Old Scars, old houses, and warm hearts.

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Saint Tribs, Oct 17, 2014.

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  1. It was late October and the trees on the abandoned road were red-orange and leaves piled in drifts alongside shrubbery and curbs. Houses stood empty and boarded up and the road was paved in the same red fallen leaves as the yards. A brisk wind swept through the street and wrapped itself around the lone house at the end of the lane that looked like it had some sort of life in it that wasn't rats and spiders. There was a large pick up truck, metal bodied and square – from the late 70's with flat dry-rotted tires and there was a much newer and shinier nondescript red little car. The yard had been recently attacked with a weed-eater and not very well, the hedges were overgrown and trying to take over the yard and the yards next it and there was a shingle or several missing off the roof.

    “I can't believe you found me a handyman, Enid.” A man leaned against the door and cradled a cellphone against his ear. “And set this whole thing up for me... I am thankful but I'm also kinda nervous. I mean, what sort of handyman are you sending me?” There was a few moments where the woman on the other side of the phone grouched at him affectionately and told him to get over it and buck up and if she heard there was any violence there was going to be hell to pay. “What on earth are you talking about?” Greyson Devereux added perplexed as ever as she hung up on him saying that something needed her attention and it sure as hell wasn't him.

    He ran a hand through thick black hair as he peered out at the deserted road through slightly smudged glasses and waited patiently on the supposed handyman. Hopefully the man was as useful as Enid claimed...

    White clouds bounded across the blue sky.
  2. How long had it been since he'd last traveled down this street? Somehow a decade felt more like a century, but maybe that was only because he'd tried very hard to put his teenage years behind him.

    Sitting behind the wheel of a silver Dodge pickup, Harper Evans drove slowly down the Autumn-coated dead end street, head swiveling back and forth as he read the numbers on the dilapidating homes, worried that his destination would be one of them. "Please don't let it be in really bad shape," he muttered to himself, hunching a little to look further out of the window.

    It wasn't that he minded a tough or lengthy job. It was just that he was doing this for half the cost as a favor to Enid. Well, if he was to be honest, she'd pretty much guilted him into helping out her mystery friend... Finally his gaze caught the little red car up ahead and, pulling into the driveway, he gazed up at the front of the house with a little sigh. Not as bad as it could have been but the place definitely needed some work done.

    Enid hadn't told him much about her friend, so Harper wasn't really sure what to expect. In fact, this somehow felt like some weird blind date mastermind grand scheme of hers, but maybe that was just him overthinking things? Green eyes scanned the yard for the owner of the home, and for that matter the little red car. Meanwhile, he parked and killed the engine, the driver door closing with just enough noise to be heard from even inside. Hands in his pockets, Harper headed up the walkway to the front door, all while in the back of his mind, he wondered what sort of face would greet him. Was it someone he knew? He did know a lot of people, but he couldn't imagine a little city car slipping under his radar in a near-bumpkin town like this one.

    No, it had to be a stranger. Right?
  3. It had to be when Grey was getting a cup of something out of the kitchen that the sound of the car greeted him. Because that was how it always worked so he had set the cup down and race towards the door, nearly tripping over the cat that had somehow moved in with him as soon as he arrived. Luckily for Grey he managed to make it to the open door just as the person was ascending the steps. He grasped the door frame and caught his breath as the cat winded it's way between his legs and outside to stare up at the intruder. Grey himself raised his eyes behind clunky frames and stared as the happiness drained from his face.

    "Oh..." He stood up straight and felt more than a little amazed that they were almost the exact same height. "I wasn't expecting you." Grey said and pulled back, his hand still on the frame and barring the man's entrance to his house. Now he knew why Enid had said 'no violence'. Speaking of Enid. His phone buzzed in his pocket and if Harper had his phone as well he'd get a similar message.

    'Be NICE to one another, boys. Or I'll come down there and kick your asses. :P'​

    So Grey pursed his lips in a pout and rubbed his face. " You know my name and I know yours. So. Come in. See the place. Whatever. It needs help. The roof leaks. The stairs creak. I think the plumbing needs help... Don't mind the yard. I'm going to hire someone at least for the initial work... " He raised his hands heavenward and then moved away. "The cat was already here."

    The ginger cat was looking up at the two men and opened it's mouth wide and yawned.
    • Love Love x 1
  4. The door opened wide and Harper put on a pleasant smile. Lips parted with the intention to introduce himself but the client, so to speak, cut him off right away with an unhappy look on an all too familiar face and voiced disappointment.

