I guess I'm just a sucker."
"You're not," I said vehemently and pushed out of his embrace. I held his face with both my hands and continued, "Listen to me Raphael, whoever this Matt guy is, he's the idiot if he let Luke talk him into bed with him. I promise you that while we're going out I will never cheat on you. You are the only one I want to be with."
He stared into my eyes for a long time. "I believe you," he said finally, "I don't know what it is about you Erik, but I believe you."
I grinned at him and dropped my hands to my sides, "It's because I'm so irresistibly lovable."
He rolled his eyes good naturedly before leaning in to kiss me. "That you are," he said with a laugh, "Oh and by the way, it sounded really nice to hear you call me your boyfriend."
"Did it?" I asked teasingly, "Well I'll be sure to introduce you to more people like that."
He took my hand and interlaced our fingers before we headed off in the direction of the car. "How about we go to your place and have our own private movie marathon?" he suggested.
"I do have a vast movie collection," I replied, "But maybe we can watch from the bed and not the couch this time."
"Probably a good idea."
On Saturday, I asked Raphael if he wouldn't mind filming some more for my project. Spring break was a week away and if I was going to be able to turn in my project on time, I needed to get all the footage and start on the editing before we left for our trip.
As I had told him before, the project had been evolving for me and it wasn't just about Raphael's boyfriend character anymore. I wasn't sure what it was becoming or even what I wanted the end result to be, but I knew what I wanted to film and that was a picnic.
"A picnic?" he asked after I'd told him my idea, "You want to go on a picnic?"
"Yep," I said and moved around in my kitchen making food to take with us. I'd stocked my freezer with an assortment of fish, and I'd printed off at least a dozen pescetarian and vegetarian recipes to put in the recipe box my mother had given me when I'd moved in. "We can stop at your place first so you can take a shower, and then we can go to the park again. Unless you have a problem with picnics."
"No, no problem, you just never struck me as the type to like picnics, that's all."
"What type am I then?"
Still bare-chested and looking unkempt from sleep, he observed me as I breaded fish and placed it on a baking sheet. "You're not really any one type I guess," he finally said, "That doesn't mean I thought you'd go for the whole blanket-in-a-meadow thing."
I rolled my eyes good-naturedly, "First of all we're going to the park, not a meadow, and second of all, there are benches, no need for a blanket as far as I know. It's supposed to get up to the mid sixties today and it's sunny, perfect weather to be outside."
"I'm not arguing," he said with a laugh and held up his hands defensively, "Let's go on a picnic, and you can film all you want."
When we stopped off at his place, I did just that. Raphael went into his room to take a shower and I opted to stay out in the living room with Stacey and Bryan.
Once I heard the shower running, I whipped out my camera. "Okay you two," I said, "I have a question to ask you about Raphael and I want to film it for my project."
They both looked at me strangely and then at each other before Stacey finally said, "Okay… What's the question?"
"What five words would you use to describe him?"
"Huh? Why do you want to film that?" Stacey asked as I set my camera up on the kitchen counter.
"I'm not really sure," I replied, "My project has been twisting around in my mind and it hasn't fully developed yet, but this might be part of it."
"I guess that's no problem then," Bryan replied and moved off of the couch toward the camera, "Where do you want us?"
"One at a time," I said instinctively and then thought about it, "No actually, do it together. That would be better."
I positioned two bar stools in front of the camera, turned it on and then gestured for them to have a seat. "Ok," I continued, "What five words would you use to describe Raphael?"
"Loyal," Bryan answered immediately.
"And understanding!" Stacey chimed, "He's super understanding."
"He's strong. Emotionally and physically," Bryan added.
"But he's also really intense too, in the best way possible though."
The couple looked at each other, contemplating what the last word would be when they both suddenly cracked a smile. "He's childish!" Stacey exclaimed with a laugh.
"More like child-like," Bryan clarified and grinned at his girlfriend, "We had this conversation the other day."
My own face split into a grin and I couldn't help but be amazed again at how in sync they were. "Thanks you guys," I said just as I heard the shower turn off, "Just in time too!"
