Half of my heart
The cool air wrapped itself around Peter as he made his way down the street. Traffic stood at a standstill on the street next to him. Glancing at the cars, he was glad he wasn't stuck in one of them. Focusing his attention back to the sidewalk in front of him, he felt a hand on his shoulder; he jumped slightly, his heart racing. Turning, he reached up and pulled one of the earbuds from his Zune out of his ear. Standing next to him was a short, buxom girl with olive skin and flaming red hair. Freckles decorated her face.
"Norrah!" He said happily, the pitch in his voice rising slightly. The girl named Norrah threw her slightly chubby arms around Peter. He smiled and wrapped his arms around her. "I thought you had a meeting with your professor."
"I cancelled it. I am far too stressed out to see his wrinkled face this morning. I swear. His age spots are out to give me an ulcer." Norrah replied as the two ended the embrace.
"What about your final project?" Peter asked. Norrah was a procrastinator and put everything to the last minute. He knew she couldn't afford to put this project to the last minute. The professor was asking for a novel.
"Please. I'm practically done with it." She said, her tone light and teasing.
"Meaning you haven't even started." He said, pulling out his other earbud. With his free hand, he dug into his coat pocket and pulled out his Zune. He quickly wrapped the earbuds around the Zune body as he turned it off.
"Pretty much. I still have two weeks. I told the old coot I'd see him later today." Norrah replied, watching Peter. "I need caffeine before I go and cut a bitch. Let's go waste money on the real expensive kind. I vote Starbucks."
Peter slipped the Zune into his pocket and nodded. "I just got paid. I can afford it."
Norrah grinned. "So you're buying? I love it when you volunteer." She linked her arm through his and pulled him forward. "I can hear a mocha frappachino singing my name."
Peter laughed as they walked down the street together. A gust of wind slapped him in the face, his ear length brown hair flying everywhere. His pale skin became flushed from the cold. "Does the song its singing include a verse on how it's your turn to pay?"
"Don't be ridiculous." Norrah chirped. "Coffee only sings beautiful, truthful songs. Those vicious lies do nothing for no one."
Norrah stopped and unlinked her arm from his. She reached out and opened the cast iron door. The Starbucks was famous for its 'old feeling.' It also served its coffee at a slightly higher price than all the other Starbucks in the city.
Peter walked through the door and Norrah followed, complaining slightly. "I didn't open the door for you."
"Cheer up, Norski. I'm buying you overpriced coffee." Peter said. He stepped into line behind a man in a business suit who was more interested in the conversation he was having on his cell phone than his place in line.
"I'll go grab us a table. Make sure they give me extra whipped cream. My voluptuous figure needs it." Norrah said, bushing past Peter.
"Do you want me to ask for the can?" He asked. Norrah smiled.
Peter glanced up at the menu, trying to turn out the man and his cell phone. He almost didn't notice the man finish paying. The barista looked bored he stepped up to the counter.
"Uhm. Can I have a mocha frappachino? And, uhm. A vanilla bean frappachino, please." Peter asked. The barista nodded.
"What size?" She asked, putting the order into the register.
"Huh?" Peter replied. He could swear that the barista rolled her eyes.
"What size would you like for your drinks?" She asked, a hint of annoyance in her voice. She looked up at him, her heavily made up eyes almost hidden behind her brunette bangs.
"Venti." He replied.
"Would you like anything else?" She said, emphasizing her words.
"No." The barista looked back down at the register and finished up the order.
"Thirteen seventy five, please." She said, grabbing a clear cup from the side of the register. Picking up a black sharpie, she marked the side of the cup as Peter dug into his pocket for his wallet. She grabbed another cup and marked it. Handing both cups to a boy standing next to her behind the counter, she glanced at Peter, who seemed to be having problems finding a form of payment. He closed his wallet and dug into another pocket and pulled out his debit card.
"Thought I left this at home." He chuckled weakly. The barista didn't say anything. Peter swiped his card on the card reader and silently paid. As he finished, the receipt printed happily out of the register. She ripped it off and handed it to him.
