Muscle and Music Ch. 02bydomiroa©
Every step felt like a butchers knife was slicing my leg. Today at the site, a door we were putting in fell on my leg and maybe broke a bone, or at least that's what it feels like. I limped slowly up the dark stairs to my apartment, clutching the railing like it was a lifeline. My head was spinning from the pain and my vision was starting to dull at the edges. I needed to get upstairs into my apartment so I can take some painkillers and ice the bruises. I blearily glanced up to the top of the stairs, wondering if I could make it, then grasped my leg and pulled it up one more stair. Suddenly, a door opened above me, but I keep my gaze on my leg, willing it to stop hurting.
"Hey man, are you okay?" I knew that voice. It had been keeping me up the past few weeks.
My new neighbor appeared at my side and I looked up into his face and looked down again quickly when his gold eyes meet mine. My heart thudded and I think I might have even blushed a little bit. FUCK why do i feel like a fucking teenager around this man?
"I'm fine." I growl. For some reason I feel the need to be mean around him.
He grasped my arm and I jerked violently out of the way, a little too hard because I stumbled a little and landed on my bad leg.
"Shit!" I gasped heavily as pain races through my body.
"You are definitely not fine, stop being stubborn a let me help you." My neighbor said patiently, grabbing my arm again before I could protest. A shock of electricity shot up my arm where he touched me, and I almost pulled away.
But the pain was so intense that I allowed my neighbor to put his arm around my shoulder and hoist me up the stairs. Through the pain I looked down at his dark head near mine and noticed how soft his hair looked, how tan the skin is the covers his sleek muscles, the light silky hair of his arms that I have a sudden desire to feel. He was smaller than me, but most people were. His grasp felt gentle although he held me firmly, and for a moment I let myself register how nice it felt.
He lifted his head to meet my gaze when I stopped moving, and I felt a jolt in my ribcage when his intense eyes meet mine. I frowned and heaved myself up to last stair, almost collapsing.
"Woah hang on there, let me help you," my neighbor said, and with his help and my last remaining strength, we limped to my door. I shoved the key in the lock and pushed the door open, grinding my teeth against the pain, and he pulled me in and helped me onto my couch.
I sunk down with my eyes closed, and slowly felt my leg gently for the break. There it was, in my femur. I hissed when my fingers close over the bone. Shit, I thought, I'm going to have to go to the hospital.
Bear jumped onto the couch next to me, whining, and looking up at me with his big innocent eyes. I patted his head and he nuzzled into my side, which I'm sure looks ridiculous, as he is a huge fucking dog. But I smiled through the pain despite of myself, and scratched under his ears. Bear would always love me, and that was enough, right?
"Hey...man, can I get you anything?" My neighbor asks. His voice sounds a little strange, and I remember that he's here, in my private apartment.
I open my eyes and stare up at him, as he stands next to me, looking at me in a very concerned way. I stare back for a second, not really thinking about what he said, and more about how tan his skin is, and wondering if it's real. He must be a swimmer, his body is too sleek and toned for any other sport. His limbs are long and lean, and he looks graceful. Then I glance up into his eyes again, and my heart stumbles, and I realize, finally, that I've just been angry that he's making me feel something. I've been surviving so long on numbing the world.
He bends down so we're at eye level and gently puts his arm on my shoulder, I think to get my attention. I look at his hand, and dazedly enjoy the frisson that runs through my body. My eyes follow his arm up to his perfect shoulder, then to his neck that I have to urge to suck on, to his beautiful mouth that is moving, speaking to me. I want to swallow his words. Finally, my eyes travel up his straight nose to his eyes, which are gazing into mine with genuine concern and worry.
"What's your name?" He asks again, softly, his melodic voice sending shivers through my haze.
"Vaughn" I growl through my teeth, unable to make myself sound like a normal human being.
My leg throbs and I curse, and my eyes snap out of their reverie and onto my leg.
"I'm Laurie." He says. Of fucking course he is.
"Isn't that a girls name?" I hissed as I tried to stand, and Laurie rolled his eyes before also standing and grabbing army arm to help me.
"Thanks for that. It's short for Lawrence, actually." Whatever. I dont care. I dont care.
I brace my good leg, and Laurie--without asking me--throws my arm over his shoulder and helps me take a step.
"Where exactly are you trying to go?" He asks and I can hear the laughter in his voice. "You clearly need to go to the hospital."
Thanks Captain Obvious.
I growl something, not sure it's really a word. It's probably best if I don't try to talk, I'll just cuss him out.
I force myself to take another step, and a huge slice of pain stabs through my leg. I clench my teeth as hard as I can to keep from crying out, my I can feel Laurie's unusual eyes on my face, scrutinizing me, and I turn my head so he doesn't see me too clearly.
"Seriously, stop moving, you're only going to hurt yourself more," He says gently, and he's probably right. His arm holding me up is strong, and through my pain, a fleeting thought comes to me that I'd like to feel his arms on other parts of my body. I shake my head in shock, and Laurie must have taken this as a protest to his statement.
"Fine, since you refuse to help yourself, I am going to drive you to the hospital myself." He states firmly, and hauls me out of the room.
I find my voice, and my balls, and try to stop.
"It's fine, I can drive myself." I wrench myself from his grasp and almost fall to the ground. I can see the edges of my vision getting a little fuzzy and my leg feels like it's splitting apart.
He grabs me again, and stands me upright, then pulls me along the corridor.
"Obviously, you can't. And I should probably pay you back for keeping you up these nights, as you clearly object to good music," he says, holding me tighter to his side. I'm not entirely sure how he's getting me down the stairs, as I think I have at least thirty pounds of muscle on him, and three or four inches. But I'm in too much pain to protest at this point, and I'm not stupid enough to think I can drive. I could call some of my buddies, but it seems like too much effort at this point, and we're almost down the stairs.
