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Offline suneater

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Thirsty Thursday
« on: January 28, 2019, 02:14:49 PM »
[Reserved for Billiam]

There were several bars within a ten minute walk of the Watson University of the Arts, but the only one with a true “college bar” feel was Aesthete. While they didn’t bill themselves as a queer bar, the bulk of the art students and their admirers who could be found there most nights were decidedly non-heteronormative.

The drinks were cheap and effective. There was plenty of seating, mostly in the forms of upholstered benches and chairs scattered around low tables. The bar was built into one corner of the main room, with a stage and small dance floor occupying the opposite corner. Performers, almost all students from the school, tended to provide live music in the early evening hours in an eclectic range of styles. After ten p.m. and on weekends, though, a DJ took over, and the dance floor ended up crowded enough to start spilling into the rest of the bar.

It was about midnight on a Thursday and Zeph was one of a few dozen moving to the beat of several house tracks. “Thirsty Thursday” always drew a crowd (the drink special all night was half-price well drinks), and the DJ was solid- a grad student who was already touring the local EDM scene.

Zeph, eyes closed, was in the repetitive embrace of the music. The friends he had come with had drifted off to other plans as the evening unwound, leaving him alone. He didn’t have a class until noon the next day (he was pretty sure), so he’d elected to stay out and indulge in a much more casual form of dance than he usually got to practice. He found the frenetic beat almost relaxing. It’s simplicity didn’t require much in the way of choreography and there was no real element of performance involved. He bobbed along, his arms swinging at his sides, performing an occasional shuffle or step while he waited for the beat to drop.

The nymph was clad in a pair of black dance pants, sneakers, and a pale blue oversized tank top so large it was comparable to a dress. Hanging to the middle of his powerful thighs, the shirt had arm holes so large that most of his torso was exposed any time he twisted his hips and changed angles. More than a few of his fellow dancers or onlookers from the bar seemed to have noticed the expanse of pale, surprisingly chiseled flesh he was showing off. Though his frame was thin and balletic, his muscle tone was evidence of the many hours he spent each day honing his body and craft alike.

His sky blue eyes flashed open when the shift in tempo finally came. More and more layers of music blended together into a true frenzy, and Zeph let himself go. The result was almost syncopated and almost convulsive, as if his body were continuously caving in on itself and then expanding and then contracting over and over again. His movements sped up with the tempo. Sweat began to bead on his brow and a huge grin spread across his features. It was lazy and slow, but by the time the song finally ended, his expression was nearly euphoric.

He broke away from the crowd and toward the bar. He needed water, and probably to head home soon. His apartment was close enough that he was debating staying for a few more songs. He swayed slightly as the next song started while he waited in line for service.

“What are you having?” Zeph had been lost in thought (specifically, he was trying to decide what show to fall asleep to once he got home; he’d been busy for the past few weeks and his list was starting to get long), so the voice to his right took him by surprise. He found himself looking at a total stranger at least a decade older than him. He had a pretty nice body, Zeph had to admit, but his preppy vibe was giving the younger man pause. He was clad in chinos and a black and gray polo, with an $80 haircut and $600 shoes. Zeph had been coming to Aesthete long enough to recognize the type. They usually had a taste for younger men and tried to capitalize on the place’s reputation for starving artists.

“I just need some water!” Zeph shouted. The music was blaring now.

“Well that’s too bad,” the man replied at a similar volume. “Because I wanted to buy you a drink.”

The line moved forward slightly. Zeph gave the guy another once over and then shook his head. “I have class in the morning.” He wasn’t a great liar, but it was close enough to the truth that he didn’t even feel guilty. “Gonna head out soon.” Zeph’s tastes were pretty broad, and for the most part, older and bigger than him was a good way to get his attention. Something about this guy was really throwing him off though. Their energy just wasn’t meshing.

“You should come to my place then. I’m Casey.” Zeph willed the line to move forward. He was sort of trapped with this guy if he planned to get water. Did he really need water? Casey was looking at him expectantly, as if he was expecting something. Zeph’s brow furrowed as he wondered what that could possibly be.

“Ohhhhhhhhhh I’m, um, Zeph.”

“Zack?” They were still shouting at each other, and Casey used the opportunity to learn in a little closer.

“Zeph!” he practically screamed.

“So how about it, Zach? You want to come over? I’ve got a great view of downtown.”

Zeph shook his head. “No man, it’s like I said, I’ve got class. Like, thanks, but no thanks, you know?”

Casey’s eyes narrowed and his features grew a little cold. “So, what, you were leading me on?”

The line advanced, mercifully, and Zeph tried to step forward in a way that would leave Casey behind him. The man shouldered his way up though, oblivious to the alarmed looks he received. Zeph wasn’t really an expert when it came to negative emotions, but the guy looked pissed.

“What are you even talking about?” Zeph tried to make eye contact with the bartender, Eddie. As something of a regular, he knew most of the staff pretty well, and he had a feeling Eddie would be able to figure out he needed some help. He was alone at the bar and totally slammed though.

“On the dance floor before. When you danced with me. What was that supposed to mean?” He reached out to grab Zeph’s wrist and pull him to face him, but Zeph darted sideways and backwards, out of reach.

“It’s a dance floor, man. People dance.” He definitely didn’t remember dancing with Casey. While his memory wasn’t the greatest, he felt like he would have probably been just as thrown off by the guy’s style and mood then as he had now. It must have happened while his eyes were closed. “Nobody owes you anything, you know?” This was starting to really suck. He could just water up at home. Thankfully he’d already closed his tab, so he was free to just head out. He gracefully maneuvered through the crowd that was deepening around the bar toward where he’d thrown his jacket earlier and then bee-lined for the door.

He shivered slightly as he pulled on the zip-up Watson hoodie- his favorite, stolen from an upperclassman he’d seen for a few weeks when he first got to the city. They still got together every once in a while, but things just hadn’t really gelled for them as anything more than friends who fucked.

He pulled his vape pen from his pants pocket and hit it hard. Casey had really soured his mood, and now all he wanted to do was get home. The sweat on his body cooled rapidly in the night air as he made his way down the sidewalk, his pace languid. The sounds of the bar faded behind him, but he could still almost feel the music pounding in his ears like some kind of aftershock.

