The two men briefly acknowledged each other before going into their respective apartments, across the hall from each other. As soon as they were each behind the cover of their own doors, they rolled their eyes skyward.
“I’ve never met such a ridiculous man,” muttered Steven. “Always walking around like he owns the place. He thinks he’s such a gift to humanity, but I’ll bet he wouldn’t know how a fix anything in his house if it grew a mouth and gave him instructions!”
Meanwhile, across the hallway, Lucas was muttering similar things. “It’s unnatural for someone to be more comfortable with tools than with other people. Does he ever even socialize? He couldn’t tell the difference between stock and bonds if his life depended on it!”
Both men were confident in their assumptions of each other, however, neither of them saw past the other’s day job. After muttering about each other disgustedly, they walked across their identical apartments to their desks, where they each fired up their laptops and opened their favorite site, talktome.org. It was an organization attempting to bring people together by pairing them randomly and hoping people would become friends. Somehow, they reported great success. It appeared people were more kind than argumentative after all, at least when it was all anonymous.
Ugh! Steven wrote to his pen pal.
Valid. But why? His pen pal wrote back.
My neighbor drives me crazy! He thinks he’s all that, but he’s just some guy!
Lucas chuckled. He could get that! Oh yeah, he wrote. My neighbor is crazy too. He thinks he’s so smart, just because he knows what a screwdriver is, but I don’t think he’s taken a single college course. It would surprise me if he even graduated high school.
Steven frowned. Well, there’s nothing wrong with not going to college, he typed.
Oh, of course not, I didn’t mean to imply there was. I just don’t think people should act like they’re geniuses about something, especially when talking to someone who studied it for four years. Lucas was remembering a particularly tense conversation last year where Steven had tried to tell him that the stock market was a scheme started by Canada to lull the Americans into a false sense of security.
I suppose that’s a fair point, Steven wrote back, chuckling as he recalled the time he decided to mess with Lucas by telling him he believed that the stock market was a trick from the Canadians. He had fallen for it, which was hilarious. He kept running a hand through his short cropped black hair the entire time, growing more and more visibly frustrated with every word he said. By the end, he was struggling not to laugh, and Lucas had been cold toward him ever since.
So, L, you ever going to divulge some important information to me? Steven typed.
Lucas smirked across the hall. And what information might that be? If it involves inches, let’s just say… enough He added a wink to the end of that sentence. He loved flirting with the mystery S. He always got so flustered by it.
Case in point. After several minutes of watching the screen and seeing that S was typing, the only thing he said was, Your name?
Cute. But no, you’re going to have to work harder to get that information out of me.
Steven sighed. He and L had given each other the first letter of their names weeks ago, and he desperately wanted to know more about this man who flirted with him relentlessly. Fine, he typed. Favorite color?
Just then, the alarm system of the apartment building went off, the signal that all residents should leave their rooms and exit the building immediately.
Not wanting to leave the other hanging, both men typed, Sorry, gotta go, apartment alarm just went off, clicked send, and grabbed their laptops to carry outside with them, neither noticing that the other had said the same thing.
Both men walked side by side while they walked downstairs.
I wish he would have gone out before me! Lucas thought as Steven trailed a couple of stairs behind him.
Steven, however, had no such qualms. He may be a pain in the ass, but as for his actual ass… he thought as he purposely slowed down to be a couple steps behind him. Steven couldn’t stand Lucas, but he could the tight black slacks he wore every day even less. They were so flattering, and it drove Steven crazy to hate his neighbor so much while he also wanted him so bad.
Finally stepping outside, both men sat down at separate tables, hoping that their pen pal was still there.
Lucas scanned the last message S had sent him. S, he thought, sending a discreet glance toward Steven from under his eyelashes. The man was sitting a few tables away, mouth agape. Lucas got all the answer he needed when the other man looked up, gaze searching until he met Lucas’s eyes with a look of shock on his face.
Lucas turned back to his laptop, shooting a message back to S. What are the chances we’d both have to leave our apartments at the same time?
Slim to none, came the immediate response.
“Lucas?” came a whisper from beside him a moment later. Lucas glanced up at the brunette in front of him. His blue eyes were stretched wide in amazement.
Steven wasn’t sure what to do. This guy was the worst! But the way he flirted with S… it made him hope there could be a chance. Until Lucas narrowed his almost black eyes and stood abruptly.
Lucas was terrified. No one in his life knew he was gay. He didn’t want the first person to find out be his annoying next-door neighbor. Even if he did have hair the perfect length for tangling his hands in, and blue eyes that looked like they pierced his soul, and a body that would make a Greek god jealous. All that manual labor did him good. I can think of some other manual labor he could partake in. Lucas shoved the thought away as soon as he could. No. No! I have to keep this under control.
But before Lucas could find the words, the building manager called out, “Thank you for your patience everybody! We’re so sorry about that, something must have gone wrong with the alarm system, we’ll be having someone come look at it in an hour or so. We have it turned off, and you can all return to your rooms.” She stepped away from the door and allowed people to begin streaming back inside.
Lucas turned and followed them, acutely away of Steven a few steps behind him. I bet I knew exactly where he’s looking, he thought. And yet he couldn’t stop picturing his toned arms, imagining his own hands wrapping around his strong biceps.
When they got upstairs to their rooms, everyone else was already gone, leaving them the only two in the hallway. Both men hesitated at their doors, then Lucas unlocked his and stepped inside closing the door behind him. Steven sighed, then moved to unlock his own door, fumbling for a moment with the key. Before he could unlock his door however, he heard the door open behind him, and he froze as he heard footsteps crossing the hall toward him.
Lucas’s voice was low, and Steven stiffened as he felt a hand on his lower back, trailing up. Suddenly a sharp tug to his hair steered him around, and Lucas was pressing him against the door, kissing him fiercely. Steven felt hands gripping his biceps and he made use of his own hands, trailing them down Lucas’s chest, snaking them around to his back, and grabbing at the very ass that had been the object of his desire for the past two years.
Lucas broke the kiss to grab Steven’s hand, pulling him across the hallway through his still open door, and swiftly shut the door behind them. No one in any neighboring apartments had seen any of the exchange, but the girl that lived at the end of the hall did find it quite strange to witness Steven, hair tousled and clothes wrinkled, darting across the hallway back to his own apartment, shoes in hand.
Did I just see Steven taking a walk of shame from Lucas’s apartment? She wondered, disgruntled. I thought they hated each other. Oh well, maybe it’s what they’re into. She shrugged and continued on her way. She needed coffee after the day she had had yesterday.
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