Beckett drums his fingers on his desk, making an effort not to stare at his phone. It sits just to the left of a wordy business report, graciously prepared by his secretary, that he was supposed to have read half an hour ago. Not even iced coffee, also graciously prepared by his secretary, can get him to focus on it.
He relents to his mind's anxious wandering, and picks up the device. Two missed calls, four text messages, more than ten Twitter notifications. Nothing from Oren. Beckett huffs, sitting back in his chair. It's been nearly a week since he saw the boy, and he's starting to get restless. He sets the phone back on his desk, leans back, rubbing his eyes. He hasn't slept very well in these past days, busy trying to settle a financial dispute between suppliers. He drinks his coffee like it's water, or maybe light alcohol.
A knock at his door startles him into choking. Beckett's secretary sends him an apologetic smile. "Sorry, sir. Mr. Gaynes wants that report, along with your commentary, on his desk ASAP. Says it's very important."
"Working on it." Beckett actually uncaps his pen, the first time today, circling a few key terms, like final settlements, and profit margins, and any numbers he can find. He scribbles a few notes in the margins of the report, trying to get into it.
His phone hums on the table. Beckett forces himself to wait a few moments before he looks at it, thirstily. Another Twitter notification, something about the president. He shoves it back into its place, sighing, scolding himself for being disappointed. The days are longer now that Beckett is in a higher position. He thinks he was happier when he'd been working in the mailroom.
Figuring that he should get to work, Beckett flips his phone face down, opens a Word document, and sets to work on writing his assigned commentary. He's finished within twenty minutes, and decides to hand deliver the paperwork.
Mr.Gaynes' office is uncomfortably large, lavish, with a lot of glass, and framed certificates, and enough company promo merchandise for it to border on ridiculously corporate. The desk is too large, too art deco to fit in the space, and Beckett leans against the doorframe hesitantly. "Sir?"
The man glances up, barely, waves Beckett forward. "On the desk, there. That's fine."
Beckett nods once, places the folder on the edge of the table, and turns towards the door. "Thank you, sir," he calls over his shoulder. He then paces back to his empty office, to the chair facing the window, which looks out over a busy freeway. It's lunchtime; Beckett usually skips it.
He glares at his phone, now crooked, near the edge of the desk. It tempts him to pick it up, and he falls for it, as usual. Nothing, or, at least, nothing new. Nothing from Oren, the one person that Beckett can't seem to get out of his mind.
And for what? Sure, he's cute, and kind of interesting in a quirky way, but what's the real draw? They'd never work out for real, not in any good way. Beckett tells himself this as he slides his phone into his pocket, and opens another document. He has plenty of emails to reply to, plenty of proposals to draft, plenty of rejected proposals to edit and resubmit. Idle hands mean wasted time, as Beckett is well aware.
He asks the intern to please, bring him a coffee from the vending machine, with a promise of pay back, and gets to work.
Beckett gets around twenty minutes in, half a proposal down, before his phone vibrates, loud in the focused dimness of the office, in the emptiness that usually accompanies offices around lunchtime. Slipping the device out, he peeks at the screen. Twitter. Again, not Oren.
A sigh fills the room. "Should call him," Beckett mutters to himself. The more he thinks about it, the better the idea sounds. Just one call. They'd exchanged numbers for a reason, and Beckett can't stop thinking about him. He might as well try.
The phone rings once, twice, Beckett twirling a pen between his fingers. It is now that he notices that his collar is just barely too tight. "Hello?"
"Is this tall, dark, and handsome himself? Beck?"
"Um." Beckett glances around the office; even after all these years, he still gets awkward on phone calls. "Yeah?"
Oren giggles into the mouthpiece, running a hand through his hair. "Thank God, I thought you'd never call! I'm at a party right now, or more of a luncheon, with some friends. You should swing by, yeah? It'll be fun?"
"I'm at work, O."
"Hm, how corporate, how disappointing. I bet you're in a suit and everything, huh? You probably clean up so nice." Beckett hears a guy yell, "Yes, honey," in the background, and the muffled cotton ball of Oren covering the phone. "Shut up, Lyle, damn."
Beckett chuckles, catches himself laughing. "Wanna hang soon?"
"Oh? Yeah. I mean, yeah, of course, like, we do that. Hang. What do you wanna do? There's this museum, I think, not too far away, and an aquarium?"
"You pick," Beckett hums, hoping the boy will keep rambling and stringing honey-sentences over Beckett's office chairs; he's missed Oren's voice.
"Me? What if I pick something shitty? What do you like—No, let me guess. You like stuff that's mostly viewing, less participating. I'm thinking aquarium. That's a classic, right? You like aquariums?"
"Sounds good, love." Beckett nearly chokes on air, can hear Oren nearly doing the same on the other end. The result is an awkward beat of silence. "Gotta go. Text me, we'll talk details."
"Okay, great, nice talking to you, and that. Uh. See you soon, I guess? Bye." Oren hangs up the phone before Beckett can say anything else. He's lounging in a well-worn wicker chair, rubbing his face to erase the film of awkward, a mixture of his closest friends and a few distant acquaintances mingling nearby.
An acquaintance approaches, ruffles Oren's hair. "Was that the guy? Oh, God, look at you, all flustered! That was him, wasn't it?"
"Shut up." Oren shifts, cracking his knuckles and picking at his sandwich. "I'm not flustered. I'm fine."
"Alright, Romeo. Hook me up if his friends are cute, though, aye?" Oren rolls his eyes, nodding at the guy as he walks away. Oren turns to look around. "Lyle?"
Oren's best mate, a tall, thin, well-dressed man, with long hair pulled into a bun, turns away from the bar. "Yes, sweets?"
"Do guys just, like, call you 'love'? Friend guys? Is that a thing?"
Lyle shakes his head, sipping a cocktail through a curly straw. "Honey, either you're married, in love, or he's British. Is he British? Because, if so, damn; I fuck with that accent, though." He laughs, takes another drink. "But, in all seriousness, is it so bad if he likes you?"
Blushing hot, pretending it's from the sun and the alcohol, Oren coughs.
"No," he mumbles, "I guess not."
I've figured out that these two work better together in smaller parts, so that's what I'm going with.
Thank you so much for reading, and for all of your support on this story!
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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...