Summary: Written for the prompt(s): You look ridiculous.
|Word count: Approx. 2000
“Well?” Myra said, turning in a small circle, arms held out as if to say: TA-DA!. “How do I look?”
“You look ridiculous,” was what I almost said. Almost. But rather than start another argument with my twin sister, I grinned and gave her a double thumbs-up. “Spectacular.”
Which was true. She certainly looked like a spectacle in her costume of sexy Raggedy Anne: too-short dress, too-low décolleté, too-tight everything. And the make-up . . . oy, vey.
“Thanks, Myron!” Myra spun in another little circle, nearly falling over in her ankle-breaker black wedges. The red and white stockings completed the look. “I think Jules’s gonna go nuts.”
I rolled my eyes. My sister’s girlfriend liked anything she could get off of Myra in ten seconds, or less. This outfit, with its button-up back and flimsy make certainly qualified as that.
Just then there was a honk outside of our apartment building. That’d be Jules. Sighing, I stood up and brushed off my own costume—that of someone who was way too old for a Halloween costume, but was nonetheless being dragooned into going to a Halloween party—and offered Myra my arm. “Well, milady. Our chariot doth await.”
The party was great, I suppose. If one had shown up with the express purpose of getting blind, stinking drunk.
I was just there because Myra had begged me to come with her and Jules. She thought I didn’t know how to have fun. What she didn’t understand was that I had my own ideas about fun and that didn’t include dressing up in a lame costume and trying not to puke up half a quart of alcohol on strangers.
After clinging to my sister and Jules as the only bastion of familiarity at the party, I’d finally been forced to wander off on my own after the two of them started making out in a corner, then disappeared into the bathroom.
Heaving a sigh, I wandered through the knots of people, keeping my eyes down and holding the Coke I’d been nursing all night. Finally I made it out onto the roof, and the semi-fresh air, with all the smokers and the . . . smokers.
I went to the railing and looked out and down at the city. It was, if nothing else, a fantastic view.
“Great view, huh?”
Startled, I looked to my left. There, holding a beer—and likely not his first—stood a young guy, maybe a little older than me, gazing up at the stars which, this far into the city, were practically washed out, but for Venus and a few others.
“Yeah, I guess,” I said, clearing my throat and looking away. The last thing I wanted was a forced conversation with some drunk.
“I love looking up at the stars . . . they make me feel small, but . . . not in a bad way,” he said softly, with a very faint accent, and I glanced at him again. Messy dark curls rioted all over his head and around his face in a sable corona. His profile was strong, aquiline . . . handsome in an Eastern European way. And he wasn’t wearing a costume . . . just a white t-shirt and blue jeans.
He looked down at me and smiled the smile of the more-than-lightly toasted.
“Mik Sokovikov,” he said, holding out the hand that wasn’t occupied by beer. Stifling yet another sigh, I reached out and took it. It was warm and surprisingly dry, and his grip was very firm.
“Myron Ackerly,” I replied, and he nodded.
“Pleased to meet you.”
“Likewise,” I said, and I wasn’t lying. At least not much.
Mik shifted against the railing so that he was leaning facing me, and gave me a once over that I couldn’t read. “So . . . are you a friend of Darcy’s?”
“No, but my sister and her girlfriend are. I just got dragged along for the ride. Probably to be the designated driver,” I said ruefully, and Mik chuckled.
“That’s a shame. I mean that you can’t get your party on with everyone else.”
“I’m not much of a drinker, so, it doesn’t really matter.” I shrugged. “I’m usually bored at parties, and this one is no exception.”
Mik hmmed, looking me over again. “You didn’t even dress up. No wonder you’re not having any fun.”
“You’re not dressed up, either,” I noted, and Mik’s smile turned wry.
“Oh, aren’t I?” He stood up and spread his arms out the way my sister had not two hours ago. Then he quickly dug in his right front pocket and came out with a big fake, sinister mustache, which he stuck crookedly on his upper lip. “Behold, I’m my evil twin, Rodrigo!”
I blinked. And blinked again. Mik continued to stand there, arms out in an unconscious Jesus Christ pose, mustache now half-hanging off his lip, beer held precariously in one hand. . . .
Something began to burble its way out of me. I thought it was a belch from the damned soda. But what came out was a guffaw. Followed by more guffaws that I couldn’t control, let alone stop. I laughed until my eyes teared up and my face got hot. I laughed till my empty stomach began to protest.
I laughed till my sides literally hurt.
And Mik . . . just stood there, grinning and preening.
“So . . . what do you do for a living, Myron Ackerly?”
I looked over at Mik from my deck chair. He was looking up at the stars again, from his own deck chair. “I go to school for now.”
“What do you study?”
Mik looked over at me, smiling his toasted smile. “That sounds interesting.”
I snorted. “It is what it is. It’ll open some doors for me.”
“Open doors’re always good. See, I could never really get into the school-thing. Once high school was over, I just—said sayonara to formal education.”
Leaning back in my chair, I closed my eyes. But I could still feel Mik’s gaze on me, and I smiled. “So what do you do for a living, Mik Sokovikov?”
