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Delayed Reactions

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            By the time the cab dropped him off, the street was deserted - it was nearly 3am, no surprise there. Scott tried to be as quiet as possible - last time he woke up Luis in the middle of the night he had charged out with a baseball bat. Scott locked the door behind him, dropped his bag, and started creeping towards his room.

            The light in the kitchen was on.

            There was a man in the kitchen.

            There was a naked man in the kitchen.

            There was a very well-built, very naked man in the kitchen drinking a Gatorade.

            He stared.

            The very naked man in the kitchen stared back.

            “Uh,” Scott said. “Hi?”

            “Oh you must be Scott,” the man said with a smile. “I’m Tom, we thought you were at your girlfriend’s all night.”

            “Uh,” Scott tried again. “What?”

            “Ay, Tómas,” Luis’ voice came from the open door to his bedroom. At least, it sounded like Luis but his voice was in a low sultry tone that Scott had never actually heard before. “Don’t tell me you fell asleep out there. I know I wore you out but I didn’t think we’d gone that hard ye— Scotty!” Luis went from leaning languidly against his door to hopping behind it.

            He was also naked.

            “Uh, hi,” Scott said.

            “Sorry for the show bro, thought you were at Hope’s.” Luis said.

            “No! Yeah! Scott said. “I, uh, I was! And I am! I just… uh, forgot my… my phone charger!” he said, grasping for the closest thing to him. “And now I got it! So I’m gonna just… go back! To Hope’s! Where I was! Yeah!”

            He tried his best not to seem like he was fleeing, but to be honest he’s not sure how well he pulled it off.

 

            “Why you needin’ a ride to your girl’s place at 3 in the morning?” Dave demanded once Scott got in the car. “I’m an insomniac, not a taxi.”

            “Well you did come,” Scott pointed out. Dave glared.

            “I thought you were gonna do something fun! Luis ain’t even here, what’s up?”

            “Oh, he had a… date over, I walked in an figured I’d give them some privacy.”

            “She fine?” Dave asked.

            Scott tried and failed to buckle his seatbelt twice as he fumbled for a response - he was too tired for this.

            “He was with a dude wasn’t he? He was with a dude and you freaked out,” Dave decided, voice heavy with judgment.

            “I did not freak out!” Scott protested.

            “You’re only wearing one shoe, man.” Dave said.

            “I didn’t freak out!” Scott repeated. “Could you please just give me a ride to Hope’s?”

            “Man I hate driving out there,” Dave grumbled. “Everyone always watches me drive by like I’m gonna pop someone.”

            Scott snorted as he pulled out his phone to text Hope.

            “You don’t think I could pop someone?” Dave demanded, insulted. “I could pop someone if I had to… pop your homophobic ass for freaking out on your bro.”

            “I didn’t — ! I’m not — ! Dude shut up, I was just surprised! I wasn’t expecting some Old Spice guy look-a-like to be dropping trou in my kitchen at three in the morning!”

            “Mhmm,” Dave said.           

            “How long has Luis been hooking up with guys anyway?” Scott asked.

            “Psh — probably since he figured out how his dick worked,” Dave replied.

            “Dude.”

            “What? Ain’t my fault you don’t pay attention!”

            “I pay attention!” Scott protested.

            “You do not,” Dave replied. “How do you think we met Kurt?”

            “What? Luis and Kurt?” Scott squeaked.

            “Yeah - that’s you not freakin out,” Dave scoffed.

            “It was one-time thing,” Kurt piped up from the backseat. “I never look for something serious.”

            “Jesus!” Scott exclaimed, jumping in his seat. “How long have you been back there?” he asked, struggling against the now-buckled seatbelt to turn around.

            “Whole time,” Kurt repeated.

            A beat of silence followed.

            “Okay. Maybe I don’t pay as close attention as I thought,” Scott allowed.

            “You think?” Dave replied.

 

            “Scott what the hell, it’s like 4 in the morning,” Hope greeted as she opened door.

            “I had to work late and I missed you?” Scott offered with a wide smile.

            “Right,” she replied, rolling her eyes. She let him in and Scott heard Dave’s sedan take off. “You caught a ride with your crime buddies at three in the morning? Do I want to know?” she asked, crinkling her nose. Scott leaned forward and kissed her nose - it was too adorable when she did that.

