So Reid was gone. To be honest, I was shocked that it was so easy in the end. Who knew that all I had to do was win one little game of Halo? I never would have guessed.
After he left, I didn't know what to do with myself. There were suddenly so many possibilities open to me that I didn't even know what to do first. Eventually I decided to take a shower, especially because it had been quite some time since I'd been able to have one without constantly having to worry about someone peeking at me.
After I took care of that, I went to the kitchen for some food. I realized that Ben and Josh had not noticed Reid's cookies, so I took the whole plate in my room with me, mostly to hide them before my crazy roommates could eat them all. Once I was in my room, I realized that a plate of cookies was worthless without a glass of milk, so I went back into the kitchen. Reid's stupid drawing was still hanging on the fridge, so I quickly crumpled into a ball and tossed in the trash, scowling. He'd somehow managed to leave an imprint on almost everything in the house even though he'd been there only a few days. It was kind of disgusting. I got my milk and retreated back into my room as fast as possible.
After I realized I didn't have to lock my door anymore, I tried to think of other things I could do. First off, I pushed my dresser back where it belonged. I certainly didn't need a barricade for my door, and I could finally unlock the window now that I didn't have to worry about a crazy redhead climbing in through it in the middle of the night. I lingered briefly after opening the window, sighing at the short, quick breeze that lifted my bangs away from my face. I stared at the road that Reid had driven down and wondered how the hell I was going to get my car back. I'd probably have to pay him a visit.
Well, that wouldn't be so bad.
Secretly, I was curious about Reid's reaction to our separation. Sure, I could handle it, but Reid was such a big baby about things sometimes, and I wanted to see exactly how he was taking it.
Turning back to the interior of my room, I decided that I had a rather long reading list to attend to, so I grabbed a book from my shelf and contentedly dropped onto my bed with the plate of cookies and my big, thick book.
Suddenly, my door swung open and Ben and Josh popped their heads in. I narrowed my eyes at them over the pages of my book, wishing they would just go away.
"What the fuck do you want?" I snapped.
Josh shoved Ben inside my room in front of him, like he was a fucking shield or something. "Joel?" Ben asked nervously.
I could smell that something fishy was going on. "Yes?"
"When is Reid coming back?" He asked timidly.
"Never," I growled, turning my attention back to my book. This distraction definitely wasn't worth my time.
"What?" This time Josh was the one asking the questions, and he was much ruder and far more confident than Ben. He walked to my bed, grabbed my book and threw it on the floor. "What the hell did you do to him that made him finally leave?"
Josh was a fucking overdramatic idiot sometimes. I gave him a fierce glare to tell him to back the hell off. "I kicked him out."
I sighed and pushed my glasses to their proper place on my nose. "Look, I could either get rid of him or get disowned by my family because they don't want me to be gay, which I never was in the first place, despite what Reid thinks…" I trailed off, glaring at the corner in anger as I remembered my mother's face when she saw Reid hug me.
"You weren't?" Ben asked, still standing wisely near the doorway for an easy escape.
"No!" I threw up my hands in frustration. "Don't you two pay attention to anything?" I stared at the twin expressions of stupidity that they wore and realized that no, they really didn't pay attention to anything. I sighed, incredibly annoyed. "Reid was always the one doing something," I hissed through clenched teeth. Thinking back, never once had I initiated anything. I didn't know where the hell these two were getting ideas.
Ben walked up behind Josh to voice his opinion. "But you never stopped him, either, so we figured that maybe you were just pretending to be victimized. We could never really figure out why, though."
I glared at both of them. "You can't stop him; he's like, a tornado of random groping and molesting!" Christ, how did I miss the fact that they were such total idiots before now?
The two of them exchanged glances and then went back to me. Ben spoke for them this time. "Whatever you say"
"Yeah." Josh bent over to pick my book up off the floor and grinned at it before he handed it to me. "Looks like you've got some important reading to do," he said with a wink, stressing the syllable read, like I was retarded and couldn't figure out that it was pronounced like Reid. I really wanted to punch him in the face, him and his stupid puns.
