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 What Friends Are For, 30 April 2167 | @Leo
Reese Marshall
 Posted: Apr 29 2018, 10:20 PM
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Typic
39 YEARS
Citizen
Typic
605 Posts
There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
Thyme is Offline



The night before had gone... well, things were kind of confusing. Reese organized his life into three categories that were meant to keep it simple so that he didn't get lines crossed and he didn't end up breaking anything irreparably.

Problem was, things seemed kind of irreparable at the moment. He'd kissed his best and only friend (at least of the people who had gotten the label officially, which was somewhat like securing a gold trinket from a fire breathing dragon). His friend thought it was nothing, just something to sweep under the rug. He acted like it was just some mistake that happened after a bit of play between two sober bisexual men, who held hands and fell asleep against one another at minimum twice monthly. Said friend also acted like it was okay for Reese to settle into his lap, smell him, and play with his hair, which, to be honest, Reese thought were all signs that a kiss was in order.

They'd woken up the next morning, and his friend had pretended like nothing had happened. Reese wasn't sure if he was relieved or pissed -- in truth, he was pretty sure that an awkward exchange that went along the lines of I know we are basically dating, but I have dumbass rules about previous clients would occur, but it didn't and that just made him more confused and somewhat pissed off.

He'd gone out drinking with the intention of starting a fight, but he was sore from his shoulders to his toes in the most satisfying way, and so the night went smoothly the way it so often did -- except that Reese was trashed. It was only eight at night (but he's been drinking since he'd left his friend's apartment in Haven). He made at least three wrong turns on his way home, ended up in front of what he was pretty sure was a veterinarian's office (even if the signage did a shitty job of pointing out that it was for animals only) and pushed open the door, not before literally running into it first when his hand couldn't get the knob to turn on the first try.

He raised the bottle that was in his hand to his lips and took another swig as he managed to open the door that time and fumbled through, barely keeping his feet beneath him. "I'm just -- I'm just going to sit down." he announced.

And he had just enough self awareness to make it to one of the chairs in the waiting room before he passed out.

@Leo Dobrowolski | If I need to change anything, lemme know!
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Leo Dobrowolski
 Posted: May 6 2018, 03:26 PM
Quote
Evolute
32 YEARS
Cartel
Tier 4
222 Posts
If Leo touches a person's bare skin (alive or dead), he can tell you everything about their physical history. Medical conditions, healed breaks, pregnancies, surgeries, anything that has affected their body in any way. He can also feel anything they are currently feeling - pain, nausea, breathlessness etc, as if it’s his own body.
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8pm. Time to lock up after a long, long day of patients. Leo had stitched up two knife wounds, blocked a junkie from trying to access his drugs cupboard, and had actually lost count of the number of people he had treated. His shirt had been spattered with blood from a particularly interesting head wound, and he was pretty sure that said blood was still in his hair. It was not a pleasant thought.

But it was Saturday night, and he could look forward to a beer or five with his friends, and he could do his best not to think about Murad and that whole clusterfuck, and...it would be fine.

Right?

Right.

He filed his last referral, grabbed his jacket and keys, stepped out into the waiting room, and…

Reese. Reese Marshall was lying on one of the chairs, eyes closed and head lolling. Leo blinked at the sight. His receptionist had left at six, and was supposed to lock the door on her way out - but while the lights were turned off, the door had evidently been left open. Reese was proof of that.

Great. Just what I need. A drunk neighbour to babysit. Leo sighed, and dropped his jacket onto the closest chair. He could do this. Saturday night. Beer. Friends. Remember the good things in life, Dobo. Leo walked the short distance over to where Reese had parked himself, and shook him gently by the shoulder. “Reese?”

He hadn’t seen Reese in a few weeks - not since the other man had joined him for a poker game, and then proceeded to studiously ignore him afterwards. Leo had other friends in his life, had bigger fish to fry than Reese Marshall, but he had to admit to feeling a little hurt. I invite you to meet new people, then you ignore me - and turn up here when you need something, huh?

