One Shot - The Hole Already Filled with Weird
"I'm in a hole, come get me."
I looked up, squinting against the rich golden of the late afternoon sun, to see him silhouetted above me.
Damn, even in dark outline form, he was fine.
"Hello." I waved, somewhat feebly, the limpness of my wrist seeming to be in direct correlation to the pounding of my heart.
"You texted me 'I'm in a hole, come get me'." He repeated, his voice rising in disbelief and making me wriggle restlessly against the loose dirt at my back. "And you're actually in a hole."
I looked round at the low pit I'd fallen into, and then back up at him, nodding.
"Yeah, well..." I shrugged. "That's what I said."
"I thought you meant some sort of deep, metaphorical hole, like you were upset or something." He crouched down, tipping his truckers hat back and forth in agitation while I plucked awkwardly at the loose weeds that had accompanied me down when I fell.
"Oh, right, no. Just a fairly shallow, literal hole," I explained. "Sorry for the confusion."
"Seriously?" He blew an exaggerated sigh through his lips. "I drove for over an hour thinking you were in some kind of trouble."
"Wouldn't you have come if you knew I was just, you know," I grabbed a handful each of dirt and let it sift through my fingers, "sitting in some kind of ditch thing?"
He considered this.
"No, I'd still have come," he said eventually and I buried my head down against my knees rather than let him see the stupid, goofy smile that took over my face.
"So," I heard his feet crunch against the grit at the lip of the hole and looked up to see that he'd leant forward and was holding a hand out to me, "coming out?"
I considered the hand he'd extended; rough, tanned, strong, incredibly familiar. It was the hand that had grabbed at the wheel when I'd been about to steer straight into a tree in my first driving lesson. It was the hand that had gripped mine when they'd been popping his knee back in place. It was the hand that had been pressed, lightly, fleetingly against my cheek before he'd disappeared on me.
I couldn't touch that hand, even for the brief moment it would take him to haul me out of the hole, without doing something embarrassing so I suggested instead,
He eyed my current habitat, whilst I extended my hands out as if showing him around in some extremely low budget version of Cribs.
"Yeah, alright," he said after a moment, twisting sideways and then landing in the depression of earth beside me.
I noted that he still favoured his left leg, but whether that was due to residual pain in his other knee or whether it was just habit, I didn't know.
This bugged me.
I should know.
"Budge up, then."
He hadn't seemed to notice my frowning focus on his knee and gave me a light shove to make me shuffle over a bit so he had room.
And room he needed, I realised as he settled himself down beside me. It had only been a fortnight since I'd last seen him, but I didn't remember him being so...all encompassing.
"When did you get so big?" I demanded, noting the way his broad shoulders spread to cover almost the entirety of the back wall of the pit.
"Third Tuesday of April," he replied seriously. "I just woke up and...poof." He moved his hands out to indicate the broadening of his chest and I narrowed my eyes as this move prompted significant bulges out of his arms.
"You've been working out," I accused him, prodding his arm and feeling the resistance bouncing my finger back out. "You've been..." I stopped and gasped. "You've been rowing!"
He shrugged, but I wasn't letting him get off that easy.
"Babe, why've you been rowing?"
He wouldn't meet my eye and I elbowed him crossly. "You promised me you'd lay off."
Him rowing wasn't good. What had started out as part of his rehabilitation all those years ago had turned into his escape, the exercise he turned to when his mind was whirring and he couldn't sleep. The boy could get positively obsessive over it.
"And who are you to talk?" He suddenly bit back and I raised my eyebrows at his sudden heat.
"You're sitting in a hole!"
I dug my heels into the soil, feeling my shoes snag against the thin roots in the ground, before pointing out, "So are you."
He made a rude noise; such exasperation from one who should well and truly have been used to me by now.
A silence fell into our hole, then, not unlike how I had only a little over an hour ago when inattention and longing for my absent friend had sent me sprawling.
"It got weird, didn't it?" I broke the silence as the last burnt rays of the sun sent dark shadows yawning across the lawn around us.
He didn't pretend not to know what I was talking about.
"It did," he agreed.
I hung my head, heavy with a sadness of my own making. "I'm sorry."
He made a brief, dismissive noise with his tongue. "Not your fault."
Very kind of him to say so, but thoroughly inaccurate.
"Yes it was!" I exclaimed, unimpressed with his attempt to give me such an easy out. "I was the one who kissed you."
"Yeah." He suddenly smiled, revealing that dear old crooked incisor. "Guess it is your fault, then."
There was my boy.
"Okay, but you were the one who ran away." The teasing was familiar, it was us, but I held my breath to see whether such a bold finger pointed at his actions was too much too soon. He had been avoiding me for two weeks, after all.
