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Nothing to Say but It's Okay

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At first Jude thinks the ceiling's unfamiliar because it's a blur. The walls: ditto; the entire room is a molten glare of painful white.

Presently he discovers this has less to do with the room than with his gummy, tearing-up, morning-after eyes.

A bit later it registers that he could possibly relieve the eye situation with some determined blinking and perhaps judicious application of the back of his hand. That works out swimmingly.

Vision sorted, Jude revisits the whole ceiling/wall issue. He can see, now, cracks in the beige ceiling, and very thin blue stripes running up and down the eggshell walls. Problematic, as he's never seen either pattern before in his life.

He struggles up to his elbows. The room is equally unfamiliar, and also a complete tip. Wrappers, papers, tissues, all strewn everywhere. There are more bottles littering the floor than really bears thinking about. It must have been an amazing party. He's sorry he smashed his brain out so thoroughly that he can't remember a moment of it.

There's a groan, and what Jude took for a lump of wadded duvet stirs, an arm appearing out the top of it. The hand finds a stick that closes the blinds and twists it viciously, to the tune of some Scottish-sounding swearing from inside the swaddle of linens.

Jude theatrically clears his throat.

The man who wriggles out of the linens is every bit as wrecked as the room. His hair's plastered down and sticking up all at once in various places. His wide blue eyes blink unfocused, sand in the corners and stuck in long lashes, and he has a number of scrapes and scratches on his neck and the expanse of shoulder and chest that emerges into view.

Beyond the state of him, he's fair-skinned with a cleft chin and interesting moles dotting his brow and cheek, and his mouth looks tender, bitten-pink.

"Sorry," says Jude frankly, "but I don't seem to remember how I got here."

"No?" The man considers that. "Not surprising, really. Good to meet you again, then," he offers his hand. "Ewan."

"Jude," he answers, shaking hands. "Where am I?"

Ewan beams. "Home, as it happens."

"Your home...?"

"And yours. You agreed to take the other room last night."

Jude surveys the squalor. Possibly underneath the layer of rubbish, it's an all right place, but he can't tell; and if he lives here, he'll be responsible for tidying some of this up. "Did I sign anything?"

"Loads of things," says Ewan. "The lease, Gavin's cast, Sadie's tits, and my arse, though," he flashes a charming, filthy smile, "that might've rubbed off."

That's promising enough to make a cleanup seem quite worthwhile. He looks Ewan over again with even more appreciation, the cut of muscle in his arm and chest, his perfect equanimity as he notices, and briskly rubs, a distinct bite mark on his bicep.

Now Jude is really sorry he can't remember the night before.

He tugs open the cocoon of sheets around Ewan and slips in alongside him. He'll just have to make sure this morning's memorable.