ONE OF THOSE DAYS
1+2, sap/fluff, for gwy
Well, it was obviously going to be one of those days, wasn’t it?
Duo stood on the pavement outside his apartment block and groaned. He should never have got up in the first place. He was cursed. At breakfast, the last slice of bread in his cupboard had been an attractive mix of crust and mold; the milk had smelled of ripe cheese. He’d had to walk to work because the train fares had gone up overnight, but he’d forgotten and he didn’t have enough money because the bank wasn’t open yet. He was late in, and on the day when the boss was vindictively pre-menstrual – for a man, that is. Duo was on report. Again.
At lunch the bank had been open, but his account hadn’t. He was mysteriously overdrawn, maybe something to do with the new games console he bought at the weekend, but that was beside the point. His colleague shared half a tuna sandwich with him, but that had been repeating on him all afternoon. His PC crashed; he spilled coffee down his leg so it looked like he’d peed on himself; the vending machine ate his last coin and left his soda still hanging miraculously from its perch. When Duo kicked the machine with frustration, half of the sole of his boot fell off.
He walked all the way home again at the end of the day. He crossed the road to his block, wondering if he could borrow some milk and eggs off one of his neighbours to make an omelette. The long bath he’d been looking forward to was going to be tepid because the boiler in the block had broken down two days ago, but he’d lie in it regardless and bemoan his miserable new life in the city and then he’d read the free local newspaper from last week and pretend he could afford to go to one of the clubs or buy new clothes or date one of the cute boys at the supermarket –
Then he dropped his keys. He grabbed out at them, but they tumbled down to the ground, then through a slit in the drain cover. He bent over to peer through, and could see them shining in the gutter. He knelt on the muddy pavement for a while, trying to wriggle his fingers through and grab them but without any luck. He stood back up again, and had stayed there ever since. Cold, tired, hungry, irritable and locked out for the night.
It started to rain. Yes, it was definitely one of those days. Duo threw his head back, letting the rain drops trickle down his throat and under the collar of his shirt. Rain was seeping into his ruined boot, too. Maybe he could drown himself in it. Maybe he could go back to work and ask the vending machine to eat him, too.
He started to laugh.
At that point, he realised there was someone watching him. A tall, slim guy with very dark hair and amused blue eyes. He stood on the steps of Duo’s apartment block as if he’d just come out, sheltering underneath the awning. He looked down at Duo’s pants, now covered in both mud and stale coffee.
“Are you OK?” he asked.
Duo wondered whether to tell him he was an escaped lunatic who belched tuna and attacked vending machines, but he decided against ruining his day any further. The guy was gorgeous. Drop dead, delicious, look-how-well-my-day-is-going-you-loser, gorgeous.
Thanks, thought Duo, aiming his hatred at some Unknown Deity. Give me the day from hell then dangle a whole button-full of cuteness in front of me when I look like something the cat dragged in then spat out again.
“I’m fine,” he said. He could feel the rain plastering his hair unattractively over his forehead and eyebrows. “Well, actually I’m not, because I’m locked out. My keys are down there.” He gestured at the ground. He could hear rain water gushing under the drain cover, probably washing his keys out to sea by now. “But it’s my problem, not yours. The whole day’s been full of them. I’ve had plenty of practice in Life Sucking today.”
The dark-haired guy was still smiling. “I’ve had days like that,” he said, nodding. “I’ve got a key to the block, shall I let you in? Then I’ve got a magnet in my toolkit, we can fish your keys out, no problem.”
“You’re sent from the Unknown Deity?” asked Duo, a little dazed at the man’s calm and obvious preparedness.
Mr-Gorgeous-and-Helpful-with-it laughed. “I doubt it. I’m the plumber, been to fix the boiler. I left my toolkit inside the lobby while I came out to my van for something.”
“I can get back into my apartment,” said Duo. “I can have a hot bath at last.” He was trying out how it felt for things to go right. It was damned odd.
“Look…” The Gorgeous-and-I-fix-boilers-too guy was a little flushed. He was looking Duo up and down, all the way from his filthy pants to his rain-soaked shirt to the way his long, wet hair licked around his neck. The looking-suspiciously-like-I’m-ogling-you guy said, “This is going to sound pretty blunt, but after you dry off and get changed, how about some supper with me? This job took longer than I thought and my office is closed now for the day so I’ve got the use of the van for the evening. I was just going to go into town, but I don’t know my way around that well and I’ve got these vouchers for a free burger meal… “
Thanks, thought Duo again, aiming it to the Unknown Deity but without the sarcasm this time. “That’d be great,” he said, and laughed again. “Really wonderful.”
Mr-Gorgeous-and-don’t-I-look-Relieved smiled broadly. “Your laugh –“ he said. “Excuse me saying so, but it’s great, too.” He turned to unlock the door and Duo bounded up the steps to join him. He turned back just as Duo came nose to nose with him. They both leant back in surprise and flushed.
“Everything seems to have gone wrong for you today but you’re still laughing,” the guy said. Duo grinned. The Gorgeous-and-I-think-you-are-too guy grinned back.
“Yeah,” said Duo. “But I guess it’s just one of those days!”