“Look John, this one has a waterfall shower,” Dorian says. The circuits on his cheekbone flash, and John studiously looks at his computer.
“Aren’t you supposed to doing something? Like, I don’t know, your job?”
“I’m running an analysis on what was stolen vs what was pawned in the city in the last 24 hours.” His whole face lights up, not literally, but figuratively. “Oh, John, look at this one.” He flicks his wrist, and John gets a chat message from Dorian.
He clicks the link. It’s nice, two bedroom, nice bath, hardwood - maybe real - floors. No glass walls, so maybe it isn’t the worst.
“Hi, yes,” Dorian is saying, “my partner and I are interested in your listing at 1825 Oak? Apartment 7A?” John looks up sharply, and Dorian looks at him, that stupid mouth crooked in a smile. John shakes his head Doran chuckles into the phone. “Yeah, we can be there in an half an hour. Great, no, absolutely.” John drags his finger across his throat. He doesn’t need a partner, especially not this bucket of bolts and circuits. John plans out the next five years in his head, free of Dorian, an endless string of MX partners he gets to shoot in the face. It should sound like paradise.
“John, come on.” Dorian is grabbing John’s keys, and John catches his arm.
“I’m driving,” John says.
“I’ll navigate,” Dorian concedes happily.
25 traffic induced rage minutes later, John is pulling into the guest spot of the apartment complex. A well dressed woman waits next to an SUV parked in the other guest spot, smiling.
“No flashing at this one,” John says, and Dorian cuts his eyes over to John from the passenger seat, but doesn’t say anything.
John gets out of the car before he can not say anything else.
He walks around the back of the car, and waves a little awkwardly “John.” he says, and then “Dorian.” He gestures to Dorian, who’s stepped up beside him. The woman looks at them both warmly.
“Nice to meet you Dawn,” Dorian says, extending his hand toward her.
“Hi Dorian, we spoke on the phone right?” She shakes his hand firmly, still smiling. John looks at his watch. Dawn clears her throat, and says “I’m the real estate liaison for this building. If you’re not looking to buy, we do have rental prices available, but we do require a lease agreement of at least 3 years. How long have you to been partners?” She asks. They walk toward the elevator, and John internally ticks a box. He won’t have to hop up the stairs when his leg dies.
Dorian looks at John before he answers, which John doesn’t think is weird, because he isn’t thinking about it at all. “About a year,” Dorian says. He sounds sheepish, and it seems familiar, but John can’t identify how.
“Still getting used to each other, huh?” She asks, and if John were going to describe her tone, he’d call it conspiratorial. He isn’t, though.
“Yeah,” Dorian says, “it’s been a pretty steep learning curve. But we’re pulling it together.” John snorts. Dorian smiles at him, and John doesn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. Dorian is smiling at John’s frown. That’s completely normal.
“Well, if you’re still uncertain, it might be better to have only one person on the Lease, just in case one of you wants to move out later.”
“That’s my John,” Dorian says, his voice warm. His hand is warm too, touching John’s bicep. “He’s the breadwinner.” Yeah, because Dorian doesn’t get paid. Because he isn’t human.
“The apartment will be in my name,” John says. He doesn’t care if he’s being too curt, it’s the truth. Dawn smiles pointedly at him, and Dorian slides his hand down to cup his elbow.
The Elevator dings, and they’re headed out to the seventh floor.
7A is all the way at the end of the hallway, which is a weird, but convenient way to number the doors. He takes note of the stairwell door, right next to the elevator.
“You’ll need a key to unlock the elevator, or a one-use code. Same for the Stairwell,” Dawn pipes in, and John nods. “The doors to this unit are also double locked, one physical key, one digital. You don’t need both if you have biometrics on file. All the doors have steel cores, and the windows are bulletproof.” She smiles brightly. “Dorian said you were cops.”
John hums. Peephole, he can see someone coming down the stairway, but until they get up close, they aren’t seeing him.
“Here we are,” she says, putting a key in the lock, and punching in a code. “All real hardwood, except in the bathroom, and that’s all tile. Bedrooms are down that hallway, bathroom’s first door on the right. This is the kitchen. All the cabinets are fireproof polycarb, but made to look like real wood. You can paint ‘em, but you’ll have to remove it when you move out. Oven’s electric, but there’s a gas grill on the balcony.”
“There’s a balcony?” Dorian asks, and he looks hopeful.
“Yep, it’s just through there.”
Dorian grabs his arm. “Come on, we have to go look.”
“Alright, alright, I’m coming,” John says. He waves at Dawn, “Do you need to come unlock it?”
“No, it unlocks from the inside, go on.” She smiles fondly at them, and then says “Feel free to look around. I’m just going to see if I can pull up the paperwork, if you want to sign today?”
“Yeah,” John calls from the living room. Dorian is already on the small balcony, leaning his face up toward the sun, smiling. John smiles involuntarily for a half second before he schools his features straight again.
“Isn’t it great, John!”
“Yeah, you did good.” He pats Dorian on the shoulder. Dorian smiles beatifically again, the sunlight catching on his fake eyelashes. He pulls his hand away.
“She thinks we’re in a relationship,” Dorian says apropos of nothing.
“You haven’t dissuaded her of that notion,” John says, he hasn’t either. Dorian’s look says the same thing.
“Are you going to sign the lease?”
“Probably,” John says.
Dorian smiles, and Dawn comes back, papers on her tablet. “Here you are, Mr. Kennex, let’s get through this paperwork so you and Dorian can move in, shall we?”
John gives her a pleasant look, probably for the first time. He signs the paperwork.