Fortunately, Zeph didn’t tend to linger on things for very long. By the time he’d travailed a block, his mind had already wandered to food. He was craving his favorite brand of frozen veggie pizza and he wasn’t sure if he had any at home or not. That led to a conundrum: should he stop and pick one up, or take the risk that he didn’t have any and have to settle for some lesser snack from his freezer? Cooking was an art that he had never had any affinity for, but his microwave game was on point.

His pace slowed as his thoughts wandered. He tugged the hood up as he ambled along, tugging his airpods out and pushing them into his ears. Out came his phone, and he quickly pulled up some Taylor Swift. “Shake it Off” was exactly what he needed right now, and his walking became just a little more dancey as he turned onto Montcrest Street. He’d decided to roll the dice on Past Zeph having been wise enough to stock up on the good stuff, so he was heading directly home.

Offline Billiam

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Re: Thirsty Thursday
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2019, 01:01:10 PM »
((Note to the reader: This is a new character with whom I’m trying a new style of writing. He is based on a combination of 1930-1940’s film noir as well as comic book superheros like Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, and therefore will be told in the 1st person. I hope you enjoy as I develop the right balance for him!))

Thirsty Thursdays. What a joke. As I entered the college bar, Aesthete, I immediately realized I should’ve gotten drunk before coming here. Who comes up with bar names? I really wish I could tell them how moronic they sounded. Then again, maybe that was part of the appeal; moronic names for the morons who are going there. I made my way to the main bar, side stepping the various drunks, perverts and assholes that had come to move to the groove.

Dodging them was almost impossible considering how large I am. At six-foot two people tend to notice you, but six foot-two and wide at the shoulders and you’re an outright inconvenience. On the other hand I look intimidating enough nobody ever asks me for a light, and I like it that way. Get your own lighter, bitch! I’d dressed for the temple of sex and booze, wearing my tightest jeans, black motorcycle boots and a tank that made sure to show off my upper body. You have to use your assets and in these jeans my ass was currently one of them. I had my leather jacket  draped over my left arm and I made sure not to let any twinks sully it with the drink special.

I needed a drink. Hopefully the target would stay long enough for me to sweet talk some sorority girl into an alleyway kiss. I’d come at a good time for the blood to be especially juiced, and I only needed one to get nice and wasted. Playing nymph sitter would be much easier if I was thoroughly plastered. As I walked through the venue hands were on my body, crotches were near  my ass, and asses near my crotch. I felt like by the time I got to the bar I needed a hotline number, but that was the college bar scene. It was always a bunch of twinks with no personality getting bankrolled by guys whose wives thought they were staying late. How do I know? I’ve been hired to expose more than one, and some of them happened right here at good old Thirsty Thursdays.

The bar scene is a needed evil for me. I can’t be sober, and trying to funnel Everclear down your Grindr hook up was just a little too messy. I’m not a great guy, but I’m not that guy. I finally got to the bar, and ordered a drink. Humans liked to see drinks in your hand, and faking sips was a pro sport for me. “Vodka Cranberry,” my baritone voice ordered, reverberating through the loud music. The bartender was cute, and his eyes told me he thought I was cute too. Your eyes don’t go lower than my face if you want to be friends. Maybe I’d get to have some fun after this. He was cute enough, and to be honest I’m not that picky.

Work came first though. Work was why I had put on this shirt and styled my hair. Work was why I had left a perfectly good night of rebuilding a bookshelf. Baby sitting isn’t my preferred form of PI work, but the kid’s dad had put one more zero than normal on my retainer, and I guess I liked the idea of a parent keeping tabs on their kid. They seemed to care about him, and after following “Zeph” for a few days I was starting to get why they were so worried about him.

I pride myself on being able to predict people’s behavior, but this kid was like a force of nature. I had to admit he was pretty easy on the eyes. Maybe that was another perk of the job. But he seemed to have no attention span at all. I don’t know how he’s a student and get’s by. The most interesting thing about following him was seeing where his whims took him next. As much as I hate to admit I liked following him. I’d even taken a few pictures, and he was really photogenic. One of him blowing out smoke was my favorite. Ain’t I a creep?

I’d been told to take those pictures though! His mom had insisted. They both seemed to think he was going to get blown away with the wind. Get it. Wind.

I’d never met an air nymph but he looked human to me. His personality was airy sure, but I hadn’t seen him make any tornadoes or drop houses on any witches so I was starting to wonder if it had skipped a generation. This kid mostly seemed to want to eat, smoke weed, and laugh. I had to admit I was a little jealous of him having so little to worry about. It must be nice.  I don’t have that luxury and I never did.

I finally spotted him, not that I had to look very hard. He was dancing with his eyes closed, and to use the common dalliance, he was dancing like he just didn’t care. His moves were actually pretty good. I don’t really get dance they way ballerinas do, but I liked his style. It also gave me a good laugh, because some guy way out of his league was under the delusion that Zeph was dancing with him. The guys bogus gyrations looked like a Richard Simmons video, and the whole time Zeph just did him. It was dare I say… cute.

The song ended, and I moved to the other side of the bar as the target stumbled over to get what looked like another drink. His wanna be dance partner had strolled over too, and was giving me Mr. Big League Dude Bro the third as he desperately tried to buy Zeph a drink.
 
“What are you having?”
 
“I just need some water.”

Good Zeph. You don’t need another drop. I watched while not watching. I was actually in the middle of getting the bartender’s number. Zeph almost made me as he looked over to try and get his friend’s attention, but I grabbed my glass and took a pretend sip, averting my gaze at the last second. I kept listening to Casey’s desperate attempt at a pickup, his lack of respect for the target making my flsts clinch. Zeph seemed a little spacey but this guy was just down right predatory. I thought about getting in his face, but I’d never blow a job over something like this. Besides, the kid could handle himself.

