Roommates - 1. Chapter 1
“What the hell?” I mumbled after opening the door and entering the apartment’s living room. My foot hit an empty can of RedBull as I stepped further into the room. Brett was asleep on the couch, covered in Cheeto crumbs and had orange fingerprints all over his navy blue sleeveless shirt. His normally well styled dyed blond hair was a disheveled mess. The Xbox was running and one lone controller was resting on his lap. I picked up the empty Cheetos bag that was lying on the table and blew air into it, filling it up as you would a balloon. Sneaking over to the couch, I popped the bag in his ear, causing him to launch himself off the couch and look around in confusion, his stunned eyes landing on my face.
“Fuck you Will,” he said, flipping me off.
“You’re going to clean this up before you go to bed,” I said pointing around to the half a case of RedBulls and Cheetos scattered around the floor.
“I was thinking bout hittin some waves before dark,” he said stretching, “wanna come?”
“It’s already dark,” I said and he jumped off the couch and grabbed my wrist. He shoved back the sleeve to my suit jacket and looked at my watch.
“Damn,” he hissed releasing my wrist.
“You missed work again, didn’t you?” I asked crossing my arms.
“Nah, it was too hot for the nature walks,” Brett answered, “all we did was take fuckin drug tests.”
“Has anyone called?” I asked and he smiled at me, “Right, dumb question.”
“What’s for dinner?” Brett asked as he plopped back down on the couch.
“I’m tired, do you just want to go out for dinner?” I asked sitting down on the couch with him.
“If you’re payin I do,” he said looking over at me.
“Yeah, I’m paying,” I answered, “before we go though, we’re cleaning up this shit hole.”
“Fine,” he said, “but the hungrier I get the more you have to pay.”
“It’s better than having roaches the size of mice running around,” I said laughing at him. We both cleaned up the mess in the living room then Brett stepped into the shower while I opened the mail. It was the only thing Brett had accomplished today, but I didn’t need his money to pay for this apartment. He did pay for half of everything all the same though. Most of his paycheck went to surfing and suntan oils. He was a real southern California guy, but we both had received degrees and major job offers. He only worked one week in an office before dumping it all to become a wilderness guide. He always did what he wanted and that’s what I liked most about him.
“Alright, five more minutes,” he said walking out of the bathroom and into his bedroom.
“You have three more minutes, I already called in reservations,” I responded and I heard him cuss. The last piece of mail still to be opened was something sent from my parents. It was a small envelope and, rolling my eyes, I placed it back down on the counter just as Brett appeared fully dressed. He hadn’t shaved in over two weeks and the t-shirt he had on was wrinkled.
“Alright, let’s get going,” he said walking past me to the door.
“You’re wearing that to Claire’s?” I asked looking him over.
“Claire’s, fuck man is it my birthday?” Brett asked causing me to laugh. It was the most exclusive restaurant in the neighborhood, a social hot spot featured in magazines. All of the bosses at work talk about it and I just wanted to see if it lived up to its reputation.
“I finally got put on the list and I really want to go,” I answered, “we can’t pig out there though.”
“Ok,” he said and I followed him out the door. We lived on the ground floor and we both had parking spots right out front. It was a short drive to Claire’s, and Brett had the music blasting the entire way. Nickelback blared through the valet parking area when I opened the door and got out. The loud sound caused a few people to look around, but I ignored them and walked into Claire’s with Brett walking beside me, trying to smooth out his shirt on the way.
“Reservations for two,” I said offering the waitress a smile.
“Name?” She asked grabbing a pen.
“Carlson, William Carlson,” I answered and her eyes lit up.
“Any relation to Richard and Gloria Carlson?” She asked and I frowned briefly.
“Sure is, that’s his pappa and mamma,” Brett answered, causing the waitress to gush even more.
“I’m not on their payroll though,” I said, “so I don’t expect anything special.”
“He’s an idiot isn’t he?” Brett asked and the waitress looked confused.
“Excuse me?” She asked as Brett pushed me out of the way.
“What’s your name love?” He asked leaning onto her podium.
“Shay,” she answered looking at me, “and you’re on the reservations list so come this way.”
