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Lines and Hearts (1/6)
Author: [livejournal.com profile] sharon_hate
Rated: R (language)
Disclaimer: These are fictional events.

“Let’s stay friends” is one of the stupidest phrases Patrick has ever heard. (Patrick/Pete)


“01: Stealing.”


“Yeah, yeah, he left…” His voice trails off, and he almost holds his breath as the caller replies. “No, really. I’m fine,” a sigh, “In fact, I’m over it. I’m up, moving around, doing, um, cardio.” Patrick frowns to himself. Why would cardiovascular exercises convince anyone of his stability? If anything, it is a sign of head trauma.

“Oh, sweetie, you must feel so alone in that apartment of yours.” A more sarcastic Patrick would thank her for pointing out the all-consuming emptiness that slowly surrounds him. Only he isn’t that person, so he once again reassures her that is perfectly okay. Really.

It’s not as if he’s lying, he tells himself. He really is okay, as well as he’s going to be. The cold tile of the kitchen counter presses into his back at a sharp angle, but he doesn’t make any attempt to move because it’s distracting and oddly comforting. He ignores the bad taste in his mouth (He hasn’t brushed his teeth yet) and sighs, grunts and murmurs when applicable.

“If you need anything, please, please call me. This is going to be hard, and I know you’re going to get lonely, but…”

“Yeah,” pause, “I know.” There’s a high pitched click and he hangs up the phone, softly putting it back on the moss green receiver. The cord easily reaches the ground and dangles freely. That’s from when before they got together. Patrick would stretch the cord all the way to the small apartment table (Their conversations were long and he needed to sit down), which was only about 8 feet away, but still managed to elongate it beyond normal capacity.

News of the break up had apparently spread, and all sorts of friends and distant acquaintances were sending their condolences, as if someone had died. Patrick tried his best not to snicker at the obvious and painful metaphor. Either, it was he, Patrick, that was the one who had died, or the relationship itself is what had died. He didn’t feel like analyzing his own thought pattern, though, something, he would have done, and decided to brush his teeth because the uncomfortable, ‘dirty’ feeling was becoming too much to bear. It reminded him of a commercial he once saw; wherein a woman was describing it as if her teeth were wearing fuzzy slippers. He decided it was a just description.

When he finishes his daily hygiene regime (Showering can wait for later. It’s not as if he’s going anywhere), he looks at the round Rock’n’Roll High School clock that hangs above his bedroom door. It reads 11:20. Patrick sighs. He thinks to himself, today is going to be a long day.

At 12:10, though, there’s a light knock on the door. This has gone too far, he decides, calling him up at nine in the morning and forcing him to speak to them about his love-life is one thing, but actually coming to his home and personally rubbing his face in the spoiled relationship is out of the question. The heavy, wood door opens with a soft cry, and Patrick peeks out from the back cautiously.

“Chill out, homeboy, it’s just me!”

‘Just me’ turns out to be just Joe, so Patrick decides to let him in, but only after a brief moment of question on whether he should slam the door in his face.

“Just so you know,” Patrick began, “I’ve already discussed this matter far too many times today.” He walks past his new guest and into the living room, sitting down abruptly on the thrift store couch. It’s a small apartment, so he’s really only a couple yards away. Joe follows after a moment, hands raised in defeat or submission. Patrick likes to think submission.

“Wasn’t gonna,” he says, but Patrick knows better and waits to find out where he’s going with the subject. Joe takes off his olive colored parka, fur lining the hood (“Its pimp,” he explained once, briefly), and attempts to throw it onto the coat/hat-tree, but it misses and lands on the floor. He doesn’t pick it up, much to Patrick’s dismay.

“So, what were you going to say?” Patrick asks with narrowed eyes when Joe stands directly in front of him, making no move to sit down.

“I already knew that you wouldn’t talk to me about it,” Patrick can sense the italics, “but I know who you would talk to!” Before he can object to any sort of conversation, Joe snatches up a small rag doll on the far end of the couch, and he (Patrick) gasps.

