L&H: 03

Feb. 23rd, 2007 11:37 pm
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Lines and Hearts (3/6)
Author: [livejournal.com profile] sharon_hate
Rated: R (language)
Disclaimer: These are fictional events.
Notes: Beta'd by [livejournal.com profile] matchsticks_p

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





03: Stealing


Andy knocks quietly on a chipped, green painted door and hopes that Patrick will answer quickly. It’s not that Andy is frightened of anything in particular; it’s just that these situations make him uncomfortable. And it’s not that going inside Patrick’s apartment will be any less uncomfortable (He could be a psychopath; Pete always fails to mention key details like that), but it certainly would make him feel less vulnerable, and less likely that some strange homeless woman will address him personally. This apartment really isn’t in the best neighborhood.

When a short, podgy man (“Man” seems like an overstatement. “Jailbait” seems like a more appropriate description and it’s suddenly clear to Andy how Pete would know him) with dirty blond hair swept into his face opens the door, Andy smiles brightly. Mostly because it’s polite, and also because he vaguely remembers hearing that pleasant people are more likely to get what they want. What Andy really wants is an apartment.

“Um… Who are you?” the man asks, his voice a bit rough with sleep.

“Aren’t you Patrick?” Andy questions with confusion. Looking down to his palm with loopy letters scrawled carelessly in blue pen, he wonders if he confused his nines for fours again. It happens quite a bit, almost where Andy considers learning proper penmanship. But Andy, however, lacks any motivation required to do so, other than the occasional inconvenience. (Such as harassing the arbitrary teenager.)

“Yes…”

“Well, I’m Andy.”

“Wait… what? You’re Andy? I didn’t know-” RING RING. “Could you… hold on a sec’? I just gotta, ya’ know, get this...” Patrick shuffles quickly over to his small kitchen, throwing a few worried glances over his shoulder and picks up the moss green receiver. (It matches the floor, Andy notes, what luck.) “Hello?” Patrick whispers into the phone.

Patrick’s whispering so Andy won’t hear the horrible things he’s about to tell whoever’s calling. (He’s a guest, after all, he can’t know how horribly violent and crude he is; not yet.)

“Hey, it’s me.”

Pete, Patrick growls to himself. Yes, horrible things will definitely be said.

“Hey,” Patrick says shortly. Pete’s smile is evident, even through phone. Patrick dearly hopes his frown isn’t. “Why is that guy – Andy – here at my place?”

“What? He’s already there?” Pete asks, voice cracking. Without hesitation, Pete pulls up the black sleeve to his hoodie and stares into his second-hand watch. It reads 9:37. “Seriously?”

“Yeah, seriously…” Patrick trails off. He takes a few steps away from the stained wall and pokes his head out of the kitchenette, checking up on Andy. There’s a part of Patrick that doubts it’s really Andy at all, and actually a vagrant who overpowered the Real Andy, and only wants to make off with Patrick’s belongings.

But Patrick is reminded by a miniaturized version of Pete that has suddenly appeared on his shoulder that chides, What would he take? Your lava lamp? Yeah, he really can’t wait to get his hands that fine piece a retail.

“Put him on, yeah?” It’s not a question, not by any standards, and Patrick desperately wants to deny him (Deny him furiously.) but agreeing would require less words. “I must chastise him for bothering my dear Patrick.”

“Uh, right.”

Now if Patrick and Pete were actual friends (Not this strange abomination Pete has created – no trust or truth but instead an awkward and hesitant compliance), Patrick would not falter in hanging the phone up on him, after, of course, he castigates him for even daring to put him in such a situation.

Sadly, that is not the circumstance. So Patrick squeaks out Andy’s name.

“Andy…?”

The name sounds foreign and makes Patrick feel awkward as it rolls off his tongue. It’s a fairly common name (Much like “Anthony” or “Alex” or a number of other names beginning with A), he reminds himself, there’s no reason for it to be so peculiar.

Andy is snapped out of his reverie and walks out of the small corridor and around the half-wall that divides the hall from the “dining room”. The apartment is considerably cleaner than Andy expected (He is, after all, one of Pete’s friends and they’re not exactly known for their personal hygiene or cleanliness.) and he had yet to notice any obnoxious odors. Too good to be true, Andy thinks to himself as he slowly pads over to Patrick, way too good.

“Yeah?”

“Pete’s on the phone.”

Andy stays quiet for a moment, unsure if it was the end of Patrick’s statement.

It is.

With a frown, Andy walks into the narrow kitchen and sidles up next to Patrick, awkwardly taking the phone from his hands.

Their hips brush up against one another and this causes Patrick to frown as well. How on earth Patrick decided he was homosexual is a mystery considering how any sort of physical contact outside of a hardy pat on the back gives him the proverbial Heeby Jeebies. (“It’s just too weird…” he says, trailing off just so.) He ignores the small voice inside his chest reminding him of the considerable lack of weird he felt with Pete. Patrick takes this as a cue to exit and ambles out of the tightly confined area and into the living room.