He left. Good. I gave the bartender another wink and told him to text me when he was off. I had to make sure little Zeph made it home, and he needed to close up. I made sure to buy him a whiskey though. I wanted him just right. I made my way once more past the cavalcade of Queerness and felt much more at ease on the street. My bike was parked out front, but for now I left it behind. Zeph didn’t live far, and I was always a stealthier shadow on foot.

I wondered as we walked if Zeph would stop and get pizza or just got home. I’d followed him enough times by now to know that while he was probably saying no to the pizza now, by the time he got home the vape would kick in and he’d be heading back towards food. I’d follow no matter what. I had to get paid after all. I masked my own sound and when out of view faded from sight. It was a good power to have as a PI, and it took Zeph’s chances of noticing me from one percent to zero percent.

As Zeph slowed his pace and put in his ear buds, I saw another shadow from the corner of my eye. Caleb drifted by me at a high speed. Was it Caleb? Could it be Carson? Through the noise at the bar it had been hard to hear. Had he been a foot to the left he would’ve crashed right into me, but I  managed to silently move and he passed by without noticing me. Mormon. But then I noticed where he was going. It was right towards Zeph. He was too close for me to reach him, but I made my way over, a silent bodyguard ready to crack a skull.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Dragon(Jake)~ Harpy(Lisa-Joe)~ Two-Face(James)~ Satanist(Thesdea)~ Saint(Tyler)~ Lamb(Freddy)~ PrivateEye(Drew)~ Wolf(Flick)~ Huntsman(Ari)~ Slayer(Lacy)~ Majesty(Mithras)~ Comrade(Benny)~

Offline suneater

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Re: Thirsty Thursday
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2019, 02:24:54 PM »
I stay out too late, got nothin' in my brain / That's what people say, mmm hmm, that's what people say, mmm hmm

The streets were far from empty. College students being the night owls they were, there was plenty of economic impetus for stores and restaurants to stay open later than they normally would. The neighborhood was mixed in terms of residence, but developments catering to Watson kids were something of a cottage industry, and they were a visible minority. Most clustered in groups of two or three as they traversed the sidewalks and streets, flitting from bar to party and eventually home.

But I keep cruisin’, can’t stop, won’t stop moving / It’s like I got this music in my mind sayin’ it’s gonna be alright

At least a dozen people would be able to watch Zeph’s walk-dancing evolve into dance-walking. It had started with a little extra sway in his absurdly mobile hips and some armeography. Particularly canny observers would note that his movements echoed the actual choreography from the music video almost perfectly, albeit in a muted fashion that didn’t disrupt his gait. He lip-synced along, delight blossoming on his features. The unpleasantness with… Carey… Carson… whatever his name was... had already faded from his mind. There was really only room for one thing in there at a time, and T-Swift had pushed the discomfort away almost immediately.

Heartbreakers gonna break, break, break, break, break / And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake / I shake it off, I shake it off


He largely incorporated Taylor’s front-facing moves, transitioning through the various styles of movement that made the video one of his all-time favorites. He did emulate a few of the extras as well- particularly the Gaga/robot inspired portions. He had been considering getting a tattoo of lightning on his feet for a while now.

The mobile performance continued down Montcrest and onto Hawthorne, a narrow strip of road that ran between two identical developments that took up most of their blocks. It was a little darker than the more commercial streets running perpendicular, with fewer street lights and more swaths of shadow. University dealers often hung out there later in the evening, and many co-eds, Zeph included, had started off an evening of sexcapades in the dark there when desire outweighed sense on the way home.

The song had just reached the bridge when he felt a hand on his shoulder. Coasting along on pop-fueled elation like he was, he didn’t even think to be concerned. Since he often had his airpods in, helpful strangers used touch to get his attention all the time, usually because he had dropped something. Even more likely it was one of his many friends or acquaintances- most of them lived in the area.

He stopped and turned, pulling out his phone to pause the music. His grin drained away when he saw that it was the J Crew jock-dad who’d been hounding him at the bar. He clicked play and turned neatly on the ball of his foot to leave, but then he felt himself being dragged backward. The ogre had grabbed a fistful of his hood and tugged. The way his turn’s momentum played out, Zeph ended up stumbling forward and to the side awkwardly, and when his sweatshirt was released he lurched toward the ground. He flung his arms out reflexively, and the pavement bit into his palms and knees, scraping them badly. At least he’d kept his face off the rough cement. A surprised sound of alarm escaped his full lips, and his phone went skittering off into the darkness.

“What the fuck?” he mumbled, dazed. The spike of adrenaline had burned away most of his high, but he was still a little confused about how he had ended up on the ground. He rolled over into a sitting position, pressing his abraded hands against the black, stretchy fabric covering his thighs in an attempt to find some relief from pain that was lighting them up. His gaze traveled up from Casey’s shoes to his face. The man’s reasonably handsome features were contorted in rage.

“-think you can just walk away from me, you fucking pansy? After I just tried to buy you a drink?” He had apparently already been saying something as he loomed over Zeph, but the nymph hadn’t registered the words in the midst of his confoundment. Eyes wide with fear, Zeph sort of shuffled backward on his butt in an awkward crab-walk, trying to put some distance between himself and the asshole. His hands were killing him, and his eyes began to sting; he realized that tears were cutting hot rivulets down his cheeks.

Holy shit. This is really happening. For all his athletic prowess, Zeph was no fighter. His body wasn’t wired for this. He’d bypassed any reasonable survival response and gone straight to numb terror. His assailant advanced slowly, still berating him for being so rude to a nice guy like him and leaving without taking [his] number. It had all happened in just a few seconds, but time seemed to be unfolding slowly from Zeph’s perspective. He felt his shoulders hit the wall of the southern building, leaving him trapped, and suddenly, something occurred to him:

He should really call for help.

Offline Billiam

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Re: Thirsty Thursday
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2019, 07:29:48 AM »
I silently moved behind both the target and his pursuer, not interfering unless I had no choice. Maybe this Caleb just wanted to feel like a big man, and scare little Zeph. That was fine with me. Zeph would survive being scared, and my paycheck wouldn't be lost by revealing myself. This Caleb dude was not subtle as he trounced along behind the target, making a shit ton of noise and calling out to Zeph, "Hey get back here you little tease." That would've stopped most people in their tracks, but Zeph started to dance elaborately as he listened to whatever shitty pop song  was in his ears. He looked good dancing. He looked good in general. Goddammit. 

