A month in Steve's apartment went by quickly but Connor's routine hadn't changed much. Despite Ewan's pleasant nature it was obvious he was beginning to get irritated.
Connor hadn't even bothered to properly reset his body clock and so was still getting up and going to sleep early. Maybe it was an unconscious decision to avoid his two room mates.
"How long did you say he could live here for?" Ewan asked Steve one evening. Steve was reaching for his coat to leave for the theatre and Ewan was already dressed in his scrubs ready for his shift.
"As long as he needs."
"I know you're his friend and you're trying to be nice but, don't you think he needs to find his own space?" Ewan helped Steve on with his coat taking the opportunity to warp his arms over his shoulders. "I don't want him taking advantage of you."
"He's just spent two years in Uganda, cut him a break."
"Well maybe he needs to settle back in quicker," Ewan massaged Steve's shoulders and rubbed his neck, "Maybe he should get a job."
"Maybe you should leave him alone," Steve murmured quietly before pulling away and making for the door.
"I hardly ever see him!" Ewan protested, "It's like he doesn't even exist!"
"Then why are you complaining?"
Steve's hand was on the door before Ewan grabbed his wrist and pulled him back.
"Can we not fight, please?" He gently ran his thumb in circles and then moved up his forearm until they were pressed together in a natural embrace.
It wasn't a sight that Connor wanted to walk in on and see but, one that he did. The shouting had alerted him to something going on so he'd wandered over. He wasn't sure what he was hoping for. Maybe a fight, some nagging, evidence of a future break up.
But no. He was instead confronted with the image of Ewan's arms wrapped around Steve, their lips pressed together, Steve's fingers curled in Ewan's hair.
It made him feel a bit sick so he turned to leave, stumbling as he went, making too much noise. Ewan whipped round before Connor could make his escape and the pair were then staring at each other.
Connor flexed his fingers and shifted his weight awkwardly.
"I just...I was going to...have a nice day at work. Night I mean. Have a nice night."
Ewan nodded for a moment then looked Connor up and down before looking back to Steve.
"Steve was just wondering, if you wanted to go to work with him tonight. He thought you might like to get out the house and maybe, I don't know, find a job. He can help you there."
Steve looked at the ground giving a half smile to Connor.
"Only if you want to," He said cautiously glancing to Ewan.
"Sure," Connor said weakly wondering if spending more time with Steve alone was really a good idea.
"I'll leave you to it." Ewan put on his coat and shouldered his bag, "I'll be back in the morning." He kissed Steve lightly on the forehead. Connor felt his hands clench slightly as he saw Steve close his eyes and sigh as it happened. His mind interpreted that for him.
Steve and Connor said nothing to each other as they walked down the steps onto the street, while in the cab to the theatre, or even as they stood in the small foyer inside the stage door.
"Follow me and don't wander off." Was the first thing Steve uttered as they began to climb the stairs to his office.
Despite the circumstances, Connor couldn't help grinning. It was his first time in a broadway theatre, and occasion that was meant to be monumental for him. If he ignored Steve's presence and climbed the stairs in his own world, he could pretend he was anybody. This could be his night, he could be the star.
Steve's office was tiny and Steve explained that the theatre was very old, one of the oldest on broadway, so everything from the dressing rooms to the corridors was pretty pint size.
There were papers scattered everywhere, and the blind was pulled down. The only neat thing in the room was the pile of head shots on the desk, that looked like they'd been measured by angles.
"We're building up our files." Steve explained, heading to the small portable coffee maker and pouring a cup. "Our leads finish in January."
"That's pretty soon." Connor remarked eventually not sure if he was supposed to feel something about this news.
"Yeah, we're pretty pressed for time." Steve downed his cup in a few gulps, squinting as he did so. "It's always cold. And terrible." He smiled at Connor.
"You don't have to drink coffee."
"Don't preach to me. It's never ever happening."
He picked up the phone off his desk and held it to his ear before pressing a button.
"Hey it's Steve. Yes thanks. Can you check the call sheet and make sure everyone's signed in please? Thanks." He tapped the desk as he waited, looking around his office. "Great, thank you."
He replaced the phone and went to his desk, rummaging amidst the debris to find what he wanted. He picked out a piece of paper and smoothed out the creases.
"You can sit down if you want." He gestured for Connor to take the seat opposite.
"Do you want me to do anything?"
"There's nothing that really needs doing. You can open the blind if you want."
Connor moved to the window, springing the blind up and instantly gasping at what he saw. Steve smiled at the sound then swivelled his chair to get a better look at Connor's expression.
Connor looked out of the window across Times Square, lit up by lights and people. It was the first time he'd clapped eyes on the real thing. He was pretty sure he'd just fallen in love for the second time in his life.
"If you want, you can watch the show." Steve said finally after allowing Connor to soak up all he could. "I'll see if we have a spare seat."
Steve stood up and went over to Connor, placing a hand on his shoulder.
"Yeah." Connor exhaled, "Wow."
"You're welcome." It was only now, looking at Connor closely for the first time since he was back that he noticed several things. First, he had started parting his hair on the other side. It had lost it's definitive auburn status and now looked a different colour depending on the direction of the light.
His jaw was more square, his eye lashes longer, his fingers more elongated, his nose more defined, his eyebrows neater, his lips more curved.
Most of all however, he noticed with a sickly ache within him, that he still loved Connor McKinley.
Connor looked up and blinked surprised, as he noticed how close Steve was standing to him. He frowned, growing a little uncomfortable as he realized their faces were almost brushing together.
"I still like you," Steve said quietly, his fingertips drifting towards Connor's hand.
Connor opened his mouth to say something that might have been 'Ewan' or maybe even 'Me too', but instead of letting words come out, he bridged the gap between himself and Steve.
The kiss was mild, their lips barely even parting, but it was enough to hitch his breath and get his heart racing. Steve closed his eyes and Connor kept them open.
As they pulled apart, a little reluctantly at first, they noticed that they'd hardly moved. Their hands remained hanging by their sides, their feet still firmly planted.
"I'll go and...see about that seat," Steve breathed slowly before clearing his throat and making for the door. It slammed shut a little too hard, the finality of the sound echoing round the room, leaving Connor alone once more.