"Next!" She called as Peter stepped over to the serving counter. The man in the business suit brushed past Peter, catching his eye.
"Peter! I didn't even see you there!" He said, the phone out of his hand now. He took a sip of the hot coffee in his hand.
"Clark! Hi." Peter said, surprised. Clark stuck out his free hand. Peter took the offered hand and shook it.
"Is my sister here?" Clark asked, taking another sip of the coffee. Peter shrugged.
"She might be. She tends to be everywhere when she has a deadline coming up."
"She didn't come with you?"
"Uhm. No. I came with someone else. Yeah. I couldn't get a hold of her. Sorry."
"It's no problem." He paused, looking at his watch. "I've got to get going. Listen. If you get a hold of her, tell her that mom wants her to come home for Christmas."
"Will do." Peter replied as Clark turned and headed out the doors. Peter exhaled a small breath, glad he was gone.
"A venti mocha frappachino and a venti vanilla bean frappachino?" A male voice called out. Peter turned back to the counter and took the two waiting drinks, smiling politely at the man who had called them out. He then made his way through the line of people to the sitting area. Norrah was in their usual spot by the window, sitting in one of the squishy armchairs. She'd flung her beat up messenger bag over the other one, so no one would take it.
"Took long enough. Where's my can of whipped cream?" Norrah asked, smiling. Peter handed her the mocha frappachino and grabbed her messenger bag off his chair. He dropped it onto the table that separated the two chairs and sat down, sinking into the worn leather.
"I saw your brother just now." Peter said, changing the subject. Norrah made a face that looked like a cross between a sneer and horror.
"What is he doing here? I thought he was up in Vermont, blowing vast amounts of money on that girlfriend of his."
Peter shrugged. "I guess not. He told me to tell you that your mom wants you to come home for Christmas."
"Yeah. I'll get right on that." Norrah said sarcastically, popping the cover off of her drink. "Right after I schedule my spleen removal."
"Isn't Leon a surgeon? Or is that Owen?" Peter asked.
"Jeremy is. Like I'd ask him. He's so far up mother dearest's ass, it's almost like she'd have to give birth to him again just to get rid of him."
"That's a pleasant mental image."
"You're not the one who has to deal with those two. At least Owen is slightly sane and thinks mother is not worth his time. Last I heard, he was a tattoo artist. Oooh! That would piss mother off if I went and got a tattoo from him." Norrah dipped her finger in the whipped cream topping and brought it to her lips. She licked her finger thoughtfully. "Nah. Mother would probably expect something like that."
"You know, you never did tell me why you hate your family." Peter said, taking a sip of his frappachino. The icy liquid filled his mouth as the vanilla taste rushed over his tongue.
"Because, it's, like, cool." Norrah replied sardonically. She brought the straw to her lips and took a sip. "I don't hate them; I just don't see eye to eye with them on anything. Mother, father, Jeremy, and Clark are pretty much conservative Republicans. I'm not. You see the problem?"
"Damn your liberal views. How could you betray your family like that?" Peter replied, smiling.
"Don't get too cocky, Gaylord Sparklepants. They don't like them homosexuals either." Norrah shot back, giggling.
Peter laughed as well. "I'm guessing Owen has similar views to you?" Norrah nodded.
"Mother doesn't like him to come to family dinners. She thinks his tattoos are a disgrace. She's such a charming woman."
"Summerdale!" A voice called out. Norrah and Peter looked up as Norrah broke into a grin.
"Texas!" She squealed. "What the fuck are you doing here?"
A lanky man came into view as he walked over to their table. His short blonde hair was splayed messily all over his head, sticking up in directions and hanging over his eyes. His face had a faint shadow of stubble, though it almost blended in with his peachy complexion. Norrah placed her drink on the table and stood up, just as the man reached her. She threw her arms around him and he hugged her tightly.
"God! It's been forever! How the hell are you?" He asked.
"You're a dork, Austin. It's been an hour." She said, giggling. He let go over her and looked over at Peter. Peter looked up hesitantly and looked back down at his drink. "Oh! Austin. This is Peter. Peter, this is Austin. He and I have class together."
