#18 Petting the rug
Thomas and I look at each other in surprise when the doorbell rings around dinner time. Tracy came home an hour ago, and we haven’t even had time to order a pizza yet. We’ve gone straight to work, and I’ve already got a headache. Maybe we really took on too much this time. I have been working since 8 am this morning, and Thomas has been to the hospital this morning with Teagan – thank God the little kid is fine, just a cold – and he had to pick up some medicine for both Teagan and Alex. He’s exhausted, and so am I.
Tracy comes into the home office with two extra-large pizzas and a smile on her face. She’s in sweats and she looks worn as well, but she’s powering through like she always does. “Did Kian cheat or something?” she asks, sticking out her tongue. “He seems to be sucking up majorly today.”
“Kian?” I ask, eyeing the pizzas. “He sent those?”
She tosses a card at me, and I smile when I see that he indeed ordered these for us. It’s my favorite – one with basically everything on it – and a simple pepperoni pizza that’s a pretty safe guess for Thomas. We open the boxes and share, Tracy grabbing a slice as well and sitting with us for a moment before Teagan starts to cry.
“Duty calls,” she groans, walking off with another slice of pizza.
“This is sweet,” Thom says with his mouth full. “Are things going okay between you two?”
“Yeah, he’s taking me out tonight.” I feel far too exhausted to be excited about it, but I know I’ll find some spare source of energy once it’s time to go, just like I always do.
“Karaoke?” Thom asks knowingly. “He hates that, right? Oh God, tell me Tracy was wrong. He didn’t actually cheat on you, did he?”
I roll my eyes, tossing a piece of pepperoni at his face. He catches it and eats it before stuffing another slice in his mouth.
“He just loves me. Is that so hard to believe?”
“No,” Thom answers without missing a beat. “That’s the easiest thing to believe in the whole damn world. He’d be an idiot if he didn’t love you.”
I grab another slice and turn back to my laptop. “We should really finish this before I leave in a couple of hours.”
“Right.” Thom focuses as well, and while I digitalize the drawings I did this afternoon, he fixes some issues with the website.
When Tracy comes in to tell us Kian is here, I’m surprised to find it’s 10 pm already. Time flew tonight. And… I don’t think I have it in me to go out to karaoke. I have a splitting headache, and I want to maybe have a beer and then go to bed. Ugh. This fucking sucks.
“Hey babe.” Kian gives me a quick kiss when Thomas and I head into the living room where he’s sitting on the couch waiting for me. “Are you okay? You look beat.”
“I’m beyond beat.” I rub my temples. “I’ll be okay though.”
“Dude, you can’t go out partying tonight, you’re getting too old to work hard and play hard on the very same day.” Thomas goes into the kitchen, coming back with four beers and a joint. “How about you hang out here and let me cure that headache of yours the old-fashioned way.”
“No, no, we’re going out.” I plaster on a smile.
“I think Thomas is right,” Kian says to my surprise. “We can go out another night. It’s fine with me. If it’s okay with Thomas and Tracy, I’d be happy to hang out for an hour, if you feel up to it. Or we can go home, if you want to sleep.”
I hesitate for a second, but that joint is really calling my name. Fuck, to be high right now… Yeah, that sounds awesome.
“Breastfeeding,” Tracy reminds Thomas when he hands her a beer. “But you guys have fun. I think one of us should be sober since the kids are sick.”
“Fuck,” he groans. “Of course. I’m sorry. I’m so tired I didn’t even think of that. I’ll just get Dylan stoned and drunk then.”
Tracy laughs. “You’ve been working so hard, baby, you deserve to relax. I’m heading to bed, but feel free to get hammered.” She leans in to give him a long, lingering kiss. “You can sleep in tomorrow. Peter is coming over to help with the kids. You’ve been an angel this week. Cut loose, babe.”
“Well…” Thom opens his beer and takes a big gulp. “I might just do that.”
Tracy gives me a hug and a kiss, and then waves at Kian a little awkwardly before heading upstairs. I’m already lighting the joint as I stretch out on the soft rug, running my fingers over it. This is the best way to end a long, draining day of designing and coding. Without a doubt.
“What are you doing?” Kian asks, eying me weirdly as he sips his beer.
“Petting the rug.” Thomas replies, taking the joint from me and inhaling deeply. “He does that every time he’s here. Doesn’t he pet the rug at your place?”
“Erm… no.” Kian looks taken-aback.
Yeah, I don’t do this at his place, because I figured he’d find me weird. I already do so many strange things that I didn’t feel like adding my love for chilling on the floor. I’m so used to doing this at Thom’s place that I did it without even thinking.
