by Marie Palmer
Meet Avery Pryce, the naïve, organized, and effeminate half of the Pryce brothers.
It was six a.m. when Avery Pryce sat up in his bed to the sound of his alarm clock. He reached out to his bed side table and turned off the clock. Then he took a few moments to gather his thoughts from the hold that sleep had over him. Once he was alert enough, Avery climbed out of his bed and went to get dressed into the track suit and running shoes he had laid out for himself the night before. He moved at a steady pace, not to quick, not to slow. He had a schedule to keep, and there was no room to miss a single step.
Avery wasn’t much of a complainer when it came to waking up early. He actually liked the mornings and depended on the habitual tasks that each new day brought. Avery’s life was governed by organization. He loathed the idea of chaos. Therefore, each morning was rehearsed right down to the last detail. He liked to keep his life simple this way, uncomplicated.
Avery enjoyed the familiarity of routines. He was a man who liked his life neat and tidy. He often lacked the ability to appreciate spontaneity, and preferred that all things be planned out, kept in its place, and that rules dare not be broken unless absolutely necessary. That’s why every morning for Avery was like this one, methodically rehearsed and followed down to every last letter.
On most of the mornings when he had to be at work by seven thirty, Avery woke up promptly at six a.m. Before getting ready for work he would eat breakfast, usually something light that promoted a proper diet. After breakfast he’d move on to his next routine of proper hygiene. He would shower, shave, brush his teeth, and complete any other grooming tasks that were needed. Getting dressed for his day was just as rehearsed as any other task. The clothes and shoes that he was going to wear were always set out the night before to save time. This set of systemically planned chores only changed for two days out of every week when Avery made the point of using his commute to work as a resource for staying fit. In preparation for an early run the slim, blond haired man would dress into proper running clothes and shoes; then he would stretch to loosen up the muscles required for a light cardio workout.
Avery knew that his life was a bit tedious. Over the years he’d been teased for having an OCD like personality. He shrugged off the mocking and let it roll off of him as he felt no need to explain himself to anyone. He believed strongly that by keeping his way of life simple he was warding off disaster and disappointment. Though many of his daily tasks seemed overdone and unnecessary Avery respected his necessity for structure.
It only took Avery about fifteen minutes to dress and stretch before he was ready to head out the door for his exercise. He was relieved to be right on schedule. His stretching had given him a loose and fluid feeling, empowering him to take on the rush of adrenalin that he would soon be flushed with. When he finally left his apartment he was all pumped up and ready for whatever his day had in store…
Mercy Medical Hospital was a small facility, located in the heart of the city it was named after. Avery had lived here with his family since he was born. His parents had seen it as a fit place to raise him and his brother and his sister. Even in his adult life Avery stayed for exactly that reason. Mercy offered the safe and neatly held together environment that Avery flourished best in.
Avery loved the crispness of an early morning run. At this hour of the morning the city was just waking up and coming to life. Traffic was only beginning to grow as the sun was only beginning to rise. Though the quiet of the morning was drowned out by the sounds of car horns and vrooming engines Avery still found tranquility in the noise.
Avery lived two miles from the hospital, and two days out of every week he chose to run the distance there and back. This was how he kept his slim and fit figure. Being that he was a doctor, he knew how important it was to keep in shape.
It took Avery less than twenty minute to run to work on each of the days he did. As part of his scheduled routine he made it a point to arrive at the hospital with enough time to grab a shower, get dressed, and stop by the cafeteria for breakfast. He liked these mornings the best because after running he always felt so recharged and energized…
David Kurt was in the hospital locker room dressing down into a pair of navy blue scrubs when Avery came in after his run. He was almost finished getting dressed and sitting on one of the benches to lace up his shoes when he turned his eyes up just in time to see his best friend’s twin brother strolling in. The front of Avery’s gray t-shirt was covered in sweat and his face was red from the effort of physical activity. David watched the slim blond move to one side of the room and lean back against one of the lockers to collect his composure.
Watching the way that Avery moved after a run was like watching an animal in his natural environment. In most cases Avery lacked the masculine grace as well as the confidence that Andrew had, but he was fascinating in another way. Normally he was one of those shy and nervous types. In social situations he could be a little awkward. These few moments after one of his runs were different. They were the rare times that he seemed perfectly at ease. Somehow David seemed to find this all amusing which was why he watched Avery now.
