A few months after Tyler moved to the city and got a job, a guy started joining him on his row in the bus. It was always the first stop after Tyler's, and he'd be wearing a band shirt with the same dark jeans and shoes, plus a beanie. Not to forget the earbuds that were always plugged into his ears and phone. Tyler never heard music coming from them, but never questioned it.
There'd been times where he wanted to talk to the guy, but he figured that if he always had earbuds in, then he wouldn't want to talk to anybody. Tyler stuck to looking out the window with a bag full of work assignments on his lap, and the stranger with yellow hair stuck to constantly looking at his phone screen. His phone was off most of the time.
He never knew if he was supposed to take offense to it. Of course, he himself had his moments of pretending to be on his phone in public, but it was never blatantly. The guy who sat next to him must have wanted to make it obvious that he didn't want interaction at all.
The guy was a stranger, but one Tyler couldn't help but wonder about. It may have been the yellow hair, his nose piercing, or the fact that he chose the seat next to Tyler's to sit in, but Tyler wanted to know more. Like, if the guy was quiet like that all the time, or if he had a group of friends who he was so bubbly around. If he let his ears breathe from the music that Tyler always fails to hear buzzing. What his name was, if he was from a local area.
But Tyler would never ask, just so he wouldn't bother the guy. He liked the routine of having the guy sit next to him five out of seven days of the week, and if he messed that up because he couldn't hold his tongue, he'd kick himself constantly.
The guy got off where he did as well, right in front of his work building. The bus stopped and he watched as the yellow haired man practically raced off of the bus, Tyler following at a much slower pace.
"Here's your cappuccino, Tyguy," Patrick's voice sounded around Tyler as soon as his shoes touched the sidewalk. Tyler happily took the coffee given to him and sipped on it, walking into the glass building with Patrick, "Do you have the forms printed out that Dallon wanted?"
"Of course. Why are you asking?" Tyler furrowed his brows, pulling his messenger bag around the front of him so he could double check his forms.
"Our boss is very pissed today. I think someone must have bitten his dick off after one night at the bar," Patrick snickered. Tyler watched his friend wink at Pete as they passed the assistant's cubicle area and rolled his eyes, "I'm not saying that he's pissed at anyone specifically, but if you don't hand in those forms today, he'll probably lay you off."
Tyler frowned after Patrick told him that. They got in the elevator and Tyler pressed the button for their floor, that being the second one. Usually they took the stairs, but Tyler refused to end up spilling coffee on his brand new, white button up.
"Not if I'm his favorite employee," Tyler mentioned.
"You aren't his favorite employee, Brendon is," Patrick chuckled, "Unfortunately, Brendon's on three day leave, not paid. Today, he thought he could get out of trouble for not doing his work by making his way in to the glorious package of Dallon Weekes, but instead got a big fat rejection."
The doors opened up and both of them walked to Dallon's office. Tyler knocked on the open door just as Dallon slammed his phone down on the receiver. Tyler handed his coffee to Patrick and entered. Dallon looked up at him and Tyler gave a tight smile, fishing out the forms and handed them to Dallon.
"Here are the forms you asked for, Mr. Weekes. It's the font and size you asked for and everything," Tyler confirmed. He held his hands together behind himself, watching Dallon's eyes as they drifted along the paper and demonstrations for their newest project.
"You haven't asked me if anything's wrong with the paper. Are you that confident in your work, Mr. Joseph?" Dallon asked, eyebrow raised towards Tyler. Tyler's eyes widened and he quickly nodded out of a slight panic. Dallon grinned and stored the papers in his top desk drawer, "Good. The demonstrations are perfect. You might just become my new favorite employee."
"Thank you, Mr. Weekes," Tyler smiled gratefully, his chest deflating with relief. Dallon nodded and shooed him away, leaving him to nothing but turn around on his heels and walk towards Patrick who was ghosting outside the door.
"Close the door, Tyler," Dallon instructed lastly. Tyler squeaked out a ' Yes, Sir. ' and quickly shut the door. He took his coffee back from Patrick and slumped against the wall beside Dallon's door. Patrick gave him a thumbs up and an encouraging smile. Tyler couldn't help but smile back, because Patrick had one of the nicest smiles ever.
"This kind of work is my specialty, even though I wish I could work upfront instead of behind the scenes. I don't know why I get so nervous right before I have to present it to our boss," Tyler mumbled. He closed his eyes and felt himself being pulled away from the wall, and opened them again to let himself be dragged to his tiny office.
"I don't know why either. You're amazing with instruments and know them inside out. Writing a paper on them is nothing for someone like you," Patrick said as they walked, "Did you know that they finally found someone to help operate on the keyboards?
"Yes. They're coming in next week, aren't they?" Tyler asked, huffing when Patrick nodded, "I could be taking that position. Dallon knows I'm qualified, especially with pianos, and yet he's keeping me in a tiny, plain office while all the fun happens five floors up."
Tyler finished up his coffee, angrily tossing the cup in the trash bin. Patrick looked at his friend with sympathy, but Tyler tried ignoring it. He leaned against his desk while Patrick stood at the doorway, and then turned away to greet someone walking towards the office.
"Hey Patrick, Tyler," Pete waved, standing close to Patrick. Tyler gave a tired wave and mumbled a greeting back. He watched as their other friend whispered something to Patrick who smiled and nodded, then saw Pete walk away right after.
Pete had been an assistant way before Tyler ever got a job there, but one of the first few things Tyler had noticed was how him and Patrick acted around each other. They were like little kids scared to get booboos from each other, but it was a bit too cute for them being adults.
"Have you two gone on a date yet?" Tyler asked curiously, rolling the sleeves on his shirt to his elbows and unbuttoning his grey vest, "It's almost sickening, seeing an assistant and employee get giggly in the workplace, but I guess I can make an exception with how cute you two are."
"We went on a coffee date a few days ago, but it was more like hanging out," Patrick shrugged, "I think I'd be fine if we didn't go past being friends, or at least going on dates. I don't want us to get serious and then ruin it by telling him I don't want anything to do with sex."
Tyler scoffed, "If he ditches you for something you can't help, then he isn't worth it," Tyler's expression turned soft after speaking once, then admitted his thoughts truthfully, hoping to give Patrick more faith in the guy he liked, "But just to put this out there, I think Pete's better than that."
"Yeah…I do too!" Patrick fumbled with the ends of his cardigan sleeves and smiled while looking down at his feet. His head popped back up to look at Tyler, and his mouth opened with more words to spring from it again, "Do you have someone you're interested in? I don't wanna talk about my life the entire time."
Tyler shook his head, "I don't have time for relationships right now. I'm still new to the city, since I only go from home to here, and then stay home on the weekends. I can't possibly find time to date someone when I've had to eat delivery most of the time."
"Maybe we should have a weekend where we go out and do something fun!" Patrick hummed, "I don't really like bars, but we could go to one if you wanted, or do mini golf or go to the best park in the city. There's a lot here, and I can't let you miss out on all of it just because of work."
Tyler thought about Patrick's offer. He wanted to do more than what he had been doing, but every Saturday he was tired from work, and then on Sundays he had to go to bed early. If he had someone who was willing to make his weekend fun for once, instead of watching Jeopardy reruns, then he'd take it.
"I think I'd enjoy that, Patrick," Tyler agreed.
After a rush to get his notebooks and phone tucked into his messenger bag, Tyler got to the bus stop that was a little to the left of his apartment. His tardy morning was obvious from his shirt that was buttoned, having mismatched the slots so one end was longer than the other. A few strands of hair were sticking up among the fluffy mess on top of his head as well. And to top off his attire, his socks were red and entirely visible between the cut off of his shoes and jeans.
When the bus came up, Tyler got out his change and dumped it into the coin slot. He then took his usual seat and rested his bag on his lap and looked out the window. Getting to the next street felt almost too fast, probably since Tyler wished things would slow down for today. He was soon being joined by the yellow haired stranger, who once again had his earbuds in.
They made eye contact for a split second as the guy was sitting down, but the yellow haired one quickly looked away. Tyler didn't blame him, he probably looked as bad as it could get. He wasn't sure why his alarm didn't go off on time, he never changed the settings since he had first set it. The world just wanted to fuck with him, apparently.
At one point, before his stop, he had heard quiet giggling. He looked to his right and saw brown eyes directed towards him, and a small smile on the guy's face.
He's laughing at my hair.
As soon as Tyler noticed him, the guy quit chuckling and looked back to his phone, that was surprisingly on this time. He was playing a match three game. Tyler didn't know if he wanted to sigh or grin, because he looked and felt disheveled, but it got a reaction out of the stranger next to him.
As their stop arrived, both of them got off and Tyler went over to Patrick who had their coffees. Despite Patrick talking to him, Tyler watched the yellow haired guy go into their building. His eyebrows furrowed, but he eventually put his attention on Patrick.
"-Earth to Tyler," Patrick called out, "I was thinking of inviting Pete with us to go on our fun night. Would that be okay? You could invite someone else, if you wanted, or I could for you," He winked.
Tyler took his coffee and had Patrick follow him inside. The guy was no where in sight now, so Tyler carried on to the elevator in conversation, "Inviting Pete is fine. I don't really have anybody to invite other than you two, but since you and him are going anyways, then I have nobody."
Patrick frowned at his pitiful tone, "You need to talk to more people in the company. There's some pretty cool people here."
"I talk to Dallon and Brendon," Tyler muttered.
"Dallon's our cranky boss, he doesn't count. And you talked to Brendon once, two days ago, and it was on appregio motions," The ginger sighed. The elevator dinged and the two walked out, heading to the office area, "Not to mention that it only lasted for one minute. Because there's not much to talked about on a note that loops constantly."
"It was a good conversation," Tyler pouted, digging out his keys to unlock his door. Patrick sat on the very cushioned chair across from his office one, which Tyler took, and then gave the brunet a sour look. Tyler grunted, "From one passionate pianist to another, it was actually a fun conversation."
"I don't care how it was, Tyler. You need more friends. I'm not trying to be rude, but you'll find it harder than not to live in a big city with just one or two friends," Patrick argued, slowly scooting to the edge of his seat,
Tyler had found it very boring without a lot of friends, but he had managed so far. He thought he didn't need any friends, as little long as he kept on top of his job and eventually got bigger and better paychecks. He wasn't even expecting to have Patrick as a friend, but the ginger was so persistent to befriend him in the first place.
"Fine. If you want me to make more friends, then invite a fourth person to the fun night. As long as it isn't Jon from the fourth floor," Tyler caved in, glaring at his friend as he grinned and clapped his hands together a couple of times in excitement.
"I'll make you proud of my decisions!"
"You better. Now leave, please. I have math to do," Tyler mumbled, waving his hand. Patrick giggled and left the room, leaving Tyler to his thoughts. He was supposed to help plan the designs of their next work after the one they're currently on, but now he's just been left to feel lost.
Had the way he'd been living for the past twelve years not been suitable for human beings? Aside from Patrick, working alone had been something he'd grown accustomed to. Hence, why after 7th grade, he homeschooled. Sometimes people became too much for him, which is why everyone he knew, and himself, and been shocked at the offer to work at the company he worked for now. It had been a dream of his, the city living part, not so much.
Thing is, it's not that he couldn't make friends, because social anxiety wasn't really him, it's just that he didn't want to.
Later on, at some point, Tyler had come out of the restroom, still wiping his slightly damp hands on his jeans. He had thought to fix up his shirt in there, and tried wetting his hair to look a bit more normal. It didn't work too well, but he stopped getting weird looks afterwards.
As he leaned over to drink water from the fountain, he saw bright yellow in the corner of his eye. He shot up and looked at the guy who hadn't noticed him yet, since he was looking down at a piece of paper. Tyler thought about saying something before the guy walked past him, but he seemed so enveloped into what he was reading.
