Author: S.H. Marr PM
One boy is desperate to repair a broken relationship...while the other boy is busy getting a new date. Slash.Rated: Fiction T - English - Hurt/Comfort - Words: 4,086 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 6 - Published: 07-03-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3038620
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
As Chance opened the next box of donations, the back store room was suddenly filled with a heavy scent of old-woman perfume. Chance frowned. All the clothes in the box would all need to be washed before he could put them out on the racks.
Sure, he appreciated the donations, and kind of had to, working at a thrift store, but seriously. Did people think at all about the stuff they gave them? At least two or three items in ten needed to be washed, another one had to be thrown out, and most of the rest were just plain hideous.
He sighed, then choked on the heavy perfume, and shut the box. Amanda could take it home to wash. Actually, too much thought probably went into that particular box. Some old woman probably spritzed the whole box to make it smell 'nice' before sending it off.
He went through a few more boxes of donations. They hadn't gotten very many that day, only the stink bomb and four others from various sources. A box of baby clothes, one with a corduroy suit jacket of all things, a box of 80's clothes, and one full of bedding. Not bad, really. He removed the ready-to-sell items and set the clothes on hangers before laying them aside to take out on the floor later.
"How are you doing?"
Chance looked up to see the owner of the store, Amanda, walk in. "Pretty good," he said. He indicated the first box he'd opened. "You'll need to take that home to wash."
"Oh, God," she groaned. "What this time?"
"It's…all…smelly," Chance explained for a lack of better terminology. "I'm just about to take the rest of these out onto the floor. What do you want me to do after that?"
"Just go out and make sure everything is organized and labeled properly," she said, opening the box and gagging. She shut it again and headed back out to the main part of the store. Chance picked up the piles of clothing and followed.
Second Lives wasn't a big store, but it wasn't a tiny hole-in-the-wall, either, and most of it was crammed with racks for clothes, shelves, or furniture displays. Fortunately, Chance had been working there since he was old enough to have a proper job, and navigation wasn't much of a problem after four years.
The baby clothes took him the longest, since they were all so tiny and most of them had to be set on shelves instead of hung up with tiny hangers. After he was done with those, he wandered around the store somewhat aimlessly, glancing at size tags and making sure no one put skirts in with the dresses again.
Chance looked up and immediately stepped back when he recognized the slender young man. "Jonathan. What are you doing here?"
"To talk to you. What else?" he looked around at the clothing anxiously, as if hoping Chance wouldn't point out the obvious fact that Jonathan pretty much only wore brand name clothing…and definitely nothing secondhand.
"Right, why did I bother asking?" Chance muttered.
"So, can you talk?"
"Not right now. My shift just started. I'm not due for a break yet. Go away," Chance said, not bothering to sugarcoat what he said. Jonathan really didn't deserve that.
Jonathan winced. "Okay. When's your break?"
Chance stared at him, debating whether or not to tell him. Seriously, he didn't even know after all this time? He obviously knew what Chance's schedule was…maybe. He might have just not found Chance at home and figured this was the next best option.
"Two hours," he said reluctantly. If he decided he didn't want to here Jonathan's excuses again, he'd just change his break time a little. No big deal.
Jonathan's face broke into a brilliant smile and Chance forgave him just a little. Jonathan's smile was gorgeous, even if he hadn't seen it much lately. "Okay. I'll be back in two hours."
Chance waved him off and Jonathan left the store, allowing the college student to go back to sorting the racks of clothing. He'd only made it two steps before being interrupted again.
"So, hey, I heard your name is Chance?"
Chance turned around to look at the owner of the unfamiliar voice and frowned. "Yeah. Do you need some help with something?"
The man was cute, maybe a year or two older than Chance's twenty years, and he had pale brown hair a few shades lighter than his own and greenish-brown eyes. "Yeah, actually. Can you tell me the best way to get your number?"
Chance lifted an eyebrow and smiled. "Asking usually works. Can I ask you why you want it?"
"Well, how else am I supposed to plan a date with you, cutie?"
Chance laughed, and as he smiled, he thought briefly of Jonathan. Well, it didn't matter; he wasn't even avoiding their 'talk', so he was perfectly allowed to flirt. "Well, we could always do that here, but I guess you can have my number. Do have something to write it on?"
The boy produced a tiny notebook similar to the one Chance carried with him from his artfully faded jeans and a pen from behind his ear. "My name is Brian, by the way."
Chance nodded, scribbled his cell phone number on the first blank page, and handed the notebook back to Brian. "I get off in about seven and a half hours. Call me tonight?"
"I'll see what I can do, darling."
Chance gave the man another smile and Brain saluted him with two fingers before heading back towards the door.
"Chance! Stop flirting with every boy that comes in here and work!" Amanda called.
