Washed Right Out, Chapter Thirteen. Prompts used: we need to talk, have a character take a sick day.
"Riles. You're here."
A hand—Jonathan's hand—set itself on Riley's shoulder. He’d been trapped. The usage of his nickname—Riles—had once thrilled him, but now it terrified him. The other man's hand felt cold through his shirt, and Riley immediately regretted not bringing his overcoat.
"It's okay," Jonathan continued. "You don't have to say anything. You don't even have to look at me."
Riley heard the sound of Jonathan slurping from a cup, and he realized Jonathan had not gone far while he’d been looking for him. He’d probably only been on the other side of the street, buying a coffee and biding his time until he knew Riley would show up.
"Please," Riley said. "Don't."
"Don't what, love?"
"What’s over? Our relationship? Our several year, fully formed and realized relationship that you want to throw away over some recordings?"
"Jonathan, about that. We need to talk."
Jonathan tightened his grip on Riley's shoulder in response. His fingers threatened to dig into his shoulder, reach past the fabric and through the bone. "We don't need to talk about anything. It's obvious what needs to be done, don't you think, Riles?"
"I mean," Jonathan babbled on, oblivious to Riley, "our relationship is clearly on the rocks, thanks to you. I tried so hard to make us work together, to make you better for us, and you repay me with this? I definitely don't appreciate this, or your friends freezing me out, and especially not changing the locks on your—our—place. That was not nice."
"Please let go." Riley lifted his hand and reached back toward where he knew Jonathan's own hand was.
"Don't touch me."
Riley stopped mid-way. Jonathan's voice had lost every single drop of warmth. He let his hand drop back on the table. If he’d felt trapped before, now he really felt more so. He felt like he was going to cry, or scream, or something even more unpredictable. That's when fate played its own hand.
"Hey, dude? Heads up. Assault is illegal."
Riley whipped his head around before anyone could stop him. He saw Jonathan, who wasn't directly behind him at all but had side-stepped into his vision, and in front of him was the young man with the golden waves of hair. He looked vaguely Greek, with light brown skin and green eyes. God bless him, whoever he was.
Jonathan hissed. He hissed, like a deranged cat. If Riley hadn’t been so concerned for his own safety, still threatened by the tightened claw of a hand on his body, he would’ve laughed out loud. "Excuse me?"
"He asked you to let go, and you haven't." The mystery golden boy didn't seem at all fazed by Jonathan's hiss. "No means no, dude. Give the guy some room."
The bitter laugh that came out of Jonathan's mouth made Riley wince. "And who are you?"
"Police, homicide division. Who are you?" The young man leaned in. "Should I escort you to the precinct now or later? Either way, this is going to end up with you in jail."
Jonathan wrenched his hand off of Riley's shoulder and took a step back. "No, no, no, no, no—" and then he was off, running down the sidewalk. He knocked into a metal mailbox as he turned the corner and disappeared.
The young man took a seat across from Riley. "Hey. Are you okay?"
Riley absentmindedly rubbed at the place where Jonathan’s fingers had dug into his skin. "Yeah... I guess. I will be."
"I'm not police by the way," the other man explained. "I just watch a lot of TV shows about detectives. I actually work in a flower shop, but I took a sick day. Well, a mental health day. Same thing, right? You'd never guess how much anxiety builds up when you're selling flowers on the regular. Shit, sorry, should I shut up?"
He blinked. "Um." His brain was still catching up with what had happened, along with processing the vision in front of him. "It's okay. I'm still..."
"Out of it?"
"I've been there. Well, not there specifically, but I know what that place is like. My name’s Fiore, by the way."
"Oh, good." Fiore's face flushed. "I mean—he called you Riles and that’s not a real name, so I was hoping—"
"It's a nickname." He corrected himself: "Was a nickname. We're not together. It's complicated."
"Hey. It's okay. You don't have to explain yourself to me." Fiore stood up. "Um, do you need an escort back to—home? Work?"
"Yeah, I'm supposed to be working right now..." Riley couldn't help but look around, half expecting to see Jonathan's head poke out of an apartment window or shop doorway. "It's just across the street, but sure. If you don't mind. And thank you, for earlier."
Fiore smiled. It was a smile that made flowers blossom just so they could catch a glimpse of its warmth. "No problem."
Maybe, Riley thought, there was hope for him after all.
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