    Suddenly Harper found himself submerged in icy water, a bit of color draining from his face as he looked his past right in the eye. He was completely unprepared for this but his past was already speaking again and he knew he had to snap out of it or he'd end up looking like an idiot.

    Don't be a dick to him. That's what he kept thinking as he stepped through the doorway and closed the door behind him softly, gaze settled on Greyson's back. Things had to have changed by now, right? ...Right?

    "I'll look around first and get an idea of what equipment and materials I'll need," he informed as he shrugged out of his plaid autumn jacket and hung it up by the door. Slipping out of his boots, he gazed around the layout of the first floor, though his gaze quickly found Greyson once again. "Anywhere you don't want me to go?" he asked, cocking his head to look up the staircase. But then he turned his head back toward Greyson and grinned. "Bedroom? Still filled with Star Trek stuff, I bet."

    Dammit. It should not have been this easy to slip back into his old ways, but just looking at that guy brought back all the wrong feelings. Judging by Greyson's attitude, it was the same for him. In a sense.

    And the phone in his pocket went ignored.
  5. "Please-" He turned on his heel, steel blue eyes focused on Harper. "Be my guest." He wet his lips. "Go prod through my bedroom." Eyes intent over the edge of his glasses as he stalked forward. "And see what Star Trek items are lurking there." He spread his arms then and unlike as a skinny kid and then teenager, there was some meat on them. "Look, I don't care. Go through whatever, you're the person who knows what they are doing. I sure as hell don't. That doesn't mean you can go around opening my bedroom drawers or anything. 'Cause I promise you, you won't be finding anything from Star Trek."

    Damn his twelve year old self and writing about why Star Trek was so important as a TV show and what it had meant for people when it first aired! Being called 'Captain Kirk' for two years had been horrible. Dressing up had probably been a bad idea as well.

    There was a still moment where Grey felt he'd perhaps said too much to the man and he felt his cheeks heat from embarrassment all over again.

    The living room had a bookshelf, not over crowded with books but there was a fair amount of things on it. Rocks littered the room in various places, shelves and tables. It was clear that Grey had a hobby, he was a rock hound. On a table in the corner stood a rather tall salt lamp glowing warmly, a geode was on the coffee table along with a large book There was books of anatomy strode across a chair along with a pad of paper and pencils and there was candles everywhere.

    The interesting thing was of course the coarse sea salt on the window sills and the horseshoe and tiny twiggy brooms over the doors.
  6. Oh what sass~

    And somehow Harper had managed to keep a straight face until Greyson turned away. It was then that he smirked from ear to ear, chuckling into the back of a hand so as not to be heard. "Still can't take a joke, I see," he muttered, more so to himself than the other man as he let himself into the living room.

    In all of the years Harper had gone to school with Greyson, not once had he ever been inside his house. That was probably because he'd made life a little hard for the other. Okay. Maybe more than just a little. With hands tucked into his jeans pockets, he took his time inspecting things - mostly the items in the room rather than the room itself like he should have been.

    Rocks? Although he wasn't as mousy and lanky as he used to be, Harper was betting that he was still every bit a nerd. Only nerds collected rocks and books for learning and-- An eyebrow cocked, a hand reaching down to touch the white grainy sand on the window ledge and found it to be salt when he pinched some between two fingers and thumb and rolled it back and forth. What was the deal with this? He looked up and saw the same thing on the other sills and for a reason he couldn't fathom, he felt a little worried.

    Green gaze strayed to Greyson, a frown showing on his unshaven face, but he said nothing on the matter and just dusted off his hands. "You vanished right after graduation... What happened?"
  7. There was still the flush staining his cheeks as Grey struggled not to pace back and forth across the living room and shake Harper for invading his house. Though he had invited him in so that was on him and he considered strangling Enid or at least defriending her for a day off his facebook. Something to ease his intense displeasure at the whole damned thing. Because watching the lumbering blond walk around and touch his stuff was just... Irksome.

    "What?" Grey snapped, not really paying attention to the words at first. "Oh..." He shrugged. "I needed out. I wasn't going to stay here and I managed to get a little scholarship for a Nursing school. I was -" He stopped, like hell he was going to tell Harper Evans everything that had gone on in his life.

    Was he supposed to ask about him? Did he leave? Clearly he was here now so did it matter? "The master bathroom needs some help. The drains are slow. Do you know a good plumber? Also the light fixture is..." He grimaced. "Ancient. It flickers no matter how new the bulb is. So I guess it's the fixture? I hope it's not the wiring."

    "What did you do after school anyway?" Why was he asking? Why was he asking? He didn't care! Did he?

