Authors' note: Once again, sorry for the late delay (at least it wasn't a year this time!!!). We also apologize for the lack of an appropriate reward to the wait, as this chapter isn't as long as the previous one, and we also think it's not that good. Still, we hope you'll enjoy the read!
And so, without farther ado:
A Rich Man's Dust
If Kyle Broflovski didn't like Stanley Marsh's work, he would have fired the poor new butler already.
That was what Stan had been telling himself every morning since he had moved in at the Broflovski manor and caused a catastrophe after another. Saturday, the day he had started, he had learned that his new boss had an odd diet, something to do with the fact that he was Jewish. Mistake one. Sunday, the day his mother had always woken him at the dawn to get ready for church, Stan had woken up Kyle by his noisy attempts at making breakfast, only to learn that Kyle slept until noon on Sundays. Because he was Jewish – mistake two. Monday, when Kyle had been away, Stan had had his first day off and didn't return to the house before nine in the evening. Kyle had been ticked off, because Stan had locked the house, of course, and Kyle had forgotten his keys. Since Kyle didn't have Stan's number, he had waited for an hour for Stan to get back. Stan assured himself that the hiss-fit his new boss had thrown was because he was Jewish. It had nothing to with the fact that he was a lousy worker. Naturally.
But few days went after that, and Stan started to learn. A bit. He didn't burn breakfast, for example, but he still hadn't cleaned the house properly, since he didn't know where the cleaning closet was – but he was getting a hang of it.
Then came Wednesday. Stan was just preparing the table for a late breakfast (Kyle's eating habits were just as disorganized as his workroom was), when the doorbell rang. Grimacing, Stan abandoned the new dish set he had bought – Kyle had chosen them – and went to the door. He wiped the grimace off and got ready to face Token and his smirk again.
"Yes, how can I help—"
That was not Token. It was a girl. Woman.
The woman looked up at him and her eyes widened, a faint blush spreading over her cheeks. She had long, straight black hair, she wore a business suit and clutched a briefcase to her chest. Her mouth gaped in an attempt to say something, then closed when no words were uttered. When she opened her mouth again she managed to mumble "good morning" before it turned into a shaky smile.
"Morning," Stan greeted back, a bit puzzled. Did he have something on his face? "Did you, uh, come to meet Kyle? I mean, Mr. Broflovski?"
She tensed, not replying, and before Stan managed to repeat the question she nodded quickly. "Yes, we have a meeting schedule – I mean! Sc-scheduled a meeting," she said eventually, her voice squeaking somewhat. "I-if you don't mind me asking," she said then, looking at him shyly, "who might you be, sir?"
"Oh," Stan said, finally catching on. He had replaced an old lady who had served for decades the house… "I'm the new… butler. Servant. I just started, actually," he added with a goofy grin.
"What's your name?" she asked, smiling widely.
"Stan," he blinked, dazzled by her smile. She seemed nice, unlike that one other guest a few days ago. "Stan Marsh. And you are…?"
Just as she had opened her mouth to reply, the answer came from an unexpected source. "Wendy!" Kyle called happily from behind. Wendy was still staring at him, before tearing her gaze away and looking at the redhead. "Kyle!" she said back.
"Stan, why didn't you tell me she's here?" Kyle asked.
"I was just about to," Stan weakly tried, but he was nonetheless ignored. Kyle stepped outside to hug Wendy, who eagerly returned the gesture. They laughed and started to chat quickly, exchanging news about their mutual friends. The names and places they mentioned went on so quickly that before Stan had even processed what was going on, their amiable chat was over and they were stepping into the house.
Once inside the workroom, Kyle closed the door behind them and sat at his desk, motioning for his guest to take the seat across of him.
"So," he started, crossing his arms over the table and looking at her with hopeful eyes. "Any news?" he asked.