No answer. Leo looked around, as if on instinct - nobody was here. Nobody would know. He sighed again, and moved his hand from Reese’s shoulder to his forehead: bare skin to bare skin.

The contact made him dizzy for a moment - Leo gasped a little as he adjusted. Then he could sink down, feel Reese’s pulse in his veins, feel his breathing, slow and regular. There was a lot of alcohol in his system, and as soon as Leo realised that he also started to feel the other man’s pain, an aching soreness that made him flinch away, breaking the contact between them.

Someone had beaten Reese Marshall. Leo knew what a beating felt like, compared to a fight - this wasn’t from a few careless punches, it was altogether more thought-through. There were welts on his back, bruises on the backs of his legs. Leo’s brow furrowed, vision darkening for a moment. Who the fuck did that? He swallowed something hot and angry, something that flashed up inside him for a moment and left him breathless - a surge of memory, and Leo was ashamed at the terrified shiver that ran through him. Shame and fear and rage welled inside his chest, made his hands start to tremble a little. What asshole did this?

“Reese, can you hear me?” he asked, shaking him again - then switched his tone from question to order: “Open your eyes.”

---
@Reese Marshall that got long, sorry!
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Reese Marshall
 Posted: May 9 2018, 10:34 PM
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Typic
39 YEARS
Citizen
Typic
605 Posts
There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
Thyme is Offline



Reese would have given himself a really solid kick in the balls if he had realized that he had walked into Leo's clinic. He had been very solidly ignoring him for a simple enough reason, though it, perhaps, was an uncommon reason. Reese freaked out when he felt like connections were happening. They had had a good time at the poker game -- and so he had opted out of the blossoming friendship as quickly as people leapt from the sea when a shark fin was seen.

He had intended to stay, metaphorically, safely on shore indefinitely and had been avoiding Leo even in the hallways, ducking into or out of his apartment when he was pretty sure that Leo wasn't going to be in ear or eye shot. And the lack of text correspondence had likely been the topper on the cake.

The first whisper of his name to try to draw him back to consciousness was met with literally no response. His body moved exclusively with the shake and then settled again as soon as the outside forces ceased. Reese vaguely processed that someone was touching his forehead and his body reacted with a flinch. (It wasn't often that someone touched him with a gentle hand when he was coming to -- mostly because when he passed out, people generally just assumed he was a homeless guy asleep on a sidewalk or bench who didn't need to be chased after or bothered.

Blue eyes opened and he blinked, staring at Leo as if Leo was the one who was lost. He had, of course, no conscious understanding that he had walked into Leo's clinic and so he didn't know why he was here. The statement that followed likely made him seem more confused than he was -- or maybe it gave the exact impression that it deserved. "Leo? What are you doing here... I didn't know you had any pets."

In Reese's defense, the place he had walked into was a poorly designated veterinarian's, right?

@Leo Dobrowolski | If you wanted to take them somewhere, feel free to change scene. You can assume Reese cooperates. (I only mentioned it because Leo sounded like he was thinking about helping Reese home. XD)
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Leo Dobrowolski
 Posted: May 10 2018, 03:12 AM
Quote
Evolute
32 YEARS
Cartel
Tier 4
222 Posts
If Leo touches a person's bare skin (alive or dead), he can tell you everything about their physical history. Medical conditions, healed breaks, pregnancies, surgeries, anything that has affected their body in any way. He can also feel anything they are currently feeling - pain, nausea, breathlessness etc, as if it’s his own body.
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“Pets?” Leo stood back, eyebrows raised, and surveyed the man in front of him. “Reese, dude where do you think you are?”

He was definitely the worse for wear. The blue eyes were unfocused and a little bloodshot, and Leo wouldn't have needed to use his ability to realise just how drunk Reese was. “You're in my clinic,” he said slowly, trying to work out if Reese was following his words. “In the Jacks. OK? C'mon, let's get you home.” He reached out a hand to help the other man to his feet.