"I didn't run away," he objected and I snorted loudly.
"You did! You scampered like a startled...kitten!"
"I did not scamper and I'm not a kitten."
His freakishly wide shoulders tensed and I could tell I was one small, cuddly pet reference away from losing my pit buddy.
"Sure, fine," I relented. "Why did you do such a manly sprint in the opposite direction to me, then?"
He shifted uneasily and picked up a pebble, tossing it back and forth between his hands before lobbing it out of our cosy space and across the garden.
"Because," he eventually managed to bring himself to grunt, "I knew it was going to get weird."
"Weirder than this?"
My voice was incredulous and we both took a moment to survey our current situation.
Yeah. We were sitting in a hole.
"So didn't you want me to...? As in, didn't you like-?"
He laughed his way through a veritable rainbow of curses then, only stopping to tug a lock of my hair and ask,
"When did you get so thick?"
"So two weeks off from each other and I got thick and you got buff?" My face flamed at his humour. Oh I wished I hadn't asked, I really wished I hadn't. "That doesn't seem fair."
He was wily enough to see that I wasn't finding the whole thing as funny as he was and he smothered his smile as he said, "Hey, I know I dropped off the edge of the earth and I'm sorry about that. It's just I've been busy, work's been-"
Oh cop out, cop out, cop out!
"Weak," I interrupted him with a groan. "You texted me sixteen times in an hour once to tell me all about a particularly good burrito you were eating, but in two weeks you haven't found the time to check in? A quick 'hey, I'm still alive, your lip balm tastes awesome by the way' would've got me through alright."
"I didn't know what to say," he rebutted. "And it's not like I was drowning under a wave of your usual pithy observations on life."
Okay, he had a point, I'd probably been avoiding him just as much as he had been with me
"I didn't know what to say," I admitted, copying his excuse.
I waited for him to mouth off about how there was a 'first time for everything' or something like that, but he went in a whole other direction, muttering,
"I don't want it to be weird."
I floundered for a moment, trying to find something noteworthy to say in response, but ending up just declaring, "Me either."
"I left a job early and drove in the opposite direction to home in peak hour just to sit in a hole with you," he said, all in a rush then, staring fixedly out across the yard.
I felt myself curl up, like the slaters in the exposed soil around us. "Sorry," I muttered making him look down at me in surprise.
"No, that wasn't a dig," he said quickly, pun presumably unintended. "I meant that it's a good deal. I'd do it every day of my life if you asked me to. And that's, you know, that's something…"
It was. No denying that.
"So it's just the…ah…the kissing that you have a problem with?" I asked hesitantly, bracing myself for a suddenly flurry of movement as he leapt out of our hole and ran for his life.
I'd prepared myself for nothing, it turned out, as I realised he wasn't making a break for it, he was still sitting next to me and…was he? Yes he was. He was blushing.
"No, that's…yeah…that's not a problem."
"So what is?"
"I like sitting in a hole with you," he said gruffly. "And what if…you know…us wanting to kiss fills in the hole with weirdness?"
"Oh God, I'm so in love with you."
The words were out before I could stop them, but, really, how could I not say them? He'd clumsily metaphor-ed me into admitting something I'd been trying to keep hidden for almost a year…bastard.
"So there you go!" I said curtly as he gaped at me, the dictionary definition of stunned. "The hole is already filled with weird. Your move."
"Oh." He seemed to mull this over, the muscles in his neck leaping as thinking it through appeared to take an actual physical toll. "In that case…"
And then his hand was cupping my chin and he was tilting my face up to press his lips to mine; the touch feather-light, the reaction coursing through my body more like a sledgehammer.
I closed my eyes and leant into him…okay, more like fell, and he reached for me in return, lifting me up onto his lap with a surety that trumped any of his previous hesitation.
Our kiss deepened and I curled into him; tasting him, touching him, dragging him to me and binding us together until I was dizzy with the power of it all.
Or that may have been lack of oxygen.
We pulled back, gasping, and I realised that the sun had well and truly gone down and that we were now two people sitting in a hole…in the dark.
There was nowhere else I would rather have been.
"Hey," he muttered as I tucked my head down against his chest, drawing in deep gulps of air as I recovered from the kiss of a lifetime. "I'm still alive. Your lip balm tastes awesome, by the way."
So, I present to you...an unnamed couple in a hole!
I offer this as sort of proof of life. I've been writing a whole bunch since I finished SfM, but I haven't managed to stick with anything. This was the product of a bad day and an overwhelming urge to throw something out into the world because I miss you guys!