A/N: Hello again, friends. We hope you all enjoyed the last chapter, and now bring you our next installment. We had a lot of fun writing this (as we generally tend to), and hopefully you guys will enjoy it too. As we work on upcoming chapters, our entire story is really starting to take shape, and we actually (and completely inadvertently) planned out everything the other night when we really should have been sleeping. Because of this, and because things are really 'clicking' for us when we get the chance to sit down and write, we are anticipating that this will be a long and, hopefully, very entertaining story. We are very excited, and happy that you are along with us for the ride.
Without further ado, I present chapter 6 in our continuing saga. And thank you all for your continued support and reviews. They really do, truly, keep us going. Thank you, again!
"Easy Come, Easy Go"
It had been far too long since Matt had taken the time to visit his favorite bar. A combination of work, his girlfriend, and World of Warcraft kept him from one of his favorite vices. As he pulled up to the bar, he checked his phone; Erika had been texting him since he had arrived at work today. For a while, she had seemed distant, but now she was clinger than ever. Sure, it was a weird change, but Matt decided she had just been on her period.
When all else failed to make sense, he tended to chock up any sort of irregular behavior to menstrual cycles.
Seeing the mop of red hair come through the bar doors made his lips shift into a smile. Mello was also rather relieved to see Matt alone and not with that horrid she-leach sucking out his soul and any money he had to his name. "Fancy seeing you here, Casanova."
Matt's eyebrows narrowed in a confused manner, "What a queer nickname, are you making fun of my bad past?" He laughed, taking a seat at the bar, nodding slightly at another regular several seats down.
"Perhaps," the smile grew. "So...how are things?"
"Pretty good I guess, as to be expected." He shot the blond a cheeky smile, leaning on his palm. "Can I get a drink, bartender?"
"The usual?" Mello grabbed a glass, cocking his head to the side. "You sure seem like you're in a good mood."
"What? I can't be happy to see my friend? It's been a while, that's all." He laughed a bit, flashing a smile. "But yeah, same old same old, nothing bad though, which is a breather."
"No, no, just wondering," the blond prepared the drink, glancing up for a moment. "So...how's Erika?"
Matt opened his mouth to say something, then stopped. "...How do you know her name?" He asked, shocked. Had he ever told him?
"Oh, I dunno," Mello set the glass in front of the other, a grin spreading across his face.
The redhead tossed his drink back, most of the liquid gone as soon as it hit his lips. When he looked back at the blond, his eyebrows were furrowed. "What aren't you telling me, Mello?"
"Me? Oh, Matt, why on Earth would you think that I was keeping something from you?"
"I don't know, that shit-eating grin?"
Mello stood up straight, shrugging and picking up a glass to clean. "Maybe she came in the other day. I'm still a bit fuzzy on the whole...scenario."
"She... came in?" Matt asked, his drink slowly making its way back to his lips. "How did that go?"
"Well, she came looking for the girl you're cheating on her with."
Matt's eyes went huge. "What?"
"She was under the impression that there was some blond bitch you were meeting here every night," he shrugged offhandedly.
Matt just sat there, unable to find the right words to speak. Hell, he couldn't even think right now. Why would she think he was cheating? And with a blond girl? Erika was blond…what led her to believe..?
"She said you talk about her all the time, you know. Said you called her.." he paused for a moment, resting his elbows on the counter top and staring at Matt, "…Mel."
Green eyes narrowed behind glasses, "You?" Shock and confusion morphed into anger, "Wait. Did she come in here and yell at you?"
"I think she wanted to, but once she actually found out it was me, she laughed and left. But when she first got here, she was pretty determined to rip 'Mel's' hair out and beat the living shit out of her."
It dawned on Matt suddenly: THIS is why Erika had been acting strange lately. Why she was so distant, why she questioned everything he did. She thought he was cheating, and instead of confronting him, simply took it upon herself to investigate. Then after she found out that Mello was the reason he hadn't been catering to her every whim, she switched to innocent, clingy mode.
Something about this stirred a deep anger within the redhead.
Mello watched him carefully, "Something wrong? It's not like she cussed me out or pulled my hair."
"It's the fact that she came here, questioning my loyalty." He gulped down the rest of his drink, putting the glass back on the bar. "She had no right to assume, she should have come to me."
He nodded solemnly, gesturing to the empty glass, "Want another?"
