Only Human: Chapter Four.
“Rabbit! Rabbit, slow down.”
I recognise the voice instantly – it’s the same voice that has been practically plaguing me the last few days. I slow down and let him catch up. It seems I don’t much mind being plagued.
“Rabbit?” I say, with a questioning tone, when he’s finally within range without the need for yelling.
“Yeah. You said I couldn’t call you Casey and I am nothing if not obedient.”
“Right, that I get. What I don’t scope is the cutesy animal names.” And seriously. Since Monday I’ve been called Ducky, Robin, Koala and Bear. And now Rabbit.
“Well they’re cute,” he says, “and you’re cute, so they’re an ace fit. I’m not going to quit using them.” ...he thinks I’m cute? I’m getting impressed with his boldness. Won’t be mentioning that his ways, mind you. And I’m not impressed with how he keeps deflecting insults lately. He’s started to either ignore or laugh at me when I’m being an ass. Thus, he’s pushing his way into acquaintanceship. And thus, I’m not being ass because what’s the bloody point?
“I wasn’t going to ask you to quit,” I say taking out me silk cuts and lighting up. And that is sure to annoy him, when all else fails. He is not a fan of smoking.
“Great,” he says and throws a mega watt smile my way. Mission objective failed.
“You think I’m cute?” I ask, hoping that doesn’t make me sound insecure.
“Very,” he smiles.
“I’m ridiculous because I appreciate the cuter things in life?”
“Nah, you’re just plain ridiculous.”
“I can live with that.”
“I’m very proud,” I say drily.
“No need to be,” he announces, “being ridiculous is actually real easy to live with, especially in comparison to some of the other things you’ve told me I am. If I didn’t know better, I’d reckon you were getting soft.”
“It’s a good thing you know better.”
“Definitely,” he says wryly. I smile back at him. God, I am getting soft. That’s the only explanation.
“So,” he says to me, “up to much today?”
I grunt a nugatory reply.
“Wanna grab a coffee or something to waste some time?”
“That’s not a no.” ...apparently my ‘not a no’ won me an alarmingly powerful smile, from his getting prettier by the moment face. Bollocks.”
“Coffee in Twist sound alright?”
“You know this is the caff’ we came to on our first date?”
“Oh, come on! You remember? I asked you for coffee, you said whatever and the rest is beautiful history.”
“That wasn’t a date.”
“Yes, my little owl, it was.”
I nod in acquiesce.
“Come on then.”
And that’s basically how I find myself in the precocious situation I am now in. Sitting across from Spencer, watching him slurp away at a latte while I nurture a cup of tea. I don’t trust myself with caffeine. Especially around increasingly disconcerting guys who, try as I may, I can’t simply figure out. And I’m trying to convince myself that I don’t want to figure him out either. Internal struggle, you know? And it’s beyond irritating. It’s just he’s so insistent on talking to me or just being in my presence. I don’t understand it. It’s not in me to understand it. People don’t seek me out, not without ulterior motives anyways. But he seems, for now, content with just trying to know me. It makes me uncomfortable. Puts me in a state of unease. And regardless of how much I deny it, his constant smiles are getting to me. And his morality. His fucking morality. You can see it, sense it immediately. He oozes goody-goody. He doesn’t smoke. I’ve never heard him curse. He does volunteer work. How do I know this? He told me. Then he asked if I was interested in helping out. I told him to fuck off and he just smiled back at me. I just...he...I have enough trouble trying to comprehend the natures of your average-every day person, I avoid social interaction for this very reason, (well, amongst others). I don’t get people. So evasion works. But this guy, this fucking guy, he’s deliberately seeking me out and trying to build a sort of camaraderie with me and beyond Fletcher nobody has ever tried to do that. And Fletch was different. Fletch I sort of got, he sought me out for sex. That I comprehend. The physical I understand. And yeah, sex with Fletch has developed into a sort of warped friendship but I knew from the start what he wanted. Spencer’s motivations remain a mystery.
“So,” he begins, “silence, huh?”
“Yes,” I blink, snapping out of my thoughts.
“Ah hah. So, I shouldn’t have interrupted it then?”
“You really shouldn’t have.”
“We had a good thing going?”
“Could’ve kept it up all day.”
“Well, all good things must come to an end, right?”
“Wombat, look -“
“No! You look, I’m a neurotic bundle of crazy and I don’t see where you get pretending otherwise. We’re wrong for each other. I’m a jerk and you’re, you’re not, you’re so not, you’re my polar opposite.”
“No, Peter. You should find someone good, someone nice.”
“I don’t want nice, I want you.”
“Find someone who’ll treat you right, someone who deserves. And I’m so sorry, so bloody fucking sorry, but that’s not me.”
“No. I mean it. No. This isn’t it. We had one little fight, one inconsequential fight that was all my fault and damn it, Casey! This is ending, I won’t let it.”
“I’m sorry, Pete, but all good things must come to an end, right?”
“True.” I reply.
“You’re not much of a talker.” He states this, not questions. I nod in response. “I like to talk,” he continues, “I like it a lot. I’d like you to talk too but I can deal with your pouty silences, some people are just quiet.”
“I’m neither pouty nor quiet.” God, petulant child much?
“Right,” he grins, “not pouty, just cute and not quiet just, reluctant to talk.”
“Not quite that either.”
“Then tell me, what, who are you?”
“And destroy this whole ‘mysterious appeal’ thing I’ve got going?”
“If you wouldn’t mind,” he says, practically beaming.
“I would,” I reply, somewhat impassively.
“See that there is a pity.”
“Is that so?”
“Yup. Okay, I’ve got a suggestion...don’t bite me for it.”
“I don’t bite.”
“Not even if I ask super nicely?”
I don’t respond to this, I just narrow my eyes and soon enough he raises his hands in mock surrender.
“Okay,” he starts, “look, I, for reasons vaguely unknown, really want to get to know you. You interest me.”
“I interest you.”
“You fascinate me.”
“My life’s ambition is complete,” I say, trying to keep my expression blank. I fascinate him? This whole situation is getting more and surreal.
“I want to get to know you,” he stresses.
“You want to get to know me?”
“Yes, we’ve been through this. I want to get to know you. So, I propose a game of sorts.”
“Are you going to keep questioning everything I say?”
“Questioning everything you say?” I enquire, with a hazy feign of indifference.
“Very funny...see, I think we should do this thing where I ask you a question, you answer it truthfully and then you get to ask me something and etcetera.”
“That, I’m sure I’ve mentioned. I’ll repeat it slowly. I. Want. To. Get. To. Know You.”
“That I get. Well, not get. Know. Sort of. What I want to know is why you think I wanna get to know you.”
“Really?” he implicitly exclaims, “I thought I’d have to work a lot harder than that to convince you.”
“I thought I’d say you the effort.”
“And people say you’re not a nice guy,” he says, shaking his head.
“I’m a very nice guy.”
“Well, you’re a lot nicer than you try to make people think you are.”
“You’ve known me less than a week and you think you can judge that?” I ask, sceptically.
“Yes,” he replies, grinning obnoxiously.
“You’re wrong.” I say.
“Whatever,” I sigh, “let’s get this done.”
“Oh,” he sulks, “but that was fun.”
“Was not,” I say, trying and failing to exude a sardonic tone.
“Was too,” he grins mischievously.
“We’re doing this?” “We’re doing this.”