Familiar voices of talk show hosts wafted from the speakers of the sleeping Sorin's black alarm clock. Groaning, he groggily brought his palm down on the much-hailed snooze button and rolled back onto the bed. Before going back to sleep, he yanked his thick quilt over his head to block out the sunlight that was lazily streaming in. Just as Sorin was about to fade back to Dreamland, the radio came back on, this time seemingly louder and more obnoxious than the last. Letting out an almost-feral growl, he yanked the black cord out of the wall. The noise ceased immediately. Collapsing onto his bed yet again, he finally noticed Emily standing in the doorway, a half-empty glass of water and bottle of pills in hand, looking very amused by Sorin's morning show.
"How the hell did you get in here?!" Sorin demanded. Having no recollection of last night, he hazily wondered why it felt like a woodpecker was pecking his brains out.
Emily beamed at her exhausted brother, who was trying and failing to rub the sleep from his eyes. "You don't remember? You gave me your keys last night. I just stopped by to drop off your car and make you stay home from work," she explained.
Work? Work! Leaping out of bed, Sorin exclaimed, "Darn it, I need to get to work! I have a meeting today! Shit, fuck, damn it!" In his haste, Sorin pulled yesterday's wrinkled pants on backwards.
Emily watched with a bemused expression. "Did you hear anything I just said?" she growled with mock-ferocity. "You're not going to work. You are going to have a nice, relaxing day with me."
"That's an oxymoron," he commented dryly. Glaring a bit, Emily pushed two pills into the male's hand. After swallowing them down, Sorin asked, "So what are we doing on this 'nice, relaxing day?'"
"Shopping!" was the perky answer.
Inwardly, Sorin groaned. "Emily!" he whined. "That's not relaxing. I hate shopping!"
"What kind of gay man are you?!" she gasped.
"Just because I'm gay it doesn't mean I like shopping," Sorin said, offended. Couldn't we, like, have a movie marathon? Or something that normal people do when they're relaxing?"
Rolling her eyes, Emily said, "No, silly. Movie marathons are for weekends." Letting out a moan, Sorin flopped backwards onto his now-messy bed and dragged a pillow over his head.
"I'd rather go on vacation for two weeks," he muttered sarcastically. The reason for this remark wasn't that he didn't like having time off from work (it was a nice advantage of being up there that he took on occasion); it was that he didn't like being away from his laptop. Besides, what place is there for a man with a wardrobe dominantly full of suits in Cabo San Lucas? Everyone, when Sorin had been there, was adorned in skimpy bikinis and fashionably short trunks. Too self-conscious to show off his pale body to the Mexicans and tourists, Sorin had ended up staying in his hotel room (which Emily had carefully reserved without internet access) the whole trip. Thank God for HBO.
"Yeah, I'm so sure." Emily snorted derisively. "Go do whatever you do in the morning (save the suit) and then come downstairs. I'm feeding you." Punctuating the statement with a toss of Sorin's toothbrush, she flitted downstairs.
Yes, Sorin's house truly did have two floors, plus an attic and a basement. It was too much, Sorin thought, for just one person, but there was nothing else that Sorin had to spend his money on: no ailing mother, no demanding lover (much to Sorin's dismay), and no annoying kids. No lover... thinking on that, Sorin felt ashamed of himself. Time and time again, he'd been told that if he weren't so distant he would be much-persued.
Sighing, Sorin rose to brush his teeth and, after that, went in search of a decent outfit. What would be acceptable for shopping with Emily? Jeans and a polo? Sweats and a t-shirt? Slacks and a button-up? In the end, he opted for the denim jeans and a cotton tee. Prior to heading for breakfast, he grabbed a light sweater. The well-equipped kitchen smelled of hash and sausages. Hash as in potatoes, not drugs.
