Fiction: Roomies (Part 1 of 2) (984 words)

17 Apr

Finn knew that he was a very lucky man.  He had a bit of talent that he worked hard to turn into a bit of skill.  With that, he made a name for himself, earned a fair amount of money and positive recognition.  He’d even recently been nominated for a couple of awards and was lucky enough to win the time that he brought his mother as his date.  He’d lived a great life, even though he was still relatively young, and he knew that people would gladly give the world to have a life like his.

And he would have gladly traded every second of his lucky, happy life for this night to stretch on for just a couple of hours longer.

Finn met his roommate Bette three years earlier.  She was a writer who had worked closely with a friend of his, Carter, back when she lived on the east coast.  They met at the opening of that project, Finn being there to support Cater.  Bette and Finn were friendly, willing to make small jokes back and forth at each other’s expense and especially at Carter’s expense, and to exchange a small conversation back and forth on twitter to make mutual fans of theirs overly excited.

About eight months following that, Bette wanted to move out to LA, and Carter suggested that she move in with Finn for a few weeks so she could look for a new place,  being cheaper than staying in a hotel for that length of time.  After all, Finn had a spare room that he’d always meant to sublet but kept forgetting about, and what was the worst that could happen?   Bette was grateful, and moved in swearing she’d be out of his hair in a few days, a few weeks tops.

That was two years, three months, two weeks, and five days ago.  It took them all of two days to realize independently that they worked better as housemates than any other housemate they’d had before.  It took Finn nine days to work up the courage to ask her to stay permanently, and forty-five seconds for her to agree, of course, ‘if it wasn’t too much trouble” or if “he was sure that she wasn’t going to cramp his style.”

They became fast friends.  The teamed up to play tricks on Carter whenever he was in town.  They revived Bette’s long-dormant YouTube channel because Finn would be the man on Camera to go with her writing.  When one of her favorite actors was hosting an awards show he’d been invited to, he took her as his date.  When she was invited to a dinner reading with one of his favorite authors, she took him as her plus one.   Unconfirmed rumors of them living together spread across the internet like wildfire.  Fans went mad with the thought that they might actually be together.  When they got bored, they’d play it up.

But—in spite of all the rumors—they weren’t together.  They had one drunken make-out session at one of Carter’s Christmas parties, a tipsy birthday kiss for Bette that went a little too far, and during a particularly dry spell for them both a ‘friends with benefits’ night that they agreed in advance to never mention it again.  When asked, they said they were just friends and usually make some joke about “Geez, why did people keeping asking that?”

Through, the truth, which Finn never admitted aloud, was that he was some kind of in love with Bette. He’d thought that it might have been true since week three of their cohabitation—but thought it was too early to have any kind of seriousness to put behind that statement, so he swallowed it.

And he waited and watched as they grew closer. And, with a bit of a sad heart, he watched as her love for him (with only three glaring exceptions) seemed to be steadily platonic.  But she became his best friend none the less, and he would take that.

Especially on nights like tonight.  When she’d gotten home a day with her publisher, two hours late on a Friday night, she stuck her head carefully just inside the door of his room and asked him if he had plans.  He did, but nothing important, and nothing he couldn’t cancel for a clearly stressed out housemate.  So he lied quickly with a “No, what were you thinking?”

“Pizza and DVDs?” She asked.  He could hear her playing up the pathetic tone just a little bit.  She must have had a really bad day to be angling for sympathy.

“DVDs, sure.  But how about I make you some pancakes and eggs.  I think we even have some blueberries in the fridge.”

He could practically see the guilt on her face and knew that she hadn’t meant to sound quite that bad—but he also knew she had a weak spot for blueberry pancakes.  ‘I don’t want to put you out, Finn.”

“Nonsense.  I’ve wanted to make them all day, but I was pretty sure you’d kill me if I made them without you.  So go. Shower, wash off your bad day—and I’ll have pancakes ready when you get out.”

He watched her decide which was stronger, her guilt or her desire for pancakes.  He knew pancakes would win, and the smile crept onto her face.  “Okay, then you get to pick the movie then—I insist.”

He grinned wide and a bit evilly.  “Something with Vince Vaughn?”

A look crossed her face, but she covered it quickly.  “For blueberry pancakes, I’ll watch Vince Vaughn.”

He chuckled in spite of himself.  “Oh, go on. I’ll pick something suitable.”

“Okay.  You’re too good to me you know.”  And she disappeared down the hall.

“My goal is to ruin you for all other men.” He teased and was rewarded with a laugh from her bedroom.  He was only half kidding after all.

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Posted by on April 17, 2014 in Stories


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