Joe moves the doll from side-to-side, as if the doll were dancing. The dirty yarn hair flops back and forth, and the small baby blue hat pinned to its head is in danger of falling off.

“Leave Patty-Cakes out of this!” Patrick screeches, reaching out desperately for her. Joe pulls her back and tuts gently at him. Patrick frowns. “You’re messing with her dress.” With a sigh, Joe straightens out the bag-like dress on the small doll.

“There,” he states, “good as new.” Patrick is still frowning.

“May I have her back now?” he asks with growing impatience.

“No, you may not.” Joe clears his throat and begins to speak in an unnaturally high, squeaky voice normally unattainable for most adults (and even for small children).
“Hello, Patrick...! Is there anything you would like to tell me, Patty-Cakes?”

Joe’s hand has now inched up the back of Patty-Cakes dress, and is using her as a hand puppet. Under any other circumstances Patrick would be trying his hardest to document this situation, but he is far too horrified to do anything at the moment besides stare.

“No,” he shakes his head.

“I know you miss him, and it’s okay,” Joe squeaks out. Patrick has officially been shaken out of his temporary trance. With a glare, he rips Patty-Cakes off of his hand and pushes her into a crevice of the couch next to him. “Look, I’m only trying to help.”

“Yeah, well, stop. I can do this on my own. This isn’t the first time, you know,” he says harshly. The silence between them is thick, and Patrick wishes he could just walk out of the room and act as if the entire situation had never happened (as he’s known to do), but decides that ignoring obvious problems was what got him into this quote-unquote mess in the first place.

“This isn’t like those other times, Patrick. He was different.”

“I’m just trying to forget how much he meant,” he says suddenly. He even catches himself by surprise. So far, his avoidance of the issue had been primarily subconscious. “I mean,” he stutters out, “that we were, ya’ know… together.”

“Then why don’t you get rid of the doll?” Joe asks.

Patrick looks down to his side. Cream colored ‘legs’ and a navy blue piece of fabric stick out from between the cushions. He gently pulls her out, hoping nothing snags (like a button-eye) in the dark abyss that is the couch, and poor Ms. Patty-Cakes will not be blinded.

“I like her…” he murmurs to himself, staring down into the shiny black coat buttons. If he were more philosophical (and pretentious), he might say that he saw himself in Patty-Cakes. He was, after all, her name sake. But he didn’t see himself, or anyone else for the matter, in the rag doll; it just reminded Patrick of him. That was reason enough to keep it, he thought.

“If you’re so desperate to forget, why do you still have it?” Joe asked, his voice rising the more passionate he became about his small speech. Patrick ignores him, though, so he takes it as a sign (He’s not sure of what) and declares, “You want him back!”

“I never said I didn’t want to be with him!” Patrick snapped. Patty-Cakes was once again slammed down into the couch. “He’s the one that left me, okay?”

Joe was silenced by the outburst. It was as if his entire ‘theory’ had been flushed down the toilet, so to speak. Though, he isn’t sure exactly what his theory was, he knew he had stumbled across something and wouldn’t give up until Patrick’s small hint of something else had died a horrible death (Under Joe’s relentless hands, of course). All he had to do was find out what Patrick had been hinting it.

“Look, I don’t know what you’re trying to tell me…” Joe hoped this would lure Patrick out of his cocoon of secrecy.

“What the hell are you talking about? I just told you,” the light-haired boy continued to glare; “He left me.”

“So what’re you trying to say? You want to get back together with him?”

“I’m not trying to say anything!” Patrick yelled back. The mere thought that Joe might be planning anything involving Patrick was enough to inspire ideas of keeping him physically bound somewhere inside the apartment. “So don’t try anything. Look at me! I’m almost over it? Can’t you tell?” Patrick forced a smile that only came off demented and crazed. Not the type of smile one would give to convince others of their mental stability.

“No, I can’t,” Joe sighed, plopping down next to his chubby friend. “You are most definitely not over it.” Now it was Patrick’s turn to sigh melodramatically. “It’s only been two days… No one expects you to be over it. To tell you the truth, we expected you to have barricaded the door with several furniture items, and turn to some form of self-abuse.”

