First piece in this nightmare series. I try to keep things in a semi-chronological order in the timeline, but cannot promise this for every chapter in the future. I will give relative time frames for each chapter in conjunction with the last, though (tentative timelines, there, since I'm terrible with dates).
In this bit, Randall and Dalton have know each other for a little over a week.
"I thought the whole point was to not embarrass your boyfriend."
Randall rolled his eyes while adjusting the waistband of the orange jeans clinging to his skin; the current fashion object of Hymn's scrutiny.
"He's not my boyfriend," he sighed before a thought popped in his head and he shot a smirk his flatmate's way. "At least not any more than Janet was your girlfriend."
Hymn glared at him but Randall didn't miss the pink that tinged her cheeks. "I thought we weren't mentioning Janice."
"Oh?" Randall looked up and tilted his head, innocence swirling in his eyes even while that devious smirk widened into a taunting grin. "When did we agree that we weren't allowed to talk about you sexcapades with hookers?"
He cackled but relented with a dramatic arm wave. "Fine, fine, I got it. No more talk of Janey."
A few seconds passed as Randall finished making sure his clothes looked perfect and let Hymn seethe. He only ventured past her when he realized he still needed to grab his shoes. He had no idea what Dalton had meant when he'd said "professional" in reference to how he was expected to dress at the board meeting (he'd never done any proper meetings, so he'd never had to bother with figuring out what "professional" was), but he assumed anything with the word Gucci in its name had to be good enough.
"Oh God, no. Please tell me you're not wearing those."
Randall narrowed his eyes when Hymn's disgusted tone found its way to his closet. Honestly, did privacy mean nothing to her? He snorted to himself for even thinking that, because of course she didn't- neither of them did. That was sort of the point of their living together, wasn't it?
Still, just because he loved her more than he loved personal space didn't mean he didn't draw the line somewhere in their relationship.
Nobody dissed his Gucci.
"Are you telling me you have a problem with my furry Gucci boots, Hymn?"
"Razr, I'm telling you everyone has a problem with your 'furry Gucci boots'. They're fuggly."
Randall held a hand over his heart and stared at her, aghast. "How dare you?" he gasped dramatically before shaking his head and pulling on the leather boots. She could feel whatever she felt about his beautiful shoes, but he refused to listen to her get down on his tastes verbally. Besides, she didn't know what she was talking about. His ankles loved the fuzzy cuffs of those boots, and he could never say he didn't appreciate the extra three inches they added to his height. Anything that could help him reach 5'8" was wonderful.
"I'm wearing them, so sod off." He didn't care if he was being snippy, and if the way Hymn threw her arms up with a cry of exasperation, she didn't either; she was more upset about his choice of clothing than anything else. But then, when wasn't she cringing at his outfit choice?
He'd stopped giving her opinion on fashion much thought, unless he was genuinely curious on how she viewed a particular setup. He only ever believed something looked truly horrible when he caught a glistening of tears in her eyes when she looked at him and shook her head slowly.
She hadn't done that since the cardigan-poncho incident of '99.
He hopped to his feet once he'd finished doing the laces up and smiled when he came up to her chin instead of armpit. He liked feeling taller. She groaned when she looked at his feet and he only chuckled again and stood on his tiptoes to peck her cheek. They could disagree about all the things they wanted to, but he still loved her… and if he wanted to come home to everything still intact in his closet he had to kiss her ass a little bit.
He made his way to the kitchen and Hymn followed behind him with a sigh and mutter of, "Fine. Why do I even try?"
"That's a great question," Randall chimed, shooting her a smug look over his shoulder. When he did so, he caught sight of the earrings she was wearing and gasped, stopping dead in his tracks in order to whirl around and grab her wrist. "I need those!"
"What?" Hymn pried his hand off of her and raised a brow. Randall flicked at the sparrow-shaped silver earrings in her lobes and bit his lip while he waited for her to groan and hand them over.