Pay attention to your surroundings Zeph! The dancer was asking for trouble, moving and jiving in the middle of the street. His eyes were probably closed again! We were still okay though. Caleb’s first call to Zeph went unheard and a few college student’s gave the older man funny looks as they witnessed the scene. As long as Zeph didn’t take the shortcut onto Hawthorne he would be fine. Caleb wasn’t likely to start shit with so many other Watson students around, and the closer we got to his dorm the safer he’d be. And then he went down Hawthorne because why the fuck not?

I turned down the quiet and shadowy lane and let my jacket fall onto the ground. It faded into visibility, but the rest of me remained dim. This was the perfect place for Caleb to make a move on the target and sure enough his hand was suddenly on Zeph’s shoulder. I would just stay close for now, hoping my scare hypothesis was correct. I took a good look at Caleb and noticed a few things. One, he was married. He wasn’t wearing a ring but I saw a slightly paler piece of skin on his ring finger that indicated he’d recently taken his band of holy union off. Two, his muscles were nice looking, but his face looked like he’d taken one too many bumps of coke. He had a weak nose and a somewhat ticking brow. Lastly, he favored his right side. He’d grabbed Zeph’s shoulder with his right arm and seemed to be taking weight off  his left side whenever he could. Old sports injury perhaps? It was a weakness.

Then Caleb had to go an make a huge mistake. He threw Zeph to the ground. The pothead looked so confused, and dare I say scared as the toxic piece of shit who’d throw him to  the ground lorded over him and insulted him. What was the play here Caleb? Violence? Assault? Strong words? I didn’t have time to think thru all the variables and I trusted my gut. He wanted to make Zeph pay and I couldn’t have that. Zeph started scooting away, but Caleb moved towards him faster than he could move scoot. Make a move Drew. I faded into visibility in a nice pool of shadow, before stepping forward.

“Leave the kid alone dick wad,” I said, letting my voice sound as if I had just stumbled upon this situation. I made my face and posture seem like a tired mortal on my way home too. “If you’re that horny there’s a great bathhouse near the White Rabbit. I see men like you coming in and out of there all the time.”

I’d let Caleb decide what “men like you” meant. It was more fun to toy with him. If Zeph looked my way I’d nod at him. I got you kid. The paycheck was nice while it lasted. Guess I don’t know how to look out for myself after all. I really need that drink.


Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Dragon(Jake)~ Harpy(Lisa-Joe)~ Two-Face(James)~ Satanist(Thesdea)~ Saint(Tyler)~ Lamb(Freddy)~ PrivateEye(Drew)~ Wolf(Flick)~ Huntsman(Ari)~ Slayer(Lacy)~ Majesty(Mithras)~ Comrade(Benny)~

Offline suneater

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Re: Thirsty Thursday
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2019, 11:53:14 AM »
“Look what you did, you little faggot. This kind of thing wouldn’t happen if you showed a little goddamn respect.” The man took another step toward him, and Zeph shrank back even further, huddling his knees against his chest and wrapping his arms around them. Fear shone in the young nymph’s azure eyes. He started to tremble.

Zeph had led a relatively charmed life. His childhood had been idyllic, if strange. Most people he encountered treated him well or ignored him at worst. When he’d entered the human world, he’d done so with a great deal of privilege. He was white, good-looking, talented, but all without being remotely threatening. He’d never encountered such irrational malice before and he had no idea what to do about of it. Like many instances of complex human interaction, movies and television provided most of his knowledge about situations like these. They didn’t usually end well. Maybe the best thing he could do was give in. Maybe he wouldn’t hurt him.

“What do you have to say for yourself, huh?” Zeph winced at the sheer rage kindling beneath his antagonist’s words. It just didn’t make any sense to him. On the rare occasion that someone rejected his advances, it didn’t make him mad at all. Sad, maybe, but most of the time he was content with the fact that some connections just weren’t meant to be. What could he say? Casey was volatile and irrational enough that his most earnest attempt at forgiveness (for what, exactly, he wasn’t sure) could just as easily throw fuel on the fire.

”Leave the kid alone dick wad.”

In unison, Zeph and Casey whipped their heads to find the source of the interruption. Surprise at the new stranger’s sudden arrival commingled with the terror gripping Zeph and amplified it, briefly. He just wanted this to be over. He wanted to be in his bed, huddled under a pile of blankets and safe from men who didn’t take “no” for an answer. He’d been unable to help but picture some of the terrible things that Casey might have in store for him as he cowered, and his initial reaction to Drew’s appearance was to hug his knees to his chest even harder.

”If you’re that horny there’s a great bathhouse near the White Rabbit. I see men like you coming in and out of there all the time.”

Dimly, Zeph realized the newcomer was actually an ally, a fact which was confirmed for him when Drew caught his eye and gave him an encouraging nod. He felt the vice-like fright gripping his heart loosen slightly.

Casey straightened and bristled at the insults. “Mind your own business, fairy. My friend here tripped. We were just having a disagreement and it’s got nothing to do with you.” His right hand curled into a fist, and then he glanced over his shoulder at Zeph. “Isn’t that right, Zeph? Tell him.”

Zeph swallowed. He’d been ready to give in to avoid the worst of whatever the bigger man had planned for him, and that impulse was still present. It was in his nature to want to please people, so submitting in this case wasn’t totally dumb. He looked to the other man. Casey had shifted to interpose himself between him and Zeph, so he couldn’t get a good look at him anymore. When he opened his mouth to speak he realized how close he was to simply bawling. He sniffled, and shook his head.

“Just l-leave me alone, please,” he whimpered. His voice was constricted, just barely audible in the concrete canyon the three of them had stopped in. “Please,” he repeated, more forcefully, before burying his face in his knees and sobbing.

Casey’s face turned so red it was nearly purple. There was murder in his eyes for a split-second, but after looking Drew over again, he lifted his hands in surrender. “Fine. Jesus. This isn’t fucking worth it.” He stormed forward, locking eyes hatefully with Drew as he passed him and moved back out onto Montcrest, muttering to himself about entitled little pricks.