Peter looked back up and noticed that Austin held both arms apart, as if motioning for a hug. "Handshakes are so primitive. I like to hug."
"I…I'm not really a…a hugging type." Peter said, taking a sip of his drink. "But it's nice to meet you."
Austin chuckled. "Not a hugging type? It's cool."
"Join us! Peter's just shy right now. Once he knows you, he never shuts up." Norrah said, sitting back down.
"I'm just going to go order." Austin said. He turned and spotted an armchair behind him. He grabbed it and pulled it toward the table. "Can you save it for me, Summerdale?"
"Sure thing, Texas." Norrah replied, sticking out her tongue. She grabbed her messenger bag from off the table and tossed it onto the chair. Austin turned and walked over to the line as Norrah grabbed her drink. "I love that kid. Too bad he's as flaming as you are."
"You just seem to have a knack for attracting the gays, Norski." Peter said, grinning softly.
"I know! It's just such an amazing talent. If only I could actually use it so straight men would be attracted to me!" Peter snorted. He popped the cover off his drink and stuck his tongue into the whipped cream. A bit of it attached itself to his nose, unbeknownst to him.
"So, who is this Austin guy? And why do you call him Texas?" Peter asked. Norrah grinned.
"He's in my writing class, like I said. Unlike me, he probably has his final assignment done and turned in." She said. She paused and took a sip of her drink. "The first day I met him, he was wearing a Texas shirt. And, his name is Austin. So, the name kind of stuck for me."
Peter nodded. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Austin walking over towards them, carrying a small cup of iced green tea.
"That is so lame." Peter said, laughing slightly. Norrah stuck out her tongue, this time at Peter. Austin grinned as he sat down.
"Why are you sticking your tongue out at him?" Austin asked. He took a sip of his drink and glanced at Peter; he promptly spat the drink out. Norrah burst into laughter.
"What's going on?" Peter asked. Austin set his drink down and stood up. He walked over to Peter and bent down a bit, their eyes level. Peter felt a blush rising in his cheeks. Austin raised a hand and swiped the whipped cream residue off of Peter's nose. The blush in Peter's cheeks seared his entire body.
"You had a bit of whipped cream on your nose." Austin said, his voice low. Peter noticed a light pink blush on Austin's cheeks.
"You could have just told me." Peter mumbled. Austin grinned.
"I could have. I just wanted a reason to touch you." He stood up and sat back down in his chair.
"You know you're crushing my messenger bag." Norrah said, laughter in her tone. Austin pulled the bag out from under him and tossed it onto the table.
"It's empty!" Austin said, picking his drink back up. He turned to Peter, smiling. "So, chatterbox. What do you do? I've never seen you around campus. Do you work?"
Peter nodded, not saying anything more. Austin took a sip of his drink, still looking at Peter.
"Where do you work? What do you do?" Austin asked.
"An office. Mail boy." Peter said quietly.
"Do you get to wear those hot shorts that the UPS guy was wearing in Legally Blonde?" Austin said. Peter glanced at him, a slight smile on his face.
"No shorts. Just pants." Peter replied.
A shrill series of beeps sounded from Norrah's messenger bag. She made a face and grabbed the bag while setting her drink onto the table. She pulled the bag onto her lap and pulled out a cell phone. She glanced at the screen for a moment and made a face.
"Oh elephant's balls. I've got to go and meet with the old coot." She said, biting her lip. "Joy to the world."
"But he loves your writing! You'll probably be out of there in no time at all. Just as long as you bring your outline, you're fine." Austin said, glancing at Norrah.
"Please. Who even uses an outline? I'm all for living on the edge." She said, grinning.
"You haven't written one? It's a part of the assignment! Tell me you at least did character sheets." Austin said, his tone slightly horrified.
"My story doesn't have characters. It's about how rocks move." Norrah replied. "Well. I better be off. I hear my funeral march blaring already."
"Bye, Norski." Peter said. Austin shook his head.
"Enjoy your death, Summerdale."
