Russel woke up to a headache, a cold roof top, and- being alone.
It took him second to remember what he did last night, until he saw the empty bottle on the floor. He had gotten drunk last night- with 2D.
Where the fuck is 2D?
He looked around to try and find him, but he had left. Russel got up and held his head. Today was probably not going to be fun.
The door swung open and Noodle came running out. She tugged on Russel's pants as she excitedly told him things he only half understood.
"And good morning to you Noodle." He said. "That sounds like a fun dream. Do you know where 2D is?"
She nodded and pointed toward the door just as he appeared in the door way- with two cups of coffee in hand.
"Morning Russ!" He said. "Want some coffee?" His held the cup out for him.
Russel grabbed the cup. "Thanks."
"Wanna come downstairs with me and Noodle?" 2D said. "Maybe some breakfast?"
"Yeah, sure." Russel said as he looked down at his mug.
Did you put him up to this? The coffee?
Yeah Baby. I did.
I appreciate it but...
I don't know. It just feels weird. Doing all the stuff I did with you.
You've gotten drunk after me
Yeah but not...like that. That was all confession stuff and to end it with coffee
I'm sorry I was just trying to make you're morning better babe. I didn't think-
No No I know I'm just...I'm just still not used to moving on yet.
I know, I know we just talked about that too. Are you going to talk to Jay about it today?
Yeah...Yeah I probably should.
Russel reached the bottom step of the stairs and followed 2D down the hallway, thinking about what he was going to say to Jay. He rehearsed and repeated over and over, editing and switching around words trying to make the perfect "I'm not ready for a relationship since my last boyfriend died" talk that only seemed to be common to Russel.
He sat down at the table, 2D and Noodle serving food while singing and yelling and bouncing all around. Russel's eye's remained distant and his remained full as the breakfast continued. He tried to eat and relax, but his thoughts and worries about the day became the priority.
"You okay, Russ?" 2D said.
"uh- Yeah." Russel said. "Yeah I'm fine."
Russel looked over on the counter and saw his phone. He realized that he had not checked it for a couple days and picked it up.
There were a group of messages from Jay. He was talking about going on another date. Russel sighed, it was going to be harder than he thought to put their relationship on hold.
Russel shook his head and just tried to finish his breakfast. Then his phone vibrated next to him.
The message said this: Open your front door ;)
Oh shit. Oh shit no.
Well you're gonna half to deal with it now huh?
Russel jumped up from the table and ran to the door. He looked through the peep hole.
There he was. Bouquet of flowers and all.
Well open the door prince charming
Russel sighed and opened the door.
"Russel! Hi! Uh-" He held out the flowers in his hands. "Here. I got these for you! I came here to talk about u-us."
"Oh. Well I have something to say too." Russel said, shifting awkwardly where he stood.
Ha Ha something tells me he has something different to say Russel.
"Shut up" Russel mumbled.
"W-what?" Jay said.
"Oh-Uh nothing just- What were you going to say?"
"Yeah! Yeah. Well..." Jay said taking Russel's hand. "I wanted to talk about making it real, you and I. I want to officially be a couple."
Russel coughed, "Um Yeah?"
Jay smiled "Yeah, Yeah I do." Jay got something out of his pocket. "Russel will you do me the honor..." He kneeled down on one knee in an exaggerated manor and revealed the object in his hand- two plastic 'halves of a heart' necklaces. "Of being my boyfriend."
Russel couldn't help it. He laughed and smiled at the gesture. He looked at it again. "What did you write on it? Is that fucking sharpie?"
"Yes but only the finest, blackest, sharpie for you." He stood up. "Jay's boy"
Russel's laugh was genuine and happy as he took the necklace in his hand to look at it. "What flowers are those?"
"Amaryllis" Jay said. "The lady said they meant great beauty. It was the closest I could get to 'your ass is fine' in flowers."
"Oh my god." Russel said laughing through his words. "You really know how to charm a man, huh?"
"Is that a yes?" He smirked.
Russel's face fell as he looked down at the necklace.
Do you want to?
I'm not sure. I like him but
It's fine if you do, it's your decision.
We talked about it though, we both need time.
What you NEED is to move on. So just DO it already.
Come on Del, don't be mad.