Zeph heard him leave, but he just sat there, shaking like a leaf and sobbing. The experience had shaken his very understanding of the way the world he now lived in worked, and he wasn’t ready to face that world again yet. On the verge of hyperventilating, he squeezed his eyes shut and tried to control his uneven, too-fast breathing.

Offline Billiam

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Re: Thirsty Thursday
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2019, 02:43:28 PM »
Just like I thought, little Carson was a pussy. Good. I didn't need any more blood on my hands, and as much as I wanted to break the guys nose as he passed by me, I was more concerned about Zeph. I did happen to flip him off, cocking my head to the side and giving him a grin. I thought he might try something at the last second. He stopped and gave the puddle formally known as Zeph a nasty stare. He was really hung up on this kid. He moved on though, back on to Montcrest and out of this case file. I hate bullies. I've been dealing with them my whole life. Each time I see a bully I get a special satisfaction watching them crumble. Life is shitty enough without some guy like Carlos back there making it even shitier.

Poor Zeph. He was falling apart. I'm terrible at being supportive, but I admit I wanted to calm him down, make him feel better. I moved to where he was freaking out and plopped down next to him. I stuck out a hand to run it through his hair. I always liked that, but then I remembered what had just happened with Cal, and thought better of it. I pulled out a pack of Red Apple cigarettes and placed one in my mouth. I hadn't seen Zeph smoke, but I offered him one anyway. Smoking was social. It was an ice breaker and it made me feel less nervous. I noticed his eyes were closed and called out to him.

"Hey kid," I said, trying to keep my tone of voice cool. I dared not say his name. That would be super weird. "He's gone. It's... okay now." If my words didn't help, I'd reach over with my hand that was almost as big as Zeph's head and place it on his shoulder. "You're not alone."
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Dragon(Jake)~ Harpy(Lisa-Joe)~ Two-Face(James)~ Satanist(Thesdea)~ Saint(Tyler)~ Lamb(Freddy)~ PrivateEye(Drew)~ Wolf(Flick)~ Huntsman(Ari)~ Slayer(Lacy)~ Majesty(Mithras)~ Comrade(Benny)~

Offline suneater

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Re: Thirsty Thursday
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2019, 03:24:53 PM »
Zeph really liked breathing. It was a weird thing to say, but it was true. Taking in and then expelling air felt good, and particularly since he’d started working at a New Age emporium, he’d tried out every breathing exercise he could get his lungs on. He was far too rattled to try to empty his mind, but he did manage to focus on steadying his inhalations and exhalations until his ventilation was less hyper. His pulse was still pounding in his temples and throat, but that too began to fade as he calmed.

He was unaware of the last exchange between his tormentor and his savior, inwardly focused as he was. He did hear Drew slide down the wall to sit beside him, though, and then offer some comforting words.

”It’s okay now. You’re not alone.”

Zeph didn’t look up until Drew made contact with his shoulder. Embarrassment wasn’t a familiar feeling for him, but that’s what was happening. Normally the concept of shame was alien to him, but something about crying on the ground on a darkened street made him feel… less. His eyes were red-rimmed as he peered up into the older man’s large, dark eyes, and he sniffled before wrinkling his nose.

“You shouldn’t smoke.” He hadn’t actually lifted his head, so he was mumbling into his knees. “S’bad for you.” He sniffled again, then uncurled an arm from around his legs to wipe at his eyes. His palms were still scraped to hell and embedded with grit from his fall, so the action was tender and careful. His long legs stretched out a bit, and without warning he twisted and buried his face in Drew’s shoulder. His arms wrapped around the considerably larger man and he clung as if for dear life, shaking like he was trying to vibrate all that negativity - the helplessness he’d felt, the sour fear, the bewilderment - right out of his body. Drew felt solid, whereas Zeph was anything but.

“Thank you,” he whispered meekly from where he was slumped into Drew. The odds were good that the vampire would be the first to move and disturb the sudden embrace.

Offline Billiam

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Re: Thirsty Thursday
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2019, 06:29:41 AM »
I let a bit ash fall right off the tip of my Red Apple, as little Mr. Surgeon General mourned my dead lungs. I debated telling him to fuck off and eat shit, but then I remembered he probably thought I was a human and he was just trying to help. Also, in all my PI work I'd learned people say weird shit when they're scared and upset, and so I let this one slide... for now anyways. Besides, while in general this kid needed an older guy to tell him what's what and to smoke less weed, right now he looked like he needed what he was getting. I'm kind of shitty at words, but I've been told a lot over the years I have a comfortable body. I guess that's a nice compliment. Like, it would be worse if your body was uncomfortable right?

I didn't move for a long time. Zeph needed me to be there, and I didn't feel like returning him to the shitty world we both belonged to. It wasn't for me of course. I could've pushed the kid off me at any moment, but I was okay being a security blanket for him. He needed it. I even took a risk and started playing with his hair like I'd wanted to do from the very beginning. Zeph had nice hair, and as I said earlier, I always found that sort of thing comforting. I hoped he did too. I rearranged him a bit, freeing my arms but placing his head back on my shoulder. I held him instead of him holding me, and I think we would've stayed like that for a lot longer had I not heard my phone vibrate in my jacket. It was still where I'd dropped it and so I slowly released Zeph.

"Let me breath kid," I said, trying to not be mean, but also I really wanted to check my phone. Once he was no longer on me, I went and grabbed my motorcycle jacket and flung it back on, smoothing out the edges and making sure it didn't have any dog shit on it or anything like that. After I was satisfied I reached for my phone and found a text from the bartender.

"I'll be done in thirty," it read, with far too many emojis for a grown man appearing afterwords. He'd been cute, and sounded drunk and I said that drink was the most important thing to me right now. I looked at Zeph. Well, maybe the drink was the second most important. I wrote back it might be like forty-five minutes before I was back and to wait by my motorcycle. Guys loved the bike, and it had just bought me fifteen minutes of patience. I returned to Zeph and offered a hand to help him up.