"No problem Erik," Bryan replied, "I'd really like to see whatever it is you're working on when you get done with it."
"Yeah," Stacey agreed, "Me too."
I nodded, "I'll be sure to show you then."
It wasn't long before Raphael was ready and we headed off. I filmed some more stuff on the way there and while we were at the park, and I was feeling pretty good about where my project was going. I finally knew how I wanted to open and what I wanted to go where for the most part. I had a little over two weeks before it was due, and one of those weeks I'd be at Raphael's lake house, so I knew I needed to get a lot of work done on it this week.
"So Raphael," I began once we'd settled ourselves at one of the picnic tables, "What is your vacation house like anyway? Is it directly on the lake?"
He took a bite of the fish sticks I'd made and nodded. "Yep, it's on the waterfront."
"That's awesome! It must have been fun going there as a kid."
"I guess so," he replied with a careless shrug, "It was just one of the many vacation houses that my parents had so I didn't really spend more time at that one that at any other."
His parents owned more than one vacation house? "So is that why you get to use it every year? Because they have others that they go to?"
"Sort of yeah. They travel all the time so that house is pretty much always empty anyway. But don't worry, my dad keeps full staff at each house all the time so it won't be falling apart or anything."
Full staff? At each of his many vacation houses? Maybe I was just daft, but I was only now beginning to wonder at Raphael's financial background. As I pulled out the ceviche I'd made from the cooler we'd brought, I began to notice things that I hadn't analyzed before, like the fact that he drove such a sleek sports car, or the fact that he rented a freaking rowboat for an afternoon without batting an eyelash.
I suddenly felt self conscious about the fact that he'd bought so much stuff for me. Apart from our dinner at the sushi restaurant, he'd pretty much paid for all of our other dates. Granted, I had spent a fair bit on the food we were currently eating because fresh fish isn't all that cheap, but collectively, he definitely spent way more on me than I had on him.
But at the same time, if Raphael was in fact rich, then that meant that the vacation house we were going to would be amazing. I imagined that it would be large. If it needed "staff" then it had to be big. It would also be very comfortable and perhaps it would have its own pier if not beach access. Or maybe both.
As I salivated at the thought of spending a week of luxury with Raphael at his lake house, I concluded then and there that I was a horrible person.
"Are you excited to go?" Raphael asked after a moment.
"I'm actually really excited," I replied honestly, "I'm that boring college kid that usually doesn't do anything for spring break, so I'm really looking forward to it."
Raphael flashed me his dazzling smile which made my pulse speed up. "I'm glad," he said, "It'll be great."
I smiled back at him and tamped down the thoughts of us having sex on a pier that had suddenly popped into my head. Would I ever learn to control my perverted thoughts around him?
By Wednesday I was itching for the week to be over. I'd decided that I had gotten enough footage to start editing, and after spending about four hours in the editing lab the night before, I was feeling a little overwhelmed with everything I still had to do.
On the bright side, I was in that frame of mind that had me working feverishly. Tuesday night had been so productive and I had made some final decisions for the direction of my project that I wanted to work on right away.
My inspiration hadn't burnt out yet, and as I was walking out of my post productions class I was already thinking of scenes that I needed to put in and ones that I could afford to cut. I was meeting Stacey, Dani and Laura for lunch in about an hour and a half, so I figured I'd just go do a little work on my project in the meantime.
I was so deep in thought and so motivated to go edit that I felt instantly annoyed when I felt a hand on my arm. When I turned around to see who it was, my annoyance increased.
"See? I told you we had this class together," Luke said with a charming grin on his face.
"It's not like I didn't believe you," I said dryly and eyed his hand on my arm warily. What was it with this kid and touching me?
"Well, I just thought I'd say hi," he said with a careless shrug, "Maybe we should start sitting together."
I had to refrain from rolling my eyes at him. "Considering we're almost halfway through the semester, maybe that's not such a good idea," I replied and practically yanked my arm out of his grasp.
His casual grin didn't change, but his eyes flashed cruelly, "You sure it doesn't have anything to do with your boyfriend's disapproval?"