Mik laughed. “A little bit of everything. Roofing, landscaping, house-painting, construction. . . .” he sighed contentedly. “Anything that keeps me outdoors, I guess.”
“That explains the awesome tan.”
Mik laughed again. “You should see the parts of me that don’t get exposure. Fish-belly white.”
I blushed and didn’t open my eyes. I couldn’t tell if he was flirting or not. “I’m covered in freckles. Even the parts of me that don’t get exposed to sunlight. My mother’s off-the-boat Irish and it shows in my complexion.”
“Hmm. . . .”
“Nothin’. Just thinking about how much I’d love to play connect the dots right about now. . . .”
Now I opened my eyes and looked over at Mik. He was staring up at the sky once more, but there was a small smile playing about his lips.
“Was that a come-on?” I blurted out, half-horrified, half-amused. Mik’s smile widened and he shrugged.
“It’s whatever you want it to be.”
The ball was in my court once more. Ruffled, I stammered: “Well, for future reference, it’s a terrible one.”
After that, I didn’t know what to say, so I just sipped my flat Coke and stared up at the stars, too. Around us, smokers smoked and stoners did the same all around the rooftop. Bits and pieces of conversations came and went, as did people, and all the while I would have sworn on a stack of bibles I could feel Mik next to my, like a hearth-fire.
“Hey,” I said after a few silent, but charged minutes had passed. Mik inclined his head toward me, but didn’t look away from the sky. “Where do pirates get their tires?”
“Where do pirates get their tires from?”
“Is this a joke?”
“It’s whatever you want it to be.”
Mik snorted and looked at me. “Do pirates even have cars?”
“Yes. Yes, they do.”
“I didn’t know that.”
“We learn something new every day, don’t we?”
“We surely do.” Mik chuckled and his dark eyes were steady on mine. “Okay, so where do pirates get their tires from?”
With a perfectly straight face I said, accent and all: “Goodyaaar.”
After a beat, Mik rolled his eyes, but his lips were twitching. “That was the worst joke I’ve ever heard, and I’ve got a five year old niece.”
“Oh, please, that joke was hilarious. You’re just jealous you didn’t think of it first, Mr. Connect-the-dots,” I said loftily, and Mik laughed.
“Okay, now that was funny.”
I stuck my tongue out at him.
“Real mature, Mr. Ackerly.”
I grinned and leaned back in my deck chair. “You know you’ll be telling that joke to all your roofing, landscaping, house-painting, construction-working buddies come Monday morning.”
“Damn right. That’s exactly the kind of joke that gets told on construction sites,” Mik agreed easily, holding my gaze once more. I blushed and looked away after a few moments.
“So,” he said casually. “How many cheesy pick-up lines do I have to use before I get your phone number, Myron Ackerly?”
My face was on fire. I could only hope there wasn’t smoke coming out of my ears. “A least one more.”
“I’m dying to see what you’ll come up with.”
“Well, you’re so gorgeous you made me forget my pick-up line,” Mik said smoothly, and I laughed so hard I snorted, which didn’t help the blush any.
“Is that the best you can do? Dude, you’re so drunk!”
“I’m not,” Mik swore, reaching out and taking my free hand. “I’m just intoxicated by you.”
“Ugh! Stop! Please, stop!” I was past laughing and snorting, to very manly giggles.
Mik just leaned closer, his dark eyes dancing with amusement. “Damn, baby . . . if being sexy was a crime, you’d be guilty as charged.”
“You know, the torture can stop with just ten simple digits,” he told me, lacing our fingers together and pulling my hand—and by extension, me—closer to him. As close as I could get without moving the deck chair over the three inches that separated it from his. Then he looked into my eyes searchingly and said: “When I first saw you I looked for a signature, because every masterpiece has one.”
“Guh—so bad!” I tried to pull my hand away but Mik wouldn’t let me, instead pulling my hand to his mouth and kissing it gently across the knuckles.
“You are, by far, the most interesting and funny, quirky and cute guy at this party, and I’d like nothing more than a chance to get to know you better, Myron,” he said softly, that madcap amusement fading from his eyes only to be replaced by a wry sort of earnestness. “My lines may be cheesy, but the rest of me is sincere.”
My face really went up in flames and I leaned closer to Mik who leaned closer to me. “Gimme your phone.”
Mik did as I asked, stopping first to unlock it, then handing it to me. I went into the dialer and dialed my phone number. When my phone rang its discreet, tinkling ring, I hung up Mik’s phone and gave it back to him.
“There. Now we have each other’s numbers,” I said, and he grinned, slipping his phone back into his pocket and kissing my hand again.
“Baby, if I could change the alphabet, I’d put U and I together.”
I rolled my eyes. But when Mik leaned closer to me—close enough that our arms were touching—I didn’t pull away. In fact, I met him half-way, till all I could see were his dark, dark eyes.
“Kiss me if I’m wrong, but . . . dinosaurs still exist, right?” he breathed on my lips and I snorted again.
“Shut up,” I said, chuckling, and closed the scant distance between us.