"All right, all right, sorry."
Jonathan showed up exactly when he said he would two hours later, just as Chance was sitting down for his fifteen. "Chance! Hi."
"Hey," Chance grumbled, his good mood diminished.
Jonathan squatted down in front of his ex and smiled weakly. "You said we could talk now."
Chance shrugged and looked away. "We already did talk about this. That's when I ended things in the first place, remember? Is there something else you really have to say?"
"No," Jonathan said. "Just that I really am sorry. Things just kept coming up. I didn't mean to keep cancelling on you.
"You suck at planning. I'm sorry, but I just can't have a boyfriend when the only time I see him is when he wants something specific." He turned back to the blond in front of him and said icily, "Like right now."
Jonathan had the good grace to wince. "I didn't mean for it to turn out like that. Can't you ever forgive me? I'd love it if we could just…work things out. It's winter break; I have more free time now."
"Sure, but what happens when school starts up again?" Chance pointed out. "We don't live in a state of vacation, Jonathan. Besides, even if I wanted to, I wouldn't be getting back together with you right now. I broke up with you for a reason and I meant it. It's not good to just…take it back right away. I need time to think about it."
Jonathan didn't bother to ask how long that would take, for which Chance was grateful. He did, however, say, "Can we at least hang out as friends until you make a decision?"
"No. I need time completely away from you to get over you."
Jonathan stood up abruptly. "Why didn't you just say 'no', then? Why bother letting me get my hopes up? You say you want to think about it, but then you tell me you want to get over me. That makes your decision pretty clear, I think." He shook his head and closed his eyes, a habit Chance knew he used to hide forming tears. "I'm sorry I asked."
Chance shrugged, trying not to feel guilty but knowing he did anyway. It wasn't really his fault. Jonathan kept trying, even though Chance had made his feelings clear already. After Jonathan had been over a hour late for their date for the third time in a row, the relationship wasn't even worth it anymore. They never saw each other to have a relationship.
"I think you should go."
Jonathan didn't need him to say it twice.
Chance was just changing into his pajama pants that night when his cell phone rang. He stared at it for a long moment before picking up.
"Hello, cutie from the thrift store. I did promise to call."
"Well, yes, but now I'm wondering who else you gave your number to today. Blondie?"
Chance decided to play cool about the incident with Jonathan. "Jonathan has had my number for a while."
Brian's response was sing-song. "I think I'm jealous."
"I see you're the possessive type."
"Maybe a little," Brian admitted. "Are you free Friday evening?"
Chance glanced at his calendar even though he knew he was free. "Depends on what you have planned and whether or not I say yes."
"I always thought first dates should be traditional. Dinner and a movie?"
"Well, okay, I guess I lied about traditional. I was thinking we could go back to my place to watch some DVDs. I'll make dinner. And I'll even pick you up."
Chance thought about that for a moment. Going back to Brian's house for a first date was kind of weird and moving fast, but he didn't object to the idea. "Sure. I guess. Six?"
"Six it is. See ya then."
Chance had mixed feelings as he got ready for his date Friday afternoon. On one hand, Brian seemed nice enough and cute enough and everything. On the other, he wasn't quite over Jonathan, whether they were broken up or not. He hoped going on a date would help, and he hoped Brian wasn't expecting too much commitment from him. He needed something light and fun, and dammit, he should have told Brian that sooner.
It was too late to worry about that, though, and Chance could hear a car pulling up to his tiny apartment building. Probably Brian, as it was less than ten minutes to six.
He glanced in the mirror again to make sure his brown hair was still staying flat on his head and smoothing out the red cotton shirt he'd chosen to wear. Everyone looked good in red, or so his sister told him. He did, at least.
He was barely done fussing with his clothing when he heard the knock on the door. He flew out of the bathroom to open the door. "Hi."
Brian grinned slowly, looking Chance over from head to toe. "Hi. You look great."
"Thanks, you do…too?" Chance replied. He hated the obligatory complimenting and having to return them. How was Brian supposed to know if he meant it or not?
Not, of course, that Brian didn't look good. His date was wearing skinny jeans the fit him just a bit more tightly than was probably appropriate and a dark green button down that made his eyes look more green than brown. And Chance was a sucker for green eyes.
Brian didn't seem to have the same qualms about obligatory compliments that he did. "Thanks." He offered his arm to Chance, and the man hooked his own arm through it. "Now, let's get to my car, if you're ready to go."
Brian led him out of the apartment and paused for Chance to lock up his apartment before leading him down the two flights of stairs and opening the passenger door of a blue, two-door car with chipped paint. Chance didn't mind. His old Camry wasn't any better.