Mouth watering, Sorin said, "Mmm..." Looking over his sister, he noticed that something was different today. Desperately he racked his brains to figure it out. Her weight hadn't changed; she was still the same, skinny girl that Sorin had known his entire life. Clothes weren't any different than before. Another minute of scrutiny made Sorin ascertained that it was her hair: it was now blue. "You dyed your hair?" Sorin choked out, eyes widening in utter disbelief.
Stroking her newly-dyed hair, she dryly commented, "You just noticed?" She shut the stove and flipped the potatoes onto two plates as she spoke: "I had it down at five this morning. With your- er, never mind. Do you like it?"
Realizing what she hadn't disclosed, his eyes narrowed. "I paid for that?" he clarified. The slight tinge of pink to Emily's cheeks he took as a yes. "It's pretty," admitted Sorin reluctantly. Plates were placed on the table. He tried some of his sister's usually-terrible cooking; it was surprisingly good, and he told her so. She smiled a thank-you. Minutes passed in silence before Sorin quietly remarked, "I think that pink would have suited you better. If you're going ot use my money, at least consult me first."
She grinned at this unexpected reflection. "Thanks, Sorin. Are you almost ready to go shopping?"
The two siblings were situated in the most expensive store that Sorin had ever set foot in. Every price tag made him flinch like a dog caught in a storm. Paying thousands of dollars for the perfect suit, he was used to, but who in their right mind would spend eight thousand dollars on a dress to be worn only once? When Sorin voiced his opinion, Emily gasped in horror.
"Sorin, these are designer! As in Chanel and Teri Jones and Loubatin!" she exclaimed indignantly.
To not burst into hysterical laughter was all that Sorin could do. "Right..." he said, staring at a nine followed by a large number of zeros. As rich as he was, nothing could change the fact that he been brought up in a middle class family with an obsession with saving money. Praying that Emily wouldn't freak out again, he asked, "Why don't we go to a slightly... cheapter store? One that we can both afford?"
"Aw, I like these clothes! They remind me of... Mark." Emily's eyes filled with moisture at the reminder of her ex-boyfriend. Her extravagent taste could be blamed on him, who was rich enough to buy everything in the entire store. But when he had found someone "prettier," he moved on, leaving Emily in the dust with a broken heart and a tendancy toward spending lots of money. Sorin was secretly glad that Emily had maxed out the dumb jerk's credit card before packing up her things and running to Sorin's house in tears. If rumors were true, the guy had been in Thailand shacking up with another girl when he decided to shoot Emily a break-up email. Thankfully, (or perhaps unfortunately) Sorin knew from experience how to cheer up Emily: with life-sized plushies and breakfast in bed.
"Hey..." said Sorin gently. "Are you okay?" He pulled his baby sister into his arms.
"Yeah... I'm fine," she murmured. "Let's go to a different store." Sorin released Emily and followed her out the door. "Hey Sorin?" Emily asked timidly. Timidity was so out of character for Emily that Sorin couldn't help but be a little suspicious.
"Yes, Emily?" he responded warily. The chance that she was going to ask for something was rather high.
Emily muttered, "Um, never mind."
"What?" he snapped back.
"Uh, I was just going to invite you to dinner." Lie, that was obviously not what she originally wanted to say.
"Was that what you really wanted to ask?"
"Sort of," she said.
"Well, where do you want to go and will I be paying?" Sorin inquired.
Emily replied, "We're going to a hotel but you only have to pay for half of the bill."
"Don't we need a reservation for that?" Sorin reminded her.
"I already made earlier." Okay, so maybe it was what she wanted to say after all. "I figured that we should do something nice together since we didn't really get to spend any time last night. Because you left so early!" Emily glared at her brother.
Sheepishly he grinned. "I suppose you're right. But aren't we 'doing something together' right now?"
"Well, yes. But how could anyone resist dinner?"