Tyler sighed and watched the guy go down the stairs, then went back to his office.
Tyler's morning, two days later, had gone a bit better. He wasn't late, his shirt was properly buttoned with the accompaniment of a yellow blazer, and his hair was brushed and fluffed neatly.
Getting on the bus, he took out his change and dumped it in the slot, then went to his usual seat. He pulled his messenger bag into his lap and pulled out a sandwich bag with two halves of a ham and cheese sandwich that he fixed quick smart.
Tyler wasn't a hungry in the morning kind of person, though, so he closed the bag with one half in it just as the bus stopped next. His seat buddy made his appearance and directly went to the seat next to his. Instead of white earbuds, they were black now with aliens on them.
Tyler watched as the guy closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the seat, making sure his snapback was tilted down as to not interfere with resting. Tyler peeked at his prominent Adam's apple, taking notice of it bobbing each time the guy swallowed.
He heard a growling sound from next to him, and the brunet suddenly looked down at his sandwich. He picked the bag up and hesitantly nudged the guy, who slowly opened his eyes and raised his eyebrow at the brunet, and then saw the sandwich. The guy frowned and shook his head.
"You sound hungrier than I feel. Take it," Tyler mumbled, practically waving the sandwich in the guy's face, until he took it with a quiet 'thanks'.
They didn't talk anymore afterwards, but Tyler watched him from the corner of his eye as he tore into the sandwich half. Tyler smiled and kept his eyes to his lap until their stop came up.
Both of them got up in sync, but the yellow haired one got off faster than Tyler. Patrick hadn't been outside to greet Tyler, probably because it had started raining, so he rushed inside the building himself. His ginger friend wasn't in the main lobby either, leading him to confusion on what he was supposed to be doing that morning. He went over to the front desk and asked one of the assistants to pull up his tab.
"Tyler Joseph?" She asked, clicking on his name after Tyler confirmed. Her tongue stuck out a big as she read through, and then she got out of focus and smiled at Tyler, "Mr. Weekes has an important assignment for you. He wants you to report to his office."
"Of course," Tyler muttered, "Thanks," He said before turning around and jogging to and up the stairs. He found Pete in his cubicle, which Patrick tended to hang around, yet he wasn't there. If Tyler hadn't found Patrick before getting to Dallon's office, then he'd ask Pete about their friend's whereabouts.
He adjusted his messenger bag as he reached his boss' office, then walked in. There, was Patrick and the yellow haired guy he had been sitting by earlier. His spot was left in between the two, and he nodded to Patrick as a greeting.
"I was starting to think you wouldn't make it today," Dallon hummed rudely, raising an eyebrow at Tyler.
Tyler shook his head, "I just had to find out where I needed to go today, Sir," Tyler explained promptly, which was to the likeness of Dallon. He still had no clue why the other guy was here, he didn't even know that they worked in the same building. To be honest, Tyler wished that they didn't work together, because it's not a favorite thing of his to see people from small parts of his life turn into big parts.
"As two of you know, Brendon's been going outside of the digital field and working on putting our newest adaption together by hand," Dallon began, "It's proven to be tough trying to do it on his own, so I decided to give him some help. I thought you three would like to help out by doing more than just typing up forms and instructions. Though, I've hired one of you specifically for this job."
Tyler grinned, nodding instantly, "Yes! I've been wanting to be a part of this for the longest time," He exclaimed ecstatically. Apparently the guy to his left had plenty of significance in this kind of work as well, having been selected with him and Patrick.
"Yeah, well, don't make me regret putting you there," Dallon said plainly, but ended up smiling at them all, "You won't have to move offices or anything, but take things you'll need throughout the day. Now get out of my sight and go to the fifth floor," Their boss demanded, to which all obeyed.
When they got into the hall, Patrick squeaked and hugged Tyler tightly. Tyler giggled and hugged back, feeling somewhat disappointed as he watched the other guy go on to the elevator.
"We made it up there, Ty!" Patrick cheered, then pulled back from their embrace, "I won't be able to work around Pete that much anymore, but we can meet up outside of work if needed."
"Have you spoken to him about going further in your relationship?" Tyler asked, both guys making their way to the elevator as they had what they needed in their bag and pockets, "Because as someone watching you drag this out from the sidelines, it's agony in its entirety."
Patrick pressed the button on the wall and held his notebooks to his chest tightly. He bit on his lip and rushed into the elevator when the doors opened, Tyler following, "No. I understand that it's bothering you, hell, it's bothering me too, but I can't help the fact that I'm fucking nervous out of my mind."
"We already went over the fact that he'd definitely be okay with you being asexual," Tyler sighed sadly, looking at his friend with sympathetic eyes. Patrick lightly rolled his eyes and looked at the doors, ready for them to open up so they could leave the tiny box.
"Yeah, well, reassurance from others doesn't exactly clear my mind-"
"Patrick?" Tyler interrupted.
Patrick huffed, "What?"
"Pete accepts that kind of stuff, but do you ?" Tyler asked quietly, "Not being sexually attracted to anybody is perfectly fine, you don't have to think of yourself as some broken-"
The doors opened before Tyler was done, and Patrick gave Tyler a tight smile before rushing through the darkened hallway. Tyler stepped out after him, but stayed in front of the doors. He looked around the floor he hadn't been on yet in awe. Pretty much everything was black, except the doors. The doors were silver, and the windows were tinted just dark enough that barely any light, aside from the fluorescently colored lights lining the ceiling, would come through. It was a huge contrast from the white and grey second floor, and Tyler loved it.
The brunet tried remembering where Patrick had gone, but he figured that the only way to go was to the end of the hall. All other doors had been closed except for one that was around a right corner. Faint music was coming from inside the room, and Tyler took caution walking into it. The room was just as dark as the hall, but with white furniture and yellow lights. There, he found Patrick, Brendon, and the yellow haired guy around a table. All of them looked towards him as he made his way to them, and he stood on the opposite end of Patrick.
"Of course, keyboards are electric whereas actual pianos are not, but you were brought up here because you're specially skilled with technology. A lot goes into these, such as making sure each key fits with the octaves next to them, and each knob and button does as it's supposed to," Brendon introduced their project to them, "As of now, I'm still putting this thing together in my head, so there's not much you can do right now other than what I say."
The three of them nodded when Brendon looked at them one by one, "I don't want to sound like a stern boss such as Dallon, but he gave me you guys when I didn't need you just yet. But use this time to have some fucking fun because I'm the one with all the work as of now," He chuckled, then gave everyone a thumbs up and went over to a desk with multiple monitors on it.
All of them went their separate ways, relaxing on different chairs and not making up any kind of conversation. The only thing any of them could hear was the music playing through the room, and the music coming from Brendon's headphones.
Tyler sighed, wishing the day would be over already.
It wasn't until the next week that things started picking up. Patrick didn't want to talk to him for a while, but then the ginger seemed to miss his friend after five days. Brendon had finally got the main idea and structure in his head, and all of them were able to start working on their project. As for the yellow haired guy, Tyler, obviously, still hadn't gotten a name, nor talked to him after the sandwich deal.
When Patrick interacted with him again, Tyler received a hug from behind with Patrick's face stuffed against his back. The brunet had grinned and turned around to give his friend a proper hug. Both of them apologized to each other, then talked on as if there was never a pause in their daily conversations.
They had decided that their Saturday night out would happen this week, and Patrick informed him that his date had already been picked, but he wouldn't get to know who it was until they met that night.
After their discussion, they had made their way into the lounge (work area) and began working on their assigned areas. The way the room had been set, there was always a shelf between Tyler and the other guy. He had Patrick with him on their side, but it kindly bothered Tyler not being able to see his co worker.
Tyler and Patrick were in charge of putting together the switches and options, while Brendon and the other guy were working on key notes and their sounds. The brunet was happily thinking over dual and split key buttons, then Brendon stopped them for a second.
"I'm gonna go grab food for the four of us. Patrick, come and help me, and Tyler, can you help Josh out?" Brendon asked, flashing all of them a smile and waving goodbye when Tyler nodded.
Tyler smiled lightly at the new information. Josh . He went over to Josh's side, seeing the same earplugs in his ears as always. They ended up on different sides of the table while Tyler had headphones on to create the different tones and put them in order.
Eventually, he looked over to Josh who had his phone out and was drumming his fingers against his leg, but his earbuds had come out. Tyler furrowed his eyebrows and took his headphones off, "Shouldn't you be doing the work Brendon assigned you?" He asked, confused.
Josh wouldn't look at him or even answer him though, which agitated Tyler, "Hey, Josh, answer me. Should you not be working instead of doing nothing?" He repeated, in a tone slightly aggravated than before. There was still no reaction from the other guy, though, so Tyler glared and stood up, "Are you deaf or something?"
He walked over to Josh and angrily tapped his shoulder. Josh lightly jumped and looked to Tyler, going to pull out his earbuds, only to realize they had fallen out, "What?" The yellow haired one asked after his moment of embarrassment, Tyler could tell from by the way his cheeks reddened.
"I asked if you're deaf. But thanks for making it obvious that you're ignoring me since your earbuds even fell out. What the hell's your problem, man?" Tyler asked in offense, "We've exchanged less than ten words between each other before, yet I'm bad enough that you don't want to talk to me?"
"Can... Can you talk slower?"
Does this guy need a hearing aid or something?
"I asked," Tyler spoke mockingly slow, "if you're deaf."
Josh raised an eyebrow and stood up from his seat, only being an inch taller than Tyler, yet more intimidating somehow. He squinted his eyes as he looked down at Tyler, "If you'd really like to know, I am. I wear earbuds all the time so people like you won't talk to me, because if I don't and they talk to me, and I don't answer them, they get all pissy just like you."
Tyler was the one with a hot face now, wishing he hadn't gotten so mad in the first place, "How did you know what I just said, then?" He asked dumbly.
Josh rolled his eyes and snickered, falling back in his seat as Tyler stood in front of him like a curious child, "I read lips, sweetheart," He moved his mouth more as to emphasize his statement, but all it did was make Tyler feel even more stupid.
Tyler nodded and slugged back to his seat, hoping Patrick and Brendon wouldn't take much longer. That was not how he was hoping his first talk with Josh would go.
Tyler and Josh hadn't talked since that embarrassing conversation between them. Brendon and Patrick got stuck in a long line, unfortunately, but Tyler was grateful when they came back. The rest of the week dragged on, but Saturday eventually came.
Tyler met up with Pete and Patrick at a mini golf place, silently cursing himself for choosing mini golf because of the cooling temperatures making their way into the city.
"Is it just going to be the three of us now?" Tyler asked curiously, not wanting to inwardly celebrate too early.
Patrick shook his head, much to Tyler's dismay, "No. He's just running a bit late, I guess. I got a message from a while ago saying he'd still show up, so," Patrick hummed and shrugged. It didn't take Tyler long to notice that Patrick and Pete had their hands locked together between them.
"What's his name?" Tyler asked.
"Jo-" Pete started, but Patrick hit his side and Pete grunted.
"You'll know him when you see him. Please do not hate me," Patrick grimaced, looking past Tyler to an oncoming figure. Tyler furrowed his brows and looked behind, just as the familiar guy with yellow hair was walking down the street.
Tyler's happy expression deflated, and he turned back to a grinning Pete and a slightly regretful looking Patrick, who still had a smile on his face, "I know you didn't have a good start with the guy, but he can't be that grumpy all the time. You just started unnecessary business," Patrick said.
"It looked like he was ignoring me..." Tyler frowned in defense, taking a deep breath in as Josh walked up beside him, stopping while they weren't even a pinky's length apart.