“Thanks,” I said following her to our table, which was off in the far corner of the restaurant.
“This place is boring,” Brett said, “why did ya wanna come here again?”
“It’s the most exclusive place in town Brett, and my bosses like it,” I answered then looked up at Shay.
“Is this table suitable?” Shay asked as a waiter walked up and stood beside her.
“Yes, thank you,” I answered.
“Well this is Marc, your waiter for the evening,” she informed us before returning to the front podium. Marc handed us the menus and said he’d return shortly, giving us time to decide what we wanted.
“Fuck this shit better be good,” Brett said and I looked across the table at him.
“I don’t think the people in Texas heard you,” I said, rolling my eyes, “lower your voice.”
“Okay,” he said, “but have you looked at the prices?”
“Yes,” I answered smiling.
“Then I expected you to be freakin out, you’re tight as it is,” he said leaning back to study the menu. It was expensive, but I had expected that to be true. The restaurant was dimly lit with candle light on every table. It was more romantic than any other restaurant I’d been to, with soft instrumental music playing live in the center of the room. There was a grand piano accompanied by a harp. Overall it was the nicest place I had eaten in since I had started college.
“Have you decided?” Marc asked interrupting my menu scanning.
“Yes, I’ll have the sixty dollar hamburger,” Brett said, “with your finest beer.”
“Sir, we don’t serve beer,” he said smiling politely.
“Well that’s the shit, man,” Brett said looking over the drinks again.
“Just some champagne,” I said, “we can share a bottle.”
“Ok,” Marc said, “and for you?”
“Oh, I’ll have the lamb with vegetables,” I answered and Marc nodded his head and left the table.
“What kind of shit hole doesn’t serve beer?” Brett asked leaning forward and resting his elbows on the table.
“The kind that serves sixty dollar hamburgers apparently,” I answered causing him to smirk.
“A shit hole if you ask me,” he said and I laughed.
“So we’re not getting reservations here again?” I asked unfolding my napkin as I looked around the room for anyone I might know from work.
“No,” he said, “unless we plan on getting rich.”
“Alright,” I said as I stood and removed my suit jacket then sat back down.
“So Marc is hot,” he said causing me to suck in a breath.
“Shut up,” I said whispering.
“So you agree,” he said smiling at me, “I bet you could get his digits too man.”
“And do what?” I asked leaning forward so that I could talk softer.
“Fuck him of course,” he said then he reached down and unfolded his napkin.
“Just stop talking,” I said blushing, “I can’t take you anywhere.”
“Hey, we could be at The Pitt eating the best ribs in the state and getting drunk on the beach, but you had to drag me here,” Brett said smiling. “Well if you don’t want him, can I have him?”
“Yeah, have at him,” I said then I noticed Marc returning with our meals.
“Here you go,” he said placing our food in front of us, “I’ll come back soon to take your dessert orders.”
“Ok,” Brett said, “thanks.”
“You didn’t ask for his number,” I pointed out and Brett put down his hamburger and leaned forward.
“You can’t ask a man for his number when he’s passing around the meat,” he said then winked, “you have to wait until he’s passing out the chocolate.”
“Oh, is that so?” I asked trying to control my laughter.
“It’s in all the books,” Brett said, “everyone knows this kind of stuff.”
“By books you mean your dirty magazines?” I asked and Brett laughed.
“Hell yeah,” he said as I turned my attention to my meal shaking my head. The stress of the day was completely forgotten and tomorrow would be the last day of work before starting my vacation. I hadn’t made any plans and my money situation wasn’t great either. This restaurant really was a one time thing for me for awhile. Unless I finally get a promotion, but as no one has noticed anything that I’ve done over the year that I’ve been working for the company, that wasn’t a guaranteed possibility.
“So, what are you having for dessert?” I asked between bites.
“I’m not getting dessert,” he said, “I’m planning on getting that a little later.”
“Are you really going to try and sleep with the guy?” I asked raising an eyebrow.
“No, I thought we could stop in at the Baskin Robins down the street,” he said, “you pervert.”
“Oh, ok,” I said, “so you’ve chickened out.”
