Advice of Worth
I crumpled another sheet of paper into a small ball and added to the pile on my lap. Now that I had enough ammunition, I could start my plan.
I grabbed one paper ball and tossed it over the office desk where Vincent was currently working, typing something on his laptop. The huge oak desk by the corner of the library was Vincent’s usual place to work in the mansion. Whenever he was missing, we could always track Vincent down to the library, more specifically, to that desk. He always had a stack of secret folders that only he was allowed to see or touch at his side.
The first paper ball smacked him right on the forehead, bouncing softly over his keyboard and rolling down his lap. It took four paper balls to make Vincent stop staring at the screen to look at me with slit, narrowed eyes.
I took it as my cue to begin stage two of my plan and engage down memory lane. “Hey, remember the first time I did this to you, at the school’s library? You looked positively constipated then, eh? Good times, good times...”
He stared in silence for a moment before quirking up an eyebrow. “And if I remember correctly, this was your subtle way to try to get my attention. So, what do you want from me now, Holmes?” he asked, crossing his fingers and leaning his chin on top of his hands.
“Oh, it’s just that I have this... friend, who has this problem, and I thought maybe you could advise me so I could help him out?” I asked nonchalantly.
He didn’t respond, just kept staring at me with those skeptical green eyes, so I continued with my charade. “So anyway, my friend just recently hooked up with this great guy, and even though things are going good, he’s not complaining about anything really, but he told me things haven’t... erm, ‘evolved’ much since the hook up, if you know what I mean.” I mumbled, fidgeting on my armchair.
“No, I don’t know. What do you mean?” Vincent asked.
“Well... it’s like, nothing more happened after they hooked up. They kind of resumed being the way it was before, like... there’s no boyfriend activity, like, it’s only the occasional longer hug, you know? It’s definitely longer... but nothing more is happening, so my friend was wondering what you might think of this... I mean, he fears that he might be walking back towards the dreaded friend zone again and that would suck very much, so... yeah...” I trailed off and toyed with the hem of my t-shirt while I waited for Vincent’s input on my problem.
Vincent tapped the oak table a couple times with his finger, before leaning back on his chair. “It’s only been a week since you two got together, Taylor.”
“I know.” I mumbled quietly, because I did know.
It had been only a week since Matt had moved over to one of Vincent’s guest room in the mansion. I also knew Matt had a lot to process, like ‘us’ being a couple now, and the recovery from his father’s beating, the moving out of his house, this new living agreement, the recent friendship with Vincent who happened to be his archenemy just a week ago... I knew there were a lot of things going on in Matt’s life right now, and that kissing me must be the last thing going through his mind, but still... I couldn’t help but to feel bummed about the fact that my dream boyfriend wasn’t showing any romantic inclinations towards me. Whatsoever. Except hugging. He did hug me quite a lot during the week, whenever I arrived at the mansion to see how he was doing, or whenever we were in his room watching TV. We did a lot of that too: watch TV.
Vincent managed to get Matt a sick leave of absence for a week off school, so Matt could rest and recover from all the injuries and heal the bruises on his face. I didn’t know how he did it, or what he did to Matt’s father, but the awful man had been completely gone from Matt’s life since that awful night when he’d left his son bleeding to death in his living room. Matt and I never went looking for explanations. It was best this way, at least, until Matt could figure out what to do with his life.
Matt was incredibly grateful for the absence of his father, and even more grateful for the week leave from school. Explaining his battered face to people was going to be extremely difficult if it wasn’t for Vincent’s speedy assistance.
Only Jesse didn’t buy it though, and forced me to tell her what was really going on. “You tell me right now, Taylor Holmes, or we are not friends anymore!” she had threatened me on the third day of Matt’s absence.
“I can’t, Jesse! I swore I wouldn’t tell. So I can’t!”
“It’s about his dad, isn’t it?” she asked quietly, scooting closer so no one could hear us. “He’s done it again, hasn’t he? Another beating?”
“I- I d-don’t know wha-”
“Oh, stop pretending, Taylor!” She admonished. “I know he’s ashamed to talk about it. I’m on the swimming team, I saw the bruises on him once and asked what had happened. He gave a lame excuse that only an idiot would believe and quit the team soon after that. He thinks I didn’t figure out, but I’m not stupid. Is he okay?”
I gawked at her, shocked that she had all figured out. So I told her what happened. She demanded that I’d take her to see him that day, after school was over, and stayed in his room all afternoon, wrapped around him like a baby koala bear, pampering him all day long and trying to make him feel better. Jesse was the best friend ever.
We almost told her about us being together that day, but Matt chickened out and panicked, asking me if we could keep this between us for a little while longer. He was scared that he would lose control as soon as we started telling people and he wanted to keep it on the down low for now, at least until he could readjust to everything.
So he stayed in Vincent’s guest room most of the time during the week, resting, while I came to stay with him whenever I could, when school was over. We watched a lot of TV and hugged a lot, but besides that, nothing more was happening, and I was getting antsy.
“And he has a lot on his plate at the moment,” Vince continued with his reasoning. “I mean, he’s just lost his home, he’s had to depend on a stranger’s good will to help him relocate places, he’s been tossed in an unfamiliar living situation with someone he thought was his enemy, so he’s having to learn to trust me more than he thought he ever could... He also has had to deal with recovering from a very severe abuse. It’s a lot to cope with in only a week, Taylor.”
“I knoooow.” I whined childishly. “I’m trying to give him time and space so he can cope with all that, I swear I am. But I’m scared that things might go back to the way they were before. I think we could be getting back to being just friends again here!” I tried to explain so I wouldn’t sound so selfish. I wasn’t doing a very good job, I sounded lame even to my own ears.
“Maybe he needs his best friend now, Holmes. When he feels better, safer and more stable, he might start looking for something more from you.” Vincent said, his voice calm and reassuring. “Give him time, help him heal, be his friend, if that’s what he needs right now. I assure you, once he’s back to his feet, he’ll reach out for you. In the meantime, stop worrying. You’re not ‘just his friend’ anymore. The boy is crazy about you. That has not changed.”
He sounded so sure that I relaxed considerably after hearing him say it.
“All right. I guess you’re right. Again.” I muttered.
“Of course I am. And when you think the time is right, you should do something about it.” He added as extra advice.
“Do what now?” I asked, clueless.
“Maybe you have to stop waiting for him to do something, Taylor. Take action into your hands, make a move or something.” He explained. “Throw in your charm, seduce him away, you know? You are very good at this. Actually, I know for a fact that you are.” he finished, patting both hands on his tailored pants.
“You know for a fact?” I asked, confused, and Vincent paused and frowned, as if he had just slipped something.
He cleared his throat, sounding uncomfortable. “Yes, I mean I am confident that you can do it. Now, if that is all, I need to get back to work here, there are important matters at hand that I need to take care of.” He muttered, already clicking away on his laptop.
I bit my lips, curiosity getting the best of me. “Okay, but… before I go, I was wondering, what exactly do you mean by ’take action-”
“I am not going to tell you what exactly you need to do to him, Taylor! Use your imagination, we all know you have quite a vivid one. I think I’ve helped enough as it is, if this continues any further, I’ll have to draw you pictures here. R-Rated ones for that matter.” he said, rubbing his temples in aggravation.
“Oh. Okay. Gotcha.” I mumbled awkwardly. “So... I’m going to go now.”
“That would be superb.” Vincent grumbled under his breath. “Off you go then.” He dismissed me with a wave of hands and his eyes already back on the laptop screen, while I hurried off and out of the library with a lot of new advice to think about.