“It’s so soft,” I say, taking the joint back from Thom. I hold it out to Kian, but he shakes his head, his mouth in a straight, disapproving line. No surprise there. I know he doesn’t like drugs. I don’t consider weed any different from alcohol, so it’s not a big deal to me. It’s not like I do cocaine or something. Of course, he doesn’t need to smoke if he doesn’t feel like it, so I just share the joint with Thomas, both of us getting high slowly but surely.
Tipsy too. It doesn’t take long until I’m sporting the most wonderful, tingling buzz. The rug feels even softer, and I roll over to press my face against it.
“Weirdo,” Thom mutters lovingly, kicking my leg from his place on the couch next to Kian.
“It’s so soft,” I sigh happily, my cheek still against the rug. “Come feel!”
Thomas immediately gets down with me, sighing happily. “It is very soft.”
“Come feel,” I repeat, looking at Kian. “It’s the softest rug in the world!”
He’s still only had one beer, and he looks like he can’t quite believe this is happening when he carefully sits down on the rug and runs a hand over it. “I guess it’s pretty soft, yeah.”
I roll over so I can lick Thom’s cheek, and he laughs so hard that he goes into a coughing fit. He sits up to drink some beer, and then lies back down. He rolls over so he’s on his side, his head against my shoulder. Like that, he falls asleep, soft snores filling the room.
I stay perfectly still, not wanting to wake him up. “Look at the ceiling,” I whisper to Kian. “Look at all the shadows!” I hold up my hand, waving it a little so the shadow shifts and wavers. “So pretty…”
“Hmm,” Kian mumbles. “Yeah, okay. Maybe we should get home.”
“Thom is asleep,” I agree. “I can’t just get up and leave now.”
“We’ve been here for almost two hours already,” Kian reasons. “You’re high as a kite. I think you need some sleep too.”
“High as a kite,” I whisper. “Why do people say that? I mean, yeah, kites are up in the air, but they are on a string, aren’t they? So they’re not that high. Like… the planes are higher. The clouds, the sun. I wanna be high like the sun.”
Kian doesn’t respond. Instead, he gets up to clean up the empty beer bottles and empty the ashtray. When he gets back, Thomas has rolled away from me and is snoring even louder. I nudge him awake, sensing Kian wants to leave badly. Thom mutters curses as I drag his ass up to the bedroom where Tracy is asleep with little Alex snuggled up to her and Teagan in his crib in the corner. After I’ve tucked him in, I get back down and find Kian with his coat on already, the car keys in his hand.
“Let’s go,” he says in a tight voice.
“Are you mad?” I ask, following him outside. “Fuck, look at all those stars!”
“Yeah yeah,” he mumbles, pulling me to the car and helping me inside even though I want to lie down in the grass and enjoy the starry night sky.
“You’re mad.” I know he is, but I can’t seem to stop smiling as he drives us home.
“Let’s not talk about this when you’re stoned and drunk,” he grunts. “I’m not mad. Just… not liking this Dylan very much. It’s fine when you drink, but the smoking…”
He disapproves. Sudden sadness settles in my bones, and I tear up. Fuck, I’m further gone than I thought.
“It’s fine, I just don’t think I’ll stick around next time you and Thomas have a night like this. I thought I could handle it, but… it’s not my thing. I don’t like seeing you like this.”
I press my cheek against the cold glass of the car window, my eyes still wet, but I manage not to cry. “You don’t love me.”
“Of course I love you, Dylan, but I don’t have to enjoy every single thing you do.” He sounds upset. “Let’s just get you home.”
“Home,” I mumble. “Where the fuck even is home?”
“What do you mean? You’re basically living with me. I obviously mean my house.”
“It’s not home though.” A tear leaks out and I wipe it away angrily. “I don’t live there. It’s your house, not mine.”
“Are you saying you want to move in with me? Give up your apartment?” Kian sounds uncertain. “I mean… if that’s what you want… I’d be fine with that.”
“No,” I bite out. The soft, lovely, kind part of my high is gone. Instead, I feel almost paranoid now. “I don’t want to move in with you. Then I’ll have nowhere to go when you kick me out. Just like Andre had nowhere to go when Eric turned out to be an asshole.”
“Andre? Eric?” Kian sounds incredulous now. “What are you even talking about? You know what, we’re here. I’ll just put you to bed and we will continue this tomorrow. You’re not rational right now.”
I get out of the car when he does, slamming the door hard. I don’t even know why I’m angry, but my blood is boiling. I feel like I am making perfect sense, and I’m annoyed he doesn’t seem to understand me.
“What are you doing?” He asks when I kick off my shoes and lie down on the couch, grabbing the blanket from the armrest.
“I’m sleeping here,” I grunt.
“Fine,” he snaps. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
He slams the door of the living room behind him, and I cry into the couch cushions, feeling so sad I wish I could disappear into the furniture altogether.