Avery hadn’t noticed that David was in the room yet. He was a little preoccupied with catching his breath and trying to cool down from his commute to work. The adrenaline rush that he was feeling now had all of his attention and so did the rhythm of his heart rate.
“Good morning” said David speaking up with a polite smile when Avery was finally seeming to get himself together.
Avery turned his gaze over to David. He looked across the room at the dark haired man that he knew as his brother’s roommate and friend. He was a little caught by surprise to see David. It wasn’t like him to show up nearly an hour early for his shift. Avery was unenthused by the interruption to his morning routine, which irritated him a little. “What are you doing here so early?”
“I was dropping in to check on one of my post op patients from last night.” David replied. He could already hear a little of the frustration in Avery’s words. Though David was still trying to get to know Avery Pryce, he was no stranger to the irritation that Avery seemed to display whenever he was around. He had known Andrew Pryce for nearly seven years but had only known Avery for about six months now and was still growing accustomed to the differences between them.
In spite of the fact that Andrew and Avery were identical twins there wasn’t much between the two of them that was similar aside from physical appearance. Their personalities were like oil and water. Andrew was the spontaneous type. He didn’t like to sit in one place too long and he thrived in situations that were unplanned whereas Avery could barely function without all his habits and rituals.
Physically Avery was just as attractive as his brother. The two were also equally as fit though Andrew had a little more mass due to all the time he spent at the gym in comparison to his brother. The most noticeable difference between the two when it came to physical attribute was their hair. Naturally they both had the same sandy blond color, but Avery kept his hair bleached and layered in a way that it hung down past his ears. Andrew always kept his hair shaved down to a quarter of an inch, the way it had been when he was in the army. The rest of their physical features all seemed to match. They had the same deep blue eyes that changed shades to match their moods and the same boyish smiles coupled with quick blushing cheeks.
Other than their physical traits, there was one other thing that the two blonde haired twins had in common, and that was the fact that both were gay. However, even the way that the twins exhibited their orientation was different. Avery was effeminate, which was quite the opposite of his brother who was so predominantly masculine acting that most people didn’t even know he was gay until it was mentioned and even then they were surprised. Andrew could pass for straight in any crowd, but Avery could not. It was clear in the way he walked and talked that he was a little more of the stereotype that most gay men were assumed to represent.
“Well, in that case good morning then” Avery finally replied to David’s previous greeting as he made his way over to one of the benches to take a seat and finish cooling off. He was still annoyed by David’s presence, and not at all trying to hide it. Avery was never all that thrilled to see his brother’s best friend, and he was even less so now because it interfered with his routine.
“How’s it going?” David asked, trying to continue with his politeness and ignore the underlining attitude in Avery’s voice.
“It’s going.” Avery sighed back, wondering when David was going to get bored and stop trying to make conversation with him. “It would be going a lot better if you weren’t in here bugging me.”
“Whatever man, I was just trying to be nice.” David laughed at Avery’s failed attempt to be rude. He knew that Avery didn’t always play nice. While he did find this to be a little annoying it wasn’t so much so that his ego couldn’t handle it; however, he didn’t understand why Avery seemed to grow agitated with him so shortly. Avery was never this way with other people. He could be a tad snobby with some, but for the most part he was the friendly sort. This left David to assume that Avery simply just didn’t like him.
David’s assumption to Avery’s dislike for him was wrong. In fact what he really felt for the man was something else, something he was too embarrassed to admit to. Instead Avery turned into a bumbling fool whenever David was around. The attitude he showed was only part of a defense mechanism that flowed out uncontrollably whenever the blond haired fem boy got anxious. Avery hated the way he acted whenever he saw David and it was this reason why he was never all that enthusiastic when it comes to their encounters.
Avery was attracted to David in a way that he didn’t understand because he was so naïve when it came to matters of sexual desire and infatuation. It was very rare for Avery to feel even the slightest feelings towards anyone and the fact that David seemed to be the one person to catch his attention scared him. The humiliation he would endure if the secret of his crush ever got out was far too much for Avery to imagine. Avery knew that of all people, his brother Andrew would be the first laugh. Being that Andrew and David were quite close, the entire situation was too complicated. Still, there was just something about David he couldn’t quite ignore.
David this laid back way of seeing things. Even when Avery was making a total ass of himself, the man always seemed to just shrug it off. Then there were David’s unquestionable good looks. He was tall and fit, built with enough muscle to make Avery’s head fill with thoughts of arousal. David also had dark, almost black hair and emerald green eyes like no other Avery had ever seen in his life. Avery was quite smitten and it was this attraction that made him uneasy.