Wendy took a seat, carefully adjusting her lilac skirt. "Well, he's not giving up, that's for sure." She opened her briefcase, arranging many papers for Kyle to see. "Kyle, we both know this is a scam, a completely made-up story, but with Eric Cartman, you can never be too careful. If he has found something, however irrelevant it may be, and has taken it out of context, it may prove to be fatal for you."
Kyle's brow furrowed as he pondered this, tsking with his tongue every now and then as he thought – a bad habit he had inherited from his father.
"Man," he said finally, running a hand through his curls. "I hope I won't have to go there myself and prove him wrong. I can't afford to leave the state. That idiot…" He glanced at the papers, which were strewn around him and picked one up, skimming through it quickly before moving to the second page. "What proof does he have, anyway?"
Wendy shrugged. "Nothing that would hold up in the court. He claims that your company is involved in the animal abuse cases that occurred last year, and that the ones who got condemned were just scapegoats – the real mastermind behind it being you, as the head of the company." She flicked her hair, making it shine vividly in the morning sun. "I suppose he thinks the court will believe it. Many companies have used the same tactic, although with financial crimes."
Kyle drummed the table with his fingers. Wendy took out another set of papers. "Here," she passed it to Kyle, "are the reports from the cases. They have nothing to do with your company, of course, but the thing is… Cartman has somehow connected these small criminals to your trading business."
Kyle growled. "He would do that, the bastard. Always finding something stupid to sue me with… what was it last time? Illegal child labor? He never runs out of ideas…" His frown deepened and he opened one of the drawers in his desk. "Do we have the kosher-keeping council reports?" he asked. No reply came. Kyle looked up and snorted when he saw Wendy gazing into nothing. "Wendy?"
"Hm? Oh, I'm sure he has just bought those criminals to testify for him, there is no real evidence backing his theory up. Their word isn't worth a penny when we prove that your company has never done any businesses with them, or Cartman, or anyone related to him and his companies." She spoke dully, seemingly not listening to herself.
Kyle scrutinized her, displeased, more so with her behavior rather than what she had to say. A light knock on the door was heard and Kyle looked up. "Come in," he called.
There was a nervous Stan behind the door. "Sorry to disturb you, but breakfast is ready. I mean, brunch. Do you need me to serve, or can I go to the grocery store?"
Kyle seemed to mull it over for a brief second, then shook his head slowly. "Are you hungry, Wendy?" he asked his guest, who stared at Stan with glassy eyes.
"Not really, but a cup of tea would be nice. If it's not too much trouble," she hastily added, still staring at Stan and not sparing Kyle a glance. Stan answered to the smile Wendy sent him, obviously pleased.
"Of course not. I'll just go fill the pot." He blinked, since Wendy still hadn't unlocked their eye contact. "Um, anything else you'd like?"
"No, thank you." Wendy shook her head and sent a radiating smile at Stan. He nodded and quickly turned his head to Kyle.
"I'll have a cup of tea myself, I think. Earl Grey, no sugar," Kyle added hastily. "Bring the drinks here and then you can go, I'll eat breakfast later." Stan nodded and was about to leave, but then Kyle surprised him with the most peculiar question: "Would you like me to wait for you?"
"I'm sorry?" Stan said, not sure whether the question was really intended at him. When Kyle was clearly looking at him, waiting for an answer, Stan nervously blinked. "How... do you mean?"
Kyle frowned ever so slightly. "What I mean is, would you like me to wait for you? With breakfast?"
"Oh," Stan said, realization dawning on him. "No, no, you go ahead. I'll hit the grocery store real quick."
"Suit yourself," Kyle replied, eyes going back to scan the papers on the desk. Stan thought he heard some kind of disappointment in his tone, but before he could mull it over Wendy straightened in her seat and locked eyes with him.
Stan sent her a half-grin, nodded again and retreated from the room. Wendy followed the closing door with her eyes, hands reaching for her hair.
"How old is he?" she asked when silence had filled room for a moment. Her index finger was rolling one black lock over itself and tugging it once in a while - something she only did when she was planning something, and it did not always include the thick ethics she was famous in her work.