    The door to the bedroom was open, a mostly made bed was through the door and the room was clean if a little dark. There wasn't much in the way of decorations yet, there were boxes on the floor still. It was clear he was still unpacking. There was a pile of laundry in a corner and a pair of briefs with a Batman logo peeking out of the pile.
  8. He totally wasn't imagining Greyson Devereux in a nurse's outfit. Nope. The smirk on his lips had nothing to do with that at all. And yet he also wondered how long was his mind going to keep acting like his childish teenage self. As long as he needed to help this old schoolmate? God, he hoped not. Because pretending that Greyson was just some guy he used to tease years ago wasn't going to work for much longer.

    He'd slip back into his old ways eventually and that was something he never wanted to deal with again.

    "Yeah, I have a buddy who can make good on the plumbing," he muttered, eyes already upturned at the light fixture. "That, however, I can take care of."

    Moving on into the hallway, Harper kept his gaze anywhere but on Greyson. It was sad that if he stared for too long, he'd get that urge to be mean. It was something he hadn't been able to control since... Well, since they were just kids.

    "What's that? Greyson Devereux is interested in a real life person?" He paused, staring dramatically wide-eyed with horror. "Who are you? An imposter?!" But the act was ruined as he cracked a smile and turned away to survey the new room. "Internship with a local Architect. Learned all the neat little things that come with it, you know? House renovation, interior design." He wasn't going to tell Greyson about his dream house or even why he'd decided on that career in the first place. "I..."

    It was then and only then that Harper noticed the boxers. Not the bed or the boxes but the boxers. His mean little heart did a backflip when he recognized the print and he just couldn't help himself. He honest to goodness could not stop himself from setting a very smug, absolutely amused to Hell and back sort of expression loose on the man standing beside him. "You're right. It wasn't Star Trek memorabilia I found," he snickered, stooping to pluck the briefs out of the pile by their waistband and dangle them in front of poor, poor Greyson.
  9. It wasn't like he was about to get angry over the 'caring about another person' comment. It stung in ways that Harper couldn't even consider as he said the words and Grey knew that. He also knew that he shouldn't be imagining hitting Harper in the face with whatever was handy just because the guy was a jerk. Assault on his first month back in town wouldn't make him a popular figure, he was certain of that.

    Of course Grey was silent at the snarky comments. He'd just nodded along with Harper as he had mentioned his after school career choice and that he knew a plumber and Grey just accepted it all and followed him around at an acceptable distance because if he opened his mouth he'd start a fight and if he'd gotten any closer to him ... Well, Grey worked with his hands and his upper body. Ripping Harper's head off would be a bit much. What would he do with the body? He mused for a few moments, not realizing that Harper had spotted something.

    Not until he held it up and Grey grit his teeth and marched over and snatched the little briefs out of the man's hands. "Do you just go around and rifle through your client's laundry basket, Harper Evans?" He rolled his eyes and looked exasperated but surprisingly he didn't blush. "I didn't even buy those. Though I'm going to keep them. Now stop obsessing over what I use to cover my ass and do your damn job. You don't even know where those are from!" He tossed the undies into the laundry basket and shook his head. "You're a jerk, you know that right? But unlike before, I don't care." It was a partial lie, it was a horrible thing to be outed as a geek. Except Grey had always been a geek. It stung. Everything Harper did stung and he wanted to kick the man out so bad.

    "Alright Sherlock, get out of my bedroom and go make yourself useful. Figure out a price list for all this trouble too while you're at it. And the real price too. Not the Enid adjusted price. Because there is no one in this world I want to owe anything to less than you. And then we'll figure out if you can keep your hands to yourself and if I'm going to keep you."
    • Love Love x 1
  10. Well if there was a record for all of Harper's poor life choices, about 99% of them would probably involve Greyson. And the fact that he'd just added another to the list became painfully obvious the moment their eyes met and he saw that look. That look. The one that said 'I hate you'. The one that teenage Harper had strived for on a daily basis. The one that squeezed his heart, regardless of what his head wanted.

    "Grey-" He'd started to say something, but so had Greyson, who was apparently done with being teased. Try as he might, Harper could only get a few words in here and there, and he doubted Greyson was even listening.

    "Do you just go around and rifle through your client's laundry basket, Harper Evans?"

    "Nope." Just yours. There was something wrong with him and he was still trying to deny it.

    "Now stop obsessing over what I use to cover my ass and do your damn job. You don't even know where those are from!"

    "Wait, wha-?"

    "You're a jerk, you know that right?"