Norrah stood up and grabbed her drink. With a sigh, she headed towards the door, disappearing in a crowd of people. Austin looked back at Peter.
"She's nuts. I don't know how she does it."
"She's got balls of steel. That, and she likes to stress herself out and save everything for the last minute." Peter replied. Austin laughed.
"I told her when we got the project to start on it. Does she listen? Nope."
"That's Norrah for you." Peter replied. He started to feel a bit looser around Austin. It helped talking about Norrah instead of himself. "What other classes are you taking with her?"
"That's it. I want to be a graphic artist, but I need a writing class as well." Austin said. He glanced quickly at the watch on his left wrist. "Crap. I've got to get going. I promised my mom that I would pick up a ham for her and bring it home. Can I tempt you into coming with me?"
Peter's eyes bugged slightly. "Uhm. I don't know you that well, and. Uhm. It's not that I'm trying to be rude,"
"Chill." Austin said, interrupting him. Austin laughed as he stood up. "I do want to get to know you better, though. Would you be free for dinner tomorrow night?"
Peter bit his lip. "Sure." Austin smiled.
"Cool. Like I said, I've got to get going. I'll get your number from Norrah and give you a call. It was nice meeting you. Can't wait to talk to you later!"
Peter watched as Austin headed over to the door, his heart hammering on the inside of his chest. What was he thinking, saying yes to a stranger for dinner? This was not like him.
"If Norrah knows him, I guess it can't be that bad, right? I mean, what's the worst that could happen?" He mused out loud as he took a sip of his drink.
Peter glanced at his phone. Austin had texted him earlier, letting him know that he was running late. He'd stopped by Norrah's to make sure all was okay, and she made him come in and proceeded to cry on his shoulder.
The screen on his phone lit up. Austin was calling. Peter hit the send button and brought the phone to his ear.
"Hello?" He asked tentatively.
"I just left. She's doing a lot better now. She's overwhelmed by all the work she has to do." Austin said. Peter nodded. He realized that Austin couldn't see his nod through the phone.
"Yeah. I could imagine." Peter replied.
"Are you already sitting down in the restaurant?" Austin asked.
"Yes." Peter replied. "The waiter has been by a few times already. The ice in your water was melting, and he seemed to think that having melted ice was a terrible thing."
"He probably used that as an excuse to check you out." Austin said, laughing. Peter felt a blush heat up his cheeks. "Listen. I'm about to hop on the train now. If you want, order an appetizer without me. I'll understand."
"No. It's fine. I'll wait." Peter replied. "I'll see you when you get here."
"Ciao, baby." Austin said. Peter pulled the phone away from his ear, laughing a bit. Though he was usually shy with people he didn't know that well, Austin made him feel comfortable. His outlandish statements were something Peter would say, if he knew the person he was talking to. He wasn't used to someone being so open with him, other than Norrah. Like Austin, she was very friendly from the start.
"Is your date going to show up?" A voice said, interrupting Peter's thoughts. He glanced up at the man, biting his lip.
"Yes. He just called. He's on his way now." Peter replied.
"Maybe he is seeing someone on the side." The waiter said snobbily. "That's why he's holding up dinner."
Peter swallowed. "He was comforting a friend. She's going through some tough times." He glanced down at the gleaming plate, his stomach churning.
"Well. If he doesn't show, I get off at eleven. Maybe we could go to a club together." The waiter said, walking away. Peter felt the blush in his cheeks reach the tips of his ears. Maybe Austin had been right about the waiter checking him out earlier. Even if he'd meant it as a joke, it still creeped Austin out.
He picked up his water glass and took a swig. If Austin didn't show up soon, this would be a long night indeed. As he put the glass down, a hand rested on his shoulder. Peter jumped, a bit of the water sloshing out of the glass and down onto the table. Peter turned his head to see the blonde standing behind him, grinning.
"Thank god you are here." Peter said as Austin walked over to his seat.
"Did the waiter hit on you?" He asked, pulling out his chair. He sat down and scooted himself closer to the table.
"How did you know?" Peter asked.