The hotel was a grand, fancy place, which made Sorin glad; he could wear a suit there. A host led the "Sorin Party" to a small secluded table in a dark, candle-lit corner. After filling their glasses with water and placing down their menus, she left, assuring them that a waiter would be right there. She winked, much to Sorin's puzzlement. He wondered if she thought that Emily and he were a couple. That very thought made him shudder in revulsion.
They'd only been sitting for a few minutes when a tall man strode up to the table. "Hello, my name is El Dominico Delores the Third and I'll be your guest." The tuxedo-clad man flashed his brilliant teeth. "You can call me Dom."
Wondered Sorin vaguely, does El Dominico Delores the Third even have a drop of Spanish blood? And also what person in their right mind would name a child that, let alone three? Suddenly he realized that Dom hadn't said 'waiter;' he had said 'guest.' "Guest?" he repeated dumbly. Turning to Emily he said again, "Guest?"
She beamed. "I set you up with Dom. Last night after you left, I met him and he seemed like your perfect match," she explained happily. Grabbing her purse and rising, she continued on to say, "Have a good time. I love you!" Hastily kissing Sorin on the cheek, she pushed Dom into her seat. "I'll see you later." She hurried away, nearly bumping into the real waiter. Whom she had bumped into she hadn't paid any attention to; she just apologized and went on her way.
Our of all people, their waiter just had to be him. "Hello, my name is Gabriel and I'll be your server for this evening. May I take your--" Abruptly Gabriel stopped, realizing whom exactly he was talking to. "Sorin..." he said slowly, staring darkly at him. He looked from Sorin to Dom. "And friend," he added. "What brings you here?"
"What brings you here?" Sorin snapped. "I thought you modeled."
"Yeah, I do. What's it to you?" he riposted.
"Nothing." As if meeting someone's foe on a date was 'nothing.'
Until now, Dom had watched the spat in silence. "Um, could someone please inform me of what's going on?" came the confused voice of Dom.
Gabriel said smoothly, "Yes, I'm Sorin's boyfriend."
"Ex-boyfriend," Sorin corrected through clenched teeth. "Soon to be dead ex-boyfriend if you don't shut up."
Gabriel laughed playfully. "Yeah, sure." He continued cooly, as if nothing had happened, "so, may I get you two something to drink?"
Sorin looked to his new friend. "Dom? I don't need anything, do you?" he inquired. In a lower voice, but not quite low enough for Gabriel to not hear, he murmured, "Don't get a glass of anything in case Gabriel poisons it."
"Don't worry," Gabriel hissed. "I wouldn't poison your drink, just Sorin's."
He shot out of his chair. "I hope you're not expecting a tip," Sorin snarled. "Actually, could we request a different waiter?"
"Nope." Gabriel grinned wolfishly. "So? Drinks, no drinks? Wine, champagne?"
Sorin was about set to say no, but then Dom interrupted, "Yes, we'd like a bottle of Pinot Noir, please."
Sorin sputtered, "But that's expensive!"
"Don't worry," Dom reassured him. "I'll pay."
"Well, Sorin," Gabriel smirked, "don't you have a nice boyfriend. I'll be back with your drinks in a few minutes." Swaying his hips like a girl, Gabriel sauntered away.
Sorin started to apologize profusely for his ass of an ex-boyfriend, but Dom waved the sorries off like flies, saying that it wasn't his fault. Gabriel soon came back with the liquor, they ordered some of their favorite foods (steak tartare for Sorin and steamed trout for Dom), and they received their appetizers after a relatively short wait. Dinner was a lively even in which Dom and Sorin exchanged information about themselves, laughed and joked, and exchanged cell phone numbers. Somehow, the meal passed without incident. Afterward, though, Gabriel decided to turn on his mean button again.
"Would you like your leftovers wrapped?" he asked. They had shared a plate of amazing pie, so rich and creamy that they hadn't been able to finish.
"No thank you," Sorin replied, already knowing what Gabriel's retort would be.
"Good, I wasn't going to do it anyway."