I laughed sarcastically. "Oh, Josh, you're so fucking punny I could kill you." My fake laughter faded quickly and I resumed glaring at him. If they hadn't shrank back to the door and left on their own, I would have thrown them out right then. What a pair of fucking assholes. It wasn't like they could make me like Reid, or even boys, for that matter. I was straight, dammit.
I tried getting back into my book, but I'd lost the mood, so I stormed out of my room only to discover that Ben and Josh had wisely retreated to the basement, safe from my angry rage.
I withdrew into the living room, content to hide there from the rest of the household, and settled into the couch cushions to watch TV. My left eyelid started twitching when I noticed Reid had somehow constructed a 3-D representation of his name using pens and scotch tape on the coffee table.
"That idiot," I muttered, and I quickly swept my hand across the table to clear it. The pens landed in a clutter on the floor, rattling against one of the empty cans of Diet Coke Reid had probably left there, which only increased my anger. Why the hell couldn't I escape him? He'd only been here a week, for Christ's sake.
Annoyed, I grabbed the remote control and flipped the TV on, sinking deeper into the cushions. Unfortunately, the movie Reid had put in was still playing in my head, and I ended up throwing the remote control across the room in my frustration. It smashed against the wall, the batteries scattering on the floor next to the pens, and I stalked into the kitchen to distract myself.
I did what any normal, self-pitying, angry individual would do; I opened the fridge in search of the most deliciously fattening food in the house. However, I slammed the door shut when all I found was the box of Klondike bars, nearly screaming in frustration.
"Why is he associated with everything in this fucking house?" I yelled to myself, pulling at my hair.
I slid my hand along the kitchen counter for my car keys, intending to go to the grocery store and buy some food that wasn't associated with that crazy redhead, when I realized two very important things: one, I didn't even have my car, and two, I could never go to the grocery store again after the scene Reid had created.
Okay, that was it. It was time to get my fucking car back.
"Ben! Josh!" I stormed to the basement door and ripped it open, bellowing down the stairs to them. "Get up here right now, I need to talk to you!"
There was a low crash followed by their rapid footsteps, and soon they were staring at me with matching expressions of severity.
"Joel, we have something to tell you," they said.
I raised my eyebrows. "Well, hurry up with it, I want to leave soon."
"We're calling an intervention," Josh said. Ben nodded his agreement.
I just scowled. "What?"
"Yes." Josh looked incredibly determined. "You're being stupid."
"Really stupid," Ben chimed in.
"What the fuck are you two idiots talking about?" I growled.
Josh crossed his arms stubbornly. "Honestly, Reid is the best thing that's ever going to happen to you."
Ben nodded meekly from his side. "We've been talking, and we honestly can't come up with a reason why Reid wanted you at all. You were mean to him, you punched him in the face, you rejected him constantly—"
"You have a big nose—" Josh cut in.
My hand flew up to cover my nose defensively. "I do not have a big nose."
The blonde rolled his eyes. "Yes, you do."
"Look, I didn't ask you guys for a fucking critique! If you guys are going to be assholes, I'll just walk to Reid's." I shoved them both aside on my way to the door, scowling at them over my shoulder. "I'll tell him you miss him."
"Wait a minute; you're going to Reid's?" Josh jumped in front of me, raising his arms to block the doorway. He was grinning. "And you're willing to walk there? Wow. You're desperate, man."
Ben noticed my angry expression and tugged at Josh's arms warningly. "Watch out, you're pissing him off."
"Yeah, yeah." Josh waved him away, keeping his focus on me. "So you want a ride, right? We'd be happy to take you, if you're going to Reid's."
"Whatever." I brushed past him and outside to Ben and Josh's crappy '98 Cherokee, listening to their heavy footsteps as they followed me. The AC in their Jeep didn't work properly and the knobs always fell off, so I rolled down the window as soon as Josh started the engine.
I muttered the instructions to them on our way there, seeing as I was the only person who knew were he lived, which Josh liked giving me crap about it as well. If he weren't driving, I would seriously consider killing him right now.
We made two wrong turns before we found a building I recognized as Reid's apartment complex. I knew we had the right place for sure when I saw my car in the parking lot. Parked incredibly poorly, might I add. Reid was such a shit driver; he had two spots all to himself, the inconsiderate asshole.