"When I came in and asked the hostess where you were, he must have overheard me. The hostess pointed him out and said that he would be our waiter, and that you already knew. I saw him give me the dirtiest look as I past by him. I don't think he likes me very much." Austin replied. He giggled and picked up the drinks menu in front of him. "I need a drink. Do you mind if I do?"
"No. Not at all. I think I might have one as well." Peter said, smiling slightly. He picked up his own drink menu and studied it. The waiter came over, a slightly nauseated look on his face.
"Hello. I am Jorge. I will be your server tonight. Can I get you anything to start out with? Something to drink? Appetizers?" The waiter said, looking only at Peter.
"I'll have a strawberry margarita." Austin said. The waiter made a slight face and pulled out a small pad of paper and a pen. He scrawled the order down quickly.
"I'll have the same." Peter replied, not looking at Jorge.
"I'll need to see both of your ID's." Jorge said smugly. Austin and Peter both dug into their pockets and pulled out their wallets. They both opened their wallets and pulled out their ID's from behind its windowed pocket. Peter put his down onto the table and Jorge snatched it up, studying it. He picked up Austin's a moment later and glanced at it. He practically threw it at Austin as he put it back onto the table.
"Can I have my ID back?" Peter asked. Jorge looked up quickly and slapped it onto the table. He grabbed his paper pad and walked off quickly.
"He's practically in love with you. Maybe he'll come back with a ring instead of our drinks." Austin said, choking back a laugh.
"It's not funny." Peter said, smilingly as he watched Austin attempt to hide his laughter.
"It is. You just don't see it yet." Austin said. "So. Enough about Jorge, your future husband. Tell me about yourself."
Peter shrugged. "Not much to tell. I'm the mail boy at an office because I can't afford college."
"I already heard that. Tell me more about yourself. What do you like to do? What do you want to be when you grow up?"
"I like sculpt." Peter said. He paused. "I have a friend who is writing a video game. He draws all these pictures of the characters. I like to take clay and make the characters out of them."
"Does your friend know you do this?" Austin asked.
"No. I don't want to tell him. He might think I'm weird. Or that I totally messed up his character or something."
"That's kind of cool, though. The sculpting thing, that is. Can I ever see them?"
Peter swallowed. "Maybe. I'm kind of shy about my work."
"I understand." A pause. "So. What do you want to do when you grow up?"
"I don't know. Maybe be a professional sculptor. Like, when people need scale models of things, they could hire me, and I could make what they wanted. I don't even know if there is such a job. But, I'd like to do it. I know that I'll have to get over my shyness, but I think it would be fun." Peter said. Jorge walked over to the table, a drink tray in hand. He placed a margarita glass in front of Peter, and placed another one in front of Austin.
"Would you guys like appetizers? Or your meal?" Jorge asked. Both Peter and Austin picked up the menu and opened it.
"Can we get a blooming onion?" Austin asked. Jorge nodded and pulled out the writing pad. He scribbled down the order.
"Anything else?" He asked. Peter shook his head, and Jorge walked off.
"Sorry for ordering for you. Alcohol always seems to make me want fried, greasy foods, and blooming onions are amazing." Austin said. Peter shook his head.
"It's no problem. Norrah and I always share one when we go out." Peter said.
"So yeah. That professional sculptor thing sounds really cool. How did you get into sculpting?" Austin asked, taking a sip of his margarita.
"I started in high school. You're going to laugh if I tell you." Peter said, blushing slightly.
"Try me." Austin replied. Peter took a large sip of his margarita.
"I'm kind of a nerd. I really love video games and stuff. When I started high school, I took a ceramics class. The art teacher was really cool. I told her that I really loved video games, and I always wanted to make little models out of the characters, but play doh never really worked well. She taught me about different types of clay and let me use the art room after school to make my models." Peter said. He didn't look at Austin, afraid of his reaction.
"Do you still have them?" Austin asked, sounding excited.
"They're at my parent's house. We have shelves full of them." Peter replied, looking up. Austin seemed genuinely interested.
