Darren had never wanted not to do something more in his life. He was overwhelmed - and distracted. Chris was kneeling beside him on the living room rug mumbling about "How it wasn't going to be that bad" and "How hard could it be?" Darren groaned in response.
"I have no idea what I'm doing?" Chris looked up from his mumbling. "I don't know if I can do this?" Darren rephrased his statement.
"Honey, …I've got this" Chris replied patting Darren's leg. "I just needed an extra pair of hands and your drill."
"What do you mean 'You got this'?" Darren asked.
"I'm gay - not physically or mentally challenged. I'll have you know I even took a semester of shop in high school. There are many tools I know how to use and according to my teacher I am very adept at it as well. Just give me a couple hours and I'll show you how good I am" Chris stopped his soliloquy abruptly looking Darren straight in the eye. What he saw in Darren's eyes was a mixture of amusement and disbelief. Chris quickly played over in his head what he had just said, squinted his eyes and said "What? I'm just saying I'm handy…"
And with that Darren burst out laughing, rolling on the floor, holding-his-sides laughing. He tried to calm himself and between giggles he toyed with his best friend. "So what you're telling me is you're not a tool but you know how to use one."
"Exactly!" Chris replied glad they were on the same page. Unfortunately his answer just made Darren laugh harder.
"Okay, ..okay I'm done" Darren stuttered a few minutes later " I'll give you and your tools three hours to show me what you can do…" He gave Chris a big wink and with that he broke down again.
It was way past lunch and the only thing that had been built in the last three hours was the boys' growing frustration. Chris was upset because he couldn't understand why the piece was not coming together easier and Darren was upset because his last free weekend of the summer was slipping away.
"Are you gonna feed me or what?"
"Are you gonna feed me or what? Times up dude …I gotta go. Buuuuut …if you say that there is lunch involved I could be convinced to stay awhile longer."
Chris dropped the side panel he was holding and walked into the kitchen. He came back out two minutes later with a can of Diet Coke and a kid sized carton of an apple juice. He handed the latter to Darren and then flopped on the couch. "Pizza will be here in 15 minutes. I guess we can take a break."
"Thank god" Darren breathed, coming to sit on the couch. He stretched his feet across the couch and rested them on Chris' lap. "Honey, massage my feet," he said sweetly. Chris lifted up both of Darren's legs and dropped them on the floor. "Humf… you're no fun" Darren said placing his feet back in Chris' lap.
Chris turned to Darren and gave him a half smile "Dar, I'm sorry, I just didn't think it would be that hard. I know it's our last free weekend and I wanted to spend it with you – just not doing this" and gestured to the scattered pieces of wood all over the floor.
"Well let's just call it a day and take a road trip or something after lunch… You keep promising to take me to the observatory, but we never go" Darren pouted his lip and looked at Chris from under his lashes.
"I can't Dar, you know I'm not a quitter I can't let this thing beat me."
"So you're gonna spend your last weekend of freedom hunched over 56 pieces of cherry stained wood? Come on…"
Chris shook his head, not budging, still determined to finish the entertainment center. "Please, please, please… buddy, pal, bestie, …sweetheart, do it for me, pleeeease" Darren whined.
Darren jumped off the couch, arms flailing all over the place; he wanted to let Chris know what was really bothering him, but instead he just started jabbering: "Man, I'm so stressed right now. We get our scripts next Tuesday… I mean… will I stay a Warbler, move to McKinley, join the foot ball team, get the crap beaten out of me… Chris, man, I need to move, or run, or dance, or something, the not knowing is setting me crazy!"
"Aaaaww, does 'Blaine' need a hug?" Chris said in his sweetest Kurt imitation.
"No actually, 'Blaine' needs to get laid…can you help with that?" Darren shot Chris a look as serious as death. And electricity seemed to fill the air.
Chris flushed pink and was just about to open his mouth when the door bell rang. "Pizza's here" he squeaked and headed for the door.
Five minutes later they were each on their second piece of pizza. They had both decided ignore Darren's last remark and were now hashing out how they would spend the rest of their weekend.
"Just give me two more hours" Chris pleaded. "I can't leave the living room looking like this."
"One hour, … plus no one but me comes over here anyway" Darren replied "and I don't come for the furniture, I come for the company …and no I don't care how many tools you have, or how good you use them…" Darren barely got out before having a laughing fit.
Chris shoved him, hard. "Ninety minutes …and I promise to take you to Griffin Park and you can run that cute backside of yours off… and if you're a good boy I'll even bring a Frisbee for you to fetch."
"ARF!" Darren barked without missing a beat, and then he leaned over and licked the side of Chris' face.
"Uh, get off" Chris shoved him again, wiping the saliva off his face, then his wet hand onto the front of Darren's shirt.
"Deal…" Darren conceded "but I'm plugging in my ipod because the tunes you've been playing are killin' my joy."
They had played by Chris' rules all morning and now Darren was determined to enjoy himself one way or the other.