    As Greyson kept ranting, the cold weight in Harper's stomach grew and grew. It was called 'guilt' and unlike his teen self, he couldn't stand feeling like that anymore. It wasn't so easy to push aside and forget these days. So maybe that's why instead of doing what he was told to do right away, or teasing Greyson any further, he chose another response.

    "Grey," he said firmly, the moment the dark haired man finished his current sentence. Harper reached out a hand and grabbed hold of his forearm, even gave him a little jerk to make him notice that Harper hand been trying to speak the whole damn time. And the serious expression Harper wore now was one Greyson probably wouldn't have seen outside of the baseball field. It didn't stay long upon his face, however, quickly melting into another new expression - tenderness. "I'm sorry," he said, brow furrowing just a little, betraying how guilty he felt. "I went too far..."

    Oh god. His heart was pounding in his chest, his grip on Greyson's arm relaxing. His hand fell back to his side and he licked his lips, turning away to leave the bedroom. "About the price, I told you already. I owe Enid, so don't worry about it."
    • Love Love x 1
  11. That expression.... Grey felt like he had kicked a puppy. A really stupid puppy. Who was apologizing at him and making him feel guilty, like he had railroaded him or that he had deserved everything. So Grey stared for a moment, a few varied emotions flickering behind his eyes and he nodded. Not trusting his overworking mouth and when the hand was off his arm, he'd back up and out of the bedroom.

    Once he didn't have to look at Harper, he swallowed and got a hold on himself. "Yeah. Don't worry about it... About the underwear thing. I'm just riled up here, back in town, in this house... All of that." Grey shoved his hands in his pockets, body closing up and his eyes swept over the house.

    "No, Harper. You owe Enid. Not me. Let me pay you, I don't want to owe you... Or Enid, anything. It's not fair to you to not get full price for this. You're Enid's friend anyway, not mine." Ouch, Grey. Perhaps that wasn't the nicest thing he could say but it was true. "I'm getting a bottle of water. I'll bring you one." And with that Grey was off towards the kitchen and feeling . . . Sad?

    I wish he'd look at me like that all the time...
  12. Had Greyson always been this stubborn? Or maybe it was that Harper was just that hated?

    "You're Enid's friend anyway, not mine."

    Yeah, probably the latter.

    Harper sighed, rubbing the tension out of the back of his neck. At least he'd managed to calm Hurricane Greyson down, right? His free hand moved to his hip if only to keep from strangling the idiocy out of himself, the other hand squeezing his nape.

    "Water? Ah, yes please," he muttered as he broke his stance and tried to shake away the tight, tight feeling in his chest. He'd almost forgotten what anxiety felt like, but Harper would be damned if he was going to let it get the best of him like it had back in high school. "Okay," he breathed once he was alone, hands moving to pat his pockets and find which one was holding his little notepad and pen.

    Back pocket. Right.

    So whose underwear ARE they then?

    He'd rather not think about that.

    Is he seeing someone?

    Something like that shouldn't matter to him!

    What the hell do I even want out of this?

    That was a good question. Did he want to be Greyson's friend or did he want to continue to keep the man at an arm's length with childish behavior and mean words? Honestly, being his friend sounded like torture.

    "Get it together," he muttered to himself and gave his head a little shake as if that would clear it of troubling thoughts. And maybe it worked a little bit or at least enough to get him to focus on what he was there for in the first place.

    Walking from room to room, he scribbled on the notepad. If Greyson was following, he didn't notice. He was officially in work mode at that moment, muttering to himself about drywall and wiring and outlets and what tools he'd need.
    • Love Love x 1
  13. The kitchen was solace after the heated minutes with Harper, they really didn't get along at all, did they? They never had. Greyson made sure he was well out of sight before he slumped down next the fridge and rested his forehead against the textured plastic of it. I'm not handling this well at all, am I? I don't know what to do with and I don't know what to say and he just makes me so mad! I get so frustrated! Greyson had the grace not to whimper as he collected himself and then got bottles of water from the fridge.

    I have to get it together. I'm home. I'm here. I need Harper's help. I can't fuck this up. . . . I don't want to fuck this up. I'm lonely, this house makes me so lonely.

    His brain was working in overdrive and he stopped and stared out the window for a minute, clouds were gathering rapidly. The weather man didn't lie, it's going to get dark early. I need to get Harper out of here before darkness sets. With bottles in hand, Grey rushed through the house to find Harper, there was a look of concern on the dark haired man's face.