“Pete?” Andy asks into the receiver. It’s a pointless question, though.

“What the hell? It’s like, nine in the morning, why are you there?” Pete drapes himself over Chris’ counter (Our counter, Pete corrects himself, ours), holding the portable beige phone to his ear loosely with his shoulder.

“Actually, it’s 9:39. And, unlike some people, I have a life and this was the only time I have free until eleven tonight.”

“Life, my ass. You don’t do shit all day,” Pete replies, without missing a beat and laughs lowly to himself. Shifting the phone from his left side to his right, Pete looks around the empty apartment and frowns. Chris isn’t home.

“Are you kidding me? I have a real job, I don’t just sit there all day, answering a phone and jotting shit down. I take stock.” Andy forces his voice to hold some bite. (You let Pete get away with this shit once; he’ll just keep it doing it again and again. Like a puppy, only he doesn’t lick his balls as much, Andy tells himself.)

“Oh, wow, you must be so exhausted at the end of the day. It’s a miracle you even managed to wake up this morning with the extreme fatigue that must be plaguing you day after day.”

“Do me a favor and shut up for once…”

“Alright, so do you like Patrick? He’s cool, right?” Pete blatantly ignores Andy’s request and begins to gush. “I mean, yeah, he’s kinda quiet but after a while, and he opens up, he’s really unbelievably cool.” He’s never had to sell Patrick to anyone before. He’s not some used car with questionable stains and Pete’s not a seedy car salesman. (He dares you to say otherwise.)

“I met him less than five minutes ago and we haven’t said anything other than Oh… yeah, well… I, uh… Oh. Oh…” Sigh. “I’m not getting this place, am I?”

“You’ll get it, don’t worry about it,” Pete rolls his eyes and flips his wrist at Andy’s obvious foolishness. “Just- I dunno. Mention Bowie or something, to seal the deal.”

“Right-right.” Andy nods vigorously and pulls his lips into a thin line. “Look, I’ll call you tomorrow or something.”

“’Kay, later, brah.”

Andy hangs up the phone softly and leans against the cool Formica. After taking in a few deep breaths (He stops after a sharp pain shoots to his pancreas… Diabetes?) he pulls himself away from the countertop and takes slow, cautious steps into the living area to find Patrick and charm the living hell out of him. Because, dear God, Andy really wants a normal apartment, with a normal person so he can have a normal life (devoid of strange and illegal fetishes).

In the midst of all the Windex fumes and the horrible, horrible organizing, Patrick decides that, yes, Andy is getting the room. Patrick knows it’s not the vapors clouding his judgment (“He’s huffed that shit so much in his life…”) or even Pete’s subtle influence, Andy seems to be a good person. Never mind the fact that Patrick has only known him for 10 minutes. Patrick is a very good judge of character.

Patrick is so wrapped up in his own mostly self-praising thoughts (Who else would be praising him? Joe constantly hounds him for not being manly enough. ‘But I’m a woman,’ Patrick would reply dryly.) that he doesn’t even notice Andy’s light steps leading into the living room.

“Uh, hi...” Andy states shortly.

“Hi,” Patrick replies.

And there is a glorious silence.

For the first time in his life, Patrick decides he wants to take control of the situation. He doesn’t just want to let himself be victimized as he usually would (Or something like that. Patrick can’t remember the saying exactly, that episode of Oprah was from a few years earlier), he’s going to take charge. Take action. Inside his head, Patrick sees himself standing tall, and looking Andy straight in the eye and congratulating him and that Yes, I think you would make a splendid roommate!

“So, how do you know Pete?” Patrick begins to throw out timidly. It’s a blustery day outside and the wind groans in frustration as it streams past the window.

“Chris and me are in band together,” Andy responds, grateful for even the most uncomfortable of small talk. “Do you know Chris?”

Patrick grimaces. “Yeah, I’m familiar with him.” Understatement of the century, he sighs.

Since Pete’s late departure the previous night, he had done nothing except ponder (“Obsess” would be more apt a description.) over the very being of Chris Whatever-His-Last-Name-Is. Patrick didn’t even know. But he did it hope it was something horrible, like “Weiner”; something that would have caused him great torment as a child. Patrick can be very spiteful when no one’s around.

“How old are you?” Andy asks suddenly. He’s been wondering this since he first saw answered the door. The question tears Patrick away from his thoughts and he looks up quickly, Andy raises an eyebrow.

“19…” He says slowly. Andy nods in approval which makes Patrick scoff. Patrick wishes he told him 37. He doesn’t need his approval. He’s smart and independent with good taste in music, who cares if he’s only 19? Where’s Joe?

“Hey, man…” Joe stumbles out into the living room, where Patrick watches without emoting. But Andy looks around frantically, eyes wide behind thin-framed glasses. Thoughts like: Where did he come from? (Is a crawlspace large enough for someone to live and thrive?) and Will I be forced to associate with him? run through his mind.