Forty minutes later Chris was rolling his eyes, again. "Watch it Colfer" Darren joked "your face just might stay like that."
'Then stop messing around Dar" Chris said in mock seriousness, but he could not hide the smile behind his words. "Just pass me the screws..."
"What you wanna screw? Oh my, …this is so sudden Christopher" Darren feigned shock…
"SCREW!" demanded Chris.
"Well if that's really what you want… I can give you a screw… I love it when you're so demanding Christopher… You put the man in demanding" Darren then made a growling noise.
"I'm glad you're having fun Dar." Chris hung his head trying hard not to laugh "Do I dare ask for the drill?"
"Oh my…" Darren continued, "Who's doing the drilling? Or do you wanna take turns? I don't mind going first…" He slipped behind Chris and made some lewd movements behind his back.
"What are you doing back there?" Chris spun around, unable to contain his laugh any longer.
"Just practicing for later" Darren quipped and gave him another wink. Chris' cheek flushed pink. He couldn't help it…he hated when Darren got like this …all flirty and wicked and touchy feely. It made it so hard to just be friends with him. But he had to admit to himself the friendship was so worth it. Darren understood him. They both worked incredibly hard and Chris was happy he found someone who shared so many of his interests and someone who was cool with staying in on their days off, chilling, talking, watching movies and getting take out. He had a best friend that he got to hang out with at work and at home. His life was perfect, almost.
"Are gonna help me flip this over so we can get the back on?" Chris realized his mistake too late.
"What you want it back on? You naughty boy…" Darren chided "I like it from the front so I can look in my lovers eyes." Darren caught Chris' eyes with his own. His tone changed and he said directly to him "And lover, …you have beautiful eyes."
Chris' heart skipped a beat, maybe two. He knew Darren was just playing around. He reminded himself that they were just joking – just trying to get through putting this piece of furniture together without killing each other. Darren had made his heart skip a beat before and he would do it again, he was just being 'flirty Darren'.
And 'flirty Darren' was rapidly closing the gap between them. Wrapping his arms around Chris' waist and giving him his brightest one hundred watt smile. "Come on Darren..." Chris reprimanded trying to free himself from the older boys grasp. "Stop playing around… you promised me thirty more minutes."
"And what happens after thirty minutes?" Darren questioned, speaking softly into the hollow behind Chris' ear. Chris stopped struggling.
"Then we'll go to the p-park, l-like I p-p-promised" Chris stammered, striving once again to free himself. He could barely hear himself, his blood was racing in his ears and his heart was pounding and he had the distinct feeling other parts of his body were going to start to betray him if he did not get out of Darren's grasp.
"What if I don't want to go to the park anymore?" Darren whispered his lips ghosting over Chris' neck.
"Okay then, w-we can do anything you w-want." As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Chris tried to back pedal, realizing too late how desperate he sounded.
"Anything..?." Darren breathed against his skin.
"No, I mean, I mean s-something else we both w-wanna do…" Chris' throat caught as Darren pulled him closer.
"Ahh Colfer, you are making this just too easy" Chris could hear the smile in Darren's words and his heart dropped. Darren was fucking with him, teasing him, getting enjoyment from Chris' discomfort.
Anger welled up in Chris like dam threatening to explode. "Get the fuck off me Criss!" The younger man screamed still fighting to get out of Darren's arms. "I mean it, you're about ten seconds away from me kneeing you!"
Reluctantly Darren let Chris go. Chris stepped back able to look into his friend's eyes for the first time since their sensual exchange started. The same anger he had mere seconds ago had vanished without a trace when he saw Darren's eyes.
Over the last year Chris had prided himself in learning Darren's moods, reading his eyes and deciphering his attitude from his stance. As far as Chris was concerned, Darren was an open book and Darren had long ago stopped lying to the younger boy whenever Chris read his mood – because Chris was always right, always.
But Chris had never seen Darren's eyes like this. They looked lost, questioning and there was a look of something else in there that he just could not put his finger on. Darren's pupils were so wide. Chris had never seen this look before, or had he?
He closed his eyes, took a deep breath and cleared his mind, trying to remember if and when he had ever seen Darren's eyes hold that particular combo of spark and depth.
"Chris…" the quiet call of his name broke Chris out of his reverie. Chris jumped a little as Darren touched his arm. "I'm sorry Chris…I don't know what I did to piss you off, but I'm really sorry…We cool?"
Chris looked at Darren again. Chris looked into Darren. He took a step back and leaned against the arm of the sofa and crossed his arms. He hoped this casual gesture was enough to hide both his trembling and contain his heart which he was quite certain was about to burst from his chest. Chris had finally recognized the look. He had seen it before…in the eyes of 'Blaine Anderson' as they had shot the season finale, almost 5 months ago. It was the look he gave 'Kurt' before he had said 'I love you'.
"Dar, what are you thinking?" the younger man asked as steady as he could.
"I'm thinking I screwed up and you're mad as fuck at me" came his honest answer. "You're so mad your trembling."