"Yeah, whatever. Could we just have our check?" Nodding, he produced a book from the front pocket of his uniform. Instead of leaving, Gabriel hovered over Sorin's shoulder as he pulled out his wallet.
"No," said Dom. "Let me pay." He, too, reached for his wallet.
"Please. I know you don't mind paying. But I would love to, just this once at least. You can pay next time." Then, as an after-thought, "Assuming that there will be a next time."
"Oh!" Sorin was flattered. "Uh, sure, or course. There will definitely be a next time."
"Great." Dom licked his lips tantalizingly and slid his Master Card into the checkbook. Once he had scribbled his signature, he handed it to Gabriel. "Thanks."
"No problem," he half-growled. "I'll be back in a minute." The tone of Gabriel's voice made Sorin nearly laugh.
Dom nodded and turned to Sorin. "Do you need a ride home?" he asked.
"No, thank you, I've got my car."
"All right." Gabriel silently reappeared with Dom's card. "Ill call you, okay?"
After a moment's hesitation, Dom kissed Sorin gently. "Good night." Without further ado, Dom hurried from the restaurant, cheeks flaming bright red.
"Ooh," commented Gabriel snidely.
Sorin broke away from his happy place. "Shut up," he snarled. "I really hate you, Gabriel. Why do you try so hard to fuck up my life?" Streaming curses under his breath, Sorin ignored whatever answer Gabriel gave and stormed out. He managed to make it to his blue car and into the front seat without destructing everything in his path. But when he turned the key in the ignition, it didn't start. Repeatedly he twisted it. Gas wasn't the problem, he knew. Punching the dashboard, Sorin began swearing again. After checking under the front hood he established the fact that getting home in his own car would be impossible. It didn't seem possible to catch Dom; he had probably left already, and where was he parked anyway? That left... Gabriel. When he realized that his only option would be to catch a ride with Gabriel, he verbally expressed his anger. Sighing, he headed back inside. It wasn't difficult to find the tall, muscular man wiping down Sorin and Dom's table.
"Um," Sorin started. "Could you... drive me home?" He muttered the last part very quickly. Not only was he asking for a favor, he was asking it of his arch-nemesis.
"Sorry? Missed everything after 'um.'" Gabriel grinned teasingly.
"Will you drive me home?" he ground out. This was way more painful than pulling teeth. Sorin would know.
"Where are your manners?" Gabriel taunted.
"Gabriel, will you please drive me home?" Sorin snapped. Blushing was much too obvious on him. Inwardly he cursed his pale gene.
"Well..." Gabriel paused for dramatic effect. "All right. But you have to wait until my shift is over and you have to tip me." Raising his eyebrow, as if to challenge Sorin, Gabriel made this order.
They were pretty reasonable requests. Of course, it would be unfair to pull him away from work, and Sorin had made sure that he hadn't gotten any more money than necessary to give. He agreed, inquiring, "When does your shift end?" The tip he didn't even want to imagine.
Glancing at his watch, Gabriel answered, "In about an hour. Help me clean tables while you wait."
This is going to be a long hour, Sorin thought.
"So," said Gabriel. Both men were seated in his red convertible.
"So," echoed Sorin anxiously. Why did he agree to this in the first place? He could have walked home... in a few hours. "I live at-"
"I know." He pulled out of the parking space and cruised onto a main highway. "I'm sort of glad that your car broke down, Sorin. There's something I want to talk to you about."
Nervously Sorin asked, "What is it?"
"Not yet. I'll tell you in a little while." The car was silent for a few minutes. When they drove onto Magnolia Avenue, Sorin spoke up.
"This is the wrong way."
"No it's not. We're just taking a small detour." Naturally Sorin's mind jumped to all sorts of conclusions. As he tried to wrench the passenger's door open, Gabriel hit the lock button and stepped hard on the pedal. The car lurched forward and cars rocketed past as a blur. "Relax, Sorin," Gabriel sighed. "I will not rape you or murder you or anything. I just want a talk."