"Even if you argued at first, Josh is my friend too. Just be nice and he'll be nice back. He's like a bumblebee," Pete chirped as Patrick said hi to Josh.
"Sorry I was late. I couldn't find my phone," Josh excused, seeming genuinely apologetic. He looked over to Tyler as the brunet pulled his navy blue sweater sleeves over his hands. Tyler noticed Josh looking at him, and hesitantly reciprocated, gulping as Josh gave him a once over.
Pete and Patrick smirked at the two, and silently began to walk towards the stand to pay for a club and ball. Josh glanced towards the couple in front of them, scratching behind his neck as he sighed, "I never caught your name."
"Maybe because I didn't give it to you," Tyler snorted, taking a step back when realizing the lack of space between them, "I'm Tyler."
"Josh," The yellow haired one said politely.
"I know. I'm not the deaf one around here," Tyler was being an asshole and he knew that. He kept digging a hole deeper for himself unintentionally, the wrong words to Josh just kept flowing out, though.
Josh scoffed and started walking towards the stand that Pete and Patrick were talking by, "I think I should be the asshole because of what happened last week, but apparently not," He shrugged, not bothering to look back at the brunet.
Tyler huffed and tried blocking out Josh, which proved to be almost impossible. Every time Tyler got a bad hit, Josh would laugh at him. It wasn't fair that Josh got almost all hole in ones while Tyler kept missing, he just wanted to mute Josh from the entire experience.
While Josh was going on his turn, Tyler stood in between Pete and Patrick. Patrick nudged the brunet with a sly smile, "Having a good night?"
"No, Josh keeps laughing at me whenever I have a bad go. It's pissing me off, he's pissing me off," Tyler muttered, his eyes admiring the tattoo behind Josh's ear, and the way his leather jacket fit against his arms. His mind was differing in thoughts, though.
"But that's what makes it cute," Pete pipes up, "He's been checking you out, you've been checking him out-"
"Okay, no," Tyler gagged. Josh had finished and was waiting on him, so he walked away from Pete and Patrick and had his turn. He finally got a hole in one.
Later on, after mini golf, they went to dinner at Olive Garden. Tyler had eventually gotten frustrated enough with golf that he just gave up near the end, while the others laughed at him. Now he was angrily munching on breadsticks while seated next to Josh and in front of Pete. He was aware of the fact that Josh was still watching him like a hawk.
"I think Tyler and I are realizing that work on the fifth floor is not as luxurious as it seems," Patrick chuckled lightly, but exasperation was in his tone, and Tyler couldn't help but relate to what Patrick was feeling, "Dallon's too obsessed with having everything made by hand, so it's not like we can use robots to put everything together. Brendon said there's only a few exceptions, but we're not even close to reaching those."
Tyler swallowed the remaining bread in his mouth and sat up straighter, joining the conversation, "Not only that, but Brendon isn't as fun as I thought he'd be to work with. Yeah, sure, he's trying to get with the boss, but when it comes to him doing actual work, he takes it so seriously that he can't take a joke."
"Maybe getting that suspension for trying to fuck with Dallon changed him a bit. I know I'd be embarrassed as hell if that happened to me," Pete snorted.
The three of them heard a bang against the table, and they all looked towards Josh. He had his jaw locked as he looked at all of them with the smallest hint of a glare.
"Have any of you thought that Brendon just wants to impress Dallon and the others around him?" Josh asked in defense of Brendon, "Maybe that mishap did change him, but have any of you considered that maybe it was a good thing? Stop bashing on him; the more time you spend slacking off, the more you get bitched at for it," When saying that, Josh stared at Tyler during the last of it.
Tyler scoffed and slouched in his seat, grabbing another breadstick and making solid eye contact with Josh. He waved the breadstick in the yellow haired one's face and sharply clenched his teeth against the tip and ripped it off. Josh's eyes widened a little, though all he did was sigh and drum his fingers against the table.
"I'm... uh—I'm gonna go to the restroom," Patrick mumbled after watching the two in front of him have a silent argument, scooting his seat back and quickly walking away.
"Can I have a refill please?" Pete asked quietly when the waiter came over.
Tyler shook his head and scooted his own chair back, "I'm going outside for a bit, I'll be back soon."
The brunet rushed outside to the front door, and then stood on the edge of the walk path that separated into a parking lot. He crossed his arms to increase the warmth coming from the wool covering his arms, but still felt goosebumps rise on his exposed collar bones and neck. His eyes followed his visible breath in the cold air and blinked each time it disappeared, already missing the warm weather.
He didn't look when a shadow fell next to his, he already knew who it was by the shoes. Josh had his hands in the pockets of his jacket and let out a yawn as he balanced one foot on the other. It looked like a nervous habit you'd pick up as a kid.
"You seemed like a nice person each day on the bus. If we were to ever talk, I didn't want it to end up the way that it did," Josh spoke up. It was the icebreaker that lead to Tyler turning towards him slowly, "I'm sure you're a nice guy, but you've been an asshole to me for something I can't help."
Tyler wondered why Josh copied his actions by turning as well, only to remember that Josh needed to be able to read his lips, "I've only been that way because I didn't want to accept the fact that I was the one in the wrong. I'm sorry about that. I didn't mean to offend you or hurt you in any way."
Josh smirked, "Offend me? Hurt me? I'm not a fragile child just because I'm deaf. I can fight my own fights and I could break you in half if I wanted to. But I think I like you, so I'm not going to," He said, taking in the sight of Tyler visibly shivered and gulped.
"Th-thanks I guess," Tyler sputtered, bringing in his arms a little tighter.
Josh looked down at his jacket and took his hands out of the pockets, "You're still cold. You should, um, take my jacket," He offered, already shrugging off his jacket.
Tyler shook his head, "I'm warm enough, Josh. Plus, we should go back inside soon," He insisted, fumbling for the right words to say even as Josh put his hands on his shoulders and turned him around, only to hold the leather jacket behind Tyler for him to put his arms through. Tyler held the end of his sweater sleeves as he did so, instantly feeling warmer with the jacket.
Josh was now only equipped with a long sleeved black shirt, which made Tyler feel bad. The yellow haired one lead them back inside a bit after though, and Tyler's cheeks went hot and red when getting back to the table. He knew that Pete and Patrick realized that the jacket he was wearing was not his.
"Good talk?" Pete asked with raised eyebrows. Tyler nodded, shyly smiling towards Josh who was sipping on his drink and was oblivious to the brunet glancing at him.
"I can smell love in the air," Patrick cringed, pretending to vomit, "Can you believe they acted like they hated each other three hours ago?"
"Can you believe that you and Pete haven't admitted you both want to date each other yet? The love in the air is between you and Pete, I'm afraid," Tyler retorted, grabbing Josh's wrist as he scooted back out of his chair, Josh quickly following with a confused expression, "Have fun on your date, boys."
Tyler and Josh left the embarrassed and awkward guys behind and went back outside, this time, walking onto the street and in the direction of their apartments. The streets weren't very busy, an occasional drunk couple here and there, or people making out against glass windows. They easily glided along in silence, side by side, which made Tyler both happy and anxious.
"I know this isn't high school anymore, but sex in public is kind of gross," Josh scrunched his nose as they passed a guy who had his hand who knows where, and a girl who was moaning. Tyler quietly giggled, accidentally bumping into his possibly new friend. He tugged on Josh's shirt sleeve to make the yellow haired one look at him.
"Some people are into that sort of thing, I'm not gonna judge," Tyler laughed, feeling loopy just from how tired he was. But Josh was making things fun for him, so the tired plus fun equaled him acting like a dumbass.
"What, are you into exhibitionism?" Josh asked jokingly.
Tyler shrugged, "I'm not opposed to it, we'll say," He grinned, putting his hands in the pockets of Josh's jacket and walking ahead of the dumbfounded one.
They eventually got to Tyler's apartment, and they stood at the main door, not saying a word for a certain amount of time. Tyler gasped lightly and went to take off the jacket, but a hand stopped him from doing so.
"Keep it," Josh commanded, eyes half lidded as his eyes went over Tyler's collar bones and neck. The skin had always been covered by button ups before, and to see a change was nice.
"But you still have to walk to your apartment. You need this more than I do," Tyler pouted, suddenly feeling small in the roomy jacket as Josh had no shame in obviously letting his eyes gander over him, "I-I have plenty of other jackets to feel warm in at my place."
"And now you have one more. I have plenty at mine too," Josh smiled at him and began to pull out his earbuds out to tuck them in his ears, "If you feel so bad about keeping it, just give it to me on Monday."
"Okay," Tyler nodded, "Uh, bye, Josh," He mumbled.
"See ya, Ty," And then Josh was walking away and Tyler was walking inside. He pressed the elevator button for his floor and stepped in.
He's glad that he kept the jacket for the night. He ended up sleeping with it on, only because it was warmer than any of his other clothes and blankets.
PATRICK 11:13 AM
Here's Josh's #. Make good use of it ;)
Tyler blinked at his messages between him and Patrick. He saved the number in his contacts without letting Patrick know.
TYLER 11:14 AM
What am I supposed to do with this?
PATRICK 11:14 AM
Message him and ask him to hang out duh
TYLER 11:14 AM
I barely know the guy
PATRICK 11:15 AM
Yet you guys became best friends last night?
Tyler grunted and shut off his phone, then rolled out of bed onto his wooden floor. He waited for an abyss to take him into oblivion with his sheets tangled around him, but it never came. It was the first Sunday in a while that he didn't feel drained and already upset about going back to work, because last night was the first Saturday that he had had fun on since he moved.
His phone kept vibrating against his nightstand, leading him to groan and reach for his phone again. He sat up on the floor when seeing most of the messages from the new contact in his phone.
BUMBLEBEE 11:22 AM
Hi! It's Josh from work... and the bus. I have yellow hair?
BUMBLEBEE 11:23 AM
Patrick gave me your number and then a winky
face which was kinda weird but???? So I'm not a stalker
or anything like I didn't look up your number lol
BUMBLEBEE 11:23 AM
Have I made this weird? Sorry, you're probably
still asleep with how drowsy you were last night.
Tyler chuckled at the dorky messages, taking his time to read over all of them twice. When he first saw Josh, he pictured a tough personality with a fire in his heart and someone who enjoyed packing punches to bad people, considering how bulky his arms were. In reality, Josh is one of the nerdiest people Tyler may know of.
TYLER 11:27 AM
I wasn't asleep but I'm definitely still
tired haha! Don't worry, Patrick gave me
your number too.
The text bubble popped up almost immediately.
BUMBLEBEE 11:27 AM
TYLER 11:27 AM
Yeah. I saved it, but I didn't message you
in case you weren't in the mood to talk or anything
BUMBLEBEE 11:28 AM
Usually I'm not if it's a person I don't know, but
if you're in my contacts then I'm fine with talking
Tyler put his phone down in his lap and smiled. He finally decided that it was time for him to get up, which he did, only moving to on top of his bed again.
TYLER 11:29 AM
Oh okay. Thanks I guess :) So... did you
want anything other than to say you had
BUMBLEBEE 11:29 AM
Yeah! I meant to ask if you'd like to hang out today?
Unless you were just planning on staying in
TYLER 11:29 AM
I had no plans actually. We can hang out!
Did you have anywhere in mind?
They met in the middle at a large coffee shop with an upstairs to it. Tyler got to enjoy the soft, 80's synth music playing while Josh was lead to adoring the way the bright colors of the coffee shop blended together, rather than bled together.
Tyler had his glove covered hands wrapped around a hot chocolate, whereas Josh was sipping his cold coffee through a straw. The brunet had no idea how his new acquaintance could stand drinking cold coffee while it was cold itself outside, but that was something else to admire.