"Everything okay Russel?" Jay said. "Did I- Did I miss understand us? I-I mean it's okay if you just wanted this to be casual-"
"No, no." Russel said. "I just need sometime to think. I kinda have a weird situation for me..."
"Oh? Was your last break up bad?" Jay said.
"Umm-" Russel said. He sighed. "I just- I can't make the decision right now, okay?"
He frowned a little and was quiet. Then he nodded his head. "Of course." Jay said. "I get it. I do. How about we go out for dinner tonight- I can try to convince you, Yeah?"
Russel nodded. He had a small smile. "That sounds good Jay."
Russel took the flower and Jay hugged him.
He started walking down the steps of the hill. "Tonight 7 o' clock. I'm gonna show you such a good time, Hobbs, you won't be able to refuse all of this." He said gesturing up and down his body.
"Bye!" Russel said, waving and going back inside.
Russel walked back to the table, heart warm but unsure.
"So what was that, then?" 2D said, gesturing to the flowers.
"Oh, that was just Jay." Russel said, putting them on the table. "He uh...asked me on a date."
"Oh..." 2D said, nodding. He took his plate and put it in the sink. "Nice...nice."
"I'm...gonna go put these flowers in my room." Russel said standing up. He pulled a flower out of the bunch. "Here Noodle." He put the flower behind her ear. "There. Beautiful!"
"Arigatou Gozaimasu!" She said, hugging his legs and bouncing up and down.
"Your welcome, sweet girl." Russel said, messing up her hair. He grabbed a vase- or the closest substitute, a beer glass and headed down the hall.
The halls were quiet, the only noise the massive building settling and creaking. However, it was not the quietness of the house that made Russel uncomfortable. It was the quietness of Del.
Are you sure?
Russel opened the door to his room, unconvinced. He went to the bathroom and filled the vase up with water. He put the flowers in it and set it on the windowsill. As he did this he looked out.
Out on the ground he saw the small patch that he and 2D had planted flowers in. They hadn't been water in a while, but it looked like the hose was scattered along the ground.
Had 2D watered them this morning? He felt bad that he hadn't been doing it himself, but felt a wave of calm from the thought of their little project's survival. Looking at it now offered a brief, but appreciated escape from the complicated mess of a life that he had been living.
He stood at the window a little bit longer. He opened it and breathed in. Unfortunately, this did not freshen his room as Kong was built near and on both a grave yard and a dump.
Russel heard a crash from downstairs. He left his room and headed toward the noise. He wondered what it could be as the banging and noise continued. A ghost? He hoped not. As he got closer he realized there was yelling too- Murdoc's yelling. That was worse than a ghost.
He walked faster toward the door and that became and all out sprint when he heard Noodle start to cry.
The door felt like it was going to break with the force that Russel pushed through it.
He arrived just in time to see Murdoc punch 2D right in his left eye, with a force that sent him to the ground. He was going in for another hit when Russel grabbed his hand.
"WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?" Russel said.
"He stole my fucking vodka!" Murdoc pointed to him. "That was special to me! It was smuggled from a prison, and he stole it. He drank it ALL!"
"So you fucking punch him?! You beat him up over some goddamn booze?!" Russel said. "You gave him a black eye! Noodle is crying in the corner you ASSHOLE!"
"It will teach him a lesson not to mess with my shit!" Murdoc said. "He crossed a line, he has to pay!"
"Yeah? Well I drank it too? You going to punch me too, bitch?" Russel said. "Punch me! Do it!"
Murdoc threw his fist at Russel's face, but Russel grabbed his hand and twisted his arm.
"You're nothing! You hear me? You're a mess!" Russel said letting go. Murdoc retracted his arm and started to rub it. "Next time you have a problem, tell me!"
Murdoc left the room, yelling "This isn't over!"
He walked over to 2D and kneeled down. "Are you okay D?"
He held his side and coughed, "Yeah, Yeah I'm fine." Russel helped him up "Ugh. I'm gonna have some nasty bruises."
Russel Held his chin to look at his face. "You're gonna have a black eye too, man." His fingers brushed lightly over his eye. "What the fuck it wrong with that man?"
"It's not that bad." 2D said. "My eyes are already black, Russ." He smirked.