After a moment, Mello passed the drink to the other. "I'm sorry, Matt."
The redhead downed the next drink in one swoosh, then stood up. He pushed his stool in before shaking his head and placing a wad of cash on the counter, "I can't have her harassing my friends for no good reason."
"Matt, it's really not a big deal. She was just...concerned, I guess..."
"She should have come to me and talked to me, then. What she did…How do I know she hasn't gone behind my back and stalked other friends of mine? I didn't sign up for this type of thing, and I'm certainly not going to pretend it didn't happen."
Mello paused, a sinking feeling rising in his chest at Matt's sadness. "What are you going to do?"
"I'm not a hundred percent sure right now." With that, he raised his hand with a short wave, leaving the bar.
Mello burst out the backdoor of the bar, the sound of yelling following him. He quickly shut the door, blocking the chaos of inside and taking a few steps into the alley. As he looked out into the small parking lot, he noticed a cherry red car, paint worn with age. Cautiously, the blond rounded the corner, catching sight of a familiar redhead leaning against the wall, cigarette perched between his lips. Mello's tongue darted out to lick his bottom lip, feeling a lump in his throat that he didn't think would emerge from seeing something as insignificant as the other man smoking. He honestly hadn't expected the other to have such a stupid vice.
But maybe he could get used to the smell of cigarettes.
He feigned a small smile, walking up to the other, "Hey Matt."
The smoker said nothing at first, completely unaware that another human being was talking to him, let alone in the same area as him. When he finally took notice, his slightly stressed expression lessened. "Oh, hey Mello." He took another puff of his cigarette, blowing smoke off to the side.
"Those things will kill you, you know," the blond smirked, leaning against the wall and pulling a chocolate bar from his pocket.
"So I've been told." He muttered, leaning against the wall, his sneaker pressed firmly against the brick. Matt tilted his head up toward the skyline, smoke drifting off the end of his cigarette as well as the corner of his lips. His eyes seemed slightly distant, "But I could care less. It's something about control, I think."
"Understandable," he mused softly, watching the redhead out of the corner of his eye. "I've never much had the stomach for it, personally," Mello snapped off a piece of chocolate, "same with alcohol."
"Which is ironic, seeing as how you just so happen to be a bartender." Matt smirked briefly, tapping the ash off his cigarette.
"Yeah," he laughed a little at that. "I don't like not being in control of myself. Don't get me wrong, I drink. I drink a lot, it's just with certain company. But...cigarettes are an entirely different animal." The blond sighed deeply, laughing again, "I'm a shitty bartender."
At that comment Matt took a long, hard drag of his cigarette, tilting his head more he blew his smoke toward the sky. "It calms me down, I guess. I think too much. Games and cigarettes, with the occasional drink, are my vices. Well, that and bitchy girls." Letting the butt of his cigarette hit the ground, he stomped it out.
"Speaking of bitchy girls, you won't have to deal with Erika ever again."
A deep pang made itself known in the pit of Mello's stomach. "What happened?"
He shrugged, a very over dramatic type of shrug, at that. Rolling his eyes he readjusted his glasses before pocketing his hands in his jeans. "After our talk the other day, I did some thinking. She's a bitch, she had no right to assume I was cheating. She also was starting to get on my nerves, anyway."
"So you just...?"
Mello made a soft noise against his chocolate bar, eyes darting to Matt again. "How'd that go?"
"Oh, she exploded, of course. She didn't have any nice things to say. Colorful words, names were tossed around." He shrugged, "It just wasn't pleasant at all. But what would you expect from T-Erika?"
"I'd kind of wanted to ask about how exactly you two hit it off. She doesn't seem like the office-party type, Matt."
"She ..." The redhead made a pained expression, trying his best to formulate why it was he had been dating her. "Gave me something I don't have, I guess."
He didn't want to pry. He needed to, but was having trouble doing much of anything with the redhead looking so...
"Care to divulge?"
"I'm boring." Matt offered, but quickly attempted to explain. "Not me as a person, but my life. Well yes, me as a person in a sense. I'm not really the party guy, I'm not a bad boy, and I don't toss money around like it's going out of style." He kicked a rock and lifted one shoulder, "I'm ordinary by my own standards. I play video games, and to me, that's fun. Otherwise? I just get bored of everything." He looked at Mello and frowned, "I don't think I have ADD, but I can't pay attention to something long enough to be interested. Including people. Unless they're off the wall, crazy, bitchy, entertaining, it's hard for me to care enough to connect." Reaching into his pocket, Matt pulled out another cigarette, quickly lighting it and calming his nerves.