Josh had been the one to strike up their conversations, which Tyler had been wanting to do himself, but Josh would only ever look at him while he talked. Josh wouldn't be able to know what he was saying if he didn't look at him, and it frustrated Tyler to no end. All they had talked about was work and mini golf, and Tyler didn't mind, because he definitely wanted to learn about Josh in the workplace aspect, but he wanted to be able to communicate on his end properly as well.
There were moments where Tyler wished they hadn't met up. The fire that was on the past day had fizzled out since they were no longer in a cycle of teasing or arguing at each other. Their eyes continued to flicker towards one another, but Josh's never lingered enough for Tyler to even part his lips.
The silence was awkward for Tyler, of course. Josh was probably used to silence by now, having no choice but to be, but maybe the thought of knowing that he had someone to talk to but wasn't doing so, was bothering him as well. The brunet just wanted to scream for Josh to talk to him, but Tyler could practically say or do anything because this stupid guy wouldn't pay attention to him.
It wasn't until Tyler had sipped his hot chocolate and some fluff covered the side of his mouth. Josh swallowed and grabbed a napkin and dabbed at the spot on Tyler's face. Instead of being shock stricken, Tyler took his chance with Josh's focus on him again.
"Why are you working at an instrumental design company if you're deaf?" Tyler blurted. He could sense Josh's off-put behavior of Josh's question, and despite that, he didn't stop there, "Isn't it hard to be talented musically if you can't hear?"
Josh narrowed his eyes at Tyler, "Believe it or not, some people aren't born deaf. I learned how to play drums, trumpet, and piano before my musical hindrance -I guess- took place," He smart mouthed, crossing his arms, "Do you think that we're not capable of doing as much just because we lack one sense? I've lost my hearing, not my head, so I can do just as much as the next guy."
Tyler raised his arms his defense and frowned at Josh, who was coming off too harsh, but maybe Tyler just had a stupid question, "I didn't mean to sound rude or anything, man. I just wanted to know how you ended up where. Sorry, I swear I don't try to be problematic on purpose."
A calm aura suddenly came from Josh as his body loosened up from the tension recently built up in it. His arms uncrossed and he pulled his jacket sleeves over his hands, "God, Tyler... I know I said something along the lines of it not being easy to offend me, but I might be wrong. I should stop taking everything from you in a wrong way. I should be the one apologizing."
"No, no!" Tyler shook his head with a soft smile on his face, "I-I get it, it's partially my fault that things have started out like this. I have a big mouth, I guess," He babbled, bringing a smile to Josh's face as well.
Josh tilted his head downward so he was looking at his lap, and then his smile turned into a grin as he looked at an innocent looking Tyler, who was holding himself close together, coming off smaller than he does in the workplace.
"If your original question was how I can still do what I do while deaf, it's because I had memorized those three instruments inside and out. I felt defeated when what happened happened, but I couldn't let that hop in the way of my passions. So, I landed a job here and get to be around what I love for until I either get fired, or decide to quit."
Tyler watched as Josh's eyes lit up when mentioning the instruments he played, and wish he'd paid more attention to Josh before at work. He always thought the guy was slacking off, but he was probably more determined to get things done and ready that anyone else in that building. It made Tyler so happy to hear Josh's excitement in his words.
"Now, pretty boy, I have a question for you," Josh stated. Red and pink mixed together on Tyler's cheeks, giving Josh two more colors to adore the sight of. Tyler's colors reminded him of autumn, but his personality reminded him of spring, "Have you dated any boys or girls in the past?"
Tyler gulped, hands being squeezed between his legs as he became too curious to why Josh would have asked such a thing. But he nodded nonetheless, giving his answer, "A boy while I was a teenager, a-and a girl when I was twenty. Why?"
"So you're not straight?" Josh asked once more.
Tyler furrowed his eyebrows and tucked in on himself even more, "I'm not. Are you? Straight, I mean."
Josh grinned at him, "Far from it."
It had been expected for Patrick to hound Tyler with questions about the previous day, but that didn't mean that Tyler was any more prepared for it.
"What do you mean it wasn't all that great?" Patrick questioned. Tyler didn't want his best friend to be let down in any way, considering the ginger just wanted Tyler to make more friends. But even the bus ride to their office was awkward between him and Josh.
Tyler, feeling slightly annoyed, jabbed the elevator button for their floor and leaned against the wall to face Patrick, "We barely talked, and when we did, it got personal. It was uncomfortable for me, dunno about him though. He probably gets off on awkward silences and conversations," Tyler huffed.
Patrick frowned at his friend, "You're still being rude to him, even when he's not here. Just because the meet up kind of went down the wrong path doesn't mean that you have to be a jerk about it," The ginger argued gently, jumping when the elevator dinged and the doors opened.
Both of them stepped out into the hall and made no move forward to the end of the hall, where Tyler knew Josh would be.
"I'm treating him like I would anybody else. Don't try putting a different context on my words, Patrick," Tyler glared.
Patrick wasn't having it, scoffing and shaking his head, "You're my friend, Ty, you really are. And since you're my good friend, I need to let you know that you're being a dick to Josh because he's a little different from you," He put a hand on the brunet' shoulder and squeezed gently, "That, is one of the lowest things to do as a human."
Tyler furrowed his eyebrows, "You think I'm different around him because he's deaf? Him being deaf has nothing to do with it!"
"Did it take you a while to accept the fact that you're gay?" Patrick asked quickly, continuing right after Tyler shook his head, "Then why is it taking so long to accept that not everybody is flawless?"
"What the hell? Come on-"
"What are you guys doing? Josh and I need help," Brendon stood halfway down the hall, looking at both of them with a curious expression. Both guys sighed and walked past Brendon, except for Tyler, because Brendon took ahold of the brunet's arm and kept him close, "If there's going to be a problem between you and Josh, just because you don't like something about him, I'll make sure that Dallon puts you back downstairs," Brendon muttered.
Tyler lowered his head and shook it, "I don't plan on talking to him anymore unless I have to. Doing so just seems to only aggravate at least one person in the room," He swallowed down his pride and tried to do the same with the guilt held on his tongue.
"Josh is a good guy, Tyler," Brendon sighed, "I guess if that's what it'll take to get this project done, though, then so be it. I'll keep you both on different sides of the room."
Then Tyler was walking back with Brendon, watching as the ebony haired one went over to Josh's side while he sat next to Patrick. His friend kept sending glances, but he would ignore them and turn the music through his headphones up. Today was another reason as to why he never believed in a lucky Monday.
Each day from then on, he'd sit at the back of the bus with his head down whenever Josh came on. He'd watch as Josh would keep his head hung low with his earbuds in, yet turn his head every now and then like he expected Tyler to show up and sit by him. Tyler never did.
The messages on his phone stopped after a few days. The fact that the two saw each other at work occasionally, even working in the same room, made it worse. Josh would easily know that Tyler was ignoring him, and it made Tyler feel so fucking bad. He convinced himself that the text messages and the upset looks meant nothing to him deep down, that Josh didn't really care either. They only knew each other a fair amount just so they could save themselves from silence, which became inevitable too, sooner or later.
JOSH 9:20 AM
How come you didn't sit in your usual spot
JOSH 9:21 AM
I couldn't even see you. Did you miss the bus?
JOSH 9:24 AM
See you at work then!
JOSH 9:03 AM
Will I see you today? Hopefully you haven't
missed the bus
JOSH 9:19 AM
Why are you sitting all the way back there? Is that
where you were yesterday?
JOSH 9:21 AM
See you at work.
JOSH 8:05 PM
Are you doing okay?
JOSH 9:27 AM
Idk what I did Tyler, what the fuck did I possibly do?
We hung out TWICE. Every time I look at you
during work, suddenly something small is more
important than saying just a plain 'hi' to me.
JOSH 9:28 AM
Did I say or do something last Sunday or Saturday?
Because I'm pretty much clueless to this point.
Shouldn't I be the one ignoring you?
JOSH 12:44 PM
You said you didn't mean to be problematic. You've
surpassed that Tyler, I think you're full of shit.
JOSH 12:45 PM
I didn't mean that. I'm sorry.
JOSH 12:46 PM
I don't care if you don't talk to me, I just wish I knew
why. Was it something I said, something you said?
Is it cause I'm deaf? I dunno. If things keep on like
this, then I guess I'll never know.
Friday, there were no texts.)
Both guys were acting differently because of the situation. Josh was only acting differently because of Tyler, and Tyler hated it. He wished he never talked to Josh, then neither of them would have felt like they needed to do something. Not to mention, Pete, Patrick, Brendon, and even Dallon had caught on. Brendon already knew why and what was happening, but he didn't want it to end up as it did.
One day, Tyler had been called into Dallon's office. When the brunet entered, Patrick was in there with a guilty expression. He already knew what was up, and the fact that Patrick talked to their boss about it only irritated Tyler.
"Tyler, is there something going on between you and Josh?" Dallon asked, looking at Tyler boredly through his glasses lenses, "Not romantically, but something that could affect both of your work performances?"
"No, sir," Tyler mumbled.
"Yes there is!" Patrick exclaimed almost despairingly, "You're getting more frustrated when you can't do something right the first or second time, Josh keeps zoning out in the middle of working. Both of you are sore to even be around for me and Brendon."
Tyler practically fell into one of the chairs, feeling defeated after Patrick's outburst in front of Dallon. Except, Dallon didn't look mad or displeased with either of them. Tyler was waiting for an explicit choice of words to come out in a somber tone, but they never did.
"Be glad that I'm a fairly generous boss. I don't want you in my workplace if you're going to decrease the quality of our work as a team, so I'm giving you a week off to figure out what the hell you're going to do to fix all of this," Dallon said monotonously.
Tyler was baffled, but nodded slowly, "Thanks, boss," He mumbled lowly, dismissing himself from the room and building.
During his time off, Tyler decided to learn how to cook stuff beyond sandwiches and the boxed mac 'n' cheese. He also went throughout the city a little more to see what he had been missing out on. Not once, though, did he ever figure out how to fix what happened. He didn't want to go up to Josh and just apologize because that'd be shitty, and he knew that Josh wouldn't accept it. He didn't want to draw it out any longer, though.
He went to multiple pet stores, looking into getting a cat, or just something relaxed. He'd have to get a pet sitter, which surely he could find someone in a big city. When he was home, it would be so lonely, and Tyler was tired of feeling the same way each night.
Occasional texts between him and Patrick kept up, even some from Pete. Josh never tried messaging him anymore, and Tyler couldn't blame him. He wondered how everybody was doing without him, probably better, but he didn't want to believe that.
On the Wednesday of his week off, a specific call came from Patrick that left Tyler with one of the worst feelings in his stomach. He was watching Friends while eating spaghetti, and his phone had started buzzing against the table. He read the caller ID and answered almost instantly.
"Tyler, Josh is in the hospital," Patrick interrupted urgently. Tyler's lips parted and his fork clanked against the rim of his bowl. He quickly put the bowl on the coffee table and sat up properly, "I'm not there yet, and won't be able to for a while, but Pete is. They were hanging out and Pete went inside a fast food to use the restroom, and when he came back out, Josh wasn't there—"
All the time while Patrick was explaining to Tyler how Pete found Josh severely beaten up in the closest alleyway, Tyler was slipping on a pair of sandals as fast as he could and unknowingly Josh's jacket. He asked Patrick which hospital, and as soon as he was given directions, he was on his way.
He probably looked like New York's biggest weirdo walking into the hospital, with sweatpants, sandals, a blue shirt, and a leather jacket on. He didn't care though, he cared more about Josh's condition.
When he got to the front desk, a blonde lady was behind the computer, and her blue eyes became directed towards him, "How may I help you?" She asked with a soft smile on her face.