"Twenty he said, I think," Kyle replied, eying her suspiciously. "He's a bit too young for you, wouldn't you say?"
"Drop that look," Wendy said, annoyed. "It's not like I'm planning to marry him tomorrow, Kyle. Can't a girl have fun once in a while?" Her eyes narrowed into mean slits. "I'm so going to kill whoever started that rumor about me at the office -- I've had three boyfriends, I'm not some kind of a religious prude who looks down on everyone. Why would anyone think I'm a virgin, at twenty-six?"
Kyle looked as if this information was either too much for him or irrelevant to the discussion -- Wendy still couldn't decipher this odd frown of his.
"At any rate, I'm glad he left. You were unfocused as it ̶ " suddenly his eyes went wide and he paled ever so slightly, which kind of looked funny with his red hair. "Wait," he breathed. "Don't tell me… he distracted you when he wasn't even here?"
"Oh, Kyle, grow up," Wendy said, not even having the decency to blush. "He's a good looking young guy with wonderful feeling of kindness surrounding him. Every woman with eyes to look would react the same way." She bent forward, a crooked smile on her lips. "And a few men as well, if they weren't too thick-headed to lift their noses up from certain papers."
A deep blush replaced Kyle's previous paleness and he huffed, looking away quickly and not allowing his colleague to scrutinize him farther. "Shut up, Wendy," he hissed. "Why would I even spare a second glance at him? I have Token, who's a perfectly capable man… in various aspects," he added in an afterthought, smiling slightly.
"If you say so," Wendy shrugged, unfazed by Kyle's attempt at making her uncomfortable. Even if they had originally been working partners, their relationship had progressed from that point far further, almost making them friends. Crude jokes and rude hints at homosexuality were nowadays pretty natural part of their communication, even if they both had been unsure of using such methods in the beginning, when they still had been trapped to their roles of "Perfect Businessmen/women Who Do Not Think About Such Secular Stuff."
Wendy smiled again, ignoring Kyle's attempt to seriously look at their papers. "So, you don't mind if I ask him out?"
"Who, Stan? Of course not, though I'd advise against it," he said, turning a paper over only to discover nothing was written on its other side. "He's too young, and clumsy, I don't think I saw him hold a broom properly yet, and besides, he's a college drop-out, Wendy!"
Just then there was a knock on the door, before Wendy could rush to ask about the last part. Stan came in, carrying a tray with two cups and a tea pot on it. Nothing in his expression told whether or not he had heard Kyle's outburst.
"Here's the tea," he said, gracefully placing it on the table. Wendy sent him a thankful look, Kyle just a nod. "There's no sugar in either of the cups, but here's some, and milk, too, if you want to use it." He glanced at Wendy with the last sentence, since Kyle didn't use milk, or anything else for his tea, for that matter.
"Would you like to join us?" Wendy asked pleasantly, ignoring Kyle's piercing glare, motioning for the nearby, vacant chair.
Normally, Stan would have jumped at the chance to speak with a girl like Wendy - beautiful, friendly and lively - but the stare his boss gave him advised him to escape the room as fast as he could. "No, thank you," he said, momentary feeling equal to Kyle and Wendy, and not just a servant. "I'm leaving then. I'll be back in an hour."
"That's too bad," Wendy pouted. "Would you like to meet for a dinner sometime?" Wendy asked him, surprising Stan both by her forwardness, and by the fact that she, for some reason, managed to ignore Kyle's silent rage.
"M-maybe," he smiled, quickly backing out. "I'll... I'll find you. No, you'll find me."
As the door closed, Wendy was already having a hard time hiding her enthusiastic giggles. "He's so cute," she whispered to Kyle.
"For God's sake, Wendy! Couldn't you wait at least until you left?" Kyle exclaimed, face red. From anger or embarrassment, Wendy couldn't tell.
"He was leaving," she defended herself. The fuchsia red on Kyle's face really didn't suit him, and Wendy decided the few jokes she had thought up weren't worth Kyle's rage or embarrassment, whichever. "Alright, I'm sorry for being a teenager a moment there. Now, let's get back to business. We have a few options on how to operate from here."