Russel shook his head. "How are you making jokes right now?" Russel walked him over to the table. "Here just sit down for a sec."
He then walked over to Noodle who was sitting in the corner, no longer crying, but still very visibly upset. He sat down next to her.
He spoke softly, "Hey there." He picked the flower that had fallen out of her hair and put it back. "Daijoubu Desu Ka?" Are you okay, a phrase Russel knew by heart and had practiced far more than anything else.
She simply nodded and grabbed for his hand.
"Hey, come on." He tried to calm her. "2D's fine. Look." He gestured to him sitting behind him. 2D gave a strained smile and a thumbs up. "You wanna help me patch him up?" He said standing up and waving to follow him.
Russel went to the fridge and Noodle followed close behind him. He looked around inside, then closed it. "Well don't have any ice packs. And I don't have any painkillers in my room..." Russel said looking back at 2D. "Do you have any?"
"No." 2D said. "I guess I never thought to buy any."
"So... I guess we're going to the store to get some." Russel said. "It's probably good to get away from the house for awhile anyway."
The trio walked out the door and left for the nearest store that could offer them what he needed. Russel didn't put on music in the car, but as the journey continued he wish he did.
The silence only made them think about what had just happened more. Russel tried to just pay attention to the road. He looked over at 2D for a second.
"D!" Russel exclaimed. "What the fuck, man? Don't poke it."
"Fine, I won't!" 2D said. He flipped down the vanity mirror on his side. He look at his face.
"D, come on...don't poke it man." Russel repeated.
"I'm not." He said, waiting a second before poking it again.
"Man, what is wrong with you. Just stop." He said, pulling into the parking lot of a drug store.
Russel parks and turns to 2D who is still looking in the mirror. "Do you wanna come into the store or wait outside?"
"I don't really care either way." 2D said, once again poking his eye.
Russel sighed and then laughed. "Just stay here and watch Noodle."
Russel walked into the store and walked with purpose to get the few things that he came for. He went to go pick up the pain killers first. However as his eyes hopelessly scanned the enormous selection of drugs his sense of determination began to fall apart.
Thoughts and distraction began to enter his mind in its place.
What am I gonna tell Jay tonight? I can't fucking date right now. I mean look at what I'm doing right now.
He picked up a name brand painkiller and a generic brand. He look at them trying to compare.
But I guess that's just an excuse right? I mean there's always gonna be reasons to put it off. I should give him a chance. He's nice.
He ended up picking the generic brand.
If he can handle me. I mean I haven't even told him about my...problems.
Russel went into the next aisle to get some ice packs.
Okay. So I'll tell him. I'll tell him about it all and if he can handle it... then maybe. Maybe.
He picked up a couple of ice packs, then remembered that he couldn't freeze them right there. He walked to the fridge and pulled out a box of ice pops and walked to the counter.
You've been awfully quiet, huh? Usually you have opinions about everything in my life.
He walked back to the car, bounty in hand. He opened the door, and the patient and Noodle were there making faces at each other.
"I'm back." He said getting in the car. "How you feeling now?" He started to open the ice pop package.
"Still beat up." 2D said. "but fine."
Russel handed him a ice pop. "Here. I got ice packs, but they aren't cold so just put one of these on your eyes."
"Should I put one on my other bruises too?" 2D said.
Russel shrugged. "It's up to you I guess." He looked to the backseat. "How about you? You want one?" He held out an ice pop to her and she gladly accepted it.
2D took 4 of them and started to balance them on different parts of his body. They fell of repeatedly, but eventually he got into a position where they would all stay put.
"Okay." 2D said. "I'm good now."
"Yeah well I don't really want to go back-" He stopped. Something felt off. It felt wrong in an all too familiar way.
He looked at the mirror and felt his heart drop as he saw his eyes start to burn way too bright. He frantically left the car and shut the door.
"Stay in there! No, just leave!" Russel yelled. "Just go NOW!"
2D looked at him confused. "What? No, I'm not gonna just leave you here?" 2D tried to open the door. "What are you talking about?"
Russel pushed the door so he couldn't open it. "NO! I'm just- ugh! Just leave D. Just GO."
"Russel?" 2D said, as Russel felt himself lose consciousness.