"I'm here to see Josh Dun," He said, fingers tapping against the desk as he tried looking for the elevators. He jumped when feeling a hand on his back, only to sigh in relief when seeing it was Pete.
"Are you a family member?" She asked calmly, despite being able to note Tyler's state of urgency.
"He's Josh's boyfriend, can that count for something?" Pete begged on Tyler's behalf.
The blonde bit her bottom lip and looked between the two sadly, shaking her head hesitantly, "Only loved ones are available for visiting, I'm afraid. If you were married, then I could, but I'm sorry."
"He hasn't talked about his family much and I've never been one to push him into telling me. Can you not see if you can look them up and call them? He really needs someone in there with him," Tyler gulped, and he felt his heart rate speeding up by the second. He didn't want Josh to wake up alone and beaten, not knowing what was going on.
"I-I can try, honey, but—" She blew a puff of hair out and clicked her mouse a few times, "I'll allow you for now while I try and look up family. I'll try and be there as soon as possible, but his room number is 41B on the second floor and to the right."
"Thank you so much," Tyler flashed her a quick smile and ran for the elevators, waiting impatiently for the doors to open. When he got to the second floor, his eyes didnt blink once while trying to find 41B. Josh's door was closed, but Tyler gave a quick knock and entered, only to see a sleeping Josh.
Tubes were hooked up to him along with needles in his inner elbow and the top of his hand. Tyler couldn't tell where the bruises stopped and where they began, for one of Josh's eyes had been swollen half shut and the other was bruised. His upper lip was split and dried blood was on the side of his head. A cast had been wrapped around his left leg as well.
Tyler sat in the chair and couldn't help but cry a little at the sight. Josh looked so dead, even though he was breathing. Tyler had never seen anything like the tan skin that had gone pale so instantly, or the purple bruises covering Josh. He pondered on why someone would even want to hurt Josh like this.
The confusion settled even more when Tyler didn't even know if Josh was just asleep or if he wasn't to wake up for a long time. He wished he knew so many things that he didn't have access to knowing, and that added onto the pent up frustration that he'd built onto himself the past two weeks.
A knock sounded on the other side of the door, and the nurse from before came in with a file that Tyler supposed he wouldn't be able to see. The blonde entered quietly and stood on the opposite side of where Tyler sat, and looked down at the file.
"I couldn't contact Josh's parents, or any of his family. I would say why, but I think that should be Mr. Dun's job. Sorry about that," She smiled sadly and held the files close to her chest again, "My name is Jenna, if you need me. I should be here for the rest of the night."
"Thanks, I'm, uh, Tyler," The brunet said, looking over to Josh afterwards, "Do-do you know what all happened? Like injuries?"
Jenna nodded slowly, "Multiple contusions to the face and torso, some along his arms from trying to escape the attacker's grip. A head injury from being thrown to the ground, a puncture wound located around the stomach, and a major fracture in the left leg," She informed, keeping her eyes on the sleeping patient as well.
Tyler knew that she felt remorse about the situation. The puncture wound had been news to Tyler, since he couldn't see under Josh's gown. He gasped shakily and rested his head against his palms, feeling so bad about something that he couldn't have even stopped.
"You weren't with him at the time, you couldn't have stopped this. Please don't beat yourself up over this, Tyler," Jenna assured quietly, "I really need to go back to my desk, but again, just call for Jenna Black if you need me."
Tyler nodded and watched as she left, then slumped in his seat. He listened to the quiet yet annoying beep of the heart rate machine, and did so until his own eyes closed and he fell into a slumber.
There was a shuffling around Tyler that woke him up. His eyes opened, blinking a few times to see that the sun was beginning to rise.
A warmth enveloped him almost instantly, and he suddenly paid attention to the warm blanket that was now covering him. Jenna was seen smiling down at him, and Tyler figured that this was her kind act before she left.
"Thank you," Tyler whispered croakily, wiping away the gunk around his eyes and yawning, "Is it alright if I stay for the rest of the day?" He asked.
"Of course. Since he's stable, they'll be allowing friends for visiting as well. Your other friend who was here and reported the accident has been waiting all night too, so he'll probably come up soon," Jenna said, looking at Tyler and then to the table beside his chair, "Poor thing, I forgot to get you a drink! Is sprite okay?"
When Tyler nodded, she left the room with a promise to be back soon. The brunet took this time to observe Josh again, who didn't look any better than the day before. He couldn't understand, himself, how or why he was even here and caring so much. He hurt Josh mentally and emotionally before this even happened, and now he's at the hospital because someone else hurt him much more differently. If Josh were to wake up and see him by the bed right now, he'd probably shoo Tyler away in an instant.
Maybe he just wanted to soak up the time he could have with Josh without one of them making another feel stressed or confused. Tyler couldn't understand how their friendship, if it was even that, functioned at all. It was so messed up when it never had to be.
Thanks to me.
"Thanks for looking after him since I couldn't," Pete greeted with kind words as he walked into the room. Tyler mumbled a quiet 'you're welcome' and kept waiting for Jenna to come back, "I would've claimed to be Josh's boyfriend, but I don't think we'd look good together," Pete snorted.
"And you think that me and him do?" Tyler inquired with a tiny smirk.
Jenna made her appearance once again with a cup of sprite with a straw. She handed it to him quickly and then said hi to Pete who she hadn't noticed until she stepped away from Tyler, "My shift ended, um, about thirty minutes ago, but I thought I'd stay and help you guys out for a little longer."
"You're probably really tired, Jenna. Go home and sleep so you're not falling asleep at your desk next time," Tyler chuckled, "We can get help from another nurse if we need."
"If you say so," Jenna sighed, nodding as a goodbye to both guys and smiling at Josh's still sleeping figure. She left the room and closed the door fully, leaving Tyler and Pete to silence with faint talking of the nurses from the outside.
"I swear, that was one of the most horrific things I've ever seen," Pete said, his quiet tone bouncing off of the walls to create an increased volume, "Finding someone you care about beaten up and bleeding, laying in an alley, all alone because you had to go and do something else? I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. I thought Josh was a goner."
"But he's not. He's alive now because you got to him in time," Tyler tried to make Pete feel better, but at the same time, he couldn't empathize in any way or understand. He didn't want to be able to do so, if he had seen Josh the way Pete had, he probably would've felt broken inside himself.
Tears began to stream down Pete's face as he watched his friend who was hooked up to multiple tubes, breath in a calm pattern, "Can you really count this as alive? He looks like he hasn't gotten sun in years, half of his hair is covered in dried blood, he's bruised to no end, and we don't know when he'll wake up.
"That's just enough of a chance to be dead as it is to be alive," Pete sniffled.
Tyler placed the blanket on the chair he was sitting in previously, and went over to Pete to comfort the guy. He pulled Pete into a hug, Pete accepting instantly and holding on tight to Tyler's jacket. The brunet furrowed his eyebrows when Pete kept rubbing over the jacket, and then pulled away.
"This is Josh's jacket," Pete piped up, confused. Then he realized what must have happened the night back at Olive Garden, and he began to grin, "I wish you two weren't such assholes to each other, because you really could come off as boyfriends if you did."
"Can we not..." Tyler mumbled, a blush settling on his slightly squishy cheeks. He held onto the edges of the jacket sleeves with his hands and shied away from Pete again, "Did you know Josh before he started working at Weekes Intelligence?" Asked Tyler, to get off of the topic he so much wanted to avoid.
"Yeah. We met in high school and kept contact the best that we could afterwards. Our friendship got a bit rusty at times, and now we're trying to mend it up a little. We're still like best friends, though," Pete explained softly, walking closer to Josh and placing his hand on Josh's tattooed arm.
"Oh," Tyler squeaked out, "Cool."
"So, Tyler, you can understand why I might get defensive of Josh when you're treating him in a way he doesn't deserve. And you will understand why I am so pissed at you for being the cause of Josh calling me three nights in a row, asking me about why he had to be one of the people in the world to go deaf. Believe me, if you weren't both mine and Patrick's friend, I would not feel the slightest bit comforted with the fact that you're here right now."
"I'm sorry. When he wakes up— I'll try and be a better friend to him. I'll take care of him like he'll be needing and I'll apologize for what I've done," Tyler claimed, gently resting the tips of his fingers against Josh's clear fore arm. His eyes caught one of Josh's tattoos that said 'MOM' and frowned.
"I'll be taking care of him. No offense, but you guys still don't know each other that well, and I was the one who found him," Pete reasoned, and Tyler would have accepted, but he was stubborn and liked having things his way.
"I'm already on PTO, and I think Dallon's been feeling sorry for both me and Josh. If you're on paid leave too, taking care of him, then that's just wasted money on less work being done on our keyboards," The brunet grinned internally when Pete went through it inside his head, and then sighed.
"He wakes up, we'll see what he wants, okay?" Pete huffed, leaving Tyler to smile in satisfaction and nod.
As the day went on, Tyler and Pete both stayed in the bedside chairs. Patrick had visited once and stayed for a while, having also gotten the two some vending machine snacks. The ginger knew that him and Pete probably weren't going to go and get food themselves, being as stubborn and concerned as they were, and he didn't want his friends to starve.
Patrick left just as the sun started going down, claiming he wanted to be home before dark and wanted to be driving before the sun was able to clip the bottom of his visor. It only made Tyler think about how he'd need to go back home at some point, take a shower and change clothes. Selfish motivations consumed him, though, for he wanted to be by Josh's side when the yellow haired one woke up. He wanted to see those mocha eyes before anyone else.
"Hey, Tyler, I can't really ask you to stay all night but..." Pete sighed, "I have family coming over tomorrow and I need to clean up my house. I'll try and be back in the morning for a bit, but then they'll be there that afternoon. Can we switch out the day after?"
And Tyler agreed, because he wouldn't have left either way. He watched as Pete bid his goodbyes to him and Josh before leaving, then slumped in his chair and stared at the unconscious one out of the two.
Jenna returned at nine that night to begin her ten hour shift. She'd clocked in already, but other people were at the desk so she made it her business to come back to Josh's room to check up on the both of them. She'd greeted Tyler before switching out Josh's IV fluids, then sat down in the chair Pete had been earlier.
"Have any of the other nurses told you anything about his state?" Jenna asked, the slightest hint of a smile on her face. Tyler wanted to say that he saw excitement in her by the way her eyes gleamed, but he shook his head, "Your boyfriend should wake up before the week ends."
Tyler grinned in shock, feeling relief wash over him. He knew that Pete and Patrick would be happy as well, but he didn't know whether to tell them the good news now or later, "That's great, but what about his injuries? When will he be able to discharge?"
"That's for Dr. Williams to decide once Josh wakes up. Since you're only his boyfriend, discharge may be delayed for more recovery time, but she may decide to let you take care of Josh afterwards if you're capable," Jenna explained, then stood up and walked over to Tyler and gave him a hug, "I need to go back downstairs now, but as I said, call me if you need me."
Tyler had almost thanked her again, but knew she'd probably go on about how he's thanked her enough. Tyler's so glad that it was her he first went to, because she's gone out of her way to help them. Now it was just a waiting game for Josh to wake up so they could get out of here.
He wondered if Josh was dreaming, good or bad. Maybe Josh could hear all of the conversations that they're having, if maybe at some point he had tried to respond. Thinking about if he had a part in any of Josh dreams, despite holding no significance to the guy.
Tyler stood up and stepped to directly by the bed. He placed both of his hands on the side guard and kindly hovered over Josh, "I could've been important to you and I just threw it away. I know why I did that, Josh, and the reason was so stupid. Maybe if I hadn't, you would've been with me and not gotten beaten up in some alley," Tyler muttered sadly, moving his right hand to Josh's upper arm and slowly pushing up the gown sleeves to see fingerprint induced bruises, "I didn't want me ignoring you to end up so bad, but I thought it would help both of us focus on our jobs. It only made me want to to focus on you even more."