When she did he put them in and shot her a hasty thanks, going for the kitchen once more and pulling out a juicebox from the fridge. There was no breakfast already made for him so he wasn't going to bother, but that didn't mean he was foolish enough to think that he could get away with spending possible hours with the average intelligence of the populace on an empty stomach. Also, there wasn't a lot of time for food anyway; Hymn was right, he'd spent too long doing his hair and makeup. Not that he was ever going to admit that to her. He didn't need to deal with a gloating Hymn on top of everything else he had to deal with.
"You think this is professional enough for Dalton's rabble?" He finally decided to ask when he saw Hymn wasn't so focused on how much his outfit offended every sense in her body. Even if he wasn't going to change, he still wanted to know if she thought he'd make an okay impression or not. She'd always been better with people in that way- just like Dalton. They were both better at thinking about how other people view things and actually care, whereas he could see and understand, but not give a flying fart.
She only shook her head at him again. "It's tame enough. They'll live, I guess."
"Cool!" Randall grinned wide and and flicked her hair into her eyes. He figured she'd say something like that, because she was so supportive of him even when she hated his stuff. It made him feel better, though, knowing that she had his back even if she didn't like it.
Randall paused and blinked in surprise. He'd completely forgotten that Dalton was actually there, in their building… Oh well.
"Yes," he confirmed and skipped into the living room, where the man sat on the couch. The moment Dalton saw him his eyes widened and his eyes roved all up and down Randall's frame. He smirked and put his hands out by his sides.
"This work for your pretentious group of pansies?"
He didn't actually care what the man said, but it was still fun to ask and see the reactions. Dalton stared for another minute before he let out a slow, deliberate breath as he got up from the sofa. He looked like he was caught somewhere between wanting to scream and cry and, honestly, Randall would've happily taken either.
Instead of those things, however, Dalton only circled him a couple times before stopping in front of him. Randall noticed with a twinge of happiness that he went to the man's nose. Dalton pinched the bridge of his nose and then let out another heavy breath.
"There's no convincing you to change is there."
"No." - "No."
Hymn chimed in the same time he answered and Randall snorted once again, because Dalton clearly expected the answer, since his only reaction to that was to drop his shoulders and nod slowly.
"Right. Then sure, you look great."
The deadpan was amusing him nothing else and Randall decided to take it. What did Dalton know about fashion, anyway? All he knew how to wear were five thousand dollar suits and a grown-up, pretentious haircut that was fooling absolutely no one. But hey, if he thought his coworkers could stare at him and not have heart attacks due to shock and exposure, that was cool.
"You're so charming," he stated flatly.
"I hate your life choices with every fiber of my being."
"Are you two leaving yet or are you waiting to let the sexual tension permeate throughout the entire house?"
Dalton stepped back from him as if he was suddenly emitting an electric pulse and Randall couldn't help but laugh out loud. Hymn's comedic timing never disappointed. He sent her a thumbs up and then stalked past an unimpressed looking Dalton to retrieve the apartment keys and his shearling jacket.
Dalton followed after him and waved goodbye to Hymn, intoning that it was not a pleasure. She returned the sentiment and then told Randall to have fun.
"... Get out."
"Yup!" Randall closed the door loudly and Dalton glared at him as they stepped into the elevator.
"You look like a four year old who was left to his grandma's wardrobe."
"Thanks?" Randall rolled his eyes and stared at the numbers counting down their floors. "If I care about what you really think, I'll ask."
"I'll keeping telling you until that knowledge is drilled into your thick skull and you make a change."
Randall crossed his arms. He couldn't believe how rude Dalton was being. Whatever, he was probably jealous that he couldn't pull off heels like his.
"Drill away, you'll never reach anything."
"Yeah, I guess that's true. Hard to reach something that's just not there."
Randall opened his mouth but closed it just as quickly when he realized just what he'd said. Damn, Dalton got him there, and he'd practically handed it to him. Even so, he refused to let him win. Hymn's parting comments made it back to his mind and Randall found his way to do so.
