Pablo and Tim are pretty close. They hang out in their off time and buy eachother random kitsch that makes them think of eachother, like Tim and the Buddha shirt. They are not, however, good enough friends that they sit on the phone and just breathe. Which is what Tim is doing. Which Pablo is finding a little disturbing.
“Earth to Lincecum. Say something, dumbass.”
“Huh? Shit. Sorry.” Tim stammers. He's quiet just long enough that Pablo starts to hang up, stopping short when Tim takes a deep breath. “Look, I know it's none of my business but what's going on?”
Pablo blinks. “Uh... I just had surgery and I'm doped on painkillers. The really really good kind. Both of which are things you already knew. Are you smoking right now?”
“No! That's not what I meant, Sandoval, Christ!”
“Then why are you acting like a freak? No pun intended or whatever. You're not talking as much as usual and you've been staring at me for a week now.”
And even as he's saying it, Pablo feels his stomach sink because no no no, Tim can not have those kinds of feelings for him. Pablo likes Tim, a lot, but not that way. Never that way, because he has Yadi. He loves Yadi, in that forever kind of way and great, now he's panicking.
His thoughts are disturbed by a loud bark of laughter.
“Okay, Panda, you're right, they've got you on the good stuff. Because you said all of that out loud and I bet you didn't even know it. And... well, I already knew about you and Molina but thanks for reestablishing that all the same. Because, and God this is embarrassing because the more I think about it the stupider it sounds, but I kind of thought maybe you and Buster had something going on. You guys have been spending a lot of time together recently.” Tim sighs. He sounds so jealous and sad that Pablo's heart aches for him.
Stoned or not, Pablo manages not to laugh. “He's still pretty torn up about his divorce. He hates himself for hurting Kristen. I've been there. He wanted to talk, so we talk. Nothing going on there. If there was, Yadi would already have killed him, probably.”
“Should I worry about you? That's pretty violent.”
“No. I'd do the same thing.” Pablo answers absently, chuckling. The laugh shakes his body and he cringes and winces. The pain killers are wearing off but he can't take any more yet, he hasn't gotten the all clear text from Yadi. “We're both pretty fucking jealous at times.”
“I always knew but sometimes I wasn't sure if you weren't just fucking with my head over it. About you and Molina I mean. I didn't want to piss you off so I never asked. I called Bengie about it once, though. He laughed until he cried and then he hung up on me.”
Pablo snickers. “Yeah, y'know, we never even told him? He just kinda figured it out on his own. Then he let it slip to Jose when they went out drinking. I think Yadi's whole family knows now.”
“How's that working out?”
“Eh...” Pablo shrugs, dropping his head back. “It is what it is. Bengie's okay with it and so is Yadi's mother. Jose is having a harder time coming to terms. His grandmother said she'll reserve judgment until she meets me. It's a mix. They all approve or disapprove in different degrees.”
“Sounds serious.” Tim comments, and there's something wistful in his voice.
“It is. We've...” Pablo hesitates, because other than Bengie, he and Yadi have told this to no one. “We've talked about getting married. In New York, y'know, because it's just never going to happen in Puerto Rico or Venezuela. That's all it is right now, talking. There's so many things we still have to discuss... where we live in the off season, how we split our time.”
“What about the kids?”
“No worried about that. Yoleadny loves him. Yanuell and Adrianna seem to like me well enough. And they all get along with each other. No... our families are the only difficulty.”
Tim hums. “What if people find out? Could hurt your career. I mean, I think it's great you guys want that with each other, it's awesome but there's that other part. The game is still pretty bigoted.”
“Again, I'm not worried about that. We'll keep it quiet and we won't advertise but if it somehow gets out, it won't be the end of the world. I'll lose some sponsors probably but what does that matter? I'd still have him and that's something I will never be ashamed of."
“I wish I was more like you.” Tim sighs, and he sounds ashamed of himself.
It's not surprising really. He might act confident but the only place he really is is on the mound. In the time that Pablo's known him, he's never truly been okay with who he is in spite of all claims otherwise. Pablo and Bengie talk on the phone every now and then. Bengie calls just as often to check on Tim as he does to check on Yadi. Every breakup is closely monitored to make sure Tim is okay and to keep the guy's self loathing to a minimum.
Pablo made peace with who he is a long time ago but it seems like Tim never has.
“Look... are you busy?”
“Not really. Practice is over... I'm still sitting on the hood of my car.” Tim answers sheepishly, and Pablo can just see him, perched on the Mercedes like he's some sort of freaking bird.
“Come over here. I'll order some take out and we'll watch Christian Bale blow shit up.”
“You have an unhealthy obsession with that movie.” Tim snorts. Pablo hears him get into the car and start it up.
“Fuck you. Stop and get some of those cupcakes and some root beer.” Pablo huffs, ending the call.
He thumbs open his text messages and finds six unread. The first, second and third are from Yadi, pictures of inane BS going on in the Cards clubhouse. The fourth is from Hector informing Pablo that he's lost and the fifth telling him nevermind, he found his way home. The final is from Yadi telling him that it's okay to take another pain pill now. Pablo gets woozy and can't keep track, so they'd had to develop a system.
The phone is left on the coffee table and he gets up, putting The Dark Knight in the DVD player before he grabs his land line and calls for his and Tim's usual from his favorite Chinese restaurant before answering Yadi's texts and telling him that he's going to be babysitting Tim. It's tiring, really. He's spent so much time babysitting Tim and Buster lately that he's had no time for himself, even with the surgery and recovery.
You love them or you would not take such good care of them.
It's true. Sad, but true.