Brian tossed a CD case on his lap when he climbed in on the driver's side. "Pick whatever you want. I think I labeled the mixes." Chance picked one of the mixed CDs out and slipped the disc into the slot for it and bit his lip as the music started, trying to think of something to say to Brian.
He knew practically nothing about him except his name, Brian O'Neil. But he'd told his father and his closest friend in the area, Leo, that he was going on a date with this guy, so at least they would know who to look for if something happened.
Jesus. Thinking like this wasn't going to make this date any better.
"So, Chance, are you in school?"
"Uh, yeah, I go to the university in town," Chance replied. "You?"
"Nah, college is too damn expensive. I got a job at my uncle's company instead. Nepotism at its finest and all."
"Sounds nice…" Chance glanced out the window. "So, where are we going?"
"My place, remember? I have cabin in the area where I stay for the winter. My family lives around here."
"A…cabin?" Shit, this really was turning into a horror movie.
Brian just laughed. "I'm harmless, I promise. It's only five minutes off the main road, anyway. You think this car is capable of getting into the woods? Nothing scary."
Chance managed a chuckle. "Fair enough." And what could really happen? He'd told everyone where he was and he had his cell phone and the GPS that went with it.
They pulled up to a small wooden cabin in less than 45 minutes. They were a little more secluded than Chance had hoped, but it was also kind of romantic—going away like this would keep them alone.
"So, I guess you like the outdoors?" Chance offered as Brian unlocked the wooden cabin and waved him in.
"Yeah, it's relaxing," Brian agreed. "I live in the city, so it's a change."
"Huh…" The city was a good hour away. It was a good thing that Chance didn't want to get serious about things, because long distance simply didn't work for him. And neither did big cities.
"So, what movies do you want to watch? I don't have that big a selection here, but I do have Netflix."
Chance shrugged. "Let's eat dinner first."
"All right, that'll take a while for me to make, though. Your apartment is too far for me to have started it already." He winked at Chance and waved. "I'll try to be quick. Go pick out movies." Brian waved to a couch and flat screen TV in the larger room while he retreated to the living room.
Chance sighed. This wasn't exactly how he'd expected a first date to go. They had talked for most of 45 minutes, and now they weren't even near each other.
Brian made stir fry for dinner, probably because it didn't take long and, as Brian told Chance, "Everybody makes Italian. I don't know what's so romantic about it." While Chance didn't really agree with that, he did appreciate mixing things up every once in a while. He shared this thought as they sat down to eat.
Brian shrugged and smiled. "So, what movies did you pick?"
Chance told him and took a bite of food.
"Great," Chance answered honestly. It was, actually, even if he would never have thought of putting broccoli in stir fry himself. "Your own recipe?"
"Mom's. Of course. Don't we all get recipes from Mom?"
Chance nodded, even though his mother hadn't been much on cooking and even less on eating. She never had her own recipes to give him, but his father had given him a few. His family was kind of a heavy topic for a first date, though. He'd know Jonathan for six months before sharing that kind of information.
He looked down at his plate and focused on eating. He didn't know what to say anymore. They had covered basics on the car ride, and while there had to be a way to change the subject, he didn't know how.
Brian didn't even try. "So, what's your favorite that you got?"
"My dad gave me a pretty good apple pie recipe," Chance answered slowly. "We always eat it on holidays."
"Family man? You want kids or something?"
"Maybe someday." He grinned. "Isn't it kind of early to be talking about kids, Bri?"
Brian laughed. "We'll have two," he said. "Geraldine and Darius."
Chance laughed. "I hope you aren't seriously going to name your kids that."
"Oh? What would you name them?"
"Chumley and Prescott. Two boys," Chance explained.
"No, Prescott will be the cat."
"No, Wellington will be the cat."
They looked at each other silently for a long moment before bursting into laughter.
"Seriously. Finish your dinner and then we can make fun of the names of the movie characters."
"Ooh, can we make fun of the actors' names too?"
The two of them finished the rest of the rice and veggies quickly and then settled themselves on the couch, not particularly close, but near enough that they could touch each other if they really wanted to. Brian slid the appropriate DVD in.
"So," he said as the credits started. "I have to say, I didn't really expect to spend a whole lot of time watching the movie, if you know what I mean."
Chance knew what he meant, but he ignored Brian as if he didn't say anything. A make out session wasn't what he needed. He needed some mindless fun with a good movie.
"What?" he grumbled.
"Well, what do you say?" Brian asked, shifting closer to Chance and resting on hand on his leg.
Chance shivered and backed away. "Brian, stop it. I want to watch the movie, okay? Not…not this."
Brian's smile slipped away. "What? Why? Am I not cute enough or something?"
"What? You're gorgeous. I just…I got out of a long relationship recently and I don't want to right now, is all."
