Actors Do Their Best

Or: So Give This Two Thumbs Up Despite It's Predictable Ending


"Um, Shgaramie?" Dante raises his eyebrows with surprise.

"Yes?" Shgaramie raises his back.

"Weren't you on a diet?" Dante ventures carefully, eyeing the plateful of muffins that his dark-haired friend had just brought over.

"Still am," Shgaramie spins the plate around, eyeing each muffin and grading it on a scale only he knew.

"Then what's with the muffins?" Dante gestures towards them, as if they weren't easy enough to see in the first place.

"Elementary, my dear Dante." Shgaramie says, like that explained everything.

Which it didn't, so Dante asks again. "What's elementary?"

"Public school." Shgaramie grins. "No, it's so I won't ever be caught unawares. They shall teach me how to juggle."

"They shall?" Dante eyes the muffins, as if they'll explain Shgaramie's odd reasoning. "Have you captured magical muffins, then?"

"No, they're simple fruit muffins, free range, if you will." Shgaramie shrugs.

Dante sits back, crosses his arms over his chest. "Then wow me, juggle the cruelty free muffins."

"Well then," Shgaramie raises one eyebrow, smirk on his face, and picks up the muffins, two banana in his right hand and a blueberry in his left. "Forgive me, I'm not very good."

"I've never seen anyone juggle muffins before," Dante says, shrugging, "so I don't have much to compare your skills to."

"Then just watch," Shgaramie says, tossing one muffin up into the air to start. And he actually manages to keep them in the air for a few seconds, before he panics and one muffin—the blueberry—goes spinning off in an arc that Dante admires before realizing that it's made impact with the back of someone's head.

Dante turns amused eyes back on his friend. "You've lost a muffin, Shgaramie."

"I know." Shgaramie counts and recounts the muffins he's holding. Two.

"It hit that guy in the head." Dante smiles, just glad it wasn't him.

"I know." Shgaramie says, wishing he'd thought about juggling a bit harder, or at least his apparent lack of skill.

"He's coming over here." Dante jerks his head back towards the approach of a rather disgruntled looking blond.

"I kn—what?" Shgaramie drops the muffins he was holding, and then the man was looming over them.

"Might this be yours?" The man holds out the muffin, asking with a British accent. The man, that was, not the muffin, Shgaramie reminds himself, and is also struck by the artificial sound of it, it was contrived like Hugh Jackman or Hugh Grant, and he prays to god that the man's name wasn't Hugh.

"Um, it might," Shgaramie says, keeping his hands below the table so he didn't do anything to further embarrass himself. "I'm very…sorry?"

"You should be," he says, dropping the muffin to the table, where it sticks.

Shgaramie shivered, not entirely in fear.

"Would I be safe to assume it will not happen again?" He arches an eyebrow, which is almost black, incongruous with the lightness of his hair.

"You dye your hair?" Shgaramie bursts out, Dante covering his face to hide laughter as the faux-British accent goes "What?"

"It…its not natural, is it?" Shgaramie tries again, glaring at Dante across their table.

"Oh, no, it's not, it's—oh bloody hell," he says, before dropping unceremoniously beside Shgaramie, shoving him over. "Pretend I'm with you?"

"Why?" Dante asks, eyes already searching for whatever had turned the man into an instant friend—just add muffin.

"Cos that's my ex," he mumbles into a napkin he'd thrown up around his face.

"Who, the redhead?" Shgaramie asks, seeing an irate-looking woman glaring subjectively.

"No, it's the blond, the one by the door," Dante guesses.

The man shakes his head, "no, the brunette by the door, with glasses."

Both Shgaramie and Dante twist to look for the mysterious woman, and the man tells them "don't look" in a rather futile effort, since they already were.

"You like them… hairy?" Dante ventures, one eyebrow raised as he sees the only brunette with glasses is a man with a beard.

Shgaramie tilts his head to look better, "wouldn't it have been easier to just say your ex has a tickler?"

The man turns to him, opens his mouth to say something, then closes it. He just shakes his head instead, mumbles something about being stuck with circus freaks.

Shgaramie makes a face, before noticing the ex making his way towards their table. "I should probably warn you that he's coming over here."

"What?" The man straightens for a second, then slouches again, "oh god…"

"Oh, no," Shgaramie wraps an arm around the man's shoulder, "he definitely had nothing to do with this."

The man closes his eyes and puts his hands over his face, ignoring Shgaramie's fingers wrapped through his hair. Then Dante notices that he's actually leaning into it, so maybe he's not ignoring it as much as one would first think. One being Shgaramie, who's either cleverly playing the part or was actually oblivious to what his left hand was doing.

Speaking of hands, Dante offers his to the stranger that's just approached the table, staring at the man next to his best friend. "I'm Dante. You are?"