They managed to get back to their shared apartment building without any mishaps, Reese leaning heavily on Leo's shoulder - and every time he accidentally touched bare skin, Leo had that wave of pain again, and the sick feeling in his own stomach that accompanied it. He held his tongue, figuring this was not a topic of conversation for the open air of the street, and instead focused on getting Reese through the door, up the stairs and into Leo's own apartment. There was no way he was going to go back into that creepy shrine to the dead unless he absolutely had to.

He deposited Reese on the couch, then headed into the kitchen to grab himself a beer and his neighbour the largest glass of water he could find - which he presented to Reese with a flourish. “Drink,” Leo ordered, then sat down next to him.

How exactly were you supposed to bring this kind of thing up? Leo downed half his bottle of beer, then took a breath. “So you've been avoiding me, huh?” he asked, and gave a small, wry smile. “That bad, am I?” Leo nudged Reese with his shoulder. “Wanna tell me why you thought walking into a vet’s in the middle of the night was a good idea?”

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Reese Marshall
 Posted: May 23 2018, 06:54 PM
Quote
Typic
39 YEARS
Citizen
Typic
605 Posts
There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
Thyme is Offline



Though slurred and not well strung together logically, Reese explained that he was in a vet's office, and that it was important, though why it was important he couldn't fully figure out how to articulate. Even as they walked, Reese looked at his own feet, trying to put one in front of the other with less skill than most men did and he looked at his door as they passed it and went into Leo's apartment.

He was deposited onto the couch, and the lack of protests about any of this perhaps was the most impressive part of the entire activity. (Or perhaps the most stressful, if a risk analyst had been watching -- for he could certainly, it seemed, be whisked away with almost no trouble. One might argue that he knew Leo; maybe that was the reason he didn't fight.)

Instead he sat on the couch, humming a little ditty idly, tapping his toe until Leo came back into view and he seemed to somewhat remember what was going on -- or so one might have though as he reached out for the glass of water and swallowed some of it down. "I'm fucking drunk." he said even as Leo was pointing out that their friendship had somehow gone down the toilet without so much as a rhyme or reason why.

That statement was too confusing to explain in his inebriated state, so Reese focused on the other question. That he could answer very easily. "I'm not allergic to cats." He said as if that explained anything, but the way he said it seemed to imply that he thought it did.

He shifted a little uncomfortably and reached for one of the throw pillows to tuck behind his back so that he didn't put his sore back against the back of the couch without anything to pad it. "Fuck." he breathed and looked over and then pressed the glass to his forehead. His wife was going to be pissed when he got home. What the hell had he been thinking? He was supposed to be taking "responsible adult" seriously. "You got any coffee? Jesus. I'm so fucking drunk." He repeated, "Your clinic's nice. I... -- no. I just shouldn't have another friend." Because he was trying his best to punish himself indefinitely for a tragedy that no one blamed him for.

@Leo Dobrowolski | You can assume his little ditty is some bit of this song. whitesnake is his favorite band. he's such a hipster
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Leo Dobrowolski
 Posted: May 24 2018, 03:36 PM
Quote
Evolute
32 YEARS
Cartel
Tier 4
222 Posts
If Leo touches a person's bare skin (alive or dead), he can tell you everything about their physical history. Medical conditions, healed breaks, pregnancies, surgeries, anything that has affected their body in any way. He can also feel anything they are currently feeling - pain, nausea, breathlessness etc, as if it’s his own body.
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@Reese Marshall
I’m fucking drunk, Reese said, and Leo gave a gasp, eyes widening in feigned surprise. “No!” he exclaimed. “You don’t say! Shit, man, I never would have guessed.” But he did have the presence of mind to go to the bathroom and find a bucket - which he placed on Reese’s lap, between his legs. “If you’re gonna throw up, throw up in that,” Leo told him as sternly as he could. “I clean up enough vomit on the clock, I don’t need it when I’m in my own fuckin’ house.”

And there it was, yet more drunken logic from the guy who’d been humming Whitesnake, of all things. “Sure, buddy,” Leo replied when Reese told him about his lack of feline allergies. He had to deal with enough inebriated people in his daily line of work that he was well and truly used to it, by now. “Thanks,” he said with a crooked smile - because any compliment to the clinic was a compliment to him - but his ears pricked up when Reese said something Leo judged to be pretty remarkable: I just shouldn’t have another friend.

