Key To Your Heart.

Chapter 29

AN: There is no meaning in a life without square brakets. Why oh why does doc manager keep deleting them? Perenthesees are for whimps... And! It keeps decapitating my 'rose' chapter headers!
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Every story has a begging, middle and an end. Looked at this way it can be compared to a sandwich, or a hamburger! Some stories are club sandwiches with a cocktail stick and a side salad. Some are regurgitated toilet roll made to look like minced meat and smell like petrol wedged between week old sesame seed encrusted buns. This one is . . . somewhere in between and we're at the soggy lettuce part.

(Like any self-respecting reader, don't forget to pick out the pickle slices.)
Moving away from the extended metaphor, we find ourselves at a more literal one: Nikki's at a crossroads. Literal because he really is, standing on a corner, ignoring the flashing 'walk' sign and the hoards of people shoving past flashing things less complementary at him for blocking the way, and metaphorical because he had a choice.

After a morning well spent loitering in Starbucks he got a job. "Starbucks" thought Nikki. "How low can you get?" but on the other hand "job equals paycheque". The real problem began when he started thinking about the other offer made. Free accommodation came as part and parcel with the job as the upstairs flat needed a tenant and the manager wanted to hire a live in employee. It was all perfect. "Except it isn't."

He'd told them he'd think about it and left. And now he was. Thinking.

"I'd have to move out of James's flat."

He smirked wryly at that. His roommate probably wouldn't lament that event overly much.

"No? But things are going so well! You hardly ever throw things at each other with the desire to maim anymore!"


James, thoroughly wet and cold now after his walk in the rain after leaving read: being thrown out of the Panther stood dripping on to the floor in front of the bathroom door, and wanting nothing more out of life than a hot shower. It's the little things . . .
Nikki was in the shower.
He considered going in to the bathroom and flushing the toilet a couple of times. . .
He chose life.

So having nothing to do but wait James lounged on the settee, but the devil makes work for idle brain cells, right?

So, while he sat there staring at the closed bathroom door his thoughts turned to the occupier. "Nikki.". . . "Shower" . . . "Nikki, in conjunction with Shower."

James slid a bit lower on the couch . . .. Nikki coming out of the bathroom, dressed only in a towel. The towel slipping slowly to the floor . . .

He had no idea how close him imagination came to reality, because that was exactly what happened. Well... more or less.

Suddenly the first part of his fantasy was so real James thought he was hallucinating. Nikki came out of the bathroom.
Took one step, yelped and jumped back against the wall at the sight of James.

The towel wrapped around his waits was now on the floor.

- You're home! (was surprisingly the least idiotic and most coherent thing that came to Nikki's mind)

James was equally as surprised (not that he showed it) when reality digressed from what he was fantasising about and Nikki didn't look as though he would throw himself at James any time soon.

He smirked and stalked closer...closer... Nikki couldn't move. He was the deer and James was the headlights of a sixteen-wheeler truck. James stopped a breath away from him and knelt on the floor.

Nikki gulped. He was feeling dizzy, and trying to glare "breath, oh gods what is he doing...? he's not gonna... so close, do I want him to..?" Nikki blushed at his own thoughts. He could feel the other mans every exhale on over sensitive skin. James was on his knees in front of him and he was dripping wet and naked. But James hadn't looked away from his eyes once. He reached out a hand, picked up the towel on the floor and slowly stood, handing it to Nikki all the while not looking at anything but his eyes. Nikki bit his lip.
"Because he likes you" Bretts' voice echoed in his head.
Nikki wrapped the towel around himself and James finally looked away. His heart was beating so hard it hurt, the heat in James's' eyes was scorching. Nikki expected James to make some comment about the effect the situation was having on him. "Surely he must have noticed..." as the erm... 'effect' was pretty damn obvious and made the scratchy towel a most uncomfortable concession to modesty.


Nikki said and returned to his room all the while feeling those eyes on him. He closed the door and started to pant for breath.

"he likes you".

James leant face first in to the wall. He looked down. . . "A really long, cold shower," he decided.


While James was thus engaged (no I wont describe it use your imagination) Nikki was still trying to scrape enough brains together to get dressed.