They were at the 5th floor and closely approaching their final destination before they could exit the building and Randall worked out in his head exactly when he could make the comment to make it all work.
They reached the 4th and he scrunched his nose. "Ugh, do you smell that?"
Dalton frowned and sniffed softly. "No. Smell what?"
The elevator dinged.
"That sexual tension. Hymn was right, it reeks!"
The doors opened and Randall strode out, leaving Dalton to gawp and chase after him with a strangled curse.
"You're such a pain in the ass."
"You like that, don't you?"
"Lacroix, enough, that's disgusting."
Randall debated the merits of ignoring him and continuing as if he hadn't heard, but decided they weren't worth it. If he got Dalton pissed off enough before they even got to the meeting he doubted the man would be too willing to help him out if his co workers started harassing him. It wouldn't be worth it in the long run, even if Dalton did turn a fun shade of scarlet and get defensive whenever anyone alluded to where they suspected his sexual preferences lie.
He did mutter, "You're disgusting," as they got into the car, though, and Randall propped his feet up on Dalton's dash and tapped them along with the faint beat playing through on the radio. Dalton glared at him but said nothing as he pulled into traffic.
About halfway there, Randall got bored of kicking the dash and put his feet down. He looked out the window at the cars moving around them, ignoring the uneasy shift in his stomach every time one stopped too abruptly for his liking or Dalton hit the gas a little too hard. He detested cars. Why did they have to be the main mode of transportation?
He tapped his fingers against his knee anxiously when they pulled up to another red light and the car behind them had to slam on their brakes to avoid rear-ending them.
"Who do you think is doing it?" He blurted, tearing his eyes away from the vehicles around them. He maintained his cool composure, but didn't cease the rhythmic tapping of his digits.
Dalton shrugged. "Can't say for sure. That's sorta why you're here? You're going to talk to all of them to figure out who's doing it with your psych tricks."
"They aren't tricks," Randall said, a little irritated that Dalton would call them that. He hadn't earned 2 Phd's to have what he did for a living be boiled down to "tricks". "And I know how I'm going to do it. I was just curious."
"Well," Dalton started, more slow in what he said which made Randall think he'd picked up on his hostility, "I can't say who I think is selling off the information, but I have a feeling it's someone from the prosecution side."
"Oh?" Randall gripped his knee tight when a motorcycle whizzed past them and Dalton cursed them out under his breath before answering.
"Yeah, those guys are bitter assholes who'll do anything for money."
Randall forced a smirk on his face in order to hide his grimace when he felt bile rise in his throat as they went over a particularly high speed bump. "Speaking from experience?"
"Shut up," Dalton snapped, though he had a half-smile on his face, so he couldn't have been that mad, "I earned my spot, I didn't cheat my way up- plus, I was a defender, not a prosecutor."
"So just another reason for them to hate you, then?"
Dalton hummed and Randall nodded to himself. Right. That was just great. These people hated Dalton which meant they would immediately associate him with negative feelings because they knew he came in with Dalton. That meant they would be even more on edge around him than they normally would be expected to be. Wonderful. Not anything he couldn't work around, but still. Ugh.
He wanted this to be a simple open and close case, but he wasn't sure if that would be possible now. Probably a few days at the least. He'd have to go through each person in a group to get their initial profiles, and then he'd have to individually assess them to find out who held a simple grudge against those in higher power than them and who actually had the mental and emotional capacities to sabotage their company. Then he'd have to go through their records.
If he didn't have death grips on the car door and his knee he would've given Dalton the most dramatic middle finger imaginable. For some reason, they continually found themselves working together towards a common goal. First it was that murder of his distant cousin, then it was the political scandal of the governor that needed to be profiled before Dalton felt comfortable trying to do anything to help them avoid life in prison, and now it was this.
What was next, an interview with Idoya for the Toronto Star?