“No?” He asked, trying to sound as casual as he could. Leo got to his feet and headed the short distance to the kitchen - once the kettle was on, he came back out into the living room and fixed Reese with his intense blue gaze. Another friend implied that his current number of friends was very small indeed. Leo wracked his brains, tried to remember if the other man had ever mentioned someone else, people he hung out with. Isolation fit depressingly well with the picture Leo had so far gathered of his life - hell, he’d met the guy when he’d been drinking alone. “Why’s that, Reese?”

The kettle boiled and Leo took a minute or so, emerging eventually with two mugs - coffee for Reese, tea for himself. He took the now-empty water glass from Reese’s hand, and replaced it with the mug. “Tell me more about your friends,” he said with a smile, settling on the couch next to him and taking a sip of the scalding liquid. Maybe one of these ‘friends’ had been the one to hurt him. Maybe he could coax something out of him, if he tried hard enough - drunk people were often quick to confess secrets. “What’re they like?”
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Reese Marshall
 Posted: May 29 2018, 09:52 PM
Quote
Typic
39 YEARS
Citizen
Typic
605 Posts
There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
Thyme is Offline



Reese blinked when a bucket appeared in his lap. Appeared was the only way that he could describe it, for he was drunk enough that his perception of time had not entirely processed that Leo had wandered out of the room and had certainly not processed that the bucket had been placed between his legs. No; it had appeared like a mom when a 15 year old was trying to lay his girlfriend for the first time.

Reese paused and stared at Leo as he waited for him to answer his own questions, but Leo seemed to want Reese to say it. He was superbly drunk, and so where usually he licked his lips, stared at the ground, and waited out the silence he said the most blunt and honest answer to a question that had so many layers.

"I killed my wife and kids. Blew 'em up." He answered, setting his chin on the edge of the bucket. He'd been told a thousand times that he phrased it wrong. He hadn't killed anyone. They had died; it was tragic. He was allowed to mourn, but it wasn't his fault.

But he needed someone to point a finger at.

"I wrecked my car." He'd been t-boned. "I was intoxicated." He'd had two beers over the course of hours. "I wasn't looking at the road." He'd looked away from a second to glance at his wife. "I didn't get anyone out." He'd been knocked unconscious.

His body lurched and whether the vomit was from the memory of losing his family or because he'd consumed more alcohol than he could pay for was unclear. He rubbed his forehead. "Fuck."

He shook his head. "Jesus. I feel like shit." He shifted slightly because his butt and thighs hurt just as much as his back in that sore was-thoroughly-punished-last-night kind of way. But he finally caught up to the conversation. "Oh-uh. Theo's my brother. And then... uh. Bruce." he offered, stupidly.

"Theo's a total jackass. That's why he's a good businessman... and --" he frowned. "I only make friends with business people." He pointed at Leo and brightened up as if he had forgotten that they had been talking about his dead family and how the man sitting near him wasn't his friend. "Hey! You run a business!" he chimed. "That's good. You can mark that off the fuckin' checklist. One qualification." he grinned. They were friends, after all, whether Reese had pointedly ignored him or not.

@Leo Dobrowolski | Sorry that got so heavy so fast. o_o; lemme know if anything has to be edited!
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Leo Dobrowolski
 Posted: May 30 2018, 01:40 AM
Quote
Evolute
32 YEARS
Cartel
Tier 4
222 Posts
If Leo touches a person's bare skin (alive or dead), he can tell you everything about their physical history. Medical conditions, healed breaks, pregnancies, surgeries, anything that has affected their body in any way. He can also feel anything they are currently feeling - pain, nausea, breathlessness etc, as if it’s his own body.
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@Reese Marshall

Oh, holy shit, Leo thought when Reese started to speak. I am out of my fucking depth.