"What just happened?!"

He sat on his bed, one sock dangling limply in his hand. The back of his eyelids was now tattooed with the image of James kneeling in front of him. The way his long hair clung to his skin. The way his eyes burned. The way he liked his lips, just inches away from. . . Nikki shuddered and blushed all over. "Oh god, how am I supposed to ever look at him again!"

Nikki groaned as other memories came back no matter how he tried to fight them. The kiss. A look. A touch. . . "NO! stop thinking." Frustrated with his body's reaction he tried to summon righteous indignation. After all James had no right to. . . to. . . look like that! "or, look at me like that!" A bit of control regained now, Nikki finished getting dressed, and walked back in to the living room. No sign of James. The shower was running.

"I hope there's no more hot water!" Thought Nikki with venom and flipped on the TV.

James wanted some more time alone before facing his roommate, in order to collect himself. He may have looked perfectly in control but then, he was a very good actor. Alas, he had finished his shower and there was nowhere to go but out.
It came to him, sometime during his shower somewhere between chilly and frozen, that Nikki was likely to be pissed.

"He's going to be embarrassed about that. Maybe. Or maybe just angry." James was trying to guess.

Either way James decided that it was in the best interests of his continued survival to try to defuse the situation somehow.

"Oh good. I'm a born diplomat, it'll be a walk in the park." He considered the merits of spending the day in the bathroom.

As James cautiously made his way in to the living room and nothing came flying at his head he relaxed a bit. Nikki was on the couch watching 'The Simpsons'.

- 'They fight! They fight! They fight they fight they fight!'

- Yes, that's right. Embrace the insanity.

James said, startling Nikki who was apparently engrossed.

- Things could be worse... you could be sane.

He answered.

Deciding that Nikki had most likely trying to block the earlier incident out of his mind James sat down next to him and tried to fidget absentmindedly as Nikki gave all his attention to the idiot box.

Nikki noticed James try to act normal and it was almost worse than the alternative. All things considered it was nice of James not to bring up his so-stupid-the-word-special-comes-to-mind behaviour, but then he probably just wanted to avoid another fight. Nikki was willing to oblige. ("I don't know what I want more right now, to hit him or, or Oh no!") Nikki started to sense a problem with his current line of thought. He just hoped that James hadn't noticed his blushing and thanked god that he decided to wear the baggy combats.

Nikki looked around briefly. He might have been imagining things but James looked nervous too, he thought. How he could tell, he had no idea. His flatmate looked the same as always, apart from not wearing eyeliner and having wet hair.

He'd been studying his flatmate for so long it was almost a science. "Yeah. Jamsology."

Nikki almost giggled hysterically at his thoughts, but didn't for fear of having to explain himself. ("and that would be hard since himself it acting like such a freak right now!")

James was wearing black, like usual, a strip of leather around his neck and one on his left wrist. Nikki was in tan combats and a white T-shirt. They made a strange contrast.

A thought occurred to James.

- Nikki? Can you cook?

Nikki turned to see James looking at him in all seriousness. He blinked and thought about the out-of-nowhere question.

-Cook what?

He asked.

-Don't say 'food'

Was the hastily added qualifier when James opened his mouth.

-Anything, I. . . invited Brett and Gabriel for dinner tomorrow night. You have plans?

Nikki narrowed his eyes. "I could have plans! It's not as if I don't have a life!" But . . .

- No.

-So can you cook?

Nikki chuckled at James's single mindidness. James smiled back a little. The tension seemed to have fled the room and Nikki mentioned that there were a number of pizza menus in the kitchen. James said that their guests probably wouldn't be hungry enough to eat them. They laughed, and decided that together they could probably figure something out.

-I mean, how many ways is there to mess up macaroni and cheese?

Nikki asked rhetorically, as they decided to go grocery shopping tomorrow and James made sandwiches for a late lunch.

Tune in next week!


"There are a lot of ways to mess up macaroni and cheese."

James decided, standing amidst the smoking remains of the frying pan and various kitchen towels.

-I told you we should have ordered pizza.

Nikki contributed.

-Not very helpful, Nikki.

James said in a tone that gave a new meaning to deadpan.

Roll credits.