The cool air conditioning in the shopping mall was a welcome relief to the two young men who had been dripping with sweat an hour earlier while moving boxes upstairs to their new apartment.
“Okay,” Dan said as they walked into the mall, “we need to get the small stuff first so we don’t have to lug it around, then we’ll hit Ikea and get the shelves.”
“Aren’t we going to have them delivered anyway?” Phil asked. “I don’t fancy carrying heavy shelves through the train station.”
“Good call, mate. Okay, since Ikea is closer, let’s go there first.”
Dan Howell, a 26 year old man followed his boy friend, 30 year old Phil Lester into the Ikea store. Before Dan could catch up, Phil had begun to wander off to look at the first thing that caught his eye.
“Look, Dan!” He called back, “this coffee table would match our Tetris lamp!”
“It would!” Dan said, “But we’re not here for a coffee table, the one we have is fine. We’re here for shelves. ‘Storage’, remember?”
“Right. Okay, shelves!” Phil declared as he left the colorful table behind and headed towards the back of the store.
Dan outpaced Phil and reached the selection of shelves first.
“Now this black one is nice,” he began, “because it’s my aesthetic and it is eight feet tall and would fit all of our DVDs and the games!”
“Hmm. Who is going to dust the top of it? I can’t reach that.”
“Yes you can, just get on your tiptoes,” Dan said.
“I don’t know, that’s a stretch,” Phil said. “Wah-Waw, very funny,” Dan said with a giggle. “Okay, let’s keep looking, but I like these.”
Phil found another black set with a cabinet at the very bottom. “Here we go! A place to keep our gaming systems when we aren’t playing them!”
“You know we won’t keep them in there, though, Phil,” Dan said, “We never put things away.
“True,” Phil admitted. “But new apartment, new goals, right?”
“I don’t know. Let’s look some more.”
“Okay,” Phil agreed. “In general, do we want something with doors?”
“So you can hide in it and scare me? No, thanks!” Dan teased with a sly grin.
“You know what I mean!” Phil giggled, “Do we want our things on display, or do we want them hidden?”
“I feel like on the one hand, I want to cover them so it looks like a cleaner, more linear space,” Dan began, “But then on the other hand, I like looking at what we have.”
“Which,” Phil chimed in, “is why doors would be best because we could just leave them open sometimes and closed other times.”
“That would look horrible!” Dan said, genuinely affronted by the thought, “We are not leaving doors open!”
“Okay, okay, calm yourself down!” Phil said. “No doors then! Fine.”
“Here we are, this one is perfect,” Dan said gleefully, “Seven feet tall, no doors, and all black. Let’s get it.”
“How much is it?”
“Forty pounds,” Dan said. “That’s well within our budget.”
“I don’t know,” Phil began, “Maybe we should look and find something cheaper.”
“Look, capital Lester, it’s a good deal! Plus, we’re splitting it, so get off your wallet and let’s order it!”
“Alright,” Phil agreed. “But remember, just because we have it, doesn’t mean we should spend it.”
“Aye-aye, Captain!” Dan saluted.
Phil laughed. Dan went off to find a salesperson and when he returned to the shelves, he was not surprised to find that Phil had wandered off again.
He pulled out his phone and texted:
get butt back here
He was arranging for the delivery when Phil came around the corner with a slip of paper in his hand.
“What’s that?” Dan asked.
“I decided to get the Tetris table for my room! It will be delivered on Friday!” Phil enthused.
“How much was it?” Dan asked.
“It’s mine, it doesn’t matter how much it was,” Phil said, skirting the question.
“It was expensive, wasn’t it?” Dan asked, suspiciously.
“Fifty pounds,” Phil said, sheepishly.
“Phil! That’s ridiculous, mate! That’s too much!”
“But I wanted it!” Phil whined.
Dan gave him the look.
“Oh, alright,” Phil said. “You’re right. I’ll take it back.”
Dan finalized the delivery details with the salesman while Phil went to the returns area and got his money back.
They left the Ikea and headed to the food court for a quick bite. Dan got a kale salad and Phil got a vegan pizza slice and they both got an iced coffee.
As they sat down at the round table and scooted their chairs forward, Dan said, “I can’t believe you got something hot.”
“Well, it’s cool in here, and I wanted pizza,” Phil replied briskly.