“Do I really seem like the type?” Patrick questioned. He took no offense to their (what is basically an) accusation.

“It’s always the quiet ones, ya’ know?” Patrick nods in understanding. “Besides, what’s the fun in getting over it? The entire point of breaking up is writing songs about horribly maiming the other person and calling them a whore,” Joe says, trying to lighten the mood, but Patrick doesn’t smile. (Not even his crazy one.)

“He said he wants to stay friends…” he murmurs to himself without looking up.

Suddenly, Joe understands the rush in the Moving On process. A girl once told Joe (Yes, a girl) that she wanted to stay ‘friends’ with him. He then told her, “Shut the hell up, bitch. We’re breaking up for a reason: your face.” She then threw many hard and sharp objects in the direction of his head. He still feels that was the best course of action in response to her proposal. Patrick is infinitely quieter and more sensitive, so he can only imagine how he reacted. Clearly, he took what he said to heart.

“That’s low,” Joe states after a moment of reminiscing. He wonders where Joyce is today. She was a lovely girl with a good arm, maybe staying friends wasn’t such a bad idea, he thinks internally. “I mean, really low.”

“No, it’s practical. We’re all friends. What was I supposed to expect?” Joe can only shake his head. Some days, he feels Patrick is the reincarnate of the Dalai Lama. ‘Is that possible, though?’ he asks himself. When did the last one die? Was it in the 80’s? When did that one movie with Keanu Reeves come out? (Or was that movie about Buddha?)

“That he wouldn’t turn out to be such a dick.” Joe almost regrets saying it, but not really. Eventually, someone would have stated it. He’s actually mildly proud he was that person. It really doesn’t matter, though, because Patrick ignores him and it’s as if nothing were said at all.

“You know how non-confrontational I am! I would’ve just found new friends, new places to hang out… All to avoid the weirdness. I don’t want it to be all weird like when Ross and Rachel broke up.” Joe snickers to himself.

“Which one are you?”

“I think I’m Rachel,” Patrick admits, eyebrows furrowing together in thought. “I’m such a bitch.”

“You-Patrick or you-Rachel?” Joe asks.

“Me-Patrick.”

It’s silent again in the apartment, except for the faint tick of Patrick’s cat-clock. The tail swings noiselessly, and its eyes switch back and forth. Joe remembers the day he bought the clock for Patrick and him, as a house warming gift. He didn’t realize it meowed every hour until Patrick had called and complained. He imagined he had grown accustomed to it, or had simply found an off-button.

“I’m hungry,” Joe decides to break the ominous quiet. Its half-past noon and he doubts Patrick has eaten anything yet, what with the declining emotional state and all. Perhaps it would be best to get him out of the house, trick him into thinking he’s getting over it. Joe just wants to eat. “Let’s go get something to eat, yeah?”

It wasn’t a question, despite his tone; it was more of a statement than anything else. Patrick knew he really didn’t have a choice in the matter, but thought it at least fair to put up a little fight. (If only for show.)

“Nah, I’m okay…”

“You’re a liar,” Joe states without a second thought. He continues, “Let’s go pick something up from that one pizza place that has the garlic hanging on the walls!” His face brightens immediately. “C’mon, I love that place. That old dude hates us.”

“Well, you were totally bagging on the pizza,” Patrick helps, remembering the situation and why they no longer eat at the aforementioned establishment. “You were, like, ringing the grease out of it. And then you go up and ask for napkins to soak it up…”

Joe rolls his eyes. “It was out of love. Their pizza’s the shit and everyone knows it. I mean, what kind of world do we live in where we can’t mock the things we appreciate?”

“Whatever, let’s go.”

The walk to the Pizza Place is mostly silent, except for the shuffle of their feet and the rumble of passing engines. Each boy (“Men, really,” Joe would interject) huddling into their jackets; Joe into his pimp-jacket and Patrick into his faded blue, plaid hunting jacket, a favorite among (most) friends. Patrick describes it as being ‘so uncool, it’s cool’, but Joe often feels the need to point out, “That jacket is so uncool, it loops around cool and right back to uncool again.”