"You know, maybe you should just get with someone else to forget him," Brian replied, replacing his hand on Chance's thigh.
Brian scowled, reached for the remote, and turned off the TV. "Then get out."
"Get out. If you don't want to actually have fun, get the fuck out."
"You drove me!"
"Well, maybe you should have thought of that. Have you reconsidered yet?"
"No." Chance stood up, wrapped his arms around himself, and stalked out the front door. Seriously, Brian thought he was going to agree to sleep with someone who was practically blackmailing him?
Not in this lifetime.
He reached for his cell phone as he sat on the porch. Brian's cabin was too far away from his apartment for him to walk, and he didn't want to try and find his way through the trees. He had a notoriously bad sense of direction.
His father was his first call, but the call went to the answering machine. He left a message, but tried his cell phone anyway. It was January and he was getting cold fast. He needed a ride A.S.A.P.
It was turned off. Dammit, what was that about?
He called Leo next and his friend answered on the third ring.
"Hey, man, what's up?"
"I need a ride."
"Aren't you supposed to be having a hot date tonight?"
"Yeah, it didn't turn out so hot. I need a lift from this guy's cabin."
"Aw, hell, man, my car's in the shop. Didn't I tell you that? Some asshole rammed into on Tuesday."
"Oh, damn, that's right." Chance sighed. "Well, fuck. Any chance you could borrow a car?"
"You're the only one who loans me a car. And I figure you've got your keys."
"You call your dad?"
"Well, I hope you sort something out. I'll let you go so you can go down your address book, okay?"
They hung up and Chance sighed. Most of his address book didn't live in the area. They went home for the summer or were interning out of the city.
The only other person he could think to all wasn't even in his address book. Jonathan.
He dialed the number anyway.
Jonathan picked up immediately. "Chance? Why the hell are you calling?"
"I…I need a ride," Chance confessed. "Can you come get me?"
All Jonathan said in response was, "Where?"
Chance gave him directions, Jonathan promised to be there in less than half an hour and Chance wrapped his arms around himself more tightly. Wearing a thin cotton shirt and no jacket didn't seem like such a great idea now that he was stuck outside in the frigid winter night air.
Brian. What an asshole.
Jonathan was there in twenty minutes and already getting out of the car as Chance stood up, giving Chance a tight hug.
"Are you okay?" he asked, shoving a thick sweater over Chance's head and helping him get his arms in.
"Yeah, I figured, you always dress like that on dates. You don't wear weather appropriate clothing, ever. You nearly got heatstroke when we went to that amusement park in July." Jonathan shook his head sadly and pulled a blanket out of the passenger seat and wrapped Chance in it. "How great does looking nice seem now? Let's get you warmed up. I've got the heat full blast."
At that, he felt tears drip down his cheeks again. "Chance?" Jonathan asked, sounding of nothing but concern and a bit of panic. He pulled Chance back into his arms. "You're okay? No frostbite? What happened? Why did you need me to pick you up?"
"I'm ruining your nice sweater. Sorry."
"It doesn't matter. Tell me."
Chance let himself be bustled into the passenger seat and buckled up first, focusing on getting the heat vents of Jonathan's car pointed at himself. Jonathan hurried around to the driver's side, removing his expensive scarf and winter jacket as he did so. Chance didn't blame him; the car was probably too hot for him.
"My date was an asshole," Chance mumbled, huddling himself in his blanket. "Thank you for picking me up."
"Of course," Jonathan said quietly. "You needed me."
"But you could blow off dates?"
Jonathan sighed and shook his head instead of defending himself. "Chance…our dates…they were important, I wanted to spend time with you. But you didn't need me like you did tonight. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have done that so many times. Now be quiet." He shoved a blue thermos into Chance's hands. "You practically look this color, you know that? Drink; it's hot cider."
Chance chugged the container gratefully and didn't say anything when he was done, focusing instead on watching Jonathan's face in the flickering light of passing street lights. Jonathan barely seemed to notice and the thirty minute rush to Chance's apartment building passed in what seemed like seconds.
"All right, we're here."
Chance looked at the building before crawling into Jonathan's lap. "Take me home."
"Chance, you are home."
"No, not my home. Your home." He rested his head on Jonathan's shoulder awkwardly, having to bend to do it properly since he was a good two inches taller than Jonathan when he wasn't sitting on the other boy's lap. "Do you still want me back?"
"Oh, God, Chance." Jonathan's arms wrapped around Chance's waist. "Of course." Chance watched him blink back tears. "You mean it?"
Chance nodded into his shoulder, trying to blink back his own tears. "Yeah. I can count on you. Jesus. And I love you."
"Love you, too, Chance. Thanks for giving me a second one."
Chance laughed, relieved enough that he didn't blast Jonathan for making his name into a pun.