One | Creep and Consequence
Azrael closed the book he was reading with a sated sigh. God, that was a good chapter. He checked his watch. It was already one in the morning. He looked around for his best friend, Mat. He should have texted by now. Azrael guessed it meant his friend wasn't getting lucky that night. He decided he'd give him a few more minutes before he calls it a night, whether Mat joins him or not.
"How about a dance, cutie?" a guy asked as he sidled up next to the bar stool where Azrael sat. His words were slurred and his eyes seemed hazy. Azrael wasn't surprised, considering the amount of alcohol he reeked.
"Uh, no thanks," Azrael said, smiling nervously.
"Whatsa matter, sweetcheeks, I'm not good enough for ya?" drunky drunk guy said, spittle raining from his foul-breathed mouth while a large hand slithered up his thigh.
Azrael held on to the guy's wrist, preventing the rogue hand from snaking its way further up. He looked around frantically for someone, anyone he might know. God, where the hell was Mat!? He was beginning to get scared. This was exactly why he didn't do the club scene! He started thinking of excuses to get away from this guy. But nothing came to him. He always had the best timing.
"Um, well, uh..."
God, he's stammering now. If only Joe, the bartender on duty whom he's acquainted with, wasn't so busy. Maybe he was one of those intuitive people who can sense danger in the air. He could look his way, and maybe Azrael could signal for some help with his eyes. Ugh, that was never gonna happen. This was real life, not some comic book hero movie. He shut his eyes tight, hoping Mat would come to his aid before something bad happens. He was his only chance now.
"Hey baby, sorry I'm late."
As if in answer to his prayers, a pair of strong arms snaked around Azrael's waist, and he felt the warmth of a hard body press behind him. The most tender of kisses was planted at the nape of his neck, and Azrael shivered from the sudden intimacy. He didn't complain, though. The sweet gesture might make the performance more convincing. He whirled around to face his pseudo-lover, his face forced into what he hoped seemed like a loving smile.
"Where were y-"
Azrael trailed off, his fake smile fading into nothingness. Standing before him was a gorgeous man whose face and body rivaled that of any top male model. But it wasn't his best friend Mat.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I got held up at work," the gorgeous guy said with a warm smile, scratching his head for good measure. He gave Azrael a wink at the look of alarm on his face, as if urging him to play along. Gorgeous went ahead and entwined his fingers with Azrael's, his thumb tracing lazy circles on his palm. Then he looked at the drunk guy. "Who's your friend?"
It seemed to have worked. The drunk guy snorted, shook his head, raised his arms in defeat, then went away muttering incoherently to himself.
The gorgeous guy beamed at Azrael, and was a little surprised at the intensity of the stare that met him. Whatevere he was expecting, it wasn't that look. Azrael untangled their clasped hands, and immediately looked away.
"Why'd you do that?" Azrael asked with a tinge of derision in his voice.
"Uh, you're welcome," the guy retorted, the warmth in his smile had now been replaced with amused bewilderment.
"Thank you. Now why'd you do it?"
The guy looked at Azrael. He was starting to get annoyed with his attitude. What was up with that, anyway? He did the guy a favor, and this is the thanks he gets? So much for playing good samaritan.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you needed help, what with the look of panic that was etched so painstakingly on your face," he said sarcastically. "Silly me, I thought the guy was harassing you. I didn't know you actually wanted to be with that creep. If I'd known, I wouldn't have bothered."
"Hey, I'm not saying I'm not grateful," Azrael said, training his lapis lazuli eyes on the guy's crystal blue ones keenly. He had to force himself not to be distracted by the beautifully strange color of the guy's eyes. It seemed so easy to get lost in them. "I am. And I thank you for coming to my rescue. But I alslo need to know why you did it."
Now the guy really was annoyed.
"Like I said, I thought you could use the help. You didn't look like the type who hooked up with his kind."