“No, I haven’t,” Brett said then he took the last bite of his burger, “I’ll seal the deal when he comes back.”
“I bet you don’t,” I said and he held out his hand.
“How much?” He asked and I knew that I had just walked into a trap.
“Seventy dollars,” I answered, “It’d pay me back for the dinner.”
“Ok,” he said, “it’s a bet then.”
“This is going to be fun,” I said and I placed my plate off to the side and waited for Marc to return.
“So you have to order dessert so I can have time,” he said and I nodded.
“I wanted the blueberry cheesecake anyway,” I said then I smiled when Marc returned and I heard Brett clear his throat.
“Finished?” Marc asked looking between the both of us.
“Yes,” I answered, handing him my plate and watched as Brett did the same, taking his time and grazing his fingers over Marc’s. Marc had noticed and Brett smiled up at him.
“So, did you choose a dessert?” Marc answered after a short pause.
“Yes, I’ll be having the blueberry cheesecake,” I answered and then Marc looked at Brett.
“Oh, I don’t want anything that’s on the menu,” Brett said then winked.
“Ok, I’ll be right back with your cheesecake,” Marc said and I laughed slightly when I noticed Marc walking away slower than he did the last time.
“Might as well pay up now and prepare to sleep with your headphones on,” Brett said crossing his arms defiantly, “because I just scored some ass.”
“We’ll see,” I said getting comfortable.
“So, since we’re waitin,” Brett said, “why didn’t you open the letter you got from the 'rents?”
“Because it’s probably some late birthday card,” I said shaking my head, “I just got Kathryn’s the other day too.”
“Your sister’s picture is what turned me gay,” he said causing me to laugh, “I mean before that I was on the fence, but that sealed the deal.”
“Hey, that’s my sister,” I said laughing louder than I wanted.
“She may be, but they saved all the hot genes for you,” he said shrugging, “where is she anyway?”
“Africa, she’s studying gorillas,” I answered.
“She should be careful, they could mistake her as one of their own,” he said laughing and I found myself shaking my head again.
“Why did I become friends with you?” I asked rolling my eyes.
“To get your head out of your fucking ass, Will,” he said leaning forward and unbuttoning the top button on my shirt. That’s when I noticed Marc returning with my cheesecake.
“Here comes my seventy dollars,” I said and Brett leaned back and looked Marc over. I could tell Marc noticed him too; he was doing it in a way to make it obvious to anyone walking by as well. We were putting on a show for anyone who could hear us and I knew Brett wouldn’t disappoint anyone. I just wished sometimes I had the balls to be that upfront about things too.
“Here’s your cheesecake,” Marc said, placing it on the table in front of me, “and here’s your tab.”
“Thanks Marc,” I said not picking up my fork.
“So Marc, going anywhere after work?” Brett asked straightening up in his seat, turning his full attention to Marc.
“Probably just back home,” Marc answered sounding a little unsure of himself.
“Oh, that’s boring,” Brett said easily, “why you goin home, the night is still young?”
“I just don’t have any plans,” he said and I started eating my cheesecake, mentally planning on having to pay Brett later. It actually looked like Marc was interested in him.
Brett wasn’t ugly at all; he just didn’t try very hard. The only thing he gets polished up for is surfing. It’s the only time his hair is styled and it’s also the only time he bothers with shaving. For anything else, a wrinkly t-shirt and ripped jeans would have to do.
“Well why don’t you come back to our place,” he said, “to hang out, I have an Xbox.” I did notice that Marc looked over at me, looking confused.
“Oh, Brett is just my friend,” I said offering him a smile, “a new face around the place wouldn’t be unwelcome tonight anyway.”
“Yeah, I guess I could tag along, this is my last table anyway,” Marc said trying to sound at ease with the situation, but I could tell he was nervous.
“Here’s my credit card, and I’m finished,” I said and Marc took the plate and the card and walked away from the table.
“Pay up after you get your vacation bonus?” Brett asked smiling confidently at me.
“Deal,” I said, “you really gonna fuck him?”
“I play the game as I go, you know that,” Brett answered winking. When Marc returned he gave me back my credit card and we stood up form the table.