"Dar, what were you thinking, a minute ago, when you were …h-h-h-olding me?" damn that stutter Chris thought.
"Like I said, …I'm sorry" Darren took a step closer.
"No Darren, you're not answering the question. What were you thinking when you were whispering to me?" Chris was grateful he had his stammer under control, now if he could only work on the trembling…
"Chris…" Darren hung his head.
"Could you look at me please?" The question came out a little too high pitched for his liking.
Darren raised his head and looked Chris straight in the eyes, getting lost for a moment in the blue pools. Chris smiled at him. Holding out a hand for Darren to take if he wanted it. Darren took another step towards Chris; he took the hand offered to him and held onto it as if it was his safety line between this world and the next. He remembered the lyrics of song he had heard on the radio just this morning on the way here. Jump, then fall. Jump, then fall.
"Okay…" Darren began, squeezing Chris' hand and receiving a reassuring squeeze back. "Earlier I was thinking… I was wondering…if you ever thought about us being more than friends. There I said IT! It's out there. …That's what I was thinking, that's what I've been thinking about for the last six months, alot."
Darren released Chris' hand and ran both of his hands through his hair, letting out a huge sigh. He was also looking everywhere else in the room but at Chris.
Chris stood up from the sofa arm. And reached out for Darren's hand. He lead him back to the middle of the living room. And with more bravado than he actually thought he had he started barking out orders.
"Mr. Criss. This is your mark right here. We will be doing a second take of the first scene in this act. You are free to improvise."
Chris took Darren's arms and wound them around his waist. He looked into the shorter man's eyes and smiled. "Come on Darren..." Chris said, coyly pretending to try to free himself from the older boys grasp. "Stop playing around… you promised me thirty more minutes."
Darren smiled, leaning into Chris' neck he spoke softly into the hollow behind Chris' ear: "And what happens after thirty minutes?"
"Then we'll go to the p-park, l-like I p-p-promised" Chris stammered, still pretending to free himself, but purposely grinding into Darren's hips. Darren let out a gasp.
"What if I don't want to go to the park anymore?" Darren whispered seductively, kissing Chris' neck softly and returning Chris' grinding motion.
"Okay then, w-we can do anything you w-want." Chris took his hands and ran them up Darren's back ending at the base of his neck where he absentmindedly curled a lock of Darren's hair around is finger.
"Anything..?." Darren breathed against his skin.
"Anything you want..." Chris replied looking down at the man in his arms.
"I'd like to k-k-iss you…" It was now Darren's time to stutter.
"Ahh Criss, you are making this just too easy" Chris countered, but his tone was serious. He raised Darren's chin, made a mental note of the look in his friend's eyes and leaned in to kiss him.
The blood rush was back. His ears were ringing, his heart was fluttering and his stomach felt as if he had just drank thirteen cappuccinos in the space of an hour. Chris was trembling again, but Darren did not notice because he was trembling too.
The kiss was soft and slow, tentative, measured, neither boy wanting to fully believe that it was actually happening. But what Chris felt more than anything was that the kiss was full of potential, full of promise and the most honest kiss he had ever received.
As they broke away from each other their smiles were back, both in their eyes and on their lips.
"So…" Chris said cheekily, grabbing Darren's ass and pulling him in tighter. "was there anything else you were thinking of…?"
"Yes," Darren said his eyes glittering with restrained laughter "but I wouldn't want to scare you off."
"Try me" Chris countered and Darren could tell he was serious.
Darren blushed, and though the two of them were alone in Chris' apartment, Darren stood on his toes and whispered something into Chris' ear causing the taller boy to blush and grin mischievously.
Chris' grabbed Darren's arm and wrapped it around his and declared: "Why, Mr. Criss… well I never ever…" and swatted the hand on his arm.
Then Chris dropped the act and said in all seriousness as he pulled Darren to him again: "I think we need to spend the afternoon getting to know each other better. Is that alright with you?" In response Darren kissed him a second time. This kiss was needier than the first and Chris' breath caught as Darren's tongue met his for the first time.
"I'll take that as a Yes" he smiled, wrapping himself around the older man.
"What about the Entertainment center?" Darren asked breathlessly.
Chris turned and looked at the partially finished piece of furniture in his living room then back to Darren. "Ah screw it!" he conceded and dragged Darren down the hall to his bedroom.
As the bedroom door closed you could hear Darren's voice, ripe with sarcasm: "You know Chris… I'm only doing this 'cause we're going steady".
They never finished the entertainment center. It spent the next two weeks in an half assembled mess monopolizing the living room. Darren didn't mind that much because it meant they could spend more time in Chris' room getting to know each other better.
Then one day he came by and it was gone. He was shocked how much he missed it. He felt like it was a tangible representation of his love for Chris.
Chris waved it off saying something about it being too big for his apartment any way and Darren conceded that it was nice to have room to slow dance.
But Chris had not gotten rid of the Entertainment Center. He had it stored somewhere very safe. And very soon he hoped to share his hiding spot with Darren.
But that's another story...