That time I did roll my eyes. "Listen, just because Raphael is my boyfriend does not mean that he dictates who I can and cannot hang out with. That being said, because he is my boyfriend, I'm not going to put myself in a situation that might make him uncomfortable."
His grin turned feral as he leaned in closer to me. "I make him uncomfortable?" he asked and ran his eyes slowly up and down my body.
This guy either really had it out for Raphael or had absolutely no respect for relationships and part of me thought it was a little of both. I couldn't think of a reason why Luke would even care about Raphael anymore after he had already stolen one of his boyfriends, but whatever it was he was about to get a reality check.
It was pure stubbornness that had me holding my ground and my gaze. "You make me uncomfortable Luke, and definitely not in a good way. I can probably stand you enough to be friends with you if you stop hitting on me, but that's all we can be."
With that final statement I turned and began to walk away again, but his arm on my shoulder stopped me once more. "Okay, okay, I get it," he said and mustered an apologetic look, "I don't know what you see in him, but fine." He released my shoulder and took a step back to put an appropriate distance between us. "Then as your friend," he continued, "Let me have your number. Maybe you can give me some tips on my films too."
I eyed him suspiciously. I couldn't be sure he was sincere about his offer of just friendship, but one thing I did know was that I would never fall for his tricks. Objectively I could say he was attractive, and he had that Italian charm from his heritage, but he would never catch my interest the way that Raphael did.
He really was very harmless to me. I could already tell that unlike Raphael, any interest Luke had in me would wane as soon as he saw the next guy he wanted to sleep with. I would never be able to trust him the way I trusted Raphael, and that thought alone made me feel secure enough to acquiesce.
"Okay, sure," I said and rattled off the numbers, "But the minute you step over the line, that's it."
"I understand," he said and proceeded to flash me an enthusiastic grin, "Don't worry about me, buddy, I'll behave."
I raised an eyebrow at him and suddenly an idea popped into my head. "Hey Luke," I began, "as my friend, would you do me a favor?"
Now it was his turn to look at me suspiciously. "Sure," he replied, "Anything for a friend."
I took his shoulders and pushed him to stand in front of the plainest wall around us and pulled my camera out of my bag. Aiming it at him, I asked, "What five words would you use to describe Raphael?"
"Are you serious?" he monotoned.
"I'm not going to lie for you, even if you are my friend," he said bluntly in that same dry tone.
"Then don't," I said laughingly. If he stuck to his word and stopped hitting on me, then I could foresee us getting along fine.
"Okay then, he's arrogant, whiny, obnoxious, annoying and just plain old boring. And that's just a drop in the bucket for what I feel for him," Luke answered ending with sarcastic smile.
It really didn't bother me to hear him describe Raphael that way because I knew him better, but I was glad that Luke had stuck to pretty tame words. "Thanks," I said, switching off my camera and replacing it in my bag.
"No problem. Did it make you want to go out with me more?" he asked and waggled his eyebrows suggestively.
"I'm serious Luke," I said with a warning look, "I really can see us being good friends, but you need to quit saying stuff like that."
He raised his hands defensively and replied, "All right, all right, I was just kidding. I know the friend zone when I see it."
I understood what it was like to be friend-zoned, but I didn't feel sorry for him at all. "Anyway I've gotta get going, I'll see you around Luke," I said with a wave.
"Yeah, see ya," he replied.
I turned and walked away down the corridor, but I could feel his gaze on me until I turned the corner. Despite what he'd said, I decided I'd still keep my distance, just to be safe.
A/N: This chapter I realized that I love writing douchey characters. Maybe I'm a sadist, but fights and douches are just so much fun to incorporate into a scene. But I'm definitely not a fan of unnecessary drama so we'll see how much Luke plays into the story.
Also, I have an important announcementto make. I'm going on vacation next week and I'll have very limited internet access, so I won't be able to post a chapter. But maybe if the writing fairy likes me, I'll have two chapters for you guys by the time I get back. No promises though!
I hope you enjoyed this chapter! Let me know what you thought about it and the story thus far. Thanks so much as usual for reading and reviewing! I really appreciate it!