"That's so cool. I wish I had a bunch of self made scale models of game characters."
"You have your drawings, though." Peter replied. Jorge set the blooming onion plate in the middle of the table and walked off. Austin grabbed a mini onion from off of the larger onion and dipped it in the sauce cup that sat in the middle of the onion. He blew on it softly and popped it into his mouth.
"Yeah, but having a bunch of scale models for the project I was working on? Dude. That just is so cool. Have you ever sold any of them?"
Peter took a bite of the onion he had grabbed. "Yeah. A few. Only like characters or settings that I really didn't like, but made just because I could. It's a good way to make a few bucks, especially when I wasn't working and stuff."
"You should just set up a shop and do it professionally. I'm sure there are people out there like your friend who are writing video games or comics, and they would pay to have someone make them scale models. It's always cool to go into a meeting with big, important people with your ideas and a bunch of scale models to really bring it all to life." Austin said. He picked up his margarita glass and took a gulp. "Hell. If I had all my ideas down in a book form, I'd so hire you to make me scale models."
"You haven't seen my work, though." Peter replied, grinning. "I could suck."
"I'm sure you suck a lot of things, but we're talking about clay." Austin quipped. Peter laughed.
"You know what I mean." He picked up his own margarita glass and took a gulp as well. "What made you want to become a graphic artist?"
"The idea that I could con people into taking their clothes off for me." Austin said. Peter's eyes bugged out. "I'm kidding. I loved drawing ever since I was a kid, and it just kind of makes sense for me to become a graphic artist. Seeing my name on a comic book, or even in a video game, would be the coolest thing ever."
Peter nodded. "I would totally buy your comic book."
Austin smiled. "You haven't seen my work, though. It could be really bad."
"Ha, ha. I just used that line." Austin laughed.
"At least I was smart enough to change it. Who knows what kinds of dirty jokes are bouncing around in that head of yours?"
"Believe me. You don't want to know the answer to that question."
"I had a really good time tonight." Peter said as the two of them walked down the street.
"Yeah. So did I." Austin said. "It's because I'm such an amazing person, isn't it?"
"You're so vain." Peter said, laughing slightly.
"Norrah tells me that all the time." Austin replied. Peter stopped walking, causing Austin to stop as well.
"This is me." Peter said. Austin took a step towards Peter. "Thanks for walking me home."
"Anytime." Austin said. He took another step forward.
"Well. Good night." Peter said, turning. Austin grabbed his wrist. Peter turned back towards Austin, just as Austin leaned towards Peter. His lips landed softly on Peter's, shocking him. Peter felt his heart race as his lips kissed back on their own. His eyes fluttered shut. Austin deepened the kiss slowly, his right hand snaking behind Peter's back. He pulled Peter in closer to him; Peter didn't resist. He sucked softly on Austin's bottom lip as Austin's hand slid up into Peter's hair. Peter broke the kiss momentarily and pressed his lips to Austin's. Austin slid his tongue between Peter's lips, swiping his tongue gently. Peter broke the kiss yet again.
"Let's go inside." Peter said huskily. Austin nodded, letting go of Peter's wrist. He then took Peter's hand and laced his fingers through Peter's. Peter felt his heart race even more. He pushed through the gate that lead to the townhouse and held it open so Austin could get through. The two then made their way up to the porch and then up the stairs of the porch to the door. Austin dug into his coat pocket for his keys. He quickly found them and managed to find the door key one handed. Austin ran thumb over the back of Peter's hand, causing Peter's skin to become feverish. He almost dropped the keys as he tried to get the door unlocked.
Managing to unlock the door, Peter pulled his keys from out of the door and turned the handle, letting the door swing open. He and Austin stepped inside and Austin closed the door behind him. He turned the lock on the inside of the door until it clicked. The two made their way up the stairs to Peter's apartment. Peter jabbed the key into the key hole and turned the key. The lock unlocked and Peter turned the handle again, this time to his door. He pulled the keys out as he walked in. Austin shut the door as Peter let go of Austin's hand. He threw his keys onto the table next to the door and unbuttoned his coat. Austin quickly unzipped his own coat and pulled it off, letting it fall to the floor. As soon as Peter's coat was off, Austin grabbed Peter and pushed him into the door and started to feverishly kiss him.