"If I were to look after you once you get out of the hospital, God, I'd hope it wouldn't piss you off. I want you to get better —even if it's with Pete—, and once you do, we can try this whole getting to know each other thing again," Tyler lightly smiled wanting to touch Josh's usually soft hair, but refrained from doing so due to the greasy and bloody state of it.
His eyes darted down to Josh's hands when he thought he saw movement, and he was right, almost laughing when seeing Josh's thumb move. He looked back to Josh's face and chuckled, "Also, the workers here think we're boyfriends, so if you can hear this, please don't get mad when you wake up."
"Wake up, sleepyhead, I brought food."
Tyler groaned, his back beginning to stiffen up from the uncomfortable hospital chair. His eyes opened to see a blurry Patrick and Pete behind him, and then when his vision cleared up, he happily took the sausage biscuit and coffee from his friend.
"Thanks. I'm starving," Tyler grumbled, biting down on his food instantly, almost moaning in delight. Hospital food isn't the greatest, and vending machine snacks got tiring, so he lacked food in his own stomach.
"You would have known I'd be bringing the food if you had looked at my texts last night," Patrick hummed, smirking jokingly at Tyler.
"My phone died yesterday afternoon, and I don't have my charger with me," Tyler excused, taking the last bite of his food and crumbling up the paper. He had remembered where the bin was by now, and tossed the paper over Josh's legs and by Patrick and Pete, the sound of the bag rustling was his signal that he made it in.
Patrick made a 'tsk' sound and scooted to the edge of his seat, "I have a charger in my car, I can just go back down and get it. I think I left my phone in there too. Pete, come with me. I'll be back with a charger!"
"Wait, what?" Pete squeaked, wrist being grabbed by Patrick and then was dragged out of the room.
Tyler picked up his coffee and took a sip, cringing when not tasting enough sugar in it. He set it back down on the table and scrunched his lips to the side, wondering if he should leave Josh alone to get sugar packets, or just have Patrick get them on their way up. He decided he didn't want his coffee the slightest bit cold by the time he could drink it, so he headed down to the cafeteria with a ghost promise to be back soon.
He grew impatient with the slow elevator, and practically ran to the cafeteria. He went to the closest unoccupied table and took all of the yellow sugar packets from it, stuffed them in his jacket pocket, and ran back to the elevator. Surely Patrick and Pete wouldn't take too long on just getting two items from the car, but he knew that the parking lot was quite a distance away from the hospital itself.
When he got to the doorway of Josh's room, he froze when seeing Josh's eyes open and his fingers trying to move around. He quickly stepped back, bumping into Patrick who had just come around with Pete -both having messy hair-, and called for a nurse.
"He's awake! He woke up! Hurry!" Tyler had exclaimed, watching as two nurses rushed in to check up on him. All three men standing outside went back in, standing by the opposite wall of Josh while the nurses asked him questions and shined a light in his mouth and his eyes. Tyler could tell that Josh was getting frustrated with having a hard time reading their lips as a light shined in his eyes.
"Is—is he okay? Can he go home?" Tyler asked.
The nurse who was using the light to shine in Josh's eyes turned towards them and shrugged, "I don't see why not. But that's up to the doctor."
"Can you go get him?" Pete asked rudely, just wanting to be given the overall result of all of this. He was tired, and was expecting Josh to go home with him, while Tyler was feeling the same way and expecting the same thing.
"I'm a she, thank you," A lady in a white coat came into the room as the nurses exited. Josh was still in a recovery daze whilst Pete, Patrick, and Tyler watched the doctor intently, "My name's Dr. Williams, and I will be the one to give a proper check up scan and determine if Mr. Dun here needs to stay, or will be in stable enough care to leave," The flaming red haired doctor stated, shaking both men's hands.
"Hi, um, I'm Tyler, this is Patrick, and this is Pete.. How long will he have to stay if he can't go home?" The brunet so desperately wanted Josh in his own time, out of pure selfishness and to support Josh. He couldn't tell which reason outweighed the other, but tried convincing himself it was the latter.
Dr. Williams looked behind her to exam Josh briefly, then turned back to Tyler, "I'd say three weeks with extended physical therapy."
Tyler tried paying no mind to the confused yellow haired one lying in the bed as Dr. Williams furrowed her eyebrows and asked Tyler a question, "Who are you to the patient here?"
Tyler's brown eyes darted to Josh whose eyes were half shut, but half widened with interest in what was happening in his perspective, and then flashed back to Dr. Williams, "I'm his boyfriend of three years. I'd like to think that he'd be in the best of care with me."
Pete scoffed, "I'm his best friend since high school," and Pete's eyes narrowed, anything but subtly communicating with a sharp glint that Tyler was pushing his luck with this lie.
Meanwhile, Josh could barely comprehend what was happening, but saw what Tyler had said, or a good portion of it. He wanted to speak out against it, but his energy was still lacking, unfortunately.
"Let me examine my patient before a war breaks out between you two. I'll have to ask you to leave the room for a bit, please."
All of them obeyed, going out, shutting the door behind them, and leaning against the wall outside Josh's door. Patrick had his arms crossed and an angry pout settled on his features, and wouldn't spare either of the other two a glance.
Tyler prodded his tongue in his cheek as to not say something despicable to Pete, because they may be in a disagreement with how things could possibly work out with Josh, but they were still good friends. Tyler didn't want to mess something up because he couldn't hold his tongue.
"Patrick," Pete sighed quietly, "you can't blame me for wanting Josh to be in good hands after his discharge."
"It's a stupid fucking thing to get riled up for, especially against a friend. And who's great idea was it to say Tyler was his boyfriend?! You both are being selfish pricks right now," Patrick retorted back quietly but harshly, walking off to his right to a lounge area, Pete following in tow trying to apologize.
Guilty eyes watched both of them, Tyler feeling even worse than he did before. He slid to the floor and leaned his head back against the wall until the door eventually opened. Then he made his way back to his feet and crossed his arms as Dr. Williams gave him a quick and small smile. He tried finding a trace of good or bad news in her expression, but he was unable to tell.
"I had Josh give me a background check of you to see if his boyfriend was suitable enough to take care of him. I'll need you to sign some release forms and then we'll get him a wheelchair and hopefully have him checked out soon enough," She informed, seeming unaffected by Tyler's growing happiness, "A nurse will come by with the forms and then give you the dates and times of Josh's physical therapy appointments as well."
"Thanks a lot for this," Tyler said genuinely.
"In reality, he should be staying at least another week, but I trust you. Don't bring him back with more injuries any time soon or else discharge won't be so easy," Dr. Williams chuckled, patting Tyler's arm and then walked away.
Tyler went back into the room and faced Josh who seemed to be smiling. The yellow haired one was much more awake and aware of his surroundings, which made Tyler feel nervous as he overthought the things that could happen.
"Thanks for deciding to look after me, boyfriend. You must have an odd way of saying 'I like you' to someone. In fact, you don't even say anything to them at all, or look at them beforehand. Maybe you should work on your mating skills, Tyler," Josh scowled, all of his words bitter and his tone laced with malice.
There it was, the thing Tyler was dreading, "It was the only way I could get in instantly. Believe me, if they had gotten ahold of your family, I wouldn't have lied. Well, Pete lied for me, actually. You should be blaming him for this, not me."
"How come you're the one taking me home? Aside from the fact that I agreed to it, why are you so keen on having me leave with you and not Pete?" Josh questioned, still not happy with the brunet in front of him, who had his hands in his pockets and bleeding gums from biting on them too hard.
"I feel bad for ignoring you. I wanted to do this as an apology," Tyler regrettably excused.
"Isn't it funny how when someone lands in hospital, gets horribly injured, or dies, everyone who ever did something they regret to that person, comes crawling back for a too late apology? They're not sorry for what they did, they're sorry that they couldn't milk out their victim's suffering like they had planned."
Tyler frowned, "I'm not trying to make you a victim of anything or suffer, Josh. I know that I shouldn't have ignored you, and trust me, I hate that it came to this for me to say sorry. I just didn't know what to do, because people at work were getting frustrated with our mutual behavior and it was affecting our own work."
"Everything would've been fine had you not ignored me. You just didn't want to be around the deaf guy," Josh muttered, quieting down when the nurse with the release forms came in, and leaving no time for Tyler to defend himself.
Tyler knew that Patrick would have to be their ride to Josh's, and that that ride would be an painfully awkward, tension filled one. He signed the forms with mixed feelings of dread and a hope for things to heal quickly.
Josh was in the backseat while Tyler and Patrick stayed up front. With an occasional peek, Tyler watched as Josh went from wide awake to dozed out within ten minutes. It gave time for the other two to talk about the elephant in the room -car- without Josh being suspicious of their conversation.
"I know you don't approve of this still, but I promise that this will have a good outcome," Tyler assured his friend, looking over to the stone faced ginger whose eyes were entirely set on the road.
"Are you saying this to me? Or are you saying it to yourself?" Patrick smiled lightly, tilting his head and letting his kindly happy demeanor fade away, "Tyler, have you even convinced yourself that all of this was a good idea? You're still in hot blood with Josh, may I remind you.
"I mean, I appreciate the fact that the both you and Pete wanted to take care of Josh— not how you managed it, but yeah. Thing is, is that, now that you're the one in charge of making sure Josh makes a full recovery, you need to know what you're doing. Don't expect him to be the happy guy you knew before you decided to be an idiot, at least not until he gets better."
"I know, I know. This is going to be a very testing moment in my life, so I guess I'm trying to relieve myself of some dark thoughts about how this could turn out, too," Tyler sighed.
The buildings outside of the window went from being small, brick houses connected to double story houses that had their own yards. Tyler furrowed his brows, because if Josh lived in this area slightly away from the street houses, then why not get his own car instead of walking a long ways to get to an even farther bus stop?
"Do you know what happened to Josh's family?" Tyler asked as he saw a family with two little kids walk out into their yard and to their car. Observing was easy considering Patrick began driving at a slow speed.
"No. Pete probably would know, though. You could ask him," Patrick said.
Tyler tugged on his hair lightly and shut his eyes, "No, forget it. I shouldn't have asked something so personal about Josh. I guess if Josh wants to tell me then he will."
Not much longer after, they pulled into a driveway that led to a blue painted house with grey brick foundation. Tyler looked at it, still confused on why Josh would live in this area. Nonetheless, the house looked homey and welcoming from the outside, it's just not something he pictured Josh living in.
"He lives in a two-story? This'll be fun," Tyler scowled, opened his door and putting one foot out onto the ground. He turned his head to give Patrick a tight smile, and then dug in his pocket to take out his house keys, "Thanks for the help, Pat. It doesn't have to be today, but would you mind getting some of my clothes and bringing them back here some time soon?"
Patrick hummed an affirmative and took the keys, then let Tyler take a wheelchair out of the trunk, wake Josh up, then lift the sluggish man out of the car, "You were asleep for like, two days, and you're still not fully awake?" Tyler muttered mainly to himself, sitting Josh down in the wheelchair. He waved to Patrick as he was pulling out, then started pushing his way to the porch.
Josh rested his elbow against the arm rest and then leaned his head against his hand, "I don't need this stupid chair just for a fracture. This thing is basically useless in my house, you can't even get onto the porch with it," Josh huffed.
Tyler was about to stand in front of Josh and argue with him, but realized that he was actually right. The brunet would be zero to one with the wheelchair if he tried moving it anywhere in the house, so he went ahead and held onto Josh as the yellow haired one made an effort to stand out of the chair and walk. Tyler was already ready to put duct tape over Josh's mouth because of how he kept muttering whines about the cast on his leg.