I make one last attempt to prove that this is not what I should want, and try to pull free of his grasp. Laurie laughs and pulls me back, and his support of my weight feels good--too good--and I don't really want to pull away again.
"Why are you being so difficult? I'm just trying to help, since you clearly can't walk on your own. Do you want me to carry you?" He teases, and I glare at him.
"You couldn't carry me." I say through clenched teeth, and Laurie laughs again, and I hate his laugh.
"Oh I think I could, even if you do have all this nice muscle and resolve against me," He says lightly, and pulls me towards his car out front. It's a Crown Vic, and I almost laugh out loud.
"An old cop car? Really?" I ask, and Laurie looks at me, smiling.
"Hey now, Meryl has character, and I'd bet my piano that you have a truck." Laurie retorts, leaning me against the side of the car and opening the door.
I do have a truck. Fuck him. An image beings to form in my mind and I immediately stake it out. I can't look at him, or he'll know that I was about to imagine him naked.
I get in and Laurie strides around to the other side and gets in.
He has classical CDs everywhere, and receipts, and bottles, and a fucking frying pan, and a little tree air freshener giving off a minty scent.
"My little slice of home," Laurie says fondly, patting the dashboard.
I just stare at him, amazed that I'm even in his car, so close to him, and he's acting like this is the most normal thing in the world.
He slides the key into the ignition, and we drive off, me glaring resolutely out the window. I couldn't see what Laurie was doing, but I'm 99% sure he was trying not to laugh at me, and I wanted to punch him. Or kiss him. Hard.
He put a CD in the music player, and strands of Haydn's Opus 33 played softly throughout the car. Is he playing this music just to piss me off?
"Really?" I spat at Laurie still not looking at him.
He laughed for real this time, and I glanced over to see him grinning but not looking at me. One hand was on the steering wheel, his long arm bend slightly, lightly muscled and tan and too inviting. The other hand tapped the rhythm of the music on the window ledge, perfectly in time, and I noticed how long and adept his fingers looked, and I felt a lower part of my body stir.
"Seriously, what do you have against classical music?" He asked, eyes still on the road.
"I don't have anything against classical music, except when it's 3:00 in the morning and I'm trying to sleep," I growled back at him.
Laurie grinned again, and glanced at me. His eyes met mine and I could tell he was curious about me, but I was scared shitless by him.
I turned my head to the straight out the window and tried to think about neutral, boring things. Paint thinner. Trigonometry. Siberia.
"What do you do that makes you have to get up so early?" Laurie tried again, and I could feel his eyes on me. I didn't answer.
"Come on, Vaughn, I'm taking you to the hospital. At least be sociable." I could hear the humor in his voice, but he was right. My parents had raised me to be polite. A sharp pain laced threw my heart, but I calmed it, and tried to ignore it.
I sighed. "I'm a contractor, and I own my own company, so I have to be on site early and go over plans and make sure everything is ready for the day. I also happen to like the morning, when I am awake enough to enjoy it."
"Well that was the first sentence I've heard you use without a swear word in it" Laurie said, and I glared at him.
Why couldn't he just leave me alone? I didn't want to be here, and my leg was hurting so much my vision was fuzzy, and this man made me feel off balance and unsure of myself and I didn't like it at all. And I still didn't know how to handle the fact that he was a man, and I was a man, and he was like a magnet and I was a damn paper clip.
Then I sighed and rubbed my eyes. Fuck. I was acting like a child, and Laurie was really being nice to drive me to the hospital. From the way I act toward him, he could have easily left me to fend for myself.
Laurie must have liked the expression on my face, because he grinned at me, and said, "Okay, that was uncalled for. That's cool that you own your own company. Do you want to know what I do?" Well now he's just making awkward small talk.
"No." I said resolutely, and Laurie laughed again.
"You are a piece of work" he said laughing and parked the car. We were finally at the fucking hospital. I started to get out of the car but Laurie grabbed my hand and startled, I looked into his eyes.
"And you seem to hate me. But I like a challenge," he said softly, and his eyes bored into mine. I was frozen, staring into those depths, my heart hammering. His hand was still on mine, warm and comforting and simultaneously electrifying. I almost couldn't move, but my dick could, and that snapped me out of it.
I almost lept from the car, but my fucking leg wouldn't let me, and luckily a nurse who was standing outside smoking ran over to help me. When I was safely ten feet away, I turned to look at Laurie. He was standing outside the car, making sure I was okay. I nodded roughly at him.
"Thanks." I mumbled, and he grinned, shook his head, and got back in his car. I turned away and I could almost hear his laugh as he drove away.
After four hours, two x-rays, and a stupid looking splint later, I was released from the hospital. Luckily, the break was just a very minor fracture, and would be healed in about six weeks.
Sitting in my apartment that night, listening to the much softer than usual strands of piano waft through the building, I thought about Laurie. It had been nice of him to help me, considering he didn't know me, but he acted way too familiar for my comfort. Or maybe I was just uncomfortable because I was sexually attracted to him--okay, that's an understatement--and I'd never felt this way for another man before. Granted, I hadn't felt this way for a woman either in a while, maybe ever. My buddies teased me about not having a girlfriend, or at least getting laid on a regular basis, but for a while now I just haven't thought about it that much. I've just been buried in work, which is how I like it.
I rubbed my eyes tiredly, and thanked the powers that be that the hospital had given me enough morphine to last the night. I slowly rose and pulled off my shirt and shoes, and the basketball shorts the hospital had given me after they removed my jeans to put on my splint.
I sank onto my bed, so tired I could sleep for a lifetime, and Bear jumped up and lay down next to me, resting his head on my chest. I reached down to pet him, and didn't even pull the covers up before I was asleep.