Speaking of inconsiderate assholes, Ben and Josh sped off in that crappy old Jeep as soon as I got past the front doors. Yes, stranding your only income was always a nice thing to do. I really needed new roommates. Ones that didn't abandon the person who paid for the water and electricity.
I walked over to the front desk to ask what room and floor Reid lived on, because nothing would make this day any worse than going to the wrong apartment and having to deal with that embarrassment. "Can you tell me which apartment Reid lives in?" I asked, using what little social skills I had. Reid had no last name, not that I knew of, anyway, so I didn't give one. I thought about describing him, but the guy seemed to know who I was talking about.
He raised his eyes away from his computer screen. "So I guess you're the guy who threw him out?" His fingers flew across the keys, hopefully towards finding Reid's room number for me.
"I guess so," I muttered. I didn't want to get his hopes up, though, so I quickly added, "He stole my car, so I'm just here to get my keys back."
He nodded and clicked on something on the screen. "Sure, sure. Room 301; that's on the third floor. Good luck." He winked at me and I wanted to knock out a few teeth in that smug smile he flashed at me. Why didn't anyone believe I was straight?
"Thanks," I spat and stabbed the elevator button with my finger to work out some of my aggression.
The elevator chimed overly cheerfully when it reached the third floor, making me scowl at its enthusiasm. I hated it when my surroundings didn't match my mood.
I went the wrong way down the hallway and ended up walking around the whole floor before I found room 301. Hesitantly, I knocked on the door.
"Go away, I'm not home." It was definitely Reid's apartment, and although his voice was muffled through the door, I could still recognize him.
"Reid?" He sounded awful. Not at all like the happy Reid I knew so well. "Are you in there?"
There was a long pause before he answered, "Sort of."
I was getting impatient. I just wanted to get my car keys and get him out of my life forever. "Open the door, Reid," I demanded through the wood.
I heard Reid groan from inside, "Door's open."
I twisted the doorknob angrily and saw Reid stretched sloppily across the floor. He was dressed in an old gray shirt and boxers, and there was an impressive castle made out of beer cans in the corner of his room that I didn't remember seeing before. This time it looked like his Irish remedies hadn't taken care of the side effects.
In short, he looked like shit. I felt at least moderately responsible for that, but I ignored that stupid stab of guilt by telling myself that he deserved it. After all, it wasn't my fault he couldn't take no for an answer, or that he was such a stubborn jerk about everything.
I closed the door behind me and walked over to him. "You should think about locking your door, fuckhead," I grumbled. "You're going to get robbed." He looked rather pathetic from where I was standing over him, and it felt very unnatural to me, considering how used I was to his overconfidence and… enthusiasm.
He rolled over to face the wall. "Who cares?" he muttered, moving his arms into a cradle for his head. "I'm pretty happy where I am right now." His hand stretched out to pet his cat but she dodged him and jumped over his stomach to purr against my legs.
I sat down to return her affection, and she mewled happily as she crawled over my crossed legs to let me pet her. I was feeling fairly confident that Reid wouldn't be doing anything sneaky today. Maybe he was actually taking a hint for once. "You're not yourself today," I noted, staring at Reid's back. "I came in your house, alone, and you haven't attacked me yet."
He snorted, "I'm in my tree, talking to Led Zeppelin, and he's making me feel better."
I snorted right back at him. "Enough with the Huckabees," I grumbled. He really knew how to push my buttons. I was starting to hate that movie more and more…
"Fine, I'm busy reconsidering the way the world works," he amended snappishly. Now he was getting angry, too. I had never seen Reid angry before, and the idea kind of freaked me out.
I didn't want to get into a big fight, so I tried for a noncommittal response. "…That's deep."
It worked. He giggled to himself, "Hum, not yet honeybutt. You ain't seen nothing." He finally rolled back to me so I could see his face; a little smile was on his lips.
"That's a little more like it." I couldn't believe I was actually encouraging him.
Suddenly his face reverted to a serious expression, those big green eyes of his blinking at me. "Are you saying you enjoy that?"
"No." I hoped I didn't look as embarrassed as I felt. "I came here to get my car back."
Reid turned his face back to the carpet. "Yeah, sorry. I'm not really thinking properly."