"Mind if I walk you home," I asked, trying to make it seem like  I was just a concerned citizen.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


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Offline suneater

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Re: Thirsty Thursday
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2019, 08:16:10 AM »
Zeph melted into Drew’s embrace.

The position was a familiar one for him. His slight form, youthful features, and flexibility and eagerness to please tended to earn him the interest of partners who were bigger and stronger than him, and the interest was reciprocal. After emerging from teenage experimentation, he’d developed a predilection for men who were at least a little older and almost always bigger than he was, so he was usually the little spoon. With strong arms enfolding him, he’d squirmed to fit his form against the other man’s, nestling his head against Drew’s chest. He made a soft, airy sigh of pleasure when he felt fingers twining through his hair and brushing his scalp. Physical relief went a long way toward banishing the feelings associated with the nasty encounter that had only ended a moment before.

The stranger’s embrace was a worthy replacement for a bunker of pillows and blankets. Zeph felt safe. His eyes drifted closed. Slowly his breathing returned to normal. His palms still felt like they were on fire, but the pain didn’t seem so important with someone playing with his hair. Between his comfort and his generally poor observational skills, he didn’t even notice that Drew ran a little colder than most people did.

His lower lip jutted out in a reflexive pout when he felt his hero stir and extricate himself from Zeph. Let me breath kid. The words were jarring in comparison to how gently Drew had held him. Zeph stared after him as he retrieved his jacket and checked his phone. A sudden wave of guilt crashed over him. This guy probably had more to do than rescue some kid, and he’d already done way more than enough. It usually took external stimulus to make him confront his own selfishness, but this time he’d figured it out all by himself. The faint resentment at being abandoned dissipated.

He couldn’t decide what to say while he watched Drew text, and his indecision left him mute. The man returned and offered him his hand. Zeph accepted, and that would likely be when Drew realized how beat up the nymph’s hands were. There was a little blood and a lot of street grit, and Zeph winced visibly at the slight pressure needed to help him get to his feet.
“Yeah. I mean, no. I mean, please.” He’d finally found his voice, but he stumbled over his reply. Free of duress, his voice was a gentle tenor, pleasant on the ear. If he had any concept of pitch, he could have been a hell of a singer. He pushed his hands into his pockets and started walking toward his apartment and then froze. “My phone!” he exclaimed.

He frowned as he searched the darkness for the device. He remembered the sound of it skittering away but the details were hazy. “Aha!” he declared triumphantly, plucking it from the ground and checking to ensure it still worked. Satisfied, he tucked it away and regarded Drew. “It isn’t far, but, yeah, if you could walk me... You’re like, really brave.” The warm smile he offered Drew wasn’t full wattage- he was still a little shaken- but it was impressive how infectious that grin could prove.

Offline Billiam

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Re: Thirsty Thursday
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2019, 11:05:45 AM »
The kid's hand were really beaten up. For a second I thought about pricking my wrist and letting a few drops take care of it. I knew that would be stupid though, but I got no enjoyment from watching him squirm. I remembered something as I stood there listening to Zeph ramble. It was back in New Jersey, and I was playing basketball with some of the kid's from my group home. It's past cerfew but we don't care. We're having too much fun with the ball. Then I heard it. A piercing cry rang out from a short distance away. None of the other boys wanted to check it out, so I went alone. I found another kid of the group home named Juan. He was a a runt of thing, wore glasses, liked nerdy stuff. He'd been attacked, and I knew enough to figure his attacker was probably other kids from inside. I helped him up. He winced just like Zeph. Juan taught me I liked boys. I think I actually miss him.

The oral ramble was annoying, but he had just been through a lot. I also liked the sound of his voice, if not exactly what was coming out of it. He needed to focus. I didn't see him lose his phone, but was pleasantly surprised he remembered it now and not as we got to his place. His excitement over retrieving it was so youthful. Most nights I was happy if I didn't throw mine threw a wall. As he accepted my invitation I started moving towards his dorm quickly. He'd have to briskly walk to keep up. I didn't want to draw this out, and I had dinner and desert waiting by my bike. When he called me brave I gave him a look like he was stupid, turning my head towards the road ahead. It occurred to me that I needed to let him lead. I'm not supposed to know where he lives. He smiled at me. It was nice I guess.

"Which way," I asked gruffly, looking him over every so often. I felt the need to say more for once. "I'm Drew," I added. That's a lot of small talk sober.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


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Re: Thirsty Thursday
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2019, 12:43:29 PM »
"Ohhhhhhhhhhh, I'm Zeph. My friends call me Lasagna, but um, I guess you saved my life or whatever so yeah, you can call me Lasagna if you want. Or Zeph. Haha." As the adrenaline wore off, the pot was starting to reassert its lazy dominance. He was completely oblivious to Drew's near misstep regarding his place of living. He started forward and turned left onto Maple. "Drew is a cool name. Is it short for Andrew? I have four friends named Andy." His speech patterns might prove a little baffling. He seemed to be firing off thoughts the instant they appeared in his pretty head, but they still had a slow, stoner lilt. In truth, his recovery wasn't as full as it might seem, and Drew might note the way he seized up when a passing driver laid on his horn, or continuously glanced over his shoulder. He smiled at the man brightly every time their eyes met.

It was only a few blocks to Zeph's building, but Drew already knew that. It wasn't one of the massive developments, but instead, a sturdy little six floor building in beige brick. Zeph's pace slowed as they got closer, and he reached up to scratch his neck. His brow creased, evincing thoughtfulness, and he turned to look up at Drew. "You could like... come up, if you wanted." It sounded almost like a question, and his voice grew smaller as he continued. "I um, sorta wouldn't mind not being alone right now, you know?" Judging by his uncertainty, he knew it was a weird request, and he quickly back-pedaled. "You prooooobably have stuff to do though, so like, yeah, cool, sorry. And thanks, definitely thanks. For um. You know."