When they walk into the Pizza Place, they’re both surprised to see him behind the counter, a small nametag on his black shirt. (The business isn’t big enough for custom uniforms.) Patrick glares at Joe, though, as if he knew, and counted on it, the entire time. He straightens up noticeably and smoothes down his shirt, eyes looking down to the floor as if there were a cheat code scribbled into the dirty tile.

“Um, hey, Pete,” Joe throws out randomly, left hand going to rub lazily at his neck. Patrick is still silent. “I didn’t know you worked here.”

“It’s a new job,” Pete says after a pause. “So how are you guys?” Pete ignores Patrick’s silence.

“We’re good,” Joe speaks up, his voice rising up in tone (not quite Patty-Cakes high, though). He elbows Patrick in his kidney, causing him to elicit a small squeak of pain and surprise. “Aren’t we, Patrick?”

“Peachy,” he pushes out with an awkward, forced smile.

With all the years they’ve spent together (‘lovers’: 2, friends: 4), Patrick always prided himself on the fact that they read each other so well. But as Pete smiles back, a genuine relief spread across his face, he begins to question the basis of their entire once-was relationship. He can only begin to internally grumble before he realizes this is no time for the in-depth evaluation he was about to start, and makes a mental note to agonize over this later.

“I’m so happy to hear that!” Pete gushes, Patrick swallows. “Because, you know what I told you, I meant it. Really. We were friends before all this,” Patrick resists the urge to roll his eyes (and laugh bitterly to himself) at the flimsy way he addresses their entire being, “And just because we fell out romantically, doesn’t mean we should just forget that each other ever existed!”

As much as Joe would like to explode with laughter (because he knows there’s really nothing Patrick would like to do more), he is aware of how inappropriate it would be and holds it inside. This is probably how people end up with polio, he thinks to himself. The fact that that particular thought did not even begin to make sense makes the ache in his belly tremble further.

Patrick can only stand there, several feet away from the counter, and give a reassuring smile. And even though he’s never been too good at hiding his feelings, Joe has to hand it to him; he’s doing an excellent job at the whole apathy-thing.

Everything between them stills, and the only thing they can hear is the vague shuffle of assorted pizza-people in the background. To say a pin drop could be heard would be an exaggeration but all three of them would say it was definitely somewhere in that category. Pete notices how Patrick hasn’t looked at him once since the dreaded silence began, but instead has been studying his shoes rather intently.

Pete, for the record, would like to point out that he is not a bad guy. Honestly. Patrick is adorable, and small, and anyone with sight/hearing/taste would automatically side with him, so when you say that Pete is the asshole in this situation, he would like it to be known that there is an unfair bias. Your perception is skewed and you are in no position to call judgment.

And with that being said, Pete would also like to point out that he feels horrible (Honestly.) for what he has done. Seeing Patrick in this “state” only forces Pete to acknowledge the fact that he is clearly not over it, as much as Pete desperately wants to believe.

So when Joe finally says something both Patrick and Pete silently thank the God they never really recognized before. Surely, this is a sign of his presence.

But the actual words to what Joe says sink in, and Patrick decides that he has counted his figurative chickens far too early. These chickens are still-born and bloody and will forever haunt his dreams.

Pete, on the other hand, has no zombie-chickens at all plaguing his mind. In fact, Pete is quite happy that Joe proposes such a thing. This will give him a chance to explain himself to dear Patrick. It’s very hard, Pete now knows, to sound rational (and sane) when waving your arms about wildly, screaming something that sounds vaguely like, “Maybe you wouldn’t have a problem with me licking it, if I looked like your mother!”

It sounds odd in retrospect, but it was a pivotal point in the argument.

“I’d love to hang out with you guys. I get out in like, 15 minutes.”

Patrick decides Joe will pay in blood.
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J. Gomez

May 2009

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