I threw up my hands in disgust. "All right, fine!" He looked up at me curiously, and I buckled. "I feel bad that I've somehow reduced you to an organic lump on your carpet," I admitted grumpily. I lavished Max with attention in order to avoid eye contact. "What the hell are you thinking about? Why is this such a big deal? We only knew each other a week, Reid!"
No matter how hard I tried not to look at him, I couldn't miss the tears gathering at the corners of his eyes. Shit. I hadn't meant to make him cry.
He shifted his face sideways against the floor, burrowing his nose into the crook of his arm. "…Did you miss me, at all?"
I crossed my arms and threw my eyes around the room, focusing on his Budweiser castle. "Don't get your hopes up, asshole. This is about getting my car back." Neither of us said anything, and, in my desperation, I thought of my asshole roommates. "Ben and Josh say hi."
Reid's eye sparked with the formation of a smile. "You missed me."
I leaned back on my hands. "Whatever."
He moved up to a sitting position; that idiotic smile of his was back. "That isn't a no."
I sighed heavily and glared at him, feeling embarrassed and stupid again. "Just shut up."
"You're blushing." Reid pointed out oh-so-helpfully.
What an asshole! I didn't feel bad for dumping him anymore. He must have been faking it, the sly bastard. "I said shut up!"
Reid leaned in towards me just slightly, his old self almost fully recovered now. "According to the blanket theory—"
It was amazing; Reid really just couldn't take a fucking hint. I wanted to punch him in the face again, even though the yellow and blue bruises on his nose hadn't quite faded yet. He was back to Huckabees again, too; he just couldn't stop pushing all my damn buttons. I couldn't stand to hear the rest of what that sentence was going to be, so I grabbed two fistfuls of his crazy red hair and slammed his mouth against mine to make him stop.
And that was my way of telling him I loved him. I had never been a very outgoing person, and I probably had more high heels than social skills, so it was the only way I could think of to do it.
I drew the line when Reid decided to show me how much he loved me back by pushing his tongue into my mouth. I wasn't in the mood for his crap, so I bit him hard to make him understand.
"Ow!" He recoiled, holding his mouth. "You bit me!"
I crossed my arms and shot him my best deathglare. "I didn't say you could shove your tongue down my throat! I told you to shut up!" I shook my head angrily. "You never listen to anything!"
He stared at me for a minute with an inquisitive look in his eyes, and he pursed his lips in consideration before tackling me to the floor. "You got it!" he sang happily, and he bent his head to plant kisses against my neck.
I felt my face get warm and tried to push him away to no avail. "What are you doing?"
He stopped to smile at me. "I figured out what shut up means."
I raised an eyebrow at that. I had always thought it was pretty obvious what shut up meant.
Reid smiled, tracing his fingers along the collar of my shirt. "In Joelish, it means that you secretly want me to have my dirty way with you."
Reid must be absolutely insane. "No it doesn't!" I tried to get away from him before he could do anything, but he grabbed both my shoulders and pinned me down against the carpet.
"Yes it does." He grinned. "You always tell me that when you like me." I hadn't ever stopped to consider this theory, but I was sure I told Reid to shut up just about every ten minutes, so it couldn't possibly be true.
Reid took my few seconds of consideration as positive confirmation of his hypothesis, and he dipped his head to capture my mouth again, but luckily I caught his face with my fist.
"No, I don't—" I growled when he kissed my knuckles. "Reid, stop it!" I ripped myself away from him, kicking my legs uselessly. Jesus, I just wanted to let him know I wanted him back, not to turn this into a make out session on his living room floor. "I'm not gay!"
"Yeah, you're bi." He smiled at the blush that swept across my cheeks when his hands crawled beneath my shirt. "It's okay; I won't hold it against you."
I sighed at that, relaxing against his hands, a little reluctantly. "Do we have to do this right now?"
"Yep." He leaned down to breathe hot air against my neck, making me shiver.
"Well, okay. Maybe not." He raised his eyebrows suggestively. "After all, the bedroom's right over there."
"No way in hell," I snapped, but my scowl melted when he pouted his lips and widened his green eyes, pinning me with the infamous puppy dog look that got me into this mess in the first place. "Oh, fine," I sighed, propping myself up on my elbows, and allowed him one quick peck on the lips.