When he got Josh propped against wall, he went back down to fold up the chair and lay it on the porch. After everything would get settled with him and Josh, he'd move it into the garage and take it out if needed. He stood in the middle, looking at the door and began to ponder on how he would get inside if the doors were locked. Josh seemed to notice what he was in thought about and snickered, taking two keys out of his back pocket.
"You act like I sneak through my own window every night," Josh said, tossing the keys to Tyler who unlocked the door, "At least that's something I could do. I can't do shit with this cast and bandage around my stomach, now."
Slim fingers belonging to Tyler turned Josh's head towards his and made the yellow haired one's eyes focus on his lips, "Three weeks of physical therapy and this will all be healed. You'll be back to normal in no time," with no reply from Josh.
Tyler brought Josh inside and shut the door behind them. He gave Josh a once-over, and by the looks of his still stale, bloodied hair and head, he'd need to shower tonight.
"We have to make a compromise here, Josh," Tyler started, gritting his teeth in dread and avoiding looking into Josh's eyes that glimmered with curiosity. The brunet looked back up, and mainly paid attention to the dark orange strands of hair that were normally yellow, "You need to bathe, but you can't get the cast wet and your arms will ache if you use them too much."
"Oh hell no," Josh scoffed, banging his head against the wall behind him, wincing and going to reach his hand up to where he began to hurt, then whined when his arm throbbed, "I don't care about my hair, we can just wait until I'm healed."
"Well I do. I'll make it a bubble bath so I don't have to look at your junk any. Three weeks is too long a ways away to wait for a shower, especially when you're bloody and smell bad," Tyler spoke like a mother would, except with the figure of an adult man with a soft voice held with sharp edges. And it would've been weird for Tyler to be Josh's mom, since he kind of thinks Josh is hot.
"Are you gonna wipe my ass too and brush my teeth?" Words spat out like venom made Tyler roll his eyes with a twinge of hurt. To some extent, Josh's arguments would make Tyler's sensitive ass begin to tear up.
"Walk upstairs," Tyler wavered, lips quivering lightly, not noticed by Josh.
"What?" Josh questioned.
"Walk up the stairs, Josh. You can go to your room, take your clothes off and put on your pajamas, or do whatever the hell you want. And tomorrow, you can go to work with your dirty hair, hands, feet, then come back home and do jumping jacks," Tyler began quietly, his voice raising to a yell halfway through with the more frustrated he grew, "Surely if your ego and pride are still in tact, then the rest of you can work just as well. Otherwise, I'll stay and we'll get through this together."
Josh stood dumbfounded and defeated, whilst Tyler felt his capability to stand up against Josh coming back. He watched as Josh slumped against the wall rather than standing tall, and nodded at Tyler, "The bathroom's upstairs, second door on the left."
Which is how Tyler ended up putting on a warm bath filled with bubbles. Josh sat on the toilet lid and quietly hummed what sounded like a sad song, in Tyler's opinion. They fell into their roles with no communication, and it worked best for them it seemed. Tyler thought about it for a bit, and supposed that maybe Josh enjoyed when talking wasn't involved that much.
The awkward part came along and both men weren't looking forward to it. Tyler helped Josh stand with help of leaning against the sink and began to undress the injured one. He managed to pull the shirt over Josh's head first and then pull the sleeves downwards, which offered only a few groans of pain for Josh. The worst part of it for Tyler, had to have been taking Josh's torso wrap off to see the stab wound. It didn't seem too deep since it was already healing pretty good, but it was still a sore to look at.
A taunting silence ran throughout the room as Tyler pulled the ties loose on Josh's sweatpants and yanked them down, over the cast. All that was left was Josh's boxers.
"Just...just turn around okay? It'll hurt but I can take them off myself," Josh said quietly, a soft tinge of pink spreading across his cheekbones.
Tyler shook his head, insisting, "No—I'll just close my eyes. I have to help you inside the bath anyways."
"What if you accidentally touch my dick?" Josh bit his lip and asked nervously.
"If your words are anything to go by, then you don't like me very well right now. Surely your will power is strong enough to not get a boner if my hand grazes down there, man."
"I don't like you right now because of the lack of words you had for me. Ironic, huh? And I do! It's just been a while..."
Tyler grunted and hooked his fingers around the band of Josh's underwear, "I'm trying to take your underwear off, not give you a boner, anyways. I will most likely not touch you inappropriately."
Josh muttered a 'Fine' and the two went on with it. Tyler's eyes shut and he tugged the boxers down Josh's legs as quick as he could without hurting the other, and then had Josh step out of the legs of the boxers, helping lift the one in the cast. When the brunet stood back up, he stared at Josh's face while grabbing onto his forearms.
"You're going to put your good leg into the tub first and then lower yourself. After that, we'll leave your left leg out of the tub," Tyler instructed, waiting for consent from Josh. Josh held onto Tyler the best he could and managed to sit in the bathtub without wetting his cast, and made sure that the bubbles covered him properly before telling Tyler that he was good.
"I still can't tell if not having Pete take care of me was a good idea or not. I know you and me were already on paid leave, but you can be just so aggravating," Josh sighed while Tyler poured water over his head and began to squirt shampoo in his hand.
"I thought you weren't easily offended," Tyler smirked, mixing the shampoo through Josh's hair. He was a little happy inside when seeing the yellow begin to fully pop again, "Did you lie to me to impress me?"
"Maybe I did. But I thought you were kind of cute," Josh admitted, the statement causing Tyler to pause his actions for a second, "Not like it matters now, though. I guess I got the wrong message from what you were giving. What happened to bring me here has still bruised me mentally and emotionally a bit, too."
Tyler rinsed out Josh's hair from the suds and folded his arms against the side of the tub, "You know that once the doctor sees that you're better, you'll have to try and identify these people to the police right?" He commiserated.
"I'm not better, so I don't want to think about it again. Living through it already sucked enough," Josh spat menacingly, telling Tyler that he didn't need to press on the topic any longer. When the brunet got back to massaging conditioner into Josh's hair and scalp, Josh calmed down, "I'm sorry."
"It-it's okay, Josh. I can't understand what you're going through, but I'm here to help you get stronger from it," Tyler gave a soft smile and finished washing Josh's hair, "Your yellow's back. I missed it," He chimed.
Josh even smiled at what Tyler had told him firstly. The brunet's words made Josh feel more comforted in the fact that Tyler would be with him for the next two or three weeks, even though he was angry about it earlier. Then he ran his fingers through his soaked hair and chuckled.
"I missed it too."
Pete stood at Josh's doorstep with Tyler's duffle bag filled with clothes and toiletries. Tyler gratefully took his bag, though he still looked at Pete in confusion as to why he was here and not Patrick.
"Patrick thought it would be good if I brought your stuff, considering I was such a jerk at the hospital," Pete's voice cascaded out with his next puff of air, hands tucking into his black denim pockets, and occasionally rocking onto the heels of his feet.
Tyler's eyes widened in a slight bout of realization. He nodded and stood aside for Pete to come in, then shut the door behind them, "Yeah! Uh, thanks for doing this, even though you were forced to. I get this was mostly just to see Josh, probably, but I'll take this time to apologize to you. Being kind of selfish is practically in my blood, especially when it comes to people, and it's not something I'm proud of, but I can't help it at times. So, sorry."
"Don't worry about it anymore. In the end, you're the one who Josh decided to come home with. As long as you don't fuck things up, we'll be good," Pete grinned and pat Tyler's shoulder harshly, but with a friendly chuckle, "But yeah, where is Josh?"
Tyler looked towards the stairs and then back to Pete, "He's asleep at the moment, but I mean, you can wait for him to wake up. I can fix up some coffee?"
"You don't have to. I already called in late to work, but I don't want to be too late," Pete sighed, giving Tyler a small wave and turned towards the door to go and open it.
Tyler latched his hand onto Pete's shoulder almost instantly, stopping the black haired one from leaving, "I... can you tell me some things about Josh that might come in handy to know?"
Pete frowned, "That's really his kind of thing to tell you."
"No! Nothing too personal, just like, tips for living with him for a while," Tyler excused, "—stuff to talk to him about."
"Oh, sure!" Pete piped, pulling Tyler over to the couch in the baby blue and tan themed living room. Tyler sat down on the opposite side of the couch from Pete and looked at his friend with wide, curious eyes.
"He's a major fan of Legend of Zelda, Mario Kart, and lego games, but not lego movies. His favorite bands were Misterwives, Journey, The Go-Go's, and Blink-182. He played every high school sport at some point, and even made it onto the girls volleyball team once."
The previous fact made Tyler smile a bit. The more he thought about it, the more it made sense that someone like Josh would be either lucky enough, or persistent enough to get on a team of the opposite sex.
"He can also play the drums and trumpet, or could. I haven't heard him play any since we were sixteen," Pete shrugged as if it wasn't that big of a deal to him. Tyler felt a little crushed with that, because going deaf must have changed an awful lot for Josh, so much to the point that he may have quit most of his hobbies and activities.
"...You may have found this one out already, but Josh doesn't like to talk unless he feels like he really has to. If he doesn't talk to you for the entire day and is around you the whole time, then he's probably more comfortable than stiff with you. He's always been like that, though, so nothing's really changed there."
Tyler nodded and looked down at his lap where his hands were tapping against, "Did it change him a lot? Did it ever hurt him more than he's let on, even now?" Quietly and hushed, he asked.
"How could it not have, honestly?" Pete mumbled sadly, "He stopped going to school because he faked being sick so much, just to stay in bed all day. Everything he participated in, he was kicked out of for his absence. Josh used to be so popular, but all of his friends, except for me, left him. He was medically diagnosed with anxiety, and he never got a diagnosis or help for the depression, but know it was there. Eventually, Josh dropped out of school in his junior year."
Turning more towards Pete in interest, Tyler asked another question, "If he basically flunked high school, then how did he end up with a career so great as the one he has now?"
Pete grinned all of a sudden and seemed to have let the happy aura flood over him again, "When he was twenty, he retook the last two years of high school online. Then he went to college for four years, and took on an extended education, which put on an extra three years. He didn't become qualified for his current job until last year, but only joined this year because he didn't feel ready beforehand."
"He may still go to a dark place time to time, but he's gotten so much better and has picked himself up off of the ground after each and every push. Admittedly, Josh is one of the strongest people I know," Pete finished, his grin falling into a small smile, but Tyler thought it held so much significance.
"Maybe we can just ask Dr. Williams to switch places... this might not be my place to intrude," Tyler eventually spoke in all seriousness. Who was he to get in between two best friends who may have thought the world of each other?
"Tyler," Pete narrowed his eyes, "you might be a nuisance at first, but afterwards, you're like the cherry on top version of a person. Josh won't be annoyed at you forever, and since you already know what I've just told you, it might not hurt for him to get close to someone aside from me."
"You've never discriminated him, which is something I've already done," Tyler stood up and walked away from the couch and away from Pete, "I know I shouldn't keep bringing it up, but if I've learned to be that kind of person, then how can I learn to be anything better now? I'll just keep messing up and making Josh feel like shit. You won't do that, you make Josh happy," He fretted, biting on his gums so hard that they bled, his habits pulling through once more.
"Josh let you come into his home and wanted you to be the one to help him. When the week's done with, he'll have already seen past what you did. If this, right now, is anything to go by, I'd say that he's impressed with how determined you are to right your wrongs," Pete reasoned, standing as well and walking to where Tyler had strayed to.
"Don't bring yourself down constantly for this stuff. You can grow out of bad habits, Tyler, and I think Josh is going to help you with that."
Tyler leaned against the wall with no more words to be spoken. Pete flashed him a comforting smile and made his departure from the house. Not moving until the front door shut, Tyler pouted the tiniest bit and decided to go upstairs to check on Josh.