“What do you want David?” Avery rolled his eyes; the eye rolling was one of his classic moves and one of the first signs that he was anxious.
“Do I have to want something to be nice?” David wasn’t offended. His personality was a little too easy going to give in so quickly to his own annoyances.
“Can you just jump right to what you need, so we can skip all the useless banter?” Avery sighed disconcertingly.
“I don’t need anything.” David assured. “I was only gonna invite you to come out to Brock’s tonight”
“You’re asking me to go out with you to Brocks?” Avery flashed suspicion in David’s direction along with a tone of surprise. David had never invited him anywhere before, and this was what warranted the suspicion. He would never admit to David that he was actually interested in the offer, even though a night at the bar wasn’t part of his schedule for the evening.
“Of course not” David chuckled at the response as if the idea of going someplace with Avery alone was absurd.
Avery felt a little embarrassed now for having misunderstood the invite and was bothered by David’s contemptuous laughter. “Then what are you asking?”
“I know how much you dislike me; drinks between the two of us alone would never work out.” David clarified. “Andrew and I are both heading out to Brock’s at about seven tonight. I thought you might like to come.”
“Oh,” Avery signed with clarity. He felt a little sad that David thought he disliked him, but felt no need to correct the mistake in assumptions. “This is an invitation to hang out with you and Andrew?
David nodded, “I know you always turn down your brother’s invites, so I figured I’d extend one myself this time, and see if I might be able to get a different response.”
“What on earth makes you think that I would want to go out to Brock’s with the two of you?” Avery was uncertain why he had just asked this question in the smart ass toned that he had. If he were truthfully honest with himself he was flattered by the invitation that David was extending. He was even contemplating accepting it.
David usually chalked up Avery’s dislike towards him as some sort of sibling jealousy, an unnecessary attempt for Avery to battle for his brother’s attention. David figured that perhaps Avery was resentful of the closeness that the two friends shared. He didn’t want Avery to feel like he had to fight over Andrew’s loyalty, and he certainly wasn’t trying to come between them. This was why he made every attempt possible to try and include Avery whenever he and Andrew were hanging out. Hence the invitation he was extending to him now.
“It’s just invitation Avery; you’re not obligated to accept it.” David sighed with disappointment. “I just thought you might like to have a little fun for once, but I forgot that you don’t know how to do that.”
“What do you mean by that?” asked Avery with paranoia.
“I meant exactly what it sounded like.” David answered. He was trying now to bait Avery into accepting. “You don’t know to have fun.”
“Getting drunk and sleeping with random strangers isn’t my idea of a god time. It might be yours and it might be Andrew’s but it isn’t mine.” Avery sneered.
“No one’s suggesting that you have to get hammered and fuck around, but then again I bet you don’t even know what it’s like to let loose and enjoy yourself do you?” David probed back knowing that this question might invoke hostility.
“Screw you David,” Avery snapped. There was that hostility David was expecting. “I know how to enjoy myself.”
“Then prove it.” David dared. “Come out with your brother and me tonight, and prove that you even know what fun is.”
“Fine” Avery glared at David. “I’ll show up tonight, but just for the record I don’t have a single thing to prove to anyone, especially you.”
“You mean you’re actually gonna come?” David was stunned and begging for confirmation.
Avery rolled his eyes yet again, “Don’t act so surprised David. I was going to accept anyways; I just wanted to see how hard you were willing to work to convince me.”
“Whatever, as long as you’re really gonna show up, it doesn’t really matter why.” David laughed but was truthfully surprised that Avery was accepting.
“The only reason I’m coming tonight it because you’re buying drinks.” Avery smirked. “Since you’re the one so set on me tagging along, that’s the least you can do.”
“Deal” David shrugged with an accepting smile, proud and relieved at his small victory, as he stood up from where he’d been sitting throughout the conversation. “In the meantime you need to shower because you look like a mess and I’m gonna go check on that patient of mine.”
Avery didn’t say anything as David made his way out of the locker room. Instead he was caught in awe at the way the man moved. It wasn’t hard to believe that David had been able to convince Avery into going out later that evening, even when he would normally have said no to anyone else. It was almost pathetic the way that his stomach fluttered whenever that man was near. Regardless of the attitude, the sarcasm, and the snide remarks that Avery couldn’t help make every chance he got, there was probably nothing that David Kurt would fall short of convening Avery to do.