“My car is the blue Pontiac convertible,” I said, “so you can follow us to our apartment.”
“Ok,” he said and we left the restaurant together. The Valet parking guy was waiting for us and after getting in the car, we drove to a spot where we could wait for Marc to follow us.
“Why are you waiting?” Brett asked looking at me.
“So he can tag along,” I answered looking at him.
“Go and leave him,” he said shaking his head, “I won the bet, man.”
“You’d be a dick if you left him here,” I said not putting the car into drive.
“Fuck, ok, he’s hot and I’m horny,” Brett said and it seemed like he was trying to convince himself to keep up with the plan.
“You don’t have to have sex with him,” I said studying him, “Just play on your Xbox until you both get tired and have him crash on the couch,” I said shrugging.
“Just don’t worry about me,” he said regaining his composure.
“Ok, here he is,” I said seeing him appear in the rearview mirror. He followed us to the apartment and parked in the guest parking lot.
“Hey again,” Marc said after he joined us in front of the building.
“Now I’m warning you, it’s a mess in there,” I said before unlocking the door.
“Ok,” he said, “probably not worse than mine.”
“I had a RedBull and Cheetos craving earlier so there could be some crumbs and shit in the couch,” Brett said causing Marc to laugh. We entered the apartment and I watched as Brett gave Marc the short tour. All we had was two bedrooms, a bathroom, a small kitchen and a living room.
“Well I have some work to do before I’m off to bed,” I said excusing myself, “some bills to pay.”
“Just go be your kiss ass self,” Brett said waving his hand.
“Ok,” I said rolling my eyes. I walked over to the counter and grabbed the stack of bills and the letter from Mom, then carried them over to the small kitchen table. I could still see them from where I sat, but the Xbox drowned out whatever they were saying. They were playing one of those racing game and Brett was kicking Marc’s ass.
Losing interest in the two of them, I looked down at the letter from my parents and opened the envelope to find a card inside. I thought it was a birthday card at first, but when I flipped the card over to the front I was horrified at what I saw.
“Shit,” I hissed, “a wedding anniversary vacation?” They had only been remarried for ten years. I thought it was a little too early to be celebrating their marriage since it had already fallen apart once. They had divorced after they both decided to stop drinking, finding out that they didn’t have that much in common. They got back together after they both started drinking again. My Mom and Dad were both products of old money. Having family businesses for decades has left the remaining relatives all richer than anyone can imagine. Now they were just getting older and I haven’t seen them since I left for college six years ago. For them to have invited me to something meant that it was extremely important for me to be there. I would have to go and it would be a welcome change as I had nothing planned. It would also be nice to see my parents again.
“So, you opened the letter,” Brett said after coming into the kitchen.
“Yeah,” I said, “it’s an invitation to their anniversary.”
“You goin?” He asked after he grabbed two beers from the refrigerator.
“Yes,” I answered smiling, “it’s been a while, and you probably want to get a hell of a lot of surfing in anyway.”
“Yeah,” he said shrugging, “well when are you leaving?”
“They want me there anytime,” I said, “they’re leaving on their Yacht as soon as I show up.”
“Oh, well, leave tomorrow after work,” he said smiling, “and bring back a fat ass checking account.”
“Ok, well I’m going to take care of these bills then I’m off to bed, be good,” I said as he returned to the living room and I focused on getting the bills paid. I grimaced after sealing the last envelope, a sure sign I was stressed. Our joint account was almost empty; my vacation bonus couldn’t be coming at a better time. Tomorrow I was off to start my summer with my family, the first time in six years away from my best friend.
“Going to bed?” Brett asked when he noticed I was walking to my bedroom.
“Yes, goodnight Brett and Marc,” I said.
“Goodnight, pal,” Brett said.
“Goodnight and thanks for letting me hang out,” Marc said and I nodded my head and smiled. He didn’t know the story we’ll keep with him being here.
You probably have a crazy and hectic schedule and find it hard to keep up with everything going on. We get it, because we feel it too. Signing up here is a great way to keep in touch and find something relaxing to read when you get a few moments to spare.
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