After the game they’d spent at Reese’s house, and after seeing the shrine there to a woman and children (presumed deceased), Leo had done what any reasonable and nosy person would have done: he’d looked Reese up. It only took a quick search through the newspaper to find him, and after reading as many articles as he could find, Leo was pretty sure he had a handle on what had happened. It didn’t match what Reese was saying now. The guy didn’t mention the other driver, he didn’t mention the fact that the judge had deemed that he was innocent of any responsibility.

But Leo knew a thing or two about blaming yourself for stuff that wasn’t actually your fault. So as Reese ‘confessed’, Leo’s heart went out to him. Poor guy. Poor, fucking guy. When the other man threw up into the bucket, Leo gave his shoulder a gentle pat. He got to his feet and opened a window, in order to buy himself some time to work out what the hell he could say.

Realistically, he knew there was nothing he could say. If Reese had spent the last few years blaming himself for what happened, words of wisdom from Leo Dobrowolski while he was absolutely drunk were not going to change his mind. Better to wait until he was sober to have that conversation - and to spend the time now trying to work out the source of the beating. Leo had always known when to pick his battles.

OK - brother Theo. And...Bruce. Whoever he is. Leo raised an eyebrow when Reese referred to his clinic as a ‘business’. “Well I don’t make any profits, so I don’t think you can call me a businessman,” he replied with a smile. “And - would you say we were friends?” It was a question asked with only curiosity in his gaze - Leo wasn’t fishing for one answer or another, he just wanted to know. It seemed that what Reese thought, and what was actually the case, were often two completely different things.

He sat back on the couch, and took another sip of tea. “So tell me about Bruce,” Leo said, because between Reese’s brother and his (only?) friend, it seemed that the brother would be less likely to whip him. “What’s he like?”
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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Jun 5 2018, 09:10 PM
Quote
Typic
39 YEARS
Citizen
Typic
605 Posts
There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
Thyme is Offline



Reese still felt like shit, but throwing up had made it a little better. His head rested on the side of the bucket as he closed his eyes. "Uhm." he started, weighed what he wanted to say and then grew quiet again as he often did. He was much more chatty tonight smashed than he had been any other night they'd spent time together. In fact, the more alcohol in his system the more likely he seemed to be able to string sentences together.

He set the bucket on the ground between his knees, not yet trusting himself to part with it. His mouth tasted gross, but he was pretty sure that standing up wasn't an option, so he stayed securely on the couch beside Leo.

Reese glanced up at the man that anyone else would have called a friend as his brows furrowed. He seemed to consider whether Leo qualified as a friend the way that someone might take the time to try to figure out if one was ready to take the next step in dating. He ran his hand through his hair and then wiped his mouth. Finally, as Leo found his seat again, he said what was the safest answer and no answer at all. A joke, because a joke was so much easier than giving any real feedback. "If you're not a fucking entrepreneur, I can't be your friend. It's actually in the Marshall Credo." He said it with the same flat voice that was hard to read for someone who wasn't around him often. (Luckily, the words themselves this go around were sarcastic enough standing alone that they were hard to misinterpret.)

He proceeded in the next second to burn his tongue on his coffee, flinch, make a face, and set it back down as if it had betrayed him. Any time, he stopped speaking, he started humming -- it always seemed to fall into the genres of hair metal or glam rock from eras that should have been long forgotten (if not for people like Reese).

"Bruce?" he repeated when the question was direct. For perhaps the second time in their entire friendship, a genuine smile crossed his face. It was like watching someone crack a glow stick. He shone with happiness. "He's--uh... We're friends. He's..." he rubbed his hand over his face. How did you put Bruce into words? The glow stick began fading faster than "He's a few inches taller than me. Uhm. Handsome. Always wears suits. Honestly, we might not be friends much longer. I think he's pissed at me."

Reese had no idea about the storm that was coming, but Bruce had taken the kiss simultaneously too well and entirely poorly. He didn't know how to read that. He glanced over, the grin that rested on his face now was a dopey one bred from too much alcohol. "So I might have an opening. Unless you're planning to kill my brother for a slot."