Peter kissed back, matching Austin's intensity. He wrapped his arms around Austin's waist as he slid his face down and began to kiss Peter's neck. His hands slipped up Peter's shirt, the cold touch of his fingers making Peter jump. Austin kissed his way back up to Peter's mouth, the feverish intensity still there. Peter felt Austin press up against him. Blood surged through his body as he slipped his hands up the back of Austin's shirt, rubbing his skin as they continued to kiss.
Peter pulled away from the kiss and began to kiss up to Austin's ear lobe. Austin let his hands roam over Peter's sides, as Peter lightly nibbled on Austin's ear lobe. He let out a slight gasp. A knock sounded at the door. Peter and Austin froze.
"Are you back from the restaurant yet?" A voice asked. Norrah. Peter's hands dropped from out of Austin's shirt as Austin's hands dropped as well. He gave Peter a soft kiss and picked up his coat.
"Don't go." Peter whispered.
"I'm not. Let Norrah in." Austin replied, whispering as well. He walked over to the couch and sat down, placing his coat next to him. Peter turned around and opened the door. Norrah was standing there, papers in her hand.
"I spy with my little eye, a gay man who looks like a guilty French prostitute." Norrah said. She peeked around the doorway to Peter's couch where Austin sat. "Make that two gay men. Do I win a prize?"
"Sure. Your prize is being let in." Peter said, chuckling. He threw his arms around Norrah and she hugged back, resting her head on his chest.
"You smell good. I'm glad to see you decided to shower for your date instead of just letting him smell eau de Peter." Norrah replied. He let go of her and laughed. Norrah walked in and made her way over to the couch. Once she got there, she brushed Austin's coat onto the floor and sat down.
"My coat is offended. Apologize to it." Austin said, wrapping his arms around Norrah and hugged her. She placed her head on his shoulder. He let go over her as Peter walked over to the armchair near the couch and sat down. "As much as I care about how your date went, I'll scrounge for gossip later." Norrah said. She handed Peter the papers in her hand. "It's the beginning of my novel."
"What's it about?" Austin asked.
"Prostitutes, zombies, and robots. The main characters are fast food eating hipsters who chain smoke and drink black coffee all day." Norrah said as Peter began to read. "I'm thinking of adding dinosaurs and possibly a few ghosts as well. Just picture it. Robot dinosaurs eating vegetarian zombies. It'll be on the best seller's list in no time flat."
"How can a zombie be a vegetarian?" Peter asked, not looking up from the pages in front of him.
"It eats grains. You know. Instead of brains?" Norrah said, laughing. "Of course, those zombies rot a lot faster than the zombies that eat brains, even if they are a bit smarter than the brain chomping ones. Zombies just aren't meant to have carbs."
Peter finished reading and handed the pages to Austin who quickly grabbed them. "I hate you. Your idea is so much cooler than mine."
"My ideas are always cooler than yours, Texas." Norrah said, watching as Austin read. "Did you like it, Pete?"
"I loved it. Go home and write more. I want to read the finished copy." Peter replied. "Did your professor like it?"
Norrah laughed. "He thinks I'm writing the sinking of the Titanic from different perspectives. 'Oh, Norrah! Such genius to write about the plight of the poor Irish woman and her children! Such intuitiveness to write about the rich man and his mistresses! I can't wait to see how it all pans out!' I can tell him how it all pans out without even having written it. They all die."
Austin laughed. "If you manage to pull this off, you're a genius."
"I know, I know. You don't have to tell me." Norrah replied. Austin handed the pages to her and she stood up, taking a bow. "Thank you for your kind words, gentleman. I must be off. I have about one hundred more pages to write, and only a week to get them all done in! Don't do anything I wouldn't do while I'm gone!"
She rushed over to the door and opened it, not waiting for their goodbyes. She walked out the door and closed it behind her.