"I don't feel like it now," Kyle shot back, crossing his arms over his chest angrily. "How can I concentrate on Cartman when that… ordeal keeps repeating itself in my head?"
Wendy bit her lip. "Kyle, what's with you now? Are you really bothered by me flirting with your servant, or is something else the matter? Are things with Token okay?"
Kyle huffed angrily, gathering the papers into a single pile. "Of course they are, why wouldn't they be?"
"You didn't really answer my question," Wendy pointed out dryly.
"I did," Kyle shot back, glaring at her. "Everything's fine with Token."
"If you say so," Wendy repeated in the same dull voice she had delivered the line earlier.
Kyle kept on reading, or rather staring (as he was still bothered by utterly irrelevant things) at the legal papers that were handed out to him, before lifting his head to his slightly red-faced partner. "A dinner, Wendy? Really?"
"What's wrong with that?" she frowned. "You were yourself prompting him to join us! And not in such a professional manner, one might add." She was teasing, of course, twinkling eyes and all, but Kyle didn't seem to take it as humorous.
Kyle huffed and put down the documents, narrowing his eyes. "Well, I wasn't hitting on him! I was just trying to be a good boss, is all."
"Really, Kyle? Really?" Wendy asked, imitating Kyle's earlier tone. "Oh, well, not that I'd blame you for--"
Kyle slammed his hands on the table then, glaring at his friend, seething. Why, Wendy could not tell. "Don't even go there, Wendy! Token is a perfectly capable boyfriend, I don't need your stupid joking!" He cried.
"I wasn't accusing you for..." She stopped, searched for something else to say, scared of the wrath that had appeared so suddenly. "Honestly, Kyle, I was only joking. I didn't imply that..." She stopped again, eyeing Kyle's trembling posture curiously. "Don't take me wrong, Kyle, but are you sure you're not just a teeny-weeny bit jealous?
Kyle's green eyes widened momentarily and an unrecognizable emotion flashed through them for a mere second before disappearing and leaving rage in its place. "Jealous? Of you? Come on, Wendy, be realistic! What is there to be jealous of? That I have a perfectly good relationship and you don't?"
"Come on, my dear simpleton," Wendy snapped, "of him! Of Stan, of course! I ask a single, nice-looking guy out, and you throw a fit!"
"Oh, he's just a dumb kid, I mentioned he's a college drop-out, didn't I? Guys should have more than good looks, and I am yet to see any good quality about him," Kyle replied, clenching his fists, still not lifting his glare.
Wendy was not impressed. "If he's that much a nuisance, why not throw him out?"
"Because-" Kyle started, but no other word came out as he kept on gaping. He sighed heavily then and looked down at his lap, finally averting his gaze from his business partner. "Leave it," he said. "It doesn't matter, anyway. Let's just go back to business, okay?"
Wendy would have so loved to tear Kyle's thoughts apart, confront him about this for once and for all, but Kyle's miserable look alone was making her feel extremely awkward. She glanced at the papers, deciding to give her friend a break. "Actually, there's nothing left for you to do. Just read the rest of the papers, I'll contact the other business partners for you, and when we need to go to court next week, we'll be ready. Don't worry about that." She gathered her papers, purposely avoiding Kyle's wondering looks. "Oh, and thanks for the tea. I need to go now, I have another meeting in an hour."
"Yeah, sure," Kyle said weakly. "You know your way out, don't you?"
"Yes, yes," Wendy said, waving her hand. "See you next week!"
She was out of the door quicker than Kyle could blink, leaving only a cup of half-drunk tea behind her. Kyle watched her retreating figure, sighing quietly to himself as she left, still a bit shaken from their argument. He gritted his teeth slowly and glared at his table. Really, it wasn't her fault. She was right, of course, but he wouldn't admit it. After all, it's not like he could tell her that Token has been strangely evasive as of late and Stan's morning smiles made waking up a bit more worthwhile.