"Can't we talk here?" squeaked Sorin. Terrified adrenaline pulsed through his veins. Maybe this would be a good time to start praying again, something that he hadn't done since Sky had died.
"And show you something," Gabriel calmly added.
Only Sorin's imagination could guess what that was supposed to mean.
Another long quiet passed and then they finally pulled onto a dirt road. Rocks and leaves crunched underneath the tires as Gabriel carefully maneuvered down the path. The car stopped in an area of pitch black.
"Oh my God, you are going to murder me!" Sorin began to panic more.
Switching on an overhead light, Gabriel glared at Sorin. "Yeah, maybe I'll dump your body in the lake down there." When Sorin whimpered in fright, Gabriel rolled his eyes to show that he was teasing. Grabbing a flashlight from the glove compartment, he snapped, "I'm not going to murder you, you idiot! I said I had to show you something." Exasperation laced his tone. He got out of the car, walked around to the other side, and dragged unmoving Sorin out. "Come on." He led the way down the the lake (which really was there); Sorin followed with trepidation. It was looking more and more like a potential murder scene by the minute. But once they had reached the water, Sorin knew exactly Gabriel had been talking about.
From Sorin's position on top of the small cliff, he could see that the view, stunningly brilliant, was a clear, silver lake, moon, stars, and oranging trees reflected upon it. The surface was smooth, but as a gentle breeze blew, the water rippled in accordance. "Is this what you wanted to show me?" Sorin gasped breathlessly.
"Obviously," Gabriel grunted back, looking out with a nostalgic expression. Pityingly, Sorin wondered what he longed for. "You like it?"
Sorin breathed, "Yeah. It's beautiful. Incredible." He hesitated before adding, "Thank you for showing me this." Every one of those words was sincere.
"Sure. Ready to go home now?"
"Didn't you want to talk to me?" This was said somewhat distractedly, for the phenomenal sight had stolen all of his senses.
"Well, it's nothing really. I just... don't want you to see Dom." He paused briefly, and then rushed forward. "He didn't seem like a good guy."
"He was very nice," Sorin objected. "He paid for dinner and he's interested in me." Sorin wasn't sure what reaction he was expecting- for Gabriel to give up or continue persistently with more reasoning- but he most definitely did not expect violence.
"Listen," Gabriel snarled, gripping Sorin's bony shoulders between his strong hands, "that's exactly what I'm talking about. Don't you think he's too nice?"
"There's no such-"
Gabriel shook Sorin hard and slapped him across the face. "Just listen. I just wanted to tell you that he looks suspicious."
"Let go." Sorin spoke in a deathly calm whisper. "You said that about every guy I've gone out with, just because you're jealous. Please drive me home now and drop the subject."
His words shocked Gabriel into dropping his hands. "I..." he faltered. "Get in the car," he muttered. All etiquette was drained from them by the long night. The drive home was very, very fast and awkward. Once at Sorin's building, they exchanged gruff goodbyes and thank yous and money from Sorin (albeit reluctantly).
Sorin was nearly in the door when he heard Gabriel call out to him. "Sorin. I'll admit, I'm a little jealous. I'd love to see what you can do in bed. I still hate you, though. Don't forget that."
"Hate you too," he responded. Knowing that they had gone back to a hateful relationship was oddly comforting and it made Sorin's insides smile.
A/N: This chapter sounded so much better inside my head. I'm sorry that it's taken so looong to update, but my acquaintance Writer's (last name Block) moved into my bedroom and I didn't have any internet for a week. Anyway, I got lots of time to revise and edit. I worked out this cool system to do it. And no I don't own anything in this chapter. I also changed Gabe's name to Gabriel to not confuse with Gabe in 'Beautiful.' Oh, did the dialogue sound too forced or did any of the sentences sound awkward?
Hey. One more thing. I slept over my crush's house :D