“What’s wrong?” Dan asked.
“Nothing.” Phil said curtly.
“You’re disappointed about the Tetris table, aren’t you?”
“No, I’m just hungry.” Phil said, and took a big bite of pizza, effectively ending the conversation.
Phil had always been the more fiscally responsible of the two. When they first moved in together, they had sat down with a legal pad and decided how they would divide expenses and even set up a budget. Phil was the one who made sure they stuck to it, and was always the first to say ‘no’ to big purchases.
As they ate in silence, Dan began to feel guilty about dissuading him from getting the table he so obviously wanted. He tried to bring it up again, but Phil said he didn’t want to talk about it, so Dan dropped the subject.
“Okay, what’s next on the list?” Dan asked as they deposited their trays above the bin.
Phil took the list out of his pocket, “We need a new skillet, a new microwave, and a throw rug for the entrance way”.
“Okay, so, appliance store then,” Dan said, taking the lead.
After deciding on an 1100 watt white microwave, and a non-skid skillet, they found “London Rugs” and went inside.
Dan found a green and brown square rug, but Phil turned up his nose at it. “It looks like someone puked,” he said with a raised eyebrow.
Phil found a circular beige rug, but Dan thought it would be too hard to keep clean.
Finally, the agreed on a grey and black striped rectangular runner that would fit perfectly in their entrance way. Phil went up to pay, but when he got back, Dan was no where to be found.
He texted him:
Get butt back here
He got no response.
He browsed around a few minutes then texted Dan again.
Where are you? Have rug, ready to go
Be right there came the reply a few minutes later.
“Where were you?” Phil asked as they met up at the entrance of the rug store.
“I wanted to look in Barnes and Nobles for the new book about Tchaikovsky, but it wasn’t out yet.”
“Oh, okay. Well, I think we’ve got everything on the list, right?”
“Yeah,” Dan said, “Let’s head out.”
Phil was apologetic on the train. “I’m sorry about lunch. I was just really hungry, I guess.”
“Don’t worry, mate. I needed some time to think anyway.” Dan said reassuringly.
When they arrived home, they rolled out their new rug in the entry way and Dan immediately lay on it face down.
“It’s perfect!” He declared.
Phil laughed. “Well, good! I’m glad you have a new place for your crises!”
“You should try it, Phil, it’s really soft!” Dan said as he got up.
Phil lay down on his stomach. “Oh wow!” He exclaimed, “It is soft!”
“But it felt a bit bumpy,” Dan said. “We should have checked underneath before we put it down. “
“I don’t feel anything,” Phil said, as he stood back up and brushed off his pants.
“Maybe it was the tag. Up by the top?” Dan said and pointed.
“You could feel the tag?” Phil said, incredulously, as he bent over to lift up the top of the rug to check. “What are you, the Princess from ‘The Princess and the Pea’?”
Phil lifted up the rug and without looking, said, “See, there’s noth-“ his voice trailed off. “Oh, there is a paper here. But it’s not the tag.”
Phil picked up the paper and turned it over.
Then he read it.
Then he looked at Dan.
“Colorful Block Tile Table” ….. 50 Pounds. Paid: Cash.
Deliverable June 6, 2017 to Philip Lester
Thank you for shopping with us today!
Phil lunged at him and embraced him in a bear hug.
“Thank you Dan!” He squealed. “Is that where you went off to?”
“Yeah, mate,” Dan giggled, struggling to breathe against the pressure of Phil’s tight embrace.
They rocked back and forth.
“You’re amazing,” Phil said softly as he eased up the pressure of his arms but did not let go. “I”ll pay you back.”
“No you won’t, it’s a gift,” Dan said.
Phil pulled his head back and looked up and into Dan’s eyes.
“You never treat yourself and your deserve this table. And you’re right, it’s perfect for the lamp,” Dan declared.
Phil leaned forward and took Dan’s lips in his for a deep, soft kiss.
“Thank you, Bear. I’m sorry I pouted today.”
“It’s okay. And you’re welcome. Now, let’s get the microwave into the kitchen so we can make something for supper because I don’t feel like cooking.”
“Mi-cro-wave” Phil giggled
They broke apart, bent down to pick up their shopping boxes, and headed for the kitchen of their new apartment.