            “All the Ubers were asleep?” he said with a grin.

            “At least it’s not that godawful van,” Hope allowed, locking the door.

            “Hey - I love that van,” Scott pouted. He slipped off his shoes and set down his bag. “That van was —“

            Hope had dropped her robe.

            “You were saying?” She asked with a wicked grin. Scott stopped talking and lurched forward to pin her to the door.

            “And here I thought you didn’t want me here,” he said.

            “Can’t have to getting too comfortable,” She growled back.

           

            “What are you thinking about?” Hope asked, twisting her fingers through his hair the next morning.

            “Hm? Oh, just Luis,” he replied..

            “How sweet.”

            “Very funny,” he replied. “No, I just walked in on him and a guy the other day, I’m not sure how to bring it up.”

            “Luis, really?” Hope clarified, eyebrows raised. Giving his hair one last tug, she rolled out of bed. “Never would’ve thought.”

            “Yeah, apparently he’s bi or something, everyone else seemed to — wait, what do you mean?” Scott cut himself off, propping himself up a bit on his elbows.

            “I know he’s your best friend and everything, but he’s kind of… simple,” Hope replied, pulling a crisp dress from her closet. “I’m just surprised he’d even consider a same-sex relationship, furthermore engage in one.”

            “He’s a lot smarter than people give him credit for,” Scott said with a small frown. “And I don’t think there’s an I.Q. limit on sex.”

            “Oh Scott, you know I didn’t mean it like that,” Hope said, leaning back over the bed to caress his cheek.

            “What are you doing anyway?” Scott asked. “It’s Saturday.”

            “I have a few things I need to do at the office,” Hope replied. “Which means I need a shower.”

            “Can’t you skip?” Scott asked. “Let’s just stay in bed all day.” he tried to adjust so his pose was inviting. “Eh?”

            “No Scott,” she said with a soft grin. “I have other things to do today.”

            “Cute,” he told her. She rolled her eyes, but laughed.

            “Could you start the coffee machine on your way out?” she asked, walking to the bathroom door.

            “Yeah,” Scott replied. “Hey, you sure you don’t want some company in there?”

            Hope paused, hand on the handle, and turned back to him. “Well how could I say no to that?” she replied with a smile. “Come on.”

            Scott nearly fell off the bed in his haste to untangle himself from the sheets.

 

            “Hey man! Thought I was going to be able to get through the game without you ragging on me,” Luis greeted.

            “The Giants suck,” Scott replied automatically. “There, got that out of the way.”

            “You suck,” Luis replied automatically.

            “Your face sucks.”

            “That’s not what your momma was sayin’ last night!” Luis cackled. Scott rolled his eyes, unable to stop his grin, and tossed Luis a beer.

            “Speaking of last night,” Scott said as he flopped down on the couch next to him. “Sorry for walking in on you.”

            “It’s okay man, sorry I didn’t give you a head’s up or anything,” Luis said. “We’ll try the sock on the door or something’ next time.”

            “Or just a text,” Scott suggested with a grin - brain stumbling on ‘we’ll’ and ‘next time’, “Seriously though - hope I didn’t freak him out.”

            “Tom didn’t really mind bro, think he might have some of that exhibition in him - he’s not really self-conscious,” Luis assured him with an extra wiggle of his eyebrows.

            “I could see that,” Scott decided. He considered himself a pretty well-built guy but he didn’t have abs like that. Anyone with abs like that couldn’t be self-conscious.

            Vaguely he wondered if that was a selling point. Personally, he liked his partners softer around the edges - Hope was fit and it was hot as hell but she wasn’t big on cuddling and he’d gotten a sharp elbow to the ribs more than once. Tom sort of seems like he’d be like that - like you’d hurt yourself if you hugged him too hard.

            This was a weird line of thought. Scott mentally pulled himself back.

          “I didn’t know you were seeing anyone,” he said. “Is it serious?”

            “Psh,” Luis replied, scrunching up his face as Scott took another drag of his beer. “We’re not really a thing, we just hook up sometimes. Tom’s never lookin’ for anything long term.”

            Scott blinked, Kurt had said something like that too.

            “Are you?” he asked.

            “Nah,” Luis scoffed. “Can’t keep a good dog chained, man.” he said with a grin, “Oh - HOME RUN BABY!” he exclaimed suddenly, hoping up from the couch to cheer.