Beckett gasps awake in the usual way: with too much urgency, not enough sleep, and before the sun. His room is still dark, barely lit by the twilight purple of the sky outside. Everything is grey. Beckett sits up, slowly at first, then faster once he's sure his head won't ache. He rubs his face, eyes sleepy, reluctant to open them, then stops.
There is a shadow in his bed next to him.
Beckett, frozen, listens to too-early birdsong outside. How did he get here?
The cute boy from last night. Oren. That was the first step, the initiation. They'd gotten chocolate, then come back here to drink wine. Too much wine, apparently, and the boy had danced until he'd fallen over. He'd tried on Beckett's hat. He'd looked good in it. But, what next? The rest is gone, a blur, and Beckett thinks this might be because he'd passed out.
He hopes that the boy is the shadow. He is also afraid to check.
Beckett lifts his quilt, looks down at himself. Fully clothed, in what he'd left in last night. Thank God. At least he won't feel like an asshole for getting too drunk to remember any sexual ventures.
Slowly, Beckett eases out of bed, raising the brightness in his bedroom by way of his lamp lever. At first, the light is too little to see by, grows slowly, like a mold.
There he is, Oren, splayed out in the bedsheets-- Beckett's bedsheets-- with his hair stuck to his face, plastered by sweat, or spit, or both. He's sleeping so soundly that he's hardly moving... Actually, on closer look, he isn't moving at all. Panicking, Beckett covers his mouth, uncovers it, lets his hands hover in front of his mouth.
"Ohhh, shit." A hiss into the dark-light, and the shadow doesn't even stir. Beckett runs a hand over his hair. He reaches for the boy, pauses. What if his skin is cold, or it doesn't give enough? Is he even breathing?
Steeling himself, Beckett leans over Oren's torso, slowly, then lets his ear hover over the parted lips below him. Nothing, not even a whisper.
"Shitshitshit." Beckett leaps up, pacing across his carpet. A new guy, a cute one who he'd even maybe like while sober, and now he might be dead. Beckett swipes a hand over his eyes, trying to calm down.
A pulse. Beckett's eyes light up, and he scrambles to the other side of the bed. The boy might have a pulse. Beckett lifts his fingers to the boy's neck, just under his jawline, holds there...
Oren jumps, sudden. Beckett yelps, stumbling onto the ground on his bum, and sits there, heaving air. He watches Oren stretch, his body a lazy smile turning into a giggle in real time. "You thought I was dead, huh?" A wild laugh throws Oren's head back, everything shadow besides his mouth. It glues Beckett's attention to the boy's lips. "Gullible, Beck. It's cute, though."
Beckett, now aware that he's been had, grumbles under his breath. He pulls himself to his feet while Oren yawns, cracking his fingers. "Ha ha. So funny." He's afraid he'd been wrong; Sober Beckett isn't very fond of this boy so far.
Oren pouts, head cocked to the side while he peels hair away from his face with nimble fingers. "Not a morning person?"
Oren smiles at his lap. "Sorry. Bad joke. I'll try and mellow out a little." Then, glancing up, "You hungover?" Silence from Beckett, who now pads to his bathroom. Oren winces, playing with his fingers, swimming in bedsheets. "I had fun last night, you know." Too quiet for anyone to hear but himself.
Beckett rummages in his medicine cabinet, elbow deep in cough syrup and band-aids. Once he finds what he'd been searching for, he pops his head from the doorway. "Tylenol?"
YOU ARE READING
Live A LittleShort Story
Beckett is alone on Valentine's Day, having been stood up by his date. He sulks over his beer, thoroughly scorned, until Oren appears. A romance is born. PART 1: Live A Little PART 2: Morning After PART 3: A Date PART 4: Rain PART 5: Strip PART X: M...