@Leo Dobrowolski
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Leo Dobrowolski
 Posted: Jun 6 2018, 12:33 PM
Quote
Evolute
32 YEARS
Cartel
Tier 4
222 Posts
If Leo touches a person's bare skin (alive or dead), he can tell you everything about their physical history. Medical conditions, healed breaks, pregnancies, surgeries, anything that has affected their body in any way. He can also feel anything they are currently feeling - pain, nausea, breathlessness etc, as if it’s his own body.
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@Reese Marshall

Leo blinked. “I have no idea what any of that means,” he replied cheerfully, shaking his head with a smile. “Isn't an entrepreneur just a new businessman?” Part of him was impressed that someone as intoxicated as Reese could manage a word of three syllables. Another part of him was both amused and intrigued as he realised that Reese hadn't answered his question. Leo still had no idea if the two of them actually counted as friends.

The guy's expression changed completely when he considered Bruce, however. That smile was back, the one that transformed his whole face. He has feelings for him, Leo thought, interest sharpening. Whether he knows it or not. Alarm bells started ringing in Leo's head. If the two of them were together, it would make abuse much more likely.

Something in Reese’s description caught his ear, though. ‘Always wears suits,’ the other man said, and it made something prickle at the back of Leo’s neck. Only the month before, Leo had met a Bruce who wore a very nice suit. And Ark was a small city - there couldn’t be many Bruces, let alone suit-wearing ones the right age to be in a relationship with Reese Marshall. “Is that - Bruce Vaughan?” Leo asked. “Why would he be pissed at you?”

He took another sip of his tea to buy time to think about what to say next - then looked up with a startled chuckle when Reese followed up with another mention of his brother. “I don’t think I need to kill people to make friends,” Leo replied with an easy grin. “And I did promise to do no harm, so…” he trailed off with a shrug.

“So... ” Leo tried to work out how in hell to word this. Reese has has enough alcohol to cope with this conversation - why did I have to try this when I’m stone-cold sober? “You know I’m an evo, right?” It had almost certainly come up in conversation at the poker game. Leo’s Cartel friends were a mixture of typics and evos, and traded banter on the subject all the time. “Well - my evo thing is, if I touch someone, I can feel what they feel. Physically, not like telepathy or anything. And earlier, when I touched you, it felt like you were...in pain.

He wondered if this tactic was about to get him punched in the face. But what choice did he have? In for a penny, in for a pound. “Reese, did…” he swallowed. “Did someone hurt you?”

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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Jun 11 2018, 08:52 PM
Quote
Typic
39 YEARS
Citizen
Typic
605 Posts
There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
Thyme is Offline



If Reese had been sober, he would have been impressed with himself failing entirely to answer any question that was clear enough to really lend a long-term expectation. He didn't use the word friend when he was sober not only because he didn't deserve them, but because having friends meant that they owed you something and you owed them.

He had enough to worry about right now with trying to figure out what the fuck he'd done and how he was going to get things back on track with Bruce. (Because he wasn't used to having friends any longer and their upkeep was confusing and took more effort than he remembered to give.)

He rubbed his chin. "Yeah. Bruce Vaughan." He affirmed. The smile still lingered like the smile of a ten year old with his first crush, despite being nearly forty and having been previous not-technically married for ten years. Just the name made like seem to flow into him and then the question followed and he frowned, deeper and deeper until the glow of life snuffed itself out and all that was left was Reese -- the drunkard who watched games at a bar because his TV didn't work right.. "Oh-- uhm-- He... we... " he fumbled. "It's--" he shook his head and his fingers ran through his hair. "I kissed him." which was why he was probably pissed.

But then the question came and his eyes widened. "Uhm." he shook his head. "No." he lied, and the lie was so painfully clear it showed on every inch of his face. He was no psychopath or sociopath who could spin webs of falsehoods without a conscience. (And being drunk just made it worse.) "No one ... no. I'm okay" he bit his lip as he shifted uncomfortably.

He glanced over. "Anyway. He didn't want to talk about it in the morning -- the kiss or anything. He acted like nothing happened. Like you can just fucking slip and put your tongue down someone else's throat. He's definitely pissed."