The tattooed man was laying on his bed like a starfish, staring up at the ceiling. Tyler slowly walked in and went unnoticed by Josh until his knees hit the bed. His eyes followed as Josh turned his head to look at him, but the yellow haired one's blank expression didn't falter.
"If I had known you were awake, I would've brought you down to say hi to Pete," Tyler said quietly, knowing he didn't need to speak normal volume or louder.
"I don't want to talk to him anyways," Josh muttered, turning back to look at the ceiling again, "I don't think you realize all that you're capable of, until your capabilities are snatched away from you. It's messed up how unknowingly we are to take granted of everything."
As hard as it was, Tyler wouldn't talk when Josh wasn't looking at him. He would go ignored, and would just end up frustrating his own self.
"There are people better off than I am, and they'll probably always stay that way. But for some reason, God seems to keep knocking down the people who are already five feet below. Is that what natural selection has really come to?" Josh snickers bitterly, looking back at Tyler.
The brunet wanted to say the right words, but he also figured that this may have been a low point for Josh, one of the ones Pete had talked about before. He didn't want to push any buttons that would have set Josh even more.
So Tyler gulped and shook his head, "There are other people out there who even have it worse than you. Whoever hurt you like this, could have killed you, but you're here now and you're alive. Most people don't get that lucky, so before you throw yourself a pity party, please acknowledge that you're better off than many others."
Josh had no reply, and silence rang throughout the room as it always seemed to do. Tyler spoke again, "Just...just text me if you need me for anything. I'll be downstairs and cooking dinner, I guess," He said, and walked out of the room.
For two days straight after then, Josh would only text Tyler if he wanted down the stairs, which was rare. Josh's crutches had eventually come in, and Tyler tried to protest the use of them since it caused Josh's stab wound to hurt, but Josh would fight back with stubbornness. Tyler began to get fed up with Josh's snotty behavior, the yellow haired one not even bothering to eat dinner downstairs with him.
Tyler had no idea how many plates or bowls Josh had stored in his room before he realized where all of the ceramics had been disappearing to.
"Shouldn't he be glad that he's not dead? I don't understand, and when I don't understand something, it frustrates me even more," Tyler grunted into the cellphone speaker whilst leaning against the kitchen island, "He was pretty decent when we first arrived, and then after that day, he turned into a... an honest to God bitch."
"Listen, Tyler..." Jenna whispered, considering she was in one of the stalls in the hospital's restroom, "he might be depressed. Usually after someone goes through what he did, their adrenaline can still be flowing through their body. Once that adrenaline wears off, their body basically wakes up and realizes what happened."
The line was silent before Jenna spoke up again. What she asked made Tyler freeze up, for some reason, not all that stunned, "You and Josh aren't really boyfriends, are you?"
Tyler sighed, "No, we're not. Otherwise we probably wouldn't be having this conversation, and I'd be able to help him out better than this."
"I believe in you! There has to be something inside of you that can help Josh recover mentally, so don't doubt that. And maybe Josh thinks so too, considering he chose you to look after him," Jenna encouraged sweetly with newfound pep in her tone, "Theeeeen, you two might be able to see how good the both of you look together. You seriously had me fooled for a little while there."
Tyler chuckled at Jenna and shook his head, "Thanks for the chat, Jenna."
"Anytime. Oh. Uh... someone just came into the restroom so... bye Tyler!" Jenna whispered for the last time and hung up. Tyler sighed once more when he exited the call screen.
JOSH 2:43 PM
Tyler briefly read the message that had just popped up, then left his phone on the kitchen counter as he walked upstairs. When he made his way into Josh's room, the latter seemed surprised for Tyler's sudden appearance, and without any food.
Tyler grabbed Josh's crutches from the side of the bed and held them while looking at Josh with expectant eyes. Josh moved from his half laying down position to sitting up straight, and frowned. Tyler reached the crutches out to Josh and grumbled internally while Josh wasn't so quiet on his end.
"How do I walk down stairs in crutches?" Josh scoffed.
Tyler made sure Josh was out of bed before leaving the room and walking to the staircase. Josh slowly followed after and went in front of Tyler when the brunet gestured for him to go on ahead. Unknowingly to Josh, Tyler was holding onto the back of his flannel shirt the entire time as Josh made his way down with faint struggle. Luckily the steps were fairly wide.
"I've tried being nice, I've let you treat me like shit. I know you're going through a hard time, but I can't help you if you refuse to accept it the soft way," Tyler said to himself when they fully got down the staircase.
"I feel like you're talking behind my back," Josh grumbled, letting Tyler in front of him again and lead them into the kitchen. Josh sat in a chair at the dining table whilst Tyler went to the freezer to get pizza rolls out, "Why am I dunsta-downstir-down— why am I here?" Josh fumbled his words and ducked his head in frustration when he couldn't properly pronounce 'downstairs'.
Tyler watched him go into slight distress, lips lightly parting as he realized that Josh must have forgotten how that word was pronounced. Josh's hands balled up into fists as he sighed and then looked back to Tyler.
"I want to be in my room. I-I can't properly walk around in these stupid crutches anyways," Josh croaked quietly, tugging at his hair.
Tyler couldn't let it go on anymore.
"Do you want to get better? I'm not doing this so you'll get mad at me or yourself, I'm doing this so you can get better faster and get rid of your crutches! I know you're depressed over what happened, and yeah, I have depression too, but our lives aren't going to stop for it. Time will keep going no matter what, and staying in bed all day isn't going to help you improve at all!"
"Don't make it sound like just because you have depression too, means that you know what I'm going through!" Josh argued.
Tyler glared and shook his head, not even intending to sound like that was his insight on this entire deal, "I'm not! You're putting words in my mouth that aren't even there to begin with!"
"Was I putting words in your mouth when I guessed that you were ignoring me because I was deaf? Because I was too quiet and awkward for your liking?" Josh yelled, standing up from his seat shakily. Tyler took a step forward when Josh's leg looked ready to give out, but Josh stopped him, "Don't touch me! I'm mad at you!"
"Ugh, Josh, that isn't the point!" Tyler protested desperately, "What I'm saying is, is you can't keep hiding yourself away from me. I want to help you out with how you feel, but I can't do this if you don't try either. I'm tired of only talking to you over a screen for two messages, when I'm just a story away. When I said I had depression too, I didn't—I didn't mean for it to come out the way it did... I just thought you'd prefer having someone you could relate too."
"You... you make me feel like I don't have to be in a completely different place to miss someone," Tyler said, embarrassed after admitting that. Josh cooled down a bit and let himself sit back down with strain, Tyler didn't want to bush any boundaries to help him just yet.
"I'm not hungry anymore," Josh mumbled, crossing his arms. Tyler thought he saw the yellow head's eyes gloss over, but couldn't be too sure, "I want to go back to my room."
Josh got his crutches and began to help himself to and up the stairs while Tyler listened to his quiet grunts. Tyler lastly put the pizza rolls back in the freezer, slamming the door shut and going to the living room to spend another day hated by Josh.
When Tyler woke up the next day, he heard more grunting before his eyes even bothered to open. He almost fell back to sleep before he felt a warm, minty breath fan over his face. He scrunched his nose and opened his eyes, rubbing the sleep out of them.
"You've been sleeping on the couch?" Josh asked, sitting on his coffee table, hunched over so he was closer to Tyler.
Tyler sat upright quickly, ignoring Josh's question, "Don't slouch! Your wound could open up again," He worried, reaching to push Josh into good posture. He could have sworn he saw the other one smirk the slightest bit, but didn't push his hopes very far.
"I'm fine, Tyler. You know I have a guest bedroom, right?" Josh asked, raising his eyebrow, having spoken in a smart alec tone that made Tyler feel a mix of weak in the knees, and mildly annoyed.
"You mean the one you oh so kindly said I could sleep in?" Tyler scowled, "Oh wait, you didn't. I'm perfectly fine on this couch, this nice couch that you were somehow able to afford. You got rich parents?"
Josh frowned but nodded, "They didn't help me out with any of this. I worked hard for this without their help."
Tyler pouted mockingly, "So mommy and daddy didn't try to buy your love? Or did you not inherit a business meant to be handed down to you, and then got in the family tree bad books?"
Even though it should have hurt his feelings, Josh snickered and kicked Tyler's shin lightly, "You're so very far from being right, but it's cute that you're trying to assume stuff about me," Josh hummed, tilting his head upward so he was looked at Tyler with half lidded eyes, "What about you? Were you a trophy son or that kid in class pictures who always sat in the middle bleachers to go unnoticed by so many people?"
Tyler's tongue swiped over his chapped lips as Josh's gaze made his chest feel a bit tight, maybe his sweatpants too.
"Neither. I don't think I ever tried to be anything except Tyler," Where the brunet hadn't attended high school, he never knew where he was supposed to fit. He wasn't present in a youth group or on a sports team aside from a group of boys who usually joined him in playing basketball at the park, "but, I don't think I can say that I even know what I am right now."
Clicking his tongue, Josh kept his eyes on Tyler, "I think you're very hard to get along with. You know, I actually make an effort to come down here, putting my protestant feelings aside, only for you to make a snarky comment at me and put us into another argument."
"Maybe I need to ask Patrick how to win my way into Tyler Joseph's good books," Josh chuckled, leaning closer with each word and punching Tyler's side, having been rewarded by an abrupt giggle from the brunet, "Do I pinch his love handles until he's out of breath from laughing too hard? Do I whisk him away with a poem where the words fall straight out of my ass along with my heart?"
"'His mocha eyes were so bright when the sun shined upon them, which meant they were more sensitive to light, just as my nose was sensitive to how good he smelled—'"
Never again did Tyler want to hear such a thing come from Josh's mouth. The over-exaggerated, attempt of a love poem had Tyler doubled over in his seat until he was able to cover Josh's mouth with his palm. Josh had his own bursts of giggles soothing through the gaps between Tyler's thin fingers.
Surely, small butterflies had been fluttering in Tyler's tummy whilst listening to Josh's reaction.
"Thank you for coming down here. And, uh, I guess offering the guest room to me. I guess I'll start sleeping in there from now on," Tyler scratched his head when the fluffy atmosphere had disappeared, "What would you like for breakfast?" He asked, standing up and heading towards the kitchen.
Josh had struggled to get his boot out of the tiny valley between his table and the couch, but eventually hobbled along with his crutches to one of the bar stools, "I have some eggs in the fridge. I don't really like eggs unless they're turned into an omelette or scrambled, but it's whatever you want."
"You're weird," Tyler had hummed, only remembering that Josh couldn't hear him after he said it, with his back turned to the one at the island. His body froze for a second, as he was silently swearing to himself for being so stupid all of the time.
It was a good thing Josh was distracted by his phone, because Tyler didn't want him to have asked him about why his body suddenly locked up. So, getting over it, Tyler went ahead and got eggs out.
While he was scrambling the eggs in the skillet, his phone started ringing. He grabbed it from the counter and answered it.
"Hey Tyler!" Patrick greeted with such happiness, it almost made Tyler ask what was up, "How are things going?"
Tyler smiled softly, holding the phone between his ear and shoulder, "I think things are starting to look up.
He peeked behind to look at Josh for a split second, still glued to his phone, and then spoke to Patrick again, "Would you and Pete like to come over? I'm sure Josh would be happy to see the both of you."
Thing was, Tyler's glance wasn't a split second. It was more like five seconds, and a newfound fondness flashing through his so-called, mocha eyes. And Josh had caught a glimpse of it, feeling a bit weirdly, as in, feeling like Tyler was definitely suppose to be in his life at this moment. Possibly for the rest of it, hopefully.
Josh was so happy about that, and so was Tyler.