The ex mumbles something, not looking away from the man Shgaramie had wrapped around his fingers.

"Ah." Dante nods. "Pleasure to meet you."

The man turns his head towards Shgaramie more, like a child who closes his eyes and becomes invisible; he's hoping that the ex won't see him.

"Ethan." The ex says, like it's a surprise. "Aren't you going to introduce me to your new beau?"

The man—Ethan, he goes by—takes his hands off his face, not meeting the ex's eyes. "Evan, this is my—Shgaramie." Beau, like Shgaramie is a fashion accessory. Beau, like he's some French maid's consort to the coronation ball.

"His Shgaramie," Shgaramie says, laying his head on Ethan's shoulder, "and I'm not French at all."

Evan blinks, looks from Ethan to Shgaramie. "And how did you two meet? He's definitely…not to your usual tastes."

"His taste's improved," Shgaramie says, eyeing Evan up and down.

"It's a funny story, really," Dante cuts in, "they actually met here, can you believe it?"

"Do go on," Evan says, dropping down beside Dante but not sparing his gaze from the couple across from him.

"Oh, yes, it was over a—muffin?" Dante picks up the poor blueberry muffin, offering the good side to Evan—the other, having been tossed to the side of Ethan's head, was rather bruised.

"No, thanks," Evan doesn't look away from Shgaramie, who was now inspecting Ethan's hair even more closely.

"I think, scarecrow, that you've got jam or something in your hair." Shgaramie brings his fingers to his mouth and tastes them, cleverly not noticing Evan's glare.

"What?" Ethan says dazedly, too busy watching Shgaramie's fingers disappear into his mouth to notice that Evan was even there anymore.

"You're sticky," Shgaramie says with a grin, and Ethan sits up straight suddenly, and Dante wonders where Shgaramie's other hand has gone.

Evan wonders too, and asks another question. "So you met here?"

Ethan nods, finally, dragging his eyes away from Shgaramie's to look somewhere between Dante and Evan.

"How long have you been…together?" Evan says the last word with particular distaste.

Shgaramie grins, squeezes Ethan's hand, "everyday feels like forever."

Ethan squeezes back, "forever's not long enough."

Dante makes a face, even knowing they're pretending, it's enough to turn his stomach. Evan notices, and turns to Dante. "And how do you figure into all this?"

"All what?" Dante asks artlessly, glad to take the attention off Shgaramie and Ethan. Even though they were quite happy to devote their attention to each other.

"Their relationship," Evan gestures over to the other side of the table.

"Oh, that." Dante waves a hand dismissively. "It's like…it's kind of like…" he looked down, and saw the muffins. "It's like a muffin."

"A muffin?" Evan raises an eyebrow.

"Yes, a muffin." Dante nods.

"Why, because it's expendable? It perishes? It's cheap?" Evan laughs, without noticing that Dante isn't.

"Because it's kind of sticky?" Shgaramie offers.

Ethan shakes his head, "no, it's because it takes about half an hour to get really hot."

There's a moment of silence, with all eyes on Dante, who really has no idea what he meant in the first place.

Evan sighs, frustrated. "What is it?"

"It's just a lot of muffin stuffing, if you know what I mean," Dante says, and both Ethan and Shgaramie burst out laughing. Evan just stares at him.

"I think that's a splendid idea," Ethan says, tugging on Shgaramie's hand.

Shgaramie grins, winking at Evan. "Duty calls. Sorry to eat and run."

Dante shrugs, gesturing towards the table. "You going to pay for that?"

"If I must," his friend says, digging out a ten and dropping it onto the table.

"Come on, Shgaramie, these muffins won't wait." Ethan drops his eyes suggestively, Dante going red. "I did not just see that."

"Oh, you did." Evan says, with a growl as they left. "I can't believe he's with him."

"Who, Shgaramie or Ethan?" Dante leans onto the table, only then realizing how close he was to Evan.

"Him. Both. I don't know." Evan shrugs.

Dante shakes his head. "You've got to be clearer than that, my dear."

"It's just… they don't seem like they'd be a couple." Evan shakes his head now, confused.

"Well, they're not really," Dante muses, then his eyes go wide when he realizes what he said, and presses his lips to Evan's to distract him.

Dante lets go, and Evan's eyes are closed for a second. "What was that?"

"Happy birthday?" Dante says.

Evan smiles, and he seems a bit more human and less of the ex. "It's not my birthday."

"Would you like it to be?" Dante asks.

"Um, okay," Evan says, taking Dante's hand and holds it like he doesn't know what to do. "But really, my birthday's in July."

"Oh, shut up and eat your muffin." Dante says, grabbing Evan and kissing him again.