Peter glanced at Austin. "If you don't have anywhere to go, do you want to watch a movie with me?"
"What, Titanic?" Austin asked.
"Yeah. She had to go and mention it, and now I really want to watch it. But, you should know I cry through most of this movie." Peter replied.
"Don't worry. So do I." He reached over the side of the couch to the side table. He grabbed the tissue box from off of it and brought it to his chest. "I think this will be enough for me. You might have to go and get your own box."
Peter laughed and stood up. He made his way over to the entertainment system and grabbed the open DVD box from off the top of the TV. He'd watched Titanic the other night, but it didn't hurt to watch it again.
"Hey, Peter?" Austin said. Peter glanced at Austin, smiling slightly.
"Yeah?" Peter asked.
"I'm really glad Norrah introduced us." He replied. Peter opened the DVD door and placed the DVD inside. He closed the door and turned the TV on, setting it to DVD play. He then set the box back down on the TV and grabbed the DVD player remote. He walked back to the couch and sat down next to Austin. Austin picked up Peter's hand and laced his fingers through Peter's.
"So am I."
One year later.
"Shh. Stop barking." A muffled voice said. Peter opened his eyes softly as a furry body jumped onto him. He blinked as the dog's face came into focus.
"Hello, Toyota. Kindly get off me so I can go back to sleep." He groaned. The dog ignored Peter's request and licked his face gently.
"She already woke me up." Austin said. Peter turned his head slightly and saw Austin's naked back facing him.
"It was your bright idea to dog sit for Norrah. 'Oh. It's okay, Nors! We have plenty of room for your dust mop.'" Peter replied, laughing slightly. Austin stood up and walked over to the shared open closet.
"We do. Toyota is about as big as your head. You manage to get that through the door every night."
"Oh haha. Very funny." Peter said, petting Toyota nonchalantly.
"Do you remember when we first met?" Austin asked, changing the subject. He pulled a teeshirt out of the closet and inspected it momentarily. Shrugging, he looked at Peter, a grin overtaking his soft lips. Peter looked up from his spot in the bed as Toyota flopped herself down next to him. For being such a small dog, the Maltese made more noise than both Peter and Austin.
"When you seduced me?" Peter asked. Austin laughed, the grin sticking to his face as he slipped the teeshirt over his arms and head. The material shimmied itself down his thin frame. Faint traces of muscle vanished as the shirt rested at Austin's waist band. "Those jeans don't look good with that teeshirt."
"I did not seduce you; you had dinner with me on your own accord." Austin said, looking down at his body. The fading black jeans clung tightly to his hips and calves; his red teeshirt was stamped with an ironically faded Coke label. "You just don't like skinny jeans. I think I look sexy."
"You did too! One minute you were sitting in a chair. The next? You were trying to climb into my lap!" Peter exclaimed. He noticed Austin's grin grow slightly larger. "Skinny jeans do not look good on anyone. Especially you. I can't help that they make your butt look huge. Then again, it looks that big all the time." Austin's lip curled into a slight sneer as he smoothed his hands over his flat rear end.
"You're just jealous." He paused as he went back into the closet and dug for a belt. He pulled out a black leather one and studied it.
"Jealous of what? Flab? No thanks. My behind is fantastic."
"You are so vain." Austin slid the belt through a front loop on his jeans.
"I only learn from the best. Before I met you? I was a quiet, innocent boy from the suburbs."
"Oh please. Norrah used to tell me all about you in the writing class we took together. You were anything but."
Peter smiled. "She never told me anything about you. That's not fair."
"That's because you have to get to know me in person. I can't be summed up in a few words. I'm like a classic painting. I need to be admired up close."
"And you say I'm the vain one?"
"I never said I wasn't vain." Austin laughed as he slid the end of the belt through the belt buckle. "I just said that quiet, innocent you is just as vain as me."
Austin walked over to the bed and sat down, his hand resting on Toyota. Peter placed his hand on Austin's soundlessly. Austin glanced at Peter, grinning.
"Okay. Fine. I'm vain. But, at least I have someone like you to be vain with."