@Leo Dobrowolski
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Leo Dobrowolski
 Posted: Jun 12 2018, 03:24 PM
Quote
Evolute
32 YEARS
Cartel
Tier 4
222 Posts
If Leo touches a person's bare skin (alive or dead), he can tell you everything about their physical history. Medical conditions, healed breaks, pregnancies, surgeries, anything that has affected their body in any way. He can also feel anything they are currently feeling - pain, nausea, breathlessness etc, as if it’s his own body.
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@Reese Marshall

‘I kissed him’. Leo raised an eyebrow at the words, just a little. Reese said it as if he were admitting to something dark and difficult - which was interesting in itself. He’d told Leo he was bi without any trouble, so the idea of kissing a guy couldn’t be something new to him. The expression on his face wasn’t shame. But he clearly regretted it, felt...embarrassed, maybe. It was hard to tell. “And that’s a bad thing…?”

Reese then proceeded to make the whole thing more interesting still, by giving Leo the least convincing denial he’d ever seen in his life. The lie was so obvious it could be seen a mile off. Leo considered asking Are you always this bad at lying, or is it just when you’re throwing-up drunk? - but he was enough of an adult to know that wasn’t a good idea.

The subject of the kiss was brought up immediately, and Leo wasn’t sure if it was meant entirely as a distraction, or if the two were somehow connected. Leo, who had been threatened with violence more than once in his life for hitting a guy who didn’t appreciate attention from men, found a suspicion starting to curl in the back of his mind. He took another sip of tea, and regarded Reese curiously. ‘He didn’t want to talk about it in the morning,’ the other man had said - which was also interesting, because that figure of speech usually meant that people had spent the night together.

“Maybe just didn’t know how to feel about it,” Leo said - because if anyone knew about running away from emotions, it was him. The nasty, needling suspicion wouldn’t go away, though. Something was definitely up. “What were you guys doing, when you kissed?”

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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Jun 17 2018, 08:53 PM
Quote
Typic
39 YEARS
Citizen
Typic
605 Posts
There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
Thyme is Offline



Reese hesitated. Was it bad? He hadn't kissed back -- that was a bad thing. He'd pushed him away -- that was a bad thing. He'd not made a move to pull him closer or whisper in his ear or any other of the dozens of ways that someone said they wanted someone -- that all seemed pretty bad. He grabbed the bucket and dry heaved and then put it down. Whether it was because he was vomiting with stress or because of an attempt at not suffering alcohol poisoning was a toss up at this point.

He squeezed the bridge of his nose when Leo asked a question that was harder to figure out how to answer. He set the bucket down again between his legs and then let out a sigh as he shook his head. His arms spread across the back of the couch and he stretched his back and flinched all in one movement.

One hand touched his side and he let out a pained noise and then a quiet swear.

"No. I mean he's usually a talker." Reese said as he shook his head, babbling half on top of Leo's statements because he was too drunk to realize that waiting would have been polite. "I kissed him and he told me 'no'. And then he went on like everything was fucking fine." he let out a breath. "It was my fault..." he said quietly, and then his eyes looked frightened at Leo's final question.

Was he allowed to tell someone about what he and Bruce did behind closed doors? No probably not. He didn't want someone to think either of them were freaks -- and Bruce didn't need any more bad publicity. (Being an Evo was already problematic in Haven's polls.)

"We were..." he tried to think of the easiest, safest way to describe a scene's aftercare to someone who more than likely wasn't familiar. The anxiety in his expression built until he said the word, "... cuddling." he didn't sound entirely sure that that was the word he wanted to use for it, but it would have to do. "Anyway, I should have known. He didn't mention it specifically, but I should have known I wasn't allowed to." He phrased it like a teenager who'd been grounded for bending a rule.

And he repeated it now that he had worked it through. "It was definitely my fault."