    "Harper, it looks like it's blowing up a storm. Here's your water. Sorry about earlier." It all came out in one of Greyson's trademark word-torrents. There was now a nervous energy to the man, speaking of nervous energy. There was a faint ominous growl of feline disquiet from the other room.
  14. It was going to be expensive, this renovation, but it still wasn't as bad as it could have been. Harper was still toying with the idea of handing the project off to a friend, if only to keep himself away from that kryptonite of a man when said man finally caught his attention. An amused look graced Harper's face as he slowly translated Greyson word vomit into functioning sentences.

    He looks uncomfortable. It's like he's worried about something. Maybe Greyson had had enough to Harper's bullshit for one day. But..maybe it was something else. Harper narrowed his eyes a moment, looking the other man dead in the eye for a moment as if he was trying to read those frantic thoughts.

    He thought about replying back with 'It's just a storm' but it really was obvious that Greyson was trying to get rid of him. He shook his head as he was offered the water and flipped his notepad closed. "Sorry for making you get it, but I think I don't need it after all. I've got some good notes here so I'll head back home now."

    At the door, as he put on his jacket, he eyed Greyson again. He wanted nothing more than to ask why the man seemed nervous. He really did. Opening another can of worms in one day seemed like a bad idea, though, so he kept his mouth shut for once and just buttoned up his jacket in silence. "I'll swing by when I've made a rough estimate of the costs. Should be tomorrow because I'm concerned about that ceiling light in your living room." He gaze flicked in its general direction for a moment before returning to Greyson's face. He's fine...right?

    "Goodnight then." Against his better judgement, Harper stepped through the door and closed it behind him.
  15. The fear of the darkness falling before Harper was safely away in his truck had Greyson almost mute for once, his mouth gummy with the worry that the other man wouldn't get far enough away for the circle of ... badness to not effect him. So he was following him to the door, the earlier parts of the day mostly forgotten in such an intense rush of fear for Harper. That he wouldn't get away.

    "Goodnight, Harper. Drive safe... I'll see you tomorrow." His voice had gone soft and warm, the worry had changed his attitude enough that it almost sounded like he liked Harper. He had followed him out, keeping the door open so he could watch him get into his vehicle and start to drive away.

    Darkness descended faster on the street, the shadows grew longer... It was like the street was it's own private valley, the darkness lingered in the mornings and came on fast at night.

    Greyson stepped back inside then, shutting the door behind him and began his prep for the night.
  16. Because that wasn't suspicious at all. Nope.

    And yet still, Harper repeatedly told himself all the way to his truck that it was a bad idea getting attached to Greyson Devereux. He thought that maybe this heavy feeling on his shoulders would lift after he left the other's presence, but instead, it stayed firmly in place. Heavy, like someone clinging to him, weighing him down and making him tired. It was unnatural but he was willing to call it "stress" instead.

    Funny how the moment he slipped into the driver's seat, that feeling lightened a little. He sighed, leaning his head back against the rest and pinching the bridge of his nose. "His underwear? Really, Harper?" He was generally on better behaviour even when he was three sheets to the wind! Something, and he had a damn good idea of what that something was, in Greyson brought out the worst in him. "What am I? In kindergarten? Is this me pushing him down on the playground because I like him?"


    Sighing again, Harper gripped the steering wheel with both hands, knowing full well that he couldn't just sit there in Greyson's driveway, having conversations with himself about his own idiocy. He had to make a choice. He couldn't keep flip-flopping between how he wanted to deal with that guy. "I've gotta get out of here..." The air was stuffy, tense with bad vibes. And as if to agree with that feeling, something moving out of the corner of his eye, and quickly at that, behind his truck. His side mirror had caught the act but he'd only seen a shadowy figure. A cat? A dog? Did they have bears come this far into town? Probably a cat. "I'm seeing things." Though saying that still didn't soothe his racing heart.

    Without another thought, he started up the engine and backed down the driveway. It wasn't until he was a few blocks away that he felt that suppressing weight start to lift...
  17. A week or more later had Greyson in slightly better frame of mind even if Harper was an impossible creature. The house was looking more like a house and business was going well, he'd gotten the position he wanted at the local spa and the pay rate! He'd managed to unpack several boxes and all the salt and crystals he'd ordered online had finally came in! Plus all his underwear were put away in drawers or in the hamper which had a lid. There would be no repeat of last time.

    It certainly helped that the last few nights the troubles had calmed down. There had been so much less . . . Everything. So Grey prepared lunch knowing that eventually Harper would show up and probably eat it. The scent of chili wafted through the house along with the woodsmoke from the fire. Beers and water chilled in the fridge and the afternoon settled in comfortably.

    It was going to be fine. Surely? Right? Greyson would act like a normal human being, Harper would be a normal human being.

    And Enid would not appear out of nowhere to beat them both for being stupid.

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