There was a pause. They just looked at each other, daring the other to make a move. It was almost as if Azrael was trying, and trying hard, to get a glimpse of the guy's soul. Or at least that's what it felt like to the guy. And he thought it was pretty significant, too, because he did something he normally never does.
"I'm Warren," the guy said, extending his hand and putting on one of his smiles.
It's one of those perfect smiles, Azrael thought. The ones that could charm the pants right off a person. He shuddered at the thought and forced himself to look away.
He doesn't remember. Figures.
Azrael never took the guy's extended hand. He whirled around on his stool and picked up his book from the bar. He gave a curt nod to the bartender, Joe, left some tip on the bowl in front of him even when he didn't order anything, and sauntered off towards the club's egress.
"What, no kiss goodbye, babe?" the guy called after him, and loudly too. Enough so that it made some people turn around and stare at the cause of the sudden kerfuffle. "Hey, at least tell me your name. Hey!"
But Azrael didn't look back.
Outside, Azrael leaned against the brick wall, and heaved a great sigh. He closed his eyes, willing the tears, the tears that surprisingly came and threatened to fall and further humiliate him, away.
Of course he would't remember. Why the hell would he remember?
He was different tonight, though. He wasn't slick or smooth. There were no player moves, no suave words. He wasn't like his usual cocky, self-assured, son-of-a-bitch self. He wasn't even drunk, which meant he was sober the entire time. That hasn't happened in months. What happened back there was all so very gallant and charming and sweet. It was all very peculiar and atypical and curious. And for the first time in a long while, he seemed almost... normal. Azrael laughed at the irony. He couldn't help it.
Azrael jumped as a ring from his then vibrating phone jolted him from his reverie. He took it out of his pocket. It was Mat. He took a couple of deep, calming breaths before he pressed the answer button.
"Hey Mat," Azrael said in an excessively cheerful tone. "Any luck?"
"Nah. Maybe not tonight," Mat replied, sounding a little tipsy but otherwise non-deterred. Azrael was glad. Dejected Mat is whiny, although he would never tell that to his friend's face.
"Sorry, man. Tough luck," Azrael encouraged his friend. "But hey, there's always tomorrow. Not a lot of nice tail in there tonight anyway."
"Yeah... I think I'm ready to head home."
"Okay," Azrael said serenely. "I'm right outside the door."
"Heh, I thought you might be," Mat snorted. There was a pause. It was as if he was going to say something, but decided against it. "I'll be right out."
Mat came out about a minute later. He smiled when he saw Azrael leaning adorably on the wall, a leg propped up behind him. He seemed deep in thought and was oblivious to the many interested stares he got from the few people still out, passing him by. His friend had no idea how cute he was sometimes. Azrael is stunning in his own right. He could be a model if he was any taller. And he's told him so several times, but Azrael just scoffed at him each time. What Azrael doesn't realize is that the modesty just adds to his charm. He doesn't understand how someone so... great, could be so alone. It's why he brings Azrael to these places in the first place, despite his unwavering protests. Only, instead of mingling, Azrael just sits in the most well-lit corner of the room and reads. Reads! In a bar! While others around him drank and danced and committed gratuitous acts of inebriation. 'Hey, I'm a bibliophile. What did you expect?' Azrael would simply say to him, with a casual shrug and an evocative smile. If only he was gay or at least bisexual, or if only Azrael had been a girl, he would so tap that!
Mat loved his best friend to bits. Their bond was stronger than brothers, and he wouldn't trade him for the world. And with the shitloads of stuff they've been through growing up, Azrael's even more grave than Mat's, he wants Azrael to have every happiness. He believes Azrael deserved nothing less, for time and circumstance had proven to him who his true friends are, and Azrael's loyalty never faltered. Best friends forever, and all that crap, Azrael had once said to him.
Mat laughed and shook his head, amused despite their predicament. He slugged an arm across Azrael's shoulders, and smiled at his friend, who smiled back just as eagerly. Best friends forever, and all that crap, he thought. They walked a little ways away before managing to hail a cab, and the two rode home in companionable silence.