Zeph really wasn't sure what he was expecting. He hadn't failed to notice that Drew was a total dreamboat in that leaves-before-you-wake-up kind of way, but he wasn't even really in the mood for sex in the wake of Casey's heavy-handedness. Mostly he wanted to curl up in Drew's strong arms again. That sounded nice. And he wanted pizza. He really hoped that past Zeph hadn't let him down on that front.

Offline Billiam

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Re: Thirsty Thursday
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2019, 02:26:03 PM »
So. Much. Talking.

As my sober mind tried to keep up with the cacophony of words tumbling out of the Nymph's mouth I was immediately overwhelmed. I had never really heard him talk, at least not like this. I mostly stood at a reasonable difference away, taking pictures and writing notes. Now, I was getting both barrels. I did a lot of nodding because I know people who talk a lot also like to be paid a lot of attention. I don't know what my face looked like but I can't imagine it was pleasant. I have massive resting bitch face, and I'm so thankful for it most days. Now, I tried my best to smile, but saw in my mind a constipated grin.

Luckily, Zeph seemed mostly focused on his own thoughts, which was helpful for me to just walk him home. It didn't take long and another buzz from my phone told me my bartender friend was really drunk, like perhaps, too drunk? Wait! Did he cancel on me? I stopped walking, and grumbled a bit, typing a quick response I can't promise didn't say some form of "eat shit." I noticed as I resumed walking he was complimenting my name. I hate going by Andrew or Andy. I'm just Drew, and I like it that way. I tried explaining this to Zeph, but he was on to the next thing before I could get an utterance out.

Utterance is a good word.

I was so wrapped up in my own thoughts I didn't notice we were at Zeph's, until he asked me to come up. I knew I should say no. I told myself to say no. I had a million reasons not to stay. He was the job. I needed to feed. I needed to get drunk. He was annoying. Any of these would've done perfectly, but I stood there, seeing how disappointed he was that I might say no, and found myself quickly going, "okay." I moved towards him and wrapped an arm around his shoulder. I tried to make it not pervy, but I had to admit I liked how he looked with my arm around him. What was I doing? I looked around to make sure nobody was watching us enter, just in case our friend from before had made the mistake of following us. I saw nothing, and let Zeph bring me inside.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


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Offline suneater

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Re: Thirsty Thursday
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2019, 02:55:34 PM »
Sure, Zeph liked attention, but he didn't thrive on it. If he took umbrage every time some started tuning him out, he would have ended up miserable. He was well aware of his oddity and had come to value more than social acceptance. Most of the people he interacted with were artists harboring their own idiosyncrasies who could care less about his tendency to ramble anyway. The main difference between him and most people who talked as much as he did was that he actually listened when other's muscled their way into the conversation. He actually liked listening more than talking, most of the time. Other people were better at speaking than he was, as a general rule, and by and large had led lives very different from his own.

He did notice when Drew began texting and grumbling, and slowed his pace slightly. Noting the man's sour expression, he'd opted not to fill him in completely on the Andys.

The night seemed strangely still and quiet while he waited for Drew to turn him down. Zeph shifted his weight to the balls of his feet and then settled back on his heels, rocking in place while stretching his calves and tibia and betraying no small degree of nervousness. Drew started speaking, and he ready to be crushed. He'd prepared himself for it so thoroughly that the man's words didn't register at first. Wait, why is he putting his arm around me? Not that he minded. Had he said okay? He had said okay! Having Drew's heavy arm slung over his shoulder felt fantastic. He wrapped his arm around Drew's waist immediately and steered him up the concrete path toward the entrance before he could change his mind.

He reluctantly disengaged in order to find his keys. He fumbled through every pocket he had before locating them and swiping the fob in front of the reader. The tiny red LED flicked off, replaced by brilliant green, and he pulled the door open for Drew. He squirreled his way back under the man's arm immediately, a dopey little grin on his features. He'd made a new friend! A hot new friend who had saved him from a bully. What had been the worst night of his life to date was really turning around.

The building was nice, but not ostentatious. An ancient looking man sat behind a small desk. If he was at all shocked to see Zeph heading up with a strange man, it didn't show. "Evening Gus," Zeph chirped. The old man tipped his hat and went back to reading his newspaper without giving Drew a second glance. He stabbed a finger at the call button for the elevator and then let his head rest against Drew's leather-clad shoulder while they waited.

"My place might be, um, kind of a mess. I'm pretty sure it's not too bad though." The elevator doors parted and Zeph practically pulled him in before pushing the button that would bring them to the fifth floor.

Offline Billiam

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Re: Thirsty Thursday
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2019, 03:31:33 AM »
Okay, just turn around and go. It’s not too late. I can always say my dog died or something. That would require me to have a dog but Zeph didn’t know  that. Why was he so excited to spend time with me? I mean, sure I saved him from that douche bag but he didn’t owe me a thing. This was also highly unprofessional and for the first time I felt kind of bad that Zeph didn’t know that I knew him before tonight. On the other hand, where would he be if I didn’t? I tend to avoid these types of interpersonal and existential crises by keeping things simple. Hell, had Zeph offered to bone that would be so much simpler than casually going up to his place for a visit. Every impulse in my body told me to run but as Zeph excitedly wrapped his arms around me, I knew I wasn’t going anywhere. I liked this. I liked him.

I admit I wanted to hold on when he pulled away to get his keys, and settled for placing a strong hand on his shoulder and lightly rubbing it as he searched. I thought he’d like that. Soon enough, he found them and we were on our way inside. I guess I should’ve felt weird about passing by the ancient fossil sitting at the desk. I was older than Zeph, although admittedly not that much. I didn’t acknowledge him as Zeph gave an enthusiastic sounding greeting. I wasn’t sure if Zeph was actually excited or not, but he seemed to say everything with an intensity of emotion. Was he checking the mail, or just got into Harvard? Who knew with this one? I guess that’s nice though. It made me realize again how not shitty his life must’ve been. It occurred to me that what just happened to him might be one of the worst moments of his life. Jesus. Lucky him.