Of course, Reid wasn't satisfied with that, and he tackled me so hard I had rug burn on both my arms. I didn't really mind, though, and I told him to shut up before I let him kiss me again.
Max apparently got impatient and decided we were paying too much attention to each other and not enough to her, because she jumped on Reid's shoulder and started rubbing her head against his neck, purring and mewling loudly.
"Maxine," he groaned and sat back to pluck her away, looking torn between frustration and amusement. She stretched and meowed, trying to cling to his shirt with her claws, and Reid sighed in what I assumed was defeat, cradling her against his chest. "Oh, fine, you crazy animal. I love you, too."
I smirked a little at the use of Max's full name, amused that not even cats were exempt from the rule of full name usage when you were in trouble. If Max had a middle name, I think Reid would have used that, too.
"Come on," I said, climbing to my feet. I grabbed his arm and hauled him up next to me, pausing to smile apologetically when Max made a noise of annoyance. "Let's go."
Back at home, Ben and Josh were on the couch watching a movie again. Star Wars this time. We walked in just as Han Solo was being frozen in carbonite, and Ben's eyes looked suspiciously misty. Josh had an arm around him comfortingly, although it was impossible to miss the laughter in his eyes. He was making fun of him while he hugged him.
"You're kidding, right?" He jabbed Ben in the side. "First Sam, now Han? Who else are you going to cry over, you big baby?"
"Shut up," Ben growled, scrubbing at his eyes to hide the faint trace of tears. "I'm not crying."
"You are too! I can see it!"
"Then get your eyes checked, because you're obviously wrong!"
"Oh, Jesus." I rolled my eyes and slammed the door to let them know I was back. Their heads simultaneously snapped in our direction, both of them jumping off the couch when they noticed Reid.
"You got him back!" Ben was grinning.
"Man, I can't believe he let you," Josh snickered. I glared.
"I hate both of you, just so you know." I pushed them aside, dragging Reid along by his ratty T-shirt, and claimed the end of the couch opposite from where they'd been sitting. He settled down practically on top of me, his hands already creeping toward my shirt, and I rolled my eyes half-heartedly when I stopped him.
Josh flopped down on the cushion next to us. "So, what about your mom?"
I shrugged. I hadn't really thought about that, actually. "Um," I said before Reid started nibbling my ear, I tried to make him stop but… no dice. "That's a good question." I managed.
Ben sat down, too. "Shouldn't you tell her you're gay?"
I scowled at that, pointing a finger at them accusingly. "First of all," I growled, "I'm not gay, and second of all, thanks to you fuckheads, she already knows." Reid wasn't helping; he'd moved onto other things that were just as – if not more – distracting.
"Oh, yeah." There was a brief pause as Josh played with the hem of his T-shirt; his expression was bordering close to something I secretly hoped was incredible, soul-crushing guilt. "…So, what are you gonna do?"
Maybe if Reid hadn't been licking me, I could have come up with a better idea. He was providing a very convincing argument for his side. "Nothing," I said, enjoying myself. Right now, he was much, much better than my homophobic mother.
Ben's eyes widened. "Dude, what if she drops by again?"
"Shove Reid in the closet." I said with another shrug.
Reid didn't really like that idea. He threw his arms around me with a pout, nuzzling my neck as he whined, "But what about all my stuff? How will you hide that?"
That was the last straw. Why did he have to go for my neck, he knew that it was sensitive! I shoved his head away as I responded, "Well, we'll put that in there, too."
Reid blinked. "Must be a pretty big closet."
"I'll say," Ben and Josh chimed with matching grins. "He's been hiding in it for years!"
A/N: And so ends the story of Joel and Reid. Sorry about the long update time, but it's really hard to end a story that you love so much. Some things I've been wondering for a while now… How many of you have actually seen I Heart Huckabees and know what I'm talking about? Because if I'm the only one, then that's kind of embarrassing for me. Random references for this chapter are… more Huckabees, Rent, my coworker making his name out of pens, and… Heero Yuy's deathglare, if you're really interested. The story's over now, but don't be sad. This isn't the last you've seen of these characters.