As a pang of guilt hit him, Kyle pressed 3 on his quick-dial and waited impatiently. "Token?" he said as the receiving end picked up. "Hi, sorry, I know you're busy, but can you come over? Yeah…" A blush. "If that's how you want to call it, sure."
As Stan parked Kyle's dear Mercedes-Bentz to the garage (very, very carefully, as he didn't want anymore scratches on it), he thought about the guest they'd had today. Wendy... something seemed like a nice girl. A little pushy, alright, and for some reason, Kyle hadn't really seemed to like him talking to her.
Well, that might as well be because he wasn't supposed to be chatting with guests, but to serve them. Stupid Stan, he thought, as he got out of the car, get over yourself. She's a nice girl, but you work here.
The front door was left open, which alarmed him a bit, but he thought nothing more of it, and went straight to the kitchen with the bags. Kyle wasn't in his study, Stan noted, as he went to clean the tables, and Wendy seemed to be gone too. Someone had clearly eaten the brunch, though. He went back to the kitchen, carrying heaps of used dishes, and then he heard something.
A grunt. Was that a grunt? No, was someone speaking?
Strange noises were coming from upstairs, and even though Stan wasn't completely delusional, he had no particularly dirty mind and didn't want to make any hasty (and obviously, totally wrong) assumptions. The noises became louder as he crept up the stairs, and as he reached the second store, he could quite clearly hear that someone was in Kyle's private room.
It sounded like wet kissing and something else. He had a vague idea about what was going on in there, but…. But he was wrong, probably. Maybe just a peek, to see if everything was alright and Kyle wasn't choking on anything. The door was already slightly open (obviously) and all Stan had to do was push his head in the right direction. What he saw made his knees go weak and his heart to sink. Kyle… well, he probably wasn't choking, if the continuous bobbing of his head was any indication. Token's hands were in the redhead's hair as he moaned, fingers massaging, head thrown back… and suddenly Kyle stood up, Token pushed him down and-
Stan turned away, blushing madly, heart thumping in his chest hard enough to break his ribcage and make him forget about the curious stinging in his nether regions.
Step back, and nothing bad's going to happen, he kept telling himself, just step back, walk away, step back, walk away WALK AWAY--
He would probably never again forget the noise echoing in the halls as he tripped in the stairs and fell the whole way down.
Stan blinked rapidly, trying to ignore the pain. He groaned and sat up, noticing an odd shadow looming over him. He looked up and paled. "Ky-- "
"Did you see us?" his boss asked, his face as red as his hair, a thin blanket covering his still somewhat… tented groin.
"Well, uh, I, ahm..." It seemed like every word in his vocabulary had again deserted him. It often seemed to be the case with Kyle. "Well, kinda."
"Fuck," Kyle mumbled, hiding his face behind his hand. "Look, I… I'm sorry, I should have probably locked the door. Mary, the old maid, she never… I'm sorry." He let go of his face and stared at Stan, eyes lowering in embarrassment, then widening. He looked back up, shocked. "You…" he breathed.
Stan pretended that he didn't know what was going on. Maybe Kyle hadn't noticed anything. Hopefully. "What?" he asked, eyes very clear. "Uh, I'm sorry for interrupting you, I mean, I'll... I'll just go back to my work..."
But before he could run away yet again, Kyle kneeled and stared at him intently. "You're gay," he said. "There's no other explanation… for that."
"What?" Stan jerked, honestly surprised. When Kyle's look didn't magically turn into a laughter, "ha ha, fooled you, stupid college drop-out!", Stan suddenly felt even more embarrassed than he already was. "No... that's, that's idiotic, of course I'm not! I'm not!" Not bothering to hide the bulge in his pants anymore, he got up and ran. Literally. "I need to get back to work!"
That, naturally, did not prevent Kyle from leaving gay porn magazines on his bed that night.
To Be Continued (hopefully in 2010!)
-Fletset & eishi