When he rested his head on my shoulder I wrapped him up again. Drew the pillow reporting for duty. I didn’t mind though. It felt nice. When he mentioned the state of his apartment I let out a humorous snort, and the corners of my mouth hinted at a smile. It’s about the closest I get to laughing these days. I’m not sure I looked like the kind of guy who’d be going in with a white glove and inspecting. Maybe he was used to that back home. I also knew this was Zeph and expected a total shit show despite the assurance that it would not be that bad. Images of bongs filled with dirty water, half eaten food, and piles of clothes filled my mind. Then again, who am I to judge? I’m a slob.

“Don’t worry about it,” I said, finally letting Zeph see my eyes. I also got to see his and they are pretty nice. “My place looks like shit,” I said. Hopefully he’d find that comforting. I had an impulse to say something else. “I think you’re cute.”

Damn. I think I like him.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


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Offline suneater

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Re: Thirsty Thursday
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2019, 05:01:08 AM »
The shoulder rub, even if it was something of an afterthought for Drew, earned him an appreciative little groan from low in Zeph’s throat. As a dancer who could be a little forgetful when it came to proper stretching and hydration, he was an absolute sucker for massages. Ooooh. Maybe that was how he could reward Drew for his good deeds: a massage! Zeph preferred to be on the receiving end, particularly from someone as strong as Drew looked, but he loved giving them too. He’d considered massage therapy as a possible career or supplement thereto a few times, mostly on the basis that people always claimed he gave “the best massages ever”. Sure, a lot of the time it was just a precursor to sexy shenanigans, but they didn’t have to be. Ever since he’d started working at Vibrations he’d been reading a lot about energy flow in the body, and how massage could help regulate and improve it. A lot of it was over his head, but the illustrations had been straightforward.

He loved the way Drew’s arms enfolded him immediately again. He was craving contact and security, and Drew was providing plenty of both. As the elevator made its slow progress upward, Zeph grinned up at his new friend. He was a little relieved when Drew told him not to worry and intrigued when he disparaged his own house-keeping skills. He realized that he knew very little about the man whose arms he was in and whom he’d soon be bringing into his apartment. It was far from the first time that had happened, but Zeph realized he did want to know more. Drew was a bit more mysterious than most of the guys he brought home. Maybe it was just because he didn’t talk much, but Zeph was having difficulties getting a feel for him.

”I think you’re cute.”

The grunted declaration drew a bright grin from Zeph. He was pretty aware of his cuteness, but it was nice to learn that Drew was into it. A hint of color flushed his pale cheeks, and he daringly ducked forward, rising to the balls of his feet, to peck Drew on the cheek. “I think you’re sweet, and cool, and kind of badass, and-“ He cut off when the elevator chimed and the door opened. “Oh, we’re here.” Intertwining his smaller fingers with Drew’s, he dragged him forward once again.

The hallway was like the lobby – nice, but hardly impressive. There were only two apartments on the floor though, at either end of the hall. Zeph’s was apparently to the right. He hustled his keys out awkwardly, not quite wanting to release Drew again, as if he were afraid the guy might bolt. After some jangling and tugging, the door was open and they were inside. Zeph flicked on the lights before dropping his keys in a bowl that rested on a small side table near the door.

Knowing what he did about Zeph’s father, Drew wouldn’t likely be surprised by the size of the art student’s studio- his friends usually were. With the inclusion of a few walls, it could easily have been divided into a two bedroom.

The apartment was “divided” into three sections of roughly equal space. The “kitchen and dining room” was immediately in front of the entrance. Zeph stooped to untie his shoes and remove them, glancing up expectantly at Drew to imply that he should do the same. Either Zeph was a clean freak, or he never used his kitchen- the brand-new appliances and marble counter tops were spotless. Judging from how many frozen meals Drew had likely observed him purchasing, he might be inclined to think it was the latter. There was a reasonably sized square dining table with four chairs that also looked like it was seldom used. Only the kitchen third of the room had wood flooring- after that it gave way to royal blue, high pile carpeting.

The center section served as a living area/office. There was a spacious futon, a low coffee table (currently littered with a neat pile of New Age books), and then against the opposite wall, a desk and office chair with a built-in book case. That wall was graced with massive windows that looked out onto Maple – nearly half of it was glass. The blinds were currently partially drawn, letting in a bit of light from the street.

The final third was given over to his bedroom. A king-sized mattress covered in a tangle of sheets, comforter, and pillows dominated that section. An entertainment stand with hundreds of DVD cases on display and a massive television was opposite the foot of the bed; Drew would get the sense that Zeph likely spent most of his time in the apartment there. A massive wardrobe, two dressers, and two small night tables completed the bedroom furnishings. There was a door beside the wardrobe, open to reveal a reasonably sized and beautifully finished bathroom with a bathtub/shower combo.

There were a few movie posters framed on the walls – Harry Potter, The Marvel Avengers, and Rogue One, all of them festooned with cast signatures in silver marker. Above the headboard of his bed were three 18 x 24 black and white photos of Zeph himself, in three different dance poses. The shots were patently artistic and actually quite good, managing to convey Zeph’s almost religious love of movement. In each he was barefoot and bare-chested, his surprisingly chiseled torso on display.

There was no organic mess to be found, and definitely no dirty bongs, but the place couldn’t really be called tidy. There was stuff everywhere. The dining room table had a stack of unopened board games on it. His laptop was currently on the futon, open but inert, and there was a pile of school books on the floor beside the couch (despite their being a shelf right behind them). His desk was a chaos of papers, books, and Funko Pops drawn from a variety of franchises. Clothes were strewn across the “bedroom” floor. A conspicuous small brown bottle of poppers and tube of lube were obvious on his night stand.

Zeph padded into the kitchen and pulled the freezer open. His eyes lit up when he realized that Past Zeph had indeed been wise enough to acquire two extra frozen pizzas. “Can I get you anything?” He pulled open the fridge as well and peered in. “I have umm… water, and Red Bull, and vodka. Oh, and frozen pizza, these things are great. I’ve got these little spring rolls too but they need sauce and I don’t have sauce…” He trailed off, frowning, and looking at his hands. They were still filthy and scraped raw. Leaving the freezer and fridge wide open, he hopped over to the sink and ran the tap warm, getting ready to wash them. He peered over his shoulder at Drew, almost as if he was expecting him to bolt.