Joe moseys over to Patrick, draping an arm around his shoulder, sizing Andy up. Yes, Joe thinks he could take him. He used to take Tae Kwon Do when he was 13. Granted, it was only for a maximum of a month, but he must’ve retained something.

“Who’s this guy?”

Andy glares. He is Andy, not some guy. Patrick sighs once again.

“This is Andy,” he motions. “Andy, this is Joe. He’s a friend of mine.” Another sigh. “And of Pete, too.”

With the recent string of events, Joe is beginning to question that, so he scoffs loudly, “Yeah, right.” Patrick elbows him. (“Oof! HEY!”) Andy watches with narrowed eyes.

“He’s kidding,” Patrick smiles quickly. He laughs nervously, and tightens his grip around Joe’s shoulder. Crescent moons dig into Joe’s skin, even through his shirt.

“Kidding about what?” Andy asks. They both stare with wide eyes at him. Maybe he should stay at his parent’s house for another month. It can’t hurt. Andy can catch up with them; it’ll be just like old times.

The idea of ‘old times’ keeps Andy rooted there in Patrick’s living room.

“About, uh, him and Pete not being friends,” Patrick says with a pained expression. Back peddle! Back peddle! “They are. We are! We’re all friends. Great ones, in fact. And furthermore, he was here last night! We had a great time.” Joe is frowning. “A great platonic time.” If anyone deserves an award for the ability to convince, it’s (not) Patrick.

“Why wouldn’t you guys be friends…?” He decides to be very cautious and meticulous with his words.

“Because of what he fucking did to Patrick!” Joe blurts out immediately. Patrick groans loudly and buries his face in his free hand.

Andy is very confused; Pete definitely forgot to tell him something. He tucks a piece of hair behind his ear as Patrick’s face reddens and Joe continues to yammer on about Lord knows what.

“The nerve of him!” Joe shakes his head and Andy nods in accordance. Maybe they won’t notice he has no idea what’s going on. “It’s bad enough he broke up with him and now he actually wants them to be friends! No! Not even friends! He’s acting like some fucking perverted guidance counselor.”

Andy did catch that, though. “Wait… they, I mean, you and Pete were going out?”

Patrick looks up from grave he was digging (His own and metaphorically.) and squints at Andy.

“He didn’t tell you that we, uh, we went out?” Andy frowns and Patrick thinks his eyes got darker.

“He just told me he had a friend who had an extra room.”

That word: Friend. Patrick decides then that he will never use that word ever again. (Joe has been subconsciously upgraded to an ally.)

The stillness surrounds them once again. Joe rolls his eyes at no one in particular and lets his arms swing from side to side. Patrick’s grasp on him hasn’t lessoned and he’s pretty sure there’ll be some sort of bruising by the end of the day. Maybe he can say he got lucky last night; ‘Yeah, she liked it rough’. But no, he decides against it. That’s a level of sad he’s not willing to explore.

“Look, maybe I should go,” Andy begins, gesturing to the door. Patrick watches listlessly as he goes to let himself out.

Andy can’t help but swear silently to himself.

The door clicks shut and Patrick lets out a strangled cry, clutching helpless at his hair. There’s a period of stomping around the apartment (of course) where he pushes things to the floor, but only to return seconds later to return them to their rightful place. (He may be overcome with rage, but he’s not a slob.) The adrenaline begins to die away, and Patrick figures his anger has run its course. Joe’s been observing silently from the couch the entire time, he must have enough material by now. Patrick turns and begins to walk into the kitchen.

“Where are you going?” Joe asks from the other room.

“I have to call Pete. I have to tell him Andy got the room, you know, if he still wants it,” he reveals as he picks the phone up off the base.

His right hand props himself up on the dirty kitchen wall as he stares down onto the moss green floor (Hey, it matches the phone; what luck.) and he struggles to remember what the phone number was that Pete had rattled off between the fourth and seventh slice of pizza. (Pete’s, that is. Patrick couldn’t eat that much, not in front of him.)

Moments later, Joe follows his steps into the kitchen and huffs. There’s something in the way he stands that lets Patrick know he has something to say; something important and probably involving his opinion. (It usually does.) Patrick hopes he gets it out soon. He really needs to speak to Pete. Now what was his damn number? (Yes, he most definitely probably said 4.)

“Why are you doing this, Patrick?” Joe asks in full seriousness. (They’ve been best friends for many years and he’s been there through everything. He’s earned his right to meddle, thankyouverymuch.)

“What do you mean?” Patrick groans softly, with his voice so far away. He knows Pete mentioned a five and an eight.

“This! Why are you doing all this? Why can’t you tell him to fuck off and stop messing with you! ” Joe asks, voice breaking in frustration. Patrick looks up at him from the phone in his hand with eyebrows furrowed in confusion. Why would he ask that? Patrick thinks it’s more than a little obvious. He sets the phone down lightly on the counter.

“Because I’d do anything for him.”
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