"I code, write programs, listen to techno while I mix a few tracks, send emails, play W.O.W, and read a book at the same damn time. My brain doesn't work the same way everyone else's does I guess, so people have to be something I'm not. She was a character, entertaining. I liked that about her."
Mello nodded, tongue touching his sweet briefly. "I actually know what you mean," he sighed again, looking at the other man, "I'm sorry, Matt."
Matt actually laughed at him. "You? You don't have a boring bone in your body."
"I've got boring everything everywhere in, on, and around anything remotely having to do with my body," Mello cracked a smile, resting his head back against the wall. "I'm single, I'm lonely, I'm a rabid chocoholic working as a bartender, and slave to my boss to the point where I'm actually living at my place of work because my apartment is being fumigated," as he said it out loud, he started laughing harder.
"God, when you say it, it sounds pathetic." Matt joined him in laughing, he soon found himself laughing so hard he began coughing. "It's weird, images we have of other people. Because I don't see that when I see you. Not at all."
"And I don't see a boring cubical jockey," Mello grinned as he bit off another piece of chocolate.
"Maybe we're both delusional, or have delusions of grandeur for each other."
"Nah, we just see each other for what we really are." The thought made him smile, staring off into the starless night. "Well, except you. You're completely delusional about me."
"Oh please, you're a badass and you know it. Don't try to tell me you don't have a motorcycle, you didn't graduate from college with frickin' high marks, and you don't have bitches lined up outside your house. Let me pretend these things are facts. A man needs to believe in his bro." Matt laughed, sucking in more smoke from his cigarette.
"Just because I have a motorcycle doesn't make the rest of that true."
The redhead stared at the other. "NO WAY!"
Mello nodded toward a bike chained up in the far corner of the parking lot. "I shit you not."
"You are officially the coolest guy I've ever known." Matt gaped at the bike where he pointed. "Can I touch it?"
Oh good Lord, he'd let Matt do anything he wanted to it.
"If you feel so inclined," Mello replied, thankful that the night air cooled his burning cheeks.
"Oh I'm going to touch all over it, shit. Is it a Honda?" Trotting up to the bike Matt crotched down, his fingers tracing over the frame work of the bike gently. His eyes were wide with excitement, like a kid in a candy shop. "I always said to myself, after I finished repairing my car I'd get a bike. You're so lucky." He examined the rest of the frame work slowly before standing.
"Can I sit on it?"
"Wow, fanboy," he laughed, nails digging into the palm of his hand. "It's a Kawasaki," the blond shrugged, wrapping his chocolate bar and tucking both hands into his jacket pockets, "and go for it, if you want. I will kill you, though, if anything happens to it."
"I'll be extra careful, Boss." Matt joked, giving Mello the tiniest of a salute before climbing on to the motorcycle. He closed his eyes for a moment, cigarette held between his lips, and imagined what it would feel like to drive down the road on this puppy.
"Yeah. You can never again say your life is as boring as mine."
Mello's teeth clamped down on the inside of his bottom lip, threatening to draw blood. He envied the bliss plastered all over Matt's face, and for a split second thought of joining the other on the back of his bike. And then he instantly bit down harder, pushing any thought of ruining the gamer's bliss from his mind.
"Hell yeah I do." With a short sigh, he removed himself from the bike. Standing back, he tapped some ash from his cigarette and observed the beauty from a distance. "This motorcycle's so nice, I almost forgot I dumped my girlfriend half an hour ago."
He couldn't help his grin. "That's what I'm here for, Matty," Mello licked at the inside of his bottom lip, faintly tasting blood. As the metallic flavor rolled over his tongue, he felt the now familiar lurch in his stomach, a realization he had been avoiding making itself known.
He watched Matt smile, eyes drifting over his bike with something akin to lust, and knew in the back of his mind that he wanted those eyes on him, raking over him with that same sultry stare. He saw the blush on Matt's cheeks from the chilly night air and wished he'd caused it. And as the redhead took another drag on his cigarette, Mello wanted to taste the nicotine on his lips.
He was fucked.