@Leo Dobrowolski
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Leo Dobrowolski
 Posted: Jun 18 2018, 11:50 AM
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32 YEARS
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If Leo touches a person's bare skin (alive or dead), he can tell you everything about their physical history. Medical conditions, healed breaks, pregnancies, surgeries, anything that has affected their body in any way. He can also feel anything they are currently feeling - pain, nausea, breathlessness etc, as if it’s his own body.
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@Reese Marshall

When Reese stretched out, he visibly winced in pain - Leo’s mouth drew into a thin line. This was wrong. The other man had mentioned fights, before, but his evasion earlier had made it very clear that that wasn’t what this was. He wanted to reach out, try again to touch him and work out what his injuries were - hell, to offer him some kind of medical assistance. But he couldn’t push too hard, not yet.

‘It was my fault.’ The words made Leo frown. They were all too familiar. Manipulators were all too good at making people think that whatever had happened was the other person’s fault. He couldn’t count how many times he’d heard them from someone who had been hurt. He’d believed it himself, when he’d been a kid - that another person’s behaviour could ever be because of what he’d said or done. He knew now that only the person doing the act of violence was to blame, but...it had taken him a long time to get to that stage.

Leo turned Reese’s words over, tried to fit them together: He kissed Bruce, then Bruce told him ‘no’ and froze him out...and then hurt him? Or had he hurt him before that? It could be an ongoing thing. Then Reese used a term that made Leo blink in surprise: “Cuddling?” he echoed, as if to check that he’d heard correctly. What the fuck? “So he’s OK with cuddling, but not OK with kissing?” He paused, trying to work out what on earth was going on. None of the events in this - admittedly very sketchy - timeline seemed to make any sense. Reese spoke again: ‘I should have known I wasn’t allowed to.’ Leo felt the bottom drop out of his stomach.

What kind of friendship had rules like that? It sounded terrifyingly like an abusive one. Leo took a deep breath, tried to ignore the insistent little voice in his head which was reminding him about all the rules his dad used to have for his mom. All the things she wasn’t allowed to do.

“Reese…” Leo bit his lip. “I don’t think I understand.” He drew one leg up underneath himself, as if settling in. “What do you mean when you say you’re not ‘allowed’ to? Is -” Oh God, might as well. “Is Bruce the one who hurt you?”
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Reese Marshall
 Posted: Jun 26 2018, 10:18 PM
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39 YEARS
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There are moments that the words don’t reach There is suffering too terrible to name You hold your child as tight as you can And push away the unimaginable The moments when you’re in so deep It feels easier to just swim down
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The question about cuddling was confusing at best. Perhaps if he had been a bit less drunk, he might have managed to put together a set of words that sounded good when he wasn't trashed. Instead, what he answered was something that barely sounded like he knew that cuddling with someone that beat you in his spare time was wrong.

(In Reese's defense, he had always cuddled with people who flogged, spanked, and slapped him. It was one of his favorite parts of any intimate -- or in Bruce's case platonic -- relationship. He also had a thing for kissing, which was of course what the problem was with the whole scenario, though he was starting to think that, perhaps, Leo had gotten the wrong impression.

He nodded. "Yeah." he verified. He was allowed to cuddle Bruce, but he wasn't allowed to kiss him. "I mean... I'm only allowed to when it's appropriate, you know? -- Cuddle him" he shrugged. "Otherwise, I have to keep my fucking space or whatever. But he doesn't mind if I hold his hand." A little smile rested on his face as he reached for his coffee and nestled up to it, forgetting that the last time he'd sipped it, it had ruthlessly betrayed him.

His eyes moved from staring into the brown swirls in front of his eyes to Leo again. "Uh." he hesitated long enough that the expression on his face answered for him. "Uhm. No." he fumbled. "No. I mean -- I... He..." He swallowed. "It's -- we..." he took in a deep breath and then let it out, shaking a little in distress.

Unfortunately for both of them, Reese handled stress approximately as bear trapped in an alley by a ten year old with a BB gun. His panic turned on Leo, but anxiety did not present in that fashion when it came from Reese's mouth. "What the fuck is wrong with you, Leo?" He snapped. "You think there's something here? That you're fucking special?" They were both lucky he didn't spill his coffee as he got onto his feet, half-slamming the mug down. (They were also lucky he didn't burn his hand.) He wobbled on his feet. "You don't get to ask me that bullshit. Bruce is a good man."

@Leo Dobrowolski
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